An Open Letter to Jason Lee

My son, hereafter referred to as Monkey, loves the TV show My Name Is Earl. He has been begging me off-and-on for a year to write a letter to Jason Lee imploring him to resolve the cliffhanger ending of season 4. For better or worse, this is that letter. 

Dear Jason Lee,

Your show, My Name Is Earl, has been a go-to show for my family. I know it’s not your most recent work, so bear with me a moment. When I took a leave of absence from a job that was slowly killing me about 2 1/2 years ago (one that I later quit), I started streaming My Name Is Earl on Netflix. Eventually, my then 7-year-old son (AKA Monkey) started taking an interest in the show as well. (Yes, yes, I am the parent who allowed her 7-year-old son to watch My Name Is Earl. Don’t you judge me.) His watching habits of Earl have evolved over the past two years now to the point where it’s sort-of his comfort show.


This is Monkey from Christmas this past year. You couldn’t disappoint this face, could you?

I’ve asked Monkey what his favorite things about Earl are. Here are the bullet points, paraphrasing him:

  • It’s a funny, calm show (as opposed to other shows that amp him up to an unreachable degree)
  • There are a lot of good episodes (Our favorites, all from the first season, are: Dad’s Car, Y2K, and Bounty Hunter)
  • It’s good to have on when you’re sick
  • It’s good to have on in the background when you are writing a story
  • It’s interesting to learn about Karma

Well, thanks for sticking with me up until this point, but I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m getting at, right? Is this just in praise of a long-canceled show? Here’s the crux, again paraphrasing Monkey:

Please make more episodes (or an excellent wrap-up movie?) because I HATE cliffhangers. And it seems like you had something else to write because in the final episode Joy looked like she had thought of something.

Monkey has Earl on in the background when he’s knitting, hand crocheting, writing stories, drawing, etc., and every time he makes it to the final episode he begs me to write this letter. How can I deny him? He just wants to know how things turn out for his friends. And as much as adults dislike cliffhangers, can you imagine how much a boy does?

What do you say, Jason Lee, could y’all wrap up Earl for my frustrated boy? This is probably the part where I should fake some horrible illness or trauma for Monkey (Umbungo-esque?), but there is, thankfully, nothing of that nature for the impetus of this letter. Nothing but the desire of a boy to not be disappointed by a show he loves; to know what Joy hinted that she knew in her eyes. Maybe you have been dying to look like this again. Who knows?


Monkey would be most grateful for you to resolve the cliffhanger. He might even look like this after having such a big wish granted.

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Even though we understand it is unlikely that such a tall order could happen, I suppose at least I have finally written the letter Monkey has begged me to write for so long. Thank you for your consideration. (Likely not really read by Jason Lee, but any random folks on the Internet who have taken the time to read Monkey’s plea.)


Monkey’s Mama


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My Friend’s Big, Fat Indian Wedding in L.A., Part Three

Our final day in L.A. we managed to complete Monkey’s final beach requests: make a sand castle and explore a tide pool. And I had plenty of time at Union Station to pretend I was an elegant 1940’s lady traveling by rail.

Oh! before we could get a good night’s sleep, pack up, and head to the beach on our final day, some joker pulled the fire alarm at the hotel at about 2:45 AM. We had been asleep for about two hours, and if there had been an actual fire I would have perished from sleepy confusion. (No, not really. Hubby was awake and cognizant and would have saved my confused self.)

We headed towards the beach on Topanga Canyon Boulevard (the businesses we passed on the way to the beach reminded me of the artist enclave of Jerome), uncertain which beach we would choose once we made it to the Pacific Coast Highway. Knowing that Monkey wanted tide pools, we stumbled upon Malibu Lagoon State Beach and saw a bunch of critters! (Sadly, I didn’t notice until we were home that there was probably a big smudge on the lens when I took these pics. Oh, well…)

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In nervous traveler style, we went back to the station nice and early, just in case. (Side note: we exited I-10 at Echo Park on the way to the station. I wanted to wander around and stare at all the beautiful houses. *sigh*) Wikipedia says that Union Station was built in Mission style and not Art Deco, and was built during the decline in rail travel in 1939, but I still love it. (Monkey asked me what I was staring at in the picture he took of me and I told him you’re supposed to stare thoughtfully off in to the distance when someone takes your picture. Right?)

