Treasures, Treasuries, and Thoughts

I swore I would never do a blog! So much for swearing. I didn't think that I would have much to say or share. I was wrong! I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, loyal friends, sharing colleagues, and the support from so many that I will never run out of topics to write about.

I have opened an on-line store at a place called Etsy (rhymes with Betsy). The items on the left are available for purchase there. These will change from week to week to show you my latest creations. The link to the store is in the upper left corner of this page.

I also have items for sale listed on Art Fire. The link to my Art Fire Studio is

I hope you will visit this blog, my Flickr page ( and my Etsy and/or Art Fire stores often. (

So come along on my Trail of Treasures! It will be a Spirit Journey for me and I invite you to join me on the trip.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What An Experience….Why Is Health Care Such A Mess?

What an experience I had last night.

I left Bethany Lutheran Home in Council Bluffs, IA around 4:30 to drive home. I was in the far right lane headed west on Dodge Street in Omaha and had made it 70th Street. At that point, much to my amazement a car was coming at me from my left, having crossed two lanes of traffic, and careened into my car.

I was shoved off of the road and had the store to the right not had a “Sale” sign posted on the corner, the results may have been very different.

That sign stopped my car! Once stopped, I began to get out of the car.

Two young men were there in an instant to see if I was all right. They had witnessed the accident and after checking on me, they phoned the police and rescue squad. While waiting, one of them insisted that I sit in his car with his young son to stay warm and relax. He then dialed my home so that I could let my husband and son know about the accident.

Though I was pretty shaken up and my chest hurt, I was pretty sure that I hadn’t sustained any serious injury. Nor did it appear that the woman who hit me had been injured.

The rescue squad took us both to Nebraska Methodist Hospital’s Emergency Room to have us checked out.

A policeman came to the hospital with my driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration. He also let me know that the woman who hit me was cited for the accident.
Upon arrival in the Emergency Room, a nurse took my date of birth, address, phone number. He asked my height and weight and took my blood pressure and entered it into a computer terminal.

About 30 minutes later, another individual took the same information and entered into his computer terminal. He then decided to have me move to the waiting room.

While in the waiting room, I phoned home again to let Warren and Patrick know where I was. By that time, my son Scott had been phoned and was at our house. Scott and Patrick came directly to the hospital and found me still waiting.

Just as they arrived, another individual with a computer terminal came to me and asked my age…I told her an hour older than when the last person had asked me. She then wanted to know my phone number and address. I told her than unless my husband had changed something in the last hour, I still lived at the same address I had given the two other people and my phone number was also the same. It seemed that my date of birth, address, and phone number were of far greater importance than my physical well being as I had now been there over two hours and no one had examined me past taking my blood pressure.

Then she gave me a document titled “NeHII-Sharing Information For Better Health Care. This is a program that shares your medical information with other health care providers unless you opt out. The irony is that the computer systems at Nebraska Methodist evidently don’t even share information from one of their own computers to another. If they did, why in the course of two hours was it necessary to ask and enter my date of birth, address, and phone number three times?  I think I will "opt out"!

Finally I was taken to an examination room and left there to put on a hospital gown. There was a clock on the wall that one hour ahead of the real time. Evidently no one had changed it when the time changed recently. There was a black board that said “Mike” was the person in charge. I never saw a “Mike”. The board and signs in the corridors touted “Fast Track”.

If what I was experiencing was Fast Track….I would hate to see slow!

Eventually, a nurse practitioner came into the room and introduced another women with her as a student. She gave me some commands and examined my chest but aside from that, never had any conversation with me. Her only comments were directed to the “student”. She didn’t ask what had happened. She didn’t tell me what she was checking for. She then said we are going to do an X-ray.

I asked how long that would take as I was exhausted and fairly sure that nothing was broken. She said 15 minutes.

Now I’m sitting in a cold room with a hospital gown on, no blankets in evidence or offered. After 30 minutes had gone by I put on my clothes and told the nurse I was leaving.

The nurse practitioner and her student were sitting in a nearby office with an open door. A nurse who I will call “B” asked me what my problem was. I told her and she said that I should stay and she would have the X-ray people there in next 15 minutes. So I went back to the cold room and put on the gown again. The nurse practitioner continued to chat with her student.

After 40 minutes went by and no one had checked on me or no X-ray tech had appeared, I dressed again and told the nurse once again that I was leaving.

She told me that they had gone to the wrong room and was very understanding and apologetic.

Now I realize that Emergency Rooms are intended to triage patients and certainly I was not in a life or death circumstance, but what I experienced was a truly pathetic and apathetic!

I also understand the needs of teaching programs having been a teaching health care professional since 1961. In addition, my husband, Professor Emeritus in Cell Biology and Anatomy, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center has been teaching medical and allied health students for 42 years. But I have never seen the patient left out of the teaching opportunity. I certainly was last night.

So at Nebraska Methodist, time means nothing as evidenced by clocks that aren’t set correctly and patients that are allowed to linger without care or attention. There is enough staff to take intake information three times but not enough to examine or care for patients.

Fast Track? I didn’t see Fast…I didn’t even witness a sense of urgency anywhere. In a facility where fast is not even close, it would be better off not to bombard people with a “Fast Track” motto. It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.

My car was towed to the impound lot and the policeman said it was probably totaled. We will deal with that today.

My chest hurts but while I will probably have bumps and bruises, I’m alive…..thanks to the grace of God and no thanks to any care received from the hospital.

Medicare and/or the insurance company of the woman who hit me will probably have to pay big bucks for my dismal experience at Nebraska Methodist Emergency Room.

