Sunday, August 31, 2008

Scones and Tea

I've been in a real scone mood lately. I just love having scones and fresh lemon curd. Yum!

I've been experimenting with scone recipes. I want something that's a little sweet, but still with that biscuit-like texture. Below is the recipe I've made up that I'm using now. I think I might lower the amount of butter in it just a tad next time and see how that goes. These are a little more cake-like in texture, but I LOVE the flavor.

I prefer my scones plain. I don't want chocolate chips or some other abomination in them. I just want the scone - flakey and buttery. I contend if the scone itself is perfect it doesn't need anything added in. However, watch me quickly and happily consume a scone of any sort that someone sits in front of me.

I think I like them plain because I love them with fresh lemon curd, and I just want those two flavors. But, if there's only butter for them, it's nice to have some additional flavors in them. I'm still experimenting to find the perfect lemon curd recipe. I'll share here when that happens.

In the meantime, here's my recipe for scones.

Patsy's Scones
1 3/4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup milk

To brush on top:
one egg
1 Tablespoon milk
sugar to sprinkle on top

Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter with pastry blender. Add milk and mix just until blended. If you over-mix your scones will be tough.

Brush the top with the egg and milk mixture and sprinkle a little sugar on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
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A Long Walk at Dillon Nature Center - Thistles, Rainbows and More

This afternoon I took a walk at Dillon Nature Center. Greg was out shooting cicadas and called telling me it was really moody because rain was impending. I rushed right out because I didn't want to miss anything.

I spent at least 20 minutes photographing this thistle. I was enchanted with the various stages represented on the one plant.

We were on a trail and we never saw another person out in that area. We saw an amazing rainbow. There had been one when I was headed out there but it just lasted a couple of minutes. This one lasted more than 30 minutes.

At times there were two rainbows visible.

In the last few years I have been treated to lots of rainbows - most recently in Sedan, Kansas. I've seen them at Jackie and Mary Ann's in Kentucky, at Susan's farm, and here. It hasn't been very long ago that Greg and I saw one when we were leaving Skaets. Am I just leading a charmed life or are there more now than there used to be?

I was so glad Greg called me. He said this is one of the things he loves about me - that I'll just drop what I'm doing when something like this comes up. One of the things I love about him is that he'll call me when something like this is happening so I don't miss it.

One of the things I love about a walk like this is that you get little glimpses of life you would miss any other way. I thought I'd share some of the little moments of today with you.

It seems fall is starting to arrive, too.

When we walked back up toward the pond it was closing time for Dillon Nature Center. I was struck by the reflection of the trees and clouds in the pond.

I even took a little video of the reflection with the ducks passing by.


This is a 360 degree view of a statue up by the visitor's center and pond.

All in all it was a wonderful way to spend a few hours - in nature - with some moody rain. The bugs were serenading us as we left. Just lovely.
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Being DONE (reblog)

Occasionally I have reason to go back on the blog to hunt for something. I always seem to end up reading a few entries about whatever was going on in my life at the time. Today I read this entry from July 19, 2006. I remember that day and that feeling of being done.

I think this is one of the reasons I have always kept journals - pen and paper, and now online as well. I would not remember that day otherwise. I would remember the shift, but not the moment, the experience. I like to remember moments. Very much.

So... I reblog for your enjoyment, too...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sometimes You're Just DONE

I had a really interesting series of dreams last night that involved people from almost every era of my life - long gone relatives, old lovers and childhood friends were blended into a melange of images that left me feeling "done" this morning. "Finished" is good.

I had to get up about a half dozen times last night to go to the bathroom, and I rarely get up more than once, if at all. It was as if my body was cleansing itself as my mind was doing the same. Each time I woke up I would think about what I had dreamed. When I went back to bed I would continue the dream, as if it were another scene in the same play. When it came to a natural conclusion I'd wake up and have to go to the bathroom again. I began to wonder just how much liquid I had consumed yesterday, but it was no more than normal.

The first time I woke up it was only about an hour after I went to sleep. The next time it was about 45 minutes later. Each time it was as if another chapter had come to a close.

Oddly enough, I also took a very long bath last night - as in hours long. That's always a sign of a clearing. When I went upstairs I had an urge to change my sheets, which I did. It was as if many things were pointing toward a clearing out. Not to mention all the cleaning out I've been doing in my house.

Two other interesting things - last night I unplugged the lamp by the bed, thinking I wouldn't be getting up until it was light anyway. So everytime I got up I turned the TV on for light, and yet that never changed my dream pattern.

