thejessence

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. – Aristotle


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With A Suitcase and One Foot On the Train

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Outside of my hotel window, looking out on the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Photo by: Jessica McBride

I sat on the carpet surrounded in darkness in my hotel room in New Orleans, in front of my floor to ceiling window, listening to House of the Rising Sun and eating peanut butter M&Ms.

Luckily I had come back with something other than the putrid pee smell of Bourbon Street and peddlers selling their various wares.

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My fried fish po’ boy, chicken and sausage gumbo and tabasco infused mayo. Photo by: Jessica McBride

I guess there’s a reason gambling men went to New Orleans. The first moments into the French Quarter made me want to run back to the shelter of my hotel and not venture out until it was time to fly home.

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Nothing more French than a fleur. Photo by: Jessica McBride

But, the street performances were beautiful, and my French connection to the city was enough to take hold. OK, and the beignets.

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By the way, Cafe Du Monde is open 24 hours. Photo by: Jessica McBride

In the picturesque ideal of southern charm and big city vices, I also visited the World War II museum. Highly recommended by the way. Spend the extra money and see the 4D presentation of the war narrated by Tom Hanks. After 30 minutes, you’ll come out head high, chest out, bleeding red, white, and blue with tears running down your face and a new perspective of the stars and stripes.

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

As in all my other travels, there is too much to see and so little time. I think that’s a good thing. It’s a draw to a place where the experience pulls you back for the long lasting memories.

Once you catch the travel bug there’s no cure for the syndrome other than a regular dose of adventure, sight-seeing, and voyages. It’s also extremely contagious, just ask a few of us sufferers.

Seeing how others live and view the world and life gives you an appreciation and understanding that is indescribable. It also makes you value and miss the home that you have built with those you love. I think that’s the most potent component of seeing the world.

Sometimes we need a reminder to appreciate the ranch dressing and Dr. Pepper back home.

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A canon, a Scot, a Catholic church, in a historic French city that only a beautiful American sunset can bring together. Photo by: Jessica McBride

 

 


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Stripped, Tarred, and Feathered

I really don't remember eating this day.

The ruins at Ancient Ephesus and, well, me.

I grew up in South Texas surrounded by celebrations of Cinco de Mayo, Dias y Sies de Septiembre, Dia de los Muertos and eating guisado, barbacoa, and caldo.  (No, I don’t eat menudo.) I learned many words in the Spanish language (not Castilian), bad words and funny words.  I learned to appreciate the Mexican culture I grew up in, though I could never call it my own.

While growing up, I was fortunate to have taken many trips around the world.  I learned that biscuits in England are cookies and about the love/hate relationship with the royal family. I learned that onion soup is the best in France and that Parisians are as rude as the rumors about them.  I learned that salad is not the first course in a traditional Italian meal and that they really do treat everyone like family (Thanks Olive Garden!).  I learned that haggis comes with pomp and circumstance and is not just a food in Scotland and the meaning of the plaid that they wear.  I learned that seafood is in almost every Spanish dish along with saffron and that a lot of Spanish culture is mixed with the history of the Moors who were Muslim.  I learned that couscous is cooked in a clay dish in Morocco and what happens when a woman does not dress conservatively (or conservatively in someone else’s opinion).  I learned that oozo is some bad stuff and that half of translating Greek is finding the English root word (Ha!).  I learned what Turkish baths actually are and that I don’t think I stopped once to eat while I was there.

After moving to Oklahoma, I quickly discovered the heavy influence of Native American culture along with a lot of history that follows the Indians including removal from their ancestral lands.  I dove straight in to the Muscogee (Creek) or Mvskoke culture and have had to catch on quick to things that Oklahomans learn at a young age.  I’ve learned words like fvmbe, hesci, and mvto.  I’ve learned that not all Natives wore feather headdresses, and some wore turban like head coverings.  I’ve learned that Mvskoke culture is matrilineal.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been surrounded by culture, none of which I can truly call my own.  In the last few months, I’ve been working to trace my ancestral heritage because for the most part, my roots are only verbal.  I’ve found France.  I’ve found Germany.  But most of all, I’ve found even more questions.

