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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Darq’s Christmas

DARQ:  I survived (and enjoyed) my first Christmas on Earth.  Here’s the scoop:

IMG_0228As this view out the window of Catherine’s farmhouse shows, it snowed, and we had a “white” Christmas.

IMG_0238Decorating the kitchen, dining room, and the Christmas tree sure was work, especially getting the stuff out of storage boxes.  And, yes, I managed to get tangled up in tinsel and lights. Then, all of a sudden, the lights gnarled about me lit up.

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CATHERINE!  Kill the lights. I am not a Christmas tree!

CATHERINE (snickering) unplugs the cord:  “Calm down, Darq, I was just checking to see if the lights worked.

DARQ:  They work!  Now, what’s next?

CATHERINE:  Getting the tree trimmed.IMG_0243 The lights go on first.

DARQ: Figure it would be lights.  Did you know Catherine put 600 mini-lights on her five-foot tree?  Enough wattage to outdo a solar flare . . .

Anyway, I managed to get red and green bead-rope placed, and I did not get tangled–not once!  Okay, so maybe I did almost strangle myself when a loop fell off and about my neck . . .

I even got to hang a few drum ornaments–IMG_0253plaid is evidently a McLean thing, them being of Scottish descent.

When the tree was done, I left Catherine to set up the nativity scene and put away all the decorations boxes.

What Catherine didn’t know was that I went upstairs and wrapped her a gift. IMG_0258

My gift to her was a “book rest”.  In purple.  It’s got two little pockets for pens, etcetera and a nice tassel (for book-books, not her e-reader). She likes purple.  And red. Did you know she’s a Red Hatter? Anyway, packing the gift was one thing but getting the gift wrap anchored with tape?  Quite another.IMG_0268

. . . I got more tape on me than on the package!

But I managed to get the job done and put the bow and tag on the gift.IMG_0269

On Christmas Eve, Catherine and her husband have a tradition of reading the Bible’s gospel of Luke, and so I became acquainted with the story of the birth of Jesus.

Christmas Day arrived and I discovered Santa had, indeed, stopped. He even helped himself to a few cookies off the tray Catherine set out, but–

Yoi, Catherine!  Darq Xmas NutsWho ate all the cashews?

CATHERINE (a smile twitching at the edge of her salt-dusted lips):  I believe reindeer like cashews.  Santa probably gave them a handful. Now, go look at the tree–there’s something on it you need to see.

DARQ (goes over and stands beside the tree and gasps): Santa left a stocking for me! Darq Xmas stocking  [I must have stared at that stocking for five whole minutes, wondering what was the thing wrapped in red was.

Unfortunately, my curiosity aside, Catherine said it was house rules that gifts didn’t get opened until after church and breakfast.  We had pancakes for breakfast.  Yum.  Church was a small building, nicely decorated for Christmas, the mass unfamiliar to me, but, if that’s how Catherine and her husband chose to spend Christmas, who am I to quibble.  After all, Catherine was gracious and open-minded enough to let me celebrate the solstice my way.

And finally, at home, the gifts were distributed, and I got not only Santa’s stocking but other gifts.  I tore off the wrapping paper like a kid.  And–Wow! Look what I got from Santa!  Darq Xmas Loot-unwrapped A fishing net and a fishing pole.  But, hey, Catherine, what’s with the fish at the end of the line–its fake and no self-respecting fish is going to think it’s bait.

CATHERINE: How should I know, I don’t fish–oh, wait, maybe it’s part of some safety hazard type of law.  You know, a decoration that protects your fingers from the hook.  Can’t have the manufacturer sued because you hooked yourself.

DARQ:  I am not a stupid o-lo-pii!

CATHERINE:  Didn’t say you were. So, how did you like the earrings that were hidden in the toe of the sock?

DARQ:  I love them, but how did Santa know they’d go with the necklace you made me?

CATHERINE (unwrapping her gift from me): Santa knows such things.

DARQ:  Well, I thank him and I thank you for the jewelry and thank you, too, for the stole with the pockets.  Just the thing for your chilly old farmhouse.  Darq-XmasStoleDarq-Xmas Fuzzy Short

CATHERINE:  And what about the fuzzy stole I crocheted for you?

DARQ:  It’s gorgeous. I like it very much–

CATHERINE mutters excitedly:  Oh, my goodness!

