Sunday, October 30, 2011

30 Days of Shamelessness - Day 9

Really? I have to do this today!? Okay. Here it is. Hide your children, and be prepared to scream. I have extra Kleenex for those of you who break down and sob.

(Hangs head in shame)

That's so awful. I am not normally this much of a disaster zone. More of a creative slob, I would say. Over the summer my house was spotless, however once school started back up, so did the piles.

This particular desk (which is really a dining table) houses everything having to do with my school, work, and nursing students' association stuff (which is now TWO board positions instead of just the one.) I am working on several projects at the moment, which is clearly evidenced by the pile of chaos going on here.

I think my Mom and I might officially now be in a "Desk-off" competition.

As you can see, The DayPlanner is on top of everything else, because I refer to it constantly. I also have my binder open because I'm constantly rifling through things in there, I have textbooks everywhere except the bookcase, I have various piles and stacks of association paperwork, and my poor laptop trying to get oxygen on the edge. The only thing missing from this picture is the giant mug of coffee that usually sits by me, but it's 7 at night and I would like to sleep in the next century. I also have name badge holders and a consistent pile of alcohol wipes which always seem to make it home in my scrub pockets after a shift.

It's temporary, and I know this. When I have breaks in the craziness, I like to clean. It's cathartic and makes me feel as if I'm cleaning out my mind.

Home maintenance, impaired, related to inadequate time management and insufficient energy levels, as evidenced by disaster zone on the dining room table and desire to curl up on the Magic Nap Couch with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Five things that make me smile

I love the blogs and women behind "Just Be Enough". We were asked to share five things that make us smile.

I smile a LOT. This is a toughie!

Ahem. *Giggles*


1. The fam. This is just a photo of the parents because The Man doesn't care to be shared on public domain, and the sister probably doesn't, either. She can tell me either way and I'll go from there. :)
But, let me tell you how AWESOME the parents are...

Mom and I like to put together puzzles and go to lunch and pretend we're going to have a healthy salad. Then we're all, "We're out to lunch for the first time in six months, screw the salad, let's get a big fat burger and fries." She rocks.

Dad and I like to go fishing and cook on holidays. Having a baked potato explode in our faces was the highlight of one Christmas, which caused a hell of a mess and much hilarity in the kitchen. Dad and I have had some of our best talks in the kitchen. He rocks, too.

The sis is out of this world. I love that girl. We still need to have our lunch date which we planned back in 2003 sometime.

2. KITTIES!!!!!!!

Bandit and Bubba are furballs of awesomeness. They have kept me sane and out of too much trouble. Bandit is a cuddlebug, and Bubba likes to knock you over in the hallway so you will play with him.

Bandit (left) and Bubba (right)

3. Batting cages. There is nothing in the world like going in there, smashing the living crap out of softballs for an hour, and feeling like you could rule the world. I also love playing softball, but haven't had time to because of school, work, and all of this other stuff. I am thinking of rejoining a league when I graduate. Because it's insanely fantastic.

Line drive, baby.

4. Carving pumpkins, and everything in the world having to do with Halloween and Autumn. I love doing simple pumpkins with various expressions. The first time you see your creation lit up at night is incredible and fills you with a sense of "Yeah, I totally did that." 

WTF are you looking at?

5. I'm on #5, right? I lose track. I don't think I stopped smiling all weekend, so it's hard to pick JUST ONE more thing that makes me smile.

This is random, but I love tall ships, especially the Star of India. Isn't she beautiful? I used to drive down to the harbor and just sit and stare at her. She's really gorgeous on the inside, too, all dark and shiny wood and energy.


There are a million other things that make me smile. The scent of lemon biscotti in the oven, nutmeg and cloves, a hot shower after freezing on the beach at a bonfire, marshmallows oozing over your fingers in s'more form, that first sip of Guinness, screaming your head off at a baseball game after a walk-off homerun, .... I could go on for days.

Start your day with a smile, and see where that takes you. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paranormal? Ghosts? These are some of my experiences.

I was talking with a friend on Twitter tonight, and she asked me if I had written about my experiences. Indeed, I have not. I've spoken of them to many people, but I think it's high time I write them down here. This is going to be a heck of a read, so sit back and have a pumpkin ale.

