My Novels

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ghost Trouble

This morning I was ironing and the overhead light flickered, got brighter, then went out. The iron also stopped working. The particular overhead light/ceiling fan in that bedroom has done this several times, and DH has checked it repeatedly, never has found any kind of electrical problem. However, when I found that the fridge and half the house lights didn't work, I called him and he came home. He thought it was a breaker, but when he changed that and still had trouble, he was puzzled. The breaker would flash a spark, then hum and have to be turned off.

DH finally called an electrician, and when he got here, he looked at the light/ceiling fan, could find no problem. Then he tried the breaker, and darn if it didn't work! DH was stunned, for he'd tried it repeatedly, changed it and still couldn't get it to work. After a lot more investigation, the electrician announced he could find "no problem."

I told DH as he was leaving to return to work, "See, I told you we had a ghost." :=)

This is only ONE of the several weird electrical problems we've had since moving in, although we had an electrician do extensive upgrading to the whole house electrical system before we ever moved in. I think this qualifies as "ghostly" interference, or at least it does in my mind. I'm not afraid of our "ghost"...but it was somewhat costly today, and I can do without wasted funds.

The beat goes on with Hurricane Katrina's aftermath; it is very sad to see the horrific devastation in New Orleans, which was one of my favorite cities visited in the past. I recognized lots of familiar sections of the city as the cameras panned over water-logged streets, buildings, and it is truly awful.

I don't think I could return there if I was a resident, and lost my home. I believe I'd just take my insurance money and relocate elsewhere. I can't imagine what the final toll will be, in lives lost, and the national/international economy, on and on. And even IF the coastal areas are rebuilt, none will EVER be the same. Frankly, I don't think I'd want to live below sea level, and I also have to wonder how wise it is to rebuild housing/businesses in such a region. Another hurricane could hit, and they'd be sunk again. And I'm not even going to get started on the potential of rising sea levels over time, which can happen as a result of global warming.

I heard that in Alabama last night there were some long lines at gas stations, and short supplies, which created short tempers. There may indeed be shortages in gasoline supplies due to transport of gas as well as refining problems with oil in the Gulf Coast. Mainly in the northeast and southeast regions, I read on the news. And so it goes...

Not to worry though, our fearless leader has FINALLY returned to his job and all will soon be well. NOT.

Here's some links to firsthand personal blogs by those who are LIVING through the disaster along the coastal areas:

Metroblog New Orleans

Broken Windows

With that, I'm outta here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

About those oil prices...

There's an old humorous saying that applies to what is about to happen to gas prices at the pump:

"Bend over and grab your a@@ and kiss it goodbye."

Folks, you ain't seen nothing yet. I sure hope a few of you explored those links I posted yesterday. If not, just scroll down and read more about the future we're about to inherit.

Yesterday I mentioned returning to the city, but forget it. We're in much better shape HERE to deal with rising gas prices: we have 5 acres of land at our disposal. We can have food from a garden, transportation by bike or horse (for necessary supplies), install a wood burning heater if push comes to shove, and devise other ways and means of survival. Laugh if you must, but if you thought the 70s oil scare was bad, you better get ready for a worse version coming soon to the pumps near you.

Here's a good link for credible information on the oil situation during this time of Hurricane Katrina damage:

The Oil Drum

And dontcha know this all must be truly bad if Bushie is cutting his loooong vacation short. Really, he IS.

Oh, there's this one excerpt that might interest some of us:

Some 6,000 National Guard personnel from Louisiana and Mississippi who would otherwise be available to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are in Iraq.

IF there should be ANOTHER hurricane spawned and head toward the same Gulf Coast region, I would suggest you head for the hills...walking or on bike or horseback, cause buying gas is going to drain your wallet quickly.

And I really have no confidence that our inept and fearless leader will save the day! Nor do I have any faith in our U.S. "oil reserves" reversing what has started to occur: we're about to head down the downslope of the oil peak, and bandaids and quick fixes will not work in the long run.

