Showing posts from 2012

Hello 2013, Goodbye Agatha!

The Year of the Dragon brought forth an upheaval for me and my family. A major move from sunny San Diego to the Pacific Northwest in October made me feel like a rolling stone, but now that we’ve found a home we love and we are unpacking, I’m left feeling further removed from my culture and my island. There is no shortage of wonderful Chamorro family and friends here in Washington State, much like SoCal, but as my mother stressed upon hearing about our move, “You’ll be further from Guam now!”

Does calling Washington State my home betray my culture and my ties to Guam? I feel guilt when I merely think that this home we just moved into will be the home I envision myself and my family flourishing in for the long haul. I want to establish roots in this nice town we’ve invaded, but does that mean I’m turning my back on Guam, my family there, the home-island roots I love?

We’ve partied in our home numerous times with said Chamorros and loved every second. We speak of people we know and disc…

First Draft of Wonder Summer in the bag, thanks to NaNoWriMo!

Just a quick note from my still homeless self. Washington has been exciting and exhilarating since I moved here in October. I completed the first draft of my young adult novel, Wonder Summer, thanks to the push from National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). 50,057 words in 29 days.

It was possible! A marathon of writing.

So, now I can rest my head and fingers and let my characters have time to breathe. I need the break.

Going to do this once it stops raining!

I've Gone and Done It. I've signed up for NANOWRIMO.

I eat some comfort food (PB & Raspberry J on wheat) to fuel my literary creative juices tonight. I’ve decided, albeit late in the day to jump on the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) bandwagon. Last year, I dedicated a November to blogging everyday, this year it will be for ‘noveling’. 50,000 words by November 30? Let’s do this.

I’ve had a young adult book idea festering in my brain since Comic Con in July. I’ve sputtered here and there, but today, I’m putting words onto virtual paper.

So without further adieu, later folks. Off to uphold this commitment, even if I’m still ‘homeless’ in Washington State. Now if only I could carry through with a weight loss plan, life would be perfect.


Whoa, is Washington.

It can be hard to warm up to a place when the current temperature is 47 degrees. The sun is out, but the wind is very chilled here in Everett, Washington State. The month of October has been both a blur and a life changing time for my family.

I will say that the road kill is cuter in the Pacific Northwest than Southern Cali.

Aside from the 20 degree difference in temperature, Washington life has been slow. There isn’t much traffic, the commissary parking lot is never full and the chill and wet weather keeps people indoors. Maybe I can finish that new book I’ve been tinkering with yet! Or, maybe not. For now, my family is on the hunt for a home, a school for my son and a chance to empty the 300 boxes that were our life….which now sit in a cold, dark storage facility.

I did initiate my arrival to Everett with a Smashing Pumpkins concert. That rocked! Billy Corgan was great live and charming and humorous when he chatted with the crowd. My favorite exchange, "It's always awkward w…
Celebrating Pacific Islander CULTURE-Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. This weekend in San Diego! Ski Beach, 9/22/12-9/23/12.

Hope to see you there!

September 11, 2001--A Memory Shared....

September 11.

I didn’t intend on writing a post today, but inevitably the tragedy of September 11 always reminds me of my late father.

It was early in the morning on Guam when my father rapped on my door. He told me to turn on the tiny television set in my room and put on CNN. I was groggy, grumpy, not looking forward to another early morning and prepping for work at JFK High School. I watched through blurry eyes, not fully awake and thought, this can’t be real. Maybe I’m dreaming. My dad watched my reaction, the glow from the TV the only source of light in my gray room. I remember looking at him, his face serious and then looking back at the screen. The visuals seemed to be out of a movie. My dad left me alone to process this.

For the next few days, the news was always on in the house. I didn’t react much, still internalizing my feelings. Then, at the dinner table, I watched new footage. Clips of people, who faced with the blazing inferno opted to jump from the building to their dea…

Identity Crisis

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
--Maya Angelou
Son: “Mom, so am I more Chamorro or more American?”
Me: “Being ‘American’ is different from being a ‘Chamorro’, son, it’s like you're asking me if you’re more APPLE or more FRUIT.”