The two young men who came to my aid at the accident scene were remarkable. I’m sure that they would have rather been on their way home for dinner than tending to me. They did more to care for me than anyone at the hospital. They gave the information that they witnessed to the police. One made sure I was safe. He introduced me to his son and let his son know that I was going to sit in the car with him to stay warm until the police came.

What an example of both citizenship and parenting!

He is my hero without a name at the moment. The police said that his name would be in the accident report and I will certainly let him know how much I appreciate what he did.

It is interesting that a rank stranger on the street demonstrated more concern and compassion than an entire staff of hospital professionals!

If this is what we get now for health care now, spare me from what it will become if Obama care becomes reality! Health care is a mess!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Annual Thanksgiving Request

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is growing near?  November is also National Native American Heritage Month.  This is third year that I have made this November/Thanksgiving request on my blog. It is the only time of the year that I solicit monetary donations from my friends.  It is for a cause that I truly support and I am so very thankful to those of you who contributed in 2009 and 2010. 

As many of you know, I have the distinct honor and priviledge of beading bracelets from the logo of Eve's Fund. Eve’s Fund is a Native American Health Initiative that promotes programs to help Native Americans.
It was established in 2005 by Dr. Robert M. Crowell, a retired neurosurgeon and Eve’s mother, Barbara Crowell Roy . This fund is named in memory of their daughter, Eve Erin Crowell, who died tragically in February of that year. Eve’s Fund is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization incorporated in New Mexico.

While I support this organization year round, I actively solicit donations for their children’s literacy program during November. It is a part of my personal celebration of National Native American Heritage Month and a way of expressing my thankfulness for the blessings of literacy. Literacy is taken for granted by most of us.

Three years ago, Eve’s Fund’s website posted an article that got my full and undivided attention. It reminded me of all that I have to be thankful for. I was shocked by the fact that there are so many Native children who do not own a single book of their own!

Can you imagine your growing up without owning a single book? Can you imagine your Grandchildren not owning a single book? But it is true that many Native children don't have the luxury of book ownership. I find this fact to be very sad and I am so thankful that Eve's Fund is playing an active role in promoting literacy by providing children with books of their very own.

Last year, Eve’s Fund partnered with Betty Metz. Betty Metz is a remarkable person and the founder of Books-a-Go Go. Betty’s organization is a not-for-profit group that gives away books to needy kids. Fortunately, for Eve’s Fund, Betty has pledged to donate books to Navajo children. In May of 2009, the first shipment of 2,000 books arrived at Red Mesa Arizona. Last year Books-a-Go Go donated another 3,200 books (2,600 pounds worth) to Navajo schools in New Mexico and Arizona. As Betty says, “it’s all for the kids,” and she has certainly touched a great many of them. Betty’s mission is to give books to children from low-income families and thus pave the way to education and more fulfilling lives.

For a mere $5.00 donation, Eve's Fund will ship a book to each of five Native children.

I remember the pleasures of reading books to my three grandchildren and in purchasing books for them. Each year I designate a donation to this literary program and have books shipped to Native children in the names of my three grandchildren, Sydney, Mason and Olivia. Will you join me in doing the same this year?

We take so much for granted! We forget how blessed we are that someone taught us to read! We had our very own books! And even in these troubled economic times, we can a difference with even a modest donation.

If you would like to make a similar Thanksgiving gift in the names of your children or grandchildren, it is very simple. Go to this site.

There are several options as to how you can help. Click on "Donate".

You can designate the way you want your donation to be applied. In the purpose, I wrote "Ship books in the names of Sydney, Mason, and Olivia Stinson."

You can pay with Paypal.

Or if you prefer, you can send a check to:

Eve’s Fund/ThinkFirst Navajo
c/o Robert M. Crowell, MD, President
180 Elm Street, Suite 1, PMB 168
Pittsfield, MA 01201

What a simple way to give "Thanks" for all the pleasure books have given you over the years and to provide that experience for another child.  Please join me in giving at least five Native American children the pleasure of book ownership this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wow! This is Pretty Precious!

This morning started out like most others.  I came downstairs to check out my e-mails, respond, etc.  But one of the e-mails made my day start off as a great one!   

On ArtFire, a handmade selling venue, members curate "Collections" of items they like and wish to share with others.  It is always an honor to have one of my items selected by another seller for inclusion in their Collections.  However, this one was VERY SPECIAL.
The first comment made by the Curator is "This is to honour you Joni"!  This is a first for me and I certainly am honored. 
The Curator is Trinity Designer Jewellery.  Her name is Lorraine Coetzee.  She is from Cape Town, South Africa and has been one of my "cyber friends" for several years.  We both sell on Etsy and Artfire.  She paints, designs in polymer clay and until recently I did not realize that she has begun to sell beadwork patterns on her sites.  Well, when I discovered this, I just had to purchase a few of them as the designs were just too tempting. 
The wonderful patterns were delivered via e-mail.  I couldn't wait to print them off.  My work load was sufficient that I did not intend to bead one of her pieces until I was caught up.  But...this of the patterns was haunting me and finally, I gave in to this impulse.  Here is the result:
I did change the color pallette and used 7 instead of the 9 colors in Lorraine's original design.  If my photography were better, you could see that the flower in the center is "3D".  Initially the flower is beaded into the bracelet.  Then a separate flower is beaded and applied on top and then additional beads are applied to the center. 
I am so pleased with the results and hope Lorraine feels that justice was done to her exquisite design. 
Beading purists seem to believe that everything one does should be an "original" design (if there is such a thing).  However, I believe that when someone else has developed a beautiful design that inspires you  and they have willing offered it to be used, then go for it!  Life is short. 
I hope that you will visit Lorraine's ArtFire store and view more of her work.  Here is the link:
Lorraine, thank you for your wonderful work.  Thank you for the dedication of this Collection to me.  And most of all....thank you for being my friend and making this day so special!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hoop Dee Doo Jim

Hoop Dee Doo Jim!

