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Sunday, February 7, 2016


My disappointment of not winning the most amazing prize the previous week was so short lived, I could not even remember the name of the device that was not to be mine.  Another week would mean another lot of entries.

Having been asked by so many to buy a lottery ticket, or 'pick the winning numbers', I have had to explain that it does not work in that manner.  Not only do you have to 'be in it, to win it', but there is a certain amount of dedication needed to be a winner!  Of course, there are those who buy one lottery ticket, 'just because' and win, first time, and big, but that has not been my experience!  I am dedicated (obsessive, compulsive, addicted, could be words that are used by some) and each morning I open up the same (several) websites and see what there is to win on that day.  Ten minutes, or thereabouts, is all that it takes, but those ten minutes have become a daily routine.  I will say that while I am 'at home', in England, I give myself respite, as if I am not there to collect the prize, most of the benefactors will not allow a substitute person to accept! Therefore, considering the amount of contests that I enter, I do not win a great deal. It is merely because of my dedication (obsessiveness, compulsiveness, addiction) that the law of averages dictates that I win on a regular basis.  

The tote bag that I collected on Friday was still sitting in my office, still holding the giant poster that Samantha had neglected to take home for Edward.  I had asked that all superfluous items be removed from my area before the coming Friday, as my prize, which was 'breakfast tacos for the office' was arriving, and just in case a promotional photo was required, I would like the reception area to look reasonably tidy.  The poster was removed, although I am unsure as to whether it made it to Edward's office, or if it has been stored in a different location within the confines of our business premises!

Looking forward to Friday's delivery, I realised that I would probably only need lunch for four days, as I predicted that tacos arriving mid morning, would probably feed me for breakfast and lunch, so I shopped accordingly.  Our constitutional on Monday was, as it is so often, broken into two parts, by a layover in the local HEB supermarket.  Holding two punnets of blueberries and a bunch of parsley, it was not particularly convenient to answer my ringing phone.  Assuming it must be Dana, (as the only people who call me on a regular basis are my husband and my daughter, and it was a little too late for a facetime with my grandson,) I muttered under my breath while I placed my three items on the floor, and released my smart device from the drawstring bag in which it had been held captive.  I did not recognise the number, but it was local, so I answered.  "Hello.  Is that Tracie...Mac....Mac....Mac..."  I replied that indeed I did go by that name, and how could I be of assistance.  "You have been selected to come to our lounge tomorrow to meet....", and the words started to merge together, with a last sentence containing the phrase. "including lunch".  After piecing together the bits that I heard, and trying to protect my parsley, that was in danger of being a victim of the stampede of shoppers who needed to be in the aisle where I was standing, I attempted to sound excited.  However, as I had barely heard a word the caller said, except that I was invited to a lounge for lunch, I had to ask for a little more information.  I did not want to turn up with a body guard if my prize was no more than a carrier bag!  "Do you know where we are located?" was the next question!  One thing as a competitor that I lack, is a mental note of which contest belongs to which radio station (or television station, or any other company that sends me an email with the caption, "You could win!") and I assumed, in this case wrongly, that it was the station to the north of town.  When a rather resounding "No!" came back over the airwaves, I quickly regained some ground by giving an address, rather than a radio station, so not to upset the caller further!   "Do you even know who Jess Glynne is?" I was asked!  Although my immediate reaction was to teach the young lady that a sentence should never end in a preposition, my words were reconstituted into an defensive response, to wit, "Know Jess, we are practically related!"  The caller was the proverbial duck whose back was dry as the water was shaken off. Obviously, I had not fooled her for a second, but I had accepted my prize, and said I would attend, so there was no turning back!

"He is a she", Samantha said, as I asked if she would like to join me for lunch at the radio station the following day, and proceeded to access a sample of the music to which we would be treated.  The sound was rather good, and I skipped back to the office, having successfully saved my parsley, and two punnets of blueberries from the trampling masses!  

After successfully negotiating a few hours of vacation, for my daughter and me, I returned to my desk and proceeded to 'check out' the musician whom was going to perform to a small audience after they had enjoyed a feast from Schlotzsky's Deli.  After listening to a couple of tunes, I was delighted to see that the young lady was from North London.  My son, and my sister were both familiar with her and her music, as were Samantha's friends.  As I put my excitement to one side, and resumed my work, my phone rang for the second time.  The number appeared to be familiar, and in the split second before answering, I wondered if my prize was going to be retracted on the grounds that I could be tarred with the sentence, "You're pants are on fire!"  Ready to announce that I was not ignorant of Jess Glynne and her music, and although not practically related, we were practically neighbours, I answered with a renewed confidence.  "Hello.  Is that Tracie...Mac....Mac...
Mac..."  I replied that indeed I did go by that name, and how could I be of assistance.  "You have won the gift card for ....".  My 'winners' circle' dance prevented me from hearing which gift card I had actually won, but I did manage to catch the name of the radio station who hosted the contest.  "Do you know where we are located?" was the next question!  "Yes, yes I do!" I said, and rattled off the address, the whole address, and nothing but the address, from where the station broadcasts.  I was told that I had thirty days to pick up my gift card, and I told the nice young man that I would "be there tomorrow", as I was attending a function from their sister station.  

