Happy Halloween!

 In the Halloween spirit, I have pleaded with my good friend Michael to tell us a scary story. If you ever have some time to kill, you need to check out his linked blogs. He's got stories, poems, music, pictures, all kinds of stuff. Hopefully, by this time next year his book "Eyes" will be in print and we will all have a copy. I'll be sure and let you know when it comes out. Here you go, my halloween treat for you:

Spirit Box

          The harvest moon suspended low in the night sky threw a weak and hoary light across the docile farmland casting three long shadows that moved slowly across the valley. The humid air did little to revive the desiccated fields of long grass, toasted gold and brown by the merciless heat of a long summer. Clumps of bushes clung to the long lines of worn down fence posts marking obvious borderlines and rural truck paths made for those whom to a great extent are too timorous to cross open pastures. Below, nocturnal creatures stirred at the remote grumbling of dark thunderheads approaching from the north.

          A large flock of recently fleeced sheep was settled in one corner of a dark meadow. They appeared lifeless from above except for the occasional twitch of an ear or shake of a lamb’s tale too nervous to be still for long even in sleep. Several heads arose in unison as the three shadows passed overhead, anxious noses pointed upward to the sky.  

          Bleating in terror at the sudden presence of the dark creatures above, the sheep panicked rushing to the far end of the meadow and pressed in a huddled noisy mass against the far fence. With no more warning than the briefest shadows that woke the sheep a huge blue crack of ozone loaded lightning struck the ground where the sheep once rested in a searing flash of light like that of a Polaroid flash from Gods own camera immortalizing the moment followed instantly by the bellow of a thunderclap and the release of a torrent of icy rain.  

          Aside from the low passing swoop that frightened the sleeping sheep, three blackbirds flying in the night showed no interest in the flock below and continued their flight southeast into the morning light rising above the small western ranches of Ten Sleep nestled at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. A rustic but whitewashed and scrubbed modern community uncontaminated but for the long history of death and destruction of various Indian tribes, settlers, cattlemen and sheepherders long buried beneath the hard unforgiving soil. 

          As the storm broke over Ten Sleep in the late Wyoming afternoon, three fat ravens found shelter inside a vacant screened porch. Their shadows cast long lengthy blades of darkness across the front porch itself. Michael immediately noticed their large shiny dark bodies and black carbon beaks huddled in the corner by a dusty red terracotta pot filled with Autumn Joy Sedum and Gerber Daisies when he went to secure the swinging porch door. He wasn’t about to try to move them, and shuddered at the thought. He had this thing about birds, he’d always been frightened by them. Some childhood trauma he supposed as his mind flashed briefly to a dark ominous room with blood weeping red down antiseptic walls and spreading across the distant ceiling. He was almost glad he couldn’t remember what was lurking deep in the seedy recesses of his mind and often felt that every writer should have some deep dark secret buried in their past. Janet would deal with the foreboding birds. He felt a pang of guilt as he eyed the gloomy creatures. Janet would be tired after working a double shift at the hospital. Chasing birds off the porch as well as hosing off the mountains of droppings that would, no doubt be present would not be readily appreciated. Still, his ornithophobia prevented Michael from doing anything more than making a hasty but guilt-ridden retreat. “I guess you guys can stay there ‘til Janet gets home.” He spoke out loud.

                The somber intruding birds fixed him with black beady eyes, responding with gentle calls of “quink plink pink” providing Michael with a sense they’d acknowledged and understood every word he’d said. He returned to the breakfast nook and his laptop as the shivering willies continued their uncontrollable shudders down his back.

                Gizmo lay sprawled out on the morning table as if she’d been there all day. Michael played with the idea of tossing the plump, gray fur ball onto the back porch with the unwelcome guests but images of the resulting grotesque scene made him shy away from the thought. He didn’t really want harm to come to the birds, Michael just didn’t want them lurking around his home. He made a cup of coffee and settled down at the table with his computer. The cat barely gave him a glance. Her tail thumped every so often to show her opinion of having to share the table as he began to type. … and when Unatiponi the mouse-wife bested Kokyangwuti the spider woman, she was granted a spirit box named Hakidonmuya which means ‘time of the waiting moon’ contained within were three raven spirits; Taluta the ‘blood red’ spirit of death, Aiyana; ‘ever blooming’ the spirit of life and Angwunasomtaqa the crow mother spirit. Every year on the eve of the Harvest moon Unatiponi the mouse wife opens the spirit box and releases three ravens into the world and they have but ten short days to perform three tasks of unnamed charity and return to their spirit box lest the world and all it holds should perish. It is this researcher’s opinion…
                The sliding glass door on Michael’s right looked out onto the porch but the unwelcome guests’ resting spot was not visible from where he sat. It gave him the willies. He didn’t like looking at them all oily slick from rain, foreboding messengers of some unknown evil certainly, but he was not at all comfortable in not knowing what they were up too either.

