Thursday, September 27

Cut Cord

I have parted with my one of my weavings finally. It's been a month now since the Tree rug has left me to live with one of my best friends. It makes parting easier to know it's in a good home. I feel a little more like an artist with this rug gone. A milestone has been met and tackled, I suppose.

Generally, weavers finish a project and are eager to get rid of it, sell it. I have never had the urge to sell. I've only started. I have just four projects under my belt and have so much to learn still. I'm not as fast a weaver as most. I have at least five projects that I'm eager to finish, but finishing the present projects take time. So, mostly, I haven't started them yet.

Back to my original reason for writing this blurb. I'm ready to part with the others, now. When the opportunities present themselves, they'll leave me, and I'll wish them and their new owners the best. I feel this may be preparation for me seeing my own children off when they're grown enough to wander out the front door and into this wide wide world on their own. I need much preparation because even with it I'll be f'ing possessed (behind locked deadbolt and pulled blinds, of course).


Sunday, July 8

Apprehension

We have just three more weeks until my daughter's Sunrise Dance. We are all excited, but some of us also have anxiety because it's a big event and we want it to go smoothly.

Lately, my daughter and I have been going to workouts together, running together, talking about our worries--mostly hers.

The other night, we walked together. In the middle of it, I told her, "I hope you don't cry. Do you think you will?"

She's very honest. She says, "I won't cry, Mom. Maybe when I get back to my little room at the camp, but not in the middle of dancing. Not in front of everyone."

We laugh.

I'm really enjoying being mommy to teenagers. I have three. They are lively and complicated beings. I remember being them, being their age. I remember acting like I had all the answers but really wishing someone would shake me and tell me that they accepted me and loved me for being awkward and angsty. I seemed uncontrollable, but really I could've been "managed."

Teenage-hood isn't over until the mid twenties, so I know I have a long way to go still with my three, but I'm happy with where we are now. I look forward to seeing who they are later on and what they achieve. Mistakes are to be made, I know. I just hope we will always work with one another and not try to go it alone.

Saturday, June 23

Rule Breaker, Heart Breaker

The other night, my two sons and I went to get Taco Bell for dinner. The oldest jumped into the passenger seat with no shirt on. (He relaxes this way, I didn't think anything of it.) My youngest, fully clothed, got into the back seat.

When we got to the restaurant, my youngest mentioned something about 'No shirt, No service.' So, I went along with it.

I said to him, not knowing exactly how serious he would take it, "Oh, yeah! I forgot. No shirt, no shoes, no service. Tristan, lend your brother your shirt. It's big, it'll fit him, and they can't see you since you're in the back and the windows are tinted."

Tristan is not a rule breaker. He's ten. Rules are rules, and they can't be broken to him, which is why he immediately begins taking his shirt off to give to his older brother. The family's dinner depends on it, you know.

I thought it was cute, and it's nice to know he's a team player. But I had to let him know I was joking. That the 'No shirt' thing only applied to inside the restaurant, and we're alright since we're going through the drive-thru.

Wednesday, April 25

Memory Lane Sounds Like a One-Way Street With No Exit and A 15 MPH Speed Limit


My husband recently uploaded this picture of me taking a bath onto my Facebook timeline.  Even though it was taken before I turned one, I've seen it so many times throughout my growing up years that I feel like I remember it.

It's not possible, according to everything I've read, but when I see it, I feel like I can hear the baby babble exit my tiny mouth and remember welcoming the cool water on my new baby girl skin. It was hot.

I want to know this because I remember it, not because of the details I've gathered from the picture. Details like the fact that my dad (who is cropped out) is lying on the bed with his shirt off and his pants unbuttoned in snow angel making formation. His front side glistens like mine does in the picture because he's got a layer of sweat forming. (My six- or seven-month-old skin gleams, obviously, because I'm in the bath.)

I 'd like to think I remember crying before this picture was snapped because the summer temperatures were so unbearable in my nalii's non-air conditioned home, and my mother--knowing just what I needed to cool me off--scooped the bathwater from the water barrel sitting in the kitchen and poured it into the metal bowl. Then, in my "recollection," she removed my cotton Onesie and lowered me in toes first, and slowly, as she needed me not to be afraid.

I'd like to think I remember needing the bath more to cool me off than to clean me, but I'm sure I was just as slobbery and messy a baby as my children were.

I have actual memories of childhood not tied to photos, but a lot of my "memories" do in fact surround photographs. My mom visited us about a week ago and brought with her a bin filled with pictures. Here's a few of them, and my memories affiliated with them.

I remember feeling pretty in this one with my hair curled and pinned out of my face, and my hip shirt with the collar and pleats. That, and because everyone tells you you look pretty on picture days. Picture days make a kindergartener feel special.


I remember feeling nerdy in this one with my puffy sleeves, opaque tights, white socks, and shiny black shoes.

And, stylish and more proud in the next one. Somehow, my parents pulled off having a traditional outfit made for me complete with sash belt and moccasins. I was also happy the color of my outfit was dark blue and not something girly like purple or pink.

In this photo, I'm sitting on stage in the center of the front row. My brown face is framed by my straight hair, longish and black. I'm wearing a polka dot jumper, sneakers, and a light colored three-quarter sleeve shirt. I don't have complaints about my outfit. It was comfortable. I do remember, however, being nervous that someone would snap a bad picture of me with my mouth open or my eyes crossed or with me slouched over in my seat with my legs sprawled and stomach distended.

I was a bored teenager awaiting her turn to spell at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, and I hoped my boredom didn't show--on film.

