Tuesday, September 21

Oh, there it is.....

Shopping in my closet...that is how I am spending today.... shopping in my closet.

I have been saying farewell to my summer things, moving them to the back of the closet and drawers, and hello to fall and winter. I do love fall. The colours, the crunch, the mists.....
It is amazing when the seasons change and you begin to sort through the stuff tucked away at last winter, just what you will find.

That dark pink cardigan, tossed aside at the first blush of summer heat.

Cozy socks with the happy designs that make your Uggs fit perfectly. ( Say what you want fashionistas, I love my UGGS and Mumzie carried them all the way home from Australia for me.....how good is that? )

The sweaters, the big comfy, fabulous cozy sweaters that layer over everything with your boots.

All that and then the surprise "Oh there it is" when you find something at the bottom of an archeological laundry dig, waaaaaaay back in the corner of your closet. Those forgotten about items that complete your search. No need to go the mall........shop in your closet instead.

I send summer to those recessed corners...to be discovered once more at a time yet to be determined, and welcome my old friends...fall and winter, mix up a cup of cocoa and put on a pair of warm woolly socks.]

But maybe.....with the sun out today, I will keep handy a tank top...just in case.

Sunday, September 12

Marcel the Shell

Sometimes I like to post a little something to make us simply smile..this video is one of those... click on the words:
"Marcel the Shell"
to view a happy little film, it won't change the world, but it will leave it smiling.

Wednesday, September 8

Kimmee vs the rodeo

Okay, I have been wanting to share the story of our Friday night in Chinle and the rodeo/pow wow/carnival/peyote chanting events that we were lucky enough to take in.

Let's set the scene a bit..
It is hot, dry and dusty. Lazy slow moving days through the canyon and the mystical energy there lead to lazy slow moving evenings along dirt roads.

Not much in the way of street lighting and certainly not much in the way of evening
entertainment to our modern world brains...but the sky
...man alive..the sky.
More than enough sky/star/sunset/lightening entertainment from the sky for us.
It makes you feel part of another time, sitting in that heat, surviving a day of 107 in a desert with the lizards.
Okay so we had air conditioning and a cooler, but really, the elements
are just so wild-westy and raw!

Now add to the scene a long, long drive through what appears to be nothing but a dirt road for about 12 miles and then peak out over the top of a hill and see........
a full on carnival, midway, corn dogs, cotton candy and the carnies that make it all so. Dusty, leather faced and weathered beyond even their younger recognition of themselves.
What a surreal scene.
Bright neon lights, sounds of screaming kids, the faces of parents looking up...up...way up at their kids on the rides flying through the air- the smells...man you don't expect to smell cotton candy and corn dogs out in the badlands of the desert where electricity is rare.

We survived the previous night's entertainment that involved a funnel cloud touching down around us, lightening and a long wet drive through the storm back to our motel although our visit only lasted about 10 minutes before the storm hit and no cotton candy.

Tonight I am here with another purpose.....(okay maybe two, must get my cotton candy) but really I am about to experience my first rodeo.

I am apprehensive. I am NOT a supporter of this kind of thing. I am not cool with the way animals are treated.
I am still reeling from the deaths of the horses at the Calgary Stampede...
but......this is Navajo land.

I see around me evidence of a different way of being with the animals.
Horsemen who speak gently and carry no crops or whips.
Cattle wranglers, not hurrying, gentling the cows along the paths, stopping when they stop, walking when they walk.
Horses running free across hundreds of miles of reservation.

There is a mutual relationship that is clearly different than what I would have expected at home at a rodeo. Cowboys seem humble, no machismo.
I am hopeful......okay, while here in the wild west of Navajo Nation, I will take in a bit of what it has to offer.

I immediately get cotton candy..OMG..could ever there be a more perfect food for a dry dusty mouth that has been feasting on fry bed and Navajo tacos already?
My taste buds smile...really, I can feel them. They Light up.

Daiv and I wander slowly through the scene.
The schedule of events in our hands thanks to the 'Navajo Times" paper.

