Total Eclipse of My Heart...

I got to watch the eclipse last night with Bobby.  We stood in our street, staring up into the not so dark sky, busy with airplanes.  In the midst of such a large metropolis, we don't get to enjoy the bright stars very often and I realized how few times I look up into the night sky these days.  But last night was a real treat to see the shadow pass over before my very eyes.

Bobby stayed outside, taking photos of the super blood moon eclipse while I took cover inside to douse my swollen mosquito bitten feet with Benadryl.  I am longing for winter...

As I was watching the moon, the lyrics to "Total Eclipse of my Heart" came into my head.  I smiled because the song (the version with Meatloaf of course) always reminds me of my friend Jeremy.  I stared at the moon and thought of him, and my family and other friends who have passed on into a new life.  I wonder what a lunar eclipse looks like from heaven.



By Yours Truly

The smell of old coffee and burnt toast
Drifts over the desks of those fully engrossed
In their mindless work and keyboard clacks
Shoulders hunched and eternal curved backs.

The humming and hawing of the Xerox machine
Reminds us all how we’re not really that “green”.
It jams and mysterious errors blink and blare
Onlookers give repetitive advice and mean stares.

The supply cabinet looks like a hoarder’s dreams
Of old floppy discs and paper reams
Back in the depths is where the coveted pens hide
Surrounded by cast away markers, old and dried.

Poisonous words float from the chatty Kathy’s
Distracting and gathering a sea of khakis
The gossip train has left the station
And spreads the news at each cubicle location.

Have a meeting to plan more meetings
Filled with enthusiastic words and greetings
Synergy, leadership, and win- win
Drowning in the meaningless motivational din.

And just like a broken record player
The office grump and naysayer
Says with a sharp and wry slice,
“Just another day in paradise”.


Good-bye week

I can't remember the last time I was so glad to see a week be over.  It was an emotional roller coaster. I started the week off with very sad news that my committee member and professor from graduate school was killed, followed by some staff changes at work, one of my best friends finding out that after years of heartache, her in vetro was successful (!), news of a co-worker's diagnosis of breast cancer, and I found out that after many clean years, addiction had taken a hold again of a dear community member.  

When it rains...

I guess I am only human and got kind of down this week.  Besides the amazing news from my sweet friend, the world seemed pretty dismal.  

I've been spending my evenings before I fall asleep in deep prayer, and hoping that light and goodness will overcome and touch those who are in a dark place.  I know it can and will, its just that life can really beat you down sometimes.  Perspective is a powerful tool and with each heartache and sad day, I learn and relearn the importance of embracing each day, each loved one, and each positive moment.

The other night, feeling quite gloomy, I walked into the bedroom to find the sweetest moment.

Looks like somebody has a favorite parent...

I snuggled in too, until Aurelia decided she did not want a sandwich hug and leapt off the bed.  My sweet husband rubbed my back for a few minutes and then tucked me into bed.  These tiny moments cheer my heart.



Did you all have a nice weekend?  I hope so.  I cooked dinner for some friends on Friday evening. In the background grown-up jazz played and we had lots of laughs and stories to share!  Saturday and Sunday were kind of lazy, with lots of reading and some Harry Potter mixed in.  I did do some laundry and work so it wasn't entirely unproductive!

My twin sister started back to school today and we had lots of chats during the weekend about the new school year, what outfit she would wear, and all the new things she was excited about implementing.  My sister is an amazing teacher and I wish I could visit more often to watch her in her element.  

It made me wish for just a little bit that I was starting a new school year.  A few new outfits, the smell of new school supplies, the excitement of the year ahead.  No matter the weather leading up to the first day of school, it always smelled and felt the exact same every single year.  Cool and crisp, with a lingering summer light.  Why is that? 

Maybe I'll go wander around Target this weekend and take home some new crayons or notebooks so I can feel a part of the new school year.  The only thing I have to remind me of the new school year now that I'm no longer a student are the blinking school zones and giant yellow buses that have somehow calculated the exact time and speed to always be in front of my car.  I sometimes think those 7th graders who are slowly meandering onto the school bus like molasses are doing it on purpose to make me late for work. 

Its hard to believe Fall is just around the corner!


Snake Road

My daily drive to the reservation is the inspiration for my little poem today.

Snake Road

Creamy skies embrace the flushed dawn
Greeting you on this expedition.
The sun slowly peeks behind the yawn
Of the fading moon and its nightly position.

