Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anpetu Cunksi

 Anpetu Le  Uneyayahanpi:
Nis' ole wowapi ankal wagle' wotapi; niye iyunga: "Le Taku he?" Mis eya: "wowapi opeya oie. Niyawa yacin he?"
Niye, "Hiya."

Ina:"You're Lakota"
Keya: "No, I'm not Lakota."
Ina: "You're not? Then what are you?"
Keya: "I'm baby!"

Ecaca niye we!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

HAPPY SOLSTICE!!!




Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mihigna

This is a must read for everyone.. posted by Mihigna on his blog.
Mihigna is one amazing Wicasa, his Lakota name is Sung Cikala Wicasa, it's fitting and appropriate.. he is a very powerful wicasa who is underestimated far too often.
Read it here..

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wowapi Keya

Mi cunksi,
Tewahila. Ni cante.

I was watching Sioux City, I haven't watched that movie in decades. It really brought up a lot of stuff for me. How far I've come, how different my life is now. How different I am now. (How badly that movie was made.) How lucky and blessed I am, and what an amazing, blessed life I have. And you, you are here. You will grow up so different than I did.
You are being raised in your culture, you speak your language, you know your relatives. You know the ceremonies.
But you know all this, it is one of the (many) reasons you came to me/us.

I'm just grateful that I was able to come home, re root myself, find ni Ate'. I'm grateful we are Tiwahe. Complete. Happy, healthy, blessed.

As we discuss moving, or staying, we are still torn. We, (I, especially,) know both sides. I know the good and bad of both worlds. The advantages and disadvantages of both. We want to raise you here, but it has gotten so bad. Compared to my homecoming ten, no, eleven years ago, things were so mild, so innocent. It's a war zone now... so dangerous, so much hatred,so much anger. And ni Ate', he grew up here, he knew the place when it was in its "shiny-innocent" state. I feel sad we can't give you the home land we knew/know of. It will not be the same for you/your generation. Now, more than ever, the question of staying/leaving the reservation is of primal importance. We had always said, long before you came to us, that culture is not a place, it is something you take with you, it comes from parents teaching it, keeping it alive, living it. But even with that said, and the trueness of it, there is still no place like "home". It is why we came back here after you were born. No matter how rough it is/gets, no place on earth is like our homeland, as shabby, as torn up as it is. It is the connection to the land/ the people, the Ospaye; it is what will drive Lakota/Dakota/Nakota home from the far reaches of the world for as long as time exsists.
But, as your Ina, I know that the white world can provide you wiht opportunities that the reservation can't. Art muesums, choices for sport activities, dance, theater,etc. The list goes on.

It is a struggle that will never end. The need for the opportunities the wasicu world provides, but connection to the Oyate that can/will never be broken. Even the acculturated Indians feel it, whether they realize it for what it is, or not. That connection that will never be broken is why the Indian relocation program didn't work, and why no matter how many Indian children the Government kidnapped, er, adopted out, those ties will never be broken. Custer's attempt to "kill the Indian, save the man" was as successful as his raid on greasy grass. (Eyocaglata!!) Now, for generations to come, there will still be Lakota (insert any tribe here) searching for their home, their Tiyospaye. But unfortunately, for many, it will come at a high cost.

My childhood with the wasicu family I was raised in was not easy, we all know that; but the one thing I'm grateful for, is that they taught me how NOT to raise a child, how NOT to treat the most sacred gift given to any winyan. It made me all the more determined to marry within my tribe, to raise you as a Lakota Wakaneja, to keep you speaking the Native language you were born knowing.

Cunksi, your Ate' and I are powerful people with endless possibilities and potential, despite our childhood wounds. You have our power on top of our own natural born power, and that makes you an even bigger force to be reckoned with. Not to mention your potential! The whole universe will be yours for the taking! And despite the generations of historical trauma that is a cellular part of you, you are at an advantage because of as the years go by, the opportunities, education, etc grows. And each generation can/will be better than the previous, if they are taught/learn from, and grow out of the history they come from.
Unhipi ohinni ksto.
Untewahlapi lila! Unnitanpi lila! Pilameya ki wau ksto.
Unnicante pi.
Iputake ki niye!
Ina Na Ate'

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's late and I should be sleeping. But I took a power nap when turtle went down.

It's been insane over here. For over a bloody week, turtle and i were SICK. We got that darn pig flu. it was miserable. We got the cold part of it, thankfully, I wouldn't want the puking/pooping part of it. It was horrible because what they say is true.. you feel like crap, then you feel better, then you feel even worse than you did before. Finally, it got so bad that we had Uncici and Tankasi do a healing on us and a protection for Mihigna. And then we got better.
and stayed better.
Thankfully.

I heard on the radio today that the swine flu is affecting, and killing more American Indian and Alaskan natives than any other population. I'm not suprised. There are still and will continue to be, so many strains of wasicu diseases out there that, all these decades later, our bodies will not be able to fight off.

I have been taking it pretty easy this week, I'm on my moon, so no cooking, which sucks. I LoVE cooking, it's one of the joys of my day. I miss cooking so when I'm able to, I am thrilled.

Our weather is BITTERLY cold, way to cold to play outside...so we have been doing all kinds of inside things...she continues to grow and amaze and amuse me/us to no end! I wish I could remember right now the funny things she does/says.

I'm tired, and rambling, so I'm going to go for now.
MBB

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby Mamas

Turtle and I love Beyonce's version..now we have one that is appropriate for us!


Baby Mamas

Sunday, November 22, 2009

School of dreams!!!

OMG.. I want to have the option to send cunksi, and to TEACH at a place like this....


I need to write more on that very subject, as well as other things that have come up..but I must run and do something else first..so I will be back and then I'll talk. MBB

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mama's got her boobs out....

Today turtle discovered the joy of whipped cream. I knew she'd like it.
At'e brought pumpkin pie home for lunch... well when HE came home for lunch, so she had some.. and asked what the white stuff was.. so I told her, she daintaily tried some.. and was sold.
Yey! she loved pumpkin and whipped topping too!(This has nothing to do with the title, I just wanted to post it for posterity sake.)


Now come the boobs.

She woke up a bit ago and I went in to nurse her back down and started thinking about those first few months when she was born.
From the time she was born until, probably, oh five months after.. I was rarely covered. My Aze's were out all the time. Thinking back on it now, I'm sure there were quite a few people at the hospital who got quite the view of me, since I was in Inahood daze and nursing on demand. I just didn't feel the need to have a shirt on.

I was all consumed by her and all her incredibleness.. (hell, I STILL am) so my Az'e were just out all the time. Or, I'd have a nursing bra on, those soft kind that you can "sleep in", (but not really) and I'd have one aze hanging out of it's cover.
It was amusing because I was so unaware of it, but mihigna would come home and make a comment or two. he would start singing, "Mama's got her boobs out." a song I had previously, never heard. He said it was going to be his new ringtone.
Those first few months of turtle's life, I ordered delivery coffee daily, and would have to check myself, to make sure the girls were put away before opening the door. I would also get boxes delivered, and the poor UPS man had quite the greeting one morning. Lesson learned.

Eleven years later, it's amazing really. I came to SD a repressed, beaten down, unloved, recovering Mormon girl who got comfortable in her own skin, embraced her true self, her hot body and now, kicks ass and takes names. Moving away from Michigan was the best thing I did for myself. (Que Alanis' Unprodical Daughter~my theme song)

Big Fat sigh.. life is GOOD, no, LIFE is FUCKING AMAZING!

And it just keeps getting better.

These days, my Aze's are under wraps a bit more.. just FYI.
For the second night in a row, cunksi was awake till 12. AM. Not fun.
It was my fault, becuase she didn't take her nap, but wanted to sleep at five, so I let her, merely because i was trying to get a project done, and i was not meeting her needs.
BAD Ina.
It was a bad afternoon for me, I was working on a project, and probably not giving her the attention she needed... you know my usual 24/7 attention; so neither one of us were happy.
Even with the way I parent and believe in parenting, there has to be a balance, and right now, there isn't one. I put myself and my project aside to be with her, and then I let myself carve out a bit of time when she is sleeping.. if i'm not too tired.

But mihigna thinks I need to set a boundary with her for some time for me, where she can play by herself.

I can see his point, but I worry... is she too young? Doesn't she need me engaging with her all the time still?
Will she feel rejected? Unloved?

But the bottom line is this, I'm the sole parent for most of the day, save 2-3 hrs at night.
so, maybe boundaries, and balance wouuldn't be such a bad thing.....

we'll see. I'll think about it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Anpetu Waste

Oh today was a blessed yummy day!
I got up and made pumpkin teeny tiny turtle pancakes. Because you see, having teeny tiny turtle pancakes are the norm around here. Turtle loves them, so I make them. As I was putting the last ones on the griddle this morning, I turned around and watched her gobbling them up; I was filled with love and gratitude that I was able to be home everyday to make her teeny tiny turtle pancakes. I am so blessed beyond measure to be her Ina... I don't think people truly understand the depth of it sometimes. They say what a good mom I am, but really, it's ALL her. She is like this etheral being that is pure and sacred and holy, that I aspire to be like. She freaking takes my breath away, she's so awesome.
Anyway, so I'm all about pumpkin, especially right now, because it's the holidays and all. So, it's pumpkin everything. Pancakes, cookies, soup. I've just finished a pot of pumpkin soup and OMG, YUMMMEH!!!

