holiday is over…

time to head back to work. the four day thanksgiving holiday is over. i enjoyed every day off. i didnt get much accomplished. i did work on my language materials for about 8 hours over the weekend.  i just kicked backed for most of the whole time. i dont take off from work much. i never had leave time so i couldnt.

deep down i think over eating on a certain day isnt what i need. i cant lose the weight i promised myself i would take off before i go to machu picchu. i did get on the treadmill a few times. i may need to walk 10 more miles to break even on burning off the calories consumed.

getting together with family is good. my kids came home and we ate together. that is priceless. i dont see enough of them. the food was good. there also was plenty of it.  after we ate we played a game of scrabble. we always have good games. i enjoy the conversations we have too. i like to hear my kids point of view.

i couldnt help but think of the days when i use to bum around the country. i went hungry many times. i dont know how i got by. i dont know why sitting at a big meal would bring that to mind. but then those days made me appreciate what i have.

i went to town yesterday to check out the  price of new electronics. i didnt buy any of them but spent more than i planned on. the crowds werent that bad. no one got pepper sprayed. nor were there any fights. i am glad i waited a few days. i am not into that gotta be first to buy something. i dont like waiting in lines.  i dont think anything in this world is  that important.

i went for breakfast at our casino the other day. i got some gambling in. i was sitting there playing a slot and noticed my phone was losing its charge. i wondered why they cant have a phone recharger on the slots. like on any computer. or why not have a connection for an ipod hookup. i have one on my treadmill. people will not leave their phones or ipods.

will see what this week brings…..


language meeting….

i have been on the road for the past week. i just got home from a conference on the potawatomi language. it was held on pokagan land in michigan. i am new to this job so i am glad i got to go. i needed to meet the players in the language. i knew some of the people from having met them years ago. others i met for the first time. a few of the last remaining fluent potawatomi speakers were also there. i knew a couple of them.

i know that i am rusty from being out of the langauge for a few years. after i lost my mother i kinda let the language slide. i only used it at ceremonies. i know that i have to draw it out of me. i have to play catch up with the ones working in the language. some of them have been doing this for years. i found myself hesitant to speak the language around some because i thought i might not say it right. gotta get over that.

being around people that use the language is good for me. when i hear somebody use potawatomi it reminds me of words that i know but thought i forgot. other things i hear i just dont know. i wanted to get into this job so i can learn more. there is no doubt in my mind that i will learn more. i have already in the first week. i welcome a challenge. if this language was easy it wouldnt be on the verge of slipping away from us. i want to learn as much as i can. question is how much will i learn.

a guy i know at the conference had this neat app on his phone. i think it was called usb disk. he was able to access his language database from his cell phone.  i thought it would be neat to do that without carrying a computer or external hard drive. he was trying to help me get that app for my phone. it wouldnt work. i find out from my phone company it is for iphones. i dont have one, mine is an android. now i got find a similiar application for my phone.

i went online to sprint phone company. i thought that for what i pay them a month they would be able to help me. they werent helpful at all. the tech support gave me an 800 number to call. i got cut off twice and didnt get an answer about a similiar app. i thought their tech support people would know the answer. wrong again. one guy said he would call back, he didnt.  i have a language database i have to check out occasionally when i cant remember a word or phrase. while i am learning i  need to do that. for years i have tried to find a program or application that would be helpful in learning the language. havent had any luck. i will keep looking. modern technology isnt all that great. most techies are about trying to impress people with knowledge than actually helping people with it.

this will be a short work week. i wont argue that point………….


bob, big al, wayne and the prophet

back in my younger day i was shipped off the rez in a greyhound bus to make a better life for myself through the government relocation program. i ended up in the bay area in california. i  didnt quite become the success story the government envisioned for me. i was straight off the rez.  i remember those times as the hazy days of summer. like a drunken haze.  i would hit the street and party. i lived just off the tenderloin area. lots of the lost generation lived there. i would walk to chinatown to buy a huge platter of chow mein for a buck fifty. i would get full and this left me some coin for liquor. i would head thru north beach on the way to fishermans wharf to watch the tourists. they reminded me of fish out of water. there was a circuit of bars i hit on the way there and back. i would walk for miles.

