Tag Archives: family

I Am Native American (no matter the blood quantum)

20 Apr

I will share with you an essay I wrote and used (after updating and tweaking, of course) for various different things.  It proves a point that heritage, has little to do with blood quantum (percent) and a lot to do with family traditions, how and where you were raised, the community you choose to belong to, and the customs you honor.

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Asking a Native American “what percent Indian” they are is ignorant and limiting.  And it has everything to do with government funding.  The government had to cede (stolen) land to tribal members and make monetary payments in many cases, so frankly, it was in their best interest to make the bar for being considered Native American pretty high.  Thus, it limits the land lost to America and the ability of descendants to get their rightful land or funds.

It’s the same motivation, opposite direction for African Americans.  The government wanted that slave labor, so it was in their best interest to keep the bar for being considered black very low.  That way even descendants generations out had to work for free and had no rights to property.  Thus, the “one drop” definition of being black.

Both ends of the spectrum are historically rigid, and super-detrimental!  So that is why my mom is considered a tribal member, but I am not.  And why Elizabeth Warren’s claim to Native American heritage is legitimate, even though it’s a small percentage of her blood. Though, don’t get me wrong, I am not cool with having nothing to do with a culture, but then appropriating it for personal gain.  But people with that family history and who appreciate and honor their traditional culture, should be able to claim it–no matter the blood amount.

So without further adieu:

 I was born on The Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. My great-grandfather lived in a tepee before religious missionaries put him in a boarding school where he was not allowed to speak his native language of Salish or dress in his buck-skins. The missionaries were attempting to integrate the Native Americans into white society by stripping away their Indian heritage. Despite this, our culture did not dissolve, as the stories of my ancestors were passed to me. I own authentic moccasins from one of the tribal elders, have danced with pride in pow-wows, and make delectable Indian fry bread for Thanksgiving dinner.

My mother is a recognized Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribal member. In the 1960’s, the laws limited government help to Indians of a quarter blood quantum or more, so unfortunately, I was not able to be registered as a Tribal member of the Flathead Nation. I did experience the poverty common on the Flathead Reservation during my early childhood, however. As a little girl, I thought it was normal to eat the reservation commodities, and I still have a taste for powdered milk. We also ate meat when my parents were able to shoot a deer or catch some trout from the creek. I remember my cousins from town were not allowed to play with me, because I wore hand-me-downs.

My parents, wanting me to have more opportunity in life, started my college fund when I was a baby. My mother is the only member of the entire family who has obtained a college degree–my parents wanted me to be the second. I can see the pain in their eyes when my dad and mom tell stories of taking money out of my piggy-bank to afford basic necessities in Montana.

My Native American Heritage is something I cherish and embrace. I will be an asset to Washington State University because of the ethnic and socioeconomic factors that molded my perspectives. These will help me to display a sensitivity and tolerance toward others from all walks of life. I also bring a strong sense of pride in my work not only for myself, but my family and community.

When It Rains, It Pours: April [arrange, FLY]

5 Jun

So-rry!  I know I’m in the middle of a story, but I’m getting kind of board re-hashing it.  It happened more then a month ago now.  Which–blog lesson–is why you should write things as they happen and as you are excited about them.  It gives the blogger more motivation, helps keep details fresh in the mind, and lends immediacy to the story.  I’m really going to try to be better and put blogging back in my routine.  Right now it feels like a chore, but I used to WANT to do it, and think of posting concepts all the time.

Anyway, I’m in Salt Lake.  But only for a week before I have to go baaaaack to SpoKompton.  My car is there.  The apartment hasn’t been cleaned even a little bit, and I have a house-sitting job that will pay WELL (understatement).  Cool starts work, so I am left alone to unpack and set up the apartment. I’m glad for it, because setting up the new place is the fun part about moving.

When we get to Utah, I think–it will immediately be the warm side of spring, lots hotter than Washington, and certainly less gray.  In actuality, it is still grey, 50 degrees in the morning (and sometimes longer) and pouring rain.  Big, storms that make parking-lots lakes, and last for hours to days.  In short–it’s worse!  We don’t get to explore our new city during the day–so we continue to watch “Friends” as we had in WA.

silvver hearse

So I unpack and organize and Cool works.  Then, I have to fly back to SpoKompton Sunday.  My flight leaves at 6AM–good for productivity, bad for waking up, treadmilling, showering, and driving.  TOO EARLY.  Waking up at 4AM wasn’t good enough, so we were running late.  And of course, it was raining very hard.  And the road to the airport is DARK (get some lights SLC!) so it was tretcherous.  But that didn’t stop the other cars from speeding around.  And the GPS acted up so we missed our turn.

The ride was dangerous and stressful.

I arrived at the airport 45 minutes prior to my flight and it was JUST enough time.

By the time I got through security, I was cutting it close.  I made the first leg of my flight, then had a 40 minute layover in Seattle.  I had wanted to pee (I had to go as SOON as I sat down on the plane, but refuse to use that type of bathroom) and get some caffeine.  Then the escalator to the underground tunnel to take me to my proper gate was out of order.  I had to walk through the ENTIRE airport to get to the other one.  Luckily, I am a fast walker–slow people would have missed their plane.  When I got to the gate on my ticket, it was empty.  And said L.A.  What in the world?  I knew I hadn’t missed my flight, especially by so much they had moved to the next sign.  I went to the counter and asked about it and the woman pointed across the room–my plane had probably changed so we were at a different gate.  Thanks for telling me. . .  And as I suspected, my plane has already boarded!  I gave my ticket to the agent by my new gate’s door and was told my seats changed, I had to go back to the desk to get a new ticket?!  Even though I was running late, I went baaaack to the counter and she printed my new ticket.  I was all ready to fuss about the lack of communication and all the changes, til I looked at my new ticket and I had been upgraded from seat 35 to seat 7.  I’ll take it!  But there would be no bathroom break or coffee for me–much sadness.