The other interesting thing is that yesterday and the day before, I stepped on old, rusty nails in my yard that went through my shoe and were sticking the bottom of my foot. I haven't stepped on an old nail since I was a kid, and then it happens two days in a row, in areas I've walked in hundreds of times and never had a problem. Odd. One was in the back of the property and one near the front. I had on different shoes both times, but each time the nail went through the sole of the shoe. Two days ago, it was a small nail and a thick sole in my right foot. Yesterday it was a long nail and a thin solein my left foot. As I was driving to dinner last night I was considering what that meant - it seemed that the message was getting more intense.

The things that occurred to me were, "poking," "not seeing what was coming," "painful," "warning," "when you least expect it," and a host of other things. When something hasn't happened for decades and happens two days in a row it seems worthy of note. Maybe it was just that old business was pricking at me. Neither of them pierced the skin, but they were painful. Old business that's painful - no big shocker there.

When I woke up this morning about 5 and stayed up I took time to write about my dreams. Even before I started writing, I knew the meaning was that I was just "done" - with some people and some things and some situations. Done is good. It frees you to move on to other people and things and situations.

Some of these situations are in the past and some are current. I periodically go through a time when I just clear people out of my life - relationships that just aren't productive, where we really just aren't connecting, where I'm making all the effort in the relationship. I'm overdue for one of those clearings, but as of this morning the time has arrived. It's no big surprise, really, as over the last few months I've been taking my life in a new direction. That always means some people won't fit into your life anymore. Of course, there are also always those people who go through every season of life with you - those are the true, real, deep friends - they are few and they are priceless.

I really finished some old things last night - some of the past that I haven't been able to leave completely behind dissipated. It's a fresh slate.

I woke up determined to leave some current situations and relationships behind as well. There are always things I'm working on in some way or other. I'm officially letting go of a couple of those this morning. If they're meant to be, someone other than me can make them happen.

I'm also moving some people out of my "active" list. If our relationship is not deep now, and isn't growing, there's no point in putting any more energy into it. I'm always open to new friends, but there must be a natural progression toward more closeness or it's just a waste of time. I don't have any interest in casual friendships - you're either *in* it or you're not - if you're not, why bother. Casual is just a drain on one's energy - energy that could be devoted to something meaningful.

Well, obviously, I have much to think about. This isn't a new idea for me - I "clear out" about once a year, but it has never been suggested to me in the way this was. Sometimes, you're just DONE. And this morning I am DONE, with a lot of things.
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Karma for Focus on the Family - video asking for rain

The conservative radio show, "Focus on the Family," released a video asking people to pray for rain during Obama's speech at Mile High Stadium to accept the Democratic nomination for president. "Rain of biblical proportions" was mentioned.

They have removed the video, but, fortunately, someone else had already put it up on youtube, so we can still see it. Have I ever mentioned how much I love technology?

According to the Rocky Mountain News, "Stuart Shepard, director of digital media at Focus Action, the political arm of Focus on the Family, said the video he wrote and starred in was meant to be 'mildly humorous.'"

You know, I don't see the humor in that. But, I do see the irony that it looks like Gustav - complete with rain - may hit during the RNC next week, leaving networks to choose what to cover. I hope Gustav does not hit. The potential damage to people's homes and lives would be a huge cost. Besides, I want the Republicans to get to enjoy their event like I've enjoyed the Democratic Convention.

But, wow, I can't stop thinking two words. Irony. Karma.

The video has inspired others, including this one by a guy who says he's a Christian but not a right wing Republican. My guess is that right wing republicans do not think this possible, but he says it's true.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

I've watched Obama's acceptance speech twice now. Wow. Incredible. There are so many things about it that I love that I know I'll miss some of them when I write here.

First of all, I am so glad I witnessed and shared this moment, this crystal-clear moment, this turning point in history, when an African American accepted the nomination for president. Amazing. It was a "remember when" moment. As a local candidate says regularly, "It's a good day to be a democrat." Indeed it is. It is a day to be PROUD to be a democrat.

Regardless of who was accepting tonight, it was going to be historic - due to gender or race. Democrats, everywhere, give yourselves a pat on the back for breaking stereotypes and looking at the credentials of those running instead of their personal details. It's not a surprise to me that it is Democrats offering these milestones instead of Republicans.

