Happy Holidays!

December 26, 2013

As I write this, my Christmas vacation, such as it was, is pretty much over. It’s 6pm on Boxing Day, and I’ll be working from home tomorrow. But it’s been a good couple of days.

Late on Christmas Eve, my brother called me up with some last minute change of plans. He had to work through the week, including Christmas Day, and the original plan was for the Hamilton branch of the family, (the two of us and Mom,) to go up to Kitchener early and then drive home in time for him to get to work for the afternoon shift, which would mean me leaving at seven thirty in the morning and having just about enough time to unwrap presents and have turkey brunch at my sister’s place. The change in plans was that I drove up separately in my car, which my brother borrowed after brunch when it was time for him to leave. Mom and I stayed, played some cards with my sister and my two nieces, enjoyed a light lunch of desserts, then I drove Mom home in her car, and switched to mine, which had been dropped off at her place.

The gift exchanges went pretty well too. I kept to a tighter budget than in years past, but managed to come up with some stuff for all of my family that they seemed to like. Myself, I scored some gift cards, chocolate treats, three new books to read, and a cool decoration with quotes about writing that I’m going to keep on my desk. Oh, and a wizard’s staff that my Mom made for me! đŸ™‚

Today I did the budget Boxing Day shopping. I picked up a cool new Modern Family calendar for my 2014 goal tracking, and a fancy Bluetooth mouse to use with my Nexus 7 tablet. One of my gift cards helped pay for the mouse, and I used another to download some new music, including albums by Great Big Sea and Amanda Stott.

And I walked to all my shopping; four and a half miles round trip, which is a lot longer than I usually walk in a day, but I feel good for having done it.

So, how were your holidays?

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A Christmas gift of battery power

December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays again, friends and followers. December the 25th is almost over in this time zone, and I hope you had a great Christmas, (or an alright day, if you don’t celebrate Christmas today.)

I went up to Kitchener to celebrate with my family, and had a great time – catching up, exchanging presents, throwing things at each other in the traditional Christmas wrapping paper fight, then a great turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, and dessert after.

But the present that I’m thinking about wasn’t something that anybody in my family set out to buy for me, but just a simple favor of a moment’s time that was given without hesitation.

As I’ve probably mentioned several times, my Alphasmart Dana has been having some issues for several months now. I think I first  noticed it in the spring, with little things – it was taking more time to respond after powering on and showing weird screens occasionally. Over the months, as I used it to work on short stories, to do Block Revision and start the first draft of “The Witches of Arion,” it became clear that the battery was no longer as strong as it once was, and all of the other issues might relate to insufficient power.

During November, I got to the point where I was nervous about losing my words on the Dana in the middle of a write-in, so I started taking the netbook instead, and I backed up frantically after every screen when doing the Block Revision for “Storm Mirror.”

Now, the Dana comes with a rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack, and on my particular unit, the battery compartment was screwed shut with a tiny screw that I’d never been able to loosen. Today, I packed Dana along with my Christmas cards and wrapped presents, and asked my brother-in-law for his help. He’s an engineer, a generally handy guy, and I was pretty sure he owned more screwdrivers than I did.

Quickly the two of us and Dana were down in his basement, and after trying half a dozen screwdrivers he found one that worked. Together we figured out how to pry the rechargeable battery pack out of the compartment, and unclip it from the power cable. He even had some AA batteries sitting around, and we were able to use them as a replacement power source, (which is an option listed in the Alphasmart manual.)

 

 

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I’m not sure where I go next with my Dana. Probably it’ll be worth using it with the AA batteries for a while to see how much they last, and I’ll look around to see where I can get a replacement recharge pack here in Canada, and how much it’ll cost. But I feel blessed just to know that this wonderful writing tool has more life left in it, that I wasn’t going to see it fade further and further away until it couldn’t even write a single word for me.

I also got eight lessons in Holly Lisle’s ‘How to Think Sideways’ course from my sister! Not quite sure when I’m going to be able to focus on these, especially since I haven’t finished ‘How to Revise your Novel’ yet, but I’m sure I’ll have fun when I get to them. Oh, and here’s a picture of the Christmas tree, just because it’s nice.

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Merry Christmas presents!

December 25, 2011

Well, I’m back from spending Christmas day with the family – lunch at my Mom’s Condo, and then presents under the tree, wrapping paper fight, and turkey dinner over at my sister’s house in Kitchener.

Of course, the great joy of Christmas is in the giving, but I’m not that comfortable sharing the list of what I gave to my family and friends here on the blog. Somehow, babbling on about all the loot I got doesn’t seem quite as awkward!

  1. Gift cards – two for ‘The Source’ electronics chain, and one for Sears.
  2. New AAA rechargeable batteries.
  3. Socks.
  4. A quilted blanket with a pentomino pattern on it!
  5. Cookies and other goodies from my nieces and nephew.

So, did you get any cool gifts?


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