Saturday, February 24, 2007

All in your head?

When I was doing novel revisions, one of my tasks was to study the psychological profile of my antagonist. Of course, while doing this, I pored over other psychological reports, unable to believe that I was able to understand the jargon spread through these reports. (I suppose that's a result of my reading so many psychology books and Web sites!)

But one thing surfaced in these reports and articles I read, one thing which was even MORE unbelievable: The claim that anyone witnessing paranormal activity has some kind of psychological defect or malfunction at work.

Essentially, what psychologists and experts in the field were saying was that ghosts aren't real, only people with a mental defect think they are real.

I can just hear a chorus of "bullshit!" now.

Indeed. I myself have seen many ghosts. I've even lived in a haunted house, for crying out loud! And I'm not the only one who saw lights flickering, faucets running, pictures turning around and doors locking. With experts claiming that there must be something psychologically wrong with a person who can see ghosts or witness paranormal activity, they better be prepared to add to, and support, that claim that such a defect is genetic!

While I always try to find the LOGICAL reason for activity first, I have no way of explaining the times I have seen ghosts or how doors have slammed shut all by themselves. I am certainly not going to think, "Gee, I must be nuts." While I have indeed considered the possibility that there was something emotionally and psychologically "wrong" with me during that time Jonathan visited my dreams for all those years, I truly believe I was of sound mind and sound heart at the time the other things happened.

Some things, I suppose, are just "unexplained." My reading of those reports hasn't changed my opinion that ghosts are real. Oh, it has brought new insight to my research of paranormal phenomena. But it hasn't convinced me that such phenomena is bogus. On the contrary, I feel this argument requires a lot more research and experimentation than a good old fashioned ghost story calls for believability.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Busy, busy

I've been REALLY busy with a variety of things going on in life.

To recap:

--I am planning to move in the near future. I am 100% set on getting the job training for the career I want to pursue, but the closest school is located an hour from me, and that's a heck of a commute. So I'll be checking into moving closer to this school. It'll definitely happen before the Fall.

--I am busy, busy with a variety of writing projects. I was sort of "stuck" on what to do NEXT with the writing, but I've put together a "writing plan" to keep my path focused and now I'll be working on these projects. (Please note: I am no longer doing any writing mentoring or book-writing help. Sorry, friends, but I've got to stay FOCUSED on the projects at hand.)

--I am on a 2-week break from one of my side jobs and I am using that time to get my house reorganized. I guess you could say I'm going on a "Spring cleaning spree." Even though it's not Spring YET. ;) (This also means I am getting rid of things, too. Don't be surprised if you see eBay links popping up on here.)

--I am making plans for a trip to Southern California next month.

--The mom stuff and taking care of the house has, as always, kept me busy, as well. Nothing has changed as far as THAT is concerned. ;)

So that's pretty much why I am not online as much as I used to be, but I'm DEFINITELY taking care of things I got to get done whenever I DO get online. Chatting is not so much a priority right now -- not until things get straightened out and settled down. Sorry, family. I will drop an occasional E-mail and hopefully call Mom when I get the chance. Or if I ever get through!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


My daughter and I like to read books together before bedtime. In this way, we both get to enjoy a story firsthand. The first book we did this with, though, was E.T., and I'd already read that book as a child. But she was insistent I read this book to her, too, and despite having to occasionally stop to explain things to her and "verbally rewriting" passages so they could be understood by a 5-year-old, she loved it. After that, we were hooked on enjoying books together.

Our latest book is Carolyn Parkhurst's THE DOGS OF BABEL. I'd read and heard things about this book when it first came out, but never read it. From what I could remember hearing about it, I didn't think it would be a "bad" book for such a young child to be read to. But as we have made our way through this book, I have realized that it's more than just a story about "a guy teaching his dog to talk." This story touches on subjects such as death, love and grief. I've read many different ways of how people cope with grief. And while Paul Iverson's way of handling his grief is completely unorthodox, it is still interesting to read all the same.