normally  people i met came and went. most were transients i would never see again. i did end up meeting a few people i grew tight with. there was bar that i stopped in just because it had swinging doors like the ones on old cowboy movies. i seen that same bar years and years later in a movie.

one time i walked in that bar and someone said to me ‘ni je na’. i turned and seen an indian guy  sitting there. i said ko nu geh. he asked ‘what’. i said im alright. he said yeah i know. he told me he had been sitting in that bar for about 15 years since the days of the alcatraz take over.  he would always  address everyone he seen with that same greeting. i was the first one who ever answered him in indian. he never forgot that. he was ojibway and his name was bob.  we would share what indian words we knew. we became drinking buddies.

another time i was there i turned and bumped into some big biker dude. i was pretty drunk. i told the guy to get the ^%$4 out of my way. he looked down at me and laughed. he was twice as big as i was. he asked if i wanted a drink cause he liked my guts. i said yeah cause i wanted a drink. he bought me a beer. thats how i met big al. he knew bob and they rode together. we would laugh about how we met. we drank whisky and beer together. now and then we would go into the alley to smoke whatever they had.  or snort a line of something. we would go back in ripped.

i met a yaqui dude at the same bar named wayne. he used to go into these drunken siloquys at the coffee houses. most people didnt get half of what he said. he was a deep dude. he came from what he called meso-america. he was a published political writer. he incited people with merely his words. the government there told him he had 24 hours to get out of the country. he musta made it because he and i drank alot of tequila together. straight up. or tequila sunrises.  he went with a beautiful blond girl from russia. he would often call her a communist. that would piss her off big time. he said he would give me his rough manuscript of the book that got him kicked out of his homeland. i never did collect it.

one other time i walked into the bar i noticed an older black gentleman. he was just sitting there holding his cane watching people. i was kinda broke but i asked him if he wanted to drink some wine. my money wouldnt hold out too long. he agreed. so we drank wine all night. wayne asked me how i knew the prophet. i asked who. he said the dude i was drinking with. turned out he was a deep philosopher type during the hippie days. he knew humanity enough that he could foresee what would happen based on human behavior. thus they named him the prophet. he was usually right in what ever he said. i told wayne i dont know bout all that we just drink wine together. some of the best philosophy i ever heard was expounded over a bottle of wine.

it wasnt long before we held court at our own table in this bar. no one else could sit there. it often got to where no one knew who was drinking what. it didnt matter. we were hard drinking crazies who didnt give a damn. and we did way too many drugs. i was just a kid in my early twenties. these guys had been around the block a few times. they were very intelligent political men. our table had some real good conversations.  i learned alot from these guys. they enjoyed my point of view. people left me alone because i was their friend. we would party all night til we got separated. we bar hopped all over town. i would run into big al and bob around town. i seen them at music festivals or free eats.  a few times they were over in the haight picking up wanna be hippie chicks. we would end up partying. they told he if i ever needed anything to tell them. it was the way they said it that got me. i knew they meant it.

now and then i wonder about these guys. are they still alive. they were years older than me.  anywhere from twenty to forty years older than i was. i cant imagine anyone living too long thru the amount of booze and dope we did. alot of my friends are gone now because of that.  i went back to that bar a few times whenever i passed thru town. just to see it. i didnt go in since i gave up drinking and doping. things can never be the same.  i guess i am just lucky that i still walk this earth. someone has to tell these guys’ story.

no quake..

