Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Hate Spring

Photo copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Speak not to me of the virtues of this season. [Hint: There aren't any.]

Sing not to me its praises. [I'm not that delusional.]

As though the constant fluctuations in temperature and weather and these hell-born winds (and the ghastly pain they inflict my own body, and his) weren't enough, Spring sucks for the animals, too.

It brings colic. And founder.

And this girl is in full founder right now. What's called "a laminitic event."

This is not in the least unusual. In fact, it's an annual event. Events.

So, one farrier's visit (great guy), one farrier's bill (very reasonable, actually), much equine discomfort, and much pain to our backs and knees and hands later, Cree is once again de-clogged and sortakindabutnotreally barefoot. Styro pads duct-taped to her forefeet. We'll see what happens over the next two weeks. 

And if this fucking season doesn't resolve itself soon, I'm going to lose my mind.

Copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Glimpse, and a Request

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Today's going to be another hugely busy day.

I have pieces in the works, one on the truly abominable behavior of a local executive with regard to the Dakotas' "man camps." It's not an easy piece to write, since it involves revisiting a lot of ugly ground I've covered many times before. But it'll be posted before too long.

We also have a great many things to get done here, much of it while trying to beat the weather that's supposed to arrive tomorrow. So I'll be online whenever I can grab a few spare minutes, but it my not be much more than that at any given stretch.

In the meantime, I'd like to ask you for a favor. Wings's one-man-show at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe is ongoing; the image above is just a little glimpse. But the show runs through May 11th, and it needs continued publicity. So if you'd share the following links, whether via e-mail, by cross-posting on your own or other sites, or by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, we'd be grateful.

My announcement on this site is here.

The Jean Cocteau Cinema's official announcement is here.

The venue's Facebook page announcement is here.

And the best thing you can do is "Like," "Share," and otherwise post the individual links, not the link to this post I'm writing at the moment. That does more to get the word out, both to support the venue and to support Wings's work.

Chi miigwech and ta'a.

Monday, April 28, 2014

#NotyourSHEEP, Christina.

This is racism.

It is cultural appropriation — in other words, theft.

It is redface — in other words, a minstrel show.

It does not honor, esteem, dignify, or respect us in any way.

And once you've been told, by the very people whose ancestors, cultures, histories, and very lives you dishonor, that it doesn't — more, that it insults us and steals from us —and you continue to do it, then it becomes no longer the racism of ignorance, but the much more toxic racism of deliberate intent.

Christina Fallin, this is your mirror. Like what you see? Because for all your superficial long-haired clear-skinned beauty, from where I sit, your reflection is looking pretty damn ugly.

A warbonnet? Really? Perhaps you should read what about what a warbonnet actually signifies. Even if you were Indian, you'd have no right to wear one. But because you're not, your wearing of it becomes sacrilege.

A "war dance?" Really? Again, perhaps you need to read some actual history. Including, say, the actual history of the state you call home, the state that loves to tout itself as "Indian Country." The "Indian Wars" were nothing for you to trivialize so offensively. They were nothing less than a structured, systematic campaign of genocide. 

Regalia and a shawl? Really? More redface. More minstrelsy. More mockery.

"SHEEP?" Really? The only thing remotely resembling "sheep" that I see in this entire scenario are the racists who mindlessly mouth the anti-Native slurs that you spoon-feed them, and who flip off and otherwise insult actual Indians at your urging. Of course, I can't really call them sheep, because I've never known an actual sheep to be so lacking in integrity.

Your mother thinks this is "an old story." Oh, yes, indeed it is, but not in the way she means. This particular chapter of it, of course, is only a day and a half old as of this writing. But the book itself is indeed an old, old story, one going back more than half a millennium, and one we've managed to survive despite the likes of you and her and all of your fellow travelers. And since your mother has more than adequately demonstrated her anti-Indian bias before, I'm not at all surprised, either at her own attitude or at the fact that she raised to putative adulthood a child with an attitude like yours.

No matter. It's not as though we'll be silent. We know, and we will not hesitate to remind you:

We are #notyourmascot. We are #notyourminstrel. We are #notyourTontoorTigerLilyorPocahontas. We are #notyourredskin.

And we are not going to let you take what is ours and desecrate it.

Contact Governor Mary Fallin:
Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Local: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353 
Tulsa Office of Governor Mary Fallin and Native American Affairs Liaison440 S. Houston Ave., Suite 606
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74127
Phone (405)522-8861
Fax (918) 581-2835

Boycott "Pink Pony" (Christina Fallin's band) and let them know why.

