Archive | September, 2013

My Study on Genetics

29 Sep

Genetics is a mysterious beast. There have been numerous scientific studies on the topic, of course, but I have been secretly conducting my own personal study over the span of a 35 year lifetime. My study began with my thrust into a step family and ended with my haphazard reception of a mother and daughter cat pair.

When I was very young, my natural parents parted ways due to circumstances beyond my mother’s control. My mother, who was fiercely overprotective of her young daughter, would not allow my father into our lives. She had good reason. This led to the two of us on our own in a big, scary world.

After some wayward journeys and a new brother, my mom finally met my stepdad. This guy was really cool – I remember him coming over to our apartment and playing his records for me. To this day, I still love “Daddy’s music” and I remember the first morning I woke up to him making his coffee in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before I asked him if I could call him Daddy.

We added two more babies to the family and we were quite content. In fact, the pair are still together after nearly 25 years of ups and downs. However, while we were all busy building and raising a family (and yes, I did change more than one diaper for a sibling), something different was happening to me.

I was the “outsider”, through no one’s fault. I was interested in subject matter that no one else in our house seemed to grasp. While my new Daddy was watching football, I was pretending to write at his knee. While my new siblings were climbing up trees, I was practicing my drawing with my new pencil set. I was always in “left field” from the rest of the family. My parents tried to embrace and support all my endeavors, but they fell just short of understanding my unique talents.

I also had a hard time connecting with my new Dad’s family. They are darling people and I love them to the moon and back, but when we first met, I definitely felt different. They were quiet, I was loud. They were very close to each other; I had a hard time connecting. As a youngster, I felt outside of their circle simply because I felt different from the rest of my family. I have since connected with them and love them dearly, but it was rough in the beginning.

As I was struggling to find my place in my new family, my biological father was following a sordid path. He was dealing with some very personal issues and I still haven’t figured it all out. He traveled with the Air Force, and while he loved me fiercely, his traveling and his disagreements with my mother kept us apart. I would later learn that other factors separated us as well.

He died at his own hand when I was seventeen years old. At that time, I had approached my mother and asked if I could find, then contact, him. She gave me her blessing and promised to help. Well, I found him when my grandfather called me and told me that my father had died. (My mother, though she wanted my father to stay away from me, always allowed my grandparents to have the option to be a part of my life and always provided them with our phone number.) My response was, “Well, where do you want me to be and when?” My mother told me it was okay to cry, and I asked her why I would do that. Someone I never knew had just died. I felt sorry for his family, but I didn’t feel sorry for myself. My search was over.

I went to the funeral and I met his family. Since we were so very distant, I had no idea that he had a wife and two new daughters (new sisters for me!) I found out that I had a whole new path to explore.

I started to visit my grandmother more often after my father’s death, and that’s when she started to open up to me. She began to show me her pictures and her art. It was just like mine. I started to talk more to my new sisters, and I found that my sister Stacy was a lot like me in personality. She was smart, sassy, and had a mouth that wouldn’t quit – just like me. I met my aunt who was loud and I met my uncle who had the same bent sense of humor as myself.

Finally, I understood. Finally, I found myself. My parents who raised me (and my maternal grandmother who helped) showed me how to be tough and determined. My absent paternal family had given me their talents simply because I had been born. I finally understood where I fit in with the rest of the world and I finally saw myself through my genetics. I found where I fit in the family puzzle, and I embraced my “new” family with open arms. I was able to discover pieces of myself that had confused me. This allowed me to become comfortable with myself and grow closer to my daddy’s family, where previously I had been unable to be completely comfortable. I now have THREE families to which I am devoted because I gained a little bit of something from each of them. I also understand that personality is A. learned and B. inherited. Many people never receive this lesson first hand as I have.

Finally, I had a daughter who acts just like me – I tell everyone I cloned her. I can see my personality in her, and I can see that she has elements of her Dad and my biological father’s family. It is quite fascinating to watch the genetic personality traits move down the line. She loves animals, and she asked for a kitten last year.

The kitten that we found came with the mother, so we accepted mom and baby. They lived with us harmoniously until mom was killed in the street – now baby stays in the house exclusively. I have learned more about genetics through this mother and daughter team and it has been amazing.

Baby will put her front paws on the patio window then “walk” along the door following the squirrels outside. Mom used to do the same thing. Baby will throw my pencils off my desk on a daily basis. Mom used to do the same. Baby wants human affection on the same level as mom. This mother and daughter team has given me further observation on genetics and personality – it doesn’t stop with humans.

It has been an amazing ride, and I challenge you to step outside of yourself to look at your own genetics. If you have children, observe their behavior and discover why they do what they do. You just might learn what I learned – to understand yourself, you must understand from where you’ve come.


That’s A Wrap!

28 Sep

iamhorror productions has called it a wrap! This weekend is the last weekend spent with the set. The lights are going down and the cords are being collected as the ever gracious host finds himself once again wrapped up in weekend silence. It has been an amazing roller coaster ride with long hours and many, many takes.


Everyone is feeling bittersweet about the final slam of the clapboard. We all feel amazed by our experience as we leave a piece of ourselves on this amazing set.

Aili Macdonell said it best when she said, “This film has not only been me great learning experience, but a chance to build a family. Who Knew horror could bring such happiness!”

Laura and Aili pose!

Laura and Aili pose!

Laura L. Johnsen agrees, adding,  “I designed the costumes for the production of Ghost Hill Road.  It was a really great experience working in collaboration with Kendra, Doug, and Ted, and the rest of the cast and crew.  I met some amazing people and had an awesome time helping out on the set.”

AmArA kopakova is playing Nora in the movie, and she was very candid about her time on the set. She reflected on other movie opportunities and was gracious enough to share some of her amazing artwork with us.