So this afternoon, after some serious cuddle time with the three of us and playtime, At'e/Mihigna went out hunting, while turtle and I walked around the property collecting Pejuta for some medicinals and bath products. It was such a gorgeous, perfect day... the weather was cold, but not too cold, and it was just a perfect fall day. Then, turtle and I came in, she had a rest, and I held her while watching holiday movies. LOVE hallmark channel!!!
Then she woke up, and by that time Mihigna had returned home w/ a Taca, so we went out to see it, and help him hang it up. I'm so grateful for this meat, it came at a time when we really needed it. Normally, we have a freezer full of Tatanka, but not right now, so we really needed him to have a successful hunt.
It's another aspect and blessing of being Lakota.. that while we can appreciate Taca's for their beauty, we can also appreciate that they put food in our bellies. I also love that Mihigna is a food hunter, and doesn't believe in trophy hunting. He knows that it is because of his hunt that we are able to eat. And this we are able to show cunksi through living it.


It was just another amazing, blessed day.

Anpetu kili pilamiya Tunkasila!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lovely,lovely love my family...

I love the holiday season!!
I love the baking and the cooking and the gathering and the warm and fuzzyness of it all. It gets even warm-er and fuzzy-er than usual around here... I LOOOOOVVVVVEEE it!!!!

And I love that we have turtle to share it with. It was awesome with the two of us, but it's out of this world, mind blowing awesome with her here now!!!

And last year, I heard this song for the first time and got all weepy, i still do. I love this song though.... Darn, can't post it anymore... but it's the song, love love love my family by the roots. It was on Yo gabba gabba, and I LOVE it!!!
So, go to Nick Jr and watch the video.. or you tube it. It's coolness!!

ok, for now, that is all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What we did today

Today, we had to go to a check up and have a polio booster. I hate shots. They are so stressful on me, and who can stand to see their baby hurt? But, I am all for vaccines. I'm not for the influx of numerous ones at one time, but I am for shots.

I have a wonderful practitioner who allows us to spread the shots out. that is helpful.
I love my practitioner, but the nurses really made me angry. I told them way back when we first moved here that I didn't want all her shots at once, then they went out and told everyone in the clinic I was against vaccines. So, she fell behind in her shot scedule and chaos ensued. I found out that the nuse said this, and so I EMPAHTICALLY explained what the real deal was.

I was angry that the nurse spread this MISINFORMATION and then no one brought it to my attention for clarification. I mean, come on. I'm a Lakota woman, my child is Lakota, of all people we NEED vaccinations!!! Geez, um, can you say, Small pox??? HELLO!!! Trust me, if there had been a vaccine for that back then, you'd better believe us Indigenous people would be the first in line for it!!!

RGGGG!!! I hate it when people pass judgement on you or make assumptions without even knowing or asking questions!!!!!

ANYWAY...
I got turtle ready for the shot starting last night, and we talked about it, and i didn't let them rush her, like they like to do, and I refuse to let them pin her down.. i make them go slow and wait until she is ready. So, today, we looked at the shot and then she got it. it still hurt her, of course and she still cried, but we used the "boo boo juice" and had asanpi afterwards. But there were still tears, of course, but i held her until it was better. She had a small nap and all is well.
I hate her having to be hurt, but the danger of the diseases are so much worse than a poke and some tears afterwards. I know the debate over vaccines is great, and in many cases,justified. But for me personally, I will vaccinate my child, because wasicu diseases are soo deadly and devastating. It pisses me off that they would think I was against vaccines.

I've mentioned this boo boo juice before, and I LOVE it, it is MAGICAL, and works soo well!!!

Ok, well that is it for now... mihigna is home for the weekend!! yey!! more later. MBB

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cunksi hojila,

I just needed to drop you another little note about something.
We were in the car today, and you apologized to me for being mean. You are so sweet and kind, I thank you for that. I know I thanked you in the car, but I'm going to thank you again, here, in black and white.

First of all, thank you for the unsolicited apology, but don't hold on to any negative, or sad feelings regarding this. As I told you in the car, you are a mini me, so you get this from me. We are huge em paths, so our emotions are BIG, and strong. We feel HUGE happy,love and Joy, but we also feel HUGE Sad and Mad. As a result, when we are feeling squeezed, we snap like a dog. I won't take it personally, coming from you. I understand the feelings, and I can let any hurt or slight bump to my feelings go.

It's ok. I understand, of all people, I understand. It's hard to have such huge feelings when you don't always know where they came from, but suddenly they are there and they are spilling all over the place.

I also will help you with them in a world that wants to quell feelings, especially if they are big, raw ones. Having grown up like that, I'm hoping I'll be able to help deflect any negativity that comes your way, help you realize why others won't always understand your big feelings. I understand them, and I accept them. You go right ahead and feel them in all their grandiosity. It's part of what makes you an artist, and all the other talents you have. It will come in handy in all those aspects.

Because one of the up sides to having such huge feelings is, your heart is just as huge, which is a wonderful hard gift as well. I hope I can keep you from shutting it down, as the world will want you to. Sometimes things will be hard, you will see things that will feel so heartbreakingly wrong, while others see them as "nothing to get upset about." This is OK too, because it is who you are, and it is worth it to be "raw" than to be "calloused."

I'm getting off track here, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your apology, and i want you to know that I love you and accept you for who you are.

At 2 year old, you are so wise and kind, and loving and giving, and HUGE. I will do everythign in my power to help you grow on that path.

You are the best, and we love you and are soo very proud of you!
xoxoxoxxoxox, love always, Ina na At'e

This and that

I've been away from my blog, but not away from writing, or arting by any means.
I've just finished an essay for Florida Review and wrapped up a photo show.
Things are good. I realized, finally, that walking away from art, especially writing, just wasn't going to happen. It wasn't meant to. It stalked me like a hunter, it came to me in dreams, it tugged at my heart, my mind, my hands.
I'm glad.

There have been other things going on as well, but I've not sorted through them. I'm a pretty private person. I don't really allow my "rawness" be shown, until I'm good and ready. You all may find this shocking considering how raw I write in publications. But it all comes out only after much mulling, healing, and editing. So, when the time is right, I will talk about what is going on here, the pull is there so it won't be long.

Turtle came to my show today, which was a huge relief, or we'd have been apart for 4 hours, the longest in our whole time together. It would probably have been harder on me, I'm sure. We're so connected, so enmeshed. I love being with her, she is hilarious and funny, and smart. I love talking to her, listening to her. Life with her continues to be mind blowingly amazing.

At the show i saw a woman with a 3 month old..my uterus started throbbing, and my arms started tingling. I remember turtle that tiny, that young, that new. i reminded myself that there will be another one in two years...but I still wanted to snatch that baby up, hold her, smell her, kiss her and snuggle her. It was sad, because the mother of the baby, was a teen mother and couldn't' care less about that baby, that special time she has right now. A mother who hadn't "meant to" get pregnant,(UM HELLO, that's what CONDOMS are FOR!! GRR) and now sees her beautiful gift as a hindrance to her fun. It was heartbreaking. When i get my certification, I'm going to put on my business cards.. "Babies and children are my specialty" I wanted to ask her if she knew the baby language, but I could tell she didn't care. Now, i wish I'd have brought it up, just to let the mom be aware of, in case she changes her mind.

I walked out and there was turtle, running up to me, jumping into my arms, her little arms wrapped around me as she nuzzled into my neck. She smelled like fresh air. I held her as I spoke with people, and she helped, telling them where we took our photos, complete with hand signals. ohhh, she's sooo cute!

Ok, i gotta go, a turtle is rustling around in bed... she'll be calling soon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Best Friends


Friday, October 30, 2009

Thinking of you...what else is new?




Precious cunksi,
as I have been writing my essay, I've been tending to you in the meantime, a sweet kind grounding reminder of your incredible preciousness. I look back at these photos and I instantly go back to every moment of that day, those days, those months. I haven't forgotten a moment of those times.
Sometimes, I long for you to be that tiny again, so I can hold you in my arms so easily, put you in the sling, carry you around. I have body memory of birthing you, holding you in my arms right away, and everyday after that.
Don't misunderstand me, I love this stage you are in, love the size you are right now, but newborn time and infanthood is just never long enough. No child's stages are long enough. I hope you never rush through the stage you are in, to get somehwere else. Enjoy where you are, revel in it, soak it in.
Thank you again, for being you, for coming to us, for picking us, above all others. You've blessed us with your presence.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Help needed....

The last few nights, have been a bit tough on us, more me than mihigna I think. I have been struggling with turtle's bedtime. She goes to bed all fine, but won't settle in for sleep, insists on getting up and then has a complete meltdown when I have tried putting her back in bed. I eventually give in, and i know, that is letting her win, but I'm not sure what to do. I get really frustrated that bedtime gets drug out till 9 or ten at night. It bothers me because then there is no "me" time. No "us" time, and believe me, I NEED my ME time, and my "us" time.
If asked what I would do differently, it would be this. I would continue with my bedrime routine, the half hour preperations, teeth brushing, book reading, song singing, etc. then at the end of that, lights out, nursing until sleep. If she gets up, then I just keep putting her back in bed, until she realizes, sleep time is sleep time. I have been caving because of the tears I dont want her to have a negative association w/ bedtime.

