Thursday, April 25, 2013

Met a Messenger from God Today.

"What if God was one of us?"

Interesting day for me. I wasn't feeling too good. That happens. So I figured I would go over to Thunderbird House.  Just felt like seeing anyone that might make a difference in my day. Anyway, at the house there was this old white gentleman getting to the doorway just ahead of me. So he went in and I followed. He was directed to the office to see Sasha, the Director of Thunderbird House. I took a pit stop and went go pee. When I finished, I went over to the office to see Sasha, the old man was standing there talking to her. I didn't want to intrude, but I went see anyways. I'm noisy like that or as some say a "paachack" (not really a good word, you know like Homer Simpson when he barges into a room pushing people out of the way and says out of my way I got here late", like that). Oh yeah, the old man said something about the big "chief" and so I asked which Reserve? The old man looked at me and said "I am a messenger". "You won't want to talk to me as I am a messenger from God". Yoohoo (Yoho is something the old people say in the Reserve when they are listening to someone, by the tone of the yoho, it is either and interesting story or someone telling a bullshit story). Sasha was very polite and took his phone number and she would pass on his number.

I did tell the old man I would listen to him. So we went into the Elder's room (a room for the Elder's that use the room at Thunderbird House, really its a small room with a small couch in it, nice, comfy). He sat on the couch and I sat in a folding chair. We sat and he told me his story.

His brother had passed away some time ago. I guess his brother was 70. Anyway, his brother came to visit him one night. The old man, Tony is his name, asked his brother how he was doing. His brother said he was "fine and I am here". Tony said his brother came to him and was about 25 years old. He said that was the age that his brother chose to come see him as. Tony said, "you see, people think our loved ones go to hell or somewhere, or that they are beneath the ground, but that's not it". "They are everywhere, they are here and they are fine". "Creator, God or whatever people call him (Tony used the male reference in speaking about God) is here. You see, God made everything, even himself. So if he made everything, he is everywhere, in you and in me. So what does God look like? He looks like you!  He looks like me. He looks like all of us. God made everything. So he made dogs (animals, trees, other things)  to beautify the Earth. How does a dog know he is a dog?  How do you know who you are? That is the important thing. You must know who you are."  " People have choice".  "They can believe or not believe. "  "I want to help that Indian girl". "I want her to know her daughter is here and she is fine". "She is not up on that hill".  Tony was referring to Tanya Nepinak. Tanya went missing and is believed murdered and her remains are up in the land fill of the City of Winnipeg. A brief and small search did not find her. It was a gesture search by the police and government. Promise of finding her was not good. So a small area was looked at.

Tony asked me if I would tell people what he said, and I said yes. He said I made him very happy. Actually Tony me feel different, not happy but more reflective of the days.  I was feeling sad and he put things in a new perspective. Tony said "if God Creator made everything and made you, than you are part of God, so when you pray, how you going to pray? You just talk, after all God is right there with you". "That Pope, those priests are not any closer to God than you are". Tony told me stories of people that come see him. People that have passed on. He told stories of what went on and how they looked. That each of them could chose a time of how they looked but did not go past the age of when they died. Tony an old guy also said about Gay people, God doesn't be bothered about that.

It was interesting. If he didn't talk about being a messenger of God or seeing dead people, how would his message have been taken?

I have no reason not to believe him. What did he gain by coming over to the North End of Winnipeg and tell his story?

You know there is a cop out answer I could give, "I believe that he believes what he says is true."  Now what the heck does that mean? I means I don't have the guts to say whether or not I think he's crazy.

So I don't have any reason to think he is crazy. He sees dead people.  I wish I could (well not all of them and not if they're all decaying and stuff like in the movie, American Werewolf in London.)

I too am a messenger, just not able to talk to the big Chief. Or maybe I do talk to him/her, its just that I don't hear too good.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Miikawaadizi: A new Granddaughter arrives.

Well our oldest girl had a baby this April. It is her first child. It gives us great hope and happiness. So happy for our girl. We don't want her to be alone.

Miikawaadizi is one of our new granddaughter's  names. She is going to be one more of our gifts.