Boycott enabler Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips and let them know why.

Boycott Blackwatch Studios and let them know why. Warning: Studio Web site autoplays. And, no, I don't care that they allowed protestors to be present; they had no business booking a racist minstrel show, and certainly not for an Indian venue.

Boycott the Norman Music Festival and let them know why.

Contact and boycott Chickasaw-owned and -operated Riverwind Casino until it makes this right.

Copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Amazing what an incentive a spring storm can provide.

So a few minutes ago, I go outside in the snow to light the pilot for the water heater. Yes, snow. Only just over an inch on the ground, because last night's high winds drove most of it northeastward before it could collect.

But after 70-degree days, I guess even Ice wasn't prepared to stand out in that anymore. He's in the small stall. As in all the way in; none of this rump-only business.

He looks calm and happy.

Baby steps. Leaps and bounds.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

It's Somebody's Birthday

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

And this is not a date-of-adoption "birthday," or a best-guess "birthday"; it's the real thing.

We know this because, thanks to members of the community who helped us buy out the previous . . . erm . . . "owner" completely last year, we have his papers. Who knew that rescuing a dying horse would eventually make us the owners of a purebred registered quarter horse?

But the papers aren't important. What is important is that today, on his 13th birthday, this horse is safe. He's healthy. He's happy. He has a new name. No more "Jack," and no more "JETSPAINTEDWARCHEIF" (yes, lack of spaces, misspelling, and all) that appears on his papers.

He's Miskwaki, Red Earth. And he's my baby.

Photo copyright Wings, 2013, 2014; all rights reserved.

Copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Canine Condolence Rituals

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

The day after Lilith walked on.

Wings looked up from his work in the studio just in time to catch She-Wolf comforting her brother.

It's one of the most beautiful images I've ever seen.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Integration Day

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
No, not that kind of integration.

Chicks. The actual feathered kind.

Narcissus contemplating her reflection . . . .
Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Rumpled idiot contemplates Narcissus.
Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Today was the day we decided, with not a little trepidation. to move the little chickie girls outdoors to the coop and fenced area where the four adult hens are. Trepidation because of concerns that it wouldn't be quite warm enough, and concerns that the hens wouldn't accept them.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
There's a lot of wind right now, and a little bit of pecking earlier, and a lot of cheeping and squawking across the board, but so far, at least, our fears seem to be mostly unfounded.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Of course, I'll have to go out in the cold dark later to make sure they're all inside the straw bales, warm and safe. But despite all the squawking and feather-ruffling, I think everyone will be fine.

Copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Eating good food, supporting good work in Santa Fe

Image copyright Jambo Café;
all rights reserved.

If you happen to be in Santa Fe for any reason — like, say, checking out Wings's one-man show at the Jean Cocteau Cinema — at some point, you'll need to eat.

Allow us to recommend a place with really, really good food . . . and a chef who is using his success to help others.

I'm talking about Jambo Café.
 No, it's not stereotypically Santa Fe. It's not Mexican food, or Spanish, or Native, or any combination thereof.  

It's indigenous African food. Real soul food, homestyle African and Caribbean cuisine. It's very reasonably priced, the portions are good-sized, and the flavors are incredible. We stopped in after finishing up at the Cocteau on Tuesday. It's one of the side benefits of our rare trips to Santa Fe, which are usually supply runs: We actually get to go out to eat. And Jambo's prices mean that we can afford to get lunch.

Tuesday, I had the Island-Spiced Peanut Coconut Chicken Stew with a side order of Roti. If you've never had roti done right, you don't know what you're missing. and theirs is most certainly done right. They also serve beer and wine; if you like ale, I can recommend the local Santa Fe Nut Brown Ale.