“Working on Ghost Hill Road has been a real dream come true.  I have chosen acting projects that personally resonate with me and Doug and Ted have been wonderfully willing to work with me to shape the character and helped me to keep her a real and rounded person.  Mark, playing my husband Max, has been a generous acting partner, along with patiently sharing his ghost hunting expertise and experience freely, so that our portrayal on film is accurate to the experience.
With other films, I have created art work inspired by my experiences.  Working on a horror film has flummoxed me on that score.  I simply can not even imagine how this is going to look on the screen.  Despite doing dozens of sketches from my three days on set, I have only completed one painting from Ghost Hill road to date. ” (image below used with artist permission: AmArA)
Check out more on AmArA here!

Check out more on AmArA here!

Finally, I was able to grab a word from Doug, who has spent tireless hours on the set – in fact, he has been on the set nearly every single hour of shooting and production. Doug and Ted tag teamed to create what is sure to be a masterpiece and deserve a great amount of credit for bringing out the talent in all of us.
Doug told me, “I had a great time shooting House on Ghost Hill Road and enjoyed working with everyone. I know our lessons learned from the first film will help to make the an even better production than our last.”
Doug and his right hand man, Ted. Or is it the other way around?

Doug and his right hand man, Ted. Or is it the other way around?

It sounds like everyone loved being on set. I know I did. I never felt like I was “working”, though I was. I couldn’t be on set as often as I would have liked and I swear at least one of my cameras would break every time I was there (grrr), but it never once felt like work. It felt like a fun time away from home even though I was always writing, thinking, creating or snapping pictures. I don’t get a chance to practice what I love very often and this really gave me the chance to shine. Thank you everyone for being so gracious and for welcoming me with open arms. God Bless and I look forward to meeting again!

OMG Go Away for Five Minutes!!!

15 Sep

I have a confession to make.

I wanted to shower by myself last night.

I know this is a TERRIBLE mommy thing to do, but I insist on showering by myself. No one is allowed in the bathroom – not even the significant other. First of all, I get annoyed with that sort of “fun”. Second of all, I want that sacred five minutes to be by myself. It’s the only time I get to spend by myself. When the kids were younger, as long as someone else was home, I used to lock the door. I’m pretty serious about this.

Last night, though, I hadn’t locked the door because the kids are older. I figure they will leave me alone for a couple minutes while I shower. They’re nine and ten and can occupy themselves, right?

Well, maybe not always. I got in the shower after being on my feet for twelve straight hours on a Saturday – that’s a long story. I was standing there, hoping the steam would clean out my clogged sinuses a little. Before I knew it, there was a knock on the door and an insistent, “Mommy!!!”

Of course. I ignored it four times before the door banged open. My good thoughts washed down the drain. I physically drooped as I decided how to handle it. I poked my head out of the curtain and gave her a very tired version of, “What????”

She stood there and looked at me, all nine and sweetly innocent. She was deciding whether to stay or go while I was deciding how to ask her to leave.

Then suddenly something changed. I realized I wanted her to stay. I wanted her company and I wanted to hear what she had to say. I wanted to relax, but I wanted to do it with her. I asked her to come in, sit down and talk to me.

Eventually, she made me laugh. I could have stood there in silence and let the water bring me peace. Instead, I let my daughter into my private solace and her imagination brought me joy. Which is better? Leave your opinion below!!!!


12 Sep

Imagine fear. You know what it feels like when someone jumps around the corner at you and yells “BOO!” You know the initial jolt associated with a good scare. You know you love it and hate it at the same time.

That’s what it was like to be on the set of “House on Ghost Hill” by the iamhorror team last weekend. The fear was immediate and completely fun. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a true horror scene, and I was honestly scared with every take.

I did watch the scene a few times over, and I did know what was coming, but it didn’t matter. I was still scared every time a certain someone said their lines just right. I’m not going to reveal what lines scared me most; in fact, that’s why there are no pictures this time – I can’t give away the exciting scary parts! Just know that, if the scenes scared me while I was sitting right there, knowing the actors and watching many different takes, then what will they do for you, as the viewer??

You’ll have to find out. You’ll have to get this movie when it comes out. You’ll have to find out what happens to our hero as he discovers the secrets of this house and the truth around him. Believe me when I say that you have to watch this movie, and you have to watch it with the lights on. If the crew jumps at every take, what will you do in your living room? I know I can’t wait to find out!

Stay tuned for the final during-production blog. I’ll be heading into post-production with the crew, but the posts will take longer to create. Hang in there with us and keep an eye on the iamhorror website for all the latest movie updates! 


First Video Blog – Homemade Surface Cleaner

2 Sep

I’ve been making homemade cleaners for two years. I finally decided to post videos about how they work, how they’re made and how well they clean! I’ll post one a week on the topic – enjoy and comment on anything you might want to see!!!

Meandering Toward Eating Better

Wander your way onto a healthier plate!

F*ck is a comma

There will be swears

Simmons Syndications

Where the WRITE words make the difference

not for nothing y'all

a blog about all the things...

Must Be This Tall To Ride

I'm a single dad documenting his journey. A guy trying to walk a higher path. And messing up. A lot.

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

And Other Thoughts - Including Cleopatra's Journal

Ammar Khan's Toronto Blog

Marketing Trends and Social Media News from the Eyes of a Canadian Marketer

Mommy FourOneOne

Sharing info with other moms in this overwhelming, yet amazing adventure we call being a mom.

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips)

Plenty the Magazine

Living. Learning. Laughing

Mom in the Muddle

Getting Through All Life Slings Her Way

Craft Schmaft

Making Happy

Express yourself. It is later than you think.