Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jesus' Mardi Gras

As you know, I've been posting photos of a DR Carnival Parade, and here I post a few more. "But Fat Tuesday is over!" you exclaim. Not so in every part of the world...

I recently received an e-mail from a friend I met in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. She is an American who took the step I considered, but did not choose. She moved there permanently - bought a house, and has a job teaching math in a high school. She was going to La Vega for the first time.

I was invited to attend by a friend who worked for an ad agency, so I would have had prime access for photography. But I had a previous commitment - a bit odd because the first month or so I was still meeting people and did not have a "full calendar". While I always regret having to say no, I am not one to be fickle and cancel on someone because something "better" came up.

I don't even remember what I did instead - though it seems I could check my calendar to find out, there is one catch. La Vega (in the interior of the island), is "the place to go" for Carnival. Every weekend for a month or more they have huge parades, festival, parties. The costumes are amazing. It is a tourist attraction, not just for foreigners but for Dominicans as well.

Each city in DR has a Carnival, and award winners participate in a final parade in Santo Domingo. Here's what interesting as I check my calendar for 2010. Ash Wednesday was on February 17th, meaning the end of the party - at least in New Orleans and just about anywhere else. But my photos were taken on March 7th, along the Malecon (the name for most coastal roadways in Latin American cities), in Santo Domingo also known as Avenida George Washington. (Go figure.)

Is celebrating Carnival after during Lent blasphemous? Irreverent? Sacrilege? Or if Jesus were alive, would he be right there with them?

I would guess the latter. And here's why:

Matthew 9:14-15 'Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.'

I'm not saying Jesus would approve of the drunkenness or licentiousness that Mardi Gras has turned into in most places around the world. (Mardi Gras = Fat Tuesday = the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, when Lent and fasting begins.) But as far as I can tell the Dominicans don't consider Carnival that way anyway. It's a time for family, festivities, celebration, healthy competition, food, and yes a few cervezas. Actually quite similar to our 4th of July as their Independence Day is February 27th.

Am I saying we should not observe Lent? Of course not - the 'bridegroom' is not currently with us, and Lent is a way to look forward to his return. Something to really celebrate! And with Christ comes Independence at the fullest level - spiritually.

Text and photography copyright Heather J. Kirk

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quotable: Now that Valentine's Day has worn off

Heather J. Kirk has listened to The Ballroom on Magnolia Street by Sharon Owens

A fun quote on how to catch the man you want - and that no system is perfect!

Quote, getting ready to go out to a dance club and see a man Shirley is attracted to:

That’s what I’m trying to tell you, it’s our destiny.”

Destiny nothing, Shirley, you fancy him. Don’t try and dress it up as something from a higher level. You’ll just have to attract his attention. Men are very visual creatures. Everyone knows that. Show him a bit of shoulder...”

"’s something spiritual... When two people are right for each other, when the chemistry is right, Mother Nature ...will bring them together. It’s something in nature that pairs people off you see, knowing they have complementary qualities that will help them to survive in the chaos of the world...”

You’re cracked Shirley Winters, what about Bonnie and Clyde? Mother Nature slipped up badly the day those two met, didn’t she?”

It’s not a perfect system...”

This book can be found at

Audiobooks at!

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Carnival in Dominican Republic - Unmasked and After the Fact

Child Behind the Mask: After the Carnival Parade in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the child has taken off his mask but the protective head covering remains. Photo by Heather J. Kirk. Donations will be made to a charity in the Dominican Republic for any photos in which people are identifiable.

Cool in Frills Number 1: After the Carnival Parade in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, men have removed their masks, looking cool and masculine, in spite of their frilly costumes. Photo by Heather J. Kirk.Donations will be made to a charity in the Dominican Republic for any photos in which people are identifiable.

Helados and Cerveza for Sale: After the Carnival Parade in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and inspite of an impending storm, people hang out in the road to buy popsicles and beer. Photo by Heather J. Kirk.Donations will be made to a charity in the Dominican Republic for any photos in which people are identifiable.

Photos Copyright by Heather J. Kirk

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Carnival Photos from the Dominican Republic - More Color

Duck of the Upturned Nose: A highly ornamental, yet typical duck costume in the Carnival Parade in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Curious Carnival Child: After the Carnival Parade in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a child parade member puts his hat on his head and takes a strolling look at the audience. Photo by Heather J. Kirk. Donations will be made to a charity in the Dominican Republic for any photos in which people are identifiable.

Carnival Personified: Carnival Parade in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Copyright all photos by Heather J. Kirk

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Heather J. Kirk has read Jerusalem Maiden, a novel by Talia Carner

This novel is excellent, but above all a tragedy. It reveals many sides to issues of religion and art, yet never gives an "answer" - what most of us really want. Yet we are meant to grapple with these issues (whether separately or in conjunction to one another) for ourselves and with our God - to find our own answers.

Quote, spoken by Mademoiselle Thibaux, Esther's teacher:

"When God finished creating the world, He had one more task: to hide the Primordial Light. But where could He hide it? If He hid it in the sky, man would eventually soar up and find it. If He hid it in the earth, man would eventually dig deep enough to reach it. Then the answer occurred to God: He would hide the secret light inside every person. That's the one place Man might fail to search." ...
"In Judaism, the Hidden Light is found in the Torah," Esther finally said. ... "It's granted to men only," she added.

"The Primordial Light is hidden especially in girls, except that often they're unaware of it," Mademoiselle Thibaux replied. "Each must find her way the claim it."

This particular book is not available at, but thousands of others are:

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Constitution 101 - offered to lawmakers (and anyone else interested) for free!

Many in our country, particularly those in elected leadership, have strayed from the principles of individual liberty the Constitution upholds.

This course on the U.S. Constitution will be offered online and at no charge to everyone who wants to understand and defend the timeless principles of liberty upon which our nation was founded!

Hillsdale College is offering a no-cost 10 week online Constitution course based on the course their students must complete, in order to graduate.

"Constitution 101" begins on February 20, 2012, and concludes the week of April 30. Each week "students" will download the curriculum and can see a video - downloaded as convenient.

It will cover such topics as the Declaration of Independence and its connection to the Constitution, how the Constitution is structured to protect individual liberty and ensure good government, the crisis of constitutional government faced by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and its modern challenges during the "Progressive" era.

Shared by Heather J. Kirk

If your life didn't change, would that be good news?

Quotable: "If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?"

From a book by Pete Wilson titled Plan B: What do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought he would?

Last Sunday I attended Impact Church in Scottsdale, and Wednesday night (February 15, 2012) started in their five week Bible Study (The Core)using the above book. I admire both the author and the church for tackling the ubiquitous questions of life: Why? (did 'x' happen) and What? (what is is happening to me, what is my purpose, what I am I supposed to do now?)

It is becoming more common to hear people say they don't believe in God, yet when things go wrong, God is exactly who they blame - even if they supposedly don't believe! The Christian understands, at some level, that we live in a fallen world, but if we remove Christian-speak what does that mean? It means we live in a world full of humans! And humans tend to mess things up - repeatedly. Sometimes out of evil, but more often out of ignorance, selfishness, neglect or plain old exhaustion. instead of blaming God, it would be more honest to blame: myself, others, disease, nature and simple randomness.

Do I have this all figured out? No. And it's because when so many things have and continue to go wrong in my life, I am just as guilty as anyone else to get really angry with God for not doing what I tell Him to do or what I think He should do. (Can anyone else confess to such a self-centered view of God and the world?)

That's why I'll be reading the above book and attending the Bible Study. Because if I don't change my beliefs - which include thinking my plans are better than God's plans - I will keep getting angry, and miss out on some blessings. So regarding the quote and the question: "If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?" For me, no, that would not be a good thing.

