For the last few months, this blog here has been pretty quiet, though I’ve tried to be an active reader and commenter so you all know I haven’t completely disappeared. It’s not for lack of wanting to or lack of inspiration. I could give you all the typical run around of being so busy and focused on other projects, but there’s just more to it than that. A while ago I decided, much like some of my favorite bloggers also seem to have done, to focus on living life rather than writing about it. And boy have I been living! Continue reading
With heavy hearts and thoughts to those in the States, we packed our bags, left the beautiful Schweizerhof, and headed to a boat cruise along Lake Luzern before heading to Zürich. From the lake, we took in the beauty of the Swiss Alps, the gorgeous homes along the water, and just a little bit of Brazil. Ok, maybe just a statue similar to Christ the Redeemer.
March 17th has finally come. A day of corned beef and cabbage, Lucky Charms, and all thing green. ‘Tis also a day to drink your socks off with various libations while the sound of bag pipes play in the background. You may not feel it now, but you’ll feel it tomorrow. I’m staying sober this year (darn those adult responsibilities of working tomorrow) and decided to make my co-workers some yummy treats for tomorrow instead of enjoying an Irish Car Bomb. Regardless of my celebratory staying home, I can still find the humor in this day.
Once we got back on the ship after wandering around Rüdesheim, our Cruise Director Nick held a discussion session about people’s holiday traditions. Guests helped trimmed the various Christmas trees while sharing stories of writing letters to Santa and night before Christmas rituals (ours include dinner at In-&-Out, driving around looking at festively lit houses, and watching The Santa Clause). Everyone had different takes on the same holiday and it was fun to hear how everyone celebrates Christmas. Being that we were in Germany and most everyone on board was American, Nick shared with us some of the European traditions we may not have known about. I certainly had never heard of them.
In particular, there were the stories about Saint Nicholas and the Krampus. Now, Saint Nicholas, the European equivalent of Santa Claus, is somewhat of a familiar character. He brings presents to good children on Saint Nicholas Day and fills the stockings hung by the chimney with care. The Krampus on the other hand is almost the yin to the saintly yang. He is a hairy, beast-like creature with hooves and horns whose mission is to punish the poorly behaved children. Not one to mess with.
As Nick told us these stories, he requested that each of the guests (if they wanted) leave one shoe outside of their cabin before they went to bed that evening. My mother and I did just that.
In the morning, we each had a foil-wrapped chocolate in our boot. At first, I didn’t notice that there were different characters on each of the chocolates, but on further inspection, it was clear that we received both Saint Nicholas (me) and the Krampus (my mom). Yes, it is official… I am the good one in the family!
I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve posted. Granted, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve done anything normal. With my pre-holidays vacation, the actual holidays, and then being completely out of it with a nasty sinus infection, my days have been anything but ordinary. Now that the fog has lifted and I am this.close to feeling like my ol’ cheery and healthy self again, I can’t believe the end of the month—and year—is only days away.
Wonderlings, I’ve missed you and can’t wait to share with you stories from my latest European adventure. Unfortunately, I’m feeling a little under the weather (I blame the last flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles for my current sinus issues) so this will be a visual post rather than a written one. I hope you’ll forgive me and I hope you enjoy these latest funnies.
No really, it is.
Despite my desire to celebrate one holiday at a time, the Christmas season is my favorite time of year. Everything is bright, shiny, and covered with sparkles. And what kind of girl doesn’t like sparkles? I love the movies, the TV specials, the photo cards from friends and family, the sense of togetherness, everything. It’s just a magical time. And it’s only just begun.
Friday is expected to be the start of the holiday shopping season. People will line up in the wee hours of the morning to try to score the best deals on electronics, toys, and everything else consumers can get their hands on. It’s essentially the biggest shopping day of the year for bargain hunters and retail chains.
And it gets ugly.
Last year, there were numerous accounts of Black Friday brutality including the story of a woman who pepper sprayed her fellow bargain-hunters, determined to get her paws on an Xbox. Or there was the story of the man who collapsed at a major discount store and later died in the hospital from a prior heart condition. Witnesses were said to have ignored him on the ground and continued with their shopping.
Having worked in retail on the dreaded Black Friday, I have seen what people become and it isn’t pretty.
Is it just me or is the Christmas season starting earlier and earlier each year?
At the end of August last year, I marvelled that Costco, a local warehouse store, was already selling Christmas items when most people were gearing up for Labor Day barbeques. Wrapping paper, artificial trees, and pre-packaged gift sets were out for all to see and purchase. I couldn’t believe my eyes, but, given that I was a new Costco shopper, I figured that the brand had a different retail schedule than the stores I was used to.
Clearly, I was wrong.