The Annals of Michadom, Part III

This version of The Annals of Michadom is freely distributable provided that the copyright notice remains intact. All material in the Annals, unless otherwise stipulated, is copyrighted (1995) to Michelle A. Hoyle & Chaos Exterminators, Inc.

In which:
Michelle rambles a bit about winter and fondly remembers snowy scenes from her childhood, offers unsolicited advice to other women, comments on postal fiascos, and idly wonders about the meaning of Christmas Eve as a time designation.

December 27, 1995

This is the first edition of the annals which has been composed specifically for a WWW-based audience. You have been sent a text-based version of the HTML text.

You may notice that you do not receive sequentially numbered annals all of the time. The truth is that there are two mail lists: one with material which can be freely distributed with its copyright notice and another more private one, which is intended for the recipient only. Each annal is clearly identified at the top whether it is distributable or not.

The end of the year draws close for all of us, and the holiday season with it's abundant free days allows me much time for speculation on the past, present and the future. A future that stretches ahead before me, tendrils of probability wrapping around themselves and twisting and turning, contorting into constructs more complicated than a Gordian knot. In the wise words of Lawsuit, a Davis (California) band, "You're still the odds-on favourite, as long as you think you're doing fine." * If I seem to forget that I'm doing fine, feel free to reach out across the electronic void and kick my virtual butt.

The Winter Panorama

While I sit here composing this latest odyssey into the myriad chaos that is my normal everyday life, I can see the rays of a bright winter sun reflecting off the snow-topped apartment buildings and little flakes of snow floating down towards the slushy street below, torn loose from their delicate bonding by idle gusts of a gentle, warm wind. These are the scenes of winter which never cease to fill me with wonder and amazement. Even though they are picturescapes of urbanity, they are nonetheless a sight of breathtaking beauty. reminding me of my own place in the circle of life.

I would hazard a guess that a common mental image of Switzerland is one of snow-capped Alpine peaks, hunky Swiss ski instructors, elite private schools and little garden gnomes hoarding money underneath the mountain peaks. The snow-capped peaks part is true, but here in the valley around Zuerich there has not really been much snow. If anything, the climate resembles that of Vancouver or Seattle, with temperatures between 0 and 10 degrees Celsius. Since the last fantastic autumn weekend in late November, we have been experiencing seemingly endless days of gray and drizzling rain.

Late in the evening on Christmas, feeling a little wistful for those left in Canada, I placed a call to a dear friend in Edmonton only to discover he was off traipsing around another snowy destination--Denver. In a chat with his mother, however, I was sort of boasting of our warm weather here and the lack of snow while Edmonton has been innundated with snow. Not three hours later, I chanced to gaze out the window and no longer could I see the rain. It was not, pundits among you might facetiously offer, too dark to see, rather the sky was now filled with large fluffy snowflakes. Oh well, that will teach me to brag!

Truthfully, I find myself missing hills of white. One of my favourite things as a child was to go sledding down large hills as fast as my body and the little flimsy piece of plastic could take me. I've been looking around the various department stores in Zuerich for the "Crazy Carpet" of my youth, but maybe it's something that never made it across the ocean. In my imagination I can see myself today warping down a previously green hill in the countryside, landing in a heap at the bottom, breathless with giddiness and collapsing flat into the snow to make a snow angel. Yes, it's true, I'm really a child still at heart. (-:

Word Play

Being a fairly well educated and fluent speaker of English, I am often consulted in matters of sentence construction and correct pronunciation of words. Have you ever noticed that when someone asks you if a sentence is correct, it's invariably composed in such a way that you would never ever in a hundred thousand years ever say yourself? This results in your being unsure if the sentence is, in fact, grammatically correct or not because the word order just seems so bizarre. On a similar thread, while I was writing about making phone calls above, I was tempted to say that I made the call on Christmas Eve. Now, All Hallow's Eve refers to the evening of Halloween. For some reason, though, in my mind, Christmas Eve is associated with the night before Christmas. What, then, does one call the evening of Christmas day itself? I've just been informed on the net that Halloween is the evening before All Saints Day, just as Christmas Eve is the evening before Christmas. It seems to be that it would be more sensible to call Christmas night Christmas Eve. What do you think? Send your comments to me by e-mail (

Postage and Other Fiascos

In preparation for Christmas, I had been stockpiling Swiss chocolate to send back to the home continent. In addition, I had also picked up some snuggly tidbits at one of the Christmas fairs which seem to abound Switzerland and Germany at this time of year (more to be said on this at a later point in time). I put together the first three packages and headed off to the post office, bright yellow PTT (PTT is the Swiss postal corporation, public transportation, and telephone company) boxes. The nice lady at the post office asked me, in German, how I'd like to send these parcels. Realizing that if I didn't send them airmail, they'd never arrive in time, I confidently answered "Luftpost." Now, I had been warned beforehand that postage was expensive. When someone tells me that postage is going to be expensive, I expect that it's going to cost about $50.00 ($CAN) for my 3 kilograms of packages. The postal lady told me some figures and I thought I'd misheard her and done the numeric calculation wrong because no postage could possibly be that high. The total cost was Sfr. 113.10 or, roughly, $120 ($CAN)! For that price I could almost fly across the ocean and hand deliver the packages myself!

On top of that, I later learned that not all the packages arrived intact. Apparently you can no longer use string to wrap parcels in the United States. All of the parcels are bound with string to prevent the dissipation of the contents during transport. One of the packages arrived in the States minus its Christmas card and a bar of chocolate. I could see some over-zealous customs inspector snitching the bar of chocolate as he tears the forbidden string off of my parcel, but a personalized Christmas card?! On the other hand, I have to admit that for my $120, those packages arrived quite speedily. I think most of them arrived within 5 or 6 days of my Saturday stint at the post office.

Closing Words and Wisdom

Zuerich isn't really all that large, boasting a residential population of only 300,000 or so. Nevertheless, despite it's many fine and varied restuarants, I managed to go out one evening for a dinner among friends and was rudely interrupted by the arrival of my ex-lover. "Of all the gin joints in town, you had to pick mine!" (Stolen shamelessly from Casablanca) That got me to thinking about the following bit of wisdom which I offer you free of charge:
When you repeatedly get yeast infections from your lover's seed and his kisses seem to taste terrible to you, then your body is desperately trying to inform you that he's not the right guy for you. Listen!

I know, it's utterly tasteless, but I'm not known for being extremely tactful. (-:

In closing this edition of the annals, I'd like to take this opportunity to bid you all a pleasant and safe holiday season with fond wishes for the coming year.

I remain,

Michelle A. Hoyle
The Annals of Michadom, Part III. Created December 27th ,1995.