It is the eve of my son’s second grade year. He is both excited that school starts tomorrow (a feeling I hope he never loses) and keenly aware that he only has 4 weeks with this particular brood of kids. As Navy life would dictate, we transfer to the Pacific Northwest by October 1st. He knows he must say goodbye to his friends and wonders if he’ll make new ones. I assured him that his old friends will remain his friends and that he will discover new ones at our new home town. In addition, my seven-year old son has asked me with more frequency and since the Summer Olympics how much of a particular ethnicity he is. He is aware that he is the culmination of 7 ‘identified’ ethniciti…

Hu Guiaya Hao, CHE'LU! Adios...

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." --Dr. Seuss

I no longer hold the position of Secretary and Board Member of CHE’LU (Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity). I resigned tonight and attended my final Board meeting. It was bittersweet since the departure from this wonderful non-profit group was more because of my move to the Pacific Northwest this fall than anything dramatic or gossip-worthy.

I wrote up my short and sweet resignation letter 30 minutes before the meeting (I was dragging my feet, dreading this reality), prepared a pretty fruit platter and headed out. Making this break from the wonderful group of Chamorros I’ve grown so fond of was tough. I walked into the conference room, smiling; commiting in my mind to be professional and non-emotional. I joked that I always brought food when I’m about to break up with someone. The four members present laughed. I will miss my small audience, where I can discuss the culture, plan events, have a …

Onward Geckos! GWHS Class of 1992

"Every parting gives a foretaste of death; every coming together again a foretaste of the resurrection."-Arthur Schopenhauer

Hafa Adai! This blogpost is serving more as a virtual scrapbook for the 20th High School Reunion I missed on Guam this past weekend. A wonderful classmate added these videos to Youtube to share and I wanted to post it here for posterity.

Guam is a small island community, my high school of 200+ graduates even moreso, so I cherish the memories I had with this special group, even if I couldn't fly back to the island to enjoy. Hoping to be there for 25!

This photo of me and the gorgeous Lynda Carter has nothing to do with this post except I think I'm Wonder Woman and she really does want her cape back. Just look at her beautiful sneer.

And, because I love Wonder Woman...

How Do You Maintain MOMENTUM in your writing? Become Wonder Woman...

“One way to keep MOMENTUM going is to have constantly greater goals.”—Michael Korda

Much of the writing process, for me at least involves MOMENTUM. I love to write, to put a spin on a situation that marks it as my own. To present a character who is flawed but likeable, and as I venture into my writing projects, novels in various states of “done-ness” I realize that momentum is necessary to clack one domino to the other.

My son loves watching American Ninja Warrior, it’s like Wipeout without the hilarity and with buffer contestants. One obstacle course requires the warrior jump off a trampoline onto some ropes and swing Tarzan style. Without momentum, he is left bucking in the air just to get this rope to move forward. Often times, I feel like this man. Bucking on my own rope not achieving the momentum I want because I am other things in this world: mom, wife, and lazy bum.

Blogging, reading other authors’ work, journaling are all means of maintaining momentum for me.
So, taking time …

Enlarged to Show Texture.

"Life is too precious to be spent in this weaving and unweaving of false impressions, and it is better to live quietly under some degree of misrepresentation than to attempt to remove it by the uncertain process of letter-writing.”--George Eliot**Pen Name for Mary Anne Evans

I initially wanted to write an ODE to my Little Brother for this blog post. He left this morning in the wee hours and into the chill of the San Diego morning air with my sister-in-law, after a 3 week visit from Guam. I do miss them and we all agreed that their vacation was too short. I am glad we shared Comic Con memories, food adventures and quality time chatting. Last night, I took them to our go to spot for when family or friends want a cool place to eat when visiting my “village” San Diego.

We later opted to relax at home and the duo spent time with my kids. I had them write messages in the children’s journals(read the post here) and then I broke out old family home videos.

Zoom Video Productions
My late…

Come on! Kick My Hornet's Nest Already!

"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."-Ayn Rand

What was dormant in me is reawakened when I was hit by lightning and metaphorical lightning struck twice yesterday and today.

