Saturday, April 10, 2010
We are related to Elizabeth, Joan and John Tilley who were on the Mayflower
Nathaniel Chaffins came to Minnesota from West Virginia after the Civil War with his father-in-law Mark Sumner. Nathaniel Chaffins was Grandma Mary's Great Grandfather through Nellie Workman. The Chaffins line goes back to 1509 to a man in England named Chafin Or.
There are some false leads too that look like we are related to Henry the 7th (father of the infamous Henry the 8th but it cannot be substantiated with live data.
There is a great lineage that looks authentic back to the Roman ruler Licinious and to Constantine the Great and a Danish Queen - pretty cool.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
I stumbled on a couple of folks in Mound, Minnesota practicing a beautiful new sport. It was one of those standard sunny and cold (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and windy days in January in Minnesota.
I was on my way to visit my in-law's to negotiate some post-xmas gift card exchanges and I stumbled on this sight on North Arm Bay of Lake Minnetonka! This is the latest thing - Kite Skiing. You hook up a large kite to your body and use regular downhill skis to be dragged around the surface of a frozen lake. It looks fun - you are actually harnessed to the kite - and some of the skiers caught alot of air. All of them wore helmets lest they test the thickness of their skulls against frozen ice (wise!) I drove onto the ice at the boat launch and talked to one of the guys - they said it was way easier to learn than windsurfing. If you can master the basics of cross-country skiing and flying a kite or basic sailing this sport is for you.
Friday, January 22, 2010
A beautiful trumpeter swan flew over the Minnesota River on my way to work today (this happened once before in 2009.) I don't think anyone can really comprehend the size of a swan in flight. It's huge!
With a 10 foot wingspan they dwarf Canadian Geese's 6 foot wingspan and they are nearly three times as heavy at 36 pounds. It is beatiful and daunting to see them soaring over you. Brings back images in your mind's eye of the Indian's "Thunderbird" legends - though they are less fierce.
The largest species in general is the Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator), which can reach an overall length of 1.82 m (6 ft), a wingspan of 3 m (10 ft) and a weight of 17.3 kg (38 lb).
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
It must be my Lutheran background (says Prairie Home Companion), but I can’t shake these feelings of mediocrity and inadequacy. My career is great, my husband and pets are joys, and the tree is coming down on time from the holiday season—but there is no way my house looks, smells, or feels as perfect as the Williams-Sonoma or Pottery Barn catalogs say it should.Call it sexist if you like—I call it an upbringing by a mother who could out-“good thing” Martha. We were raised to fold hospital corners on beds, extra vacuuming sweeps mid-week, removing crumbs of kitchen surfaces before wiping, cooking from scratch, put the seat down, get DOWN on the floor to clean it, and never, ever let crumbs accumulate in the flatware drawer. In other words, I know how to make my home look that good. And I want it to look that good. But it’s the last thing I want to do after a 60–hour work week.
My husband tries so hard to understand me, and his attempts to keep the place neat are valiant. But he didn’t have the benefit of my "house beautiful" upbringing—and part of me thinks it’s highly unfair to hold him to that standard because his Mom's house is filled to the rafters with flea market junk. The other half, waving my equality banner, nit-picks poor Guy to death. (I had to show him how to clean the kitchen cabinet doors the right way—with a Q-Tip.)But I want it all. I want my house perfect, and I want to keep working my career at this pace. I’m having a hard time settling for anything less. Oh - what about the obvious? Guy is against hiring a housekeeper. Though he's okay with a daily dog walker and lawn service...so who is he kidding?
Women are outpacing men in college degrees, workforce percentages, and consumer spending. We have greater opportunities than ever to pursue our dreams. But when a girl’s dream includes coming home to a sparkling home every night, something’s gotta give.Ugh. Time to teach my puppy Kaylee how to fold clothes out of the dryer.
My mother hadn’t had a hot meal for herself in 15 years. —A Christmas Story (1983)
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Today, I accept the blessings of the Great Mystery in the memory of the Anniversary of Wounded Knee.
Today, I said good morning (Hinhana Waste') to the great eagle (Wanbdi). I bid the eagle (Wanbdi) my apologies on behalf of me and my clan for the unfair massacre of the people (the Dakota) and we thank you (Wopida unkenic 'eyapi) for your continued but undeserved blessings.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The infant survivor of Wounded Knee spent her life in desperate pursuit of a heritage that always eluded her.
