Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why Donner Disappoints Me

Sometimes it's hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit. I know why; a big, fat part of my Christmas preparation had to be left behind when I moved in 2007. I miss you every year, Christmas Tree Lane.
If you're not lucky enough to have grown up in a town with a ridiculously huge and kind of famous Christmas display, I pity you. Get in the car and drive there right now. Go marvel at the 140 houses and 300 trees in the nearly two mile stretch. Listen to the carols playing from car windows and tree-mounted speakers. I dare you not to get in the holiday spirit.

Christmas Tree Lane had kind of a depressing start. In 1920, a tree was decorated in honor of a child who had died. Each year, more and more houses joined in. Since then it has only gone dark twice, in 1941 due to wartime restrictions and in 1973 due to the energy crisis. Now around 10,000 people visit every year.

I think my earliest memory of Christmas Tree Lane was caroling with my Girl Scout Troop. We would all bundle up and stand in a makeshift covered bandstand to belt out what I'm sure were terribly off-keep Christmas carols. It was fun though, and we got candy canes and hot cocoa. Candy canes and cocoa is really all the motivation you need at age 8.

As a teenager, nearly every year we'd all bundle up and make the 4 mile loop up on side and back down the other. There's a shopping center across the street from the end of Christmas Tree Lane, which gives you a nice opportunity to get a rest and warm up in a coffee shop before heading back. If you're able to walk, I'd definitely recommend it over driving. A lot of the displays are right on the side of the street offer many opportunities to take stupid pictures of you and your friends.There's also a really ridiculous amount of traffic, and sitting in it is not conducive to holiday good cheer. There are two walk only nights and it's just lovely walking down the street under the lights strung from tree to tree.

The only disappointment is Donner.

I know that sounds a little strange, let me explain. As you go down Christmas Tree lane, you'll see the eight tiny reindeer and Rudolph in order. (On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and so on.) So why is Donner annoying? Because he's only been "Donner" for a short time. Before that it was "Donder", and for years. I'm not talking a couple of years either, I mean at least a decade. It was always the highlight of the walk when we found Donder, the unfortunate reindeer who couldn't spell his own name. I'll never forget, Donder.
Now enjoy these videos of the overachiever house at the end that makes everyone else have a complex.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nerdsday - Give Thanks

This was going to be my Nerdsday post for Thanksgiving, but I ended up not having access to the blog over the long weekend and then having to dig into customs and now it's like halfway to Christmas but I am posting it anyway. So there.
With this being the "Thanksgiving" post, I wanted to write about something for which I am thankful: being a nerd. Even more than just being a nerd, that nerdiness is seemingly coming into it's own and being viewed more with appreciation and less with derision.

I love being a nerd, I've pretty much always loved being a nerd. I was raised by interesting and crafty parents, so maybe it was inevitable. I watched Star Wars marathons with my dad during the holidays and spent hours crafting and going to thrift shops with my mom. Family vacations almost always involved a museum. Add to the fact that I can be incredible excitable; (my boyfriend refers to me as a human Muppet). So generally I was the one of the "weird kids". I was aware of that from a young age, and I did my best to own it. My parents always encouraged me to be myself and I eventually ended up with a group of a really good friends who all understood me and who all had their own fun idiosyncrasies. Luckily I was in accelerated programs and schools for most of my educational experience, so there were generally a lot of "weird kids" and I didn't have to deal with much in the way of bullying. Me being such a little smart ass may have been a deterrent.

Getting ready to trick or treat at age 20

While "nerd" is usually associated with people who like Star Wars or comic books who have no social skills and unfashionable clothing, I think everyone should have something they're a total nerd about. Everyone should have something in their lives about which they are passionate and interested and that sometimes fills them with slightly manic glee. Maybe that thing is G.I. Joe or Star Trek or Atari games, or maybe that thing is rock climbing or restoring vintage cars or volunteering. Maybe it can be all of those things. But if you don't have something, how is life interesting or fun or even worthwhile? How many fantastic relationships might you miss out on? I wouldn't know my boyfriend if we weren't nerds; we met on a Star Wars internet forum. I wouldn't know any of the fantastic girls I've met through Crown Town Handmade if I weren't such a sewing and crafts nerd and if they weren't all just as bad. It's okay to value being smart and creative, it's okay to like weird things, and it's definitely okay to look different. I am happy and proud to be a nerd and I hope all the nerds out there continue to be awesome and interesting and embrace their nerdiness with pride.