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with
Shemah & Christina

 

Hello! Are we having fun yet? My name is Shemah, which is Arabic although I don't know what it means (I'm not Arabic, just my name! My family is of Irish/Scottish extraction, with a dollop of English and and a whiff of Romanian tossed into the mix).  I'm 52 years old (when did that happen? how can that be?!), a writer, an artist, a BBW and a Sagittarius.  I'm a member of MENSA and the Romance Writers of America. I am also a lifestyle Domina... if you don't know what that is, that's fine, 'cause you probably don't really want to know anyway <grin>  I also suffer from lifelong ADD and have issues relating to service-connected PTSD from my time in the military (I'm a 'Nam Era Vet, US Army). Also some OCD-type features, or something or other that empowers a perfectionist kind of streak that can drive me right up the wall (of course, it makes me an *excellent* transcriptionist!)  ;)  Yes, I have "issues." errrr... doesn't everyone???

The last couple of years I've been involved in taking seminars and so forth, working through life issues and improving myself, via Landmark Education. NO, it is not a cult. Good grief. Come on folks, do I *look* like someone who'd be in a cult??? No way Jose. I'm way too... um... individual (<---nice way of saying eccentric, stubborn, opinionated, hmmm). I'm definitely not one to follow a crowd, and even though I have no desire to be a leader, I am far from being a sheep. I tend to carve my own path, and if I'm alone on that path, well, sometimes that's not a bad thing. To paraphrase slightly: "I am the Cat who walks by herself, and all places are alike to me" (Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories, The Cat Who Walked By Himself). You can sometimes catch a glance of my current path on my LiveJournal which is my favorite blogging place :)

I used to live in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles), but I managed to escape, moving to the SouthWest, living awhile in a small town in a lovely green valley in Wyoming and then a log cabin in Montana, and then to Albuquerque, along with my daughter Christina, and a couple of Maine Coon cats.  Albuquerque is a great place, full of ceramics shops, bookstores, malls, and great Mexican food... who could ask for anything more?  :)  The problem is, we really liked a bit more wilderness than that and we returned to live in the embrace of the Rockies, near the rivers and mountains.  But then the desert called to me, and it was back to Arizona. Then family affairs brought me to the East Coast. I do move around a lot, just because it seems that the grass is always greener, and there's always so much to do and see in the next stop down the road.  Maybe some day I'll settle down in one place... or maybe that whiff of Romanian holds more than a little Gypsy! who knows?


I'm originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and retain my fondness for thunderstorms, fireflies, and the Muni Opera :) We have regular family reunions from (so far) two branches of our family, the McCormack-Hill's, and the Mosby-Hatfield's. As soon as I get really good at this HTML stuff I'll be setting up my mother's homepage for the family reunions and genealogy info (and as soon as she gets all the stuff together, of course), and I'll even have a link here to send you there, so come back later if you want to find out more -- unless, of course, you're a McCoy! (just kidding)

 

 

Here's Christina's fourth grade school photo. She was soooo cute!  She just had to go get all grown up; she's 22 now, and just graduated from college with a BA in Art and has been accepted into Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute... to the right is the winter formal her senior year in high school, and lower left is her senior photo.  She's taller than me (so disrespectful!) now. Click here to see her webpage (which, btw, hasn't been updated for awhile... bear with us).  She likes to read and paint ceramics (just like her mom!), and when she was 10 she took 3 blue ribbons at the ceramics show at the Anaheim Convention Center! We both love Disneyland, and anything Disney :) We like board games (Parcheesi especially) and card games, camping, and going to pagan/Wiccan events and to Renaissance Faire. In the winter we like to do the movie/fire/cocoa/popcorn thing :) We are especially fond of old musicals and movies such as Gigi, Father Goose, Lili, the Desert Song, etc., and all the Christmas movies, with special preference for A Christmas Carol in all its infinite varieties, including the very special Mr. Magoo version.  We really like Christmas, a LOT.... we start watching Christmas movies and listening to carols somewhere around, oh, say, August, and usually have our tree up by the end of the first week in December :) Oh, and Christina does a killer imitation of Bernadette Peters!    

