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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

GFDL photo by Larry D. Moore

Unless you’re planning on throwing one across the room, your snow globe can’t fly. 

At least, that’s what the Seattle Times says, quoting the Transportation Security Administration:

The liquid sloshing around inside a snow globe might be less than 3.4 ounces, but it can’t be accurately measured.

So don’t try to get one through a security checkpoint.  You’ll probably lose. 

As for other holiday treats, you can carry a pie with you on the plane ride home, but not most other holiday foods. 

…other holiday food items — such as salsas, cranberry sauce, jams, jellies, vinegars — need to go in checked luggage or be shipped ahead unless they’re packed in containers of 3.4 ounces or less and fit into one quart-sized plastic bag.

I can totally understand not allowing gravy in carry-on bags.  And I sorta understand the ban on jellies and jams.  But snow globes?  Sounds pretty Grinchish to me!

Travel safe, everybody!

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‘Twas the Night Before H1N1 Christmas

 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all round the globe

 Not a creature was stirring, not even a microbe,

 The stockings were hung on the mailbox with care,

 In hopes that St. Nicholas would keep his sneezes out there;

 The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

 While sucking on lozenges and holding their heads,

 And mamma with her handkerchief, and I with my CDC flu map,

 Had just settled down for a short, fitful nap,

 When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

 I yelled, “Don’t you have the flu, Santa?  Do we not matter?”

 Away to shut the window I flew in a flash ,

 Slammed tight the shutters, splintering the sash;

 The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

 Tempted me to forget all the danger below,

 Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

 But a miniature sleigh, and eight feverish reindeer,

 With a little old driver, so glassy-eyed sick,

 I knew in a moment it must be that damned St. Nick.

 More rapid than eagles his coursers fell lame,

 But still he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name,

 “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

 On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

 To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

 Now dash away! dash away! And don’t you dare fall!”

 As dry coughs trumpeted lungs soon to fill,

 Was it my imagination, or was I too feeling ill?

 Then, up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

 With a sleigh full of germs, and St. Nicholas too.

 And next, in a twinkling, I heard on my roof

 The lifeless prancing and pawing of each tired hoof.

 As I waved my hands in the air til the antibiotic gel dried,

 Down the chimney St. Nicolas came with his brain nearly fried.

 He was dressed in his Japanese H1N1-repellant suit,

 And his clothes were rumpled from hat to boot,

 A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

 And from 6-8 feet away, he looked like a peddler opening his pack.

 His eyes – how they swam!  His dimples how puffy!

 His cheeks looked like Rosacea, his nose orange roughy!

 His droll little mouth was pulled into a frown,

 And the beard of his chin seemed to really weigh him down,

 The end of a thermometer he held tight in his teeth,

 His hot breath changed the cold air to a visible wreath,

 He had a broad face and a big fat ol’ belly

 That shook, as he hacked up a lung as if it were jelly;

 He was chubby and plump, at risk of complications,

 And I shrieked when I saw him, I wanted libations!

 A wink of his eye and a twist of his stiff neck,

 Soon gave me to know I too would be sick as heck,

 He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

 “Get out of my house,” I yelled like a jerk.

 While holding a tissue to his drippy nose,

 He gave me the finger, then up the chimney he rose,

 He flopped into the sleigh, and to his team he commanded,

 “Look alive, boys, or you’ll be reprimanded!”

 And I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight, 

 “Happy Christmas to all, to all a good flu-fight.”

Artwork by Jeeny 

 

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Every year, starting Thanksgiving week, we’re treated to recycled “news” in the major papers.  Surely you’ve seen such stories — the Holiday Gift guides, the review of your local church nativity scene, the announcement of the Christmas tree lighting in the town square, how to winterize your home… you get the idea.

This year, I decided to recycle one of my own favorite December stories, which was published last year in the now-defunct Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Seattle ornament banned from White House Christmas tree.”  I love this story. 

