After my ghost ball was debunked...by my husband too. I thought I'd submit this as part of enjoying the time of year and Halloweenish feel to things . It's finally a little cool in Atlanta this day. The Mantra for now "No candy, No candy, No candy. On the exercise front I'm increasing frequency right now as I'd lost my way a bit. I found a new park to walk in yesterday and walked at sunset and heard an (honest to God )Owl hooting. Ooohhh, spooky. Even more creepy--I forgot to renew my car tag and we got a ticket . (How the heck did I forget that?) Off to the tag office I go.
This was originally posted in October 2010 . It's lengthy so I'm breaking it up in to parts and edited it a bit. More weirdness in this part, more actual for-real ghosts experiences later.
I'm not sure how people really feel about ghost stories but since there are so many ghost story / paranormal shows on tv now I'm guessing it's become something of the norm. Last night , my sweetie and I had a date at Stone Mountain park at the Tour of Southern Ghosts-a walking tour of a recreated plantation setting (that was Featured on the GhostHunters tv show Wed night and will be on again on Halloween night). Period costumed and lattern-lit storytellers told old-time southern ghost stories and it was fun and appropriately a little creepy in the dark and under the trees amongst 100+ year old buildings. Didn't see any "real" ghost......as far as I know.
But I do have a history of experiencing ghosts or just other worldly weirdness. Maybe it's being from an old southern town with a past full of drama. Napoleon's French Huguenot expatriates, Indians, European settlers, Slavery : my little southern town had it all. Part Mayberry and Part Stephen King-like Gothic village, you could be fooled by the town square, the Sonic and Walmart, or the little league games. But that would be a mistake. This was a dark and eerie little place where nothing seemed to happen and yet lots of stuff was going down. When I watch these paranormal shows, they talk about the right environment for paranormal activity. a dramatic , oppressive past-check. Isolation-check. Rivers,Limestone-check. And our parents , our teachers, our grandparents -everyone it seems told ghost stories .
Streets in small towns like this are often lined with Victorian or antebellum homes. This town had both, plus some larger old plantation homes for tours and each one had it's own story. One house was used as a morgue after a river boat accident. One house had a woman ghost walking around the widow's walk looking for her husband who had died in the Civil war. As teens we would drive around in the country side and find hidden old mansions -classic 'haunted house- looking" and isolated, slowly disintegrating in to the ground or used for hay storage with 19th century family graves left abandoned. (I may have been slightly electrocuted by a an electric fence checking one out. )
One of these houses right downtown was inhabited for years by a pair of hermit brothers who lived in one tiny room and supposedly never cut their hair or nails. It was a creep fest just walking by that place but kids " rang and run" too see what the could see. In later years, my mother who was fascinated by history and houses befriended one of these brothers and was given a tour of the house including the attic which was full of toys and items dating back to the 19th century.
The truth was there was one brother that had some mental issues and it was easier to heat and cool that one room than a whole antebellum home. As a home health nurse I once took care of a couple just like this. Giant and ancient house and they lived in one room together that was packed floor to 15 foot ceiling with art and junk and newspapers. Creaky floors. Sweet couple. Creepy house.
But back to my Gothic hometown--- There were stories about insane family members kept locked in rooms or chained to trees. It was not uncommon to have a parent or older sibling drive us around in the country to look for this. The truth was there really WERE people locked in rooms and chained to trees because it really did happen (and as a home health nurse I later found that it still does.) That still freaks me out. Now you can call Department of family and children's services but in the 1960's and 70's it was how people dealt.
The oldest cemetery was so creepy it was featured in a horror film once and the park was in another movie. My husband visited with my mother and me in the early days of our courtship and naturally we toured the cemetery (southern folk do that) . He was very uncomfortable there. He said he felt so much unrest there. I had aunts and uncles buried there and didn't want to hear that. He didn't believe me when I told him about the time we had a flood that washed away some of the oldest graves and later these coffins washed ashore. When I was a child the local mortuary put one of these coffins and it's inhabitant on display for viewing, presumably to see if people recognized anything. It was a hundred year old coffin with a clothed skeleton. Who is gonna recognize anything? People , including my parents with us kids, showed up to walk by and peer in . I cried afterward. It's hard to believe this happened and yet there are proudly framed photos of the event on the mortuary's walls today. Voyeurs.
As a nurse I can look back and see that women running naked through the street or teenage girls tripping on drugs and standing naked in a cave or people ranting in the Sonic parking lot was just "normal " abnormal behavior. It happens. There are diagnoses for these things. Suicide. suicide-murders, tragic accidents, serial rapists all happen anywhere. It's when you put together the volume in this one little town in that short period of my life and all within a few streets of each other that the ick factor rises. You have to wonder why and how. And we kids thought it was normal. I recall watching Gilligan's' Island at a friends house and hearing gunshot. Murder next door of one family member to another. The neighborhood gang-a tribe of us tweens on bikes followed the ambulance and cops down the street. Not something you see every day ....ANYDAY.