As you may remember I was a Hillary supporter until the night it was obvious Obama had the numbers on his side. At that moment I became an Obama supporter - and a wholehearted one. I've always liked him, but I just thought she had a better chance of winning. I was worried that we were not ready as a nation to elect a black man - a sentiment given to me by an older African American woman I know and respect here. The first time I heard her say it I thought surely she must be wrong, but the more I heard racist comments from people I started to think she might be right. But, I think we're ready to elect THIS man, regardless of his color. I hope so. And, ultimately, isn't that what we want, to elect the person, regardless of race? Of course it is. I just hope enough voters share that thought. He certainly gave people many reasons to vote for him tonight.

His speech hit so many points that appeal to me - everything from health care and education to rights for GLBT. And I love the fact that he put McCain's camp on notice that he's not going to just roll over and play dead and take whatever they dish out, that he's going to fight. Democrats are so ready for someone who will fight. I love it that he called out McCain and Bush and didn't mince words doing it. As a party we are so overdue for someone who will fight and get dirty if they have to. I hope that's not necessary. But if others are dragging you through the mud you 're going to be dirty so you might as well jump on in and get it over with.

I like that he offered specifics. I like that he mentioned how he would raise money for his programs. I like it that he served notice, while respecting McCain and his service to the country. I like the idea that we could be off of foreign oil within 10 years.

I know some of the excitement will fade over the days. I was on twitter with other folks and it was interesting to see that some people who were not big supporters when he started were by the end of it.

There were more than 70,000 people there to see him tonight. They're having a hard time filling a venue of 10,000 for McCain's announcement of his VP. I'm sorry I didn't see a shot of Hillary tonight, although I heard them say she was there. I don't know if Bill was there or not, but it would have been nice to see a reaction shot of them when Obama mentioned them

I'm just really happy right now. I have a feeling Obama will not roll over at the first sign of trouble. Thank goodness. This democrat has grown very tired of that.

I'm eager to see what happens over the next few days.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Michael Broome

Tonight was the United Way kickoff and the theme was "Live United." I run an agency that gets support from United Way and all the agencies were there with information. Afterwards was a dinner with motivational speaker, Michael Broome.

I had not planned to attend the dinner. I wanted to watch the Obama speech and when we had to order tickets I didn't know the timing on that. I had hoped to get a ticket to go see Obama in person in Denver, but I wasn't able to lay my hands on one.

But, as luck would have it, Julie had bought an extra ticket and invited me to stay for dinner. I was glad I got to hear Mr. Broome.

His overall theme was that humor is key to life. I would certainly agree with that. In the process of getting his point across he noted a number of different facts. I jotted down some of the ones I found particularly interesting to share with you. I'm not going to try and blend them logically, as he did.

One thing he said, which I've heard before is that "irritation plus time equals humor." That's so true. When you're angry about something, as time passes you can tell the story and it becomes funny.

He talked about how the chemical makeup of happy tears is different than that of sad tears. That is true. He also mentioned that laughing increases red blood cells. I had not heard that, but I'm not surprised.

He spoke for a while about how you should become a master of the small, sincere things. He said to never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. I know this is a powerful thing. He used as an example Abraham Lincoln, who wrote thank you notes, notes of condolence and letters. He mentioned that other than Jesus Christ, more has been written about Lincoln than anyone else - more than 5000 biographies. Part of the reason is that he left behind so many writings.

In the arena of personal relationships, he said to learn to say two things to your loved ones: "I'm sorry" and "I love you."

He also talked about reading a book about love languages and how there are five ways to show love. Some may combine them, but that all fall into these categories:
acts of service
quality time

He talked about "Amazing Grace" being the most recorded song of all time, and how it was written by a former slave trader.

All in all a nice evening.

I rushed home to not miss a moment of Obama's speech. Incredible.

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Democratic Convention

I've been watching the speeches at the Convention every night. Tonight, of course, was Bill Clinton. In my opinion they made a mistake not putting Bill in prime-time, but hey, they didn't ask me.

Bill Clinton is one of the great orators of our time, and one of the most popular figures of the party. Last night when he arrived, the crowd started cheering and one of the commentators on the channel I was watching said, "Bill Clinton just arrived and the crowd is reacting." She paused a moment and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis is in the building." I thought that was a thoughtful summation.

As you might expect, Bill gave an incredible speech. Just as Hillary did last night, and Michelle the night before. I'm so glad I got to see Bill Clinton last year.

I'm still shocked to see people saying they will not vote for Obama - die-hard democrats who would never consider voting for McCain. I just don't understand that. Obama is our candidate. Support him. If you don't support him, it's possible McCain will win - is that what you want? Do you want more of what we have? War? Deficit? Poverty? To not cast a vote for Obama is the same as casting a vote for McCain.

