Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's another beautiful day here in Oregon; a golden autumn day. Leaves are falling into colourful carpets, crows riffle through them to find tasty treats beneath. The sky is very light pastel blue because of a thin layer of wispy clouds... and a squirrel is ferreting things away for winter.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
He attended school from 1930-38 at St. Mary's Academy, a boarding school for Native American girls at Sacred Heart. He was one of several farm boys enrolled there. Sacred Heart was near a Benedictine mission to the Citizen Band Potowatomie Tribe. For high school, he was bused to Konawa High School. He graduated in 1942. He returned to farming after a brief sojourn to college and after his father's death.
In 1943, he joined the U. S. Army, serving in combat in World War II. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart after being wounded in 1945. (These injuries included broken legs, foot, ankle, facial burns, and temporary blindness.) He was discharged in 1945.
After the war, he attended the University of Oklahoma, receiving a B. A. in 1948.
He married Marie Unzner in 1948, to whom he is still married. They have six grown children.
From 1948-1962, he worked in a variety of journalist positions. He was a reporter for the Borger News Herald in Borger, TX (1948), city editor for the Morning Press-Constitution in Lawton, OK (1948-50), political reporter for UPI in Oklahoma City (1950-52), UPI bureau manager in Santa Fe, NM (1952-4), political reporter and then, editor for the Santa Fe New Mexican (1954-63).
In 1963, he returned to graduate school in English at the University of New Mexico. He was an assistant to the University president at the same time. He joined the journalism faculty of UNM in 1966 after receiving his M.A. He taught there until 1987, serving as department chair from 1976-81.
Although he says he feels great for the shape he's in, his health has been a concern. He told PBS in 1996, " I am 71, have now-and-then rhematic arthritis but now very badly, have in-remission cancer, have had a minor heart attack, have one mediocre eye, one tricky ankle and two unreliable knees due to being blown up in WWII. "
His memoirs were published in October, 2001. It won the Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction.
Tony passed away in a NM hospital on October 26, 2008.
Biography courtesy of University of Missouri - St. Louis
His Navajo Mysteries
- The Shape Shifters. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
- Skeleton Man. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.
- The Sinister Pig. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
- The Wailing Wind. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
- Hunting Badger. New York: Harper, 1999
- The First Eagle. New York: Harper,1998.
- The Fallen Man. New York: Harper,1997.
- Sacred Clowns. New York: Harper,1993.
- Coyote Waits. New York: Harper,1990.
- Talking God. New York: Harper,1989.
- A Thief of Time. New York: Harper,1988.
- Skinwalkers. New York: Harper,1986. Reprinted 1987. Bestseller List, 1986. This book won the Western Writers of America Spur Award in 1986.
- The Ghost Way. New York: Harper, 1984. Reprinted 1986.
- The Dark Wind. New York: Harper, 1982. Reprinted 1983.
- People of the Darkness. New York: Harper, 1980. Reprinted 1982.
- Listening Woman. New York: Harper, 1978. Reprinted 1979.
- Dance Hall of the Dead. New York: Harper, 1973. Reprinted in 1975. MWA Edgar Allen Poe Award for the Best Mystery Novel of the West, 1973.
- The Blessing Way. New York: Harper, 1970. Reprinted in 1978. This book was a finalist for the Best First Novel Edgar Allen Poe Award.
A complete list of his works can be found here.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
My husband has been very doting recently. Yesterday he sent me a fresh bouquet of autumn roses at work. These came with a little box of chocolates too. Mmm. He likes to do the 'just because' things on occasion. He has an account with ProFlowers and he uses it quite frequently, the silly man. ;) In my last job there was a girl that worked there who would get visibly upset whenever he had flowers delivered to me or he brought them to me. She would spend the rest of the day slamming things around and making snippy comments. I discovered later it was because her significant other was wholly unromantic and never made special gestures like that--and that's what she hoped for in him. I felt sorry for her, but her display of resentful behaviour I found quite entertaining after a while. ::tee hee::
I am lucky that I have a husband like this. He is very sweet, and very thoughtful; and three years married and I still get 'just because' flowers. When tulips are in season (my favourite) he is alway sure to send me a vase full.