My child, of course, can't EXACTLY pick up on these little subtleties. (Though I wouldn't put it past her!) She seems to be more interested in the dog. When I read scenes such as the characters attending a wedding or going to Mardi Gras, she often stopped me from reading to ask, "Where's the dog?" Then I'll have to remind her of what LAST happened to the dog, named Lorelei. Still, she has shown interest in the passages where Paul "experiments" with different communication methods with the dog. We both laughed over the whole "wah" part (where Paul thought his dog could say "water") and even where Paul tries to teach his dog how to type.

But all the same, there are parts of this book unsuitable for a child's ears. I pretty much gleaned over the swear words and I handled the sex scene with..delicacy. Pretty much reading it to myself as I "read" it differently to my daughter (just saying Lexy was wearing a gown and a mask in the dark bedroom, that Paul didn't like the mask, asked her to take it off and she wouldn't).

We have still enjoyed reading this book together. It's a great story and I'm grateful I FINALLY picked it from my many books to read. I wonder if it was the wrong kind of book to be reading with a child, but I definitely think the whole concept of someone teaching a dog to talk has sparked my child's interest. If anything, it's a springboard for a discussion between us on that very topic -- and maybe even something to inspire us to come up with a more "kid friendly" version we can share.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blogging blabbermouths

Today I read a variety of news stories on the Internet and one such story had a variable I have often seen creeping into other news stories of where a bad guy gets found out: The bad guy "told all" in his blog. In this case, the criminal didn't really use his big mouth as a means of eliciting understanding from his readers, nor as a means of seeking atonement. As a matter of fact, he acted smug and confident about the crimes he committed, uninhibitedly revealing just what it was he managed to "pull off."

I have read other news reports of criminals getting caught just because of how they carelessly revealed their crimes in their blogs. Or, at least, hinted to being connected to the crime in some way. (Gee, this could make a great story!)

But there are other instances in which I have seen peoples' blogs bring about other unfortunate results.

Some people have been fired after their bosses discovered unflattering or privileged information being shown to the whole reading public through their blogs.

Some people have incited rumors and other unwelcome publicity as a result of their blogs.

And still others resort to using their blogs as a virtual doorway into their private lives, thereby inviting problems with others. (I know of one instance where someone used their blog as a podium to personally attack someone they were having problems with in real life.)

I have used my blogs for a variety of purposes. I have had to learn, the hard way, that it's best to keep the private stuff...private. I.E., OFF OF A BLOG. Still, some of my blog posts could very well have brought about any one of the above repercussions (except for the fact that I am not a criminal and have not committed a crime). But I also know that mine are blogs that don't necessarily attract a swarm of readers. ;)

Still. One has to think about those people who ended up in hot water because of their blogs. Maybe the criminal's blog was tracked because the FBI had been keeping tabs on him. Maybe the employee had an overbearing, nosy employer. And maybe the person using their blog to "attack" his nemesis WANTED that person to find out and bring on more trouble. All the same, criminals CAN have big egos -- big enough to make them think they can do anything they pretty well please without the worry or fear of getting caught. And maybe some people feel "safe" enough putting into their blogs whatever they FEEL like writing in there.

I think it's better to play it safe. I'm constantly wary of the things I think about writing up in my blogs. I no longer write about daily events or stuff like that. Which is WHY I'm not posting on them as often as before (same reason why I stopped blogging about the homescchooling activities). Sure, I can find things to write about in my blogs. But I'd be a little more cautious about certain things I think about writing up in any one of them -- particularly if the topic at hand is one which could very well cause some kind of rumor or argument to go floating around in my family back home.

Friday, February 09, 2007

If a dog barks, can a sleeping deaf person hear it?

When I first started the babysitting gig, which began at 5:30 a.m. (that's murder for a night owl like me!), my ex-husband would stop by my place on his way to work to wake me up in time for a quick shower. I don't have one of those alarm clocks for the deaf (my ex got it in the divorce -- HAH! But his job is a "real job" and he needed it more than I did), so I've pretty much tried to rely on an internal alarm clock to wake me up in the mornings. This, of course, required some time. I had to get into the habit of waking up at 5 a.m. Or...5-ish, really.

So, for a while, my ex waking me up was how I was all up, showered, dressed and brimming with caffeine by the time the little boy I babysat got here.

Then my ex tired of this. It was a hassle for him to keep that up, so he stopped.