The road slithers ‘round and wide
Swinging and swaying like a tumbling wave.
You hug the curves and the animals hide
To avoid Snake Road becoming their grave.

A rainbow of greens and yellows and blues
Blur and streak with the arc and bend.
A leggy heron stares on with a hint of amuse
At the fish in his mouth who has met its end.

Stop! You skid and halt.
A dark grey dinosaur has emerged from the water.
It pauses, perhaps looking for its next assault
And with a toothy smile spots a slick black otter.

The otter dives safely into the canal’s abyss
Submerged and tumbling in the dark murky deep.
The defeated gator lets out a long hiss
And saunters back into the warm sun to sleep.

The road wraps through pastures filled with mist
And a herd of cowboys appear in the shadowy light.
Spider webs sparkle with the sun’s first kiss
A romantic and somewhat nostalgic sight.

The road will bring you to a different world
A timeworn and stoic place that’s grand.
Meandering the line of a serpent that’s curled
Gliding through the duality of water and land


A Sunday Well Spent Brings a Week of Content

Lets see how productive I can be today.  I've already accomplished absolutely nothing so I can only go up from here!

 I am finally feeling like myself after a short battle with the flu that kept me home part of last week. I spent the days in bed with the chills, curled up watching Cheers, falling in and out of sleep and drinking lots of ginger ale.  Even Aurelia knew I needed extra cuddles and took her afternoon naps right next to her mama. 

The weather is hot and muggy and the clouds have rolled in extra early today.  I can hear both my cat and my husband breathing heavily with sleep in the next room.  It is a sleepy kind of day and I can feel the cleaning motivation building as I look at the pile of laundry and bills.  But a nice cup of tea and my book may also be calling my name...

I read this today and loved it.  Just some food for thought.

We do no draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all of their hearts to know the source of it.
-Madeleine L'Engle

Also, remembering back to last month and enjoying this peaceful moment with my sisters.

Happy week ahead to all.


The rain cometh and stay.

Afternoon storm one zillion and one.  

I've learned that although my rainbow umbrella is super cute, I need to invest in something a bit more rain proof..you know, like a plastic bubble.

In honor of rainy season I wanted to share a Seminole legend that I think of every time it rains.  This version was written down by a great storyteller and the first chairwoman of the tribe.

The little green frog was sitting on the edge of the water lilies sleeping away. A big ol' rabbit came hopping along, came upon the frog and said, "Hi there! Why are you sleeping? It's too pretty a day to sleep. Wake up! Wake up!" 

"I don't have to do anything," said the irritated little frog. But that pretty ol' pesky rabbit kept on until the little frog got really mad and told him, "I'll fix you up." 

So little frog started singing his funny little song or noise he makes to call the rain. Within a few minutes, the black cloud came and the wind started blowing. Then the rains came and soaked the ol' rabbit so much he got cold and ran home. 

Whenever you hear the frogs singing away today, better be near shelter, because they are warning you that rain is coming soon.

Sure enough though, out in the Everglades when I hear the orchestra begin of chirping and croaking from the frogs I know the rain is not far behind!


Bowling Babes

Saturday night at the bowling alley

I'm lucky to have two great friends to spend a Saturday night with.
Side note:
When did they start making bowling alley's look like a disco-tech?


Growing Pains.

Black Canyon National Park

Ahh. Summer is upon us here in swampy south Florida.  The days are long and hot and the thunderstorms come around each afternoon on the reservation just like clockwork.  All I want to do is float motionless in a cool, turquoise pool or take a long drive through the middle of no where with the windows down and the wind whipping my hair.  Summer is here.

Summer has never been my favorite time of year.  I mean, of course I loved summer vacations, who doesn't?  But summers never stirr my heart and soul like autumn and winter do.  Since becoming a real live grownup, I think summers have turned into challenging months for me.  It usually seems to be the time of year that I get my growing pains.  Things just don't sit right and I tend to question my routines, goals, and myself.  Do you ever have those times? 

The past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time in my adult education class called "Life".   It is hard and exhausting work.  But I'm learning new things about myself and others.  I'm learning more about kindness and empathy.  I'm learning (or re-learning) that I can only control myself and my actions.  I'm learning that I need to show love and appreciation more.  I'm learning to be more gentle.  I'm learning to speak my mind.  I'm learning that with a small pep talk, I can do almost anything.  I'm learning that I thrive on quiet time. 

About a month ago, Bobby and I headed back to Colorado for some family time and to celebrate my best friend's wedding.  Bobby's parents took us over to the Black Canyon National Park one afternoon, over near Gunnison.  If you are ever in the area, you must go.  It was breathtaking.