By the way, we had a lot of hard wind and rain last night. I was surprised to see some downed tree limbs this morning, various debris in the yard, and took some photos I'll try to post soon. However, since we needed the rain, I'm NOT complaining. The folks in Louisiana, Mississippi and coastal Alabama DO have my sympathy; it will be quite a long time before they recover from this disaster.

On a lighter note (because, after all, how long can you dwell on the apocalypse and not go insane?) you must check out this link if you have a cat and it has ever enjoyed your sink. Cats in Sinks

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane & Gas Prices

Wow, the hurricane is FINALLY dumping some rain on us. While this is NOT exciting news (like most of the media hasn't gone nuts over the potential ruin of New Orleans!) it is welcome here. We've been so dry, parched really, that a day or so of steady rain will truly help us recoup some much-needed moisture. And right now, it IS raining. There has been some wind, but nothing serious or damaging, so far.

The hurricane may seem the most important news event in the USA, but there's another one that is not getting as much attention: gas prices. Waaaay back in this blog I mentioned the dwindling world's gas supplies and the havoc this would eventually wreak with our way of life. I guess no one was paying attention though, and now that it is actually happening (gas prices rising steadily, NEVER to return to prior 2005 levels), most people seem genuinely shocked. I wonder why?

If you missed that entry, you can take a quick refresher course at this URL:

Life After the Oil Crash

Or for the truly uninitiated:

Wolf at the Door --The Beginner's Guide to Oil Depletion

Not a happy report, but very, very close to what you can expect in the coming years. If you have a long drive to commute to work, or just like the convenience of having a car to get you around, then your lifestyle is going to change. Biking may look good (though I can hardly see a bunch of fat Americans peddling to work!), or some alternate transportation...but don't expect that kind of amazing invention any time soon. No, this isn't "Chicken Little Saying the Sky is Falling," ... it really is slowly happening. Gas prices will rise, and as such, our lives will change. Some for the better, some for the worse.

I believe it was President Carter who TRIED to warn about this impending problem, but no one listened. I did. We moved to the city, and still have a house there; if we need to, we can move back. But even if we don't, we live within 2 miles of a mall where we can get necessary supplies -- though I do wonder how anyone will survive as inflation takes its toll. I think for most of us the idea of our way of life being based on petrochemicals is astonishing, but soon, we will all get a lesson in it.

Awww shucks, I guess I'm just a pessimistic person...but then again, I'm also a realist.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Economy, Supernova and Religion

Sooo, life moves along as always here. DH is working on the barn this hot August Saturday. It's difficult to believe August is almost over, but as usual, I'm looking forward to Autumn and cooler weather.

My "season of discontent" continues, and I still feel unable to settle down to a writing project. When DH takes his week of vacation the first week of September we have several upkeep jobs on this house/property as well random stuff to do. That should give me plenty to do! Not happy stuff, but necessary.

Reading some news articles online, I wondered if any of us needs an economy lesson? If you're interested at all in the looming economic disaster Bush has created, here's a link to read more about that:

Experts Warn Debt May Threaten Economy

Aug 27, 12:01 PM (ET)


You owe $145,000. And the bill is rising every day. That's how much it would cost every American man, woman and child to pay the tab for the long-term promises the U.S. government has made to creditors, retirees, veterans and the poor.

And it's not even taking into account credit card bills, mortgages - all the debt we've racked up personally. Savings? The average American puts away barely $1 of every $100 earned.

Our profligate ways at home are mirrored in Washington and in the global marketplace, where as a society America spends $1.9 billion more a day on imported clothes and cars and gadgets than the entire rest of the world spends on its goods and services.


Fortunately for us, we have NO debt at all. And save quite a lot, having now almost as much in our savings as we did when we bought this place cash. That isn't counting the amount being accumulated every week DH continues to work, delaying his retirement; he got a whopping incentive for staying a few more years. Still, I worry about medical care in our retirement years...but heck, I believe if we realized a serious illness was going to threaten us within six months, we'd just spend all we've saved, have fun at it! Otherwise, the darn medical profession would get it and I hope that won't happen.