At a time I DIDN'T have my internal alarm set just YET. *groan* And at this point, I still didn't have enough money for one of those special alarm clocks for the deaf!

What to do? What to do?

I tried to figure out SOME kind of solution to help me get up so early in the morning. I used to have a pager that would vibrate when I was paged, and if I had one now, I could put it under my pillow and if/when someone paged me, it would do the trick to wake me up. But, that was out since I didn't have one.

I briefly debated over asking my neighbor, Darrell, to get me up that early in the morning. But I don't know his hours and, besides, those guys do A LOT of shows that last LATE at night, and which involve a lot of drinking, so hell would freeze over before he'd get out of bed THAT early after a night like that. (I once went over there the day after they had a show and I didn't know they were still asleep, this AFTER 10 a.m., and ended up waking Darrell up. Oops!) Sooo, nah. That was out, too.

So I just decided..."screw it." Let another day come and see what happens. MAYBE if the father pounded on the door hard enough, I would feel it and it'd wake me up. (Trust me, people HAVE my permission to pound on my door. Seriously!) Or, maybe it would wake my daughter up and then she'd wake me up? Sounds selfish, I know. But at least SHE could go back to sleep....

And at least I wasn't babysitting the kid EVERY DAY.

Anyway. Guess what ended up happening after all? The morning I was "winging it," and they knocked at my door, MY DOG woke me up.

Yup. That's right. A dog's barking woke up a deaf person.

My tiny Chihuahua, who sleeps on my bed with me and my girl, barked his head off and woke me up. But it wasn't his barking that got me awake; it was his MOVEMENTS which I felt right next to me. (He shakes when he barks like that. Haha.) When I had my Australian Shepherd, Lukas, who was a BIG DOG, his bark was loud enough for me to hear it. (New York could hear it!) But Chewbacca's bark is, well, not THAT loud, though I have been told his barking has hurt the ears of some people. Well, it's not LOUD enough for ME to hear it. But he definitely MOVES around when he barks, and that right there is enough to awaken me and let me know someone's knocking at the door. (Or WAS knocking at the door -- some people just give up after a minute or so and end up walking off before I open my door.)

I bring this up because I find it really interesting that a small dog barking next to me, a DEAF person, while I sleep would wake me up. It happened again this morning, when my neighbor, Jimmy, came by with his key and housecleaning instructions.

Sometimes, though...and I find this interesting, too. Sometimes, I'll awaken all on my own when something is going on. I always get nervous when I have a restless night. Maybe that's because on the night Lukas died, I didn't sleep AT ALL. I kept waking up and going to check on him in the kitchen until he later passed on (which I discovered the next morning). So if I have trouble sleeping, I usually get out of bed and go around the house, checking everything. I make sure doors and windows are closed/locked. I check on my daughter to make sure she's ok. I check outside the windows to make sure no one is there. But sometimes I WILL see people there. Usually, it's my neighbors on one side, sitting on the porch talking, or my neighbor on the other side, getting his car ready as he prepares to leave for work.

That happened yesterday morning. I woke up at around the time Jimmy was out front, on his way to leave for work.

And my dog didn't even bark to alert me to that. But it's still nice that his barking is an alternative alarm clock I can rely on, at least for when someone is knocking at my door. But what an INTERESTING alarm clock for a deaf person to have! Hmmm.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Today's "To Do"

The other day, I posted on my dA journal how I wasn't going to put stuff off anymore. I DID keep putting stuff off...saving it for "later" when I had more time, more money, more freedom, etc. But then I'd realized stuff kept getting put off TOO much. And things just didn't get DONE.

I have an online friend (courtesy of dA) who mentioned her "to do" lists in her reply to that journal. She has a daily "to do" list of things to get done. I've chatted with her often and she would mention her list every so often. I used to keep a "to do" list. When I first started living on my own, it was the only way we could survive! And the only way for me to make sense of all this confusion and chaos of being responsible for EVERYTHING. But then....after a while, I stopped making those lists. I got a handle on things and just didn't need 'em.

But it would seem that, lately, those lists are a VERY GOOD THING to have, even when life isn't so crazy or confusing.

