Saturday, August 2, 2008

One Of The Perks OF Being An Elder

It is time for another story…last week I went to Value Village. VV is one of those national chains that sell donated goods to value seeking garage sale addicts who can’t find a garage sale fix between Monday and Thursday. The prices are not so good at VV except on Monday because Monday is 40% off for people over 55!

Sadly, as I now qualify for the discount…I confess to my own regular ritualistic visit to VV on the first workday of every week. I have learned to go early and to not be shocked at the hordes of folks who have even more white hair than me. Their unnatural ambulatory prowess at pushing a cart while simultaneously snatching things off the shelves is absolutely amazing. Withered hands snake through the air like the tongue of a frog snatching up a tasty fly morsel.

This past Monday, I arrived at VV with great anticipation. Shoes are a thing for me and Imelda probably had more shoes than me but I am sure that she didn’t enjoy buying Born shoes for $2.99. Such a discount and if they smell clean and are almost new, I figure they are just like shoes that are tried on by someone at a shoe store who didn’t wear one of those annoying little Peds. For the uninitiated, a Ped is a sort of badly made half sock that if your feet are larger than a size 5 will not fit over any part of your foot except the front half-thus leaving the last part of your foot exposed to any shoe you may put on your tootsies! So much for health and hygiene.

No shoes this week. So I leaned on my cart for support and gingerly ambled my way over to the racks that held the larger girl clothes and proceeded to flip through the blouses that were too pink, too puce (green), too blue, and too old except to use as a dust rag. And low and behold, my search yielded two dresses for church and a few blouses that I can use for work. A good day for the hunter and gatherer.

Pushing my cart through the sea of other shopping dowagers I arrive at the try-on cubicles. They are great little inventions and I seem to remember when I shopped new stores that they had locking doors. At VV, the doors do not lock and as a professional courtesy, I must warn you to be aware that the narrow claustrophobic inducing try-on cubbys might have been used for alternative purposes.

ADVICE TO THE VV NEWBIE: Never, Never, Never put your purse on the floor while trying on clothing! Try to remember which day of the week you are shopping and if it is Monday, the cubicle might have been mistaken for a bathroom by a small child or an incontinent valued customer. It has happened to me and I can tell you that my purse was tossed into the trash can, outside the building, along with a few muttered curses aimed at the varmint who pissed in the corner of the try-on room. (After reading what I just wrote, I realized that it might sound like I peed in the corner of the cubby but it is too early in the morning for me to figure out how to rewrite this paragraph. Rest assured that even though I am “Of Age”, I can still distinguish between the little male/female icons on the bathroom door and the “Try On” room sign.)

Back to the story, blouses clutched in hand, I head into the doorway of the cubby with more than the three articles of clothing that the sign warns me not to try and take into the try-on room. Finally inside and holding my purse between my legs to keep it dry, I reach for the upper most button of the top I am wearing while leaning forward to hang the other 19 pieces of clothing on the smallish hook that is attached to the side wall. I bang into the mirror and nearly loose my balance but the walls are so close that I really can’t fall too far and I regain my balance quickly. The door is slightly ajar and I briefly worry that someone might see my ta-tas as I change and then figure that if they get a view of my weary and sagging naked girls they are getting only what they deserve for being such a perv.

Two of the blouses are great and I look forward to trying on the silk blouse with the long sleeves. I envision myself as a power professional enveloped in soft yellow making the sale of the century. As I squeeze my man-sized hands into the cuff of the blouse, I think, hmm-a somewhat tight fit. Oh well, next time I put it on I will unbutton the cuffs…

I am stuck, I have just pulled the shirt off of my shoulders and my arms are blouse bound behind me with my hands snuggly snared in the shirt cuff. I can’t get out!!! I now know what Peter Rabbit felt like in the cabbage patch wearing Mr. McGregors too tight clothes. I am already suffering a world class case of claustrophobia due to the size of the cubby, and with both my arms caught backward in the sleeves of the blouse, I can only jump around and try to pull my way to freedom. Sweating profusely, I try valiantly to maintain a dangerous and precarious act of balance in order to keep my purse dry. I realize that if this goes on any longer my weary bladder may let fly and I may wet myself, as well as, the floor of the cubby. Now I understand where the puddle of urine that destroyed my good purse came from.

