Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

grape hyacinth on blue

 after the last few busy days full of shopping (ugh) and seeing friends (yay!), I was able to set my props and enjoy most of the day at my new kitchen table. It's a bitty thing, only three feet by two foot but the kitchen is long and narrow and not big neither so it works. The table is old, from the 30's or 40's lets say and the top is metal with enamel over it. There's a bit to repair, where it looks like someone mistakenly placed a frying pan on it or something way too hot, but it's small and I'm pretty confident I can repair it. I heart this table and I have my good friend, Brit, to thank for helping me haul it home. It was a true flea market find (something I've heard talked about but rarely encounter) and I hope to visit the same sellers next month and perhaps pick up another piece of furniture. I'm a hopeless buyer of antiques and their painted antiques work for me! All the furniture they sold seemed good and solid and for excellent prices as well. Better prices than even the resale shops around here! This area is just far too expensive, I think.

I've enjoyed this gloomy day with my grape hyacinths (muscari if you really want), puzzled over a recent film adaptation of a Balzac novel, "The Duchess of Langeais" I viewed last night, read at a novel and generally just wrote away. Though not fiction. Not today. That's something I've got in the back of my head, sifting through. How much can a character be yourself? That's the genius of fiction though. There's no rules in that department. I think this time though…I made the main character do something too like me and for that, her voice may have hesitated and then slumped.

Tonight is PBS and Kate Beckingsdale in "Emma" and guess what? I can watch tv right from the kitchen table.

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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.