I was finally able to board my plane, and found they waited so long because it was a “light-load” meaning there were maybe 28 of us.  Which seemed to me that I should be paying a lot less, and they should probably be using a tiny plane to save fuel, but whatever–I was on my way back to Spokompton.

We had the slowest descent I’ve ever been a part of.  The plane literally stopped several times, poked through the fog, then poked elsewhere.  And I really, really had to pee.  But I made it.  And it was only 9AM, which was beautiful!  It was awesome having the entire day in front of me–even if it was full of obligations and cleaning.

My Aunt had agreed to pick me up at the airport.  So instead of stopping in the bathroom and dealing with luggage, I figured I would meet her first so she could watch my bags and I could go unencumbered.  Except when I greeted her and asked what time she got there she said 10 til (it was 9AM), and I clarified 10 til 9?  No, 8.  Ugh–my Aunt had been standing there for 70 minutes–so I felt I shouldn’t make her wait any longer for me to find a bathroom.  I’d have to wait til we got to her house.

She led us to the parking lot, then stood in the middle of a row, lost and confused.  Are you kidding me?!  [this in my head] She didn’t know where the eff she had parked.  I was really annoyed and had to pee, but just followed her around the many lots for 20 minutes while she looked for the car. . .  Who doesn’t have a key fob to beep these days?  My Aunt, that’s who.

We finally got in the car and were chatting on the drive out of the airport.  Then she changed lanes and so severely cut off a car in that lane that the other driver had to swerve all the way into the median–which luckily, was wide.  My Aunt’s reaction to almost having caused a car accident, “Oh I think she’s maaad at me-she flipped me off.”  She was worried she had angered the other driver–not that she could have killed us or totaled both cars.

She tried to chat with me again, and I was like, oh no–you need to concentrate on driving.  My Aunt is a very $hitty driver.  Sunday morning traffic is light so I was glad for that.  But I made a mental note never to ride with her again.  And I was VERY happy about my decision to take my car keys with me.

We finally got to her house, and I had to do the forever pee.  I wanted to leave after that to take advantage of the 3 hours of empty stores to get some Spackle and groceries.  On Sunday mornings people are either at church or hungover, so it’s one of the few times the grocery stores are bearable.  Also I wanted to take a nap and clean, but they pressed me to stay so I was forced to chat for politeness.  I hate that!

They mentioned they wanted to “move my car up” yeah sure, I thought.  I knew they would have been driving Rusty around had I left the keys.  My car was flush against the trash cans they had told me to park in front of–it was unnecessary to move it.  And they kept me til 11:30AM, so I lost my empty grocery store times >-[

Next I’ll tell about the condition of the apartment, house-sitting, and my 2nd trip to Utah.

When It Rains, It Pours: April [moving]

27 May

I know, I know I made you a promise–then I broke it.  Again.  You see, what’s happening is I want to do the blog-post “right.”  As such, I never feel I have enough time to write something decent.  So today, I’m just going to quickly get things down:

Moving sucks, we all know that.  Here’s what my April was like once it was time to go:

-I packed pretty much every box at the old apartment.

-On moving day, it was up to Cool and me.  But a few items would require more strength, so I asked my Aunt and Uncle for help.

-But they are in their 60’s and both kind of dinks.

-So I knew they would only be marginally helpful, and probably start fatigue, complain, and become an impredimant in a hurry.  So I asked them to help for the first hour.

-They were there to move a bookshelf, 3 shelves, the treadmill, and the 37″ TV-mistake from Craigslist.

-I had no idea where this TV was going to go, and no one wanted it for free let alone purchase, because it wasn’t a flat screen-what is that, anyway?

Goose Moose x-mas 2013 035

-But first, Cool and I had to rent the Penske–which I had done a lot of research and measurements to pick out of the moving truck companies.  This was after I worked til midnight the night before (ie I’m starting out tired).

-We get the truck and I drive it back to the apartment.

-Aunt and Uncle help us move the things and the TV goes out on the sidewalk with a “free” sign.

-I need some place to park Rusty while I’m in Utah for a week.  My Uncle volunteers my Aunt (a notoriously bad driver who doesn’t know manual transmission) to drive it to their house.  I agree to park Rusty at their house–but say I’LL drive it over later.  They go home.

4-16-11 my new car

-Cool and I take load after load to the truck.  I begin to pack things to the ceiling, but quickly realize the truck is waaaaay bigger then our amount of things.  In order for things not to float around–we must pack them in a single-layer on the floor.  And it’s still too much room.  Oops.

-We load the things.  I’m hot and tired.  Cool has died.  She’s obese because of her meds and not much help.  She moves slower and slower and takes more and more breaks.  It’s up to me.

-But we manage to finish in under 4 hours.  And it’s just 1PM.  And now the apartment is empty.  We have to hang out doing nothing.  With the Penske sitting outside.  Then wake up at 4AM to begin our interstate trek.  Why are we waiting?

-We decide we will get a hotel in Butte and drive halfway today–there’s plenty of time.

-But first I have to take my car to the Aunt and Uncles.  But when we get there they aren’t home.  It’s OK, they told me where to park so I did.  But I didn’t want to leave my keys because of the afore-mentioned casualness about them driving my car.  There would be nobody but me driving my car.  What if they got in a wreck?  No–the keys were going with me.

