Things are crackin' late into the night at Castle in the Air as the staff and I put the finishing touches on our three-day New Year's inventory and transformation of the store. In the past few days we've taken down hundreds of glass ornaments from the tree and packed them carefully away, counted every item in the store, and made new displays in the front window and throughout the shop.
With nine people, one beagle, and countless gnomes trying to stay on top of the piles of boxes, packing tissue, and products, it's been quite a zoo down here. But it's not the only amazing zoo I've seen this week. On Sunday, my friend Laurey and I and our families were invited to visit the miniature menagerie built by our friends Joe and Ronna in Benicia, a bayside town about a half-hour drive from Berkeley. Ronna's mother first put together her collection of creatures as a Christmas celebration in the 1930s. Ronna and her sisters have been sharing the tradition since then, each taking a turn putting the zoo together during the Christmas season.
New animals are added every year, and there's so much joy in seeing how the recent acquisitions blend with the antique animals. What a zoo it is!
I took this picture of the zoo using a special 3D iPhone application that Joe shared with us.
If you look at the vertical line in the center of the above photo and then focus your eyes beyond the surface of your monitor screen, you might be able to see the two halves of the picture come together and reveal the scene in all its three-dimensional glory!
After enjoying our trip to the zoo, we adjourned to the kitchen for another Christmas tradition -- feasting our eyes on Laurey's amazing gingerbread cookies.
It wasn't long before our appetites got the better of us. Ronna's and zoo will return next year (albeit at her sister's house), but this year's batch of Laurey's wonderful cookies live on only in our imaginations!