Saturday, August 31, 2013

Purse Shopping with Rosella

I do not enjoy shopping.  I've NEVER enjoyed shopping.  I generally try to get shopping over with as soon as possible so that I can get back home and not shop. 

I hate shopping for shoes, clothes. I don't even like shopping for groceries. 

I don't like browsing. 

I don't like Black Friday sales. 
 
Don't even get me started on window shopping or shopping while broke.  Ugh.  No thanks, I'll pass.   
 
My mom on the other hand LOVES to shop.

She can shop for hours and hours.  Even if she doesn't have any money, my mom will shop!  When she does have money, she won't always buy anything, but she'll still spend hours shopping.  She might spend two hours in a store and she would have been walking around, holding something the entire time, but the minute it's time to leave, she'll change her mind.  She basically just wants to look at things. 

It drives me absolutely nuts. 

The last time she was over for a visit, she mentioned to me that she was interested in a zebra print purse.  I did an online search for her, and she ooh-ed and aah-ed over purses, but she didn't understand the whole online-purchase-thing, or she wasn't comfortable with it, so we ended up not buying anything.  

My mom is incredibly indecisive, and like I said, she just likes to look at stuff, so I didn't take it seriously that she wanted to actually buy anything anyway.

During her most recent visit, however, my mom wouldn't stop talking about the zebra print purse.  She asked me everyday for a week, when we were going to go shopping for her new purse.  I knew she meant business this time.  

Also, my mom pronounces "zebra" as "zibra" which never fails to make me smile. Then, to top it all off, she kept talking about going to "Penny's." 

Although I hate shopping, I try to be really positive and upbeat during my mom's shopping adventures.  My siblings and I are strongly discouraging her from buying herself a car, because her eyesight is awful, so if we wanna keep Rosella out from behind the wheel of an automobile, I/we have to take her where she wants to go without complaining.    

You're welcome, world.

Here's what she wanted:
- She wanted a zebra print purse
- It needed to be big enough to fit a thin sweater, for when she goes to the casino
- She wanted a lot of pockets
- It needed to zip or clasp at the top
- She didn't want anything "too fancy"
- She didn't want anything "too shiny"

The first place I took her to was JC Penny's in the Tucson Mall and we quickly located the purse section.  I did a look through of the entire purse section in less than a minute and spotted the closest thing to a zebra print purse they had in there.  I showed it to her.  She wasn't happy.  But she continued to hem and haw about it anyway.  We stayed in that store for another 20 minutes before she agreed to go to another store. 
 

Once we left JC Penny's, she wanted to go to Montgomery Ward's.  "Mom, I don't think there's a Montgomery Ward's anymore." "Yes there is! It's right around the corner." "Mom, Montgomery Ward's used to be in El Con Mall, we're in the Tucson Mall, and I think it closed." "No, nah-ah! It's right around the corner." "I just checked on my phone, and Montgomery Ward's is closed." "WHAT!? No it didn't! It's still there!" "Okay, well... that's in a different mall, do you want to go there?  I can take you...but it says on my phone that it isn't there anymore..."

This is the kind of stubborness I was dealing with all day.

Here are some of the purses she rejected:
This purse had "too much brown in it". 

Although she immediately established that this purse was too small, she almost agreed to take it anyway, until she realized that the large flower wasn't removable.


She didn't like this purse because it was "too shiny".  She also didn't approve of the fringe-whip-thing.


She hated this one immediately, but still checked to see how many pockets it had. 


This purse didn't have enough pockets on the inside, and it was too shiny.  Instead we spent 45 minutes in this store looking at earrings.  She went back and forth about the earrings.  We stood waiting in line for about 10 minutes, and when we got up to the counter she turned to me and said, "Do you think I should buy them?" 
In the end, she bought the earrings.  3 pairs for $14.99  



She liked this purse, except it was too small and it wasn't zebra print, but she liked that it was on sale.     


 


This is the purse we came home with.
It's large.
It's shiny.
It's leopard print.


In the end, she bought a purse for $19.95 plus tax.  We spent a total of five hours shopping.
 
