The thing that triggered my desire for a massive reorganization, was finding a half beaded  hair clip.  To finish it I needed more beads and couldn’t find the ones I wanted until I had done a re-sorting.  The re-sorting of the beads is done, and here are some finished projects.

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This piece was completely beaded and just needed the backing, but I decided that I didn’t really like it.    So I removed the silver beads around the lace agate stone and replaced them with the blue beads.   It’s better, but not great.

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The stone is more lace agate, and I thought the blue green beads would be interesting with this.   It’s not great, but it is done.

Here are some of the older hair clips, which I do wear sometimes.

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The one on the top left is the first one that I made, I’ll probably take it apart and re-do it sometime.   I love the one on the lower right, but it has a very big center stone, and is somewhat heavy.

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These ones are all of a a similar design.   My favorite is the orange one at the top, I love the lace agate stone in it.   It’s interesting to make these because the different bead combinations give unexpected results.



All I previously knew about deer came from the film “Bambi” and cook books.   It has been interesting watching the local herds as they stroll around the neighborhood.  The first deer that I saw a lot of was Albert (I don’t know if he knew that this was his name, but that’s what I called him).


He used to frequent the space under the deck before we fenced the back yard.   He had two friends that hung out with him, both bucks.   He was beautiful, but did not have a harem yet.

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This is Einhorn von Stag.  He recently lost a fight with Albert, Jr.   The antler he lost was rather wonky, it didn’t branch like a proper antler.   Albert Jr. comes by with his harem sometimes, he has three does and their fawns.   The does feel free to give the fawns a kick if they get in their way, there is a definite pecking order in the herd.

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They have beautiful faces and I don’t mind if they stop by, but then again I don’t have a garden or expensive landscaping.

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I’ve started on a big, huge, gigantic, overwhelming project, to organize my house.   In some ways this is like an archeological dig, the more recent past is in the top layers and it gets older as one digs further down.    I have a room that is like a black hole, things get sucked (pushed really) into it and never come out.   So I am attempting the near impossible, to categorize what is in there and then to decide if I actually need, want or will ever use it.  I have come across some interesting (at least to me) things of the past.

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This is a nightgown that my grandmother made for my mom, probably when she was a teenager.   I wore it for a time in my 20’s until the fabric started to disintegrate.   The crochet on the neckline is indestructible, so I think I will keep that bit.   The patchwork in the background was done by my husband’s great aunt.

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This is the button box of my grandmother.   It is a candy tin from the 1920’s.   I found one in perfect condition at an auction in North Dakota and gave it to my mother to replace this.  The little things were inside it.

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This is a Golden Gloves medal that my father won in 1948 before he turned pro.




These pins were my mother’s from when she was in college.  National Honor Society is no surprise, she was very smart and unlike me a dedicated student.   The second pin is the surprising one as it is for dramatics.   I can’t imagine my shy and reserved mother on stage.


This is my little charm from when I was an infant.

It’s surprising the little bits and bobs that survive through moves and changes in life.  I also don’t really know what to do with them.   They mean something to me but have no monetary value, or sentimental value to anyone else.   (Although I suppose that my brothers would like the boxing medal).



When I lived in North Dakota, winter was a reliable season.   It got cold by the middle of September and stayed cold until May.  It seemed like it only snowed once, then that snow blew around from place to place until the spring thaw.

Here it’s a much different story, some days are warm and sunny, punctuated by cold and snow.   Last Thursday I was wearing shorts (I will admit to being a little crazy) and today I woke up to this.

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It is rather magical when you don’t have to go out in bad weather.

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The trees have been transformed by snow clinging to the pine needles.

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Every twig of the lilacs shows.

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And on the scrub oak as well.

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Everything is mysterious and quiet since there is no traffic noise.   It’s a lovely respite, on Wednesday it will be warm again and life will go back to being busy.

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Old Toys

Presents come and go, you play with the toy for a while, then it’s relegated to a lesser favored pile.   There are some presents that survive despite the odds.   These are a few of the favored.

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This doll was a present to my mom in the mid 1930’s.   The doll had a perilous existence on the reservation.   She lost a few fingers to Joe, the dog (I think Joe was aided by Mom’s brother!).   They did not have electricity, so she was safe from that.   Much later I played with her and put the makeup on her.   She is wearing a dress made by my grandmother.   I’m not sure when she moved to the city, possibly my grandmother sent her for me.

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This book was a present for my father-in-law on his birthday again from the 1930’s.   It was probably his only present, because his father had died unexpectedly and they did not have a lot of money.   My father-in-law lived on a ranch ( 1 1/2 sections) in a very tiny town, where they raised a few cows.  (A section is a square mile, and the town doesn’t exist anymore.)   Standing next to the book is Howland Owl (probably mid 1960’s) from the comic strip Pogo.   He was the prize in a cereal box and perhaps my husband played with him, although my husband’s favorite toys were little green army men.   Howland survived because my mother-in-law would not throw away a dead skunk (and I love Pogo).