Now, with that said, we had a beautiful routine tongiht... bedtime ritual, then bed and sleep glorius sleep. The difference was that we had no nap today,(due to her sleeping late this a.m because of the late night last night.) and we played and did art all day. (I've started wondering if I shouldnt have her days more routine like.)

So, my dear parent friends who's opions and input I value, PLEASE weigh in.... need ur advice and stories!!

Our amazing Turtle

You continue to grow in so many ways!
You can carry on conversations amazingly well.
I have probably already posted this, since you have done it for a month or so, but you count to 20, and know your ABC's.
The other day, your At'e built you a tipi out of a quilt and my tripod, you LOVE it! You tell us, "come in my tipi." SOO CUTE!! At night, when you are all tucked into bed, sleeping, the dog sleeps in your tipi.
I bought you some canvas, so you can paint more pictures, I love how artistic you are! I love that you love art. I know you will love it when we have easier access to art museums.

I don't have alot to say right now, I just wanted to drop you a note to say how cool and awesome you continue to be.
And how you light up our lives.
Still.

all our love, Ina na At'e.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm so sorry my Turtle.

Today was amazing and crazy and everything all rolled up into one.
Last night was rough, the night before was rough.
On Tuesday night, you fell asleep in your bed. I left you there for awhile as I lay in our bed, dozing and listening to the hum of the monitor. I was tired, and suffering from this horrible cold. You woke up and called for me, so I rushed in, scooped you up and brought you back to our bed. I dozed off again while you nursed and dozed.
I didn't pull the railing up behind me. I slept, you nursed, then slept.
A while later, you fell off the bed with that sickening, gut wrenching thud that only a baby can make when they hit the floor.
I jumped up, scooped you up, you went back to nursing while I fought tears.
I felt/feel horrible. I have never, NEVER let you fall on the floor. EVER. I'm a horrible mother.

You, were/are fine, and cried quickly and then went back to sleep.
But even two days later, it still makes me sick. I'm so sorry that I didn't put the railing up, and you fell, I'm sooo sooo sorry. I feel so bad. I'm so glad you are ok. But I still feel bad.

Today, we did fun things like painting and dancing and wearing pretty dresses. But this afternoon, I got impatient because I was trying to do to many things at once, and I yelled at you, because you weren't listening to me. I never yell at you. I feel so bad, and I'm so sorry I didn't take a breath first and stop and realize what was really important. I'm sorry that I hurt you feelings, I'm sorry that I get too caught up in trying to juggle to many things that ultimately don't matter.
Please forgive me. Please don't take it personally, please know that I'm the jerk and you are the innocent bystander.

I didn't mean to do it, and I'm sorry. I feel bad, and I wish I could undo it. I want to be perfect for you, to never be the source of hurt feelings to never leave you feeling bad. The world is shitty, and scary and hurtful enough, I never want you to have to experience that in your own house, from your own mother. I'm so sorry.

And that is the bad thing about yelling or opening my mouth without thinking first. I didn't mean to yell, I didn't MEAN to be mean,(Yelling at your children,to me, is mean.) but I was. and I can't undo it. Just know that I love you more than anything in this world, in this universe, and I can be the biggest jerk sometimes. I just never wanted to be a jerk to you. So please know that I'm human, and a jerky, rotten human at times, and if some of my crap flies out and hits you, try not to take it personally, it's never about you. I'm very sorry. I love you so very much.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

while you sleep....

Oh my precious little Rock star,
I just needed to thank you for being you.
you are so indescribably awesome. You are the best traveler, and the zen-est baby, you just rock my world and you are my greatest teacher.

Today we took a trip, and you are a joy to travel with, so happy and sweet and oh my gosh you are FUNNEH!! And when everything around you is going down in flames, you're just like, "eh, whatever, my life rocks, this moment rocks, I'm all gooood."

Thanks for being my teacher, thanks for putting up w/ my sometimes over worrying, thanks for being purely you.
I love you more than 20000 turtles on 20000 telephones!!!

love forever and an eon,
Ina

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On my mind, in my heart....

You're asleep now, it's late, you went to bed at nine. I'm supposed to be writing, concentrating on my INA time, but no, you are always on the peripheral of my thoughts. My ears are always tuned to you, I'm always listening for a peep, a breath, a whimper. I have to restrain myself sometimes to not abandon my writing and go crawl back in bed with you, snuggle up to your warm turtle body. It's so small and so big all at the same time. I think every day, at various times about how you have grown so big, and how very small you were when you were born. (My body thanks you immensely for that.) But everyday you are growing, and you are not going to be this small ever again, you will grow, older and up, and I'm pretty sure you will be taller than me (it's the Artichoker legs and torso) and one day, you will decide to wean and then start sleeping in your own bed, and I will be happily sad. I'm so honored to have this time with you. so many mothers have not been able to nurse beyond a year, much less more than a year, and I'm so glad we have been able to, that you have wanted to. I know nursing contributes to your incredible smarts, your health and your security.

After your bath this evening, you were ready for bed, and started asking for something, I couldn't understand you and your At'e and I desperately were trying to figure it out, so we could give you whatever it was you wanted. We knew it was a turtle, but we went through all the turtles you had, and they weren't it; At'e finally figured out that it was your Myrtle Turtle you wanted,(you have a special name for it) and so we started looking for it. But then we couldn't find it anywhere, and I was in a near panic, desperate to get you what you were asking for... we finally found it, and you snuggled in for sleep. I lay there, and realized how much desperation I had been feeling over finding you your turtle... it was visceral for me; you wanted something, and I, your Ina, needed to get it for you. You do such a good job of communicating, that when i don't always understand, i feel bad. I see it in your eyes that you get frustrated; and that breaks my heart... I always want to be able to know exactly what you need at any given moment. Realistic or not, it comes with the Ina job.

Hours later, you woke up, disoriented, calling for me, wanting to get up. I scooped you up, you snuggled into my chest, and we went out to the rocking chair. I rocked you, as you snuggled into my body, your head under my chin, your arms wrapped around mine, completely meshed into one another. You fell right back to sleep, perfectly content. You didn't want to nurse, you just wanted me. I rocked you, your heartbeat pulsing through the top of your head and into my chin; it took me back to when you were new. This position was not new for us, we have been enmeshed in each other since you were born. For hours you'd be in my arms,or in the sling. But usually in my arms, the sling still wasn't close enough. I'd rarely put you down. I didn't want to, you didn't want me to. We were one, and it was perfect. I thought back tonight of how easy it was to be pregnant with you, how much fun it was, and how easy and fun it was to give birth to you. If I could do it all over again, w/ you, I would. You are so amazing. You have always been amazing. You're so polite, well mannered and sweet, omg, you're sweet! I just want to eat you! I love hearing you say, "I love you" or "I love you too" after I tell you I love you. I love the way you run up to me full speed and hug me. I love how when you and At'e are playing chase, you run to me for safe, and scramble just as fast as you can up my legs. I hope you always run to me when you need to be on safe.

This past weekend, you and I were at the store, and At'e's relatives, Rob and Cora stopped us in the parking lot to say hi. Rob said: "Every time I see you, you two are just like this..(he puts his hands together) you guys are just connected." I laughed and nodded. We are, and I'm glad.

I just needed to take a break from what I was doing and say yet again, how much I love you, how honored I am to be your Ina, and how incredible it is to watch you grow, develop, and BE. You are ONE AMAZING Turtle! Thanks for being ours.
We love you more than there are words for, more than there are stars in the sky, more than ten thousand dinosaurs on ten thousand mountain tops!!

Snowy day

my precious,
we woke up to snow on the ground, about an inch tht was accumulated on the porch, and it was still falling lightly. you loved it, adn turned to me and said, "winter!" So, we went out and played in it!! yey!
I'm excited to see this place in snow, and have us do all fun winter stuff here. We won't be here forever, maybe only one more year, but we will get to watch it in all it's seasons, and we'll have lots of fun!
today, we will make chili for dinner and chocolate chip cookies, because you love them!
Love you, Ina

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I've decided...

I've made a decision.

I've lost my footing and directional path the last two years, because I have been so enveloped in nurturing turtle; once again, getting tripped up by my all or nothing thinking.
So, I'm going to start writing and posting back at my old writing blog,(http://maryblackbonnet.blogspot.com) and keep this one for turtle related content only. I hope you follow me over there, and send others to my site, as that is where the guts of me will be.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A smallish Turtle note..

Turtle you are sleeping and I root around for inspiration. You are getting older, which means our joint art projects can go farther. You have always been an artist, you did your first painting at five months old. (Note to self: must post painting) I'm glad you love art.
While you sleep, the fog has rolled into the ranch and sits at the lip of the canyons, beckoning me.
It may just be a day for donning our rain boots and coats and heading out into it, our camera's in hand.

But for now, my sweet turtle, sleep, dream, rest. We will start again when you wake.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

slow down, be careful

In the last 48 hours, Turtle has been begun saying this, it's facebraking adorable. I think it's also sweet how, she has taken a phrase from each of us. During her learning to walk days, (and I mean days literally) we would often say these, mihigna saying slow down, me saying be careful. A week or two after mastering walking, she began to run. RUN. FULL SPEED. So, hence, we would parrot those same phrases, trying to keep the sheer panic from our voices(at least mine) for fear of what would/could happen. She responded well, and I, personally, learned much from these moments. I saw that my/our beautiful daughter was not made of glass, was not as fragile as i previously thought, and in fact, was pretty damn tough. She had no desire to simply meander through life, she had places to go, things to see, all kinds of experiences to partake of. It became alarmingly clear that my/our beautiful, gorgeous, out of this world, amazing daughter, intends to take the world head on. She is doing it beautifully. We couldn't be prouder.

