Sunday, November 30, 2008

Grey Bear (Ad) Vents

Once again, things have gotten a little stressful around the house and my bipedal attendants are even more down-in-the-dumps than usual (and that's saying a lot). I'm sympathetic to their situation - I'd be a pretty rotten freelance Goodwill Ambassador if I weren't a caring sort of bear - but I admit that they've been driving me a little crazy.

In an effort to cheer them up, I picked them up an Advent calendar - and of course, it has bears on it! I thought that opening a little window every day and finding a chocolate would be fun - plus they can count down the days until Christmas.
I know they're also a little sad that they won't be spending Christmas in Spain with my female bipedal attendant's mother this year - which they've done for the last 3 years - but then I reminded them that they could be spending the holidays on a ship off the coast of Somalia, so buck up!

Anyway, Advent technically begins today but children (and my bipedal attendant
s) will begin opening the windows of their Advent calendars tomorrow. Advent calendars were created by German Lutherans about 150 years ago and the first printed calendar appeared in shops in Hamburg around 1902. A Swabian claimed to have invented the calendar, but I don't give that theory much credit since I don't know what a Swabian is. You can tell that our calendar is German because one of the little bears (bottom left) is holding a pretzel!

A few years later, what we think of as the "modern" Advent Calendar with its 24 little doors marking the days until Christmas became a staple in Germany and eventually, chocolates and candies began to magically appear behind those little doors. Since tomorrow is Day 1 - and my attendants aren't very savvy about the ways of the world - I had to demonstrate how the calendar works. That's me on bottom-right showing them what's behind door number 1.

Nowadays, some Advent calendars have extra days to accommodate Hanukkah (I don't quite understand that) and New Years and you can even buy digital Advent calendars too - although I don't know how you get your little piece of chocolate from one of those. Sometimes humans are too clever for their own good.

Anyway, I know that my bear calendar won't transform the lives of my attendants but maybe it'll give them something to look forward to and keep their grumbling to a minimum. Of course, knowing them they'll start arguing about who gets to open the door and who gets to eat the chocolate. I think I'll have to get another calendar just to keep track of the two of them. Now I know why we bears hibernate!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It's been a while since I've updated everyone on my whereabouts but for the most part, I've been in Bratislava, listening to the squawks and complaints of my bipedal attendants - and of course, bearing it all. And just to put it in perspective, the temperature has finally plummeted to zero, so you can imagine how well my female bipedal attendant is holding up. (Not.)

On Sunday I had the opportunity of flying to Frankfurt with my male bipedal attendant, who had some business to conduct. Rather than take Her, he took me - as it's universally accepted in our household that, as a former international fashion model and freelance Goodwill Ambassador, I'm the savvier traveller. That sure put her nose out of joint!

Unfortunately, we were in the city for less than 24 hours, and most of that time my male bipedal attendant was in meetings, and I was left in the hotel room but at least we were at the Mövenpick, instead of some of the other fleabags he's chosen in the past. Except for the one paparazzi I found hiding in the bathroom (we soon became friends though), our stay there was faultless - which makes it a bear-pick. It even had a bear-size jacuzzi (below, left)- although I had to fight my bipedal attendant for it because he wanted to brush his teeth in it. Who ever heard of anyone brushing their teeth in a jacuzzi? He can be such a Philistine!

Above the bed (top centre) was a quotation by Goethe: Es ist nicht genug zu wissen, man muss auch anwenden; es ist nicht genug zu wollen, man muss auch tun. Fortunately, I speak German fluently (ein Bier bitte?) so I translated it for my attendant: “It is not enough to know something, we must also apply it. It is not enough to want to do something, we must also do it.” I know that Goethe was born in Frankfurt almost 300 years ago and that he's a local son and all, but I don't know what that has to do with having a good night's sleep - it seemed a rather strange thing to be mulling over after a hard day.


Still, I had a wonderful night's sleep even though my male bipedal attendant snored a lot. I'm just glad that the room designer hadn't decorated the room with a quotation from Goethe's Faust. As a freelance Goodwill Ambassador, I don't think it would be appropriate to sell my soul to the devil - even in my dreams!