When we got home with the purse, she put it on and walked around the house with it, like she was in a fashion show.  She kept bragging to my husband that she bought the purse on sale for only $19.00. 
 
The next day she told my sister she got it for $18.00.
 
My sister was picking her up to take her back home and she got all my mom's stuff loaded into her truck and I think they even drove away, when suddenly, my mom comes running back inside... for her new purse.   
 
A few days ago, I picked her up at the casino, where she happily showed me that she was able to fit in her sweater and was still gushing about it. 
 
She and I went to grab something to eat afterwards.  She sat down in a booth and noticed right away that sun would be shining in her face, so we sat at a different table. 
 
I got up for a napkins a few minutes later, and sitting on the bench of the table she initially sat at... was her new purse.
 
I have a feeling we'll be purse shopping again soon. 
 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Knowing Your Rights and Border Patrol Interractions

I've been writing a lot about silly things; flowers and animals, etc.
Time for something a little more serious:
 
Last night, I attended a community forum on Border Patrol Issues. The organizers of the event, April and Tomag did a great job of sharing information regarding the history of the border, laws that have directly impacted Tribal lands, even breaking down vocabulary that BP uses in their ongoing attempts to intimidate and incite fear in our people.

This event was advertised by email and Facebook, etc., as well as by the use of traditional flyers posted in the community, so I was expecting a younger crowd. Instead, the majority of attendees were elders!
 
 Elders. 
 Yes, elders. Let that sink in.

Our elders are being harassed by the United States Border Patrol.

A rep from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was present, as well as an (off duty) lawyer from the Nation's advocate program. Both men were "guests" and are offering resources, but the complaints, the refusal to let BP push tribal members around figuratively and now even literally (recently there were reports of BP making unnecessary physical contact with tribal members) have to come from the public.
 
I wanted to encourage everyone to attend the next forum, or even start your own. It isn't just "Amy and April's thing", it's something that many of us are constantly dealing with as we travel on and off the Nation. These women saw a need and did A LOT of research with the intention of sharing with the community.

It's important to know your rights.

Did you know that because we're within 100 air miles of the border, that our constitutional rights are "lightened"?  "Lightened Constitutional Rights"?  Really? If that doesn't scare you, it should. 

Did you know you have the right to photograph or film interactions with the border patrol? They may not like it, but it's your right.  Even if they tell you to stop filming, you do not have to comply. 
No, I don't think everyone should go through the border checkpoints intending to start a fight.  There is only one acceptable question that they can ask you, "Are you a United States Citizen?" everything else, you have the right to not answer.  "Where are you going?", "Where are you coming from?", "What were you doing there?", "Where were you born?" are all examples of secondary questions that are none of their business. 

If you didn't know these rights, contact April and Tomag, because they're willing to share!

We're all in this together.

--------------------------------------------------------------
WARNING: Photos that are all too familiar and may induce anger:




I think it's safe to say, if you live in Southern Arizona, you know what this is.


 


And if you're REALLY familiar with these guys, the sight of this agent eating an otter pop as the other one text messages, probably fills you with rage...


-------------------------------------------------
 
Here are a couple photos that I posted in 2010.  They were taken at a family event in Ku:pk.  My cousin was driving back into town when he came across a man who needed help. 

He was scared to help him, because that can be construed as trafficking (even if you are giving a dying person a ride to the hospital from a remote area that would take others a couple of hours to get there.  Cell service was bad, since we were close by a mountain.  Eventually, he got through to BP (at the request of this undocumented immigrant and was given permission to bring him back to our small village. 

We fed him and gave him water, but he was very ill. 
I blurred this photo of the man having his hands zip-tied.

Border patrol dune buggy that fits 3, plus a "body cage". One of my neices is climbing on it. Everyone cautious about moving too close to Border Patrol to pick her up.

This guy was "nice" to us, but kept trying to ask us if there were more, "You can give us a call and we'll send out another unit." We kept explaining, but he kept asking for us for more "illegals". He didn't seem to believe us that we came across just this one guy.  It was extremely frustrating.
 

Gun holder for really big gun.  Also notice the body-shaped basket thing they have for transporting people. They talked about putting him in it. Then changed their minds.

