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Monday, November 22, 2004

What is up with all the so-called "women's" magazines and their obsession with numbers? 643 ways to wrap presents. 914 home organisation tips. 343 ways to save money. Is the idea that the big numbers are supposed to make us think that this magazine must be a Really Good Buy because it's got lots of information in it? And do the editors not feel any kind of unease about the schizophrenic way that their covers inevitably pair diet tips (Lose Ten Pounds By Thanksgiving!) with fattening recipes (712 Ways With Holiday Cookies!).

I had time to muse on these questions a day or two ago when I was stuck in the grocery store queue behind a very decrepit, very wobbly, very dithery old man. Poor old guy, it took him forever to write his cheque. The cashier was making annoying eye-rolling faces at me behind his back, but I refused to participate, because I somehow feel that if I'm tolerant of dotty old people here, then people back in South Africa will be nice to my grandmothers. Mind you, my grandmothers are both made of stern stuff and could certainly subdue any uppity little cashier with the greatest of ease. Hell, a mere glance from either them can turn Bobby into a gibbering wreck so I'm sure they manage to hold their own in the grocery store.

All the busyness of last week is safely behind us; this week we just need to get ready for our camping trip. We'll be camping in this state park and climbing here. Not only is it free, but the ranger told me that it'll be almost empty at this time of year, and even if it wasn't, we wouldn't be on top of any other people. No showers or anything but (in winter at least) I'd rather be grubby in tranquillity than clean with some great hulking RV with its cable TV hookup parked next to me. I don't really get the whole RV thing; seems to me that if you just want to recreate your home environment you might as well stay at home. A colleague of Bobby's is coming along with us; he's looking forward to the trip very much, apparently. Hope his enthusiasm stands up to the rigours of a ten hour car trip (each way) with three kids. I tend to find it hard to relax unless I'm sure that everyone else is happy and contented, so I also hope that it's not stressful for me having to factor in an extra person's likes and dislikes.

And when we get home I guess we have a few days to think about Christmas presents before the in-laws arrive. I would like to order everything online this year, and it would be nice if it were all sorted before next Friday (which is when my in-laws get here). I have some ideas for the kids, but I have absolutely no idea what to get for Bobby. He loves the whole gift-getting thing so he'll be secretly miserable if we don't come up with something creative and wonderful, but all the things that he wants seem to be either insanely expensive (like a fancy lens for the camera, for instance) or would be useless unless we got the same item for everyone in the family - a really good quality sleeping bag, for instance - which would again bring them into the insanely expensive realm.

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