23 December 2013

Warm Memories

Karen just sent these photos.  They were taken this past August at Karen's house. Lovely memories of Gus, Meara and Rosie's visit.  And look how warm it was!

22 December 2013

Literary Coincidences

On December 16th I wrote a post about Jane Austen.  That day I was listening to the radio and I heard that the 16th of December was her birthday.  I hadn't read Jane Austen in maybe 20 years, but coincidentally I had just finished Northanger Abbey that day.

Just now I finished reading A Christmas Carol.  And, coincidentally, I just learned that it was first published 170 years ago this week.

As is almost always the case, reading this wonderful story, hearing it in Dickens' words, is so much more satisfying than any movie can be.  That said, this is simply a delightful story with a message that makes you smile no matter how it is delivered.   Countless movies have been made, some better than others.  But the story lives on and nothing can completely corrupt it ... not even Mister Magoo.  And still, I strongly recommend reading the book because no movie can describe the evolution of Ebenezer Scrooge better than the written words.

Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features ...

But after being visited by the three spirits :

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old City knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world. ... and it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

21 December 2013

18 December 2013

Christmas For The Birds

Quite a few years ago I stopped having a decorated tree in the house for Christmas.  In place of that tradition I started a new one, a Christmas tree for the birds.  I decorate the tree with seed bells and suet cakes (for the birds) and small lights (for me).  The tree stands just outside my kitchen window.  

We've had some snow since the tree was first put up.

 The treats on this tree seem especially attractive to the smaller birds.  Like this little Downy Woodpecker.

And lots of Juncos.  My personal favorites.

16 December 2013

Jane Austen

Today when driving home from the Post Office I was listening to NPR and heard that Jane Austen was born 238 years ago, December 16, 1775.  For a very long time I read each of her six novels every year.  I loved them as much or more with each new reading.  It has been probably 20 years since I last read any of her books, but coincidentally I am reading "Northanger Abbey" right now.  I am once again loving Jane Austen.

I have a lovely Oxford Illustrated set of the novels.  Each novel is exactly as it was when originally published. "Northanger Abbey" was published posthumously in 1818.  Just before her death Jane wrote the following :



THIS little work was finished in the year 1803, and intended for immediate publication. It was disposed of to a bookseller, it was even advertised, and why the business proceeded no farther, the author has never been able to learn. That any bookseller should think it worth-while to purchase what he did not think it worth-while to publish seems extraordinary. But with this, neither the author nor the public have any other concern than as some observation is necessary upon those parts of the work which thirteen years have made comparatively obsolete. The public are entreated to bear in mind that thirteen years have passed since it was finished, many more since it was begun, and that during that period, places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone considerable changes.                                                         
I love her concern for the reader that society has "undergone considerable changes" in the 13 years between writing and publishing her book.  I wish she could know that people are still reading her wonderful book 209 years later. Indeed "places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone considerable changes", but her writing, her novels are timeless.            

05 December 2013

Happy Repeal Day!

Eighty years ago today Congress ratified the 21st Amendment to the Constitution.  This repealed the 18th Amendment (of 1919) which started prohibition.  So raise a glass of your choice and toast Repeal Day!

01 December 2013

Sunday Skyping with Rosie

There was a lot of happy silliness today, which involved lots of action, which made picture taking difficult.  But I have no complaints because we had a lot of fun.  In this picture Rosie is high in the air to show me how Hello Kitty, her favorite Thanksgiving Day balloon, flew through the air.