The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The lonliest holiday

We all celebrate as the last of the US troops left Iraq this past week, ending nearly 10 years of war. For over 4000 though there will never be a celebratory homecoming. I shared this photo a few years ago and I think of Mrs. Walton frequently. Her husband Lt. Col. James Walton was killed in June 2008, 2 days before their 4th anniversary. Every year while the world celebrates, she has only a cold grave stone to hug.

As you celebrate this joyous season with your family and friends, please take a moment to remember those who will never celebrate another holiday and their families who are left with an emptiness that even time cannot heel.  Hug your family and friends extra tight. While we celebrate the end of the war in Iraq and Christmas homecomings for their families, remember that there are still thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines standing guard around the world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

RTT: Bombs and St. Nicholas day


RTT!!!  They day I can let my hair down and be all kinds of weird (you know, more so than normal).

 *Indy has 2 advent calendars this year, a Star Wars Lego calendar and a chocolate calendar.  For those who aren't familiar with them, they are boxes that have a door for each day and behind the door is a surprise.  It starts on Dec 1 and ends Dec 24.  He opens the Lego one in the morning and the chocolate one after dinner.  It's one of his favorite holiday traditions.

*How do recovered/recovering alcoholics take communion? I'm not trying to be funny. I genuinely want to know. It's wine.

*They are STILL finding unexploded ordinance (bombs) from WWII in Europe. This past Sun, 45000 residents in Koblenz Germany (near Berlin) had to be evacuated due to an unexploded bomb that had to be defused. How crazy is that?  You can read the full story here.  I laughed at this: "People in Koblenz are used to bomb findings," he said.  Really?  How does one get used to that.

*Last year, while leveling some land to start a new construction project workers found a US bomb very near where we lived in Heidelberg. The PX and child care facilities had to be evacuated until it was defused. Weird.

*Oh, more on the above. When we went to Verdun, France (the site of the largest battle of WWI-more munitions were used in this 6 month battle than the entire rest of the war combined) the guides tell you not to leave the marked paths as there are many, many unexploded ordinance in the surrounding areas. When James Bond and his bro-friend T.O.M. went to Verdun over the Memorial Day weekend last year, the idiots left the paths and actually went down into the trenches. It's amazing they made it home in one piece.

*Today is St. Nicholas Day (yes, that's how Nicholas is spelled in this situation).  For those of you who don't know, St. Nick was a real person who lived from 270AD-343AD.  He is the forerunner of Santa Clause.  In his in his most famous legend, a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment would have to become prostitutes (yikes!). Hearing of the poor man's plight, Nicholas decided to help him but being too modest to help the man in public (or to save the man the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to his house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the man's house.
One version has him throwing one purse for three consecutive nights. Another has him throw the purses over a period of three years, each time the night before one of the daughters comes "of age". Invariably, the third time the father lies in wait, trying to discover the identity of their benefactor.  Nicholas learns of the poor man's plan and drops the third bag down the chimney instead; a variant holds that the daughter had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry, and that the bag of gold fell into the stocking.

*We decorate our tree on St. Nicholas Eve.  Actually *I* decorate it while Indy and James Bond decorate a gingerbread house and we watch Elf.  I have been frantically trying to make space for the tree.  This is not easy with all these boxes.  I swear we've emptied 200 boxes and there are still about 100 left!

*When I went down to the basement (which has another 200-300 boxes in it) I discovered that we had no Christmas lights.  Why?  Because we weren't supposed to be in Germany this year, so I got rid of all our 220v lights.  Fantastic.  This means there was not Christmas tree decorating this year on St. Nicholas eve.  There was ginger bread house decorating and the movie Elf, but no decorated tree.  That's okay.  I got to watch Elf sitting down instead of trying to see it between the branches.

*James Bond decided we could have a real tree this year for Han Solo's first Christmas (Indy had a real tree for his first Christmas back in 2002).  I was so excited I tossed out are fake tree so he couldn't change his mind.   He'll spend a long time looking at next year.  :)

*While I love real trees in theory, I realize now why people go with fake.  Those needles are sharp.  Also, I think I might be allergic to it.  I've got a weird rash on my hands.  Happy Holidays!

*We got a much smaller tree this year than our fake tree was 

*I was very, very specific with the packers about what school books I needed packed together (the current books we're using) and did they?  No, no they did not.  I am missing all of our science books, Indy's spelling test book, his handwriting book and fountain pen (he's learning cursive with a fountain pen!) and most important, my planner!!!  I plan 8 weeks of school out at a time and it takes me several hours to do it.  It includes a daily schedule, all my notes and several worksheets for the week.  I'm totally lost without it.  Of course all the "extra" books from the school room went to the basement and OF COURSE all those boxes are in the very, very back.  I'm so mad.

*Don't you hate it when you're in the car or in bed and come up with an amazingly random thought, but can't remember it when you go to post an RTT?   Yeah, me too.

*Do you ever get panicked after you come to a stop sign or red light and then your car doesn't move and you realize it's because you're not really pressing the gas?  No?  Me neither.  :)

*I went to the commissary (military grocery store) last week and was using one of the self checkout machines.  I don't know why I do because they hate me and I have all sorts of trouble.  The machines are constantly blocking me out and calling for help.  I get so mad.  Yes, I scanned the item I put in the bag!  It's not my fault that the weight is not correct on the canned item!  Stupid machines.  Anyway, back to the point (I do have one).  When I was there last week, the machine was really hating on me and the customer service guy (or whatever they're called) had to keep coming over to use his scan card and tell the machine everything was fine.  He was nice and polite and the second time he came over complimented me on how nice I smelled (people do this all the time, so I didn't think anything of it) and asked what perfume I wear (Philosophy Amazing Grace, in case you were wondering).  I was flattered the first 2 times he told me he liked the way I smelled.  By the 6th time, when he told me he could just stand there and smell me all night, I was creeped out and cursing the stupid machine.  I ran away as soon as my receipt popped up and he told me to make sure I walked past him the next time I came in so he could smell me.  WEIRD!!!

*Living in Europe, there are times when all signs look like this to me:

*Being that I've seen the movie more times than I can remember, this cracked me up:

I hope you all have a happy RTT.   I'm back to unpacking (again).  Think of me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...