Willkommen, Weihnachtspyramide!

Yes, yes, it’s that time of year again!  Time to break out a bit of holiday decor!  And you know what that means…..time to dust off that Weinachtspyramide and get it going!

What is a Weinachtspyramide, you ask?  “Weinachtspyramide” is German for “flimsy, yet very expensive Christmas pyramid powered by candles*” The whole concept is actually really cool.  It’s a handmade wooden pyramid shaped device and there are little scenes on each level. My pyramid has Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and the 3 wise men at the base, shepherds in the center, and angels up top.  At the very top are several blades, and at the base you place candles in candle holders.  The heat that rises from the candles creates lift, which spins the blades and therefore spins the ‘scenes’.   Now, let’s talk about the reality.

I clearly remember my mother telling me as a child to not touch two things:

1. Her Gingher scissors, and

2. The Christmas pyramid.

Either one could possibly set her off like Joan Crawford, minus the infamous coat hangers.  So, we just didn’t touch them.  I didn’t realize at the time why the two were so hands-off to kids but now I know.  As for the scissors, Ginghers (at least back then) were expensive and cut through fabric like a hot knife through butter.  And there’s nothing better than good scissors.  Now, for the pyramid, the problem is that you touch anything on it and the fan blades will fall off.  In fact, if you breathe on it (or, quite possibly, look at it too long), the fan blades will also fall off.  The blades then fall onto the burning candles and you have a lovely waxy mess and also the threat of a house fire. Only a German could come up with something so unique, beautiful, and downright deadly at the same time.  After all, you WANT to touch it.  Especially as a child.  It was sheer torture NOT to touch it. Imagine!  Brightly painted, tiny figurines that spun around! Spinning blades and fire!  Who wouldn’t want to NOT TOUCH IT?

Anyway, besides the drawback of dropping blades, it is a somewhat fickle little contraption.  If the center rod is not perfectly centered in the glass cup at the base (which, by the way, you cannot reach unless you had hands the size of mouse paws), it will not spin.  I managed to get a pretty good look at the glass cup and, not surprisingly, it looks like it was installed crooked.  Now, it will spin for quite a while and then it will slowly come to a halt.  Then you have to *touch it* to get it moving again.  And pray that the fan blades don’t go flying off into your hot candle wax. Also, there must be absolutely not drafts, and I mean NO DRAFTS, in the room, lest you inadvertently disperse the candle heat.  Just don’t move.  Admire.

Another aggravating thing is that the whole shebang seems to be made from the cheapest wood glue and wood available. Each year I unpack the pyramid, something else has fallen off.  This year, it was a couple of pieces of the ‘railing’ and a few posts.  So, every year I have to whip out the wood glue and stick something else back on.  It isn’t like I pack it up and play soccer with the box, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

I didn’t get an instruction booklet with my pyramid, but if it came with one, this is what I think it says.  Or should say:

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a Weinachtpyramide; a traditional decoration borne in the Ore Mountains of Germany. We hope your Weinachtpyramide will bring you and your loved ones many, many years of enjoyment.  Before you use your pyramid, there are a few things to remember!

1. Do not breathe on, stare at, or move too quickly in the presence of your pyramid.  Doing so could cause your pyramid to fall apart, or possibly implode. 

2. Do not leave the pyramid unattended.  Ever. Should you leave the pyramid alone, you will find yourself constantly asking, “Did I remember to extinguish the candles?” which will result in you getting in your vehicle and leaving work only to find that you DID remember, resulting in lost wages, wasted gasoline, and possibly being fired for leaving your position at work unattended.

3. Do not touch the pyramid. Touching the pyramid may result in the breakage of any and all parts, which could result in making Baby Jesus cry.  And no one likes a crying baby.


But seriously, with all its nutty and annoying quirks, I really do love my pyramid.  Except when I get lost in the wonder of it all, forget the rules, and reach out to touch it.  Which ends with hot wax being spilled all over my desk.  Yes, that really happened. This led to a outburst of most un-Christmas-like behavior and vocabulary.

*Actually, it’s just “Christmas pyramid”. Not like me to exaggerate or anything. I happen to have the exact one posted in the link.

Couldn’t say it better


Thank you, random Goodwill donor. Very pleased with my three dollar purchase from last week.

Fair time!

Every year, we go to our regional fair, the East Texas State Fair.  My favorite parts are, not surprisingly, the animal exhibits and the creative arts.  This year, we hit it just in time to see the Brahman cattle class.  Brahman are one of my top three favorite cattle breeds. I love the colors, their funny humps, and those long, long droopy ears.  We got to pet several bulls that were bigger than my car (I swear it), though being in a Prius, it probably isn’t saying much.  We also got to see some few days old calves with their mothers.  If a Brahman calf could fit in a purse….okay, okay, I couldn’t really bring myself to shoplift a baby calf.  Probably would have made one hell of a mess in my bag, anyway.

