Dictionary

Fireworks (aka That Time Of Year When My Two Biggest Fears Team Up)

[noun; ~ Pronunciation: /fahyuh r-wurks/]

  • Definition: A lethal toy in the wrong hands, which shouldn’t be sold to minors and/or idiots, but which is otherwise nice to watch explode, with all those bright colours in a dark sky.

“I had enough fireworks and chaos. It is a blissful boring life, believe me”Dax Shepard

As fears are concerned, I am scared of snooty teenage brats. They’re unpredictable and resent any form of morale.
Another thing I am scared of is setting off fireworks. It seems like every year people around me attempt to break the previous year’s record regarding firework related injuries, regardless of whether or not it includes themselves (meaning: nobody is safe!).

But what absolutely terrifies me, is snooty teenage brats with fireworks! Seriously, it should be forbidden for them to be in the possession of such “toys”! Let’s face it: 99% of them doesn’t know how to handle fireworks, or think it’s okay for them to play with the illegal kinds. Or build firework bombs themselves. Because hey, all those stories about self-made bombs blowing up in your own face surely don’t apply to them, right!?

And that’s just when things go bad for themselves. I haven’t even gotten to the part where each year idiots torment animals, such as house cats on the loose. There have been disgusting stories in which snooty teenage brats thought it’d be fun to tie a rocket to a cat’s tail, for instance. Or throw blasters at cars, damaging them (and I just got my own car and it’s outside because we don’t have enough room in our garage! I’m totally paranoid and near the point where I’ll run outside with my dad’s axe and have a stake out near my car, chasing everyone away who as much as looks at it).

The worst brats, though, are the ones that think it’s hilarious to throw fireworks at elderly people. A few years ago I worked in a supermarket and at one point people didn’t dare to step outside: a group of snooty firework brats had taken stand in front of the exit and were targeting everyone.

We sent out our buffest looking, tallest, angriest manager who threatened to call the police on them if they didn’t leave.

It worked. For five minutes. And it’s a recurring thing, too, for they keep doing it every year; if one generation grows tired of it, a younger team takes over. The fun never stops.

Can someone please spell “responsibility” for them?

I think, all in all, I might just not be a very festive person. I always go over of all the bad sides to a holiday and take it from there, and maybe that’s not the best way to experience them. But people in my country, especially the snooty brats, don’t realise that, during the transition from one year to another, what they see as playful, harmless fun is in fact a dangerous hobby. One that includes fire and explosive powder, and should be handled with care at all times, fun or not!

The newspapers are already full of horror stories; kids losing hands because they set off illegal fireworks. Adults building their own highly explosive bombs and keeping them in the room next to their nursery (over 200 kilograms worth of self-made fireworks being stored next to where your baby sleeps… talk about having brains)! And it’s not even midnight, yet!

Fireworks… I like looking at them, but I don’t want to have anything to do with them myself. Let the idiots blow each other up, but let them not hurt innocent bystanders.

I, for one, am glad my sister has locked up her cats and children, and that I’ve done the same with my parents. Unless the snooty brats set our house on fire (I truly hope they won’t), we’ll be safe. Unadventurous, but safe.

And with ten toes and ten fingers, I’ll be all ready for the new year! Bring it on! πŸ™‚

I wish everyone a healthy and great 2016! Be grateful, be happy, and above all: be safe! πŸ™‚

new_year

Heart to Post

No Goodbyes

“Saying goodbye doesn’t mean anything. It’s the time we spent together that matters”Trey Parker

I’m saying goodbye to all my clients this week. Although in my heart I know I made the right decision to quit, it saddens me to leave them. They’re all good people, and for over a year I felt like I had grandparents again.

I’ll just visit them without having to clean their house, then πŸ™‚


EDIT: Oh! :’) I just thought of this horrible Eurovision Song Contest entry we once sent in. No wonder we lost :p

Heart to Post

Sunday Summary

(week 52)

sunday_summary“Life experience is not something to be denied, but to be celebrated”Madeleine M. Kunin

Even during the busy time we call Christmas (preparations), I gained more knowledge every day for the past week. Here’s my fore last summary of this year:

