29 March 2014

Winter Blahs Part II

Winter is fast closing in on my imaginary world.  When it is cold, blowing snow, sleet, hail and wobbling treetops dangerously close to falling over, snapping off dead branches, I can usually escape to my imaginary world.  The one where my stories take place in seasons the complete opposite of the ones in reality.  Howsomeever, the past few weeks have brought those worlds in danger of collision.

Methinks it started the fifth day of losing the same level on the dreaded CC on that seventh favorite haunt and now it's close to six weeks later.  Am I obstinate or what?  Or is it persistence?  Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, the way I go back to that same game.  Addicted?  Nah, couldn't be that.

I tell myself I won't play today, that game is just trying to get me to buy those expensive little helpers and I can beat that game.  However, I think it might be that thing got stuck in one of those time loops or space warps that keeps sending me back to the same point.  Lost most of the carefully hoarded helps I won on that daily bonus thingy.  Uses to get many lives and moves from friends.  Now that has dwindled to just a few per day.  Oh well, might just try to play one more time.  This might just be the lucky day.

On another note, the storm's aftermath yesterday caused me to post a rant over on the twitter site.  With so many people stuck indoors, the dreaded perfume pervades the air.  On top of the "Non-toxic" cleaners used for floors, walls and ceilings alongside the air filtering/cleaning systems.  Clean Indoor Air Act?  Hmm.  Must ponder that one.  Ended with a headache which intensified the ache in my toe which I severely strained also at the beginning of this March madness.  Of course, the nutty drivers from the day before doubled yesterday making driving extremely dangerous.  Sure was glad to get back in the neighborhood where I only had to watch for those darn wawashkeshe, deer.

Stopped by the store to let son and sis know I was home safely only to find out there was a bit of excitement in the village.  A bear, a big one, has woken up and is prowling around looking to assuage its winter-long hunger.  Oh my. That bear sanctuary is only a few miles from here and of course it doesn't open til after the bears have settled into their summer routines.  Fall and spring can be pretty dangerous, what with people feeding those wild animals.

Hm.  Methinks it's a good thing Camp NaNoWriMo is only two days and some odd hours away.  Might be safer for me to go back to that imaginary world where I can slay my dragons, befriend bears, and turn aside the winds with a flick of my wrist. Or is it?

*Edited the title.  Been so long I forgot I already used the aforementioned title.

20 February 2014

Winter Blahs

Over here in the NorthWoods area, I was about ready to trade in my hat and mitts for the ole run in the outdoors look of "windblown" hair and polish my nails for the tap dancing routine I'm working on for St. Patrick's day.

Went to Father's to work on some opening lines for the next few unsuspecting vic...uh, friends and neighbors.  Thereupon, I promptly spent the rest of the afternoon downloading, updating, reloading and other assorted tasks that I thought I'd streamlined a few months ago.  Came out to "take five" and the snow was just starting.  Not too bad.  Plans were afoot to head over to you know where.

Howsomeever, after the fifth "take five," *I decided that it'd be best if I just came home, hop on the internet, play a few games and go to sleep, thinking on how to get to the next dag...ahh, methinks CC will just have to be played in a desultory fashion.  Then, my next door neighbor calls and re-ignites my desire to head over to you know where.  Howah, I thinks to myself.  Whereupon I asks Mom if she wanted to go.  "Nope."  Huuhn.

Whatever happened to the determination to drive in any kind of weather?  Heehh.  When did I learn the folly of driving in such weather as what is now blanketing the northland?  When did we stop considering it a badge of honor to head out anywhere, anywhen, anyhow?  For, you see, I was secretly relieved when Mom said no.  Tsk, tsk.

Now, I think I'll have to pull out the ole hat and mitts, find my trusty socks, if only to avoid Father's pithy comments about my lack of proper dress for the weather. Mayhap, I can find a better tapdance routine to practice between now and March 17.

%( is how I'll be looking in the morning, methinks.

*In reality, my "take five" at the Store, a friend or two had convinced me that it would be in my best interest to stay at home.

02 October 2013

New Gadget in my life

Well, I got one of those handy dandy Smartphones, a gift from my son.  I've been happily pushing buttons, sliding screens and trying to remember where I saw this gadget or that gadget.  Settings are the main thing.  I received the phone yesterday.

Today, an emergency trip to the ER with my father.  Of course, I had to learn how to message, call and add contacts.  Good thing my sister was with me.  She had her trusty phone and did the majority of the calls.  I managed four out of the 26 notifications we usually send.  Of course, before I could do that, I had to charge the battery.  Still hadn't taken the charger and ear phones out of the plastic.

So, during the time immediately after the ambulance departed with my father, I was tearing open the plastic to charge the phone.  Was able to charge it enough to get it turned on.  Then Sis shows up and we head out.  Lucky for me, I'd bought a car charger.  Unfortunately, it wasn't needed as Sis had one of those handy dandy dual chargers.  So, I'd wasted precious time and energy tearing the plastic off the car charger.  We arrived in time to get the pertinent info to hospital staff.  Then, I made the trek to the waiting room to finish charging the phone, and start the adventure of making phone calls on the handy dandy smartphone.

Yesterday, when my phone was being set up, I was shown the instruction book.  It was carefully packed inside the box along with the other essentials I'd need.  I was duly informed that I'd not need that book as the phone was designed for on the job training.  So, I was sitting there, greeting people who hadn't yet answered their phone.  Why?  Cause I'd forgotten to swipe it to the left; or was that right? Finally broke down and used my old phone to make a couple calls.  Then began the arduous process of finding the phone numbers, transferring them to my new phone, then trying to call or message.

