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Posts Tagged ‘Presents’

Diary #652

We’ve got a certain routine on holidays; some friends who don’t have local family come out for the feast, and we eat, drink, and generally make merry.  This time it rained all day on Christmas, but we were snug in the house and the atrium roof was wonderful; despite the torrential downpour, people were able to come and go between the main house and the cottages completely dry, and though the new bathroom is still incomplete the toilet is functional, the door works, and there’s light and a heater.  If only the damned gas company had come to connect my new heater as they were supposed to do weeks ago, we wouldn’t even have been affected by the two long power outages (22nd-23rd and the morning of Boxing Day) at all, because the only major appliance the generator can’t handle is the electric water heater.  Ah, well, it still wasn’t remotely annoying enough to ruin an otherwise lovely Christmas, and next year we should have most of the bugs worked out of our backup systems.

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Diary #651

It’s been a long time since I was as sick as I was last week; on the day my previous diary appeared, I was just finally feeling up to doing all my regular chores again, and my appetite didn’t fully return until a few days ago.  It had me worried because on the last day of my toy drive I got a surge in donations that brought me to $1200, more than ever before, yet I wasn’t in shape to go shopping!  Fortunately there’s a Target not far from the Olympia collection center, and I felt well enough Wednesday morning to make one last trip; my trunk was already full, and I topped off the back seat at Target before delivering everything to the collection center and returning home before dark.  Since then, I’ve done a few small tasks on the new bathroom, but it’s so cold outside I’ve used my convalescence as an excuse to mostly just putter around inside, getting things cleaned up before the holiday.  And in the long evenings, I’ve actually had time to do some pleasure-reading for the first time in I’m-ashamed-to-admit-how-long.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to the holiday, and once again I want to thank all of my readers for your generosity, both on behalf of the kids and for the nerdy, thoughtful things y’all sent to me personally!

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If you’ve been putting off donating to my toy drive this year, this is your wake-up call!  TODAY is the last day for donations; the collection center only accepts them through the 17th (one week before Christmas Eve), and I need at least a few days to buy them and get them to Olympia before then (especially because it’s been unusually snowy already this month).  Please help me to make this a merry Christmas for children who might otherwise have nothing; every $100 buys five to ten toys (like most things, they’re far more expensive than they used to be), so a successful drive brings joy to dozens of children.  But I can’t do it alone; please help top off my toy-buying account for this final shopping trip this season!

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Every year on this day, the traditional beginning of the Yuletide season in the US, I remind my readers that the real spirit of the season involves giving to others rather than literally fighting to get more for yourself.  Children and whores are St. Nick’s two favorite groups of people; you can help the latter by donating to a sex worker charity such as SWOP Behind Bars, or you can help both by booking a session with a sex worker you know has kids.  If you don’t know any, you can help by participating in my annual toy drive!  From now until Monday, December 12th, I’m collecting donations with which to buy toys, which I then donate to Toys for Tots.  In the past I tied session-time to the donations, but since I’m semi-retired that’s not really a workable deal any more; besides, my readers have always been so generous I’ve only had a few collect on the bargain!  If you’re in the Seattle area, we may be able to meet in person; otherwise you can send it via PayPal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net.  Since I’m also working on my own blog’s funding right now (see that thermometer in the right-hand margin?), make sure you put “Toys for Tots” in the memo so I’ll know where you intend the donation to go.  And if you can afford only one, please make it to the toy drive!

As you can see from the pictures, my readers have always risen to the occasion to help provide some simple joy to needy children who might otherwise have nothing on Christmas morning.  If you’re not hurting economically yourself, please consider donating (either to my drive or to one near you); rising inflation is taking a bite out of many people’s income, so there will be less money for toys this year.  And while we adults can understand that, it can be heartbreaking for very young children to think Santa Claus has forgotten them or bypassed them because they were naughty.  Please help if you can!

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Diary #646

When Yellowbird saw my diary of two weeks ago, mentioning that I couldn’t get a good picture of the diorama she had made me for my birthday, she let me know that she had taken some pictures herself; not only is she a much better photographer than I am, she also used Photoshop to give it a cool background.  I thought this was the best one to show you the outside, but the inside detail is pretty amazing too.  As of this writing, it’s still sitting on the dining table for people to look at, along with my other presents.  Usually I pick things up fairly soon after parties, but this year the summer malingered for so long that it didn’t feel like proper Halloween weather until a week before the big day.  So, I’m kind of procrastinating on moving on to Thanksgiving, though obviously I’ll have to stop doing that soon.  And the end of Daylight Mismanagement Time is helping; now the sun has already set before I start dinner, so it’s properly dark by the time I serve it.  And it really helps my brain to sit down to dinner with all the chores done and the animals fed, and without sunlight pouring into the windows as though it were mid-afternoon.  I have to mention one other present: when I arrived in Seattle on Sunday, my landlord handed me a package that had come in earlier in the week; it contained the CD of Vangelis’ Albedo 0.39, but no note as to the sender.  So if that was you, please tel me so I can thank you properly!