I realize that there is French and German culture that has been carried on, but it wasn’t passed down to me.  I don’t have a family crepe recipe or remember my grandmother speaking German in the house.  All of that was lost and forgotten and exchanged for saying “y’all” and eating McDonalds.

I guess you could say I have an “American” culture.  I understand the meaning of the 4th of July.  I shop at Wal-Mart (though I detest it) and enjoy football, basketball, and baseball.

I guess you could say I have a “Texas” culture.  I “Remember the Alamo” and exude a tough kick butt attitude.  I understand “Friday Night Lights” and prefer brisket as my choice of barbecue.

But in a sea of those who have carried on their heritage for hundreds of years I can’t compete.  Picking up now seems awkward because it’s almost not real.  My “white” culture has been lost forever.  The “WASPs” have been sprayed and squished.

So, in lieu of passing the recipes, the language, or the history down to my children; I feel I must choose to pass down something I’ve learned.  Do not forget; remember where you come from.  Even the little family history you have is significant; because when you’re old, you’ll wish you would have asked your grandmother; and when you’re gone, your children will wish they had asked you.  And then I will remind them time after time the Texan shoes they must fill and the long line of footsteps they must keep going.  And then to keep the John Wesley Hardin legacy going; just don’t shoot a man for snoring.


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Caught Somewhere Between a Tom Boy and a Hair Bow

I’m not a girly girl.  I hardly wear dresses.  I hate lipstick and only wear eyeliner because I have small eyes.  I don’t fix my hair, for many reasons, and have actually considered shaving it all off.  I HATE BOWS! I am most comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts or yoga pants depending on the weather.  Girls don’t understand this.

I like musicals and fuzzy animals.  I like flowers and fruity drinks.

I’m not athletic.  It’s not that I would break a nail catching the baseball, I’m just more afraid it might hit me in the face.  I don’t like video games.  I don’t like to get dirty.  I’m a pansy and don’t like to get dirty or go fast on the jet ski.  I like sports, but mostly just watching.  I don’t like camping because I need to shower every day and my contacts would just get in the way.  I don’t like being hot and I really don’t like being cold.  Like I said, I’m a pansy.

I like shooting guns and stuffing my face.  I like hats, but they never seem to fit my awkward head.

So… I’m not a feminine female nor am I a “tom boy”.  So what am I?

I like to think of myself as a normal girl.  I don’t get a long with some girls because I don’t like the drama.  I used to think I was just one of the guys until I realized I had nothing in common with them.  We need a name for girls like me.

It used to bother me that I didn’t seem to fit in with the way society pinned girls and boys in how they should dress and what they should like.  Now, I could care less.  I see myself as normal.  I’ve tried make-up and heels and poofy dresses.  Believe me, I’ve probably wore more cupcake dresses than most girls thanks to my mom.

I think most of my personality dwells upon the fact that I see most of these things unnecessary and almost problematic.  Heels make my feet hurt.  Dresses make me have panic attacks about the wind.  Putting on make up means that I can’t sleep an extra 10 minutes.  I don’t knock anyone who likes this stuff, I just don’t have time for it.

I am who I am, and I’m proud to not be complicated.


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You Can Call Me Boss

 

The Millennial Generation encompasses a broad range of youngsters, typically born from the 1980s to the early 2000s.  A majority of us grew up with Saved by the Bell, Power Rangers, and the good years of Nickelodeon.

We watched our parents (part of the baby boomers of Gen. X) work their way up in their prospective companies, most of the time staying there for years to accomplish their goals.  The moved out of state or around the state with the same company.  They worked hard for what they wanted and taught us to expect great things of ourselves.  But, it is becoming somewhat apparent that they never taught us how to get there.

We grew up “privileged”.  I don’t necessarily mean money, but we grew up with more than what our parents had.  We grew up with high expectations of life.  Technology?  Let’s just say we’re not confident of the definition of library.  Yes, there was one at school, and we had to read books like Skylark, The Babysitter’s Club, Hank the Cow Dog, and Freckle Juice in elementary; but we quickly learned when it came to research papers that Google was a lot faster than the Dewey Decimal System.

Our generation is unique in that we also encompass the 9/11 Generation.  This includes anyone that were the ages of 10-20 on September 11, 2001.  We remember where we were.  We were brought up that the U.S. was a powerhouse, that nothing could bring us down.  We quickly saw that belief crumble as we watched the second plane crash into the second tower, and hear the news anchors scream as the first tower collapsed.  We may not have fully understood the situation, but we knew that our lives would never be the same.