He also bought me a 'Dutch blue' tea-set I've been coveting for a while. He ordered it as a gift for our anniversary. So this morning I made myself my usual soft-boiled eggs and little toastlet strips (Tati used to call them 'petits soldats'), and I sat down to enjoy tea using my new set. I steeped up some of my precious Summer Pudding from Whittard of Chelsea. I am miserly with it since it's been discontinued in the US, and it's expensive to purchase from England. It's the most fragrant, delicious tea I've ever had. It's a black tea infused with strawberries, raspberries, redcurrant and blackcurrants. You open the tin and this incredible aroma just overtakes you, and when you brew it, oh, it's fantastic.
That was my treat to myself this morning. As I set it up, I thought it would make a pretty picture, and I think it did.
I then went on to perform one of my most important civic duties. It's time to submit my election ballot to the state of Oregon. First I want to read up on the measures and such. I love it that Oregon has a vote by mail system. It affords me the time to read up and become educated on the goings on in my region and statewide. There are several devisive issues to vote on this round, and that's not including the presidential election. I do not have the luxury to simply strike a party-specific dot on my ballot and be done with it. I'm a libertarian, slightly left leaning, but I have very conservative views on some matters, and very liberal views on others. I suppose that comes from being raised overseas by Naturalized citizens. It allows for a different perspective, I think. People would probably look at my ballot and think I'm just all over the place. I just try to be objective and keep a broader perspective on what I vote for; I will try not to let my passions or the things that are relatively minor in the greater scheme of things influence my choices.
Please take the time to vote. It's so important. Don't assume what you think has no effect on the outcome. Every one of us should make ourselves count. Well, it's time for me to open my envelope.
Friday, October 24, 2008
It is a tale of an unwanted stepdaughter, very Cinderella-ish. I don’t remember the names, so I’m going to make them up for the purpose of retelling the story. It certainly won’t be exact; I don’t remember the whole thing, but just the gist of it. So I rewrote it in a slapdash sort of way just for fun.
Nadia had a stepsister; Irena. She was a blond-haired, pretty girl with rosy cheeks and blue eyes. But that was as far as her prettiness went. Irena was a willful, spoiled girl. Her mother, Aurelia had been a woman of means, and she had married a humble baker. It had taken much of her pride to accept her new life, however she loved her new husband, and while he lived, she helped him with the bakery, and treated both girls very well. Irena was always treated with a bit of a preference by her mother, which can be understood, but when Nadia’s father passed away, everything changed.
Nadia was the opposite of Irena. Her hair was raven black, and her eyes stormy-grey, and her skin was a pale, soft peach. She looked very much as her father had; and that alone made it difficult for Aurelia to even look at her, for it made her miss her beloved husband more every day and caused her great heartache. Every day, Nadia became less and less of a member of the family.
Aurelia had inherited the running of the bakery. And the girls, who were becoming young ladies, were old enough to help. But Aurelia decided that Irena was too pretty and delicate to do the work of the bakery, and so Nadia was forced to wake up hours before dawn every day to bake the wares for the shop. While Nadia toiled by the hot oven, kneaded dough, mixed heavy batters, and cleaned up after herself, Irena would laze about upstairs, eat the freshly baked goods, have new gowns fitted and occasionally come down to the bake room to tease Nadia. Aurelia only woke when dawn had arrived, where she would open the shop and sell all the goods that Nadia had worked so hard to make. Nadia worked hard and did not complain. She was proud that her baked goods were loved by their customers, and so she threw herself into her work, loving it because her father loved it. And the bakery thrived because of her work.
As the months wore on, Nadia’s tasks increased until she was little more than a servant; cooking the meals and cleaning up after her stepmother and stepsister. And worst of all, they took her for granted.
One morning, Irena was feeling particularly spiteful, and she came down to the bake-room to tease her stepsister. Nadia was making four dozen fresh pear tarts for a special wedding, and she had them all laid out on the worktable. Irena slid the tray off the table and onto the floor and then ran away.