I am thankful, grateful to have the opportunity to be granpa.  I won't use Mishoom as that was my grandfather and I remember him as Mishoom.

Miikawaadizi - She is beautiful

Precious Life. Boston Marathon.

Our world has again been disrupted with fear, anger, hurt and sadness. At the Boston Marathon yesterday, two bombs exploded. An eight year old boy was killed. There were others killed and many many injured.
I think if you really want someone to hate you, explode a bomb, kill people and injure many. That is what I think. Can anyone defend killing random people. I guess it happens all the time all over the world. I get that.

I guess we see it as far away. The world is small these days. We are affected. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. Life is precious no matter where it is. It is precious for the little boy who was killed in a bomb explosion? What did he do to be killed? Nothing. That's the thing isn't it. What does anyone do to get killed like that?  Drone bombs, car bombs, shellings, you name it, it happens almost daily, in a world far away. But it's not far away.

Life is precious. Who's is more precious? That is what it seems to come down to. People are dying all over for many different reasons. Whether or not those reasons are valid. I don't believe there can be justification or validity in those actions.

In the midst of death there is life. Life is precious. I will still hold on to the belief that we can be kind to each other. Its just hard right now not to embrace the anger, hurt and sadness of it all.

Comforting that precious life 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rehtaeh Parsons: a cry for help that went unheard.

Another child lost. And why?
Because society is cruel sometimes.
The Father said that his daughter was disappointed to death.
She was attacked, sexual assaulted, video taped, and harassed.
What did the police do?
What did the Justice do?
What did the community do?
Her Peers?

The Parents did what they could, trying to seek help and remedy. That couldn't come. Rehtaeh tried to get help.

The accused?  Not sure, tormented her?
Other students?  Not sure, tormented her?
Who knows?

Rahtaeh knew.

What could she do?

Sadly Rehtaeh is one of many.  We must stop and listen. Not only listen but act.

Rehtaeh Parsons

 Could a little bit of kindness have saved her?  I don't know?

What we do know is that being mean, cruel and  hurtful is real.

And it is ugly.

I did not know Rehtaeh Parsons. I cry for you Rehtaeh Parsons. I cry for your family. I cry. 


News - articles. 

“My daughter wasn’t bullied to death, she was disappointed to death,” he wrote. “For the love of god do something.”

"Friends and family who gathered for the funeral of Nova Scotia teen Rehtaeh Parsons remembered the young woman’s kind heart Saturday in a service that also drew attention to the wider issues of bullying and sexual violence.
Parsons, 17, hanged herself after enduring what her family says was months of bullying after allegedly being raped and photographed by four boys in 2011. She died in hospital last weekend after being taken off life support.
Since then, her story has gained international attention, placing the spotlight on larger problems affecting youth."

"Those who loved Parsons, who was taken off life-support last Sunday after hanging herself three days earlier, spoke of their despair, anger, indescribable grief. But others talked of the good, too, that has come in the days since her suicide, which followed months of depression over an alleged rape and subsequent social shunning. "

Rev. Morrell called for efforts to battle sexual abuse and cyberbullying.
“How can our society create a safe haven for young girls? Why do young men feel that young girls are but objects for their sexual fantasies and pleasure? Why do teenagers avoid seeking help when they are depressed and suicidal? How can our schools deal with physical and now cyber bullying?” he asked.

The world lost a beautiful girl,” she said. “We should be ashamed.”
Parsons’ story, now known to so many around the world, is about justice denied, about caring too late, about cruelty.

On April 4, Parsons hanged herself with a belt in the bathroom of her family home. She had locked herself in the bathroom, threatening suicide, after she had a fight with someone on the phone. Nothing serious, Leah said, but enough to anger her.
A friend identified as Jenna — one of three singled out by Leah Parsons for having been there for her daughter — had been over and talking to Parsons through the door. But Parsons had stopped talking.
Leah broke in, feeling the weight of Parsons’ body as she opened the door. She had to cut her daughter down with scissors.

