Friday, October 31, 2008

A Haunting We Will Go

Happy Halloween, Ya'll!

I thought, since it's Halloween and on Halloween, everyone loves a ghost story-I will tell you a couple that happened to me.

My daughter and I are huge fans of paranormal shows (Ghost Hunters, John Edwards, etc.). Unfortunately, the daughter and I are huge cowards that are susceptible to flights of imagination. These are not your average ghost stories, so reader beware.

My first one happened about 7 years ago. I had spent the day talking with my cousin's wife, who is part Native American and she told me her belief that if you smell a scent you associate with someone, then the chances are good that they are visiting you. Later that night, I was watching John Edwards and he was saying something about smells being associated with spirits, also. Suddenly, I could smell coal smoke. I smelled it so strongly - I went through the house checking for fire, even going outside and looking at the houses across the way to make sure they weren't burning.

Upon finding no flames, I sat down in the recliner and thought, "Whoa! I always associate coal smoke with my grandparents house. It's Grandpa visiting me!" Feeling somewhat ridiculous, praying the kids and husband wouldn't wake up and hear me, I say outloud, "Grandpa, if that's you give me a sign."

I glance up and see a bright white light in the window on my door. My heart starts beating (hard and fast), chill bumps race down my spine (hard and fast), and being a devout coward I say, "I don't want a visit from a dead person!" really loud. Really loud so that a visiting spirit might hear. My husband hears my statement (or as he says, shriek), comes into the living room and asks what's wrong (or why I am a blubbering mess with chattering teeth, depends on whose version you believe), and I tell him. He rolls his eyes, opens the front door and I see the storm door, unlatched from my earlier trip to investigate the smoky smell, blowing in the wind. It evidently had blown closed enough to just catch the porch light and reflect it on the glass in the door.

Second story. Happened night before last. I now live in my grandparents former home (the one I associate with coal smoke), and somewhere in my subconscious I know that my grandfather died in my dining room. Also floating around in there is the knowledge that my grandparents were huge pranksters. I am watching Ghost Hunters. The TAPS team capture a shape on film (I tell myself it was the cameraman, so I can continue watching), and I glance at the screen of the tv. Yes, I watch these shows from the corner of my eye, only glancing up when I hear something interesting. I see the shape on the heat detector, I blink and go back to my computer, where I am working.

I lean closer to the screen, and out of the corner of my eye, I see a black shadow beside of me at the same moment my dog, Otis, starts barking like crazy. I've always heard that animals can sense spirits, so I jump up, glance around the living room, walk towards where I had saw the shape (which is in front of my window) and just glance at the living room window and scream! Pressed against the glass in a face!! Once my heart settles down, I realize it is Otis, standing on a stack of wood, draped across the porch bannister, staring at me ! The stupid dog was barking at me and when he jumped on the wood pile, he cast a shadow into the living room.

My third story happened in 1991, a month after my grandmother passed away. My mom, my aunt and cousin, and I had went to the cemetary to remove the dead flowers from the service off of Grandma's grave. As we were leaving, I was stepping gingerly through the cemetary, taking great care not to step on a grave, complaining because it was such an old cemetary and the tombstones could have been destroyed back in the Civil War and I could be stepping on someone's resting place.

My cousin, darling person that she is, teases me about it and I reply "Go ahead step on someone's grave, it's Grandma's family and you know Grandma, she would be the sort to haunt a person!" We laugh, we kind of shove each other, and I step on a grave! I scream at her, "Look what you made me do!" I quickly step off of the grave and feel something around my ankle. When I try to pull my foot free of the weeds, whatever has a hold of me tightens. I freeze. "Crystal, something has my foot!" She laughs, the nervous I can't believe this is happening kind of laugh, but refuses to look down. I'm not moving and I'm sure as heck not looking down. "MOM!" I call out. My mom and aunt come rushing and after a rushed explanation from Crystal and myself, Mom bends down and digs through the leaves. I am expecting her to uncover a bony hand at any minute but all it reveals around my ankle is a long buried wire frame off of a wreath of flowers. My aunt is laughing so hard, she is doubled over. "Tiger, you thought Grandma had you by the foot, didn't you?" she asks. Well, duh! The screaming should have answered that question. (Not that I scream)

I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I love a good scary story. Do you have any to share? Any truly scary stories, or do you have a good laugh at yourself story, like mine?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Been a Month!?!?

Wow, this month has flown by.

First I want to thank all of you for your beautiful comments and the thoughts andprayers for Robynn. She has taken Graft versus Host disease in her stomach and colon, so she has endured high fevers, stomach cramps, and other unpleasant symptoms. But our girl is a fighter, and I have no doubt she'll pull through this too.

I have read one of the best books I've come across in a while. In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath. All I can say about this book is WOW! I have been a fan of Ms. Heath since her days of writing westerns and when she made the switch to Regencies, I kept right on reading, and I'm glad I did because she has written the best love story to hit the shelves in a while. Book description from Amazon-

They call him the Devil Earl—a scoundrel and accused murderer who grew up on the violent London streets. A proper young lady risks more than her reputation when consorting with the roguishly handsome Lucian Langdon, but Lady Catherine Mabry believes she has no choice. To protect those she loves, she would do anything—even strike a bargain with the devil himself.

Lucian desires respectability and a wife above all else, but the woman of his choosing lacks the social graces to be accepted by the aristocracy. Catherine can help Lucian gain everything he wants. But what she asks for in exchange will put their very lives in jeopardy. When danger closes in, Catherine discovers a man of immense passion and he discovers a woman of immeasurable courage. As secrets from his dark past are revealed, Lucian begins to question everything he knows to be true, including the yearnings of his own heart.

I tell ya'll, it's bound to be one that I read over and over again.

The daughter and I have been 'bitten' by the vampire bug. After she finished the Twilight series (for the second time), we discovered True Blood on HBO. True Blood is based on the Charlaine Harris books about Sookie Stackhouse. Now, a brief warning-if you don't like foul language or somewhat explicit sex scenes-don't watch it. I have to say that so far my favorite character is Jason Stackhouse and his bumbling antics at being the town Lothario. Although, the vampire is really nice to look at!

We've had frost here for several nights now, nothing like the snow that is being forecasted out west, but cool enough to let us know that the season is changing and it's time to dig out sweaters and jackets. We installed a stove in the house, trying to deflect the costs of heating with gas, and I have to say I enjoy sitting here and listening to the crackle and hiss of burning wood. There's something really soothing about that sound. It's also crockpot season, for me. We eat a lot of soups during the winter months and I thought I would share the easiest one that I know with you.

Cheesy Potato Soup

5 lb. bag of potatoes
one small onion
one small block of Velveeta cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Peel potatoes, dice potatoes and onions. Place potatoes, onions, salt and pepper in stock pot, cover with water and boil for about 25 minutes (I'm totally guessing on how long to boil because I always tend to get sidetracked at this point). Once the potatoes are done, slice 3/4 of the block of Velveeta into thinnish slices (easier to melt)and place in the pot. Keep the potatoes boiling and stir until the cheese is melted. We put bacon bits and croutons in ours and let me tell you-it's delicious and filling. (Plus there's enough left over for lunches the next day!)