Archive for November 28th, 2010

November 28, 2010

Lights up!

Time to put up the Christmas tree!, pic: freechristmaswallpapers.net

With Thanksgiving weekend almost over it is time to start the Christmas season in earnest.  Here in California (and other parts of the country as well) this is how it works:

if you haven’t bought a tree this weekend you are well advised to buy one during the week or next weekend at the latest.   Unlike in Germany, where the tree gets decorated on Christmas Eve and then remains in the house at least through January 6 (the Holy Kings Day) here the tree goes up right about now, fully decked out and decorated and gets taken down on or before New Years Eve.

In addition, the house gets decorated with colorful lights as well as the front yard, the trees, palms, and shrubs.  Lighted snowmen, Santas, reindeer are brought out and pretty soon the whole neighborhood looks very festive.  There is an element of wanting to outdo the neighbors with larger, nicer, more spectacular displays but it is a friendly competition.

First, I found the whole putting-up-the-tree so early business strange, I was used to the idea that decorating the tree was a sacred duty that could only be performed on Christmas Eve between the hours of 4 and 6 pm.  Now, I am used to it and quite like it.  Having the tree in the house for 4 weeks makes the darkness of December more bearable, adds a friendly and festive note to the house, heightens the anticipation.

And, let’s face it, once Christmas is over, it is over, you don’t want that tree in the house for another 2 weeks.  The new year starts and one moves on.  Christmas is a thing of the past, spring is coming, Valentine’s Day decorations appear in the stores, the first Easter candies show up , …

So, lights up, everybody!

November 28, 2010

Over my head

Let's hope he is not in over his head, ice climbing is very dangerous. pic: http://www.mountain7.com

Here are two idiomatic expressions using the concept of “over one’s head”.

But first, literally something can be over your head, like e a balloon or a bird or some such thing.  This, however, is not the sense in which the expression is normally used but in the figurative sense where it means that something is too difficult, complicated or complex for the speaker to understand.

Here is an example of how the phrase might be used:  “Advanced macroeconomics is way over my head.”  Implying that the speaker does understand at all what the professor is teaching.

One can also be “in over one’s head”.  This expression is related and means that is in a situation one can’t handle and needs help with.

Here is an example for that usage:

Junior person at work: “I am in over my head on this project.  I need help to pull this through.”