DARQ: So, how do you like my present to you? The book rest?

CATHERINE:  It’s perfect!  I loved it!  Not only can I use it for books but for my e-reader.  No more propping up pillows on my lap to read. [After admiring it, putting her fingers in the little pockets, taking the cellophane off the tassel–and grinning the whole time–she sets the gift aside and picks up another package to unwrap.]

It took Catherine and her husband almost an hour to open the rest of their presents, which included books, sweaters, and food gifts (more cookies). When all the wrapping paper was gathered up and the gifts set back under the tree, Catherine headed for the kitchen to start dinner. Dinner was a special treat.  We had venison, wild rice, and maize–I mean corn.  Catherine mixed white and yellow corn with bits of carrots and small pieces of green beans and created a very colorful (and tasty) dish.  Of course, the best part was dessert–cookies. Lots and lots of cookies!

And so ended my very first Christmas experience on Earth.

*******How will Darq celebrate New Year’s Eve?   Stop back next week and find out.

*******Special notice: In January 2013, Darq is going to be interviewed in Mexico!

****And, if you like Darq and her blogging, leave a comment for her.  And feel free to forward this site address to all your friends or mention Darq on your Facebook page.

***Darq is the protagonist/heroine of Jewels of the Sky, available at Amazon.com (as an eBook and paperback).

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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Darq Celebrates the Winter Solstice

DARQ:  As you know by now, I’m a Wysotti Indian from another planet and the heroine of the novel, JEWELS OF THE SKY, by Catherine E. McLean.  Anyway, it’s December 21, and time for me to celebrate the Winter Solstice. My Wysotti traditions and belief system is about the natural world where all things are entwined with the spirit, the power of life known to us as “qi.”  The Winter Solstice is a celebration and expression in prayer, song, and dance to give thanks for creation, for the year that has passed and to look forward to the winter, a time to remember, rest, and reflect–and prepare for the coming year.  Here I’m wearing the traditional “costume” of my dyn that’s for a Winter Solstice Celebration. Dyn costume-front

We wear black and white and the “mirrored quetzl dragon feathers” are my dyn’s particular symbol. Here’s the tunic back:  Dyn tunic back

Completing the outfit is a gray shawl. Grey represents shadows of yesterday (remembrance), the black fringe represents the darkness of winter days, but the white embroidery along the front edge symbolizes hope for tomorrow.Shawl front

My boots have bells on them.  When I circle the fire—

CATHERINE:  Fire?  What fire?  You didn’t tell me we had to have a fire.

DARQ:  A fire is necessary.  A fireplace will do.

CATHERINE:  We don’t have a fireplace!

DARQ: But you have a chimney.

CATHERINE: That’s for the gas furnace that heats the house.

DARQ:  No problem. We’ll just build a bonfire outside in the yard.

CATHERINE: Bonfire?  Burn a hole in the grass?  No way.

DARQ: Yes way.  It’s necessary. We’ll use the driveway turnaround–it’s all gravel.

CATHERINE:  But it’s raining–where will you get the kindling?

DARQ:  Must you be so negative?  We’ll make it a little fire, just enough to burn the yolli-t’pilli.

CATHERINE: I’m not negative, I’m being practical. And what’s a yolli-t’pilli?

DARQ:  A “heart-staff”–I’ve made one. They are traditional and everyone makes one. See: staff closeup-in hand

CATHERINE: It’s a pointy stick with a lot of stuff on it.

DARQ: Everything on the staff has meaning.  Like, from the top down: The paper flower has my prayers and wish list for the coming year written on the petals.

CATHERINE: I don’t see any writing.

DARQ: That’s because it’s written with invisible ink.

CATHERINE: Where did you get the invisible ink?

DARQ:  I made it from those lemons you had in your refrigerator.

CATHERINE (gasping):  So that’s what happened to the lemons I bought for my tea!

DARQ (shrugging):  Next on the staff is a bit of greenery, symbolizing that even in winter something lives, and the berries represent the seeds that will sprout in the coming year. By the way, the staff is made of wood, a renewable and sustainable product.

CATHERINE: Oh, I get it, wood represents maturing. And the feathers?

DARQ: The white one represents the wind.The brown one represents my spirit guide animal, a wild buzzard, sort of like your wild turkey.