  1. Always read the labels at the store. Do it because others don’t. I am so annoyed! My night cream was on sale (buy two, pay for one), and I thought: well, this is a good deal! So without looking I grabbed two jars, paid for them, and took ’em home. The evilness lies in the fact that the labels for the day and the night version of this product look exactly the same (apart from the text, duh), and I accidentally ended up with one jar of day cream instead. Which I can’t return, because I bought it over a month ago and I don’t have the receipt any more.
    I know there’s men reading this who probably think: “what’s the problem? It’s just cream,” but it’s not! There’s an actual difference between night and day cream, so no: it’s NOT just a marketing trick to make women spend more money! The creams differ because of their contents: night creams are creamier and if you put them on during the day, you could end up with white stains on your face (a chemical reaction of its contents to sunlight). Day creams make you look more “glowy”, which you don’t need at night. So there it is, guys: you just learned something new, too! πŸ˜‰
  2. Always keep your eyes on your shopping goods. Do it because others don’t. Serious stuff, this. Two weeks ago, my mother and I came home from our grocery shopping trip to find an item in our bag we had not intended to buy, and neither of us had put it in our shopping cart. Luckily, I love kale so it wasn’t a big problem, but last week when we had put our items onto the counter and the check out girl had already started to bleep some, my mother suddenly noticed a hidden cucumber! We assumed the person in front of us had misplaced it and that it had ended up with our goods, but still. Close escape there! People just don’t pay attention to what they buy any more. Better do it yourself to avoid situations like these (unless you like paying extra for surprise foods).
  3. Before putting your self-made spring rolls into the freezer, use a little bit of flour to stop them from cluttering together. Oh. My. Goodness. This is the BEST trick I’ve learned in, probably, my entire life! (Especially since I assume it extends beyond spring rolls – I never make those). My Thai client had made lots and had given me a full bag of self-made yummy spring rolls to take home. But not before telling me the secret to easily break them apart when taking them out of the freezer: a tiny amount of flour. That’s all! Before you stash them together, gently pat the sides that will touch up with some flour, and put them in the freezer. Then when you take them out and want to separate them, you won’t damage them. Or have to bash them against the counter top to try and set them loose (just… some people do that, you know – ahem).
  4. Never fight with aluminium foil. You will lose the battle. I knew there was a reason why I wasn’t allowed to replace the aluminium foil in the holder, but I’d forgotten what it was until it was too late. While trying to get the little sticker off (there’s a sticker keeping the start of the foil in place before usage – WHY?? It comes in a freaking box, there’s NO NEED FOR THE STICKER!), I managed to only get the top layer off, so that the glue-part of the sticker was actually still on the foil. I repeat: why is there a sticker on there in the first place?? And WHY would you make a sticker that’s so powerful hold together aluminium foil that tears so easily?? WHY!?
    Then in my next attempt, that of trying to get the whole of the evil sticker off, I succeeded in molesting the foil to such an extent, a little “bump” appeared. A teeny-tiny bump, not bigger than the knob on a pin. Of course the bump was in the middle of the roll, cutting the foil in half at every pull I took.
    After ten minutes of struggling with a roll of tinfoil that appeared to be more stubborn than me, I gave up (at one point I had already thrown the whole lot away, but I found out we didn’t have another roll to try again, so I quickly retrieved it…).
    My mother fixed it later. She couldn’t stop laughing at me and I had to solemnly swear never to undergo such foolishness again. Know where my strengths are and something like that. Well, I can tell you they’re not in unwrapping aluminium foil… -_-
  5. Don’t hand your Master Thesis to your parents in form of dedication. They will misplace it, but won’t take the blame. I know I have a printed version of it somewhere, I know that for certain! I remember having to print it in threefold: one copy was for my supervisor, one for the professorΒ  who judged it, and one for myself. I gave my own copy to my parents, because it was something I was so proud of (I scored an 80% on it, which was among the highest grades of my class Γ‘nd helped me graduate With Honours!). I thought my parents would share that feeling. Result: negative. It’s gone. Mysteriously disappeared. It’s probably lying somewhere in a dusty place together with my baby-book (which is also hidden – so frustrating to know you have something, but you can’t find it anywhere!). Parents…
  6. I get the best ideas when I am a little tipsy. First of all, I have never been drunk, just really light-headed and extremely cheerful at worst (or best, whichever you prefer). I’ve never woken up with a hangover and wondered what I’d been up to the night before. But I do enjoy a drink, and sometimes I have one too many, like on Christmas. My father bought me a bottle of Vana Tallinn (possibly the best invention since the wheel). The alcohol percentage is a whooping 40%, but since it tastes so delicious I find it hard to stick to just one drink. I have to have two. I wanted to say “at least two”, but let’s face it: I’d never make it to three.
    Anyway, my brains got into some strange creative state: I wrote down new ideas for stories, for my blog, for my holiday, my plans for 2016, gift tips for upcoming birthdays, and I made schedules for Boxing Day and today (because let’s face it: Christmas is nice and all, but your daily routines are set adrift. The 27th is always a making-up day, to get back on track). And to make it extra weird: I suddenly knew a lot more answers to the cryptic puzzle me and my mum had been working on! Being in a woozy state was like clearing my brains of all worries that normally cloud my thinking. So strange. But at least now I have a cure for whenever I come into another state of writer’s block… :p
  7. Paper-wisdom-time! I picked a new random slip, so let’s see what words of wisdom it has to share with us this week: You are free of wishes and will find inner piece.
    Well, what do you know! On Christmas Day, my crazy sister came over to show us her baby (and talk about how fantastic she is and all. Her, not the baby). I was very apprehensive, because I didn’t know how to act around her; do I talk back, do I attack, do I snap? What!?
    In the end, everyone pretended like nothing was wrong, like she hadn’t ignored us for a year. But that night, when I was in bed, I realised what was really going on: my middle sister is using her child as a form of blackmail. If we want to be a part of her baby’s life (and my parents very much want to), we ought to act like nothing’s ever happened.
    The moment I realised that, I also realised something else: it wasn’t my choice to have no contact, it was hers. Whatever it is between us, we won’t overcome it by pretending it’s not there. And I will be the last person on Earth to accept having to play pretend over the back of an innocent child.
    It sounds cruel, but here’s the truth: I don’t wish to see the baby. Don’t get me wrong: she’s welcome at any time, now or later, I have no hard feelings towards that little one. But I am not going to grovel or beg or try really hard to be a part of her life. Whatever is broken between me and my sister is not due to my fault, or the baby’s. And I am not going to play my sister’s sick games any more, with a baby’s affection at stake. I don’t wish it, and so I let it go.
    I fell asleep the second I came to this realisation. Thus, it’s got to be true: set yourself free from your wishes and you’ll find inner peace. And let’s face it: isn’t that just what we all need?