-But sometimes Rusty’s alarm will randomly get set off.  And it just goes on and on.  And on and on.  Until you use the key fob to disengage it.  And that’s the only way I know of.  So I was very worried the alarm would go off leaving them no recourse.  But MORE worried them would drive Rusty (badly) if they had the keys.  So off we went.

-Cool packed both cats in her car.  And I took the Penske.  Then we got on the road.

uphill rd

Next edition–not so spaced apart (for reals!) the road!

Independent Woman

16 Dec

I told Cool that if I ever lose the use of my legs or need diapers to euthanize me. That is how important my independence is to me.

So I’m very skeptical I would like to be in the military. I know full-well that the affordable housing, job opportunities, and paid tuition–come at a cost.  Once you sign on that dotted line the government owns you.  You are no longer a free agent.  Sure, they’ll say that they try to accommodate you, but when it comes down to it–you are going to do what the military tells you to do, and that’s it.

I feel guilty about being stubborn against this idea.  But I’m reminding myself that yes, it’s absolutely ok to be stubborn about your own life–I am the one who has to live it.  I don’t have to justify my choices to anyone.

Enter my well-meaning parents.  They are worried about how I’m going to pay for graduate school.  I am also super-worried.  They feel like the solution to ALL my problems is going into the Navy.  Which, I could do.  And I’d like to follow in my father’s footsteps, and I’d be honored to serve my country.  BUT the logistics just do not work out for what I want in my life.  But they won’t listen to me.  They don’t hear my concerns, they just think I’m making an uninformed stubborn choice.  And I can tell saying no about this is stepping into a landmine.  It’s going to hurt the good place my relationship with my parents has finally gotten to.  Which sucks!  It was hard work getting to this better place with them.  School funding/Navy is a point of contention, for sure.  Except–you should not join the military for someone else, and you should never do it out of guilt–which is what I would be doing.  I did look into it and here is why it just isn’t going to work for me at this point in my life:

-It’s an 8 year commitment!

That’s a long time.  That’s all 4 years of school AND 4 more.  There is a lot of opportunity for being moved around.  A lot of dealing with less then optimal conditions.  And 8 years to worry about my little family and my own survival.

-I would have to be separated from my family.  

That’s what I have.  It’s my whole support system.  Cool wouldn’t be traveled around with me (more on this later), and I’m sorry if that makes me weak and a whiner–I want to be with her.  Maybe other people can live apart from their mate, but I never want to.  Also, Kitties cannot go to bootcamp, nor to officer training, or to different countries–and moving them around to different states would be difficult at best.  After being separated from them in Seattle–I want my pets to live with me.  I love them and they are my responsibility.

-I am gay.  And this poses many problems:

–Cool and I aren’t married because I think it’s an antiquated tradition, she would ruin my good credit, and I figure why bother when the benefits depend what state you’re in at the time.  In the military, they try to ensure married couples remain together–they could care less about what the law considers a roommate.

–So She and I would have to be apart.  When and how would I see her?  And where would she live?  How would she afford it?  What if her bipolar flared up as it does and things went terribly wrong?  I wouldn’t be there.  That doesn’t work for me.

–Also, being gay may be legal in the military, but that isn’t the same thing as being accepted.  It’s a lot to ask of me to hide a fundamental aspect of who I am.  But if I didn’t I could be teased, hazed, harassed, or even raped.  I want no part of that–and who could blame me?

-I do not want to involve a recruiter

to get specific answers to my questions I have to call a recruiter.  Which I don’t want to do.  They give you the hard-sell.  They gloss over the bad parts and emphasize the good, so you really have to read the fine print anyway.  They spam you!  I don’t want constant phone calls or mailers pressuring me.

-I’m fearful about the training and expectations.  

I’m not sure I’d like getting screamed at.  With work, I could do the physical stuff, but I in no way want to take my gas mask off for such and such amount of time like you have to in the Navy.  I might be capable of doing it, but I think I would be very unhappy and stressed about it.

-I don’t like travel.  

Basic is 2 weeks in some cold, Great Lake state.  Officer training is in RI–for a month.  You have to spend such and such time per year training who knows where.  They promise you during your service they try to put you where you want to be, but let’s be real, if the government needs you somewhere they’re going to put you there, whether it works for you or not.  And on relatively short notice.  Plus, I have bathroom privacy and hygiene standards that cannot be accommodated in a military lifestyle.  I need a (warm) shower EVERY day!  And a private bathroom stall (with American plumbing) and a door and a fan.

-I don’t want stress, trauma, or long term effects like my dad (and many, many others) have

I’m sensitive,  I don’t want to undergo emotional trauma, physical abuse, and I would be suicidal if I went through the sexxual abuse common in the military and in the Middle East.  I also don’t want PTSD which is a very real side-effect of service.

-I don’t want to risk my LIFE

I also have NO interest of traveling abroad–especially the Middle East.  And I read they are starting to put Audiologists on the forefront of actions because of portable equipment.  Before they mostly did noise-prevention and VA stuff, but with accessible equipment, the government can stop sending soldiers to the closest sound booth (in Germany) after explosions and check them right on the front lines.  That means audiologists are on the front lines.

-And bottom line, the money/perks just aren’t that great.

I can get better stipends from my school, or at the very least loans that don’t involve travel and put my life on the line.  I will find a job once I’m out of school, and I could still do noise-prevention or VA work as a civilian.

I’m going to have to put my foot down to my parents, and I hope it doesn’t cause a big, ugly scene.  But better that then ruining what I want for my life.  I’ll just have to find another way to finance my education.  This is about me and what I want, and nobody–even my parents–gets to demand what path I take.  I just hope they can understand that I’m not just being rebellious, I actually researched and see many reasons why that’s not what I want. . .