Finally I am free. My assailant is on the floor. And I am considering peeing on the yellow silk number just for vindication. Yes, I have combined my power with that of the blouse and the blouse has more power than it started with but I am so angry that it got the better of me that the thought of a little urine between good enemies does not go unconsidered.

On a calmer note, Value Village is a great place to shop, however, their prices are a little to high except if you are over 55 and it is Monday. But let the buyer be ware!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reverence For The Columbia River And Its People By A Desert Dweller

Life is good. Met with some wonderful folks yesterday. Ate Salmon and Fry Bread. Holy food. Heard stories about the time before technology invaded our world and was given the chance to see the Columbia River from the perspective of one of the Columbia River Elders who was raised on its banks and had fished its waters all of his life. He was a wonderful man. He wore his cell phone strapped to his belt like a weapon, a soft cotton cowboy shirt with pearlized snaps on the pockets, and a good pair of baggy bottom Levi's held up by a tight leather belt. His hands, so much like my grandmother's, were soft yet impossibly worn by work and age.

I miss family most of all and sometimes, like yesterday, I am blessed with a glimpse of what used to be. I will forever more reverence Creator and the river.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

American Indian Market at Chinook Winds

Wow! What a great weekend. We spent two days in Lincoln City, Oregon at the Chinook Winds Casino. The casino hosted the first annual Native American Market and was it wonderful! We were one of the vendors and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Great people, great artwork, and great atmosphere.

Mirabele, the incredible musician, artist, and political commentator gave a free ninety minute concert and it was a rockin time in Indian Country! Ed Edmo was there and told stories so funny that we laughed until we cried. There were drums and singers and lots of wonderful artwork made by Native American artisans. It was good to be indigenous!

I donated one of my paintings to the casino for a drawing. The picture of the man who won the painting is to the right of this posting. He seemed to like the piece and I was even asked to sign an autograph. So I guess I sort of know what a rock star feels like? NOT! But I am glad he liked the picture, as I would hate to think he regifted it or donated it to the GoodWill. Yes, I am insecure.

Am very grateful to Chinook Winds Casino and in particular to Ravelle Lewis. She is a wonderful person and has a strong desire to make more options available to Indian folks through creating a venue where we can sell authentic Native American arts and crafts. Good woman.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What Happens When Daughters Become Their Mother's Mothers

A Fairy Tale Of Momentous Import

Once upon a time there was a country bumpkin who went to the city. When she arrived she gawked at the tall buildings that seemed to touch the sky and the high bridges that spanned the wide rivers. She was amazed at the Bart and marveled at the tram. She was so excited that she couldn’t contain herself. She burbled and squeaked her way through the day and generally annoyed the daughter who agreed to take her shopping. But most wondrous of all was the moment she hit the first floor of IKEA! Cue the harp music and turn up the lights, we are about to ascend to Nirvana.

Yes, dear ones I have learned that there is a place where all good housewives go when they seek their final reward and it is linens, dishware, and all things bright and shiny. It is back in the corner and around the large wall where only the most informed shoppers know to look for the best of all that the code of shopping has to offer the hunters and gatherers of today’s society. The second floor of the palace of all things do-it-yourself, is a wealth of ideas tapped by the home and garden shows but the first floor, ahhhhh, now that is heaven.

For example, have you ever wanted to find those short little curtain rods that turn on a hinge and look so cool with a narrow panel of curtain falling to the floor in puddles. Well IKEA has them! Yes, and they are not expensive. I was hyperventilating as my eyes took in all of the ways in which I could drape my newly painted living room in fabric supported by polished nickel hardware. Such dreams…such hopes…such good prices!

I was so excited I flitted like a butterfly down aisle after aisle with my giggling daughter trying to keep me contained. Our mother and daughter roles had suddenly reversed and my daughter/mother was trying to keep me from smearing glass ware with my sticky fingers and slobbering all over the flooring material that was only 69 cents a square foot. At one point she insisted I sit down because I was embarrassing her. I was embarrassing her?! But she was right, I needed to pace myself. I needed to regroup and make plans.

As I sat waiting for my mother/daughter to look in another direction, I pretended to act as if I had calmed down and was ready to be rewarded by being released from my time out. Just when she thought it was safe to remove her hand from my head and her eyes shifted away from mine, I was up and running for the thermal blankets, pillow, and shams. She couldn’t catch me. I was full of the joy of middle aged acquisition. My children are all out of the house and on their own and I no longer need to shop for countless pairs of socks and underwear for one of my little darlings. “I am free to shop for meeeeeeee”, was my heart felt song of glee. I wax poetic.