4:00pm - Peyote chanting and elder dancing
7:00 Pow Wow grand entry
7:30 Rode, Woolly Riders, Rodeo begins
9:00 Live band, line dancing and square dancing.

Whew..a full evening.
I am most enthusiastic about the Pow Wow.
Many have welcomed us to this event and though we are a small...teeny.....( okay only the two of us were actually non Navajo for as far as we could see ) we did not feel like tourists.

Warm faces filled us in on what to expect, welcomed us, cleared benches, chatted about their music, asked for help draining rain water out of awnings..... we were in it, a part of it.

We discover there are generator issues and though already 6:30, nothing has begun.
Well dressed elders in their purple shirts and cowboy hats, wait to perform their chants, (they have been waiting since 4:00) the rodeo begins ( we think ) so we head to the ring.

...hmmm smaller than I thought and we sit down on the bleachers amongst reams of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, beautifully dressed women in jewel tone velvet skirts, hair pulled back and caught with petite point silver and turquoise and laden with the turquoise of protection around their necks, arms, fingers.
Men in their Stetson's, silver hat bands, turquoise and silver boleros, belt buckles, and squash blossom silver around their necks for protection.
The air is filled with excitement.
Trucks full of families circle the ring and back in all around us, circling us like a wagon train, tail gates down, lawn chairs on the deck of the trucks.

Then we hear the rodeo will not begin until 8:00 pm.
Hmmmm.........in the distance I can now hear the strains of chanting, the generator must be working, and in another area the sounds of drumming begins? The Pow Wow?

We walk about and stand in the centre of what can be no more than a football field size area and realize that everyone is going to happen at the same time right here
....the chanting, the grand entry, the rodeo and even the band seems to begin now.
We can actually turn in a full circle and take in everything at the same time, the midway, rodeo, pow wow, band , and chanting.
Craziness. a smorgasboard for the senses and a feeling of total happy chaos.

The air electric, the rodeo begins by introducing all the competitors.
Some excited parents fill me in on who their children, the "woolly riders" are.
There are the under 6 yr old group that ride sheep.
Okay...I can handle this....woolly, slow moving sheep..yup...
I take a deep breath as the first rider is announced and .........

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!


I can't freaking believe it....does no one see the danger here? I try to calm my childcare brain and just look at their skill. No one else seems alarmed.
I mean, these kids have been riding horses since they could walk, this is horse country.

One rider falls and is assisted by very attentive rodeo clowns to safety.
The second rider makes the required 4 seconds ( yes, only 4 seconds ...that is how rough these bronco bucking rams are )
....but the third little tiny cowboy comes out and gets his hand stuck under the ropes

...... he is dragged, half on and half off, head bouncing along the ground, for what feels an interminable amount of time.

The whole crowd is standing, holding their breath, not a sound.

EMTs are called when he is finally dropped, motionless to the ground and work on him for what feels like forever.
I never see a response by his little body to anything the EMTs do. No sound, crying, nothing.
They strap him to a board and take him away by helicopter.

I am beyond horrified, sick to the pit of my stomach...yet all around me, the crowd seem to be taking it in stride. They are announcing the next woolly rider.

I stand quickly and make my way through the stands....
My rodeo days are over.... my heart just can't take it.....not the violence of the ride, not the faces of the rams circling for an exit in the ring....nothing, and these were just the 6yr olds.
I had survived 6 minutes of actual rodeo time......!

We head to the Pow wow, thinking a little healing energy needs to be focused for that little boy.

The Pow Wow is visually spectacular, and though really shaken by what has happened, we try to just be present at this truly special place we have found ourselves.
The array of feathers, buckskin, colours......amazing, and the sounds.......such a high keening call.

Unfortunately it does not appear that the generator is working very well here and there is this odd sound, in and out of the speakers, creating a huge disconnect from the grand entry.

If everything wasn't happening at once, I have to think they would not need microphones in order to be heard over the rodeo/midway/chanting/band sound check...but I shove my director voice back down.

