Tag Archives: Christmas

February: Storytelling

I am a storyteller.

I suppose that’s part of why I started this blog, to share the stories of my life, of the things that happen to me, and of the interesting happenings that occur when you’re not paying attention. I tell stories all the time – to friends and family, in small talk, to co-workers and acquaintances. Essentially everything I say is a story; it’s a side effect of being an introvert, I think, that small talk does not come easily, so everything I say is part of a bigger story, or an experience I’ve had. But stories are hard, and take time to develop, and can’t be jotted down in a few spare minutes here and there. They are molded and shaped and whittled until they can be repeated and passed on and shared.

This past Christmas I found myself telling a story. I was frantically finishing the gifts for my nieces and nephews while the rest of the family played board games. Sewing and cutting and gluing at my own little table in the corner of the kitchen, here come two little heads, up from the back room where they were supposed to be “watching a movie or falling asleep.” My niece and nephew, three-year-old twins, certainly didn’t want to be left out of the merriment upstairs.

Now, I so throughly dislike surprises that the fact that the twins had effectively spoiled their Christmas surprise did not bother me in the least. But having three-year-old twins at a table with scissors and glue and needles and thread, that was a trick. So I told them a story.

Outdoor Chapel

A real story, one that has been passed down, that I learned as a child. A story from summer camp in the Adirondack mountains. When the mountain thunderstorms stymied our evening outdoor games, we would trek back to our cabins, gather pillows and stuffed animals and blankets, and hunker down on the chapel floor, fire crackling, as staff and counselors wove tales of “a long, long time ago” and “far, far away.”

Chapel at Night

I loved these stories, but more than that, I loved the story telling. That you could stand in front of a rapt audience of 10-year-olds, repeating tales that required nothing but your words, your actions, and their imagination. Especially now, in a landscape saturated with technology and media, to capture attention with the spoken word, to weave a tale, to spark the imagination – what a wonderful thing.

The story I told my niece and nephew was by far my favorite. It’s a story of the innocence of childhood, of treating things simply and not over-thinking. It is about a very large bubble that visits a kingdom and traps the king inside. All the knights in the kingdom can’t free the king, but the day is saved by a little child. It was told by the great storyteller Jay O’Callahan on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood many years ago. And though I never saw that episode, I’ve heard the story many times and it has stuck with me.

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This little adventure reminded me how much I love storytelling. It reminded me about the power of the spoken tale, the beauty of imagining a story for yourself, and the immediacy of telling a story. The story is told once, then it drifts off into time, perhaps to be told again and again, but never again to be exactly the same.

So I started searching for other stories. I’m not sure I’m ready to craft my own, but perhaps I will add to my repertoire – so that the next time little not-sleepy heads pop over the side of my work table, I can take them to a new kingdom – one I haven’t told them about yet. And the stories can go on.

Most of the photos in this post are of the camp that is inextricably linked to stories in my mind. And the Christmas cacti were successful, despite their being revealed before their time.

Most of the photos in this post are of the camp that is inextricably linked to these stories in my mind. And the Christmas cacti were successful, despite their being revealed before their time.

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Musings on Mid-November

Sunset

A gorgeous Tucson sunset

To read my blog you would think I’ve spent the whole month cooking and drinking coffee! Which is partially true. Cooking takes a ridiculous amount of time, and just when I’ve finished cleaning up from lunch, it’s time to start on dinner. Now I remember why we went out all the time in Cincinnati, and why I like leftovers so much.

But there have been other things. We’re still unpacking. We did such a terrible and quick job of it when we moved into our house, we decided that we’d do it right this time. Which is kind of funny, considering we are most likely moving again in a few months. I’ve been going through boxes that we’ve carried around for years, Nate since leaving for college, me since, well, forever. It’s taking a long time.

Blooming

Flowers blooming on the bush in front of our apartment.

For a while we were going on weekly adventures. Sunday afternoons were dedicated to exploring our new city. Then we tried to go to the zoo for about three weeks in a row. When it never happened, I think we gave up on our Sunday adventures. Now we lounge around the house. I often think that’s more fun than adventuring.

Daisy

We had a nice thanksgiving, despite being so far from our families. I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as my families “best” holiday. We have a strict schedule that we adhere to, starting with the Turkey Trot in the morning (I do not partake in that part) to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to the dog show, to the movie, to the evening spent in front of the fire place. The food is always the same, and if ONE THING is forgotten, someone will notice. I don’t think I have ever missed Thanksgiving with my family. I think it’s the only holiday that was left that I hadn’t missed. And then we couldn’t get the parade on the TV (we don’t get NBC at our apartment, WHAT?) and then I had a meltdown, and then I was fine. We went to Cracker Barrel with some friends for dinner, then back to their house for pie and board games. I professed my hatred of board games, and then played them happily. It was fun.

Turning Leaves

I found some turning leaves while walking to church. Unfortunately I haven’t found any more.

I’m still unemployed. It’s a weird space, being unemployed on purpose. I’m not a housewife, this is not what I want to be doing, but I did choose to leave my job knowing that there wasn’t one waiting for me here. So I stick with “not working.” I send out the occasional resume, have the occasional interview, don’t get the occasional job. I’m glad for the people who have said “Contact So-and-So, you can use my name.” It makes it so much easier. But what I hear most often is how firms are closing or struggling or still laying people off.

Pears

I’m excited for the holidays. I love this time of year – there’s something magic that happens from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. We’ve been listening to Christmas music in the car, even though it still hits 80. There are no spruce trees here, no bare branches, no dark skies. It certainly doesn’t feel like the holidays. We’re not getting a Christmas tree this year, we didn’t get one last year, and I asked Nate the other day if he thought we would get one while we lived here. He said no, and I’m inclined to believe him. Somehow it feels like a lie, to truck in a tree from somewhere else, decorate it with “snow” and pretend nothing ever changes. We’ll come up with our own new traditions, it will just take some time.

Fire Truck

Found a car show with a fire truck while on our run

We sold our house. Which is wonderful and kind of amazing, but I was sad to see it go. I’m glad we won’t be taking care of it over the winter. We owned it for almost exactly 11 months. Now we start the process all over again. This time will be much different; no super-easy only-went-to-see-one-house hunt for us this time! We’ve already been to 10 or so (I’ve lost count) and by the time we start looking again, it will probably be a whole new crop of houses. We have a pretty good idea of what we want, but I’m not so sure that house exists.

Flowers

Pretty flowers – the purple leaves are dying the water purple

Well this has turned into approximately a novel. See, there are things going on! Just not super-exciting photo-worthy things. But I have some stored up – maybe next week.

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Happy Monday and Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a wonderful and thankful Thanksgiving!  I certainly did.  I continued many Thanksgiving traditions, including not running the Turkey Trot, sleeping in, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then the National Dog Show, and not buying a darn thing all weekend.  Especially on Friday.  No shopping allowed on Friday.

But now it is Christmas music time!  I have strict rules to wait until after Thanksgiving to break out the Christmas music, but I can assure you it is playing now!  Here’s one of my favorites!  I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this a million times, but if not, it is a gem!

I have a soft spot in my heart for male a capella groups, especially ones with a sense of humor and some fun choreography (although you’ll have to check out some other videos to witness that)!  So with that, I give you, Straight No Chaser!

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