A writer’s New Year’s Eve

I’m sitting here with a glass of wine doing a very critical editing of my manuscript. It is cold outside here in Southern Arizona. It has rained all afternoon and the temperature is dropping. I don’t think it will snow but if the skies clear tonight it will be a very frosty morning.

This weather is stimulating and refreshing. I wish a Happy New Year to all. Don’t forget to believe in fairies.

Happy writing.

-N

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It’s been crazy fun

I’ve spent the last week with family having a very cool Christmas week at Disneyland. The five of us, all Disney fans, had a great time.

The humanity that filled the park gave me the chance to observe and study. There was every kind of situation filled with human response and activity. I love people watching and there was plenty of it.

I like observing groups of humans, especially small ones. They are so candid in their responses. Disneyland was full of families who many times struggled to force their children into having a good time and enjoying themselves.

It was often obvious that the people who had children in the toddler age group were not having fun.  This age group were the ones that were the most cranky, nervous and demanding. I found that the parents spent most of their time correcting and scolding or trying to distract the children into behaving or being happy.

As I watched this I discovered the “happiest place on earth” when it is so full of people that humans lose the desire to be considerate and patient. The staff are very friendly and accommodating but the visitors become pushy and unpleasant.

Christmas eve was wonderful. A lot of the park visitors cleared out and it was so calm and manageable. The lights and fireworks were thrilling and inspiring. Christmas morning was also very pleasant and it was easy to get around. At noon the park began to fill to the point that by 3-4pm it was at capacity and the lines and groups were seas of humans.

I’m trying to imagine how it could be any different.

I was there with my husband and grown children and we decided from the beginning to be kind and loving in words and actions during what we all knew could be trying. The magic of Disney was allowed to fill us and because of that we put on a filter of sorts giving us a time that was worth every grumpy adult, whining child and long line we encountered. We chose to laugh, hug and sing every song. We chose to immerse ourselves in the myths and legends that are Disneyland and have a good time.

-N

A human mixture

Last night I hosted a Christmas party for some family and friends because my son and his wife were here. They are staying for a short time before we all go to California to spend Christmas at Disneyland and I knew that they would like it.

The fun I find in hosting is when the mix of guests works and how comfortable people become together.  Last night was a perfect reflection of the magic of a group of humans who find similarity while enjoying food, drink and music.

Of course there is the family connection and we had four generations there!

Then the friends. My bff and her family are like family, and my husband’s bestie and his wife are the same.  These two group’s know each other because we have partied together before and the men golf together.

There were also some good friends of ours who are more the age of my son who were also acquainted with other family members from years ago, they went to school together.

The only ones who had no previous connections were our neighbor and his son. But it didn’t take long to fix that-they are cool people and easy to get to know. It seemed that there was a feeling of fun and community which always is pleasant to see happen.

The ones who couldn’t make it were missed, but the easy conversation, plentiful food and drink and a brilliant Christmas tree wove its magic through the crowd. I was charmed and happy to see these people connecting while they traveled the path of the human desire for happy and fulfilling experiences in settings of celebration.

My son and daughter-in-law enjoyed a seasonal welcome to Catalina and I was blessed that so many people would come out and spend a Friday night this close to Christmas with us.

-N

 

Self perception

Reality check of self perception.

Took off yesterday afternoon to do some grocery shopping. I pulled into the Fry’s parking lot to discover it was packed. What?? As I cruised through, my usual parking spots were filled. I can always get a good spot in this lot, what the heck is the deal? Finally grabbed one when someone pulled out. I got my own bags out of the car (hate plastic bags), snagged a cart from the cart rack outside and headed into the store. One other observation of the parking lot was the very slow moving vehicles and a cajillion people pushing carts.

I know this store well enough I can write my list based on aisles. I can usually cruise through the process pretty easily and fast-unless Chuck is with me.  If he is with me it takes FOREVER.

The place was a zoo, every part of the store and every aisle was packed with people and their carts. I couldn’t believe how many times my cart was bumped, pushed and blocked by shoppers.  I started thinking “Did I miss some holiday that required cooking?” Maybe they wanted to stock up so they didn’t have to shop Christmas week, probably a good idea.

Since I always shop with a list I can usually get in and right out. Not gonna happen in this case. I got the last of the list items in the dairy section and headed to the checkouts. I came up by the pharmacy and stopped. There had to be a line of at least twelve people.

