Tag Archives: holidays

OWPC: Copper


I almost didn’t make this week’s photo challenges, as I have a pile of college homework to do; it’s almost the end of the semester.

This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is copper.

My dad's cat, Willow. She's great at hiding, but my daughter can always find her. She greets her with an excited, "Hi, Willow!" Then gives her a gentle pat and leaves her alone for the rest of our visit with my parents.

My dad’s cat, Willow. She’s great at hiding, but my daughter can always find her. She greets her with an excited, “Hi, Willow!” Then gives her a gentle pat and leaves her alone for the rest of our visit with my parents.

She always has both arms full of stuffed animals. Somehow, they too want to go for a car ride, even though it's a short trip to her school right down the street.

She always has both arms full of stuffed animals. Somehow, they too want to go for a car ride, even though it’s a short trip to her school right down the street.

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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Showing That Irish Pride Every March


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March is a month that I’ve always looked forward to every year. Parades, eating pot roast and potatoes, and donning the color green. I can remember one year, when I was in first or second grade, that I had gotten pinched for wearing too much green. I was covered in green from my shoes, socks, pants, and my tee. I never understood why a person would pinch someone for not wearing green or for wearing too much of it, but it was something that I can remember doing every year, supporting my Irish heritage.

It’s something I still do today, attend the local St. Pat’s parade, eat beef and potatoes, and wear as much green as I want without worrying about getting pinched.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day originated in America by the Irish who immigrated to the States over two centuries ago. It became a tradition in celebrating their culture, heritage, music, and of course their patron saint, Patrick every March, that it took off with popularity, continuing on with their descendants and is now celebrated in every major city in the US and almost every city in Ireland, bringing in attendees from every cultural background, including Irish.

According to Ireland of the Welcomes magazine, “the first St. Patrick’s Day parade every record, was in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts, hosted by the Irish Society of Boston.”

“Almost 25 percent of the population in Massachusetts is Irish, making it the most Irish state in the US. Boston is often called the capital of Irish America because of the thriving Irish community that dates back to colonial times.”

Here in Little Rock the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas hosts a parade every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a mile long and seems to grow in attendance every year. This year marks their 16th annual parade and will be this Saturday, March 14th at 1PM. The parade will start in front of Dugan’s Pub at Third and Rock, then will travel east on Third, the North on Sherman, towards President Clinton Ave, running in front of the river market, making a right turn on Main St, crossing over the river bridge, ending at Sixth and Main.

I find that the best areas for viewing is right in front of the river market on President Clinton Ave. Though if you have kiddos with sensitive hearing like my daughter, bring ear protection as the several motorcycles, handful of fire engines, and that one guy with the train, can create such a loud echoing noise in between those big city buildings, startling those wee ones.

Please click here for more information on the parade, as the Irish Cultural Society usually host an organization benefit. Last year, they collected canned food for the Rice Depot…There was a sponsored truck in the parade procession collecting canned food from the attendees, I proudly donated a few cans to them as they passed us.

Oh, if you decide to attend, and I hope you do, don’t forget to bring a bag so that the kiddos can collect candy and beads thrown to them from the parade procession.

Winter Fever, Cabin Blues…


Or is it ‘Cabin Fever, Winter Blues’?

Either way, it’s another fine winter day, stuck indoors. I’m actually being a bit sardonic, but who wouldn’t be unless you could be outside enjoying the weather. Though there aren’t any slopes here for me to grab my snowboard and head out to. Nor is the ground covered in snow, for mini me to go sledding. Instead, the ground is covered in ice that has been melted and frozen, again, and again, over the past few days. Today, our forecast called for a snow and rain mix, which didn’t began falling until late morning. It just made everything that much more slippery. I decided to stay home with my daughter, since I have to drive North where the roads would be much slicker.

Though I have driven in wintry conditions, it is very different here in Arkansas, especially when you’re surrounded by drivers who cannot drive on ice and/or snow. Some cannot even drive when it’s raining, so I find it best to stay clear by staying home. My daughter finds serenity in watching the snow fall. We have a large picture window in the living room with a wide window sill for her to lean on and to also give her plenty of space to play with her toys.

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On days like this, I find myself in the office, on the computer, trying to finish up homework, or work on the next research paper for a class or two, or do a bit of writing. I think if I redecorated this office, it would have more of a calm, soothing atmosphere where I can be more creative. I think it’s the only room that still has the fake wood paneling from the 1960’s, covering it’s walls. Plus, the photos that cover the wall space above grandpa’s desk are decades old and could be upgraded.

I think I may have found my next summer project…to redecorate and rearrange the office.

I mostly find my creative energy in a mixture of places, such as, bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, front porch. Sometimes, the recliner in the living room, next to our picture window is a perfect spot for writing, especially on days like today. Anywhere my mind can roam freely.

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Lately, I’ve been spending most of that free time between classes, in my college library. Just yesterday, I had my headphones on, music going, and I was able to finally finish editing chapter one of my young adult novel. This is the same novel I had tried querying agents last summer for, but without success. It’s a tough job, being an author. Tough market, actually. Some of them were very close in saying yes, adding tidbits of helpful info that would make the next round of querying a bit more successful.

So, I began working on it….again.

There was originally a prologue, but I had cut it out entirely. Now, I added it back into the novel, but instead of it being a prologue, I made it the beginning of chapter one’s story line. I then moved some of chapter three into chapter one, so the next on my to-do-list is to edit chapter three.

I’m coming up on 60K words total…on the manuscript that is. I’m going to make that a goal that I must achieve. Once that’s done, I am finished…I hope, cross my fingers and knock on wood. I’m looking forward to seeing it finalized once more and also hope that I can send it off to the publisher very soon. I think I’ll try querying agents again, if not, I know a few small publishers that wouldn’t mind publishing it for me.

One Word Photo Challenge: Saffron


This weeks One Word Photo Challenge is Saffron. It’s a beautiful shade of yellow. A bright, cheerful color. Something a lot of us need right now while we’re stuck indoors due to winter weather.

As an anthropologist, I always enjoy attending any and all cultural events, whether it is required to attend for a college class or not. I had taken my daughter to the Turkish Festival last year. We both loved it. The music, the food, the rafts, the people, it was a wonderful outing for my daughter and I. Some events are difficult for my daughter, due to the loud noises and crowds, but this one was one of the better events.

The beautiful saffron colored wall blends well with my daughter’s dark blue shirt. I had purchased a bracelet for her, to which she was mesmerize with, staring at it with curiosity.

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What Not To Say To A Native American


American’s have the advantage of free speech, whereas in some countries it’s illegal to speak out against things you’re opposed to, or to rally for things you’re for. That freedom of speech, at times, gives our western culture the idea to feel free to ask whatever is on our mind without having thought the question through, or say anything we wish to express, whether anyone around us agrees with it. American’s have no filter. It’s a birthright, I guess you can say. However, some take their ‘freedom of speech’ a bit too far.

For instance, when stated that I am Native American, it’s typical to hear in response, ‘how much Indian/Native American are you?’. It’s actually an insensitive question. I don’t ask anyone about their culture, race, or ethnic background, or how much of it are they really, it’s just plan rude. You are what you are, so why should I question it. I don’t ask to see your birth certificate or any other paperwork for that matter, to see if you are who you say you are, so why would anyone question a native american for being who they are?

There’s always a general question or comment brought up when native american’s are mentioned. My favorite, for instance, ‘my great-seven times back-grandma was a Cherokee princess’. Actually, there’s no such thing. There may be a chief’s daughter, but no royal titles were given, such as princess. You should see the facial expression I get when I tell people that, or hear the harsh comments I receive.

Certain words in our past history were used by Immigrants out of pretext for reasons that are not excusable. A word most often heard and should take precaution before being said is, ‘squaw’. It’s a derogatory word to mean whore, or to refer to a women’s genitalia. Redskin and brave are also derogatory words.

It’s rude to ask to touch someone’s hair, as well as it is to ask about oil rights and casino money. It’s also rude to ask, ‘do you live in a teepee?’, ‘do you receive any special benefits?’, ‘do you dance at powwows?’, ‘what do you really smoke in your peace pipe?’, ‘what’s your spirit animal?’, ‘why don’t you cut your hair?’, ‘do you celebrate Thanksgiving or Columbus Day?’.

You should always check yourself before asking anyone anything. If it sounds racist, it probably is and should not be said. Step outside your comfort zone and think, ‘if someone asked me this question or made this comment to me, would I be offended?’.