Grabbing his steering wheel off the roof of the buggy and smiling for the camera. "Illegal Alien" strapped into the back.
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What the Heck is That Noise!?

We had a party for my nephew at our house today.  

Our dog, Pancho doesn't like kids (he had a traumatic experience with a six-year old that has scarred him for life) and our cats, Luke and Leia, are both indoor-only cats.  We don't want to babysit the opening and closing of doors during an entire party, so whenever we have a lot of people over, we just put our pets in our bedroom.  

Once there aren't any small kids around, we can let Pancho out of the room.  Once the crowd gets smaller, we usually let out the cats. 

In the confusion of having even just a few people over, sometimes the cats will end up stuck in weird places, like the bathroom or in a closet. 

The cats are never stuck anywhere for long.  Leia especially has a really loud cry.  It sounds almost like a human baby's cry. 

The party ended hours ago, so I was really surprised to hear an animal-cry coming from one of the rooms.  It was really loud.  I could hear it from my bedroom, with the door closed, and Ryan heard it from the kitchen.  We both walked into the hallway to find out where the sound was coming from. 

It was an upsetting sound.  It didn't sound like a normal, "Help! I'm locked in here!" cat-cry that we're familiar with.  The sound was scary, it really freaked both of us out.  We were immediately concerned that maybe one of the cats was hurt or something.  We went around the house, opening doors; we checked the bathroom, the laundry closet and the linen closet because the sound was loudest in the hallway.    

We didn't check the girls' rooms because the girls were in one room, and the cats aren't allowed in there, and the noise was so loud, they wouldn't have let them cry for that long.  My Mom is spending a few nights with us and is staying in the other bedroom, and there's absolutely no way she'd have a cat in there. 

We were starting to panic a little, but then we found all three of the animals casually lounging around in what we call our library.  All of them were fine.  In fact, they even looked relaxed, and looked at us like we were disturbing them. 

By this time, the sound had stopped.  We were confused and a little worried.  What the heck was making that noise?!  We were both pretty sure that none of our pets had been hurt or crying.  It definitely wasn't our daughters.  We were absolutely positive it was an animal.  We walked around the house, just making sure everything was in order. 

Everything looked normal and was fine. 

It took us a while to relax again, because we couldn't figure it out.  Both my husband and I were racking our brains, trying to figure it out.  

What on earth had been making that loud, animal-in-pain sound?

Finally it clicked.

Rosella was asleep.  It was just her snoring.  




 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eee! That Cat!

Other than rez dogs, which are only yours until someone else starts feeding them, I never really owned any pets up until just a few years ago.  

I never wanted any pets.  

I've never considered myself a "cat person" or a "dog person", instead, I've always maintained that I'm more of a "human person". 

I'd much rather put my time and energy into other humans.   

It wasn't until my daughters spontaneously became cat people that I finally gave in to owning pets.  

Their cat obsession was getting out of control, anytime we drove anywhere, my daughters would scream out, "THERE'S A CAT!!" as if they had never seen one before.  All the drawings hanging on the refrigerator were of cats and they meowed around the house, pretending to be cats allllll the time. 

So finally, when a friend of mine posted about needing to find a home for some kittens, we reluctantly decided to take one in.  We went to pick one out, and we came home with two.  

We named them, Luke and Leia.  Twins.    

Leia must have been the runt of the litter, because she is very tiny.  She still looks like a young cat.  She's very dainty and small.  She's obnoxiously adorable. 

Luke on the other hand is a BEAST.  In our household we refer to him as either, "the ocelot" or "the puma", cause he's HUGE.  He looks like a wild cat.  

My mom is weirdly angry about certain subjects.  Anytime she talks about pregnant women or animals, she sounds like she's getting angry.  I have no idea why.  She almost sounds like she's yelling. 

Our animals are spoiled, and they're allowed to roam all over the house.  My Mom disapproves of course.  She's always complaining about the animals, even if they aren't really doing anything.  She considers them "in her way" all the time.  She pretends to hate them, but we catch her sneaking them food and trying to play with them all the time, when she thinks we aren't looking.    

