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Just so you know, I am not a 100% believer in ghosts, maybe 50% would be more accurate. A few months ago my husband and I were visiting a little town near Yosemite named Coulterville, It's one of those old California gold rush towns with a colorful history of old west injustices and a claimed-to-be haunted hotel, which is pretty much the only hotel in those parts, I didn't know much about it when I booked it online (the fact that you could purchase a "Ghost Detection Kit" should have been a clue) but we needed to pick up our new puppy from the breeder who lived in the area...Thus we experienced a night in the Hotel Jeffery. Cue the spooky music please......
Hotel Jeffery is famous for more than ghosts, back in the day some very notable people slept there like John Muir, Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt. The hotel has definitely seen some rich history. One story has it that a young woman was left pregnant and alone by her neer-do-well lover and she hung herself in one of the rooms. She is believed by some to be wandering the hallways still.
We were pretty exhausted when we arrived, it had been a long drive and a long day. We were the proud owners of a feisty new pup who was extremely car sick; in the 10 minute drive from the breeders house to the hotel, she had evacuated (from both ends) what seemed like twice her body weight all over her puppy- crate bedding.
We had a great dinner in the Magnolia Saloon ("the oldest working Saloon in California") next door, complete with karaoke, then retired to our room. It had an old fashioned four poster bed right out of an episode of Bonanza. Feeling sorry for the miserable pup, we put her in bed with us. We had just settled in when BAM!! There was a sound so loud we thought the bed broke. We turned on the lights, and checked it out but nothing looked wrong.
I was very surprised it wasn't broken, the noise had been so loud I thought for sure that we would have to tell the owner and change rooms, but there was nothing. We turned out the lights and settled in again when BAM!!! it happened again and it felt like the bed had fallen a couple of inches. This time we just ignored it, we rationalized that maybe it was a gimmick that the owners do, put the mattress on a kitty corner or something so that when people get on it it scares them into thinking there are ghosts....or maybe....
I was having trouble sleeping, as was the puppy, even though we were both exhausted. I had thrown an old sleeping bag that we had in the car over the blankets for Jet to sleep on just in case she had another accident. When I pried my eyelids open to see why she was so restless, I found that she was surrounded by little sparkly lights. It reminded me of the phosphorescence that sometimes happens when a certain diatom is present in the ocean. Again my tired brain tried to rationalize the phenomena as static electricity, maybe it was but, outside of the ocean, I have never seen anything like that. I rubbed my hand over the sleeping bag and the little lights followed my hand. My husband was sound asleep and so I didn't have the heart to wake him, but now I wish I did.
Finally we all drifted off to sleep, nothing else out of the ordinary happened, but I have been thinking about it all this time wondering if the events we experienced were actual ghosts messing with us or can it all be logically explained as our brains tried to do.......what do you think? Anyway, if you are the adventurous type, and you're ever in the area, you should check it out
Recently, I watched one of those television nature shows about lions. One scene showed a mid-sized elephant being taken down by 5 or 6 full sized lions. The elephant was clearly overwhelmed, she was wobbling and showing signs of fatigue. "You can see it in her eyes, She has given up" said the announcer as she dropped to her knees. There were slashes all over her back. It's Sad she won't make it I thought-- the cruelty of nature-- the lions must eat I suppose, but still...then out of nowhere the elephant started to rise, she sort of shrugged and 3 lions fell off, she kept on shrugging, and voila she was free, the lions gave up and she escaped.
What?! She escaped by shrugging off her attackers! OK they were elephant sized shrugs but still. There was a point when that elephant must have thought she just wanted those lions off her back once and for all. She could have given up as the announcer said, just laid down and let those lions take her out but no, she gave a mighty shrug and she saved herself.
We all have lions on our backs sometimes don't we?... be it money woes, family issues, self doubt, depression, anxiety, they can be hazardous to our health. Let's all take a lesson from that elephant and shrug those suckers off. Keep shrugging and carry on. Life will be lighter without carrying all that stuff on our backs. It might give us the ability to heal what needs healing. And if they try to get back on, don't let them!
"My task for this year, a resolution of sorts, is to grow the joy in myself by doing more of whatever brings that simple three letter word into my life. By doing this, I will see if it has made any changes in my life or the people around me. Here's to an AMAZING,JOYFUL year!"
The above quote was taken from my last year's resolution,and I promised to check back in to see if it has made a difference in my life or those around me. Well, I wasn't always successful, but I do think that I have been able to find the joy more often in life's everyday moments simply by paying closer attention.
JOY EXPERIMENT RESULTS:
Contentment has increased. (Yay!)
Stress has decreased. (Could still use some work)
We bought a house (first ever)
Started a blog (starting to get the hang of it)
Hubby happier (Yay!)
Confidence is up! (and rising)
Nothing Earth shattering, but a good start I think. Joy is everywhere for the taking, sometimes you have to stop and look for it, it is all around, the more you notice the more you are able to see. All in all, I think this was a goal that brought new fresh things into my life, and I am re-committing to it for 2013!
I've been feeling a little like a stranger in a strange land lately. It might be because school has started and I'm back to work at the XYZ Charter High School (name has been changed to potect the innocent.)
