Monday, October 30, 2006

Scary Spooky Stories

I’ve had my share of these sorts of stories and experiences.

The earliest I remember: I was about 16, we were living on a third floor apartment, in a building that dated back to the early 1900’s. It was truly a gorgeous apartment: spacious, lovely hardwood floors, original woodwork frames on the doors and windows. And-a sunroom jutting out from one corner of the apartment, with walls made of brick and an Astroturf-ed floor. Despite that last bit, it was a favorite spot for reading in the summer.

One day, I was home alone (isn’t that always how it happens?), it was probably spring or summer-it was fairly warm out.

Situated next to the sunroom was the dining room and on the other side, the living room where a magnificent entertainment center, near the French Doors, took over all space and housed a very small TV.
There was a vertical cabinet/shelf on the left side of this entertainment center with a glass insert allowing you to see all your videos (there were no DVD’s in those days) and CD’s, etc.

I was listening to music-loudly, as I was alone-and looking for another CD to play.

All of a sudden, I felt something. I felt somebody else in the room. At first, I thought it was my parents back from the store. But then, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I got the chills ever so briefly.

I stood still as I saw a woman in a light blue dress walk behind me, her reflection seen in the too-big entertainment center. I whipped around as soon as she passed from the E.C. and nobody was there.

Another time, at a family gathering, I felt someone tap my shoulder, and then the other shoulder. I thought it was one of my brothers playing tricks. Nobody was behind me. This was in the dining room, right next to the sunroom.

A few years after we moved out of that apartment, I got a clipping in the mail from a family friend. It was from the local newspaper: ‘Dog dies in third floor fire’.

It was our old apartment in the picture, the corner-where the sunroom was-blown out and charred by fire.

It was the only spot in the entire building that was completely damaged. The rest of the building had minor smoke and water damage, the first and second floor sunrooms were unscathed.

All I could think of was the woman reflected in the Entertainment Center….

More to come later...again, check out Devilish Southern Belle's Halloween story.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Currently Reading...

Annie Downey's new book, Hot and Bothered and E. M. Forster's Howards End. I gush at each of these books. Well written, ninety-some years between them, the dirty side of life.

It will take me months to finish. Really. It's already been a month and a half at both books, simultaneously. I mean, two books, at the same time? With more than 50 pages (the limit at which my brain can handle these days)? And-no pictures, just words?! (I read alot of non-fiction, with occasional pictures)

Yeah, it'll take me awhile.

My mother once told me she didn't read anything for two whole years while my siblings and I were very young. There just wasn't the leisurely time there once was, and the attention span beyond kids.

I really miss getting lost in a book: Having the whole day to read. It's like the journal issue, I suppose; but, I could do without a book. I cannot do without writing.

Not to worry....I'll finish these books...someday soon.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some Thoughts On ‘Homebirths, Natural or Foolish’, The Imperfect Parent

I enjoy reading the Imperfect Parent for its diverse views and commentary on various subjects. I catch up on it through my Google Reader whenever I find the time.

I’m not quite sure how to approach this. Let me start off by saying everybody is entitled to their opinion (however different it may be from another’s) and I have no intention of tearing the author down. This is, after all, just my thoughts and opinion.

This article "Homebirths, Natural or Foolish", from the Imperfect Parent really grabbed my attention, planted a bug underneath my skin.

I’m itching as I write.

Nice image, eh?

There seems to be an air to this article suggesting lack of respect in birth choices. We still have that choice, don’t we?

The fact that the author used the word ‘Foolish’ to describe homebirth immediately turned me off and it let me know where she stands. But hey-she’s entitled.

To assume women are going the home birth route because of ‘the man’ and patriarchy is something of misinformation. There are plenty of women who do it because it is just more comfortable. They most likely have a medical back up plan in case something does go wrong. There is also the option of a birthing center-with the feel of home and the backup of medical assistance if need be. There is a lot of ‘false information’ and propaganda floating around about hospitalization is the only ‘safe’ way.

It must be said that there is no ‘safe’ way. A hospital cannot guarantee safety, no matter what you’ve been told. Neither can a home birth. There are dangers in each situation. Life itself is dangerous; we take risks every single day.

obviously, the subject of home birth is a hot one.

Check out the comment on the site by Andrea. She has a link to a tragic story of one woman. She also makes some excellent points.

Homebirth is a choice some women make. A choice that should be respected, by women, men, and doctors alike.

Does this ban me forever from Imperfect Parent?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

CHBM: Favorite Guilty Pleasure TV Show

Kind of early to post (for Oct 18), but, well, here it is:

We don’t have TV these days-for obvious reasons: the news is depressing, CNN has the habit of bombardment informant, and it (TV) is just a bunch ‘o crap anyway. Just before we got rid of the tube, I was watching The Travel Channel, The Movie Channels, The Discovery Channel and PBS (Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers), and that was it.

But, I do miss Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which can be found on YouTube, apparently-Yea!

My Guilty Pleasure TV show? I deeply indulged in those Most Haunted shows on the Travel Channel. Haunted Hotels, Haunted Towns, anything Haunted, I would watch and be fascinated. Fascinated. I just liked the Travel Channel in general really. ‘Passport To Europe with Samantha Brown’ was great too. Perhaps it was some sort of morbid curiosity with those shows, the Most Haunted, even though they were pretty damn campy at times. Paranormal activities have always interested me. It’s the morbid curiosity thing. Do those things actually exist? Do people really have those experiences? Enquiring minds want to know!

And-with Halloween coming up, I imagine The Travel Channel will be having Most Haunted Marathons galore. And I’m missing it! But hey, it’s not the end of the world

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Friday, October 13, 2006

So, Is Peppermint Tea Okay When Pregnant?