For the second time in less than 2 weeks I said farewell to an old friend this morning. I have known Jim Banark since the early 1980’s. He started his nursing home career at Continental Care where I was the Director of Nutrition. During the ensuing years, I worked as a Consultant Dietitian in many facilities where Jim was the Administrator. 

Jim left the nursing home industry and started a van service in Omaha serving the elderly.  He sold his half of the established business to his brother and finished his career at Mutual of Omaha.

It was at Aksarben (that’s Nebraska spelled backwards) Manor that Gloria Smith, Dietary Manager, Joan Ladehoff, Nurse, Jim and I formed a strong friendship that resulted in our continuing to meet for lunch throughout the coming years in February and June. Though all of us moved on to other positions, we continued to love getting together.

At our last meeting, June 25, 2011, we learned that Jim had been very sick during the time since our last get together. We scolded him severely for not having let us know. He assured us he was on the mend. We had our usual Bloody Mary’s and great laughs. Jim also suggested that we change the place for our meeting next time and that we should shorten the time span between our get togethers. We had such a great time that day and all agreed.

Jim was one of the funniest people on earth. He had that knack of taking a rather mundane set of circumstances and spinning it into a yarn that would have you rolling in the floor. His humor was often irreverent but always good spirited. He never forgot an event and would remind us of our many fun experiences together.

At Jim’s funeral mass this morning, Jim’s brother related a story about their Grandmother’s funeral mass. . Jim’s Grandmother had lived in the other portion of the family duplex. Since she was so close in proximity, she was also very close to her grandchildren. Grandmother loved to polka and loved polka music.

The young Banark boys were asked to say something at their beloved Grandmother’s funeral. Jim’s younger brother went first. He told how he had carefully written his speech and how as he delivered it, the tears flowed, running into the ink and making it difficult to read. He was wracked with pain at the loss of his Grandmother and could not hold back his emotions. He told of his great difficulty in delivering the eulogy and was relieved to have made it through.

Jim, the older of the two lads, then stood up and took the podium.

Jim squarely faced those gathered and loudly said, “Hoop Dee Doo

This got everyone’s full attention.

Jim then recited the words to this well known polka tune.

Hoop-dee-doo (Hoop-dee-doo!)
Hoop-dee-doo (Hoop-dee-doo!)
I hear a polka and my troubles are through!

Hoop-dee-doo (Hoop-dee-doo!)
Hoop dee dee (Hoop dee dee!)
This kind of music is like heaven to me!

Hoop-dee-doo (Hoop-dee-doo!)
Hoop-dee-doo (Hoop-dee-doo!)
It's got me higher than a kite.
Hand me down my soup and fish
I am gonna get my wish, hoop-dee-doin' it tonight!

Jim’s tribute to his Grandmother’s heritage and her love for life was just what they needed.  And Jim knew it!

Following the mass today, Gloria, Joan, and I returned to the spot where the four of us last gathered.
Coincidentally, we had the same waiter who remembered our last visit down to the point that Joan had requested extra olives in her Bloody Mary. When the four of us were together, we probably did catch the attention of others with our boisterous and never ending laughter.

We gave a toast to our Dear Jim…..

Hoop Dee Doo Jim!
Here’s to your soup and fish!
And we hope you are hoop-dee-doin' it tonight!

Jim, we will miss you so much….thanks for the memories and know that we will remember you always.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A New Star in Heaven

Patricia Mass
September 18, 1951.....August 29, 2011

Have noticed that the stars are shining more brightly lately? That is because one of our world’s great stars, Pat Mass, has joined the celestial array. I am saddened that we can no longer view her eyes twinkling and see her smile light up the room. But I have wonderful memories of that and I can look up and know that she is there.

Pat and I first became acquainted when she entered the Metropolitan Community College’s Dietary Management program. I was the instructor and she was a student who was as eager to learn as any one who ever entered. She was a star student.

I was also fortunate to be Pat’s Consultant Dietitian at Indian Hills Nursing Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. There she became a star Dietary Manager. I will never forget the day when Pat stepped up from being a co-worker with her staff members and took her first step as a star Dietary Manager! From that day forward, there was no doubt that she was in control. A STAR was born!

Pat came from a large family. If my memory serves me well, she had eleven siblings. She understood very well the give and take of family dynamics and the loving support that comes from it. These skills poured over into the way she led her life. And in Pat’s case, she gave far more than she ever took. She loved her family and treated all of us as if we were cherished members of her extended family.

Pat named her only daughter Angel. She adored Angel and the two of them had one of the closest Mother/Daughter relationships that has ever been witnessed. This is going to be an extremely hard time for Angel. Angel, you can never doubt for one minute that you were truly and deeply loved!

Chief Seattle is quoted as having said, “There is no death, only a change of place.” I believe that. So Angel, when times are hard and I know they will be, look towards the night sky. See that star? That is your Mother shining down and watching over you just as she has done every day of your life.

When Lacey Wilson, Pat’s first grandchild, was born Pat could hardly wait to share the news and, of course, the photos. Lacey was a frequent visitor to Indian Hills even as an infant. Pat loved to share her with all of the Residents and staff of the facility. We watched Lacey grow and watched Pat’s pride continue to blossom.