But here's what's really great: Chef Ahmed Obo is a community activist who works to provide a better future for kids in his native Lamu, Kenya. [Part of Lamu has, like Taos Pueblo, been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.] Mr. Obo established the Jambo Kids Foundation, and last year opened a model health clinic in Lamu known as the Jambo Kids Clinic. From the Foundation's Web site:

Contributing to a Healthy Future for Lamu includes improving both the health and education for the citizens of Lamu Island, part of the Kenyan coastline.  Lamu is a chain of 7 islands covering 3,000 square miles. It is home to nearly 100,000 people, 50% of whom are children.  And while Lamu Old Town is 800 years old and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and called “the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa”, it is poor.  Healthcare opportunities are minimal. 
In the Fall of 2013, the Jambo Kids Foundation has successfully installed and opened a model healthcare clinic ~ the Jambo Kids Clinic.  A one year budget to operate Jambo Kids Clinic is $85,000; we have successfully raised $40,000 since September of 2013.
And from the Clinic itself:

The Project:  Build and operate the Jambo Kids Clinic, a model health care facility serving the people of Lamu Island.  Phase One is complete:  Jambo Kids Clinic opened it’s doors on November 1st, 2013.  Scroll down for a photo gallery of the clinic. 
The Stats:

  • The clinic serves between 30-40 people a day, most of them children
  • The number one request for treatment is due to respiratory issues.  Followed by dental issues and ear infections.  

  • Click Here for a detailed report of medical services rendered in January 2014. 
The Goal:  Raise $85,000 to cover furniture, medical equipment, drugs, and quality staffing for one year.  The actual cost of running the clinic at it’s current rate of seeing patients is about $4,000 a month.  Our goal to raise $85,000 stands to implement Phase Two.  Phase Two includes:
  • Increase the number of staff to serve the growing numbers of patients 
  • Build a Obstetrics / Maternity ward to offer OB/GYN care, prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care. 
  • Implement a medical professional volunteer program 
  • The building that houses the clinic was donated by Ahmed Obo.  Mr. Obo is underwriting Foundation administrative and fundraising costs.  100% of your contribution goes directly to sustaining The Jambo Kids Clinic. [My emphasis.]
The Challenge: Lamu Island has a rundown 80-bed hospital.
  • Only 1 doctor is on staff, an astounding 1:35,000 doctor/patient ratio. 
  • Maternal mortality is nearly 1,000 per 100,000 births compared to 360 for Kenya as a whole. In the U.S. that rate is 21. 
  • Infant mortality is 72 per 1,000. Children under 5 mortality is 123 per 1,000.  In the U.S. the rates are 6 and 8 respectively. 
  • Most Lamu residents live at least 3 miles from the hospital which can only be reached by foot or donkey. 
  • Life expectancy is 57 years.

As noted above, Mr. Obo is using profits from Jambo Café and his associated business, Jambo Imports, to underwrite ALL administrative costs. This means that 100% of a donor's contribution via the Foundation is tax-deductible.

So, next time you're in Santa Fe, consider stopping at Mr. Obo's wonderful restaurant. You'll be eating really good food, and supporting really good work at the same time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When baby steps are leaps and bounds:

Photo copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.
When you have an animal with severe PTSD.

As of tomorrow, it will be exactly four months since Ice crossed a downed section of fence onto our side and made himself at home (he'd mysteriously appeared on the other side of the fence, unclaimed, unknown, and apparently unowned, two or three days before that). The photo above was taken on February 14th, which was, I believe, the first time we managed to get him all the way into that stall. Now he goes in on his own.

The other stalls, the two conjoined ones separated by ProPanel sections that have always been shared by the other horses? Not so much.

Not at all, actually. They terrify him.

It seems to make him claustrophobic. And because the structure is bisected by the ProPanels, it does mean that they are narrower — and the interior is darker — than is the case with this separate stall at the extreme south end of the south pen, the pen he shares with Harmony and Spock. But he's never been willing to enter them. At all. Not even a little bit.

At the entry to the south one is what's called an Itchin' Post (yes, it's the trade name). They're rubberized mats that look a bit like an egg crate in structure; you nail them around the end of a stall wall or a post, and the horses can rub up against them when they're itchy (as they are now while shedding the last of their winter coats), hence the name. We put some up years ago, but the other horses can rarely be arsed to use them.

A few weeks ago, Ice finally noticed them, and now he uses them daily. But with the one on entry wall of the conjoined stall, he's always placed himself sideways to it, so not even his rump would be inside the stall.

Until 15 minutes ago. I walked outside, and there he was with his butt in the stall. Under the roof, between the walls, inside it and everything. No, not the rest of his body; just his rump. But that's more than he's ever been willing to risk inside that dark scary place before.

It looks like a baby step to anyone else. I can see just how big a leap it is for him.

When even the south stall (the one shown above) still has the capacity to frighten him, this is a big deal.

A couple of nights ago, he was closed into the south stall as usual, with his alfalfa. Wings wanted to get some probiotics into him, which involves mixing a powdered form with a little grain. We use an old, battered metal dog bowl for that purpose, and Wings took it in like he normally does.