Along with 9/11, we also experienced the recession.  We watched a booming economy crash as we entered the job market.  Again, we didn’t fully understand the effect it would have on us.

My father always told me to get an education.  I went to college, got my degree, and jumped into the wonderful world of adulthood.  I applied for every job under the sun.  No responses.  Many of us did this in vain.  We took jobs to help us get by.  We lived with mommy and daddy because we couldn’t afford rent.  We went back to school hoping that increasing our education would qualify us for other jobs and crossed our fingers that the economy would be better when we got out.  For some, it has.

With our upbringing from parents, teachers, mentors, and any adult we crossed, we had high expectations.  W expected to walk in to a management job and do nothing to get it.  It should be given to us.  In a way, we are the “give me” generation.  We walked out of our schooling, and said “Where’s my desk, cup of coffee, and $50K salary?”

In a way, we were mislead.  In a way, we set ourselves up for failure.  And in another way, we never learned how to actually work hard for what we wanted.  As a group, we need to realize that we can help the older and younger generations with our experiences.  We can benefit from our failures and actually be contributing Americans.  Teach the younger generations what we’ve learned, they can value from our experiences.  Learn from the previous generations.  We cannot ignore our history and the culture of the past, because obviously they were doing something right.


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The Day Life Itself Became Insignificant

 

 

I try not to blog about current events, but since this one is so close to home, and I’m feeling it, your about to get somewhat of a political and current event rant.  Texas style.

In case you haven’t heard today, I will give you the spill without the slant first.  In Duncan, OK, three teenagers allegedly drove to hunt down a complete stranger that was selected by them as he was seen jogging down the road.  One of the three pulled the trigger of a .22 revolver an undisclosed amount of times to shoot the jogger and kill him.  The jogger, was an Australian on a baseball scholarship to East Central Oklahoma University.

When asked by officers why they sought him out, and why they shot at him, “they” stated they shot him because they were bored and thought it was fun to kill someone.

FUN.  BORED.  MURDER.  In the same sentence.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?  Granted, there were things that I thought were fun when I was in the age group they’re in (15-17) that really weren’t the best idea.  When you’re that age, aren’t you suppose to get caught making out with some girl?  Sneaking cigarettes from mom’s purse?  Throwing a party at the house while the parents are away?  My ideas of fun were harmless… driving backwards through the Wal-Mart parking lot, asking for hall passes specifically to go see a crush during their lunch period, off-roading in the golf carts at the country club till the tires were flat…  harmless…  But with these kids, they’re bored, so they’re going to go kill someone.

Yes, I realize that there is probably some of the story and ongoing investigation that has not been released yet, but as a member of the same generation as well as the State of Oklahoma, I’m appalled.

Some will criticize gun laws.  “If we had tighter gun laws, those kids would’ve never done that.”  Oklahoma gun laws are some of the most lax in the U.S.  Chicago has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country, and they have a significant amount of violent crime with firearms.

Some will say they are “misinformed youth” and didn’t know any better.  Some will say “it’s those darn violent video games”.

The question that I haven’t seen brought into the mix, that I’m curious to see, is the subject of race.  Some of you will remember a shooting in Florida in which a white hispanic male and black male were in a scuffle for whatever reason.  The story ends with the white male shooting and killing the black male.  The courts acquitted George Zimmerman of the murder of Trayvon Martin.  Heard those names before?  If you didn’t see them in the news, they were all over Facebook.

Now let’s get back to the case at hand.  Three males, all of which look to be African-American are being accused of shooting a man that appears to be white.  The roles are now reversed.  I’m curious to see how the media will handle this case.  I’m curious to see if there will be as much of an uproar as there was with the Zimmerman/Martin case.

To be honest, I haven’t seen a lot of coverage on the national news organizations as everyone did with the Zimmerman/Martin case.  We’ll see as the days go on what facts about the case, and what stories come out.  Again, these kids are innocent until proven guilty.  This is by no means a story of coverage.  I suggest you go out and study the facts by themselves, and make your own decision.  I even gave you some links below to make it easy peasy.