I took a few minutes alone and stood against one of the overlook railings, looking down at the almost 2,000 foot drop below me. My knees felt like jello and I took a small step back.  The cool wind whistled through the canyon and you could hear the Gunnison River roaring below.  It was so beautiful and intense that I couldn't help say a prayer of thanks for such a remarkable landscape.  

My sister and I talk regularly about the power of nature.  Its nothing new, and for thousands of years people have known the transformations that the world around us can have on our souls.  With just a few simple moments quietly looking into this canyon I was rejuvenated.  And so I'm learning this summer that a happier me is one who has taken a few minutes in a busy day to be still.  To reflect on what is beautiful and good.  To appreciate the wonder of our surroundings.  It helps put the drama of the day into perspective and to realize that everything will be A-okay.  These growing pains can be painful, but they are so necessary.  

Ok summer...I'm ready for you.



A perfect Colorado summer evening


"West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads"

Last week I had a wonderful opportunity to travel up to West Virgin-ey for a leadership seminar.  It was hosted by the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Offices. A total of 12 tribes were represented and I felt honored to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

My head was so full of new and great information by the time I left on Thursday and I can't wait to implement what I learned.  I love being re-energeized and being reminded that although our work is challenging, it is also so fulfilling.

We stayed at the Fish and Wildlife's National Conservation Training Center which sits on over 500 acres.  It was beautiful and I felt like I was at camp all week.  All our meals were provided for us in a large dining hall with huge rustic chandeliers.  Giant taxidermy bears, deers, and wolves graced the hallways. The rain sat over us most of the week, but I didn't mind too much.  It made the already green vegetation vibrant and the smells of boxwood and dogwood hung heavily in the air.  I didn't think my hair could get any more frizzy from humidity, but apparently West Virginia's got nothin' on South Florida!

On our last evening together, we all headed down to the fire pit.  Although the rain had finally stopped, it had soaked most of the wood, so it took awhile for the fire to get started.   We made s'mores, laughed, told stories, and shared about the week.  I sat and listened, watching the crackling fire create bouncing shadows and turning everyone's faces a deep amber.  It warmed us from the chilly damp air and as the sky grew dark, we all drew closer to the fire. The fireflies eventually appeared and twinkled all around us, no doubt trying to compete with the twinkling stars above.  


Its easy to get caught up in the day to day drama of the office and we can quickly forget why we do what we do. The fights in Indian Country are real and hard and it takes strong leaders to make significant and positive changes. Sometimes I'm not sure where my future career will take me, but I hope that I will always have the opportunity to work alongside tribes.



The other week I was sent out to the field to help one of my staff (lets call him D) work on a project at an archaeological site.  Now, let me preface by saying I love the outdoors.  I love being outside in the the fresh air, away from the crazy.  But sometimes the great outdoors isn't so kind and last week became one for the books.

A seemingly pleasant start to the day

Day 1, 10 minutes in:
+ Crawled through an old barbed wire fence, scratched my arm, and crawled right through a spider web.  Spider more than likely leapt into my hair and built a new web.

+ Realized my Girl Scout training failed me and I FORGOT MY BUG SPRAY!  Florida mosquitos are something else.  They are overly attracted to me (I know, I know, I'm so sweet!) and the bites swell to almost 4 times their normal size.  At one point D thought I had been stung by bees on my face.  I probably swatted at least 1 gajillion mosquitos and I swear none of them died, they only multiplied.

+ Traversed a 6 inch wide log across a small pond of water.  Fell off the log.  The fun thing about the swamp is that when it only looks like 1 foot of water it is a lie.  D came to my rescue, gabbing my backpack and as I fumbled to my feet, my boots proceeded to sink into  3 feet of muck and I prayed there were no water moccasins floating near by.  Using all of my energy, I pulled myself out of the jungle quicksand.  My first instinct was to cry, but I had to be a big girl boss and plastered a huge smile on my face.  No biggie.

+ D was a trooper and hacked through the thickest parts of the jungle with his machete.  At one point we got a little turned around and made a huge circle, thankfully finding our flags (think break crumbs from Hansel and Gretel) from earlier. 

+ Stumbled across hundreds of hog tracks and prayed again there were none around.  D said calmly "Kate, if you hear any snuffing or grunting your best bet is to climb a tree."  Wild hogs can be very dangerous and all I could think was, "I don't know how to climb a tree."