And some of the weirdness followed me to college. In nursing school you rotate through different clinical settings to learn the different aspects of nursing. Psych rotation was a nightmare. First , I had to work at the 100+ year old mental hospital that still had unmarked mass graves dating back 100 years and old pits for the severely insane and rooms with chains on the walls (not in use (supposedly) but for historical tours.)
Just an eerie , freaky place and filled with people that were damaged and in pain. Some cursed you, as if you -little 19 yr old nursing student caused it all. I was so panicked the first day at some of the things I saw, that I hopped in my car to speed off but then my door falls off my car. On the ground. Whose door falls off their car? I fitted that thing back on / locked the door/ climbed in on the other side and took off. Later, as a more seasoned nursing student on the VA locked unit psych ward, I picked a kindly , elderly Santa Claus of a guy to do my project on. I later learned he'd stabbed several of his family members. At that point probably was when another patient stabbed someone else in group with a plastic spoon and we nursing students were shepherded out past another guy getting shock treatments. I am not kidding. Nightmares.
I was not cut out to be a psych nurse. I was not cut out to live in that little town. Crazy Southern gothicness.
Doing the footwork: Zumba and walking. Eating fruit to replace sugar cravings. Asking for help. Not 100% there but better.
Current foods I'm liking and having lately.
Dannon Caramel Apple Pie Greek Yogurt
Twinings Chai Tea
Celestial Seasons Pumpkin Harvest tea
Pumpkin anything but not having that much still
Garden Lites' Zucchini Chocolate muffins
Of course, being a Fall Baby, I love the Charlie Brown Halloween special. I remember sitting in my pjs on the floor in front of the tv with my stuffed animal Snoopy dog.
I clearly remember my first trick or treating in a 'Cinderella princess' costume complete with plastic mask with blonde hair (I 'm sure those plastic masks are outlawed now.) A few years later I dressed as Snoopy, naturally.
One of the last times I dressed up it was as a hobo. I was a tween at this point and did my one and only TRICK.
Someone had thrown a water balloon at me that didn't break, so I squatted down in a ditch and threw it at the first car that came by . Oops, it was a cop car. I was obviously a little inept and a dork so he just sternly warned me. Good memories still.
The Great Pumpkin! My absolute favorite............ until the Peanuts Christmas special
Currently and off topic, I have apples and pears 'baking' in the crockpot with spices. Hopefully will be yum.
Friday night I stayed up late and watched a favorite "Fall movie" Sweetland and then came across one from England that I could barely understand because the accents were so thick. It was bizarre, racy, and sweet and romantic at the same time. I only watched it because I thought the actor was one I like in another show. It turned out to be a twin brother per IMDB.
About 2:40am I went to bed. About 2:57 am there were flashing lights coming from my chest of drawers. Red , blue, , red,.. blue--erratic flashing lights. I thought it was a cop car parked outside my bedroom window. Then I realized it was this spikey flashy rubber ball that I bought for my dog one Christmas. We only use it now to wake her up when she is asleep under the bed. She's partially deaf so the flashy light wakes her up. (my mama was deaf, I have mad skills on this).
Why was this flashy light ball flashing? HOW!? It's never done that on it's own in all the time we've had it. An earthquake? Naww..I didn't feel anything. You HAVE to touch it or even just move it for it to flash. Sometimes you even have to shake it and it's never flashed red that I'm aware of it.
I lay there and realized 'oh great , it's nearly 'dead time' ( I have watched too many of those ghost tv shows in the past. I can't stand them now). I was tired and I thought ..."I don't have time to deal with any ghost sh#! right now." I also prayed for protection and safety and no more ghostly interactions. I got up and stuck the ball in a drawer because I knew I would lay there and worry about it going off again.
I have no green thumb. So that this happened is really kind of cool. I'm so bad at keeping plants alive and thriving, that my husband greets any new plants I bring home with a sarcastic Welcome comment "Welcome and woe be to you !" or "Nice to know you cause ya won't be here too long" .
A few weeks ago, I bought a beautiful yellow Fall mum ($6 at Krogers) and it's started withering and not blooming as much . After work I was tired of the computer, just plain ol' tired , and was not yet psyched up to go exercise. Instead, I sat on the front porch and 'dead headed' this big mum. I have no idea if I did it right. I cut off some brown and dead looking things. I watered it. I swear up and down that some of the little buds bloomed during this time and new buds were popping up all over it.
I was mentally 'talking' to the plant. Empathically.
"I'm sorry if this hurts. I'm only trying to make you better. I hope you feel better. bloom and grow!"