Light bulb moment! Wednesday is blue hair day!! Nearly all of the people in the store were old. Well that explained the full parking lot and crowded store. As I looked around while in the checkout line I saw people writing checks!?!? Who writes checks anymore?

It was my turn to check out and the cashier was fast and smiling-thank goodness. Just as she was totaling my purchase she asked me a question. “It is senior day, 55+ so would you like me to put in the discount?”

Stop.

Wow! She didn’t question if I was 55+. She didn’t want to see my ID, but if I wanted the discount as a senior. Oh man I must have had the deer in the headlights look on my face for a second and then I said “oh sure, why not.”  A discount is a discount, and it got me about $20 off my purchase. I paid, I left and once I was in my car I called Chuck. “It’s official Chuck, I am old!” I told him what happened and he howled with laughter. Ok not helping.

That’s it, I had been letting my lovely silver/white hair grow out but I’m coloring it, that’s settled. I don’t want to look too much like my mom yet. I already have her knees and square face, but I can control my hair.

I will go to Fry’s again on Wednesday’s. I am not a fool and the discount is good. But now I will be prepared. Ego hit without warning is hard on this “old” lady.

-N

Too far apart

This is what I’ve been trying to say and couldn’t have said it better or more eloquently.
-N

Cristian Mihai

many“There are too many of us and we are all too far apart.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

I’m writing these words knowing that people from all over the world are going to read them. People of all ages, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, of different religious beliefs. Most of them, I’ll never get a chance to meet. Most of them, I don’t know how they look like, what’s the thing they want most in this world, or what is it that they’re afraid of… most of them are perfect strangers to me.

Yet, simply by writing these words with these strangers in my mind, having the certainty that my words will reach them, they become a little bit more than strangers. They become human beings, just like myself, and that is one of life’s greatest achievements.

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A Haunting

Michael
By Nancy Vaughn

It began when I found the grave of Michael, the little boy I used to babysit who died in a tragic car accident. I was a freshman in high school and I was stunned at the loss. Michael was the sweetest and kindest little guy there ever was. He always seemed to need something, but I never understood what it was. There was always a sweet sadness about him. His parents were divorced and had moved on with their lives. Michael and his sisters lived with their mother. His mother was a beautiful woman who worked hard and tried to take really good care of them. She also enjoyed going out to meet men, and there were plenty of them in at the Air Force base in Tucson and the Army fort in Sierra Vista. On her way back from taking her boyfriend back to Ft. Huachuca she lost control and the car flipped and crashed. His sisters and his mother survived but he was thrown from the car and killed instantly. It was 1970.

In 1983 my husband, my two children and I moved into a trailer space in a park that was next to a cemetery. I have to admit to a fascination with cemeteries inherited from my mother’s side of the family. We always were visiting old graveyards on road trips. So after we moved there I used to wander through the one near my house looking at the names and dates. It was an older cemetery with green grass and huge trees and dozens of beautiful statues. I remember when I discovered the part of the cemetery designated for the children. It had a peaceful, comforting feeling and a beautiful statue of a child angel was centered in the middle of the resting places of the lost children. Most of the graves had flowers and tokens laid on them. I used to take flowers from some of them and put them on the graves that had none. That was when I found Michael. His grave rarely had flowers. I began to go see him as often as I could. I also started taking my own flowers to him.

We had gotten this cat, a beautiful silver/grey cat with brilliant green eyes that we named Betsy. She and I never liked each other. I couldn’t figure it out. Betsy and I tormented each other regularly. I don’t know why but we just didn’t get along. One night after going to bed my husband and I heard a low growling sound like a cat squaring off with another cat. Betsy was in the living room at her usual post on the back of a chair. Her cries got louder and then I heard the footsteps. The steps were walking toward our bedroom door. It was a mobile home so footsteps were easily heard. The steps came to our door and stopped, then they walked back down the hall toward the other end of the house. Then I heard the cat again. This began a pattern that went on for weeks. Betsy was even weirder to everyone than before. She tended to sit, looking suspiciously at everything. She never wanted to be around people as it was, but now she was even more reserved.

I talked to my husband about it and he had no explanation for the sounds and the way the cat was behaving. He always did a better job of handling her than I ever did and he is a die-hard sceptic.