Disingenuine (a non-poem)

24 Dec

I have used that title for a blog post before (in 2007?) but I think it’s appropriate today.  I read that poem, and though it’s total Douch-baggery to say, I think it’s good.  It still conveys my emotions about the time, and that person really well.  This one is not a poem, but a scenario.  One that made me feel disappointed and. . .  bad.  Not angry, but bad (for lack of better word).  Also, bare with me, because I’m really tired, so quality on this isn’t going to be outstanding.

Work.  Yes, that again.  These trouble never really go away, do they?  I suppose until I finish my education and AZ gatormove on with my life, they never will.  I was asked to work 2 additional hours today, which I did.  And I went in early to do processor chem.  While I was doing all the washing, chemicals, and horribleness that is processor chem, my boss comes near me and says, “I left something from the clinic in your shoe.”  That was it.  No “Merry Christmas!”, no “I hope you have a happy holiday!”, no “We thought we would do something nice for all your hard work.”  The whole thing felt forced to me.  An obligation.  I got the feeling my boss saw a Christmas tid-bit as some sort of job that HAD to be done, and that she wasn’t terribly excited about–maybe even–what’s the word–not quite put-out or stressed, but something that was an effort and that she didn’t really want to do or love doing.

The gift doesn’t really matter–this post isn’t about the fact I was down-graded, no doubt because I’ve left Forster-my x-mas 11Fridays.  It was the SPIRIT of the gift-giving I had a problem with.  I almost gave it back, but thought that would create drama, which isn’t my goal.  Getting the gift, made me feel icky, no happy or joyful or appreciative.  And that just isn’t the point, is it?  I felt like I had caused. . .  Hardship–that’s not quite right either.  I told you I’m tired.  I felt like if they didn’t have the right intentions behind the gift, then they shouldn’t have given it at all.

I had given everyone at work personalized, home-made, thoughtful gifts the last 2 years.  Because that’s who I normally am as a person.  I’m actually very thoughtful and thankful–this has just sapped all of that out of me. birch trees on Mars-upright All the baggage at work has made me more standoffish–and who could blame me?  The way they have treated me. . .  But this Christmas, because I did not feel the same good will and cheerful intent, I didn’t get any of them anything.  And not out of meanness, or drama, but becuase I didn’t feel it.  You should ony do nice things if your heart is actually in the right place.  I don’t wish them ill-will, but I’m fairly indifferent now, due to the past.  I think they should have done the same, if they didn’t really want to give me anything.  After all, employment is a contract.  I work, they pay me, we don’t OWE each other any more then that–certainly not Christmas cheer or presents.

I’m not going to whatever dinner they’re planning (in the same, “I have to do this” sort of spirit) in the near Walking about-July 2012 014future.  It was announced as if it was inconveniance, but had to be done.  It was made clear spouses were NOT invited.  And no one ASKED, just informed me to pick a date that would work.  So I have no intention of partaking in that for several reasons:  1.)  It is also disingenuine.  2.)  I do not like, and do not want to spend time with anyone at work–it’s bad enough I have to deal with them AT work.  Life is too short to hang out with people out of obligation and phoniness.  3.)  I do not like going places without Cool.  4.)  I do not like going places.  Or leaving my jammies. Especially if no paycheck or grades are involved and especially, especially since it’s at night and cold outside.  5.)  I’m afraid alcohol would be involved, and I do not want to deal with that scene at all.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of going (maybe the idea will fizzle out all-together anyway) without looking bitchy or creating drama, but there is 0% I’m showing up to anything like that.

It’s too bad that all this negativity is occuring around and because of Christmas.  That’s not really what the season is all about.  I’m going to try to forget how sad I am about this deterioration the whole thing, and have a genuinly good time with people who truly love me for who I am–my family:  Cool and the kitties, with a call to my parents in there somewhere.  Maybe I’ll donate the gift card to someone who really needs it, because I have all these bad feelings associated with it now.

 

One More Month to Get It Done

30 Nov

Will I make it?  Well, let’s see.  I at least feel more optimistic about November.  And look at this:  I actually pulled up the original new year’s resolutions so I can see what I’m supposed to be doing!  Super-NOT lazy!  Next year, I make a physical sign or poster of the goals so I can see and remember them always.

coffee owl

Work:

It’s usually a touchy subject, but things are going great.  I’m hesitant to say it, because it’s jinxy and these things can go sour in a hurry.  Have I mentioned I adore my new schedule?  Even though it keeps me locked in town, and even though I’m pretty much constantly tired Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday?  It is still the best change in my life.  And knock on wood-everyone is being as nice as they are able to me right now.

Cool:

We’ve been trying to cook again lately.  And we had a few massages this month–though I think that may be what set off last week’s terrible headache. . .  Her meds may or may not be back of track, it’s difficult to tell.  My loyality, responsibility, reminders, and finances end up conveying how much I care–I still am not the greatest at doing little things to show I care.  I want to work on that more.

Education:

I have really succeeded in making this my number 1 priority.  There is no keeping up or getting ahead on class work and studying, but I’m pulling through the best I can.  I just have to make it another week, and then 2 more semesters!  I can, and I will keep that 4.0!

