family · My Thoughts

How Many Fathers Does It Take?

Fathers
Uncle Tanky is third from the left, top row.

Happy Father’s Day, a day to celebrate father figures in my life and all they have done for me. The famous African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” rings true. Being raised in a small country community, I had several influential men in my life besides my dad. As I pondered this idea, I realized the men were quieter influences than the women I identified in my Mother’s Day blog post. They still affirmed who I was and showed by example how to live life.

Millard Warner

Millard was Dad’s best friend from high school. We lived next door to each other until Millard’s death, and he influenced my life with his quiet demeanor and steady presence. We did lots of activities as families and he truly was a second father to me. After his divorce, he ate meals with us regularly. I remember his quiet sense of humor and constant interest in my life, even as a youngster.

Reu Waldroup

Reu was another friend of Dad’s and a continual influence on me. Another quiet man, I had to listen closely to his soft voice because I never wanted to miss his wonderful tales about his ranching experiences or shenanigans he and Dad got into in school. I saw deep love and acceptance in his eyes for me.

Mr. Teague

Mr. Teague taught my eighth grade English class with enthusiasm and a desire to challenge us. His assignments captivated my interest: I wrote a Matt Helm story following that series that was so popular in the late 60s. He had us group-write a play at his kitchen table with his help. I remember our outrageous junior high humor he didn’t curb at all. We performed the play at the monthly PTA meeting and felt successful as playwrights. I’m sure his adventuresome assignments ignited the writer within me, so I’m indebted to him for sure.

He also had a very playful nature. During one of our winter snowstorms, he attached a car hood to the back of his Jeep and used it as a massive sled, pulling us around our little town. We had a ball that day, slipping and sliding over town. After getting more daring, he went out of town towards Trinchera with Billy Mitchell alone on the sled. When we came down the hill by Warner’s stock tank, the sled slid back and forth across the road, and Billy almost crashed into the rock guard covering the culvert. What a memorable day we had with a teacher who loved his students.

My Three Uncles

Throughout my life, I had uncles who touched me deeply. Uncle Gay, who lived in Washington state, always had time for me when they visited each summer, even though he had many other nieces and nephews to attend to. He always had time for me.

Uncle Tanky lived near me my whole life, and I had many interactions with him until he died. When I was in high school, he saw an essay I wrote and questioned me about my choice of studies at Trinidad State Junior College. He lovingly called me “Rada” which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Uncle Hughie entertained me my whole life with his fun-loving sense-of-humor. He lost a leg in a mining accident when he was eighteen and lived with a prosthesis, enjoying a normal life, dancing and doing activities like he had two good legs. Because my dad wasn’t a fisher, he taught me how to fish, and I spent many an hour with him beside a lake, waiting for a fish to bite and enjoying his tales.

My Grandfathers

Granddad Horner lived across town and was a daily father figure for me. Although he was withdrawn and quiet, he lavished me with affection because I resembled his beloved mother, Mattie Jessie. I worked with him on the family ranch and witnessed his dedication to the land, his cattle, and his family. He loved to get his family together, celebrating each one of his grandchildren.

Granddad Dickerson didn’t live close to us, but Mom made sure we saw them often. Granddad Dickerson was exactly opposite of my other granddad. He loved to wrestle on the floor and tickle us to death. He loved his grandchildren dearly, and I saw that lived out.

Don Ming

Don, another friend of Dad’s, helped me so much after Mom died. Whenever I needed his advice or help on what to do on our ranch; he stepped up. His affirming nature made me believe my brother and I could manage our family ranch and do a good job.

My Father

Dad & me dancing - Fathers
Dad & Me Dancing at his 75 birthday party, Branson, CO 1993

Finally, my dear dad, a real live cowboy! Dad loved his family, his wife, and his ranch. He was always available for a hug and a kiss. He called me “Shorty,” and I loved that. I relished the hours we spent together on the ranch, either working cattle, preparing our 4-H horses for the county fair, or just riding around enjoying the land.

Because I lived fairly close to my folks for my adult life, I had the pleasure of multiple trips around Colorado, California and the Southwest with Dad and Mom, and he was always up for an adventure.

I inherited his love for dancing, and anytime I’m on the dance floor, I can feel him near, encouraging me to pursue the hobby we both love.

Any time we were together, Dad entertained us with multiple stories about growing up, school life, cowboy life, and just life. I always drew near, hanging on each word, even though I had heard the tale many times before. He told his story with such exuberance; I felt I was there—a true storyteller!

He was always there for me, supporting me emotionally through my divorces, multiple moves, and any crises that came up.

Finally,

I know the importance of father figures in a child’s life, especially little girls, for our dads are the first men we fall in love with. I realized I was fortunate to have a dad who also loved me deeply. On this special day, I celebrate my dad and all the father figures who touched me deeply, helping to create the woman I became.

So, how many fathers does it take to raise a child? As you can see, many father figures played an important part in my complete life. Did you have other father figures in your life? If so, who were they and what did they do? (Scroll down a little farther below to make comments!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover for Just Another Square Dance Caller - Fathers

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-July. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

My Thoughts · Writing

How I Prepared for My Next Book

My Next Book
Photo by rikka ameboshi from Pexels

I had my next book in the back of my mind—a how to book on writing a biography after tackling the gigantic job of Marshall Flippo’s biography. Lin had suggested I keep a journal while interviewing Flippo and writing his book, so I did. I already have over 5,000 words towards that book. In writing that biography about a well-known figure, I learned so much in the writing and a lot after-the-fact. I even had a title picked out, “I Said Yes!”

            But life interrupted my plan! 2020’s coronavirus disaster sidetracked me because first, I wrote poetry to process my feelings about what we experienced. Then I shared them in my weekly blog posts for over thirty posts.

            After sharing my process in my blog posts, readers emailed me amid the craziness, thanking me for voicing the concerns and feelings in a way they couldn’t. Thus, my new book came to life, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, inspired by those blog posts.

            At first, I planned to just duplicate the posts with minimal revision and get a book out as soon as possible, while the angst echoed through people’s minds. Someone in my writing group asked after reading the first two chapters, “Are you going to combine these two and revise them before publication?”

            A resounding “No” came out of my heart and soul. That would take too long and I thought getting this book out the sooner the better would be a saving grace for its timeliness on the market.

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR

            Then I added my professional editor to the mix. I did some revisions before sending the manuscript to her, realizing holes existed between the posts. After waiting a couple weeks past the date we had planned, she let me know she was doing more than copy editing. She was doing developmental editing, too, which took much more time.

