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A true "ghost" story for dog lovers

Monday, October 31, 2011

First a bit of background: I live in a 200+ year old house out "back of beyond". I believe I have ghosts, or whatever you want to call them - all benign, helpful presences - in the house almost all the time. The house has seen lots of births and deaths and everything in between, and with the exception of my daughters, everyone in my family and my husband's family has passed on, so there are plenty of contenders for "spook of the hour."

Last night at about 11:30, I was upstairs in bed reading when I heard a noise. It sounded like a, "Whoop! Whoop!" followed by a sort of grumbling noise - not a scary growling, but the sort of sound a big dog makes when it settles down. We have plenty of coyotes and other wildlife, but while the sound was sort of familiar, it didn't sound like coyotes or the town's resident wolf (we'll discuss that another time) and besides, it sounded like it came from the downstairs hallway. Lucy, our midsized couch-potato dog, was of course sound asleep, and Kona, our ancient collie, passed away last summer after a series of increasingly debilitating strokes.

The sound didn't seem threatening and I don't scare easily anyway, so I kind of pushed it out of my mind and went to sleep.

Kona, in his youth, used to have these streaks of exuberance where he'd race through the house, round and round, knocking over tables and people and anything else silly enough to stand in the way of an 80 pound dog having fun. I was thinking the other day (when I had to drag Lucy out of bed at 4:00 to go take a walk with me) that Lucy had never done anything like that, even as a puppy. Coincidentally, last night at supper time, Lucy, quite uncharacteristically, had grabbed her bone and then gotten down in that front-down, hind-end-up posture that means "let's play!" and then taken off in her first around the house zoom, an unprecedented three loops.

This morning I figured it out, and if you've ever owned a collie, you've probably figured it out, too. Collies are known for having a very wide range of vocalizations, and the reason I didn't recognize his "Whoop! Whoop!" was because it was his youthful voice, not the raspy, breathless voice he had in his last couple years. Apparently his spirit had been around all day, influencing Lucy and inciting her peculiar exuberance.. And that grumbly sound was, indeed, the sound of a big dog settling in, right at the foot of the stairs where he always slept, still keeping an eye on his household.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMRANA 10/31/2011 8:22PM

  Awwww! I love paranormal stories and this one was really sweet!

Happy Halloween!

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KIYOSHI04 10/31/2011 6:55PM

    brought tears to me, too.
just lost my mastiff this summer. been hoping all day for a peek from beyond from him.
gosh how i miss that dog.
i am glad that your pup decided to pop in and say hello.

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_UMAMI_ 10/31/2011 6:46PM

    Sweet! Love surpasses physical boundaries.

And interesting that it was happening when the veil between worlds is supposedly "open".

Happy Halloween! I've been thinking about your spider comments for over a week!

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BETHGILLIGAN 10/31/2011 3:07PM

    Awesome!! I love this! I wish a couple of my old doggies would visit!!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/31/2011 2:55PM

    How cool that Kona decided to come for a visit! It's good to know that your loved one still is around.

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 10/31/2011 2:24PM

    Nice to have a another protector near. Here is mine. 10 years ago my husband passed away. I was alone and one night I chose to get out the old Quija board. But as I was playing with it- it suddenly spelled out "U B Good 2 Me" It had to be my husband. Since then occasionally something happens which reminds me of his pranks. For example: A pillow would suddenly fall on me from the back of my chair at the right time he would have done it. I would need an answer and somehow the book I needed would appear. Or May be just a coincidence.

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CEKER9 10/31/2011 1:42PM

    Nice to know you are being watched out for by and old friend!

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SUZYMOBILE 10/31/2011 12:13PM

    Ahhhh! I was hoping for a good ghost story from you for Halloween! This one not only provided a Halloween ghost story, but a few tears as well. How I wish Dingo could come back and haunt us, but (a) he could never find us here and (b) ghosts have never graced me with their presence. (I must be unusually spirit-insensitive for a Scot, though occasionally I'll have a precognitive dream about something totally insignificant and stupid.) Now, however, I'm in email touch with the folks who bought our house in NH. If anyone experiences Dingo as a ghost, it will be them, poor souls.

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Fun stuff...oh my.

Friday, October 28, 2011

And now fall to your knees and thank God that these aren't your next door neighbors.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INFLATED 11/2/2011 3:59PM

    Our neighbor would probably have used his gun on it. He threatened the people that used to own this house before we bought it that he would shoot a hole in the pool because they had wild parties and shined a big spotlight while they were up at 2 AM.

I like quiet. "Every day I'm shufflin'" emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 10/29/2011 7:33PM

    LOL! One more reason I love living in the middle of nowhere. Fun to look at, but I would not like to live next door. My kids would have loved going there, though.