 

Now, for my best news!  Last year, after 4 years of searching, I finally found an agent!  He has 3 full manuscripts.... the first 2 novels in my "Sons of the Desert" series and the first novel of my "Wishes and Dreams" paranormal Jinn (genie) series.  My first book, TRUCK STOP, a contemporary romance, is available as an eBook as well as in print as well by a small press publisher.

Here's a description:

Teri is on the run, on a bus ride to nowhere, when an unscheduled stop on the wind-blown pains of Wyoming leaves her at M&J's Truck Stop... and in the arms of Mike, the young trucker who appoints himself her protector, who understands her as no one else could. But will her new life and here new-found love be enough her life takes an unexpected turn? And can even Mike keep her safe from the past that threatens to reclaim her?

You can get TRUCK STOP from amazon.com, or if you'd like an autographed copy at Authors Den, as those come directly from me and I can personally autograph it for you :)  You can read more about Truck Stop and my other novels in progress at AllieMcCormack.com

I am a pagan. To whit, I am a second degree McFarland Dianic priestess currently practicing as a solitary eclectic witch.  Gotta love the jargon.  What this means in day-to-day terms is that I worship the Lady and the Lord, who are always in my life.  I am also the High Priestess of the Coven of the Old Path, an eclectic teaching coven (currently on hiatus).

To try to describe my beliefs would take up pages and pages, but are nicely summed up in the song from Disney's Pocahantas, Colors of the Wind.  My personal Goddess is Pele, as you see here in Susan Seddon-Boulet's artwork.  What with all the cats in the house, the presence of Bast in our lives is pretty much a given, and we call on Anpu (Anubis) for protection.  Gotta love being eclectic :)  For any Christians reading this, being pagan does not make me satanic.  In fact, I don't even believe in Satan, or hell (or heaven either, for that matter), much less worship someone I don't believe in, LOL.  Satanism is actually a Christian denomination/schism (think about it)... although I believe that the idea of Satan or an evil deity against goodness came originally from the ancient Zoroastrian religion.  However that may be, in order to be a Satanist, you have to believe in "Satan," which means you pretty much have to be of the Judeo-Christian-Islam religions.  

My favorite holiday is Christmas, which is the ancient pagan religion of Yule or winter solstice.  Most of the so-called Christmas traditions are actually pagan in origin.  In fact, Jesus was probably born in March or early April... you know, when the shepherds actually WERE "abiding in the fields" watching over the birthing of the lambs.  Which would not have been in mid-December.  Check out my Intro to Wicca webpage, which explains pagan/Wiccan beliefs in a bit more detail.

an-neveragain.gif (54252 bytes) According to the BILL OF RIGHTS of the United States of America, Article the Third (Amendment I): "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."   We, as U.S. citizens, are guaranteed freedom of religion.  ANY religion.... not just Christian.  That means it ALSO includes the right to be Jewish.  Or to be Muslim.  And not just restricted to religions believing in/worshiping the one supreme, monotheistic, (male) god of Judeo-Christian-Islam belief.  Not restricted to one god at all, or even from believing in in a goddess!  Or many gods, and many goddesses.  Now, maybe that's not what our founding fathers meant.  Probably not, in fact <grin> although they were for the most part Deists rather than Christians.  Be that as it may, freedom of religion means just that... freedom of religion... and that is MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT -- my CONSTITUTIONAL right --- and the right of ANY CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY to worship and believe as their heart and mind dictate.  I support people of all religions.

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I raise Maine Coon cats but have only one of the original cats left, QGC St. Clouds Gloria Mundi. This is my beautiful brown boy, St. Clouds Brandywine, shown at left, who was the "nuur ayuuni" (light of my eyes).  The song playing on this page, "I'll Always Love You," is for Brandy, who died at only 3 years of age of cardiomyopathy.  I think of him every time I hear it, and cry... as  you can guess, I don't actually spend a lot of time on this page.  But I 1eave this song on here anyway, because it's for him. 

