No small thing
Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 07:44PM

click to embiggen ... if you dare

By now you will have picked up on the fact that several squirrels are availing themselves of the food I put out for the birds.

Now, I know there are those among you who may think it imprudent to encourage squirrels to maraud about the property, filching seed from a feeder meant for another species of critter entirely, munching away at length and at will.

But we've lived in peace among the squirrel population for many years -- with a mature white oak towering over our house, and tall pines ringing the back yard, that's going to be a given -- and they don't bother me.

I realize they're rodents but I think they're cute.

So we're not going to worry unduly about squirrels in the bird feeder. We have more important fish to fry.

After all, they're small and they need to eat too. It's not a big deal.

Speaking of animal activities, Rizzo and I have been taking walks, something that has never been part of our routine. In the two years (on Monday) that Riz has been my dog, for much of that time I couldn't walk long distances.

A long distance in this case being, for example, from my door to my mailbox.

But now I can, and I've discovered once again that it's no small thing to be able to put your dog's harness and leash on him, and stroll down the street in fine weather.

We are enjoying it big time.

Speaking of pet dogs, Rambo stayed with us for Christmas week, as Andrew and Brittany were out of town to be with her family.

He was a delight as usual. You know (because I've told you) that he's the most docile, agreeable dog in all the world. He'd sit there with lights around his neck until next Christmas if I asked him to.

But toward the end of his time with us, it was obvious (to me at least) that Ramby was pining for Andrew and Brittany and especially for Maverick. You could see it in his big brown eyes.

He has grown accustomed to having Mav as a buddy and I do believe he was ready to resume the playful camaraderie they enjoy on a daily basis.

It's no small thing to have a friend you can count on.

Speaking of friends, it's nice to see my daughters enjoying the company and companionship of their new sister-in-law, who's a doll. An itsy bitsy one.

And if we're on the subject of little dolls, Brittany decorated her new house so adorably for Christmas.

If there was a theme, it was of the cabin-in-the-woods variety. Her nine-foot flocked Christmas tree as well as her table decorations included ornaments that reflected her love of snow in general -- snowmen in particular -- and of rustic scenes, and of nature.

There was a diminutive reindeer here ...

... a tiny twinkling truck there ...

... and a wee sweater-hatted gnome to remind them of the wonderful trip they took to Sweden and Norway in the fall.

On December twenty-first, the smallest (as in shortest) day of the year, we all gathered at Andrew and Brittany's to celebrate both our Melly's birthday, and part of Christmas (the part that included those who would not be here with us on the day).

In the category of grandchildren, Melanie, although now fourteen years old, weighs less and wears smaller clothes than her sister, Allissa, who is three-plus years younger.

We tell her it's all right to be little bitty. Butterflies are tiny too but they're no small wonder, which is why they're continually marvelled at by all who see them.

Our only grandson (we call him Little Andrew) gave an impish grin during the festivities, when Allissa opened a gift that came equipped with a lock and remarked it was a good thing, because it would keep her little bother brother out of it.

Brothers can be big inconveniences until you need one to rescue you.

Our littlest grandbaby, Dagny, lives here in Columbia, so we get to see her all the time.

On the Sunday before Christmas, she came home with TG and me for the afternoon, between church services.

I told her she'd have to open a present, because she needed to change out of her church clothes. She loved this little play dress I found for her in an online boutique called Coco + Carmen.

Her Unicorn Academy jacket stays here because I keep my house cool, and I don't want her to be chilly in case she's wearing short sleeves.

Before we left to go back to church, after she'd gotten re-dressed in her Christmas-Sunday finery, Dagny posed by the Christmas tree.

She held out the tulle layer of her skirt because wearing a pretty party dress is a big thing to a little girl.

And so is cake.

Last Sunday, on New Year's Eve eve, Dag came home with us again. This time, she planned for it and brought her suitcase with a change of clothes.

On the way home, we stopped at a new store near our house: Nothing Bundt Cakes.

We had received a card in the mail for a complimentary "bundtlet" and Dagny is holding it to show you how luscious it looks with its abundance of cream cheese icing.

The ladies at the bakery gave her the pink balloon too, which was a big hit.

Later she lay down for an afternoon nap in my bed (not having brought along the dalmatian-themed sleeping bag Brittany and Andrew gave her for Christmas) and did not go to sleep.

Instead, we could hear her little voice on and off for two hours, singing and talking to herself on the cusp of a new year, the year in which she will turn five years old.

It was sweet.

Speaking of sweet, Brittany brought back for me from Florida a darling tiny bulbous jar of orange coconut marmalade (words have not been invented that could accurately convey my adoration of orange marmalade) -- which, though a small gesture, was no less a beautiful one, and made me so happy.

TG and I both enjoyed the luscious treat on English muffins -- the kind with little nooks and crannies to hold the butter (and the marmalade) the very next morning, as part of our New Year's Eve celebration.

So we embark together on a new year, which seems young and small now, but which grows larger and older every day. Join me in making the most of every single minute.

And that is all for now.


Happy Thursday

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