Just recently, people have been coming to my blog via Googling the above question. Just how and why did they come here, precisely? Take a look at This Post. I would like to say, Yes. Yes, peppermint tea is okay when pregnant. It is actually one of the safest teas out and about. Of course, this is not sound, medical advice. I'm just a mom and a blogger. What do I know, right?

It's always interesting to see what brings people to your site.
Some recent searches:
-"Vermont Woman" (From this post, probably)

-"wheat free"

-"The Sun Magazine", "suri" (This Post)

-"Mary Peck Butterworth" (This Post)

-"Fatherhod/Motherhood Writing"

-"Lotus Poem, Birth" (This Poem)

-"pregnancy cravings peppermint" (of course. See above.)

-"why is pluto not a planet anymore" (This Post) This came up something like 20 times.

-"poop diaper" (!)


-"women- demeaning quotes in the bible" (perhaps this post?)

-"how to say 'excuse me'" Um, excuse me?

-"Cathy's Book" aka, Product Placement (This Post)

-"small poems on the sound of silence" (This Post) How about big poems?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

So Delighted and Very Much Pleased

This morning, I got an email from the editors at MotherVerse saying they want to use one of my prose pieces in the upcoming issue. I am so delighted and very much pleased!
Such strong, feminine voices in all areas of writing...

Go on, check it out and see what I mean.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Expanding My Vocabulary

Lately, I noticed some new words and entire phrases have leapt into my voracious vocabulary:

Don't touch that!
Get away from there!
What are you doing over there/under there/with that?
Get that out of your mouth!
What is that?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Guest Spot: Annie Downey

I am pleased to introduce Annie Downey, author of 'Hot and Bothered', as Writing In The Mountains' very first Guest Spot:

Writing & Motherhood
by Annie Downey
All Rights Reserved 2006

I remember the first thing I ever wrote about being a mother. I was eighteen years old, my daughter, Iris, was eight months old. We had a tiny one bedroom apartment in downtown Burlington. I had just begun my first semester at college and had signed up for a creative writing class. Our first bit of homework was one of those basic “How to ___” writing assignments. Classmates shared their ideas aloud—one hip-dressed student said she was going to write about how to make an Orgasm (like the drink!)—another student chirped up and said that he was going to write about how to get a hot guy in the sack. Everyone laughed. I remember being panicked about what I would write about.

My professor said to me, “Write about what you know.”

I went and picked up my daughter at the college daycare. As I pushed her stroller up the street to our apartment, I thought about how boring and dull my life would seem to my college classmates. At the same time I didn’t want their lives of endless partying and fast relationships. I liked being a mother, I liked the safety of it, and, I knew I was good at it. I liked the weight of my daughter on my hip, I liked nursing her, I liked folding her little baby clothes at the laundry mat, I liked mashing up food for her, and I loved giving her a bath, changing her diaper, and reading her stories. I enjoyed it.

After I put my daughter, Iris, to bed that night, I sat down to write. The words flew out of me. It was something I hadn’t felt in a long time—me—alone—just me. And I was O.K.. Typically, because I couldn’t stand the loneliness of the night, I would leave most of the lights on in the apartment and go to bed along with Iris. But that night, while writing my assignment, I felt cozy and good. I didn’t feel alone. I had words for company. When I finished the rough draft, I turned off the lights in the apartment and went to sleep.

When the next class rolled around and I shared “How to Change a Poopy Diaper”, the class loved it, and thought it was hilarious. It was so exhilarating to be both seen and heard by a room full of people. By incorporating my mothering experience with my writing—my first writing class became a place for me to share my stories of single motherhood which lessened my own feelings of isolation and I made me a happier mother, which, in turn, benefited my daughter. By creating a venue in which to share my joy of my daughter with other people (something I had always imagined married couples shared), I was able to also claim my own identity as a writer without feeling I was leaving my daughter, Iris, behind. At that time, I felt I couldn’t do anything that somehow didn’t include her without feeling tremendous anxiety and guilt. If I wrote “our” story, then those feelings wouldn’t tug at me— extinguishing the page—and thus extinguishing this new found freedom to become what I wanted outside of motherhood.

So, I began to write…I wrote everyday in my journal, I wrote poems, I wrote short stories, and I wrote essays. I wrote through a rocky relationship, another baby, and a break-up. I wrote through graduation from college, court processes, my mother’s illness, and a new marriage that has had its ups and downs. Writing has been my companion— my one other relationship— besides the relationship I have with my children— that has remained consistent and unwavering. I am always loyal to it.

Now that my children are older (my daughter now in her senior year at high school and my son in middle school) and are developing their own amazing identities—beginning to get a sense of their own crazy ideals and dreams—their own story—it is easier for me to allow them to do just that. It is easier to be at peace with them flying in and out of this little colorful nest of mine because of writing. Because I have been able to slowly claim my own identity that goes beyond being their mother—a part of my life that doesn’t necessarily always have to involve them—that doesn’t have to be “our” story—but is “my” story— that occasionally (when allowed and if invited) is intermingled with theirs.*

Be sure to check out Annie Downey making the rounds on her upcoming book tour at these locations.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

CHBM Prompt: My Husband and I....

I saw the latest CHBM prompt/carnival recently. It poses the statement of ‘My husband and I were so embarrassed when we got caught by the kids doing….’

This is all I came up with:

It’s funny how a lot of people’s first reactions to this statement would be about sex, or of a sexual nature.

I immediately thought, we don’t get caught, because-well-there is no WE.
And yeah, my first reaction was we don’t get caught in the bedroom. (see above)

Why do we (most likely) think of possible sexual connotations when we get ‘caught by the kids’?

That’s it. It’s all I can muster at the moment.

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