My prayer for all of us: God open my eyes, ears and heart to see what you are doing in my life - and instead of fighting you, help me to then join you. May I receive all the blessings you have for me, and may there be no Plan B - because it's all your plan. Even when my finite mind thinks things are all messed up, help me to stop doubting and start walking in faith. In Jesus' name, Amen

by Heather J. Kirk

You can also get the audio book at to listen instead of read

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Queretaro, Mexico, April 24th, 2009: Machismo - perpetuated by a woman

April 24th, 2009: The office of the Queretaro Ministry of Tourism gave away postcards with pictures of tourist and cultural sites. You fill them out with an address and a message, and they mail them for you for free. It’s my brother Stuart’s birthday, so I make one out for him, then ask if I can send more. They let me send to the whole family (pretty inexpensive advertising for the city– what a great idea). I think they arrive about four months later though. Probably sent only when the box fills up…

Nancy and I have lunch with a friend of hers in a café inside of a bookstore. We have the Comida Corrida (sometimes called Comida Corriente) – a set meal or the’ meal of the day’ – common for Mexico. An inexpensive meal the restaurant chooses for that day. You can order off the regular menu but it will be more expensive and take longer. I don’t recall now what it was, other than it was wonderful. And they also brought out a pitcher of Agua de something. Agua de sandia or agua de pina (pineapple water) – a lightly sweetened juice/water blend.

The friend is an American woman who is married to a Mexican man, and she is horrified by the story I tell of my meal the night before. I should not have talked to men I don’t know, I certainly should not have eaten with them, and definitely not let them pay for my meal (as if I had a choice in that). They were after ‘you know what’. I state they were both married, wore wedding rings, and told me about their wives. That doesn’t matter, she insists, just told for clarification purposes when they try to get you know what anyway. Then she asks a bit confused as it is not common practice among Mexican men, “They were wearing rings?” When I tell her they asked if I had a safe way home, walked me to the taxi stand and left, she could not let go of her doubt about their intent. Nancy and I both agree later that we are glad we don’t have such fears about talking to strangers. It also is indicative of her expectations of her own husband, or perhaps of Mexican women’s expectations regarding their Mexican husbands. Of course one should be wise and not naïve, but as she was married to a Mexican man well known in the city, she would not have the same freedom we did as tourists. And she has a reputation – both hers and her husband’s - to protect.

This is an important lesson – that as a resident in another culture it is important to learn the norms of behavior, and how it is interpreted by that culture – especially when it comes to relationships between men and women. And while male–female friendships are a norm, or taken for granted as possible, in the US … it appears no one believes it is possible in a Latin culture. (Yes, I am foreshadowing trouble in my future.)

It is also perhaps why American tourists, especially women, are seen as “loose” or “easy” sexually. I cannot comment on the actual accuracy of that, though my guess it is not as true as many think – but I do know that what really happens is not as important as what others think happens. If women tells a man ‘let’s just be friend’ and the man’s friends think he was intimate with the woman, only the rare man (Latino or not) is going to try to set the record straight.

Heather J. Kirk

Dominican Gala Dinner and Baseball Players

Don't forget to get your tickets to Dominican Gala Dinner - Feb 25th in Phoenix.

If it's any incentive to single women, major league baseball players will be there. Although the correct incentive should be to give money towards an after-school program for at risk students, everyone needs their own reasons.

Let me know if anyone is interested in attending and we'll get tickets together.

The event will include great entertainment, culture, colorful costumes, traditional music and Dominican cuisine. They are extending invitations to many Dominican born baseball players and Alumni from various Mayor League Baseball teams, to honor them as we celebrate their culture.

Event chosen by Heather J. Kirk

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Quotable: "my job is to make people uncomfortable"

Heather J. Kirk is currently listening to A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

I'd say this book is one of those "alternative styles" and jumps from person to person, year to year. It's hard to follow sometimes, but trust that eventually the charaters show up again and it all ties together. As with all experimental work - some is a bit strange. But there are several chapters that are uproariously funny! And it is dark humor, my favorite kind.

Here's a quote I chose (sounds a bit like me...):

12-year-old Alison: “‘I want to know every bad thing you’ve done,’ I say, ‘including dangerous and embarrassing.’ ‘You can’t,’ Mom says. I stare at her until she looks away. What I suddenly understand: My job is to make people uncomfortable. I will do it all my life. My mother, Sasha Blake, is my first victim.