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Diary #644

I must admit, I do like getting presents, especially thoughtful ones.  When I arrived at my Seattle apartment last week, I found a number of them waiting for me: a set of luxurious royal blue bedsheets; two Joe Satriani discs; Vangelis’ Heaven and Hell; The Best of the Drifters; and the third Little Nemo in Slumberland volume.  These were sent by several lovely readers and friends (y’all know who you are, and thank y’all very much!)  Then on Monday, I got more from my family: Grace gave me a collapsible silicone electric kettle so I never again have to be at the mercy of hotel assholiness for my tea; Jae gave me a Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus) and a plethora of decorated Jack-o’-lanterns; Chekhov made me this very awesome brain cake (it’s chocolate underneath the creepy icing); and Yellowbird made me this awesome cardstock diorama of a haunted house (not pictured because the pics really didn’t do its incredible detail justice).  The two of them also gave me some snake jewelry, which Snake Mama always likes!  Then we celebrated by eating finger sandwiches (because that’s what I wanted to make) and extra-devilish devilled eggs while drinking prosecco and watching Halloween movies.  All in all, it was exactly what I wanted all around, and I’m extra-thankful to everyone who thought enough of me to send or bring a gift!

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Diary #630

My road trip was apparently more fatiguing than I had at first realized.  On Wednesday and Thursday, I had to catch up on chores, and on Friday I had to do two weeks’ worth of grocery shopping because we were out of quite a few things. Then on Saturday I found myself completely out of energy, despite oversleeping every day since my return; I had a couple of errands to run, but after that I decided to start my edibles early and soak in the hot tub, then catch up on my writing.  It was Sunday before I found myself mostly back to normal, and I put in a good afternoon installing flashings on the cottage eaves in preparation for the gutters, which I plan to start tomorrow as it’s supposed to be unusually sunny and hot today and much less so the rest of the week.  Anyhow, though it may seem a bit silly, the high point of last week was receiving in the mail a disc of the first season of Professor Balthazar, which I’ve awaited for some time.  These cartoons were created by a Croatian animator in the late ’60s, and I saw them as part of the ABC Saturday morning show Curiosity Shop in the early ’70s; I only found out recently that they were only licensed for that show, and could be obtained separately (sadly, it appears no copies of Curiosity Shop have survived).  So I ordered the first disc and put the other two on my Amazon wishlist, and after several months of delay it finally arrived on Thursday.  I’m pleased to say it was every bit as sweet and charming as I remember it from half a century ago, and I’m looking forward to getting the others soon.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Professor and his whimsical adventures, have a taste at his YouTube page.

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Diary #627

When I was a wee lass, I tried never to miss the Sunday Morning Movie, a local TV institution for many years which generally featured old monster movies.  It was the venue in which I first saw the Godzilla movies, It Came from Outer Space, and many others, including this one, which was among my favorites as a child.  Looking back on it now, I think what drew me to it most was Ross Martin’s sympathetic and touching portrayal of the brilliant humanitarian who becomes a monster; I’ve always thought Martin was very underrated as an actor, and while looking at his IMDb page recently (while we were watching The Wild, Wild West), I saw this flick listed and realized that he was the actor whose performance had so appealed to me in childhood.  So I added it to my Amazon wishlist, and a reader sent it to me last week; I’m keen to watch it again not for the rather melodramatic Frankenstein-derived plot, but to watch Martin’s performance again through adult eyes.  And, truth be told, because I’m really very sentimental and it’ll be fun to revisit a slice of those long-gone days.

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Last week I wrote about how much I appreciate my readers’ generosity, and I got ample proof of it again before the week was out.  On Wednesday I drove into Seattle as I do every three weeks, and I discovered this collection waiting for me (along with Vangelis’ last album) from a reader who often gets me nice things (and the note he included gave me an extra smile).  Then the next day, I published a request for help with travel funds (because the skyrocketing price of fuel and everything else has really exacerbated my typical summer & travel anxieties), and within hours I had received about 70% of what I estimate the trip will cost me.  And let me tell you, there is nothing as good for anxiety as feeling supported and cared for!  As I sit at my desk writing this, there’s a dramatic difference in my emotional balance from when I wrote the request just a week ago; I feel calm and I’m looking forward to the journey, whereas last week I was trying to decide whether to rethink the whole thing.  So thank all of y’all for being so amazing; it’s no exaggeration to say that y’all saved my whole trip.

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Every so often I like to remind my readers and patrons how important your support is to me.  In these uncertain times, it’s really reassuring to know that my writing is important enough to many of you that you choose to do more than simply throw a compliment my way now and again.  For some of you, support takes the form of a subscription, money you send every month to help me pay my bills; in lean times (such as right after tax season) those small amounts add up and keep me in the black.  Others prefer to send me nice things from my Amazon wishlist; I try to keep it populated with lots of things I really want, rather than just expensive trinkets and designer gewgaws.  Take this book a reader (who prefers to remain anonymous) sent me a couple of months ago; it’s a collection of early comic strips from one of the creators of the genre.  It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time, but since it’s out of print I couldn’t justify the rather steep price, but since one of my admirers sent it as a present I could enjoy it without guilt (as I’m currently enjoying the second volume, received from a different reader just last week – you know who you are, and thank you!)  So whether you prefer to send me practical help to put food on the table, or to send “hyacinths to feed my soul”, please know that “appreciation” is far too mild a word to describe my feelings of gratitude to all of y’all.

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