                Lightning flashed, the lights blinked and a crash of thunder rattled the doors and windows. Michael jumped and so did Gizmo. She turned toward Michael and backed her ears. “It wasn’t me,” Michael denied. Gizmo thumped her tail in answer. A shadow slid by the sliding glass doors. Both Michael and Gizmo swiveled their heads to see. Nothing moved on the porch. Michael lowered his notebook’s screen. Gizmo rose, dropped to the floor with a soft thud and approached the glass cautiously.

                Suddenly, a mass of black feathers flung itself against the door, deep red plumes shone in a flash of lightning from beneath the wings. Both Michael and Gizmo started. The crow fell backwards, regained its feet and rushed the glass again. Gizmo responded this time, leaping against the glass from her side. The crow backed off. It turned its head from side to side fixing one eye at a time on the door, as if it were assessing its strength. Then it turned and squawked harshly. The other two crows drifted out of the shadows. They both took a good look, too. Gizmo sank back, pretending to wash a paw, while keeping an eye on developments. Michael sat paralyzed in his chair. It sees its reflection, he thought. Or it sees me…

                All three birds approached the door. Gizmo paused, suspending her paw washing. Michael began to sweat as he focused on the activity behind the glass. The lead crow pecked the pane gently. The glass did not respond. The crow made a whistling noise then began to strike the pane as hard as it could. The other two turned their heads up and cawed, “Gartock! Garrouk! Gatouk!” Gizmo retreated, frightened by the noise. Michael felt the hair on the back of his neck rise. It almost sounded like “Get out! Get out! Get out!” Get up and get the hell out of here this is so wrong he told himself, but his feet wouldn’t move.

                Lightning flashed again, the lights flickered off and the loud crash of thunder drowned out the bird’s pounding for a second. When the rolling sound stopped the birds were quiet. Michael swallowed. “Steady,” he muttered out loud. “They can’t have gotten in.” A sudden barrage of tapping gave away the crow’s location. The lights came on, revealing all three crows busy pounding on the glass. Gizmo had deserted his sentry post. “Stop it!” Michael shouted, as the lead crow took to the air, throwing himself against the glass. The resulting thuds were terrifying. It didn’t take long for the other crows to follow suit. Michael forced himself to stand. “Stop it!” he shouted a second time pressing his hands over his ears. The lead bird was starting to bleed. Its blood smeared bright crimson across the pale glass. Michael took a step back. The crows doubled their efforts. Loose feathers began to drift to the floor.  With a loud pop, the glass cracked. Michael was startled and staggered forward. “Stop!” He cried out a third time and laid a trembling hand against the glass door just as the kitchen ceiling gave way. Chunks of tile and water soaked plaster pummeled down on the chair he’d been sitting in. The enormous glass ceiling light hit the laptop and exploded sending shrapnel flying everywhere. A broken, sharply jagged wooden beam stabbed into the floor behind the chair where he’d briefly stood.

                Michael stared at the destruction. He glanced down at himself. A fine muddy white powder covered his clothes and bits of glass had scratched the back of his arms. Glancing behind him, he saw that the crows had settled down. They didn’t look so good.

                Michael took one last look at the kitchen and then slid the glass door open. He edged his way cautiously past the birds, out through the screen door and around to the workshop located behind the freestanding garage. Fishing in his pocket he produced a key to let himself in. He located some towels and quickly emptied a crate of odds and ends onto the floor. Returning to the porch by way of the screen door, Michael carefully lifted each motionless bird into the box. With his skin crawling, he hoisted the box and made a run for it down the street until he came upon an older ranch style home, painted a soft yellow with white wooden trim around the windows and passed through a gate between a pristine white picket fence as he raced to the front door. The elderly lady at the door welcomed him, clucking sympathetically at the box and its content.