So, the synergy of it all is great, starting yesterday with my awakening to a Samoan writer, Lani Wendt Young. I haven’t read her work (yet), just the freebie on Amazon and I'm ready for more. I did read her blog, liked her on Facebook page and checked out her list of works. Her books are in my shopping cart and after my move to Washington State this fall, I will add her to my library. Lani self-published a trilogy Telesa and When Water Burns so far, among other works.

I identify with her struggles as a writer, mom and Islander Goddess. Her young adult novels center on a Samoan heroine, which in itself is needed. Check out her blog SleeplessinSamoa here.

So, I hopped on (that's a dainty description-let's say attacked) my manuscripts yesterda…

Comic Con 2012/Twilight-Breaking Dawn Thursday Mission Accomplished

I am so tired.

Just a quick post about the fun I had at today's Comic Con 2012 in San Diego. I attended last year and sat in line for 6 hours for the Breaking Dawn 1 Panel. This year was double the time, with my sister-in-law. So being awake for going on 48 hours with a slice of sleep on the grass here and there was well worth it. The final cast panel included Robert Pattinson (my fave), Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, the Cullen family and the many covens. I was also excited to see Stephenie Meyer herself. We were treated to the first seven minutes of Breaking Dawn II as well as an additional scene. The cast was funny and insightful. I'm happy I had a chance to experience this two years in a row, even if we missed the 9PM line visit by most of the cast, the free posters, etc. This Twilight Thursday at Comic Con was exhausting and rewarding all at the same time.

Here are a few of my pics from my experience before I fade to black....

San Diego Convention Center,…

The Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award for me?

I have been awarded the Fabulous Blog Ribbon award by Kat at

Thank you, Kat. Thank you for taking the time to explore my blog, to know our Chamorro greeting, “Hafa Adai!”--that was impressive and touched me more than you know. It’s good to know my little blog, Guam Goddess in Training can make waves outside of my relatives and friends. So, my numbers have increased by two followers and that is sweet. Also, it's nice that people deliberately check out my blog, and not just because the labels include the words, "Bruce" + "Lee" or "Brandon". (The posts with the most views).

In addition, there is a strange correlation with my real estate search of homes for sale in Granite Falls and this award. I've been researching life in Granite Falls just before Kat (of Granite Falls) bestowed this ribbon on my blog(cue eerie music)…even my husband chuckled when I told him about the Ribbon and where she lives. We Navy Folk have orders …

Bottle It Up! Library + Post Office = Memories

I love the smell of two places, the library and the Post Office (because it reminds me of the library). Why? I’m figuring it’s the collective smell of paper. I recently joined Pinterest and it became another means to explore what I want in my life, and maybe a bit of a time waster when all I can do is “pin” a picture and post (zombie brain days I call them)—but it got me to blogging today, so that’s a plus. And one of my boards in Pintrest is entitled, My Library. It’s a virtual bulletin board of my dream home library and awesome crafty bookshelves I hope to acquire one day. Lord knows I have enough books to fill them. Confession, I was at the secondhand book store at the La Mesa library. The kind elderly volunteer watched me and my children with interest as I perused, dissuaded my children from buying a recipe book for bread or grammar usage (shocking) and found nothing I really needed or wanted, even if I lingered a bit too long on a paperback copy of Bridget Jones’s Diary (I own a …

Nora Ephron, Ray Bradbury…Writers Who Leave a Gaping Hole in the Literary Universe (RIP).

“I don't care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you're also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.”--Nora Ephron

I’ve had a hard time calling myself a WRITER. I’ve had the desire to write, to be a novelist since about 19 years old. My BA is in English and Secondary Education and I have a few self-published notches in my very green belt (with many projects, storylines and first drafts filling notebooks—which hide in corners and special storage bins around my house). Some have seen the light of day and have been revealed to close friends for critique. My hope is to be and do what Ephron and Bradbury did…be a WRITER and embody everything that a wordsmith is responsible for.

When Ray Bradbury died earlier this month, I spent the day really reading up on this writer. I only knew general public domain type facts and was intrigued to learn more about him and his writings. I made a mental note to read Fahrenheit 451 and his other w…

Happy High School Reunion, Y'all!

