Belated happy Galentine’s/Valentines’s Day

A belated happy Galentine’s day to all of you poetic, noble land mermaids. As Leslie Knope would say, it’s the best day of the year. I’ve been hosting large Galentine’s day celebrations with my girlfriends for the last nine years. Due to the pandemic we changed things up this time. Instead of meeting at a restaurant we had a very small gathering in a private home.  after a year of self- isolation, it felt like a small miracle to be indoors with other humans. We wore masks, sat six feet apart, and enjoyed our first inside hang-out time since last March.

The next day, our pastor at church had a sermon on making beauty and he cut out a heart from a piece of red construction paper. He said it was a silly little illustration  meant to inspire us to love others by making them beautiful things. That afternoon I got out my scissors and made this simple little valentine card.

Dear readers, wherever you are in the world today, I’m wishing you love and beauty.

My book is finally here

IMG_0681Tonight, for the first time in my life, I have copies of my first solo-authored book in my home. I know it sounds silly, but I’ve waited my entire life for this moment. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl scribbling away on stories and drawings. Tonight I rewatched the newest Little Women movie and once again sobbed through the entire last scene where Jo watches her book get published.  Tonight, just like Jo March, I get to hold a copy of my own book. And I am crying happy tears.

You can pre-purchase your copy here: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538118757/Exploring-the-History-of-Childhood-and-Play-through-50-Historic-Treasures 

Exploring the History of Childhood and Play Through Fifty Historic Treasures is now available for pre-sale!

In 1977 Kenner got a wee bit delayed in making the first-ever Star Wars action figures so they created a brilliant plan to sell the toys at Christmas that year, even though the toys wouldn’t be ready until the following February. They sold an empty box with a certificate for the toys. In similar fashion, my book about toys is undergoing the finishing touches in the publication process and won’t be ready until May. HOWEVER, thanks to the internet, you can pre-purchase a copy of my book for yourself or your favorite pals for Christmas this year with the promise of having it shipped straight to your house once it finally comes out next spring. Doesn’t that sound like a good plan? You can order it now on Amazon, through Rowman and Littlefield’s own website, Barnes and Noble, BooksAMillion, or even through the Japanese bookseller Kinokuniya, and the Brazilian bookstore Livaria Cultura! Merry Christmas, everyone!

https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538118740/Exploring-the-History-of-Childhood-and-Play-through-50-Historic-Treasures

The Book Manuscript is Finished

It took 15 months, and hundreds and hundreds of hours of work but I finally finished the first full submission of my book manuscript. Exploring the History of Childhood and Play Through Fifty Historic Treasures is undergoing the editorial review process. Over the next few months we will be walking through the next stages: editing the manuscript according to the feedback my reviewers give me, then copy editing, indexing, and proofing.  No word yet on a publication date, but as soon as I know more I’ll post it here.

Art-O-Mat Part II

Remember that time in October 2013 when I first saw an Art-O-Mat machine while I was at SHA in Indianapolis? Today, almost five years to the day, we have our own Art-O-Mat Machine here in my town. My editor from Springs Magazine gave me an assignment to visit our Art-O-Mat, buy a piece of art, and write a story about the experience. Story to follow in the magazine next month. In the meantime, here’s a picture of our local version of the art-vending machine and the linocut by Mona Wu that I purchased from it for only $5.

Exploring The History of American Childhood Through 50 Historic Treasures

Hiya blog readers! (All 2 of you!) I have two exciting announcements to make.

1)I am under contract to write a book for a new series through AASLH entitled “Exploring the History of American Childhood Through 50 Historic Treasures!”  I also just received a research grant through The Strong Museum.

2) I have a new website for History Joy Consulting. Check it out at http://www.historyjoyconsulting.com

 

Chinese Teahouse: The People of February

IMG_4049Happy March! After a snowy and dark February I am delighted with our Colorado Bluebird Day that we are having today. To continue my regular monthly updates for my 100 People in 100 Days project, here are my musings on some of the people that I met in February:

Number of new people met in February 2015: 65

 

How I met them: On the first day of the month I met a woman named Beth at church, who was waiting for her daughter to finish up a marathon. A few days later I chatted up a guy at a bar named Gideon, who was in town from Denver and who works as a high school principal. I also met people at a new boot camp that I’ve been trying out, at a local gathering of my artist-friends, a Valentines’ party, and a meeting about City for Champions. Towards the end of the month I spoke at a docent-appreciation lunch at work and met some of our new tour guides. This project makes me mindful of the new people filtering in and out of my life under normal daily circumstances such as these.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the last two years of flooding have exacerbated some issues with my poor tiny house. I’ve had several people out to give me bids on what to do. The first company that looked at things in January told me that I would need to pier my house into the bedrock to the tune of $15,000. After I picked myself up off of the floor, I decided to get a second opinion and met a guy named Craig who specializes in historic preservation. He came over and gave me some very reassuring and sensible advice: take care of the water issues and patch up the cracks. We’re going to grade the front of the lot to move water away from the foundation and epoxy the cracks. Through this experience I also met a structural engineer named Steve who came over with his laser level and confirmed that course of action. A structural engineer and a contractor: two people I didn’t know to hope not to meet. All in all, though, I think they are good guys and even though I’m frustrated with the circumstances I met them under I’m thankful for them.

On the weekend of our Snowpocolypse (which didn’t materialize as powerfully as predicted), I attended an orientation session for my cross-cultural trip to Southeast Asia. While I was annoyed to be working on a weekend, it was a very fruitful occasion for meeting new people: at least 19 new faces.

Most Interesting Person: On the last day of February, two friends and I walked to a new Chinese teahouse in our neighborhood. It was a surprising experience! Jars filled with teas and herbs lined the walls, and the young female owner told us about all of them. We thought that she would give us a cup of tea and leave us to enjoy it on our own, but instead she sat down with us and served us the entire time. We watched in amazement as she warmed our tiny cups, gracefully pouring water onto her wooden tea box. To our surprise, she made herself the focus of the conversation and she told us quite a lot about herself. Shes a young immigrant from China. She opened her tea house a year ago. She had such a sad, wistful expression on her face when she asked how my friends and I know each other. She told us that she misses her girlfriends in China, and that on a Saturday there they would spend all day shopping. After she expressed how homesick she was, she moved on to some very strong thoughts on all kinds of matters. She hates Milan, Italy. She hates Denver too, but does like Colorado Springs. (This is my opinion on the essence of both cities too). She thinks we’re all too busy in America. She also told us about how she learned about strippers through a neighboring store that sells “stripper shoes,” and innocently asked us, “It’s normal in America for people to not wear clothes, right?”

I think a lot about building intentional relationships: deeply investing in people’s lives, minds, and souls. As a good INFJ I think it’s pretty natural for me to see straight through to a person’s inner being and care about them. For the last several years I have tried hard to build these kinds of friendships with the people close to me, but this project makes me realize that I need to be intentional with the new people coming into my life as well. In church yesterday we heard one of our local young business owners talking about strategically building friendships with the people that we meet around town. He and his business partner have built a wonderful gathering space for the community and they are deeply investing in the lives of their staff members and in the lives of their customers. I started my 100 People in 100 Days project last year because I had just endured a bitter season of loss and simply needed to add some extra people into my social circle, and to have a challenge to pull me out of a dark place. Four hundred and twenty three days later, I am thinking about what it would mean intentionally invest in these new people’s lives.