Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Antics of Former Church Members

Hard to believe this is still a thing in modern society
One of the few advantages of living in a small Southern town is when members of your former church do stupid things you get to hear about it in nauseating detail ad nauseum.

One of my friends from the old church I'm still friends with, Leanna, who was also harassed by those at Possum Creek till she left along with others. Last week she shot me an IM asking me to pray for her. She's my age and she's not worked outside of the home in a very long time. She was getting ready to work for a mutual acquaintance that had a small printing company and Leanna wanted prayer that she'd be able to work full time again and handle her house and animals without having any more problems with her arthritis and other physical ailments.

Leanna has prayed for my various ailments that make it hard for me to work full time outside of the home for a couple of years now. We still regularly pray together. Plus we're able to be real with each other. I was telling her today that I was so done with sermons, completely over hearing anyone else's interpretation of the Bible. I'll read and form my own opinions, thank you very much!

Leanna was feeling very inadequate going into this job and she ended up only working a total of four hours. Why? Because Mrs. 5 by 5, the former church secretary (I sometimes refer to her as Mrs. Bz Body) who's office was gossip central at the Creek, also was working for this printing company along with another Creek gossip queen. They'd been ground central in getting Leanna out of the church, gossiping, cursing her out, slandering her, you name it, till Leanna and the other half of the church left. Then the tables turned on Mrs. 5 by 5 and she was given the same treatment, her and her family driven from the Creek.

Turns out as soon as Mrs. 5 by 5 and her pal heard that Leanna was coming on board to take over all the admin duties and data entry starting that morning that both Mrs. 5 by 5 and her minion left, quitting without giving any reason. I know it was because they hate Leanna.

Mr. Peter, the owner of the printing company found out after they left that Mrs. 5 by 5, her son and her pal, had been stealing from him once he tried to get into the books to start training Leanna. Because now he was short handed in the printing room and Leanna's husband is going into a slow time in his job Mr Peter asked if Leanna's husband wanted to come to work to help out with the printer jobs. Mr. Peter called in his retired wife, Miss Nancy to help he and Leanna go through the books and receipts to see if they could make sense of it.

By the end of the four hours Mr. Peter ended up sending Leanna home because he was going to have to bring in the accountant to see what was happening. Mr. Peter told Leanna that he'd call her in a few days to let her know when she and her husband could show up for work.

Turns out the thievery was so bad and the books so bungled that now Mr. Peter and Miss Nancy are going to have to work for at least six months with taking no pay in order to get the business back on stable financial ground. He cannot afford to pay Leanna to work for him. So she's out of a job, courtesy of Mrs. 5 by 5.

The whole time that Leanna is relating this tale she's begging me not to hold it against Mrs. 5 by 5 or be bitter at all towards that woman. Besides, she said, Mr. Peter is not going to have her prosecuted, in fact, he's forgiven her.

I have to say it. Mr. Peter is a fool! Mrs. 5 by 5 has a long reputation of workplace shenanigans and gossiping. She should be prosecuted! She's just about killed his business!

What he needs most is a good forensic accountant to sort all of this out and expose what she's done this time.

None of this changes my initial impression of the lady. My inner warning bells started going off just about the time she joined the church and morphed into super control freak mode.

My own history with Mrs. 5 by 5 goes way back to when she first joined out old church and she started campaigning to be the church secretary. She also took on the responsibility of organizing the high school senior honors banquet and all sorts of other thankless volunteer tasks.

The first time I ran afoul of her was when Jim and I had taken our turn providing the post-church refreshments. After everyone left we scrubbed up and left platters and other church dishes drying on the drain board only to get an angry phone call from Mrs. 5 on Wednesday night demanding we come back down to church and 'clean up our mess' right now!!!!

We got to the church and yes, there were a lot of dirty dishes and plates, but I pointed out to Mrs. 5 that we'd not used those things and that all the stuff we did use was still drying. Mrs. 5 started screaming at me, all insults and demands and I walked off lest I say something to her that I would regret.

Weeks later she came to me to say how sorry she was. Turns out there was a teen meeting on Tuesday night and all the dirty dishes and food grime was left from that. But in my mind the damage was already done since she's loudly shared with many people that she thought I'd not cleaned up after refreshments and she made no move to spread the word that some other group had done it. After that I always had to deal with random church goers reminding me to make sure I cleared up after refreshments and not do what I'd done before, which I hadn't done.

One thing she did that I did have fun sitting back and watching the consequences of was that she tried to enroll her daughter Mini-5 in the local Jr. Junior League. She wanted Mini-5 to be a debutante here in this small Southern town.

