Who In The World Am I? DNA Results are IN!

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They are here!

The results of my Ancestry DNA test that I got as a Christmas gift are in. I have always wondered what my “special sauce” was, given to me through relatives, now long gone and where on Earth they called home. The results are back and after I laughed for a long time, I had a sense of wonder as so many of these places have called to me, through music, or food, sights and sounds. Some of these places, I have visited; others are still on my bucket list.

I’ve spent my lifetime only knowing that my paternal grandparents were Italian (Sicilian and Calabrese) and my maternal grandparents were Norwegian (mom’s dad) and Czech (mom’s mom). I’ve been trying to build a family tree and have hit dead ends on all lines somewhere around the mid 1800s. Until I launch an expedition to the motherlands to comb through church records, I will probably never know anything specific about the stories of my great grandparents and theirs as well.

But blood doesn’t lie. Even if I don’t know their names and their stories, they live on in the structure of my cells. Maybe, they gave me a freckle on my arm or a color in my iris. Maybe the sound of my voice is similar to theirs or a strange love of exotic food; or the powerful wanderlust that has pulled me to countries far and near.

I laughed when I saw these DNA test results because I have some living relatives who harbor not-so-very-well hidden feelings about some cultures, religions and races that they consider *less than*- and even *terrorists* by circumstance of birth.

Well buckle up girls, because these results are YOUR results too.

Italy/ Greece-32% …

Western European (France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland) 20% …

Scandinavian 16% … (Sweden, Norway)

Eastern European (Czech Republic, Austria, Poland) 12% …

MIDDLE EASTERN (Syria, Iraq, Iran, UAE, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia) 8% …

Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) 3% …

EUROPEAN JEWISH (Ukraine, Israel, Poland, Belarus, Hungary, Russia) 3% …

Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) 2% …

NORTHERN AFRICA (Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya) 1% 

And trace DNA from Finland, Northwest Russia, and Caucasus- a reference to more ancestors from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria and others.

I am an interesting blend of so many cultures that are currently under scrutiny by people with very small minds.

I’m actually kind of bummed that I didn’t find any Orient, South Pacific Island, South American or Native American sparkles floating around in my bloodline.

Here’s what I know- I am a child of Earth in all its technicolor glory, and I carry a little bit of many, many cultures that make this the amazing planet that it is.

Everyone should have this test run just to see who it is you’re hoping doesn’t get let into America. Because they are not THOSE people. They are OUR people.

Suck it up, Buttercups.

Take it away, Michael…

 

Falling into Wonder

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Great blog posts are a little like the holes covered in smooth water on forest pathways where your foot sinks in deep and you’re falling and twisting; adjusting to the shift in equilibrium. Recovering your balance, you might find that you’re facing a different attitude direction now, and the path of your day has changed, ever so slightly.

That makes me think about trajectory. Turning your foot a few degrees in a new direction will not change your world overmuch if you aren’t planning on going very far. But making a tiny adjustment to how you walk through your life can, over the long haul, bring you to a very, very different destination from the one you thought you were heading towards.

Starting out a day with a steaming bowl of Crap Soup with a side order of Unfortunate Circumstances will always set your internal GPS on an expressway to Meltdown City. Reading something that changes your mind, just a little, is a reset move that lets you input a new route for your wreck-of-a-day, putting you on course for a much better destination.

As I wander the Internet, especially on my own Crap Soup days, I love to find myself stuck, neck deep in someone’s clever pile of wonder. Their carefully chosen words and images encircle me like tendrils and hold fast. I can go no further until I’ve drank my fill of what they are offering and when I am released, I am just a little bit different. I have new words now. I have something in my head that wasn’t there this morning and I’m on a new quest to find a little altar in my mind or in my living space where I can put it on display.

I hope that’s happening to others when they trip on a search word and fall, head first into this blog site. I hope they push themselves up and find they have a little bit of something I wrote stuck in their hair and it’s talking to them, like some enchanted leaf; turning their head just a tiny bit and sending them on a trajectory towards more and more wonder.

Even when I am too busy to post here, like I have been lately, I notice that new people are dropping by all the time. I love to get your emails and feedback! I really love that you all tend to come back again, now that you know the way here. There are footprints of nearly 1500 of you on this blog and closing in on 6,000 on the other, over at http://laughingmyrearendoffliterally.blogspot.com/

I’m imagining myself as a wood sprite, positioned in the trees above and watching as unsuspecting visitors stumble in to this joint. It delights me to know when you’ve gone back into the archives and dug out some words that you want to take home with you.