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Thank you, first out-of-state vacation in many years! We are grateful for the wonderful people, experiences, and natural beauty!

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My Friend’s Big, Fat Indian Wedding in L.A., Part Two

Alright, today is the retelling of the day-long, big event. Anglo-Americans, forget everything you know about ritual; the Hindus have us beat HANDS-DOWN! Not only were the wedding festivities pretty much the entire day, The Bride and The Groom had many other rituals and ceremonies prior to The Big Day. By the cocktail hour at 6 PM, which was to kick off the reception, I was lamenting that I would be the WORST Indian woman. The stamina and style (not to mention the grace and kindness) that I observed were on a level unfamiliar to me.

Breakfast and The Groom’s Arrival

The best thing about the length of the festivities was that we were constantly being fed, something that hummingbird metabolism over here greatly appreciates. My boys and I ate at our hotel and then headed over to the wedding hotel at about 7:30 for more breakfast. Hubby snapped some photos of the set up: bangles, carved coconuts (!), and other lovely things. (Oh, and Monkey snapped the fire hydrant, since it looked like a little robot).

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After partaking in the first of three delectable Indian meals of the day it was time to watch The Groom arrive…in a horse-drawn carriage! (And observe a few rituals that we didn’t really know what was going on…)

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Alright, so this is the first of two apologies that I have to make for this day. The Bride told me earlier in the week that after The Groom’s arrival there would be a lot if rituals that we were welcome to stay and watch, but that if we wanted to we could take a quick break, as long as we were back for 10:30 when the wedding began. ALSO, she had very kindly given me more traditional clothes to wear for the reception, but I needed to buy leggings as the pants didn’t fit. (Quick interjection: another thing that I didn’t know was that most everyone would be wearing two different outfits for the day, one for the morning and a fancier outfit for the evening.) And since Monkey is an extraordinarily picky eater, we thought it would be good to grab him some food, so across the street to the mall we went.

(Monkey as we left the hotel.)



Since Macy’s wasn’t open yet we started with getting Monkey some grilled cheese and a special almost-Easter milkshake that had a Peep on top. Unfortunately, I spent too much time at Macy’s and we made it back to the wedding after The Bride had already arrived and the ceremony was already underway. I’m fairly certain that this means I missed the coolest part: The Bride being carried in to the ceremony, and my opportunity to join her other friends and family in her procession. We were all given a very helpful booklet to understand the rituals (for those of us unfamiliar with what was going on) and a man basically narrated the ceremony too. In another nod to how much I enjoy the Indian folk feeding us, we were given mango smoothies during the ceremony! For some reason I didn’t feel like I should take pictures during the ceremony. I wasn’t that it was forbidden or anything, I just felt like the memories should remain in my head.

Now we are approaching apology number two. The ceremony itself was essentially from 10:30 to 1. At around 12:30 my smoothie had worn off and I was getting shaky. The wedding day “schedule” showed that lunch was from noon to two, and we witnessed people wandering in and out of the ceremony, so we hoped it wouldn’t be rude to do the same thing. So…we wandered over to the lunch buffet, thereby missing the beginning and end of the ceremony. Sorry, The Bride! (In my lame defense we were not the only ones at the buffet…)


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After lunch we got to relax until the cocktail hour began at 6, the start of the reception, which was scheduled to last until 12:30. (I think the family and bride and groom did not get this break as pictures were taken and they had to get in their fancier outfits for the evening. Indian stamina is UNREAL.) (Monkey at the hotel wearing the bangles he picked out.)


The Reception

We started out with getting cocktails (or soda and juice for me and Monkey) and enjoyed chatting with folks before it was time to go inside and witness the wonder…(Oh, serendipity side note: one of The Bride’s best college friend’s husband and I graduated from the same high school! And I actually graduated the same year as his younger sister. Small world, indeed!)

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In another exercise of stamina (but while being amazingly entertained) dinner was served sometime after 10. Before then there were lovely speeches and a Bollywood dance troupe!