Anyway, then we looked at the rabbits and we absolutely adore the Mini Rex breed, whose coats look like pure velvet.  It’s almost unbelievable.  I promise I didn’t smuggle any of those, either, even with two children pleading for one.  Of course, we have four bunnies at home that they don’t blink an eye at, but any of you parents out there know exactly how that goes.

Then, on to the ag exhibits, and we got to watch baby chicks hatching and see our ‘bee friends’ with the East Texas Beekeepers Association. This was the first year for us to get honey from our own bees (more on that later), and I was dying to try other people’s honey.  So, I snapped up three different kinds.  I have to say that there was one kind that literally tastes like a waffle.  I am telling you it is like Waffle Extract.  That is, you can taste waffle, syrup, and butter all rolled into a luscious, thick syrup.  I had to go back and buy more.  Who wouldn’t love “Waffle in a Bottle”?  Anyway, after grabbing the kids some tiny uber-cute  mini honey bears and some honey sticks, it was time for some foodles.

I have to admit, I was actually not hungry this year for fair food.  When fried food literally makes you sick at your stomach and you are trying to avoid sugar, that pretty much rules out 98% of any food you get at the fair. I did eventually end up with tamales and a couple of bites of a ‘street’-style taco, though I am seriously paying for that decision today. (Edited to add: It took me an entire week to recover from fair tamales.  Never again.) Unfortunately, I can’t ‘do’ pork anymore, either, which is what I ate. I have no idea why I thought it would be any different.  The bathroom is my favorite room today. Anyhoo, the kids ended up with a burger, corn dog, and a scoop of ice cream each, so nothing too terrible.  I noticed that one vendor had ‘Kit Kat Fries’.  I shudder to think how many calories lurk in a batch of Kit Kat Fries!

Well, then it was time for the rides.  Now, I do NOT ‘do’ fair rides.  When I was about 16 or 17, I went on that terrible spinning ride where the floor falls out from under your feet and you remain stuck to the wall. If you ever went to Six Flags in Dallas, it was called the Spindletop.  WELL….this ain’t Six Flags, and it sho’ wasn’t the Spindletop.  I don’t know whose idea it was to crank the think to 5 million RPMs, but I just remember spinning so fast that my chest actually ached and I could barely catch my breath.  I also vividly remember the ride operator/DJ who looked like he had just huffed a case of gold paint and smoked a few rocks before he got in the operator’s booth.  I thought (as I was spinning around painfully): So help me, God, if I make it alive off of this damn thing, I’ll never set foot on another fair ride as long as I live!  And so, up until last night, I haven’t. That’s almost twenty years, so yeah, the experience was pretty bad.

Well, last year, Jason and our youngest rode most of the rides together.  One in particular was a teacup-like ride.  That is, you spin around in bench seats on the ground in a 3 armed apparatus.  Pretty lame and safe as far as carnival rides go.  So THIS year, Jason heads over to a ride called The Orbiter, and declaring that it was the same one they had rode the previous year.  He and the youngest climb aboard and I waited with my oldest daughter, who is about as willing to go on a ride as I am. They get in their seats and the ride begins.

Not too bad at first.  It spins around lazily, gradually increasing speed.  Suddenly, the ride does something that the ride last year didn’t do.  It left the ground, and begun to swing upwards.  I can only imagine what my husband is thinking.  This is the same man that nearly vomits when he spins too fast in an office chair.  Now, the ride is fully off of the ground and the little seats are zipping through the air and spinning at ungodly speeds.  My oldest daughter and I gape at the ride, and we turn to each other and she said, “Mommy, that’s not the ride from last year!”  Then, we burst into uncontrollable laughter.  I try to catch a glimpse of Jason’s face as they are whizzing by…all I could catch was the top of his head.  His body is hunched over my youngest.  She has a look of surprise, terror, and joy all mixed into one.  The ride’s speed increases, which I didn’t really think possible.  If you ever wondered what it would be like to be strapped to a mixer blade while it was set to ‘whip’, this is what it would have looked like. All the while, my daughter and I are laughing so hard, we’re clutching our stomachs.

Finally, the ride stops and poor Jason wobbles off like a new sailor attempting to earn his sea legs on a 2 week drunk binge, and our little daughter skips and bounds away, screaming, “Let’s do it again, Daddy!  That was FUN!”  Of course, you already knew that was coming, right?

I actually did end up riding one ride, and that was the carousel.  Who doesn’t love a good carousel ride?  And yes, I did get nauseated.  What a weenie.