The Dakota, Lakota and Nakota Indians had been driven back across the great plains. Hemmed in by gun and telegraph and railroad and barbed wire, and in the end the remaining whole tribes were relying on upon dreams, trances, and visions to inspire their continued survival. So, they danced - by the hour and the day they danced the Ghost Dance, which they wanted to believe would give life to their dead, send whites away, bring back the lost buffalo herds and thus their livelihood and way of life.
It must have been quite terrifying to the whites: thousands of freely roaming Indians across vast spaces chanting, singing, dancing. When Big Foot’s band was pushed into South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, at Wounded Knee Creek, the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, Custer’s old outfit, kept their fingers on their triggers. A fracas broke out. It was December 29, 1890. Someone fired a shot. At once the troops opened up, Hotchkiss guns throwing shrapnel. The Indians ran. The soldiers followed. By a little hollow of rolling hill in prairie grasslands a trooper put two rounds into the breast of an Indian mother. She burrowed into the hollow. Snow came. At times the temperature dropped to forty below. Four days and three nights later a burial party heard an infant’s cries. The mother whose body had sheltered and shielded her daughter was dropped into a mass grave along with others similarly frozen solid, some 150 of them - only 26 white men died. The Indian dead were mostly women and children with only 38 old men among the them. It was first billed as the Wounded Knee battle but soon renamed a "massacre" in the U.S. press of the day.
The baby lived. She had on her little wrist a bracelet, and she wore moccasins. On her head was a buffalo hide and fur cap decorated in beads with the American flag. An old woman of the Lakotas named her Zintkala Nuni, “Lost Bird.” To the newspapers, swiftly doubtful about the righteousness of this last act of the long fight between the red and white races—for there would never be another, this was the end—she was the “little heroine,” the “little dusky maid” who was an “Indian princess.” Her situation came to the attention of Leonard Wright Colby, a brigadier general of the Nebraska National Guard, which had been hurried to what was originally termed the Battle of —but soon came to be known as the Massacre of —Wounded Knee. This infant could be, he said, “a most interesting Indian relic.” Colby decided he wanted this “curio.” He would adopt her; she would become his “protégé,” this “Ghost Dance baby.” He appropriated the girl, took her home, made out adoption papers. Then he informed his wife.
Clara Bewick Colby was in Washington, D.C., where she spent half of each year. An eminence in the women’s suffrage movement, the close associate of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she was the editor and proprietor of The Woman’s Tribune, a bimonthly many considered the best newspaper the suffragists ever had. She went to the family home in Beatrice, Nebraska, and took charge of their new daughter, Zintka. (“Zintkala Nuni” proved too difficult to spell and pronounce.) Her husband, handsome, flashy, and reckless, a Civil War hero who had served with Maximilian’s forces in Mexico before going to practice law in Beatrice, quickly lost interest in the child.
Mrs. Colby dressed the baby in white, the color of the suffrage movement. She told of her new situation in her paper and, in response to readers’ displays of interest, created a new feature, “Zintka’s Corner,” in which she discussed the girl’s doings. A photograph of Zintka was offered to new subscribers to The Tribune. “All mothers,” said the magazine Trained Motherhood, “will watch with interest the mothering and education of this…child of the prairie. It is one of the most interesting cases of child study to be found in America.”
Everything was done in accordance with the standards of middle-class Victorian life. Lost Bird was given every advantage. But her adopted mother could not close out the world. When she was taken to visit Mrs. Colby’s family, in Freeport, Illinois, the local paper reported “a dark little stranger” had come to town, her hair and features showing the “unmistakable traces of her race.” When children of the family jeered that her real mother was a “dirty squaw,” she attacked them with such ferocity that her elders said she had reverted to a savage.
She knew no Indians, was never closer to one than the wooden statues commonly found in front of cigar stores, and preferred to play with black children. “Zintka’s Corner” offered cheeriness, but the girl suffered from an all-embracing sadness that made her difficult to manage. She liked to ride the circling painted carousel horses in the park for hours and had to be removed from them at the end of the day by force.
She had always loved to look at and handle her bracelet, cap, and moccasins, the only remnants of the life she might have led had things been different, and at ten, in 1900, she began asking about Indians. At the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo she sought out Lakota members of what was called the Indian Congress, brought to give exhibitions and display dances. Mrs. Colby did not approve of her daughter’s fellow Indians, writing that it would be better that they “exhibit their development and education and not parade their savagery as a show.”