(I can’t use alcohol as an excuse for the closed eyes…oh well!)


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After eating we all had an AMAZING time dancing. I noticed one other lady slip off her shoes, so I followed suit, and danced barefoot by myself, with Monkey, with Hubby, with any children who would dance with me, friends and family, and a really fun lady (who was actually the one who took off her shoes first) to 2Pac’s “California Love.” What a blast. Dancing is easily my favorite thing in the world to do.  I was slightly surprised by Monkey’s stamina and excitement for dancing. (Though I suppose there is not a lot of photographic evidence of said dancing, because we were too busy dancing!) Initially Hubby and I had discussed that maybe we would last until about 10, but without having eaten yet, we realized we were in it to win it and actually made it until about 12:10!

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Thank you so much, generous The Bride and The Groom and family. We had an incredible time celebrating with you!

Tomorrow’s Part Three will not be nearly as exciting, but our final day included one last beach and the beauty of Union Station’s Art Deco loveliness.


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My Friend’s Big, Fat Indian Wedding in L.A., Part One

An exciting thing happened a few months ago. I learned that a college friend would be getting married in Los Angeles. Weddings usually mean drinking, eating, socializing, and dancing, right? What’s not to love? Listen, a few years ago I panicked my way out of attending a dear college friend’s wedding. I hadn’t been on a plane in a lot of years and my anxiety got the better of me. I still deeply regret it. So, this was a chance to redeem myself in the smallest of ways. And? we could take the train and ease my way back into out-of-state travel. So, over the next few days, I plan to take you with us on our Flagstaff to L.A. first-ever Hindu wedding experience. Hope you enjoy!

The Train

We began our adventure boarding the train in Flagstaff at about 9 PM, arriving in L.A. about 7 AM. So generally my experience with Amtrak has been so-so, but the main selling points continue to be that, 1., I am not on a plane 2., the cost and regulation hassles are much less than the plane, and 3., my family and I are not driving long distances together. The worst thing, really, is sleeping awkwardly in the seats because I am too cheap to spring for a sleeper car that I know won’t compare to a European train’s equivalent. (I estimated clocking about 3 hours of interrupted sleep.) Luckily the negative experiences we had this go ’round were so funny that they make good stories.

Train douche #1: Sassy cell phone diva

This woman shared more than I ever wanted to know about her and her family between 9 and 10 PM on her loud cell phone conversations. The best rundown I can remember:

  1. She loves to smoke pot
  2. She bought various articles of clothing for her family member that may or may not fit
  3. She keeps her family in “good” toiletry products, such as expensive toilet paper and body wash
  4. Cursing often and loudly on a train into your cell phone is a WAY OF LIFE

Best quote: “I buy Charmin, bitches!”

Train douche #2: The Rap Mogul

Grand Master Douchebag needed to have a conversation at midnight about mixing his latest record. Well, I guess it wasn’t really a conversation so much as it was him leaving multiple cell phone messages. They had to be loud and involve cursing because we’re on the train, yo, and I am IMPORTANT! (I semi-forgave him later as his loud in-person conversations with his travel companions earlier in the morning revealed that he had served in Afghanistan, which doesn’t forgive his train douchery entirely, but I’m willing to cut him some slack.)

After arriving in L.A., generally making ourselves semi-human, we needed to kill a bit of time before we could pick up our rental car. Making it the optimal time for my dorky excitement of trying to recreate a picture of me and Monkey from 8 years earlier. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

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I know I’m his mom, but I get choked up comparing his 20-month-old and nine-year-old legs.

Oh, and we also engaged in general photographic silliness (faux falling in the fountain and failing at capturing throwing flowers on Hubby).