Last Saturday, she began to count to 20. Now,I KNOW how awesome I think she is, but I have to admit, all bias aside, this is pretty incredible. That at two years and two weeks old she can count to 20, deliberately, intentionally, and correctly.
Her brain and cognition blows me out of the water at times. Other times, I'm not surprised. But always, incredibly, effing proud! Waaay back when she was little and I'd tell friends all the amazing things she would do, they'd be like, "yah, she's smart, of course she's smart, look at her parents." And I always got a little squirmy over it. Call it humility or whatever; because i would think, "Oh no, she's this smart on her own." But then I'd realize, all the parts to the equation. Love, respect, acknowledgment, involvement, an incredible pregnancy and drug free birth, her Ina and At'e talking non stop to her, both in and out of the Tezi. It all begins to add up and makes sense. It's all part of it, and so, yes, I accept my/our part of creating this incredible awesome, bring tears to your eyes beautiful, sacred being.
Her Unci B got her a shirt last year that had "Most likely to change the world" on it, and I absolutely agree.
I get chills thinking about the fact that, in 2006, I wrote the essay "Winyan Wakan" (Eating Fire, Tasting Blood,Thunder's Mouth Press) where I talk about how I would raise my daughter to know her sacredness, to know it like her own breath. I see that I'm accomplishing that, and for that I'm proud.

The other great thing about her, is she knows she's loved, she knows she's secure, she knows the world belongs to her. So, my precious, rock star daughter, go ahead, take the world by storm, know you are loved and supported. Charge it all you want, know that we will always be here for you, no matter what. We love you, we are proud of you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

it's all good....

As bad as things were, they are that good now. I'm making time to write everyday, I'm working on the photos; BTW, I have another photo show in NOV, whoo hoo!!!
I, and things around me are feeling better!!

We have adopted a new dog, who is sweet as pie, and fits perfectly in w/ our family! she's a lab mix, 2 yo, and soo sweet!! I'll post pics.
In other news, I'm thinking of starting a Vblog; any comments on what you'd what to hear me blather on about? haa haa.

For now, that is all.. love to everyone, MBB

Monday, September 28, 2009

Things are moving

Ok, so I feel much better today, and started feeling much better yesterday. A few good night's sleep, some exercise, some reassessment of self, family and career, and all is back on track.

We have done some things we need to do to get ourselves back on track as individuals and as a family. I must say that the one good thing about my job, however temporary it was, put turtle on a schedule that is so beneficial, we will be keeping it. She is in bed at a decent hour and sleeps all night, providing enough time the rest of the evening for hubby-wife time AND for me to work, or clean, or be lazy and mindless. This alone is helping me tremendously. Part of what made everything seem so huge before was that we felt SO ALONE in it; and that made us feel beaten into the ground to the point that we didn't even want to get up. But in Mihigna's wise words, "You have to create energy to have energy."

Another great thing has happened. Mihgina came to the realization that he has become this person he never wanted to be, and wants to go back to his old ways; he wants to stop seeing the world through "scientific eyes" and get back to the open minded, zenish view, while going back to the basics and doing what makes him happy, TRULY happy. This makes ME happy!!!

We realized we have become these people we never wanted to be, who place value on things that aren't important. As a result, we lost touch w/ ourselves and what made us happy.
After realizing it, we took immediate action and that improved things almost instantly!

I will not take back or apologize for what I said in my earlier post, because that is exactly where I was at that time. I needed to roll around on the floor for a bit and shed a few tears.. and now I feel better and can get up and move on. I'm human.

So, a start of a new week, coming at it from a much better place and with plan!

1)We are unloading one of our burdens

2)I'm going to be serious about my photography and start marketing it and stop farting around and being wussy about it. Photography is something I CAN do right now, so I'm not abandoning my art self.

3)A friend and I have started a Mommy Coop, so we will trade off watching each others babies so that we both have time to do our own work.(She is also a stay at home mom who has taken a part time job working from home.)

So, those resolutions have taken a huge load off my mind... and improved my emotional state, and made me motivated. There's nothing like a plan to make things feel better.

Who am I kidding? I'm always planning, I always have a plan B and whenever there is a crisis, I immediately go into plan mode.

So, I feel much better.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Where I really figure it out in the end

I don't know that I have anything better to say now, then I did a few days ago when I threw up on here and then deleted it.
So, this is what I know, right now.

I'm tired, out of shape, out of balance, and longing for some time for ME. Time where no one wants anything from me, or needs me to be present, or "on". I want to sit and be mindless, or curl up with a book without interruption, or take a hot bath without having to rush through the warmth because someone, somewhere will need something of me soon.

I'm also incredibly lonely. I've always floated back and forth between being a people person, and being an introvert. So, before I had a child, I would do whatever felt right at the time. Now, It's always me, my daughter, and in the evenings and on weekends, my husband. I don't think I'd have much energy for doing anything big and exciting, but just the chance to hang out with another female who gets it, or gets the struggle of mommy life vs art life balance, would be incredibly nice. Or even any of my old art friends, would be great.. they could catch me up on what I've been missing and i could live vicariously through them. I don't have to be there anymore, just tell me about it, I can imagine. Tell me about the great art openings I'm missing, anything!!!

I'm feeling very sad, and teary. Sad, because everything seems so HUGE and I feel so very, VERY small. And unseen, and unsupported, unconnected and unheard. and un,un,un. ( and I don't mean these things from my husband.) I think for the last 11 plus years, I had tendencies to be (at times) very hard, very don't touch me, but since having a child, it seems like I need more support, more gentleness, more hugs, more connection, but it isn't there.
The reason for that (I think) is because we moved to a town that while it's beautiful and breathtaking in landscape, its human touch and connection to your neighbor is nill. I think the people here are very talk over the fence, and that's good enough. I don't have any real friends here. I have connections. I don't have anyone who I could call up and say, "I'm tired, and crying and could you please come hang out with me?" That is probably a bad example, but it's what came to my head. I don't have that here. I had that in vermilion, I had this incredible friend who saw me through my cancer issue, my miscarriages and various other life tragedies. Hell, I had that in IN... my childhood Best friend, I miss her so much. We still talk on the phone weekly, but phone calls aren't enough and plane tickets are too expensive when you can barely put food on the table.
In my utter loneliness, I find myself doing and thinking the oddest things. I find myself calling my mother more.. knowing she can't fix it, but at least she'll listen and missing my stepdad. Like in so many cases, we didn't really get along when i was growing up, but now that I'm an adult; I see all too clearly, that we are more alike than we are different. I think if we hadn't been so wrapped up in our own miseries during my childhood years, we'd have really gotten along well and been close. But thankfully we are close now; that counts for a lot to me.



Anyway, blah blah blah...
My point is, I'm tired, and lonely, and feeling very separated from my art life and art self. I feel like I might as well give up writing all together because by the time I will have time to write anything significant again, no one will care what I have to say. I think writer's are like actors, if you are gone for awhile, everyone just forgets about you. Mary, who? Which will eventually turn into Mary Who Cares? Or maybe this is the natural play out of what was supposed to be... maybe I didn't have any real talent to begin with and no one really cared to begin with.

There isn't much that is going to change around here anytime soon, so I guess I'd better just stop bitching and do what I tell so many others to do. Change it, accept it, or shut up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So much to say, not enough time

Wow, what a whirlwind.
I was buzzing around on..I can't even remember what day, because we were headed out of town. During that, I was stopped and offered a job... and found out it would be a full time teaching position, which was exciting and flattering. Not at all possible though, but I was honored all the same. I was told that I could work part time if i didn't want the full time position. But, I have to find out the hours, I am really hesitant about leaving turtle. I'm not sure Unchici would be available for that time; and I am not really ready for her to go to "day care" no matter how culturally extensive it is. There are things I'm really liking about the On campus day care, but I'm not thrilled that we would be going into cold and flu season and she would be exposed to who knows what. No, winter is our time to hunker down as a family, and stay away from most public places.
The bottom line is, I'm' not ready for her to be out in the world just yet. There will be more than enough time for that.
It's a lot to digest, but i follow my gut, and my gut is knotty, so I'm inclined to say no; even though it would be a big financial help and a really great career opportunity for me.

But this is the eve of turtle's 2nd birthday. I love that I have had two solid years with only her and i, and all my time is devoted to her. I'm not ready for that to change. She is independent enough,secure enough, that when school time comes, she will be out the door, blowing me kisses over her shoulder. Then i will go on to my next steps. But for now, I will enjoy this time, soak it up, revel in it, roll around on the floor with her, see everything through her eyes, just be.

There is so much more to say. I have such news from the weekend, such tales to tell, but now, I'm tired, and turtle is starting to stir, so I'm going to go crawl in next to her; enjoy her one more night of being a one year old.. for tomorrow she will have blessed our lives for two years. I can't believe it. On on hand, it feels like she has always been here, and on the other, I still remember the day she was born. The whole process of her coming here, the wonderous day of her birth; every minute since then. The good, the scary and the tiring.
It has always been worth it.