My Mom's reaction to Luke ALWAYS cracks me up.  She says, in an angry tone, as if disgusted, "Eee! That cat! ::long pause:: He's so beautiful!"

Although he's just a regular housecat, he is a very handsome and striking cat.  Yes, I actually wrote that.  This is how far I've come. 

Luke has a commanding presence as well as a regal elegance about him.    


 

He's a huge cat.  We went through the trouble of weighing him the other day, just out of curiosity and he's 13 pounds!  Surprisingly, he's all muscle.  He can leap almost up to the ceiling, which is insane. He has humanlike expressions and body language and sometimes it's soooo humanlike that it kinda creeps me out.   

He likes to join us at the dinner table during our meals.  My daughters sit on a bench at our dinner table everyday for dinner and Luke likes to sit on the bench with them as we eat!  We don't feed him from the table or anything.  He just sits there and watches.  We allow it because it looks so funny.  He does it almost every time the family is assembled at the dinnertable.  

We're not heartless.  If we're eating anything with either lettuce or cucumbers, we'll give him a tiny bit because he goes nuts for either of those vegetables.  He won't touch meat if we give it to him, but you can practically see the euphoric state that a single lettuce leaf induces. 

He's in the way of course.  But like I said, we get such a good kick out of it, we continue to allow it. 

We were greatly entertained a couple of days ago, when one of my daughters accidentally got mustard on him.  He grumpily sat there as the whole family laughed as my daughter wipe the mustard off his head.  

Once again I was awed by his humanlike qualities as well as how much I've grown to love and care for this animal.

Apparently, I'm also the type of person who now takes photos of their cat! (When did THAT happen?):
 
Here's Luke trying to be a part of Family Game Night. 









He's pretty pissed off that we didn't include him.  He was intentionally trying to interupt our game.  He was not very happy with our decision to kick him out of the kitchen. 

I like this photo because he's suspiciously eyeing a piece of lettuce. 




Here's Luke going for a piece of lettuce on the table.  

Lettuce is his #1. favorite treat... because he's a weirdo.



Here he is, EATING a piece of lettuce.  Yes, really. 



Another time we thought it would be funnier if we put the lettuce on a plate.
 
Aaaaaand we were right.
 
Once again he seemed pretty annoyed to not be included in the fun. 



So we included him, but I think we offended him with our choice of words. 




*For anyone wondering why I didn't go into detail with Leia or our dog, Pancho, don't worry.  I'll eventually get to it. 
 

Friday, August 9, 2013

The (Alien) Flowers of Rucker Canyon, Arizona

We went for a hike in Rucker Canyon today, which is about 3 hours southeast of Tucson.  It's in the Chiricahua mountains. 

My husband casually mentioned to me that it's a "sky island", as if I know what that is.  Longstoryshort, it's a mountain range that is surrounded by desert.  (I just read that to him to confirm, and he grunted, so I don't think that's what it is.  You'll have to look it up on your own.)

Anyway, we're in the middle of monsoon season so water was running through the creek and the landscape was lush and green. 
 
There were also a lot of small, very vibrant flowers all over the place. 
 
I've written a little about my flower obsession before, in my blog entitled: Crepe Paper Flowers 
  
My husband is ridiculously knowledgeable about the plants in the Sonoran Desert and Southern Arizona, so we were both really surprised that he didn't know what kind of flowers these were. 
 
So, despite a day of hiking, cleaning, packing, driving, unpacking, and even doing some laundry, we decided to look them up!
 
That's right, you're reading about the lives of two really insane, flower-obsessed, party animals.   
 
But seriously, CHECK OUT THESE FLOWERS! They're insane! They look like alien-out-of-this-world flowers. 

(Captions are below each photo)
 
 This flower is called a Golden Columbine.  I've never seen anything like it before.  My husband had to check out some pretty hardcore databases just to find the name. 
 
 
Here's another angle.
They're like two-sided flowers!
 
From up above.
 
 
 A Red Columbine (related to the yellow flower, above)
This is the Yellow Columbine's less flamboyant, yet still very bold, cousin. 
 
They make me imagine pterodactyls diving. 

 
 Top view of the Red Columbine.
 
