Our Weird Little Christmas

One of the great things about living in a state that gets a lot of snow is that your plans change. It's not a big deal, it happens, you just have to make adjustments. Non Birding Bill got off work last Friday and we thought we would stop out at Mr. Neil's on Saturday, head home Sunday, do our Christmas Eve rituals on Monday, and celebrate Christmas Tuesday. Well, dusty snow and strong winds arrived which made visibility poor and driving unsafe so we ended up staying at Mr. Neil's until Christmas eve. We brought Cinnamon with us just in case we did get stuck at the house and it was a good thing. We can leave our cockatiel alone with a larder of food, he seems to know how to ear sensibly. Cinnamon will just vacuum up whatever is set in front of her and cannot be left alone. She was having a great time in the carpeted guest room at Mr. Neil's. Each morning she woke us up with all her popcorn impressions (most rabbit owners call this binkies, but I just can't).

I tried digiscoping outside, but the weather was just too cold and the wind too strong that my rechargeable batteries barely lasted five minutes in my camera. So, I tried rearranging feeders to get photos from the kitchen window and the photos didn't turn out half bad like this one of a red-breasted nuthatch on the mixed nut feeder. The birds activity was as intense during the storm, but the next morning when the wind had subsided, the birds were out in full force.

I'm still seeing some of the birds we banded last fall. Check out the chickadee perched on the bittersweet on the right--it has a little silver band on its foot. W00t! Christmas Eve morning was just about as perfect as it could get. Standing at the window in my pajamas taking photos of birds in perfect light, sipping a warm cup of coffee, trading barbs with Non Birding Bill, while periodically, Mr. Neil would come in and say something inaccurate about birds.

It seemed that every bird that showed up to the stump just looked perfect and cute. How could they not with the snow, the pine branches and bittersweet berries.

Then the crows crashed the party. It looks like the crow on the left had a rough night or at least is the low perching guy at the nightly crow roost--note the poop on its left wing. That's going to be fun to preen out later on!

Chirstmas Eve, we headed back to the Twin Cities. We picked up a few last minute items for our dinner the next day and then we headed out to our tradition of watching the last minute shoppers at the Mall of America. I always get a kick out of the restaurant Tucci Benucch, it has "patio seating" which means you can have a cafe table out in the hallways of the mall to watch traffic. We stationed ourselves, had a light lunch and commenced to people watching. We did run into some friends at the MOA and I was going to post the photos, but then realized I may get them in trouble for shopping last minute and decided against it.

We stopped at Urban Outfitters to see if they had Disapproving Rabbits and we found it there. It was very exciting to see our book at your one stop pop culture shop. We also stopped at Barnes and Noble, and they were sold out. W00t! The airport is on our way home and we took a quick drive on Cargo Road to see if we could see the snowy owl. We did, and we almost missed it. It was perched WAY up high on some type of metal tower--I have no idea what it's used for, but I never think of looking for those birds so high up since they come from the tundra and the snowies are used to low terrain, but it was cool way to wind our day.

On Christmas day we got the beautiful snow that you would see in Hollywood movies. It's still snowing this morning. It was a great day. One of the highlights was getting the goshawk hat that I blogged about (it's even pretties in real life than in the photo) and my mother-in-law made me a squirrel calendar--all with photos she took herself squirrels in her yard. She was very proud and said with a maniacal giggle, "I know how much you love those squirrels!"

We had our friend Ari over who is a local comedian and is Jewish. NBB and Ari have such a similar sense of humor and interests, they could be brothers. They were in the middle of conversation when one of them mentioned the Snoopy Snow Cone machine and without missing a beat, both started singing the song from the commercial as if well rehearsed though neither had probably sang it aloud since 1983. At one point Ari and NBB started writing a Hanukkah special that they could perform and as Christmas music played in the background and I looked out the window watching the fluffy snow while sipping cocoa, I realized that this was one of our weirder Christmases...I was loving every minute of it. Later, when the sun set, NBB and I took a stroll around our neighborhood in the dark. Traffic was gone, the snow was still falling and collecting around everyone's outdoor lights. The muted glow of the lights and the soft sound of snow kind of made me feel like we were the last people on the planet and it was magical. I felt grateful for everything that we have and have experienced in this life and look forward to whatever is coming on the horizon.

And now Minneapolis has declared yet another Snow Emergency and we need to go move our car. More later.