Finally, when I became too weak and dehydrated to run any longer, my daughter caught up with me and led me to the check out stand. I groused about how mean she was to take me away from the toy store of the big girls and under her breath she cursed me for those hours I spent on the mini-trampoline building up my physical stamina with which to face middle age. She slammed her credit card into the machine, paid for her purchases and as she made her way to the store exit, I trudged down heartedly behind her as she pushed the cart.

It was then I made my final IKEA discovery: YELLOW BAGS are not to be taken out of the store. Although IKEA gives you plastic tape measures and tiny pencils with little scraps of paper to take you through your shopping experience and back to your car, the best thing about the entire shopping experience was the YELLLOW BAG. It was made from Tyvec, the stuff builders use to wrap around buildings before siding is nailed up. Tyvec is tougher than anything and has the tensile strength of a space suit. The bags are bound with blue handles and I wanted the one I used for my first IKEA shopping experience. It was precious and I wanted to hang it on my wall right next to the puddling draperies.

I swear, the snippy chick who guards the exit to make sure that no one takes a bag out of the building must have read my mind! She swooped in on me, pointed at our cart with her long boney finger, and like some demon from Hades shouted, “These are only for use in the store”. I was crushed, mortified, broken, and annoyed.

But I will return. And I will shop without my daughter. I will take my grandchildren with me and I will feed them sugar and give them lots of the cinnamon roles that are sold at IKEA. They will create a distraction and I will get a YELLOW BAG. OOOOOHHHHAAAA! Turn down the lights Clyde the party is over... for now.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My "Authentic Self"

Lately I have been trying to improve my life through applying concepts from a book written by a television talk-show hypnotherapist. I should tell you that I bought the book on the 25 cent table at the Good Will, and although I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from the experience I did think a change in my world view might be a pleasant departure from the norm.

The book starts out asking you to lie down, get comfortable and visualize your “authentic self”. It explains that the authenticity I would need to conjure up would be most important to me as I read along from chapter to chapter. I tried so hard to visualize me authentically. I squeezed the lids of my eyes really tight, for a really long time, and all I could see were little black and red dots. For a while I feared my "auth-self" had the measles and in the darkness behind my shuttered lids I began worrying about my eyes bursting from squeezing my face up so tightly and for such an extended period of time. So much for lesson one.

Undaunted, I again attempted to visualize “auth-me”. After several more sweat producing and agonizing moments of concentration, I finally saw a blurry image of me sort of floating out there on the horizon. Wonder of wonders, I appeared tall and thin and blonde-my first husband’s dream girl! I was feeling pretty good about the me on the back of my eyelids when… Drat, I realized one of my eyes was cracked open a tiny fraction of an inch and I was focused on the TV image of a model with wings on her back and a pink sparkly bra across her chest. For just a moment, due to muscle tensing induced face freeze, I had “seen” myself as an angel in heaven modeling for Victoria and sharing her secrets. Sadly, the real reason for the vision was that my left eyelid had numbed from so much pursing that it had opened up without any neurological engagement on the part of my brain stem. And I still have a cramp in my forehead!

Fast forward, after extended hours of reading and visualizing, I can now see auth-self. She is thinner and has an air of composure and poise that I have worked to imbue her with as she floats out there in the ether. She is me and I am her and as I go throughout the days following this incredible breakthrough, I am happy. However, I slowly began to notice not only a difference in my world view but a different world altogether. The old me is now trapped somewhere in a corner of my mind and has become a disembodied voyeur watching “auth-self”wreck devastation wherever she goes with her truth spewing ways.

As proof of the change that has taken place consider this, at a recent luncheon, my poor friend who asked if her dress was too low in the front was rewarded with, “Not if you are a hooker”. Where did that come from? Oh no, my authentic self is a snarky wench! I try to improve my life and what happens? Here is a desperate thought, maybe the new me is like a pendulum that swings wide and bold at the very beginning and then winds down to a smoother rhythm as time goes by. Please slow down.