I recently had the weird experience of having someone who was conducting an expensive self awareness workshop at a university be handed a little memory card I had done with some powerful questions written on it. They had a little epiphany and asked if they could copy it and hand it out to their attendees because it was exactly what they needed to hear. Discussions of pending book projects and intellectual property were had. I decided that while I wait for the publishing world’s response to my manuscripts, I would push ahead and get the Three Questions project going. And so, I have dug a new small web hole that you’re invited to trip into. Soon, I’ll have some products (wallet size cards) for the project and you can carry them to remind you of how easy it can be to communicate clearly with others. http://crystalclearmeaning.wix.com/crystalclearmeaning

I’m doing a fair amount of wandering whenever I have free time, reading through your sites too and sharing the gems and shiny things with links back to where you dropped them. It’s always a really good day when I trip over a diamond and fall into a big pool of wonder.

Road Trips and Blue Pills and Music…Oh My!

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If you follow my blog, you already know I’m kind of a music freak. In some alternate universe, I’m a HUGE rock star. In this one, I’m a huge fan. There are just a few types of music that I can’t handle. They usually involve sounds that resemble metal cheese graters shredding my soul into julienne pieces and 3.2 minutes of recorded Tourette’s syndrome rants about women’s Va-jaja’s, assault weapons and counting money. Beyond that, I can pretty much, lean into any kind of music you throw my way.

Though I’ve sited mostly older music in these posts, my playlists hold primarily new and amazing bits from young artists. This is a renaissance time for music and there are hundreds of young artists out there with phenomenal work pouring out of them. I’m listening to “Satellite Heart” by Anya Marina as I write this. Great song.
This morning, I finally set up my iTunes on the new laptop and got chills of joy as the zillion files floated down from the cloud and filled my library. It was like Christmas morning and I was 6 years old. Crank the JBL’s!

For some weird reason, I have acquired a ritual of listening to a few specific songs each time I take a road trip. I load a playlist for the drive as part of my packing chores and I faithfully add The Allman Brothers, “One Way Out”. It’s the musical equivalent of a 100 mph run on a vacant stretch of Route 66. Excited to see my old pal again, I clicked play and heard the familiar opening guitar riff slithering out of the speakers. Damn it to hell! Instead of my best road song, all I could hear was the background music in that fucking Cialis commercial where the guy is on a beach and about to hit the open road, so of course, he’s thinking about his erectile dysfunction problem.

I don’t know about you, but I hit saturation point with those commercials about five years ago. I mean, come on! Enough already! We get it! It’s called…aging.

There are some completely legitimate circumstances for the use of E.D. meds. SOME. We’re not stupid though. There is no way in hell that pharmaceutical advertising departments would pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the promotion of their pills to people who do not need them, if they weren’t earning billions in return. They’re sitting, right now, around their board rooms tables high fiving and laughing their asses off because they have successfully convinced a ridiculous percentage of the male population to “ask their doctors” for a little somethin’-somethin’ to jack up their weekend. What most of those guys actually need is a personality transplant and (surprise!) their partner’s just might work their own somethin’-somethin’ to insure an outstanding performance in the boudoir.

For the miniscule fraction of the population that is under 45 years of age and suffering ED, you are a major rarity. Factoid: most of the blue pills dispensed in America are used by NON-E.D. sufferers who are rolling the dice that they do experience an erection lasting more than four hours. These are the same guys who were huffing spray paint cans in junior high, mind you. Still at it I see. Another large percentage of the little blue pills end up as hand out favors at bang parties where guys with heavy gold neck chains and crystal bowls full of blow get their jollies with the young girls who dropped out of hair & nail school and now work the morning shift at the strip club across from Walmart on I-94.

Do you think this might be nature’s way of keeping wrinkly old guys from chasing after 25 year old girls who should be waking up next to Taylor Kitsch and not Larry King?

To be serious for a moment, 1 in 4 women, across the globe, will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. I really don’t think a product that makes guys hornier is what the world needs right now. Especially not when I have to sit through fifteen E.D. medication commercials during a three hour block of prime time TV and then I have to watch aging male senators casting a vote on the hill that takes away my right as a woman to govern my own body. If I made the rules there would be no blue pills at all as long as there was no right to choose. At the very least, the pharmaceutical companies could add a birth control element to the Viagra/Cialis/Crushed and powdered panda testicle potion or whatever the hell else men use to continue getting laid after their bodies have put on the breaks.