Like I told my dear friend KA this weekend... the hard times, the intense times, all pay off when we look at our children who reflect back to us the reward of being who they are fully, being secure, happy, well adjusted little beings who know they are sacred.

We've hit the two year mark, and I'm proud of us. (Mihgina and I) We are doing it the way we said we would, and we are so blessed to have this beautiful, sacred being, who makes the journey soo rewarding and soo fulfilling.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Someone, Somewhere

I scroll through You Tube, and see videos I haven't seen in forever, and some, I've never seen until now.

Some of the videos I see, are ones that made huge impressions on me.

I've always been a very emotional, deeply feeling person. I see others pain, and have immense empathy for them and want to make things right. Injustice infuriates me. Intentional and unintentional pain inflicted on others, brings me to tears.

Growing up Mormon, I lived a rather dichotomous life. I was sheltered from the greater atrocities in the world, and many of the issues that affected the rest of the population, all while living in a very violent, abusive household, where certain members of my family were "privately prejudiced."

So, to see very real, very serious and painful issues blared across a television screen, while being set to music was very impressionable on me. The first video that affected me, and made me set my future plans right then and there was Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" video. I was all of 13 when I saw it, but I made a vow to myself that I was going to Ethiopia to help solve or end world hunger. This was only enforced when I saw Band Aid's video "Feed the World" for the End World Hunger campaign. Watching it again, it reminds me of how I felt then. I felt (then) that everyone who was on that video was so compassionate and caring to come together to make a video for this cause.. it must have meant so much to them in order to make a video for it. (I was a take- it- as- I- saw -it kind of girl.) Seeing it now; I think we would be hard pressed to find that many people banning together so innocently and openly these days. (Sadly, cynicism has replaced some of my young girl naiveté.)


People may laugh when they read this, but I was serious about my goals and my life choices then. I was going to join the Peace Corps, or do whatever I had to do in order to go to Ethiopia and try to make people's lives better. In fact, I even wrote a "book" about it when I was in 7th grade that ended up winning a contest… unfortunately, the follow up book, failed miserably. Now, almost 23 years later, I see my life path didn't take me to where I originally planned. But a lot of things are similar. I'm still the same intensely feeling, empathetic, sensitive person I was then. Powerful videos still move me to tears (and action). If anyone wanted me to do something, all they'd have to do is make their plea on a music video, and I'd be there.

Perhaps that is part of what got me to become a writer, seeing how much power one voice can be, if it is placed correctly. There were other contributing factors to my becoming a writer, I just wonder if that was one of them.

I know that as a writer, I hold a lot of power, but with it, a lot of responsibility. I take that very seriously, and often use my ability to make a point, or bring attention to something. I've also been VERY honored and blessed to be asked to contribute to important, life affecting pieces. (Thank you to those involved, and there are quite a few of you.) So, even though, 23 years later, I am NOT in the peace corps,( I have however written about them here.) I do what I can in the "universe" that is my heritage. I am passionate about the issues that we as an Indigenous nation, (namely Sicangu Lakota) face; especially those faced by Women and children. When I go to graduate school for my psych degree, I will have even more tools at my aid to continue that journey.

If I look at the world as a whole, heck, even at the issues on the rez, it can quickly feel very overwhelming. But then if I do as Mihigna says and "eat it like an elephant"; then it feels less big and more doable. And at the end of the day, all I can do is tend to my little part of the world and know that somewhere, somehow, it will make a difference.


 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free Rides and a playdate

I went to rosebud fair last night, because the tribe opened the carnival for FREE from 6-10, so there were tons of people there!! Turtle had so much fun!!! I got some pics on my phone, but I'll have to download them.
Today turtle has a play date with some children from France. I met their mother shortly after we moved here, at the local coffee shop. They are always traveling here once a year, and we finally get to get together! I'm sure turtle will enjoy it, since she loves other children.
I don't have much time to write today, perhaps I will be back later.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If boobs make you squeamish, don't read this.

NOTE:::
I discuss boobs and the sustenance of my child in the following post.. if these make you squeamish.. leave now.


Turtle is almost two. Some days I think she is getting ready to wean, not that I know what that is like having never had a child before. But I wonder about it, because from the time she was born, and put on my breast, she has always been clockwork with her nursing. Now, she seems to skip her morning nurse times, usually because we are playing outside somewhere. And my breasts seem different, not as full of milk.
If she is going to wean, I'm happy and sad. I'm happy because it means she did it on her own, of her own choosing, and that also means she is a happy, healthy, well adjusted baby who feel secure. I'm sad because who wouldn't be sad at the conclusion of such a wonderful time that you have spent with the smallish love of your life?

I have more to say on this, but I'm tired, and I want to go to bed.

I'm learning too

Months ago, I saw that turtle was saying "thank you" and using it appropriately. I was glowingly proud of this. We hadn't taught her that; we hadn't TOLD her to say it. She started it, all on her own. It was one of my proudest Ina moments. She was reflecting the environment she was being raised in. A child who is respected learns to respect others.
I pride myself on the fact that I parent naturally. I don't succumb to what ideologies "society" thinks makes a great child. I parent from the heart and in the moment. But sometimes, I mess up.

I was out and about today wiht turtle and we stopped to see someone we knew to relay an important message about an umpcoming event. This woman really enjoys turtle and engages her whenever she can. However, turtle was not feeling like conversation today, so she smiled and buried her head into my neck. I suddenly felt like I had to justify why my child wasn't talking. I felt like I had assure the woman my daughter wasn't being "rude." But really I was abandoning my self and worse, my daughter, for being exactly who she was in that exact moment. She had done nothing wrong, and I fell into the old school need to have my daughter appear to be "well mannered." Even as aware as I am about respecting my daughter's wishes and needs, I became aware that we can slip into the kind of "socialization" we were brought up with and mistakenly take it out on our children.

Maybe I'll have to write this down, and print it up so that I remember in those times of wavering. A reminder to myself to allow turtle to be who she is at any given moment, without excuse or justification; but rather faith and pride that she knows she is free to be and feel whatever she needs to.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

wierd dreams

I was up late last night, I think, working on the computer. I was playing on facebook, amidst writing on my book, and making up the invite list to turtle's birthday party. When Turtle woke up, I went in to nurse her but fell asleep and we both woke up about 6:30 this AM. I fell asleep thinking about an old friend from my childhood and how I've been finding more people from my life back then via facebook. That is wondeful and wierd to me, I'll explain in a bit.

Today, I was nursing turtle to sleep for her nap, and fell asleep right next to her. I fell asleep with my head propped up on the headboard.

In my dream, my head was burning, and I wasn't sure why. I was with this friend of mine, who is a therapist, and he was doing therapy with me, why I have no idea. Anyway, he was doing all these weird things, like grabbing my wrists to see my reaction, and pinching me, and just really weird stuff.

Then he put a trash can over my head, and it still had trash in it, (that part makes me laugh) but he asked me, "Are you scared?" and I said, "No, I'm mad!" and I was watching all the little floaties from the trash come down around me, hoping none of it would actually touch me.

Then the dream switched and I was observing this family. It was a neurotic mother, an abusive father and a youngish boy.(about 8) I must have been making a home observation, because I was in their house, sitting across from them, and they were all posed on the couch, ready to tell me what a good job they were doing as a family. I asked them how they were doing, and the mother said in a saccharine voice, "We're fine" I asked them if there had been any incidents. Everyone said no. But then the husband reached behind the wife's head and grabbed her neck, in that abusive manner. He said "No, at least there had better not have been any incidents." Then the boy said something, and they both turned and hit him in the back of the head.
Suddenly I wasn't even in the room anymore, not as the therapist anyway. But suddenly Turtle was there, on the couch next to them, or by them. I started to tell her I didn't want her seeing this crap; but before I could even say anything, she got up and walked to the back of the trailer. Yes, they suddenly lived in a a trailer. And I put myself between her and the weirdness that was going on behind me. I watched her with one eye, but was on guard for what the family would do next.

They were all still sitting on the couch, but now, they were making small talk amongst themselves. The mother had picked up a cupcake, where she got it, I Don't know, but she put it in her mouth, and was talking and suddenly, she starts gagging and spitting it out. She's going on and on about it being poisoned, and the husband and boy just sit there, watching her. Then she just stops and takes another bite. But her son takes a cupcake and bites into it, and they both smack it out of his hand, and it's goes flying across the room. He stands there with this bewildered look on his face, and the cupcake is lying flat on the floor, frosting side down, with all the little candies that topped it, all scattered all over the floor. I remember laughing when they smacked it out of his hand, because no matter the situation, anytime, anyone smacks food out of someone's hand, just as they are going to bite, looks hilarious!

Anway, so i'm still standing there, between the family and turtle, who is on the other side of this wall, playing away, totally unaware of what is going on. I suddenly feel this horrific pain in my head again, like burning. The family is fighting amongst themselves, aruguing, when suddenly someone comes into their house. The feeling in the air got all ominous... and I thought it was my friend-the therapist coming to do a house check. But I knew it was someone coming to commit murder. Someone was going to die, I didn't know who, but someone in that room. I picked up Turtle and headed out, shielding her against my body. My head was still burning, I woke up and my head was smashed in to the wood grooves on the headboard.
That is where the burning painful feeling was coming from.