Finally, we get to this picture which I believe to be the last family portrait we ever took. Even though dressing up for these things is a hassle, and no cool teen or pre-teen ever wants to do it, I'm happy we have it. It's nice to see all of the siblings together, because as adults, we aren't always so.

Here, I felt more grown.

By now, I knew two colors that were complementary to my skin (I hope) were black and maroon, and I think I had glasses, but I exercised my freedom not to wear them.

Sunday, April 8

He's Not Dieting. We Ran Out of Clean Bowls.

This is my husband. He loves my Native cooking. So, do my children. So, do my friends and family. I enjoy feeding people.

Last night, I had my brothers over for dinner. My brother, Monty, requested Navajo tacos the night before. So, without hesitation, that's what I made.

After dinner, we watched a couple Youtube celebrities do the Cinnamon Challenge and have never laughed so hard. That's how you work off the frybread. Lots of laughter, and Native people do that well.

City Ham

One day this month, after my son's orthodontic appointment, instead of taking him straight to school, I took him to breakfast at the Waffle House. This was a good idea, I thought, since his teeth would be hurting for the next few days. I wanted him to get a good enjoyable meal before the pain set in.

I thought this city ham he ordered was interesting. I think, what makes it "city ham" is the round shape it comes in.

He did enjoy his breakfast, and then toughed out the pain through the next 7 meals. And, I had a wonderful time ditching first hour with my boy.

Wednesday, March 28

Sludge

Does something happen to a person when she goes without feeling for too long? I'd like to know.

When alone--it doesn't matter the length of time--I find myself more and more unmoving. Weighed down by an all-enveloping heaviness that I don't have the will to shake. I lie and I breathe, waiting to feel something.

It doesn't matter how I try to jolt emotion into my being; I remain numb. Lips and tongue after a visit to the dentist. Feet after sitting criss-cross applesauce too long.

I'm not unfulfilled or ungrateful. I know what I have is what I want. I'm the jokester. The positive, patient, insightful, and caring mother and wife. I create, I love, I laugh, I share. But, when I'm alone--when everyone goes to sleep, to school, to work--a listlessness overcomes me, a feeling of blah. A feeling of I don't need to move, to care, to feel until the day starts tomorrow, or the kids return from school, or someone comes to tell me a story of some event in their day.

I'm back, then. I'm okay, then.

Friday, November 25

Changing Woman

"Changing Woman never gets too old. When she gets to be a certain age, she goes walking towards the east. After a while she sees herself in the distance walking toward her. They both walk until they come together and after that there is only one, the young one. Then she is like a young girl all over again."
--Tribal Member as quoted by Keith Basso (The Cibecue Apache)


When I read this, the picture that came to my mind was of myself walking alone, then my daughter and me walking together, then my daughter walking alone for a short while until she is accompanied in her walk by her own daughter.

To me, this story of Changing Woman is not about the literal immortality of Changing Woman, but is a beautifully poetic representation of procreation and the continuation of a people's culture. The lineage remains unbroken so long as we are gifted with children. The culture remains intact and strong so long as we continue to teach and support our children. This is signified by the walking together of Changing Woman's two "selves."

Our children do mirror us somewhat both in genetics and in behavior which is why it looks as if Changing Woman is joined in her walk by her younger self. In fact, she is joined in her walk by her child. When this little one appears, Changing Woman stays with her, walks with her until it is her time to leave. During this span of walking together, important teachings are passed on about bodily and emotional changes, ways of carrying oneself, of self-worth, and all those things we teach our young ones without knowing we are teaching. So, by the time the older woman leaves her daughter's side, the daughter is ready to walk alone because during the time of walking beside her mother, she has been lovingly and patiently instructed in all of these things.

The daughter continues walking. Looking forward, not back. Standing tall, with confident posture. She is not the same woman as her mother. How can she be? Her path is a new path, and her knowledge is compounded with that of not just her mother, but that of all of her mother's predecessors. The story tells us that the only thing to be expected of us is that we move forward and face whatever comes with unwavering step. It tells us not to carry our children, but only to walk alongside them. To be there as available guides, willing to leave their sides when they grow enough. It also, of course, teaches us to be respectful of the power of reproduction. This circle of life, though seemingly eternal, is definitely fragile. It can stop, we know, at any moment, with any of these descendants of Changing Woman. So, we maintain our gratefulness for life and the ability to create and nurture life so long as we have it.

I adore my babies and pray they may always remember those responsibilities that come with love.

Monday, September 5

Farmvillain

Let me tell you about trying to grow a garden and flowers. It's more stressful than having pets.

I love them both--my pets and my plants. But, since I've taken on the responsibility of raising the life forms, I can't leave home without feeling like I must return home as fast as possible. It's not fun.

But, I guess, if this new garden has done anything, it's slapped the remaining naivete from me. I realize now why I'm alive in the present and not in the past. If I were supposed to be your Navajo farming ancestor, you'd have remained star dust. It just isn't working.

Well, the watermelon is. Let's cross our fingers for the watermelon.

The rest of this short blog, I will type quieter so my struggling plants aren't able to decipher the exuberance in my keystrokes. I had an amazing weekend with  my family! Good night, everyone.

Thursday, July 7

Simple Joys

"You will live a long life, and will eat many fortune cookies."

This is probably my favorite fortune cookie quote, and it wasn't mine.

If this is all life is, to live as long as we're able and to have many things to look forward to, I'm content. The cookie doesn't say that we're guaranteed anything grandiose, just that we'll eat (and presumably read) many fortunes. What they will promise, what we will receive are not intimated on. They are just something simple to look forward to. Little mini presents.