Alcohol:

I drank the special Walla Walla wine (but nothing at our fancy restaurant lunch) for our 4 year anneversary.  The second time I drank was some of our ice wine (that I said I was going to finish) at my Aunt’s house.  It would have been very uncharacteristic not to have anything there, and I would have had to offer an explanation–which I didn’t want to get into.  And the whole drinking thing over there ended up making me feel alone and empty.  I don’t want to be THAT person that gives it up, then judges others about their habits.  But I was concerned.  My aunt had begun drinking before we got there.  Disregarded my feelings/health (I was legit-ill with headache and stomach issues that night), and pressured Cool to open another bottle of wine after we had gone through the first two.  I was drinking slowest and only had 1.5 glasses of wine (to their 3-4?), then gave the remainder of my glass to Cool because I felt icky.  But even after I indicated I didn’t feel well and wanted to leave soon, my aunt waited until I went to the bathroom, and guilted Cool into pouring more wine.  The whole scanario made me feel worthless, like they didn’t care about me, and I knew it was the alcohol doing all the talking that night.  I can’t go over there again, if that’s the situation.  I’m going to attempt only breakfast meetings with my aunt from now on, to avoid the pressure, and that ugly feeling.  I have done very well otherwise, and feel so much better about life in general without it.

Money/Food:

I have been getting caffeine a lot lately–the Starbucks was a frequent stop this month.  I just felt very tired, but didn’t want to forgo the studying for sleep.  After finals, I need to get back to more economical energy practices.  Also, it’s been a little rough without food stamps at all.  The cupboards are often bare, and frige empty.  This is more from lack of planning, then complete dire straights–I need to be smart and stick to necessities and ingrediants rather then blowing a bunch of cash on small, processed easy-prepare foods.  Mission stop being tired, and therfore lazy!

Exercise:

Ugh–complete and utter fail.  I do nothing outside of my normal routine–which is luckily fairly active.  Next semester I MUST establish a treadmill, Wii-Fit, circuits routine and really stick with it, for those cold weather, studious months.  I’m getting too old to be sedentary.

Water:

Water consumption is still hit or miss.  I AM drinking some water each day, which is a vast improvement from the none, and dehyrating beverages of the past.  I need to have more though.  It’s imperative that I chug water in the early morning at work.  I think this is one reason I’ve had daily headaches this whole week.

Dental:

And I’ve skipped a few flossing days, mostly because I wait until I’m too tired sometimes.  But for the most part, I’ve done that daily as I should.

As you can see I fizzled out by the end of this.  I must be tired.  I’ll do a big month and year wrap up in December, and have 2014 resolutions as well.

Best of 2012: MOMENTS

3 Jan

Favorite Moments of 2012:

11.  Seeing Dad in the summer.

Auug NV Kidron pics 141

This would be a higher level moment if we weren’t at a funeral for an unexpected death.  Not that any funeral is great.  As it was, I really miss Dad and it was happy-times to see him–however briefly.

2012 vacations 123

10.  Camp & Hike for Cool’s B-day in June.

This one was so fun because it was a birthday.  I got to meet one of Cool’s school friends–and I actually liked her a lot.  We got to actual-camp, with fire and s’mores and everything, for the first time together.  A hike to a waterfall was involved, and who wouldn’t like that?

9.  Brandi Carlile at Seattle Symphony in November

Brandi concert 2

This event was much anticipated, and is only this low on the list due to travel fatigue, residual mother-in-law issues, and end of semester stress.  The concert was obviously amazing though.  We had good seats, and the set-list was memorable.  And you know how I feel about Brandi. . .

8.  Receiving loan money in excess of tuition (in November).

This item may seem like it doesn’t belong on a “best of” list, but believe me–this was a stellar moment for me.  And the first of its kind.  I had never before seen any money from these loans I’m always having to pull out and pay for the rest of my life.  Usually they go straight to the school to pay the owed tuition.  All I get is the hassle of applying, trouble of hoop-jumping with the school and lender, and the repayments.  Oh the repayments. . .  So actually getting a check in the mail was a highlight!  And I will say, I was slightly irresponsible due to the glee and got highlights.  I’m just a person.

Fur Ball 2012 076

7.   The Fur Ball in Nov.  Gosh, November must have been a good month.

Was memorable because it was the fanciest event Cool had ever been to.  At Noah’s Ark, they paid for a table at the Gentle Doctor’s Benefit yearly, so I got to dress up, eat the catering  take part in the auctions, and be glamorous.  This was the first event Cat’s Meow had ever done as a group.  But Cool has never experienced anything remotely like that–so it was really amazing to be there with her.  Especially since she had been invited in the summer, then uninvited when there were new hires, so she was lucky to attend.  Plus, we looked really spectacular.  Yep, I went there.  Deal.

6.  Julyamish Pow-wow (also July).

dancer 2

This one stems from the disappointment of having douchi relatives who ruined my birthday plans of getting together in Montana.  The extended family forgot us, and my parents reneged.  After being so sad about missing out on family opportunities, I was very pleased to see a pow-wow in such close proximity to our apartment.  We took in the dancing, tried elk and alligator, and I got a bead-work belt that I will keep as a memento all my life.  It was a good time.  And one we’ll attend this next summer.

5.  A+ in Speech & Hearing Disorders (May)

flashcards 002

This item was also borne of strife.  The school really tried to disallow and dissuade me from taking my first Speech and Hearing Sciences course as a non-degree-seeking student.  They were ornery and unsupportive of my plan to start the degree.  I am so proud of my A, because I proved them wrong and showed them I could–despite not having taken the pre-requisite.

2012 Spring 096

4.  Visit to The German in May.

I absolutely love THE German in mid-Washington!  And this was an especially nice break from the semester and the horribleness that had occurred at work (everyone went on vacation the same month, during my final projects and exam).  It was a charmed trip too–we found a secret and free camping spot right next to the shops and river.  Bought hats that make me feel cooler then I actually am.  Found a seat upstairs on a balcony when all the other decks were overrun.  And had the best (jalapeno-cheddar) brot of my LIFE.  Good-times.  One year I will take the train in the winter to see the lighting ceremony and guide some sled dogs!

3.  109% on Anatomy Exam #3 (October).