If you feel you can't vote for Obama for some reason - whatever it is - can you at least vote against McCain? Can you do that? Surely you can. You know what's at stake. Our future. I'm not a big proponent of voting against someone, but if that's the only way you can go into the voting booth and vote for Obama, then think of it that way because the stakes are just too high not to. No one will know who you voted for/against. Just do what needs to be done to get a democrat as President. Just do your part.
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Mia and Pinky Horse

This is my great-great niece, Mia, with the appropriately named, Pinky Horse. Mia has been visiting grandma and grandpa in Kentucky recently and Kim sent this photo. I haven't seen Mia in awhile, and she's now 26 months old. She looks very different than last time I saw her.

See other Mia pix:

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Speeches and Twitter

Wired had an article called, "Democratic Convention: Twitterers Gush Over Michelle Obama. Twitter ( is a mini-blog site where people answer the question, "What are you doing?" You can "follow" people and read their "tweets" (updates) and you can post your own.

I was on Twitter the other night during the speech. It's one way I can share an experience with people on my terms, without having to put up with the person in a group who's talking over the TV, or making comments, or getting up to go to the bathroom and walking in front of the screen when I'm watching.

It was interesting to see people's comments, although not everyone was "gushing" as Wired put it - at least not on the list of people I follow. Of course, you can search for tweets on a particular topic and I would assume that's what they did.

Something about the whole article bugs me. I'm not sure exactly what. I think that they're dropping into our little twitter world and making sweeping judgments and moving on. Is that irrational? Of course it is. Twitter is completely open - anyone can search it and see what people are talking about. But being treated like bugs under a microscope is creepy, as if those of us on twitter are engaged in some secret society worthy of observation.

Perhaps I'm only projecting, as I'm so want to do, because I've taken more than a little bit of ribbing among friends for my affection for twitter. I say this when I can go for days without logging on. Maybe it's just that I seem to often find myself in the position of being "examined" and I was hoping that something like Wired would be above acting as if the fact that people are sharing their thoughts on news via twitter - as we've been doing for a long time - is worthy of an article.

It's old news. Just as much "news" is very old these days by the time we hear/see/read it. For example, I learned about the earthquake a few weeks ago from people on twitter who felt it before I heard it on the news. Why must we continue to pretend that this is surprising enough that it is worthy of an article in what is supposedly a publication devoted to the cutting edge technology?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tomato Basil Soup

One of my favorite summer treats is tomato basil soup. I love dinner taking less than an hour from garden to table.

I have a variety of tomatoes growing, and I like the flavor of mixing them together. But, of course, you can do it however you wish. I scald them first to make them easy to peel, but you can skip that if you don't mind the peelings. I generally put the water on to boil before I go out to pick and by the time I'm back and the tomatoes are washed, the water is ready.

I just dump the peeled tomatoes in a pot, and I go ahead and put the basil in early. Chefs say the flavor isn't as intense if you do that, and I don't disagree, but I like having the milder flavor throughout the soup. And I use a generous amount.

You can see there are some yellow tomatoes, large red ones, and smaller roma ones in this mix, as well as the basil. The only other thing I add is a pinch of salt.

I don't add any water as the tomatoes are juicy enough on their own. I let them cook down until their water is cooked out and then I puree the tomatoes and basil. I put them back into the pot and add some cream to taste.

The final thing I do is sprinkle a little sugar on top. It will turn a darker color, and I then swirl that around just to make it look pretty. You can also garnish with fresh basil if you want.

The sugar cuts the acid of the tomatoes, and helps blend the flavors together.

Voila! Tomato Basil Soup! Yummy!
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Monday, August 25, 2008

SuperTam Ice Cream sells Superman Ice Cream on Route 66 in Carterville Missouri

This is the interior of SuperTam Ice Cream in Carterville, Missouri. As you might guess, Larry, the owner is a Superman collector. He also sells Superman Ice Cream, which is a blue, yellow and red concocotion that tastes like bubble gum.

Every square inch of the place is painted in the Superman colors or covered in Superman memorbilia.

Greg, of course, was in one of his natural habitats - surrounded by collectibles.

SuperTam on 66 Ice Cream, purveyors of Superman Ice Cream, is open Friday from 5-9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 3-9 p.m.
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Weaselhead The Cat

This is Weaselhead the Cat. Her main human is Miss Joy, Greg's mom.

