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Friday, December 6, 2002

Panic being the mother of progress, I took desperate action today. Finally realizing I'm not going to do much actual in-store shopping from here on out, I went online this afternoon and took care of at least half of my list. I think that's what I did anyway. My list, as it stands now, is wholly imaginary. I have a spreadsheet in my head (and you know how painful that can be).

When I started I had a few ideas. After a few minutes of clicking here and there in various stores, those ideas had all changed. I think there was only one item on my original imaginary list that ended up in my virtual shopping cart. The time came quickly when I thought I should quit and take stock of what I'd already bought, before I ended up with a lot of stuff I can't use and nothing at all for some of the people on my list.

That kind of thing can happen, you know, when you get carried away like that.

So I'm feeling a lot better about the holiday rush now. I couldn't have waited much longer to shop online and still expect things to get here on time. And time is squeezing down to the last few days to do any real shopping. We have family birthdays coming up, even before Christmas.

Shopping on line is fun, but it's even more fun if you have an idea of what you want. I already had a few ideas from looking through mail-order catalogs. In fact, one of the catalogs I get regularly (though it's one I haven't bought from in about ten years) has an online store where I just spent a small pile of money. I guess it paid off for them to keep sending me the catalog long after I stopped putting cash in their till. They even found me when I moved two years ago — both times.

The best part of shopping online isn't that I can do it sitting at my desk and browsing through page after page of items. That's good, but it's not the best part. The best part is that I can stop on a dime and zip to another store as soon as I get an idea. I can't do that when I'm driving around in December traffic. I can't see something at Target that reminds of something else at K-Mart and instantly be on the other side of town.

Now that I've come this far, I have to take stock of what I have and make an actual list. And I'll have to do it soon, or I'll be out in the crowds, standing in lines and fighting over the last remaining stuffed purple octopus with somebody's grandmother. Not that I couldn't outwrestle her for it if I really wanted it.


The only glimpse we had of the sun all day was this sliver of light just before it set.

And if you were expecting a stuffed purple octopus from me, this one's for somebody else. We don't spoil surprises in my family. In fact, we often pretend we've forgotten about Christmas or birthdays altogether, just to keep the illusion of surprise alive. We would never say "stuffed purple octopus" out loud in front of each other. Those things are for whispering about in the cloak room.

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Shopping Dilemmas
"I don't understand how someone can just wander around a store with no goal except to fill the basket. Don't you end up with a bunch of things you don't really want?"

Two years ago: Release
"After a few minutes I was able to scrape myself off the rug and take a breath."

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Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun,
Now the jingle hop has begun.