No rest for the wicked….

…. or in my case the semi-obsessive compulsive that cannot sit still.

Today I got a lecture from Fuzz about slowing down and taking things easy.  I had cold symptoms all week (head ache, sore throat, burny chest) but it never quite developed into the full-blown cold that our kid, Whirlwind, just got over.

What did I do?  Well, I just kept going like the Energizer Bunny.  I still got up at 6:30 in the morning even though Fuzz has been home with Whirlwind.  I washed our couch covers.  I walked the dogs.  I went grocery shopping…twice.  I made PB and J cupcakes to accompany our Roast Beef Mango Chutney sandwiches.  I took Whirlwind to see Chimpanzee and Thomas the Train at the mall the next day.  I washed the baseboards on my main floor.  I preserved art projects with semi-gloss shellac.  I bundled cut tree limbs for compost.

Seriously.  It’s like I am physically incapable of sitting still.  The only time I sit still is when I am working my day job.  You know – the one I get paid for.  It’s just my physical respite as my brain is still churning, my ears are listening to meetings on speakerphones and my fingers are typing furiously.  Note: This is when I get the lecture that I should at least take a break to get up to eat and drink (will I ever win?!)

As for the brewing cold, I naively hoped that it would just have those muted symptoms that would eventually disappear.

WRONG.  DEAD WRONG.

As the day wore on today, my nose started leaking.  My chest burned like a molten field of lava.  My cough is now hacky and hoarse.  I sometimes get a stabbing pain in my left ear that is surprising not caused by Fuzz sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  Awesome…not!

I think it is finally time to rest.  It’s a good thing I bought paint for the nursery at lunch and re-potted my houseplants after work 😉

Baamaapii.

A Bowl of Cherries

A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me why I was so lucky.  Cue laughter.  Lucky?!  The last time I checked, I did not win the lottery.  That would be so completely awesome but not likely to happen.  Upon further explanation, however, she thought I was lucky because everything seemed to go my way all the time.  That statement was almost as funny as me winning the lottery because I can certainly beg to differ.  After thinking about it though, it does appear that everything is always ‘coming up Milhouse’ in my life.

I think this charmed appearance is attributable to a few other things, rather than luck.  Risking sounding like an Oprah’s Lifeclass, I thought I would share some of the things that I use to just float on.  Coping mechanisms? Maybe….but they work.

  1. Optimism.

I ALWAYS expect a favourable outcome.  It may not be the outcome I was expecting, but there is always something favourable that I can work with.  Opportunities exist everywhere.

  1. Positivity.

Why am I being told that is not a word?  I’m sure a chemist or physicist would argue that one?!  Anyway, back to the topic at hand…I cannot stand negativity.  What is the purpose of constantly singling out what is wrong with something?  It not only brings you down but everyone around you that has to hear that crap.

  1. Resourcefulness.

This one is tied to both #1 and #2.  Work with what you have.  Expect a favourable outcome but if your expectation does not happen as planned, work with what you have.  Things can always be worse so focus on the positive and do what needs to be done to succeed.  I find this one applies to everything – writing a blog, working with fondant, plastering walls, stalking celebrities (maybe I will tell you about this one someday!)

Ultimately, I contribute this resiliency to my family and upbringing.  My parents and grandparents always reminded me that I could do anything that I put my mind to.  I believed them because they not only just told me that, they practiced what they preached.  Both my parents (and my grandmother) went back to school as adults and completed their education. They moved.  They traveled.  While they may not have had the best upbringing due to the residual effects of colonialism, they never let fear and doubt stop them from trying new things.  Learning new things.  Mastering new things.

With that said, the last thing that I always ensure I do is:

  1. Express gratitude.

Every night before bed I marvel at how good things really are.  I have a wonderful husband, son, family, house, job, friends, pets, neighbours….and the list goes on and on.  I am more than thankful.

So that is why my life often looks like a bowl of cherries when in fact it is often just a leftover bowl of half eaten cherries mixed with pits.  It is all just a matter of perspective.  My best advice is to never wallow.  Throw a mini pity party (maybe with a little ice cream) and move on.  Take a chance.  Do what you always aspired to do.  Believe me – if I can do it, so can you.

Baamaapii.

Pretty Fly….

….for a White Guy.