hearing about the earthquakes made me think of my southern kin. i had a three day weekend so i decided to go visit with my relatives in oklahoma. i got ahold of them the modern way i text one of them. they in turn called each other. i keep up with them using facebook. i seen their comments about the quakes on there.  i told them if the quakes were over i would come see them.  they said rumors were they expecting a 7.0 one coming but who can predict that. so i drove to shawnee on friday. i met some of my cousins for supper at one of the casinos buffet. we do lot of laughing when we get together. they told me about the earth quakes they had.

i went to visit my oklahoma mother but she wasnt home. she was attending a meeting of some kind. i did get to see the ceremonial grounds there. i used to go down there often. i should have called ahead but this was just a spur of the moment trip. i didnt plan on going, i just went. sometimes those are the most fun trips.

they dont have reservations in oklahoma. so what they do is put up signs saying this is our land. you see a sign that says whatever tribe the land belongs to. then go over the bridge or down the street and they say you are leaving their land. then you see another tribes sign. you leave that land and the first tribe has another sign saying this is our land.  what really says this is our land is having a casino on it. many of the casinos in oklahoma are rather small. not many have hotels since they are in town. i contributed to the local economies of a few tribes.

i have gone to oklahoma many times over the years. i was even born there. i have alot of relatives down there. so it is like a second home. i went  to school there once. i stayed there a few times. i used to go to some big 49s down there. there would be hundreds of people at them. so if i have a chance to go there i go. on the way home i stopped at some little town that sold gas for 2.99 a gallon. cant beat that.

i have been logging some road time lately. this week i am going up north for a language meeting. i havent been to one of them before. i have only been on the job for one week. i have heard more of the language in the past week than i have previously. so that is good. it is the reason i applied for the job. i have been out of the language for a number of years. i am a bit rusty in it usage. it has to come back to me.  at this meeting i will get a chance to meet with the language programs of the other bands. it should be interesting.

will see what this week brings…..


is there karma

you often hear about karma. like if you do something that aint cool, it will come back on you. sounds like a plausible concept. then on the other hand, you see some people that just generally treat all others badly and nothing happens to them.

i am far from perfect but i try to live a good life. i dont know if i have reaped benefits from that. i guess i have reasonably good health. i enjoy living. i have some good friends and relatives. so i would say yeah there gotta be some kinda karma.

maybe something negative draws other negative energy or something. i remember a family vacation i took years ago. i went back east. i was cruising along and decided i wanted to see atlantic city. maybe it was hearing that ‘under the boardwalk’ song. i wasnt into gambling like i am now but still wanted to try my luck.

it was raining as we drove along. at a distance i noticed this guy walking along. he was all smiling and laughing to himself. he was approaching a water puddle. i slowed down a bit then sped up. the result was we both reached the water puddle at the same time. the car splashed the water all over this dude. he stopped for an instant. then he just laughed and walked on. my kids were young and one said ‘golly dad’. maybe it was cuz i lived thru the sixties and quit drugs or something but i thought that was kinda funny.

we drove through this rugged neighborhood. the kids noticed a drug deal going down. a block or two away we reached the casinos. it was like night and day. we went from real poor to uptown. i went and tried a slot machine. i didnt win. as we were driving out of town i wondered about splashing that dude. was it karma that caused me to lose? maybe or maybe not. hell i never win at gambling.

moving on….

i finally got word that i will move to a new job with the potawatomi language department. i was one of two that applied for the  two positions of language apprentice. i still had to go for an interview.  i had to explain why i would be good at a job no one else applied for. i was then told to go for a drug test. on the drive down i wondered what kind of drugs i had to sample. turned out it was a urine test to see if i have been a bad boy. the job is mine if the results come back clean. no problemo. i know what the results will be. brown guys like me gotta follow all the rules.

