Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sometimes things are more than just ... things

In the last couple of days I watched America first devote a day to turkey and thankfulness for family, friends and all the other things that are good in life but mostly non-material ... and then collapse in the shopping craziness of Black Friday.

That combination kicked off my
little reflection on things ... stuff ... material belongings. I guess it is kind of common sense that things itself do not make happy and it's true. But on the other hand they can make you happy and actually mean something, but not because of themselves or their value in money, but of the stories they tell, the connections they symbolize.

So what I decided today to do with this blog posting is showing you some of my stuff, that means something to me for different reasons and tell you the stories behind.

The Keychain-Diary

Yes .. there are also keys if you look closely

I had never planned on this. For most of my life almost nothing was attached to my keychain besides a bottle opener, one lucky charm and .. keys. Now I have ... THIS.  Talking about the self-dynamic of things.

So let's see what we have going clockwise starting at noon.

1)  The Black Crowes:
 What looks very old school is actually the newest edition to this epic collection. I found it on the website where I ordered Rich Robinson's latest solo album. I had to have it because it is the classic "Heckel & Jeckel" design that goes back to The Black Crowes debut record "Shake Your Money Maker" and symbolizes for me my over 20 years of loving this band.

2) Pittsburgh Penguins bottle opener:
 It's a proven fact - I cannot open a beer bottle with a lighter. So a long (!) time ago during my time at the university - when opening a beer bottle was an essential thing - I started to have an opener at my keychain. When the last bottle-shark, which I used over ten years, had lost its last teeth and could not do his job anymore, I replaced it with this nice Pens version.

3) Penguin:
My friend, who actually loves this keychain and keeps feeding it, thought that a Penguin shouldn't be alone and gave me this one as a little gift.

4) Aigner A
: The most important piece on this keychain and if I ever lose it, I will be heartbroken. The A stands for the fancy brand Aigner, but that doesn't matter. What makes this one so special is that it belonged to my dad. He died in 1991.

5) The Keys:
Yes, surprisingly enough there are really keys on this keychain.

6) The Steelers:
Ironically enough this Steelers pendant is NOT made of stainless steel and it rusts. I need a new one every season. This is already No 3.

7) Merlotte's:
 On New Year's Day 2011 I was hanging around lazy at my friend's place and we decided to watch some DVDs. Since she had a box of True Blood DVDs lying around that was what we watched - and got HOOKED! This little thingy she just brought me from her recent trip to New York and her visit at the HBO shop.

8) Croatian Coat of Arms:
This one is already for a very long time on my keychain and expresses my love for my wonderful summer residence, my Croatian friends, the language, culture and country.

9) Yoda:
When I started learning Croatian I was doing okay with grammar and vocabulary, but I had a hard time to get the words in the right order since there are almost no rules and just sentences that sound right or wrong in the native speaker's ears ... and I had a huge talent to mostly choose the version that would sound wrong or at least slightly off - just like the short green Jedi does. That way Yoda became one of my nicknames, but I didn't mind. First it sounds kind of cute when Yoda talks and secondly he is a damn cool and powerful dude. The little Lego pendant is btw also a gift of my friend feeding my keychain.

10) Red & White Gaudi Cross:
Last year in November I went to Barcelona for a few days and had the chance to visit the Sagrada Familia. The church impressed me a lot with the limitless craziness of the facades and the so contrasting clear, much calmer, spiritual design of the inside. So I got myself this Gaudi style cross at the museum shop as lucky charm for my travels - may I'll be guided to more places like this that feed my soul. 

And there you go ... my life decorated around a little ring hidden in my pocket.

Winning Again

And the winner is - me

I continue to love Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh continues to love me back. Me - the person that almost never won any contest before - first won a wonderful pendant in a Twitter contest and now the winning streak went on.

At the website of Boring Pittsburgh I first won the new issue of the Moon Handbook Pittsburgh by Dan Eldridge. I had praised the first issue earlier this year because it was the only really good travel book for Pittsburgh I could get. Now I can use the updated and even better new issue on my 2012 trips. The book arrived with nice greetings written on the first page and signed by Dan himself. It will be for sure a great travel companion and help a lot to plan as much good stuff in my short stays as possible. 

Only a short time later The Mario Lemieux Foundation started a little Twitter contest. The prize was one of their hoodies - something that was on my shopping list anyway - and here it is! Lucky me!
The hoodie is so warm and comfortable and I am really proud to support them for not only being the organisational home of Virginia Montanez' "Make Room For Kids" but also supporting lymphoma research. After recovering from cancer himself Mario Lemieux launched this foundation to support the search for cure and better treatments - a goal I could not stronger agree with after losing my mother to a lymphoma

No Chance, Grinch!

The rest of Christmas the Grinch could not get

Knowing about Christmas (pre-Christmas to be exact) being only stress for me my sister reactivated an old tradition between us and sent me a chocolate Christmas calendar. 

You think the design is ... let's say ... questionable? It is NOT, because my two-year-old niece made the choice and that makes this calendar even more special. Yes, it's pink, but the spirit of Christmas survived well hidden inside this piece of Hello Kitty Merch  ;) 

The Question of Timing

Months late, but in the end - perfect timing
The German customs hate me. Several times I already hat to make the trip to Garching (one hour, one way) to pick up stuff in person and almost every time I order overseas the stuff gets stuck in customs for WEEKS and then it arrives in cut open boxes. 

This time I ordered very much at the beginning of the season some new Pens stuff and it did not arrive and it did not 
arrive and it did still not arrive. THEN I had a note in my letterbox that the parcel arrived and could be picked up at the post office. I went there the next day and ... no parcel. They could not find it. Lost. They took my info to call me. Nobody ever called. I called the customer service, they promised to call back - never happened. I went at the next weekend back to the post office just to make sure it did not arrive in the meantime - not there. 

But then ... about an hour after I left the post office saying good bye to about 150$ worth in clothes and deco they called me back telling me that they found it.

I went back on Monday to finally, finally pick up my precious parcel.  It should be THE Monday. The day Sidney Crosby took the ice after 320 days for the first time and started his incredible comeback. So for ever now every single thing in this parcel will be connected in my memory with one of the greatest hockey nights ever.

Coincidence - I do not believe in you.

If you would add up the value in money of the thing displayed in this posting it would not be much, but the stories, the thoughts, the love and the spirit in these things makes them priceless

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