“No, I didn’t go to your school, I’m just a La Habra Spouse.”--Guam Goddess in Training

I said this a few times this past Saturday evening in Long Beach. My husband and I attended his 20th High School Reunion; La Habra Highlanders threw a nice gathering of over 50 students. We almost didn’t attend this raging party (as raging as 38 year olds can be) because my husband was set to be “underway”…Navy speak for gone. But, as fate and luck and planet aligning would have it, the ship needed some repairs and they pulled back into port. His excited e-mails leading to his return made it seem likely that we would be making the two hour drive north so he could see classmates he hadn’t seen for 20 years. My hunt for trustworthy childcare began…

I attended my 10th High School Reunion in 2002 for George Washington High School. I was on the planning committee and as usual, found myself to be the secretary. It was exciting and easy because I was still living on Guam. It was laidback and maybe a bit an…

Dusting off My Michelle Branch CD...

When I bake something or cook something, it’s just the same feeling as writing a song for me….”—Michelle Branch
Dusting off my Michelle Branch CD has brought me to revisit my ideas of balance, motherhood and creativity.

For the last week, I’ve been playing my Michelle Branch CD (2001-The Spirit Room) in my car. My 4 year old daughter approves. She especially loves, Everywhere, All You Wanted and Goodbye to You—perhaps because I keep sifting through to play them again and again. Her main concern as the melody for the next Branch song starts, “Is this the same girl?”

This album came out around the time I was having a major shift in my relationship, so as the scars of that break-up were healing, Branch’s words were there for me to cling to. Before IPods, I had my enormous CD player on my dresser and often sang along to this very CD.

I Googled Branch yesterday to do my own version of VHI’s Where Are They Now? I was vaguely aware of her switch to country music, since I was busy having my…

The Girl with the Purple Hair

"The desire for self-expression afflicts people when they feel there is something of themselves which is not getting through to the outside world."--Fay Weldon

Driving home from my son’s school this morning, I saw a girl, I should say woman, walking to the university. She had purple hair in a sloppy ponytail. I admired the color of her hair and thought, wow, her parents must let her express herself in whatever way she wants. Then I thought, a girl with purple hair must not have parents because surely a parent would be disappointed if their daughter, granted adult daughter, had purple hair.

I realized that my thinking stems from my Chamorro upbringing, as well as my Korean one, in which children are not allowed to really express themselves. I have been told NO so many times by my parents (and I love them both dearly) that it has taken me several decades to truly express myself. Many times I think I want to be the type of woman who would do this, get that, act in a certain way…

Blog of a Beastie Girl-RIP MCA

"But like a dream I'm flowing without no stoppin'
Sweeter than a cherry pie with Reddi-Whip toppin'
From mic to mic kickin' it wall to wall
Well I'll be calling out you people like a casting call" --MCA

A few months ago my prima said out of the blue, “One of the Beastie Boys is dead.” I denied it, said “No! MCA has cancer, but I didn’t hear that he died.” Of course, I grabbed my phone and Googled his name. Nothing popped up. I told her. The Beastie Boys is on my short list of favorite musicians and I was certain I would see them if they ever rolled into my town. Now, I can’t.

With sadness, I texted my prima, “A Beastie Boy is really dead now. :(”

I wouldn’t call my taste in music extremely eclectic, but if something has cool lyrics and a great beat, I’m in. With the Beastie Boys, I enjoyed how the rapped rhyme and rhythm came alive with some tongue and cheek in their videos. “So Watcha Want” will forever be one of my faves, reminding me of college, having …

Storyboard 12-University of Guam: The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

"A book is a gift you can open again and again."--Garrison Keillor

I am so happy that the University of Guam and the team of Storyboard-A Journal of Pacific Imagery continue to publish this literary and artistic collection of work. My first experience was with Storyboard 6 in 1999. I was a graduate student at UOG and teaching at JFKHS. When I was an undergrad, I tried submitting poetry--only to be rejected, twice. I took that as a sign that poetry wasn’t my forte’. But in grad school, in a feminist literature class, Dr. Jeanine Talley my professor was also the new editor. Like a snail coming out of her shell, I began to show pieces to her. She liked my essays and encouraged me to submit. I was at this point nurturing a desire to write novels and was penning short stories when I could.