So, I started using a daily "to do" list again. My first go at reinstating the list was very encouraging. I got 12 of the 13 items on that list done. Two of them were "almost done." (The store I went to to get my daughter new eyepatches didn't have them and I could not teach my child how to tie a shoe on the first go but we DID have a satisfactory "first day" on that.) But, still, it was very encouraging and after the day was through, I felt it had been a productive one.

This morning I put together today's "to do" list. After I put down everything I could think of to get done or started on today, I counted the items. Guess what? Once again, I had 13 things to do! Thirteen!

Now, I'm not superstitious. (Oh, I say that, and I NEVER step over a broom. Or take the broom with me when I move. Or walk under a ladder...) But that bugged me. It did. Thirteen things AGAIN?? Hmm.

Nah, I don't want that. Why jinx this kinda thing? I want 14 things today! Let's see what else I have to get done!

... .... ..... ......


I thought and thought. What REALLY needs to get done around here? I already organized my bedroom closet. Cleared off the dresser. Got Jennifer to clean her room. My back hurts too much today for me to rake up the yards. And there's NO WAY I'll have the time to work on a drawing I've had in my head for several months. I mean, yesterday, I couldn't even find the time to write an essay! (So of course it got moved to TODAY'S list.)

So, I went over my list. This is what I have so far:

TO DO 2/6/07

Give Chewie a bath

Log in at dA

Contact SIGNews about Joleen's address

Write essay (on living alone as a deaf parent)

Work w/Jen on her tying shoes

Call Mom

Find gift for #### on Internet (####,too) --It's a SURPRISE!

Check out more flight deals for trip to CA

Get Jennifer new eyepatches

See Jimmy about this week's schedule

Check Jennifer's dr. appt date and time (I lost her appointment card -- OF COURSE!!)

Start on E-zine for tomorrow release

Work on cover letter for poetry book submission

So, yeah. That's 13 things. I wanted a 14th! I couldn't put "check E-mail" or "give Jen her bath" because those are things I do every day. That stuff is automatic, ya know? LOL

I got online and I mentioned this to a friend. She thought it was funny. Then she said, "OK 14th....Say something nice each day. There ya go." I noted it should be "today" instead of "each day." Her idea sounded like one of those "daily resolutions" I make to myself. (And there's one for today! Yay!)

But as I tried to log in at this Web site and I kept having a hard time with it, an idea struck for my 14th item: "Blow up computer."

Haha, just kidding. :)

Nah, my 14th ended up being "Write in the blog." There.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The understanding friend

I have two friends who are going through a divorce. These two friends happen to be both the husband and the wife.


At first, I had no idea how this would affect me. Would one friend ask me to take their side against the other? (It's not exactly a mutual divorce.) Would one friend accuse me of some kind of imaginary crime against them? What if one asked me to spy on the other? What if I was constantly being asked by one what the other said about him/her?

Of course, I was worried. But not just about all of that. I also worried how it would affect my friendship with each person. I didn't want to lose either friend. Even as that MIGHT happen, I didn't WANT it to happen.

But I know one thing: I do not want to be involved. I love them both dearly and refuse to take sides. I read this quote yesterday and I think it's appropriate for a situation such as this: "Sometimes the best position to take is no position at all." That would apply here.

Maybe some would see my refusal to take sides as a cop-out to proving what kind of a friend I am to these people. But I don't see it that way. I'm not the kind of friend to betray someone in the face of an emotional, ongoing tug-of-war. I'm the kind of friend who will be there for each one of them.

I'll cheer one friend on, sure, but I'll cheer the other on, too. And whoever is the victor (IS there a victor in this kind of thing?) will still have my friendship. But so will the defeated (I don't want to say "loser." Divorce is NEVER the end!). I will support each person during this hard time they are going through. I'll be a shoulder to lean on for each one of them, as well as an understanding and sympathetic listener. I have already gone through my own divorce and while mine was not so riddled with conflict, I can relate to the stages and the emotions each friend is going through. I know. I have been there.

I think that is the bonus in my friendship with them. The fact that I understand COMPLETELY what they are going through and where it will lead them allows me to be the kind of understanding and sympathetic, supporting friend they need right now to get through this hard time -- and get past it.