Articulatory System 018

Enough cannot be said of this item.  After so much anticipation, worry, and preparation -not to mention studying.  We had 3 exams in October–three!  And the exam before this one–phonatory system was an icky 92% when I felt I had prepared for a higher grade.  Well, I got the A+ I hoped for, and additional points I had not dreamed of.  It feels–there are no words for how nice it feels, actually.

2.  Walla Walla, for 29th B-day (July, of course)

the 1 pic of both

I do love my birthday.  And this was a wonderful one.  It was beautiful–the Palouse, and the cute town, and the farm-land too.  It was cheap–say what?  FREE wine-tastings your whole birthday month?!  We were out of Spokompton and away from work and stress.  The town was adorable, did I mention that?  The food plentiful–sushi, QUAIL, ice wine.  Really, how could we go wrong?  I had such an amazing weekend that I am determined to have my big-milestone 30th birthday here too.  Determined.  Work be damned.

And–the BEST moment of 2012?  Surprise, it’s a concert.

tailgate 2

1.  Labor Dave Weekend.

Gorge Ampitheatre 3

We had that 2011 disappointment of getting tickets for Saturday then trying to attend (unsuccessfully) on Sunday.  The horrid mix-up really was the worst thing that could happen.  But that made THIS trip all the better.  We purchased actual seats.  GOOD seats.  I prepared.  I listened to the songs.  I dressed appropriately.  We pre-gamed.  I managed to be a laid-back good-time-girl.  Which is really not my normal M.O.  The concert really could not have gone better.  I’ll remember it always.

DMB on stage

So there you have it–my top moments of 2012.  Funny how they are concentrated into a few months.  I can’t even expect 2013 to be half as great–if for no other reason that there’s just not the money to do it, let along time off work and school–at the same time as Cool either.  But that’s OK, 2013 will be a back to our roots, simple fun kind of year.  We have nature.  We have Netflix.  And we have Spotify.  Not to mention each other.  We will re-learn to appreciate the ordinary and make our own fun.  If we can squeeze some fun out of our Seattle existence–we can manage it in 2013.  File under-trying to convince myself.

Mirrors and Reflection (New Year–>New Life, Part 1)

31 Dec

It is that time again.  The time to look back, make changes, then look forward.

Moments of 2012.  I’ll do the countdown of BEST moments of the year in another post.  This is more an evaluation of life-areas:

working at Cat's MeowWork was, in general, a negative and stressful experience.  And yet I apparently don’t dislike it enough to really turn my life upside-down and find a new one.  Because it IS possible to get a new job.  Which I suppose, gives me very little room to complain.  The mantra regarding work–just bide my time until I can move out of Spokane, and into a real career.  Also, think long-term–don’t let them use me up.  Cost-benefit analysis.

Love.  Cool and I had more ups then downs this year.  There are many changes I want her to make, but all-said we still share love.  More on this in goals.

School.  Overall, I enjoyed my classes.  The paperwork, the loan debacles, the staff, the professors? THE shirt posterior Not so much.  Again, these things just come with the territory, plus they are not pervasive enough to make me want to leave all-together.  And it’s pretty much the story for any college, so they is no escaping anyway.  I DO love to learn, and especially like the opportunity to do things the right way–like I wish I could have done in Missouri.  It feels like a second chance, and feels good to build a viable future.

IMG_20110716_184322Money is tough.  Obviously, it’s difficult to pay bills, save, and still feel like a person.  2012 was not a great year for moderating restaurant eating.  I think this is because coming home to an empty house, while tired, just made eating out the easiest choice.  This next year I’m going to make sure Grocery Outlet trip occur every other week–but I guess that’s more of a goal then an assessment.  My finances need a little more discipline then I had in 2013 is the big story.

Family was probably not the greatest in 2012.  My parents (Mom) and I had a “thing.”  And we didn’t talk on the phone for months.  I cancelled my Montana plans because the extended family acted like $hit-heads toward me.  My mother-in-law is toxic.  Things to be learned here–if you can’t cut out the toxic, One:  Minimize the time spent with (or thinking about) them.  Two:  Just let go.  This is not to say, don’t hold them responsible for their actions, but don’t dwell either.  Just know they are crazy/selfish and write it off.  No need to be preoccupied by this crap like I was in 2012.

Exercise.  2012 was one of my best years since high school for physical fitness.  We belonged to the YMCA–and actually went often.  Then, we actually ran at the all-weather track frequently.  I really liked the fitness, and what it did for my body.  EXCEPT, as soon as the weather turned, I became sedentary again.  And now feel bad, unhealthy, and guilty.  So this needs work in the cold.  A cold weather plan can fix this one.

Food per the usual was bad, bad, bad.  Cookie dough for breakfast?  Yes, please!  I already feel fell, my cat cookiebut there’s more pie–I’ll take it.  Produce?  What is that???  I don’t mind a diet, and I do not limit myself in any way.  Luckily, I am naturally thin, but I can’t say I’m all that healthy.  So without going crazy over it, I’m just going to try to limit sugar, eat decent portions (at meal times).  Which also is more a goal then a reflection.

August 2011 105Drinking.  My numbers here are still too high.  I deliberate publishing them, because I don’t want this to become anybody’s ammunition.  But I want to hold myself accountable.  So maybe I can post a number that I know, but the reference would be too obscure for someone else to interpret.  196 too many.  This number is wrong and I know it. This year is the year I change it. I just have to DO it. That’s all there is to it.

Merry Christmas, Grandpa George!