The way I see retirement medical care shaping up for us: if you're desperately POOR, you will get care via government. If you're extremely wealthy, you'll manage fine. But if you (like most of us) are in the middle-class, you are genuinely screwed. :-(

Here's another little ditty to cheer you up about human's insignificant existence in the cosmos:

Question posed for an astronomer at:

If we lived on a planet circling a star about to go supernova, would we know it was going to happen? --DEE SHARPLES, HONEOYE FALLS, NEW YORK

Astronomer's Answer: The seeds of catastrophe that will destroy a star in a supernova are buried deep in the star's heart, but all we can see easily is the surface, buffered by the stellar mass in between. There were images of SK –69°202, the star that blew up as SN 1987A, but no clue in those images of an impending eruption.

I'm going to assume you know this means that IF a star near enough to earth went supernova unexpectedly, you and I would be INSTANTLY toast! That should put our everyday mundane lives in perspective!

I'll close with a great quote about women and the "christian" religion:

Ernestine L. Rose

Atheist & America's first woman's rights canvasser

January 13, 1810 - August 4, 1892

I was a rebel at the age of five.

. . . Sisters, . . . I entreat you, if you have an hour to spare, a dollar to give, or a word to utter--spare it, give it, and utter it, for the elevation of woman! And when your minister asks you for money for missionary purposes, tell him there are higher, and holier, and nobler missions to be performed at home. When he asks for colleges to educate ministers, tell him you must educate woman, that she may do away with the necessity of ministers, so that they may be able to go to some useful employment. If he asks you to give to the churches (which means to himself) then ask him what he has done for the salvation of woman. When he speaks to you of leading a virtuous life, ask him whether he understands the causes that have prevented so many of your sisters from being virtuous, and have driven them to degradation, sin, and wretchedness. When he speaks to you of a hereafter, tell him to help to educate woman, to enable her to live a life of intelligence, independence, virtue, and happiness here, as the best preparatory step for any other life. And if he has not told you from the pulpit of all these things; if he does not know them; it is high time you inform him, and teach him his duty here in this life. (Seventh National Woman's Rights Convention, New York, Nov. 25 - 26, 1856)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Spooky Movies & Old Houses

I keep planning to write an entry, have numerous ideas to discuss...but put it off. I have become the world's worst procrastinator. I am starting this now, even IF I get interrupted, since I am waiting on DH to get here for our evening meal.

We decided to end our Sunday afternoon rides for now, due to the high gas prices. Instead, we are going to see a movie, which is more affordable. Just recently a new theater complex opened, and we have eight movies to choose from -- hopefully one worth the half ticket price for a matinee. This past Sunday we watched, "The Skeleton Key," and I really loved it. If you like old houses, you will enjoy this movie; it's heavy on atmosphere, set near New Orleans in an old, creepy antebellum mansion. There's no gore, and though there's a few good scares, it is also a supernatural mystery/thriller. I don't want to include any "spoilers" but I will say that it has a deeper philosophical premise than most movies in this category, and will leave you "thinking" about various aspects long after you go home. Or at least, that is how it affected me.

Since I was so impressed by the antebellum house, I did a bit of research online, but couldn't find a thing about the one used in the movie. I finally contacted the writer of an article about the movie, asked her if she knew the location of the house or its history. And she replied that the movie company was not going to publicize the house and/or its location, due to the 90-year-old couple who owned it and liked their privacy. Say what? That seems extremely strange to me, unless it's just a ploy the movie people are using in order to sell the DVD (went it's released) with more information about that place. I can't imagine an entire movie company, along with actors/actresses and crew could enter a small Louisiana region and keep it quiet! :-) However, there was indeed something oddly eerie about that old mansion, and I wondered if it might actually be in the decrepit state shown in the filming? It's puzzling, if nothing else.

