Monday, December 15, 2008

And the winner of the HP Giveaway Contest Is....


Congratulations, Kerri! 

Please contact me no later than tomorrow so I can ship the goodies out to you before Xmas.

I do have a runner up (or two) should I not be contacted in time.
The entries were amazing, heartrending ALL.

I wish I could give away more.  
I focused on the stories that hit my gut.  Whether personal or charitable on a larger scale.

It was a really tough decision.  My heart goes out to all of you who are struggling.  
I wish you much luck on the other contests.


 Kerri has accepted the prize as of 1:45pm today.  Congratulations, Kerri.  

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

Today's post will be short and sweet because I am on deadline and seriously behind due to spending every free minute of my weekend reading contest entries.

So, here goes the gratitude:

  1. I am grateful for the opportunity to give a lucky winner the HP Giveaway loot and hopefully make some people's Christmas a happy one.
  2. After reading all the entries, I am especially grateful for my family's health and my husband's hard work which is keeping food in our fridge and a roof over our heads.
  3. I am grateful for the rain.
  4. I am grateful vacation is coming.

What are you grateful for today?

HP Giveaway winner will be announced at 12pm PST.  Be there!  Winner must contact me by Tuesday if they want to receive the packages before Xmas.   Good luck!

Saturday, December 13, 2008



co-sponsored by Microsoft Windows Live.



  • My blogger friends ARE eligible.  
  • Regretfully family members and IRL friends (in real life for non-bloggers) are NOT eligible for MY contest.  BUT you ARE eligible to enter ALL the other HP Magic Giveaway contests.  See my HP posts or HP MAGIC GIVEAWAY's home page for participating sites.
  • International entrants welcome.
  • Winners of other HP Magic Giveaway contests are NOT eligible.
  • You must have a legitimate shipping address.  P.O. Box addresses will NOT be accepted.  
  • Make your case!  Tell me why you deserve to win $6000 worth of HP and Microsoft products.  How will you put the equipment to good use?  Who will you share it with and why?  The contest is about the spirit of giving so I ask that you illustrate for me, either in words (250 words or less) OR on video (4 minutes or less) how you will make the most out of this charitable opportunity.  It can be for a friend in need, an organization such as a hospital, a residence home, a school.  Your choice.  Tell me what it will mean to you to have them share in your good fortune.  WOW ME.
  • Include a link in your entry to HP Magic Giveaway's home page and to this post on
  • Post your entry on your blog, on Facebook, on YouTube, or in my comment section.
  • If you have posted your entry anywhere other than my comment section, please leave a comment with a link to the site of your entry, your name, and a valid email address so I can contact you.  Some entries do not include a valid email address so I cannot contact you if there are questions/issues with your entry.  You MUST provide contact info or you will be ineligible.  Thank you.
  • Entries will be accepted beginning Sunday, 12:01AM (PST) December 7, 2008 and ending 11:59PM (PST) December 13, 2008.  (No entries stamped before or after that time will be accepted.)    TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ENTERED BEFORE 12:O1 PACIFIC STANDARD TIME PLEASE RE-ENTER NOW.  THESE ARE THE RULES AND I AM STICKING TO 'EM.   CONSIDER YOURSELVES WARNED.  THANK YOU!
  • Winner will be announced on  Monday, December 15, 2008 at 12PM (PST).
  • I am the sole judge of this contest.  My decision is final.
  • Winner will have 48 hours from the announcement to contact me at or I will award the prize to the first runner-up.
  • Winner should provide valid shipping addresses for all recipients.  I can ship directly to all destinations from here.
  • By entering, the winner agrees to deliver to me within 4 weeks of contest close, a story of their experience SHARING THE MAGIC. (It can be written, photographed,  or in video form.  Written:  500 word max.  Video:  4 mins or less).  We want you to share the magic with everyone.
  • All shipping charges are billed directly to sponsors. 
  • Any taxes paid by winner will be compensated by sponsors. 
  • A few of the packages may have been opened and re-packed in their original packaging.  (I will choose a few of the computers to check out and review during the week.)