Aurelia heard the clatter of the tray and Nadia’s distressed cry, and she came down to the bake room and saw the mess on the floor. It was too late to make new tarts for the wedding, and she became infuriated at her stepdaughter.
“What have you done, Nadia! What a horrible thing to do!” she shouted. Nadia shook her head. She knew that if she told Aurelia that her daughter had done it, she wouldn’t be believed and it would enrage her further to think that Nadia was trying to blame her beloved Irena. So she didn’t say a word, she simply knelt down to clean up the mess. Aurelia pushed her down onto the floor, right into the spoiled tarts and then screamed:
“You have ruined us all! Oh, what shall I do? Master Black will never buy our pastries again if we ruin his daughter’s wedding! Oh, what shall I do?” Aurelia paused, tears falling from her fearsome eyes. “You! You horrible child! Look what you’ve done to us. Look! You get out. GET OUT! And never come back!”
And so Nadia did. She got up off the floor. The front of her was gown soiled from the spoiled tarts, and she climbed the stairs to the shop, and left right out the front door, carrying nothing with her.
She fled the small village. Because of her hard hours in the bake-room, she had no friends there. She had no idea where she was going. She simply walked. She followed the main road into the forest, and within a few hours she became lost.
As the sun set, she finally noticed a light among the trees and went towards it. She came upon a very humble cottage in a glade. There were some chickens and ducks, and a small cow out in a small stick enclosure. Inside, a lean fire burned in the hearth. Nadia rapped softly on the door.
It was answered by a spindly old woman. She looked very old and very frail. Nadia greeted her with a shy smile and asked if she could come in. “I will feed your goat and your chickens in the morning, and make you breakfast if you allow me to sleep by your fire,” she said. The old woman reflected on this for but a moment and then stepped aside so Nadia could come in. The old woman was just having a supper of a thin soup and a crust of bread and she offered some to Nadia. Nadia took only a little out of politeness—there wasn’t very much there for the old woman, and she didn’t want to deprive her when she had so little to give. When the old lady retired for the evening, Nadia took her place by the fire and slept there with no blanket or pillow.
She awoke long before dawn as she was accustomed and so she got up and looked about the place. She found there were ample supplies for baking in the cupboard, so she got started making a beautiful breakfast for the old lady, in addition to making her some bread for lunch and supper. She found eggs under the warm bellies of the chickens, and apples on the old woman’s tree, and she milked the cow. She swept up the kitchen area, and tidied the cottage.
By the time the old woman awoke at sunrise, Nadia had a tray for her to eat in bed; a fine breakfast of delicious pastries, hot porridge with fresh fruit in it, and fresh milk. She delighted in the presentation, and ate it with relish. It was such a treat.
When she got out of bed, Nadia took the tray away and cleaned it up. She thanked the old woman profusely for her kindness for allowing a stranger in her home and sharing her food. The old woman smiled.
“Oh, my dear, you are so kind and helpful, you are most welcome. Because you were so good to me, I would like to offer you two tokens of my great appreciation for the breakfast and the beautiful breads you made for me.
Nadia was reluctant, but she did not want to be rude and turn down the lady’s offer. The old woman opened an armoire to reveal a row of cloaks. “This is what I do; I make cloaks. Have your pick, you can choose any one of them. You should not be out alone with nothing to keep you warm.”
Nadia’s eyes scanned the tidy row of cloaks, they were all lovely; they ranged from very rich silken cloaks with gold cording and fine ribbons to adorn them, to simple linen ones with no trimmings. She chose the plainest of them all; a pine-green cloak that had no embellishments, not even a clasp to close it at the neck. She accepted it graciously, and thanked the old woman again and again, slipping it over her shoulders. To her, it didn’t matter how it looked, it was the most thoughtful gift because it would keep her warm on a cool day.
“You’ll need a clasp. Come with me, I have many of those as well.” The old woman opened a drawer and revealed a multitude of clasps, and again, they represented a wide range of quality and value. There were clasps shaped like frogs of gold, clasps shaped as butterflies of silver, but what Nadia pointed to was a simple clasp with a brooch shaped like a little bird carved of wood.