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Driving in L.A. or The GPS Almost Killed Us

Hubby was not especially excited about the prospect of driving in L.A. I rarely drive making him the sometimes reluctant default driver. In order to aid our ignorance of getting around L.A., we got a GPS with the car. Never having used one, it took some getting used to, making leaving the train station a bit of an ordeal. Did you know that GPSs can’t account for detours? Or at least ours seemingly couldn’t, and as we tried to scramble to figure out how to leave downtown L.A. and head toward the beach, Hubby turned on to a one-way street. EEEK! Fortunately the panic was short-lived as a kind bus driver waved us in front of him to complete the U-turn. Thank you, bus driver! (And, probably because of the sleep deprivation, all I could picture as we turned into oncoming traffic was the episode of The Office where Michael thinks the GPS wants him to turn into the lake, and so he does. Also, in a wonderful and annoying way, Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” was playing a loop in my head. I mean, she says, “This is L.A.” right at the beginning of the song…)

Zuma Beach

After the initially rocky start, some time around 11 we made it to Zuma Beach and proceeded to beach it up! We enjoyed the sand, waves, water, sun, collecting seashells, burying the boys, and just soaked up the surreal beauty that we rarely get to take in.

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Dinner and Henna

Post beach adventure, we wandered toward The Valley on a recommended scenic road (Kanan Dume) where the hotel and wedding were. We stocked up at Trader Joe’s, rested for a bit at the hotel and then it was time for dinner and henna at The Bride’s parents’ house. Oh, before we get to that I have to relay what created just sleep-deprived, slap-happy laughter in all of us. Not being well-acquainted with car GPS systems nearly everything it did was foreign to us. By the time we were heading to The Bride’s parents’ house, we were more familiar with how to use the system, but it still made us giggle for days. Why? The way it would computer crazily announce the streets to turn on. Hubby described it as dropping hot oil on yourself as you are saying the street name (loud and oddly inflected). The best way I can describe it is the voice sounded like the woman Cheri Oteri played in early 2000s SNL who took a ton of prescription medicine. Eh, it probably doesn’t translate well, but the boys and I will be laughing for days if any of us shouts, “TO-panGA CAnYon BOULeVARD!”

OK, back to dinner and henna…We were so lucky to have this experience. Monkey easily fell in to playing with the other children there. Hubby and I had fun talking to The Bride’s most dear college friends. We ate amazing Indian food, not knowing what anything was (as we did the majority of the weekend) and LOVED it. And, of course, the ladies and I were lucky enough to have beautiful henna applied. *sigh*

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So, rest up for tomorrow. If I can get it together I’ll post the DAY LONG WEDDING SPECTACULAR!

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This Horse’s Hippie Happiness

I haven’t sat down to write in a while in part because in fall/winter I often turn inward, and in part because I haven’t felt there is much to say as of late. I have found myself trying to rebuild my foundation, get in touch with things that are important to me, and organizing. Lots of organizing, trying to make the place I spend most of my time nowadays one that feels like home. So, I suppose, in an effort to share some of my discoveries/rediscoveries, here are a few things I have been enjoying.


1. Paleo Comfort Food Cookbook Okay, I am not a person who diets to lose weight. I try to eat (or not eat) foods that best contribute to my well being. I don’t eat strictly “paleo”, and I’m not here to defend it. However, I have been dairy-and gluten-free for about 3 years or so, but my ability to cook delicious food that I can eat has been…lacking. The Paleo Comfort Food Cookbook is helping to change that. (I did notice when I went to their website that they have a new book out, one that probably addresses my tiny criticism of the original (that it’s geared more toward people with a more extensive knowledge of cooking than myself), a “quick and easy” book.) We have only scratched the surface, but so far the recipes we like the most are pot of chicken pie (I’m pretty sure Hubby would be happy if I made this every week), mashed cauliflower (the first time I made it, it was perfection, the second was a little lacking, but I am hopeful!), biscuits and gravy (this is definitely a “sometimes” food; your heart can’t take this too often, but SO good!), and strawberry short cake (we have made it with or without berries and have added Coconut Bliss or coconut milk when we have been craving whipped cream).

2. Qi Gong Meditation App I’m sure there are a myriad of meditation apps out there. I tried another one to begin with,  but have settled into a happy partnership with the Qi Gong Meditation app. I like this one the most because of its many and varied options–audios, videos, articles–and its simplicity. I engage in the 3 minute mindful breathing exercises the most often.The length (most around 10 minutes) and type of meditations (guided) also fall in line with what works for me. This year I have really wanted to focus on cultivating love and compassion for myself and others, as I see this as a pathway to being more in line with the accepting person I wish to be. Once I discovered that two of the meditations focus on this (the loving kindness and more advanced compassion meditations), my love solidified.