COPY EDITING

            Copy editing “is the act of fine-tuning a book’s text, otherwise known as the ‘copy.’ A copy edit will generally address grammatical or punctuation errors, incorrect facts, anomalies, inconsistencies and glaring typos. Overall, the purpose of copy editing is to ensure that the language supports the writer’s intent — while also creating the most readable version of their book.” https://reedsy.com/editing/copy-editing

 DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING

As opposed to copy editing, developmental editing “is a thorough and in-depth review of your entire manuscript. It examines all the elements of your writing, from individual words and sentences to overall structure and style. In fiction, this edit will also address any issues related to plot and characterization.”https://reedsy.com/editing/developmental-editing

            I so appreciated her willingness to make my book the best it could be, and she had many suggestions to tighten it up and make a renewed version instead of a duplication of my blog posts. My blog posts inspired this book, but because of her suggestions, I have expanded it. So, I’ve spent the last couple weeks first going over and making the first easy initial changes. Then I went back over it in depth to make the voluminous revisions suggested. I will send it off to her in the next couple days for a final read-through to see if I caught all of her alterations, which I normally do.

            I deviated on one of her suggestions, though: I had questions at the end of each chapter for personal reflections. My vision of the book is the reader reading the chapter, then reflect and respond. She suggested listing the questions at the end of the book, but that didn’t fit with one of my objectives: I want the reader to reflect and respond. I felt if the questions were at the back, the reader might skip them.

MARKETING AGENT

            I hired a marketing agent with the Flippo book, finding her a valuable resource. So, I reconnected with her for this book. Again, I appreciated her many directions. Here are a couple of important ones:

  • Hire someone to write the book descriptions for the back of the book, an elevator speech (a short 30 second description) and then a lengthy one
  • Contact people to be Advanced Readers to read the book before release and then write a blurb to use for promotions
    • I had fun with this one. Because I classified this book as a spiritual self-help book first and then a memoir, I asked three people in the counseling field I know: a Christian life coach, a trauma-informed psychotherapist, a Catholic priest in recovery who has been my mentor for over thirty years and the Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. Three of the four have read it and responded with a publishable blurb.

COVER

            I have always done the covers for my other books and cookbooks which I thoroughly enjoy. My desktop design passions have always driven me to do my own. I had one cover for A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memory done by someone else, then I had to correct too much of it, so it ended up being my design anyway.

Recently I have been reading a book, How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market, by Reedy’s Richardo Fayet, and in the first quarter of the book, if he said it once, he said it five times, “Hire a professional to create your cover.” So, I’m taking his advice and plan to hire a company, 100covers.com, to do this one.

COVER PICTURE

            Lin photographed the picture for my first book, This Tumbleweed Landed, and we had a memorable evening taking pictures along the road going out to our ranch. We didn’t plan it, but he got a gorgeous picture of Mesa de Mayo in the background in one picture, so we used that one.

            I took the picture for my second book, When Will Papa Get Home?. I used a picture of Dad on his favorite horse, Rusty, for Let Me Tell You a Story. A friend took my picture with Saddlerock, a notable landmark near Branson, Colorado for my next book, A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memory.

            For my last book, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, I knew I’d use one of Flippo’s vintage photographs and love the one we ended up with. I had help from a couple of square dance friends on how to lay out the back cover.

            After a hearty conversation in the hot tub one night, Lin and I came up with the idea for the picture for my new book—a reflection of me in a mirror in his garden. We decided his garden a suitable location because I identified in the end of the book the surge of gardening during the pandemic throughout the world.

            So, for two evenings, we moved the mirror (a Mexican mirror about five feet tall on a stand) around the garden, trying different places, but after the second night we realized our peril: it wasn’t working!

            Then, I had a thought: how about me in Lin’s garden looking reflective? Lin loved that idea. The night we planned to do it, Lin watched an old rerun of The Doris Day Show with Denver Pyle as her dad. He instructed me to watch the intro, and he stopped it at a still profile picture of Denver with a reflective expression on his face.

            Lin directed me, “Channel Denver Pyle in the garden,” so that’s what I did. I’ll be interested to get your opinion when you see the cover.

            In conclusion, so much goes into publishing a book, and I love every facet. I also do the interior design of my book using a program named Vellum. I’m excited about my next book!

Did you have any idea about the process involved? If you have questions, don’t hesitate! (Scroll down below the information for the Comment section.)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Flippo's Book cover - next book

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-Junehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces

Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · square dance

Flippo & Obstacles He Faced

Young Flippo—Obstacles he faced
Flippo as a Young Caller

To think the Flippo we knew faced many obstacles as a young caller! Square dancers all over the world know the refined quality of the program Marshall Flippo presented at any dance he called—smooth rhythm, wonderful choreography and a beautiful voice. It wasn’t always that way.

“Marshall Flippo’s calling career could easily have not happened. In fact, Flippo missed his first night of square dance lessons. Initially, he couldn’t connect with the music and find the beat. Being a shy man by nature, his temperament could have stopped him from becoming the well-known caller who’s so well- loved. Just one of these could have been fatal, but Flippo faced all three and over-came the challenge placed before him.”

Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, (2020): 81.

Flippo and Neeca and their good friends, Hub and Hazel Evans, arrived at their first square dance lesson late, so the guys refused to go in. The women made sure they were on time the next week. Thank God for Neeca and Hazel’s unflagging commitment. Once there, Flippo fell in love with what the whole activity offered: physical contact, friendly people and movement to music.

After their lessons, Betty Casey, their class caller and Flippo’s mentor, encouraged them to go out to a local dance at the YMCA. She assured these fledgling dancers J. C. Wilson, the caller, would be good to them. This time they took a complete square with them, squared up and the first call J. C. called they’d never heard. So, they tried to sit down, but J. C. noticed their evacuation from the floor, so he stopped the dance and separated the dancers.

“Flippo added with a laugh, ‘And God, strangers coming up thar and getting us. I never did see my wife again until the end of the dance, so they split us all up, and we had one hell of a good time, you know.’”

Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, (2020): 82.
J. C. Wilson-Obstacles he faced
J.C. Wilson

What they experienced as beginner dancers at the hands of J. C. Wilson and those experienced dances exemplify true square dance hospitality. What happened kept these couples and a great caller wanting to dance.

Flippo and Neeca’s love of square dancing continued to grow, so his becoming a caller seems like a natural progression.

When I asked Flippo why he started calling, he answered,

“I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this in time.’ I loved to sing. I was out of lessons about a year before I ever started. Thar was two square dance clubs, and they were both full. They both had waiting lists for people to get in. The list wasn’t that long, probably ten to twelve couples. So, we put our names in for that one downtown. They could only dance twenty-five squares.”

Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, (2020): 83.

So, Ed Hall had a chicken coop in Wylie, near Abilene, that he offered to clean up for a small square dance hall. It would dance three squares. Twelve couples signed up, and they danced to records for a while and then had a live two-piece band, but they needed a caller.

“One night someone had a suggestion. Thar’s twelve of us here. Why don’t we all learn to call? And we won’t have to have a record or a band, so we’ll just be our own caller.’

So that’s the way it started. Flippo remembered the first one he called. Singing calls didn’t appeal to him too much at that time, so he learned patter. First one he learned was ‘Dip and Dive.’ So, they all learned some kind of calls. “Some guys were good. I wasn’t one of the good ones.”

Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, (2020): 83.

After deciding to call, Flippo faced one of his obstacles as a caller: he couldn’t keep the beat. Would this be the obstacle that would block our world-renowned Flippo?

“At one point, Neeca told him, ‘You can’t stay on beat. What’s wrong with you? Can you pat your foot to the music?’

‘Yeah,’ Flippo explained. He had a ‘Turkey in the Straw’ record, and he would go in the front bedroom of their house because they had no furniture in there and he had a little record player.”

Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, (2020): 83-84.

Neeca would listen to him practice and stand it as long as she could, then she’d question him about his ability to stay on the beat. She finally suggested to say something every time he pat his foot with the beat, and that seemed to help.

Recently I heard a long-time caller friend of Flip’s say that Flippo said more words in his calling than any other caller because of his problem with keeping the beat.

Flippo persistently worked hard at mastering his craft. He would not let this get him down. Feeling a little confident, he ventured out after a time. First, he made his calling debut in Abilene at the CrossTrail square dance club, one club that they had been on the waiting list. He made a mistake on his first try and had to restart—he saw Neeca duck into the bathroom.

Melton Luttrell-Obstacles he faced
Melton Luttrell

For his next calling adventure, Flippo and a group traveled out-of-town to Cisco, Texas, to dance to the legendary Melton Luttrell. Two couples that came with Flippo told Melton that he had started calling. The hospitable move then was to invite the visiting caller to the stage to call. So Melton invited Flip up to call (this was when he was having trouble staying on the beat). Scared to death, he didn’t share with me how he thought the evening went.

Before they left the dance hall to go home, Flippo had seen the two couples talking to Melton after he called, so Flip asked them what he said.

They said, “Melton told us to tell you, ‘Don’t quit your day job!’”

Instead of discouraging Flippo, he went home and continued his practice, working hard on keeping the beat. The next time they returned to Cisco, Melton again invited him to call a tip, but this time, Melton noticed a marked improvement and told Flippo.

Wagon Wheel Dance Hall-Obstacles he faced
The Wagon Wheel Dance Hall

From those early days, Flippo called locally in Abilene, first at the Hayloft and then helped build the dance hall, The Wagon Wheel. He faced adversities that might have made someone else quit, but that was not Flippo’s nature. Because he never faltered but persisted, his calling career exploded so the obstacles never stopped him, and we’re the luckier for it.

Did you know this about Flippo? I would appreciate any comments! Scroll down below the information for the Comment section.


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Just Another Square Dance Caller Cover-Obstacles he faced

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-Junehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

family · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

A Graduation Address to My Two Girls!

Graduation cheers!

Across the country, it is high school graduation time which takes me back to my graduation fifty years ago. There were four in my graduating class, and I felt grown-up, scared, and not prepared to face the world before me. Fast forward fifty years, and I have two graduating seniors I love, but I am sad to say I wasn’t able to attend one great niece’s graduation on May 20 in Floydada, Texas, and I will miss the other one’s in Yuba City, California on June 4. I love these family get-togethers filled with storytelling, laughter and love. I have had the pleasure of participating in my two great nieces, Kaylea and AnnDeeClaire’s lives for eighteen years, so I want to share a graduation address with you.

Have the courage to follow

Your heart and intuition.

They somehow already know

What you truly want to

Become. Everything else is

Secondary.

-Steve Jobs

My two lovely graduates of 2021, you just experienced one of the worst tragic years we have ever faced, and here you are. You survived seeing the tumultuous end of one phase of your life and the joyful beginning of another.

Behind you are twelve years of education at the hands of many teachers, principals and educational assistants who helped form you. Both of you actively took part in extracurricular activities that broadened your perspective and enriched your lives. Remember to thank as many of the major people who influenced you as you can.

Graduation - tools
Photo by Adonyi Gábor from Pexels

Now, before you is your world! It might be daunting at this moment, but you have an arsenal of tools to help you get started now and for the rest of your lives. You come from a family who loves you dearly—parents who have stood beside you through thick and thin. You have extended family support from grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, and cousins galore! Also, you are supported every day you live by those who have passed away. Never forget your family.

On that note, a couple wise sayings from your great granddad who would have been so proud of you two. I’m sorry he died before you were born, but his advice is timeless:

  • “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
  • “Stay in there in and drink a lot of ice water.”

I’m so glad you knew, my mom, Grannie Horner and her quick wit and love of jokes. You were about ten years old when she died, but I know you have fond memories of her in California, Branson, and on the ranch. You may not have known a deep spiritual gift she would have passed onto you, so I’m sharing it with you: an acceptance of all ethnicities and beliefs, enjoying the diversity gifted you with a variety of friends. She grew up in Raton, New Mexico when it was a melting pot of immigrants working in the coal mines, and she celebrated the multicultural life she lived. When she was in high school, she worked for a Greek family at the Sweet Shop and often spoke of their dancing and food—adopt an open, loving heart like Grannie’s.

You two have faced loss and difficulties in your short eighteen years but have chosen to not let that hamper your dreams. Often, hard times make you bitter or better, and the choice is yours. I see you have both chosen the positive route and am excited about your choice of study.

You lost your grandmother, Grandma Lela, when you were young, and she cherished her grandbabies. I remember her infectious giggle and twinkle in her clear blue eyes. She had a deep religious faith, so I know she prays for you daily.

Your Poppa loves sharing our family ranch with you any time you come, and he celebrates the uniqueness of each of you.

So, here’s Auntie Mato’s (for AnnDeeClaire) advice to you today from my life experiences:

Graduation advice
  1. Spend your lifetime looking for you. Trust yourself—sometimes I hide from myself and it takes a conscious effort to keep looking, but look you must. The world tells us happiness is finding a partner. First, find yourself and then you will have something profound to share with a life partner. One of my favorite quotes about this topic is from Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
  2. Find a spiritual home to grow in. Lucy Prichard, my first mother-in-law and spiritual mother, told us newlyweds, “Find a church, any church. Hang your hat somewhere.” Find a place where you can flourish spiritually and life will unfold much easier for you. In doing that, you will create a support system and have wise counsel if you need it (I guarantee you will need it).
  3. Be curious. Don’t be afraid to question the status quo. The curious mind sees possibilities everywhere instead of problems. In being curious, you become a part of the solution instead of the ongoing problem. Wonder and be in awe of what this world offers you.
  4. It’s never too late to embrace your passion. When I was in high school, Uncle Tanky read an essay I wrote and encouraged me to pursue my writing. Margie Miller, one of my teachers, told me in my late twenties at one of the Branson-Trinchera reunions on Mom’s front porch, “I want a copy of your first book.” Thirty-plus years later, I published my first book at 60 years old and sent her a copy. I loved teaching, but writing feeds my soul. Chase your passion for all you are worth, either now or later. It doesn’t matter, just identify it and go for it.
  5. Spend time in nature—the ranch. I know both of you have an attachment to the Horner ranch, and I thank you for your interest. It’s one of the best places to connect to God and myself. How can anyone look at Saddlerock silhouetted against a purple sky and not stand in awe? How about a laughter-filled ride around the ranch in the Bronco during the evening to celebrate being alive? A bumpy ride in the Mule and the chance to drive it, even when you were too young to drive? Obviously, I would recommend nature anywhere, but the trick is to be mindful of it—the birds, the trees, the horned toads and a Creator God who gifts us with such treasures.
  6. Ask for help. I wish I could guarantee you two lovely ladies a life free of pain and stress, but that doesn’t happen, as you already know. When troubles come, remember all the people who love you, pick up the phone, send a text or call, because we are all perched, ready to help.
  7. Failure to cry is a failure to live. As emoting human beings, we feel and sometimes feel strongly. A wise friend once told me that tears are liquid prayers, so don’ ever be ashamed of your tears.