“This is too much,” she said, her eyes brimming with tears, “I thank you so for your kindness. I never thought anyone could be this generous.” The old woman beamed with pride that Nadia had such delight over simple gifts, “Think nothing of it,” she replied, “it is my pleasure.”
She sent Nadia along with a kind hug. Nadia emerged from the cottage, warm in her new cloak, and heartened by the kindness of this old woman. She had no idea where she was going to go from here, but the path seemed clearer somehow, so she took it. The narrow path eventually led out of the woods into a small village that neighbored hers. It was a quiet morning, and the only sound in the village was the trickle of the fountain in the center square. Nadia found it, and sat down at its edge, utterly devoid of ideas. As she pondered some children came to her; a little girl and a little boy, both richly dressed in fine clothing. They greeted her with open smiles and she smiled back at them. The asked her name, and giggled with her. They asked her to tell them a story, and she did. They asked her to sing them a song, so she nodded to them, and thought of one she liked.
Nadia’s voice rung out like the song of a nightingale; and the children fell still from the power of it. As she sang, her cloak transformed itself in a shimmer into a garment of immense beauty; the drab green linen becoming an emerald silk edged in silver cording. Her clasp turned into a golden nightingale, her tattered, soiled gown became a soft, billowy gown of snow-white muslin.
The children’s father, a widower and nobleman turned the corner into the square looking for his children, and beheld her. He fell instantly in love with the dark-haired beauty with the angel’s voice. He came to her, and took her to stay with his sister; and only a few days later, she agreed to marry him.
Nadia was not a selfish soul, and she renewed her connection with her angry stepmother and jealous stepsister. They attended her wedding. Irena’s fingernails were caked in flour. It seems that when Aurelia’s hands were in threat of getting dirty, then Irena wasn’t so delicate or pretty anymore that she didn’t need to work. Aurelia complained to Nadia how hard it was to get Irena out of bed to work in the bake room every day.
Nadia recounted to Irena during the wedding, the story of the magical cloak and the old woman and how she came to meet her loving husband and to have two beautiful children. Irena decided she would do the same, for she believed she deserved such fortune herself.
So she followed the road into the night, and found the cabin of the old woman. But Irena is not a giving soul, and she did not offer to help the old woman when she opened the door. But the old woman let her in anyway. She ate most of the old woman’s watery soup and bread. She insisted that the old woman share her bed with her so she didn’t have to sleep on the floor.
Irena did not wake early to make her breakfast. She slept long after the old woman had gotten up, and when she did wake, she asked if she could eat some of her bread. And before she left, she said: “You gave my sister gifts before she departed, where are mine?” The old woman wordlessly opened the armoire, and Irena saw all the cloaks and her eyes grew wide. “Oh, these are beautiful,” she cried. She reached in and took the finest cloak, a red silk velvet cape, and threw it around her shoulders. The old woman then went to the drawer for the clasps, and she picked the golden frog as a closure. Without a thank you or farewell, she skipped off to the fountain to find her nobleman.
But as it is fated for those who are selfish and ungrateful, the sheen of the fine new gifts gave way to the ugliness of their owner. She sat on the fountain and sang only to croak like a frog, and the gilded frog clasp turned into cracked, old wood. Her billowing cloak of red silk velvet turned into a thin, threadbare, stained and moth eaten thing. And no nobleman found her. Instead a pig-farmer was passing through who thought her golden features pretty and he decided he needed a wife to care for him and to help him with his farm.
Aurelia continued to run the bakery, only now with no daughters to do the work for her.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Edit: Apparently I don't know how to count. I see that it says 6 random things, and I realized I only posted 5. I'm such a doofus; here's number 6))
6) I am a sedum thief and collector. If you have sedum of a variety I don't have, I will steal a pinch of it on the sly.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I spent a lot of time planning for the wedding. I made the floral arrangements, hair-pieces for the flower girls, the jewelry gifts, the cake topper and all manner of other things beforehand. My wedding, even with the venue (the Timberline Lodge), cost less that $5500. Believe it or not. That doesn't include the dress, which was $600.
The thing is, you spend all this time planning and planning, being a control freak, making sure everything is just right, and then the day goes flying by so fast, you don't get a chance to take in the end-result. Thank God for the invention of the camera, that's all I have to say.
