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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ghost Story #11 - Grand Finale

This is my sister again, in her own words:

Years ago when I was in my late twenties, and married, I lived in a little house in the country.  Lots of strange things happened in this much in fact, I couldn't get a babysitter anymore.  If I got them once, they never wanted to come back!  So my sister, Dana, who was VERY good at reading tarot cards, said why don't we read the cards for the house.  I was game so we took a deck of regular playing cards. (you can use regular cards in place of tarot, but I do not know how this is done since you really only get the minor arcana)  

In the upper right corner she put a red "X" on each card and made them so they were all aligned.  She had me cut the cards a couple times and then told me to put them on the ledge leading down the basement stairs.  I did, and then came back into the kitchen.
A word about how the house was laid out.  The kitchen had a door which opened and there were 4 or 5 stairs leading down to a landing.  The stairs to the basement were on your left and another door (which led to the back porch) was right in front of you. Along the wall to the basement stairs was a ledge about 5 inches deep and it was there I put the cards. 
After 10 minutes or so my sister told me to get the cards.  I went down and was going to grab  the cards when I FREAKED OUT!  The cards were all messed up.  Some turned upside down (remember the red X?) and some flipped over.  I was hysterical...crying and sobbing because I knew no one alive had touched those cards.  

When I calmed down my sister read the cards and said that an older woman lived in the house with her very mean husband.  He was gone alot and she was left on her own.  She apparently died coming up the basements steps one time when he was gone.  Now I have no way to know if that's true or not and the house has since burned to the ground!  

But every single day I was in that house something creepy happened.  Even in broad daylight!  I could tell you 50 stories about my time in that house, but after the cards, I convinced my husband we needed to move and we did.  Thank God!


And that concludes our week (and a half) of spooky stories.  Hope you were entertained!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pardon the Interruption

I don't know how I did it...but on a whim (see it pays to listen to those voices in your head) I decided to try my wireless and all of a sudden it's working again. 

I'm so excited I could like spit or something....

But I'll just settle for a rowdy


Ghost Story #10

By chance, just before my second daughter was born, I heard about pennies from heaven.  It was in the Dear Abby column, and a reader was sharing her experience.  Essentially, there are those who believe when you find a penny - especially in an unusual spot or under strange circumstances - that it is a sign that a loved one who has crossed over is thinking of you.

One night, when my daughter was only a few days old, I was up at 2 a.m. to feed/change her. When I opened up her diaper I was shocked to find three pennies in there.  I don't know if it was my dad, if it was the spirit of the woman in that house or just a really odd coincidence.  


There haven't been many strange things happening since we moved into our new house.  Though after we first moved in, I would see a lot of lights/shadows out of the corner of my eye, but when I turned my head it was gone. I chalked this up to a new house and maybe passing cars outside reflecting the light in weird ways.  

One night at the kids' bed time I was downstairs to pick one of them up and manually carry them to their room.  I noticed a ball of golden light "dancing" around the curtains.  Bigger than a golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball.  It moved around the room rather erratically.  I didn't say anything (didn't want the kids freaking out), just carried the little one up the stairs.  When I went into her room, the ball of light was there.  It wiggled around in mid air a bit then disappeared.  Never saw it again, and the light/shadow thing out of the corner of my eye disappeared, too.


When I was little (say 10 - 14) we lived in an old house (100+ years) that had been completely renovated.  One night I was shaking out a sheet to sleep on the living room floor (old house, no air conditioning so it too hot to sleep upstairs).  I got this mental image of a blonde man leaning on the back of the rocking chair looking at me.  Scared the bleep out of me.  In retrospect, he wasn't at all threatening, just stood there watching me.  Mom let me lay in her bed that night (hers was on the first floor).

Soon, though, I didn't want anything to DO with her room.  I was in there reading a book one night and I kept hearing this tapping noise.  At this point, I didn't know the house was haunted.  I thought at first it was my dad's old fashioned alarm clock ticking, but I could hear that AND this other tapping. It sounded like it was coming from the wall. I went to tell my mom I was hearing weird noises and she and my sister exchanged a look -- this sort of thing had happened before, apparently.  That's when I heard that one night when Mom was going to bed (and she stayed up until 2 or 3 all the time) she opened her bedroom door to discover her clock was FLOATING several feet above the table.  She slammed it back down and dove into bed.


