“Klallam Klallam!” which means, “Strong People”

Clearly, many of us have felt traumatized over the past week of events and are still processing and trying to find a way to move forward. I want to share this story. Yesterday, we drove to the Olympic Peninsula. During our drive, we stopped on the Port Gamble Indian Reservation. After we saw a beautiful bald eagle cross our path which was breathtaking. I read up on who the S’Klallam people were. I learned that the tribe name means “The Strong People”. The reason they were known as the strong people is because:

One day, many tribes gathered at Elwha. The tribes devised a contest of strength to see who could lift a big log to the top of a longhouse being built nearby. Each tribe chose their strongest men. All visiting tribes tried to lift the log, but none were able. It was time for the mighty local tribe to give a try. Knowing logs float, they rolled the large log in the water. Their strongest young men walked in the water until it was up to their shoulders and walked out of the water carrying the log on their shoulders. The men lifted the log to the top for the longhouse. All the other tribes thought the locals must be very strong to put the log up so high and wise to use the water. They all shouted, “Klallam Klallam!” which means, “Strong People”

I feel this is very symbolic of where we are today.  We keep trying to lift this heavy log to build our future and are failing. Since we are from the same body of water maybe we need to step into the water and lift the log together?

We still have so much to learn from the Indigenous people of our lands.


I have a special relationship with a Crow

I captured this footage today so that I could tell this cute story.  Over the past month this crow has been watching me play fetch with Paco and Cookie.  A couple of weeks ago after our fetch session I started holding a treat up in the air and I would go place it on the bird bath.  I would then go in the house with the dogs and observe.  As soon as I close the door he swoops down and eats the treats and also enjoys them with some water 🙂  That was video #1

I decided to set up the GoPro on the actual bird bath and this is what happened.  He or she (doesn’t matter) brought the kid for a snack.  It’s my guess.   This is a remarkable close up of their behavior together.  There are also a couple of bees hanging around 🙂 I hope you enjoy this.  The only pit fall is that the crop and upload to YouTube killed the high-definition. bummer.  The raw stuff is amazing.

Video #2


Video #1

I had music on in the background and I guess it was picked up by the YouTube copyright Police.  This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track. Due to a claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.

Yes I will speak up NOW

Yesterday I attended a #YesAllWomen Live rally in downtown Seattle at West Lake Center.   I felt the need to attend because there is one violent event from my past that I was there for.  In 1988 my best friend cousin Katina Chavez was 15 years old and found strangled to death in the river near her home.  To this day the murder has gone unsolved.  This was an act of violence of the highest magnitude because it meant death.  Her life ended and this is how.


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Crime stopper report from 1988


1972 – 1988

This was her and I in the back row.

This was her and I in the back row.



This picture will forever haunt me now.  She was found murdered in the river behind us.  This pic was taken when we were about 4 or 5.

This picture will forever haunt me now. She was found murdered in the river behind us. This pic was taken when we were about 4 or 5. Katina was the girl in red. I’m the one with the light blue shirt.

I did not get up and tell this story because I was nervous and was wanting to observe what others had to say.  Every single person who spoke was speaking from the heart and core.  It was emotional and having to scream at the top of your lungs was a release….I mean how often do you just get to scream really loud??  Let it out!

These are a few quotes I captured from the rally.




“The way this society treats women is that of a lower class”


“It’s difficult when our story falls on def & denial ears”


“I’m sick of being paranoid when I go on a walk” “I’m sick of having feelings reduced to a PMS symptom” “I’m sick of being harassed and called a cunt if I say leave me alone” “we all deserve to be respected” “I just want equality”


“One out four women will be raped or harassed in college” “if you can’t imagine sex without porn then you’re fucked” “women are not objects nor the breeders of children” “we are more than objects”


“Stop being a silent bystander”


“I was sexually harassed and the first question I was asked was…what were you wearing?”


“Call people out when they keep people down …we will not tolerate it!!!”


“Prevention and awareness us what we need.”

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Finally to those who laughed and mocked at the people opening up to complete strangers I suggest you walk a mile in some else shoes before you start thumping your chest and acting like a complete disrespectful jackass.