This morning I asked Uncle Lin for his words of wisdom for you two, and this is what he said, “It is ALWAYS in your power to eliminate negative forces from your life, and my hope for you is that as you go through life, you are successful in doing that, as it will enhance your life experience immensely.”

In conclusion, I leave you with one of my favorite sayings which includes one of my passions:

Graduation message - Lin and me dancing

Dance

As though no one is watching you,

Love

As though you have never been hurt before,

Sing

As though no one can hear you,

Live

As though heaven is on earth.

-souza

Congratulations, Kaylea and AnnDeeClaire on a job well done, and I look forward to the futures you created! I will be a witness to your endeavors, one of your cheerleaders for life. World, get ready for these two!

Graduation - I'll cheer you on!
Your cheerleaders are ready!

Do you have someone graduating this year? What is your best advice? (Scroll down passed the items below to the Comment section.)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover for Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-Junehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

My Thoughts · poetry

Haiku—A Trip Down Memory Lane

Walking down memory lane to haiku
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

Haiku, an ancient Japanese form of writing poetry in three lines, has become one of my rediscovered loves. Since I took part in Natalie Goldberg’s “The Way of Writing” Workshop in March and April, and she instructed us in haiku writing, I have become enchanted anew. When I taught writing to middle school students, I included haiku as one of their poetry assignments, but I forgot this. As I remember now, I loved teaching haiku. I enforced the rule of syllable count for each line, which helped my students understand syllables. When writing one, they would tap out the syllables on their desks—and finally they understood syllables.

As I remembered my beloved poetry unit, what my students wrote blew me away! They loved the strict format of haiku, forcing them to focus. Also, it didn’t have to rhyme, and that freed them considerately.

This afternoon, I needed to see my students’ haikus again, so I just ran out to my storage shed, open up a box I have kept treasured “Teaching material,” in and rummage through certain assignments I’ve kept for decades. As I moved through the stack of papers, I held my breath. First, I found one folder named “Haikus.” Delicious short poems about middle school life in English and Spanish from my students—I taught Spanish so my students wrote haikus in both languages. I would love to share them with you, but I better not because of privacy issues, but once again I read haikus six-graders wrote in heartfelt three line poems about their lives. Still precious as ever.

Then I found my beloved poetry unit and read through the various poems I shared so any years ago, wanting to ignite the fire of poetry in them, and often I did! Because I guided them carefully with examples and then subjects to write about, many shared their deep hearts’ concerns and loves. I felt privileged to witness their poetry.

When I taught my poetry unit, I read them a large variety of poetry to whet their appetite. The haiku example I read them was one of Sonia Sanchez. I probably picked a Hispanic poet to connect my students to her because the majority were Hispanic.

Haiku by Sonia Sanchez

 

Today I participated in a three-hour writing workshop with Natalie, entitled “Write Your Pandemic Story—Three Lines at a Time,”—that’s what stirred up my reminiscing about my students and haiku writing. We delved in deeper with her, giving more instructions on writing haiku. She read premiere haikus from the ancient Japanese greats, then also haiku from more modern Japanese poets. After listening to these great poets, we wrote our own, divided up into breakout rooms of five and read some we just wrote. What a rewarding experience. We repeated going to the breakout room a second time after another teaching from Natalie and read again after writing more.

Traditionally haiku is written in three lines: five syllables for the first line, seven syllables for the second and five for the third. Natalie was first introduced to haiku by Allen Ginsberg in 1976 at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He discouraged his students in adhering to the syllable count, because we have words in English that have less importance, like articles of speech (the, an, that).

“The only real measure of a haiku, Allen told us that one hot July afternoon, ‘is upon hearing one, your mind experiences a small sensation of space’ — he paused; I leaned in, breathless — ‘which is nothing less than God.'”

Natalie Goldberg, Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku (2021): 4.

In Allen’s introduction, he identified four famous haiku men poets: Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki. In her book, Natalie added a woman, Chiyo-ni.

For more information, here’s a website that talks about the four men poets: Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki: https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-haiku-poems.html

Here’s one about Chiyo-ni: http://www.earlywomenmasters.net/chiyo/

So, what’s the attraction? For me it’s the brevity, the crispness, the focus. It’s like taking a picture of something valuable in words then ending with an emotion. Also, I realized as I wondered back to my teaching days how much I loved haiku then and that love spurred me on to take this workshop today.

Since my workshop in March and April with Natalie, I’ve tried my hand at writing haiku. Let me know what you think.

March 22

 Life so wonderful
 So deeply charismatic
 A jingle daily! 

 One foot here on earth
 Gather deceived loved one near 
 One foot there with you!

March 23

 I hate politics
 Republicans, Democrats
 Families divided!  

 Eight years ago, Mom
 Left here, entered a new sphere
 Relief in her eyes. 

March 24

 Mom’s unique fragrance
 Covered my heart yesterday
 Thanks for the visit.

March 25

 Spring snowstorm blankets
 The piñon trees in white shroud
 Green, white and blue skies.
  
 Can square dance survive?
 We love to dance and connect
 Celebrate the beat! 

March 27

 Words hurt; words can heal
 Like a bomb or like a salve.
 Today I chose health. 

Simple, direct! Haiku poetry began in the thirteenth century and has gained momentum recently. I wrote many of these poems during my daily walks—the words, the themes and imagines came. I beat out the rhythm of the syllables with my fingers like my students did so many years ago, ran home and jotted them down before I forgot them.

How about you? Three simple lines to describe something specific in your world! If you craft one, share it with me. I’d love to know I’m still a teacher of haiku! To make a comment and/or share your haiku, scroll down below the following information.


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-Junehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Coronavirus · My Thoughts

Vaccinated: Short, Sweet & to the Point

Asleep after being vaccinated

Finally, I got vaccinated on Friday morning for my second Covid-19 shot. I got the Moderna, and I’ve heard more people have reactions to it. My husband received the Pfizer vaccine and had no reaction at all. I wasn’t so lucky. The rest of Friday I felt okay, but my arm hurt where I was vaccinated. Yesterday and today have been a different story. I’ve slept the days away.