Tomorrow, for my grand finale, I'm sharing another story of my sister's -- one of my favorites -- and probably the spookiest of the bunch.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ghost Story #9 - Another Guest

I originally intended to post a ghost story from each of my siblings.  As it worked out though, of the 5 only 2 sent me anything.  Worked out okay, I had plenty of filler from my own memory banks.  This one is from my brother. 


Here's one for divine intervention:

Back in the early 90's when I was a school cop, I had to go to work early (about 4:00 AM) in order to catch up with arrest reports.  

On my way to work, I stopped by the bank to drop off a payment.  It was pitch black and there wasn't a soul around.  I placed my payment in the drop box, got in my truck and entered the payment in my checkbook.  

As soon as I finished, I put the truck in gear and hit the gas.  My engine died immediately and I looked up to find a homeless person standing right in front of my hood.  Had the engine not died, he would have been flattened like a pancake.  

There are so many more weird things my siblings could tell you.  I'll have to work on them to see if I can get any more stories out of them.

When I was really young (5-10), we had more kids in the house than we had beds.  I usually slept on the couch until a bed opened up because someone was spending the night at a friend's house.  On one of these nights, I had my brother's bunk bed.  In the middle of the night, my other brother (I'm #6 in case you're wondering) woke me up when he crawled into my bed.  He woke up to find a woman opening and closing his dresser drawers and he was freaked out.

Mom said later it was his grandma telling him it was time to clean.  Mom had seen her before looking into the garbage can in the kitchen, of all things. 

Just two days left and we're back to regularly scheduled programming around here. Will have to find something really mockable for Mock Me Monday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ghost Story #8 - More Dreams

I'm not sure that you would call these ghost stories in the strictest sense of the word, but they do fall into the weird Halloween Paranormal-ish experience.

While I have very vivid dreams, I don't have bad ones often.  A bad dream for me is getting into an argument with someone.  If a 'bad guy' is chasing me I can usually alter the dream so they either aren't bad or I can fly or somehow eliminate the threat.  

I don't have nightmares though.  Never have.  Right after high school my best friend and I had started playing with the Ouija board.  I didn't know anything about it back then, it was just fun.  My mom had even planned to use it with me one night but I got one of the worst stomach viruses I've ever had. (coincidence?)  By the time I was better, Mom's days off were over and she had to go back to work so we never did get the chance to play with it together.  

Not long after we started playing with the thing, I started having HORRIBLE nightmares...all centered around the Ouija board.  Mostly, I was haunted in these dreams, but the worst one had a portal open while we were playing with it and there were these terrifying creatures trying to come through. Finally, in the midst of this dream, I promised never to use the board again. The dream stopped right then and I never had another one.  But then, I've never used another board again either. 

A few weeks later, I flew to my sister's house for a few weeks.  My brother called me all ticked off asking what I'd done with the planchette (the part that moves around)--it was missing.  We'd had this board for more than ten years and it survived three major moves.  It had been in its box in my closet before I left, but when he went to retrieve it, the only thing in the box was the board...the planchette was gone and we never did find it.

The only other moderately distressing dream I ever had was years later, after I was married. I don't remember WHAT I found disturbing, I just remember feeling very stressed and scared.

In the middle of this horrible dream, the brightest white light appeared.  Immediately, I was calmed and reassured.  It was the greatest feeling of love and acceptance I've ever known.  And then, the light told me what my purpose was--why I was here.  It made complete and total sense. But when I woke up, I couldn't remember anything but that overwhelming feeling of love.  I really wish I could remember what my purpose I could see how I was measuring up!


When I was visiting my sister on the trip I mentioned above, I would say over breakfast every morning, "I had the weirdest dream last night" and I'd crack everyone up with my strange imagery and antics. One night in the middle of an odd dream, I crawled into a sleeping bag in the middle of the desert and had another dream (Inception anyone?).  In this 2nd dream, my grandpa (who had died 2-3 years before) came to me SMOKING and warned me about potential problems with my dad.  We got a good laugh out of this.  My grandpa had been a Methodist minister and certainly didn't drink or smoke or do anything like that.

Once I flew back home, my other sister took me aside and mentioned some serious things going on with Dad.  When I mentioned the dream to my mom, she told me that her father HAD smoked a pipe at one time and that he sometimes admitted to missing it.