                “I hope you can help them Mrs. Macawee, I know you raise parakeets.”

                “Oh, dear me I think so.”

                “Would it be okay if I use your phone. The kitchen ceiling fell in,” he told her. “I just want to call the insurance company.”

                “Of course,” she gasped. “Your arms, were you hurt?”

                “No,” he said calmly as he reached for the receiver, “I was saved just before it happened.” “Saved? By who?” Mrs. Macawee asked.“A little bird told me.”  He replied. Ten days later, the very same day Mrs. Macawee released three miraculously recovered black ravens into the Ten Sleep morning she received a telegram telling of her distant uncle who passed away leaving his sizable Muna estate as well as his considerable fortune to his only surviving heir. She was named the sole executer to the Muna estate, Muna meaning ‘overflowing springs’ the home to Muna Pura- Natural Sparkling Water the favorite choice of bottled water among famous athletes and stars the world over.

                 On the tenth night of the tenth day three dark shapes grew as they approached the ancient spirit box. The world sighed a sigh of relief for another year.


Parenting Rule #35 – Halloween Version

"Dad gets first choice of must inspect all the candy." This goes hand-in-hand with "Dad must taste-test all ice cream products, including malts and shakes." I think these are pretty self-explanatory. If you don't understand, I can refer you to any of my four (now grown) children who had to live under this harsh taskmaster (hi honey~~~).

To see rules I may have forgotten, check out the Cake Lady's list. She's got a few I forgot… and some I'd love to steal! (Just kidding, Cake)

Totally Unrelated Aside TUA: (concept stolen borrowed from kapgar) I am currently on the pre-dawn to dusk work schedule. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure my head even touched the pillow last night before it was time to wake up again. So, if you don't see me over on your site, don't panic. (Like you would miss me anyway… lol!) I am lucky to even post, let alone have a chance to come visit. Please understand it it's me, not you… I'll make it up to you somehow. Suggestions welcome. Keep it clean.

Love Will Make Me Do This Meme

This one is called Love Will Keep Us Together and kapgar did it and said I could steal it.

1. Who is your partner?
Hubs. (C'mon, this is the i-net, you didn't think I'd give you his real name?)

2. How long have you been together?
Married, going on 28 – together 29

3. How long did you date?
I'm not sure I would call it dating. We moved in together about a month after we met. (Don't listen kids.)

4. How old is your partner?
6-1/2 years older than I am

5. Who eats more?
Depends on what it is. Could be a toss up.

6. Who said “I love you” first?
Me. He wanted to be sure.

7. Who is taller?
He is.

8. Who sings better?
Me. He can't carry a tune to save his life. Too bad, because he has a nice deep sound.

9. Who is smarter?
We're smarter in different areas. He remembers things like math equations from high school. Me? No clue. I know lots of trivial things, tho'.

10. Whose temper is worse?
Again, it is a toss-up. He can flare up fast, but cools off fast. Me? I stay mad. For years.

11. Who does the laundry?

12. Who takes out the garbage?
I take it out of the house as far as the garage, he loads it from there and takes it out to the dumpster.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
As we face the bed from the footboard it would be me.

14. Who pays the bills?

15. Who is better with the computer?

16. Who mows the lawn?
He does. I used to all the time at the old house, but since we've moved he has done it except, maybe, twice.

17. Who cooks dinner?
Mainly me. He will grill occasionally or pick up pizza (that qualifies in our house as his cooking) but typically me.

18. Who drives when you are together?
Depends on the vehicle. He won't drive my VW Bug, Skippy (I even told him I'd take out the flower and put in a button-weed). If we have the pickup or the Tahoe, we take turns depending on if one of us is drinking or too tired to drive or just plain doesn't want to.

19. Who pays when you go out?
All money is shared. Having said that, he usually carries cash to pay when we go out. However, if he is running short and I have cash, I will give it to him and tell him "you can be the man". Don't yell at me. Yes, it is sexist. It's just a joke.

20. Who is most stubborn?
Do I have to say?…. okay, yeah, it's me. See anger above. 😉

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?
He is. Always. I am better than I used to be, tho'. Honest.