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_UMAMI_ 10/28/2011 10:38PM

    not letting me select url, so I can't see....wahh!

Oh, Brian (my secret boyfriend) clued me in on your dire winter storm warning. NOW I get your apprehension from yesterday!
Stock up and hunker down, m'dear!

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 10/28/2011 11:29AM

    LOve it!! emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 10/28/2011 10:48AM

    It's a pretty cool video, but would have been better with zombies, vampires and ghouls dancing in the driveway.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/28/2011 10:40AM

    Love it!! It's my favorite song right now.

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SUZYMOBILE 10/28/2011 10:21AM

    I thought you had that going on at YOUR house, with the light blobs an' all ...

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DIY Tip - something Bob Vila never mentioned

Monday, October 24, 2011

Never stay up until after 1:00 a.m. stripping wallpaper in your two-hundred year old house, while the tv in the next room is showing stories of Hauntings, all of which seem to begin,"The family was happy in their home, until they started to RENOVATE..." emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DANCINGGARDENER 10/27/2011 11:37AM

    It wasn't YELLOW WALLPAPER was it????


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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/26/2011 3:44PM

    ROFLMBO!! Sounds spooky!! emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 10/26/2011 9:50AM

    Thanks for the tip!! YOIKS! emoticon

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LUNADRAGON 10/26/2011 4:16AM

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs at that hour, it was just hallucinations. You were sleeping between the wallpaper.

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SLIMMERKIWI 10/25/2011 5:20AM

    I tell you what - if that had been ME I would have been a heck of a lot slimmer and the flush would have been working overtime - LOL!


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ACIMPEGGY 10/24/2011 9:33PM

    Bet you tend to munch then, too.

Funny! emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 10/24/2011 8:16PM

    And now it brings to mind a very creepy late-19th-century story called "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

This is where the movie audience is yelling at the heroine, "Get out of that house!"

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JANEDOE12345 10/24/2011 5:28PM

    Allow me to wish you the very best as you decline into total madness. I say a padded wall is always more comfy than wallpaper.

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BETHGILLIGAN 10/24/2011 1:33PM

    Maybe you could decide you LIKE that wallpaper???? You're my hero to even be doing this alone in the middle of the night even!!!

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SUZYMOBILE 10/24/2011 1:14PM

    So .... in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, where's "the REST of the story"?? Do you have any ha'nts?

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(part 2) And to answer the question you've all been asking yourselves:

Friday, October 14, 2011

" If you don't care what you eat and you're willing to snag a couple apples and call it a meal, how come you got so danged fat?"

I can explain! Really! I don't particularly enjoy cooking, so I tend to make what's fast and easy, and if it makes a huge pot of whatever, I'll happily eat it all week long. During and well after college, I worked in a lot of restaurants in many different capacities, so I know how to cook big, fast and delicious but not in the least healthy.

The difference is the flip side of the apple thing - I'm alone now. (Not tossing a pity party - just explaining.) A few years ago, when I had a husband and a couple of kids and their friends and a couple workers around, I felt the same way I do now, only the result was different - huge pots of carbonara or Alfredo, a couple pepperoni pies, strombolis, beef bourg with lots of potatoes, lots of sausage with anything, and always, at the end of the day, having a couple beers with the guys.

At the same time I was making all this food, in the beginning I was working as a landscaper, so I burned it all off, and more. Then, gradually, circumstances changed but my cooking didn't, and over time, slowly - literally like ten pounds a year, but for six or seven years - it started to pile up. I didn't notice, and if i did, I didn't care - too much other stuff going on.

And that, my friends, is my story. I should probably put it in my introduction.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REDWRITINGHOOD 10/19/2011 5:15PM

    Now I'm hungry. I think I'll eat an apple and try to forget all the other yummy things you talked about and concentrate on how yummy the apple is :)

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/14/2011 9:27PM

    The food sounds delicious. I love carbonara. pepperoni pie. Stomboli. YUM!!!! LOL.

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BETHGILLIGAN 10/14/2011 7:42PM

    Hey! Life keeps marching on and sometimes we're a little slow to catch up. Sounds to me like you are doing just fine!!!! Have a great weekend!

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JANEDOE12345 10/14/2011 6:56PM

    This sounds like me. Except I used to take a few years now and then to ride around the skinny planet on diet pills. What dark fun to have been 111 pounds and completely faster than the speed of light. How stupid! I also used to cook in quantity and just would not eat it or anything else but Tab and rice cakes.

Now I just eat way too much of things I like and exercise too little -- very simple.

emoticon = emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 10/14/2011 5:00PM

    Yes, I agree that this blog would be well-used as an intro.

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SUZYMOBILE 10/14/2011 2:37PM

    Well, m'dear, I wasn't asking myself that, and you're kinda being too hard on yourself for expressing it. But you sure made me hungry while I was reading this blog--even though I just had lunch! I can definitely understand the danger.