And Ice freaked. Not violently; just frightened enough that he wouldn't take it, wouldn't eat it, wouldn't eat it out of the trough. Started trotting in circles, getting stressed. So Wings left it in the trough and asked me to try.

I went in and he shied a bit, but didn't run. I got a handful out of the trough. Put it under his nose. He ate it. I called him to follow me, motioning to the trough. He tossed his head, then made a single tight turn, and followed me straight to the trough. Began to eat.

Baby steps.

Big leaps.

He's gonna be all right.

Copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Updates From the Show

So, we're both completely exhausted, but elated.

We wrapped up little details at the venue yesterday — all the thousand and one things that you think are covered but find are missing some suddenly-crucial element. There was one thing we could not get accomplished, unfortunately, but circumstances simply made it impossible. There may yet be a workaround; we'll see.  

The trip itself went, again, incredibly smoothly. All the more remarkable on that score when you consider that we had a sick dog with us; Grif is not well enough to be left unattended, so we bundled him into the back seat. He's doing much better — still staggering like a drunken little old man, and still falling occasionally, but at least he can struggle to his feet and make it from Point A to Point B, however precariously. He's drinking water regularly, and I think he'll be ready to try some watery rice and broth today. [For those who don't know, CVS is canine vertigo; the spinning sensation makes the dogs too nauseated to eat or drink.]

The good news from the venue is that Sam tells us that there's been HUGE interest in Wings's silverwork. He says that people love the jewelry, and comment on it regularly. No sales yet, but that's to be expected; quite often, shows wind up being more about exposure and building a future clientele than about immediate sales. When you consider the events calendar at the Jean Cocteau Cinema for the duration of the show, this has the potential to get his work in front of thousands of new pairs of eyes, and that's a wonderful thing.

Speaking of that events calendar, here's a sample: Monday night, they hosted internationally acclaimed author Junot Díaz for a reading and book signing. Last night, it was a campaign fundraiser for New Mexico Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. Tonight, it'll be another reading and book-signing event, hosting in person yet another internationally acclaimed author: famed mystery novelist Anne Perry. And from May 1 through May 4, it's the prestigious Santa Fe Film Festival. And throughout the period of the show, there are an endless parade of indie, arts, cultural, cult, and other film screenings; smaller film festivals; live music; variety and magic shows; and other cool cultural events.

Meanwhile, we are the proud new owners of three direwolves: Grey Wind, Summer and Ghost (I've called dibs on Ghost already). No, don't worry; we haven't gone and adopted three wild wolves (although you can do that, here, if you're so inclined). The Martins are long-time benefactors of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, and organization that rescues and rehabilitates wolves. Wild Spirit even has a "Westeros Pack." But our three are these, given to us by their spirit mom.

Yesterday was just a whole series of gifts, and reminders to be thankful. But apart from Griffin's continued improvement, the greatest gift we received yesterday was the chance to see and hug a very dear and very beautiful friend for the first time in four months. We love you, darlin'.

And now, I'm two days behind on chores, and the wind's already rising. Time to get to it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yeah, one thing I ain't gettin'.


Off to Santa Fe today to deliver the last of what's needed for the show. Griffin is coming along for the ride, since we can't leave him here unattended.

And tomorrow, maybe I can begin catching up on all things that I've had to let slide.

For now, though, MOAR COFFEE . . . .

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Need a Break

No, the song has nothing to do with anything, other than memories.

So, the vet gave the horses their vaxes on Friday. And, like clockwork, two of them colicked on Saturday morning. [I caught it in the earliest stages; they're fine. It's a common reaction to vaccinations because of the inflammatory response it generates, and we know to watch for it.] A third lamed up a bit from the intramuscular effects [they get it in the rump, because the neck generates a much bigger and more dangerous inflammatory response.] And Miskwaki is having less-than-pleasant gastric effects, although not, thankfully, colic or founder.

Then yesterday, thinking we were losing Griffin ten days after losing Lilith. It looks like he'll be okay, but it's going to be a difficult few days while the symptoms pass. And I really wasn't planning on shelling out the kind of money I did yesterday, either for vet bills or for show-related expenses, so I'm cranky on that score. Happy frickin' Easter; that bunny's on my list, and not in good way.

Today is going to be hellishly busy — a ton of small things, none of them particularly onerous inherently, but all extremely time-consuming and all of which have to get done TODAY.