Photo courtesy of Deborah Lawrence

According to the PI, Laura Bush asked members of Congress to pick artists to decorate the tree.   370 artists were selected to create something red, white & blue. Beyond that, they were given artist freedom. Washington State Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott chose Seattle artist Deborah Lawrence.  And she, in turn, chose to create a 9 inch ornament that included tiny print of the House impeachment resolution previously signed by McDermott.  

And yes, the ornament ended up on the White House Christmas tree.  It was later removed, and the White House expressed disappointment as to its content — but in my book, Deborah Lawrence is a local folk hero.

So what’s she doing this year?  More ornaments!  This time, sustainable balsa wood Pentagon-shaped ornaments that suggest ways to recycle the Pentagon. From Deborah’s website

Photo courtesy of Deborah Lawrence

“How can we recycle The Pentagon?” The collaborators have suggested a gigantic single-payer hospital, or a free university, or the Department of Peace.

Deborah Lawrence remains a heroine in my book.  Learn more here.

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Photo by Sigismund von Dobschütz

If the past year has taught us nothing else, we’ve learned the relative value of spending time with loves ones rather than spending money we don’t yet have. 

My parents used to save up all year in order to give us a good Christmas without having to use credit cards — and I’m happy to say my Christmas’ are now credit card free as well.  Some years we just decide not to shop.  Others, we make lists of things we would normally buy anyway (i.e. crossword puzzles for bus trips across town).  And some years, we just enjoy spending a few bucks on a nice meal. 

My favorite year, when we were short on both time and money, we each got a small amount of cash & we gave ourselves just 1 hour to shop for each other in the shopping center by our house.  “Ready, set, go!”  It was crazy fun.  Like a game. And we had to get creative to really pull it off — which we did!

So what’s your plan for 2009?   

Ours isn’t well-defined yet, but I suspect we’ll be doing some of the following:

  • Buy someone an annual membership to the zoo, museum, etc.  In 2004, I gave Laura an annual membership to the Experience Music Project/Sci-Fi Museum in Seattle.  It didn’t cost a lot, was recyclable AND reusable… and it served as a promise that we would actually move here.  It was a fantastic gift, and well-appreciated.
  • Adopt an animal!   There are so many in need right now.  But if you’re not in the market for another family member, you can always sponsor a dolphin or adopt a guerilla from a zoo (i.e. San Diego Zoo has a green adoption program) or donate to the World Wildlife Federation in someone’s name.
  • Concert tickets or theater tickets.  Some can be very affordable, depending on what you’re looking for.  Check out smaller venues near you, take a peek at the calendar.  You never know when someone cool is doing a small set nearby, or when the orchestra is playing a reduced-ticket holiday show, etc.
  • Food has always been a staple of inexpensive gift giving.  People used to bake cookies and wrap them up in colored tissue paper.  Nice.  Not up for cooking, though?  No worries. Wine is usually a good bet.  Or something else your friends could really use — but higher end than they would normally buy for themselves. Good dipping oil & fresh foccacia bread.  Yum!   Kona coffee.  The Salt Lick’s barbecue sauces. Snoqualmie Falls Pancake mix & Vermont maple syrup.  
  • Make your own coupons or activity box.  One year, we decorated a shoe box & we each entered little strips of paper with various activities written on them.  Later, we drew an idea from the box & went with it!  “Go to zoo” or “Enjoy a small town carnival” or “Have a picnic!”
  • Gift certificates:  massages, farmer’s market shopping, movie tickets, restaurants… there are all sorts of gift certificates out there.  (Love that pre-paid iTunes card!).
  • Books are great.  You can change someone’s life with a good book.  And travel guides are really awesome if you know someone who is planning or dreaming about a specific trip. I got a “Let’s Go Europe” the year before I went backpacking, and it was one of my favorite gifts ever.
  • Magazine subscriptions.  I know, sounds boring.  But a subscription to The Atlantic will keep me happy all year!
  • Make DVDs of your own photo albums to share with others. 
  • Set up a blog for someone who doesn’t know how to get started yet.
  • Artwork.  Your own, of course!  Knitting, poetry, framed personal photography, etc. 
  • Get someone you love a webcam so you can see each other while you chat!
  • Make a scrapbook or personalized recipe book for someone who would appreciate it.
  • Scratch-off lottery tickets make great stocking stuffers.  And what could be more fun than gambling in your jammies while enjoying the smells of Christmas dinner wafting through your house? 
  • Go visit somebody.  Few things are more appreciated than face time.