CATHERINE: Did you swipe that turkey feather from my hat feather stash?

DARQ: You said I could raid your sewing room for whatever I needed, didn’t you?

CATHERINE nods, then says:  What’s with the shell and rock?

DARQ: The shell represents water, the sea, which brought forth life and teems with life.  Nourishing water.  The rock is for earth, solid earth that we walk on.

CATHERINE:  Oh, I get it, the things you put on your staff represent the elements of fire, earth, air, and water.

DARQ:  Right, and the bit of red . . .  That represent the blood of all the warriors of my world who have been injured or died in this year’s battles against the Doyon. [Dark clears her throat.] Anyway, the last bit is the dot of gold–not real gold, of course. It’s metal.  Represents shining hope.

CATHERINE: That looks awfully much like the brass studs I use for–

DARQ:  Moving on.  We need ashes!

CATHERINE:  Ashes?

DARQ: Yes, first there has to be a layer of yesterday’s or this past year’s ashes on to which we’ll set kindling for a new fire.  Only that fire won’t be lit until after the prayers and chanting is done.

CATHERINE:  You know, looking at that staff of yours, well, it looks suspiciously like one of Charlie Brown’s scrawny Christmas Trees.

DARQ: Who’s Charlie Brown?

CATHERINE:  Never mind. Yours staff is more colorful. I’ll go get the ashes from under the burn barrel–could you use the burn barrel.

DARQ (scowling at Catherine): No burn barrel, we need a campfire-fire!

AN HOUR LATER:Clearing the Air Dance

DARQ: Yolli-t’pilli in hand, bells jingling in my other hand, my shawl sweeping away yesterdays, Catherine beats her djumba (did you know she has an African lap drum–doesn’t play it very well, but at least she can maintain a beat).  Soon I step into the ashes strewn about the kindling so the soles of my boots pick up some of the ash.  This ash symbolizes a letting go of another year.  As I circle the kindling, the ashes will fall away, just as the old year has. The chants and jingle of the bells, as well as the drum beats, is to clear the air. (And send any evil spirits away.) When I’m done, it’s time to place my yolli-t’pilli into the center of the kindling.Staff set among kindling

And, then the final prayer:

Out of the ashes of doubt and uncertainty, help and protect us, oh Mother of Creation, that we may tread through the dark winter ahead and into the light of many new tomorrows, creating a new year of peace, joy, prosperity, and harmony.The fire ignites-darkness

CATHERINE silences her drum and mumbles, her voice barely audible: Amen.

DARQ: Together Catherine and I will watch the flames consume my yolli-t’pilli.  As the flames lick ever higher, in my heart, I hope the Doyons will remain at peace and my people will again thrive and return to being space traders.

*******DARQ: Catherine was a good sport about my solstice celebration.  In a few days, I’ll be watching her celebrate her national holiday of Christmas.  Catherine promises that Santa will stop by and leave me a gift.  This I have got to see.  Especially since there is so much conflicting data available on whether the jolly old fella even exists. So, stop back Christmas Day and find out if I got a visit from St. Nick.  You know–I just remember–Santa is supposed to come down a fireplace chimney, but there isn’t one in this old farm house . . .

*****From Catherine: if you’ve read to this point, HERE’S A BONUS FOR YOU: For today, one day only, Friday, December 21, you can download the eBook, Jewels of the Sky, for free, from Amazon.com.  It’s Darq’s solstice gift to you (it beats the fruitcake, which Darq tells me is the traditional gift to give.  Lordy, I hope that fruitcake she’s going to bake me is not the kind Aunt E makes that can be used for a doorstopper . . . ”

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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12-21-2012 Winter Solstice – Mayan “end of days”

Stop by 12-21-2012 and see what Darq is wearing and how she’s celebrating the Winter Solstice and the Mayan’s “end of days.”

Special offer:  Jewels of the Sky (Darq’s story) will be available as a free eBook download at Amazon.com, but for one day only: 12-21-2012.

 

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Cookies!

DARQ:  Catherine has made me a new outfit.  She says I can get dirty in this blouse and culottes.  Darq-CulottesBut then she says to put on an apron and head scarf?  Really?Darq-Apron n Candy Cane

CATHERINE:  The little triangle of fabric for the head scarf is a pseudo-chef’s hat. It’s like the ones I and my 4-Hers wear.   It’s to keep your hair out of the Christmas cookies we’re going to bake.

