Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.
Clip Art Image: Help! I'm Going Crazy!How is everyone?  Are you enjoying your holidays so far?  I’m sitting here listening to my husband crack the whip on our various nieces to clean their very dirty rooms and bathrooms.  I don’t think they have ever been asked to do so before, or at least not to our standards, so we are definitely getting looks of evil.  It’s actually pretty funny to watch, but at least the house is getting clean.  It also releases some of the tension that has been building up around here, at least in me.  Thirteen kids of various ages and eleven adults roaming around the house is beginning to take its toll.  Trust me.

Did everyone get what they asked for from Santa?  Jim and I decided not to exchange gifts this year because he surprised me with a new Mazda Miata a few weeks ago.  Technically, it is our new toy, so that sufficed as our Christmas gift.  His family did a not-so-secret Santa gift exchange this year, so my sister-in-law took my hint and went shopping using my Wish List from B&N.  It’s the first time in a very long time when I’ve gotten books of any kind as a gift.  It was great. 

Picture of Books

As gifts to the nieces and nephews, I bought gift cards to Barnes and Noble.  I took advantage of the Buy-$100-in-GC-and-Get-a-$10-GC promotion and ended up walking away with $60 in gift cards.  I knew the bill seemed rather large, but it was the last stop we made on our date night of Christmas shopping.  Jim was texting me from the car telling me to hurry up, and I knew we had promised the babysitter that we would be home at least thirty minutes prior to me even entering the store.  So, I walked out of B&N puzzling over how I could have spent so much on 17 $15 gift cards plus two books and a few other goodies I purchased for my Blogger Swap Secret Santa, but then promptly forgot about it.  Then, one of my nieces went to B&N to spend her money.  If you’ve done the math, then you know that those gift cards weren’t $15 but $50.  Aunt Michelle and Uncle Jim were very, very nice this year, even though we didn’t mean to do so.  Oops.  The in-laws are very upset and keep trying to give us back the cards or buy us books, but so far, we’ve been able to stand our ground and insist that Christmas is about the kids, and the mistake is all ours.  We have two more days here, so we shall see if they continue to make it a big deal about it.  Our philosophy is that what is done is done, and it is a harmless mistake.  Beside, I got $60 of free books out of the deal.  I was able to do some damage to my Wish List.

Picture of Books Purchased
So far, I have been able to finish five books, two of which were YA that I’ve since passed along to my son.  It’s been an eclectic reading mix, from Gregor the Overlander to The Lightning Thief to one about demons and a demon catcher (Soul Catcher) to one about a flu pandemic (The Things That Keep Us Here) to the true story of the Wineville murders.  I’ve enjoyed them all for various reasons but now need to finish four more reviews.  With reading comes a bit of responsibility, I guess.
I finally bit the bullet and decided to try my hand at finding a writing job.  There are some things that are happening at work that have soured me a bit on my boss and my company.  Namely, I busted my butt to finish my MBA and am working hard to get a professional accounting certification that no one else at work has, but my boss has failed to acknowledge my work with any form of pay raise.  In fact, he was absolutely shocked when I presented current industry data that shows that I am grossly underpaid.  I now have to defend my reasons for wanting a pay raise, even though I got nothing when my job duties shifted last year and I undertook additional responsibilities and now make business decisions that impact the company.  The discussion is still ongoing, and I remain hopeful that things will work out in the end.  However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t look for something else that better fits my personality.  So, if you know of any writing jobs or editing jobs for someone who has no experience other than writing on a blog or starting and editing her company newsletter, then please send them my way!

It’s been an interesting vacation so far.  While I have been able to get a lot of reading and sleeping done, and I love visiting with my brother- and sister-in-law, I don’t do well with this many kids around.  I’ve been keeping my kids to a normal schedule, but that causes problems when the rest of them aren’t held to the same standards.  We’re getting close to wearing out our welcome, I think, so it is a good thing we will be leaving in two days to go visit friends we knew in Germany.

I plan to write one 2009 Year in Review post and need to finish up those reviews, so that I can start fresh in 2010.  I love new beginnings and the clean slate the new year affords.  I hope everyone is able to get some rest and enjoy these last few days of 2009.  I know I am!

Image: Signature Block

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