Friday, October 31, 2014

My Ghost Adventures - My Haunted House

I've been writing a series of my ghostly encounters. I've talked about how my basement felt haunteddorm room spirit messages, and ghosts of the theaters and the office I worked at. This is my last post on this, until something else happens, which may happen since I live in a haunted house.

We bought our house in the winter of 2007. At first, nothing really odd happened. About six months after we moved in, I started noticing things. It was little noises like footsteps down the hall. Todd thought I was crazy, but I was sure our house was haunted.

After Emily was born, the activity amped up quite a bit which caused Todd to finally believe that we did have a ghost. When Emily was very small, I'd stay up with her if she was awake in the night. I'd wake Todd up in the morning and pass her off so I could get a little bit of sleep.

I was sleeping one day and Todd had Emily in the living room. He often who lean back in our recliner and have her on his chest. One day, he actually fell asleep one morning and he was shook until he woke up! I was fast asleep and no-one else was in the house.

Emily would also giggle and coo at nothing when she was a baby. We figure that she was seeing the ghost. Since she's gotten older, she hasn't seen anything though.

We hear footsteps down the hall sometimes and the ghost likes to hang out in the bathroom for some reason. Todd has seen the ghost move our towels and he/she likes to close the bathroom door when our cat Willow is in the tub.

It's not scary though - the ghost isn't evil or anything. They are just there. Though Todd and I have both decided that we aren't going to do any research on our house to find out who the ghost might be until after we move. We don't want to stir anything up.

Up Next - Ghost Cat!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Browncoat Ball 2014 - Friday

My home Browncoat group has been the Greenville, SC for about seven years now. Greenville is about 45 minutes from where I live, and there was not an active Asheville group at the time. Last year, we decided to try and bid for the Browncoat Ball. Many of us had been on the planning committee for the Charlotte Ball in 2010. We got the Ball and after a year of planning, the morning of October 17th dawned.

I was the first one to arrive since we had a small window for Todd to bring me and unload my stuff since Emily was in school. Once everyone else on the planning committee arrived, we unloaded everything and got setup.

The afternoon was pretty quiet. People started trickling in and a lot of people went down to do the zip line. I went down late in the afternoon. The worst part was climbing up to the tower because it was just a rope net and while I had a safety harness, it was hard climbing up there. Once I was up on the top of the tower, the actual zip lining was a lot of fun.

After that, it was time for supper. It was a Wash inspired luau complete with hulu dancers. The food
was really good - pineapple and chicken skewers were a highlight for me. After supper was done, I went on the night hike. We did little activities during the hike and it was really interesting to try to adjust our eyes to the darkness.

Fire dancers were next and they were really great! They did several dances with different objects on fire. They were very cool under fire (pun intended!) even when one dropped a fan. Luckily they were also very prepared - had heavy blankets to put each fire-y objects out.

After that, a lot of us went into the gaming room. I finally got to play Cards Against Humanity - which is basically Apples to Apples for adults. We played for hours - rotating out players as we went. I did pretty well for my first time playing!

I finally headed to bed around midnight. I made myself go to bed because I knew I had to be up early the next morning.

Up Next - Saturday and the Ball

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Emily's 6th Birthday!

Because the Browncoat Ball was the weekend of Emily's actual birthday, we opted to have her party the weekend before. My dad and his wife came into town a few days before and kept Emily with them.

This gave Todd and I a chance to go on a date night as well as get things ready for the party. Todd made her cake the night before and I put together the Lego sets that were going to be her cake toppers. Emily had also requested a Ninjago pumpkin. Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to carve that as well.

The morning of her party dawned very, very wet. This made me very nervous since the party was
outside at the park. And I had no idea how many people were coming because half of her class didn't RSVP.

I tried not to freak out and I went to church. My dad, his wife, Esther, and Emily met us there. After church, we went home and my aunt, uncle and Emily's friend / 2nd cousin, Elliot. We all went out to brunch at IHOP and then went home to wait for Todd's aunt and grandmother.

Finally it was time to go to the park. The sky was overcast but it had stopped raining. We had brought towels to wipe down any surfaces that needed to be and set up in the covered shelter.

Emily had wanted to have a Ninja party because she loves Lego Ninjado. While looking on Amazon, I found inflatable ninja swords and got those as party favors. It was a great purchase because for most of the party the kids were happy to run around the park, waving their swords around.

