Exclusive Hanukkah Party Invitation!
Hello there, it's been a while! 

It's that time of year again. Time to light the lights, gather with friends and family, and show each other that we care about each other.  In my RC mens' support group we often take short turns turning to the man on our left and showing him how much we care about him.  It's usually embarrassing and challenging, but it's a great exercise and one I am happy we engage in.  It's incredible to me how hard it is to show that we care about one another.  The time's when it is easiest for me are when I'm at events that are away from my daily life - Oregon Country Faire, Burning Man, Summer Solstice Healing Retreat at Breitenbush, or away on vacation.  My sense is that living in a capitalist economy/society which pits us all against each other for pieces of the pie creates a scenario where showing you care equates with weakness/failure.  Think about the people around the world who have been setting themselves up in public places and offering free hugs - and how big a stretch that would be for most of us to do (either as giver or receiver). 

I like to think that I do a pretty good job of showing people I care about them, but I know that though I have enough perspective to write about the topic, my daily life is not full of moments where I show my caring.  Sure, I show my caring for the planet - I write letters to the editor regularly, appeared this week on cable access TV talking about population restraint/consumption/and the climate change summit in Copenhagen - but how often do I reach out to someone besides my partner and show my caring?  Not often enough, and it's something I'd like to do more - overcome whatever is in the way for me to show my caring for my friends, family and strangers.  I so appreciate the people who do this towards me on a regular basis - thank you for showing me how it's done!  

Before I forget, we're having a community potluck and Hannukah party tonight (12/11) - if you're in Portland, I hope you'll come.  6pm - food and drink, 7pm candle-lighting (bring your menorah!) and then we'll continue with lots of live music (including our new band, a klezmer band, and lots of other musical goodness!)  

Wilshire United Methodist Church and Native American
Fellowship 3917 NE Shaver (easy 75 bus access)

This past month I've been putting a lot of time and effort into helping Wileyware.  I love the glassware, and am trying to help Marcia Wiley get her glasses out into the world.  This has also been an opportunity for me to use my social networking/sales skills out in real life. If you live in Seattle, she'll be having open studios the next two weekends.  Stop by and say hello from me!

Model with Wileyware, photo by Dan Bennett

My girlfriend, Eecole, and I took a trip to the East Coast, recently, to visit our families for Thanksgiving which was sweet and inspiring.  We spent time in LI, NYC (thank you to the cooks of New York!), PA and NJ.  Favorites were: a trip to my cabin in Sumneytown, PA; a visit to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ; Eecole's gift of a fruit tree to her nephew - including planting the tree with he and his family; and eating our way through Manhattan for 24 hours.  

The world: I find myself caught up in the important issues of the day.  Between looking for and applying for jobs, I am reading and commenting a lot on the healthcare/wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/climate change debate, etc. etc.  I'm finding myself a bit overwhelmed by all of it - saddened that we don't have better/clearer leadership when we need it most - and I try to move us forward in a positive, progressive way.  I'm pretty convinced that we will not be able to solve the problems we face today with the current economic and political system we have - it is not able to make smart decisions quickly enough, for one thing - and tends to favor those entities with the most money whose interests are not necessarily best for the planet's health. 

The best information and inspiration I've found recently and over the years is what is coming out of YES! Magazine.  Their current issue on climate action is full of a realistic assessment of where we are vis climate change and hopeful recommendations for steps we might take to keep this planet from becoming uninhabitable.  They offer a free first issue if you'd like to try them out and also have a great weekly email which is inspiring.  I find their mix of positive news provides me with hope and encouragement to keep going.  In a world dominated by corporate media, I find it's extremely important to find news sources which are not getting their funding from the same people who deny that global warming exists (which is most TV/magazines, and radio) and I feel lucky that groups like KBOO, YES!, Democracy Now, and others still exist.  If you don't get your news/commentary from any alternative sources, try something like YES! or Utne Reader out - you may experience a breath of fresh air, and a break from the sensationalist world of mainstream media.

Well, to make sure this gets out there before the party tonight, I'll stop here.  Hope you're having a great December - and please, take a moment tonight to light a couple candles and enjoy their light.

Thanks for your time and caring,