You might wonder how a cute kitty could get a name like "Weaselhead." Well... let me illustrate...

That would be my purse with the cat weaseling her head into it.

Unsatisfied with that approach, she gave it another go from the other side...

She was able to get her entire upper body into the purse that way, where she was disappointed to find nothing exciting to kitties.

I've been in Joplin this weekend, where cat play is the number one form of entertainment. Any given moment might find two or more humans playing with cat toys while Weaselhead looks on, deciding if she will deign to join them.

Her favorite toy of late is my camera strap.

Her second favorite is what used to be my hair ribbon, and is now firmly attached the new cat toys which were completely ignored until said ribbon morphed from hair adornment to cat toy. Now, however, it's fascinating.

It has been a really nice weekend.

We went to Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs, Kansas.

It's along Route 66 and has been featured on the Food Network. It's good stuff. Go there. What more needs be said?

This is how happy people are when they leave...

That's LV and Miss Joy. See those smiles?

It was really nice to be in Joplin. I needed to just have some fun and relax a bit.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Writing the Novel

I'm writing quite a bit this weekend on the novel and it feels good. I really enjoy cranking out more of the book when I get in the zone.

If I can just get in "novel mode" and focus on writing, I  seem to be able to crank out about 1000 words in a couple of sittings in a day. And they're decent words. Not saying they can't benefit from some rewriting, but they're decent.

The problem is in getting to focus and then actually write. Fortunately, I'm on a roll, so I'm going to get back to it intead of blogging!

Friday, August 22, 2008

How Many Houses Do You Own?

I haven't let loose on a political tirade in awhile. That just means it's overdue. So, if you hate them, this is the time to scroll past to the next thing. If you love them it's your lucky day.

McCain was asked how many houses he and his wife own. He didn't know. What!?!?!

I can understand not knowing how many pair of jeans you own. But houses? For most of us this is a pretty big ticket item. I know how many houses I own. One. Everyone I know knows how many houses they own. Most own one, a couple own two. But everyone knows.

The bigger question is why in heaven's name would ANYONE who knows how many houses they own vote for someone who doesn't? If a person doesn't know how many houses they own doesn't that tell you they are out of touch with the common man? Even the wealthy man. I know some folks who own two houses and multiple cars and have more money than they need, but they still know how many houses they own. How can you be unusure about that?

I know he's tired. I know Obama is tired. I know everyone involved in this never-ending campaign in any way is tired. Still... to not know how many houses you own is a pretty significant indication you're out of touch with people who are just trying to hold on to the one house they own.

I mean, come on, it's not like a house is an impulse buy. Well, at least not for most of us. It was a pretty huge decision for me. And let me tell you, at this point, with the housing market the way it is, I'm mighty glad I listened to my gut and ignored the banker, who wanted me to buy a far more expensive house than I did.

Voting for someone who can't tell you how many houses they own off the top of their head is voting for someone who is going to create an economy that favors the rich even more and has no sympathy - and certainly no empathy - for the average guy.

How can anyone think this is a good idea? Unless they're rich, which by McCain's definition is over $5 million a year, they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Perhaps including their house. Their one house.

Osage Nation Traditional Textiles, ribbon and yarn work, blankets and more

Jerry Shaw of the Osage Nation spoke at the Hutchinson Public Library tonight as part of the "Native Threads" exhibit of quilts created by Native American quilt makers in Kansas. It's on display on the mezzanine of the Hutchinson Public Library.

Shaw is an instructor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at Wichita State University and spoke on “Understanding Native Identity.” He covered a wide range of topics - everything from gaming to the appropriate terminology to refer to Native Americans. He says "American Indian" or "Native American" is appropriate, as well as "Indigenous People."

His wife, Beth Shaw, a former school librarian and longtime student of Native textiles came with him. They brought some of the items in her and her husband’s collection, and it was fascinating to see them.

Jerry modeled this while Beth told us that the mustard and burgundy beads are not really seen anymore, unless someone had them saved back.
Notice the selvage edge running in a stripe down the back. That tells you it's a man's blanket. A woman's blanket has the selvage around the top.
This belonged to Jerry's grandfather who died in 1921.

The Osage are known for their ribbon and yarn work instead of beading. This is a great example of the ribbon work. She said this is done by laying down all three colors, then snipping and turning and stitching with a hidden stitch to make the design. His mother did the work on this piece.

The belt on this really significant because it's unusual.

There were items made for the War Mother's Society that featured flags and Palamino horses.

Jerry's aunt had these made for her and her husband.