22. Whose parents do you see the most?
He sees his mom pretty much daily as his shop is on her farm. Me? It is a toss up. I tried to avoid all of them.

23. Who kissed who first?
I honestly can't remember. I think it was a joint effort.

24. Who asked who out?
A friend of mine was dating his brother. When I finally met him, he asked my girlfriend if she would ask me if I wanted to go out sometime. We both thought the first date (a group effort) was a disaster and to my surprise, he asked her to ask me again. The second time we double dated with just his brother and my friend and the rest, as they say, is history…

25. Who proposed?
He made the first move by asking me to move in with him, but I kind of pushed the 'making it official'… he did the actual asking.

26. Who is more sensitive?
Wow. Well, I think I am, but then he's gotten a bit softer over the years. All that training I've done with him. 🙂

27. Who has more friends?
If I count all my friends in blogland? HE still wins.He makes friends like no body can. He's one of those guys who can talk to anyone. Drives me crazy.

28. Who has more siblings?
He does. He has a brother and sister (both younger). I am an only child.

29. Who wears the pants in the family?
Although physically I wear pants every day… he does. Definately.

Okay, now your turn. If you want it, come and take it.

Sparking a Memory


The fires and devistation in Southern California keep sparking a memory. Vividly I remember sitting in our family room four years ago next January laughing and drinking champagne with our youngest daughter and her fiance'. We were tasting different brands trying to decide which one to have at their wedding reception in March. We were have a good time until the phone rang. The phone call changed the mood entirely.

It was my mother calling from Arkansas to tell me their house had burned to the ground. They managed to save themselves, the dog, and the van. My mother had grabbed her purse, but my father's billfold was in his office space and all else was lost. They never did determine what caused the fire. It had been a very windy day and they had a fire going in the wood-burning fireplace. The chimney had been cleaned before winter started, so that should not have created a problem. The only thing the fire chief speculated was the high wind had blown sparks back down the chimney and somehow ignited in the attic space.

In the time it took them to realize there was smoke and get out, the house was engulfed. The all volunteer fire department didn't take very long to get there, but they had no chance against the wind. My parents lived on a 500 acre piece of woodland and the fire fighters spent most of the day and through the night just trying to keep it from starting the woods on fire.

When my mother called it took awhile for it to sink in just what had happened. I thought I'd heard her wrong at first, it seemed the last thing from my mind. My father had just been home a day from the hospital after having his second hip replacement surgery that year, and I was afraid she was calling to tell me something bad had happened with him. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the news to be that.

Time has passed and they've moved back north to the area they'd left when they retired. Their friends are still here and are glad to have them back. Selfishly, I, as an only child, am glad to have them closer… for the inevitable will come some day and it will be easier for me to help. They gradually have rebuilt their lives… and accumulated more things to replace all the things they lost. I was able to give them pictures and even re-produced a cross-stitch I'd made them originally that hung in the old house. Still? I know it took years off their lives. Especially my dad. It took a lot from my dad. He's changed since the fire.

I know there are some of you who are near these fires. I'm sure there will be years of clean up and restoration. I am positive there will be lives changed forever. I hope I didn't sound too callous on my last post, when talking about the animals. My heart does go out to them… to you… whoever you are.

I Know There Is A Post In Here Somewhere…or Maybe Not

I just have no clue where it is. Today you get mind droppings.

  • – If the moon can influence the tides, then certainly I must have an inordinate amount of water on the brain 'cause that damn thing seems to influence my sleep.
  • – I'm very extremely fucking tired. See above.
  • – Next week in honor of Halloween I've got some special events planned. Be sure and come by. The blog. Not my house.
  • -I'm also going to do some traveling. Not in real life, but the blogsphere. I'm guest posting. Watch for details.
  • -If you happened to catch the update on the last post before my husband corrected my mistake, you would have read his car did 11.4 in a half mile. If you know anything about cars you would know that is waaaay too fast. The error was all mine. It was a quarter mile. It is fixed now.
  • -Said car didn't appear on the show "Life" last night. I was disappointed.
  • -I heard "Viva Laughlin" got cancelled. Already. The ten-second glimpse I got of it while surfing channels the other night was at least five seconds too long. They should have cancelled it sooner.
  • -I'm trying to figure out which of the new shows is going to be cancelled so I can stop watching them and investing my time. What shows do you think will be cancelled? Which ones do you have to see?
  • -I've been emotional lately. Seeing as I no longer have the proper female equipment to have monthly issues (sorry, guys, if that was TMI) I'm guessing it is from being tired. Found myself crying as I watched the evening news. I didn't cry when I saw the people looking at their homes being lost in the fires, although I do empathize with them, I cried instead when they showed the animals. When they talked about the horses and other animals just being abandoned or being "set free" to "find their own way to safety"… and having the reporter ask the woman at the animal shelter if that was likely and her just shaking her head and saying, "no". Does that make me a lesser human being because I feel for the dumb animals more than the humans? I wonder.

