Archive for August 2010
This is the second part in a two part blog about my recent trip to Cleveland. http://amymariekc.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/cleveland/
I left for the airport at about 1:15 on Friday afternoon so that I could be there in plenty of time for my take off at 3:30. As soon as I pulled into the economy lot, the sky got dark and the rain started coming down in sheets. The wind was so fierce that it was blowing the rain all over the parking lot making the visibility almost zero. The shuttle kept driving past me because it couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see it with enough warning to get out and flag it down. After being passed by several times, I realized that I was going to have to brave the weather or risk missing my flight. I got out of my car and got my luggage from my trunk. The wind was blowing the rain so hard that I was soaked from head to toe by the time I finally flagged down the shuttle.
Lucky for me I didn’t have to check a bag and had already printed my boarding pass online so I was able to head straight for the gate. My flight was 20 minutes behind schedule because of the storms, so I was able to make a stop in the restroom and blow dry my hair. I still had to board the plane wearing wet clothes. I dozed off for a few minutes before we landed about 30 minutes behind schedule.
My cousin Janet, Uncle Bob’s oldest daughter, met me at the airport and we headed straight for Parma Tavern where the rest of our family awaited us. Uncle Bob was there with Sister Ginger, my Grandma, and Tom and Mary Ann. Mary Ann’s mother and Grandma’s mother were sisters. Tom and Mary Ann live in Maine and made the 800 mile trip to Cleveland because Grandma had asked Mary Ann to be her sponsor when receiving her name. Parma Tavern was a very interesting place to go with my 87 year old grandma, 84 year old uncle and 80 year old aunt. Everyone ordered fried fish and beer. I ordered water and a salad and a grilled wrap….I would.
The next morning, I found some trails close to where we stayed and went on a nice run in the cool weather. It was a nice way to prepare for the busy day a head.
The ceremony was to take place at 10:30 on Saturday morning, so we got to Uncle Bob’s house at about 9:00. The back yard was AWESOME. They had a tent set up for all of the food for the “feast” to take place after the ceremony. Several people made meat, salads, side dishes, and desserts. Another tent had about 6-8 tables set up with chairs. As I walked further through the yard, I made my way through the trees to the prayer circle that Rich and the girls had created for the ceremony site. Check out my pictures on facebook to get an idea of what I am talking about. I cannot do the beauty of the space justice in this blog post. About 40 people came to watch the 10 of us receive our Indian names.
Linda and Rocky showed up and got the ceremony started. Rocky started a fire in the prayer circle and explained the significance of the ceremony and all of the indian rituals that are a part of it and what they mean. After that and the creation story, the naming took place. Grandma received her name first. Linda named Grandma. I don’t remember the Potawatomi name, but the translation was “precious woman”.
Rocky called me up next, and gave a several minute talk, almost a roast of sorts, of me. What was funny was everything he said was right on the money even though we had only met for a brief moment a few times, so he doesn’t really know me personally. He said that he and Linda had a long discussion about what my name was to be and they settled on Nashok Maket. The simple translation is “helper”. He explained that I don’t just lend a hand, I actively seek out people to help and helping others is the core of who I am as a person. It was really moving. Then Uncle Bob and Grandma stood up as my sponsors and promised to help guide me through on my life’s journey with my new name, etc.
The other eight relatives, Ellen, Lakota, Elan, Maureen, Matthew, Erin, Max, and Maor all received their names after Grandma and I. It was emotional for me to see Lakota and Elan receive their names as the last time I saw them was two years ago at their father’s funeral. Jose died of cancer leaving Ellen to raise the two teenagers on her own. They are such beautiful and bright people. It was also so neat to see Max and Maor receive their names as young children.
I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be such an emotional experience. I wish that I would have understood the importance of the ceremony before making the trip as I wasn’t fully prepared. For instance, most gave gifts to their sponsors, which I didn’t do.
After the naming took place, we all gathered in the tent for the feast. Lets just say I went all out. The highlight of the meal was Erin’s cherry pie. She had never made pies before and made six cherry and apple pies! The fresh cherry pie was so delicious with the scoop of vanilla ice cream!
We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting and it was a blast! I don’t get to see the Ohio relatives very often, so this was a very special treat. We also don’t see Tom and Mary Ann often, so it was very special for me to get to know them better. It was also great getting to talk to Linda and Rocky one on one. Most of the time I meet them at an event where there just isn’t an opportunity for more than a hello and a handshake.
That evening we just all sat in Uncle Bob’s living room in awe of the experiences of the day.
Sunday morning, we all went to Mass at Uncle Bob and Janet’s parish, St. John Bosco. The liturgy was beautiful with lots of music and singing. The homily was so fitting to close out a weekend with family…it was all about love. After Mass and a nice visit with the pastor, Uncle Bob announced that he would like to take the seven of us out to brunch. Well, of course I got excited, we all know how much I love brunch! http://www.facebook.com/thebrunchclub
We went to the 100th Bomb Group restaurant across the road from the Cleveland Airport. The theme was all about the 100th Bomb Group from World War II. They had old planes out front and a lot of World War II memorabilia inside. They also had huge picture windows where you could watch airport planes take off. The food selection on the brunch buffet was phenomenal. I tried several things and also enjoyed a glass of champagne. The best part of the whole experience was that we weren’t rushed at all. We had a leisurely meal and great conversation. I love not being in a hurry at a place like that because I can eat slowly and let my food digest which gives me an opportunity to try several things!
After our meal we went to the cemetery to see where Aunt Joyce was buried. The cemetery is in a beautiful area and the stone that they put up was beautiful. By the time we finished at the cemetery, it was time for me to pack up and get to the airport. We all went back to Uncle Bob’s where I said my good-byes to Uncle Bob, Janet, Sister Ginger, Grandma, and Tom and Mary Ann. Grandma and I got a little teary eyed. They were going to continue their visit to Monday, but I had to leave to get back to work.
The trip home was interesting. As I walked into the Cleveland airport after Janet dropped me off, my suitcase broke….this is not the first time this has happened to me on a trip. When I boarded the plane, my favorite purple purse broke. When I got on the shuttle to go back to the parking lot in Kansas City, I realized I didn’t have my keys. I lost them somewhere on the trip. Luckily I had an extra set in my car and the parking lot security was able to break in.
I made it back in one piece and am very grateful that I have all of these great memories from such a great weekend with my family in Cleveland.
A couple of weeks ago, Grandma called and said that she had a “serious” talk with her younger sister, my great aunt, Sister Ginger Pearl, CSJ. Grandma is 87 and the oldest of six kids…Marj, Jim (deceased), Bob, Maureen, Ginger, and Jerry. I was a bit nervous when I heard this. As it turns out, Sister Ginger called to tell Grandma that she booked a flight to Cleveland to visit their brother, my Uncle Bob and his family. She told my grandma that she should also make the trip.
Grandma is a well traveled person. She has been to 49 of the 50 states, Europe, the Middle East, Mexico, Cuba, and probably other places I’ve missed. However, she has been forced to slow down quite a bit due to her age. So, the possibility of flying to Cleveland is a pretty big thing for her to consider.
When she called me earlier this month, she had made the decision to make the trip and said that I should go ahead and plan to come too. At the time it seemed like a stretch. I wasn’t sure that I had the time or money to go. But, I checked out flights and figured it was doable to leave after work on Friday and return home late Sunday evening.
I’ve posted in other blogs (http://amymariekc.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/26/) about our family’s Potawatomi heritage and how important it has been to Grandma and her siblings to pass that on to the younger generations in our family. I’ve also mentioned how close I have been to my grandma my entire life and how special her siblings, my great aunts and uncles and their families are to me.
The purpose of the trip was to attend a traditional Potawatomi Indian Naming ceremony. According to Sister Ginger, receiving an Indian name in Potawatomi culture is akin to our baptism as Catholics. Uncle Bob’s daughters decided they would like to hold a Naming ceremony in their dad’s back yard in Parma Heights, OH.
