Thursday, July 24, 2014

#TBT: Horses!

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Yes, it's Throwback Thursday on social media, and today at The NDN Silver Blog, we're going way back: We're exploring the role of the horse in our cultures and our art.

No, it's not an all-encompassing discussion; it's a blog post, not a dissertation. But it covers a few aspects of both culture and art that you may not have known, and it does so with some really gorgeous photos of some really cool pieces.

I am absolutely buried withs tuff today and won't be around much, if at all. But we really need all the exposure we can get. So shares via the social-media buttons — not of this post or the Facebook shares, but of the actual links to the post on the site and to Wings's main page — are crucial. And they are welcomed with much gratitude.

And in a few minutes, I'm off an running, migraine notwithstanding. I'll see everyone later today. I hope.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My sister honors her late husband every day as an activist on the cause of her life. Let's help her keep doing it.

Heather and her beloved Dan
Photo copyright Heather, 2014; all rights reserved.

I have a lot of sisters, none of them blood. It doesn't matter; in most cases, we're as close or even closer (than my own blood, anyway).

And right now, one of them is in a serious bind. She's a widow with disabling health conditions who has spent much of recent years caring for others; financially, she lives on the edge at the best of times. But now, she's alone, and she's been forced to move into an apartment even less expensive than the extremely modest one she was calling home until recently. She's far away from us, and across a national border, so we can't be there to help in person. And she's good people. Hell, she's a much better person than I will ever be.

Beyond being simply a good person — moral, ethical, mindful, compassionate — she's also a dedicated anti-torture activist. For years, this has been cause and mission, vocation and avocation for her. Her late husband, Dan, was a disabled VietNam veteran who had been tortured as a prisoner of war, and whose health had been damaged beyond repair by exposure to toxins while in-country besides. She bore witness to the war he was forced to continue to fight for the remainder of his life, a daily battle for body and mind, soul and spirit, and she was his moral, physical, mental, and spiritual support throughout. What she saw Dan face every day — what she faced with him every day — altered her forever. And now, though he has walked on, she has taken up the mantle in an even more direct way than before, becoming a fierce activist in her own right for the cause that was (and took) his life.

I'm talking, of course, about Heather, who many of you know as Chacounne.

Over the jump, read on to find out more about this wonderful woman I am proud to call kin, and exactly what it is that she needs to stay connected to the world. Less than $900 will keep her utilities connected; another $1,200 will replace her old, tired, and now-dead laptop with one that will provide the connectivity, stability, and enhancements she needs to remain linked to the outside world when she can't travel, and to continue her important anti-torture work around the world.

On Perspectives

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

That's today's topic over at The NDN Silver Blog, explored by way of one of Wings's pieces, the one shown above.

It's a lesson I always seem to need to relearn myself. After recent events, it's one I certainly needed to have put in front of me today.

As always, we very much need social-media shares, both of the post at the link above and of the main page of Wings's Web site, and we're grateful for every single share they get.

Also, please watch for the post I mentioned yesterday, for a friend of ours. It's coming up in just a few minutes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"The REAL Indian Turquoise"

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Yup. It's Tuesday. And that means Turquoise Tuesday at The NDN Silver Blog.

Come and learn a little about the stone that the dominant culture had decided is "THE REAL Indian turquoise": Morenci. Of course, turquoise from the other mines is real, too, but this one is considered the classic, the icon, the archetype.

The post is here. There's lots of information packed in there, including a humorous story about some copper miners. Take a look around, see what you think, and of course, if you like it, please use the social-media buttons at the bottom of the post to share it, as well as the ones at the bottom of the main page of Wings's site.

And now comes the hat in hand part. Later today, with any luck, I'll have a post up for a friend and beloved fellow Kossack who needs our help. I'm simply waiting for some information from her, and then I have to make time to finish the post within the whims of our weather and connectivity. I'd like folks to lend it their support when it does go up, whether that's later today or early tomorrow. 

At the same time, we're in trouble here. Sales are nothing this season. I honestly don't know what we're going to do. People need to save their donations for the folks who are in serious immediate danger, like those I've highlighted over the past few days, and the upcoming one. But for anyone who's in the market for purchases, that's a different matter; we don't want donations or gifts, just simply to exchange something of real value in a standard sale transaction. So if you know anyone who might be looking for gifts (or even if you don't; you never know WHO will decide that we have exactly what they need), please, share Wings's site with them. I hate asking. I hate this fear and stress and uncertainty just a little bit more, apparently.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Musings on Brick and Mortar

Photo copyright Wings, 2014;
all rights reserved.

