Stories from My Grandfather—The Gift of Tanchi (Corn)

WHAT’S PLAYING: Beyoncé “If I Were a Boy

Once upon a time, two Choctaw hunters were camping underneath a summer moon near the Mississippi River, when they heard a beautiful but sad sound. They walked along the river’s edge, following the sound, until they came upon a beautiful woman surrounded by a brilliant light. She wore a white dress decorated with delicate flowers, and stood on a mound of earth.


The hunters asked the woman what was wrong

“I am hungry,” she replied in a small, sad voice.

The men did not have much food, but they gladly gave her their entire supper. The lady ate only a little and promised to remember their kindness.

“If you will go and tell no one you saw me, I will ask my father to give you a great and wondrous gift. Return to this spot at the next moon.”

Then a gentle breeze blew by, and she was gone. Then the hunters realized that the beautiful lady was Ohoyo Osh Chisba (the Unknown Woman) and that her father was none other than Hashtali, ruler of Heaven. Filled with wonder, the hunters returned to their families and said nothing.

At the next moon, the two hunters returned to the spot but were saddened to see that Hashtali’s daughter was not there. But on the exact spot where she stood was a tall green plant with leaves that looked like the swords of the white men.

The Choctaw learned to cultivate this plant and named it tanchi.


And it was a great and wondrous gift indeed.


Unleashing the Book Dragon

WHAT’S PLAYING: Prince “Guitar”

Last week, a couple of friends came over for dinner to celebrate the removal of my braces. Liquor was flowing freely and everyone seemed to be having a good time. That is, until I glanced across the room and saw one my friends reaching for my signed copy of American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Now, I’m not one for spontaneous action. In fact, I tend to overthink things. But one look at my friend’s greasy, pizza-sauce covered fingers reaching for one of my favorite possessions….

Well, to put it mildly, I went apeshit.

I don’t know what scared my friend more, the primal roar that emerged from my throat or the sight of me charging across the room with murder in my eyes. Either way, he backed away from the bookshelf with both hands in the air.

Unfortunately, I was moving too fast to stop.

In my defense, it was signed. By Neil frickin’ Gaiman. Later I found out that he was actually reaching for my signed copy of Snuff by Terry Pratchett.

I damn near threw him off the balcony.

I’ve always been something of a hoarder when it comes to books. I can’t help it. Being surrounded by books makes me feel calm and safe—which is odd since my house is a firetrap in the making. Good books, bad ones, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, all have places in my library.

Lately though, I’ve gone from simple hoarder to full on psycho book dragon. For every signed book I have, I have another unsigned “reading” copy. When my book collection outgrows my current living arrangements, I simply move to a bigger place. I keep my signed copies prominently displayed, and have been known to just sit there and stare at them with an intense pleasure that anyone but a true bibliophile would find a little creepy. And—as my unfortunate friend discovered—I will physically attack someone if I feel my books are being threatened.

The good news is that my friend forgave my little outburst and we can laugh about it now.

But the next time he decides to reach for one of my books, I won’t be so gentle.

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way – Dropping Acid

WHAT’S PLAYING: Gym Class Heroes feat. Neon Hitch “Ass Back Home”

When handling a two liter glass bottle of extremely concentrated nitric acid over a concrete floor,  be very, VERY careful.

I had to wriggle out of pair of dissolving work boots without touching them, all the while yelling, “Shit! Shit! Shit!

 We had to shut down the building and call in the fire brigade to clean it up.

It was a thing.

Social Media 101 — Making a Move

WHAT’S PLAYING: Mary GauthierMercy Now




Well, it’s time. As of today, my blog will be officially moving to my website at Finally, all of my writing endeavors gathered under one roof. I’ve been kicking around the idea for a couple of weeks, and now I’ve finally decided to go through with it.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate moving. Hate it. All the packing, organizing, needing something, remembering that you’ve already packed it, and unpacking three boxes before you realize that you didn’t even pack said item in the first place.   

It’s especially nerve-wracking when dealing with a blog. What if I annoy or lose readers? What if they decide that following my blog isn’t worth the time it would take to click over to the new site and subscribe?

Though it’s been a long and painful road fraught with mistakes (mostly mine), I have to say that I’m very proud of my new website. There you can find upcoming events I’ll be attending, see the progress I’m making on my current WIP’s, and even learn to speak Choctaw.

As a bonus, I hope to start posting live demos of chemistry experiments with some of the local kids fairly soon. We’re still working out the details, but you can call me Ms. Wizard. (On second thought, don’t.)

Unfortunately, this means that those of you who wish to continue to follow this blog will need to sign up for the new one, but I hope it will be worth the inconvenience.

Don’t worry, I won’t be shutting this blog down right away. I’ll keep both blogs active over the next month or so, and then phase this one out.

If you have the time, please swing by and take a gander at the new and improved

I’d love to know what you think!