soul mate

My twin sister Jessica is my soul mate.  I mean, we were split in two so I'm pretty sure we each have part of the same soul.

The day we headed off to college was one of the saddest days of my life.  I remember laying awake in my tiny bed, in my new dorm room, on my first night and not knowing how to feel or how to be.  How would I make friends without my best friend by my side?  How would I survive class?  How would I go to the grocery store by myself?  Who was going to tell me that my outfit should never see the light of day?

The next years were hard, but we both grew.  We became braver and more independent.  We experienced things the other did not.  We took trips, met friends, got our hearts broken, fell in love and graduated.  The next years were even harder.  I headed off to Texas for graduate school and took a blind leap into the unknown, alone.  I was so used to everyone knowing I was a twin back home that it was a strange feeling for new people in my life to not automatically know this about me.  Our whole life we had been known as "The Twins" which always annoyed me. But here, hundreds of miles away from home, I wished and hoped that just once someone would refer to me as one of "The Twins".  

Life has taken us both down different paths and we are happy in our careers and little families.  And even though its been years since we lived in the same state and we've grown accustomed to these separate lives, we miss each other with all of our hearts.  I guess we've become grownups during this time because lets face it, it would have been crazy for us to not have learned how to function in the real world without the other nearby.   

But you see, the truth is, even though we are grownups and we live wonderful, independent lives, I just don't function my best without her.  

On the rarest of rare days that we can't talk I feel like there is a hole in my day.  Who can I tell that for a brief second after lunch it smelled exactly like the skating rink we used to go to when we were little?  And there's no doubt that she will understand completely---my co-workers at lunch would just look at me weird!  Or what if I have to describe a color and the only description I can come up with is that it is that shimmery color from that one ride in Disney World?  And of course my sister would say, "Oh right! The one with the dragon.  I know that color."  

I usually talk to Jessica on my way home from work each evening which can last from 5 minutes to an hour :) .  The minute we say, "hi" a feeling of complete contentment washes over me. 

Even living 2000 miles away, our lives are interwoven.  They are forever connected.  You always hear of twin struggles--of those twins who yearn to be their own self and independent of each other.  At least for us, this is impossible.  While we have our own distinct personalties and preferred nail polish color, we are our most true selves when we are together.  We are soul mates.


Happy Birthday to my sister.  I'm glad I get to share this special day with you always!


Latin Grammys

Bobby tiredly rolled in at 8am this morning after a week long trip to Las Vegas for the Latin Grammys!  

Wow what a trip!  

Unfortunately Palo! did not take home a Latin Grammy this year, but we are all so proud of them (especially my husband) for their talent and passion for making great music!

Aurelia and I anxiously watched the entire show, not knowing exactly when their category would be up.  Luckily their category was one of only a few to be broadcast on TV.  Everyone looked beautiful and sparkly and I put into practice my high school level Spanish!

 Trying on the tux before heading out!

 Palo! heading to the award ceremony

 On the Green carpet at the MGM Grand

 Aurelia, anxiously waiting!

 Nominated for Best Contemporary Tropical Album!

Steve and Bobby heading home

Until next year!


Winter Quiet

Big Cypress National Preserve // photo credit

Yesterday my soul soared;  I was cold. 

I awoke to temperatures in the low 50's and I could barely hold back a smile as I grabbed my peacoat (untouched since last Christmas) off the coat rack and pranced to my car.  My mug of hot coffee felt good in my hands and I plugged my iPod into my car and quickly scrolled until I found my 4 million Christmas tunes.  

The heater in the car smelled slightly of burning dust and a flood of memories overtook me.  I was back in Colorado, on the first cold morning of Fall.  

The drive out to Big Cypress felt different yesterday morning.  The sun barely peaked out of the cloud covered sky and the wind pulled and tugged angrily at the car.  Even though my day was packed full of meetings and projects, I wished I could have called in "sick" to stay home to snuggle on the couch and watch the misty rain from the window.  The animals were quiet and there was no sign of the alligators in the water.  I knew they could be found at the bottom of the deep canals, preserving their body heat. A winter quiet had creeped onto the reservation over night.

My blood has thinned and my tolerance has grown lean to chilly weather.  My mom reminded me of how I used to make fun of the Floridians who bundled up in 65 degree weather.  And now I have become one of them.  I miss the cold and snow, I really do.  Or maybe I just miss the idea of it.  Snow is so magical and sparkly and makes the dead winter branches look so beautiful.  I miss those snowy nights, long after I was supposed to be asleep, when I would sit huddled in my blankets with my chin resting on my window ledge.  I would stare out the window for what felt like forever, watching giant snowflakes fall under the orange glow of the street lamp and hoping and praying for a snow day.  I miss snowy mornings, waking up to a muted light and heavy silence.  I knew it had snowed before I even saw the white covered ground.  I would peak out the window and see a winter wonderland of diamonds.  I would hurry back into my warm bed and wait for my mom to make her rounds, singing each of my sisters and I the Snow poem:

Oh, it snowed last night 
It snowed last night. 
The sky bears had a pillow fight, 

Tore up all the clouds in sight and tossed them down as feathers white.  

This cold snap has brought refreshment to my soul and even though it will be short lived, I am enjoying being "cold".  


Tribal Council Meeting

When I walk into Tribal Headquarters in Hollywood I am transported into another world from the familiar Big Cypress Swamp.  Business suits swarm the halls and there are lots of very important looking people.  I always make sure to put my confidence face on and spend a little extra time on my hair these days. 

Today was Tribal Council Meeting, which is once a month.  I don't usually have to attend, but the Council was passing a resolution on a matter that myself and co-workers had worked months and months on.  (It passed!)

This is what I observed today.

I watched as grown men nervously took the stand to read resolutions before the Council and get pummeled with question after question.  You never know what kinds of questions will get thrown your way and so when people flail under this scrutiny I can hear my dad in my head saying, "Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance".  Perhaps one day I will have to present, but for each time I don't, I am forever grateful!

I stared at the oil paintings of past council members hanging on the council chamber walls, wondering just how different it would have been 50 years ago.

I giggled silently to myself as I heard someone behind me knock over their water bottle in the back row and watched as it noisily rolled its way down the slightly inclined floor, under rows and rows of seats until it hit the shoes of my Executive Director...in the front row.

I saw huge business deals being agreed upon, projects for bettering the tribal community approved, and heard the new President of FSU give a presentation on strengthening their relationship with the Tribe.

I was reminded that I am a small fish in a big pond.  Working for only 1 of 60 tribal departments.

I watched democracy happen, with reservation representatives advocating for their community's best interest.

TGIF (even though it was a short week for me with Veteran's Day).  I'm so sleepy I think I may actually go to bed at 8:30.  Is that pathetic?  

And not to rub it in anyone's cold cold face, but it was a balmy 80 degrees today so anyone who wants to come visit me the door is open!