“We would much prefer to see someone in jail than their only punishment to be shame.”
As for the teens alleged to have sexually assaulted Parsons, they bragged as they sent out the photo, students said.
Said student Kelsey Patterson: “They don’t think they did anything wrong.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We Can't See Ourselves

Went to visit my Friend today. She does not consider herself and Elder but she is one of the people that I go see for Teachings and just to enjoy company. I have to fight the downward spiral of getting dark. Dark thoughts, dark feelings, overwhelming sadness and some anger. Not sure where it is coming from, that dark stuff?

So I go there just to talk about anything and everything. I don't go over to say "I am depressed". I just go over for tea and some chat. Pretend as usually that everything is "good". I 'm good when people ask. But really I am just sliding down. Wondering when I will finally crack.  I remember when I had my "mental breakdown" all those years ago. I wanted to just end it, to kill others to lash out to stop everything. What a heck of a place to be.  Now I know better. I do spend some time trying to breath. Out with the bad. Not sure if it works, but hey what the heck. Anyway this post is not about that.

We got to talking about a lot of things, her work, the way people are treating Indians. She was telling me about this fellow who called her today. He sobered up a number of years ago and works around the city. He has one prosthetic arm. He is a single dad. Anyway, he was asking if she noticed how the police are treating people these days. She said she hasn't really noticed. She just goes to work in the North End, and back home. The North End of Winnipeg is a very poor area of the city. Lot of Aboriginal folk in that area. The fellow said that the police presence has increased in the North End since Idle No More started. The police have become very angry towards the Aboriginal people on the streets. This fellow was telling my friend that he walks alot in the area. Many Aboriginal people do in that area of town. He said that the police will taunt them with racial comments and frequent stops. When there is a call to the area, police come in a multiple of units. I wonder what is the message that police are trying to send? I really think the general population is not sympathetic to the Aboriginal people. In the news a rally was held at the downtown Mall. The rally was to bring awareness for the conduct of security guards and their treatment of an Aboriginal Elder. On the news station you could hear some of the comments from the crowd to the rally spokespeople; "you're not wanted here, anyway." I think the Idle No More movement is showing people for what they are; angry and hateful towards Aboriginal people.

We were talking about this and my friend says "can they see how they are?" I don't think they can. I mean really how many of us can see ourselves for what we are? Can we see that our actions are hurtful? That our jokes or name calling is rather disgusting? Oh, its really just a joke. Or I don't think that way of all of them.

I visited with another friend of mine today (Boy I did a circuit, actually I have my Dad visiting and want to keep him occupied going out and about, he likes that). So like I was saying, I was visiting my friend (a relatively new friend) and I noticed this guy was back at her place of work doing some volunteering. I had not seen him for a long time. She told me the story. He was volunteering daily for over a year. One day he came to her and said he was charged with domestic abuse. He said, he supports his wife who is addicted to pills. He said he told her to get help or he wasn't going to support her anymore. Which was where she went wild and attacked. She then called the police on him to have him charged, according to him. Well my friend agreed to help him, and did send a letter of reference to his lawyer saying that she could not see him as being violent and that he never displayed anything of the sort around her work place. So that was a good thing. Later, not sure if the letter helped or not, the charges were stayed, meaning he was let go and free. So that was that. She did not see him for sometime after that. He started to come back and volunteer again after some time. On this one day, there was a fight going on outside the building. This fellow and another man were fighting. The other man was trying to hit him in the head with a rock. Police were called and came to separate the men and take them away. This bystander was standing around there and said to my friend, "so you going to protect him again?" She said what are you talking about he was being attacked with a rock. The bystander said "that guy is a woman beater, he beats his wife all the time."  Later a woman showed up at my friends place of work and asked for the man's bag. She said her keys were in the bag. My friend said the woman looked beat up, so she asked her did that, "did your husband beat you up"? The lady said all the time. She went on to say he beat her up a number of times in the last few days and that she always felt that he was being sheltered at the place. My friend told her that was not the case and that she should be there and not her husband. When the fellow came back to my friends place of work. she told him he was not welcome there until he got some help for his violence towards his wife. My friend was devastated. She said "I could not see it." I guess its not only that we can't see ourselves but we can't see others as well.

There is this fellow on the news and he has been proclaimed as a "Grand Elder." That is really something. People are praying for him, rallying around him and following him. Quite the thing. In his home community he is seen in another way. He is seen as an opportunist who has no real Traditional knowledge but is seeking recognition.

For me this is what I think.

My Dad is going to be 83, he was born in 1930. Grew up in the Reserve, speaks Ojibwe, worked in the bush, did trapping fishing, hunting and did go to residential school in the Reserve. Was cured with Traditional Medicine as a young man. My Dad is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, but that is beside the point. My Dad does not consider himself an Elder even though he is a man of the Reserve. He of course is and Elder in the sense that he is an old gentleman, an old man. But to him and many other Native people, an Elder is one that is knowledgeable of the Traditional Teachings, or someone that is gifted in that way. My Dad would holds younger men in high regard, even those who are younger than some of his own children. He held them in high regard because they were Elders; knowledgeable and gifted, like the Late Mark Thompson and David Blacksmith. David Blacksmith a very young man came and blessed my Dad's Pipe for him. That is how an Elder is regarded. David didn't announce himself as an Elder to my Dad, but my Dad respects his Teachings as that of an Elder. People know who is an Elder in the Aboriginal community. We may not all like or agree with the person but we know who they are. Why am I sharing this? Not too sure.

Just like when I went to my friend and cousins' Ceremony at the hospital a couple of weeks ago. The Elder who was tasked with the Ceremony was a young man. Everyone there, knew and recognized him. He didn't make a grand announcement of who he was. He was there by invitation.

In the case of the Grand Elder, well that is interesting... there are hucksters and we see them.

We can't see Ourselves...

Sometimes we can't see others as well.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Call for help for Circle of Life Gathering June 25, 26, 2013

