Billy here. With Arctic air blasting most of the States, we are reminded that winter happens every year and it is upon us again! It’s time for us to bake bread, cook soup, drink pots of coffee all day long, make art projects and dig into the stacks of books we’ve been collecting through the year. Time to celebrate your local library! I love the Multnomah County Library. So much in fact, that it could the best part of being here in Portland for me besides my loved ones.
I am designing a new astronomy calendar for next year and, to help it along, taking some classes at the Independent Press Resource Center, which may contain the largest zine library in the world. The winter months for me are the time to study, reflect and be aware of the symmetry of the big picture. These are also the months when the night sky is clear and crisp. Orion and the Pleiades are rising in the East. The Andromeda Galaxy is overhead. It may be time for a winter camping astronomy trip! Here is a sneak preview of the new design for the calendar:
Speaking of which, here is a fantastic snap shot of the inner solar system as imaged by Solar System Scope, a truly delightful planetarium program on the internet. Also, you can follow the Rosetta spacecraft as it made it’s way to the Comet 67P with a little movie and a timeline on the bottom. If you click on the magnifying glass on the left once you are running the program, click on Comets, then Comet 67P and then the little “Land on a Comet” box will appear. The video is not to scale, but it’s pretty fun.
While you are reading this we are making our way across the West once more to visit our old friends in New Mexico and get the rest of our music equipment to take back to Portland with us. We are both missing playing music a lot and are excited about getting the instruments set up in our next project: the art and music studio next to our cabin.
Next week we will be on the road and feasting with our friends, so we won’t be posting on our blog, but check the blog on December 3rd for our 50th blog post all about our winter road trip. Thanks for reading and enjoy your time with your loved ones this Thanksgiving!
I want to give thanks for all the people and all the love in our lives. This year has been full of a lot of changes and beautiful reminders to be here now. Celebrating a lifetime commitment of love with Spence. Seeing my Gramma go back into the earth. There is nothing permanent in our lives ever, not even our lives. Every day we renew our commitment to be present with each other. Every day there is no certainty. What we have is this moment. And I am grateful each and every minute to be here, softening and opening to it.
We must meet ourselves time and time again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.
– C. G. Jung
For further reading, here are some blogs of a few of my favorite living authors:
and just for fun, a piece by Jeff Sharlet, associate professor of creative nonfiction at Dartmouth College:
Spence here: All week I have been readying, since we hatched the plan to go back to New Mexico to get our music gear and a few other odds and ends. Every other day since we left finds us saying, “I wonder where that fill-in-the-blank thing went; oh I left it in New Mexico”. Anyway, we’ll be on our way soon to try to remedy this a bit. Normally, as I always tell people, I don’t like to travel in the winter. Driving or flying with the possibilities of storms always gives me anxiety. We have some time built in, however, if we have to stop or re-route. We also have the utmost love and support of family and friends awaiting us on both ends. This is all we need.
Since Billy has been geeking out on his astronomy calendar and recent amazing books (like The Songlines, by Bruce Chatwin, which he is letting me borrow), I have been delving into the wonderful wide world of backpacking gear! Oh the possibilities, the adventures, the gadgetry, and the endless YouTube videos! Sadly, I must retire my little red and tan tent. Billy and I realized after our last Pacific Northwest camping adventure, the material itself has started to fail in the rain. After 15, maybe 20 some odd years of heavy use, I am finally retiring it. Here’s a photo one of my fondest trips with my Eurkea two-person tent, along the Pacific Coast Trail in 2011.
On the up shot, we just purchased an REI tent online that has been discontinued–the Taj 3, at an amazingly low price. It weighs the same as the little Eureka, but is actually made for 3 people, so Billy and I will be living it up with extra room for wet gear or shoes or backpacks or all of the above.
We also bought some sweet sleeping pads. We’ll try them out soon, camping in the cold mountains of Utah on our way south. I am also looking at a new backpack, although, that purchase will be later in the future! (Let me know what you think of the Patagonia Ascensionist 45L. It is a small climbing pack, but I have read reviews which could make it good for all-around backpacking. I really appreciate the shape and simplicity.)
For now I am thankful to be in the presence of so many friends, share in some amazing food and see even more of the country. I miss the people all over the globe who I can’t be with, while celebrating with the people I can. I find the holiday/yule time to be that way. Next up at home, a remodeled artist-in-residence cabin, home-brew, my latest sewing project (“Blue-Man-Suit”) and our punk/experimental music project. Have a great couple of weeks hibernating and check out these fun, unique blogs at your leisure.