Okay, I hope these ideas can get you started!  Happy shopping (or not!)  What have I missed?  Do Tell!

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Photo by and (c)2007 Jina Lee

The calendar says it’s time to be grateful.  It’s an obligation. 

Here are the things I’m thankful for — posted on this blog so I don’t have to answer any questions on 3rd and long during the Dallas game:

And now to be serious:

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I came across the best article yesterday at NYDaily News.com — Santas are lobbying for H1N1 vaccine shots.  And Jim Farber’s story, “Department store Santas lobby to receive H1N1 vaccine before the holidays” is quite a gem.

After explaining why Santas want to be given priority access to the vaccine (read:  kids=cooties!) Farber Seusses it up:

It also has to do with the big bellies they sport, according to an AP report.

The article explains that in an effort to control the spread of H1N1, children with coughs may be asked to stand in separate lines, Santas may greet children from a distance rather than from their laps, and John Scheuch at Santa America says:

I don’t know what else I can do except encapsulate myself in plastic.

The Vancouver Sun titled their story on the subject, “In flu season, even Santa’s washing his hands, checking them twice.”  The Chicago Sun Times weighs in with, “Vaccine for swine flu tops Santa’s Wish List.”  Missourinet gets really musical with “Santa Flu is coming to town

What does Felsputzer think?  Why, thank you for asking:

‘Twas the Night Before H1N1 Christmas

(for Alan)

 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all round the globe

Not a creature was stirring, not even a microbe,

The stockings were hung on the mailbox with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas would keep his sneezes out there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While sucking on lozenges and holding their heads,

And mamma with her handkerchief, and I with my CDC flu map,

Had just settled down for a short, fitful nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I yelled, “Don’t you have the flu, Santa?  Do we not matter?”

Away to shut the window I flew in a flash ,

Slammed tight the shutters, splintering the sash;

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Tempted me to forget all the danger below,

Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight feverish reindeer,

With a little old driver, so glassy-eyed sick,

I knew in a moment it must be that damned St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers fell lame,

But still he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name,

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! And don’t you dare fall!”

As dry coughs trumpeted lungs soon to fill,

Was it my imagination, or was I too feeling ill?

Then, up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With a sleigh full of germs, and St. Nicholas too.

And next, in a twinkling, I heard on my roof

The lifeless prancing and pawing of each tired hoof.

As I waved my hands in the air til the antibiotic gel dried,

Down the chimney St. Nicolas came with his brain nearly fried.

He was dressed in his Japanese H1N1-repellant suit,

And his clothes were rumpled from hat to boot,

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And from 6-8 feet away, he looked like a peddler opening his pack.

His eyes – how they swam!  His dimples how puffy!

His cheeks looked like Rosacea, his nose orange roughy!

His droll little mouth was pulled into a frown,

And the beard of his chin seemed to really weigh him down,

The end of a thermometer he held tight in his teeth,

His hot breath changed the cold air to a visible wreath,

He had a broad face and a big fat ol’ belly

That shook, as he hacked up a lung as if it were jelly;

He was chubby and plump, at risk of complications,

And I shrieked when I saw him, I wanted libations!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his stiff neck,

Soon gave me to know I too would be sick as heck,

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

“Get out of my house,” I yelled like a jerk.

While holding a tissue to his drippy nose,

He gave me the finger, then up the chimney he rose,

He flopped into the sleigh, and to his team he commanded,

“Look alive, boys, or you’ll be reprimanded!”

And I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight, 

“Happy Christmas to all, to all a good flu-fight.”

Artwork by Jeeny

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