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.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Great Memories: Deer Hunting (Part 1)

In the fall of 1964, when my first son Scott was only a few months old, my Daddy invited us to accompany him on a deer hunting trip. Of course with a new baby, I found it hard to think that this was something I wanted to do. However, my husband, who loved both hunting and fishing was beside himself with excitement about the invitation.

He was newly out of the army, had become a new father, and working hard on his Masters at Oklahoma State University at the time. He needed a break and when my Daddy explained that Scott and I would be guests at the host’s home while he and Warren would be at the deer encampment. I could not refuse.

Now I have to tell you a back story that sets the stage for the rest of this one.

In 1938, Daddy, a Muscogee Creek, was on the faculty at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation School in Oregon. Daddy had two sisters, Aunt Mineola and Aunt Mary, who were living in Oregon as well.

This was a new position for him. Previously he had been coaching football in Checotah, Oklahoma. Prior to leaving for his new job, he proposed to my Mother, a red haired, green eyed Irish lass, who lived in Checotah.

Mother accepted his proposal and later took a train from Oklahoma to Oregon to marry my handsome Creek Daddy.. Daddy met her train and took her to the home of one of his older sisters to introduce her to the family members who had gathered.

En route to my Aunt’s home, Daddy taught my Mother a phrase in Creek that he told her would be a proper greeting for her new in-laws. She practiced all the way to the gathering so she would say it just right. Over and over she said it, with him correcting the words when necessary. She finally got it right and was ready for her introduction.

When they arrived and she was presented, without missing a beat, she stated her greeting. Everyone in the room dissolved in loud belly laughter! She was aghast at their reaction. Immediately she realized she had been set up by my Daddy. She had no idea what she had said but knew it wasn’t a proper greeting. The young Irish lass was humiliated and furious with Daddy as she ran from the room.

Unfortunately, I only know a few words in Creek and don’t know how to spell them. Most Indian languages do not have curse words. Insults are about the worst things said. My sweet Mother soon learned that she had greeted her new family by saying “Your butt stinks.”

After being consoled by the Aunts, who assured her that they instantly knew she had been set up by their comedic baby brother, she wiped her tears and joined the group.

This story was often remembered, told at family events and brought laughs for many years. At one such event some 25 years later, my husband was told this story.

Now back to deer hunting.

We arrived at our host’s home. Scott and I were dropped off after meeting our hostess. She said the men were at the encampment. Daddy and Warren left to join them.

Warren wanted to be sure he had our host’s name down correctly before arriving at the camp. He asked Daddy the name. Daddy responded “Cray Ashalintubbi”. He repeated it again. Warren gave it a try. Daddy repeated it. And then, Warren had an epiphaney.

He said, “No way am I going to go into that camp and say “Cray Ashalintubbi”!

Daddy could not understand what the problem was and he once again repeated our host's name. Warren explained to him that he knew the story of his having set up my Mother with a "proper Creek greeting" and he was not falling for it.

Daddy insisted that it was not a set up!

Only when Warren met Cray did he believe the name was for real and not some Creek insult.

Many years have gone by since that first and unfortunately last encounter with the Ashalintubbi’s. But they have never been forgotten due to their warm hospitality, the deer encampment experience, and Warren’s reluctance to greet Cray by his name.

Yesterday while reading my notifications on Face Book, I noticed that a Donna Ashalintubbi had made a post on the Cast Iron Cooking Group page. When I checked, she lives in the same area as the deer encampment we visited so long ago. I had to contact her and she responded. It turns out that her husband is Cray’s nephew. She speculates that her husband would have been about five years old at the time of our encounter with the Ashalintubbi’s and that he and his father were probably there as well.

Memories linger for years and sometimes they make a full circle! It is a small world and some crossings are meant to be. I look forward to learning more about the Ashalintubbi family.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dr. Warren William Stinson

One week ago today, my beloved husband began his journey into the next world.

Our last family photo, March 28, 2015

Dr. Warren W. Stinson, Professor Emeritus of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, passed away in his home on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. During his 42 years at UNMC he contributed to the education of a conservatively estimated 15,000 physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, physician assistants and allied health professionals. Dr. Stinson wrote numerous articles for a variety of Medical Journals, authored three anatomy text books, and co-authored the book, Nutrition and Aging with his wife. In 2001, He was honored as Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the UNMC.
Dr. Stinson graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. He served as a Lieutenant, Artillery in United States Army from 1959 to 1967. Following his final overseas tour of duty in Turkey, he returned to Oklahoma State University for his Master’s degree and subsequently received his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. He was a member of Sigma Chi, the Millard American Legion, a 32nd Degree Mason, and Phi Chi Medical Fraternity.

Dr. Stinson was preceded in death by his parents, Ted and Eva Stinson, his sister, Nancy Stinson, Mother in Law, Kathryn Lancaster, father in law, Johnie Walker, his sister in law Marilyn Ceraulo, brothers in law Max Walker and Paul Ceraulo. He is survived by his wife of almost 52 years, Joni Kay Stinson, Omaha, his son W. Scott Stinson and wife Kerry Stinson, Omaha, son W. Patrick Stinson, Omaha, Grandchildren Sydney Stinson, Mason Stinson, and Olivia Stinson all of Omaha. He is also survived by nieces, Amanda Zecchin and family, Stamford, CT and Jennifer Walker and family, Luther, OK, nephews Mark Walker and family, Edmond, OK, Max Keith Walker, Yukon, Ok, Michael David Walker and family, Yukon, OK. and close family friends, Frank Reynolds, Checotah, OK and Nancy Clough, Omaha.