I am not sure if I can fully embrace the new me. She is so sure of herself and often frighteningly direct when responding to questions regarding truths. I guess I will have to be patient and see where Authentic Self takes me. But in the meantime, I remember when I was at the Good Will there was a book that outlined seven steps to achieveing a nicer you. That might work, I have another quarter.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

From The Book of Stupid Things People Do

A Story I Wrote a While Ago

Wonderful Husband and I have been feeling our age lately so we have taken time to be together more and do some silly things that we haven't thought of doing in a long while. We got the idea because one of our friends and her husband started taking square dancing lessons (or as she calls it American Folk Dancing) and another of our friends is blowing glass beads. Because both of these endeavors entail lots of breath control we decided that we could take the "road less traveled" and have little excursions in our car. (Not sex, as we are at an age when creature comforts really do count.)

One of our adventures is on Saturdays, when construction has stopped, we go around the barracades on a local street and drive on the unpainted section of this street that is under construction. We have giggled and grinned about how daring we are and wondered why the road has not opened as yet because it is certainly driveable.

Well, Monday night we found another road, much closer to home, that had barracades up and we thought we would see what was happening. So we drove around the barracades in the dark and headed toward the railroad track, when boom, boom, boom. Our tires and shocks felt like we had run over a chasm where the tracks should be. The tracks were still there but they were now 12 inches tall and there was a concrete abutment where the road should be.

As Husband floored the van to get out of what he perceived to be the sink hole from hell, we heard, and felt, the rims hit the tracks and we both knew we were in trouble. It appears that when a van traveling 25 mph hits 12 inch railroad tracks that the minimum damage to the vehicle is two blown out front tires and a dented oil pan. And, although the car used to pull a little to the left it now only pulls a little to the right and we believe that this is correctable.

We drove as fast as we could up the hill to get on even ground before the tires went completely flat. We tried to control our breathing but hyperventilation had already set in so we could hardly hear the air woosh out of the two front tires as they slowly sank into the gravel.

Of course it could have been worse; we might not have paid the AAA account and had to pay out of pocket to be towed, we could have bent the rims more than we did, the Big B Tire guy could have charged us more than $60.00 to replace the tires, and the towing guy could have gotten lost twice instead of just the one time when he came to tow us. We could have been sucked into a sink hole and drowned and the list could just go on and on. As it was, we just walked up our 7 degree grade hill and drove the car back to the van. We were cold for the two hours it took for the tow guy to find us but I personally have never been more grateful for the warmth of the slow burn that always comes when interacting with a mucho macho tow guy on a dark and stormy night.

Now here is my suggestion to those of you who might be feeling your age and want a little excitement in life, As "elder outlaws" do not break the cardinal rule of chance taking...when you are feeling old-go square not break traffic laws or endanger yourself by trying to do the advanced position in the yoga class!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Indian Health Services A Watchdog Website

Memories of Indian Health Services
And A Website to Keep an Eye on Indian Health Issues

Musings: following the birth of my third child at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center, I contracted a yeast infection. This is a common problem experienced by many post-partum women and although it is not life threatening it can be uncomfortable. When I saw the doctor at PIMC he wrote a script for suppositories and I promptly sat myself down outside of the pharmacy to await the filling of the prescription.

After the usual wait, I was called to the window of the pharmacy where a well dressed man in military uniform (Back in the day, the docs and pharmacists wore their military garb as a matter of course. It was only later that Indian hospitals and clinics encouraged military health care providers to wear civvies.) greeted me with the prescribed box of suppositories in his hand and a disinterested look on his face. He explained in a fairly loud voice that the medicine was for a, “VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION”, and that the medicine should be inserted into the “VAGINA” twice a day. But, and this is the most important thing he told me that day, “Before inserting the suppository, you must first take off the foil packaging!”

I was stunned but after a life time of being rebuffed because I happened to be an Indian making use of Indian health services, I quickly replied, “So that explains why it didn’t work last time!!" Bad Indian woman. NOT!!!!!

The website I have highlighted is one where you can see what is happening in Indian Country and the impact the US congress, and the President, has on the health of Indian people. Step one: click on ; step two, click on left hand side border where it reads NATIVE AMERICANS (the border is blue); step three, read and inform yourself. Remember many American Indians work at full time jobs, pay taxes, and raise kids and still do not have access to health insurance or are underinsured to the point where they cannot access adequate health care.

And in parting dear ones, always remember to take the foil off…

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Good day. Spoke with Steven M. Sachs Ph.D. today. He publishes a non-juried journal entitled "Indigenous Policy", . Interesting reading. Because of our conversation, I am thinking I might submit a small article about Oklahoma Indian families and their migration to Phoenix, Arizona in the 1940's.

Why you ask, well my own little Chickasaw family left the Sulpher area around that time and my grandmother, a lucky (?) Indian woman, found employment as a laundress at the Indian TB Sanitarium, in Phoenix. Because she had little education, granma was given the job of boiling soiled linens that bore sputum and blood stains from the lungs of TB infected patients in large pots on 110 degree days. It wasn't a perfect job but it was the only one she could find that provided both room and board for grandma and mom. They lived on the campus of the hospital and because there was no room for families my grandfather, and mom's older siblings, were forced to live elsewhere. Granma's paycheck supported them all. The impact on our family is representative of what was happening to other Indian families who left Oklahoma as a means of surviving the times. The family groups were fractured and irretrivably broken after only a few short years.

The question I have always wondered about is this, did the Indian health mangement policies of the time lead to the break down of our family or was it at an earlier time in Oklahoma with the loss of the land allotment that broke our family? Hmmmmm. Policy and indigenous folks... Genocide, granma tested positive for the scratch TB test for the rest of her life, and assimilation. Are they one and the same?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

American Indian Inclusion Manual written by Martin Reinhardt, Ph.D.

Blogging is such a wonderful way of connecting with folks. After the previous post, regarding the American Indian Inclusion Manual, I received an email from the author, Dr. Martin Reinhardt. The following is a snipit of the message he sent to me regarding the manual, "I am glad to see it being used. You can use the info below for attribution if you like. I am Anishinaabe Ojibway, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians".

Dr. Reinhardt's contact information:
Martin Reinhardt, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Interwest Equity Assistance Center
Colorado State University
410 Seventeenth Street, Suite 1419
Denver, Colorado 80202
(303) 623-5531
Cell: (720) 209-5190
Fax: (303) 623-9023

American Indian Inclusion Manual

The American Indian Inclusion Manual was created as a guide for both Indian and non-Indian educators seeking to include the Native American perspective in subjects across the curriculum.(
*The manual is a great way to learn how to include American Indian concepts and issues across all subjects
* It will also help to expand cultural understanding and how to apply these concepts beyond the standard Native studies curriculum
* Great educational strategies for both Native and non-Native educators
* This information can be downloaded at:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Great Quote By American Indian Artist

There are three kinds of people: first, the "dreamers and doers" who get things done; second, the people who "step in and try to take over" after something is finished; and third, the "yapping dogs" who sit on the sidelines...
-Janelle Romero, American Indian Actor, Producer

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Az Carmen has been chosen as the Indianprenuer for March 2008, by the Indigenous Internet Chamber of Commerce. Her interview and more of her paintings can be seen at:

The Indigenous Internet Chamber of Commerce is a great site and the owner, Larry Knudtsen, is a man who is serious about encouraging American Indian artists to market their artwork. I recently found the IIOCC site through NATIVE BIZ; an American Indian internet publication. Be sure and connect with Larry after going to his site,

Friday, February 29, 2008

Native Artists Making a Difference, Portland State University Art Show

“Native Artists Making a Difference”

Hosted By UISHE
Includes Live Art and Exhibits
Thursday March 6th, 2008


Bunky Echo-Hawk - Pawnee/Yakama

Natalie Ball - Modoc/Klamath

Az Carmen – Chickasaw

Toma Villa - Yakama

For more Information:
Nicole Charley
710 SW Jackson St
Portland OR 97201

Monday, February 25, 2008

Teach Your Children To Be Afraid

Good Morning,
You may not know this about me but I am a grandmother of 16 grandchildren. They are all unique and fun to be with and I love them with all of my heart. Both my husband and I pray about their safety and their well being on a daily basis. This week something happened that allowed me to understand more fully the importance of prayer. Because of this I thought I would tell you what happened with a chance email and how it may have protected the lives of a family living in Bolivia.

Earlier in the week, a person I have known for several years, but who seldom sends me emails, sent me an email with an attachment that included pictures of a highway in Bolivia built on the side of an enormously tall mountain range. The series of pictures showed a dirt road that was so narrow that two small trucks would have difficulty passing one another without one of the trucks falling into the 1,000 foot canyon below. There were about 10 picturesque images of the mountain range and the tunnels that were carved out of the mountains. They were beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. The pictures showed in detail the extremely treacherous nature of the highway. The one that made me sickest was the one with small buses filled with people being crowded to the edge of the abyss by trucks loaded with goods. It was scarey to look at on the computer and I decided to never again travel across any Oregon coastal bridges without closing my eyes. I forwarded the email to my daughter, as a curiosity, and promptly pushed the scarey images to the back of my mind.

Later in the day, my daughter, sent me an email telling me that she had forwarded the email to a friend of hers who is teaching in Bolivia and made the comment in the subject line, 'Your Commute to Work'. The comment in the subject line caught the attention of her friend and she opened it immediately. It appears that the friends in Bolivia had actually been planning a trip along the same highway for the next week! They had planned a weekend adventure on the basis of viewing one picture of the road and thought how fun it would be for them to travel over one of the world's most narrow and steep highways. When they viewed the attached email pictures they realized that they might be getting invovled with an adventure that could potentially be life threatening. They began to ask questions of friends and acquantainces about the road and found out that not only is it extremely dangerous but the highway is also frequented by bandits! They immediately decided to cancel their planned highway adventure and asked my daughter to forward thanks to the woman who originally sent the email.

The lessons I have learned from this experience are two fold. The first is that God does work in mysterious ways and the second is that prayers are often answered quickly and in the most miraculous ways. I am so grateful for this.

As an addendum, I relearned the importance of teaching your children to be violently afraid of heights, snakes, and things that go bump in the night!

Take care,

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Az Carmen featured as ONABEN's Indianpreneur for January

Painting: Man with Eagle, acryllic on canvas, 2007. 

(This article was originally published on the ONABEN website, January 2008.  For more information on Indianprenuership, see

Indianpreneur of January! 
Dr. Az Carmen

The Indianprenuer for January is Dr. Az Carmen, an artist who paints and draws on canvas, leather, and things that have been left around the house for "too long."  Her three-dimensional work includes dolls made from either cornhusks or cloth, including a new series called "Boarding School Dolls," and rawhide masks her Grandma taught her to make.  In the future she would like to explore painting murals.  In the following interview, Az describes the unique challenges of selling Native American artwork and her overnight transformation into a painter ten years ago.
Dr. Carmen has always been creative, but never took on art as a business full-time until two years ago when she finished her doctorate.

What inspired going out on a limb and starting your own business?

Really, I don't think of myself as a business person but as an artist who sells her work.  I earned a doctorate and found along the way that there was something missing; even though I was successful in my professional life, I always wanted to try and see if I could make a living through selling my art.  I have found it is tough to be an artist without a supportive spouse.  I really identify with the joke that goes: What does an artist need?  A husband with a good paying job!  I am blessed to have a wonderfully supportive man in my life who understands how important what I am doing is to me.

What's most challenging for you as a business owner?

The most challenging part of business for me is that to get into really good shows you are asked for a bio and resume that clearly indicates your work has been legitimized as acceptable by "fine art" galleries.  I find this to be really problematic and in discussion with other Indian artists find that they too see this as a problem as well.  Sometimes our work verges on what some galleries would identify as craft or even work by "outsiders".  Funny, I never felt like an outsider until I was told I was one.  Now I work with Indian-friendly galleries and sell at shows where the expectation is to view and perhaps buy legitimate Native American art work.

What are your plans for the future?  How would you like to grow?

My plans for the future are to continue to create more work and see who I am becoming as an artist.  I would like to sell at the open show for Indian Arts and Crafts Association, of which I am a member, and get into several more galleries . . . I would like to have my own work accepted and appreciated as art by an indigenous person.

What's special about your business?

My business is based on the gift of a talent that I received when I was very ill and was told by the doctor not to expect to recover my full health and energy.  On one very bad day I woke up and thought, "I can draw."  The next day I woke up and thought, "I can paint."  Oddly enough, I had never painted before and my claim to being able to draw anything was limited to five sided stars and strangely articulated stick figures!  As a result, I thank God everyday for my abilities and know that because they are a gift I have to approach the artwork in a reverent manner.  The "specialness" about my business is that everything I create is blessed by a miracle.

I also paint upside down and with two hands!  No kidding!