Tag Archives: growing up

DP: Menagerie


Today’s Daily Prompt, Menagerie, is all about pets. Do you have them and if not, why?

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I’m about 4 years old in this picture, holding our dog named Buffy.

I remember having pets growing up, mostly dogs. It was just a part of life to have one, if not two dogs or cats in the household.

When I got out of the Navy, I decided civilian life was dull, that it was missing something. I went to the local animal shelter, asked to see the ones they were about to put down, and adopted myself a cat. Actually, she adopted me.

I must have held fifteen of them, all adults, both male and female. All of them were cute and cuddly, making my choice to pick just one very hard. Then I held an adult female Maine Coon. She didn’t mew or purr, even after I talked calmly to her for a few minutes. I scratched her head for a few seconds longer and she leaned up and licked me twice on my chin. It was in that moment I decided she was coming home with me.

She was in such a sad state that I had no choice but to have her shaved. Her coat was just mangled in knots that I was afraid brushing her would be painful, not for me, but for her. When I brought her home, she hid under the bed or on top of the fridge. I sat out cans of tuna, which won her trust. She lived almost six years after I adopted her before she passed away from old age. She became my lap cat, purring endlessly and always gave me kitty kisses on my hand or arm, whichever was closest to her. Such an amazing, lovable furbaby.

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Miss Kitty (on the left) and Lucky Boy (on the right).

I did adopt one more cat a year after I got her. He was a stray kitten, running around the streets, barely a few months old. Sadly, one day, after he was over a year old, he got out of the house when I wasn’t home and I was never able to find him after that.

I miss both of my cats and having owned pets of my own, can attest on how they become your children. You tend to them; feed them, groom them, bath them, give them attention, love them. Animals are a part of your family. Mine had their own Christmas stockings and their own wrapped presents. They were my babies and when they were gone, I mourned them.

I currently don’t own any pets due to my living situation, but in the next few years, I’m hoping to change that.

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WPC: Motion


This week’s photo challenge is, Motion.

My grams, ironing quilt blocks, to which the image came out looking really neat.

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Alligators in Arkansas?


Spring break usually means vacation time for some, but to me, it’s time for catching up on college homework, as it does tend to pile up for us non-traditional students. It also means finishing tasks around the house that also needs my attention, such as taking my car into the shop to fix a burned out fuse, as well as having them take care of a recall. Then there’s the usual, dentist and doctor appointments that I can finally make since I have some time off. Or the opportunity to go into work early. All and all, for me, spring break just means staying busy, instead of relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere, listening to the waves crash onto shore, while I work on my tan.

But, it isn’t all work and no play, I do find some time for fun.

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the Alligator Farm in Hot Springs. She’s been begging me to take her to the zoo, yet most of the things she enjoys is out of order and under construction at our local zoo in Little Rock; the train, petting zoo, etc. Plus, they no longer have giraffes, which is my daughter’s favorite.

I had thought about taking her to Turpentine Creek, which is a wildcat sanctuary in Eureka Springs, but that’s a four hour drive (back roads and road construction) and it was supposed to rain yesterday. It was also slightly chilly, so taking her into the Ozark Mountains to walk around looking at wildcats wasn’t something she would enjoy.

The alligator farm was a relatively short visit. There wasn’t much going on, but on the positive side, it wasn’t crowded. Since alligators are cold blooded reptiles, they were being kept indoors where it’s much warmer. They have spacious yards outside, yet it is still too cold for them to be moved outdoors.

Along with the numerous amount of alligators, they also had a pair of Arctic Wolves, a mountain lion, turkeys, mallards and wood ducks, peacocks, a macaque, three lemurs, an emu, a couple of donkeys, and a handful of fallow deer, goats, and sheep.

Mini me was infatuated with the alligators, yet knew not to poke her fingers through the fence to try to pet one. Although, there was a guy holding a young alligator for visitors to pet (it had a rubber band around it’s snout so it wouldn’t snap anyone’s fingers off). Of course after I touched it’s belly, she saw that it was okay and touched it twice, which was long enough for me to snap a quick picture.