My Happy Story

This is Cookie.  She is my Chihuahua and came to me in April 2012.  She was taken from a home in California because the person observed the abuse she was receiving from the owners and could not take it.  She was shot at by bb guns, abused and forced to live in a cage and not allowed inside the home.  She had so much fear in her head when I met her that she would spin in a circle and pee on herself 😦  I don’t even want to know the rest of what these people did to her.  It just breaks my heart and soul.

Two years later I’m happy to report that with lots of care, patience and love Cookie has come out of her shell.  Her favorite thing in the world is to play fetch with her brother Paco.

Last September (2013) Paco was given to me from a elderly couple in Tucson, Arizona.  He was only a puppy and came from a very good home.  The couple didn’t have the energy for a puppy and realized they were in over their head which is why I adopted Paco from them.  He doesn’t have any pre-disposition to fear like Cookie did.  He has been an amazing buddy for her and now they are attached at the hip and inseparable.  His confidence is very good for Cookie 🙂

I’m sharing this story because it makes me happy to tell.


My Sugar Cookie

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Sometimes I look over at her and she is just staring at me like this 🙂 she loves her Momma.

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What’s up with the short stories?

Why the stories and what are these stories about?

Jane Contreras

Grandma Jane

The main reason I want to start writing these stories is because I think they need to be written down.  My family and ancestors have such a rich awesome history and it should not be forgotten.  All my stories won’t be happy & funny tales.  I plan on having some sad stories and one unsolved cold case homicide mystery.  My stories will not be chronological in order.  They will be meandering through the time.  Also, with these stories I want to preserve many of the very old photos that my mother collected over the years.  Many of these photos have not been seen before by family and especially by all of you who are reading this.

Amy Jane


Another reason for writing these stories.  I’ve always been insecure about my writing skills. In fact the majority of my adult life I believed I just sucked at it (and very well may have). Technical writing in the work place I do not have issue with.  I have learned that I like to get to the point and not drag things on with detailed descriptions.  I’d prefer to use photos and art to speak for those types of details 🙂  This is the beauty of using this blog as a place to start my journey of becoming a storyteller and better writer.

I’m certain my style will continue to evolve as I find and become more comfortable with my written voice.  My writing style will be conversational.  It will also have Spanglish woven in.  I will write how I speak which isn’t always correct. I will use spell check but please be aware that there may be some errors and slang that slip through.  I will do my best not to violate too many grammar rules.  And commas…I suck at commas 😀

I’m excited to piece together these tales and share with the world.  I hope you enjoy and are at least entertained!




San Francisco, California

This is my Mom & I the year I was born.  She took me to California to live with her sister for a year.  I didn’t learn this until I was in my mid 30’s.  Apparently, after I was born my Dad was acting like a drunkn’ fool so she left.   He cleaned up his act and she moved back.   As far back as I can remember I don’t have any memories of my father as a drinker. I always remember the straight and narrow man and have never seen him drunk to this day.

This will always be one of my favorite photographs.

SF 001

My Motivation

Why I can do what I do.  My Mom.  As I have been going through my old pictures and other artifacts I have collected along the way. I came across this card.  For a brief moment I imagined her writing it.  I then realize that these writings are the only thing we have left that comes from their soul.  We have pictures yes! but feelings on paper are rare for most.  I’m happy to come across these  when I do 🙂 We all have cards stashed away I’m sure there is something we could do with the good ones…Here I go again…thinking of my next project 🙂  Just like Mom.  I miss her every day.

Happy Birthday from Mom


Gloomy Lina

Blue is now the bright spot.

This is my youngest brother Aristeo and my only niece Abeslina.  I wanted to capture her gloomy blue demeanor with b&w while also highlighting the blue in his shirt as the bright spot of color.

Blue on Blue 🙂

Picture from October 2012 in San Patricio, New Mexico

Abeslina & Aristeo


Today is my Dad’s Birthday!

White T-Shirts & Blue Jeans

His favorite thing to wear is a white t-shirt. He hasn’t changed today.  I like to send him the white t-shirts from Costco 🙂 he likes those.

This picture was taken in the mid 80’s.


His Garden

This picture of Dad with his garden was captured a couple years ago.

Dad Garden

Tippy One

Me, Mom, Dad & Tippy One in the 80’s

Me, Mom, Dad & Tippy 1