It can be found at

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Unconditional Love at the Free Throw Line

I took a walk around my “block” today – a big block that takes about 15 minutes at a good pace. I have an Omron Pedometer ( and my goal is to get a minimum of 4000 steps a day, 1800 of which are “Aerobic Steps”. This route – let’s check - gave me 1885 aerobic steps. It also measures calories burned and distance walked. I’m not doing very well at getting to the desired 10,000 steps a day… Here’s a book to help if needed: The Step Diet -

A father and daughter are taking turns shooting a basketball and the 10 year old tries from the same place her dad took is last shot – well beyond the free throw line. Her underhanded throw goes almost straight up in the air. Her dad, standing under the basket, deadpans, “No, over here.” She and I both laugh. There is nothing critical in his voice, and love comes through in the joke, that the daughter gets. Though she may not be confident in her basketball skills, it is clear she is confident in herself, because it doesn’t matter that she just completely missed. I am sure that confidence comes from her certainty that her father loves her.

Here’s the next amazing thing. She gives the ball to him for his turn. Maybe it’s a little girl’s thing about fairness – they are taking turns, she had her turn, now it’s his. What’s the big deal, you ask. If it were a boy, if it were me even, here’s what I would most likely say, “That didn’t count as my turn.” And I would try again. But she has no doubt whatsoever that her father will not hog the ball, will not play unfairly, will not even give her a lesson on how to be better! He takes his shot, makes it, and bounces it back to her to take her next shot from wherever she wants – which happens to be almost under the basket.

Now, you want to know if she makes the basket, don’t you? I have no idea, I was walking and I don’t look back. It doesn’t matter, it was about them being together, no pressure, just having fun!

By Heather J. Kirk

Hoops and Kravitz and More - To Do (RIGHT NOW) in AZ: Feb 11 - 19

I will always try to provide you with variety! Some will be well known classic events for the Phoenix area, others will be hidden surprises or other Arizona locations.

Suggestions chosen by Heather J. Kirk

Saturday and Sunday, February 11 & 12, 2012


Heather's notes: If you've never attended before, this event is a must - Native American dance like you've never seen before - beautiful and amazing.

Phoenix’s Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Arizona

Saturday and Sunday, February 11 - 12, 2012

9:30 a.m. Grand Entry –
Competition will end at approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday.
The Adult Division final round will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

$15 general admission, $13.50 seniors (65+), $10 American Indians and Heard Museum members, $7.50 children 4-12, free for children under 4. Cost is per day and includes the event and museum admission.

It’s easy to get to the Heard Museum via METRO Light Rail! Look for the Heard Museum parking signs along Central Avenue, or take the Light Rail to the Encanto Station and avoid having to locate a parking spot. Or use Park and Ride lots all along the Light Rail route.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Lenny Kravitz Live at Comerica Theater (formerly Dodge Theater)

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm
400 West Washington Street in downtown Phoenix, AZ

Heather's Notes: Perhaps I'll write a blog soon on me and Lenny. Ha ha! Okay, how about a blog about me and my thoughts about Lenny.

Music by Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz with Special guest Raphael Saadiq-presented by Mix 96.9

Lenny Kravitz will also be performing in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand on February 19, 2012

Proceeds from this concert go to support Keep Memory Alive and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health – for the treatment and prevention of ALS, Alzheimers, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and dementia.

One of the Clinic's projects is to identify predictors of Alzheimer's through blood, spinal fluid, MRIs and PET Scans. They will also evaluate the benefit of antioxidants in treating early Alzheimer’s patients. (Heather likes this as an alternative to or in addition to pharmaceutical drugs!) Find out more here:

Bookmark for future fundraising events: (

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Through February 19, 2012

My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy

Herberger Theater, Stage West

The hit New York comedy was inspired by the author's hilariously dysfunctional family, and all the people in his life whose sole purpose was to drive him into therapy... and they succeeded!

One part lasagna, one part kreplach, and two parts prozac, you don't have to be Jewish or Italian to love this show. All you need is to know what it feels like to leave a family dinner with heartburn and a headache! The critics rave: "Hysterically Funny! Non-Stop Laughs All The Way! I Can't Recommend This Show Enough, It's Just Great!" - Regis Philbin, Live With Regis & Kelly.