21 Dec

I always think of my Grandpa George during this time of year.  As a child, I always got just the right trinket from Grandpa George.  Unlike my Aunts, who gave me awkward, age-inappropriate gifts, and my maternal grandma who sometimes would remember, and sometimes even included a card and return address to tip us off who sent whatever it was–he always knew just what I wanted.  I had no idea until after he died that my parents were behind his gifts.  He always sent money, and if he didn’t (I still have no idea if he always remembered) my parents would buy something in his name.  Being so far away from family–that meant a lot to me, and sticks with me still today.

Hopefully, my writing will convey my true intent–I love my grandpa even though I knew there was something about him. . .  I don’t want to come across as spoiled, or hateful, or evil, but maybe this will.  That’s not my meaning at all though–just know that.

Laurel's pics 196

You probably remember every other summer we visited extended family in Montana, which included my only living Grandpa.  Instead of looking forward to this, I dreaded it, hated it, and feared it.  Then felt guilty for feeling those things.  There was something about my grandpa I found unsettling.  I’m not sure what it was exactly.  He was always kind, but sort of in his own world too.  Sometimes in the middle of a visit he would just resume his television show and be largely oblivious that we were still there.  He (and his various houses and apartments) smelled a little funny, and his hands shook.  I didn’t know what (if anything) was wrong, but even though there was family-love between us, I didn’t want to hang around him very long.  It still makes me feel terribly guilty.  But I was just a little kid, so cut me a little slack.

My grandpa never called me by my proper name.  I don’t think he had true dementia, but he always got my dad’s (his oldest son) identity wrong at first too.  Granted, he did not see us often.  When my Dad entered his house (room at the assisted-living in later years), Grandpa George would go through the list of his own brothers, then my uncle, before finally guessing my dad’s name.  Anyway, for whatever reason, Grandpa could never really get my name right either.  He would settle upon some L-name or other, usually Laurie, Laurel's pics 050never Laurel, my given name.  But despite this chronic mistake I never doubted his love or adoration.  My grandpa relished me, anyone could see that.  Despite getting my name wrong, I always knew he cared.  Still, to this day I do not get upset if people mis-label, mis-pronounce, or otherwise mistake my name.  I figure if my own grandpa couldn’t ever get it, and I couldn’t say it until I was three years old, it can’t be all that important to be a stickler over it.  It’s one of the few things I’m NOT a stickler about, funny enough.

A large part of the dread I felt was just not knowing.  I had heard snippets that my Grandpa had tried to enter the military, but was refused based on some or other mental issue.  The diagnosis was never made clear to me.  I also heard that he was made to cook for all the farm workers even as just a little guy, and his brothers (maybe his father too) beat him pretty badly on a regular basis.  The poor man had also been through the Laurel's pics 195horrors of shock therapy, which made him fearful for the rest of his life.  But back in those days you were just “crazy” so I don’t know what prompted this.

I heard that he was a big drinker, and my aunt tells stories of him taking her and her younger brother to the bar and making them sit outside on a bench (in cold Montana) while he would get wasted for hours.  And a few times my dad would go in with the intent of our family visiting my Grandpa, but he would be drinking, so we would leave, without me seeing him.  Also his hands shook.  He was incontinent for awhile, and later my grandpa was diagnosed with diabetes.  Again, I was never privy to his medical conditions, so instead of compassion, I felt weary towards him.  Today, I wish I had some diagnosis to attach to my Grandpa George.  I’m glad mental health has come so far from just “crazy” or “dirty secret” too.  I think with education comes understanding–and that unlocks many doors.  Not to mention gives a clearer picture of hereditary genetic conditions.  I find it very scary that some undiagnosed mental illness runs through my family, that I am susceptible to get.  But this post is not really about me–so that’s a topic for another day.

My memories, aside from the thoughtful gifts, are of visiting Grandpa in the summers.  He would immediately want a ride.  Usually we went to the store.  At that time, in that small Montana community, all the containers seemed to be made of glass.  I was always on edge while my grandpa’s trembling hands would reach out, knocking the glass ketchup bottles in proximity, to grasp one.  It made me very nervous and I worried he would topple all the bottles to the floor, spewing red ketchup everywhere.  Shopping with Grandpa was very nerve-wracking.

Once, my friend Crystal and I danced with Grandpa George at the home.  He was very happy when Laurel's pics 508he was dancing, and you could tell in his day he probably danced a lot.  Maybe my love of music comes from him, because I guess he was also very proficient at playing the accordion and was in a band for a time.

I also remember Grandpa telling my dad that he liked the retirement home, because “A women–she bathes me, Jim.”  Even old dudes still have testosterone I suppose.  Anyway, the comment still makes me laugh when I think of it.  I’m glad my Grandpa was well taken care of and happy at the end.

So Grandpa George, even though I didn’t know you well, and didn’t understand you–I love you.  I hope you’re having a happy holiday season in heaven 🙂

Walking on Eggshells

6 Dec

The mother-in-law.  And I hesitate to write that just because it’s SO cliche’.  Now, you might get the impression I’m disagreeable.  Which IS the case many times.  But it’s not because I TRY to be ornery.  And it isn’t because I LIKE drama.  No, no.  I hate drama and strife a lot, actually.  But I do require that everyone around me treat me a certain way.  And I will stand up to those who don’t.  I am unable to be phony, and I am unable to stay quiet while being mistreated.  So that leads to a lot of problems.  People don’t like being called on their $hit.

Here’s the story:

-I bought tickets to see Brandi Carlile at the Seattle Symphony for Saturday.

-Even though, we could have driven to Seattle and back over the weekend, I suggested we go early so we could spend Thanksgiving with Cool’s family.

-Both Cool and I had to take time of work to accomplish the family Thanksgiving.

-We could have easily stayed IN the city with my Auntie (who we lived with for a time) or friends.

