7QT: Advent, Mom’s Birthday, Austria reminiscing Edition.

For more Quick Takes, and to meet other bloggers, go to the link-up hosted by the lovely Jen at Conversion Diary. It’s her 199th edition!

— 1 —

Happy Advent, fellow practitioners of popery and other non-popish denominations! I’ve completely decorated this place for the season. Meaning, my Advent wreath has come down from its place of storage (on top of the stove vent, which I don’t use) down to the kitchen table — a long journey of traversing approximately 5 feet. I’m using last year’s “4th candle” – which was never lit, due to leaving town before the 4th Sunday – as my “1st candle” this year, so I think we’re going to weather the season without running out of any purple. Wisdom, or something!

I know the angle makes it look like my coffee mug is in the center of the wreath. it isn't. It's just behind the wreath. That said... it was probably a subconscious placement. Coffee isn't a god, but coffee IS a gift from God, right?

I know the angle makes it look like my coffee mug is in the center of the wreath. it isn’t. It’s just behind the wreath. That said… it was probably a subconscious placement. Coffee isn’t a god, but coffee IS a gift from God, right?

— 2 —

Last Sunday also happened to be my mama’s birthday! She’s a beautiful s0mething-something years old, now. So this take goes solely to her. 🙂
This picture is almost two years old — it was New Year’s Eve, as we entered the year 2011. We were on vacation together with my dad Down South visiting some of the fam. So it may be a little dated, but we pretty much look the same, and it’s one of my favorites!

Mom and I

— 3 —

Yesterday was St. Nicholas Day! Now, to my fellow people who live alone and thus expect to wake up to empty shoes… I share in your feelings. I would have screamed and grabbed a sharp steak knife if I did find candy in my shoes yesterday morning, all things considered. That said, a few years back when I was studying in Austria, they had a different tradition – sure, you found a candy in your shoe – but they also stole your shoes. And placed them somewhere else. So you had to start the day by hunting for your shoes to get the candy. Future children, if you come into Earthly existence, rest assured I will make you hunt for your shoes.

Here are some of our shoes, which were relocated to a stone staircase within our wing of the Kartause.

Here are some of our shoes, which were relocated to a stone staircase within our wing of the Kartause. PS, none of the shoes in this picture are mine. I think mine were further down the stairs somewhere.

— 4 —

Another tradition from Austria, which I always come to remember this time of year, is the Adventmarkt.Basically, a bunch of people selling items that you may want to buy for your friends and family, would move into parts of the Kartause and display their wares. I bought a bunch of candle-wax ornaments that winter, along with a few wooden cut-out ornaments, and they decorate our Christmas tree back home. But they also had celebrations in the courtyard, selling mulled wine (glogg!) and hand-fried potatoes, and other unhealthy-delicious things. It was very much a small-town thing, although there is apparently also one held in Vienna which must be massive. We really enjoyed having the vendors and their materials move in to our home for a few weeks! I also bought a teeny-tiny manger set for my mom. She has it on display inside the Advent wreath on the kitchen table back home. Fortunately, baby Jesus has been found in time for his arrival last year. (Story: we hide baby Jesus away until Christmas Day, of course. But last year, miniature baby Jesus was hidden in a coffee mug in the china cabinet and never found in time for his arrival. He was just found a month or so ago!)

The adventmarkt included big, decorated Christmas trees in the courtyard and it  was a festive, fun time pretty much every night.

The adventmarkt included big, decorated Christmas trees in the courtyard and it was a festive, fun time pretty much every night. Oh, and the little wooden stand on the left? Hand-cut, fried potatoes. The “Kartause…” stand on the right? Glogg, hot “Kartausepunch”, etc.

— 5 —

A Christmas present, courtesy of my lovely parents, already arrived. Then my mom sent me a text yesterday that said, “Happy St Nick Day. Your shoes are the treat. Wear them well”. Very exciting! We found the exact pair of shoes I wanted when I was back home, and they were on clearance. YES. They’re the exact copy of the shoes I already own, which I bought in August 2009 – so they’ve lasted me a good long while. Meet the replacement Merrells, my favorite shoes I think I’ve ever owned. Covered in goretex, so waterproof, and overall pretty awesome. I’m really, really not a “brand person” but when you find a pair of shoes that stayed intact and pretty indestructible for more than three years, you invest in that quality product again and again until it fails you. Rock on! (Also: this is my “very excited about new shoes!!!” face.)

excited about shoes

— 6 —

To my fellow students – or teachers and professors! – who are in that “long haul” to the eventual end of the semester that seems so very, very far away right now – persevere! You can do it. I’m right there with you and probably shouldn’t be taking the time to blog, but… I am. Then I’ll continue cramming knowledge on school violence, fire safety, highway safety, and a whole bunch of other topics for a state-mandated test that I found out I’m taking…later today. It’s scheduled at 2:30pm – say a prayer for me if you see this in time, eh? I get two tries to pass it, and I’m afraid there will be “trick” questions which I will then over think. (Bad habit, that).

But afterwards, we have our end-of-semester iSchool party and then I’m racing home to get to the Vigil Mass for the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary which is being celebrated tomorrow, so there’s a pick-me-up! Fellow Catholics – get your ass to Mass. 🙂 Thank you.

— 7 —

Is there something you do to get into the Christmas season? The proper attitude and such? Admittedly, I haven’t been great at that. Usually my attitude picks up immensely when all my final projects are done, I say good riddance to grad school, and realize it’s Advent. But yesterday, I went Christmas caroling with a bunch of friends from grad school. We went to various places on campus, and even popped into the reference and info services class that one of our favorite professors teaches — and then she facetimed our other professor, so he could be serenaded too. It’s impossible for me to feel lackluster and unexcited when I’m singing Joy to the World, What Child Is This, In the Bleak Midwinter, Carol of the Bells…etc. So maybe it’s a good thing I live alone — I think it’s going to be a little loud in here, as I keep singing to keep spirits up. (Sidenote: if you’re Facebook friends with me, there’s a short snippet of video!)

Whatever it is you do, go forth with joy! Have a fantastic week.

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2 thoughts on “7QT: Advent, Mom’s Birthday, Austria reminiscing Edition.

  1. “Future children, if you come into Earthly existence, rest assured I will make you hunt for your shoes.” LOL! I’ve never heard of Saint Nicholas actually moving the shoes, but I LOVE the idea!
    I’ve got a pair of Merrells too and I have to agree: they’re wonderful!

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