Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcome To ZOLO

I wrote a New Year’s card to a friend recently and when he stopped by the booth he said, “So what’s Zolo?”

“Zolo? I dunno, what’s a Zolo?” I asked, thinking this was a lead-in to a joke.

“I have no idea, Kid, it’s something you wrote about in your note.”

We argued back and forth good-naturedly, me telling him that I had no idea what Zolo was, therefore I couldn’t have written about it and he insisting that he had the letter, and therefore the proof, at home.”

“Well, I guess you better go get it,” I teased him, knowing good and well I didn’t know nothing about no Zolo.

The next day, he reappeared looking a little sheepish. “Girl, I am so embarrassed to tell you this, but when I looked at your letter again I realized my mistake. I read your date of next year, 20l0 as zolo. Your 2 kinda looked like a ‘z’ and the1 a lower-case ‘l.’ I even showed it to my neighbor and asked her what it looked like to her and she told me ‘2010.’”

We both stood there at the booth laughing. After nearly a decade of living in the 21st century, a universal agreement has yet to be made about what to call the first years of the double aughts and yet just days before the new millennium turns 10, a handwriting blip and a pair of bi-focals provides a fun name for the impending New Year. ZOLO.

Christmas has come and gone and preparations are now underway for the big calendar change.

As the planet swiftly approaches another birthday, we decided to post some of our favorite photos taken in 2009. When we look at them, we are seeing them in their enlarged capacity, yet when you view them through this format, unless you click on each one, you will be seeing them in their miniature capacity. To return to the blog after you’ve taken a moment to enlarge, simply click on the back arrow and voila! here you are again.

For us personally, 2009 has been one of those interesting years that has grown on us. It was a difficult year to get to know at first, not nearly as open and friendly as 2008, but once I accepted that it was a new year and therefore a different personality, I began to accept it for who it was and it began to reveal its beauty.

Our biggest excitement for 2009 was traveling to Japan, finally investing in some real cameras, and making a decision about our jewelry, but that last part might be a better topic for next week.

There’s been some personal growth, some painful losses (I guess those two are not mutually exclusive) and some peaceful, perfect moments in between.

We invoke the possibility that we all have a lovely, healthy, prosperous and safe New Year.

Welcome to Z0L0!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Still at the Market

It’s called The Day After Tomorrow. Doesn’t matter what time of year, the code word for Holiday Market is The Day After Tomorrow. That’s because the time span in between the Saturday Market moving from the Park blocks to inside the fairground feels like it gets shorter every year. In fact, during load-in, the vendors all look around and comment to each other, weren’t we just here? Hence, even in June, the Holiday Market feels like it’s The Day After Tomorrow.

Every year, it all starts very early on a day in November (photo #1). Three hundred and twelve vendors drag in their booth parts and turn the exhibition hall into 37,000 square feet of magic (photo #2).

But before we can construct our mini store fronts in the village, Kimmmm must do the math, dividing 37,000 square feet into 312 eight-feet wide by eight-feet deep spaces and marking each one with a number on masking tape on the floor. I look forward each load-in day to see what sweet little message she leaves on mine (photo #3). Can’t read it? Well, simply double-click on any photo to enlarge and then hit the back button to return to the blog.

And speaking of Kimmm, I snapped photo #4 of her. Turns out the photo she was taking was of me in a mirror and I had no idea in that moment. Haven’t seen it yet, but it would be a perfect fit here.

Kimmm’s husband, Dean Still, is featured this week in The New Yorker magazine dated December 21 and 28, 2009. It starts on page 84 and is titled Hearth Surgery - the quest for a stove that can save the world written by Burkhard Bilger. It’s about the wonderful work the Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove is doing worldwide. I mentioned Aprovecho in an earlier entry this summer when Dean and Kimmmm went to London to receive the Ashden Award from Prince Charles.