I'm going to try really hard to compile the Worst Day Ever entries this weekend, so if you haven't sent me an entry yet you still have time!  Send me a real or fictional account to MissVSpeaks(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ghost Story #7 - Dreams

I have always had very vivid dreams.  I usually remember them, though sometimes it comes back to me in a rush during an odd moment of my day.  Over the years I've classified my dreams into three general categories.  There are the regular, run-of-the-mill dreams.  Where I can fly or I'm stuck in high school and can't remember my locker combination.  Then there are my 'movie' dreams where I have very long, complex dreams that would make great movies/books.  And then there are the *other* dreams that I know mean something, though I'm not always sure what.

Most of these *other* are kinda prophetic - but not in any important way.  I will wake up and remember a series of completely random elements like banana, proposal, and airplanes.  Several weeks later, I'll be sitting at my desk at work looking up flight times for a trip and my boss will stop by eating a banana and asking me for a status on a proposal.  I'll be hit by an eerie sense of deja vu (and a bit of a relief for figuring out how those odd combination of items fit together).

Sometimes, though, these other dreams are really strange.

Not long after my dad passed away, I dreamt about him.  He was trying to tell me something.  When I woke up, I remembered dreaming about him but didn't remember the message.  The next night, I had the dream again. I still didn't remember the message when I woke up, but I had this urge to call mom and let her know.  There was a two hour time difference between us and she tended to sleep in, so by the time I knew she was up, I was busy doing other things.

Then I had the same dream a third night in a row.  Mom was sitting in her chair in her living room and Dad was standing behind her chair, but she couldn't see him.  He told me to let her know he was with her and he liked the music.  When I woke up the urge to call Mom was overpowering, so I didn't wait, I picked up the phone and called her.  I told her about the dream and she started to cry.  She'd been feeling low because she had hoped she'd receive some sign from him but she hadn't.

Oh, and the music he liked?  She'd bought the CD soundtrack to Titanic and had been listening to the theme song.  (On a side note, the Titanic sunk on April 15th...which was their wedding anniversary.)

Mom did eventually 'hear' from my dad.  She had this stuffed cow that would moo and then shake/laugh like crazy (it had 'mad cow disease').  Dad had always thought it was funny.  A few months after my dream, this stupid cow would start to moo out of the blue.  It got so bad, she took the batteries out of it--but it would still moo!

Couple more weird dreams tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mystery Blogfest

Awhile back I signed up for a blogfest...typed in that little Mr. Linky tool. But now I can't remember who the host/hostess is, when it is or what the theme of it is.

Soooooo...if you are hosting a blogfest anytime soon, and you see Rambles & Randomness signed up, kindly smack me upside the head and send the particulars to my email so I can print it out REAL BIG and post it in a prominent location.


Ghost Story #6 - Guest Blogger

A ghost story from one of my her own words:

The coughing woke me.  My dream was unclear, but there was smoke and fire, and I was running to stay alive.  I lay on my side in bed, and opened my eyes to look at the clock.  The red digital numbers said "2:34 a.m."
I sighed and rolled onto my back.  I gasped!  There, floating above the end of my bed was a man!  He seemed as substatial as I was; not a misty figure from some old ghost story.  I felt like I could reach out and touch him, but I made no such attempt.  Somehow, he seemed lit from within, because I could see every detail of him as though the light was turned on.  He seemed real, but I knew he was not.

Looking at him carefully, I saw he'd once been a soldier.  He wore old-style green army fatigues that haven't been used since Vietnam.  He was covered in dust and his t-shirt, which surely had been white once, was grimy and gray.  His face was dirty and unshaven, and his gaze held sadness and confusion.

His dark hair was cut in a short, military haircut, so thin at the sides that I could see his scalp.  Perched on his nose was a pair of thick black eyeglasses.  I could not make out his rank, but he was wearing dog tags around his neck.  He looked like he was in his 50's, but he may have been younger than that.

He was lying on his side, propped by his left forearm.  He made no threatening moves; in fact, he made to move at all.  He just floated silently at the end of my bed, staring dispiritedly into my eyes.  I looked back at him, feeling no fear, but sensing his sadness.

Several moments passed, each of us staring at the other.  Finally, I whispered, "I'm sorry, but you don't belong here."  He looked a moment longer, his mouth showing the hint of a smile, and vanished!  The room as dark again.  I looked at the clock:  "2:37 a.m."