Three prizes in the space of a week was a record, even for me!  I decided not to go 'trendy' in my attire on Tuesday, despite the age and appearance of the singer.  A red tartan skirt was matched with a apricot blouse, (to pick out the peach in the check,) blue jacket, and boots.  "She is English, not Scottish", came the comment from my daughter, who was quickly put 'in her place', with the announcement that the boots were from Marks and Spencer!  Can't get much more English than that!  

Arriving at the radio station at 11:15am, we were almost the last to enter the room where we were going to be served lunch.  Two chairs were available at the back of the room, and we inched our way around those already seated and claimed our place.  "I cannot stand bad grammar", said the girl who was on the other side of the table.  Although my immediate reaction was to teach the young lady that there is no such thing as 'bad' grammar, it is either grammar or it is not, my words were reconstituted into a more friendly response, to wit, "A girl after my own heart.  I always say that my mother invented grammar, and therefore, I have no option but to use it correctly!"  (I will admit, before I get a blast of emails, I am still learning, and not perfect!) The recognition of the accent was immediate, and the response from the English woman was equally as friendly. A relatively new resident of Austin, having moved here last April, our fellow countrywoman could use the word 'neighbour' when referring to 'our' Jess, in that she was born within almost a stone's throw from the singer.  However, she had moved at the age of four, to a tiny village, called Radlett!  "We are from Radlett", came the chorus from my daughter and me!  After some more animated conversation, it transpired that although four years older than my eldest child, she had attended the same school, and lived in the same road as my mother for the first few years of her residency in the 'tiny' village!  The phrase 'small world', was used with accuracy!

I did not win a CD as the contest was rather limited.  "Trivia", came the answer from two older ladies, myself being one, when the question was asked, "Would you like to play a 'name that tune', or 'trivia' quiz".  I did win a coupon for the Deli, when they threw in an Otis Reading song, but that was after all the CD's had been claimed, and I am sure the 'click' on to the artist was either by accident, or in response to the look of oblivion plastered across my face during the naming of the previous selection of songs!  

Jess Glynne gave a great performance.  She sang her new single, 'Aint got far to go', and a favourite of Samantha's, 'Hold my hand'. After a short interview, and the performance, we were invited to have our pictures taken with the obviously risen star!  If being invited to hear her sing, being treated to lunch, and actually meeting this delightful young lady was not enough, as I walked up to the podium, she greeted me with the words, "You look amazing!"  The young, famous, young, trendy, young starlet (did I mention young!) thought I looked amazing!!  This was my biggest prize to date!  The sentence, "Must be the Marks and Spencer shoes", was reconstituted into, "That's nice to hear from one North London girl to another".  The response was terrific.  If it was an act, it was an excellent act, but her enthusiasm was overwhelming. "You are from London", she said, with gusto, and as the cameras clicked, we chatted!  Unfortunately, time was short, and so our conversation was also cut so!  

After such a wonderful experience, we bade farewell to all our country folk, and headed out to the reception area, where I was handed my gift card for Sonic hamburgers!  

The next two days were filled with reminiscing and looking forward to the next feeding experience.  I received an email to confirm my address, and on Friday morning at around 9:10am, there was a knock on our office door.  Two lovely young ladies entered, holding bags of breakfast tacos, two gallon containers of iced tea (one sweet, one not.....they think of everything!) and enough salsa to cover every grammatical error encountered over the past few days!  Having checked out that I was whom I said I was, one of the 'Keye TV morning crew', told me that they preferred the 'silver', to the red that was my hair colour on my driving license.  I told them that once I had become a grandma, I thought it best to act the part!  "Is that a picture of your grandbaby", one asked, as she pointed to the wall full of photos.  "And that one....and that one...", I said!  My office, and the decorations therein, which have not been removed since my birthday two years ago, was considered to be a 'fun place', and after the obligatory 'selfie', the ladies left, leaving a feast behind them!  

Everyone, including the Fed-ex guy, and a few other visitors, partook of the prize.  It was a great way to start a Friday morning, and indeed continue into a Friday afternoon.  After everyone was fed to fulfillment and beyond, there were still some left for Samantha to take home for Edward!  It had been quite 'the' week.

My dedication (obsessiveness, compulsiveness, addiction) did not wain throughout the week, and I will continue to enter as many contests as my selected websites permit.  Big, expensive prizes would be nice, but the smaller, more intimate winnings, and prizes that cannot be purchased, and have no monetary value as such, are so much fun!  After all, I do not know anyone else (although I am sure there are some) who can carry their milk, eggs and potatoes home in a black bag sporting the words, "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies".  I can!  Having won three times within the space of a week does mean that the likelihood of being chosen by those specific places over the next couple of months are slim, but that will not prevent my dedication (obsessiveness, compulsiveness, addiction), in entering!  All I can say, is watch this (blog)spot, because who knows, one day, the big one may be ............ another story!

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