Say Cheese **Updated**


I was requested to post a picture of our car, so here it is! I thought I had some better ones, but late last night when I remembered, I wasn't able to find more than a few from a drag race we went to several years ago. Those of you looking closely will see the hood is open. That's because the race had been run and Hubs was driving it back to the pits and was letting the engine cool. (Yes, that is my husband driving the car.)

In the interest of full disclosure I will now explain why I don't drive this car. It isn't because of my husband. It is because of guilt. Guilt and shame. Okay, guilt, shame and fear. Curious? One of my non-blogging friends in the real world who reads my blog (hi Susan!) will recognize this confession and can verify it is all painfully, shamefully, true.

Many years ago (in a land far, far, away)… no, that's another story.

A long time ago, shortly after Hubs had gotten the car and fixed it up somewhat, a bunch of my women-friends decided to have a get-together at one of their homes. We were all bringing munchies and cold beverages and conducting our own version of a stress management meeting. I decided to bring a melty-hot cheese dip – in my crock-pot. Hubs very sweetly let me drive the GN that evening with the promise I'd be very careful… and, knowing I had dip in the trunk, there would be no 'hole shots'.

Fast forward to picking up my friend (same one as named above) and carefully driving to the party. Basking in the oooing and ahhhing of my friends over Hubs' car, I started to unload my things. I pop the trunk latch to a horror fest. Yes, you all beat me to the punch line. The cheese dip had spilled. Panic. This couldn't be happening! I drove so carefully! How the hell did this happen? Worse yet, how was I going to fix it? The woman of the house brought out paper towels and cleaning solutions and I started to clean it out, but it was too much… waaaay too much.

Bright idea? Car wash! Yeah! That would do it! (I hear the collective groan from here. Trust me, I'm MUCH smarter now. I was young, dumb, and completely scatterbrained with panic.) I debated telling Hubs about it, then realized he would have to know. Bracing myself, I called him. Unfortunately, I was already at the car wash and my friend and I had already started power washing the trunk.

Bless his ever-lovin' heart, he didn't yell once.

The next day the sun was shining and it was warm out and he set the car outside with the trunk liner out, the doors open and tried to let it all air out and dry out. It helped, but didn't really solve the problem. Hubs ended up having to take the seats out and do some major cleaning to get the cheese all out.

The good news? He got a beautiful liner for his trunk… the ones with the GN logo that go in the trunk lid and make it all pretty so when you go to the local drive-in restaurants' "hot rod" night you can open up the trunk for viewing (as well as the hood to see all the chrom-y stuff, you know, engine and all)… and who knew that dryer sheets tucked under the seats could make the inside smell all better?

He always tells me this is "our" car, but really… it's his. I've learned my lesson. Cheese and Grand Nats just don't mix. No matter how many 'hole shots' you don't make.

**Update** Because you asked, I talked to my husband and got the "stats". It does 11.4 in a quarter mile at 120 mph. He's guessing it  goes faster than that (high 10's), but that was the official time the last time he went to the track. He no longer takes it to the drag strip… since our son started racing circle track he finds the drag racing rather boring.

Real vs. Pretend


I think it was Becky that was saying recently about the things on television not quite jiving with the things in real life and how it was so annoying. (If it wasn't Becky and was actually one of you other people, I apologize. I don't usually take notes while reading your blogs…). Someone brought up how they had to quit watching some programs when the inconsistansies got to be too much. I am one of those weird people who seem to know very little about a lot of things. I realize that crimes don't get solved in an hour, or even in a week, most times. I know if I were a CSI person I couldn't even work in the dim lighting conditions they put some of those shows in… and, I realize I am not nor will ever be a doctor and if I hear doctor-gibberish coming out of an actor or actress on E.R. there is every likelihood that the only word I will ever understand is "stat".

