Thursday, January 27, 2011

Giveaway Addiction

There's a reason why I blog more during the summer...I have less work and more time for blogging then. At least in July and August I don't teach at the university on top of all the other work I am constantly doing: both the paid type (translations, on-line writing, other teaching) and the unpaid type that all women do every day. You know, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, washing, helping with homework, driving Child A to Point B and back. Plus the essential, yet time-consuming, pleasure of keeping up with girlfriends. I cannot live without talking on the phone and getting together with my girlfriends as often as possible. They make me laugh and keep me sane. Then there's the gym...if I don't go to the gym three times a week and squeeze in some walking, cycling or running, too, I get grumpy as all hell.

And yet, somehow I still have time to waste on a new secret passion. Well, not secret anymore I guess, now that I'm blabbing it all over the internet. I have become a giveaway junkie. Did you know that there are a lot of people out there giving away all kinds of stuff? All you usually have to do to participate in these giveaways is become a follower of the blog of the person hosting the competition.

The cool thing is that I have won a lot of stuff since I got hooked on this pastime. Yeah, really, you play, you win. It's that easy. Well, you have to enter a lot of giveaways to win one every once in a while, but that occasional win is such a pleasant surprise that it keeps me coming back for more.

A necklace I won from an Australian artisan.

So, what have I won? Well, my first win was a very young children's DVD. I do not know why I entered that particular giveaway since my children are way to old for the DVD, but, oops, I won! That experience taught me two things: first, that it is possible to win, and second, that it's rather daft to enter giveaways that are offering prizes you aren't actually interested in. I gave the DVD to a friend with a toddler.

My second win was a book listing substitutions for cooking ingredients. Such as, you need oh say turmeric in a recipe and you haven't got any in the cupboard? Just look up the missing ingredient in this book and it will tell you what you can use to replace it. Handy, especially since here in provincial southern Italy a lot of easy to come by ingredients in US recipes can be pretty hard, or impossible, to come by. Now, that was a better prize.

But, what got me hooked for good was the $250 gift certificate to JC Penney's. Wow! That's a lot of gift certificate at JC Penney's. I had a blast picking and choosing what I wanted. And from then on, playing the giveaway game has been my favorite time-waster.

It's really addictive, though. Once I start surfing the web, hunting for giveaways open to international participants (so many are limited to the US and Canada), the hours fly by. I think I may need an intervention...or an extension of the 24-hour day!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011

I spent New Year's eve at home with family and friends...a lovely evening that almost didn't happen!

We have all been sick for more or less for the past week with a nasty intestinal flu that left most of us with little or no desire to eat or drink...and what is an Italian celebration if not a celebration of food and drink? My husband and I dragged ourselves out and about to do the shopping, moaning and groaning all the while about how we felt and about what a pity it was that we were not going to enjoy the evening's feast.

Call it off you suggest? No way, that would be a solution for lesser mortals. And besides, we had invited a whole bunch of people wouldn't have been right to leave them in the lurch on New Year's Eve.

Here I am with about 3 inches of makeup shoveled on to make myself presentable. One "good" thing...I lost three kilos in 3 days of stomach flu! Hee hee, but really, that's no way to lose weight!
in order of height...

Our meal was fish-based, but we combined the traditions of the Italians, Americans and Russians present.

An array of international appetizers
Broiled bass on a bed of creamed peas

I survived the evening and even managed to eat a few bites of this and that and toasted the new year with half a sip of Prosecco! I'm planning to leave all traces of that flu way back in 2010.

Let's hope 2011 is a good year for you, me and everyone! Happy New Year!