My first remembered experience was when I was about seven years old. My parents had taken me to the Whaley House in Old Town, San Diego. I don't recall exactly what the hell happened in there, on the second floor, but I do know I ran down the stairs, screaming, and out of the house. I guess there's a vortex at the top of the stairs in there. I don't know. All I know is that I remember smelling something strange, and I almost fell down the stairs in my haste to get out.  My parents were scared to death, thinking that I was being attacked by someone. Someone? Something?

I probably had several things happen over the next several years that I don't think really "hit me" in the way that did... and I was way too young to know what was really happening.

When I was in college (the first time), I dated a guy named Dave. We went to stay with his aunt and uncle in the middle of frickin' nowhere in central California. They owned this ancient farmhouse in the middle of a field, with a pond and forest about a quarter-mile away. There was an old train station nearby, too, which wasn't in service anymore. The whole place reeked of energy. I can still feel it now.

We were sleeping the first night, with Dave beside me and his younger sister sleeping on the floor at the foot of the bed. I woke up, suddenly, freezing cold. The room was pitch black except for the glow of the moon coming in the window. Although it was winter, I wasn't cold from the house being cold. This was a different cold. This was "something is in here right now" cold.

I was frozen. I couldn't move. Do you have those dreams in which you just can't move no matter how hard you try? Like that.

Then, in my ear, I heard "Calm. Be calm. Calmer... calmer..."

BE CALM??????

I knew, knew, that if I turned over, I would see her in the full-length mirror next to me.

Her name, it turns out, was Judith. She lived in that house during the early 1900's with her husband. One day she came home to find her husband in bed with the servant-girl. She pulled out a rifle and shot them both.

Dave's aunt told me this the next morning, when I told her why I hadn't slept all night. Evidently she was much the same as I, and would see and hear things around the house. She had researched the story herself a couple of years back, and told me that she had actually found a photo negative in the wall when they were renovating the kitchen. They had the photo developed, and it was of a woman holding a rifle. Judith's eyes were incredibly dark... not just shade, but full of hurt.

As of now, I kind of feel bad that I hadn't been strong enough to listen to her. I asked her to go away, that I was scared, and I hid underneath the sheets, shivering, for the rest of the night.

I had a few other things happen in the next few years... one time I tried on a jacket that had belonged to the grandfather of a friend, and I immediately felt as if I was having a heart attack. It turns out that his grandfather had died suddenly of a heart attack.  I saw shadows in his grandmother's house, and felt as if I was being followed, like someone wanted to talk to me but didn't know how. I didn't know how, either. I felt as if this was the grandfather, though, just curious as to who I was.

Years later, I went back to the Whaley House with a friend. I was a little wary of this, because twenty years earlier, I had been scared out of my mind. I tried to keep an open mind, and went into the building.

I was standing in the doorway between the storefront and courthouse, when I felt as if someone was sitting on my chest and choking me all at once. I couldn't get any breath at all, and I felt as if I was locked in a very dark and claustrophobic freezer. I backed up, in panic, thinking "Oh my God, it's happening again." This time, it was someone very tall, and he was angry. He was so angry. I retreated into the hallway, ready to run again. What the hell was going on with me that I was getting attacked in this house?! My friend was blissfully unaware, flipping through photo albums in the courthouse.

I stood against a wall, panting, in the hallway. It was a rare day where there were few visitors in the house, so I was alone. Tears were about ready to spill out of my eyes... I was scared, I was confused, I was unsure.

And then I felt it....

A cool, "clear", tiny airy hand wrapped itself around the fingers of my right hand. I followed this drafty, childlike kindness up the stairs to the landing overlooking the area in which I had been hiding in the hallway. There were three of them here, all below waist-height. White, blonde, blue ribbons, were images that I was receiving. The hand disappeared, but the immediate peace I felt was long-lasting. I felt as if I had been taken to a safe place.

I am forever grateful to these little ones. I went back a few months later to thank them, but they weren't there - at least not to the point where I could "see" them. Maybe it's because there were so many more people in the house. Maybe I didn't have the clarity I needed that day. I still whispered my thanks in case they were listening.

After speaking in private with the docent there, I learned a few things. My first name is the same as one of the Whaley daughters, who died in the house at an advanced age. I also learned that there were several Native American staff members back in those days, and the docent said that visitors in the house of Native American blood would often have experiences.  With me having Cherokee heritage, the docent believed that the spirits picked up on that and acted upon it. She also said that there were a few other people who had had the choking feeling. Upon further research, I learned that a gentleman named Yankee Jim had been hung on site, however he choked to death instead of having his neck snap immediately.