I'm also reading a good novel set in an old house in North Carolina. I have always loved old houses, and enjoy stories set in such places. Living in ours has proven interesing, and there are times when I HAVE felt an uneasiness about events that have taken place here over the past year and half. Do I believe in ghosts? Not really, but I DO think that some form of "energy" might remain in a location where humans have had intense emotional experiences -- and certainly, we ALL know a home is our central place for passionate feelings.

I've had a few eerie occurances since living here myself: the latest was when I turned off the TV, walked across the room, and it turned itself back on! I once had a peculiar experience right before falling asleep, hearing the kerosene lanterns on the bedroom fireplace mantle rattling, nothing to cause it. And of course, there's been the unending weird bad luck of DH with his health (though, naturally, this could just be aging -- but at 57, it's a bit unnerving for him/me). Not to mention that almost all the men who have lived here since the original owner have had heart attacks (like DH) -- with the exception of the young guy, who had the near-fatal tractor accident at the creek. Who knows? I've not discovered any horrible tragedies related to this house, but the original owners only died in the 80s, and they had long lives here. If there's any kind of negative energy, it would probably be theirs, though I can find no significant reason for that. Perhaps only that they loved the place, and never wanted to leave. Both the parents and their two daughters/husbands are buried in a nearby cemetery. There is only one living grandson, and I have his address...but just haven't tried to contact him. I do think he could provide some interesting information about the house, as well as possibly some old photos of how it looked originally. Since I'm still working on the "Time Capsule" I may yet contact him, see if he has anything he'd like to contribute before I lock it away for future owners.

We've had thunderstorms every afternoon for a week or so, and it has helped end our dry spell. I only wish my dry spell of not writing would end as well. I DO have some great ideas, if only I could get motivated to write the actual stories!

I'm going to end this with a writing inspiration from a past master:

Kerouac's Belief and Technique for Modern Prose

List of Essentials
Jack Kerouac

* Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
* Submissive to everything, open, listening
* Try never get drunk outside yr own house
* Be in love with yr life
* Something that you feel will find its own form
* Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
* Blow as deep as you want to blow
* Write what you want bottomless from bottom of mind
* The unspeakable visions of the individual
* No time for poetry but exactly what is
* Visionary tics shivering in the chest
* In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
* Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
* Like Proust be an old teahead of time
* Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
* The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
* Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
* Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
* Accept loss forever
* Believe in the holy contour of life
* Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
* Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better
* Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
* No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
* Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
* Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
* In Praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
* Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
* You're a Genius all the time
* Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Where to begin? I've had a bad case of the late summer blahs, just can't get motivated to do anything, try to accomplish anything worthwhile. And when an idea does come, I simply jot it down for a possible later writing project.

The unrelenting August heat hasn't helped any, but at least we've had a few thundershowers the past few days to break the awful dry spell. Still getting tomatoes and plenty of okra, but otherwise the garden is just about finished. We do hope to clear a spot for late turnip greens, lettuce and collards; those do well here up till the first frost. But it's best not to plant those for another week or so.

I'm using the laptop tonight, halfway watching TV. There is literally NOTHING on these days, just last of the summer reruns. Maybe there will be a few good movies and series once the fall season starts, but I doubt it.

I've been riding my bike in the nearby subdivision and/or on the killer loop when it cools down enough in the late afternoons, usually only after an earlier thundershower. Otherwise, I still use the airbike. I sure need to lose a few pounds, since I've gained during the summer, but (as with everything else) can't get motivated to do so.

Oh, one day the lady I met in the subdivision dropped by. Her husband was with her, and we chatted for awhile. I learned from them of another near-tragedy related to this place. The young guy who owned this house back in the 80s nearly got killed when he was bush-hogging out near the creek; his tractor overturned and pinned him beneath it in the creek! (He's now our next-door neighbor, built a house across the dirt road from us.) According to them, he nearly didn't get out and had to be in the hospital a couple days. I wonder if this place isn't just cursed for the men!!!?

My sister who had breast cancer is scheduled for the last of her reconstruction surgery Friday, and DH and I will go there to be with her and my brother-in-law. She is doing great, and this should be the end of her ordeal, with any luck. She should only be in the hospital overnight, and the recovery should take only a week or so.

