Wednesday, January 1, 2020

This is ...

Word(s) of the Year:Þetta Reddast (thet-ta red-ust)

It’ll all work out in the end.
 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

May Our Best Day of 2019, Be Our Worst Day of 2020


For quite a while now, when the calendar pages dwindle to its last few leaves, I've used the quiet of the season to choose a Word of the Year to serve as my personal motto throughout the upcoming year ... When things get hectic, or I feel I've been pulled off course, I can look back at the word I chose (or the one that chose me) and remember how I intended to navigate the months, how I wanted to feel, and in what ways I wanted to move through life.  The year of our Lord, two-thousand and nineteen was my Year of YES, which looked an awful lot like a year of NO. I guess that's what "they" mean by: Saying no to others is oftentimes saying yes to yourself.  It wasn't really a me versus them sort of thing, though, it was more about accepting what is for any given moment, and not forcing myself to do anything, or be anyone, or go anywhere that didn't feel right, or healthy.  If I was sick, I allowed myself to be sick.  If too many opportunities (or those without enough notice) came my way, I declined them.  I had no desire to force myself to perform, or say yes to everything for the sake of saying yes.  I wasn't interested in pushing my body to do more than it could handle, and likewise I wasn't going to stress myself out by over-committing to projects that would've had countless (unnecessary) deadlines dangling over my head...

As I sat on the floor in front of the fireplace coming up with my word last December, I envisioned my Year of YES going a bit differently, but I am more than comfortable closing out the decade with this vibe. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Let Me Be Frank

Francis Hamilton Spon age 70
This time of year often finds me casually browsing the ol' family tree.  As the year winds down, and time seems to move a little more slowly it's nice to catch up with some familiar (and not so familiar) faces.  Above, is a photograph from 1900 taken at the Bushnell studio in North Yakima, Washington of a 70 year old Francis Hamilton Spon, or Frank H. Spon as he's typically identified.  When I bought the photograph from a book dealer out of California, Barry Cassidy Rare Books, it was delivered with a little sheet attached that, at some point, had been inconveniently trimmed, but appears to be a document someone typed up with Frank's census information that we can cross check with his life story, and some official documents that record his whereabouts.  It's important to remember we are talking about the Wild West at this point, and while I'm not as familiar as I should be with territorial record-keeping for this time frame, there was a solid attempt to keep track of the population, however I am aware of fires that wiped out a lot of history, and records for this period, so we just kind of have to be happy with what we get.  Parentheses below are my own:
(1863) Yakima Co, WT. Spon, Francis H. 34 NY, carpenter
(1872) Yakima Co, WA Spon, Francis H. 43 NY, farmer, wife Minerva J. (Chambers?), dau. Minerva A. 4 WT; dau. Adelia M. 3 WT; son Frank J. 1 WT.
(1878) Yakima Co, WT, Spon, Frank 49 NY stockman, M.J. fem., 27 WT; W.
Max 8 WT; Frank 6 WT; Thomas 3 WT.
(1880) Yakima Co, WT, Spon, F.H. 51 NY; F.J. 28 WT; M.A. 12 WT; A.M. 10...; ...k 8 WT; Fanny 5 WT.
(1900) Ahtanum, Yakima Co, WA, Spon Frank H. 70, b. Dec 1829 NY, ... Germany, farmer, divorced.
(1910) Ahtanum, Yakima Co, WA, Spon Frank H. 81 NY, retired
("Kamia)kin, the Last Hero of the Yakimas", By A.J. Splawn, page 267;

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Burn Brightly


Be someone's candle in the window; light their path and show them the way home.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Stille Nacht


DEADLINE EXTENDED!!!
Join Pat's Twitch channel tomorrow (December 18, 2019) starting at 12 PM CST for the FOURTEEN HOUR live-stream after-party event where donations will continue to be accepted until Midnight PST.  Read more about the mayhem here, and I hope to see you all there!

*** 

I've had many silent nights to ponder the state of the world lately, and feel that we need to be lending a helping hand to one another more now than we've been willing to acknowledge in recent years.  Five years in, I've taken a few moments each Winter to hype Pat Rothfuss' Worldbuilders charity, and this year is no different.  We're currently barreling down the tracks to the final day of this fundraiser on behalf of Heifer International, and even though (in the past) the charity has almost always been extended, I would not take my chances waiting for that announcement.  If you would like the opportunity to win prizes in the lottery, or bid on something you fancy in one of the auctions, or help a team meet their stretch goals, now is the time to get your donations in.  "But, isn't this the season of giving - why are we talking about all the things we could be getting??" You may be asking ... Yes!  This is the season of giving, but Geekerati, geek-centric, and geek-adjacent companies from around the world have come together and donated tangible items in the form of books, games, experiences (think, Caribbean cruises / writing mentorships), art, apparel, accessories, trinkets and keepsakes, and one very special book that keeps being donated back to the charity, not because we're all cynical and believe people won't help other folks from the goodness of their hearts, but to make it more fun.  Why aren't we trying to make more things in life fun, is the more appropriate question, I think.  If you'd like to join in, every $10 gets you one entry into the lottery, and a warm and fuzzy feeling to carry with you throughout the new year!

If you're curious about my previous posts on the topic, you can read them here, here, here, here, and here.  And as always, if you're strapped for cash or too young to participate, please do not underestimate the value of spreading the word, your voice can make a strong impact, so don't be afraid to make some noise!  Also, this charity is open to folks worldwide, so if you're worried that donations made from outside of the country won't go through, they will, and you are eligible to win prizes as well.

Wherever you are, take care of each other out there!
xoxo

Sunday, December 15, 2019

I See Your True Colors

Fall / Winter 2019 - 2020


"As a form of cultural expression, fashion always reflects the deepest concerns of society.  But unlike literature, music or art, fashion communicates indirectly -- employing a language and a logic of its own.  Fashion's power, to capture the present and even to predict the future, is only revealed with the passage of time."

-Lourdes M. Font, Ph.D.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid


If you see a spider on Halloween night, it means that the spirit of a dead loved one is watching over you.
-Medieval Superstition

Monday, October 14, 2019

Fathoms

Earlier in the year, this piece was published on J.G. Lewis' website: Mythos and Marginalia during his Where We Are project. Fall has always been a time of renewal for me, so it feels fitting to share it once more.  Enjoy!
Photograph Courtesy of J.G. Lewis
A fresh, new year is finally upon us!  I know a lot of us have spent the dwindling days of the previous year ruminating on our lives and loves, and for some, even love-lives; we take stock of where we are, and look ahead with hopeful eyes—Hopeful that this year will be better than the last, hopeful that we've learned the lessons we were supposed to learn, and hopeful that we'll be strong enough to face whatever comes.  It's a time for intentions, and a time to let our day-dreaming hearts run wild across three hundred sixty-five empty spaces longing for the color of life to be splashed across them.  But more than organizing the year ahead, and making resolutions we'll break by mid-January, it's the perfect time to recognize that where we are at any given moment, isn't actually a place that we are forced to stay.

The truth about nature is that it's much more fluid than we're often conditioned to believe, and as disconnected as we may think we've become, we can't ever truly be apart from it, therefore our lives, our understanding, how we relate to ourselves and one another, and all things human are also a lot less rigid than we have convinced ourselves that it all is.  And so it is, we're never absolutely stuck anywhere.  I don't mean physically ... Of course, there can be circumstances in the material world beyond our control that limit the action some people would prefer to take, and it reeks of ableism to pretend otherwise.  No, I'm talking stuck in one attitude, stuck in one's thoughts, stuck in unhealthy relationships, stuck at a soul-crushing job, stuck with a cramped perspective, that kind of stuck, the one that doesn't always necessarily depend on a person's geography.  A lot of these things can feel pretty permanent at one time or another, and frankly, we're met with enough well-intended adages, and mixed messages that make it seem that way, but it doesn't have to be so.  And just like in nature, a little nudge can improve your immediate circumstances significantly.  Rainstorms are natural, but you don't have to stand in them getting drenched when there's a massive tree to duck under, or a welcoming cave ready to shelter you.  Those options are both "natural" as well, but it takes a little bit of work (albeit, minimal effort) to connect the dots, consider the benefits, and act on it.  There is nothing enlightened about sitting around waiting for divine intervention to fix things that we are more than capable of handling on our own, yet we let ourselves get so insecure about the decisions we make, we allow ourselves to lose touch with our true essence, and can easily find ourselves trudging along in these unfulfilling, shallow existences so completely preoccupied with the wrong things that we're oftentimes clueless as to how we even got here in the first place.  What's especially sad is that, even though it's conceivably wholly temporary, this lack of depth pervades every aspect of our lives.

Matt Kahn tells us, “Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they've met themselves.”  That's how folks are meeting you, that's how you're meeting them, and it's how all of us are showing up and greeting the world.  It's all a choice, however, we can decide at any moment if we're splashing around in the paddling pool, to take a lesson, get stronger, and move to the deep end.  Perhaps you slide in as effortlessly glamorous as Esther Williams, but if you don't, there's no shame in needing a life vest, water wings, goggles, or a nose plug, and it's not important if you arrive flailing, and sputtering, the point is that you're willing to do the work.  You may, indeed, lose touch with those who prefer stomping aimlessly through mud puddles, but you'll find yourself swimming toward the person you're meant to be, engulfed in purpose, and creating ripples that affect everyone around you.