So, yeah. My Allman Brothers song is tainted…forever, with the acrid stink of corporate greed. I need a new song. You know how you can adore a particular fragrance and every time you smell it, your mood is elevated to a happy place? Well, some skeezy individual has bathed in my fragrance and now, I can’t smell it without the new visual accompaniment of the skeezer. “One Way Out” has been skeezed. I have to find a skeeze free song, quickly, because it’s summer and the road is out there waiting and I want to hear something that won’t plant the vision of Larry King with a boner when I crank up the volume and put the top down.

Suggestions? Send me yours.

Now, if I can just get the image out of my head of the antique bathtubs with the two naked people bathing side by side on a cliff overlooking the 6th hole on Pebble Beach…

Wild Hope

I’m nearing the final pages of my manuscript and there’s a small war going on inside me. Where is this one going to land and what happens if it ends up some place that wasn’t my first choice? Pouring my morning coffee into what I affectionately call “the bucket”, an oversize mug I made for my son that he left here “to use when he’s home”, I was running through scenarios of editors with machetes. That, naturally, made me envision scathing reviews on Amazon balanced precariously with a reader base that comes to your aide with pens flaming and me standing, like a mother, pleading with both sides to just get along.

Before I needed a case of Tums to face my laptop, I stopped and did what my friend, Nancy, tells us all to do when we forget that stress is a choice; just breathe. Books, like the children we bear and raise, reach a point when they naturally move out into the wide world and cut their own path, whatever that might look like. Stories, books, music, poetry, art; anything we give creative birth to is going to come out of us kicking and screaming and when it hits the air outside of us, it then belongs to the world. It will be treasured or abused. It will be scrutinized or ignored all together. It will touch some people deeply and it will bore others who were looking for something bloodier, sexier, harder, softer, shorter or longer or slightly more beige.

While we are pushing our creations out of the tiny orifice that only artists can locate, we can hold onto the wild hope that it emerges with all fingers and toes. We can hope that it becomes the fully formed, three dimensional, memorable, moving vision that was planted in our mind by a passing horny muse that put its mouth to our ear and in a deep voice, whispered it to us one night as we were falling asleep.

Wild Hope. The phrase reminded me of the album that former pop princess, Mandy Moore, birthed into the world back in 2007. Prior to that, I only knew of her from the snips of music I caught on car radios or from an adolescent’s playlists pre-9/11. One day though, I heard a piece of her music that made me follow it to its source and bring it home with me so I could hear it again. The words were luscious, the orchestration and production nearly flawless. Her voice on that independent album embodied that moment, somewhere in your late 20’s, when shit gets real. The curtain falls down exposing the powerless little wizard you assumed had control over your emotional life and you found out it was just you, making some stupid choices and some surprisingly good ones as well. Beauty.

The title song is perfect and there were many other gems on the collection. I found a YouTube video an hour ago; Mandy Moore-Wild Hope-In The Studio; a diary of the making of the album. At the 5:20 mark, she says, “There is nothing like the freedom of having the absolute control to make the record that I want to make.” She had won a hard fight to break free from her recording contract that was forcing her to barf up mainstream elevator music and this would be her solo flight.

Inspired to hear it start to finish, I went searching my CD stacks. No luck. Someone “borrowed it” (read: stole it and it’s never coming back). Fine, this is the age of instant gratification. I’ve got Spotify. I’ve got iTunes. I’ve got those other weird programs on my Windows laptop that I’ve never used before. I’ll find it, download it and be listening before my bucket of coffee gets cold. Guess what? It’s not on any of those sites. In fact, I had to order a new copy of the CD, from the U.S. outlets though, because the European version is usd$51.oo. Seriously.

Well, that sent me into panic number two this morning and I still haven’t opened my manuscript file to begin my climb to the last pages of the book. Why have they taken the downloadable files away from us? Has someone kidnapped Mandy and the ransom is forcing her to return to a candy filled Willy Wonka factory to turn out teeth and ear rotting junk food music? Is there a telethon for this where I can send a donation? Am I avoiding ending my book by obsessing over the missing Mandy Moore Music? Hell, yes.

Fine. My coffee is cold anyway. My book will go out and some people will love it and some will use it to line their guinea pig cage; though if you’re going to trash it, I would prefer it be kindling for a beach bonfire. So much more romantic, you know?

So, here’s the song. At least you can hear this one. I’ll just have to wait for delivery of the CD that I found online at a record place in Chicago. I’ll get back to writing and while I wrap this manuscript up, I’ll hold onto my own Wild Hope that everything will be all right.