Monday, June 30, 2008


The hot weather is upon us and I still don’t have my spring work on the yard caught up. I blame the mosquitoes, which mean it’s not comfortable to work outside when it’s cool. In the meantime I have so many things I want to do on the computer that I can’t keep up with that either. And there are many small things that got pushed over from the winter because it was too cold to paint or caulk, but are being urged on us by the need to prepare for next winter’s cold. They say to expect natural gas to cost 300% of what it cost last winter. Last winter’s bill was $130 a month.

I want to move furniture around quite radically, mostly because this house is sinking in the middle so I need to get bookcases to the outside walls. (Part of the trouble is structural and part of it is major truck traffic past the house up to the airport where there is an ag chem business. I also somewhat blame the floor furnace, which prevents me from closing the front room off from heat as well as putting weight in a doorway -- not a good idea structurally.) No money for shoring up the floor.

So I’m going to pull back from my self-assigned thousand words a day and blog on the same days as watering is allowed on my side of town. That’s Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday between 6AM and 10AM, so I'm up to move the sprinkler anyway. But if I get a brilliant idea, I won’t prevent myself from posting.

I need some time to improve my technical skills, like learning to do podcasts, and preparing better laid-out books for And I need to do a more serious job of promotion on those books. I’d like to prepare some workshop presentations for venues like Blackfeet Community College, since my purpose in doing these Blackfeet books is to pull in Blackfeet themselves and get them writing. So I need time to prepare materials before fall.

In the meantime, a simple decision to have an overdue mammogram has pitched me into a morass of phone calls, file searches, uncomprehending conversations, and etc. First, the Care Center 800-phone doesn’t ring. Not even the operator can hear anything. Second, the other phone is busy for an hour. Then it turns out to be the wrong number. The right number answers (after a phone labyrinth) and must pass me on to the radiologist but there are two kinds and she guessed the wrong one, so wait for transfer. An unintelligible fast talker answers. One cannot have a mammogram without the last previous one to compare with it. The last was more than a decade ago and in Portland. I must call.

I get someone in Portland (after another labyrinth) who instantly knows my name. (How does THAT happen??) I must fax permission. (No fax.) Can I email? No, they have no email. They don’t want to send to a PO Box but that’s how we get our mail in Valier. I must mail permission. Etc.

You know how it goes. By this time I feel as though I ought to get my head examined for ever wanting a mammogram in the first place. I move to a small town to simplify my life and the tentacles come reaching out, grabbing and groping, hoping to get more money out of me. There is no more money.

Surely this is the second Dark Ages.


beadbabe49 said...

Persevere...I'll cheer you on from the sidelines (and I can because I had a mammogram 5 years ago that saved my life, so I'm not just blowing hot air here...;)

prairie mary said...

Posted on behalf of Tim Barrus:

The (rules) complexities and labyrinthine ironies of contemporary life that one finds in large urban contexts is not dissimilar to the complexities and labyrinthine ironies that one finds in rural life. It's six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.

Having lived here and there.

The two started to connect in more fundamental ways than they ever used to with the advent of the information age.

Europe is the most obvious example.

In 1990, if a person committed a crime or broke the rules in Spain, that was a matter for the culture of Spain to deal with.

That has changed. It's come to America, too, with different twists.

If you break the law today in Spain, that is a matter where a judge in Brussels may impose rules and consequences on you that came as a result of technology. The EU could not exist without the broadening of technology and the rules and health laws in Madrid are the same as the rules and health laws in Paris. Or a suburb of what was once East Germany. It doesn't matter. Different systems but not fundamentally. The judge in Brussels decides and what this has done for Europe has been to prevent another world war and I am not kidding. Cultural pride, yes. But the rules are for everyone.

The rules do not care about locale.

To get an Xray in Germany, you now follow the same rules you do in the countryside of France.

It has come to America, too. And Japan.

The only difference is that in America, health insurance itself is steadfastly limited and the system makes money. For profit.

In these other places there are more rules but more access.

It is only the beginning.

In the end, Google will stand for Government.

Because that is where all the information will be. I used to think that my life on the reservation in New Mexico would be simplified as compared to my life in NYC. This was a fantasy.

A process server found me in New Mexico who compelled my expert testimony before a large group of lawyers as to a wrongful death lawsuit brought by parents of a child who died in Florida I did not know. What I did know was how the classrooms in Florida were, indeed, negligent.

The only time I was able to beat the system was being Nasdijj.

When the Congress decided to compel Nasdijj to testify before a congressional committee about health care on the reservation, they could not locate him. My whereabouts as an expert witness were totally irrlevant.

And Tim Barrus had no idea where Nasdijj was. He was just away.

The notion that either Tim Barrus, or Nasdijj, or any testimony whatsoever -- or even public policy itself -- was going to change or impact the bureaucracy of the Federal government in any way, shape, or form; even when calls for accountability on the part of the BIA were being screamed from California to Maine, was a complete and utter fantasy. At that time, Pete Dominici and John McCain were running the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Someone else probably is today. I would not know.

We don't matter really. Nor does public policy. The Great Machine grinds away and rumbles on of its own accorord.

We get on with it sometimes. Here, there, and almost everywhere. Or we don't. It doesn't really matter where we live anymore. Sometimes we make things. But most people don't. Most people are just getting by and walk an edge that everyone knows is there but we don't articulate its existence much. To do that would imply our ephemerality. Nasdijj disappeared and Tim grew up. He can participate in denial with the best of them like everyone else. Mostly, health care is a nightmare. That doesn't help. I know.

-- T

prairie mary said...

I hasten to assure readers that I do NOT suspect breast cancer, nor do I have any suspicious symptoms. I'm just doing a routine thing, maintenance. My despair is not over a lump that might require surgery, my despair is over the domination of our lives by algorythms, protocols, bureaucracy, and stubborn prairie princesses who are very proud of their little medical fiefdoms.

Prairie Mary