Day 355 of Project 365: Wrapped up.

Gift-giving makes me incredibly anxious. I’m not certain where it comes from, but it is pervasive at this time of year, especially when I don’t have my very best shopping pal at my side to talk me out of talking myself out of choices.

I do like giving people things, but I’m always convinced I’ve given the wrong thing. And it sucks, doubly so in a new workplace where I am still unsure of the gift-giving protocol.

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It will be a miracle if I can get to sleep tonight.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: my internal monologue.

Day 348 of Project 365: Picnic advent.

Each year my mom sends a thoughtful and creative advent calendar around a theme of her own devising. This year it is a picnic basket with assorted picnic-themed goodies, one to unwrap each day! When FunkyPlaid comes home (and the weather clears up) we will be all set to explore Oregon, one picnic at a time.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: odd creaks and bumps that are probably nothing but are still creeping me out. I’ve been watching too much TV.

Gift of significance.

One of the best presents in the world is an autographed copy of a book. I was reminded of this just last week. My friend V and I Skype regularly and the last time I was telling her that I’m not in the best mental health lately. No stranger to dips in mental health, I have lots of coping mechanisms, and one of them is re-reading a collection of Ray Bradbury’s essays called Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity. I have a cheap Bantam paperback that I dog-ear and mark up to my heart’s content, and it is cathartic, this reading and mangling of pages, over and over again. She wrote the title down because she was feeling a bit out-of-sorts as well, having just moved to a new home for a new job and learning to establish a new social circle and the rest.

So last week we had an unexpected parcel delivered, which is a strange occurrence because on the rare occasions we do receive parcels we are expecting their arrival. But inside this parcel addressed to me was a copy of the Bradbury collection. It was a nicer edition than my own and in excellent condition, but I was perplexed: I thought certainly someone I had recommended this book to had made a mistake and accidentally had it shipped to me instead of themselves. Then I opened it to the title page: Ray Bradbury’s autograph, which made me gasp, and dated 6/26/1996. 1996 was the year I left everything I knew and moved to Alabama for a guy I met online, a significant pivot-point in my development as a person and as a writer. V didn’t know that about the date, I’m sure, but she opened the door for that lovely coincidence.

Two Bradbury Collections

I’m struggling this year to find gifts of significance instead of convenience for the people closest to me, and I had forgotten the power of an autographed book until now, gripping an old paperback to my heart with tears filling my eyes.

Writing from: a very chilly lounge, as the fireplace is currently broken. Listening to: SomaFM Christmas Lounge. Yes, it’s Holidailies time once more, which means with any luck you’ll be hearing from me every day this month.

makoshark’s Squid of Reassurance Greeting Card

makoshark's Squid of Reassurance

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to write more letters, why not send a friend one of these adorable squid greeting cards by makoshark? The Squid of Reassurance is my favourite. There are many designs, with and without squid, as well as different products like t-shirts, iPhone cases, stickers, and kids’ clothing.

Check out makoshark’s Redbubble shop for more.

2010 gift guide.

As mentioned on my last post about nifty gifts, here is my 2010 gift guide. I am posting this later than I had hoped to, sidetracked by illness again. If I were feeling better, I would write a little something about each person and why I like them, but in the interest of time, I will leave you with visuals. Click each photo for more information.

both the prison and the open hand - Nareshe Photography
both the prison and the open hand - Nareshe Photography
Dynamophone Digital Releases
Dynamophone Digital Releases
Lady Lavender truffle - Vice Chocolates
Lady Lavender truffle - Vice Chocolates
Deep Grotto Pendant - by juiceglass
Deep Grotto Pendant - juiceglass
Venice bridge - Fawn Fitter
Venice bridge - Fawn Fitter
black swallow goth necklace - chester and lola
black swallow goth necklace - chester and lola
Pripyat and the Halcyon Versions - Stripmall Architecture
Pripyat and the Halcyon Versions - Stripmall Architecture
Aggressive Squid - Cephaloplastica
Aggressive Squid - Cephaloplastica

Last but never least, don’t forget Gamescape North’s fantastic holiday gift guide for your last-minute game shopping.

What did I leave out? Tell me in the comments.