Uncle Bob has five daughters four of which (Janet, Ellen, Maureen, and Erin) all live in the Cleveland and surrounding areas. His wife, my Aunt Joyce, passed away this Spring. Janet is the oldest in the family. Ellen has two children, Lakota and Elan. Lakota will start her 2nd year at Columbia this fall and Elan will begin his junior year in high school in Kent. Maureen has two children, Matt and Laura. Matt is my age and lives in Toledo and Laura lives in California. Erin is married to Rich and they have two of the cutest little boys in the world-Max and Maor ages 10 and 7.
The girls and Rich worked hard for several days researching the ceremony procedure, consulting with family and tribal elders, cooking, cleaning, and preparing Uncle Bob’s back yard for the ceremony. Ellen, Lakota, Elan, Maureen, Matthew, Erin, Max, and Maor prepared to get their Potawatomi names.
Sister Ginger suggested that Grandma and I make the trip and receive our Potawatomi names together with our Ohio relatives. I had no idea what a naming ceremony was or what it consisted of, but I decided to go ahead and make the trip- at that time for peace of mind so that I wasn’t here worrying while Grandma traveled, and because I was dying to see my Ohio relatives.
After I made my travel arrangements, I found out that the Chairman, or chief of the Citizen Band Potawatomi Nation (www.potwatomi.org) and the Vice Chairman, Rocky Barrett and Linda Capps, would be making the trip all the way from the tribal headquarters in Shawnee, OK to give us our Indian names. Roy Slavin, a cousin of ours and a member of the CPN legislature would also be making the trip with his wife Julia. Every day leading up to the trip I learned how important this ceremony is in the CPN culture. I was told to fill out a questionaire…a pyshological profile of sorts, that would assist Rocky and Linda in coming up with a name for me. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t really do my best on the questionnaire and didn’t give them much to go on.
In addition to filling out the forms, I had to secure one female and one male sponsor to stand up for me at the ceremony, much like parents choose godparents for their children at baptisim. I decided that I would choose my Grandma because we would be getting named together, and she is the primary reason I have learned so much about CPN culture. She took us to the annual festival every year as kids and made sure that we got to spend time with my great aunts and uncles who also helped pass down their knowledge of the culture. For my male sponsor, I wanted to choose Grandma’s brother, my Uncle Jim, but he passed away August 21st, 2008. It just so happened that we would be receiving our names on the second anniversary of his death. I felt like Uncle Jim was the male with the most influence in terms of passing down the CPN heritage. He and Aunt Eileen were on all of the trips that we went on to festivals, dedications, etc. Since I couldn’t choose Uncle Jim, I decided to choose Uncle Bob since we would be receiving our names in his back yard. Once I chose my sponsors and emailed Linda the forms, I was pretty much ready to make the trip, without knowing what to expect.
I am an Omni Hotels Select Guest and often receive offers for free and discounted hotel stays at their hotels across the country. Earlier this summer, I received an offer to spend a weekend at one of their hotels. I decided that it would be fun to spend my birthday weekend celebrating in a city that is a cheap plane ride from Kansas City. Chicago and Dallas both came to mind right away. I decided on Dallas for several reasons.
The more I thought about it, I thought that it would be AWESOME to turn my birthday trip into a Brunch Club trip.
I talked it over with the group and everyone thought the idea sounded fun. The more we discussed it, we decided that taking a road trip would be really fun.
Brittney, Marc, Richie, and I drove down to Dallas after work on Thursday. Mako had a work commitment and she flew into Dallas on Friday evening.
We stopped in Wichita, Oklahoma City, and Denton before arriving at our destination in the Los Colinas area of Irving. The nine hour drive went by so fast. The four of us chatted, listened to music, read, and slept on the way. We arrived at the hotel at about 1 am on Friday morning.
