Monthly Archives: January 2013

A lil culture here and there

Being a military brat and also a military veteran, I have had the chance to see the majority of the United States and part of the world. My parents made many trips to historical places and museums when I was growing up. I love history. I enjoy reading the stories of where people came from.

Traveling, as well as moving around the country, gave me an insight to other cultures. For example, when I was six, my step dad was stationed in Key West, Florida. We lived across the street from a married couple; she was Japanese and he was Puerto Rican. Now and then we would be invited over for dinner, each time we went it was always something different; he would cook something from his home country or she would cook something from her home country. On occasion she would babysit my sisters and me and she would show us pictures of Japan and make Japanese popcorn for us; their kernels are black.

A few years ago I got the chance to live with a Cheyenne/ Arapaho family in Oklahoma for a summer. I was also given the honor of attending a Sun Dance. Not many “outsiders” are asked to come and join them, so I was more than elated when I was asked. To me it was more than just an honor; it was an experience to learn about another Native American culture than my own Native American heritage as I am Cherokee and Choctaw. It was the first time I had eaten buffalo, as well as fry bread.

Sun Dance is more than just watching warriors dance, there are rules to be followed, mostly for us women. Of course I always have to ask why; it’s more of a curiosity as to why these rules are set. For instances, if a woman is menstruating she cannot get closer than fifty yards from the Sun Dancers, it makes them sick. There is a certain dancer that has a lizard painted on him that is of great importance to the Sun Dance; he is named the lizard man. I was told not to stare at the lizard man; I could glance his way, but only for a quick second. The lizard man holds strong power for the one offering himself in the Sun Dance and staring at him will cause him harm.

In UAE (United Arab Emirates) Dubai, a group of my shipmates and I rode camels through the desert, stopping at an oasis. They had cooked a large meal for us that included sheep, chicken, vegetables, and camel meat; camel is like our cow here in America. They wouldn’t allow us to pass up any food that was offered, so camel meat was put on my plate whether I wanted it or not. However, I did taste it and to me, it was the nastiest meat I’ve ever eaten. There was also a belly dancer, henna hand painting, and a hookah. A hookah is a machine that you can smoke flavored tobacco from. If you have ever seen the cartoon movie Alice in Wonderland, the caterpillar smokes a hookah. I didn’t give the hookah a try because I was afraid it wouldn’t be tobacco in there, but instead there would be something illegal and I would get in trouble.


Journal Entry #3

Last Thursday in creative writing class, we were given a journal entry to fill a page with images that appeals to the senses that work to reveal an abstraction. Abstractions are things like love, joy, grief, sadness, disgrace, horror, tenderness, beauty. In the last sentence we are to reveal our abstraction.

Here is what I wrote.

Journal Entry #3

I talk to you, but I receive no verbal answer. I’m used to it now. I miss hearing your voice. I do know you hear me; the small clues you leave for us to find, to let us know you’re here.

I walk into your office here at home, searching for a plain white envelope, but cannot find any. I only find the envelopes with your old work address on them. I smile then laugh out loud at how you’ve always kept everything; old match books, postcards, even your log books from every place you’ve stopped at dating back from the first time you started driving a truck.

I start pulling your desk drawers open, still searching for a plain white envelope. Finally, I pause, then smile and ask out loud, “Can you please tell me where I may find a plain envelope? I need one without your old address printed on them.” I received an answer, tough it was with silence. I got a vision of two boxes of envelopes, sitting on a shelf above the computer. I turn around and there they were, exactly what I was looking for. “Thank you Grandpa,” I say out loud.

Grandma and I visited you today, but I still cannot talk to you like that. I look at the cold, pink stone that bares your name and I’m shaken by the thought. My mind still doesn’t want to absorb this. Tears began welling up in my eyes as I took a few steps back. I don’t know why I can talk to you at home, but cannot talk to you there. Maybe it’s just too much of a reality for me.

I watched grandma talk to you. I tried not to listen. Instead, I dried my eyes and walked around visiting with other relatives. I get lost in the quietness of that place, where everyone is resting peacefully. People tell me that time heals the pain of losing someone. It’s been two years and four months and I still grieve for you.

Update on my children’s book

I usually check my email every other day or whenever I think about it…which means, I don’t check it as often as I should. Yesterday I checked it out of curiosity. It had been a month since I had heard from one of the illustrators working on my children’s book and he did say to give them a month before I would hear from them again. He gave me a list of questions to answer, questions was about my characters; he basically needed to know how to draw them. During this month he will be working on sketching the pages for my book.