For dates, times and ticket info:

Heather's Notes: I sat through the first half hour of this performance thinking, "This is just a stand up routine with a fancy backdrop." I kept waiting for plot. WAiting kept me from being able to enjoy this hilarious, very long stand up routine - which is exactly what it is. A very good one, that gets funnier as it goes. I tried to remember some of the jokes, so here are two - the extent of my memory!

1) "A summary of every Jewish religious celebration: they tried to kill us, God did a miracle, let's eat!"

2) "Why does it take 400 million sperm to fertilize one egg? They refuse to stop and ask for directions."

As many of you know I am a huge fan of Herberger Theater.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Toni Braxton in Concert at 8:00 pm

Salt River Grand Ballroom at Talking Stick Resort
9800 E. Indian Bend Road in Scottsdale (East of the 101 freeway)

Music by Toni Braxton

Join Six-time Grammy winner Toni Braxton when she brings her smooth R&B vocal stylings to Talking Stick Resort on Friday, February 17th. Having built an impeccable catalog of hits since bursting onto the contemporary music scene in 1991 with “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” Toni Braxton has compiled an impressive array of hits, including “Another Sad Love Song,” “Breathe Again” and “Un-break My Heart.”

For tickets, call 480-850-7734 or click on the link below.

And the final event for this blog entry.... Sunday, February 19th, 2012


Three Speakers, Authors, Books, Refreshments: Betty Webb, Susan Pohlman, Patricia Brooks

Memoir Writing (non-fiction), Mystery Writing (fiction), Marketing for Publishing

WHAT: Writers Faire – a Sunday afternoon with award winning authors, plus a dozen additional authors of SSWW showing off their books and answering questions!

WHERE: Mustang Library, 90th St., and Shea Blvd., Scottsdale (behind the hospital)

WHEN: Sunday, February 19th, Sunday 1:00-5:00 p.m.

HOW: PLEASE - RSVP now to Patricia L. Brooks, president/founder of Scottsdale Society of Women Writers at or Dana Braccia at the Scottsdale Library


Susan Pohlman, author, Memoir Writing (1:30 – 2:15): Her memoir, Halfway to Each Other, is her first book and winner of the Relationships category and runner-up in the Memoir category in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Betty Webb, author, Fiction/Mystery Writing (2:30 – 3:15): Betty Webb is the author of two prize-winning mystery series -- the Lena Jones books and the Gunn Zoo series. Before beginning to write mysteries full time, Betty Webb worked as a journalist and interviewed everyone from U.S. presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, and Nobel Prize-winners, as well as the homeless, the dying, and polygamy runaways*. Her mysteries are based on stories she covered as a reporter. Currently a creative writing teacher at Phoenix College, she is a member of National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Southwest Authors.

*Just an aside from your blogger Heather Kirk – Betty also interviewed me about the inclusion of my Story titled Alma in Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul.

Workshop: Writing a marketable mystery is harder than it looks. I explain why, describe the mysterious "arc of action," and how to come up with believable plots and characters so interesting that they can carry you through an entire series.

Patricia L. Brooks, author, memoir, publishing/marketing consultant (3:30-4:15): Patricia is an inspirational speaker, and published author. With her book (and now eBook) “Gifts of Sisterhood” and its grief workshop “Journey from Grief to Gratitude” she is a favorite for Wellness Programs. Patricia earned a prestigious AZ Authors Association Literary Contest Non-fiction award for this book.

As founder of Brooks Goldmann Publishing Company, LLC she is the author’s partner for publishing consultation and offers workshops on writing memoir, self-help, non-fiction and self-publishing.

Workshop: Publish with Marketing in Mind
Find out how easy, as well as how difficult, it is to transform your work into book form and to bring it to market. Learn about the new trends in marketing as they relate to the publishing basics you should address before launching your book to market.

Book Quotables: I'd begun to care too much...

Periodically I'll include quotes from books I'm reading (or actually listening too). Some will be powerful, some stating simple truths, and others simply hilarious.

This is a rare romantic choice of mine - but too true to let pass by.