We all ended up in the pavilion, with the adults blowing up balloons and the kids chasing them about. Todd had forgotten the cake knife at home and while he was going to get it, Emily opened her presents.

Right after she finished with the presents, Todd arrived and it was time for cake. Todd's grandmother has a cake that is famous in the family and no-one has been able to duplicate it before. Todd tried the cake and failed badly but he managed to perfect the frosting. It got his grandmother's seal of approval. He's trying to make the cake - his 2nd attempt was better but not quite it.

The birthday party broke up and we took Emily's haul home. Then we went to see my dad and Esther for a bit since they were leaving early the next day. Emily fell asleep in my arms for a bit - she had had an exciting day.

It's hard to follow up Disney World, but Emily said she had a good birthday.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Forced to Age Gracefully

There has been a whole hubbub the last few days over Renee Zellweger and her new look. I think she looks different but fine - it's not my face or body so it doesn't really matter to me what she looks like. But it got me thinking about the different standards when it comes to aging.

Women aren't suppose to age. Ridiculous, yes, but it's true. Have you ever seen those commercials for anti-aging creme? Have you ever seen a man hawking such a product? Of course not! Men are allowed to age normally whereas women are expected to look as youthful as possible.

It's all bullshit of course but it doesn't stop us from feeding into it. Premature greying runs in my family. Supposedly my grandmother on my dad's side went completely grey by age 16. Of course she started dying her hair.

My sister started finding grey hairs around the same age and she was horrified. She would yank out any she would find. On the other hand, my dad has been grey for as long as I can remember. While some men might feel the need to dye their hair, my dad didn't. It hasn't hurt his career or his dating life after my mom passed.

I've always had a lax attitude towards beauty products. I've always looked younger than I am - once someone thought I was 13 when I was actually over 21. I don't wear makeup and I only color my hair for fun. Lately I've noticed that I'm starting to go grey myself but I'm not going to do anything about it because it's just a part of aging.

In part it's laziness. Putting on make-up takes time and I just don't care. In part it's money because I'd rather spend mine on other things rather than make-up. I am who I am, and that hasn't stopped me from landing a husband, so I'm good.

But I'm just a normal person so I can get away with that. Celebrities, especially women, seem to be pressured into staying as young as possible for their career. That's why so many celebrities get plastic surgery - to stay youthful looking. It doesn't always work.

One of my favorite book series touched on this. The Belgariad by David Eddings is a wonderful sword and sorcery series. In it, there are several magic users who are several thousand years old. Belgarath looks the part as an old man with wrinkles and grey hair, but his daughter Polgara looks to be mid-30's with black hair. When the young boy Garion asks Belgarath why Polgara doesn't look old, he replies that none would take a women who looks old seriously. Sadly this can be true even in our world.

I don't really have a solution to this issue but it's a real one. Hopefully I will still love myself as I continue to age and hopefully that will give at least my daughter a good role model for aging gracefully.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I'm still decompressing after the Browncoat Ball this past weekend. There will be a post coming on that, but I'd thought I'd post a little about Jamberry.

You may or may not have heard about Jamberry - they are nail wraps that come in a host of different designs. I actually heard of them years ago but I thought they were so sort of fake nails. In truth, they are really nail stickers.

A friend added me to her Jamberry party a while ago and I was able to get a sample. They were very cute and super easy to put on. I've tried doing nail art on my own and it always turns out pretty crappily. This way, I can have nail art without having to be artist myself.

They did last much longer than the painted nails. In the picture, the black and white nails are Jamberry. One of the things that I like most about Jamberry, is the fact that it takes so much less time to put on.

I got an accent sheet for agreeing to host a party in October. I used a couple of them for the Browncoat Ball. It took me maybe ten minutes to put the wraps on the four nails. To paint the rest of my nails, it took several hours to make sure they were all the way dry.

For the Ball, I was on the planning committee and spent Friday helping haul and set up. My painted nails didn't fair so well and started chipping by that afternoon. The Jamberry wraps still looked great all weekend.

With Jamberry, once they are on, I don't have to wait for them to dry. I can just go back to doing what I like to do - like work on my current cross stitch project. It's just another added benefit to me.

A friend of mine just started selling Jamberry so I volunteered to have a party. If you want to join in, get some free samples to try out for yourself, just follow the link. Jamberry is really wonderful and I can't wait to get more designs to try out.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cross Stitch and Technology

I'm not terribly crafty though I try to be. The hobby I enjoy the most is cross stitching. I started back when I was in high school - probably learned during Camp Fire Girls - but I don't remember exactly. I do remember stitching an elaborate Christmas scene for my mom one year. 