Maine Coons are beautiful, intelligent, altogether wonderful cats, and I can never be grateful enough to Anne McCaffrey, who featured a Maine Coon named Eurydice in her novel, "Ring of Fear" which inspired me a desire to look up Maine Coons in the first place!


I now have another Coon kitten, a brown mackerel tabby named Armand, who is a real love :)  Here he is on the right, being his usual cut-up self... what a ham, huh?  He's three years old now (Coon males take up to four years to reach their full growth) ...just full of energy and loves to beeeeeeg for attention by sprawling out on his back and looking at you upside down.  If you want to pet that cute tummy however, you're going to get your hand ventilated! <laugh>  He has sharp claws and is faster 'n a rattlesnake!  It's his favorite game, trying to lure the unwary into thinking they are getting an invitation to pet his tummy :)  Here he is at bottom right  as a six week old kitten.... what a big yawn you have, gramma!  They had him in the Humane Society listed as a Domestic Short Hair... I looked at those big ears and eyes, the tufted paws and long tail, and thought to myself, "I don't THINK so!  If that's not a Maine Coon I'll eat  Gloria's pedigree!"  For a great pic of a shelf full of Maine Coons, check out Cancoon Maine Coons.  Also, Coquille Maine Coons has a great website and on their Selected Photos page there are some really hilarious shots!  I personally like the one with the roll of paper towels.... <laughing>  For more info on Maine Coons, see the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers (MCBFA) site.  My lovely Rascal, a silver classic tabby (yes, also a Coon, about 5 years old now), has her own webpage, How To Worship a Goddess.

Here's a picture of me with our new kitten, Maneke Neko, visiting Christina in the hospital her freshman year of college when she had her tonsils out. Poor baby, that was a rough year. She also got stomped on (literally!) and wound up the ER again, half an hour into her first (and only) rugby game. I thought to myself, "Rugby?" But like a dutiful Mom, I sat patiently on the sidelines, cheering for our team and holding up my home-made computer generated signs such as "Go, Chrissy!" and "Stomp 'Em!" Unfortunately it seems the other team read the latter sign, and took me rather literally.......

Now meet the newest member of our family, Kiki!  I found her on the landing of my upstairs neighbor, cold and scared.  She all but ran into my arms and crawled up to my chest and clung there, and of course, I melted like butter (awwww!).  Anyway, I checked all the appropriate places, and posted ads and flyers, but no one's claimed her, and I just love her to bits!  What a doll, and so FUNNY!  I'd never met a ferret in person before, so I called a friend of mine in NY who has ferrets and works with ferret rescue, and she sent me a Ferret FAQ.  Kiki's favorite nesting place is in my lingerie drawer... she crawls under my dresser, then climbs up the inside to the top drawer, then over the  back of the drawer, and nestles down underneath my nightgowns... so cute! :) hehehe. Good thing I'm not one of those up-tight persons, huh? I actually did move my lingerie and put ferret sleep sacks in that lower drawer ;)   Here she is to the right with Armand.  For more pics, see the New Family Member Kiki page.

 

I paint ceramics as a hobby -- well, okay, I admit it, it's an addiction! Above is my Autumn Fairy, and to the right is the Unicorn Chalice. Click here to see more of my Ceramics ! I specialize more or less in fantasy genre: Fairies, dragons, unicorns, etc., and just generally anything that grabs my interest or makes my muse perk up :) My favorite project was a whole family of Loch Ness monsters: Mommy, Daddy and Baby Nessie. I am currently in the planning stages of a set of dragons all done in the Pern dragon colors: gold, bronze, brown, green and blue... I have finished a spectacular white dragon and almost finished the green dragon! I manage to have lots of fun :) When I lived in the San Fernando Valley, I lived close to a great ceramics shop, Ceramics Unlimited, run by Camille and Paul, a really friendly place! I miss going in to see their smiling faces several times a week. Unfortunately where I live now there are NO ceramics shops, not one, within at least an hour's drive in any direction :( So I've taken up knitting instead, and will be getting back to beadwork just as soon as I get my big loom fixed.