Tomorrow, I've got something a little different for you...
(sorry about the purple text.  I copy & pasted it from email without thinking.  Should be better now)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ghost Story #5

I lost my mom to cancer almost 4 years ago.  Dad was always neutral when it came to the paranormal--nothing had ever happened to him, but he believed the rest of us when we reported an incident.  

Mom, though, was a believer.  I wish she were here because she could tell you her own stories.  About being alone in the farmhouse at night and how light fixtures would sway from side to side (more than just a slight shift, it was being pushed by unseen hands).  Or she might tell you about looking into the kitchen and seeing the boxes of cereal in the cupboard above the stove rearrange themselves. 

Mom always said she'd come back if she could.  She told us we'd know she was around because she'd turn our pictures around to face the wall.  This isn't possible in most of our houses as we don't have them hanging on wire.  I suppose that's why she got creative.

Mom steals stuff.  I told you about one incident here.  It's not just me, it's all of us kids.  She's a bit of a kleptomaniac and it's kinda frustrating.

Back in July, I was preparing for a visit from the in-laws.  I like to make as much of the food ahead of time as I can so all I have to do is throw it in the oven or put it out on a platter.  I had made cookies and an ice cream pie and was trying to mix up a meatloaf--double recipe because I was expecting to feed 11 possibly 15 (more if the kids happened to have friends over).  The bowl I was using wasn't big enough.  I turned around to grab the big glass bowl I'd just used for cookies and had washed and left in the drainer.  

It was gone.

I looked in the fridge, I looked in all the cupboards.  Looked in the sink, interrogated the children--who had all been busy and weren't likely to run off with a mixing bowl anyhow.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  It was a big bowl--kind of hard to hide something that size.  I gave up and found another bowl.

I was up late that night, went to bed just minutes before hubs got up for work. I told him Mom had stolen a bowl from me. I heard him searching as I drifted off to sleep and vaguely remember him saying he'd found it in the cupboard and set it on the counter. 

When I got up, there was a big yellow mixing bowl on the counter. This was my Mom's bowl and I rarely use it because I keep it on the top shelf of the cupboard...the glass one that went missing I keep near the stove (opposite side of the kitchen) so while they're roughly the same size, one is more convenient than the other.  Hubs had taken the yellow bowl down thinking it was the one I'd been complaining about.

Frustrated, I opened the cupboard to put the yellow bowl away and guess what?

The glass one I'd been searching for was setting in its spot! NO WAY I did that as it's a bit of a reach for short ol' me...besides, I would've put it in the OTHER cupboard.

Other than that, we occasionally have TV's turn themselves off (though not as often as the other house...they'd go on and off at their own volition), and had a light on top of our entertainment center turn itself on once. Kids can't reach it.  Hubs and I can barely reach it. It's up there for looks, not for use. 

So, not scary - just frustrating.

Tomorrow, I think I'll share one of my sister's stories...and in her own words!  Spoooooooooooooooooky

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ghost Story #4

(See yesterday's post for more about the things that happened in this house.)

I have 3 sisters.  The oldest has lots of creepy things happen to her.  I'll be sharing some of her stories later in the week.  The second oldest is very talented reading Tarot cards.  It's kind of a lark in our family.  We take notes on the reading and file them away to read later.  LOTS of things she's 'seen' have come true.  So when she visited this house I asked her to put her feelers out and tell me if she picked up on anything.

She said there was a woman with two children - a boy and a girl.  She was trying to run the farm after her husband died/left but she was having problems because she was a woman and there was an uncle / male relative making trouble for her.  This was very interesting because of other things we'd experienced in the house.

I saw the silhouette of a woman in a long old-fashioned dress standing in my doorway when I rolled over in the middle of the night.  Startled me, but I didn't feel threatened at all.  This was probably  the same woman who liked to wake my husband every time he napped on the couch.

Then there was the little girl.  My husband was working nights, getting up anywhere from midnight to 2 to leave.  After he left I would feel someone climb into bed with me.  I thought it was my daughter for a long time but whenever I woke up, there was never anyone there.  The idea of a ghost sleeping in the same bed with me creeps my sister out.  I found it sweet.

Just about the time we were getting ready to move out of the house, I caught a glimpse of her running down the hallway...cute little thing about 4 or 5 with long blonde hair trailing behind her. 