For the last few years, I've been working on a Christmas stocking for Emily. I finished that earlier this year and I found that the world of cross stitch has changed a bit. For one, there are a lot of legitimately free patterns out there to download. There are also several websites out there where you can turn your pictures into cross stitch patterns.

I got some patterns - ok a lot of patterns - and I printed some out. I am used to having a paper pattern to stitch from. I got a tablet for the first time this year, and I decided to put the pdf of the pattern I was working on onto the tablet.

Working from the tablet is wonderful! I can change the size so I can zoom in on the part of the pattern I'm working on. It took a while to get used to it, but I don't think I'll go back to papers. Even when I use a kit that isn't digital, I'll probably scan it so I can use it on my iPad.

Even though I've been cross stitching for nearly 20 years, it's nice when technology can make it easier!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Child Molestation

I want to say up front that I'm totally against child molestation. Because it's one of those things that is just plain wrong and I think that's something just about everyone can agree on. 

When I was in college, I did a lot of LARPing. LARP stands for Live Action Role Play. Most of the time I played Vampire: The Masquerade, but I did play in a Changling game for a while. There wasn't a lot of players but one was this shy guy who seemed really nice.

I considered him a friend until his room was raided and gigs of child porn was found on his computer. That made me feel icky by association. I'm not sure what happened to him, but I hope he got help.

The news broke yesterday that Stephen Collins who was the dad in 7th Heaven admitted to be a child molester. I feel extremely icky because I just met the man at Dragon Con a couple months ago. He was super nice and I was happy to meet him at that point because I love 7th Heaven. I don't think I'll ever be able to watch that show the same way again.

Like with my friend from college, I hope he gets help. But I hope his victims are able to get help as well. It's an awful, awful thing to do to a child.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 is Stressing Me Out!

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to have Emily's birthday at a local park. We had her birthday party outside before but I'm feeling more on edge this year.

I'm feeling stressed in part because I haven't gotten hardly any Yes RSVP's from her classmates and in part because the Browncoat Ball is looming and I have a lot I need to do for that. But the thing that is stressing me out most is the stupid 10 day forecast on the Weather Channel's mobile app.

The weather is one of the things that I can't control. And the forecast for the day of Emily's party keeps changing! It can change wildly from day to day and even hour to hour. They will say it will be nice and warm, or cloudy and cooler, or rainy and thunderstorm.

Right now, it's suppose nice and I'm praying that it stays that way. I also hope some kids show up to the party as well! Her church friends should be coming and that will make her happy as well as relatives from all over. Next year we are going to take a trip - birthday parties are too stressful for me!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Ghost Adventures - Office Ghosts

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I've been writing a series of my ghostly encounters. I've talked about how my basement felt haunted, dorm room spirit messages, and ghosts of the theaters I worked at. But the theaters weren't the only haunted places that I've worked at.

The first place I worked at after we moved to NC had a haunted women's bathroom. The first stall was always colder than the rest of the bathroom. And the door of that stall would slam shut on it's own. There were no windows in that room and it would happen when the door was closed.

I was only a temporary worker at that job. My next job was extremely haunted. I had a ton of experiences in the two years I work there.

Part of my job was taking pictures of custom woven products and I got a lot of spirit orbs in my pictures. My cube wasn't near a window at all and I'd take a bunch of pictures at a time. The orbs would only show up in a few of the pictures.

My first job with that company was customer service rep for a line of picture throws. It was a very popular gift at Christmas time so I volunteered to work after my shift in that department during the busy season. I was given permission to act as kind of a 2nd shift supervisor. I sat at the actual supervisor's desk and was able to access the email to address issues that way.

The rest of the 2nd shift reps were in an office in the back so I'd be alone in the front office. There was lot of voices and noises that would happen. The voice I heard most of the time in that area was a man's voice. I'd hightail it back to the other area where people were whenever the voices got too loud and scary.

My regular desk was on a different floor and I'd often just leave my coat and purse up at my desk. That floor was very haunted and this I knew because of the spirit orbs. The noises on that floor when I was the only one on that whole floor were terrifying. Loud bumps and voices - and the air was thick. It didn't feel good and I always hightailed it out of there as fast as I could.

Nowadays I do work still someplace haunted, but that's because I live in a haunted house!

Up Next - My Haunted House