With the onset of December, we have (semi-officially) entered the Christmas Season (OK, technically November 28th this year.) Now, some may call false and say that the Christmas Season officially starts when Santa goes by in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I shake a stiff finger at them and remind them that Christmastide actually begins on Christmas Eve if you strictly want to follow the liturgical calendar. Advent still rings in Christmastide.
Anyway, right before Advent (November 30th, which actually was right after the start of Advent this year), the Poles celebrate Andrzejki (Darling Little Andrews), which is the feast of St. Andrew and also the nameday (imieniny) for Andrew. It happens to be the last real party time before Advent (kind of like a Mardi Gras, but in winter), so people usually throw parties in and around that day, usually the preceding weekend (conveniently right before the start of Advent.) During Advent, they observe a strict no-party rule where dancing is apparently forbidden (I found this out last night, much to my chagrin.) Now, this doesn't stop everyone, but it does cut down on the wild office parties that have so plagued other nations. Banging the secretary on top of the photocopier is generally avoided during this time.
We may be three weeks away from the start of winter, but I have to say that right now it's colder than a witch's titty outside. The last few days have brought a decent amount of snow and the wind has been howling something fierce. I actually enjoy this type of weather, and I loathe when it warms, allowing the snow to melt and then form treacherous ice.
Swans growing up - Every year, the miracle happens. I observed them as day-old hatchlings, I watched them growing larger through the summer months and the early autumn, until...
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