So I won't be around much.  If y'all would "Like," "Share," Tweet, and otherwise distribute these two links, I'd be grateful. Feel free to share this one, too, which reproduces the brochure for Wings's show. 

And maybe by tonight, I'll be feeling halfway sane again and able to carry on a coherent conversation.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Preview of "Taos Pueblo: Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces": It's the Exhibit Brochure

This is the brochure for Wings's show at the Cocteau in Santa Fe. They arrived late, but we need to make a second run down there anyway for a variety of purposes, so we'll be taking them down to the venue on Tuesday. We'll set aside a few for distribution from here, of course.

Normally, when i design a brochure, it's got less text, more images, and much more blank space. But we're on kind of a shoestring budget here, and this has to double — treble, actually — as brochure, program guide, and interpretive text. So what you see here is sort of the opposite of what I would normally file under the heading "brochure" — but despite that, I still think it came out pretty well, and will serve its purpose[s] pretty effectively.  It's a standard tri-fold, which means there are six panels. I'm putting the other panels over the jump. I think they'll be readable in the images themselves, so I'm not going to bother with reproducing the text next to each; it'll be just the visuals.

The point is to walk the reader through the background for — the foundation of — the show itself. It includes Wings's "exhibition statement," which is sort of like an artist's statement, but tailored specifically to the content of the show in question. It also includes abridged versions of the biographical and historical information we've always used on his Web site: "About the Artist" [here, "About Wings"]; "About the Art"; "About Taos Pueblo."

At left is the front cover. More over the jump:

What a horrible day.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Home again, finally.  Spent 2+ hours at the vet on an emergency basis with this guy.

I've spent $500 today that I wasn't expecting — half toward newly-arisen needs for Wings's show; half for Griffin's emergency care — and I'm fricking wiped. No food, no coffee, lots of carrying of a nearly-60-pound dog by myself, and the absolute terror that I would lose my canine soul mate a mere ten days after losing Lilith.

It's [mostly] good news. It's CVS [canine vestibular syndrome, geriatric form]. I called it earlier today, as a matter of fact, but his condition deteriorated so fast that I was fearing something much, MUCH worse. He can recover; it'll just take a few days of working with his condition, some anti-nausea meds, and some confinement. His labs were outstanding, and all the more so considering his age.

But I've been through the wringer, and so has he, and so has the checkbook, and I probably won't get to the brochure stuff (or anything else) yet tonight. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Big, BIG ups to our friend Raya Golden, who has been nominated for a Hugo Award!

The Hugo Awards are THE international literary award in the sci-fi and fantasy literature genre, so even being nominated is a huge honor. Raya's been nominated in the category "Best Graphic Story" for Meathouse Man. It's based on a novelette that George R.R. Martin wrote many years ago for an anthology, and he calls it "probably the darkest and most twisted thing [he's] ever written." With his permission, she adapted it for the graphic novel format and did all the illustrations. [She's one of his assistants, and she's also an absolute genius of an artist in her own right.]

Congrats, Raya, you brilliant groovy woman!  Big props and love from both of us.

To my peeps:  Y'all really should check out her art. And, you know, buy some of it.

Somebody's pleased with himself.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Have a little horsey side-eye for your Saturday.

So, someone (not I) forgot to fasten the gate chain on one of the pens. I went out about 7:00 AM to retrieve something from the studio — and got to see a spectacular light show over the mountains, by the way — and I couldn't see the boy anywhere.

His pen-mates were standing nose-to-butt between the stall and the gate. Which was wide open. Surprised the other two were where they were supposed to be, but I have a sneaking suspicion that was thanks to She-Wolf and Raven, not any essential sense of propriety on their part.

So right now, Ice is up by the north willows, happily Hoovering the alfalfa. I suppose he deserves it, since he aced his first vet visit yesterday.

Wings was handling it while I took care of other things, and he tells me that Ice handled his first vaccination (probably his first ever) like a champ. The horse vet pronounced him a "score" — meaning that if we're going to have a starving half-wild horse just show up and move in, we got a really good horse out of the deal. Says he's absolutely sound, and in great shape despite the apparent lifetime of starvation and abuse.

Still no definitive word on his age. At least five; theoretically, he could be as old as 20, but that's unlikely. Particularly given his athletics last week when one of the mares was in heat. Yes, I started a very early morning off last week by having to run out in the cold and yell at him to climb down. Yes, that kind of "climb down." Fortunately, he's voice-responsive. Also, too, fortunately, he doesn't have the ability to procreate. My guess is five to seven in terms of age.