I have no idea what the dream was about.. well ok, after writing it out, I have a few ideas. But it was weird, and funny, and scary.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is actually quite boring

It has taken us five days to get our internet back, and I'm very happy to have it back. I didn't realize just how much I depend on the internet to do a lot of things, like get recipies, check ingredient information, check the weather.

But we finally have it back, and I'm soooo happy!


 

I'm on the hunt for a new cell phone, I dumped Alltell due to its CRAPPY service.. then I picked qwest service back up ;only to end up sending back their blackberry curve(…waa) because they didn't bother to tell me how much the internet package would be. Thusly, when I got my bill and it was 246.00. I said, "I don't think so! " But the reality is, I need a cell phone, but I don't want to pay a ridiculous amount of money for one. So, I have been shopping around lately. Ironically, our little cow poke town has three cell companies, and so I think I've found what I want, for the price I want. The only deal breaker will be if their service coverage area isn't as good as I need it to be. That was one of the strikes(one of many) against alltell, I'd drive two miles east of my house and have no service. Not good. So, the nice people at this current company I'm looking at, lends you cell phones to try; which is what I'm doing for the next three days. Plus, they have a 15 day love it or leave it agreement. Yey! Geez, I'm not sure how this turned into the woeish tales of my cell phone.

Blah blah blah.


 

Turtle's birthday is around the corner and her Nakpa ceremony; the birthday comes first, so we are preparing for that. We are heading east in two weeks to get her presents and supplies, as well as take in a bit of the big city; ahhhh, REAL art, REAL art museums!!! Aaaahhh, a real shopping choice!! We are very excited! We get to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant and see dear, old friends.


 

This is really a boring post, and I have nothing to say. I have time to write, but my brain is mush…. Sorry to be soo blah de blah. It's ironic how I can write all sorts of posts in my head as I'm doing dishes, or cleaning, or falling asleep, but as soon as my fingers touch the keys, I'm bella boring.


 

Oh well, I guess I'll go do something far more productive.


 


 

For now, "Bella- bores –you"

 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

flittery thoughts.

I am doing a lot of this and that, as turtle sleeps.

I'm mainly working on manuscripts and trying to get them organized and find places to submit them. My writing life has felt a bit stale as of late, not for lack of inspiration, but for lack of time, uninterrupted time.

I love living on the ranch, but it keeps coming back to one thing, the artistic cultural aspects are so lacking. SO lacking. The activities for small children are so lacking, the interest in engaging young children, (I'm talking preschool and nursery school age)is NILL. I had a woman tell me this a.m who works for a city position, (that is all I'll say for her ID protection) who told me that while there are lots of activities for children,(six and up)but it's mostly a dumping ground for parents. I just happened to look up Boston, why, I'm not sure, i just did.
They have a huge program for smallish children. and the art scene is wonderful!!!

I really don't think we are going to be able to stay here long term; there just isn't enough things that mesh with us, our interests and activities and flourish abilities for turtle. WE don't want her to just succeed, we want her to FLOURISH.

It's funny how you can settle when it's just you, but once you become a parent, everything changes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kate Gosslin would crap her pants....

I am NOT a fan of Kate Gosslin, for many reasons, going far back before all the public crap that has been in the news.
But she popped into my head this afternoon as I played with my beautiful daughter and we covered our bodies in markers and she then proceeded to color her dress. I know Kate Gosslin would have crapped her pants. And I'd have laughed.

Because we, had FUN!! We wrote the names of our body parts on the appropriate appendage, and drew incredible "tatt" (tattoos) on our arms and legs. It was another little moment that I hope added to her bank of joy. I love her so.
Unfortunately, she started drawing on the furniture so we had to put the markers up. She didn't like that, I didn't like that. It was a very hard time for both of us. Hard but necessary.
After Turtle went down for a nap, I went right to the phone to call my dear friend KS. I cried as I told her the story and told her I was worried I hadn't handled it right...and got reassurance that I had. KS is not only a dear friend but was a child development specialist, so I value her word in this area.

I'm tired now, and need to do some housework, but just wanted to drop this post in, in case anyone else was having a particularly rough, or hard day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

mumbling Ina rant... working things out.

Ok, the following is a rant, as a result of something that happened yesterday.... I haven't figured it all out yet, but here is what I have so far.

While Turtle napped yesterday, I sat down and started watching this documentary called nursery university. Unbelievable. I didn't get to see the whole thing, so I netflixed it.. you should too.
What I saw on there made my stomach upset. I went and looked up the requirements for children entering preschool. Preschool. In order for children to be admitted to preschool,(ages 2-5) they must have be able to do the following.

Be independent of their parent for 2-3 hours.

Recite their home address

Be potty trained.

Recite their parent's first and last names.

Engage and converse freely and clearly in conversation


and various other tasks, that I cannnot remember.

It really bothered me.

But why exactly?


I personally don't feel that a two year old should be able to recite her address or even know her parent's "real" names. If you asked turtle, she'd tell her our names are At'e and Ina.

It really upset me. But I didn't exactly know why. I know children are capable of learning anything and everything.

When mihigna got home, I discussed it with him, and asked him to tell me why it was bothering me so much.

He said that first of all, it's the way it's presented, like you cannot enter preschool unless you know these things.... so that makes me picture little children being force fed this information.. and that bothers me because I see them having to conform, rather than just be who they naturally are, or would become.
(I DON'T do well with people telling me what HAS to be done, with no explanation. Having gotten away from my abusive past, I've bucked authority so hard it's not even funny.) So, ok, I can see that.

Second, it's the cookie cutter, box-fitting formula that I hate. HATE. Someone somewhere says, "You(child) will do X in X manner in order to fit into this little category that will further your ability to learn information and spew it back out on command. Then we'll pat you on the head and make you think you are a "good" person." It feels stifling to me and I hated it being done to me, and I don't want that for my daughter. I don't do cookie cutter well; granted, it made me, makes me, the outsider many, many times. But, I would rather be the "outsider" than be living some false life following some one else's idea of what my life should look like, and be.


And lastly, it makes it feel like with these requirements, the children don't get to be children in their own right, own time. I want my child to be who she is at any given moment and have the freedom to discover and learn at her own pace.

So the question I'm left with is, does this bother me because my Ina alarm is going off, or does it bother me because I was a Montessori teacher and I know the "box" isn't the only way to teach?

Or is it just bothering me because it's setting off my own alarms from my past and I need to back off, and realize turtle is an intact soul and is stronger and more secure than I was? ("A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.")

See, I told you this was a rant and it's not worked out yet, so you can let me think about it more, or chime in. It's still messy for me, but I need to figure it out, because I don't like the stomach in knots but don't know why feeling.

Monday, August 10, 2009

weekend happenings

It was another really awesome weekend w/ mihgna and cunksi. We didn't do lot. went grocery shopping on sat, and to a memorial for his uncle. Then we hung out at home and did some ranch stuff on sunday.

We finally let the crabby white kid out into the pasture. We have her staked out right now, until we can be 100% sure there are no baby goat sized gaps in the fence in which she could escape. She's very happy to be out there, and she will let us pet her, if we catch her and hold her. I don't think she realizes if she just gives up the game, things will go a lot easier for her. Who wants to be stressed out that much?

When I was staking her out, I heard goats bleating, so we went over to the canyons to look, to no avail. Darn it. I really miss my baby goats, but evidently it's all one sided. Maybe I kissed and hugged them too much...but they were just sooo cute!

The weather has been gorgeous.. cool and a bit humid, but not unbearable. I LOVE IT! The CC fair starts this week, so that will be fun. I LOVE fairs!! and now that we get to share it with turtle, it will be double the fun. I'm SUPER psyched for rosebud fair, but I don't really want that one to come fast, cuz that pretty much means the end of summer. But I love rosebud fair, it's so awesome.. the BEST RIDES, the BEST food, the BEST wacipi, and all kinds of other things going on. TOTAL AND COMPLETE AWESOMENESS!!!! And turtle is gonna look so awesome this year in her little regalia, all dancing around, in her utter adorability!!

ok, I'm getting off here to do some stuff. For now, M

Friday, August 7, 2009

Look, listen!

Well fair season has kicked off around here. Today turtle and I went up to the rez for the TC fair. It was cute, there were a handful of cows and calves and about 4 goats. And one steer. Guess who won grand champion. haa haa. It was sweet. Turtle LOVED it! We got some goat advice, and I was able to see what tame goats look like, haa haa!

It was a long day though, and humid, ugh, nasty humid. We tried to lay down in the van with the a/c going, but turtle was too excited, and she'd nurse, but she fought sleep. So, we finally got up and watched the little bird band. They were pretty good, cute as anything. But when they got done, I was so hot and turtle was tired, so we headed out. We drove through town, because I was going to go to the store, but turtle wanted to go right home. So, I headed east toward home. We crested the top of the hill, and I looked in the mirror, she was out. Dangit!
So, i drove up to the barn, and mihigna and I decided to go back down to town to p.h, and hopefully she wouldn't be too mad when she woke up.