It was a fairly inexpensive trip, yet we always enjoy getting out of the house, no matter the price. I think that any young child or adult would enjoy taking a few minutes out of their weekend to visit the Alligator Farm. It’s easy to get to, plus it’s located five blocks away from downtown Hot Springs, where there is plenty of other things to see and do for couples and for families.

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DP: 32 Flavors


Naples Noodle Headbeer barCookieslicoriceRaw Fish AnyoneKoper Dinner

Daily Prompt for 32 Flavors; Vanilla, Chocolate, or something else entirely.

When I joined the Navy in 2000, I had unknowingly become an anthropologist. Little did I know, that 10 years later, I would set out to go to college to become one, an anthropologist. An anthropologist studies humans and their origins, race, culture, societies, development, and a list of other things. There are 4 fields in Anthropology – Cultural, Physical, Linguistic, Archaeology.

Most of those in the military, especially the Navy, are unaware of their involvement as an anthropologist or that they are in a way more than diplomatic ambassadors, but they are also anthropologist. They travel to foreign countries as part of their duties, eat food from another country, talk to someone in their home country, shop in another country, walk around on soil that is foreign to them; it is all about submerging themselves into another person’s culture or society. I’m like a sponge, I love to soak it all in.

Before we pulled into port, we would have an idea of the things that we could see and do. A group of people are sent out before we pulled into port to find things that would be entertaining. Plus, they would locate the areas that weren’t safe for us and let us know. They would have tours set up and ready for us, names of a few places we could visit, and names of the shopping plazas nearby, as well as passing out a few maps of the city we were pulling into, and most importantly, they would bring bankers on board so we could exchange our currency.

The first thing some of us would look for once we got on dry land is food. It isn’t unusual to find a McD’s in most of the places we pull into and since some personnel are accustomed and habited to eating there, that’s the first place, and sometimes the only place that they’ll head to for sustenance. I actually look for something local, as I’m not bothered in trying new food. I especially looked forward to touring Italy and eating oven baked pizza and home made pasta. I even had the pleasure of eating tiramisu while I was in Italy, to which I loved immensely. Next thing I had to try was Italian coffee, then gelato.

I believed I spoiled myself, that when I came back home to the states, it was something that I searched for. Olive Garden was as close as I could get to Italian food, but I had some trouble finding Greek food, unless I traveled out of my way.

There were a few things that I tried overseas that I didn’t like; camel meat is on the top of my list to never try again, Greek burgers aren’t anything like American burgers, and I’m not sure what kind of burger meat I ate in Portugal. I’ve heard that camel is an acquired taste, or that the person who served it didn’t cook it right. To put it in the daily prompt’s words, it was definitely “something else entirely”.

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One Word Photo Challenge: Beaver


This week’s one word photo challenge is beaver, which is a shade of brown, similar to mocha, yet just a shade darker.

Last week it had snowed…again…but this time, it was a good snowfall, well, for us here in the centralized part of Arkansas it was. Sad thing about this round of white powder is that it was just that, powder, which isn’t snowman building type of snow. After several minutes of effortless trying to build one, she finally understood, yet still found a way to enjoy playing in it.

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I admire my daughter’s infinite love for snow. I’m sure the movie Frozen gave her a bit of a nudge in that direction, especially after hearing Anna’s famous line, ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’. And there’s also a song she sings about it too. After watching the movie a few dozen times, then hearing it play in the background of your home…on repeat…then tolerating the CD in the car, also on repeat, you would have a slight understanding as to why snow and the movie Frozen can start to really bug you.

Not to mention, the numerous pictures of Elsa circulating on Facebook, issuing a warrant out for arrest, blaming her for causing our lovely winter snowstorms, kind of a bit overdone.

The only time I like snow is when I get to play in it. I used to snowboard regularly when I lived in Colorado. I actually kept my board and gear, just in case I get the chance to snowboard again. Yet, when my daughter repeats Anna’s famous line, of course I’m all into building a snowman, I’m just not going to burst into song or anything like that. I’ll also refrain from mentioning anything to do with the movie.

Though the sky was kind of bleak and everything surrounding me was white, I did snap a few photos here and there. I kind of find my neighbors broken fence somewhat interesting. I call it his fence since he’s the one who put it up, he just fails to maintain it. Of course the wheelchair ramp tends to end up in my pictures. Plus, I had to take a picture of the tall pines that surround us in their version of a tiny forrest. I feel like an ant standing next to these massive giants. They were here before the house was built back in the 50’s, so that should give you a rough estimate on how old they are.

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Finally, she built a snowman


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This week, the weather has been rather crappy. We rarely get a good snow fall here in the southern part of Arkansas, so when it does snow I get as excited as my daughter does and we head outside to play. What we usually get almost every winter, is sleet and freezing rain, which leads to icy covered roads. Which also leads to people driving around like crazy trying to buy up all the bread and milk in every store. Twice, I almost got ran into from people driving erratically and the storm had not even arrived yet.

I had prepared for being kept indoors by stocking up our cabinets and freezers. So, if we don’t leave the house for several weeks, we’re good. If the electric goes out, that’s fine too, as I have a small charcoal grill and plenty of batteries, flashlights, and lanterns.

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A few years ago, or was it last year, a horrible snow storm hit us, knocking out our power. Then our giant Magnolia tree in our front yard was weighed down from all the ice and snow that it split in two; one giant limb covered the drive way, thankfully missing my car, and the other giant limb fell onto the wheelchair ramp, which blocked any method of getting the cars out. Our wonderful neighbors showed up with chainsaws and a few friends brought their trucks over and we all took care of our poor tree.

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Tuesday, it had snowed a few inches, that Wednesday morning my daughter and I went outside to play. I helped her build a snowman, as she’s been aching to do. I watched her run around the backyard, then watch her as she tossed a few handfuls of snow at me. Then after thirty minutes had elapsed we went back inside and proceeded to watch everything melt from our picture window in the living room. It was a great day and most of the snow and ice has melted away. Just in time too, as we’re to get another round of freezing rain tonight and tomorrow. Fun!

For now, it’s catch up time on homework, research papers, and novel edits.

Stay warm all!

A happy report of being accident free


Due to my daughter’s autism, potty training has been a major challenge for her and I. I had the difficult time getting her to transition from diaper to pull-up, then an even harder time getting her to transition from pull-up to panties. It’s a sensory thing, plus it’s an autism thing. Change is something a child with autism can’t handle. Then the sensory part, well, the pull-up feels way different than the diaper. The panties feel even funnier than the pull-up. it’s just uncomfortable, which can also lead to meltdowns and stress, mostly for her. I have a lot of patience with her.

It took a lot of bribing and coaxing to get her to switch over, but she did. It cost quite a bit of stickers and some M&Ms, but whatever helped.

Imagine, if you will, the feeling of a scouring pad being pulled ever so lightly against your skin. I know it sounds a bit awkward describing it this way, but this is how some things feel to someone with autism, especially someone with a sensory disorder. It is definitely an unnatural feeling, yet that’s what they experience. I had gotten her a cute little Red Sox jersey. She loves it, except she can’t wear it without having a regular t-shirt underneath the jersey. The jersey on her skin feels uncomfortable. Like wearing a wool sweater without having a t-shirt underneath it. So, not only is the change in going from diaper, to pull-up, to panties hard for her, it takes some time for her to get accustomed to the new feelings of each item.

Next came the success of actually going in the potty, which took a few years. When she was one, I had purchased a little pink princess potty, to which she loved, though she would rather look at it, than she would sit on it. It chimed each time you would push it’s little jeweled lever, which was supposed to resemble flushing the potty, but it was more of a cute little accessory that was only for looks. She found it rather amusing and giggled each time it chimed, that she would sit in the floor and continuously push the lever down.

She still wouldn’t sit on it. I continued to try though.

Perseverance.

For the past several months, her teachers at daycare and I have been working with her on using the potty, the real one, as well as wearing panties. I would take her to school wearing panties, but had to make sure she had a few pairs of pants, panties, socks, and another pair of shoes, sometimes I would slip an extra shirt in there, as there’s been times where it was needed too. Oh, yeah, she peed all the way down her legs, soiling everything, including her shoes.

No matter how many times we took her and placed her on the potty, she would still have an accident. It was just a continued work in progress. Yesterday, however, something changed. She actually went the entire day without wearing a pull-up and without having an accident. I couldn’t be more happier for my baby girl! Although, she still has to be taken to the bathroom, I’m sure it won’t be long now before she begins to start taking herself when she feels nature calling, before nature does call.

Next on the list is for her to successful do number two in the potty, instead of holding it. Since she started wearing panties, she’s been holding number two until she can’t hold it any more and has an accident.

Small steps, still lead to great successes!

Dana’s First Fish book signings coming soon


Dana's First Fish

I love it when I stroll through the aisles of my local bookstore and the employees recognize me as one of the local authors. It makes me feel proud, happy, and excited. I’m no Charlaine Harris, but still, I need that little nudge of encouragement, a boost of motivation. It hasn’t been a successful start as a published author. I’ve paid to have a marketing team help me put myself out there and it started out a little rough, but the wrinkles are starting to work themselves out, finally.

If I were a betting person, I’m not, but if I were, I would bet that if you googled Dana’s First Fish or my name, Jennifer N. Adams, a nice looking picture of yours truly would pop up. 🙂 Go ahead, google me, it’s okay. 😉 Granted, it took a lot of work and quite a bit of time for that to happen, but Dana’s First Fish appears as my book now and not the work of the other children’s author who shares my name. Since she’s written and published quite a long list of titles, I think it is I who shares her name and not the other way around.

When you spend all that time, money, energy into creating something and not receive credit, wouldn’t you be upset? I was. I would show up to events and the coordinator would frown as they were expecting the other Jennifer Adams to show up.

I’ve had a few people personally ask me to get with them in a few weeks (when they’re starting to book events) so that I can set up a date to have a book signing with them. I love when someone asks for me to do that. Make sure you keep your eyes open, as I’ll start setting up book signing events for late March or early April.

I still have a few copies of Dana’s First Fish on hand if you would like to purchase one or two of them. Just make sure that you make a memo as to whom I’m making it out to in the comments section before you check out completely.

Just A Little Peek


Earlier today, I caught my daughter going through everyone’s stocking. I know she’s anxiously waiting for Christmas, but I had to again, tell her that she has to wait for Christmas day to open presents, and to also leave the stockings alone as they’re not all for her; she didn’t bother getting into hers, which is on the other side of the tree, with her name on it. I thought I had put them up high enough, but I’m guessing she stood on the back of the couch and got them down, then dumped them all out. I know she particularly liked what my nephew is getting, as she was wearing it. I had to tell her that was for Hunter, which she put back with no arguments. The two of them are really close, like brother and sister.

She still hasn’t found my new hiding spot for all the presents, thank goodness. Guess the third time is the charm, or maybe it’s the really heavy container I put in front of the closet door for good measure. If I have a problem moving that thing, she won’t be able to budge it an inch. Maybe I should knock on wood…*knock, knock, knock*…wait the desk is fake wood…

Each time she found my hiding spot, she would open all the presents, carefully putting the empty packages into the trash can, then run around playing with everything she got out. I wasn’t home when this had happened, or it would’ve been prevented when she got too close to where I was hiding everything. When I walked inside the house, she immediately rushed up to me and showed me what she got with all the excitement of a four year old. Of course I knew where she got the toys and inside I was screaming ‘NO!”, but on the outside, I was smiling and just agreed to let her have them. There was no way I was going to take toys away from a child with autism. So, I just simply found a new hiding spot for the next round of presents, twice.

I didn’t buy that much for her to open each time I had moved to each hiding spot, but now that it’s closing in on the big day, there’s no way she’s going to get into them now, Mommy is broke, er, I mean Santa is broke, so he put this heavy 20 gallon container in front of the door, hiding all gifts from small and crafty hands. I’m so lucky she can’t read this, lol!

I was talking to one of my cousins, and we both agreed that peeking at our presents before Christmas, runs in our family, so I know I’m getting paid for my raising. My sisters and I would open our presents early. Our parents would put a few under the tree and it would bug us, not knowing what was in those wrapped packages. I had unwrapping presents down to a science. Steaming the tape just so and then peal it off without tearing the wrapping. Though once we got a peek at the contents, we weren’t at all happy, so when Christmas arrived, we weren’t all that excited to open anything. Let’s just say, kids aren’t all that happy to receive clothes for Christmas, that wasn’t what we told Santa what we wanted. So what happened? It wasn’t until later when we found out that our little scheme wasn’t much of a secret and that was why the early presents under the tree were nothing but clothes.

Well played. 

Now I know how to deal with that when my daughter gets a little bit older, but how to deal with her now is the fun part. I can’t even get her to leave the ornaments on the tree alone. She takes off with them, plays with them, then I can’t find the things when I notice they’re gone. Usually, they’re hanging on the Venetian blinds in the living room, but I guess she got tired of me taking them down and putting them back on the tree because they’re now MIA.

 

Big girls sleep in their own big girl beds


It’s hard to break habits once they start. Giving up chocolate, coffee, smoking. No, I’m not a smoker, but I was just naming a few habits that could be hard to break. I can’t imagine going without the thought of popping a delicately sweet piece of milk chocolate into my mouth and savoring it. The heavenly bitter-sweetness of it rolling over my taste buds, as it melts into my mouth causing it to water even more. The chocolaty smell hitting my sense of smell and…hang on a second while I go get some…

It started about a year or so ago. My daughter had this high fever that I was having trouble breaking. I had taken her to the doctor and she was given meds for an ear infection. But that was only the day before her fever reached 103F. She woke me up crying in the middle of the night. I rushed into her room to find her not only covered in sweat, but she had thrown up all over her bed. She was burning up so I thought what best than to put her straight into the bath. I washed her off, telling her everything was okay. Once she was out and dressed I put her on the couch, gave her something for the fever, then went to change her bed sheets. When I came back she had nodded off to sleep, so I left her there, all snug and warm, tucked into a fresh blanket on the couch.

About an hour later she woke up crying again. Same thing, sweaty and covered in throw up. Another bath and this time was put in my bed. She stayed the whole night without waking and without throwing up, though that didn’t mean I slept peacefully. Her fever had reduced a few degrees, but was still too high. I even made a trip to the Children’s hospital about thirty plus minutes away, only for her to be given a gatorade and nausea meds. She stayed with me that night and the following night, just so I could monitor her fever and be close by in case she needed to throw up again. But ever since then she thinks it’s okay to hop into bed with me, especially when she’s not feeling well.

“Don’t you want to go sleep in your very own bed?” I ask her.

She casually shakes her head while sucking on her thumb. She stares up at me with those bright blue eyes of hers and immediately I thought of Puss in Boots from Shrek and how he would look at people with a cute little pout and those big soft eyes. I could tell I wasn’t getting anywhere. She was winning me over. I had to change tactics. Think of something that may work.

Finally, I had a thought. “I thought you told mommy that you were a big girl.” She nodded her head. “Well, big girls sleep in their own bed. Don’t you want to be a big girl and sleep in your own bed? Mommy’s a big girl and she sleeps in her own big girl bed. You have your own big girl bed too. So what do you say I take you back to your room and put you back into your big girl bed?”

She looks at me and nods her head. It worked! Though for the time being as she still gets up in the middle of the night and crawls into bed with me. This whole big girl thing however, seems to not work so much on her any more. Time to think up of something else to use.