So, I have had a few people request a post about my husband.  If you ever had the chance to meet the man, you would know why people would be interested in hearing about him.  He is definitely a character…to say the least.  In fact, due to his personal nature and aversion to the Internet, he will now be affectionately known as Fuzz.  This name change is only just one example of our differences in personality and culture, but rest assured that these differences are a constant source of entertainment.

As you have probably surmised from the title of this post, he’s a white guy.  Polish/Italian/Lithuanian to be exact.  While I never did set out to marry a non-Native person, I was open to the idea.  I was never one to discriminate.  I was an equal opportunity dater.  It was just that around the time I met my husband, I had a string of bad dates.

The dates would always start off well but around the time we would get to the point to sharing more about our backgrounds, I would get something like this:

Guy – “So what island are you from?”

Me – “Island?!”

Guy – “Yeah, Hawaii or <insert your favourite Polynesian island here>”

Me – “Um, I’m from Turtle Island.  I’m First Nation”

Guy – “Oh….”

Me – Awkward silence.

Guy – “So why don’t you have to pay taxes? Can you get me cheap gas?” or <insert your own stereotypical question here>

I never really did hear much from the guy(s) after this exchange.  Their loss.

One fateful night though, I ended up meeting my husband in a bar.  CoyoteRoxyRados (or what ever name it was called at the time).  We were there for a birthday party and he and his friends sat at the birthday table.  I figured that they knew the birthday boy but it turns out they just had no where else to sit.  At the end of the night, Fuzz asked me for my phone number….Um, no.  How about I take yours – with no real intent to ever actually use it, of course.

A few weeks later I was having lunch with a friend at our University pub.  While we were eating, I noticed Fuzz and his friend sitting a few tables away.  I said to my friend “Hey, there’s that weird guy that asked me for my phone number”.  We had a good laugh and I stayed behind to do some homework while she left to attend class.  Deeply engrossed in my homework (quantum physics, I’m sure – ha!), I did not even notice when Fuzz came over to my table.

He sat across from me and picked up a conversation that we had weeks ago.  Admittedly, I was a little impressed that he had the nerve to come over after my rejection.  After a number of times of chatting on MSN (remember that?), I agreed to go on a date with him.

We went to Applebee’s – fancy, I know.  It was going well and then it happened…

Fuzz – “So, where are you from? I mean, what’s your background?”

I thought Uh oh.  Here we go.  But then I was surprised:

Me – “I’m from a reserve about an hour from here.  I’m Native.”

Fuzz – “Oh, yeah?  That’s cool.  I knew a Native guy once.  His name was Neil.  He really liked cheese.”

Me – “That’s been your only experience with a Native person?”

Fuzz – “Yeah, why?”

……and the rest was history.  Now, you tell me….would that not make you want to keep him?

Baamaapii.

Walking in Two Worlds

Biindigen (welcome)!

You are now reading my very first post on my new blog.  Exciting?  Hmm…possibly for you but definitely for me.   For a few years now, I have been using other sources of social media to share my perspective of a First Nation woman living in an urban environment.  However, this is my first attempt at a blog.  I’m learning – bear with me.

Many people have encouraged me to start a blog but I have always been hesitant.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always dreamed about being that girl.  Sitting in a coffee shop posting musings that others find interesting.  Can’t you just picture me with my latte and black-rimmed glasses?

I just simply wondered if I could offer a perspective that actually WAS interesting?

Inspiration struck when I read a quote from the CBC series “8th Fire” website.  It made me realize that I do have an interesting perspective.  The quote is:

“We’ve seen so many strategies that were set up to assimilate people, and we’re still here. For me, we can be a native person that has a foot in the bush and a foot in town, but really be who we are and in a modern world.” – Edith Cloutier

With this quote, I realized that I am that Native person.  I have a foot in the bush and a foot in town (or in this case, a REALLY big city).  I grew up on a small reserve in Northern Ontario, left to attend university in a (relatively) urban centre and then moved to work in Toronto.  I definitely have a perspective worth sharing because there are increasing numbers of Aboriginal people moving to urban centres.   Leaving home to live, love, work, and raise their families away from their first influences.  I am not alone.

So there you have it.  My blog will be on my life bridging my background and culture with my new(ish) reality.  I’ve had some time to adjust so you will read some stories from past experiences, but you will also read some newly minted stories.  Believe me – they crop up everywhere.

Baamaapii (See you again).