This angle makes me think of x-wing fighters from Star Wars. 
 
 
 
Red Columbine, view from below. 
Yes, that's me in the background.  Hi.  I tried to crop myself out, but my computer disagreed with me, and I'm the most impatient person in the world.  My husband says I look grumpy in this photo, but I can assure you, I was just concentrating. 

Also, shortly after I took this photo, I robbed a bank.
Look for me on TV!
 
 
 This is a Scarlet Cinquefoil. 
It's not as showy as the alien flowers, but they were such a lovely, deep, dark red, that I was constantly drawn to them.    
 
This is called a Prickly Poppy.
I got excited because I thought it had something to do with prickly pears (cactus fruit), but it turns out; their stems are prickly.
Oh. Okay, that makes sense too.   
 
 
Aster
We don't know what kind, specifically, but depending on the lighting, they also appeared to be a very light lavender. 

 A Wheeler's Thistle. Side view.
 
 Wheeler's Thistle. Top View.




 
This is called an Alpine False Springparsley
If you look closely, you can see a few gnats on this guy. 
 
This one took my husband over an hour to find. I tried to let him give up, but he said it was haunting him. It's called:
::drum roll please::
A Cardinal Catchfly 
 
 
Not bad for day's hike, right?  
 
There were maybe four more flowers that weren't included in this blog because of technical difficulties.  I may post them to my
Casa On And Off The Rez Facebook Page, if everyone doesn't get too tired of seeing more flowers. 

Seriously, I could post about them daily.

I'd like to thank my husband, Ryan for patiently looking up each and every flower for me.  He also identified poison ivy and (hopefully) helped me avoid it.  If that's not a catch, I don't know what is. 

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Recipe for Bighorn Sheep

Warning: Topics include: Hunting and Eating Wild Animals.  
------------------------

The other day I was riding into work with some coworkers when we saw a bighorn sheep, casually walking on the side of the road as if he does it all the time!

I have lived all my life in Arizona and I've NEVER seen a bighorn sheep in the wild.  I've only ever seen bighorn sheep at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum (which, if you've never been, you should definitely pay them a visit).   

We were driving on Highway 86, near the base of Kitt Peak when we saw him.  And although we were near the base of a mountain, I certainly didn't expect to see a bighorn wandering around in the desert.  

We had been driving in a construction area and there were several vehicles in front of us with flashing lights, so we were of course, driving very slowly.  There was no one behind us, so after only a second or two of wide-eyed deliberation, we decided to put the car in reverse to get a better look.  


 We didn't think we were going to see him again, but then he popped up again, although he was much further away.  


I only managed one other decent photo while hanging out the side of my window.  


A close up.

A close up of the close-up.   


I found these charts on the Bureau of Land Management's Webpage:
ram clipart 

ClassSexAge in YearsClassSexAge in Years
IVRam8-16YRamYearling
IIIRam6-8EEweAdult
IIRam3.5-6eEweYearling
IRam2.5Lboth0.5


I think our guy was in fact, a male, between the ages of 8 and 16!

I posted the photo on my Casa On And Off The Rez Facebook Page and it started a very interesting discussion.  

#1. My husband shared a family story I had never heard before.  He said his Dad hit one with his car once.  The sheep fell to the ground, lay stunned for a few seconds, then got up, shook its head, then walked off.  I told his Dad about the bighorn spotting the other day and he shared the same story.  It put a dent in the car, but the sheep appeared to be fine!  

#2. A friend of mine had seen the same sheep on that same morning and his first instinct was to hunt it down!  I was surprised, because I tend to think of other animals as food, such as deer or rabbits, but I've never seen or even heard of a bighorn sheep outside of the Sonoran Desert Museum before, so the thought of eating one never popped in my mind.   

#3. I sent the photos to my brother.  He isn't on Facebook and the response I got from him keeps making me laugh.  First of all, he was very interested because he had suspected there were bighorns on Kitt Peak, but he's never seen them.  We went back and forth about bighorns for a while, then he told me that he's shot two in his lifetime.  This was part of our conversation: 

(I don't have his name saved under "Bro," I changed it for his privacy, because he's hyper about that sort of thing). 