3. Gabrielle Roth’s Ecstatic Dance Collection My husband and I decided that we want to have two things in our lives: martial arts for him, and dance for me. Gabrielle Roth’s Ecstatic Dance Collection is one that I am happy to be getting reacquainted with. I bought the original DVD (oh, wait, VHS) when I was still in high school in the mid-’90s. Gabrielle Roth asks you to “sweat your prayers” through her 5 rhythms of ecstatic dance.  I acknowledge that this certainly isn’t for everyone, but I find that dance is really the moving meditation that I am most able to dissolve into, truly one of the only times that my mind is quiet. Side note: the collection I bought has three DVDs–the original, a high-energy version, and a more meditative version. If I could do it all over again, I would have eased back into this practice with the slower version, and worked my way up. I started off with the high-energy version and, no longer being used to dancing for thirty minutes straight, I was an immovable, nauseous mess, temporarily, anyway.

Thanks to a very patient cat for allowing me to prop this up on him!

Thanks to a very patient cat for allowing me to prop this up on him!

4. Tai Chi Last year, before we even declared out loud the basic things we wanted in our lives, my husband started looking around for a tai chi video. He came across this one by a local man who he sometimes watched on the university access channel. My favorite things about this video are that there is very detailed instruction if you want it, I can usually find twenty minutes to start my day with tai chi, and the effects of tai chi are so perfectly subtle–I am more flexible, calmer, and stronger.

5. Gingerbread I Can Eat! Once I decided that I wanted to make gingerbread this past Christmastime, I became almost instantly overwhelmed by the number of recipes. But I didn’t want just any gingerbread recipe; I wanted one that was dairy-and gluten-free, and, of course, tasted good! This one is a winner! My three favorite things about this recipe: it uses chia or flax to thicken it; the base is zucchini; and, of course, it tastes amazing! The only minor downfall is that it looks so much like conventional brownies, I feel the neurotic impulse to continuously announce what they are (in a party setting) so that no one would be disappointed that it wasn’t chocolate.

And today marks the Chinese New Year in my sign, the horse.


I find myself with high expectation for the Year of the Horse. But I am most hopeful that as I continue to build my foundation and rediscover who and what I love doing/being, my broader vision will have the space to be realized. May it be a year of growth, love, and travel for you!

(My 9-year-old son, AKA Monkey, very reluctantly took these pictures of me barely getting in to the ecstatic dance video. This all he had the patience for today! )

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Know Thyself: The Genographic Project Version

For my birthday this year I decided to give myself a present that I have wanted for quite a long time: send my DNA to National Geographic’s Genographic Project to learn more about my deep ancestry. (Go on and click on that link if you want to know more than I ramble about the project.)

So I bought the kit online and waited no-so patiently for it to arrive. And when it did, I geekily delighted in it, taking each detail in. Cheek-swabbing commenced, and I tried desperately to be patient. I knew I had 6-8 weeks to wait, and for me personally, one of the best ways I could wait was to register a log in, which allowed me to receive email updates. So that a few weeks later, I received this first exciting progress report:

Your DNA Analysis is Now Underway in the Genographic Project LabOver the next six to eight weeks, we will process and analyze your DNA samples in the Genographic Project lab. We will notify you by email each time your sample enters a new phase of testing. Photograph by David Evans, National Geographic
In the meantime, remember to visit the Genographic Project website regularly to find out more as Genographic scientists pull together connections, uncover new paths, and provide fresh insights into your ancestry. It’s like having a subscription to your very own genetic history—and to the history of all of us.The Genographic Project Team

Look! Graphs and science and links to wonder! And then a week or so later….

We Have Isolated Your DNA SampleOur Genographic Project lab has successfully isolated your DNA sample. This means that your full analysis is approximately 40 percent complete. To learn more about DNA isolation, read below. And to explore more, or if you have questions about the Genographic Project, visit theFAQs page.The Genographic Project Team Photograph courtesy Family Tree DNA

More science and progress and excitement!