+ Found fresh bear poo...twice.

+ Was only steps away from disturbing a pygmy rattlesnake

+ By the time we got back to the office, everyone seemed to know that I had fallen into the water.  And that when I fell, I looked like a turtle with my backpack on and legs in the air.  Cute.  My boss even came up to me and said in a very concerned voice, "I heard you had a rough day.  Are you ok?"  Not embarrassing at all. 

When I got home, I counted over 70 mosquito bites on my arms and face.  I literally looked like I had the chicken pox (or the measles) and was convinced I had definitely gotten Malaria or Dengue (so far no symptoms...)

Day 2:

+ Made it across the pond!

+ Remembered my bug spray.  Thank you bug spray inventor.

+ Ripped the crouch of my pants open climbing through that darn ol' barbed wire fence.

Day 3:

+ Made it across the pond again!  I could have easily been a gymnast in another life...

+ Ripped the back of my pant leg on that stupid barbed wire fence.

All I can say is that I am a survivor of the Florida jungle.  I should get some sort of metal for bravery or courage.  Or maybe just for being a girl who survived the worst mosquito attack of the century.



Oh April.  You've been a bit of a pain in my side.  You've beat me up just a little bit, but thank goodness for an amazing sister visit, a sweet husband, kitty kisses, and 19 Kids and Counting...oh and cherry popsicles. 

Today I realized that I always have one song stuck in my head.  I find myself humming it almost daily, especially when I'm typing away at the computer.  
Good King Wenceslas  
Strange, right?

Until next time--


Misty Moors

This morning I was at work by 6:50am.  I had to assist with preparations for a funeral, one of those "other duties as assigned"

It was a quiet and beautiful morning.  I watched the sun rise from the mist and looking out across the tall grass I felt like maybe I should be in Ireland or England, looking out over the moors.  

Just being able to experience this lovely sunrise made my sleep deprived body happy and I was thankful for the view.  I was thankful for quiet mornings and I was thankful for this beautiful life.



On Monday morning my drive into work was eerie and claustrophobic.  Heavy fog guided me all 63 miles to my office door.  It wasn't until after 9am that the fog began to lift and the sun mustered its way through the thick clouds.  I ventured outside to breathe in the heavy, wet air.  

It was still quiet with most of my co-workers inside at their desks, typing away and sipping the sludgy office coffee.  I walked across the parking lot to look out to a nearby cypress dome and across the old watermelon field.  For a moment it was just me and the world, huddled and cozy in a soft gray blanket.


When I'm Bored on Saturday Afternoon...

I wear my husband's shoes
Take naps
Research overtly profound quotes on Pinterest
Pick the dirt out from under my fingernails with my bobby pins 
Think about everything else I could be doing
Have a staring contest with my cat (I won)
Drink cold glasses of grape juice
Check the glacial changes of my 401K 
Feel homesick


Morning in the Everlgades

Early morning drive through the Everglades

Morning Everglades
{by Yours Truly}

The car speeds west across the Glades
A blur of Cypress and Sawgrass blades
A million birds float through the air
And I sit and think and look and stare.

The sun is peeking behind my head
And the sky begins to glow and shed
Its darkened cape that hides the light
Of pink and lavender and orange and white.

The bright red rays dance across my face
As I watch the heron, full of grace
Flap his mighty wings and glide
Over the Sea of Grass so still and wide.

The tips of the grass shine like gold
As the morning light takes ahold
And breaks through the yellow, nebulous mist
Like the romantic compositions of Franz Liszt.

Out the window I catch a roseate spoonbill fly
Its pink feathers turning deep scarlet in the sky
So rare and lovely to see my friend
I'm giddy with joy as I watch her ascend.

I take long and lazy sips of coffee
The sun climbs higher, turning from red to toffee
I rest my head but keep my eyes wide
To count the gators that go floating by.


Oh Weekend.

This weekend has been lazy.  Not necessarily that I have been sitting on the couch doing nothing, but more that I couldn't seem to make myself do anything productive.  I must have looked at my Frida Kahlo eyebrows a least a dozen times but just couldn't bring myself to care enough to pluck that mess.  

 I awoke yesterday morning to heavy rains that battered against the windows- too much anger for a Saturday morning if you ask me.  The clouds hung low for most of the day until the evening when I was picked up by a friend for  our other friend's birthday party.

