Saturday, March 27, 2010

How To Give A Back Yard Party

Number 9 on my Bucket List: How to Throw a Back Yard Party in 10 easy steps.

1. Always, ALWAYS start with a nap.

2. Use place cards and a seating chart.

3. For God's sake, let someone else do the cooking.

4. But always make your signature dish yourself.

5. Have a Tequila Taste Test (and a bartender!).

6. Hire your camera shy daughter to take the pics...

7. . . .of your very good friends. . .

8. . . . having a good time.

9. Tell wild stories NO one will believe.

10. Make sure the Diva of All That's Good and Red is there.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Become a Published Writer

That was Number 89 on my Bucket List ( and the list is in no particular order of importance,) So I embarked on a writing journey. I wrote a short story about the Watts Riots of 1965 and entered it into the Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Don't get excited. I didn't win, but I did garner an Honorable Mention in their magazine. They sent me a certificate and everything, which I promptly framed and put in front of my writing space. Don't laugh, either. I take it where I can get it. This is me and my reaction to winning 34th place.

Then I wrote another short story -- actually, it was Flash Fiction -- and I entered that in the WOW Women on Writing Fall 2009 Contest, and this time out of 300 entries, I won 2nd place!

Now when people ask me what I do, I can legitimately say, I AM A WRITER! PUBLISHED! And say it with a straight face (actually I'll probably be giggling.)

Read my winning entry here: Colored Girl Movie.
Read my interview in The Muffin here.
Cross off Number 89 on my Bucket List here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Where Did I Come From?

And I'm not referencing that book about the facts of life. Sarge says he will tell me about that when I'm old enough.

I'm talking about from where does my family line descend. In order to find out, I went to Number 28 on my Bucket List: take a DNA test to find my African ancestry.

To do this, my brother and I pooled our resources of money (nearly $500) and saliva. He provided the saliva because men carry DNA from both the mother and father. So my brother swabbed his spit and stuck it into a vial -- I know, huh? Gross! -- then sent it to a lab.

We went through, which is not the most user-friendly website in the world, despite their touted tutorial.

According to the MtDNA --DNA strictly from the mother with no influence from the father (which is certainly how my household is run) -- we descend from the Upper Guinea region of Africa, which follows along the West African coast from Senegal to Liberia, and includes about 27 ethnic groups, of which one is the Mandinka. I always knew Mandinka Warriors were somewhere in my life, ever since I saw that movie Mandingo. (Oh, where are you now, Ken Norton?)

Our maternal Haplogroup (groups who share a common ancestor) is L3, which are Africans who migrated to Asia, some of which then became aboriginal Americans. That explains my mother being Native American. Great! But on the flip side, that makes us related to NY Governor Paterson, as he is also in Haplogroup L3.

On the paternal side, the Y-DNA, we descend from the Lower Guinea region, which runs from the Ivory Coast to western Cameroon, with the Gold Coast smack dab in the middle of all that. Ethnic groups include the Yoruba, which explains why I've always wanted to go there. Oh, wait. . . that Aruba I've always wanted to go to. Nevermind.

Anyway, it's all very technical, but well worth the money to find your way back to Africa where mankind began. They even gave us a certificate with the results, which my brother and I plan to frame and hang right next to our family tree.

On to the next adventure!