Transitioning from Dean and his philanthropic work back to the Market, it may not be the turf war of the Jets and the Sharks, but in our version of Westside Story, we have the Fridas running amok in the main auditorium and the Barbies ruling Holiday Hall (Photos 6-9).

I’m sure you’re getting the impression we’re all flying our freak flags just a little, but the Holiday Market is a fantastic place to people watch (if you’ve been enlarging, you’ll notice that the eyeball is on someone’s coat) and see local color, such as our resident Dr. Seussian character (photo #12). You can read the joy on these faces, whether it’s on a baby reaching for a rainbow, a half-pint Buccaneer giving me a hearty “aaaargh,” or a grown-up elf.

The Holiday Market sells natural hemp products, woven clothing, handmade soaps, candles and chocolates, turned wood, whimsical stamp jewelry and many, many other crafted items under one roof with a delectable food court and local musicians.

While all beliefs are welcome, it looks like we have testifying that He’s got the Whole World in His Hands.

By the end of Christmas Eve, I might be a little tired, but not too exhausted to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Much love.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


If you’re a fan of the Roman calendar, then December is considered the tenth month. Decem in Latin means ten and I’m quite confident the suffix –ber stands for the chill of winter. Decembrrrrrrr. However, if you’re more familiar with the Gregorian method, then December is the 12th and concluding month of the year.

December’s flower is - can you guess – Holly! Deck the Halls and all that mess. When I was a wee lass, a bully in school was named Molly. It soothed me to sing, “Deck the halls with bits of Molly, fa la la la la, la la la la.” However, my mother did not approve of my lyrical changes and pointed out the possibility she was bullied at home to be an aggressor on the playground. Mother firmly suggested I give her a Christmas card and show compassion.

Begrudgingly I obeyed and looked through the card selection spread out on the kitchen table and grinned like the Grinch when I found the perfect one. Inside the message read, “May you have the Christmas you deserve.” Fa la and HA!

Yes, I know, I’m just full of the Christmas spirit.

Would now be a good time to insert my weekly rant about clicking on the photos to enlarge them and then clicking the back button to return to the text, or should that be placed elsewhere?

Back to December, the theme of this week’s blog. In addition to a flower, the crowning month also boasts beautiful birthstones. Yes, plural, as in zircon, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and topaz. They seem to range in color between icy and blue, appropriate shades for the darkest month.

When I think of December, I conjure up winter wonderlands, Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, nutcrackers, yulelogs, tinsel, fudge, presents, cards, hats and mittens, cocoa, warm fires, roasting chestnuts, gay apparel and men comprised of snow.

If you did enlarge, you’ll have already noticed that the snowman’s eyes are two aluminum cans (can you say “al-yu-min-ium?) and his mouth is constructed of nails. We call this one, Spitting Nails.

I think of ice and frozen things, of frost, shimmer, glitter and sparkle, and twinkling lights for the light deprived. As the earth rotates on its axis around the sun, we are spinning our way to the shortest stretch of daylight this coming Monday, the 21st. But then guess what? The days start getting longer, whoo hoo!

As I’m writing this, however, it occurs to me that all these images are relatable to those who live in the Northern Hemisphere while the earth’s tilt is most inclined away from the sun. But what about those occupying the Southern Hemisphere baking in the summer heat in Australia, India, Brazil, Thailand, Madagascar or Mozambique for example? Do they even have chimneys for Santa to get stuck in, or think of one-horsed sleighs to jingle their bells?

I’m trying to picture eating Christmas dinner as a picnic on the beach, watching Santa arrive on a surfboard, filling my stocking - hung by the hammock - with oranges and lumps of coal.

I was shocked the first time I learned that the United States was not the center of the world. Growing up, all the maps showed it that way, and I suppose some of that ethnocentricity still lingers as I celebrate the birth of a desert Child with turkey, pumpkin pie and a gift exchange.

And neighbors, speaking of pumpkins, Halloween is over!