The drive there and back will cost a fortune, considering gas prices now: Thanks Bushie! (sigh) Don't you just love how the Repugs still defend Bush, even though the exorbitant gas prices are certainly causing them financial discomfort too. Ah well, "there's none so blind as those who will not see." Or maybe they're just too much like their leader: morons with rose-colored glasses. This little ditty fits them all:

The optimist fell off a ten-story building, and at every window, yelled, "Fourth floor and everything is swell so far!"

Cindy Sheehan seems to have gotten Bush's attention during her vigil near his ranch in Crawford. I know several moms here who have their sons over in Iraq, and though they are Repugs, they have stated that they do not want their sons returning to Iraq again. One actually said she told her son she'd "disown" him if he re-enlisted! I guess when it's your own flesh-and-blood doing the actual bloody, nasty work, you have a fresh perspective on that war.

I saw an ad in the newspaper for a lakeside cabin for sale; it also could be moved. DH and I went to look at it yesterday afternoon, and at first, were very excited about the possibility of buying it and having it moved here. We have often thought of putting a rustic-like cabin at the back of our five acres, near the creek -- or near the house, where an old shotgun-styled house once stood. The price was around $5,000.00, and it was in good shape; long, somewhat narrow, a small kitchenette, bathroom, loft bed, and a huge open living area with sliding glass doors. It had an A-frame shape outside, with wood clapboard-style and low roof, and would look great sitting back there near the creek in the woods. We're going to call a guy who moves trailers (the whole structure is on a frame with wheels), and see what it would cost to have it moved here. But of course, then we'd have to have electricity/water run to it, as well as a septic tank. That would add a lot to the overall cost. It would make a great small rental for a college student, or perhaps a guy to help DH around this place. We also thought of attaching it to our house, and using it for an extra bedroom/bathroom...and that would be less costly. The interior of the place is great, with wood paneling, neat and fairly clean; the structure is in very good condition too. I just wish we could figure out a way to use it, one way or another, since that is a good price -- and the owner seemed as if she'd probably come down more.

DH has continued to work on the barn, and now has enough stalls for the horses. He also enclosed a space for his feed/tack room, and now feeds the horses out there. And he has a corner filled with hay for the winter. Today he bought the last load of wood he'll need to complete all the work he's planned for now. All in all, he's made fast progress. However, next spring he'll add to the other side of the barn, creating more stalls/storage area. Sort of a work-in-progress.

I just finished reading a book by Danielle Steel about her mentally ill son who committed suicide, "His Bright Light." He had bi-polar disorder, and they all went through h*ll with him -- tried everything under the sun to save him from himself. In the end, it was all for naught, since he killed himself when he was 19. I read it because I wondered if there is really anything that can be done for such people, including my youngest sister. Apparently not, even if one is wealthy and has access to EVERY possible avenue (private mental health professionals/institutions, you-name-it). The book was interesting, though exhausting in length and repeated attempts to help the boy, until at the end, one is almost pulling their hair out, realizing it is all hopeless. I'm beginning to think one of the worst things that ever happened in the USA was when lawsuits for "rights" of the mentally ill caused them all to be dumped out on the streets. Obviously these people MIGHT lead more productive lives under supervision, and that means confinement in one way or another. Alas, so it goes.

My youngest sister, B, got out of the mental institution Monday morning. Her husband, who is in the process of divorcing her, signed her out; he really shouldn't have done that, and our mother told him so. But he did it anyway. Since B had made threats against one of her other ex-husband's wife, there were criminal charges pending on her. Once she was released (and should NOT have been let out into the public, since an investigator had told the institutional people she was to be released into law enforcement custody only), she went back to her ex-husband's place. And as soon as law enforcement learned of it, an officer was dispatched to pick her up -- thus, she's now in jail. In a way we're all relieved, since at least she'll be supervised and get her medication regularly. Had she been with her ex, they'd both soon have been on drugs again...and no telling what would have eventually happened, considering the last fiasco. At any rate, she can't get out except under a CASH bond, and a very high one at that; she will now have to face the charges against her, and in addition to the stalking charge, she has numerous fines she's not paid, drug-related charges, on and on. Mainly I just want her to be somewhere she's supervised and can't harm others or herself. If that has to be jail, then so be it.