However, this brings me to the picture you see above. (You wondered when I was going to get there, didn't you?) There is a new show on this season called "Life". I'm not entirely convinced I like it yet, but so far am still watching. I don't think I will spoil it for anyone if I talk about an episode that was on a couple of weeks ago. The main character seems to have an affinity for driving fast and rather recklessly through the streets of the city. He likes a fast, good handling car. In this episode he visited some bad guys at a chop-shop and spotted a car he could not take his eyes off of. Later in the episode we see he has in fact gotten the car. (Unless I missed it, he must have purchased it but they didn't exactly show it – however, he is a rich cop after having a large settlement for being falsely imprisioned.)

It shows him zooming through the city streets, loving this car. The car? Is a Buick Grand National – like the picture above. Only the one he's driving is dorked out with a large white racing stripe over the top. Yes, I said dorked out. These cars are black and are meant to be black and are gorgeous cars – in black. They are turbo-charged speed demons that are smooth as butter going down the road. I know for a fact, though, that the sound they make is more of a wwhoooooosh… not vroom vroom. There is no big rumbling coming from under the hood and the mufflers don't sound like they're coming off, as they protrayed on the show. A Grand National is very deceptive because they can kick your ass on the drag strip and you never hear them coming.

How do I know this? Because my husband owns one. Reality.*

*Once again, I must say this is not a picture of his (our?) car. I have pictures of the car, but were not handy while I was writing this piece.

Punching the Clock

I don't want to get all in-your-face and ask you how much money you make. (That would be rude.) I just want to ask a couple of questions. (No, the IRS will not be notified.)

  1. Are you salaried, work on commission, get paid by the hour or are you independently wealthy?
  2. If you are any of the above except independently wealthy, do you punch a time clock?

I have a weird working situation in that 'technically' I'm part-time, but when we get really busy I can end up working an 80 hour week! A couple of years ago my boss agreed I could officially get overtime. Then he screamed about how much it cost him. I make a pretty fair amount for an hourly wage and as far as I'm concerned, I'm just as happy taking 'comp time' instead. This has worked for the past 8 years I've worked here. We have time cards, but we hand-write in our hours and I keep my official hours within the 40 hour range, then keep track of the overtime I'm putting in and use it at my own descretion to get some paid days off. It has never been a problem. Until today.

We have a new weasel man in the home office who is as worthless as tits on a boar  has a questionable role in the company. He was brought in to take some heat off of the very big boss, but all we can tell is he's a lying, sneaky, freak of nature unpleasant man who thinks he is smarter than everyone else in the universe and will never give you a straight answer about anything. He showed up today with a time clock. Then he proceeded to tell us it wasn't his idea. Riiiggght.

This is going to be a pain in the ass. Seriously. I hope he gets hit by a truck. I mean that in the very nicest of ways…

A Day of Rest

…would be nice. As much as I love fall, I hate fall for the hectic days. I work on Saturdays, sometimes Sundays at my 'town' job, and although I didn't work this Sunday and it was my 'day of rest', this was how it was spent:

  • -Dusting the entire house
  • -Vacuuming the entire house
  • -Because we have animals, vacuuming the furniture thoroughly
  • -Cleaning two bathrooms
  • -Doing 7 loads of laundry
  • -Doing two dishwasher loads of dishes
  • -Cleaning the kitchen
  • -Scrubbing the non-carpeted floors
  • -Taking the garbage out of the entire house
  • -Making chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes
  • -Taking dogs outside 5 times
  • -Feeding and caring for dogs and cats
  • -Taking outside dog for a walk
  • -Paying bills
  • -Coloring hair
  • -Reading a book (the new Dexter book – VERY good)

Yes, I realize the last one wasn't really a chore and was technically leisure… still? Sometimes when I really want to read a book and I really want to get through it because it is very good  I "power read" – which, although I am a fast reader, is a whole new level of intensity to reading… it is enjoyable but not necessarily relaxing. Does that make sense?

So. Now you know why I didn't post yesterday.