Woman Without a Past by Phyllis A. Whitney published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Main character and narrator Molly: “I’d felt the strong attraction that existed between us, but I had no idea what Garrett wanted in his life... Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, I’d begun to care too much about Garret. This was the last thing I wanted. He was too uncertain a quantity. But when did love ever ask permission?"

Friday, February 10, 2012

Queretaro, Mexico - April 23, 2012, Part 2 - alone in the evening

April 23, 2009 – the evening in Queretaro, Mexico

I loved sitting on the roof garden - watering the plants there, or viewing the city and the sunset.

That night Nancy encourages me to go into town alone. She says that, like her, I have had a lot of travel experience. She knows I won’t be afraid to go out alone, and because my Spanish is so good (something I am quickly doubting) she is sure I will get along just fine.

I now realize why my Dominican story starts here…Nancy told me I could do it, had confidence in me being able to travel safely and confidently in a Spanish speaking country, long before I knew I would even go to the DR, especially alone.

I attend a poetry reading at the Galeria Libertad, and new art gallery – mid conversion, with an upstairs room for events. The reading is packed, and though they run out of folding chairs and many are standing in the back, a man gives up his seat for me – right in the middle of a row.

Poet Antonio Deltoro reads from his book “El Quieto” for a short time, and then a university professor and two students read really long academic papers evaluating him. If I understood a small portion of the poetry (at least the genre leaves room for personal interpretation) I am completely lost during the horrendous academic readings – I sit for an hour and a half trapped. My Spanish education, starting in 7th grade going through four years of college plus working as a bilingual counselor in schools for 8 years having ZERO value – with this master’s level literary criticism Spanish coming toward me at break neck speed.

Afterward, I peruse restaurants around Plaza de las Armas. At Ristorante 1810 two men look over my shoulder at the menu, so I walk away to let them see better. At the exact same time the waitress asks “Mesa por 3?” One man asks, “Aren’t you going to eat, did we cut in front of you?” I say, “I thought you’d prefer a table for two”. Misinterpreting what I am saying, the two attractive men look at each other, then suddenly step away from each other, insisting they are just friends. I laugh as they tell the waitress, ‘Yes, a table for three, please.’ So I eat with them.

Because my mind is mush after the poetry reading, it is a good thing that when my Spanish falters, they understand English perfectly. Yet they refuse to translate one item on the menu – Escamoles. And although they do say in Spanish exactly what it is “huevos de hormigas” I can’t remember what hormigas are. They say it is the Mexican version of caviar. I explain I don’t eat fish or fish eggs. They laugh and say, “Let us order.” They order everything – every appetizer, a plate of this, a few of those. Most things I enjoy greatly, but after a bite of their ‘caviar,’ which is not horrible, but certainly not good, I suddenly remember hormigas are ants!

I can tell by the look of the Chinicuiles that I don’t even want to know what they are. But I bet you do!
Blogger: Heather J. Kirk

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

To Do in Arizona on February 25th (and feel like you are in the DR at the same time)

On February 25, 2012 – two ways to celebrate Dominican Independence Day (Their 168th!)

Choice #1 - The Seventh Annual Dominican Festival in Scottsdale, Arizona

4 pm – 2 am Ocean 7, 1420 N. Scottsdale Rd. (at McDowell Rd. – Papago Plaza)
$15 in advance!/FestivalDominicanoArizona

Choice #2 - A fundraiser for after school, youth prevention programs - if you know me you know I not only beleive in this kind of thing, but I did it!

This Phoenix event includes a speaker, dinner and dancing, a high end event.


On February 25, 2012 Bella Q Dance Studio will be hosting a Dominican Gala Dinner in celebration of the Dominican Republic Independence Day, which is celebrated on February 27th of each year. The event will include great entertainment, culture, colorful costumes, traditional music and Dominican cuisine. We are extending invitations to many Dominican born baseball players and Alumni from various Mayor League Baseball teams, to honor them as we celebrate their culture.

Among our guests is National Police Sports Director, Colonel Jacobo Mateo Moquete from the Dominican Republic, who is an active member of the Latin American Police Officer’s Association. Additionally, Vice Consul of the Dominican Republic, Ms. Arelis Reynoso, a proponent for encouraging philanthropic endeavors within the community, and proud mother of the Atlanta Hawks NBA star, Al Horford will also be attending. A special invitation has also been sent out to the Consul of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. We are extending our invitation to all diverse leaders in Arizona to support this event, and together make a difference in our community.