April 7, 2013

Aaniin, Booshoo, Ndinawemaaganag

Hello Relatives, Good and Kind People.
Re: Circle of Life Gathering: “Keep Them Alive”
Well this year is going to be the final year of the Thunderbird House Circle of Life Gathering: Survivors of Suicide. We have hosted the Gathering three years and this will be the fourth. The response and help from you has been incredible. The Gathering could not have happened without your guidance, your help, your participation and your generous spirit. Thank you.
We have been slow in planning and looking for your help with the Gathering this year. We have set the dates of the Gathering for June 25 and 26, 2013, Thunderbird House, 713 Main Street Winnipeg Mb. Time is important in ensuring we get the message out. As in the years past, we have a theme for the Gathering. Our intent is to let people know that we care; you are not alone in your grief for someone who has died as a result of suicide.  Our themes have been: Survivors of Suicide-Honouring Our Loved Ones: Life After Addictions and Suicide; Healing Our Grief.  This year we want to focus on Prevention of Suicide and to always remember our friends and family that have passed on from suicide.  We have chosen the theme of Keep Them Alive. This is for both our friends that are here and for those that have passed on. We want to remember our loved ones and to address the message of prevention.
Please know that this is not “our” Gathering. It is an open gathering and the intent is to have many people help, participate and attend. It is an opportunity to share, to bond, to reminisce and help each other. It is not about any single person managing an event. We want you to take it, to own it, to be active in it. We send out invitations seeking your help, your guidance and your participation. It is about spreading kindness, looking for help, and perhaps some Healing.
This year we are desperately asking someone, anyone, be it an individual, a community, a group or an agency to take on the challenges of hosting the first day. The first day is to focus on prevention. To plan an agenda, complete with refreshments and lunch to filling the day with resources of Speakers that are knowledgeable in the field of Suicide Prevention. Please let us know as soon as you can. It is important that we hear from you. It is a big task, we know. We have confidence that someone out there is able to meet that challenge and help complete the Gathering.
The final day of the Gathering is aimed at remembering our Loved Ones. It is the opportunity to come and remember, share stories of the one you never want to forget. Let us remember them with you. We will host a Give-Away Ceremony for all those that have come out and joined the Gathering. We want to take time to remember Loved Ones and to say Thank You to all of you that made the Gathering happen. There a lot you. We appreciate all you have done. Whether it was donating cash, food, talents, gifts, your time, your presentations, your knowledge, your experience and your good wishes, we thank you for that contribution. Much of you made the Gathering happen with your kind words, letting others know of the Gathering taking place at Thunderbird House. Let’s do that again.
A partial list of our supporters:  Peter Kinew, Cathy Kinew Wab Kinew, Sally McDonald, Ron McDonald, Jules Lavalle, Margaret Lavalle, Chickadee Richards, Cheryl James, Betty Laschuk,  Marcheta Tanner, Allie Turnock, Stephanie Eyolfson, Chrissy Gauthier, Rose Thomas, Albert Mcloed, Judge Murry Sinclair, Elder Dave Courchene Jr., Don Courchene, Harold Fontaine, Sasha Marshall, Chris Beach, Percy Tuesday, Oliver Boulette, Laura Sanderson, Kirk Guimond, Ken Courchene, Bernice Fontaine, North End Woman’s Centre, West Region Tribal Council, New Directions, CTV News, APTN, Mb Hydro, Native Addictions Council of Manitoba, Sagkeeng First Nation, Albert Mcleod, Billie Schibler, Mitch Bourbonnier, David Blacksmith, Sherryl Blacksmith, Frank Daniels, Chantelle Daniels, Ernest Daniels Sr., Ernest Daniels Jr., Roger Greene, Theo Fluery, George Chuvalo, Barb Nicole, Susan Courchene, April Kakapetum, Annette Dugas, Bob Dugas, Lauran Dugas, Leslie Dugas, Arlene Patzer, Al Spence, Rita Spence, J. T. Tuner, Larry Penner, Penner Oil, Munroe Construction, Mb Public Insurance (MPI), David & Sheryl Blacksmith: Edwin Twoheart: Corrine Kennedy: Arlene Patzer: Al & Rita Spence: Annette & Lauran & Leslie Dugas: Susan Courchene: Barb Nicole: April Kakapetum: Cheryl James: Teekcas Aboriginal Boutique, Native Addictions Council of Manitoba, Don Courchene, Peter Kinew, Steve Courchene, Larry Solider, Larry Penner, Sally & Ron McDonald: Mitch Boubennier Denise Everett,  Heather Dobson, Connie Buck: Margaret and Jules Lavalle, Jessica Burton, Compassionate Friends of Winnipeg, Chickadee Richards, Stephanie Eyolfson, Nation Talk, CTV News, Bertha Fontaine, Barry Fontaine, Brian Mcleod, Jeff Brightnose, Perry Fontaine, Ron Linklater, Jessica Burton, Klinic, Gwen Gosek, Jeanette Mecas, Mary Werba, Eugene Blackbird, the Cultural Advisor for West Region Child & Family, Monique Lambert, Chris Cassels of New Directions, Mike Pierre, Janice Green, Germaine Camerons, Jennifer Wood, Paul Daniels, Earl Morrisseau, Kit Perrick, Dave’s Furniture, Pine Falls Pharmacy, Cora Morgan Shirley Simard, ARBOC, Larry Solider, Edwin Twoheart: Corrine Kennedy, Teekcas Aboriginal Boutique Hedie L. Epp, Fermand Simard,
We are sorry we have not listed everyone, there are so many of you.
We hope to hear from you soon. We will be looking for your help in planning, logistics, donations solicitation, marketing, volunteers, and all other aspects related to the Gathering. Please contact us to be part of the planning, we appreciate your assistance. Please forward to all your friends, family, communities, groups, organizations and contacts. Planning sessions to take place at Thunderbird House.



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sagkeeng First Nation endures 2013 Reserve Election.

Well another election in our community of Sagkeeng has come and gone. It was real exciting race. Our presiding Chief (Donavan Fontaine) got a challenge from a new comer to politics. Bernie Robinson  was challenging for Chief.  There were 8 contenders for Chief in all. Wayne Mann Sr., great grandson of Kakekabenais (our first Treaty Chief, signatory to Treaty One, 1871); Jeff Courchene who is quite versed in politics and in Treaty issues; Rich Bruyere a long time volunteer for youth in the community;  Cooper a young man with much promise and ideals; and not sure who else. There were also about thirty or more people vying for the 4 available positions of Councilor.

The results are in. Donavan retained his seat, but had a real challenge from Bernie. Bernie was the biggest challenge for Donavan in some time. Three of the four sitting Councilor members retained their seats (Kirby Swampy, Derrick Henderson, Lyle Morrisseau), with a previous Councilor (Joe Daniels) being elected. It was quite a race. The race was interesting because of the way in that things developed. An out pouring of anger surfaced by many of the candidates. On a local Facebook page, the rhetoric was dialed up really quickly. Allegations of secrecy, corruption and of course the "family" issue came up in the election. Some of the candidates and supporters complained about families voting for family members. Many people complained about the votes off-reserve. Lot of anger and a lot of sour, critical and mean comments were tossed around. Not all of the criticisms came from an anger place, but rather out of frustration in their view of how the community is governed. In the end and the tally of the votes, the people have spoken.

Interestingly that is not the end of things. Some are moving to challenge the election for a number of reasons: The polling station situated in the City of Winnipeg, some candidates place of residence, the mailing out of ballots. I am not sure of where things will go but it seems that some members of the community are not happy with the results. In any case some believe the process was unfair or in the least flawed.

This is what I think:

Our election has been accomplished. Regardless if your candidate was selected or not, it is now the time to set the tone for the following years. I say we have a Ceremony to Honour our elected officials. We should have a hand shake circle at that Ceremony to show how we are going to make our Leaders stronger. Tell them how we are going to work for and with them to make our community better. Not to continue to attack. I do agree we need to continue to take our Leaders to task, BUT in the best interest of the WHOLE community. Not for me individually. In turn the Leadership should pledge how they are going to work for the People.

This Old Man, an Elder once said (about Prime Minister Trudeau) "I wonder why that man doesn't drop dead? The amount of bad things people say about him all the time."  You see his point was this: your mouth and your thoughts are the biggest forms of "bad medicine". It was a wonder he didn't succumb to all that bad energy he must have been absorbing. In our case we want what is good for our community but yet we are filling it with all sorts of negativity. That energy must go somewhere? Right? I mean all the anger, hurt, frustration and venom has to do something? 

I would hope that calmness claims the day. Work out that aggression in a way that is not hurtful or out of spite.  Emotions are hard to contain. Not saying to bottle up your feelings, but just exercise some compassion. Think of how we can make the Leadership work. Go up to the Council and say "I am committed to our community and I support our community".

Our community is filled with many Spiritual people, both Christian and Traditional. In both groups there are Teachings. Let's embrace those Teachings.

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” 1 Peter 2:17

" Minaadendamowin—Respect: To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Two Penquins Cruise On Carnvial Glory Ship

I briefly met a couple of Women on the Carnival Cruise Ship Glory this past week. My wife is always trying to get me out of the dark space. So this year she and my girl Chloe gave me a trip for Christmas. Last year she took me to Cuba. So this year we went on a trip with the Carnival Cruise Lines. You would be surprised how affordable going on a ship is.  Anyway on the Ship I walked around alot, I mean quite a bit. I am not much for sitting around the pool or gambling on the ship. So I people watch. On occasion I talk to them. On the ship I saw all sorts of people. People having a great time. People eating, drinking, dancing and laughing. It sure looked like fun. I noticed this young woman, with a tattoo of two Penguins on her arm. It got me interested. I thought "that is a cute tattoo, I wonder what the story is behind that tattoo?"  I think people with tattoos have some reason behind them. At least I like to think so.

So I saw this lady with the two Penguins on her right shoulder (tattoo) walking up on the Lido deck (the area around the swimming pool, usually on the top of the ship). I stalked her out. I watched her go and sit down with a couple of other women. I approached from her blind side, and then I made my way to her table. I went up to her and her two friends and asked if I could interrupt them. I apologized and asked her about her tattoo. She was kind of quiet for a split second, trying to see if I was just being a creepy old man. But her face smiled. She went on to tell me it was a tattoo to commemorate her wedding. She introduced to me to her spouse. She was a beautiful young woman from Connecticut. The happiness in their faces was uplifting and I was glad to be such a noisy bugger. I asked them, where did the idea of the penguin come from and who came up wit the idea. The two young women had matching tattoos of the penguins on their shoulders. They said that it was from  a plate design and that they felt it was ideal as penguins are one of the Creatures that mate for life. That was pretty cool little story. I wish I could have sat and visited for longer but I interrupted into their lives long enough.
Penguins For Life

My wife and daughter were not sure about getting me the trip as a gift. They know I don't like surprises or going on trips. Although I make a big deal of it, it is all an act. The thought of doing stuff makes me feel uneasy, worried, and freaked out. So I made a great effort to appreciate the gift. I worked hard at showing my family that I am happy for their kindness. I mean most people would wish for a trip, right?  I guess it is how my mind works.
standing in a piano bar like I own it

putting the moves on my wife

The trip was fun. I went out of my comfort zone and did things to make my family laugh. Challenge myself to do stuff. Instead of staying in my room and watching television. Although there was a pretty good movie playing over and over on the tube; Hunger Games.  I want to go out and get this movie. It is about this young woman in a post war era...

Great Art

Painting of the Greatest

Standing up at the Art Auction
On the ship there are things to do. I went out and watched the entertainment that was on hand. I flirted with the Ukrainian serving staff. I teased the waiters from the Philippines. I went to an art auction. You know where you get to sit in posh leather chairs and get offered Champagne. I sang karoke in a night club. I bantered in a club with a singer. Crashed a private function and went on stage dancing the conga. I did it all.
art sales

my patented gang sign

baby girls

my girl

she can't take me anywhere

Old San Juan

The girls

St Thomas outing

Night show

I own this place

gang signs
 On the ship you can listen to music all the time. Eat all the time. Visit all the time. The crew are people from all over the world. Many of the working staff only get paid from your tips. I guess that is how the cruise industry works. Hire at very low wages  and from areas of the world where the people would leave their homes, their family, their lives for months at a time. To work every single day and for 14 to 16 hours a day. Wow, that is a commitment for sure. Wonder what if any benefits are there?
I try to talk to as much staff as I could. It is their job to be friendly. So I wonder how many of the workers get the same old questions: how much do you make, where you from, do you have family, do you get lonesome, do you get to see the ports? Man it must get quite tiring to hear the complaints from the 'rich' tourists. Funny many of the passengers I saw where WT's. You know, White Trash. Not saying it in a negatively put down way, but more of a classification :D.  Lot of people that are getting an escape from their lives of the grind. You know?  Working stiffs that want to indulge. Like my wife. She is a hard working woman who supports me and our family. She wants to enjoy her life. Pay all year for a trip and then on to the next year. Sure why not? Why wait until you are too feeble to walk and then travel? I saw that on the ship as well. Many of the Elderly were ailing; crutches, oxygen tanks, walkers, motorized chairs and the obese having a heck of a time walking.
night entertainment

Anyway, we went to Miami, spent the night there at the La Quinta hotel. We took a trip to Coconut Grove in the evening. The lady at the desk told us to stay away from downtown. The Heat were playing and there was an out door concert going on. She said "you can't pay me to go down there, too much people, the music pounding..." She decided for us to go to a quieter place, the Coconut Grove.  The next morning we took a shuttle to the port of Miami. You know that show CSI Miami. The opening scene where "H" is driving a Hummer down the road. That is the road to the Pier, where all the ships dock.
Our Cruise trip included, the Bahamas, San Juan and St. Thomas. Grand Turks was on the trip but got canceled. I guess people were getting sick after they went on that shore. So it just made our port stays at the other islands last longer.

So I am happy for my wife that she likes to travel and likes to take our daughter. I am fortunate and glad they made me go with them. I did like their company. Even if I embarrassed the heck out of them. 

Hey they knew what they were getting into when they took me along for the ride.

I do recommend in your lifetime, if you can take a Eastern Cruise. It is worth it.

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...