Lacey is now a beautiful young lady, a high school student, and works part time at Bethany Lutheran Nursing Home. Lacey looks amazingly like a young Pat and while no one knows what the future holds for Lacey, her Grandmother’s influence will no doubt be with her forever.

I remember the day that Pat introduced me to her new son-in-law, Rob. She was so happy that her Angel had found happiness and she was so pleased to introduce its source. Rob may have Mother-in Law stories to tell, but my guess is, there are far more good ones than the type usually told. Rob is going to have some difficult days ahead while not only coping with this loss himself, but helping his family work through it as well. My money is on him to be a “rock” for them during this troubling time.

I remember the day that Rob and Angel’s son, Austin, was born. At first Pat was a bit bewildered. He was a boy. Pat knew what to do with and for girls….a boy was a new concept for her. But it didn’t take long for her to catch up to full speed. Like Lacey, Austin was a frequent visitor to Indian Hills. Pat enjoyed sharing his little boy antics with us and we loved to watch him grow. Austin is such a sweet and polite young man. On Wednesday night after I got over my shock about how much he had grown since I last saw him, I asked, “Austin, are you a good boy?”. He hesitated a minute while a beguiling little grin came over his face and he responded, “sometimes”. Austin, know that Grandma will be watching over you ….so you better make that answer “most times”.

If all Long Term Care facilities were fortunate enough to have a Dietary Manger like Pat, the world would be a better place. Pat did not have a job or career in long term care. She had a passion in long term care. She was passionate about her residents…..Mind you, not the residents, but HER residents. She not only wanted the best for them; she expected it and when necessary she demanded it.

Pat brought out the best in everyone she came in contact with. She made us aspire to be as good as we can be. Her influence is and will continue to be vast. While she is now in another place, her star qualities will continue to shine upon us all of the days of our lives. So at night,  look for the brightest twinkle in the heavenly skies….that’s my friend Pat Mass.  She will be watching you.  Shine on Pat!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Story of Snowy River

My digusdi (cousins in Cherokee) on Etsy have long admired the wonderful bracelet named Snowy River created by our dear friend and talented artist, Cloudburst. This bracelet has been featured in many Etsy Treasuries and has been coveted by many members of the Native American Forum Team….Walking The Red Road.  Here is the Story of Snowy River:

Last week my son, Patrick, and I left Omaha for a trip to New Mexico.  We had the privilege of attending Indian Market in Santa Fe where Cloudburst was vending.  When we arrived at the Santa Fe Plaza for the event, we phoned Cloudburst to find out where she was set up. There were over a thousand booths set up and finding her without assistance would have been a daunting task. As it turned out, her location was easy to find and we were very close to it when we made the call.
Left to Right:  Patrick, Customer, Nora Hasty, Anita
As I approached the booth, Cloudburst was holding Snowy River in her hands and making a sales pitch regarding it. On impulse, I took this shot of her in action.

When I arrived at the booth, Cloudburst, her potential buyer and I discussed the bracelet. The customer was Nora Hasty from Rocky Face, Georgia.   Mrs. Hasty said, “I have looked all around and so far if I could have only one piece from this event, it would be this bracelet.”

But there were still many booths for her to check out and she was not ready to purchase. She said she would sleep on it and might be back the next day for it.  I cautioned her that it might be gone.  She determined that if it was meant for her to have it, it would be there.

Well, Mrs. Hasty’s daughter and granddaughters were lingering in the background. They recognized how much she liked the bracelet and when Mrs. Hasty left the booth area, they slipped to the back of Cloud's booth and purchased it from Daniel for her.

One of the granddaughter’s kept the bracelet in a sack hidden behind her back as they joined their Grandmother and walked away.

Cloudburst, her husband, Daniel, my son, Patrick and I all watched them in hopes that we would get to see her being presented with this wonderful gift. After a while, we decided that they planned to do the gifting at a later time. With some disappointment, we resumed our visiting.

But then, the gifting was done and Grandma was so excited. She came back to the booth with her granddaughters to share her excitement with Cloudburst.

It almost seemed that the scenario was meant for me to witness.  Little did I know when I took that first photo of Cloudburst in action that it would result in the sale of that very special bracelet.

Mrs. Hasty, Granddaughters and Snowy River

I felt honored to me present for the event. Cloudburst was delighted that her bracelet had found its proper home. The daughter and granddaughters were so pleased to do something very special for their mother and grandmother during her visit. And, I got to witness and record the event.

The photos are being sent to Mrs. Hasty so that she can add them to her memoirs of her visit to Indian Market. I hope she will enjoy them and I know that she will enjoy “Snowy River” for many years to come.

So that is the story of Snowy River....A proud Grandmother with her beautiful and thoughtful granddaughters who made her the excited new owner of this wonderful one of kind bracelet.  A talented artist, our very own Cloudburst,  who knows that Snowy River found its rightful ownerIt doesn't  get better than that! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

60+ Mile Per Hour Winds And Pow Wows Don't Mix Well! But All Is Well!

Both my Etsy and Artfire stores are now on vacation while I untangle this unwelcome mixture. We got hit by 60+ mile per hour winds at our Pow Wow in Lincoln, NE on Saturday late afternoon.

A 30% chance of rain had been predicted for the area. However, the high winds that came up were not predicted and came with no notice.

Needless to say, our product will be needing great attention for the next couple of days and then we have to prepare for our trip to Indian Market in Santa Fe.

We predict that we will be able to save about 85% of our inventory.  Some is somewhere in Lincoln or the surrounding area (blew away), some has water damage beyond redemption.