Then things got more interesting. Everyone was in bed when the footsteps started. We lay there listening to them and they came to a stop outside our door. Chuck got up and opened the bedroom door expecting to see one of our kids, maybe sleepwalking, but no one was there. I could tell he was bothered. We lay back down trying to fall asleep when there was a loud bang in the bathroom. It sounded like someone big had fallen in the tub. We sat bolt upright and he got up again and rushed to the bathroom. Nothing. It was dark and empty with no sign of anything that could have fallen into the tub. He came back, got into bed and we lay there thinking.
“What do you think a ghost is?” He asked quietly.
“Don’t know.”

The banging in the bathroom continued along with the cat growl and the footsteps. We quit reacting to it and I didn’t find out until much later that my daughter, who was ten at the time had heard the sounds as well. She would cover her head and talk and pray herself to sleep. She never said a word to us at the time. I had told some members of my family and a few friends about the sounds but they laughed it off. We had trouble laughing off the experiences we were having so we quit talking about it.

That is until my middle sister suggested it might be Michael. She also remembered him and his story and had been his babysitter occasionally and had gone with me to see his grave. We were sitting on my back porch talking, listening to music and drinking. We both heard a loud thump and a bang on the washer which was just inside the back door.
“There your go, now you’ve heard it for yourself.” I said.
Her eyes were wide, her mouth open and she just sat there. I got up and went inside to check, as usual there was no sign of anything out of place. It was at this point she told me that on one of her visits to Michael’s grave she thought she saw something around the top of the child angel statue in the cemetery. She said she saw an angel fly up the statue and away into the sky. As we talked about it my heart warmed to the idea that perhaps sweet little Michael was reaching out to me. Maybe he needed my comfort.

I told my husband about what she said and how I felt about it and he warned me to leave that stuff alone. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it, thinking about Michael. I made my first mistake by calling out to Michael to tell him he was loved and remembered. One night after that I had fallen asleep and I’m not really sure how late it was but I felt my covers being pulled. I am not a heavy sleeper and it woke me. Sometimes when my husband rolls over it will pull the covers so I yanked them back and tried to go back to sleep. My eyes flew open as I heard the sound of laughter. It was a child’s giggling laugh, then the covers started to be tugged down. I wanted to explore this so I didn’t wake my husband. This began the fun play each night. The problem was I needed my sleep. I had two kids to get to school and myself to work. One night when I was awakened from a deep sleep by the play I said “Michael stop, I need to sleep. Please.” I heard one more giggle and then it stopped.

Chuck and I had a timeshare vacation planned for Puerto Vallarta for a week, and my kids would be staying with my parents who lived in the same trailer park. Because we had Betsy I asked my dad to stop by the house to check on her and the house. We had been broken into a few months before so I felt safer if someone was around regularly as a deterrent. Little did I know my dad’s world would be rocked by his experiences. When we returned home and everything looked fine a first glance. Then I noticed there was tape over the knob on the stereo and the cable box connector was disconnected and on the floor and every door was closed. I looked through the house to see if there was anything else out of order. We called dad to thank him for his help and he said he never wanted to do it again. I asked him to come over and tell us what happened. He insisted we come to their house, so we did.

Dad said that the first night he came by he walked around the outside of the house and it was fine. He came inside and walked through the house. When he opened the bathroom door he found that the toilet paper roll had been completely emptied on the floor. However Betsy wasn’t inside there. The door had been closed firmly. He cleaned it up, replaced the roll and then left. The next night he did the same thing. Betsy was sitting on the chair, so he went to the bathroom to find the door closed again. He opened it and flipped on the light to find the toilet paper roll was again emptied. Then the bathroom light went off. He turned it on, picked up the paper and didn’t put on another roll. He left feeling very strange. He didn’t go back the next night. The next night was one that gave him his first real scare. As he approached the house he could see that there were lights on in the house. He came close to the door and stopped. Before he opened the door he said a prayer. When he opened the door every light in the house was on. He hurried through the house turning off lights and opening closed doors and after putting food in Betsy’s bowl he left never looking back. The last night he came over the lights were on again and the doors were closed. To his horror the TV was on and so was the stereo. He once again went through the house quickly opening doors and turning out lights and turning the TV and stereo off. Just as he closed the door the stereo and TV came back on. He was scared and a bit pissed so he got electrical tape to cover the power knob on the stereo and disconnected the cablebox to the TV. He never ever came over if we were gone.