 

The Middle East

Egypt

 

 

 

I have lived for a year in Egypt (click to see lots of photos!) as a student on the Education Abroad Program (Jr. year exchange) through the University of California, and attended the American University in Cairo in 1983-4.   Here I am on a camel by the Solar Boat Museum. I speak fluent (more or less) Arabic, and can also read and write, but not so well, and after all this time I unfortunately have forgotten a lot of my vocabulary.  I met and married an Egyptian man, although we have subsequently divorced.  I still love Egypt, and my in-laws who are wonderful people.  I miss them (the in-laws, not the ex), and Egypt, very much.  And of course, I really was the one who came out on top, because I have my wonderful daughter--who also got a great deal:  She got her dad's great looks and her mom's great personality <grin>  At any rate, you'll agree you can certainly see the Egyptian in her!  
 

Saudi Arabia

 

 
In the spring of 1990 I took a contract to work as a medical transcriptionist at the King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. You all know, of course, what happened in August of that year... we got a new (unwelcome) next door neighbor overnight! Well, I was there during all of that, and Christina too; here she is in her gas mask, age 4 :) After we left, we went and stayed in Egypt for the summer and returned for Christina to start kindergarten in the fall. Then we moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 1993, just in time for The Big One, the Northridge Quake... we lived just about one mile from the epicenter, and it was NOT fun, I assure you!

To the right is a little humor, a momento I brought home with me from Saudia.  You can't really see it here, but the writing across her dress says "Kuwait."  People now tend to forget, by the way, that at the time it was never a matter of IF Saddam would use chemical warfare, it was only a matter of WHEN... and the biggest worry we had when we heard the explosions (SCUD entering the atmosphere, then the Patriot getting the SCUD in the sky above us) and the ensuing air raid sirens, was, is this the one? i.e. carrying gas.

Current newscasts notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia is a wonderful, wonderful place, and if I could choose any place in the world to live, it would be Riyadh! I was so busy shopping and experiencing the culture (and pretty much in that order, too!) that I didn't take many pictures, which is my one real regret. I do tend to get angry and impatient with the (ignorant) Western perception of Saudi Arabia as a horribly restrictive society, when they don't know what the h*ll they are talking about... including Americans who have lived there! Westerners get so caught up, so obsessed, with what they CANNOT do, that they don't bother to look around and see the many, many things that they CAN do, and they miss a lot of Saudi Arabia because their eyes cannot see the forest for the trees. It's very sad IMHO.  Okay, coming off my soapbox now *grin*

To the right is one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen.  It's one of the Ministry buildings in Riyadh, and was only partially constructed when I was there in 1991.  I was sent this picture by the Royal Saudi Embassy.... it was so lovely, I could never forget it, and wrote to ask them for a picture of it.  You can't see it here, but the glass inside the tall arches is blue, and SO gorgeous! :) 

I've put up a page with just some basic information, Introduction to Islam, to inform and to counter some of the most common inaccuracies that people believe about Islam and Muslims.

I love talking about my experiences in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, so if you are interested, Email me and we'll chat! Also, see the bottom of my page for some fascinating links for Saudi Arabia and Egypt!  I tell Christina, only half-jokingly, that on the day she goes off to college, I'll take her to the airport and see her off on her plane to wherever.... and then I'm going straight over to the International Terminal and board a plane for Saudi Arabia!!  Actually, I've scrapped that plan.... currently I plan to leave that day for a seven-day Caribbean CRUISE to Jamaica!  THEN I will go to Saudi Arabia *grin*

The Arabic font on this page is Iqraa True Type Font, downloaded free from the Islamic Center of Blacksburg ...many thanks to them!

