Archive | November 2012

Coffee and Pie and Bears

One more thing to be thankful for.  Pie!  Ok, two things.  Coffee and Pie!

I LOVE pie! and coffee. and bears.

I went with this one. I think it sums up 3 o’clock coffee (and life).

Last summer, I was poking around the shops in Stillwater and discovered the artist Sue Rowe‘s awesome bears.   Art prints, books, T-shirts, magnets, you name it – all with beautiful (sometimes really funny) bears.  After about an hour of hemming and hawing over which to buy,  I had to make up my mind.  I think it was getting close to 3 o’clock.  Why the hurry?

In our house we have this…I don’t know what to call it.  An event? A celebration? An extra meal?  That’s it.  It’s the fourth meal of the day.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 3 o’clock coffee. 

Unless you are a fan of “second breakfast”, but that’s another story.

I was introduced to this wonderful habit by my ex-father-in-law.  Otherwise known as the Silver Finn.  I don’t know if it was a Finnish tradition or he made it up, but it is a very very good idea.  It’s not all about coffee either.  It’s about taking a break.  Sitting down for some coffee and a TREAT.  Pie please.  Or cookies or cake or…you get the idea. It’s even better if you have someone to share it with. If it’s been a good day, you feel better after 3 o’clock coffee.  If it’s been a bad day, you feel better after 3 o’clock coffee.

I love my 3 o’clock coffee.  I seriously never miss it.  I pack a thermos for Rollo when he goes to work.  We bring something to the beach or on the boat when we are in Florida. We ride bikes to the bookstore just so we can have the cream puffs at Barnes and Noble.

I am amazed (and saddened) that not everyone does this.  I am amazed there isn’t some law that you have to have 3 o’clock coffee.  If you don’t want the coffee or the pie, you could just lie down on your mat for a nap, like in kindergarten.  Does that even happen anymore?  It should.  The world would be a far happier, friendlier place if everyone took 3 o’clock coffee.  Or a nap. Or both.

Some of the best pie ever is at Joseph’s Family Restaurant in Stillwater.  I don’t even really want to tell you about the rhubarb delight  (if you don’t already know).  Or Rollo’s favorite Chocolate Caramel Supreme.  Clink on the link for a photo gallery of 24 of their pies.  It’s pie porn.

The only pie that compares with me is a piece of homegrown homemade huckleberry pie at Two Sister’s Cafe in Babb, Montana – right outside of Glacier National Park.  It was really good, but I did have a hiker’s high (and appetite) going at the time.  I would have to go back and try it again to really judge which is better.


All My Relations – Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

…continuation of yesterday’s We Are All Family post.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

I usually do.  It’s not about pilgrims or European settlers for me.  It’s about taking a pause and being grateful for what I have.    For Rollo and I, it’s usually about the time he finishes another too-busy paving season.  We are grateful we had the work.  And, grateful to have a chance to get away from it and recharge.  It’s about turkey and pie.

I wanted to post the Native American Prayer, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.  It’s all about gratitude and seemed really fitting for Thanksgiving.

But then, I ran across…native appropriations.  The adoption of a specific element of a culture by another culture.  I wasn’t sure it was appropriate to appropriate the prayer for Thanksgiving (whew, there’s a mouthful) given at least some Native Americans don’t much care for the holiday.  With good reason.

Here are some alternatives to Thanksgiving and good links to why, exactly, “Pilgrim Thanksgiving “might not be popular with Native Americans.

Unthanksgiving: Held since 1975 to honor the 1969 Native occupation of Alcatraz. It commemorates the survival of the Native American people despite the invasion of the “pilgrims”.

National Day of Mourning: (From the Facebook page)      Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture.

2012_Day_of_Mourning This link is the flyer from this year’s event.

I  agree with the sentiments of both these days, the outrage. Probably no one at either of these events cares what I think.  I am just an ignorant white girl. I dressed up as an Indian for Halloween as a kid.  Not just once. I don’t know much about Native American culture, not as much as I’d like to.   But, I would like to.

But what to do as a non-native?  What could help?  Give up the turkey?  Fly to Alcatraz?  Not borrow the prayer?

We could call this day Pilgrim Day, which I would protest too.  Then, we could have another holiday called Gratitude Day, which should be every day anyway.  The dilemma is not solved.

I am going to share the prayer.  I mean only respect by my appropriation.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin
All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer.
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life.



We Are All Family

Ho Mitakuye Oyasin

I ran across this Native American saying – I think it was at the Great Dakota Gathering we went to this fall. (better known as a pow-wow).  It translates to “all my relations” or “I am related to all things and all things are related to me.”

I’ve “found”  some long-lost relations in the past few years, some I had lost track of for no good reason,  some I didn’t even know existed.  One is Jaylen Bea.

My mother and her great-grandmother are sisters.  She visited me this summer and we were figuring out who she was related to and how.  It got a little complicated.  How many levels of cousin-ness are there? Would she be my third cousin?  Who would the great-grandchilden of my mother’s brother be to her?