Dr. Stinson served on the Admissions Committee for medical students at UNMC and the Nebraska State Anatomical Board for many years. He gave his final act of support to the Anatomical Board at the time of his death by donating his body. When this final “teaching opportunity” is completed, he will be returned to Oklahoma for a Memorial Service next year.

Visitation: May 8, 2015 at Heafy Heafy Hoffman Dworak Cutler Funeral Home, 7805 West Center Road, Omaha, Ne from 5:00 to 8:00 p.n.

Should you wish to honor Dr. Stinson by making a Memorial, please contribute to the Charity of your choosing.


Michael Murphy, Cherokee, has taught Native American flute at schools and clinics in the midwest, including the Omaha Public Schools, the Omaha Metropolitan Community College, the Nebraska Indian Community College and St. Augustine Mission in Macy, Nebraska. Michael is a member of the Nebraska Arts Council and the International Native American Flute Association. In addition to his performances, his music is available on CD’s.

We wish to thank Michael for providing the music at this Visitation. Michael has been a friend of the family for many years. His music had been played for the last four Memorials for our family members. Bless you Michael and Wado (thank you in Cherokee) for being our friend.

Special Thanks
We wish to thank all of the UNMC staff for the excellent medical care and compassion he received while hospitalized. We also wish to thank the VNA Hospice for the care and support they provided at home. A special thanks go to Cami Cain, RN for her expert nursing care and to Jessie Buck, for not only rendering wonderful personal care but for also making his face light up with each visit. And thanks to all of our friends who have been so generous in providing us with visits, acts of kindness, love and support during his final days.

Final Thoughts
Jessie Buck, Hospice Home Health Aide, related to us that on her last visit with Warren he told her that it wouldn’t be over until the fat lady sang. For now, the fat lady has sung. However,we take great comfort in the words of Chief Seattle, “There is no death, only a change of worlds.”Know that we love you and will miss you every day but also know that our memories and your Spirit will be with us forever. Enjoy your new world!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Meet Our Daughter, Laurie

Meet our daughter, Laurie Cotton Dupass.  

I bet you didn’t even know we have a daughter!  

That is a long story and here it is:

The Cottons were our very good friends.  I worked in the Nursing Home industry with Laurie’s biological father, Larry Cotton,  for years.  Initially we worked for the same company and later I was the Consultant Dietitian for the nursing home he ultimately purchased in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Larry and his wife, Patty had two teenage daughters, we had two slightly younger sons.  Our families frequently got together to watch football games, share Valentinos Pizza, Chinese carry out or for no reason at all.  And from time to time, Larry and Warren were known to have a little Courvoisier.

Once,  we gathered at the Cotton’s for a Minnesota Vikings vs the Washington Redskins game.  Warren and Larry decided to make a wager on the game.  Larry, a Norwegian through and through, was of course a stalwart Vikings fan.  The Stinson’s favored the Redskins for reasons obvious to those who know us.   At that time the team’s name was not embroiled in controversy.

The wager went like this:  The winner would get the loser’s house, wife, and two children. 

Warren won! 

 After his celebratory dance, he announced to all that after considerable consideration, he had made a decision about how the bet would go down.  He determined that Larry would be allowed to remain in the house with his wife and daughters.  However. Larry would be required to support Patty, Jeanie, and Laurie in a manner acceptable to Warren and that Warren would conduct unannounced, periodic audits to be sure this was being done.  

Larry passed the initial audits.  Then at one of our family get togethers, Larry challenged Warren to a pool game.  Another high stakes wager was made.  If Larry won, he got back full custody of his older daughter, Jeanie. Larry won.  I think his plan was to win them all back one by one over time in this manner. However, it never happened!  Warren continued to own the house, Patty, and Laurie.

So, while Laurie never lived under our roof, she technically remains our daughter.

Patty and Larry have retired to Ames, Iowa to be closer to their daughter, Jeanie, their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Laurie continues to live in Omaha as does her daughter (and therefore, our granddaughter) Karen.  

Traditions are a big part of our lives and some must be carried on.  Karen and I made a wager on this years Viking vs Redskins game.  However, our bet was only a gathering for pizza at the place of the winner’s choosing.  Karen won.  Patrick and I had a delightful payoff dinner with Karen and her husband, Dana, at Zio’s following my loss.

Yesterday, our daughter Laurie came to visit Warren.  We had a great time remembering our many flights in her biological father’s airplane to their Minnesota cabin, how she became our daughter, our tree leafing party (that is another story I will write about some day), our deep discussions such as do evergreens actually stay green all winter, are bananas are alive or dead when we eat them, does Western Union send telegrams with explicit four letter words in them, should malt vinegar be served from a spray bottle, etc.  As you can tell, the topics of our conversations were perhaps strange by normal standards.  However, no one ever accused either the Cottons or the Stinsons of being normal and maybe not of having any standards.    We danced to our own drummers and stayed late to the ball!  

So now you know the story about how Laurie came to be our daughter.  Laurie is a long tenured day time server at Trini’s in the Old Market and loves it.  Should you go there,  ask for Laurie and tell her that her parents sent you. 

Laurie, thanks for your visit yesterday.  It was such fun to recall our family history and reflect on how good those years were.   We are very proud of you!