That's today's subject, by way of one of Wings's photos, at The NDN Silver Blog

As the post notes, a brick wall seems a strange subject for a photograph. It's not, though, if you see what I see.

So I take you on a little journey, through its mud and mortar, its chinks and crevices. It's a view that not many people will see. I hope it lets in a little light, and provides some new perspectives.

As always, please share the post itself at the embedded link, via the social-media buttons at the bottom of the page, and at the bottom of the main page of Wings's Web site, too. Like everyone else around here this season, we need sales. The situation here is getting a bit desperate.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Please help us help a friend keep the lights on and stay connected. He's family.

Photo copyright Bobby Neary Sánchez, 2014; all rights reserved.
You may remember that a couple of months ago, a few of us were working together with our dear friend Bobby Neary Sánchez to help save his farm

For those coming to this for the first time, Bobby is a brilliantly talented chef who also runs an animal rescue on the south coast of Puerto Rico. He was doing both up until last year, when his husband, Juan's cancer returned aggressively. Bobby dropped everything to care for Juan full-time, until he walked on this spring. He has a new position as chef lined up, and it's a good one, but the start date has been pushed back, owing to his boss having sustained a fractured ankle.

When we first helped Bobby launch this fundraiser, things were desperate: He was at risk of losing the farm entirely, having to place all of their beloved animals elsewhere and move into an apartment. Yes, it could be done, but it would mean abandoning every last tangible vestige of the life he and Juan shared together for so long and loved so well. Things are a bit better now; he's been able to renegotiate terms on the farm a bit, and it looks like he will be able to remain there, but he really needs a safety net for that.

In the meantime, between the loss of Juan, the initial attempts to save his home, and waiting for the new position to begin, life goes on. And it makes its usual demands, and some not so usual ones, besides. He wound up suspending his fundraising efforts to cope with an influx of unexpected guests of both the two-legged and four-legged variety, and simply to do everything that needs to be done in a day. And much of the expenses for the animals are covered by the rescue entities with whom he's partnered for so many years. But the ordinary bills come due nevertheless, and in the heat of a Puerto Rico summer, when the island is suffering a drought, that can be very expensive indeed.

Right now, he needs about $500 to catch up on his past-due power bill and bring it current. What he will not tell you himself, but I will (yes, I've cleared it) is that his Internet service has been disconnected (like us, he needs a satellite connection to make it work), and the washing machine just blew. We've been there on both counts. I would also like to make sure that he has a little cushion to ensure that he can eat properly.

His original fundraiser goal, for saving the farm entirely, was about $12,000, I believe. In two months, he managed to raise about a quarter of that, but that leaves three-quarters yet to raise to ensure that he can stay in his home. I'd like to see if we can raise, say, 10% of the total over the next few days: enough to bring him current on the power bill, enough to reconnect his Internet service, enough to take care of the washer (where he lives, regularly hauling everything miles into town to a laundromat is neither feasible nor cost-effective), and enough to take care of restocking the fridge and pantry.

Bobby is family to Wings and me. He may live thousands of miles away, but we share not merely interests and vocations but spirits. He is one of the kindest, most generous souls I know, and he would give you the shirt off his back if you showed up at his door in need. You know the phrase, so-and-so is "good people?" That's Bobby. We love him, and we want to make sure he's safe and well.

I know that lots of folks are as strapped as we are. If you can't donate, though, would you mind sharing the link to his GoFundMe page with all your networks, both on- and offline? You never know who will be reached, touched by his story, or maybe that of the rescues, and be moved to kick in a little bit. And, of course, if you can donate, please do. Every bit counts, even the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Chi miigwech and ta'a from Wings and me. 

Sacred Blues: Part II

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

And here is today's pointer post to the latest at The NDN Silver Blog.

It's got some gorgeous imagery in it: two more beautiful pieces that match yesterday's, each photo flanking one of the landscape images that helped to inspire them. Looking at photos only, the connection's not obvious; the text, however, ties it all together.

So come and visit; learn a little about the sacred spaces that matter to Wings, including the ones he carries with him daily.

And, as always, we're grateful for every social-media share we can get from the links at the bottom of the post itself, and at the site's main page.

Thanks, everyone, from both of us.