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These cardboard army men were in my husband’s grandmother’s basement.   She gave them to me because I collect toys, but they don’t really fit in with my collection.

I still have one of the many dolls I got for Christmas, but unfortunately she is hiding in a box somewhere.   I used to have her on display, then she escaped.


The enduring part of any holiday is the traditions that accompany it.   There is a soothing quality to personal and family rituals.   Christmas traditions are a mixed bag.   Stores playing Christmas music starting November 1 have definitely worn out their welcome by December 1.  If I hear “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” or “Rum pum pum pum” one more time I may become homicidal.   Gift giving is fraught with peril, the ideal is to know a person well enough to select something that they like, want or need.   The reality is sometimes “you thought of me and got this?”

Part of what we think of as traditions is deeply influenced by Dickens and his accursed novella “A Christmas Carol”.   It was popular when first written and because the copyright has expired it has been endlessly made, re-made and parodied.  I saw a list that rank ordered versions of the story.   This made me wonder “what exactly is Scrooge’s crime?    He has a love of money, perhaps influenced by his early experiences.   But he is a hoarder, he’s not using the money for personal comfort and he’s not spreading it around in his neighboring retail establishments.   So with his transformation perhaps Scrooge is the patron saint of Christmas shopping, all because of his fear of ghosts.

My favorite part of Christmas traditions are my personal rituals.   It is hard sometimes to muster up enthusiasm on the short, dark days as the year winds down, but I somehow do it every year.   I always loved the Christmas tree and lights, there was something magical and extraordinary in them.   GA called the ornaments “vessels of emotional memory”, we see them and are carried back to the Christmases of the past and those we shared them with.  There is some idiosyncratic reason that we love certain ones and a reason we carry the memory.   It’s always nice to see them come out of their box for a brief visit.   I love cooking the foods of Christmas, ham, St. Louis gooey butter cake and steamed apple/cranberry pudding are essential and other foods make a short debut but don’t make the final team.    I love to keep traditions, yet it will still be a memorable Christmas even if I forge a completely new action.

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Hillbilly nippers

Here’s a picture from about 1934.   Seated is my dad and standing next to him is his half-brother.


This was the big family secret that I only found out years after he died, that they were only half-brothers.  My great uncle told me the story when I said my grandmother had told me that my grandfather was “the handsomest man” that she ever laid eyes on.   This was a puzzler as no one would describe my grandfather like that.  So my great uncle told me the story:  the mystery man worked with my great uncle, he met my grandmother, they got married (?) and he left her before my dad was born.   Later my grandfather had moved to the city and lived next door to my grandmother.  When they married he made her a deal, she would never speak of my dad’s father, and would have no contact with his family.    She kept the deal, except for that stray comment.

My dad lived with his grandparents when he was little and was a native Russian speaker.  He was a boxer, an artist and a bum.  He died in 1992.

Reservation Nippers

Following the lead of GA I’m posting these pictures and a little story about their lives.


This picture was taken in 1905 and it is of students at Tunassassa Indian School.   This was  a Quaker run boarding school for Indians.   My grandmother is the girl above the left shoulder of the matron in white.   My grandmother married another student from the school and had three children with him.   After he died she married my grandfather.  He had gone to Thomas Indian School.  They had two children, my uncle and my mom.

One of the many things my grandmother learned in school was how to quilt, and she is the reason that I became a professional quilter.


This is my aunt in the raggedy dress that she had to wear at Indian School.   She was 14 years older than my mom and married when she was 18.   She had a stepdaughter and four children.   The other people in the picture are my grandmother and Ernst, who died in 1930.


This is my mom.   She attended the local school, and went away to college where she met my father.  They were married for 43 years until his death.  She had seven children, me and my brothers.  She died after a long illness 2 years ago.


She attended a one room school house, then went to high school with white students.  She hated to have to wear braids, and when she went to high school she cut her hair and never wore it long again.


This is one of my cousins.   She was only a little younger than Mom and they grew up together.   She married, had children and lived next to my aunt on the reservation.  Her husband was the only native speaker of Iroquois that I ever met.   She was an elderly woman the last time I saw her when I visited the reservation.  Because we lived so far away, we did not get to see these relatives very often, although I did spend a summer with my aunt.   My older brother moved to the rez before he joined the Marine Corps and met his wife there (she was a friend of my cousin Jenny).


Winter sky

Because the mountain sits to the west of town, the sun goes down pretty early in the winter.  But we sometimes get fabulous skies because the sun is still shining on the clouds.  The sky lights up in golden splendor until the sun sinks a little lower into darkness.

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