Yesterday I had a slight fever, chills, aches like the flu but nothing too bad. I just slept! Today’s the same. The endless sleeping has been strange—lots of images, not dreams and noise in my ears! During my sleep, I felt inundated with images, and when I wake up, I’m tired and exhausted, ready to go back to bed. My brain feels fuzzy.

For this A-type personality I am, this has been hard on me! I’m usually going ninety miles an hour! I have things to do, people to see, life to live!

Jesse, my cat
Jesse, my seventeen-year-old cat

My seventeen-year-old cat, Jesse, didn’t like me being inaccessible to him, so he made it upstairs twice yesterday to sleep outside our bedroom door. He doesn’t easily make it upstairs anymore because of his arthritic back legs—you can’t tell me cats don’t love!

This evening has been better—I’m not sound asleep. Today my brain is still fuzzy, and it’s hard to concentrate, but I’ve been able to do this blog so that’s progress. Hopefully tomorrow will be better! The good news is I’m vaccinated! After a couple weeks, I can return to some normalcy—a trip to our family ranch in southeastern Colorado. I haven’t been there since February because of my cataract surgeries.

And soon, I hope to be dancing!

What I learned these two strange days from being vaccinated is that you have to listen to your body! I went to bed; I slept, and that was probably the best medicine for me.

Did you get vaccinated? Did you have a reaction to the vaccine? If so, what? (Scroll down below the information below for the Comments section!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-June. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

family · Mom · My Thoughts

How Many Mothers Does It Take?

Two women loving teach a youngster to night - mother and grandmother

Happy Mother’s Day to all today. As I’ve pondered this subject, faces and names of many influential mother figures from my past surfaced this week, so I’d like to offer a thought here. The famous African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” states the importance of a community of loving people to raise a child; therefore, it takes several mothers to raise a child.

my cheerleaders- my mother figures

Meet the many cheerleaders I had throughout my life who helped me become the woman I am today!

CLARA WARNER

As a child, my other mother was Clara Warner, our next-door neighbor who had three boys. She could fashion long curls so beautifully Shirley Temple’s stylist would have been jealous. My mom could not! So, Clara became my surrogate mother and hair stylist, and we all won. Clara enjoyed playing with me as her “little doll,” I enjoyed the stylish long curls, and Mom loved what Clara did so effortlessly.

Clara lived close and was married to Dad’s best friend, so we spent a lot of time together. During the 50s and 60s, smoking cigarettes had a totally different connotation. I remember watching her smoke cigarettes and thinking she looked so elegant and sophisticated. Mom didn’t smoke. So, I bought candy cigarettes (yes; they had candy cigarettes), and I’d pretend I was Clara smoking! I never became a smoker, but I still remember how I admired Clara!

MILLIE SHELDON

Another childhood mother came softly to mind this week—Millie Sheldon, our babysitter. Until the day she died, she called me “Laredo,” emphasizing the “O” at the end, and I thought nothing of it. My parents danced often on Saturday nights. Sometimes we went with them when it was appropriate, but other times Mille stayed with my brother and me. She joined us in watching our traditional TV shows for a Saturday night: Lawrence Welk and then the weekly boxing matches. I remember her as strict but loving.

MARGIE MILLER

In high school, one of my teachers/mother figures was Margie Miller. She taught typing, journalism and PE. She also was the cheerleading/pep club sponsor, so we spent a lot of our free time with her on long bus trips all over southern Colorado for the sport of the season: baseball in the spring and basketball in the winter.

During my school years, she said nothing about my writing (I was on the staff of our school newspaper for several years and was the editor for two years). Many years after my graduation, Margie and her husband, Lonnie, returned for one of our school reunions during the summer. They came up to our house during a break in activities, and she said she wanted a copy of the first book I published. This comment shocked me because I hadn’t thought of writing during this part of my life. Many years later in 2014, when I published my first book, This Tumbleweed Landed, I sent her an autographed copy.

LUCY PRICHARD

In 1973, I married Dave Prichard and inherited a wonderful mother-in-law, the woman who became my spiritual mother. She worked at their family’s church, St. Philip and St. James Episcopal Church in Denver, Colorado, as a counselor and Sunday school teacher. She took me under her wing and raised me up in the Episcopal church. I quote her still today, forty-eight years later.

I loved her God, a forgiving God, and her view of Jesus. She saw Jesus as a personal friend and spent daily time with Him, reading her Bible and daily devotionals. I have continued that practice to the present.

We spent a lot of time together as a family, and I couldn’t get enough of her. When Dave and I divorced, Mom and I stayed connected for years, but time and distance ended that amazing relationship.

BETTY DAUNT

In 1992, another mother-in-law came into my life, Betty Daunt, when I married her son, Mike. We hit it off immediately. She introduced me to the healing power of massage, being a massage therapist. So quickly, I set up a monthly appointment with her and kept it up after Mike and I divorced until just a couple years ago when she had to stop because of health issues.

In 1993, I suffered a horrible virus which attacked all my major organs. The western medical world couldn’t diagnose my problem. They sent me home with a list of diseases it wasn’t, and I think to die. Betty stepped in and scheduled weekly massage appointments for me for free. That coupled with acupuncture and herbs, done by my brother-in-law’s partner, I recovered. I don’t think I would have survived that horrible episode without the massages and the acupuncture.

After Mike and I divorced, Betty and I continued our relationship, and it carries on still to today.

A friend I worked with who went through all my marriages said once, “Larada, you know how to pick out mother-in-laws, not husbands!” And I would agree!

MY THREE AUNTS

Throughout my life, I had aunts who touched me deeply! Dad’s sister, Helen, showed me how a woman could balance family and work. I enjoyed her enthusiastic personality, and my brother and Mom often said I reminded them of her. Helen died way too young in her mid-50s, so I lost many valuable years with her.

Mom’s sister, Willie, played a pivotal role in my life, taking part in all my major life events. I giggled often at her sense of humor and mischievous twinkle in her eyes. After Dad and Uncle Hughie died, Mom and Aunt Willie spent as much time together as possible. After Mom died, I visited Aunt Willie in Pueblo, Colorado monthly and relished her fun story-telling talent. She died at 98 years old—I miss her daily.

Dad’s youngest sister, Joan, is nearing 93 years old. She has been a strong cheerleader of mine my complete life. I grew up near Aunt Joan and spent holidays and much of childhood with her and her family. She stands on the edge of many of my childhood memories.

MY GRANDMOTHERS

Teresa Larada Horner-Miller—I carry both of my grandmothers’ names. Dad’s mother, the Larada in my life, lived in the same town as us, so I saw her daily, and she became one constant in the fabric of my life. Mom’s mother, the Teresa in my life, lived away from us during my childhood, so we had the joy of visiting her. They moved close later in my life, so she became another steadfast woman.

MY MOTHER

Mom & I together at Christmas. My mother
Mom & I dressed alike for Christmas one year!

Finally, I saved the best for last—my mother! Mom loved to play with my brother and me as children. She celebrated our lives through birthday parties and holiday. Throughout my entire life, we were close and did so much together! After Dad died, I visited her often, and we traveled together enjoying several major trips. I loved her sense of humor and fun-filled attitude towards life. When she died, I felt like I not only lost Mom but my best friend.

So, how many mothers does it take to raise a child? As you can see, many mother figures played an important part in my complete life. Did you have other mother figures in your life? If so, who were they and what did they do? (Scroll down a little farther below to make comments!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Flippo cover with yellow flower

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~One-Year Anniversary of the Release of Flippo’s Biography! Join me to celebrate on May 10, 2021 from 7:00—9:00 PM Email me at larada@icloud.com if you are interested!

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Book Production · Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts

One Year Later! Let’s Celebrate Flippo’s Biography!

One Year Celebration!
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

Let’s celebrate one year since I released Flippo’s biography!! So much goes into publishing a book! Here’s what I did with Flippo’s. On May 3, 2020, I uploaded three formats of Flippo’s biography to Ingram Sparks’ publishing company. Flippo wanted hardback copies available, so that’s why I selected Ingram to publish his biography. I also published the paperback and Kindle e-book version through KDP on Amazon with the publication date of May 8, 2020. Whew! A year ago, I met myself coming and going for sure!

One year—that’s hard to believe! Because I self-publish, I do all the work to prepare a book to be released: create the cover and the interior. What made this an outrageous task is I had three covers to make: the hardback, paperback and e-book formats. Then I had to format the interior for each also, making sure each version had its own unique ISBN number! I really worried about messing up on that!

COVERS

Dust jacket for Flippo's hardback book
Hardback Dust Jacket with Template from Ingram Sparks

The hardback version required a dust jacket, which is a much larger space than a paperback cover, so I had to alter it considerably. (See image above.) I battled with the layout, making sure the title stayed on the spine and the text didn’t run over on the folds of the dust cover—tricky for sure!

Previously, I had laid out paperback and e-books covers for my other books, so I had less trouble with these two, and their dimensions were similar, so that helped!

But prior to the actual layout of these, I had to come up with the design. John and Neeca Flippo and I wanted the picture of Flippo calling as a young man with a live band. What a wonderful picture depicting Flippo calling as a young caller! It needed to be the focus point of the cover. Then I searched for the background graphic, and I wanted something that looked like a dance floor and found that.

Then, I experimented with the font and the color of the title, arriving at the one I felt stressed the title and went with the color scheme of the picture and the background. I love all these parts of design work!

Bryan and Kenta Swift helped me with the back cover. I wanted to feature Flippo’s favorite places he called, and they suggested I cluster them around the edges. I first added the four on the top: Asilomar, Kirkwood Lodge, Wagon Wheel, and Chula Vista. Flip had identified those four as his favorites. Then I knew I had to add Japan! He loved his trips to Japan and the Japanese people.

Early in my self-publishing career, advisors encouraged me not to write the book description on the back of the book, so I paid to have someone do that.

INTERIOR OF THE BOOK

Vellum app - One year later

For the interior layout, I used an app, Vellum, which is only available for Mac computers, and I love it. That took time too, though, doing the three formats! Then I decided because this was a history book of square dancing and people might be interested in looking for a specific person or places, it needed an Index. I found an app to help index the keywords, but what a grueling experience that was!

UPLOADS

Finally, I was ready to upload the covers and the interiors for each format. Before this book, I’d only used createspace.com which has become KDP, and I knew their upload process. Ingram Sparks was totally different. It required the .pdf documents for the covers and interiors to be in a specific format, PDF/X-1a:2001.

Adobe’s InDesign app is the publisher’s standard and creates that format, but I don’t have it because of its expense. So, I researched every nook and cranny on the Internet and found a solution—I outsourced my covers and interiors to fiverr.com and someone there converted my files.

So, after I successfully uploaded the documents to Ingram Sparks, I uploaded them to KDP, as well. Each of these publishers provided me with a “eproofs” to look over and give my final approval.

SALES

Stack of books - One year later
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

After that, the sales poured in from the pre-order list, word-of-mouth and my advertising on the Internet, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, I had a heck of time getting the shipment of books. After several weeks’ delay, I’ll never forget opening the box of hardbacks and holding that precious book in my hands for the first time. I think Flippo would have been proud!

Also, because of the pandemic, CALLERLAB was canceled, and I had planned to release the book there. So, the travel restrictions forced me to have the release party online with Zoom, and we had a fabulous time swopping Flippo stories that night.

With the continued restrictions and no dancing, the sales have dropped off, but I keep Flippo’s biography in front of the dance world on square dance Facebook pages and through emails to possible interested parties.

ONE YEAR LATER

Release party for one-year anniversary of Flippo's biography

Here we are one year later. I know the sales will spike once we dance again. Also, I’m having a Zoom celebration on May 10, 2020 7:00 PM MST to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the release of Flip’s biography, so join me for a fun-filled night. Go to the Facebook Event page and click you are going or email me at Larada@icloud.com

A year later—so much has happened! Have you ever self-published a book? If so, how did it go?

Have you bought your copy of Flippo’s biography yet? If not, now’s a good time!

(Scroll down a little farther below to make comments!)



Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Just Another Square Dance Caller cover one year later!

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~One-Year Anniversary of the Release of Flippo’s Biography! Join me to celebrate on May 10, 2021 from 7:00—9:00 PM Email me at larada@icloud.com if you are interested!

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Visit my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ Give Mom a gift for reading this year! Visit my Etsy Shop for a Mother’s Day sale of 20% off select titles and bundles:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Albuquerque · Coronavirus · My Thoughts

April—Powwow Time in Albuquerque!

Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012
Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012

When I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991—thirty years ago—I was told about local events not to miss: the Hot Air Balloon Festival in October and the Gathering of Nations at the end of April. I would agree whole-heartedly.

            “The Gathering of Nations is the largest powwow in the United States and North America. It is held annually on the fourth weekend in April, on the Powwow Grounds at Expo NM, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over 565 tribes from around the United States and 220 from Canada travel to Albuquerque to participate.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gathering_of_Nations

Here we are at the end of April, so the Gathering of Nations came up, and I flashed back to the last time I was there. I thought it was a couple of years ago, but you know how time passes—it was 2012! We met friends from Denver there and had a glorious time, as always.

I knew they had to postpone the powwow last year because of COVID-19, but I hadn’t kept up with what they were doing this year. In fact, I just assumed they postponed again it—NOT! They hosted a virtual event over this last weekend, so you can go to the link below and enjoy the results. https://www.gatheringofnations.com/

HISTORY

            “The Gathering of Nations began “unofficially” in 1983 at the University of Albuquerque, in ABQ, NM. In 1984, the event took on the name Gathering of Nations Powwow. . .  In 2017, the Gathering of Nations Powwow returns to the New Mexico State Fair Grounds, known as Expo NM, to be housed on the newly defined Powwow Grounds which includes Tingley Coliseum.” https://www.gatheringofnations.com/history/

MY EXPERIENCES

When I went last in 2012, the Gathering of Nations was still at the Pit, the University of New Mexico Basketball Arena. Being inside added to the overwhelming feeling for me. I loved hearing the chiming of the jingle dresses and the aroma of the sweet grass and sage.

When the dancers entered for the Grand Entry for the evening event, they came down all the aisles onto the floor filling it up. The colorful costumes overwhelmed my senses—feathers, slick braids, buckskin, and headdresses abounded!

Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012 Dancers Fill the Floor at the Pit
Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012 Dancers Fill the Floor at the Pit

            When I first went in the early 90s, they encouraged all attendees to come down on the floor for the Friendship dance, so I did. What an experience that was—surrounded by such beauty and sounds.

            Anytime I go, I always enjoyed walking around, shopping at all the vendors with the dancers right next to me, so I could see their costumes up close and personal. I could buy anything Native American from pottery to dried sweet grass braids and dried sage bundles to art work. I also looked forward to the Native American food, like mutton stew or Indian Tacos—delicious! A total sensory experience!

            Many times I attended, I focused on taking pictures. I would grab a seat as close as possible to the floor and shot one picture after the other. Usually I focused on one dancer and followed him or her around the floor. I didn’t want to move because I didn’t want to miss any of the competitions!

WHAT IS A POWWOW?

            “A powwow is a celebration of American Indian culture in which people from diverse indigenous nations gather for the purpose of dancing, singing, and honouring the traditions of their ancestors.”

https://www.britannica.com/topic/powwow

            The dancing is a competition with each dance style having a different colorful costume. For the Native people, it is a great social event.

      The dancers dance to rhythmic music created by huge powwow drums and ten to fifteen singers singing in their native language, and usually there are several drum groups in attendees with assigned times. One drum plays at a time, and people crowd around to record them!

Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012 Drum Group

DANCE STYLES

They divided the competition up into various styles:

  • Men’s Grass
    • “Once, a young man, lame in one foot, longed ever so much to dance. He took that longing out onto the prairie, praying for guidance as he limped up a small hill. On top of the hill, it came to him—he should develop his own style of dance. As he pondered this revelation, he looked down over the prairie with its swaying and swooping grasses. This, he realized, could be his dance.”
  • Men’s Northern Traditional
    • “Lavish bustles of long feathers, usually from an eagle or another raptor, burst from the dancer’s waist. In fancy dances, similar, often brightly colored bustles are carried at the shoulders as well. This is a time for the men to dance in the way of their fathers and grandfathers, and some of these outfit pieces are passed down through the generations. Some men’s regalia, in this and other dances, may include a red eagle feather, denoting a veteran’s injury in battle.”
  • Men’s Southern Straight
    • “Men usually wear cotton or buckskin pants, a shirt, a breastplate of bones (or lighter-weight plastic ‘bones’) that stops at the waist or the knees, and a comb-like headdress (roach) of porcupine-guard hair and deer-tail hair.”
  • Women’s Fancy Shawl
    • “Beautifully embroidered or decorated long-fringed shawls complement elaborately beaded capes, moccasins and leggings. The colorful outfits match the spirited twirling and prancing of this exuberant dance.”
  • Men’s Fancy Feather
    • “The youthful ages of the dancers and brilliantly colored outfits—with double bustles behind and sometimes small bustles on the arms—are hallmarks of this energetic dance. Outfits are color-coordinated, and the dancers are extremely coordinated, spinning through what is undoubtedly the most athletic of powwow dances. A friendly competition may develop between the singers and the dancers because stopping simultaneously with the ending beat can mean winning or losing points. The singers perform ‘trick songs,’ with unexpected final beats.”
  • Kiowa Gourd Dance
    • “This was originally danced by an organization of respected men, initially by warriors, then military servicemen, and now those who have done exceptional things in their lives. Kiowa men wear red and blue blankets commemorating the Kiowas at war; the red commemorates war against the Spanish and the blue commemorates war against the U.S. Cavalry. This dance is not a part of a competition and is performed separately from the other dances.”
  • Women’s Jingle
    • “According to the Ojibway, an old man, on what his family believed to be his deathbed, dreamed of his daughter and three friends dancing in a style of dress he’d never seen before—cloth covered with small metal cones. Spirits explained how to make the metal cones to be sewn to the cloth. Later, after a miraculous recovery from his illness, he instructed his daughter and her friends to make the special dresses, and dance was born. These dresses traditionally are decorated with rolled metal cones made from snuff-can lids.”
  • Women’s Northern Traditional
    • “This stately dance involves a slow-moving or no moving bouncing step, rhythmically dipping and swaying to the beat of the drum. The dresses of buckskin, wool or other material are heavily decorated with beading, quillwork, elk teeth, bone or antler, or shells. The colors for this dance tend to be more subdued than in other outfits.”
  • Women’s Southern Cloth/Buckskin
    • “This dance style is danced by women of the Southern Plains Tribes. The Southern Buckskin/Cloth style of dance is slowly rhythmic and elegant as the women move gracefully about the dance arena, dipping and swaying to the beat of the drum. The buckskin dress is decorated with beadwork and sometimes shells or silverwork. The cloth dresses may also have designs printed on the hem of the dress. The remainder of the outfit includes matching headbands or crowns, hair ties, purses, moccasins, chokers, earrings and shawls.”

Gathering of Nations Powwow Souvenir Program Book 2021, page 16

The competitions honor all ages with groups from Juniors to Golden Age/Elders. They raise up future dancers by having youngsters dance in full costume, and these young ones captured my heart. Then they honor the elders by having a competitio for them.

ANOTHER GREAT FEATURE

Each year, they crown Miss Indian World at this event, with contestants coming from all over the Native world. Each contestant wears a costume from her tribe. Again, the unique and colorful costumes and beautiful women are a breathtaking!

So, for 2022, mark your calendar for April 29 & 30, and come and enjoy one of Albuquerque’s most beautiful traditions.

Have you ever gone to a powwow? If so, where? Did you enjoy it? (Scroll down a little farther to make comments!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~One-Year Anniversary of the Release of Flippo’s Biography! Join me to celebrate on May 10, 2021 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM Email me at larada@icloud.com if you are interested!

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~My Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ Visit my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Coronavirus · My Thoughts

Did the Coronavirus Change the World?

Way to change

Change is the only constant we can depend upon. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the consistent year-after-year happenings lulled me into complacency, making me believe 2020 would be a duplicate of 2019, a little different but with unknown adventures and a lot of the same ole same ole!

         As you know, 2020 and even the first quarter of 2021 have been grueling. I now look at the world and my past as pre-coronavirus and post-coronavirus. I’ve had over a year to labor long and hard over how I would allow this to affect me. Many others in the world have pondered this too.

         By now, you know me—a poem is brewing!

Growth & change

Growth and the Coronavirus Pandemic

April 18, 2021

Growth and 2020 in the same sentence

         Seems like an oxymoron.

                   Such contradiction

2020

         The worst year of my life

                   Yet growth?

                            Really?

I faced it

         I worked through it

Often I succumbed to outrageous emotions

         Fear

                   Anger

Then heartwarming feelings

         Empathy

                   Love

And went on.

So as I evaluate what happened,

         I can say,

                   “Yes, I grew! I’ve changed!”

                            Like so many of you.

Forced to stay at home, isolated

         I stopped my hectic schedule

                   I listened to life

                            I embraced nature

                                     In a deeper way

                                               I met me,

                                                        In a fresh way!

Yes, nature became the conduit of healing

         Lin’s luscious garden

         Birds attracted to his many feeders

         Jesse, my cat, and

                   His allegiance to me and our routine.

         A daily walk

                   Which feeds my soul

My God in all of this.

I didn’t want

         To grow

I didn’t ask

         For it

Thrust unknowingly

         On me

                   On our country

                            On our world

So what happened to me? What changed?

         I listened to

                   The meticulous flapping

                            Of the hummingbirds’ wings

                                     Hovering over bright red penstemon stem.

                   The hectic dinnertime feeding

                            At the bird feeders

                                     Wings fluttering,

                                               A storm of color and commotion

                   The quiet afternoon breezes

                            Singing through the piñon trees

                            Bouncing our chimes, creating a heavenly melody.

Yes, it happened.

         Did it happen for you?

*****

Let’s focus on the positive change from the pandemic. I found an article, “15 Reasons to Feel Positive about 2020” on the internet.

https://www.openarms.gov.au/about/news/2020/15-reasons-feel-positive-about-2020

Topping the list is “Nature is thriving—Sightings of wildlife have increased worldwide and a reduction in air pollution is giving the planet a chance to rejuvenate.” I love that because it coincides with my top idea—many people took up gardening, bird-watching, outdoor activity, and seeking refuge in nature.   

Look at how change occurred in our home!      

SpringWatch - our change in the world

SPRINGWATCH 2020

            Besides Lin’s gorgeous garden, we connected with nature when we found SpringWatch 2020, a TV show featuring wildlife and nature of Great Britain. Their 2020 version really focused on the effects of the pandemic on wildlife and encouraged people to find solace in nature. Originally SpringWatch airs on the BBC, but we watched it on BritBox.

            “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 series, starting on 25 May, did not come from a central base. Instead each presenter appeared from a location near their home, respecting government guidelines on social distancing.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springwatch#Series_16_(2020)

            We thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous photography, witty story telling from the four main naturalists who hosted each episode. But our favorite part became the Mindfulness Ninety Seconds, where they encouraged the viewers to put down any distraction and simply enjoy the scenery. Then, for ninety seconds, we heard nature sounds and saw beautiful landscapes with a variety of animals. So refreshing!

            The show weaved a variety of topics through the hour-long presentation. One particular episode focused on the healing power of nature. Chris Packham, the primary host, suggested a book, The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us by Emma Mitchell. Of course, I bought it and read it and learned a lot about nature’s curative powers.

            When SpringWatch ended, we didn’t want it to end, but we found out about AutumnWatch and WinterWatch. So we continued our celebration of British wildlife and nature.

GARDENING

            Chris Packham on SpringWatch2020 and the other Watch shows commented often about the uptick in gardening in the UK, but it was worldwide.

            “Within six months, the home garden industry saw a quantum leap in sales and new customers, with revenues magically levitating 60%, a seismic event in a tranquil nonindustrial industry.”

https://www.mcall.com/opinion/mc-opi-gardening-popular-2020-covid-20201215-xdo63kfl2jdpljbnjinstfnvda-story.html

         I’ve told you before about Lin’s gorgeous garden. Well, he has expanded his garden, a change against my wishes. He promised when he first started gardening that he would limit the size of it, but every year I watched him edge out more and more. This spring he made a decisive step and has enlarged it to more than double. How can anyone be upset with having more flowers to look at? And he loves it so.

WALKING

         I started walking January 1, 2021 because of my lethargy in 2020. Usually I’m physically fit because of all my dance activities and exercised, but I became a couch potato last year. One night after showering, I looked at my legs one day and saw bumps. Gasping, I thought, “Cellulite!” For most of my life, I have kept active, but the cellulite bumps sprung up overnight.

         What to do? My answer—I had to do something, so walking was my answer. I started slowly and increased my time. I have the pleasure of walking a country road, free of noise, pollution and people. Today my butt cheeks hurt after my daily walk. I’m up to 45 minutes a day and going over 9000 steps daily. I know the optimal number is 10,000 steps a day, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Zoomin’

THE WAY OF WRITING WITH NATALIE GOLDBERG

         March 6, 2021, I started an eight-week writing workshop online with one of my writing mentors, Natalie Goldberg. This was a dream come true! I first read, Writing Down the Bones, her first book in the late 80s then collected and read several more of hers.

         We met twice weekly—for three hours on Saturdays with Natalie and one hour on Wednesdays with her assistant. What a rewarding experience I’ve had.

         Natalie lived in New Mexico for many years, and I attended day workshops of hers, but I couldn’t afford her longer ones. This online class was very affordable and doable. Another change to my life from the pandemic and staying home.

MEETINGS

A big change came for all of my regular face-to-face meetings: recovery meetings and the board that runs the Albuquerque Square Dance Center. Zoom saved the day. I easily made the change to Zoom meetings and added some special ones like monthly chats with a roommate and friend from Colorado. The three of us hadn’t been together in thirty years. I’ve also had family reunion meetings and more. The sky is the limit with Zoom.

JESSE, MY CAT

Jesse, my cat, enjoying the change
Jesse, my cat, ready for a night of TV!

         When we danced and traveled so much, we had few rituals that Jesse knew. Now nightly, Jesse crawls up on the arm of our loveseat on my side, positioning himself for watching TV with us. Each morning he snuggles as close as possible to me during my Quiet Time. Daily at breakfast, he supervises our Cribbage game. Jesse has convinced Lin he knows who will win the game by where he lays—near my side or Lin’s.

         The world has changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Too horrible to mention in many ways, but I wanted to highlight some of the positive changes.

         How about you? Have you had any positive changes this last year? If so, what were they? (Keep scrolling down to make comments!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Just Another Square Dance Caller cover

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~One-Year Anniversary of the Release of Flippo’s Biography! Join me to celebrate on May 10, 2021 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM Email me at larada@icloud.com if you are interested!

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~My Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ Visit my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/