Friday was nice and relaxing. I slept until I woke up without an alarm and then went for a nice run on a few of the paths/trails near the hotel. Luckily the staff met me at the door with an ice cold bottle of water and a towel. I spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool. It was a nice break from my usual daily life.
Mako flew in Friday evening and we met a few of her friends for dinner at a Japanese restaurant near our hotel. The staff sang happy birthday to me and brought a very generous slice of cake for our group to share. The food was delicious but the service left something to be desired.
After dinner, we headed to downtown Dallas to experience the night life. We took a lot of great pictures and met some interesting people.
Saturday, I went for another run and lounged by the pool while the rest of the group got out to experience some of the city. I attended 5:00 Mass at the University of Dallas and had a nice visit with one of the bartenders at the hotel bar. The driver that took me too and from church was very interesting. He grew up in Jersey and lived all over Europe and just moved to the DFW area. We actually talked quite a bit about his family that lives in the Kansas City area.
Our group reconvened and headed to Uptown Dallas for Tex-Mex and more night life.
Mako and I are pretty big fans of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning (www.kiddlive.com) which is syndicated out of Dallas. We actually stayed across the street from their studio, but the show was in Naples all week. Anyway, one of the cast members, Big Al Mack, owns a bar in Uptown, so we headed there for drinks in hopes that I could get a birthday picture with Big Al. Not only did I get picture, but we also received some drinks and birthday cake on the house.
We met some really cool people at MAT…hopefully we can keep in touch.
A definite highlight of the trip was Sunday brunch at Blue Mesa. The brunch is all inclusive, all you can eat buffet with unlimited champagne and mimosas. There are multiple buffet lines with traditional breakfast items, authentic southwest and Mexican dishes, and an array of desserts, fruit, and salads. Boy did we eat! I have to say the first hour or so of the car ride home was miserable as I let my food digest.
We got a little “lost” in that we were on US 75 hwy as opposed to I-35 for the first couple of hours of the trip, so we had to take a few minor detours. On the way home we stopped just south of Oklahoma City, Wichita, and Emporia. It was a nine hour drive so we had plenty of time to talk and REALLY get to know each other.
All in all it was a fabulous trip and we had a GREAT time.
Marc was a year a head of me in school at K-State, and we were in the same major, but never knew each other. We both started working at our current jobs at around the same time and connected via our work in a local professional association that we are both active in. We have become pretty good friends.
Marc introduced me to Mako, another K-State grad that he works with through the Kansas City K-State Alumni
Association. I knew of Mako at K-State but we became friends when Marc formally introduced us at a KSU basketball watch party.
Mako introduced us to her long time best friend, Richie, who is also her “man of honor” in her upcoming wedding.
One evening earlier this year, I introduced Marc, Mako, and Richie to Brittney. Brittney and I met at a Halloween party hosted by my old roommate who just happens to be engaged to Brittney’s old college roommate.
We all got together for dinner and bonded over a horrible dining experience at a local restaurant (http://amymariekc.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/customer-service-nightmare/). We then headed out for drinks and live music. Our group had such a great time that we met for brunch and then an impromptu visit to the ballpark for a Royals game. http://amymariekc.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/loving-life/
During that brunch, The Brunch Club was born. Brittney, Mako, Marc, Richie, and I get together on a regular basis for Sunday brunch, Thursday Fun Day, and other fun activities. For Sunday brunch, we pick a different location each time-preferably a place that is new for all of us. Sometimes we invite other friends to join us. Thursday Fun Day is a chance for us all to get together during the week and we try out a new local bar or restaurant every week.
We all get a long great a majority of the time and have a really interesting mix of personalities. When we get together, we have a complete BLAST. We have been hanging out and getting to know each other for several months, and I can say that this group of people are some of the best friends I have. I still have my friends from high school and college, and other friends that I’ve met in life, but have some how managed to form a strong bond with the Brunch Clubbers that I just know will turn into life long friendships. We have all also enjoyed introducing each other to our other friends. I’ve met some really great people getting to know some of their friends.