He gave me a recipe for Bighorn Sheep.  Ha!  As if I were going to go take a shotgun and chase it down. 

Uh... need I remind you... I was on my way to work?  I think bringing a dead bighorn sheep to an office building miiiiiight be frowned upon.  Sorry dude, I guess I won't get to try that recipe anytime soon.

I did a google search for Bighorn Sheep on the Tohono O'odham Nation since I didn't really know a lot about them.  I found some interesting information about them on the Arizona Game and Fish Department's website.  Apparently, there are only 20 gaming licenses distributed per year for Bighorn Sheep.  

Yes, my brother always gets the required permits for everything.  In fact, last year he stood me up for a birthday party because he was "finally picked for the Elk Hunting lottery!" or something along those lines. 

Also, I came across this proposal for wildlife crossings in that area.  It's a surprisingly interesting report, but I don't know what the status of it is.  Kitt Peak Wildlife Linkage Proposal  As I mentioned earlier, we WERE driving in a construction zone, but I hadn't heard of them ACTUALLY implementing a wildlife crossing.

Bighorn Sheep have been on the Protected Species List, and there are MULTIPLE agencies that are dedicated to bighorn conservation.  This page had a lot of interesting links, and I liked their name: Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
 
Everyday since I first saw him, I've been keeping an eye out, hoping for lightening to strike twice.  I don't think it's going to happen, but it was really a thrilling moment, so I'm keeping my eyes peeled anyway. 

 The desert is a beautiful and really, really, REALLY interesting place.  We're so lucky to live where we do!













Friday, August 2, 2013

Potluck Rules and Unfortunate Potluck Mishaps

I don't know what it is about potlucks, but I've had some REALLY bad luck with them lately.  

I have a couple of rules in regards to potlucks.  

Rule #1. Do not spend more than $10.00 on your contribution.  

Yeah, okay, sometimes I stretch it to maybe $15.00 or so, but generally, I keep it on the cheap side.  Why? Because if I were buying myself lunch, I'd probably spend less than $10.00 to feed myself (which I kinda consider a splurge, but whatever).  Once, I spent about $60 dollars to bring this fruit tray thing to a potluck and everyone else brought $2.00 bags of chips and warm diet sodas, and I felt jipped the entire time.  

Now, I stick with the $10.00 rule, and even if no one brings anything good, I still have my dish and it didn't cost me any more than what I would have paid on a lunch for myself.   

Rule #2. Make something homemade. 

This really helps with Rule #1. because you can make a delicious, crowd pleasing contribution just by making your dish at home.   

Rule #3. Hot foods need to be hot. Cold foods need to stay cold.  

This sounds like a simple rule, but trust me, it isn't.  You have NO IDEA how many times I've politely gotten the tiniest spoonful of cold eggs at a breakfast potluck out of obligation.

I will bring my contribution hot, even if I have to make it there.  My crock-pot is recognizable at work.  I also keep an electric frying pan there, which we use surprisingly often. 

I've even been known to bring in my electric griddle to whip up (hot) pancakes  (hot cakes!) at our monthly staff meetings.  


Lately, my rules haven't been working out.  A couple of months ago my coworkers and I coordinated to bring a very O'odham breakfast to our monthly all-staff meetings.  Everyone was signed up to bring; eggs, bacon, chorizo, cecemait, fruit, ba:bas and I was signed up to bring beans.  

I cooked my beans overnight in a crock-pot.  In the morning, I woke up early enough to mash the beans to a creamy perfection and packed cheese to have on the side so people could sprinkle it on if they wanted.  

The bag of beans and the bag of shredded cheese probably cost me about $7.00 total.  Awesome. 
Under Ten Dollars? Check.
Homemade Deliciousness? Check.
Hot food being served hot? Check.

Perfect.  

I cleaned up, made a couple of trips to my car, got in and happily drove away.  

Less than half a mile from my house, someone cuts me off and I have to slam on the brakes... 

I can hear the crock-pot full of beans turns over.  
What?! Why did I even put them back there!? 
I U-turn back to my house.  Open up the door to the backseat.   
Yup.  Beans EVERYWHERE.  
  