As weddings go, ours brought its fair share of drama (mostly induced by my very evil mother who just delighted in offending just about every single guest in some way or other). It seems you can never escape having one or two people who are determined to take your special day and to turn it into something about themselves. It's really unavoidable. It's a side effect of having family, I guess.
I was so nervous. All sorts of things went wrong, as they often do. The first thing was that as I arrived with my gown and accessories, my mother took a bag, and disappeared with it, bringing it to the ballroom. It happened to contain some of my more necessary items, like the undergarments and my veil. After someone went all the way back to my house to see if we'd left it there, it was discovered that my mother had ferreted it away and left it there while she and my step-father-in-law went out for a smoke together. She was not in the room when I got dressed.
My mother, during my shower the week of my wedding, told me that I had to choose between her being there and my father being there; it couldn't be both. That was probably one of my most heart-breaking moments, since I had planned for him to walk me down the aisle and to give me away. I had the song picked out for the father-daughter dance. But my parents hadn't bothered to take the full year of advanced notice to make arrangements for my brother's care so they could both attend my wedding. So she put the decision on my shoulders.
They also forced a distant family member into my bridal party last-minute without telling me ahead of time (yet somehow she had a dress of the right colour... Hmmm). She was adorable, and it wasn't really an issue, but it was typical of how a wedding can sometimes be taken from your hands and can become an entity of its own--how your vision and plans often come second place to pleasing others. Sometimes, your wedding can become the avenue for family members to play out their politics, to reinforce grudges, gestures of forgiveness and amending relationships. It's more like two family reunions coming together in a clash; like two highly reactive substances being rent together to create a massive out of control ballooning explosion.
I had nobody to give me away, so Kurt and Michelle, the world's best wedding officiants, recommended that I have the congregation of guests give me away as a collective. That was a great idea. And it kept me from melting down.
The Timberline Lodge is a big tourist draw, and as I was waiting to go down the aisle, a Japanese lady asked that I take a picture with her. I was so flustered I must have looked like a freak in the picture.
My slip-on shoes kept coming off, and I had to descend shallow stairs before I got to the aisle and a gazillion eyes were on me and I'm a notorious faller and stumbler.
My flower girl trucked down the aisle at mach-V.
And then I stepped down the stairs gingerly, reached the bottom unscathed, and then looked up to see my husband-to-be waiting for me.
Everything else just stopped mattering at that point. I saw the love in his eyes as he gazed at me, and I couldn't stop grinning. I floated down the aisle, oblivious to the cello music I'd insisted on, oblivious to the decor, the candles, the bridesmaids, the fidgety flower girls, the photographers who completely ignored my shot-list and took over my wedding... everything. It was just him and me, with Kurt coming in occasionally with some important words.
The reception was such a blur, I hardly remember it. We didn't even have time to eat anything of substance... we were so busy walking around and talking. We did our first dance, and then my husband's parents got up to leave, and my mother took that as a signal to shut things down, and then boom... two hours early, our wedding was over, and I was standing in my gown, barefoot downstairs, wishing the out of town family safe travels.
It was really and finally over. All those months of buildup... poof. Gone.
The next morning, I awoke to my husband saying: "Wow. It looks like someone poured milk in the valleys." My husband, I thought. Standing by the window looking down the mountain. And indeed, it was a crystal clear day on the mountain, and below, mist laced in and out of the clefts of the hills.
Despite all the madness and sadness; I was overcome with this sense of wellbeing; of everything being right with the world.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Anyway, it seems the height of the crown is too high for the regency period according to them. I can only roll my eyes and sigh. I based the pattern on fashion-plate images and a couple of existing historic bonnets from the MFA in Boston... but when you make a pattern in buckram, you have to sacrifice things like flares at the top and such--and you also have to provide for the materials you're working with. You're not working with straw, you're working with a stiff fabric that requires structural rigidity. But these ladies are most determined to tear the whole thing down. Oh well, I say. Have at it if it helps.
