Slice of Life: Dibs, Christmas, & Movies

Were you worried about the apocalypse everyone was referencing the last few weeks? I was more annoyed than anything, but these Alpaca memes really helped… 

16 Days till the ALPACAlypse – yes, I know, this is old…

Well, the world didn’t end yesterday (or today) and so we continue on – it is Saturday, December 22 and today is the first official day of vacation here! 2 whole weeks of no work (except for 2 hours on Christmas for Joe) Hopefully we will get a decent snow again while we’re off so I can try to get some great photos without being rushed to get to work. Everyone else around is hard at work getting their New Years cards made – one of my students is making about 100 of them! From what I understand, it’s a card with a family photo, to say either A)here’s an update and a special greeting for you since we didn’t see you last year, or B)we had a good year & good times together, here’s to hoping for another! So if we get our act together, we might make a few, but we already made Christmas cards for our immediate families (even though they’ll be arriving late due to some confusion on our end at the post office), but maybe we’ll make a few New Years cards also.

This past week I taught my adult students about Chicago’s unwritten ‘dibs’ parking rule. Here, it seems, every home/apartment has an assigned parking spot – I have not seen cars parallel parked on a street in over 8 months, so this required drawing on the board and photos. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain: in Chicago, owning a car is a pain in the butt when you don’t have a garage (which is pretty often for apartment dwellers). So we fight day in and day out for parking in most neighborhoods, and it can be super difficult. Then winter comes, and the snow makes it much more difficult. So, when we get a big snowfall, and subsequently spend an hour shoveling my car out of the snow, we don’t want someone else to benefit from our hard work. So, to keep that spot held for us when we return, we take the crappiest piece of furniture (or anything of a decent size really: crates & brooms, etc) we have, and place it in that space. Yes, in the street. This is called ‘Dibs”. Now, anyone can just move it out of the way and park there, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If you park in a marked spot, you will have to suffer whatever consequence that may come after that. This can be having all that snow that was moved from the spot put back all around your car so you can’t move, or frozen door locks/windows, or worse in some cases. I would not park in someone’s claimed spot, but luckily I’ve never owned a car & had to park on the street during a bad enough snowfall to actually participate in this winter tradition. As I explained this Chicago tradition, it seemed even more silly than before, because here it seems that neighbors would help each other out more – help clear the way to be helpful & thoughtful of others – not mark their territory and threaten other people, because that would be negative for the community. I don’t have any pics of my own, but here are a few I borrowed:

Dibs image from Huffington Post

DIBS stuffed animal/ saving your parking space in Chicago from Huffington Post

Street parking in Chicago during winter DIBS from

More examples of Dibs from Huffington Post

Now on to the important stuff: This week we did an unofficial survey in our classes regarding Christmas movies. I consider any movies that take place at Christmas time to be Christmas movies…for example – Die Hard can be considered a Christmas movie. The movies that were named were:

  • Home Alone
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Edward Scissorhands.

Yes, that’s really all the movies they could name as Christmas movies! And the most common statement from this survey regarding Home Alone was: “Ohhh big house!”. That’s the number 1 thing everyone remembered about the movie. Anyway, here’s my own list of Christmas movies:

  • Home Alone
  • Home Alone 2
  • A Christmas Story
  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2
  • Prancer
  • The Grinch
  • Elf
  • Jingle All The Way
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

These were the movies I could think of within 5 minutes. Of course, there are tons of other Christmas stories, but I couldn’t name specific movies made of them.

In case you were wondering, my favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone. Why? Hmmm… I can’t say if it’s the high number of one-liners to quote, or the great soundtrack, or how easily I recognize ORD and the Michael Jordan cardboard cutout & am reminded that it’s also a Chicago movie (most great movies are!). I can say that I watch it every year and I can just about quote the whole thing. This year though, we did not watch it 😦 YET – there are still a few days left! Joe said he didn’t want to watch it because he has seen it too many times (not possible!!), so we watched Home Alone 2 instead, which is OK, but nowhere near as awesome. Well, lucky for me I had a root canal recently and on my latest trip to the dentist office, guess what was playing throughout the office… Home Alone!!!!! But it was dubbed in Japanese and even though I could tell you exactly what they were all saying at any given point, it was not as awesome without actually hearing the #1 quote: “Buzz’s girlfriend! WOOF!”.

What’s your favorite Christmas[time] movie? Do you have a good (or favorite) quote from it? Let me know!