    best_wishes

That was this week’s list! I know number seven is the only apparent “deep” one, but don’t be fooled! Knowledge comes in all forms: big and small, wise and witty, serious and funny. You’ll never know what kind you’ll encounter, but the only thing you can do is stay open for learning moments.

As usual, I’m closing this Summary up with the Earworm Of The Week. This song was stuck in my head each day for the full week, and I totally blame Body Pump 96!

I hope you’ll all have a great last week of the year!

 

Aside

Happy Holidays To You All!

It’s officially Christmas! Here’s some Dutch holiday wishes to you!

Merry Christmas everyone! And Happy Holidays! πŸ™‚

christmas

Dictionary

Christmas (aka 12 Days Of Christmas Blogging Rolled Into One!)

[noun; ~ Pronunciation: /kris-muh s/

  • Definition: A global and annual celebration of the son of God’s birthday, which is often combined with tons of Christmas-themed movies on TV, eating lots of food, joining friends and family, and blogging about this magical time of year

Christmas“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree”Roy L. Smith

On the 15th of December I was invited to take part in Scalesimple’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blogging challenge. I like a challenge, but unfortunately I am not a very Christmassy person. In fact, I think a comparison with the Grinch might be in order at times, that’s how much I used to dislike Christmas when I was younger :p

Another slight problem for me is that I live in the Netherlands and we have a Saint Nicholas celebration in early December as well, and as it turns out I’ve always been a bigger fan of that than of Christmas (mostly because my parents thought it was too much to have both Saint Nicholas Eve AND Christmas presents, and they always focussed on the former).

Anyway, like I said: I may not be too big of a Christmas-fan, but I do like a challenge! So this post is a summary (and you all know I love those!) of what otherwise would have been a 12 day challenge. I may mix my answers up a bit with memories of Saint Nicholas Eve celebrations, but only because I lack in Christmas experience πŸ˜‰

My Twelve Points Of Christmas Summary Post:

  1. Β My favourite things about Christmas would be the buzz from being with family, and at work there’s usually a feeling-good-vibe going around as well. I enjoy my mother and her obsession for Christmas movies, for even if she’s seen a particular film a dozen times already, she still takes pleasure in watching it again. My dad usually gets into a strange state of generosity, which otherwise hardly ever happens. But mostly, I think, it’s because each year around Christmas/New Year’s Eve we hold our national card-game-tournament (although usually it’s just me and my parents :p). If anything, I LOVE games! And we always have a blast trying to beat each other.
  2. We have a really good family tradition! Every year we head to the same Chinese restaurant, and when I say we I mean me and my parents, my two older cousins and my godmother (sometimes my sister joins us as well, depending on her own Christmas plans). It’s not so much the food that’s the main focus of our night, but being together with people we, sadly, don’t get to spend time with too often. It’s always a blast, the food’s always superb and because the restaurant is close to where everybody lives, we all get to have a drink.
  3. Forget the Turkey, forget dinner, this is the best St. Nic/Christmas candy ever invented: a “banketstaaf“:

