Friday, November 21, 2008

Ho Ho Holidays....



Current mood: animated
Category: Life

Ok. Let me start off by saying I am not a Scrooge.

Christmas is not my 1 holiday, but that's probably because the real meaning behind it has been lost in the shuffle of consumerism (that I participate in along with everyone else, and which fuels my paycheck, so I cannot bitch too loudly)

It also because we went through a bit of a Christmas drought after my grandfather died. There were no trees or decorations and there was much temporary bah humbugness (for like 10 years....)

But, I do enjoy the holiday. I love getting things for my family and friends. (there's a thrill in the hunt for something that perfectly fits their personality or needs), I like helping others and enjoy the volunteer stuff I can do, I like pulling out the ornaments and decor that has memories associates with it. (The ornaments made as a kid, the grandfather nativity) I love baking, looking at *tasteful* light displays, drinking cocoa, singing carols and just general jolliness....

But the whole decorate and start shoving stuff down my throat before Thanksgiving is a bit much for me. And gaudy, over the top, blinking nightmares make me twitch.

There are a few people in my neighborhood that get wayyy too into the "crap in my yard" festivities.

One person has so much mismatched stuff it looks like the yard sale where Christmas decorations go to die. Old school giant plastic candles and candy canes are mixed in with giant blow-up bohemouth snowmen, carousel snowglobes, reindeer, toy soldiers and Grinch's. Santa is crawling up the side of the house on an animated light ladder with an elf and a pile of presents, while he's also on the ground driving the sleigh, which is pulled by like 10 tiny, awful, blinking reindeer. And there's a light-up train. And the whole thing is surrounded by technicolor draped shrubbery and corkscrew Christmas trees in unnatural colors.

And this week, one guy put so many blinking, chasing, strobbing lights in his front yard it looks like a landing strip for jet arliners. Most of them are blue, and none of the coordinate with the blinking. GAH!!! Here, let me add a technicolor pile of fresh barf to the front yard to accent the entire fiasco. Can we at least work on a theme, other than "burn out my neighbor's retinas?"

I have to admit, I am glad the one neighbor right next door to me got foreclosed on and moved as I may have popped my lid and gone nutty fruitcake on them this year. At the after Christmas sale last year they bought one of those blow up carousel snowglobes.... but theirs was the "deluxe" version. It also played music. Loudly. On repeat. Same damn carol over, and over, and over. I seriously wanted to turn that thing into an oversized punching back. her husband got wise after a few glaring looks when I came home and took the stupid things own after a few days. "holidays are over honey...." Do we see the irony in the fact that they could not pay their rent/mortgage and lost their home, they complained in front of their kids that there was no money for presents that year, but they had money to blow on an expensive piece of plastic crap? yes, it was on sale, but it still had to cost quite a bit. Hope that snowglobe doubles as a comfy tent for 5, plus 3 dogs. I try not to judge, but sometimes people make it VERY difficult. (did I mention they also beat their dogs.... and verbally abused their kids? And I'm not even bringing up the damn treehouse they built with windows that overlooked my privacy fence, providing HOURS of entertainment for me as I tried to relax in the pool in my backyard, or grill out or do yardwork in peace. Oh, damn. I did bring it up.... Oh yes... they were lovely.)

~deep breath. end rant.~

I already started Christmas shopping and next weekend I'll bust out some decorations and baking stuff. Till then, I'll just chill in my little "fall/thanksgiving" world. :-)

To prove I am not scroogie, what is the one thing you are most looking forward to this holiday season (Turkey day through New Year's)? Comment below!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy German Girl!

Current mood: Gl├╝cklich (Happy)
Category: Gl├╝cklich (Happy) Life

Mom and I found the best German import store while wandering around near the Westside Market this weekend. It's called Hansa Import Haus (2717 Lorain Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113) They have a whole pile of my fave items: Duplo chocolate bars, Kinder Eggs, various Maggi and Knorr cooking items, baking items, killer beer, and magazines!!! I even got to practice a bit of my language skills.

I'm extra excited because this means I can finally make some of the baking recipes I've been hoping to try. (German baking soda, vanilla sugar etc, are a bit different that US ingredients, so they can drastically change the taste and results)

I'll post pics from my snazzy new phone tomorrow to show off my finds...the phone is the other exciting weekend news. My inner techie geek is VERY happy!

So, even though the weekend sucked because I spent a large chunk of it in my work cube cranking out a Web site, I founds some very happy highlights. :-) (yes, the Website is finally live and kicking, too. If you know the URL pop on and check it out. I'm rather proud of what JW and I did. If you don't know the URL, ask and I'll e-mail it. Not posting it here, sorry.)

Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm going home to read about the German opinion on our recent election choices (Spiegel magazine), while drinking a Warsteiner Orange (never had one before) and nibbling a cheese brotchen.... Ja, ja, ja!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Use your power, go vote!

I was taught from an early age that voting is important. If you don't vote tomorrow, you technically have no right to complain about anything the new administration does for the next 4 years or complain if your taxes go up because of a levy or you lose your job because a law changes. Why? Because you chose to not have a voice when you had a chance to be heard and counted. There is a reason people have died for this right. It's powerful!

Yes, the lines will be long. Yes, you will be surrounded by people with opinions different from your own. Yes, sometimes picking who and what to vote for isn't easy.

I have avoided talking about who I am voting for because as much as I'd love to share my political views with you, I think it's far more important for you to do a little research and make up your mind on your own. Only you know what is right for you and what you feel is best for our country. The people you are voting for make our laws, and act as the voice and face of our country to the entire world. The choice we make impacts everyone, even those outside of our borders. Trust me. As a person who lived outside of this country for a year, who our President is matters BIG TIME on how people in other nations view us. You would be amazed at what you see about politics and America on the news in Europe. Even though I have my degree in journalism, I am 100% certain that our "free press" isn't as free and open as we'd like to think it. We tend to live a very sheltered and selfish American-driven life.

If you're torn and need some help understanding the candidates and issues, visit the special voter's guide on Cleveland.com that lets you view your local ballot by entering your address (http://www.cleveland.com/voterguide/)

This video is a little outdated, because it asks you to register to vote. But, the points it makes are still valid. (and if you can't trust me, who better to trust than a crapload of famous people!?!) ;-)

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