Still a lot of work to do with him. Desensitization is a daily thing, but he and I worked on some of it yesterday before the horse vet arrived. At any rate, after four months here, he's — as the horse vet apparently said yesterday about Miskwaki — "a whole new horse."

Copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Announcing "Taos Pueblo: Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces," at the Jean Cocteau Cinema

So, he didn't like any of yesterday's casual shots. Maybe it's for a reason, since online dissemination of images of the pieces in the exhibit really should be kept to a minimum until show is over, hence my use of the GoFundMe image again.

But Taos Pueblo:  Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces is now up and open to the public. It runs through May 11th at the Jean Cocteau Cinema on Montezuma Street in Santa Fe. 

If you're anywhere in the area but have never been to the venue, it's wonderful and you should see it purely for its historic value alone: It's an old Art Deco-period art-house cinema in a building from Santa Fe's heyday. It closed down permanently something eight years ago, which was a huge loss for the Santa Fe and New Mexico arts communities. When George R.R. Martin and Parris McBride Martin bought it last year, they restored it completely, and the work really shows: It's beautiful. Also very cozy, homey, and inviting, and while I absolutely love Deco art and architecture, it's a real accomplishment to pull it off AND make it feel warmly welcoming to everyone who walks through the door.

It seems that they screen films at various times throughout the day on a daily, or near-daily, basis. They also feature specific events, and the ones that will be occurring during the period of Wings's one-man show are pretty stellar: In-person author appearances and book signings by Junot Diaz and Anne Perry; a political fundraiser for Michelle Lujan-Grisham for Congress; the Santa Fe Film Festival, which promises to be spectacular; and assorted film screenings and festivals, live music, and other events. And you can always drop in to have some coffee at the cinema café, which includes a coffeehouse and bar, even if you don't have time or the inclination to take in a film. Wings's exhibit is right in the café itself, so you can view what I think is some truly spectacular Native art while you enjoy your espresso or your Fire and Blood Game of Thrones Red Ale.

Here's the official announcement from the Jean Cocteau Cinema, both on the venue's Web site and on its Facebook page. Please share them far and wide; "Like" and "Share" them on Facebook, Tweet it, link it elsewhere, and e-mail it to your networks. We'd like this to be a huge success, not just for Wings, but for the Jean Cocteau Cinema, for its wonderful owners and staff (who are just incredible people), and for future artists, especially Native ones, who might follow.

And one year ago, . . .

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
somebody else arrived.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day Miskwaki crossed the downed fence onto our side. I know I've posted updates about his progress, but today's the anniversary of those sickening photos Wings took to document the shape he was in. 

For those who don't remember, or who have never seen them, be sure you're ready to look at these:

Photo copyright Wings, 2013; all rights reserved.
You can't tell from the photo, but he was nearly dead. He could barely stand, and probably wouldn't have lived out the week. Until the moment shown here, I don't know when he'd last had water; certainly not for the previous week or so, and possibly much longer than that. No real food, either, for months. Cuts, scrapes, and sores. Hooves so long that he now has permanent damage (he'll be rideable again, but not yet). And none of that compares to the psychological scars he bears from the years of abuse.

Photo copyright Wings, 2013; all rights reserved.
I know I look like I'm smiling in the photo, but I'm not. I was talking to Wings when he took the shot, and the things I was saying right then don't bear repeating here. Not because I don't own every single thing I said then and more, but because it serves no purpose to revisit that stream of profanity and rage here.

Photo copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.
This is what my boy looks like now.

He's so mellow, so eager to please, so happy. But he's not healed yet.

We're working on desensitization. Certain things still scare the hell out of him, chief among them being the prospect of someone riding him. When he meets people for the first time, he's still wary, and he doesn't really trust anyone except the two of us. But he's no longer head-shy (well, at least not with me), and despite his history of abuse, he's fine now with the presence of the so-called "carrot stick," as long as it's my hand that's holding it.

He's also very intuitive to my mood and responsive to my voice. If I'm upset or sad, he'll come and lean his big beautiful head against me. If I want him to do something — or, more likely, stop whatever he's doing — it usually only takes one command.

Those are huge strides in the space of a year for a horse that was beaten, starved, otherwise abused and neglected, and psychologically deeply scarred. 

