Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

This post was supposed to go up days earlier but let's just say…something got broke on the blog and a bunch of people fixed it. Pretty cool!Anyway, here's the roundup for Christmas pictures and stories.

I think this one interests me the most:Brittany and I went to Naper Settlement and we found many interesting things. One of the first things we saw, after we settled in our chapel pew was this-

marley and scrooge

oh yes, the classic retelling of a Christmas Carol, all done by shadow puppets. Victorian, of course. What's not for a girl to love?

sans tiny tim

and my personal favorite, sans Tiny Tim. And yes, that is the ghost of christmas present. Believe it. Brittany commented that it was a bit freaky, and it was.

We also saw a Flea Circus but sadly, none of the pictures turned out very well. Should that be any surprise?

I did not take a picture of this flea but I wanted you to get the idea. Anyway, moving along, we left the chapel after the flea circus and went along to another chapel where there were a lot of gingerbread houses (and boats) on display.

 A tiny detail of one of the tiny houses. After that, we milled around, went on a tour of a house and I took a surreptitious picture of this man. He had a stream of children following him, giggling. When he would halt and fling himself around, they would all get nervous and start to back away. But as soon as he took off, the giggling crowd started after him again. Can you guess who it is?

Did I mention he had startling ice blue eyes and I was scared to death lest he address me?


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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.