She woke up when I took her out of her car seat, and she was happy to see her At'e. But when we got to the booth, she melted down. Crying and not wanting to be touched. But, she was on the edge of the booth, and she could have easily fallen out. I told mighigna to pick her up, she didn't want to be picked up. I walked over and offered her a variety of things, mni,(water) asanpi pte, (milk) kapopi, she didn't want anything. She pushed me away and was crying. By this time, the other people were looking at us with scowls on their faces. I scooped her up, walked over by the entrance and just stood there a bit. I asked her if she wanted to go to the van, no. Did she want to get down, no. did she just want to stay right there. no. Did she want asanpi. yes. So, I dried her tears and told her we'd go back to the booth and have sanp. We walked back, and I nursed her. She switched sides, and was in a better mood.

I thought it was a good example of how we need to just block what everyone else is thinking and how they are looking at us, and pay full attention to what our child needs. I knew she was tired from being up so long and having a late nap. I knew she would be inconsolable for a bit, and just needed some holding time and time to cry. I gave her what she needed and it was all fine. I don't/didn't care what anyone around us thought. I didn't care how they looked at us. I will not bend my child to fit societies needs. She is a fabulous, amazing, intelligent, sweet, well mannered being, and I will encourage and foster that.

Times like that are also easier for me, because she is just like me. I get googly and out of sorts when i have not had sufficient sleep or when I have slept too late in the afternoon. (After 4.) And there is nothing that can be done, except to be held and nurtured and then it all passes. I never got that. I was always expected to bend and mold to societies rules and expectations.

As preschool time looms in the distance, I grow torn. She is so smart, she will hardly be going there for her abc's and 123's; (she already recites them) but she is, like me, a HUGE social butterfly and will enjoy socialization. She, LOVES people. But how will I, be ok with putting her in school that expects cookie cutter children and writing with your "correct" hand, and rules and regulations that are more for the teacher's happiness than the students? I have asked Mihigna repeatedly, how do we put our beautiful, sweet, heard, polite, sharing, child into a world where children are ignored for phone calls, other children don't share, hit, bite, etc, say horrific, mind blowing things, (NOT in a good way.)And talk about shows, products, media, things that we don't allow into our home? She is this perfectly intact little being. I don't want the world to break her. I don't think we have "bubbled" her. She gets out, a lot, socializes, plays with other children. But I do think that our home is a oasis, a utopia; in the sense that we have manners, we speak kindly to each other, we LOVE each other. There is respect, acknowledgment, unconditional love, in our home. When she speaks, we listen. We really listen. Actively listen.

The greater world, is a cold, selfish, self absorbed place. Have you NOTICED how many parents are texting or chatting on their cell phones while their children wait for their attention? Or how many children talk to parents who aren't really listening, (much less looking,) but make distracted, empty noises/responses?

All I can hope for, is that she realizes that while that goes on out there, we don't do that in our home; and when she is with us, we will love her, listen to her, respond to her, and let her be, whatever it is she needs to be, at whatever time.
This is what I know. I am an Ina. and no matter how old she gets, or what comes along. She will always be first and most important. My job can wait, my house can wait, the damn telemarketers can wait. The world can wait. Because when I die, I want to be able to say, yes tunkasila, you gave me the most sacred gift, and I did my best to love her and give her all that she needed at all times.
I know at times I will fail, but I also know two of the most healing words in the human language. I'm sorry.

I watched a talk show once that Cher was on. She said: "I answer to two people. Myself and God." I love that. Personally, I answer to thee people. Myself, Tunkasila, and Turtle.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It still gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes

When it was first released, I heard DMC's song, "Just like me" and then saw the video. It gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. I then saw the video. Unbelievable. It was the first time I'd heard a song about adoption. I was even more stoked that Sarah Mclachlan was on it.
When I saw the video, it was so powerful because she's in the background all ethereal like. And the symbolism is soo incredible!
The adoption process is so different now, but he hit it right on the head, it was so cold and raw and many times, heartless. It makes it easier to understand why so many children who were taken, were left with soul wounds.

I could so identify with him, but only up to a certain point. My life wasn't as fairy tale-ish and beautiful. It turned out beautifully, because I made it so.
And it is fabulous now, because I'm home where I belong. But I wished I'd have heard this waaay back when I was going through it all. It'd have helped.

I'm posting the video on here. It will give you goosebumps and move you. (Especially if you have had this experience.)
Shortly after it came out, he made a documentary about his journey to find his mom, and of course, I watched it. Sarah Mclaclan was on it, and she said that she also had been adopted. No wonder I thought she was awesome.
I found it ironic, because I remember when DMC was big, I was young, but I really liked his stuff, and so rap, has always, for me, been held up against his standard.
I had tried to get in touch with him, but it never worked. I just hope he realized how much he will and has helped others who experienced this very thing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hazy night with clear thoughts.

Tonight was my women's group. I love them, they are some amazing women. I have two new members and so we got to know each other a little better. I think they will be coming back, and they are a perfect fit for our group. But, I had to break the bad news tonight. We may not get refunded, from the powers that be; which means, I'll be out of a job, and our little group will technically be disbanded.

But, I am toying with the idea that I will continue with the group even if we don't get refunded, and I don't get a paycheck. It is an important group for my women, I have seen the two regulars change in the year we have been together. I know it makes a difference, and it is too important to let go. I asked if they wanted to continue and they did, so I will continue with it, and look to get funded from other places. The place where we meet is wonderful and community oriented so they will let us keep meeting there. Right now, Subway provides our dinner, so we will have to switch to potluck, and that is ok too.
So, i will have to go write up a proposal and start hitting the pavement for some mazaska. It is such a needed service in this town, I'm sure it will get funded.

On the way home tonight, I drove slowly. Well, five miles under the speed limit. It was a perfect summer night, just the right temperature, the sun was still up and there was a haze over the horizon. It's nice to live in a place where the haze isn't because there is too much pollution in the air. I was feeling on top of the world. I was bopping out to some singer on the radio, (HOPING it wasn't bratney spears,) and thinking about getting home to my family and playing outside. So I buzzed up the driveway, bounced into the house. I was greeting by a diaper wearing, paint covered turtle, who commenced to CRACK me up with her impression of "calm". I then put her in the sling, and we all went for a walk on our property. It was gorgeous and perfect. We are so blessed and we were all feeling blissed out on our family love and blessings. It was a beautiful night. Now, turtle sleeps happily and I need to get to work on my proposal.

In the distance, lighnting flashes and thunder rumbles. I'm grateful for my laptop.

Why there are no pics and weekend happenings.

I read today's post by mamascup and went immediately took many of my photos of turtle down. I don't usually post pics of her, because I don't trust the internet, or the sickos out there. I only started posting pics because I figured they would be fairly safe. Guess not. I should have just listened to myself, as I usually do. I started doing it because R told me that one of the reasons other mom's blogs are so read is because they do a lot of the things I don't. Meaning, post lots of pictures and write about a lot of personal family things.

I probably will never do this, because I am super protective of my family and will not risk her safety for increased readership. It's just not worth it. So, I'm sorry, but I have pulled many of the turtle pictures down. If you want to see her, I may set up a password protected account and you can see them there.

Anyway, our weekend was really good, we went out and collected sage. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm and as I was listening to the highway traffic in the distance, I got all itchy for the road. Unfortunately, my wallet is on the lean side. So, no road trips in the near future. After collecting sage, we went home and hung out and visited with our friends from out of town.

Today, we finally made it to story time and she had a blast! They heard a story about painting, then they went out and painted a square on the front of the library walkway. Everyone loved turtle's painting and thought it was hilarious how well she could paint. She's an old pro. Painting is one of her favorite pastimes.
She really loved it and saw her friend there and got to hang out with her for awhile. Then we had lunch out and came home for a nap. I can't believe how fast she is growing. I can't believe its august.
I can't believe it's going to be sept and her birthday.

I'm off to do Ina art.

more later.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

HOT days

OK, I finished the post on the baby debacle.. but it posted on the date when I originally started it, so you have to go back to like last Sunday.

We have had a busy few days here. We had some friends stay with us after the sundance, and that has been really enjoyable. Keya has LOVED it. We've had yummy food and great conversation.

Today is really hot, and we are wimping out and staying inside. I made root beer floats and home made salsa. (not together) And I have bread dough rising that will be turned into biscuits for biscuits and gravy. YUM.

Now I'm off to go snuggle with hubbs and turtle.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

an update but nothing important.or interesting

I am still working on the post in response to Stephanie Precourt's blog and all the hubbub over the fiasco at blogher. But I will get there, just keep checking back.

So much has happened, is happening. My kids ran away, (the goats) well all of them except the crabby, insulent white kid. Who was kept in the barn, because of said attitude. the others had calmed down, and were tamed. I am sad and sick over it. They were in the backyard, and one of them, Gleza, I'm assuming, pushed the gate open and let everyone out.
I have no sign of them. I've informed my neighbors, now I'll have to put it on the radio.
It's a cold, rainy day. But I like it. Turtle is sleeping, so I have time to work. And I have much to work on, let me tell you. My varying manuscripts would be enough to keep me busy all day. But I only have nap time, so I'm going to go put laundry in the dryer and then figure out where I'll concentrate. You never know, I may just be back here to work on these posts that I have been putting off.

I went to my art group last night, so that was the best thing for me ever! Suddenly, I feel all inspired and refreshed and ready to create again. I made a clay slip project, so when it is fired, I'll pic it here. I also found the land pics for this place, and will post those. I know, I know, I've said that before. You just wait and see!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cunksi, untewahlapi.