We are now analyzing your isolated DNAWe are currently analyzing your isolated DNA in the Genographic Project lab. To learn about this important step in your DNA analysis, read below. Once this stage of analysis is complete, your sample will move into the quality-control stage, after which your results will be posted to the website for you to access.The Genographic Project Team The Genotyping Chip
Photograph by Becky Hale, National Geographic

And then a few weeks later…

We are in the final stage of your DNA analysisWe have completed your DNA analysis in the Genographic Project lab and are now performing an important quality-control review to ensure all your results are accurate.The Genographic Project Team Photograph courtesy IBM

And even though it was pretty much 8 weeks to the day, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I could log in to view my results!

Your results are ready for you to accessWe have completed all phases of your DNA analysis at our laboratory and uploaded your results to theGenographic Project website. From the home page, click “Check Your Results” to log in with your user name and password and start exploring your ancient ancestry.
Throughout the website, we have provided overview text and videos that explain the results you will see in each section. We encourage you to explore these resources to become familiar with the format and the science behind your results.Thank you again for your participation!

But before we get there, here’s me.


Well, with my boy. Dark-haired, light-eyed generally European-looking me. To the best of my knowledge I am English and German on my mom’s side and Italian and Polish on my dad’s. (Side note: Since I am female I am not able to get details about my paternal line, since that would be included on a Y chromosome, which makes me wish I was in touch with my dad for more than one reason.) So maybe I was a little too excited about uncovering something amazing and unexpected, like I am an aboriginal princess, or that I have African or Native American ancestry that would turn racial categories on their ear, that I guess I was a little disappointed when I first looked at this graphic. (It is basically a graphic you can share, which is not at all as detailed as the full report results.)


Can you hear the “wah-wah?” When I looked at the much more detailed map of the migration patterns of my maternal ancestors, I pretty much thought to myself, “Huh, Europeans just kinda stayed put after they left Africa. Way to innovate?” But then over the course of just one day I managed to really get into exploring all the information that was available to me, information would have been impossible to know not all that long ago. And then I started seeing how interesting it really is. Even if you just are a boring ol’ European.

After you explore the migration patterns of your ancestors, you can see what ethnic groups make up your DNA. My three groups are: Mediterranean, Northern European and Southwest Asian. (Oh, and NG makes note that not everyone’s percentages will add up to 100. Mine was 1% short, so I decided that the part of me who wanted to be special can take that 1% for aboriginal princess.) Each one was quite interesting to read about, but I was especially curious about the last group. Here’s how NG describes it:




This component of your ancestry is found at highest frequencies in India and neighboring populations, including Tajikistan and Iran in our reference dataset. It is also found at lower frequencies in Europe and North Africa. As with the Mediterranean component, it was likely spread during the Neolithic expansion, perhaps from the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent. Individuals with heavy European influence in their ancestry will show traces of this because all Europeans have mixed with people from Southwest Asia over tens of thousands of years.

I know that I wanted to be able to participate in this project and take away the sense that recent geographical and racial happenstance have little bearing on deep ancestry. The idea that me, and many other folks of European descent, are related to folks in India and Iran is exactly the kind of perspective I wanted to gain.

Also found in the “Who Am I?” section, you find the world populations you most closely match. Though the results are not surprising for me, the idea that science can “see” this is fascinating.


This reference population is based on samples collected from populations in the United Kingdom. The dominant 49% Northern European component likely reflects the earliest settlers in Europe, hunter-gatherers who arrived there more than 35,000 years ago.  The 33% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian percentages arrived later, with the spread of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, over the past 10,000 years.  As these early farmers moved into Europe, they spread their genetic patterns as well. Today, northern European populations retain their links to both the earliest Europeans and these later migrants from the Middle East.


This reference population is based on samples collected from Italians native to Tuscany. The 54% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian percentages reflect the strong influence of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, who arrived in Italy more than 7,000 years ago. The 28% Northern European component likely comes from the pre-agricultural population of Europe—the earliest settlers, who arrived in Europe more than 35,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period—and was perhaps increased during the conquest of northern Italy by the Germanic Lombards in the 6th-8th centuries.  Today, the Northern European component predominates in northern European populations, while the Mediterranean component is more common in southern Europe.

