Collage by Toronto-based artist Colette Copeland.
To celebrate Thanksgiving - and all you wonderful readers - I'm hosting a giveaway for this beautiful original collage by artist Colette Copeland. You may know Colette through her blog A Bird in the Hand or through her work featured in Somerset Studio and Artful Blogging. On Monday, Nov. 17th, I'll ask my charming assistant to draw a name from a chapeau. I've already purchased the collage, so Colette will mail it directly to the winner (I'm afraid if she sent it to me, I couldn't bear to part with it). To participate, please leave a one-sentence comment about something for which you are thankful.
On Sunday, Nov. 30, I will post information about a Christmas giveaway. I'll draw the winner's name on December 10, after returning from ten days in Philadelphia and New York. In Philadelphia, we'll be celebrating two special occasions a bit early: my daughter's birthday and Christmas. Sadly, it will be the first time Jordana and I are apart on those actual days. But work prevents her from coming to Paris for Christmas.
In Philadelphia, I'm also looking forward to meeting the clever, talented artist Karen Cole of Artsortments. The highlight of a quick trip to New York will be meeting the fabulous Gillian of Indigo Blue fame. I lived in New York for eight years, but it will be Gillian's first visit. It will be fun showing her some highlights of the city's charms.
These last few months I've been caught up in the American election, book deadlines and writing projects. Admittedly, I tend to get overwhelmed by too much all at once - which is why I've temporarily set aside participating in virtually all the writing groups of which I am a member. I've declined several social invitations. And blog-reading and email correspondence also have fallen dramatically, due to limited time. I try to snatch a few minutes here and there, but there are simply not enough hours in the day to keep up with everything I'd like to do. When I take on too much, I become anxious and subsequently, have trouble accomplishing my goals. For a Virgo with perfectionist tendencies, this is unacceptable!
In lieu of cards and gifts
The holidays tend to be a stressful time, due to obligations - real or imagined - of sending Christmas cards, hosting parties, etc. Last year, I sent Christmas or New Year's cards to an extensive list of friends and readers. This year, in lieu of all those cards, gifts and international postage, I'm making donations in your name (Friends and Readers of Paris Parfait) to two causes about which I am passionate: the Southern Poverty Law Center and Make It Right Foundation.
Based in Montgomery, Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) helps teach tolerance, fight racial inequality and defend those who are victims of racism. For instance, this week, SPLC is in Brandenburg, Kentucky, where Morris Dees and Richard Cohen are going to court Wednesday against the leader of Imperial Klans of America (IKA) to win justice for Jordan Gruver, a teenage boy brutally beaten by IKA members.
Led by Imperial Wizard Ron Edwards, the IKA is one of the largest and most dangerous Klan organizations in the country. Edwards hosts an annual "white-power" rally at his compound, where he indoctrinates followers in hate and violence through speeches, music and the display of violent, racist imagery. Small children are even brought to this festival of hate.
Gruver was attacked by Klansmen who had attended one of Edwards' white-power rallies and were recruiting for the IKA at a county fair. They thought Jordan was, in their words, an "illegal spic." Jordan, a U.S. citizen, suffered serious injuries, including a broken jaw. Online donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center are accepted here.
The Make It Right Foundation is helping rebuild New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward. The foundation is building new eco-friendly housing for Hurricane Katrina survivors who lost their homes. Donations of $5 or more are accepted here.
I also have donated funds to help Odette and her family, who are facing several daunting challenges at once. I was introduced to Odette in San Francisco by Jen Lemen (who just happens to have a heart of gold). You can read Odette's story here.
Armistice Day, Veterans' Day and a special birthday
This day marks three important occasions. It's Armistice Day in Europe, honouring the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I. In the United States, it's Veteran's Day, in tribute to our war veterans.
It's also my friend Tangobaby's birthday. Stop by and wish her well and enter the giveaway for her upcoming book featuring photos of San Francisco's Mission District.