I showed up with doughnuts.  This was over a year ago... even now, every time I sign up for beans someone reminds me of the "bean incident" and says something like, "are you SURE you're going to bring them." Uggh.  I still haven't lived it down.   

::Deep Breath::

Tomorrow there is a potluck at work.  We're moving to a larger, more permanent campus on Monday, so we're kind of saying goodbye to our old beloved home.  It's been stressful.  Not only are we trying to pack and clean our offices, but students are still coming in for services that they desperately need in the middle of it all.  It's been a long, busy, messy week.   

We're going to have a cleansing too, and one of our college elders is going to smudge us so that we go to the new campus with good, happy thoughts instead of taking the stress of our move with us.

I'm looking forward to the smell of sage burning and my thoughts, prayers and frustrations floating up into the sky with the smoke.   


Then of course, we're eating.  'Cause what's a gathering with Natives, if there isn't food? 
 
Because of my rules, I felt I was limited on what I could bring.  I couldn't bring a crock-pot to work because I'm going to be bringing a bunch of things home.  I still wanted it to be cheap and homemade, so I thought I'd bake something.  I love baking, so I didn't think it would be a big deal.   

I decided to buy a couple of boxes of brownie mix and also make some home made blondies (instead of chocolate, you use brown sugar, they're like caramel bars.  They're good.)  

It's been a long week.  I'm tired.  It was my daughters' first day back at school, so they were coming up to me every few minutes with another form to sign and another syllabus to read and telling me about their day as I baked.  I was enjoying baking and just hanging out in the kitchen.     

The first batch of brownies comes out okay.  A little crispy on the edges.  

No biggie.  I just keep baking.  I make the second batch of brownies, then immediately get to working on the blondies.  

The blondies you make by melting butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan on the stove.  

I tried something I've never tried before... I tried to double the recipe...  The butter and the sugar weren't dissolving fast enough for me and I began to get very impatient.  Finally, after stirring the butter and brown sugar mixture and seeing no results... I did probably the exact opposite thing you're supposed to do to brown sugar on the stove top.  

I cranked the heat.  

I cranked it waaaay up.  

Then it started to smell.  The WHOLE house filled with the smell of burnt brown sugar.  

Let me tell you, brown sugar smells AWFUL when burnt.  It's a nose-hair-burning smell.      

It's also molten lava.  The instant it touches cold water it solidifies, so I couldn't pour it down the sink and I couldn't throw it in the garbage can, cause it would melt the garbage bag and/or my plastic garbage can. 

So I left the funky-molten-death on a rack to cool a little before dumping it out.  

I guess I waited too long.  It solidified sooooo badly that I actually had to put it on the stove again, just to heat the sugar a little, so I could get the cake of brown sugar out of the pan!  

It was rock hard.  I seriously thought I was going to have to throw away my pan!  I spent about half an hour getting the cake of burnt-brown sugar out of the pan.    

Finally, I'm frustrated and I just want to get the brownies packed and ready to go for the morning so I can go to bed.  

I cut into the first pan and I'm very, very, VERY aware that the edges are super-crispy.  The edges are so crunchy that they make a noise when you bite into them.  (Which I TOTALLY had to do for quality control purposes, of course.).  I decide that I'm going to take them anyway, because the centers are fine, so I finish cutting them and turn to grab the second pan of brownies.  

I look on all the counters and I don't see the second pan.  

I look on the stove. It's not there.  
It's not on the kitchen table.  

I'm standing there confused.

Where the heck did I put the second pan of brownies???

Then I realized: They're still in the oven.  

Long story short.  For the first time in five years, I will not be contributing to potluck at work tomorrow. 




 


The brownies with the crispy edges.  They're not potluck worthy, so I guess we'll just have to eat them.  Darn.  
 

This is the solidified brown-sugar-cake I accidentally made.  This is a garbage shot.  I didn't get an am-I-going-to-have-to-throw-this-pay-away? photo because I was frantically trying to save the pan still. 









"Translations" - (Remember, I'm not a linguist and I'm an awful speller in all languages)
cecemait - O'odham "tortillas" (yes, quotation marks necessary)
ba:bas - potatoes