One Christmas I invited a dear friend to spend the night of Christmas Eve and spend Christmas day with us. After we were all in bed the nightly activity started. My friend was staying on the foldout couch snuggled down for the evening. I heard Betsy start her growl and then I hear my friend hush her. Then the footsteps started. I asked Chuck if he thought I should check on her but he said to wait a little while. I was asleep by the time it all stopped. The next morning I got up to start coffee and get breakfast ready. I found her sitting up, her knees pulled to her chin and looking as if she hadn’t slept. I asked her if she was ok and she said she wasn’t going to stay again that night as planned. When I asked her what happened she said that when Betsy started to growl the room became ice cold. She snuggled down trying to get warm and when she heard the footsteps she covered her head, drew up into a ball and tried to sleep. She felt someone sit on the end of the bed but she was so frightened she couldn’t look. “What is wrong with your house?” It was then that my children started telling us their experiences with child’s giggling, cold air, footsteps and Betsy’s cries. Chuck told me if it was Michael (remember he was skeptical) I should tell Michael he needs to go be with God. That God wants all children with him. I did what Chuck suggested. I would tell him we would never forget him but that his place was with God and the angels.

We heard no more laughing and other activities seemed to slow down. I hoped Michael had found peace and comfort. We went without anything happening for several weeks until a very unsettling thing happen one night. I was sleeping when I woke to the feeling of my covers being lifted off my feet. They weren’t being pulled like before but lifted. I kicked out and it stopped. This began a nightly occurrence and then one night I felt a hand grab my ankle! I kicked and cried out. This woke Chuck and stopped the contact. I began to pray every night about it. I didn’t think it was Michael anymore but my openness to contact with Michael had made me a point of contact a spirit conduit. Whenever it would happen I would say no and kick out and it would stop. I thought I could get it under control.

My first aggressive attack happened when Chuck was working an evening shift for a guy. Everyone was in bed and I had fallen asleep. It was probably around 11pm. You know that feeling when someone gets in bed but you are asleep and yet you can still sense it? This is what happened. I was dreaming he was home and getting into bed. After a few minutes I rolled onto my back and it was then I felt pressure on me. It was as if someone was pressing me into the mattress. Pressure on my shoulders and neck. I started to fight it. My eyes were open but I saw nothing. I just felt the heaviness. It was as if a 300lb offensive lineman was astride me and trying to stuff me into the mattress. As I fought it I started to call out to God and Jesus-I needed help or I would die. A sound like a low breathy moan filled the room, then the pressure lifted. I caught the glimpse of a dark shape fly out of the room through the ceiling.

One of the last attacks happened when Chuck was there. It began as the others had and my cries and fighting against the pressure woke him. He could see me pushing against something invisible that was so strong I could only lift my head an inch off the bed. He saw tears in my eyes and he sat up and yelled “Stop it! Go away!” It was gone. He held me as I finally calmed and fell asleep.

I decided we needed to bless the house. I went to a Christian bookstore and found a pamphlet with a prayer used to do battle with evil and bless the home. I also found a bottle of holy oil to use over all the doors and windows. After coming home and telling Chuck and the kids what we were going to do we spent an hour going to every inner and outer doorway and all the windows praying the blessing for the house and all living in it and calling the warrior angels from heaven to cover the house with protection. After this was done I stood outside and said goodbye to Michael and anyone else cast out and asking them to leave this place of the living and go to the place waiting for them.

I did have a couple of experiences where I would wake on occasion to see a dark shape over me but I was never touched or heard anything. After continuing to pray to cast out whatever was lingering and to prevent anything from coming inside these spirits left and have never returned.

The End
01 Dec 2014

Year 2: Day 53 – Seeds

Profound and mesmerizing. I am there.

Charlotte Cuevas

If blooming is what we do,
is it the proof of what we are?
Can there be pure seeds
in a rotten fruit;
can there be foul seeds
in a saint?

And what of hope?

I have looked at a man and saw glimmers in him
that he could not see in himself;
I have looked into a host of sunbeams
and seen darkness they would never perceive.

And who am I, or don’t we all
see the seeds hidden within?
And who am I, or aren’t we all
blessed with sense to detect their kind?

And what of hope?

But for hope, we must never forget,
we would see our judgments pass-
never to see long-dead seeds to sprout,
nor a man to rise and shine.

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