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    Switching gears from feeding 5 or 6 people to nurturing only one (the most important one, I may add) is a huge switch. Not only in quantity of food but also in whether one person is "worth the effort".

I know when I cook I get compliments from others and criticism from myself. I am one of those people who puts a meal on the table and, if I don't watch it, spends the entire meal saying things like "sorry about the lumpy gravy", "you don't have to eat this if you don't want to", and "I wish I hadn't overcooked this so bad".

It would be really hard to put in the effort to cook wonderful meals if the only one to eat my cooking was the person who is the most critical of it. So my compliments to the chef, it sounds like she could use more of them!

('sides, fresh picked apples and cheddar for breakfast is haute cuisine in my book!)

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 10/14/2011 12:43PM

    Mine crept up on me mostly from a stress.

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Different strokes...different folks

Friday, October 14, 2011

~INDYGIRL, who's lost over 150 lbs and is an inspiration to us all, said something this morning that made a great deal of sense to me: "Planning is good for some, while for others, it causes undue stress and binging. "

Like so many others, I've been through the mill recently financially and personally. I've found that I do best without detailed planning. I've lost a few pounds by simply not buying crap I don't want to be eating, and filling the refrigerator with decent choices. Since I'm usually too worn out to make a fuss about eating, whatever I grab for a meal will at least not be too damaging. I've got apple trees in the back yard, so I snag one or two of those with a hunk of cheddar for breakfast, use a bag of ready-washed salad for lunch and dump some beans on top for protein (or for a hot meal, good ol' baked beans - vegetarian, straight out of the can - on whole wheat toast.) I buy the little thin-sliced bread or the round sandwich thingees so if I want a tomato sandwich, it's mostly tomato and not so much bread.

Exercise is the same way. I don't plan an exercise session, but I do make sure I go out for a walk - Ive convinced myself that my dog needs the exercise, and like so many, many women, I'm more willing to take care of someone/something else than I am to take care of myself, so out we go for a walk. Maybe not a fast walk or a long walk, but at least we're moving our legs and getting some fresh air. I leave dumbbells lying around the house, so when I'm staring into space wondering what in the hell I'm going to do about X, I do a few curls. (Yes, I do occasionally trip over them. Consider it an exercise in self-control when you want to swear.)

When we're already spinning as many plates on sticks as we are, just what I *don't* need is the pressure of hitting a set list of exercises or having to make a week's worth - or a day's worth - of menus. It just sets me up for failure - even as I'm making the lists, I know I won't be able to abide by them. It's taken me a long time to realize that this isn't a character flaw - it's just part of my mental make-up.

For other people, menus and lists are soothing - they give a sense of control in an out-of-control life and take away the pressure of on-the-spot decisions. That sense of having everything ordered and planned is calming, and I understand that. But too often i think we of the other variety of human hold these guys up as examples of what we should be doing, too, and then when we can't do it - because it's not in our nature - we beat ourselves up.

The trick, as always is to figure out what works for *you*, and if you're a square peg, stop whacking yourself over the head trying to fit into that round hole. You can lose weight, get fit, save your sanity - and your head will hurt a whole lot less, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMRANA 10/14/2011 2:00PM

  Absolutely. I have learned very well on Spark that's it's all about what works for each person ~ and if you don't like it, you won't do it.

I have a set fitness schedule because I am spine injured. I've learned what works best for me (yoga and strength training) and I do it. But I'm also very free spirited. I like going through this journey knowing that I don't *have* to do anything and I'm choosing to make good decisions. Though I am vegan, I know that I *can* eat whatever I want. If I want cookies for breakfast, I can have that. I like dancing through life just making each choice instead of thinking about it in one big structure. It needs to be very open for me.

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HIPPICHICK1 10/14/2011 11:27AM

    I go between making plans and winging it. Most times plans fail because life happens. Like they say, "Plan A never works."
My original plan regarding the 30 Day Shred isn't working out like I planned, and if you've read my blog you can see happens!
I love how you just avoid buying crap that you don't want to eat. I do the same thing. There is really nothing in my pantry that could be called crap, even the dark chocolate!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/14/2011 11:13AM

    I agree. We are individuals and what works for one may not for others. I have to plan or I end up cheating but then I have to buy foods off plan for my husband so it's around.

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SUZYMOBILE 10/14/2011 11:07AM

    Very wise of you! I'm one of the OCD listy types, but I also try not to beat myself up if I don't get everything on the dang list accomplished every day. If I do end up forgiving myself too often, at least I know WHY when I start to gain weight or get flabby!

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ALICIA214 10/14/2011 11:01AM


I totally agree with you . We all march to a different Drummer, that's what makes us the interesting individuals we are.


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