Nothing much has happened in our new house...there have been a few incidents, though, and I'll share those tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ghost Story #3

Our first home was a simple 1960's ranch. Just a normal house.  No one had ever died in it (as far as I knew) and no tragedies had ever occurred there.

We had just moved in, and rather than pay a couple hundred bucks to a locksmith, I just bought all-new doorknobs and figured I could install them no problem.  The instructions were easy enough but there was one piece I could NOT get on.  I kept dropping it.  Like dozens of times in a row.  It was beyond ridiculous.  Frustrated and angry, I called out to my dad to help.  

Dad had passed away some 3 years before, but he was the handiest guy I knew.  He was a carpenter by trade and made some beautiful things; but he could do anything--including install a stinkin' door knob.  I asked him to help me.  

No sooner were the words out of my mouth, than I saw the problem.  The piece I'd put on in the previous step I'd done backwards.  If I had managed to fasten the next piece I kept dropping, the door knob wouldn't have worked and I probably never would have found the problem.  I turned the part around and the rest was smooth sailing.  I didn't drop anything else the rest of the day.

You can say what you want, but I think Dad was with me the whole time and was knocking that piece out of my hand to get my attention.

Almost immediately, we started hearing voices in the house.  We didn't jump to ghostly conclusions, though.  We assumed it was the neighbors.  The weather was still nice, we slept with the windows cracked open most of the time.  The voices were indistinct - like a radio in another room.  You can hear it, but you can't understand anything that's being said.

Then we heard the voices at 3 a.m. on a night when it was 20 degrees below zero, and snowing and blowing like crazy.  No way was there anyone outside at that time of night in that kind of weather.  

We also heard a baby crying a lot - but no one around us had a baby and even if they did, were we likely to hear them with the windows shut in the dead of winter?

One night, my husband and I were asleep and woke up when a child yelled, "Daddy!"  We jumped out of bed and dashed across the hall to our daughter's room only to remember she was at my mom's house 90 miles away.

Whenever my husband would nap on the couch, a woman would come along and wake him up.  He's not much of a believer (at least he wasn't then.  I think I've converted him), so he always kind of chalked it up to dreams.

Another day, I was in the basement doing laundry.  I was home alone.  All of a sudden I heard footsteps upstairs.  We heard footsteps all the time, it wasn't a big deal...but these were so loud and distinct, I was sure my husband had come back with my daughter.  I ran upstairs and there was no one there.  My mom hated my basement for this very reason.

More on this house tomorrow...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ghost Story #2

My daughter was two and a half when we left Vegas for Iowa.  We rented an apartment for the first six months so we could find jobs, and get a feel for what area of town we wanted to live in, etc.

The apartment was small. The living room/dining room and a TINY (aka 'one butt') kitchen on the first floor and two bedrooms and the bathroom upstairs.

I never really liked that apartment, though I couldn't ever put my finger on a reason why.  You should know that when my daughter was born, someone gave her a little stuffed bear in a Chicago Bulls cheerleader uniform.  She LOVED that bear.  She took it everywhere with her and to bed with her every night.

And after we moved into that apartment, she didn't want anything to do with that bear.  I'd find it stuffed in the closet and under her bed.  She said it talked to her, and it freaked her out.  Yes, she was young and kids have vivid imaginations.  But it was like someone threw a switch...she suddenly HATED that bear.  Even years later, when I found it in a box she didn't want anything to do with it.

The only other thing that happened in that apartment that freaked ME out was a series of incidents where I could hear her crying in her bedroom and I tried to go to her but was unable to move.  I've heard of sleep paralysis, and yeah, that's a possibility.  But it just seems strange that I'd never had it before and never again since.  I can't tell you how terrifying it was to want to go to my daughter to reassure her and be unable to even speak.

Another spooky story tomorrow!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ghost Story #1

I grew up in a family where weird things happened.  In fact, I think a lot of things we took for granted would probably freak most other people out.  For the next several days, in honor of Halloween, I will share a collection of stories with you.  They are all true...that's not to say there can't be a scientific or "logical" explanation to any of them. 

Today's installment shouldn't creep anyone out, it's fairly mild.

When I was little, we had a dog named Bootsie.  She was a great dog.  When my brother and I got into trouble and Mom put us in the corner, we used to call Bootsie back and forth between us trying to prove who she loved best.  (me! me! me!).  

She also loved to play fetch.  We had a tennis ball we'd toss across the room and she'd tear after it.  Our dining room floor was linoleum and you could hear her nails click clack as she dashed across it.  There were built-in cabinets along one wall that stood about 4 inches off the floor.  Often the ball would roll under there and get stuck by the wall.  Bootsie would whine and "dig" at the linoleum trying to reach her ball so we could throw it again.

She was an old dog, though, and soon she had trouble walking and had to be carried outside to go to the bathroom.  She died early Christmas morning when I was 10 or 11.  Dad buried her before we got up, and I'm shamed to say it was hours before any of us thought to look for her that morning. 

After she passed, there were times we would hear her nails clicking on the linoleum.  We could hear her whining and "digging" for the ball under the cabinets.  We all heard it.  There was no mistake.  Sometimes we'd feel her jump up on our bed like she used to.  Mom said once that she was sleeping with her hand dangling over the edge of the bed and she felt Bootsie's cold, wet nose nudge her hand, begging to be pet.

We moved a year or so later, and I don't ever remember hearing her after that.  

See?  Not too scary.  Tomorrow,we'll kick it up a notch.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Schedule Change

I was supposed to post the Worst Day Ever entries today but I scheduled that before I knew what life was going to hand me.  That happens a lot in the blogosphere, as you are well aware.  So, I'll work on getting that up by this weekend so you'll have a couple days to put your vote in.

Meanwhile, if you haven't got an entry in, please shoot me an email!  MissVSpeaks(at)gmail(dot)com.  

I'm still limping along with my internet connection, you see.  I have access, but my laptop must be plugged in physically to the modem.  The problem is I had to use the LONG cord for the kids' computer which left the short one for me.  See?

As you can see, I can't really sit comfortably hunched over on the floor.  I can manage reading easier than typing which would explain my silence in cyberspace lately.  That, and I'm ridiculously busy.

I took my daughter to the library tonight.  I wasn't going to look for books, I'm in the middle of one and I really don't have time to read anything else right now, but then I saw THIS--Demon by Tosca Lee--on the new release shelf and I was hooked.  From the back:

I started to rise.  he grabbed me by the arm. His fingers bit through the sleeve of my coat, exceedingly strong, unnaturally warm.

"You will recall everything -- every word I say.  Long after you have forgotten, in fact, the way I summoned you to this table, the first prick of your mortal curiosity about me  Long after you have forgotten in fact, the most basic details of your life.  you will remember--and you will curse or bless this day."
I felt ill.  Something about the way he said mortal...In that instant, reality, strung out like an elastic band, snapped.

"Yes.  You see" He smiled.  "You know.  we can share now, between us, the secret of what I am."
The words came, unbidden to my mind: Fallen.  Dark Spirit. 


How freakin' awesome is that??? honor of the approaching Halloween Holiday, I'm gathering up family ghost stories and will start posting them tomorrow.  I think I have enough to get us to the 31st, but we'll see.  For you disbelievers, think of it like two weeks' worth of Mock Me Mondays!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drumroll Please!


Hey you.  

Yeah I'm talking to you.

Have you heard the news?  

I bet you have, but allow me to add my voice to the crowd.  

Fellow blogger & author extraordinaire, Alex J Cavanaugh's debut novel CassaStar releases today!!! 

Take a peek:

If book trailer does not appear above (I'm still a little rusty at this kinda thing), you can see it on You Tube HERE

Or, if you're unable to watch the trailer (ahem, like maybe you're sneaking a peek at work) here's the synopsis:

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

To be perfectly honest, I don't remember the last science fiction book I read, it's been that long.  BUT this awesome trailer intrigued me enough to put this on my list a few weeks back.  How about you?

For your convenience, any of the following links will take you directly to CassaStar for more information (or better yet, make a purchase)



Please swing by Alex's blog to introduce yourself or congratulate him.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mock Me Monday - Pancakes

The other morning, as I was rushing around the silent house getting ready for work, I decided to be a really nice mom and make a batch of pancakes for the kids to eat when they woke up.

We use the packaged pancake mix (I only make them from scratch in a pinch).  Unfortunately, we don't use the package up fast enough, so it seems we always get those itty bitty little larva like bugs in it.  I've started keeping the box in the freezer, so no matter how long it takes us to use up the mix, I don't have to worry about those nasty little bugs.  Works like a charm!

So there I was, I mixed up some batter, poured it on the griddle and busied myself with scrambling some eggs and making a sandwich for my lunch later. Multi-tasker, that's me.

Soon it was time to flip...but the pancakes looked weird.  They were unusually flat, and not browning like they should.  I threw the first batch in the garbage.  I thought maybe I didn't have the griddle hot enough or maybe the mix had been frozen too long and just wasn't going to "fluff" up at all.

And then it hit me.

Like a ton of bricks it hit me.

I had used regular ol' flour and milk.  No wonder they didn't rise!  I dumped the rest of the batter and did it over properly with the pancake mix.  It worked beautifully the second time, go figure.

I'm just glad the kids weren't around to see my gaffe.

Any cooking blunders you care to admit to?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reporting In - Ghost Walk

One of my sister's friends had arranged a group to meet for dinner and then go on a 90 minute ghost walk.  We met for dinner at 111 Main.  I was surprised when we arrived to see a dozen women already at the table.  Dinner was fantastic, and if you find yourself in Galena, Illinois I highly recommend it. The restaurant is supposedly haunted, but nothing happened.  

After dinner we walked down to a hotel for the Ghost Walk.  I come from a family with lots of strange and unexplained experiences. We therefore have a natural love of ghost stories, and were looking forward to hearing a few local stories while roaming the historic streets in the dark.

What a crock.

We stayed with the guy for the first hour, then left.  In that hour he shared some interesting historical tidbits, but only two ghost stories, and they were LAME.  I don't even think lame covers it.  The first from 1845 about a shadowy figure on the wall of a house.  Turns out it was just a crack in a woodburning stove that made an eerie shadow.  The other was a reported sighting of a "ghostly figure" out by some bridge north of town - again in the late 1800's.  No backstory or possible explanations. No duel, hanging, murder, or unrequited love.  Just a ghostly figure.  Ooooooo, frightening.  Not.

We weren't the only ones who were unimpressed.  There were about 100 of us on the tour and they were all grumbling.  My sister and I should have commandeered the tour and told OUR stories.  That would have been much more interesting. 

Dinner was great and worth the trip.  I feel like I was swindled out of the $10 admission to the ghost walk though. Grrr.

Another Reminder

Time's a wastin' folks...have you sent in your take on the Worst Day Ever?  It doesn't have to be real, so what are you waiting for?  Send it in to MissVSpeaks~at~gmail~dot~com today!

That's all I got a bit of a rush to get out the door for dinner and the ghost walk.  Besides, a short post HERE gives you more time to read the next blog, right?  Or unplug and go for a walk and admire the changing of the leaves. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Contest Reminder

I'm off to a haunted walking tour and dinner in a reportedly haunted restaurant today.  I don't think anything is going to happen, but it's fun to imagine what if....

While I'm away, I thought this would be a good time to remind you of the Worst Day Ever Contest.

If you haven't entered yet, here's how it works:
  1. You write a little ditty about a very bad day.  You can use a real one if you want, but I think you'd have more fun making something up, don't you?  (For example, you could write about all the really bad things you wish you could have done to your ex.) 
  2. You send me this magnificent piece of literary fiction.  MissVSpeaks(at)gmail(dot)com.
  3. That's it!  I will post the entries on or about October 20th and YOU can vote on your favorites.
There will be two winners.  

One for $40 cash

Please note you are getting $40, not $60 or $80.

...and the other will win my copy of Brains by Robin Becker:

...with Zombie Blood, Dismembered Finger, and more Brains.  Look!

Fruit-punch flavored!

Oooo! Ghoulish!

Brain shaped gummies that squirt when you bite into them!

What are you waiting for?  Enter today!

For ANOTHER CHANCE to win...go see Shannon's $50 for 100 contest. You'll be glad you did! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

How Texting has Helped Me

I've only been in the texting crowd about a year.  I'm still pathetically slow compared to the nimble fingers of the teenagers around me.  I'm comic relief for them.  "Mom, would you like me to do it for you?" My daughter jokes.

Yes, as a matter of fact, that would be lovely.  My kids act as my texting secretary when I'm driving.  The 9 year old (who does not have a phone yet) loves it.  The 15 year old, not so much.

But anyhow, back to my point.  I've read countless articles recently about how the informality of texting/email/instant messaging has ruined students' ability to write anything resembling proper English.  Their spelling sucks and their grammar is shoddy at best.

I'm not going to argue against the experts here.  But I do have to say texting has made ME a better writer.

For example, when I woke up Thursday morning and found my modem was fried, I called tech support.  I had just navigated their voice-prompt system (hate it!  They never know what I'm saying and if I yell or over-enunciate, the system pretends it didn't understand me.  Grrr) and managed to get a real person on the line. YAY.

She asked for my account number.  I asked if it was my phone number.  She said no, it would be my DSL number and it would be printed on a bill.  Our bills are buried in a box in the spare closet in my daughter's room.  Was I going to go barging in there at 6 a.m. to rifle through a box? Uh, no.  I asked if she could look it up another way.

I spelled my name for her.  V-i-c-k-i-R-o-c-h-o.  She replies V-i-c-k-y-R-o-c-h-o.  No.  I say.  Vicki with with two i's.  She says V-i-i-c-k-y?  I said NO, V-I-C-K-I.  She finally got it.  She pulled up my account number and read it off to me (telling me in a condescending voice that I might want to write it down).  She read off my phone number.  

"That's my phone number," I tell her.  "The number I gave you." 
She repeated a number to me, with digits transposed.  I didn't fight with her...just wanted my modem fixed.  She had me unplug it and do this and that and then pronounced it dead.

All of this took about 20 minutes.  I thought it best to alert hubbers to the lack of internet capability in our house.  Now, if I had sent him an email he would have got a replay like you just did above.  But texting?  No way I'm going to type all that out on a keyboard the size of a credit card.  Texting forces me to be succinct:

Modem crapped out overnight.  Will get new one at lunch.

See?  Texting has definitely made me a better writer! How about you?

(modem may or may not still be out.  Typing this post over my lunch hour just in case I'm without for a few days)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Technology Sucks

I woke up this morning to find my wireless modem was TOAST.  It worked last night but this morning, not at all.  I'm going to run to the store over lunch to look for a new one.

The customer service folks get off at 6 p.m., so who knows when I'll actually be able to get everything set back up?  I might be able to set it up alone...or maybe not.

I can't really blog surf at work, so I'll just have to catch up on all the fun once my computers are operational again.

Psssst...Pass It On

The time has come, my friends, to pass on the flurry of awards that have made their way into the award closet in the last month or so.

It goes without saying that I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to visit all these fabulous blogs.  Why else would I spend so much time and effort hyperlinking everything?

Newbie Bestie Award from the wonderful Jen Daiker at Unedited

Thanks, Jen!  You absolutely rock...and this is one of the prettiest awards I've seen come my way.  I'm giving this to:

Leigh @ That's Write...except for her love of Yo Gabba Gabba, she's pretty darn cool. 

Wendy Ramer @ On and on and on (and on? how many ons are there?) She's busy packing for her trip to NYC--pity I couldn't have moved my trip back a week, I would have loved to hang out in the city with her.

Shannon McMahon I heart Shannon.  She makes a mean Shepherd's Pie and always makes me laugh.  And I'm stopping right now before I go all fan girl.

Thanks, Carolyn, Christauna & Nicki!  I'm so flattered you shared this one with me.  

Let's see, we'll give this one to Commenters # 1, 3, 5, & 7 from yesterday's post.

The Versatile Blogger Award from Talei Loto of Musings of an Aspiring Scribe

Thanks so much for this Talei!  

I'm going to give THIS one to "K" bloggers.  

Thanks, Mason!  You have so many great interviews and give aways - I don't know how you do it!

This one I shall pass on to....Carols 

The Strange Award from Kristi from Random Daily Thoughts

Thanks, Kristi!  Yours was one of the first blogs I found waaaay back in April, I think! 

This one I think I shall pass on to some J's

And the Yo Gabba Gabba Award from Leigh from That's Write and Mary from Giggles & Guns

Leigh you are single-handedly responsible for keeping Yo Gabba Gabba in my keyword searches forevermore.  I'll find a way to get even, you know.

Mary - thanks for thinking of me!  

This one, I'm going to pass off to the MEN.  I probably (in retrospect) should have done the last award to the men, but it's late and this has already taken a loooooooooooong time to put together!

Okay, my hand is a cramped, gnarled mass after all that linkage.  I may never link again.  Happy Thursday everyone!