 

Speaking of cruises... for two Decembers in a row, back in 1994 and 1995, Christina and my mom and I have gone on our own annual gals-weekend- out Christmas cruise... here we are boarding the ship! It's the Royal Caribbean Viking Serenade, a beautiful ship, going for three days/nights down to Ensenada, Mexico. We had a great time! I got to try Cherries Jubilee for the first time, and Christina sampled (and loved!) escargot -- we waited a few days to tell her just what it was *grin* ...but on the second cruise, she ordered her own plate of escargot! We had a great cabin steward, Ron Wilson from Jamaica. Whenever we needed anything he was right there to help us; every time we left the cabin we came back to find it immaculate; when we came back late at night, the bunks had been pulled down, the sheets neatly turned back, the pillows freshly fluffed, and a wrapped chocolate mint left on each pillow -- we felt incredibly pampered and spoiled! I can't recommend Royal Caribbean too highly!  Anyone interested in going on a cruise should Email me for our travel agent's number... or just to chat about cruises! Also, check out this wonderful, interactive Royal Caribbean website that I found... take an online tour of the ships and find their schedules!

 

After ceramics, my next biggest hobby is reading (although sometimes it's vice-versa). My favorite authors are Anne McCaffrey, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Kipling, Dick Francis, Louis L'Amour, Ann Rice, Georgette Heyer, Elsie Lee, Christine Feehan, Mary Janice Davidson. With the notable exception of Dick Francis, I don't touch murder mysteries, suspense anything, horror, thrillers, etc.... I get nightmares :(  I do like scifi/fantasy, but more fantasy; I'm not into the real heavy scifi stuff. Overall I am very picky about what I read, and I look for books constantly by my favorite authors. Most of my favorite books I have read, and re-read, and re-re-read again! I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I have read the Lord of the Rings... I lost track somewhere my second year in high school! Above is the cover from one of my absolute favorites, Dragonsong; it's also one of my absolute favorite covers :)   Best news of all, Anne McCaffrey now has her own website, The Worlds of Anne McCaffrey!  Full of pictures, and updates on what she's been doing recently, including a trip to view the set of the production for TV of The Dragonriders of Pern, and the upcoming CD of Harper Teaching Ballads and Songs!  waaaay cool! :)

 

Mt98m1a.jpg (7721 bytes)One of the things we did when we were in Montana was spend a few weekends at the cabin in West Yellowstone with Buffalo Nation, a volunteer effort to try to protect the buffalo from slaughter by the Montana Dept. of Livestock as they leave the safety of Yellowstone National Park in the deep winter in search of forage/grazing grounds.  This is the last wild herd of buffalo in existence, and its numbers are around only 2,000 now, the carnage of the winter before last having taken some 1,200 lives.  Last winter, due to the vigilance of Buffalo Nation, the DOL only got 9.  One day soon I will post the story of Corey, the brave 17 year old who rode his snowmobile between the buffalo and the DOL goons as the DOL were firing at the buffalo!  In the meantime, read our account of Our Visits to Buffalo Nation. We also went on the Walk to Save the Buffalo a 705-mile walk in deepest winter, February 1999, from Rapid City, S. Dakota, to the Yellowstone Gateway at Gardner, Montana, as part of Tatanka Oyate Mani... They Walk for the Buffalo People.

 

I work at home on the computer as a medical transcriptionist for 2 large cancer and cardiology centers.  I have been doing this for the better part of 22 years now, and I must say that I have never had a job that suited me so well! Besides being able to work at home (which does have its drawbacks but is mostly a blessing, especially to a single mom), the work itself is very interesting and I like it.  The only job I think I would be willing to trade for, if the pay were the same, would be.... Tour Guide at Disneyland!!!! And yes, I do really speak in emphatics all the time *grin*

 

Well, it's been fun talking to you! I'd love to hear from you, so Email me with any comments or suggestions, or even just to say Hi!  

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This page was last updated on:  07/15/2008

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