Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

five small things

I thought I might join in since one of these memes is floating around.

5 Things You May Not Know About Me:

 

1. I'm a heavy reader of 19th century literature, English, American and Canadian. It's a deep interest that began as a teenager and has never let up. It's gotten to the point that I'm heading towards more obscure authors and have had to get a book or two from England. Lucky for me, that writing novels was prolific in the 19th century. Some of my personal favorites are Yonge, Montgomery, Gaskell, Eliot and Hawthorne.

 

2. After leaving college, I almost stopped entirely listening to music. I've only recently started again and I listen mostly to Mozart and Bach. Jon K. always sends me wonderful mixes and so I listen to those as well. I'm not sure why I stopped listening but I think it has something to do with a deep need for silence.

 

3. I am the seventh Catherine on my mother's side. I might even be eight or nine but my grandmother never got far enough on the geneology records. That's a lot of Catherines. And they all started their name with a C.

 

4. I biked across Vermont and Massachusetts when I was thirteen. I was part of a small school and the tutor was from Vermont. All his children biked across for Vermont and so we had to also. It was mostly awful (I was completely out of shape) but also wonderful- I could eat two Snickers bars a day and still lose weight. We biked around 60 miles a day.

 

5. I want to live on a small farm someday (I'm not sure where) and have animals there. I sometimes I wonder if I could handle it…but I think I could.

 

Okay! Let's see…if you read this, that means you're tagged.

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Life Lessons from a Cardinal

Outdoor living is coming in fits and starts now that it’s June. Last week it was in the 90’s (30C) and today it is gentle and cool with thunderstorms passing by north and south, bringing coolness in the wake of their stormy skirts. The sun shines but the thunder rumbles nearby and my cats retreat farther indoors to snooze on chairs instead of near windows.

It is tempting to join them. The heat break means that deep good sleep is possible again. Even with air conditioning, I sleep poorly when it’s hot. I sleep best when it rains.

And it has been raining at night but in great torrid thunderstorms where the house shakes and the windows rattle. Sometimes I lie in bed as the thunderstorms march by and wonder at the fate of all the creatures and people living outside.

It is summer and I have no arguments with it. It’s too hard to argue with the seasons. On the beautiful days, I sip my breakfast tea outdoors and watch the birds and squirrels to start my day. There’s always a drama playing out in the backyard. My favorite is the cardinal who walks along the deck rail, casting his bright black eye here and there and then breaks into song until a robin kicks him out. When the coast is clear, he returns and does the same thing all over again. Despite my nearness, he doesn’t mind me at all and I adore his bright red plumage and courageous laughing heart. His song cheers my soul and I’ve come to recognize his particular song. It falls under the same lines as all cardinals but it has a bit of improvised trill at the end. I think he’s been hanging out with song sparrows and got Ideas.

He’s a hard individual to photograph (all flash and movement) but I’ve shared a photo of a cardinal from National Geographic so you can get the idea. He’s hard to ignore and is a permanent on the robins’ blacklist. I aspire to such a level of happy insouciance.

How to Get Through a Big Book

How to get through a Big Book and have a little fun too.

  1. Make and eat food mentioned in the book (big books always include food, usually in meticulous detail).
  2. Read a little bit each day.
  3. Make a soundtrack.
  4. Dress like a character from the book for a day. Or a week. Or a month if it really grabs you.
  5. Ten minutes to kill? Daydream about the landscape or what the characters are seeing as they move through their day.
  6. Read passages you enjoy out loud. If you’re in the right mood, record yourself reading passages and share it (Instagram is great for this). Include illustrations if you like (thank you, Shirin).
  7. Whip out a highlighter or some sticky tabs for those great parts.
  8. Pace yourself and remember, reading gigantic books isn’t a race. It’s about the journey. Might as well bring along snacks, good drinks, great lighting, and enjoy the ride.