By the time I managed to answer a couple of the messages coming in fast and furious, Sis comes to let me know I needed to call everyone and tell them Father was being held overnight.  I sighed.  She stood there, gave me the look, sat down and proceeded to make a few calls, send text messages like a madwoman, give cheerful greetings to passing people we knew who were also making a trip to the ER.  So, I duly picked up my phone, managed a hello to one person as three were on their way out as the patient was being transferred and proceeded to make one call home.

Still, one out of 26 wasn't bad.  By the time we left, my phone was fully charged, had a few more of the contacts added, and was at least finding the screen where I could call.  Was I happy when Sis came to tell he was in his room and I could leave off trying to call.  We arrived to find him eating, wondering where the TV was.  Relief flooded my frazzled brain.  At last, something I could easily handle.

24 September 2013

What happens next?

I thought I wouldn't be posting any more about the Veronica Brown case.  

The case in the news brings back so many memories.  Watching children being handed back to the parent, knowing ahhh, that isn't really the issue behind this case.  The case is about State Courts and Tribes and the reason all Tribes are watching this case.  I've read many of the comments from people who just don't have our viewpoint.  What people just don't seem to understand is that they must be descended from someone on those lists I mentioned before to be enrolled.  Blood quantum is left up to the individual tribe.  You have to check the enrollment requirements of the tribe you're looking to get enrolled in.

And becoming a Tribal member is so much more than just getting enrolled.  We have a whole culture, a whole set of responsibilities, duties, rights and privileges.  I've watched over the past 30 years as our tribal government becomes more and more a carbon copy of the local county government, right down to the names of the departments.  Job titles echo job titles elsewhere.  Those departments should be modeled after our Clans, our societies, our traditional roles.  Then and only then would people understand that we are a separate People.

Those responsibilities, duties, rights and privileges need to taught as soon as the mother knows she is carrying another human being, another family member.  The teaching doesn't start when the mother has the baby.  It starts with her singing to the child, talking to the child.  It starts with her telling the child what she is doing, what is happening around them, explaining to the child what she sees.  Therein, is the crux of the matter.  For us, as soon as a child is conceived, the child is a human being.  As the child develops within the womb, what s/he hears is how s/he will understand their place in the world.  The father's role is just as important as the mother's.  He also needs to be there, talking, singing.

It's time for all Indian men and women to decide where their heart truly is.  I, for one, told my sons that they need to choose the mother of their child carefully.  I told them not to be sleeping around just because other men were doing it.  I would fight for custody if I had to.  There's not much I can do about other people's children; I sure can do something about my own grandchildren if I have to.

I believe that if ICWA is struck down, we will cease to exist as Tribes in the federal viewpoint.  We'll finally have been defeated.  Defeated not by outside forces; forces within ourselves will have defeated us.  Those forces that cause us to ignore what we were taught by our elders.  And each one of us has the memory of an elder who has told us what we are doing is not the way of the People.

I made the decision that Tribe was a priority when I chose to "walk the Red Road."  I looked at my children and decided that my life needed to change in order for my sons to live as Anishinabeg.  I've tried to teach them what I was taught.  Once I made that decision, I had no further trouble with the fear that my sons would be taken from me.  Neither did I expect other people to carry out my responsibility.  Sure, family helped, and it was great.  The underlying principle was that I was the final authority for my children.

And fathers must decide for themselves if they're going to "man up"to their responsibility.  I watch my brother struggle with this same issue.  It was hard to get him to see that he is the parent and he needs to take responsibility.  He's done it, even though there were a lot of ups and downs.  I'm proud of him.  I can now be the Aunt instead of the mother.

15 September 2013

It's that Time of Year

Yesterday was the first day of ricing and the first day for me in a couple years.  My son and I went out on the lake, late.  Came in early.  Wweell,  the correct time as we thought it was.  Turns out, we could have made one more pass.  Not sure if we'd have been able to make it in though.  We landed at a different landing from the one we shoved off from.

Got to the lake and thought, "My camera."  It was safely at home, waiting to be charged.  After we made it to the rice beds, was wishing I had it still.  The heads were the emptiest I've ever seen them on a first day.  Why?  Because one of the hazards of waiting for the rice to ripen is the weather.

Sure enough, we had a wind/rain/hail storm last week.  75% of the rice was lost to the Thunder Spirits.  Guess they were hungry.  At any rate, all we'll get is eating rice.  And my family needs it this year.  No one went on the lake last year, from my family.  Some years are like that now.  If you get the chance, go on the lake as much as you can.  Eating rice is one of the many pleasures for us.  And now, we'll have to work twice as hard to get what we can.

Sure am glad it's not the old days.  The days when we needed that rice to survive the winter.  Growing up in the sixties was as close to the old days as I want to get.  We were able to keep food on the table.  My parents, and grandparents, I should say.  Though us kids picked berries and such.  Couldn't go on the lake til we were older, 13, 14.  Had to be able to handle a canoe in windy weather.  Such as yesterday.

Sure was glad my son was with me.  We started back for the landing and made it to the island.  Then came the last open water.  And the waves weren't quite white caps; I did see a couple here and there.  Halfway across, my son starts encouraging me.

"There comes a big one."

"Here comes another one."

And

"Holy cow, wind.  Calm down.  We're getting off the lake."

That helped me get the rest of the way in.  That little smile he put on my face was great.  The lake did calm down a bit, enough for us to get to the weeds, reed line.  The wind picked up again when we were on shore.  Another canoe landed just ahead of us.  Wonder if they didn't read the latest bulletin on the page on that "other" site.  The one telling us the hours had been changed.  Well, he should be here in a couple minutes.  Must get ready for the big decision- go out on the lake, or stay on shore.