Still Here

I retreated from the world for a few days for Christmas, and it did really good.

Christmas here is a bit longer than stateside – the main holiday is Christmas Eve, when presents are opened and Christmas is actually celebrated. The 25th and 26th are also holidays; days on which friends and family gather around wonderful meals to catch up on things. Those days fell on a weekend this year but nonetheless, it was nice, quiet and relaxed.

I just about fell off of the dining room table I was standing on on Christmas Eve (to change some light bulbs) when my old office called me. Thought they were being kind and calling to wish me happy holidays or such, but no, they wanted to know something about the software and how to change invoice forms. I was so flabbergasted that I just did not hit the switch in time to tell them off – I am NO longer on their payroll and I am not a free-of-charge consultant for life to them.

It just pissed me off that I didn’t react the way that I should have – I mean, who the @!?* do they think they are anyway? You think I’d be used to it – they called me with the same kind of bullshit question while I was in the hospital last winter, which also quite naturally pissed me off.

Ok. Enough rant.

Tobi started having extreme coughing fits on Saturday evening; we took him to the vet first thing this morning and the poor dog has a viral infection (thus now wearing a scarf instead of a collar and being given proper homeopathic medication).

And who thought that on Christmas someone sitting in Bavaria could be envious of all that lovely snow that fell in Texas!


Phantom of the Opera

Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom’ horrifies the US film critics: “It has taken Andrew Lloyd Webber 16 years to bring his stage musical hit Phantom Of The Opera to the screen, but according to American critics, he need not have bothered.”

I haven’t seen the film, but my guess is that the opulence of this piece just doesn’t translate well to the screen. When I saw it in Detroit many years ago, we (my ex and I ) had third-row orchestra seats. When the chandelier came crashing down, I thought it would be falling on my head. Additionally, the constant appearance of the Phantom (Michael Crawford) in the rafters and practically all over the place, his voice booming throughout the theater, is something that just can’t be done in a movie.

I loved this piece – and will be checking out the film – though without Crawford, I am a bit reserved.

Christmas As Usual

Well, it’s official. The forecast for the next few days is rain, meaning that all of that lovely snow will be gone for Christmas. As a rule of thumb, when Christmas is “green”, it is usually followed by a white Easter.

Which could be fun if I wanted to tease my nieces and nephews – I could hide the eggs in the snow without coloring them first. Big meanie idea.

A few years ago at Christmas I convinced the youngest of my nieces, Steffi (I think she was about six at the time) that the Easter Bunny personally visits me on December 26 of every year. I had the poor thing completely convinced. She announced she would be visiting me on Dec. 26 to check.

I scrambled for some egg color and managed to find some, and colored three eggs in various colors and hid them in the yard for her to find. She was amazed. Quite an expression on that face.

So, How About We Just Don’t Buy Cod

What would you say about just not buying cod for the next few years?

Canada’s 2003-2004 Seal Hunt: Huge Death Count, Massive Resistance: “With more than 352,900 seals beaten or shot to death, this year’s Canadian seal hunt was the largest since 1971. The number of seals killed in the hunt, which began on November 15, 2003, exceeds the official quota of 350,000 set by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), but there have been no reports of punishment for this violation.”

BBC NEWS | Europe | EU agrees fishing quotas for 2005: “Under the compromise deal, the Commission agreed to allow more fish to be caught by fishing fleets next year than it had originally envisaged. The EC had already dropped proposals to close depleted cod grounds in parts of the North Sea, Irish Sea, the west of Scotland, the Baltic and the Channel.”

Ein Kleines Weihnachtsgedicht

(A short Christmas Poem) When the snow falls wunderbar

And the children happy are,

When the Glatteis on the street,

And we all a Glühwein need,

Then you know, es ist soweit:

She is here, the Weihnachtszeit

Every Parkhaus ist besetzt,

Weil die people fahren jetzt

All to Kaufhof, Mediamarkt,

Kriegen nearly Herzinfarkt.

Shopping hirnverbrannte things

And the Christmasglocke rings.

Mother in the kitchen bakes

Schoko-, Nuss- and Mandelkeks

Daddy in the Nebenraum

Schmücks a Riesen-Weihnachtsbaum

He is hanging auf the balls,

Then he from the Leiter falls… Finally the Kinderlein

To the Zimmer kommen rein

And es sings the family

Schauerlich: “Oh, Christmastree!”

And the jeder in the house

Is packing die Geschenke aus.

Mama finds unter the Tanne

Eine brandnew Teflon-Pfanne,

Papa gets a Schlips and Socken,

Everybody does frohlocken.

President speaks in TV,

All around is Harmonie, Bis mother in the kitchen runs:

Im Ofen burns the Weihnachtsgans.

And so comes die Feuerwehr

With Tatü, tata daher,

And they bring a long, long Schlauch

An a long, long Leiter auch.

And they schrei – “Wasser marsch!”,

Christmas is – now im – A…. Merry Christmas, merry Christmas,

Hear the music, see the lights,

Frohe Weihnacht, Frohe Weihnacht, Merry Christmas allerseits…

Just Chilling Out

Quite literally, in fact. Tonight’s temperatures are expected to fall as low as -4 F. Quite the winter touch.

Guess I won’t be getting those additional tulip bulbs planted in 2004 after all.

The following is a long way off from the Christmas trees I have had in the past, strung with chains of fresh cranberries and decorated with real beeswax candles which are traditionally lit on Christmas Eve, but it will do quite nicely this year;

To get an idea of its overwhelming size, here a picture of where I have placed it (if you concentrate hard enough, you’ll find it in the picture ;-):

On another note, I forgot to mention the complete fool I made of myself at the post office recently. I was mailing a few small things stateside for Christmas. Let me just interject at this point that our post office is being closed at the end of this year – the postal service is doing that in all “smaller” towns and for some reason only known to them, a population of 8.000 is not enough to warrant a post office. Thus, there will be a postal “place” in one of the stores in town as of next year to take care of any postal needs of this community. Due to this, two women have been training at our post office to take over this duty.

I guess it’s because I had the fact that these were “trainees” in the back of my mind. I paid for the postage and the woman behind the counter was getting ready to wish me a nice day when I asked her if it might not be a good idea to put a customs slip on those two packages. She agreed.

I filled them out (two of them for two packages) and gave them back to her. She took one, and asked me, “where?”

Well, I proceeded to point out to her on which corner of the envelope that yours truly would stick the customs label. In return, I got a very odd stare.

Turned out that she wanted to know which customs slip was for which envelope (though both of them were identical).

Was just trying to be helpful…….