She concentrated for awhile and finally told me this:

When you really think about it, we are all related.

Maybe she was just tired of trying to make the connections, but I don’t think so.  I think she was making even more connections.

I wish I was that wise.  I wish our leaders were that wise.

Thanks, JB.  You’re right.  We are all related.

All My Relations (älˑ mīˑ rē·lāˑ·shnz), an expression that asserts the basic philosophy of many Native Americans, according to which plants, stones, two-leggeds, animals, sky, earth, moon, spirit helpers, ancestors and—most significantly—the Great Spirit are related; good health results from harmony between all beings.


Respectful Blogging?

I’m trying to get out two blog posts a week, but it seems like they have been sort of lazy lately.  Posting my childhood writing.  Things like that.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas.  I’ve just been afraid they might offend someone.  Why does that bother me when it comes to writing on the blog, when it doesn’t seem to in real life?  Good question.  I think typing slows down my thought process enough that I actually consider how the words sound, rather than just spitting them out.

Calling god a girl, including a Native American prayer on a Thanksgiving post, and writing about a “person of interest” who might not want to be written about (I don’t know) have all been on the menu lately.  But, not on the blog.

What to do?  I asked here and there for some advice.  I wrote to native appropriations for advice on the prayer bit.  They are a blogsite that “documents images of Indigenous people languages and cultures in everyday life: countering stereotypes one cigar store Indian at a time.”   I haven’t heard back from them yet.  It’s an interesting blog, with a link to an eye opening article on Wikipedia explaining cultural appropriation.  I learned alot.  There’s a post on Native American Halloween costumes, but I knew this was wrong before I read the post.

I still don’t know if it’s disrepectful to use the prayer.  Or call god a girl sometimes.  Or write a complimentary blog about someone without letting them edit it first.  But, short of just continuing to post family pictures-Like this one of the person that allowed me to wear that costume-I think I’m just gonna have to pull up my big girl pants and spit the blogs out.

If they offend anyone, I apologize in advance.

Writing and the Sun

My novel is at 84059 words.  I keep thinking, hoping, it will be “finished” at least in some rough form before we go to Florida.  Life and work keep getting in the way.  And dreams of the sunshine down there.  (sorry Minnesotans).  Why am I even doing this?  Did I always want to be a writer?

I found evidence that I did in a folder marked Mary C., first grade.

I’m not sure the writing has improved that much.  Sounds like I was also practicing to be a meteorologist.  In Florida. A “sometimes hot” meteorologist!

no self esteem problems here

Confession of a Favorite’s Hoarder


I like to write.  I think I like to write.  Maybe I only like to think about writing.  You know.

So I get ideas.   I do research.  Sometimes, I take a wheelbarrow load of books out of the library and sometimes I hit the half price book store.  But, (I’m sorta embarrassed to say this) I usually just “Google it” for my information.  It might not be accurate, but writing is mostly about making stuff up anyway, isn’t it?

Some might say Internet research is just another stall tactic.  The floors are all vacuumed and the closets are cleaned.  I clipped the cat’s toenails, cut the grass between the garden pavers with a scissors, and scrubbed the bathtub tiles with a toothbrush.  I guess I can get to that writing now.  Wait.  I have to do some research.  C’mon,  I’m not checking email and looking for Thursday’s garage sales.  I really am looking for things related to my writing.  But then,  I run across something online that gives me another idea. I have to check that out too.  I get worried I might forget the first idea, so I jot a few nonsensical sentences on a scrap of paper or type them in a Word document.  Of course, I save the website the new interesting idea came from in the favorites on my computer.  I’ll get back to it someday.  I’m sure.

Some of this might be Attention Deficit.  I’ve heard it called Monkey Brain. Some of it is the “wire ball” theory of the woman’s brain.  Mark Gungor, a national speaker on marriage and family (and damn funny), says that a woman’s brain is like a ball of wire.  Jumbled up wire.   All the parts are connected, so when one area lights up…look out.   One thing relates to the next the next.    Check him out, especially if you need a good laugh.

I still think Hoarder is the most apt description for my condition.  I just keep stuffing things in the attic of my brain.  On tiny scraps of paper in the car. And, onto my computer favorites list.  How do I ever clean all this junk out?  I dump some on my blog.

To say There’s an odd mixture on this list is an understatement.  It goes from Lunar Apogee to Crab Louis Salad to 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.

Is hoarding links on your favorite’s list on of those things?

I just can’t part with any of them.  I might NEED that information someday.  I’m sure I’ll use it somewhere.  It’s valuable.

So, I confess.  I’m a “favorites hoarder.”  There.  I said it.   Yes, they are a mess.  No, they are not organized into folders.  And the answer to the question- Can I find things?  is… maybe.  If I don’t get lost in the stacks.  Or discover another interesting idea.