We stay awhile, breathing, trying to ignore the awful sound quality.
It is really magnificent, the cirlce of dancers in the setting sun with dust creating light patterns all around.
After awhile we move to take in some Peyote chanting.

The rest of the evening moves along well....a few people we have met by day in the canyon recognize us and we chat and this lighten our moods a bit more.
They laugh at my squeamishness to the rodeo....( really ) and affirm this stuff happens......all part of the deal.

We are encouraged to ask the EMTs about the little guy, so after a few hours of midway/chanting/ powwow/cotton candy/lemonade- we go back to the ring.

Daiv goes to the back and I stand for a moment, alone, amongst the wagon train of taillights and see horseback riders doing rope tricks though the fence.
COOOOOOOOOL. I can handle this... Horse riders and rope tricks....

I relax and to my dismay, a bucking bronco and his bareback rider appear.
Damn.... the horsemen are there for his safety....AAAUUUUUUUUGGGHHHHHHHH!
* hands over eyes*
Seeing this, an older gentlemen besides me giggles, and then fills me in on what we are watching.
He also mentions accidents happen rarely, and this is a very skilled group .
He encourages me to take in just a little, to peak out from between the fingers covering my eyes and watch.

I find myself actually enjoying this one a little...the skill level is amazing, and once more I see the connection the horse and rider have.
This man seems to know everyone in the ring and keeps me well informed about the 5 riders I watch.

Daiv comes back and tells me the little guy we saw fall should be fine.
Nothing broken, just bruised and inflamed and time will see him up on his feet again.
I feel much better. I exhale a looong breath.

Then Daiv tells me the two other accidents that happened since then were much worse , the EMT told him. Ugh! Then he tells me while he wa talking to the EMT a bull rushed the fence they were leaning against and the EMT jumped about 10ft in the air. OI!

At this moment, the rider everyone has been waiting for, the rider of the night, the hero, flies through the gate and enters the ring on a wild beast that is bucking madly, eyes rolling wild to everything around him. He is having no part of this thing, our hero, on his back.
I am trying to leave but am sort of trapped by stillness of the people watching.

He stays on the full 8 seconds, but something goes wrong......he can't get his hand out from the rope.... horsemen try to grab him but can't set him free, the announcer is calling/pleading for them to help him..he is dragged...dragged around half of the ring before landing on the ground.
I feel a horrible sense of dejavu.
Men are screaming for EMTs, crowd is one solid breathless block, not moving.......

I can't believe this is what the rodeo is...I just can't believe it.

The man beside is not giggling at me anymore and says it is not normally this bad.
He looks shaken. We all wait about 7 minutes.....and then......

the hero stands up.....
..he is alright
...he waves and walks out of the ring.
The crowd goes absolutely ballistic.......so happy.
I am so relieved but I can't get away from the ring fast enough.
I say goodbye to my new rodeo friend and explain my heart can't take it and he smiles a warm smile and understands.

Daiv and I leave the lights, the sounds, the wonderful chaos, the brutalness and take in the stillness of the desert night as we drive back along the looooong, dark, dusty road once more, changed in some way, some small barely perceivable way, but most definitely changed.

I know this must be really harsh to read, and it was really hard to witness, but I don't want that to be the only thing that resonates here.
There is something about this place, these people, even that rodeo that got inside me a little. The peaceful/violence of this land. This place that can literally take you out just like that. *snap* I don't think I am being overly dramatic here.....it really feels this way.

It is more than I can describe with words.

I am glad to have experienced the dark and the light of it.
To only feel the positive would have been to only experience the first layer. The energy here is so much deeper.
I know we have just touched the surface and really as a couple of west coast hippies from the world of ocean, how much can we truly understand of the Navajo land and desert where we were told there is only one Navajo word for water?

But..... I would like more please.

Wednesday, September 1

This is worthy sharing.....

A response to Dr. Laura Schlesinger…

In keeping with Religion...

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are

from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not

Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and

age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual

uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most

women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord -

Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I

smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he

should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to

do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a

lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees'

of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I

have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some

wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even

though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I

still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field,

as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester

blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the

trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just

burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-

laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian)