Sunday, August 31, 2008

Journal entry 33--Qualties

Describe a quality you admire in another person. What is it that makes you admire that quality? How can you achieve it?

My friend April has a tremendous amount of faith. She feels inspired with a thought and never questions it, she simply acts on it. Despite her busy life she continues to listen to her feelings and carry them through. Another quality she has that I admire is that she lives life to its fullest. She leads an incredibly busy life but still takes on several hobbies and makes time for herself.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Journal entry 32--What's in a name?

How do you feel about your name? Have you always liked it or wanted to change it the moment you turn 18? Does your name have special meaning to it or were you named after someone?

I've had a love/hate relationship with my name. I never liked how at school no one shared my name with me and I also didn't like how plain it sounded. I did like, however, the fact that my name lends itself to a thousand nicknames. It seems as though most of my close friends have a nickname for me--their own unique nickname that only they use. My parents almost named me three other names, either Joy, Jacqueline or Jennifer. I always wanted to be Jennifer. In fact many of my best friends growing up were named Jennifer. My name was chosen because it was the only name on which my parents could agree. I'm used to my name now and am not planning on changing it anytime soon. I figure when I die my tombstone will say, "Here lies the girl with a thousand nicknames."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Journal entry 31--First day of school

With the new school year starting, I thought it would be fun to write about your first day of school. Describe what it was like, the friends you made, etc. Did you like your teacher?

I remember my first school day starting first grade. I was walking to my classroom and saw a girl ahead of me. I ran up to her and introduced myself (I wish I still had that kind of bravery). Her name was Annie and she said "hi" to me. We walked to class getting to know each other. Other than that I don't recall many more first school days except starting 7th grade. I remember being terrified at starting Jr. High School and not having any of my friends there. I wore Levi 501 jeans and a red polo shirt. My cousin, who went to the same school, and I clung to each other for the next 2 weeks until we were able to make new friends. It was a scary time!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Journal entry 30--Computers

What happened the first time you used a computer? Was it when computers were just starting to become mainstream or was it on an ancient relic?

My first computer was an ancient relic. It was big and bulky and sat on a special computer desk that took up most the room. I remember this computer was from Radio Shack and had a booklet that gave different computer commands. If I inputed these commands, I ended up with a stick figure person walking across the screen. Back then that was cool! I also remember when I had to use DOS programming to get anywhere on the computer. I'm so glad computers have come so far and are now much easier and faster to use.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Journal entry 29--Smells

What's your favorite smell or smells? What scents remind you of something nostalgic or invokes a memory?

I have three favorite smells--wet asphalt after it rains, a dryer vent while it's going, and a new puppy's breath. The first smell reminds me of rainy days and coming home from school cold and wet. After changing into dry clothes, I'd stand by the heater and warm up. Wet asphalt remind me of coziness. I love walking by dryer vents while the dryer is going and smelling the fresh clean smell. It makes me feel like everything I'm wearing is fresh. Puppy breath is just plain yummy! My husband thinks I'm crazy but I like that milky new breath before they start eating dog kibble and their breath becomes really bad!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Journal entry 28--The Beach

Describe your perfect beach day. Who would spend it with you and what would you do?

My idea of a perfect beach day is one like today only with my husband joining us. I love going to the beach with a large group of friends and their children. The kids play together building sandcastles and tunnels, boogie boarding and jumping waves while the adults talk, take pictures and play with the children. I love squishing my toes in the warm sand until it becomes cold and watching the ocean for a glimpse of a dolphin breaking through the water. Collecting seashells is another fun part of the beach and visiting tide pools to touch the sea anemones and let their small tentacles tickle your finger. I could never get tired of watching the ocean and going to the beach!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Journal entry 27--Dentist

Write about an experience while visiting the dentist. Was it traumatic or pleasant? Describe what happened.

I have dentaphobia and it stems from early childhood dental visits. I think my dentist was becoming demented because while filling a cavity he felt that I didn't need anesthesia. It ended up that I did need to be numbed because while drilling he hit a nerve and sent me through the roof. To make matters worse he still didn't numb me even though I was in tears. Now I'm scarred for life by dentists. I would actually rather give birth than get a cavity filled!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Journal entry 26--Service

Describe a time when you were on the receiving end of service. How did you feel receiving this help?

I've had many times when I've received service from others, but there is one particular time when I needed it the most. After my mother died I was alone both physically and mentally. There were several people from my church who brought me meals, checked in on me and basically helped carry me through that difficult time. At first it was hard for me to accept all the attention and care, however one woman said something to me that changed the way I viewed service. She told me that "there will be times when you serve others and times when you need service; let others have the opportunity to serve by helping you." Now that I've seen service firsthand, I'm more willing to serve others when I need to plus I've learned how to serve better by watching how people have served me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Journal entry 25--Change

Is there a book you've read that has changed your life or some aspect of it? What was the name of the book? How did it change your life?

I've recently read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. That book changed the way I view the food I eat. It helped me realize that most of the food we eat travels 1500 miles before it reaches our plate. Talk about using oil! Now I buy all our produce at the local farm here in town and our farmer's market. This way I know exactly who produced my fruits and veggies and what was used to grow them which is always nothing. I only buy grass fed beef so I'm not eating some sick cow loaded with antibiotics and hormones. This book also showed me more about the food industry and how they seem to think that money is much more important than our health.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Journal entry 24--American Idol

Who did you idolize while growing up? Was it a sports star? A singer? A church leader? Whomever it was please take a moment to describe your hero worship.

Olivia Newton-John was my idol growing up. I thought that she was the most beautiful person alive (sorry mom!). Grease and Xanadu were the two movies that I've watch over 50 times and dragged most of my friends to see them as well. My room was covered with Olivia Newton-John posters and I still have all her albums. When my son was 3-years-old, he was watching the roller skating ending to Xanadu and he turned to me and said, "Mommy, you look just like that lady." My heart leapt! I look like Olivia Newton-John! I really don't but it made my day even if it was the opinion of a 3-year-old. Now I have a daughter named Olivia. I actually hesitated naming her that because I knew my family would think I had a serious case of hero worship but I have to say her name was my husband's idea.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Journal entry 23--Lost tooth

Write about a time when you lost a tooth. How did you lose it? Was it your first tooth?

I have allergies and as a child needed to take medicine. This medicine was disgusting and made me want to throw up whenever I smelled it. One day my sister was asked to give me my medicine, however, she had more important things to do and was pretty annoyed that she had to do this task. She carefully pour the medicine onto a spoon and waited for me to open my mouth. The medicine was nasty, remember, so I wouldn't open up! Finally, I did when I had listened enough to my sister getting mad at me and she jammed the spoon in knocking my front tooth out. The tooth was already loose so I didn't mind that she knocked it out, but she felt bad!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Journal entry 22--Kindergarten

Describe a funny experience from kindergarten. What happened?

I went to a private Lutheren school for kindergarten and there were several children there from other countries. One boy, named George was Chinese and spoke very little English. I thought it was my duty to help him learn to speak English better so we started daily lessons of English 101. The problem was the words I was teaching were Spanish words. I had just learned to count in Spanish and for some reason thought George should learn them also. So my little Chinese friend with no English vocabulary went home that day saying "uno, dos, tres..."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Journal entry 21--Authors

List ten authors you enjoy. What is it about their writing that you like?

The ten authors that come to my mind in no particular order are
JK Rowling
Lewis Carroll
CS Lewis
Johnathon Swift
Norton Juster
Dr. Suess
Paulo Coelho
Shel Silverstein (I know he's a poet)
Oscar Wilde
Roald Dahl

Monday, August 18, 2008

Journal entry 20--Pride

Write about something that makes you feel proud. Is it a success you've accomplished? Or is it something with which you were involved? Maybe it's something you've created? Whatever it is, take a moment to write it down.

Besides, of course, being proud of my children and all the good things they do, I'm proud of my piano playing ability. Not that I'm a virtuoso or anything but I can play most pieces with practice and I've have had only some formal training. I didn't have too many lessons as a child because my teacher moved away yet I continued playing on my own. It wasn't until I became an adult that I started taking more serious piano lessons. The piano is a tough instrument to learn. I've noticed that while watching my children take lessons. The problem is that they don't appreciate learning the piano right now. Hopefully they will in the future and can feel the same pride that I do about myself and them.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Journal entry 19--Pets

Describe your first pet. What kind of pet was it? How did you feel about this pet? What happened to the pet?

We got a puppy when I was 5 years old and I thought she was the greatest thing in the world. We brought home our little black fluff ball and sat in a circle on the floor with her in the middle. She ran around from person to person getting to know us all. Jodi was my little playmate. I thought of her as my baby sister and would actually tell people that we adopted another child. We would play tug of war and I'd chase her around our coffee table that was opened on each end. Jodi would run through the opening and slide across the wood. In the morning when she woke up, she would stand on my chest and just stare. After getting used to the uneasy feeling of being watched, my eyes would open and was awakened to hundreds of kisses from Jodi. That's how she told me she wanted to got to the bathroom. Jodi was such a smart dog could recognize words like "cookie" and "bye bye." She was also a stubborn, feisty dog that could hold onto a toy and not let go even if the toy was lifted in the air. Jodi lived a long life and finally died when she was 16 years old of congestive heart failure.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Journal entry 18--Dare you!

Describe a time when someone dared you to do something. Did you give into the dare or walk away? What was the dare?

When I was in Nursery School, a boy dared me to punch him in the nose. He thought that I was some meek little girl who wouldn't dream of hurting another child. Well I guess he was wrong. I balled up my girlie fist and let him have it. His nose even started bleeding. The teacher soon found out what happened and I got in trouble. I remember skirting around the table trying to act innocent while defending myself. "He told me to do it!" I proclaimed. The teacher didn't buy it and I was sent to time-out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Journal entry 17--Least favorite animal

What's your least favorite animal or animals? Maybe you just don't like animals and can live without them. But is there an animal that scares you or makes you cringe? Why?

Rats! Rats make me cringe. I know they're smart and supposedly make great pets but they are just creepy to me. I remember playing at a friend's house when I was in first grade; she had pet rats. We played with them and held them all day long. While I was holding one of the rats and staring at its red eyes and thick tail I thought, "yuck, why am I playing with a rat?" It was after that that I went home and never went back to the girl's house to play. Thus began my aversion to rats. If I ever found a rat in or near my house, I think I would scream and have a stroke.
Another animal of which I'm not fond is the goose. They're just plain nasty creatures. Whenever I've been near a goose, it inevitably chases me while hissing. Geese terrify me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Journal entry 16--Driving a car

Describe what happened when you first drove a car? If you do not drive, describe riding a bike or another mode of transportation.

I did what most people did or at least I hope they did this, I mixed up the gas pedal with the brake. I was parking the car at the grocery store and trying to brake to park when I was suddenly thrust forward. I then realized I had hit the gas instead of the brake pedal. Fortunately the car and I were not injured but it hurt my pride a bit because as a teenager, I thought I was a good driver. I also remember while driving on the freeway almost hitting a motorcyclist. As I was changing lanes to exit the freeway, I merged over and didn't see the motorcycle next to me. He wasn't hurt and wasn't too happy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Journal entry 15--Friends

What's your favorite thing to do with a friend? Where do you like to go?

I don't know if I have one specific thing I like to do with a friend. I suppose it depends on the friend. I do enjoy talking on the phone with a friend especially one I haven't seen for a while. I like going to lunch and catching up on our lives. But if I had to choose one thing it would be going to the beach. I love going to the beach with a group of friends and their children and just talking and watching the kids play in the water. It's also fun to play games with each other like scrabble and cards.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Journal entry 14--Comfort food

What's your favorite comfort food. It can either be a food that reminds you of something or just plain makes you feel good. Why do I think chocolate is going to there for a lot of you!

My favorite comfort food is salsa and chips. Any salsa will do--hot, medium, mild, fruity, you name it, I like it! I love when the chips are either really thin and warm or super thick as if homemade. Chips and salsa don't necessarily remind me of anything or anyone, I just like eating them because they taste delicious. I have another comfort food and that's Frosted Mini Wheats. I don't know why but I've been eating them nearly everyday! They're so good with the frosted side floating in ice-cold milk. My kids think I'm addicted to them. They may be right, however, I don't think there's a Mini Wheats anonymous yet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Journal entry 13--The Doctor Visit

Take a moment to write down a memory of going to the doctor's office as a child. How old were you? What happened while you were there? Did you like your doctor?

I didn't like my doctor! Not one bit! I remember being taken to Dr. Don for a shot and fighting my mother the entire way. She had to drag me through the door and into the office. Once I was in the examining room Dr. Don would mummy wrap me so I wouldn't flail my arms around and run away. He would also cover my nose and mouth at the same time so I couldn't breathe and to get me to stop screaming. I also recall purposely screaming at the top of my lungs just to "punish" my mother for bringing me there! I did not like Dr. Don at all!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Journal entry 12--Birthdays

Describe a memorable birthday. What made it so memorable?

I remember my 7 year old birthday party. It was at our neighborhood park and my sister dressed up like a clown and performed magic tricks. I don't remember if her tricks were any good, however I know it meant a lot to me that she took time to do that. I also remember during that party a boy on a bike collided with a car in front of the park. The boy was okay but we were all shaken up seeing that car hit the child.
There's not much more I remember about that birthday other than feelings. Feelings of pure joy and carefree happiness running around with my friends. I miss being able to get away with that!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Journal entry 11--Playing in the pool

Describe a memory of playing in the pool either by yourself or with family or friends. How old were you? Was it your pool, a friend's pool or during swimming lessons?

When I was 8 years-old I swam at my best friend, Nadia's house. We swam all summer and made up pool games the entire time. One game we played was "celebrate America's flowers." Basically we would throw our arms in the air, spraying water everywhere and sing a made up song about America's flowers! It made no sense but still to this day I can sing the cheer and have since taught it to my children. My boys think I'm crazy! Another game we would play is "butt bumpers." This game is difficult to explain but while facing each other, we would put our feet together and while moving backwards bump our bums together. Oh the things we do when we're eight!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Unusual Jobs

What was your most unusual job? How old were you when you had the job? Maybe you're still with the job! Please take a moment to describe why your job was so different.

My jobs have always been pretty mainstream--working at a Veterinarian's office, babysitting, dog groomer, journalist--yet the most unusual job for me was watching a stock ticker. Each morning I went to my neighbor's house and sat at a desk and watched the stock ticker at the bottom of the TV. I have to say it was the most BORING job I've ever had. I was young and so I think my neighbor was just trying to help me earn money, however I couldn't take it! I quit after a few days. It was dreadful.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Today I'd like you to write about your grandmother. What was she like? Do you have a special memory of her? If you didn't know either of your grandmothers then write about an older woman who has touched your life.

My grandmother on my mom's side was hilarious. She let us call her "granny good witch!" Every Saturday, she had her hair and nails colored red and had a back so straight that when my husband first met her, he thought she had a rod implanted into her back. She played the organ her entire life, (that's why her back was so straight) and I can still hear her nails clicking across the keyboard as she played. My grandmother and I shared a musical bond; we both played the piano. Although, she mainly concentrated on the organ. After grandma died I couldn't touch the piano for 6 months. Everytime I tried to play a song, I'd start bawling. My granny good witch was a talented, classy woman whom I admire still.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rainy Days

What do you like to do on a rainy day? Do you stay inside or play outside and get wet?

I like to wrap up in a blanket, sip hot chocolate and play board games with my family. Sometimes we roast marshmallows in the fireplace and make s'mores. It's difficult to do that now because of our 7 month old puppy who tries to eat everything. When I was younger I liked to sit at the front window and watch the rain fall on the street. I liked when it rained so hard that the street gutters would flood and when cars got too close water would spray into the air drenching anything nearby. Now I watch the rain out my back window fall on our pool's water. I love seeing the pattern the drops make on the water. It can be mesmerizing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Describe a favorite teacher or one that you remember well. How did they inspire you in school?

My favorite teacher was my high school Biology/Zoology teacher, Mr. Allee. He saw my potential and expected nothing less. It's because of him that I started taking my Biology class more seriously and ended up with A's in the class. I liked Mr. Allee so much that I took him for Zoology and was his teacher's assistant. He was always kind, helpful and a wonderful teacher from whom I learned a great deal about science.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sibling Fun

Describe a special time with a sibling. If you do not have siblings, then describe a special time with a friend or cousin.

My brother is ten years older than I am and I completely idolized him as a child. One day after he had stopped delivering newspapers we decided to have a rubber band battle in our backyard. He made rubberband guns and stocked us both with 300 rubberbands (he was a paperboy for a long time) and then said "Go!" Rubberbands were flying all over that yard. It literally sounded like a scene from "Star Wars." I had so much fun that day. I've always loved how my brother would include me in all his crazy activites even though I was ten years younger. By the way, he's still quite silly!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Grow up!

What do you, or did you, want to be when you grow/grew up? Who inspired you to want that profession? Did you achieve your dream?

From the time I was 5-years-old I wanted to be a Veterinarian, specifically a zoo vet. that took care of the baby animals. Who doesn't want to hold a baby gorilla?!? I loved animals and at one time wanted to run a refuge where I could take in all the stray animals I found. Much to my mother's dismay, I often brought home many stray animals. My mother was the person who encouraged me to fulfill my dream of being a vet. However, once I hit college and was introduced to Physics I decided that maybe being a Vet. just wasn't for me. I realized that creative writing, art and music were more for me. Now I'm a full-time mother of three. I love the job of raising my monkeys/children and sometimes I feel like I'm in a zoo!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Best Friends

My best friend growing up was Nadia. We spent the night at each other's houses almost every weekend. We talked on the phone so much that we would run out of things to say so we would make up games on the phone instead. One time I actually fell asleep while talking to her! We were constantly making up games and stories to go with our barbies and stuffed animals. I remember we created our own language called Cucamonga (we had no idea it was a city) where every word you spoke started with the letter "p." For example Pare pyou poing po pthe pore? We were silly and creative! It's interesting that we both grew up to be writers. Her parents were from Afghanistan and Pakistan so I was fortunate to grow up eating their amazing cuisine. Nadia and her family were so kind and generous and I feel blessed to have had her as my friend.

Who was your best friend? Who's your best friend now? What are some things you did with this person? Are you still friends today? Think about a best friend in your life and write about them.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Today take a few moments and think of someone who has inspired you to be a better person. What was this person like? What did you change in your life because of this person? How has their example helped you to perhaps be inspirational to others?

Recently my friend Ginger died. It's because of her that I started blogging. I wanted to be able to keep a record of my life with my family (another blog) and help others record their personal histories. In the process I've been able to write down bits of my own personal history. Ginger also inspired me to take more family pictures. Now I try to take a camera with me wherever I go. After Ginger died, so many people were able to go to her blog and see how much she loved her sweet family. I've been reminded that after we die, all our families have are memories. I want to help write them down.