Note the selvedge differences - around the top on the one she's wearing and down the back on his.

Women also wore blankets as skirts. They are folded over, with the design over the left leg in the Osage tradition, then the excess is folded on the right side and the whole thing secured with a belt.

This belt was made for another member of their family who is six feet tall, so it was a bit long on Beth. Traditionally, the ends would be even with the skirt at the floor.

If you look closely, you can see it's tied at the top of it and the other bits would be hanging free. She was just holding them up to keep them off the floor.

This belt is a great example of the Osage yarn work.

It was quite a striking ensemble. Note the selvedge on the edge that is folded over. That's what makes the stripe in the middle of the skirt. It would be important that all the designs lined up when finished.

This pink belt is modern, not vintage.

This purple, yellow and green belt  is about 90 years old. It's made of Germantown yarn, which was not available after 1918 due to WW1 blockades. Most of the things they showed us were pre-1932, but there's very little fading.

This is a blanket shawl made to Pendleton. Jerry's grandfather bought it for his wife on June 13, 1913, the day she gave birth to Jerry's mother. These are still manufactured and you can date them by the stripes. This is called "plain stripe" because it's the same on both sides.

The red fringe has been redone, so they don't know what it looked like originally.

This lavender is made on the reverse - each side is different.

These are made of wool, but they call it broadcloth. She said it's sometimes called "Trade cloth" too. This purple with the blue binding above was traded with the Navajo.

This blue with the purple binding is one Jerry has sat on during ceremonies, but he has never worn.

The blue one he has sat on during ceremonies and this lavender one were made in Europe, specifically for trade with the Osage Nation. Because they had some land with oil on it, the Osage Nation had money and were an important enough trade partner that some companies made products specifically for them.

This one is made in reverse. The blue on this side is purple on the other. It was made in Europe, too, as was the one below with the fringe.

This is made of a lighter weight, as you would think from looking at it. At a previous speech they did, an exchange student from Czechoslovakia said those were made in his village. Unfortunately, they never got to garner more information from him.

This cream colored with the embroidery is Spanish silk.

This one was once black, but is fading to a green color. It had very long, extravagant fringe on it with beads.

These beads are faceted Czech cut and the more they move, the more they sparkle. The fabric is wool gaberdine.

These silver buttons were ones Jerry's mother had as a child. Beth sewed them on when they replaced the fabric on this. They didn't want to lose the fringe, of course, so cut it as closely as possible and put new fabric on.

This red coat is a wedding outfit. It is the military garb worn by Napoleon's army. He asked for representatives of the Osage nation to come to France. They did, and when they left, he offered them a gift, and they chose this. This particular one belonged to Jerry's Aunt Nora who died in 1815.

These plumes were secured upright in a hatband as part of the costume.

She also showed some leggings. The Osage never had traditional trousers, their pants were three pieces.

She pointed out how the beading stitches do not show. She said this is an indication of age because these were brain-tanned, which you can't do today. The way tanning is done today you can't bead with a hidden stitch.

They both talked about the fringe, and how it goes back to the creation story that God sent an eagle ahead of them. Because of that, the feather is one of the most important symbols and the fringe is symbolic of the tarsal feathers of the eagle.

A feather in the headdress indicates a boy is now a man. The last thing they do with their dead is put a feather in their hand.

She showed this little vest, and I was struck by all the hand stitches inside it.

It was a fascinating evening with topics that jumped from one to another in the question session.

He said he thought "Dances with Wolves" is the most authentic film made about Native Americans.

He talked about the different qualifications for various groups. The Ute of Utah require 5/8 blood. The Osage and Cherokee accept anyone with any amount of blood. He said DNA may soon be used to determine such things. I was always told my great, great, grandmother was Cherokee. The place is right, the timing is right, and she certainly looks like a Native American in the one photo I have, but I have no actual proof. We have always accepted it as truth because we have no reason not to, but it would be wonderful to claim such a proud heritage with no doubt.

One of the most interesting things he mentioned was that in 2004, of 16,000 people in the Osage Nation, only five of them spoke the language. FIVE. So, they started language schools and now there are 1200 people who have studied. In 2004 they started with 25 students. It's amazing to think about how close they came to losing their language. That would have been a tragedy.

Of course, there have been plenty of tragedies visited upon plenty of indigenous peoples in plenty of places. I hope that one has been avoided. It would be a loss to the world to lose a language that has been spoken for centuries.

An amazing evening. I was trying to take photos and notes, and they were going really quickly, but it was fascinating.
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