The funny of it was that Junior League here doesn't work at all like it does on Long Island, New York, where she's from. I heard through the grapevine that she made numerous attempts to join and didn't realize there wasn't one lady who is a part of that organization that was going to allow her entry. She doesn't have the correct pedigree, isn't part of the right social class, and as obnoxious as she is I could see that the local Old Guard would freeze her out for being in their view, a loud uncouth Yankee without manners.

The guardians of the Old South can be brutal.

They were to her, not actually banning her but making Mini and her so uncomfortable that they finally got the hint. She was upset and moaned about it quite a lot. It didn't help when she found out that Laura had been asked to join without me having to do or say a thing. I said no, because while proper manners are a good thing Laura already knew what fork to use and how to handle social situations without being part of the Cotillion.

Laura had no desire to do it, but one of her friends mother was the head of the local organization. That was the reason behind the invite, that and the fact that I'd been a member years ago. I absolutely hated it, but my mother forced me to go. In my day there was way too much snobbery and social class exclusionary hi-jinks going on. It was a giant drag in my mind. I hated wearing that stupid crinoline to learn how to waltz (which I understand they don't do any longer). I hated the over the top manners. I hated the tea dances. I hated the small talk. I just wanted to stay home and read or listen to music. To introverted me it was torture. Actually, no, I would have welcomed physical torture over Junior League shenanigans.

I'm glad Leanna shared with me what happened, because it means I must really avoid going to the local Starbucks now. Mini-5 has been bugging me to hire her to clean my house and do some painting of trim and I've waffled on it, saying maybe. The reason I haven't wanted to hire the girl, even if I like her, is that I don't want the mom anywhere near me or knowing anything about my family or me. If Mini starts pestering me I'm going to have to tell her I cannot hire her because of her loathsome mother.

This is why the unity of the body and forgiving someone that has wronged you doesn't mean you have to be in close fellowship with them. You're not called to martyr yourself for people that will hurt you again if they could. Forgive from a distance if you must, but do not allow these folks access into your life again.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Heck Of A Shitty Week

....  or women who poop their pants and the depressed men who love them on the next all new Maury show...

Haven't had the heart to post since the shocking news came out on Monday about the suicide of Robin Williams. I wasn't a huge fan of all of his movies, but there was just something about that guy that made you feel better knowing he was in this world.

I loved his turn on my old ex favorite television show "Homicide: Life on the Street". He played a grieving husband and father who's wife was gunned down right in front of him by a local thug. It was the first time I'd seen him play a dramatic part and it was impressive. It took him in my eyes from a one note guy, a comedian, to someone with depth and range, a whole canvas of different colors.

Hearing through the week the ignorant views of various folks in the world of Evangelical Christianity on suicide and depression put me on edge all week. It's a world I know way too much about considering Jim had bouts of major depression before it was discovered his depression was all because of a set of tumors on his parathyroid glands. Stones, bones, groans with psych overtones is how they teach it in medical school.

One day soon I'm going to sit down and detail all the different unhelpful nouthetics, criticisms, platitudes and judgement we dealt with in those years and how they made everything about the situation so much worse. But not today. I have too much on my plate to do that.

This week I've been dealing with doing a slight remodel/redecorate of my bedroom, dealing with some small plumbing issues and canning the massive amount of produce from the garden.

The fun part of all that was finding things like this photo of me from one of the Mardi Gras carnival balls dressed up as an angel fish to take part in the dance entertainment at the krewe ball. If that beehive hair do didn't cause it's own massive hole in the ozone layer I'd be surprised. The hair don't was the way my mother wore her hair in 1970 when this picture was taken and for every big event she'd drag my reluctant ass down to the hairdressers and have my long hair teased and tormented into this dreadful shape. I hated it then, I hate it now.

I took dance lessons for many years and this photo is, sadly enough, one of the few I have of my dance kid years. I tease my mother about my dance years, asking her why she didn't scream, yell and curse at the other mothers and the dance studio owner, telling her she was clearly 'not' a proper dance mom, like the ones shown on "Dance Moms" and then we both laugh.

This week has made me go into my 'dealing with stress' mode. Whenever I'm agitated I've always found that throwing myself into weeding, turning the soil, getting good and tired and dirty is better than any therapy or drug for me. And oh boy, have there been some stressers besides the death of Robin Williams. Yesterday was all sorts of crazy.

Jim has a cousin who's a member of the John Birch Society that makes the Tea Party people seem rational, loving and sane. He's recently decided to try and force me to see things his way on Facebook. He comments on many things I post in a hectoring, put-down, 'woman obey me' sort of way. It's been highly triggering because it's very much like the things that were done and said to me back when I first left my old church. Every single time he comments on something of mine I find myself grinding my teeth and sometimes deleting his comments. Last night he went into a crazy mode and I ended up telling him off and then unfriending/blocking him. I hated doing that to a relative, but... I do not tolerate abusive in the name of Christ any longer from anyone.

And while that was going on someone I worked with twenty five years ago started sending me very flirty private messages. I knew when I worked with him that he had a crush on me and that he was a dirty, low-down, cheating dog of a man. He's newly married and trying to score with me on the side. I haven't replied to any of his messages and yesterday evening I just went ahead and blocked him too.

These things didn't make what happened yesterday any more fun. My colitis is back, in the worst way. After I'd picked a five gallon bucket of grapes and did some major scrubbing of our deck and gazebo I decided to make a run to the local McDonalds for one of their frozen yogurt cones. Picture this, if you will, I'm sitting in the drivers seat of my older old lady big sedan, Grandma's Bitchin' Buick Burnout, dressed in a cute sundress and sandals, hair nice, slight makeup, pretty sandals, waiting to pay in the drivethru line.... when suddenly I shart myself! So I'm sitting there, in what feels like a full diaper, trying to keep a straight face while I'm paying the kid I know in the drivethru cash stand and pulling up to the pickup window fervently praying that the smell isn't seeping out to smack these kids in the face. I drove home, almost wrecking twice, thinking how horrible it would be if I did or I got pulled over because it would be obvious to everyone.. when I got home I did something I almost never do, pulled the car into the garage, furiously punching the button on the garage door remote to lower the garage door completely before I jumped out screaming, throwing aside my froyo to run into the laundry room from the garage to strip my clothes off and put them into the washer to soak and running down the hall to the downstairs bath.

One shower later and scrubbing the seat of the car both of these guys decided to mess with me, not knowing I was already pretty messed up.

Remember all those commercials for Colitis meds where the guy is keeping track of where the restrooms are? That's my life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Evangelical Good Christian Men Are So Fragile They Cannot Handle Pushback Of Any Kind?

Homemade Mojito Jelly from mint in the garden

Over at NLQ in the past few weeks it seems like many of the pieces I'm publishing have to do with not asking for your needs to be met, not disagreeing with your husband's financial decisions or anything else or they will cease to love you or fall victim to the devil.

I really don't get that. Especially when it comes to spending money, major and minor purchases. Debi Pearl has stated in her book "Created To Be His Help Meet" that you should never ever under any circumstance voice an opinion on the spending of family funds. According to her the question below is one no wife should ever ask her husband....
1. Do you feel comfortable spending that much money buying that ____?He begins to doubt his ability to make wise decisions.
What? Are all the males she knows so emotionally delicate that the mere act of asking a simple question destroys their ability to make decisions?

And from the same book a question from a reader and Debi's response. First the question:
 Last week my husband went to buy a new stove that we badly needed. He picked out a top-of-the-line stove and was willing to spend too much money in order to have the best. He called and asked me to go look at it and let him know what I thought. I shared my deep concern that it was simply too expensive. We do have the money, but I saw no need to buy the best, when the next scale down would do just as well. He called and told me that he had canceled the order and bought the one I recommended. We both felt better with what I picked out. Should I have kept my mouth shut? I didn’t tell him NOT to get it. I just thought it unwise to spend money unnecessarily. Do wives have to submit in everything? For example, what color to point the walls or what kind of furniture to have? Are we to be just mindless robots?
And now Debi's answer:
Your husband’s choice of stoves is a statement that he is trying to express his great appreciation of you and to please and delight you. Your countermanding his choice, even if it were a better choice, speaks to him about how little you value him, more than it does about how you value the dollar.
This speaks more to the fractured and sick relationship Debi and Michael Pearl have, not to the day to day realities of living in a partnership with another human being. In healthy marriages there are discussions, moments of disagreement and compromise, not slavish bowing down to another while burying your resentments and later taking out your frustrations on others who don't deserve it. Debi takes out her frustrations that come from bowing to the petty unwise tin-plated dictator of her husband on all her readers. Her advice is like toxic waste and will destroy everything it touches.

I thought about her advice this weekend when Jim and I went to do our monthly Costco run together. Before we got to Costco Jim wanted to stop at Best Buy to look at a few things. When we got there he decided he wanted the auto stereo guys to take a look at the ancient stereo in my car. It could not be fixed and they quoted him a price of about $200 dollars to replace it with an upgraded model.

Jim wanted to immediately replace my stereo but I told him first of all I'm not that concerned with having a working CD player in my car since I listen to the local classical music radio station in the car and would likely would still spend 90% of my time listening to the same station even if I had a working CD player. Plus I didn't think spending $200 dollars right now was a wise decision since we're just now recovering from the tight financial circumstances of paying two children's way through college. Last month was the first month that my entire paycheck didn't go to pay living expenses for our daughter. I'd rather use that $200 towards getting our new dishwasher installed by the plumber. I did tell him that when a birthday or Christmas rolled around and he was stuck not knowing what to get me that the stereo might be a good gift.

I know he really wants it in my car. He mentioned it a couple of times on our trip. I'm indifferent. I'd just as soon listen to WETA on my radio.

I didn't say no, I just pointed out that it wasn't a very wise use of funds right now. According to Debi Pearl I was all disrespectful and rebellious. Nope, I was practical. Just like I'm practical and thrifty when I grow the big garden and can every summer or this week when I took care of three small plumbing situations that would have cost around $150 each to get an plumber out to fix.

Jim is usually much more tight with a buck than I am, so this offering to spend some dollars to put in a new stereo system was a big thing. But he did realize that I have our combined financial health in mind. That's healthy, that's not disrespecting your husband.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Karmic Alignment Coda #1

While I was out picking my garden and buying canning lids apparently Lynette has been venting again. Newest.

"You are not going to believe this one!!! My step-fathers family just contacted me and asked me if my step dad had insurance that paid off my car in the event of his death. I hit the ceiling. I said what kind of idiot are you to think that he had anything to do with my finances or my car??? I financed my car, I pay for my car, who the hell do you people think you are? They are pure evil. They disgust me and make me feel like I can't trust anyone."

And this part makes me almost laugh..
"They disgust me and make me feel like I can't trust anyone."

Unfortunately I know how she feels on that one after she basically shredded the lines of communication between myself and my eldest child. 

Karma is really a bitch. The kind compassionate side of me wants to contact her and tell her how sorry I am, but the evil side is saying "Ha-Ha!" in Nelson Munce's voice. I'm staying out of this but am getting ready to make popcorn and sit off to the side watching. This is why you don't fuck everyone in your world over. You end up alone and up that creek with a termite-ridden paddle.

Edited to add - 8:00 pm est: Now Lynette is starting to scare me! Irrational folks like Lynette have no business with weapons. 

they emailed actually. I'm trying to wait until I move and then change all email accounts, phone numbers, everything.

tried that blocking, then they just use a different phone. these are sick people. that's why I have a gun and will use it to defend myself.

Fear Looks Very Different With Time and Tide Part 2

So last night I was talking about my fears as a child of being taken to Madame Lalaurie's home with the spooky haunty nature of it. I know I didn't say very well how that related to watching a relative get spanked with the karma stick and how realizing I had to cut them out of my life earlier because they were toxic and stirring up fear and what not.

The relative is my ex-sister-in-law Lynette.

Let me backtrack here and explain my first, short, ill-fated marriage.

When I was all of a over-developed sixteen year old girl living for rock and roll and good times I fell in love, or at least I thought I did, for the first time. His name was Dan and Dan was a trombonist/banjo picker/guitarist/bassist with a local rock and roll band. I should have known better because at one point during my adolescence Dan and I attended the same school and Dan would tell very tall tales, like the time he showed up swathed in bandages claiming that there had been a cougar under his bed that popped out and mauled him in his sleep. But lust, hormones and teenage stupidity ignored the the red flags the size of Bermuda and we eloped a mere twelve days after my 16th birthday. Yep, I married the guy that lied about a swamp cougar mauling. Plus a few other things and continued to lie like a cheap threadbare rug.

Example: While I was giving birth to our daughter he was out getting drunk with pals, came back to the hospital reeking of cheap booze and tried to give me some story about a never ended Monopoly game with pals. I had to ask him if it was 'do a shot' Monopoly. He stuck to his story but I knew better. Dan hardened me to liars, manipulators and game players by his actions, like the time he disappeared for a week and blamed it on some sort of long acid trip he did because he found out he had cancer. He had cancer like I have a scrotum.

I guess I thought at first that the red flags were celebratory. Later I realized they were more like that Lost in Space robot trying to keep me out of the clutches of life-sucking aliens.

I was very quickly pregnant and tried to settle into his family. There was just one problem. His widowed mother, the lady that always enabled him over his wild claims and musical profession, hated me with the passion of a million super novas. I was 'not good' enough for her only son. Mix in my general lack of any maturity that wasn't physical and the fact that I'd been pretty much abandoned by my parents for several years before, Dan's 'creative' handle on the truth and teenage love and you have the potential for some pretty crazy goat rodeo happenings. Which did, regularly.

One of the good things to come out of our marriage was my friendship with his younger sister Lynette. Lynette and I were good friends for much longer than Dan and I were married. But we drifted out of touch until the advent of the internet and Facebook.

Dan and I didn't stay married more than a couple of years. Which was unfortunate because after years of barely seeing his daughter he suddenly morphed into the doting father once our daughter turned 14 years old. Which turns out to be the exact moment when Margaret, our daughter, started rebelling against me.

From that moment on Dan would tell Margaret things like I'd broken up the marriage and divorced him, purposely breaking up our happy home because I wanted someone with more money, or other wild claims.

I tried telling her the truth when he'd spout lies, like I'd realized I'd never loved Dan, our marriage was a huge mistake and I wanted more out of life than rock and roll hootchie coo. I was tired of catching Dan in groupies beds, tired of worrying he would give me an STD, tired of his drinking and drugging, tired of his lies. Having Margaret had forced me to grow up, take life more seriously and start moving towards a future, knowing if I stayed with Dan I'd remain stuck in this nightmare.

The day that Dan came home from a gig so drunk that he hit his head on the toilet, cracking it in two before passing out covered with vomit and then promptly shit his pants was the day that I decided that this was it. I could take no more.

Margaret was under two years old when we split so she has no memory of our marriage, she only knows all the rotten things Dan said about me. That's done a number of my relationship with Margaret, it's been fraught with all sorts of accusations and drama from Margaret. Nothing I've said or done has helped. She still blames me for everything that has gone wrong with her life. Several years ago it was discovered that Margaret was bipolar. The medication has helped but she's still in the "blame everyone else in my life but me for my mistakes" mode.

I admit I've made some mistakes raising Margaret. Everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect, but I'm not the egotistical monster she's made me out to be based on the lies her father tells. I've offered to go to counseling with her and other solutions but she has refused, preferring to blame me for her life even if I've always been at her beck and call. I babysit my grandkids when she was in the bind, missed work to take care of her post-surgery for several days and countless other things.

So... my point. yeah, what was it? Okay. Last fall once Lynette and I because internet pals she and I had a conversation about Margaret and Margaret's eldest daughter she has custody of, Sindy, Sindy is also bipolar, 12 years old and had started giving Margaret all sorts of grief, behaving like her mother does towards me. Karma is such a bitch.

Sindy and Margaret were struggling with med levels and talk therapy and this and that. Several times last fall I dropped everything I was doing for work to be there for the kids while Margaret and her husband dealt with school counselors and IEP, social workers, psychiatrists, etc. I even supported Margaret when she started wanting to put Sindy in a kids residential treatment center because I believed and still believe that some space and distance between Margaret and Sindy would help defuse the situation.

One evening Lynette and I were talking on instant messenger. She asked me about Margaret and Sindy and I shared my thoughts and concerns, mostly that I was worried about the escalating physical violence Sindy was showing towards her mother and younger sister. Nothing earth shattering, nothing I hadn't already said to Margaret, right? Then Lynette and I went on to take about all sorts of things. I thought we'd reconnected again.

Three weeks go by with no contact from Margaret. I call her up and she cusses me out saying we cannot have a relationship if I keep 'gossiping' about her. I can't figure out what she's talking about until it comes out that Lynette has been calling her, exaggerating everything about our conversation and nagging Margaret about things, talking trash about me. I've never said one negative word about Lynette to anyone in all these years.

I was pretty upset that Lynette twisted everything about our conversation, pulled up a copy and emailed it to Margaret. She calmed down and started telling me that Dan and his other sister are having issues with Lynette, that Lynette is mentally ill, on disability for mental illness and controlling all access to their dementia-addled mother in a nursing home. Lynette will not allow them to see the mother or talk to her. Plus Lynette was living in the house with her elderly step-father Timmy sponging off him, controlling who he talked with.

I took all this information with a huge boulder of salt because, well, really, Dan has told so many lies and exaggerations that this sounds like just more of the same. I stopped speaking to Lynette at all, because the last thing I wanted was to make my unwell daughter even more unwell.

Didn't matter, Lynette started copying and pasting my Facebook statuses to Margaret claiming that they were all about Margaret, which none of them were. So Margaret called me, said a huge number of things that were completely untrue and very hurtful before telling me she did not want to ever speak to me again.

By this time I've reached a level of fatigue in my relationship with Margaret and said while I didn't agree with her decision to have a nice life. That was back in November and the ensuing months since last speaking with Margaret have been blissfully drama free. No fear, no dread every time the phone rang, sweet peace. Laura still stays in contact with Margaret and has told me that the situation with Sindy is much worse. I'm staying out of it all since I'm the designated bad guy all the way around.

If you had ever told me there would come a time that being in relationship with my daughter would be too painful to accomplish I would have never believed it. Yet, that's exactly what has happened. I've spent many a long night searching my mind and soul to see where I went wrong and I've had to lay much of the blame for her turning against me at the feet of my ex Dan.

This week I got to see Lynette reap what she'd sown in the worst way. Timmy died and within hours his natural daughter got an eviction notice from the courts tossing Lynette out, turned off all the utilities and took legal steps to keep Lynette from inheriting anything. Lynette supposedly has a will that says she gets the house. Court has ordered her out. I'm sad she's going to be homeless if she doesn't get into an apartment in the next week but I cannot help but feel like the universe has dealt out some small measure of justice.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Fear Looks Very Different With Time and Tide

When I was a small child growing up in South Louisiana I was terrified that Madame Lalaurie was going to get me. I had nightmares for months and whenever I would misbehave my parents would tell me that they were taking me to Madame Lalaurie's home on Royal St. in New Orleans.

Who is Madame Lalaurie and how did I develop an insane fear of her and her home?

Someone, possibly one of my more inebriated relatives, decided to take me at a young impressionable early grade school age to take me to the New Orleans Wax Museum located in the Musee Conti. Wonderful parenting decision as usual. It scared the crap out of me.

Look at this stuff and tell me you wouldn't be having nightmares as a six or seven year old.

The Battle of New Orleans scene frightened me because one of the wounded soldier wax figures was rigged with a cloth shirt front and device to make it go up and down like he was gasping for breath with recorded sound of gasping. Many nightmares. And I was pretty sheltered as a child and was sensitive so this was pretty much one of the most 'Do Not Want' places I could have been taken in the city. 

But the worst of it was the tableaux of Madame Lalaurie torturing her slaves.

Let's look a little closer at this scene.

Yeah, the stuff of many nightmares. Of all the displays there this is the one that struck fear in my six year old heart. 

Madame Lalaurie was a wealthy society lady in New Orleans whose home on Royal St. in the French Quarter caught on fire in 1834 (I think) and once the fire department arrived they found a gruesome display of slaves being tortured and starved to death in a secret attic garret. Locals gathered and the crowd got ugly, tearing apart the house, smashing windows and wrecking the entire joint. Lalaurie escaped to Paris and lived in Gay Paree to a ripe old age before being brought back to New Orleans and buried. 

Local legend holds that the house is haunted with the screams of tormented slaves and the laughter of children and the tale of what happened has been heavily exagerrated through the years to say Lalaurie did things such as loop their own intestines around the necks and waists of the slaves and other more gruesome things. No proof at all to most of what's been said about Madame Lalaurie.

But as a kid all it took to make me behave was being told I would be taken to Madame Lalauries home and left with all the dead slaves and children. Fortunately no one ever followed through.

On our honeymoon Jim insisted we visit the wax museum and I was surprised to see that stuff of my childhood dreads and nightmares was merely cheesy, worn and pathetic, holding not one shred of horror any longer. I came out saying, "I was afraid of THAT?" shaking my head and laughing at how silly this all was, how I'd built it up in my mind.

Just like my revisiting Musee Conti and discovering that my worst fears were peeling paint and fading fabric, not flesh and blood, so this week I discovered that stepping away from bad situations and toxic people reduces your fears to something laughable. This week I've watched a toxic relation I've had to step away from get their comeuppance for their own behavior and I've had no part of it. Why did I ever allow them to manipulate me and drive me into a state of fear in the first place?

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Third Person in the Hotel Room With Us

A friend of mine with interest in the paranormal asked me to go into greater detail about my ghostly encounter on our trip. Here it is. I have researched the name I got and found the person. They died about a year ago and were buried next door to the hotel.

My experiences with the paranormal are the main thing that keep me from going full-bore atheist. I've just seen and experienced too much from the other side not to believe there is ultimate good and ultimate evil out there.


We'd spent the night in a pretty average hotel in Bluefield, Virginia, a town crammed in that southwest part of Virginia that touches coal country in West Virginia and is a stone's throw from Kentucky. A Comfort Inn, newly remodeled, and crammed to the gills with people.

Instead of going out for dinner Jim and I went for a brief swim in the pool behind the hotel. Lots of people, kids, noise, splashing and booze. Not my kind of scene so I went right back to the room after a few minutes in the tiny pool. On the looming mountainside behind the hotel I saw a herd of deer as I walked back to my room. Took a shower, checked emails and went to bed.

Didn't realize at that time that our room was a mere 40 feet from a large cemetery dating back to Civil War times. Saw this the next morning.

Let me preface my story by telling you that I've always seen and heard from dead people, ever since I was three years old and saw a Civil War soldier brandishing a sword in front of our house in Birmingham, Alabama. My dad worked for a year in the early sixties for a finance company in Birmingham. My parents did not believe me, they were quick to tell me I'd been dreaming. But I hadn't. I remember that man still very clearly over fifty years later.

And it didn't stop there. The dead will appear to me at the oddest times. I never go looking for them, but I've been in a local Civil War museum and had Colonel Hooker appear and tell me that he's hopping mad his name is used as slang for prostitutes. I've seen/heard/talked to dead folks for a long time. Most of the time they seem merely determined for someone, anyone to acknowledge their presence.

I think my son sees the dead too but he has started to deny it and turn a blind eye to it. One night we were out driving home from a bigger city after midnight and both saw the same thing, a small squad of men in Civil War uniforms emerging from the woods in the light of our car headlights and we both said, “Did you see that!” and talked about it all night. Now his mind is closed to it because he believes only in rationality and intellect. He has chosen to tune out.

I envy him the ability to tune it out because I can't always do that. A weekend in Galveston, Texas was horrifying because I could not tune it out and hundreds of the dead appeared to me that weekend in my early twenties. I had no knowledge at the time that a hurricane had roared through Galveston back in 1905 and killed over ten thousand people on the island. I kept seeing them everywhere. Now I know why and avoid places with high death counts from traumatic events.

Back to the night of Saturday, July 26, 2014. I felt nothing in that bland hotel room and since I've left the world of Christian Evangelicalism Mysticism I did not do my old ritual, anoint the room with oil and tell anything spiritual not good and not straight from God to scram. I did nothing like that, I didn't open my Bible, I didn't pray a prayer of protection. Plugged in both lap tops and cell phones into the desk at the foot of my bed.

Because the reservation had been for double beds since their rooms with a king sized bed were booked my husband Jim and I did like we always do when traveling and confronted with double beds. I took the bed on the left and he took the bed on the right, the same sides we always sleep on. I climbed into bed around 10 pm and immediately fell asleep. Long day and I was tired.

Around midnight I awoke with a start, I'd heard a voice and someone had sat down on my bed. I lay perfectly still but whoever was on the bed would move occasionally and started tugging the covers over my leg or tapping my leg.

I'd awoken with the same physical symptoms I always get in the presence of the paranormal, sick to my stomach with pounding head and belly pains. I get that way whenever I'm in a high EMF (electrical) field.

Have to admit I was sort of pissed off. Here I am, on vacation, and some dead person is bugging me. I turned over, determined to do like Andy my son and turn it off. Didn't happen. The more I tried to ignore this being the more it was determined to attract my attention. It increased tapping my leg, pulling on the covers and moving around the bed.

Finally after an hour of trying to ignore this thing and sleep, switching positions, moving into the bathroom and an attempt to get into the bed with Jim I gave up. Started talking to the being.

He gave me his name, first name Shawn, very insistent that it was Shawn, spelled that way. I got a last name too. In his 30s-40s, middle aged, open honest looking face but in terrible pain to the left hip and ribs. I saw that he'd been stabbed or shot in a fight in the parking lot of a local bar. No witnesses and no one had been arrested for his murder. I saw him, I saw the man that stabbed.shot him very clearly.

I asked him a couple of times what he wanted, did he know he was dead, why was he telling me this. He seemed to only want me to hear him, acknowledge his presence, his life and death. It mattered to him that someone know the truth. After that he faded, left the room and my headache, stomach ache and nausea stopped cold.

It took me quite some time after he left to get to sleep. Checking the lap tops and cells at the foot of the bed even if they'd been charging about three hours at that point the batteries had been completely drained. That explained to me how he managed to get enough energy together to manifest so fully and wake me up.

The next morning during breakfast I saw the graveyard. Went out and walked around but I didn't have time to look at every grave. Didn't see a grave for a Shawn. I also asked the hotel clerks if there had been any reports of the paranormal in our room 209. She said no.

When we got home I did some searching in crime reports, newspapers in that area with the names he'd given me and found him. He'd been stabbed and died a few days later at the local hospital without gaining consciousness while surrounded by his family. I saw a photo of him in his obituary and it's the same guy I saw.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the information because I don't want to be contacting the cops in that town and be treated like a flaming crackpot. What I'm considering doing is contacting the family. The family names were listed in the obit and I looked them up, finding a mailing address. I'm thinking about writing them and letting them know what he said about his killer and they can pass it on to the police or not.

After that I've gone back to blessing and anointing my hotel rooms again. I hate functioning on that little sleep for any reason.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Appearances Can Be Deceiving or Revealing (or Loony Altoony)

After leaving Lansing, Michigan and Big Joe we moved to the home of Jim's best friend since elementary school, Jerry and Jerry's second wife Mary. They live in a beautiful house nearby the GM Proving Grounds. Set on multiple acres, four levels, many bedrooms and bathrooms. We really enjoyed our hours sitting on the deck that wraps around the house sunning, relaxing and reading. But I have to admit I was also uncomfortable with it too, because of what it represents.

It represents to me Veneered Poverty, something I witnessed more than a few times in my old church. It's like slapping a layer of burled oak veneer on top of cruddy knotty old wood. Looks nice, till you get up close and realize what lays beneath.

I've known both of them for thirty years and I know that their big fancy house is deceiving. In my eyes the way that Jerry and Mary have lived their lives just rubs me the wrong way. No, not rubs the wrong way, it horrifies me.

 As long as I've known them this couple has spent down to the last dime with no thought of tomorrow. Refinanced their original home many times, ran up the credit cards and each worked two jobs to be able to afford the trappings of a successful life, lavish vacations, redecorating the house every few years, new cars, all of the keeping up with the Jones accouterments of The Good Life.

Three years ago everything came crashing down. They lost the house, they declared bankruptcy and started working more hours. This house they are in is a rental, renting at well, well, WELL below market value because the owners are good friends and could not sell the place when the husband was transferred to another area. The owners paid it off years ago, so whatever rental they can get is gravy, plus they are helping out friends and fellow church members.

I'm glad they have a nice place to stay but I don't envy Mary having to clean a house twice as big as mine with four floors. When Mary and I had lunch together one day she started telling me about how she wants a small condo, that's what she wants to buy, and to stop working two jobs, live within their means very simply, so that she can enjoy the rest of her life. Her mother and four sisters died around the same age, about ten years old than she is now and I could see what Mary is thinking, that she doesn't have much time left and is determined to enjoy it.

The problem is that I see no change in how they spend money and in the two jobs/long hours. Plus, their youngest daughter, 25 years old who acts like a 12 year old spoiled brat, moved in with them. Looks like more the same old that got them in trouble in the first place. Mary, seems to 'get' it, but doesn't seem to be able to make the necessary changes to climb out of the hole.

I cannot imagine because that close to sixty and having to scrabble so hard with no idea how you were going to pay for retirement. Sad situation.

The last night of our trip was Jim's high school unofficial reunion. I was curious as to how this was going to turn out considering the last eight weeks before the reunion Jim and the other reunion committee members were fighting with the lady in charge. She booked the Marriott for the reunion without asking anyone on the committee's opinion and then telling them tough titty if they didn't like it. She set it up as open bar and steaks at a hundred bucks a head. Jim went around behind her back and convinced just about everyone to boycott the dinner. The reunion ended up ala carte at a local sports bar, much less nice, but much more budget friendly.

I had a good time, with one exception. Jim has an old friend named T-Bone. T-Bone is sort of one of those guys that was extremely 'uncool' in high school and the years haven't improved him much. I've always felt sort of sorry for T-Bone, because he wasn't Mr. Personality or much to look at, so many of the women he attracted seemed to be more interested in his wallet than anything else. The last reunion I attended he brought this lady from his work (he works at the Sara Lee pie factory). His date, Delores, wasted no time telling us how she'd left her no count husband for T-Bone, all the while hammering down the booze and smoking. Between the things she said, did, wore and the way she looked I didn't want anything to do with her.

Delores still lives with him, but in his basement. T-Bone didn't bring her to the reunion, he brought his new fiancee, who is my age and on disability for arthritis. Her name is Ethel. Shortly after introducing us to Ethel T-Bone invited us to his wedding in two weeks up in Altoona, Pa. He told us he really didn't want to get married for a third time but Ethel was insisting on it, so he decided she was okay enough for now, at least until something better came along.

 He said this IN FRONT OF ETHEL!?!?!... and then went on to say lots of other ugly things in front of Ethel. Ethel spent the evening downing beers like prohibition was looming and trying not to cry. By the end of the evening she was falling down drunk. Sadly enough, so were several others from the Class of 1969,

Both Jim and I were shocked by T-Bones words and behavior and have agreed we're not going to the wedding because neither of us wants to give any appearance of approval. That's without taking into account the couple met online in late April, met face to face Memorial Day weekend and immediately moved in together and got engaged. It just seems like they're rushing it a bit. I'm afraid for Ethel because it's pretty obvious she's decided to ignore every red flag and rush in, while T-Bone is saying things that indicate this union is doomed from the start. Someone is going to get hurt.

It's made me realize that T-Bone isn't the hapless victim I always thought he was. He uses his money (and he has quite a bit of inherited money) to manipulate and control the ladies in his life. Many guys with money use it to control their partners, that's a lesson I learned with the guy I dated before Jim. He was a millionaire owner of a oil field supply company, and he saw nothing wrong with attempting to control every aspect of my life. I dumped him quickly, to my mother's horror, because I wasn't prepared to be criticized by and have to kowcow to any man.

Why do male-female relationships have to be so complex? It makes me happy that these aren't problems Jim and I have, even if our relationship isn't perfect by any long shot. Money can really gum things up.