Yea, I really did. ( I also hopefully imagine that one day I'll walk in a forest and see a real live fairy or elf. :- ) )
Then it hit me that it was so pleasant just sitting and doing something simple and mindless and not on Wi-Fi. The funky Airstream wind chime was chiming. There were honest to God kid-playing sounds in the yard across the way. My dog sat and looked out the screen door. The neighbor's cat sat in the leaves and watched the squirrels who were watching him and bonking acorns at all of us. It was breezy. I wasn't thinking much. I didn't think about food or diet or weight loss.
I spent about an hour out there and had no idea an hour had passed.
Our dog Angel breathing in the scents of summer waning, fall rising. Yep, she's a little chubby but that's because of living on steroids for a couple of years.
Currently my every day actions and outlook on eating are in a 'construction zone'. I'm putting a little more structure back in . I almost typed stricture because part of my brain says "...tsk , tsk , tsk --that's restricting..meh!. It never works". No, not necessarily restricting , just structure--guidelines, goals. boundaries.
still working on this.
Coffee of the day : Dunkin Donuts flavored Chocolate glazed donut. This is just a hint of chocolate really-more smell than taste.
Latest Tea drink: Decaf Constant Comment
Fall Tv show most looking forward to: American Horror Story : Freak show. This Wednesday night.
Fall movies watched so far: Dead Poet's Society and Good Will Hunting. Gosford Park I also consider Fallish.
Reading: Carrie Vaughn's "Kitty Goes to War". Next up-Deborah Harkness' "The Book of Life"
Challenges: Rising above the tendency to beat up on myself for not consistently exercising as much at gym as I was before getting sick last month. Starting back in to a regular regimen is a big beyatch.
Successes: saying no ...No..to Oreos.
Tasting--for breakfast 'whole wheat cranberry scone, cottage cheese, and peaches'
Last thought before bed: The neighbor's cat who thinks he is ours is causing me to breakout in rashes / hives. Must start wearing long sleeves and buy more Benedryl.
Suffering from : ALLERGIES...taking Benedryl on top of Allegra
I always feared I'd never turn 52 , my father died when he was 51 so that has always hung over my head. But then, when I was in my 20's I never thought I'd turn 30. So what do I know?
I know that age is a state of mind. Some days, I feel my age and some days I feel like a kid. Sometimes people who I've never met but talk to frequently for work call me 'kiddo'. I kinda like that. Some days I feel a variety of ages all in one day.
This year was the birthday on a budget. Free birthday dinner at Favorite Italian restaurant after the Free movie that I had a birthday coupon for. We saw "Sin City" because It was the only thing that I thought my husband might like. Bummer of a movie though , because we loved the first "Sin City".
Today , we had a day at the lake with my father in law. I had what may be my last swim in the lake
for the season. I 'swim' between docks in about 20+ feet of water. It is very peaceful and meditative. Each time I swim farther and feel less anxious which is something, considering that the first time I went swimming alone here I had my husband tie my float with a rope to the dock for fear of being pulled out in to the deep. I think I could probably make it from shore to shore if I had a few more weeks ( But I'd rather have my husband nearby in a boat.)
After my swim , I sat on the dock and watched all the Striped Bass, Catfish, and Brim that I had been swimming with. WOW. But it was like even more meditation to sit there. I'm very chillaxed and ready to take great care of myself with good food, rest, and exercise.
Later, we sit around on the porch and watch the day wind down and dusk fall and then the stars come out. We talk. The conversation came around to if we are happy with our lives. My father in law is not-he is nearly 80 and is ready to pass on. His body is not but has plenty of gripes. My husband is in flux as he is deciding about going back to school.
I said I'm pretty happy -about a 7 to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. My father in law was surprised "Really?!?". I said "Yea, I like our life. I know how life can be much worse and I'm grateful for all that I have." I was thinking though that I would want to be a little smaller but that would be just because it would be nice to physically feel better and know that I'm even healthier. I would also want to have more financial security just to take the pressure off. But yes, I'm happy. I'm not perfect. I've eaten crap. I haven't done this or that the way I usually do it. But, I recognize what feels better in every way and it is making the best choices for me.
I'm a Geek for many things: Food, Pajamas, Coffee, Chocolate, Movies, Books, getting and being fit and healthy, 80's music, and the list goes on and on .....A nurse, a diabetic, I've lost over 130 lbs and have more to go . And I actually enjoy working out.
I chose the names of Ms. PJ Geek and PJ and Pounds because I have happy memories of childhood, coming in dirty and sweaty from playing in the yard. Then taking a bath, putting on a fresh nightgown and feeling all new again . I felt like a princess. Fresh renewal. .........
All names and situations will be changed to protect the innocent and the guilty, and so I can keep my job. While I am a nurse, I do not intend this to be a blog with specific directions or guidelines for healthcare. And.....though I have a college degree, that was a long time ago ya'll, and I don't remember proper punctuation or grammar.