Was I feeling his anger? What he went through as he choked so slowly and painfully? Did those children think that I was one of their previous staff members and pulled me to safety? So many questions.

I will leave it here for now... I continue to hear and feel and see shadows. I am followed sometimes, but by nothing frightening. There are times where I can "hear" them, in my mind, much like I heard my Grandmother silently telling me that she was "going now", when she passed away. I am sometimes startled, but I am not afraid of them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Words

I asked today for my Twitter-loves to help me by sending me three words. This is the result. Their words, in order, are bolded.


I dreamt of the obscure, strangely-tilted sharpness of barbed-wire, which had been decorated lovingly by a small child with the crooked, elbow macaroni necklaces that every mother gets for Mother’s Day. 
Spotted Monarch butterflies danced in the air, flitting back and forth between the cold, gray, steel spikes, and the small child ate an over-filled peanut butter sandwich that she had made with pride that morning.
Over on the porch, a grinning Jack-O-Lantern looked on as a smiling sun crept over the cerulean sky and sprayed sunshine down on blonde curls. She carried a small, pink suitcase filled with secret treasures known only to her. 
Her name is Serene, and she was.
Nearby, a small, brown goat of the genus Capra nodded in agreement as he filled himself to the brim with soft, green grasses. The blonde curls danced in laughter as he nuzzled the small of her back. He was born on a Tuesday, and her daddy let her hold him for a few fabulous, precious seconds before giving him back to his mother.
She hears her name being called by a sweet, soft voice of a woman with hair like hers. As the curls trip up the wooden porch stairs, she sees that her mother has painted her toenails the color of pomegranates. She secretly hopes that she will get to pick out her favorite nail polish later, so she can show tiny, sparkly toes to her daddy. Two gray tabby cats rush by, meowing with pleasure at the thought of a romp in the tall grasses.
Inside the warm, inviting house, the Yankees game blares on the old radio; the announcer’s voice is offset by occasional static that sounds like a sudden hailstorm in the summertime. The last buttercups of the season are splayed in a small, clear glass vase on the kitchen table, holding onto the fading rays of summer. She takes off running, her footsteps echoing flatly on the wooden floors, reverberating oddly like blocked sinuses. The screen door flies open as she squeals out onto the porch, scattering the first fallen leaves with her whirlwind of excitement.
Her daddy is home.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I can't tell you how thrilled I am that it's October. This is one of my favorite months of the year, and the "official" entrance into my favorite season, Autumn. While "Fall" is another name for this season, I dislike the sound of it; the term makes me think of things crashing to the ground (I guess an unhappy side effect of working in hospitals with patients who are "fall risk".)

Leaves of a Thousand Colors (photo taken in Ukiah, CA)

Living in San Diego, we don't get a lot of color changes in the city. We usually have palm-tree-green and drought-brown. However, once you leave the smog and traffic and enter into the mountain areas, that all changes. Freeway noises are softened into whispering leaves of a thousand colors, rustled by cool breezes. The sounds of slamming doors and ear-piercing smoke detectors are replaced by the hum of local animal life, with excited chirps and scampering, furry chipmunk feet. The heavy stink of diesel and full garbage dumpsters are immediately forgotten with the first inhalation of smoke from fireplaces and apple pie fresh out of the oven.

I shiver with anticipation.

I love reaching skyward, plucking a glowing orange leaf from its stem, and holding the cool, downy side to my cheek. Running my hands over pumpkins and gourds, enjoying their unique textures and shapes. The feeling of a soft scarf wrapped around my neck, and gloves warmed from sitting on the car dashboard. The first sip of hot apple cider under a full moon, and the laughter about the smidge of whipped cream on the tip of my nose.

The explosion of color as squealing, giggling children pounce onto gigantic piles of gathered leaves.

Taken outside the Parducci Winery in Ukiah, CA

Autumn is a gift. The first day of this season is my "New Year". I am attuned with our Earth on an entirely new level during this season. While we have such joys as Pumpkin Ale, hot cocoa with pounds of marshmallows, pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts (amazing, you need to try these), and all that is cinnamon and nutmeg, this season offers reflection and beauty.

Look up from the keyboards and cellphones and DayPlanners. Do you see that? Can you feel that? No matter what your faith, religion, or spirituality, have you ever felt so loved by something higher than yourself?