We are in a new location this year, I'm working with a new teacher, and some new kids too.They are all such interesting, intelligent, creative beings trying to discover how they fit into this world. Some are sure that they know where they will be 5 years from now, others don't have a clue (I can relate more to this group.) I'm STILL searching all these many years myself; The thing that I have come to realize is that I so enjoy the search that I am a little afraid the destination might be a let down!
Anyway, with the feeling of being a little on the "outs" with the rest of my peers, and maybe because the Mars Rover is in the news, my cranium seems to be filled with thoughts of aliens. Sketches, stories,and images of an alien nature, keep hovering around the edges of my subconscious.
What does this mean? I'm not sure, but maybe it's worth exploring!
Photo by Danielle Keaton
It's summertime in America, and that means:
Kids are home;
4th of July;
Corn on the cob;
And time to polish the toes!
All good reminders that it's good to be alive (I apparently need to be reminded of this occasionally.) The scarier side of summer is that my day job is on shaky ground, and I am making less money than is required to keep up with the bills. I have decided to TRY to stress less about that minor detail and instead take advantage of having more time to be creative.
I have been thinking that it might be time to self publish, as traditional publishing is facing many of it's own challenges these days, and I really like the sound of "Indie Author." I am publicly announcing that goal to the universe and starting today I'm on my way...stay tuned for status updates.
I hope everyone has some fun creative projects lined up for this summer, even if its just painting your toenails! Cheers!
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
I want to take a moment to say a sad farewell to our small town independent book store, Cheshire Books. It has been a fixture in our town for generations. It will be sorely missed.
Boxes, boxes, everywhere! Count down to living in a new house and a new neighborhood is commencing. Saying goodbye to this old house and this lovely old neighborhood is not easy. My kids grew up here. We buried two cats, two pet mice, a rat and countless goldfish here, we have the best neighbors ever here. Even when my boys were caught launching themselves out of our tree, to land smack dab in the middle of the perfectly trimmed hedge next door --planted generations ago-- (you can still see the scar in the hedge from that activity) they didn't stop speaking to us. Instead they allowed it to become a great learning experience for the boys.
I will miss those neighbors.
I will miss the tree out side my kitchen window where my boys had their tree fort and played countless imaginary games, from being international spies to being Batman and Spiderman, to being spacemen, to just simply hanging out.
I will miss that tree.
I will miss the lovely lady who always buys me a box of See's chocolates just for picking up her newspaper and keeping an eye on her house whenever she goes out of town.
I will miss her, her little dog Rowdy,and the See's chocolates!
Goodbyes aren't easy, one of my favorite children's books that tackles the subject of goodbyes with wit and humor is A book by Rebecca Doughty called "OH NO Time To Go!" There's a picture book for almost every subject in life that will make you feel just a little better after reading. This one is no exception, a guaranteed smile or two, even on a grownup's face.
Oh No! It is Time to go! Goodbye until next time, when I will be posting from my new neighborhood.......
To all those who are facing a move in your life, be it from job change, life change or your landlord's foreclosure (as in my case) I salute you!
I am confronted with the daunting task of clearing out over eighteen years worth of accumulated stuff. It's lurking everywhere, bookshelves, closets, drawers and under beds. Hoarders anyone?
The worst part is my kid's bedroom. They have flown the coop, but left their precious memories behind. How do I deal with the decisions to keep or toss their priceless rock, basketball card,comic book,or weird bits of stuff collections?
Everywhere I turn there is some bit of their childhood sending out invisible tentacles to wrap around my heart, 5th grade essays, hand drawn Mother's Day cards, plastic action figures, My nest is empty of children, but it's still chock FULL of their STUFF. And it's not just regular stuff, it's the worst kind of stuff, the sentimental kind.
And I haven't even begun to go through my own STUFF!
Ah, I had better go, the dumpster I rented has arrived, have a great day, and remember, everything you buy will someday end up being something you need to get rid of.
The main thing that I have learned while living on this planet for as long as I have (which is kind of long) is that
LIFE IS AMAZING!
Yes, it can take side trips to;
and OVERWHELMING, but it always comes back to AMAZING. Little things like:
A BIRD SINGING,
A SPIDER SPINNING A WEB,
AN UNEXPECTED SMILE,
Joy is a simple three letter word that packs a punch. Joy can come from anywhere and out of nowhere. It can sideswipe you when you least expect it. Watch someone do something that they love to do---the look on their face when they accomplish their task is joy. it doesn't matter how much money they have or don't have in that one moment joy is all there is.
My task for this year, a resolution of sorts, is to grow the joy in myself by doing more of whatever brings that simple three letter word into my life. By doing this, I will see if it has made any changes in my life or the people around me. Here's to an AMAZING,JOYFUL year!
Author & Illustrator
I was born in Southern California, so grew up believing in dreams and magic (thanks to Hollywood and Disneyland.) While I occasionally feel duped, I still have a core fascination with all things fairy land-ish that will never leave me! I have a degree in Graphic Design from Chico State University. My art career has gone on tangents here and there, but always returns when called. I am a published author/illustrator in the field of children's books.