This was our worst disaster in seven years of vending at outdoor events. If any of these thoughts might help you plan for outdoor events, then that is another upside to the experience.

Facts Learned:

1. Two people can not "man" 2 10'X10' tents.

2. Tents made 7 years ago are better than those available today. Our old tried

and true tent made it fine. The one we purchased this year is probably trash.

3. There are still wonderful people in this universe. Without the help of a young man and his wife, our losses would have been far more severe. They appeared out of no where. They got drenched to the bone as did we. They exerted great physical demands to hold the tents down. They helped chase and collect drenched product. Our gratitude is enternal for these real life Angels.

4. Patrick (son) was hit in the eye by sailing debris...his injury is not severe....thank goodness. He also has a major bruise on his leg where he was exerting pressure on a tent leg to stabilize it. One other venor was injured by flying debris but,like Patrick, her injuries were not severe. So we are very thankful.  Products can be replaced....personal injury....not so good.

5. Jewelry is forgiving. Fabric not so much. We carry a line of T Shirts, totes, wool purses, blankets, ball caps, etc. I want to continue them but will be contemplating another way of displaying them.

6. Velour covered display units are sponges! Last night I covered the dining table with the protective mats and have them lined up drying. A hair dryer has helped with this process. Most can be salvaged.

7. Straw baskets (unless totally natural)bleed very ugly water when drenched.  We will be trading straw baskets out for plastic. While not as attractive, functionality must be considered for those brave enough to do outdoor events.

8. Don't take more product to a show than you think you can reasonably sell.  It has always just been easier for me to take a lot of back up inventory than to regret not having it. However, the more you have, the more you have to deal with getting loaded into the van in pouring rain. I will be re-thinking this issue.

9. Always take plenty of towels, Sham Wows, etc. with you...We keep a container with drop cloths, plastic parkas, towels, etc. But this came up too quickly to be able to use any of it other than the towels after the storm blew over. When your product is whirling past you, there is no time to deal with drop cloths or put on  rain gear.

10. Never an ill wind blows that does not remind one of good fortune. While disappointed and saddened at our losses both in product and loss of revenue from not being able to vend on Sunday, we are thankful that no one was seriously hurt and that there are still good people who have no vested interest around to help when you are in dire straits.

It is all osda (good).

Sorting and drying call.....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June....The First of Many Birthdays!

June is a big month for Birthdays in our family.  It starts with my Daughter In Law's sister, Shandra on June 2.  This is followed by my Daughter In Law, Kerry's on the 10th and then mine on June 13th.  Then comes Granddaughter Sydney's on June 17 and son, Scott's on June 25.

We celebrated the first three last Friday night with a family dinner at Round The Bend Steak House.  Round The Bend Steak House is a casual steak house owned by my Daughter In Law's Aunt Vickie and Uncle Ron.  It is a fun environment and the food is terrific.  The steak and shrimp combo is a favorite with all of us! 

Owners: Vickie and Ron

Round The Bend is famous in our area for their Annual Testicle Festival.  It will be held June 17, 18, 2011.  They always have a huge crowd, live music, contests, and of course beef fries as well as other delectable menu items.  If you are in the area and looking for a unique experience....Go to the Testicle Festival.  And then you will be able to say "I had a ball at Around The Bend"!

After our dinner, there was a flurry of gift and card opening.  I received a wonderful Ulinawi (turtle in Cherokee) scupted from ironwood.  I haven't photographed it as yet.  I will save that for another blog feature at a later date.

But I do want to share the funniest card to date with you.  Here is the front:

I bet you do...................So take a look!

Yes, that is "Dog House" Warren as he is known on our Native American Forum Group.  Our Daughter In Law, Kerry, is a Senior Graphic Designer for Mutual of Omaha...and did a little graphic design on this card.  It received belly laughs from all of us...except maybe Warren....he just smiled.

The Olson's not only provided the venue for our wonderful evening, they also provided us with an array of delicious cup cakes.  There were so many and we were so stuffed after our steak and shrimp that we had to get carry out boxes, divide them, and put on hold for another day.  Thank you Vicki.

Sherry, Kerry's mother picked up the tab for evening.  Thank you shouldn't have done that, but it was appreciated.

So now we have 3 June birthdays down and 2 more to go!  June is a marathon of birthday fun for us even without half naked men and 6 pack abs!  Good food, great people and a few chuckles...what is better than that?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wow! It's All Mine

This is a first for me!  I never had an entire Collection devoted to only my work!   Last week, I was honored to be the Seller of the Week by the AJDJS (Artfire Jewelry Design & Jewelry Supply) Guild on Artfire.  The Guild Master,  Bead Lady 5 Design did a wonderful blog on the AJDJSS site about me and my work.  You can read the blog in its entirety here:

Gems By Jerri made this wonderful Collection of my work.  I just had to share it here!  Sorry for the SSP (Shameless Self Promotion)!

Gems By Jerri's store features wonderful and very affordable hand made jewelry. Here is just one example:
Blue Riverstone and Crystal Earhooks
To purchase these, or to see more of her work, please go to:

Bead Lady 5 Design also has a wonderful store on Artfire and devotes much of her time to her Guild Master role. 
Here is an example her work.
Wire Wrapped Amethyst Dichroic Pendant Cord Necklace

She also has a store for vintage jewelry findings and beads.  Here is an example that I love. 
Hand Finished Brass Butterfly Pendant

To purchase this piece or to see more of her items, please go to:

Beadlady 5 and Gems By Jerri, I was both surprised and honored by your tributes.  Thank you so very much for this kindness and for all you do for our Guild!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I AM lucky!  Once in a while as one travels through life, you are afforded a priviledge that makes you know you are truly blessed.  That is how I feel about the good fortune of my path crossing that of my dear friend Van Bevil.  On Etsy and Artfire, Van is known as Kicking Bear and/or his nemesis, Coastal Artist. 