Last year, when I was going through some stuff I'd rather not discuss, renzo told me to ask the "magic horse" — Miskwaki — for help. I did. And apparently, it worked. I'm still here, he's still here, and at the moment, the world looks pretty good.

Three Years

Photo copyright Wings, 2011; all rights reserved.
Monday was the actual day. Between the killer pace of prepping for the show and having lost Lilith four days previously, I was in no shape to post anything.

But April 14, 2011, was the night this little girl left us. It was too late to do anything then, so we laid Dom to rest the next morning. Lilith is now resting between Dom and Major.

This was another little being with a heart to match any human warrior. She survived horrors (as a bait dog, among other things) before finding her way to me. That raised paw? That's because it was broken in puppyhood, and her [alleged] humans couldn't be bothered to fix it. By 2.5, when she came to me, the shelter/rescue had had to rebreak it and pin it, and they screwed it up so badly that it had to be fused. Bleeding and infection followed; I took care of fixing that on my own.

Pit bull/rat terrier, as nearly as we could tell. Liked to play scaredy-dog, but really had a hell of a lot of heart and strength. And once she wormed her way into your heart (and your lap), you couldn't remove her, even surgically, if you tried.

We found out she was sick roughly two weeks before she left us. It was the same thing that took Lilith's life: pyrethrin toxicity, leading to tumors throughout her body. Lilith first showed sign of having developed it two months after we lost Dom, and the first death scare with her was on June 17th of that same year. She hung nearly three more years, but Dom's little body couldn't hold out that long.

I still feel her sometimes; we both do. A few days ago, a sudden image of Lilith flashed into my mind's eye, wholly unbidden: She was walking alone, westward, down a road that I'd never seen before, when suddenly she saw someone she recognized. She broke into a run, that big doggy grin on her face, and I could see that she was running like she used to — healthy, tumors gone, gray gone, her coat back to full black and white. And I knew she'd just seen Dom, and they were running to greet each other.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Opening Day!

No, not baseball. 

At long last, and after a two-day logistical delay, we're finally launching Wings's one-man show, Taos Pueblo:  Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces.

If by some freak chance you are seeing this for the first time, details are here.

We'll be leaving for Santa Fe before long. When we get back, I intend to catch up on much-needed sleep.

Chi miigwech and ta'a from both of us to everyone who helped us get here.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Something Devastating and Yet Beautiful

Photo copyright Ajijaakwe, 2014; all rights reserved.
An online friend from Daily Kos has a heartbreaking diary up. Since I can't get a comment to post there, I'll put this here. Someday, if the time is right, he'll find it.

I knew only a bit about the struggles newpioneer and his beloved Juan, beautiful souls both, have faced in recent years. I did know that Juan had been battling cancer intermittently for years, but I had no idea that things had taken this turn. 

[As an aside, that's another stark reminder to me to stop being so self-absorbed: When someone's name unexpectedly crosses my mind for any reason, as newpioneer's did a month or so ago, for the love of all that's holy, reach out.]

On Sunday, Juan lost his battle with the malignant invader colonizing his body. Now newpioneer begins a new stage of his own life's journey, without his beloved partner, and as he put it, now he has to figure out how to put the pieces back together without Juan.

The diary is something very special. The pain emanates from the very letters, and they will rend your heart. But even more, so emanates the beauty of the great love these two shared — share. Because while Juan's body may have gone to Spirit, his own spirit remains embodied in the huge and glorious love that so clearly lives in newpioneer's heart.

It will make you weep. But go read. Leave him a note of support. Let him know that his online family loves him and will be here to help.

And my friend, should you read this here, know that you and Juan and all your animals are in my heart. You can always, always come to me: to remember, to witness, to weep, to be silent. Whatever you need, I'll be here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Urgent Announcement: 2-Day Delay

We have a two-day delay in launching the show.

No, it's not the money; it's a logistical issue that's out of our control. No, it's not the venue; this represents a bloody inconvenience for them and they've been incredibly understanding about it. No, it's nobody's "fault"; it falls into the category of "just one of those things." Remember what I said about the Fates?


Thursday afternoon it is.

The one ray of light I can see in all of this is that in the intervening two days we both might actually finally get some sleep.

/mortified frustration

Monday, April 14, 2014

Last day before opening — help us spread the word!

Today is going to be beyond crazy. I probably will not be available for anything at all between now and Wednesday other than getting ready for tomorrow's opening of Wings's one-man show.