Our guest speaker Roberto Ramirez is a former professional baseball player within various teams such as: the Giants, Seattle, Oakland, Baltimore, and is currently a successful teacher in California. One of our goals during this event is to strengthen the cultural diversity in Arizona by increasing awareness of the success Latinos and all immigrants bring to the United States. Please join as we celebrate culture, ethnicity, and diversity in Arizona.

Date: Saturday February 25, 2012
Location: The Cedars Banquet Hall, 1702 E. Northern Ave. Phoenix, AZ. 85020
Time: 6:00 pm to 12:00 am
Performances: From Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Spain, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Tahiti and Bella Q Kids.

For more information contact:

Denise Ceballos Viner, Bella Q Dance Studio
10171 N. 19th Ave. Suite #7, Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 350-0268

Monday, February 6, 2012

Never heard of John Carter before the Super Bowl? You have now!

At the end of December my sister-in-law, who works for 4D, Publicis Groupe/Disney said that after War Horse, Disney’s next big movie will be “John Carter”. I said, “I loved that book!” (John Carter is the main character, but the books he is in are ‘A Princess in Mars,’ ‘The Gods of Mars’ and ‘Warlord of Mars’ and several more that are now available on Librivox that were not there before.) She was a bit shocked, not because it was technically a boy’s, war, sci-fi book, but that it is a very old book and she had never met anyone who had even heard of it before. Well, as of February 5th – due to it’s Super Bowl commercials – millions more know about it!

And why had I read it? As some of you who read my blog know – I listen to books on-line. But before I found the Greater Phoenix Digital Library I used to listen to All of those books are in the Public Domain, meaning that the copyright has run out, the book usually being over 100 years old.

I have decided this is how Hollywood is trying to save a little money in the current market!

Public domain also means they only have to pay a script writer – not the author AND a scriptwriter. This is how I also had read the book The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – which was a horrible short story and I almost refused to see it, even though my brother and sister in law were visiting and had first right to choose as guests. The movie was so much better and I’m glad I saw it. I’m including the link here if you are curious, partly because it’s part of a collection of short stories that includes other better stories and partly because the author is F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Again, if you don’t want to listen but would rather read – find it here.

And, following that loose line of thought, because I am going to see a play by F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix this March – The Great Gatsby. (A much, much better story!) See To Do in Arizona - Planning Ahead for March 2012.

Back to John Carter. The odd thing about people never hearing of the Barsoom (a dying Mars) Series and John Carter is that the author is Edgar Rice Burroughs – who also wrote a series about (drumroll please) Tarzan. All stories by Burroughs on Librivox click here:

If you don’t want to listen but would rather read – find it here.

Learn about the Barsoom Series and John Carter on Wikipedia click here.

Here’s a chance to win tickets to the NFL after watching the preview and getting the “secret code”:

Posted by Heather J. Kirk

To Do in Arizona - Planning Ahead for March 2012 – The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby produced by the Arizona Theater Company
Herberger Theater in Phoenix, Arizona

March 22 – April 8, 2012

Considered by many to be the Great American Novel, at once titillating, fascinating and shocking in its portrayal of The Jazz Age that was soon to disappear from the American landscape.
In its first authorized adaptation since 1926, Simon Levy brings the humor, irony, pathos and loveliness of F. Scott Fitzgerald's American classic to the stage. Navigate the languid atmosphere of wealth and privilege with Nick Carraway as he observes the glittering elaborate parties of his neighbor, the infamous and illusive Jay Gatsby.

For ticket information click here.

When you attend a play at Herberger, you can also purchase an Arizona Center parking pass on-line – for only $3.00. Then you pick up the parking pass prior to curtain. You will have a short walk, but It’s a fantastic deal as downtown Phoenix parking garages can be anywhere form $8 - $12.

From the ticket buying page click on the “$3 Parking Available”

Source - Herberger Theater, Chosen by Heather J. Kirk