Either way, those who bought the pattern love it, it meets its purpose quite decently, and creates a bonnet that looks most regency and amazing with a spencer and reticule. :) I haven't had any complaints yet, except from these nit-pickers. My advice... get a life ladies. So you think it's imperfect, who cares? Really? The hard truth is that there were no mass-produced garments during the early 1800s. People made their own clothes; yes, there was an overall fashionable look, but I am certain that the rules and creativity varied in as many ways as it does today. The fashion plates and portraits show a wide variety of styles, and so I'm prone to believe there were. There are no period 'standards' except the portraits and plates, and the few surviving garments, and they all are as different as they are the same. Get over it. The end-product is identifiable as a regency look and it makes the wearer happy. That's all that really matters. So in summation to the quibblers: Bite Me.
Anyway... today is Monday, my least favourite day of the week. The new drawing above is what I wish I was really doing right now. Mondays should be reserved for napping and snuggling. It should be the new law.
I took a spin today at lunch to visit the Davis Graveyard. There is this family down the road from my work that has become quite infamous for their incredible halloween yard display. This year's was especially good in the tombstone department; lots of quips and silliness; and lots of Joss Whedon references, not to mention Eddie Izzard; "Cake or Death?" If you're in the Portland area this October, do stop by... you won't be disappointed. They are artful creators of Halloween decor, including these really insanely cool wraith/harbinger characters of all hooded, droopy black robes with skeletal hands. The tombstones are a laugh. They are off of Tacoma/Harney near Johnson Creek Boulevard in Portland.
Check 'em out. Anyway, that's it for today. Another installation of the Tredwell Secret is coming soon. ;) Promise.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I mean really... who hires this guy? The National Society of American Advertising Sadists? Why do they insist on inflicting him on viewers? It's just cruel. The man only has one volume... deafening. I feel sorry for his wife and family being forced to hear that man day in and day out--they must have to buy many earplugs just to maintian their sanity....
...OR... what if they all scream the same way? Maybe the whole family just goes around shouting everything they say...
Hm. I can picture them now, all of them wearing embroidered-logo polos, with dyed beards (even the the little Sally Mays), sitting around a dining room table that was polished with Orange-Glow.
"HEY MOM CAN YOU PLEASE PASS THE BUTTER,?"
"WHAT DID YOU SAY SWEETHEART? SORRY I DIDN'T HEAR THAT CAN YOU SPEAK UP?"
"MOM! COULD YOU PLEASE PASS THE BUTTER?"
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
A Confession: having a roughish time of being alone, I feel myself want for affection. You see, I come from a pretty unaffectionate family; and it took some adjustment for me to become accustomed to the gentle sweetness of my husband; and sometimes it is still kind of overwhelming to me.
There are creatures that bring out that affectionate side of me. Children, dogs, baby animals and my husband. In order to warm up to people and be really affectionate, I have to step across very uncomfortable boundaries that have been part of my life for years. I'm also more easily affectionate with men than with women; obvious reasons aside (teehee) I think it's because of the guilelessness of a man's motives as opposed to the more complicated motives of a woman. I have a hard time hugging my girlfriends. A very hard time. There's no lack of enthusiasm, but I just don't know how to be affectionate to non-family without under or overdoing it. So I remain restrained.
Dan is away. And for the five weeks of torturous solitude, I find what I am missing most are the soft embraces where he will wrap his arms around me, and he kisses the top of my head. Just thinking of not having that when I get home, my chest feels heavy and empty all at once.
Being alone in my first apartment, I did well. Now, having known what it is to be content with another person, I am not handling the solitude very well at all. Instead of using this empty time to be creative or filling it with projects, I find myself doing things that allow me to avoid being alone with myself... watching movies or television, sleeping, filling my day with useless, mindless tasks. It's harder than I expected it would be. I miss my husband so much.
I decided to force my creativity today and create an 'office special' during lunch. And here's the result. Oddly, and yet not, it's an image of affection. A mother clutching her little daughter. I chose raccoons because I saw a pair of them last night taking a casual stroll down our road last night when I went outside to take the garbage out. They are so adorable.
"I do adore you so." I suppose it is to some degree, my own wishful thinking. How I would have liked things to be between mother and I. Hug your children. Trust me, it will make them better people.