Lost Bird did not do well in school. She was expelled from several. Ar sixteen she ran away and got work in a Wild West show. She made her way to reservations, but knowing nothing of the food, the manners, the music, the language, knowing nothing of the culture, she was unintentionally offensive. She looked men in the eye, spoke frankly, talked at mealtimes, laughed too loudly, seemed assertive, pushy, forward, too forceful—like a white, the people thought. Once, at a reservation, she stood in rain and mud screaming, “It’s me, Lost Bird! Zintka Lanuni! Please help me!” She mispronounced her own name, the Indian listeners noted.
At seventeen she became pregnant. She was sent to a Nebraska reformatory. The baby was stillborn. At the Wounded Knee mass grave in which, somewhere, her mother lay, she flung herself down with arms outstretched, weeping. She married, shortly to discover that her husband had infected her with venereal disease.She went to California to play bit parts and be an extra in silent Westerns—The Round-Up, Battle of the Red Men, War on the Plains. She married again, a cowboy turned actor who beat her when he drank. She quit films and joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for the 1914–15 season, traveling all over the Midwest and Canada, visiting reservations when she could. The visits never worked out.
She married again, a fellow performer in the show, and had a baby boy. The couple left Buffalo Bill and went to work in the saloons and dance halls of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, he twirling a lariat and she in Indian or cowgirl attire. His health was not good, and her disease was cruelly affecting her eyes. She pawned whatever she had. There was no money for the baby, so she gave him away, to an Indian woman. She and her husband lived in cheap places among the cribs of the red-light district. She did what she could to make money.
Face blotched, eyesight going, she died on Valentine’s Day of 1920, age twenty-nine, and was buried in Hanford, California. Heart problems complicated by venereal disease, the doctor said.
Seventy-one years later, in 1991, her decayed redwood coffin was lifted from the earth, and what remained inside was taken away. The historian Renée Sansom Flood, author of Lost Bird of Wounded Knee, had brought to Indians at Pine Ridge, at Wounded Knee, word of where she lay. They decided to bring her home and raised the money. At the funeral there were great masses of Indians on foot, in cars, in pickups, on horses. White civilization almost from the first contact with Indians had ruled it was best that Indian children be weaned away from their tribes and traditions, but in the end Clara Colby decided that was wrong. “She has been sinned against in being taken from her proper surroundings,” she said of her adopted daughter.
The Indians burying that daughter by the massacre’s mass grave agreed. She would be at rest here, near her mother, relatives, the friends she would have had if all had been different. “Lost Bird has returned today to the same place she was taken from,” said Marie Not Help Him, great-granddaughter of Iron Hail, the last survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Custer died, and of the Wounded Knee Massacre. Lost Bird was put into the ground with an eagle plume attached to a cherry tree by her head. The trill for bravery rose in the air: Li-li-li-li-li! Then the Indians performed the ceremony of the Releasing of the Spirit for one who had a foot in two camps but never a place to stand.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Also known as "God Jule" in Norway...
Remember that we are Woodwards and if there is one thing that Woodwards do is "Dream a Dream and THEN...go about making that Dream a reality". You've heard about Dreamers - well - I'm one for sure. I got busted in grade school for daydreaming all the time. The good thing about dreaming is to make sure that you plan out the steps to fulfill most of your dreams and you can wave the "DREAMER" flag proudly.
I was recently listening to an audio program and came across the following thought: “How many have said that if I continue doing what I'm doing, in 5 years I'm going to be here.”
Now let's say that suddenly on careful consideration, you say:
- I'm not in a very good place (job, relationship, etc)
- Everyday I get this feeling that my life is not a fulfilling place to dwell in
See, that's so amazing and extraordinary about the powerful combination of Dreaming and Planning.
No other life form (we know of) can do that - all you need to do is Pick a different destination in 2-5 years.
- Start making plans
- Learn the skills
- Accept the disciplines
- Get the teaching and the training
- Shows the consistency of effort
- Start going in a new direction
Only human beings have this amazing ability to change their outcome - to pick a new direction and go that way. We have the ability to see the future and give it our own design. However, most time we don't do it.
Why? Well as I recently heard, “We're trapped either by the regret of the past or the routine of the present. We are so busy with the routine of the present that we don't give much thought of designing the future or we are trapped by the past with regrets of past losses and past failures and past mistakes and we re-live it over and over again."
We do this, “not for the benefit of changing it in the future but just because, we feel our lives have been less than favorable simply because of all the things that have happened in our past.”
The audio program continued to state that, “Make sure the greatest pull on you is the pull of the future. Not the pull of the past that keeps taking you back. Not the pull of gravity, like the present, that just keeps you stuck where you are but, we want to make sure that the greatest influence on us is the pull of the future.”
Amazing - what awesome advice - I just had to share it - it's truly remarkable.
This year I was actually reminded of something someone mentioned or I read, I don't remember now, but I think it was a couple of years back, “You will never live long enough to learn it all yourself.” The point was that we should look towards leveraging proven success methods and learn from the experts who have already done it - been there and done that and this whole quote, I was reminded of because of a story I had recently came across.
This is it: If you go to the kitchen to cook a dish and the very first thing you get is a recipe and you follow the recipe; work with the recipe – eventually you will master that dish. Once you have mastered that dish and repeat it a few times, make that dish over and over again, you will then remember the recipe; you will not have to keep going back to that recipe book.
Now, if someone says, “Boy, this is really good!”
You don’t reply back saying, “Yes, It’s a miracle! Like something out of thin air or magic!” No, you just followed a proven recipe that had been worked out by people before you and practiced over and over by you....
It helped remind me that if you want to be successful at something, study those who have done it before you and then practice, practice, practice.
“Successful people are those that have learned from those that have gone before them and then keep trying. Unsuccessful people try to make it all up and then stop at the first failed try." To complete the analogy with with the recipe, it would be like a cook going into the kitchen, taking ingredients out of the cupboard, throwing them all in a bowl, and wondering why it doesn’t taste good. (I have actually done this with some pretty scary oatmeal scotchies...yuk!)
WOW! What an interesting concept!
Just remember three key things:
- If you think it’s impossible – It isn’t
- If you think you know everything – You don’t
- If you think you are alone – You’re not
You say, “What?? That’s impossible! You can’t have dinner with the person that gave you their heart!” (I was asking the very same thing!)
Well, here’s what happened, this lady was desperately ill and needed a lung transplant. The donor was found and apparently, sometimes, it’s much better in a lung transplant if the heart and lung goes together. So this lady gets a heart and lung transplant that she needs to save her life. Now, her heart is left over from this operation and her heart goes to Rich. And that, my friends, is how Rich was able to have dinner with the lady that gave him her heart.
Amazing - the impossible is really possible - "The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person's determination." It just reminds me of the quote from Albert Einstein, "Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them." The impossible is only that at the same level that it was thought to be but very possible at a completely different level!
"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
I wish for all of you that the impossible of 2009 become a positive possible in 2010.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and have an Excellent 2010!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Meghan died yesterday at the age of 13. She was a sweet, brown tabby but was feral. She lived in our home but we could not touch her. Luckily, she loved other cats, sunbeams and treats. (She could be handfed but not touched or brushed.)
Sweet baby girl. So sad.
She started her life as a wild cat living under a mobile home and we rescued her and her gray/peach tabby sister, Rachel. Rachel is doing well. There were some men in a convenience store who boasted that there were a momma cat and babies living under a trailer home and they were going to get some ammo and kill them. That's all that Guy and I needed to hear and we borrowed some "humane, live traps" from the Apple Valley Police Department and caught the Momma and 2 babies (Megan and Rachel). The Momma kitty was violent and wild and we gave her to the humane society - they instantly euthanized her - so sad but she was really, really wild.
Megan and Rachel came home with us at 8-9 weeks old. We were thrilled. On the first weekday home we thought Rachel and Megan would enjoy being away from other other cats in the screen porch (it was a beautiful 65-70 degree day). But they broke out of the screen.
We captured Rachel quickly but Megan was gone for over a week. When we got her back she had a wound on her neck that we thought was a bite from another animal, she had a high temperature and was very out of it and floppy.
It looked like this - pretty innocent - but why was she sick?
We found out that to many owners this would appear to be a small wound or abscess that wasn't healing right, when in fact it is an airhole for a creature living beneath the skin. The first time an owner, or new vet tech staff member, sees one of these they are rightfully disturbed. No one wants to believe their cute little kitty could be harboring a living parasite of this size and rigorousness inside of its body. Fleas and ticks will make anyone itch and scratch just at the thought, but the first time you see one of these pop out of your cute little kitty or puppy you just might need to sit down! Guy almost fainted when the larva came out of Megan.