He is a renaissance man.  A man for all seasons. 

He is one of a dying breed that speaks fluent Tsalagi (Cherokee) as well as many other languages.

He is an accomplished wild life artist.  I am posting one of my favorites from his work here.  It is entitled, "Going Home".  More of his fine art wild life pieces can be viewed at

Going Home

He is a Cherokee Elder who is vastly respected.  He grows many of our sacred plants in the "old way" and creates many forms of Native American arts and crafts.  I have selected one of his Ulinawi Tsola Pouches (Turtle Tobacco) to share with you.

Ulinawi Tsola ganvdvi (Turtle tobacco bag)

His Native Art can also be viewed in his Etsy store.

Van is in the process of writing a book.  He sent this passage to me yesterday and I asked for permission to share these beautiful words with you.  He graciously gave me permission to do so.

Pta Lowansa (Buffalo Singer)


by Kicking Bear

I am the stillness of the receding night, I am the touch of the morning dew on the green corn. I am the sound of the Katydid singing to the rising sun, I am the buzz of the Honey Bee dancing across the face of the Sun Flower. I am the warmth of the early morning rays of Grandfather Sun warming the People’s lodges.

I am the breeze that makes the leaves of the Standing People sing, I am the breath of the grass as it dances to and fro. I am the heart beat of Mother Earth as she gives the rythum to life. I am the quiet murmer of the People as they awake. I am the soft voices of the women at work. I am the laughter of children at play.

I am the snap of a bowstring as young men hone their skills, I am the silence of the Elders as they meditate, speaking with the Ancestors. I am the smoke from the Sacred Fire carrying prayers up to the Creator. I am the soft song sung by a Grandmother as she weaves a reed basket.

I am the rythmic sound of women grinding corn, I am the gentle rocking of a Grandmother as she comforts a child. I am the Anisahoni clan making medicines to keep the children well. I am the swishing sound of the Anigilohi clan as they strut through the camp with their long hair flowing.

I am the Anitsiskwa clan repairing their bird snares and practicing with their blowguns. I am the Eagle catcher as he prepares to hunt the mighty Eagle. I am the Aniwodi clan as they sit making medicine for the People. I am the Anikawi clan as they stalk through the woods hunting the deer.

I am the Anigatogewi clan as the walk the swamps and streams seeking wild potatoes and roots for the People. I am the Aniwayah clan as they prepare to track the Wolf. I am the War Chiefs and the Peace Chiefs that defend and keep order in the village. I am the crackling of the fire as meals are prepared.

I am the flash of lightening followed by the distant voice of Thunder. I am the freshness of a shower and the smell of fresh moist dirt. I am the Sunset as Grandfather Sun begins to give up his light and warmth.. I am the “In Between Time” that sacred time between light and dark when the Ancestors return to sing and dance.

I am the brightness of Grandmother moon as she shares her healing energy as she searches the Great Sky Vault for her lost love. I am the voice of the story teller as he tells of the joys and sadnesses of the People. I am the stories told around the campfire, a living history of the Peoples. I am that which never dies ….. I am the spirit of the People.

© 2011 from the unpublished works of KickingBear
Kicking Bear is the Spirit of His People.
I AM..... lucky that our paths on the Red Road crossed.  I admire his many talents, laugh at his humerous jokes, reflect on his words of wisdom, and share his love of fry bread.  He is a true Native Renaissance Man.
I AM...... pleased to call him my brother!
Kicking Bear....Witsatologi nihi,aisv gvdodi utiyvhi ale nvwatohiyadv

(Many prayers and blessings to you,Walk with balance and harmony)


Monday, April 4, 2011

Nuclear Power: Past, Present, Future

The headlines regarding the radiation leaks at the Japanese nuclear power plant have brought back memories as well as reminders of the tragedy that can occur if nuclear power isn’t properly controlled.

Here is the front page from the Riverhead paper on June 3, 1979.  The protest was against the Long Island, NY Shoreham nuclear power station. 

My sister, brother-in-law and neice were among the protestors and here are the photos to prove it.

Sister and Niece

Brother in Law and Niece

Niece's First Protest

If my sister were alive today, she would probably still be protesting. My brother in law and I discussed the event this morning and he agrees that he would do it again. My niece, the baby in those photographs, is a happily married lady living in Connecticut now. I have no idea what her position is on nuclear power and then her interest seeming was mainly on her bottle!

It is obvious that great care should be given to where nuclear power plants should be located. Placing them near high-density population locals is in my opinion pure stupidity. But then, where do they belong? In your back yard?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Son, "Sam" (One Day Each Year)

Sam, One Day A Year; Patrick 364 Days A Year

Many of you may have read this post on St. Patrick's day last year.  But I am moving it forward to today's date for those who have not seen it.  Today is an extra special day at our house!

As many of you know, I have a son named Patrick. He is four years younger than his older brother, Scott. When Patrick was four, I was the Cub Scout Den Mother for Scott's Den.

The Cubs met weekly at my house. We engaged in the usual scouting arts,crafts, lessons and snacks. In late February, 1972, we began working on things for Saint Patrick's Day. During our meetings, Patrick would lurk in the background, unwilling to directly participate.