-We got to Cool’s family’s house at 5AM and went straight to bed.  At 7:30 or 8AM, I woke up and woke Cool up.  I figured we had come this far, and rearranged plans so Cool and her mom had better spend some time together.

-When we went out to the living room, Cool’s mom (in an accusatory voice) asked why we were up.  We said we wanted to visit, then Cool’s mom turns to her baby and says, “Aren’t YOU tired?”  And Cool (who’s tired 24/7) said she was.

-This is literal now:  Cool’s mom turns to me and says, “Just because you’re awake means everybody has to be awake?”  So great.  You’d think she’d want Cool to be awake so she could see her, but any excuse to direct animosity toward me, right?

-Later we began to unload our belongings from the car.  Cool’s mom requested we bring 1 thing for dinner:  2 bottles of wine.  Thanksgiving morning, Cool drops one of the wine bottles onto the driveway, crushing it.

-TWO bottles of wine were so important to her mother that she sent us with money to the store to get a new bottle.

-Even though I am ethically opposed to shopping on Thanksgiving, I went (to appease her mother) without saying a word about my morals.

-When we came back, Cool’s mom said the bottle was too small and called Cool’s sister asking HER to bring another bottle (3rd) of wine.  This is on top of whatever alcohol was already in the house.

-During the evening, every single person there drank.  Including Cool’s mother.  Cool and I had brought our own beer.

-Wine has a higher alcohol content then beer.  Double, sometimes even more, I think.  And I was refilling everybody’s wine glasses.  It was a holiday after all.

-Cool’s mother didn’t say anything to anyone about drinking.

-No one was sloppy, drunk.  And Cool and I were sleeping there, not out partying, not driving anywhere.

-At the end of the night, Cool’s mom kept saying things (just to me) like, “You’re awfully social.”  Or, “Aren’t you cheerful?”  Kind of insinuating I was trashed.  Can’t a girl just have a good time at her VERY FIRST extended family Thanksgiving?

-I told a story to Cool, her step-dad, and her mom, and there was no reaction and no comment.  Just blank stares from all 3.  Crickets.  So, thinking they weren’t paying attention, or were old and couldn’t hear me (they are), I repeated the story.

-Not that the above should even matter.

-At that point, Cool’s mom got UGLY with me.  She insinuated I was drunk and sloppy and didn’t know what I was saying.

-Not wanting to have a huge confrontation, or to disrespect Cool’s mother (even though she was completely out of line) I said, “That’s it, I’m going to bed.”  And got up and went to the guest room.

-Cool, Momma’s Girl that she is, followed me and said, “She was just kidding!”  Because Cool doesn’t understand intention, and thinks just because something isn’t explicitly stated, it doesn’t exist.

-No, no way.  Cool’s mother was implicitly stating that I was some sort of sloppy drunk, and I do NOT deserve to be treated that way.  Nor was I drunk.  Or sloppy.

-Cut to Friday morning.  Which, by the way, we could have spent in Seattle, but didn’t.  I thought Cool should maximize time with her family.

-Cool’s Mom, specifically asked me how I was feeling in the morning–insinuating that I was probably hung-over (I wasn’t, because that would have required me to be drunk at some point, which I wasn’t).

-I spent the most awkward of mornings, turned to day studying while Cool and her mom watched TV/internet-ed/slept, without talking much.  I knew if I went to another room to study it would be seen as rude.  So I just studied my anatomy in the living room.

-I had initially wanted to go to ZOO Lights.  Cool’s mom wanted to go to just a plain lights because you could sit in the car, so I conceded  without prodding.  I knew it would be difficult for her to get around with her COPD and Oxygen tanks.

-Also, when it came time to pay for said light display, I held out MY $10.  And despite saying, “here’s our portion” and also having my hand, coming from the direction I was sitting, Cool’s mom goes, “Keep your money, Rebecca.”  Not acknowledging that I was the one trying to be polite.  (Cool had no cash on her, nor did she offer to pay)

-Also on Friday, Cool told her mom we were leaving for Seattle the next morning.  Her mom got the shittiest tone in her voice, and asked why so early.  She didn’t understand why we had to leave Saturday.  She couldn’t understand why we weren’t coming back to her house after the concert.  What about driving in the dark (We had driven from Spokane from midnight Wednesday when Cool got off work  until 5AM–with no questions/concerns from her mom)?  Why did we have to leave Sunday morning anyway?  On and on in an explosion of accusatory anger (directed implicitly at me).

-After we left, I asked Cool why she never stands up to her mother on my behalf.  As my mate, I think this should come naturally to her.  And get this irony–Cool said she didn’t remember the incident on Thanksgiving–she had blacked out??!

-So miss perfect sat by, black-out-drunk, while her mommy attacked ME for being drunk.

-After I nag Cool, to talk to her mother (which I’m certain her mother knows who is behind the talk) my mother-in-law leaves a note on my Facebook wall for all to see:  “I’m sorry you were mad when you left.  We do like you.  You’re welcome to stay over any time.”

-Let’s break that down, shall we?  I’m sorry YOU were mad.  Meaning, I’m sorry that you’re high maintenance and made my daughter upset with me.

-We do like you.  As if that was ever a question. Or relevant.  I don’t care if Cool’s mom likes me or not (she never will) but I do demand she treat me with the same courtesy and respect that I treat her with.

-And you’re welcome to come back–meaning if you don’t come, my baby will also stay away-waaaiiiiiillll.  And to that I say, Not.  On.  Your.  Life.  Woman.  Cool can do what she wants (if she plans it and pays for it) but I am not putting myself in that situation any more.  It never goes well for me.  Cool’s mom is toxic, and she’s officially extricated from my life in any meaningful capacity.

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