Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wild Geese

Crescent Moon and Wild Geese 
Utagawa Hiroshige
Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting 
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver 
Wild Geese 
Maxfirle Parrish

Friday, December 16, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, we went to Christkindlmarket Chicago.  It's a little bit of Gemany right downtown at Daly Plaza.

"Inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. Chicago's largest open-air Christmas festival was first held on Pioneer Court in 1996. By special invitation of Mayor Richard M. Daley, Christkindlmarket Chicago moved to Daley Plaza in 1997 and has become a stable event on the plaza ever since. Together with the support of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events (MOSE), Christkindlmarket Chicago has grown to become one of the most popular winter attractions in the heart of the city."

I had long thought that Christmas would be a wonderful time to visit Germany.  When I had the opportunity to visit at Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, we had to go the the Christmas markets.  The Christkindlmarket Chicago conjures up memories of this visit.

Christkindlmarket Chicago Chicago offers many of the same things you would find in Germany like  ornaments that are hand-blown and painted, classic German products like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, and beer steins.  We really liked the ornaments.  There was a whole store full of glass ornaments:

Lucky Piggies
Bathtime Duckies
Shiny Pink Booties
Berlin Medallions 
Sweet Mushroom Fairies

Snacks at the market

You can warm up with some nice soup or potato pancakes, or a bratwurst.  Traditional Gluehwein, a  German holiday market hot spiced wine comes in a commemorative mug shaped like a boot!
So, if you want to pretend you are in Germany at Christmastime for a couple of hours, head to Christkindlmarket Chicago!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause

Virginia O'Hanlon
This story starts in 1897 when Virginia O'Hanlon wrote to the editor of The Sun asking to clear up the controversy of the existence of Santa Clause.
They wrote back to assure that "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist."
This year Macy's windows in Chicago have taken this story as a basis for their Christmas display windows with a "Wish Factory" theme.
They are full of gears and sprockets in what's being called a "Steam Punk" style.  I was reminded of the great Clocks on the corners of the store.  The displays rotate like the inside of a timepiece.

The gears and sprockets are chock full of Christmas goodies:

The production of these windows is a huge job. A team of 60 painters, welders, engineers, costume makers, carpenters, and visual artists produced, created. and installed the windows.  It took eight months of work.
The detail and fanciful quality is delightful!

If you're in Chicago, check it out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

~ Langston Hughes