holidays, magic

Christmas Sticker Miracle

A blonde curly-haired toddler refused to sit up in his bum bucket bus seat and squirmed away from his mother’s grip.

“Do you want to sit with Daddy?” she tried.

Daddy was next to me with an empty seat in between.

Mom sent the fussy little cherub over, red rover style. Dad pulled him up and he plopped down with bright aqua blue sneakers, kicking the air.

“Are those narwhals?” I asked excitedly, trying to make friends with the new mini monster to my right.

“Yes,” dad confirmed, “and they squeak, so we turned them off.”

“Like, electronically? Or with pressure?”

“Mostly when he jumps,” Dad said. It was not hard to imagine that this one jumped a lot.

Mom handed over a sheet of Christmas stickers and Squeaky Narwhal got to work peeling and sticking them to dad, the seat, the floor, himself, and me.

The first sticker he gave me was a small elf.  He stuck it to my work bag and looked up at me for approval.

“Oh, thank you!” I cooed. “Did you know that’s my nickname? Good job!”

He smiled and drew his fingers down around his mouth and chin, stroking an invisible beard.

“He’s saying “Santa,” his father interpreted.

“You’re Santa?” I asked, playfully.

He plucked another circle from the page and stuck it to his nose. A picture of a tiny Santa head in a red cap.  He giggled, pleased with himself.

“Smart boy!” I lavished. He played coy and giggled again. Little flirt.

I’m always amazed by how much children hear and understand, and cannot say with words, but can express in their eyes and body language, or in this case, sign language.

He proceeded to affix me with a set of snowflakes in blue, red, and green, a miniature reindeer, a candy cane, and a gingerbread man. I stuck them to the tips of my fingers and waggled them back at him.

“Hi!” he barked and we both laughed.

I peeled them off and lined them up the spine of my travel hairbrush like a Christmas Chakra, the elf at the root. Dad approved of the creative re-purpose.

His parents thanked me as I gathered my bag to leave.

“Of course,” I smiled. Hey—it was entertain and distract, or endure the screaming call of the Squeaky Narwhal, which, once heard, could be accurately described as a duck chainsaw.  I ventured that this little person, much like the narwhal, has a high-pitched biological sonar he could fire up on demand, and whether or not you turn his shoes off, he clearly doesn’t thrive in captivity, so we allow him to be his wild, sticker-covered self on the long bus ride home.

“Say bye!” mom entreated. Squeaky Narwhal stuck out his hand and waggled his fingers at me in his bum bucket and shouted “byeeee!”

It’s little bits of holiday magic like this that expand my heartspace 💗

feminism, music, nature, Vortex Music Magazine

Lenore. Portland Artists to Watch | Vortex Music Magazine

Lenore. is a dark planet with twin satellites of ethereal voices orbiting around it…Nature-inspired, dark folk songs like “Ether’s Arms” and “Dig” are sharp and shining—the glinting edge of a spade in the garden. Songs about the moon, sun, ancient trees, the seasons, and explorations of darkness and light resonate throughout this purely Pacific Northwest creation of lyrical magic and vocal alchemy.

READ the rest at the Source: Three New Records from Three Portland Artists to Watch | Vortex Music Magazine

music, previews, writing

Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower

The first time I heard The Quebe Sisters, I was standing in the woods on Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon at the Pickathon music festival. It was a private session of stripped-down songs, played in a quiet setting away from the larger stage and big crowds—and very intimate, except for the film crew and microphones jammed into the 10 by 10-foot concrete and wood pumphouse. I didn’t actually see them directly until they emerged—but what I heard instantly transported me to another time. It was the romantic and sentimental song, “Going Away Party,” by Texas songwriter Cindy Walker. The sound coming out of that little shed was so pitch-perfect and golden-toned, I thought it had been pre-recorded and auto-tune processed. It was as if the Andrews Sisters of the 1940s had emerged from the fires of time with their close harmony style and dropped down to the forest, fiddles in hand.

READ the rest at the Source: Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower

books, death, film, humor, love, Pixel & Feldspar Diaries, politics

Orange Violence and Leprechauns

After his first viewing of A Clockwork Orange on Inauguration Day J20:

Feldspar: What Now?
Pixel: Something classic, something funny
Feldspar: Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
Pixel: Try again.
Feldspar: Darby O’Gill and the Little People.
Pixel: Hmm, that’s new.
Feldspar: It has Leprechauns and Banshees and Sean Connery when he was young. Singing.
Pixel: Perfect.

gardening, holidays, nature, photography

An Amethyst Cap for the New Year

“If you don’t have a song to sing
you’re okay

you know how to get along
humming . . .”

“Waltz (Better Than Fine)” — Fiona Apple

On the last day of the year, an Anna’s Hummingbird appeared, perching gently on the edge of a cut rose bush stem. I loved the way The Cornell Lab of Ornithology described them “no larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel . . .with their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds.” Their Anna photos also use a thorny perch and float on the edge of a twig.

“Anna’s Hummingbird was originally named Ornismya anna by RenĂ© Primevère Lesson in 1829, based on specimens collected by Paolo-Émilio Botta and owned by the duke and duchess of Rivoli. Lesson regarded it as one of the most beautiful hummingbirds, on account of “the bright sparkle of a red cap of the richest amethyst…” on the male’s head, and so named it after the duchess of Rivoli, Anna de Belle MassĂ©na. Gould (1861) placed it in a new genus, Calypte, for “not only the throat, but the entire head as glitteringly resplendent as if they had been dipped in molten metal”. Calypte is greek (Кαλυπτη) for covered or hood (Holloway 2003), a reference to the male’s iridescent crown. Males turn their head from side to side as they sing, flashing the brilliant iridescence as a signal to other hummingbirds.”

I leaned against our window into the garden and took a few photos as he visited the rosebush and feeder.




film, photography, travel, weather

Fireknife

Waiting for the bus downtown in winter, a large building has a video screen with a film projected 30 feet wide. A dark field is suddenly lit by a spiraling flame. A tanned, beautiful face comes into view, green palms collar his neck, skirt his shirtless waist, and cuff his wrists. He is a fireknife dancer, twirling the machete-like nifo oti, or “tooth of death.” He brings the long flamed edge to his open mouth like a hot drink and taps it to the edge of his tongue where a brief lap of blue and orange ignites and smokes out like a bare-skinned dragon and I think, “yes, perhaps a trip to Hawaii.”

[image: Joe McNally from The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes]

holidays, interviews, music, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

White Devils and ‘Sacred Nights’: In Conversation with David Bazan

In the darkest time of the year, perhaps even, in our culture and our larger world, Bazan invites us to “admit your despair to safe people in your life this Christmas. Be a safe person for others. Feel better. Jesus Christ, you guys.” It’s an honest Christmas wish we could all find some truth and light in.

David Bazan has been remixing and remastering a lot of different things lately. His music. His workflow. His life. He’s been incorporating old songs and sensibilities into new endeavors, like releasing his first music video, embarking on a documentary about his “existential, artistic and family life,” and touring with a very unlikely holiday album collected from annual yuletide song releases, dating back to his Pedro the Lion days.

No matter the sound—from guitar strings to symphonics or synthesizer—nor the venue—whether it’s a house show or concert hall—one beautiful consistency remains in Bazan’s music: his raw, emotive vocal delivery of difficult topics, from faith to politics and all the human faults in between.

READ the rest at the Source: White Devils and ‘Sacred Nights’: In Conversation with David Bazan