Remember:  The point of the contest is to SHARE, so I am hoping you will pay it forward and give some of your prizes to others who could benefit from them rather than sell it on Ebay or keep it all for yourself.  If you do choose the latter you'll have to live with the bad juju I will send your way when I find out.  (And I have my ways.)



Monday, December 8, 2008

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

Hello everyone.
Yes, it is Monday.
The end of a weekend...
  the beginning of a loooong week.
(At least that's how I'm feeling this morning.)
So let's find something to be grateful about shall we?
  Or I (and possibly you) might just not make it.

  1. I am grateful for my sweet husband who busted his ass this weekend (and drove my friends crazy) to make a beautiful birthday celebration for me.
  2. I am grateful he bugged my friends instead of me.
  3. I am grateful for having so many fantastic friends.
  4. I am grateful for having the wisdom of my age (most of the time) but not the appearance of it.
  5. I am grateful for Southern California where the mountains and the beach are my gym year-round.
What are you grateful for this Monday?

Friday, December 5, 2008

3-2-1... Let Merlotmom's HP Giveaway Countdown Begin!


On your mark...
Get set...
Don't go...Just yet.
Come by merlotmom tomorrow to see how you can enter my HP Magic Giveaway!

My contest will start promptly at 12:01am on Sunday, December 7 and end promptly at 11:59pm Saturday, December 13.  That's PST.

I will be asking you to tell me why you are the best person to win this incredible, $6000 package of state-of-the-art techno goodies.  In 250 words or less.   HINT: The contest is called a Giveaway, so I will be looking for stories of those who want to share the wealth - with whom and why.  Of course, keeping some of it for yourself is acceptable and irresistable.   You're only human for goodness sakes!

So think about it.
Get your fingers ready.
Tell me a story.
Be the one that stands out from the crowd.

BUT DON'T SUBMIT UNTIL 12:01AM Sunday December 7.
Come back tomorrow for contest rules and regulations.


HP Magic Giveaway is LIVE right now (or starting at midnight tonight) at these sites.
Enter them all!:
The Gadgeteer
Gotta Be Mobile
I Started Something
Down-to-Earth Mama
moosh in indy.
La Bitácora de Erwin Ried
Carlos Alberto
Geeks To Go!
One Day, One Job
Techie Diva

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not Quite the Griswold's

He leaned over the steering wheel as he drove.  Sweating.  Breathing hard.
“It’s over.  No one was hurt. “ I placed my hand on his leg.

The Highway Patrol officer was trailing behind.  An hour ago his flashing blue and red lights were a welcome sight as we stood on the side of busy Highway 15, half of our belongings strewn along the road behind us.

“Is that your debris covering my highway back there?”  he asked.

“Yessir,”  my husband said as he extended his hand and smiled.  “We’re the Griswold’s.  Welcome to our family vacation.”   

He pointed to our car, leaning precariously on the left side of the road.  Two big Labradors in the back,  two kids in the middle, with their laptops, DVD’s, headphones, a Gameboy, a Nintendo and remnants from breakfast on the go.  The dogs barked wildly.  My son screamed in unison.

Earlier, about 10 miles outside of Mesquite, Nevada, while the kids watched The Simpsons movie and I enjoyed a New Yorker Fiction podcast, there was a sudden and startling WHOOSH and BANG.  My husband braked and pulled over to the side.  The resistance of stopping from a high speed woke everyone from their digital stupor.

“Is it a blowout I asked?”

“No,” my husband said.  “The top of the storage unit came off.  I saw it in the rear view mirror.”

He exited the car and ran to the people behind us.  By some huge stroke of luck, the top of our storage unit flew back and rather than flying through their windshield, hit their front bumper, bounced off and continued on it’s way down the highway, shredding into hundreds of pieces as it went.

I noticed a herd of cows grazing close by as my husband checked on the other party and traded insurance information.  I leaned over my seat to attend to my son.  He was hysterical and between he and the dogs no one could hear my assurances that everything was okay.

I tried to get out of the car so I could sit near him but because the car was leaning to the left, the weight of the passenger door was too heavy.  I used both my feet to push the door but my small frame was no match for a steel-enforced Volvo and gravity.  It didn’t help that cars were whizzing by at 80 M.P.H.

