As we approach the dawn of a new year here in Germany, booms, loud pops and bangs are erupting outside, interspersed with yells and dogs barking frantically. For a country that runs by a pretty extensive set of rules most of the time, the hours from 10 to 12 midnight tonight are when the masses let loose & purchase cartloads of firecrackers to set off in the street (most of which would certainly be illegal in my home state, Oregon, because they launch off the ground and fly screaming through the air, spinning crazily in all directions, while spurting fire). This is the closest my neighborhood comes to resembling a war zone.
Because I don't get quite the thrill everyone else in my family does from setting off whirligigs and rockets, I'm staying inside with the dog, who charges our back door every few seconds, determined to protect us from noises in the night. Just now, I confined him in the bathroom (no windows) because the frantic-ness outside has suddenly escalated. Well, it's time to say a hasty HAPPY NEW YEAR! and go hide under the covers. Enjoy your festivities!