So, in Storyboard 6, two of my poems were featured and I was elated! Then, my regular life--teaching, parents, boyfriend-- eclipsed my writing dreams. I was able to ride this little wave of bei…

Words, Schmords....

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”—Norman Cousins
I have a daily struggle with myself and the little box of hopes and dreams that rests in my chest. This box holds every bright idea I’ve had, every storyline I’ve created and every fantasy scenario I whip up in my head. Frustration builds when I CANNOT carve a time and space to write. The thoughts and feelings and characters that dance in my busy brain get louder and louder (no, I don’t need a shrink) and then my frustration builds. As a military wife and a mom of two young children, my priorities day to day is family, then the house, then me. It’s typical, I’m not complaining, but after a few days or weeks of this, I think of my blog, my unfinished novel, the second draft of another novel, my screenplay that was critiqued and sitting (which I’m going to eventually put in novel format), my personal journals etc. The frustration builds and I have to let off the steam from my…

A Fish Called Stick.

Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling.”--Dave Barry
Watching my kids eat fish sticks made me sad. I would rather they have some fresh mafuti or lagua (parrot fish).

My four year old daughter asked, “What’s this crunchy stuff on the outside? Is the fish born this way?”I mumbled back, “Oh, no. That is breading, it isn’t natural.” I felt bad feeding fish sticks to my children. Bad mommy!—ran through my head.

Being in SoCal, I’ve been able to grill and fry mackerel for the kids on occasion. They typically love it! When we trek to IHOP for breakfast, my islander son always gets the Jr. Tilapia and broccoli.

Watching my kids eat this food that is morphed makes me think we should just go vegan or totally organic, but being Chamorro…makes that tough. I know, not impossible, but Spam is a top food from my motherland. (Spam is known as “ham” in my house—Ham’s evil, lazy step brother--who's allowed out of the pantry once in awhile). Jasmine rice is serve…

Chamorro Cultural Fest--A Party I'll Never Forget!

It’s been 5 days since CHE’LU’s Chamorro Cultural Fest in San Diego and I believe I’m physically recovered. Having Guam Books and Beads there for its second year was wonderful.

I met many friends, relatives and supporters. My favorite encounters were with former JFKHS students. I feel a sense of security in our heritage when I see that they have grown into successful adults with families and some with the cutest nenis ever!

The fest was buzzing from sunrise to sunset and with the dedicated Board of Directors and committee volunteers our mission was accomplished:
Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHE’LU) is dedicated to the Chamorro community by strengthening our native language, culture and health through education.
I was happy to see the enthusiasm of vendors, many skeptical of their first time at the fest and later hearing wonderful feedback about their experience. Having Marissa Borja and John Damian from Pacific Home and Garden on Guam cover the fest was a great reprise. C…

This Blog Entry is a Shameless Attempt to Solicit Votes for My Book, Attitude 13! Go, Tritons!

“You create your opportunities by asking for them.”--Shakti Gawain
With that said, I’m casting my talaya (fishing net) via the inter-“net” to garner votes for my book, Attitude 13: A Daughter of Guam’s Collection of Short Stories (2010 Authorhouse).

My Alma mater, University of Guam is celebrating its 60th Anniversary and to commemorate this, they are selecting “60 for 60” books for their Robert F. Kennedy Library. In their words, “Help by voting for book titles that you believe shares the history, culture, literature, and life of Guam or Micronesia.”

I found out my book was nominated because a poetic colleague, Craig Santos Perez posted it on Facebook. (Please BOTA for him too! Under the GUAM section, "from unincorporated territory" by Craig Santos Perez (2008 and 2010) [poetry]). Curious, I wanted to see if Attitude 13 or Sirena, or my mali—Alison Taimanglo Cuasay’s book Tasi and Matina made the nomination list (you can add these titles to the suggestion portion of the sur…