A story without words . . . .
Monday, February 3, 2014
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Here is a fabulous video of a Las Posadas procession that took place in the Olvera Street marketplace -- the oldest part of the city of Los Angeles (it was established in 1781). Las Posadas is a Latin American custom that re-enacts the journey of Joseph and Mary as they searched for a place to stay; the procession focuses on the words, "there was no room for them at the inn."
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Sunday, December 22, 2013
I was leery, frankly -- because he is a Three Detectives man from way back, while I have always been more of a Brains Benton and Robin Kane girl. But I finally gave in and read his stinking book, and loved it. Of course.
Mrs. Coverlet's Magicians, by Mary Nash, is a great little chapter book, second in a series. The three Persever children, Malcolm, Molly, and six-year-old Toad are left with their cranky neighbor as Christmas approaches. Without their father and Mrs. Coverlet, who will make Christmas happen? The Toad takes things into his own hands with the help of a magic kit he orders from the back of a comic book. And Malcolm and Molly take steps as well, while Miss Eva, the bossy and disapproving neighbor, takes mysteriously to her bed. Has Toad created Christmas magic, or is something else going on? The friendly pastor who looks in on the children has his own opinion.
"There's been magic around us, all right," he said. "I felt it very strongly when I came to your house last night and saw you and Molly filling the stockings."
"Then you do believe in magic?"
"I believe in magic at Christmas," said Mr. Forthright reflectively. "The amount of goodwill which is set loose every year at this time is quite unaccountable."
Saturday, December 21, 2013
The girl in charge came home last night -- very happy-making! Both the sunny girl and I ran out to hug her before she had really even gotten both feet out of the car, and for a little while there, no one could move because we were all caught in a hug scrum. It was fabulous -- lovingly claustrophobic or claustrophobically loving, I'm not sure which. Either way I'm glad she's home!
She drove all the way from Atlanta by herself, which makes some readers yawn ho-hum, and causes other readers to remind me that I drove to Florida to visit the beloved roommate's family a time or two myself, when I was not much older than the girl in charge. To all of which I say, pipe down!
She did break up the trip by staying overnight with these hipsters, who broke their promise that they would not knock themselves out for her, by making tacos for dinner, and by wooing her with their total awesome-osity. In the morning before my girl arrived, dudes went out and bought themselves a house. The day after she left, they got on a plane for the Christmas holiday. Yet still -- welcoming and loving and awesome to my girl. The heart just explodes, y'all.
|This photo was swiped from Maggie's Facebook.|
By the way, Maggie is the MVP of the family, and Mr. Maggie knows it. The girl in charge reports that he distributed all kinds of tips for the future about married life. Maggie and Mr. Maggie got hitched in June.
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So, hey! Books for Advent!
I read Louisa May Alcott's novels over and over and over when I was younger -- I was drawn to them in the same way I was drawn to the Little House books. And like Laura Ingall's Wilder's stories, each of Alcott's books has a Christmas or winter adventure. Several Christmases (some joyously happy, some bittersweet) are lovingly described in Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys. Polly and Fanny have very different ideas about how to celebrate the season in An Old-Fashioned Girl. And in Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom, Alcott shows Christmas through the eyes of a little girl, and of that same girl as a young woman.
But the Alcott Christmas story I love the most is the one described in Jack and Jill. In this novel, the catalyst for the book's story arc is a sledding accident that occurs in the first chapter. When Jack's mother takes in gravely injured Jill and her mother, she transforms their lives by turning Jill's sickroom into a Christmas-y wonderland. As Alcott describes the decorations, the treats and gifts, and the friendship of the two young companions, a modern reader is swept right into the scene. It's lovely!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
|Here's our pretty tree from a couple of years ago -- after the gifts had been opened.|
Well, so let me share a list of all the things I have not done yet during this Advent season:
- decorate the Christmas tree with all my lovely ornaments, each of which has special meaning to me, but which I may or may not be able to find currently
- put lights on the Christmas tree
- acquire the Christmas tree
- bake any sort of scrumptious Christmas-y treat
- put twinkly Christmas lights up outside my home to welcome family, friends, and maybe a wassailing stranger or two
- wrap any Christmas gifts for my family and friends
- purchase any Christmas gifts for my family and friends
- hunt down the Christmas stockings and stocking hangers
- write a hilarious, not-too-braggy, chock-full-of-pictures Christmas newsletter to include with my Christmas cards
- mail any Christmas cards
- purchase, craft, or recycle any Christmas cards
My Christmas angst level is high, y'all.
It feels like I say this every year. But -- I am always able to slide into the pew in time to sing carols before Midnight Mass, and somehow the little baby Jesus is always able to celebrate another birthday.
And I have also realized that Santa has my back; it's just that I need to learn how to recognize his elves when they are all around me. Somehow the treats get made (the sunny girl is my go-to baker); the presents get purchased (come here, Amazon-dot-com, so I can kiss you on the lips) -- and wrapped by Coleen and by the girl in charge (who has a system, of course). The Boy Scouts come through every year, with a tree, and greenery, and luminaria to welcome those wassailers and friends. My family's Christmas mornings are always wonderful, and our Christmas Day is mellow (we all lazily read our newest books), and we continue our festive season the very next day with a kick-ass Boxing Day party.
So -- get thee behind me, Christmas angst!
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And here -- with no angst! -- is a "catch-up" batch of wintery and Christmas-y books for Advent:
A storybook called The Nativity seems pretty straightforward, and the reader might assume that it will take a reverent tone when it describes this most important of all births. And the story is absolutely told with a serious voice -- taken from the King James version of the Bible. But the illustrations by Julie Vivas are just the slightest bit kooky, so that everyone will delight in looking at the pictures. Mary's belly is really, really big; the angel Gabriel has bright red hair, shimmery wings, and big work boots. It's hilarious! I just wish, wish, wish I had been able to share this book with the urchins when they were little -- but I am happy that my sister's small boys will get to enjoy it (guess what they're getting for Christmas?!)