Upon my fifth or so reading of this section, I was able to have a greater appreciation for the synthesis of sciences that went into it. Fascinating…

Oh, and if I still wanted to feel a little special, the “Your Map” section contained a few notable people:


Francesco Petrarca, the father of Humanism, and Richard III, King of England, were members of this lineage.

I’ll take ’em!

There is truly so much information to absorb that I know that I will log on to look at my results over and over again, and share them with friends and family. I wanted to participate to know more about my ancestry and to help scientists learn more about human ancestry and migration, and I think I was able to  do both.

(PS For those with a more rich scientific background, under the “expert options” section, you can download your sequenced genetic information.)

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Early Family Fall:Harvest Moon, Equinox, Jerome and Sedona

Nature gives us some great things to marvel at come early Fall. My boys and I have done our best to get out enjoy all that we can, and my parents very graciously allowed us to use their Sedona timeshare for part of Monkey’s Fall break. And cue my attempt to widdle down hundreds of photos to the best that captured harvest moon, some fall leaves, and Jerome and Sedona adventures. First, we played with some perspective while taking our harvest moon pics. IMG_1110 IMG_1134 IMG_1118 IMG_1123 IMG_1126 IMG_1127 IMG_1128 IMG_1130 Next, I tried to snap some fun pics of Monkey in the leaves. (Ash leaves aren’t quite as impressive as larger leaves, but they are our first ones to change, so there you have it.) IMG_1145 IMG_1136 Since my parents have made Sedona a regular adventure we can count on, we have made it a habit to explore Jerome before we check in. The Mile High Grill has remained a favorite, with consistently great food and service. (Check out my favorite of their kitchy signs.) IMG_1157 IMG_1155 IMG_1154 IMG_1152 IMG_1147 IMG_1159   And then….Sedona! IMG_1275 IMG_1266 IMG_1278 IMG_1192 We generally engage in swimming, hot tubbing, duck feeding, lizard stalking, eating, mini golfing, and otherwise enjoying our surroundings. IMG_1197 IMG_1199 IMG_1202 IMG_1203 IMG_1205 IMG_1208 IMG_1209 IMG_1210 IMG_1212 IMG_1213 IMG_1214 IMG_1217 IMG_1218 IMG_1219 IMG_1221 OK, yes, there’s a bit of vanity in these next shots. While we were mini golfing, I looked over towards the creek and saw a gorgeous tree, with strong, gnarled roots, perfectly lit by the setting sun. And maybe for a few minutes my inner faerie got to play. IMG_1225 IMG_1230 IMG_1231 IMG_1239 IMG_1243 IMG_1245 IMG_1251 IMG_1254 IMG_1258   This picture does not do justice to the gluttonous delight. Monkey talked of nothing else; his excitement almost exclusively reserved for the “volcano” dessert–warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, an ice cream cone, and cherry. The delightfully surly German waitress has questioned our decision in the past, “Are you sure? That is a 6,000 calorie dessert!” IMG_1264 On our final full day we decided to check out Cathedral Rock. This decision started out wonderfully–it is very easy to get to the trailhead. Once we got there, we noticed that we had a choice of three different trails–Cathedral, Templeton, and Baldwin. We looked at the maps, weighed our options, and I over-enthusiastically declared that we should take the steepest trail, Cathedral. Yeah, there may have been a time that I mildly panicked and had to wait for the boys to come back down to me, as I was intimidated by the smooth rocks and steep drop. We still managed to see lots of great things (even a crushed scorpion), but I think I would opt for the more level Tempelton trail next time. IMG_1280 IMG_1282 IMG_1283 IMG_1284 IMG_1285 IMG_1288 IMG_1289 IMG_1291 IMG_1293 IMG_1297 IMG_1299 IMG_1303 IMG_1304 IMG_1305 IMG_1306 (PS I made a rather irreversible mistake yesterday, of which I am trying to make the best. I deleted all the photos from my media library. Sadly, this meant that I also deleted all those pictures from my posts. I figured I could either painstakingly replace hundreds of pictures to their proper places, or I could delete 101 posts and see this as an opportunity to let go of the past and start new today. I opted for the latter.)

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