Whether he was too shy at the time or felt intimidated by this group of older and bigger boys I never knew. When the boys left for the day, one could frequently find Patrick, all alone, in the family room. He would be going through the motions of doing whatever we had just done at the meeting.

Well, on about March 1, 1972 after Scott had gone to school and my husband, Warren, had gone to work, Patrick said, "I need to talk to you in my office!".

Now you see, Patrick's office was in fact the kid's bathroom. He had learned that if he had an important, private issue that we could go there and close the door. Only here we would not be interrupted by others, including the many pets in the household.

We went to his "office" and shut the door. At this point, Patrick declared that he had changed his name. I said, "Oh, and just what did you change it to?". He informed me that his new name was Sam! He further elaborated that when his Dad and Scott returned home for the day, he wanted me to tell them that he was now "Sam". I agreed. We left Patrick's office and went about our day.

At the dinner table that night, I made the big announcement. I informed all present that from now on Patrick was to be called "Sam." Warren looked at me strangely from across the table. I smiled back. At that point, Warren said, "Sam, will you please pass the potatoes."

For the next week, we tried to figure out what was going on with this name change. We explored the possibility of a new fascination with characters such as Yosemite Sam, Sam I Am, Uncle Sam, etc. Nothing seemed to fit with Patrick's name change. Occasionally, we would slip up and call him Patrick....a big mistake as he would promptly corrected us.

On about March 10th, "Sam" informed me that he needed to talk to me again in his office. We took our usual positions, Patrick sitting on the toilet and me on the side of the tub. This time he asked, "When is that dumb holiday?" I was at a loss. I inquired as to which holiday he was talking about. He responded, "You know, that dumb holiday that grown ups celebrate!" At that point, it dawned on me that he was meaning Saint Patrick's Day.

I said, "Sam, are you talking about Saint Patrick's Day?" His response was, "Yes. I don't think it is fair!" I asked what could be unfair about Saint Patrick's Day.

Now, you have to understand that we are not Catholic. So the word "Saint" was not commonly used in our household. Patrick's answer to my question was that it wasn't fair because they don't have a Spank Scott's Day so why did we have a Spank Patrick's Day?

And then I knew, bless his heart, for two weeks he had been agonizing over the thought of being spanked because someone had come up with a "dumb holiday". He heard "Saint" as "Spank". Since he couldn't change the holiday, he figured out an alternate solution, he changed his name!

I felt very badly that he had been living in fear and wasn't sure that his plan would work. I took him in my arms and explained that he had misunderstood and assured him that he would not be spanked on March 17th!

That March 17th and every one since has been declared "Spank Patrick's Day" at our house. Patrick is the Man of The Hour. We call him Sam all day. He, of course, receives gentle "spanks" on the behind, funny gifts, and his favorite foods. Patrick has had a special day 37 times now to make up for 10 days of terror when he was 4! This year will be no different.

While the rest of the world celebrates Saint Patrick's Day, We will pay tribute to "Sam" and once again, are reminded that great pain can come from simple misunderstandings. And how quickly it could be erased by communicating it timely!

"Sam" learned to bead brick stitched earrings this year.  Is it surprising that his first pair were Shamrocks?  I added him to my Etsy "Collective" and listed his earrings in my store.  They sold within the first two hours.  Since he made two pairs, I re-listed them.  They were featured in a Treasury within the day.  Way to go "Sam!"

Faith and Begorrah! Have a Happy Spank Patrick's Day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Apache 8

Apache 8, a heart-felt documentary about the first all-women firefighting crew, comes to public television in March 2011.

Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc.(NAPT) proudly announces the release of a new documentary that shares stories from the Apache 8 all-women wildland firefighter crew. The Apache 8 firefighter crew was not only the first of its kind, but it is also the longest lasting all-women firefighting crew in the United States.

Produced by Apache 8, LLC and NAPT, Apache 8 tells the story of the all-women wildland firefighter crew that fought fires in Arizona, and throughout the United States, for over thirty years. The film delves into the heroic lives of these firefighters from the White Mountain Apache Tribe and considers the challenges of being a firefighter on the Reservation.

Four extraordinary women from different generations of the Apache 8 crew share their personal narratives with humor and tenderness. They speak of hardship and loss, family and community, and pride in being a firefighter from Fort Apache.

Marjorie Grimes, crew leader of the predecessor Apache 6, recalled the crew's early days, "The public was not open to women firefighters. We had to fight for the right to fight fires."

Katy Aday also experienced the struggle for acceptance immediately upon signing up. As the then director of forestry told her, "Once you get all that [firefighting] equipment on you, that equipment is going to weigh more than you. You're too small, you're too thin, you can't do it. You won't be able to handle the job." Aday recalls that on that day when he said that to her, she was more determined than ever to go work for Apache 8.

Combining archival footage and present-day interviews, the film focuses primarily on four women--Cheryl Bones, Ericka Hinton, Katy Aday and Nina Quintero--who represent the different generations of Apache 8 crewmembers. Alongside the personal narratives of these women is an exploration of life in the contemporary Apache Nation. The cinematography of the film integrates a poetic stylization of firefighters at work and at Apache rituals like the Sunrise Dance--the initiation ritual for girls at puberty. Apache 8 showcases a music score from composer Wendy Blackstone and many contributing Native American artists such as Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa/Mandan), Joe Tohonnie, Jr. (Navajo/White Mountain Apache) and Phillip and Patsy Cassadore (Apache). Set against the backdrop of the White River, the documentary also recounts Apache history and culture in both English and Apache.