Today is the anniversary of Elvis's death. (I'll post this entry tomorrow morning.)I suppose everyone remembers where they were when they heard he'd died. I'd just arrived home after a long trip to a large city to see my nephrologist (hard to believe I was so sick and near death in my late 20s) and saw the news on TV. Couldn't believe it, though I was never an Elvis fan.

In closing I'll just say, "Elvis is dead, and I don't feel so well myself." :-) And ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New Photos Online

In a bit of a rush this morning. I have to make a trip to Wal-mart, NOT my favorite thing to do, but necessary.

I did finally get a few new photos online, some of the barn progress. If interested, click the "Southern Photos" link on the right sidebar, and scroll down to the 'Random' folder. There's also a couple of the ancient church we visited in the nearby National Forest. Oddly enough, there is a peculiar "orb" that showed up in the pulpit area; it was not there when I took the digital photo. I have captured some strange pictures in cemeteries/churches of orbs -- which some on the net say are "ghostly" images. Who knows?

Till later!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Anonymous Suicide Note

I found this little ditty on the web, but will not provide a link. It sometimes expresses my OWN morbid viewpoint:

IT'S TRUE (Suicide Note)

People say
"Shit happens"
And it does
To me
All the time

People say
"Things will look different
in the morning"
And they do:

People say
"Life can be great"
And it is
But not for me

Yep, I've been depressed lately. What else is new?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Random Thoughts....

I went on the "Killer Loop" bike ride late this afternoon, and it was still too HOT! I have only been able to manage once weekly bike rides due to this stifling, sweltering heat. And we're only at the beginning of August, so I may have to just use the airbike instead, which is what I have done most of this summer. However, I miss the strenous workout of the killer loop on my bike; the airbike is okay but not nearly as difficult.

I'm listening to Patsy Cline, her greatest hits. I ripped these off a CD, and enjoy having the songs in any order I wish on the computer. Not to mention having these on the MP3 Player any time I wish. Ah, the marvels of technology! I was surely born too soon, for with better timing, I'd have loved to have a career in computer programming.

Last Sunday DH and I went on a drive in the National Forest, and I took some photos of an old (early 1800s) church and cemetery, as well as various picturesque places along our trip. I will post those soon.

It is a real hassle to upload photos off the digital camera onto the laptop, save to floppy and then transfer to the computer and THEN, at last, post at the blog. I'm looking for a digital camera -- and thinking of buying one that has a digital movie feature as well. This computer has a digital video editor, and it might be fun to learn how to edit and then watch brief "movies." :-)

Today I ordered (gasp!) a cellphone; I've never had one, but decided it would be good to have one if I should ever break down on the roadside in my car. Since I won't use it very much, I went with the TracFone (which has a deal running right now online for a phone AND 40 minutes of airtime for $19.95!) It stays activated two months, then I can buy small amounts of airtime as I need it. No contracts, no paying exorbitant fees like so many celluar phones.

My nephew, who stayed here a day or so, broke his foot. He was playing with a friend and stepped in a hole, but it won't prevent him starting school. He called my mother and told her about it; we also have a phone number for him, if we wish to talk to him. I also now have unlimited long distance, nationwide, since it is only $20.00 a month (via BellSouth) with NO limit on how long or often you talk. That makes it easy to call my sister who lives out of my area code. At any rate, otherwise my nephew seems fine.

My other, older nephew is heading to a new college architecture program tomorrow -- will be living and studying/working in a rural area where he and other students will design and build a home for a needy family in the Black Belt region of Alabama. It should be quite an education for him, in more ways than one! I went there several years ago, and it was eye-opening to me also!

With that, I'm closing.