Nature typically retains her acidic sense of humor: After getting into the 60s yesterday, we now have several inches of snow on the ground, with more coming down. Current temp, 19; wind chill, 13. But I've been up since 3 AM, so this represents a warm-up.

Consider this your reminder. Please share, like, tweet, e-mail, spread it far and wide. We want this show to be a success, not only for Wings, but for our hosts at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. And, of course, if you or anyone you know wants to drop a few pennies in the bucket to defray further expenses (they're seemingly endless — a perfect example of it being a good thing not to know what you're getting into, or you'd be too afraid to do it), you can hit the PayPal button in the upper right corner or go to Wings's GoFundMe page, here.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This is my friend Liane. She and her family need a hand right now.

Photo Copyright Liane Allen, 2014; all rights reserved.
Go here to help.
You know how bad things seem to come in threes? It's not just you.

I blame Shakespeare, for one: The Three Weyard Sisters have done much to reinforce the notion.

But it's much older than that, going back at least to ancient Greece and the Three Fates. Clotho and Lachesis are pains in their own right, but it's that witch Atropos who gets us all in the end.

Well, Liane and her family are feeling like the newest targets of the contents of the Weyard Sisters' cauldron, or of the Fates' sewing skills.

As with us (a LOT of us), the Bush economy was not kind to Liane and her family. That was Hit #1: She and her husband lost their jobs some years back, and since then, it's been a daily struggle just to claw their way back from the brink. They had 401ks to cash in, and credit cards to use for COBRA payments and emergencies, so they had a bit of a fragile and very expensive safety net at the time. Hit #2: They took what I know all too well to be a humbling step, and got food and meals from community kitchen programs that feed the hungry. They grew what food they could themselves, too. And on the days and nights when there wasn't enough to go around, they did without so their children could eat.

Eventually, her husband found another job. Between his income and her perseverance at turning their family's home and lives into something both cost- and energy-efficient (and thus also eco-friendly, sustainable, and positively green), they and the kids managed to survive. And for Liane, it sparked a renewed interest in energy efficiency and sustainable living as both avocation and vocation, and she set her brilliant mind to creating ways to help other people make their own lives more greener (and more cost-effective, as well). 

Things were finally humming along smoothly. I'll let Liane tell it:

On Monday, our son took a placement exam to get into college a year early. He's a bright kid, and is highly motivated to become a robotics engineer. He has worked so hard for this! He did well on the test, so all that's left is the SAT in June and he'd likely be heading to Vermont Technical College in September. 
A few months ago, our daughter was accepted into the UnCollege Gap Year Program. It's an amazing opportunity! She has been busy readying herself to go, and taking on odd jobs to raise some of the funds, and we've been putting money aside each month, to help fill in the gap. 
In the mean time, I've been working on building a way to help people overcome the up-front cost hurdle of green energy projects. I've made good progress, but need to learn a bit more in order to finish up the work-in-progress. With that in mind, I applied for the General Assembly Web Development Immersive program.
And Hit #3: She was accepted.

Two hours after her husband was laid off from his job with no warning, no notice.

Those Fates: What a sense of humor. A dark, black, sick, mean one.

As Liane put it, she went from feeling that all would at long last be well to utter hopelessness in the space of four hours flat.


These are our friends. A lot of us know Liane (and by extension, we "know" her family) from various online communities. And if you know her like I do, you know what a big heart and generous spirit she has whenever someone else is in need. So we need to pay forward and give back, which means we need to extend our own hands to Liane and her family and help them get through this, with their kids' futures intact.

She's set up a crowdfunding site to help her get attend the coding course, so that she can get her project, Green Planet Heroes, up and running and bringing in income to help her family. The goal is $10K. That seems like a lot, but you know what? We can do that, and more, provided we spread this as far and wide as we can. 

You remember Shanesha Taylor? When I wrote about her terrible and tragic situation, her $9K goal was already exceeded, with donations totaling more than $17K. As I write this, her donation total sits at exactly $102,000, with 18 days remaining for her fundraiser. One hundred two thousand dollars in a couple of weeks for a homeless woman and her children, raised almost entirely from strangers over the Internet.

Surely, between all of us, we can raise the $10,000 Liane needs, and some extra to help get her son to college in September.

Go here. Give if you can. But even if you can't, share it with every person in your networks, both on- and offline. You never who that one person will be who will be moved to donate in a major way.

Chi miigwech.