We hit the town to help my sweet friend celebrate her 30th birthday.  She admitted to having a panic attack the other day, thinking about turning the big 3-0.  I remember feeling only slightly melancholy about the idea, thinking that there were some areas of my life I  was hoping would be a little bit more "together".  But then I forced myself to be still, and to think about all that I had accomplished, like snagging my husband :)

After we left the restaurant, the ridiculously fancy hipster drinks in all of my friend's systems overtook their most logical senses and they were all convinced that we HAD to go dancing.  I smiled and said, "Sure" in my most positive way.  But inside my head I had dramatically dropped to my knees, throwing my head back, yelling to the universe, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

Don't my friends know that I am a closet dancer?  I only dance alone, in the dark, to music I'm pretty sure everyone else hates.

Anyways, it was a fun night, laughing and watching everyone else dance :).  That is until the birthday girl got confused and thought it was her 21st birthday and got sick on the sidewalk in the middle of downtown Fort Lauderdale...

When I finally crawled into bed at 2am, I was exhausted with achy feet.  Bobby was still working and I dragged Aurelia closer to snuggle but she only tolerated my love for 2.5 seconds before leaping off the bed to go about her usual night time ritual.  I lay in bed for only a few minutes, planning my extra unproductive Sunday before sleep overtook my body.   


Kitty Love

Today is my dad's birthday and I actually got to help him celebrate in person!  
Happy Birthday Daddy!

My parents are in Sunny (and chilly) Florida visiting and its been wonderful to have them here.  

Miss Aurelia has been slowly adjusting to visitors in the house and although her tolerance level is small, she has been making an appearance in the evening and hanging out with the family.  

I found her sleeping in the closest after dinner and couldn't help but scoop her into my arms and give her a giant bear hug!  My mom a.k.a Nana, captured the sweet moment before she quickly scurried off to find another sleeping spot.



Halpate means Alligator in Miccosukee

This guy.  

My staff and I headed down to Big Cypress National Preserve the other week for a bonding / educational field trip.  It was nice to get out of the office for the day and be surrounded by the environment that we are constantly studying for our work.

The sun was warm, but not too hot.  The favorable winter breeze whooshed through my hair as we walked several trails, enjoying the old growth hardwood hammocks and prairies. During the morning we saw herons and baby alligators, thick ferns, a dozen different white colored birds, turtles, and tiny carnivorous yellow flowers.

During the afternoon, we walked the Big Cypress Bend boardwalk in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve.  Most of the trail is a wood plank boardwalk, but the beginning and end consisted of a fairly wide dirt trail.  A few tourists passed us as we headed back to the car and called out, "There's an alligator up ahead!".  We've all seen a million and one alligators so I really didn't think twice about it.

As we rounded a corner, I could see something large and grey taking up half of the trail.  I realized quickly that we were going to have to sneak by a very large alligator who had decided that THIS was the most perfect spot to sun himself for the afternoon.  I said a silent prayer as we neared closer that I would not get eaten or that none of my staff would lose a limb.  We quietly slipped by, (snapping at least one photo--of course!) and watched as his eyes slowly opened halfway and then closed again.  He just couldn't be bothered.

Thank goodness :)


Thoughts for a Tuesday

When you act and speak you must think of all your relatives--known and unknown.  You must also remember the plants, the animals, the living things, and the ancient ones--those that have gone before you.
-Hiyvtke, 2001


Love is in the air

How is it almost February?!

Did time go by this fast when I was younger?  Sometimes I just wish it would slow down just a little bit so I could do more, see more, and love more!

Speaking of love...

My Etsy shop has some new cards in stock for Valentine's Day!  Check them out- maybe you'll find the perfect one!

Valentine's Day is one of those holidays (like most these days) that is very over commercialized.  And even though I am a strong advocate for telling everyone that you love, "I love you" as much as humanly possible, it is nice to have a day that kind of forces you to stop the crazy for just a little bit and really enjoy your loved ones.


Misty Mornings

I remember when I was little and we would awake to a foggy morning.  These mornings were very rare and my sisters and I would have a little bit more pep in our step to get out the door to walk to school in the low hanging clouds.  Oh how wonderful and eerie it would be to skip down the sidewalk, with the unfamiliar humidity on our faces, and hoping that a fairytale monster didn't jump out from the dense fog.

The fog is no stranger to the Everglades, especially in the winter months.  The other morning though, it didn't overtake the whole world, but sat on the sides of the road.  The white mist grazed inches above the dew drenched pastures in long, smooth bands.  Most of my carpool companions were quiet with sleep as I watched the mist slowly fade as the world began to wake.