My dear Turtle,
You fell asleep in your bed last night and slept deeply.
When we went to bed, I came in to move you to our bed, I looked at you and realized that you grew while you were sleeping. Again. You are longer, you are (quickly) losing your babyness and turning into a wicincala while my back is turned.
This makes me happy and sad. At this time last year, we were at Sundance, and I carried you around in the sling. Now I carry you in the backpack.

You went to bed on Thursday saying da da for At'e and Na for Ina, when you woke up Friday, you clearly pronounced At'e and Ina. You say airplane and goat and all kinds of other words.

You second birthday is right around the corner, and I need to start the preparation process, invitations and the like.
It will also be time for the nakpa ceremony.

These days you are glued to my side, experiencing a bit of separation anxiety. That is ok with me, I"m always up for carrying you or some extra cudddles. You have started reciting your favorite line("The bears danced until dawn.") from you favorite story. You count one two three in order. And you love the baby shark song, as well as various others.

You are really so amazing! I can't get enough of you and you are one of my favorite people to be around. You continue to be the centering force for everyone around you, and even the crabbiest people perk up when you are near. We have been in the store numerous times when there are really crabby looking people standing in line; but they look at you and watch you, and suddenly, they are all smiles and playing peekaboo with you. It's your gift. You have a HUGE life force, you were born with it, and people will always be drawn to you, intrigued by you. I will hopefully be able to explain it and help you deal with it better than I was shown and dealt with it. I want you to embrace it, because it is your power.

You love to brush your teeth in front of the mirror while you practice making various faces, and expressions, which amuse you to no end. I'm equally amused. I always tell people that next to your At'e you are the funniest person I know, and it's true.

I don't allow anyone to say terrible two's around you, because I don't believe in them. You are not terrible, your behavior is not terrible. You are learning and growing and stretching your world and your mental, and emotional muscles. You go girl. I love that you got my feisty-ness and strong will. I know no one will run you over, or use you as their personal doormat. I'm proud of all of us that you know that the word NO is a full sentence. I love that you know that you are your own person, and expect to be treated with respect.

If anyone is going to have (or is having) growing pains, it's us. I know you are going to be two soon, and eventually, you are going to wean yourself, (sniff..sniff...SOB) and then you will be ready to sleep (all night) in your own bed.
I'm so glad you are confident to make these moves without fear, it means we have done our jobs well, but it will still be unbearably sad for us. I know preschool is around the corner, and you will go off to it with flying colors. I will be a wrecked, slobby, puffy eyed mess on the floor. I say these things but I am so glad that your world is intact, YOU are intact, YOU are living life to it's fullest, with out the hindrance of dysfunction, conditions, soul wounds, or emotional scars. Loving you as we do, allows for your take the world on approach. Again, go girl, you take it to its fullest!

I kind of have to laugh, because I'm not really saying anything new to you. I've said these things sine you were born, to some extent. But I'm glad that all that we dreamed for you is coming true.
You are a gentle, caring, compassionate, giving, sacred respectful soul. You amaze us everyday and bless us.

We love you more than either of us have words for.

Thanks for being you. untehwalpi, Ina na At'e.
I have much to post, but am in need of a nap. Cunksi is in need of some Ina time, so my posting will have to be postponed.
I'm so tired!!! Perhaps turtle will be willing to cuddle in bed... with our eyes closed.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I brought my baby to..life

Steph over at adventures in babywearing, has posted about taking her child with her to blogher. I guess she has gotten some flack about it, and this pisses me off.

I am a child IN society advocate, and from the moment Keya was born, have taken her everywhere I have gone. I've gone to meetings with her, she has traveled to my presentations and readings with me, and will continue to do so. She is my daughter, and I am her mother, granted she is nursing, but even if she weren't, she would be with me. I did not bear a child to put her in daycare. That being said, I do have someone travel with me who cares for her when she can't be in my arms or on me.
I have gotten a few looks and in one instance, a few nasty comments when I brought her to one of my readings and then had to tend to her, after my reading was finished. Now when I say tend to her, I mean, I walked over to hubby who was holding her, took her into my arms and then went on answering questions. I got very ugly comments on the comment form. They said I shouldn't have brought my child to "work". If they had left their names on those comment forms, I'd have called them out by name to say this.

I CHOOSE to take my child everywhere, to have it written into my contracts that she travel with me. I am blessed in the sense that I have the kind of job that allows such things. I am blessed in the sense that I don't have to be a full time dull job working mom. I'm blessed in the sense that I love my job, I can make money at doing my art. I'm blessed that the rest of the time, I get to be a SAHM. Now, even if that weren't the case, I still would not work a full time job. I'm going to stop right here on this path, because it's going in a different direction of my main point.

In my culture, the concept of other caring for your child while you went off to do whatever, didn't exist. We had the extended family unit in place. But, that all fell to pieces, in such a way that is much too long to go into right now. Enter acculturation, (which encompasses NUMEROUS things)

As a result, Lakota babies/children are put in daycare just like every other wasicu baby. Oh yey, look at us blend in. Now, there are many reasons for this, which I should address in another post, but one of the main reasons is because a winyan (woman) is the major breadwinner of the family. However, traditionally, the children wouldn't be in said daycare because they'd be home with a grandparent, or an auntie, or both. Or they'd be WITH the Ina (mother) wherever she might be.
Sadly, that is not the case, as our society is dominated by wasicu ideas of what is "right" and "wrong" and all too many of them who make the rules come from a child is seen and not heard society/background. And that is never challenged.
But it should be.

For the utmost health of the child, Mothers should wear children, mothers should take their children wherever they go; if they are so inclined. If children are brought to the various activities, meetings, etc, then they learn the appropriate behaviors for the varying situations. If they are shoved into daycare, (and I say shoved into as if they are being put in a closet, or a box; because that is what I feel daycare is.) and only "brought out" in "child appropriate" situations, they will only know how to behave in a limited sense.
Now, for those crabby people who are not "child friendly" that is their problem. And to whom I say, the US population didn't hit 305 million on it's own. You are bound to run into a child or two.
The exclusion of children is discrimination, and no less detrimental than any other form of discrimination. Unfortunately, for most it's a shade of gray, so it is allowed more. (You want to argue that point? I suggest you go look up the definition of discrimination. )

For every different woman or man, each will have different takes on what is right, wrong or other on how to raise children. I'm not arguing that, or begrudging it. But for the ultimate health of our societies, and continuation of our cultures to be at their best, we must remember the important roles and balance children play in them. Now don't get me wrong, while I'm all for children being taken everywhere, understand that I mean everywhere that is appropriate. Obviously, if you think your child/baby should be allowed in bars, you have bigger problems that what I can assist with. Again, it's all about balance, and need I say, common sense.

A while back, I posted the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children Essential truths.
Let me re post a few vital ones here, as a reminder:

#4: Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, and being carried on the body, in arms, slings, etc. are critical (did you get that, CRITICAL) for brain, nervous system, and immune system development and promote long term health benefits for BOTH baby and mother.

Oh, and a very important one....

#15. Families benefit from a supportive, nurturing community that values the art and science of parenting.


So, my point in all this is, quit crapping your pants the next time a mother and her baby show up somewhere that YOU don't feel is appropriate. Because, weather you feel it appropriate or not, doesn't matter, what matters is if it feels right and good to the mother, and is right, good and appropriate for said pair.

And if you see me and baby out and about, deal with it, because I brought my baby to life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A story (a true one)

Things have been really crazy around here.

My moon is REALLY late and I didn't know what to do with that. Up until two months ago, Mihigna and I went back and forth everyday about whether or not we'd have another child. We both liked the idea in theory, but the realities of it had to be weighed against the reality of our lives.

Ultimately, we decided that having just one, provides really great things too.

And then my moon never came. Honestly, I wasn't looking forward to having another child. I know myself well enough to know what I can and can't handle. Two children would be much and I worried that I would not be able to do it well. I love that Turtle gets all my attention and devotion, and I was uneasy about how that would be split well or evenly. I worried about how that would affect turtle's life. We also said we'd put it off until she was old enough to have a say in it. Now that we might be pregnant, I worried that her life would be wrecked. I've seen far too many only children's lives be wrecked by the arrivial of a sibling. (this has much to do with bad parenting and bad preperation and after care of the first child) You could have a set of parents who did great with their first child, then they have a second one and it all goes to hell. I didn't want to wreck turtle's life. But mihigna was excited and told me that if a child chose us, then it was meant to be. I drove down to town for the test and thought it through.

Turtle was with me and I watched her in all her amazing ness. She is so full of life, light, love, trust, openess. She is here because she chose us. She wanted us, she loves us. She had faith that we were the parents for her. I knew that if she had sibling, he/she would have the same amazing qualities that Turtle has. that this baby to be, would be joining us in the same way, the same capacity, the same destined path that turtle came to us. I knew it would all be ok. I got excited as I took the test; looking forward to anther pregnancy, another birth. I loved everything last time. I looked forward to both, but especially the birth. I, am a woman who makes pregnant look fun and sexy, and does a kick ass job of giving birth naturally. I was equally excited that now, I'd get to share that with turtle. Instead of two in the delivery room, we'd be three.

The test was negative, but I didn't believe it because it said that when i was pregnant with turtle, and she was really there. I could feel her.
And so I was ok with it. It would all work out. I welcomed this new life, and would start the preperation.


Then I woke up this morning and my moon came.

It is what it is.