I open my email and there was an email from another illustrator that was working with the other guy I had previously talked to. In the email he had told me that they had been busy working on sketches for my book and wanted to show me one of the sketches. I opened the attachment and saw a page in bright colors with the two characters from my story. I loved it! I emailed him back saying I loved it and since he was asking if I wanted to change anything, I told him no need for any changes. It made my day to see my story in their work. I also went on to tell them what a wonderful job they have done. He emailed me back to say that they will continue with these characters and I will hear back from him in a few weeks.

The children’s book publishing is a long process. It takes 180 days, which includes, editing the story, illustrating, finding the correct title, putting it all together, and then printing the book. I had two major holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, in the middle of this that added another month onto the 180 days. I had school keeping me busy to help pass the time, so it wouldn’t feel like I’m waiting an eternity for my published work to come out. I am sure Novels take much longer. 

I’m getting even more excited the closer they get to finishing the book!

Rough Morning

I think I hit the snooze twice this morning; Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I have early classes, which means getting up at 5:45AM. Even though my first class doesn’t start until 8AM, I have to battle morning traffic starting from my street all the way to the school; not to mention dropping my daughter off at daycare. After 8AM it’s normally a ten minute drive to school. But I was actually more awake this morning than I normally am, especially for having to get up so early. And I was in my usual good mood.

It doesn’t take me long to get ready; ten to fifteen minutes, that’s including the shower. I’ll open my daughter’s bedroom door, as most of the time this will wake her up, make my bed, and then go start breakfast. If she hasn’t come into the kitchen by the time I’m done making breakfast, I know it’s going to be a rough morning. This morning was the top of the list of roughest mornings yet. It’s a fairly short list because the list has just been created, but it is starting to grow.

My daughter hadn’t given me any problems when she was two, so I never fully understood the term ‘terrible twos’. It seemed that a few weeks ago, when I dropped my daughter off at daycare and came back to pick her up, I picked up the wrong child. She looked like my daughter, but acted like someone completely different; different attitude, different behavior.

I was actually late to class this morning because of her throwing a tantrum. It wasn’t just for a few minutes either. I couldn’t get her dressed this morning, then I couldn’t get her to eat, nor get her shoes on, her hair brushed. I carried her out the door kicking and screaming only because Grandma was carrying her truck since I couldn’t; my hands were already full with diapers, a screaming child, my drink, and my backpack. I tried to give her the truck only for her to throw it across the seat. I tell her to calm down, it’s okay … but that didn’t help her.

She cried all the way to the daycare. She wouldn’t get out of the car without her truck. I gave her truck to her and proceed to carry her in and she tosses it across the parking lot and starts to scream and cry again. By now I feel like crying. I drop her off in her classroom and say she’s been like this since she got up this morning, I’m so sorry to just leave her like this. My daughter’s wailing gets louder and I say even louder, ‘I’m going to be late for class’. I was stressed and frankly, I was really upset and just wanted to leave; I still had the morning rush-hour interstate traffic to deal with.

She goes to bed around the same time every night, I haven’t changed her diet, she doesn’t drink soda; I’m starting to narrow things down. Then other mom’s with older children start to point it out to me that it’s the beginning of the ‘terrible three’s’. I’m just thinking to myself, “Oh no! I just want my sweet, lovable little girl back! The one that laughs and giggles all the time. The one that goes to bed when I ask her to. This isn’t the child I’m used to having.”

The classes that I am taking this semester make up for my stressful mornings. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s we talk about the news in my first class, the next class we talk about literature, and then I have creative writing to finish the day. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s class we talk about other cultures. All of them are really great classes.

Lil Miss Behave

I had taken my daughter to get her three year old checkup. Everything checked out fine, except that they see that she is three feet tall, which to them is under the height requirements for her age, and that she is under weight. Two things; one, I think she is perfect short or tall. Two, my child is not underweight; she actually had a belly on her when she went in for her checkup. I think if the doctor is checking the chart for her required height and weight for her age and saying my daughter is short for her age, then I think the weight requirements are going to be way off.

Another thing is that my daughter is behind on is her vocabulary and has to start taking speech therapy. I happily agreed to this. I can understand my daughter for the most part and so can those who are around her a lot, but for others, who don’t know her, have a hard time understanding her. She still babbles and doesn’t use sentences.

While we were there they asked me if I wanted them to give her the flu shot. I said, “Yes, might as well since it’s going around.”

A few days later Dublin began acting a little out of sorts, screaming and crying nonstop for hours. It started at daycare and they were just about to call me had I not walked in the door just then. They told me that it is like her to act like that. I agree it isn’t. That very night she started throwing up, nonstop and it continued all the next day. I took her back to the doctor and was told she had a stomach virus.

She had gotten better, but her behavior did not. The daycare continues to tell me how she’s doing, as usually, and told me that this isn’t her normal behavior. Again, I agree. Today, at lunch she started screaming and crying and threw her plate. The same thing goes on at home, if she doesn’t like something, I’ll try to make whatever it is she wants just to get her to eat something. In the meantime she’s screaming and crying the whole time. Is this a reaction from the flu shot? Or is this a three year old thing? Of course I had called the doctor’s office and talked to the nurse, she told me that this is a three year old thing, that the flu shot wouldn’t do that.

What is writing like for me

In Creative Writing class we are to keep journals. She gives us journal entry topics to write in our journals. This past Thursday this was what the topic was:

Journal Entry #1:

~What writing is like for me using images.~

When I write, it is like I go to the birth of my imagination. Thoughts are signaled silently through my arm, to my fingertips as if it were sending a telepathic link.

My fingers touch my pen and immediately it knows its job. Ink explodes as words flow onto paper, streaming endlessly down the page. I create characters and places and soon a storyline begins to build.

Words keep on flowing and paragraphs keep growing. Pages upon pages are soon filled until…I stop.

First week done

The first week of school went by with some success. We had another ice storm come through that postponed and canceled classes. Even though Tuesday was the actually day of bad weather, I had missed classes all day from my own self-ignorance on how to read my own class schedule. I had to laugh out loud when it was pointed out to me. I felt awkward showing up to class on Thursday and the teacher asked for us to turn in our homework. My eyes got real big and I felt awkward. Had I missed something? Was this in an email that I should’ve checked and hadn’t? I finally asked. This class, as well as the other classes I have on Thursday, is also held on Tuesday.

Since Tuesday and Thursday both start with “T’s” they use “TR” for Thursday on a class schedule or an “R”. I had “TR” on my schedule, which meant I had these classes on both Tuesday and Thursday; I thought they were Thursday only classes. I had never taken class on Tuesday’s or Thursday’s, so you could see my confusion. No matter, I got it cleared up and am planning on being on time and in class on Tuesday.

My week looks busy Monday through Thursday and I am already enjoying the classes that I have signed up for. I’ll have a lot of writing to do and I’m told I’ll have quite a few essays to write as well. Though some students may not like writing essay, I’m the opposite, I actually like them. They help me work on my writing skills. I’m not a great writer, I’ll always make mistakes, it is now that I am in school that I can find these mistakes and learn how to fix them.

Since there are quite a few writing prompts in my classes, I’ll be sharing them with you all. So, look forward to reading about what I’m doing in Cultural Anthropology, Beginning Journalism, English Comp II, and Creative Writing. 

Its just crackers!

There’s a difference in Cheez-It crackers, trust me, my three year old will point it out to you; she has pointed it out to me. She and I both like Cheez-It crackers. I took to buying the Spiderman ones because of the colorful character on the box. I thought it would appeal to her and I was right, it did, and it has; I bought two. When it was time to buy some more the spot where I would find the Spiderman crackers was empty, but next to that spot were Scrabble Cheez-Its. I bought two thinking nothing of my daughter’s later reactions.

I continued with my shopping, paid for my items, went home and put them away. When she came up to me asking for a snack, I opened the newly purchased Scrabble crackers, poured them into her own little bowl she has, and gave it to her. She looked at the box and then looked at the crackers and began fussing, “Spiman, Spiman!” She wanted Spiderman crackers, to which I replied, “Baby, they were out of Spiderman, these are ABC crackers.” I pick up one of her crackers with a letter on it, “See, this one has an ‘E’ on it!” I said with as much excitement as I could. I grabbed the box and pointed to the letters, “See, it has letters on them, how neat is that?” She looked at me and started to cry, then threw her bowl of lettered crackers at me. “Spiman!” she kept saying through her sobs.

I look for something else to satisfy her…COOKIES! I hurry to the cabinet and find a few chips ahoy (knock off brand) left in its package and give them to her; this seems to suffice her for now. The next day I go back to the store and Spiderman was on the shelf…YAY me!

Not the end of the story… It seems that this is a popular box of crackers for everyone as I went to the store before she ran out and ran into the same situation again, the Spiderman cracker spot was empty! I went home thinking I would pull a slick one on my little girl and start dumping the Scrabble crackers in with the Spiderman crackers, just so the crackers would last until I can find another box (I’ll buy 6 next time, I swear!). I poured her a small bowl full of crackers and handed them to her. Later on, my three year old daughter proved to me that I’m not as slick and she’s not that dumb; she only ate the Spiderman crackers, leaving the Scrabble ones in the bowl and brought them back to me. I had to laugh. 

Short book review…Magic, Mystery, A Princess in danger…

Anyone who knows me, knows that I can either be found reading or reading or browsing the book shelves for something good to read. A few days before my daughter’s birthday I decided to go to Toys R Us to buy her a few things. It just so happens that Barnes and Noble is right next door. I don’t come up here often as the traffic is horrible due to major road construction and it’s quite a drive. Since I was by myself I decided to go into B&N and browse.

Since no one is ever with me when I’m book browsing I will tell you this, I take forever! I like to look. I like to look at the History sections, the Science Fiction section, the Fiction section, the bargain sections, the New Released sections, the magazine sections. While I’m browsing my brain goes ADD on me, I’ll find a book and…oh I wonder if so and so has a new book out. I’ll walk over there and see if anything new of that author is on the shelf. Then a few moments later…oh wait I wonder if they have any of those books I saw last time. I walk back over to the Science Fiction area.

I did however pick up three books; one of the Doctor Who books: Hunter’s Moon, Innocent Darkness: The Aether Chronicles Book 1 by Suzanne Lazear, and Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. I also bought the latest BBC Doctor Who magazine.

Right now I’m currently reading Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. I just saw it on the end cap, either with the new releases or near them…I can’t remember at this moment. It was the cover that caught my eye…that’s usually which book I’ll pick up first, whichever will catch my eye. Then I’ll flip to the back cover to see what the teaser says, if there is one, or look for it on the inside jacket cover. Then sometimes I like to flip through a few pages and read a few paragraphs to see if it’s catchy. When I flipped the book open my finger caught a page and I saw that there was a map of a make believe world, their world for their story. I thought, neat! I liked everything I saw and read.

It’s a Fantasy Fiction. I’m currently in the middle of chapter eight. There are three countries to the author’s world and each chapter switches to each country. It is not at all confusing as it sounds. There is a character from each country that runs into one from another country and so the story blends together perfectly through each chapter, so you’re not at all lost.

If a book bores me, I usually find out within the first chapter…this book is really interesting so far…

What has happened so far… The first two countries are poor and the third country is still prosperous. The other two countries are relying on a prophecy, or magic to come back, as magic has long since died out or has been forbidden. A murder has happened and a princess was involved and now her life is in danger. I don’t want to give too much away. The only thing I hate is not having the time to pick it up more and find out what happens next!

Why I Love Chocolate

Everyone has a reason as to why they like chocolate or vanilla; it’s simply a personal choice. For me it goes beyond choice, it comes straight from the factory…literally. My step dad is from Pennsylvania and every summer, until I was about fifteen, we would pack the car and set off on our vacation towards the New England states…mostly Pennsylvania. We would always stop at Gettysburg and Philadelphia, but most memorably we would stop at Hershey.

They had a tram inside that would take you on a small tour of where their chocolate comes from, how they make it, and where the name Hershey kiss comes from, and where the name Hershey came from, and other Hershey details. At the end of the tour we would get a free piece of chocolate candy, then walk around the gift shop; my sisters and I would get our own candy bar.

On one occasion my mother and I got to sample the new strawberry ice cream syrup before it was put out on the market. Of course her and I were huge fans of strawberries said we would love to sample it. We were to tell them if we like it and if we didn’t, and what we liked about it and what we didn’t like about it.

The street lamps of Hershey, Pennsylvania are Hershey kisses. And if you drive to the factory and slowly drive by, roll your windows down and take a huge whiff, you would literally smell chocolate…I’m not kidding!! My family and I have done this many times!