Well - it took Megan a couple weeks in the hospital when she recovered and she missed the window of socialization with Kittens that happens between 6-12 weeks when they are most likely to bond to humans. That's how she became feral and her sister, Rachel was tame. After 12 weeks, if the kitten hasn't had pleasant, happy handling by humans they can be human-adverse like our Meggers.
But she lived a good life, in a home with her sister and since a feral cat is unadoptable - we did our best by our good, pretty, untouchable sweetie.
Be well little Meggie and I'll see you on the rainbow bridge with all of the other kitties someday. I promise you some treats but no hugging - love you little girl.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Now that I'm 46 - I don't feel like a Grandma. I feel like I could still ride an innertube behind a pontoon boat and swim and cook and swat flies at the cabin with the best of them. My resolutions for 2010 is to do all of the above and more.
Kaylee was a very good girl but our room reader had a battery issue and Guy was told there was someone in the room with Kaylee. He just about busted the door down - what stranger was messing with his little girl? It was just a broken card-reader....with a startled shih tzu...on the other side. The front desk was wrong - there was nobody in the room locking themselves in with Kaylee - thank goodness. Guy saw her little shadow by the door and heard her tiny cries - Guy to the rescue!
Gizmo and Capone stayed at Bob and Steves and had a good time too - Gizzy just adores Bob and Steve and Capone loves their boys. The cats made it through the weekend. Sebastian and Meghan continue to get weaker and sicker with old age - it is about their time....so sad.
Despite the health of our geriatric kitties - we had a good time up north. We drove past west 27th and I thought of Grandmas Mary and Voltz. We drove up Mesaba and I was reminded again that I loved to turn onto Pecan street to visit Grandma Mary's apartment. Yes, I was reminded of so many Christmas's up north with Grandma Mary, Grandpa Butch, Grandma Voltz, Howard, Elavine, Grandma Larson, Grandma Pederson and Grandpa Pederson...all of Grandma's bridge friends and Dad's friends too....so many people we have lost to time. I snuggled in my bed at the Raddison next to Guy and looked out to the harbor and the lift bridge - how many years has a Woodward looked at this view come Christmas - almost 70 years?
I remember being nestled into one of the the springy twin beds next to Janis in Grandma's cool attic the night before Christmas Eve. There was only one bathroom in her house and it was common for either Janis or myself to need to use the restroom late, late, late at night. Also, I liked to sneak down for a bite of Grandma's fudge when the house was dark and quiet. Mom and Dad were sleeping in Vicki's old room with the boys on cots or cribs. I tip-toed down the pine staircase, trying not to creak the stairs too much and I turned the corner by the scary pictures of my Great Grandparents Oskar and Nellie Krantz to see the glimmering, glowing Christmas tree with it's lights twinkling on through the night. I peaked out the frosted window to the large drifts of white powdery snow and was glad to have a warm house to sleep in - everything looked so blue and cold outside. That night, when I had my hand deep inside a tupperware container of fudge, Grandpa Larson caught me and said "Oh no young lady......(long pause)....you need to stop right now......(long pause) because you need some milk with that fudge". We laughed quietly. After my treat, I padded upstairs, suffering through every creak and squeak of the stairs. Soon I was snug in my bed and dreaming again of Grandma's fudge, my great-grand parents I never knew who lived on a farm near Bemidji during the depression and my awesome step-grandpa Butch Larson.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
So far so good, this winter - no 2ft snowstorms too early in the season - we can still get around well in the dark. We've had a few flurries but no permanent snow on the roads or the ground yet. It's really December, January and February that are the toughest travel months in Minnesota. Depending on the year either November and March can be rough too but so far so good for 2009.
We lost all the leaves on the trees about a month ago - "brown stick weather" is what I used to call this time of year when I was a kid. It's blustery, windy and dark but not cold and snowy yet.
It won't be long now until the snow flies. The saving grace of snow is that it is heavenly reflective. Once the snow is permanently down on the ground - winter really takes off and the sun beams and bounces light all around us- the nights are bright with snowglint on moonglow. Even though the darkest days of winter are yet to come, our snow lets us cheat those dark days by turning Minnesota's "snowlight on".
But...snow has it's challenges so there is no rush. There is slop and glop to mop up. Slippery roads and snow shoveling so there is a burden to all of this light that get heaped upon us for three long months in winter. There are always a few heartstopping skids on Minnesota highways and times when your heart is in your throat waiting for a loved one to get home on a particularly bad night. Snow is our light yet a faustian bargain for Minnesota - a treacherous and beautiful time of year.