    banketstaaf
    “Banketstaaf” translates into “almond pastry”. It’s a stuffed roll of pastry and the filling is made of almond paste. A good and loud “yummmmmm” is in order here.
  4. I don’t really know of any good Christmas stories, so I’ll go for a nice anecdote: in the Netherlands, it’s customary for organisations to give their employees a “Christmas Box” in the days leading up to the celebrations, literally a box containing goodies (usually some food, candy, wine, etcetera). When I worked for Lidl, we got nothing. It wasn’t company policy to be kind to the people working their butts off in their stores, and why should they give us something extra if we got paid already?
    My second Christmas period there, however, we had a new manager. He couldn’t disagree more with the company about not giving us a little bonus, a thank-you, and he selected as many Christmas breads from our stock as he had people working for him on the day of Christmas Eve. We didn’t know about this until we were ready to go home and he stopped us and said: “I value your hard work for Lidl, and even though it may not be much, I want each one of you to take a bread home with you today. Because you deserve a token of appreciation, even if the big bosses don’t want to give you one themselves. This one is from me. Happy Holidays everyone!”
    Now that was a lovely Christmas surprise πŸ™‚
  5. I don’t really have a wish-list… I just want peace of mind, haha! And for all the bad news/drama to stop. I’d like to cuddle my niece and nephew and see everyone around me happy. I’ve got everything else I want.
    Although… I’d like to win the lottery! But only because that would make travelling the world a lot easier πŸ˜‰
  6. A fond Christmas memory… No, sorry, I have to go for a Saint Nicholas Eve one for this one. Custom for that celebration is wrapping your gifts in what we call a “surprise”: go crazy with cardboard and other materials to make your present look like something else. A computer, for instance. Or a car, anything to (nicely) tease its recipient.
    Did I tell you I can get quite creative? πŸ˜‰ My eldest sister was once dating someone who was nicknamed “The Ice-Beast” (don’t ask…). So I thought it’d be fun to freeze her present. And to top it off, I used snowman-shaped baking tins to make it resemble a figure.
    It took her the entire evening to get her present out! :’) She was so mad at me that a few years ago she attempted to make a “panda-poop”-surprise, using ginger bread and other things that look quite disgusting when crumbled to bits. Too bad for her she went into labour the day we were to celebrate St. Nic’s Eve, and she never got to finish it in time :p
  7. I have two Christmas pictures for you:
  8. We don’t really have special Christmas traditions where I live… I’ll just use a Saint Nicholas one again, then :p
    Each year when November’s halfway done, we officially welcome St. Nic to our country, and the days following that big entrance, to our towns and villages as well (imagine how busy the man must be!). Because my town lacks basically everything except a train station, that’s where we always pick our dearest saint up from, after which he travels to the City Hall as the main star of a parade. There’s candy everywhere and children too, of course, and the whole thing is just one big collection of festivities (and booze for the parents). But when he’s officially entered our village, kids get to place their shoes near the door in the evening so he can fill it at night with toys or candy (kind of like hanging your stocking). The Great Entrance of Saint Nicholas is different for every city in the Netherlands, so I guess ours qualifies as a special tradition πŸ˜‰
  9. The people sitting with me for Christmas dinner will be my parents, of course, and the two cousins and godmother I spoke of earlier. Unfortunately, my eldest sister is going over to her mother-in-law, but we will join her and her family on Boxing Day (us Dutchies celebrate TWO days of Christmas!).
  10. My zumba teacher used it for her cooling down yesterday! I hate Christmas songs (it’s always the same songs every year!), but this one is so horrible it’s great! I can’t help but sing along to it (also, I still have a soft spot for Britney as I used to be a huge fan of her when I was twelve):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWGxc9AaQMk

  11. My favourite childhood present would be, I guess, anything from Mattel. Probably the Barbie-horse I got (or was that for my birthday? Not sure). I remember my middle sister once asked for “something nice” for St. Nic’s Eve, and as a result she got a Barbie Beauty Salon Set! I was super jealous and for the next four years or so I asked for “something nice” too, but I never got anything like that 😦
  12. I am grateful for a lot this Christmas! I am grateful me and my family are healthy. I am grateful my clients appreciate me (and tell me so). I am grateful I decided to turn my life around and actually took steps towards it. I am grateful there are people actually reading my blog! I am grateful I have two of the cutest pets ever. I am grateful for the tons of chocolate stashed under our tiny Christmas tree (trust me: it won’t be there any more in a few days). And lastly: I am grateful for StephJ for inviting me to take this Christmas challenge!

I’m supposed to nominate three other bloggers to take the same challenge, but there’s no time left ’til Christmas. At least not this year. Instead, I’ll nominate everyone who reads this to comment on their Christmas: what makes this time of year so special for you? πŸ™‚

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas (I don’t care that apparently that’s not politically correct any more), and Happy Holidays!