I climbed over the console and came out the other side.  My son was still screaming but thankfully the dogs had calmed down.  I caught a glimpse of my husband, running down the littered highway, jumping in when the road was clear, to pick up our coats, scarves, and Converse sneakers.  Old tire treads raised up from the road as he ran, attracted to his track pants like magnets; dangling like a piece of modern art.

The tall officer, armed with broad muscles,  guns and sticks wore large aviator sunglasses over his impressive, Roman hook nose.  He took our information and filed a police report.  It took a while and during that time he seemed to soften to my husband.  I watched from my now quiet car as they actually seemed… friendly.  At one point,  my husband leaned in to whisper something to the officer.


Later, as I thanked him and said goodbye, the officer appeared uncomfortable. 

“Really appreciate your help,”  I repeated.  “You have a nice Thanksgiving.”

He looked to my husband and then back at me and stammered, “Uh, I think I’ll just trail behind you guys for a bit.  Make sure the bottom half of that unit doesn’t fly off before you get to Mesquite.”

“Great!”  my husband said as he jumped into the car.

Something seemed fishy but he was a cop and what he said made a bit of sense, so I excused his odd behavior and got into the car.

My husband leaned over the steering wheel as he drove back onto the highway.  He was sweating.  Breathing hard.

“It’s over.  No one was hurt.”   I placed my hand on his leg. 

The wind picked up as we gained speed, “Let’s turn on the AC, so we can close the windows,”  I suggested.

“NO!  No A.C.”

I looked at him, suspicious.  “What did you whisper to him back there?”

He mumbled, sheepishly, "We’re out of gas…It's ten miles to the nearest station."

"WHAT?!"  "No gas!” I screamed. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Let me stop here a minute to tell you that while no one has ever been hurt (for which I am VERY grateful), situations like this happen to us often.   While dating my husband, I heard many an anecdote from his friends about a vintage convertible blowing up on the Pacific Coast HIghway, of having car trouble in the middle of the desert without a cell phone.  There are plenty of others.  These kind of incidences follow my husband.  Now, having married the guy, they follow me, too.  The officer must have noticed my teasing nudges and prodding sarcasm and taken pity on my husband.

So here we were, windows open, sitting knees to chin to accomodate the extra luggage, coasting as much as possible down Highway 15.  And...we had our own personal Highway Patrol escort.

We did make it to Mesquite, where we bid goodbye to our new friend.  We gave the bottom half of the storage pod a proper burial -  in a dumpster outside of the Oasis Hotel - while a choir rehearsed hymns in a neighboring church.

We arrived in Utah, five hours later, behind schedule and a bit sore. But being the holiday, we were thankful everyone was alive and well.  And for having yet one more story to tell.

 * photo courtesy of Google Images

HP Magic Giveaway Update - Contest Is In Full Swing!

Have you entered the contest yet ? 



Did you not hear that HP and MICROSOFT are giving away FIVE brand new, state of the art computers???


And a printer, and software?


See this post for prize details.

Checkout the sites that have already gone live. 

Bleeping Computer
Gear Live
Windows Connected
Morningside Mom
Thoughts on poetics & tech
The Gadgeteer
Gotta Be Mobile
I Started Something

Try to win there and if you don't...come back here, 
because on:


Merlotmom goes LIVE!!!!

And you could win HERE!

Good luck

Monday, December 1, 2008

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

Welcome to Monday.
I hope everyone had amazing times with their family and friends this Thanksgiving.

I don't know about any of you but having had that small break from monotony, I am now TOTALLY looking forward to Xmas vacation.

But, since that's a few weeks away,  I'll show my gratitude for the blessings at hand:
  1. I am grateful for not having to spend any time in my car yesterday.  (After Saturday's drive, I'd had enough.)
  2. I am grateful that Merlotdad had the car cleaned so it no longer smells like fast food and dogs.
  3. I am grateful for the GORGEOUS weather we are having in Southern CA.  (Some say it's too warm, I'm not one of them.  I enjoy smelling the roses in December.)
  4. I am grateful to be back home where I can decide at the last minute whether to walk in the mountains or on the beach.
  5. I am grateful for putting my aging old IBook to rest... and getting a new MacBook.  Awesome!
What are you grateful for this Monday?

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