The women of Apache 8 have all excelled and been honored with national recognition for community and military service, including Cheryl Bones, the Apache 8 crew boss who was selected as the only woman model for the Wildland Firefighters Monument in Boise, Idaho, which pays homage to all firefighters with bronze statues. Despite the difficulties of life on the Apache Reservation, these women persevere as heroes and pillars of strength for their entire community. Katy Aday summed it up best, "You never knew what you were going to face. You were with a bunch of women that could handle anything."

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Max, Save Me A Good Place!

I had one remaining sibling, Max, until 1/11/11.  On that date, he left us to join my sister, Marilyn. 

Max had been in poor health for a long time.  He had to retire early from two very different careers due to his health status.  In November, 2010, his health began to deteriorate further.  And then, the dreaded phone call came that he had left this earth at 4:00 p.m.

Max was an unusual child!  We had a handsome Creek Indian father and an Irish mother with beautiful red hair and flashing green eyes.  I had dark hair, dark eyes and dark skin.  Marilyn had dark hair, dark eyes, and was fair.  Max on the other had ended up with the most gorgeous copper colored hair, big brown eyes and medium skin.  We were quite a mixed trio!  Max always stood out in a crowd!  He was such a sweet child who grew into an endearing man and was loved by all who met him.

After retirement, Max moved to Muskogee and was a loyal son.  He brought our mother lunch everyday, ran her errands and took her where she needed to go.  His generosity with his time and energy has enabled our mother to remain in her home.  

It is unfair that Mother has had to endure the death of two of her three children.  But I guess it is not for us to say when our time on earth has ended.  We are comforted by the words of Chief Seattle.  He said, "There is no death, only a change of place."

I know that Marilyn was there to meet him when he arrived at his new place and I am comforted by that.  I hope that they will save a good place for Mother and me when our time comes to join them.

Walker, Max Edward

February 1, 1947-January 11, 2011

Max Edward Walker of Muskogee, OK has passed away after an extended illness. Max was born in Holdenville, OK. He grew up in Checotah, OK and Colorado Springs, CO. He began his career as a draftsman at OG &E in Oklahoma City and later at Valdor in Fort Smith, AK. He changed careers to become a Law Enforcement Officer. He retired from law enforcement several years ago in Booneville, Arkansas. He is preceded in death by his father, Johnie H. Walker of Tahlequah, OK, his grandmother, Myrtle White of Checotah, OK, and his sister, Marilyn Ceraulo of Copaigue, NY and step daughter, Ashley Walker.

He is survived by his mother, Kathryn J. Lancaster of Muskogee, OK, his sister, Joni Kay Stinson and husband, Warren of Omaha, NE, brother in law, Paul Ceraulo of Copaigue,NY. sons Mark Walker and wife Grace of Oklahoma City, OK, Max Keith Walker of Yukon, OK, Michael David Walker of Yukon, OK, daughter, Jennifer J. Gibson of Luther, OK, step daughter Gaybrella Walker of Muskogee, OK. He is also survived by a neice, Amanda Zecchin of Stamford, CT., nephews Scott and Patrick Stinson of Omaha, NE and nine grandchildren.

A celebration of Max’s life will take place at a memorial ceremony on a bright sunny Oklahoma day this summer. Messages of condolences can be emailed to or mailed to Kathryn Lancaster, 124 S. 38th St, Muskogee, Ok 74401. The family requests that memorials be made to the Muscogee Creek Nation’s Education Fund.

Rest well little brother and save a good place for me!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lu, You Go Girl!

I had the distinct honor of attending the All Native Systems' Retirement Party honoring my beloved friend, Luetta Armel yesterday.  At 11:30 a.m. on January 7, 2011, family, co-workers (present and past), and friends gathered to pay tribute to Lu as she completed her career at All Native Services.  The gala was held at the colorful La Mesa Restaurant in Bellevue, Nebraska.  This one of Lu's favorites!

Family members were there to pay tribute to this dear relative.   There were many that I did not get
photographs of  but here is her sister, Denise, and nephew.  I know Denise from our trips together with Lu to the Casino.  How Lu loves a trip to the Casino! 

And, this is a photo of another sister who declared herself to be the "wisest" sister.  I could relate to that as we share the family position of being the oldest sibling.  She is shown with her husband.

Lu is an enrolled member of the Winnebago tribe.  The Vice Chairman of the tribe, Brian Chamberlain, was on hand to pay tribute to Lu and deliver best wishes from the Winnebago.

Brian Chamberlain

All Native Systems presented this wonderful Star Quilt and a Dell lap top computer to Lu.  Please note the heart in the lower left corner.  This was designed especially for Lu.  On your right  is Lee Anne Pretends Eagle holding one side of the quilt.  Lee Anne played a major role in the planning and presenting this wonderful event.

Donna Polk-Primm, Executive Director of the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Commission was on hand to present Lu with a certificate for her services and another wonderful Star Quilt.

Lu is an avid New York Yankee's fan and why not?  After all, her cousin, Joba Chamberlain pitches for the Yankees! Joba could not be in attendance as he was on vacation in Cabo San Lucas.  However, Joba's father, Harlan Chamberlain, was on hand to present Lu with an autographed base ball and Joba's latest base ball card. 

If you would like to read more about Harlan Chamberlain and Joba, please go to the blog I did about them previously.  Here is the link:

When we arrived at the party, we were asked to sign a poster.  By the end of the event, the poster had been framed, ready for Lu to treasure in the coming days.

Here is our beautiful Lu, thanking all of the guests for coming. 

Thank you to All Native Services for this wonderful party honoring a very special lady
and inviting me to attend.

Lu, we love you and wish you the best during your retirement. 

You Go Girl!