i wanted that language apprentice job. in it i study the language for 40 hours a week.  for me that is a dream job. i studied the language off and on for the past 15 years or so. i helped start the language class we had on the rez years ago. the language program came about as a result of that class.  i kinda let it go after i lost my mother. she was my main teacher. we would work on the language where ever we were, like while garage sale-ing or taking a trip. even if i wasnt studying the language it was always there. now and then i would be doing something and a word would come back to me out of nowhere. i use the language occasionally in ceremonies. i will tell my kids a word or phrase to illustrate a point. so i guess if the language is going to be there i might as well study it full time. i have too many years of my life in it to let it go. and believe me we are in a danger of losing our langauge. thats why we gotta do what we can to save it. most of our people dont care one way or other. someone has to.

i will miss the traditional garden job i held for the past year. i really liked doing that work. thing is i am getting a bit old for it. i put in for a helper so i could do more. that position was turned downed even though it was carryover money that had to be spent. it wasnt even tribal money. someone felt i should do the job by myself since i was doing it. my left knee hurt me for two months from the bending, stretching etc i had to do. it just wouldnt heal.  i had to take care of two large gardens by myself. like i said i am getting older. when someone wants a tradish ceremony i am an elder. other times i am not. it just wasnt that. i had to put up with alot of bureacracy. i made my program one of the best around but i had to wait on the decisions of others to move. i am used to getting things done. i dont like to wait on someone else.  people around the country were aware of what i was doing but not some locally. an news article came out that was picked up by several newspapers. now more know of the things i was trying to do. so i made my point i guess. i still think our people should eat more of our traditional foods. i will always believe that. i will do what i have been doing for the past 26 years. i was doing that before this program ever came along. i will do that the rest of my life.

i am looking forward to this new job. i know that i will continue to learn more of the language. only question is how much will i learn. should be a good week starting a new job. then this is a short week because of the holiday. i have a wedding to do on the holiday at the rock house….cant wait for this week.

wuts that mean?

lately i have been seeing a young eagle near my house. it was sitting on the fence near my mailbox one day. i seen it fly off as i drove down the road. i parked at my house and watched it fly above me. i noticed it was a immature golden eagle. i could tell that by its black and white tail. i watched it for a few minutes. i thought that was neat. a few days later i noticed it soaring above the hay field. i watched it again.  i remember a couple of years ago i noticed another eagle with a black and white tail that was in the same area around here. it used to roost in a big cottonwood. it must have grown up and left. sometimes new wave injuns get into all that ‘what does that mean?”. i took it to mean that a breeding pair must live nearby.

i came home the other day and saw a pile of wood in my back yard. tribal guys must have brought it. i am on the list of seniors they cut wood for.  i am glad they did. it will get cooler. sooner or later it will be cold. i like to have a fire going in the basement.  it wont be long before i do make a fire. it keeps the whole house warm. nothing like a wood fire to make a house really feel like a home. it reminds me of when we had to have a wood stove going if we wanted warmth.

our little pups moved to the dog house i built last year or the year before. it is located on the south side of the house. it is in a nook that blocks the north and west winds. i put some fresh straw in it last week. so now the pups should be set for the cold that will eventually come. i take care of our animals as well as i can.

i went to a family get together this evening to meet my nephews daughter. she came from arizona. we had eats. indians always have food. we were sitting around visiting and someone got on facebook. so we started to view the postings on it. pretty soon we were all sitting there staring at our phones instead of talking to each other. that is modern society. i was asked if i was addicted to facebook. i laughed. i dont know if i am or not. i do get on there to read. some of the stuff is a bit much. i dont post there too often. sometimes people cant take a joke. it aint funny if you have to tell them ‘this is a joke’ and then slooowllly explain it to them.

i bought a bunch of young chicks this past summer. they have grown to a good size now. i have alot of roosters in the herd. or is it a pack. at any rate i will have to clean a number of them. cleaning chickens is a dying art. everyone used to do that around here years ago.  my mother was a pro at it.  hardly anyone does anymore. i like to put them in the freezer. they will make some good tortilla soup this winter. i can make chicken and rice with them too.  i will keep most of the hens and feed them all winter. i should have lotsa big brown eggs next spring.

i will have to watch tv in the morning. if it snows anywhere near here that is good for a day off……..