DARQ:  Okay, if you say so.  But, I do like the little pocket on this apron. It feels weird being in such American clothes. Even weirder doing something like baking Christmas cookies.  I don’t even know what Christmas cookies are or what Christmas is about.Darq-Apron pocket detail

 

CATHERINE:  Be patient, Darq.  I’m going to introduce you to Christmas.  Now, to the kitchen.

Darq-In KitchenDARQ:  Cookie baking is awesome fun!  I didn’t even get flour on me or soil my new duds.  Catherine did.  She got flour on her, in her hair (despite her head scarf). Why she even got flour into the living room–but considering she never left the kitchen, I can’t figure out how that happened.

CATHERINE (muttering):  It happens all the time and I can’t figure out how, either! Darq-Closeup Cookie Sheet

DARQ:  No matter.  I baked cookies! Lots and lots of cookies.  And the smell has my mouth watering for a taste.  Take a closer look at my tray full of wonderful gingerbread cookies. I decorated them all by myself!

Oh, and see what’s in my pocket?  Catherine gave me a green and white candy cane, pointing out that it matched the apron’s fabric.  I stuck it in my pocket.  It’s a nice “accessory,” one Catherine said cost more than the fabric.  That sounds unbelievable.  How can a piece of candy cost more than material? But, hey, I’m Wysotti and I’m only a visitor to Earth–what do I know of such things.

And now, which do I get to try first–the gingerbread man or a lick of the peppermint candy cane?Darq-Cookie Candy Closeup

I cannot decide!  Catherine, help–which would you choose?

CATHERINE (her mouth full of cookies):  Cookeesh–an’ pass the milk.

*****Want to learn how DARQ, a Wysotti Indian, celebrates the Winter Solstice on December 21?  Then stop back  Friday. Or, better yet, stay abreast of Darq’s activities by joining or following us at Twitter where announcements of her activities are posted as they happen. (And feel free to ask Darq a question or two.)

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
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Welcome, Darq!

Welcome, Darq!

Darq –

She is a Wysotti Indian from the planet Wysotti, in the Wysa Solar System, which is beyond the Pleiades stars (when viewed from Earth). Darq is a starfighter pilot who serves the Wysotti’s Elpocalli Space Fleet.  Her rank is Qtl-shi (a squad commander).  Currently she is on leave.

As a civilian, she was born into the Mayahi Dyn as the Princess of the Misted Moon and is the first daughter of Pyhanni of the White Grasses and the first born granddaughter of Zukaltay (currently deceased).

When Darq arrived “in stasis” last weekend, she was just another American Indian doll made in China. After her arrival, CatDressed in civilian attire, getting ready to leave for Jud's Beauty Shop for a haircut.herine sewed more proper Wysotti civilian attire and had Darq’s exceedingly long braids professionally cut so that the doll became Darq, the heroine-protagonist of Jewels of the Sky. Photos will be posted later today of the hair cutting (and Darq will have a few comments to make later on in the day).

DARQ (butting in):  Yoi, Catherine, don’t you think you ought to reiterate to people reading this blog that I am a Wysotti Indian so the doll people won’t have apoplexy thinking you maimed a designer American Indian doll by chopping off the long braids?

CATHERINE:  Considering how people skim e-mails and blog posts, maybe I should.  So: No valuable, hand-crafted, designer-made doll was maimed.  Besides, Darq, a starfighter pilot cannot have such long hair, braided or not. The ones you had originally wouldn’t even fit inside your flightsuit.

DARQ: Right.  Nor would those braids meet regs.  Okay, enough said.

CATHERINE breathes a sigh of relief.

DARQ:  Yoi–you who are reading this:  Catherine’s day didn’t go according to plan–and she has lots more photos to post, but I want to encourage you to ask me a question or two.  After all, I’m on leave (translation: I’m bored)–and this is  the official book launch day for JEWELS OF THE SKY!

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

***go to the menu bar and see the pictorial log of “the haircut”***

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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12-12-12 Official Book Launch Celebration

Wednesday, 12-12-12–a very auspicious date–is coming and it’s the official Book Launch Celebration for JEWELS OF THE SKY!Stop by and meet the heroine–Darq, a Wysotti Indian warrior/starfighter pilot.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized