Saturday, October 31, 2009

UTTER FEAR

“Ah.”
“Eeee.”
“Oh, no.”
“Leave!”
“No, don’t go out there!”
“AH!”
“No! Don’t use that Ouija board!”
“Get a priest, for heaven’s sake!”
“AAHH!”
“No, no, no!”
“Get the hell out of there!”
“Oh, dear God!”
“What are you crazy? Do NOT go up there!”
“For God’s sake! L E A V E !
Oh, jheeze, oh jheeze, OH JHEEZE!”
“AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Just a few utterances from last night.
Saw Paranormal Activity.
Oh yeah!
Scared the crap out of me.
Loved it!
Always, Em-Musing

Friday, October 30, 2009

REELY SCARY

I don’t know what it is that makes people like scary movies.
Maybe it’s like the adrenaline rush you get from skydiving or riding roller coasters.
I call it, “getting the crap scared out of me.”
And I love getting the crap scared out of me with a good scary movie.  
But not the bloody gory “slicer/dicer slasher” ones.
Or ones with monsters like Jason, Michael, or Freddie. They could never be real.
Or ones with vampires, werewolves, zombies, or mummies. They’re not real either.
But movies with ghosts, demons, and spirits?
Oh, yeah!
They scare me.
Because I think they’re real.
And it’s all my parents fault.
“There are spirits all around you,” my mother used to say.
Yikes! I was eight when I first heard that one.
“I saw the ghosts of the dead rise up from the bloody battlefield,” my father once said. 
Eeeek!  My dad actually saw ghosts!
“Jesus cast out demons.” Both my mom and dad discussed one night at dinner.
Cripes! If demons were in the Bible, then they had to be real, right?
Fast forward to 1973 and . . .
THE EXORCIST
Of course I had to see it.
It was about demons.
And I wanted the crap scared out of me.
It was. 
Even though I knew Linda Blair puked up pea soup, and it was only Hollywood special effects that made her head spin, I was scared.
And even though I had read the book and knew what was going to happen before it happened, I was scared.
And even though I knew it was my four-year-old daughter talking in her sleep, I was scared that if I went into her room, I’d see her head spin.
OK, I know that’s silly.
But I was a divorced mommy of twenty-four with two young daughters “living alone.”
Fast forward to 1999 and  . . .
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.
Went to see it. Wanted the crap scared out of me.
NOT!
Wasn’t scary at all.
But if I had been? I at least I wasn't "living alone." I had a husband then.
Fast forward to 2009 and  . . .
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
I’m going to see it tonight.
It’s about ghosts.
I’ve read the reviews. And I’ve read the hype.
And it sounds like it’s really scary.
Oh yeah!
I want to get the crap scared out of me.
But even if the movie isn't that scary . . .
I'll still be scared.
Because . . .
I do believe in ghosts.
And . . .
I’m “living alone” again.

Always, Em-Musing

P.S. I still won’t watch The Exorcist if it comes on TV. I’m still that scared. And just so I don’t sound like a big wuss, I found this little tidbit:
The Exorcist was commercially released in the United States by Warner Bros. on December 26, 1973. It was named the scariest movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly and Movies.com and by viewers of AMC in 2006.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

GHOST OF A CHANCE

I was at my daughter’s house for dinner.
“Grandma, there are ghosts in our attic,” my six-year-old granddaughter blurted out.
“Honey, don’t be silly!” my daughter said. “There’re no such things as ghosts.”
“Yes there are, grandma says so.”
My daughter and her husband turned and glared at me.
“Mom? Have you been telling her ghost stories?”
“Yeah!” my granddaughter blurted out again. “She tells me stories about ghosts and vampires and werewolves and zombies and witches.”
“Mom?”
“Well, she likes to hear them.”
“Mother! She’s six. You’re the adult. You should know better.”
“But all kids love ghost stories.”
 “But now she’s afraid of the dark.”

On the drive home, I thought about what my daughter had said that there were no such things as ghosts.
Yeah, she’s probably right.
And I shouldn’t scare my granddaughter with such stories.
No good could come of it.

Getting out of my car, I looked up at the sky. Black clouds streaked across the half-moon. Suddenly, the wind picked up. Dead yellow leaves whirled around my feet. Sugar Maples rustled all around the apartment complex casting strange shadows that quivered on the sidewalk beside me. Their limbs groaned. The air felt colder as I walked to my front door, my fingers searching in my purse for the house key. Once in my hand, I aimed it for the door, but it seemed like an unseen force knocked it loose. I dropped to my knees, grappling the cement to find it. No sooner had I stood back up with the key almost in the lock, than a swirl of leaves slapped across my face.
“Ahhh!” I heard myself wail like a wuss.
I burst into my apartment, slammed the door shut, my heart thudding.
Breathing heavy, I blurted out, “There's no such things as ghosts! There's no such things as ghosts! There's no such things as ghosts!”
Always, Em-Musing

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SCARED TO DEATH-SLEEP

I’M ALIVE!!!!!!!
Yes!
My eyes opened this morning!
I took a big deep thankful breath of  . . .
Damn it!
Stinky air!
What is that smell?
Last night, I was sitting on the couch watching TV when . . .
WAA WAA WAA WAA WAA   UPSTAIRS.
WAA WAA WAA WAA WAA   DOWNSTAIRS
Both of my smoke detectors were blaring at the same time.
My heart thudded as I catapulted off the couch and ran into the kitchen and checked the burners on the stove to see if I had left one on.
Nope.
WAA WAA WAA WAA WAA  UPSTAIRS
WAA WAA WAA WAA WAA  DOWNSTAIRS
Grabbing one of my cutting boards, I ran into the adjacent hallway and frantically waved it at the smoke detector.
When that smoke detector shut off, I ran up stairs and waved the cutting board at the smoke detector in that hallway.
No sooner had this one stopped, than the one downstairs began blaring again.
Up and down I raced for about ten minutes waving my cutting board at both till they finally stopped.
And all the while my mind raced. My eyes scanned.
What was setting them off?
I didn’t see any flames, let alone smoke.
Although I did smell something.
But not smoke.
It smelled like candles when you blow them out.
I had been smelling this scent for several days now.
It was subtle, and not offensive.
I thought maybe the plug-in air freshener from Bath & Body Works had gone wild.
A week ago, I plugged four into sockets in different rooms, each with a different fragrance.
Trust me, one is enough in a small apartment.
The first time I walked in my apartment after having plugged all of them in, my nostrils were attacked by dueling chemical fragrances. I took three out and left the one in the kitchen
Suddenly, I remembered that these plug-ins can cause a fire.
I ran to the one plugged in the kitchen socket and sniffed.
Nope. No odor. And it wasn’t hot to the touch. I took it out, just in case.
I then thought maybe it was the neighbors cooking/burning something.
I opened the front door.
Nothing.
I opened the back door,
Nothing.
Could it be my furnace?
I opened the door in my living room where the furnace is located.
Nothing.
I sat back on the couch without a clue what in the hell set the smoke detectors off.
A few minutes later, I looked at the clock on the cable box. Time to go to bed.
I was not only sleepy, but exhausted from this trauma.
As I walked up stairs, I noticed the carbon monoxide detector. 
The green light was on, so at least there were no noxious fumes mixed in with the odor.
I hoped.
Before climbing into bed, I opened the bedroom window to let some fresh air in.
It would also give me a head start if I had to jump out the window in case of a fire.
I didn’t know what else to do this late at night other than to just go to sleep.
It was too late to call the apartment manager—or anyone—to figure this mystery out.
I lay there, ready to say my usual prayers of thanks and forgiveness, when I realized . . .
I COULD DIE TONIGHT!
My ability to fall asleep fast and deep, and stay asleep throughout the night could be my demise.
And for the first time since I was a little girl, I thought of this prayer,
     Now I lay me down to sleep
     I pray the Lord my soul to keep
     If I should die before I wake.
     I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Scary prayer for a little kid. 
Especially when I had no idea what would make me die while I was sleeping.
But last night, with possible deadly fumes infiltrating my lungs while I slept it occurred to me . . .
It's not the prayer that's so scary.
But dying before I'm a published author is!

Always, Em-Musing
P.S. I'll keep you posted.




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FREE SPIRITS

    I was sitting in my car, at an intersection, waiting for the light to turn green, when I glanced over towards the passenger side of the car and noticed a cemetery.
    In the last few years that I've lived in this part of town, I must have passed this way hundreds of times, but never noticed this very small, inconspicuous cemetery next to a BP gas station.
   The headstones looked old fashioned and were darkened with crud like old brick buildings get that need to be power washed.
    I also noticed there were no flowers on any of the graves, unlike the cemetery a few miles further down the road. That one has flowers on almost all the headstones. Flags everywhere too.
    I’m thinking that the people in this little old cemetery have probably been there sooo long that even their relatives are all dead and are in cemeteries somewhere too.
    I also noticed a sign that read: Hours - Sunrise to Sunset.
    Hmm?
    Being close to Halloween, I immediately thought of ghosts. And that made me think of the afterlife.
    And I do believe that there’s an afterlife. I’m just not sure how it works.
    Here are a few theories.
  1)     You die and go straight to heaven (or hell).
  2)     You die and go into a neutral holding place and wait for Judgment Day.
  3)     You die and that’s it. Nothing more. You were no big deal. Just a blip in time.
  4)     You die and wait in your grave (or urn) until the final Judgment Day.
    Well, that got me thinking.
    What if the last idea is what happens?
    What if all the people in their graves are still there? Waiting?
    Like in this little cemetery?
    And if so, are they just lying and waiting? (Is it laying or lying? I never know.)
    Or are their spirits free to move around while they wait?
    Well, that got me thinking. Perhaps the cemetery sign should read:
          Hours for living people – Sunrise – Sunset
          Hours for dead people – All the time  
                                                                           
Always, Em-Musing

Monday, October 26, 2009

ZOO-ILLOGICAL


Sunday morning. My daughter called.
“Want to take the kids to the zoo?”
“Is the zoo open this time of year?”
“Yeah, for Halloween. The kids wear their costumes and go trick or treating there.”
By kids she meant her son who’s five and my other daughter’s two little girls, one six and the other five.
“How long will we be?”
“A couple of hours.
“Sure.”
“The weather reports says it’s going to be 54° but with gusty winds and a few drizzles later in the afternoon. Better wear something to keep warm and dry.”
I dressed appropriately.
And so we all schlepped to the zoo. The kids were costumed-up with painted faces and held little buckets of plastic jack-o-lanterns for the cache of free candy they were going to get.
As soon as we arrived, I knew we were in for a long afternoon. Why?
1) Long line to get into the parking lot.
2) Long walk to get to the entrance of the zoo.
3) Long line to pay admission.
4) The sun was shining.
Fifteen minutes in the zoo.
“I’m hot!”
“I know. It was supposed to be colder than this. Take your jacket off.”
Twenty minutes in the zoo.
“My feet hurt.”
“I know. Mine too.”
Thirty minutes in the zoo.
“I’m thirsty.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Forty-five minutes in the zoo.
“Ugh, I’m bored.”
“Ya know, if you don’t stop complaining, I’m not going to take you with me next year.”
Sixty minutes in the zoo.
“Can we go home now?”
“Mother! For heaven’s sake! Stop whining! Your setting a bad example for the kids!”
 “Sorry.”
“And if you’re going to act like this, I don’t know if I want you going with us to see the Lights Before Christmas.”
“Where? Here at the zoo?”
“Yeah.”
“Will it be colder out?”
“Why?”
“Because I’m already dressed for it.”
“Mother, you’re being silly.”
“So, let me see if I got this right. You want me to come here just to look at a bunch of lights?”
“Yes, The whole zoo is lit up. It’s gorgeous!”
 “And we’re going to walk this whole zoo again in frigid weather?”
“Mom, it’s the experience. The kids will have wonderful memories.”
“But I can drive through McDonalds, get a nice cup of hot chocolate, and then drive around all the neighborhoods and see how pretty all those lights are. It’ll be warm in the car and my feet won’t hurt.”
“Mom, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”
I looked around at my three grandkids.
“I’ll go.”
“Yeah?”
“Yeah. Being in a warm car is not as important as being in their memories.”

Always,  Em-Musing

Friday, October 23, 2009

DYING TO KNOW


Nothing . . .
Huka
Makes me . . .
Huka
Catapult . . .
Huka
Out of bed . . .
Huka Huka
From a sound sleep . . .
Huka Huka
Faster  than . . .
Huka Huka Huka
Trying to stop my cat. . .
Huka Huka Huka
From . . .
HOOGH
“Yuck, Sweetie! Why do you always huk-up your hairball on the carpeting? And always in the middle of the night?”

A few weeks later, the carpet-cleaning guy said to me, “Ma’am, got everything cleaned but one stain.”
“The one upstairs?”
“Yeah. My guess is it was red dye from your cat’s treats.”
“How’d you know?”
“See it a lot. Never can get those stains out.”
“Really?”
“You should give your cat treats that don’t have red dye in them.”
“Yeah, I would, if could. Switching anything on a cat isn't easy.”
“That’s why I have a dog.”
After he left, I got to thinking about the red dye.
Why is there red dye in my cat’s treats anyway?
Yes, they’re shrimp flavored treats and shrimp is red.
But does my cat—or any cat—care what color her treats are?
I know I don’t’ care what color my cat’s treats are.
Perhaps if they didn’t put dye in them then the color might be gray like mice?
And that got me thinking. Is shrimp even a natural source of food for my cat?
I doubt my cat would ever hunt for shrimp even if we lived in Louisiana.
Nor would my cat ever have the opportunity to hunt for tuna.
Or a chicken, turkey or cow.
But mice? Yes!
And rats too!
Just think of it.
There could be a whole new industry—catching mice and using them in cat food! Instead of killing them in traps, we could trap them and eat them.
Well, not we humans—cats!
It would provide new jobs.
It would help eliminate the pesky rodent problem.
It would give house cats food that they naturally eat in the wild.
The food would be gray or brown like real rodents are so there’d be no need to use red dye in cat’s food.
But the best reason of all?
There’d be no more red dye stains on my carpeting!

Always, Em-Musing

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A SPIDER IN NEED IS A . . .


“The answer is all inside your head,” she said to me.
“The answer is easy if you take it logically.
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free.
There must be fifty ways to kill a spider.”

Yeah, yeah I know. Paul Simon’s lyrics don’t say that.

My therapist did.

More or less.

That was many years ago when I was trying to get rid of Spiderphobia.

Yeah, I know. It’s really Arachnophobia.  

But I like Spiderphobia better.

And I’ve got Spiderphobia bad.

And this is the time of year (yet another reason to hate fall), that spiders love to come inside my home.

Lots of them.

Big ones.

Small ones.

Strange colored ones.

And what I hate about spiders is that want more than shelter when they come inside from the cold.

They want something from me.

In the dead of winter, I will wake up in the morning and have a bite—or more—on me.

There are no mosquitoes in winter.

But something was definitely crawling in the middle of the night. So it has to be a spider that bit me!

ON MY FACE! BY MY EYE!

For heaven’s sake! What do these varmints want?

Now, in all fairness to spiders, and anyone who believes it’s wrong to kill a living thing, I do allow some spiders to co-exist with me.

And why you might ask do I allow these spiders to live?

Because these spiders are small, thin and wispy. They are not ugly like the big Wolf spiders. They know their place in my world. They stay in the corners of my kitchen and never leave.

But more important—they are my allies. They trap the centipedes in my apartment.

And the Wolf spiders!

Often, on a cold, dark winter morning, I’ll mosey downstairs to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee, my mind contemplating which W.I.P. I’m going to work on when, I’ll turn the light on and . . .

ACK!

A dark blob in the corner!

A WOLF SPIDER!

But HA HA!

It’s in the web of my friend, the “corner” spider—DEAD!

Being how many Wolf spiders and other ones I’ve already killed since the temps have dropped, I’ve decided to allow a few more “corner” spiders to take up residence this year.

One can never have enough allies.

Always, Em-Musing

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

KIDDING AROUND

Oops!  

Seems I committed Sat-IRE ( lingistic games)

I offended my daughter with my blog post yesterday when I slammed fall. (inflation)

I then got to thinking about my writing. I grew up in New York where sarcastic quips were routinely served up in every conversation. No one or no thing was sacred. All that counted was getting a laugh at best, a rise at least. Yeah, my sarcasm could get pretty mean.(self-effacing)

However, I'm not mean-spirited. Even to Mother Nature. So damn it! Why do I feel bothered? (incongruity)

And then that silly little muse of mine (invective, exaggeration) kept thumping my brain and told me to look up the word satire in the dictionary. And I did.

Here are a few definitions. (for real)

And devices! (Who knew there were devices for satire?)

Satire: When a writer strongly disagrees with something and makes that prominent in his or her writing, satire is what is created. Satire examples prove that it is required that the author of a satirical piece be witty, and potentially funny, even though humor does not make satire what it is. 


TYPES OF SATIRE & SATIRIC DEVICES

There are two types of satire: Horatian and Juvenalian
Horatian satire is:  tolerant, witty, wise and self-effacing
Juvenalian satire is: angry, caustic, resentful, personal

Satiric Devices
1.     Humor
A.    exaggeration: the formalized walk of Charlie Chaplin, the facial and body contortions of Jim Carrey
B.    understatement: Fielding’s description of a grossly fat and repulsively ugly Mrs. Slipslop: “She was not remarkably handsome.”
C.    incongruity
D.    deflation: the English professor mispronounces a word, the President slips and bangs his head leaving the helicopter, etc.
E.     linguistic games: malapropisms, weird rhymes, etc.
F.     surprise: twist endings, unexpected events

2.     Inflation: taking a real-life situation and blowing it out of proportion to make it ridiculous and showcase its faults
3.     Diminution: taking a real-life situation and reducing it to make it ridiculous and showcase its faults
4.     Irony: Literary device in which there is an incongruity or discordance between what one says or does, and what one means or what is generally understood.
5.     Invective: name calling, personal abuse, etc.
6.     Mock Encomium: praise which is only apparent and which suggests blame instead
7.     Grotesque: creating a tension between laughter and horror or revulsion; the essence of all “sick humor: or “black humor”
8.     Comic Juxtaposition: linking together with no commentary items which normally do not go together; Pope’s line in Rape of the Lock: “Puffs, patches, bibles, and billet-doux”
9.     Mock Epic/Mock Heroic: using elevated diction and devices from the epic or the heroic to  deal with low or trivial subjects
10.  Parody: mimicking the style and/or techniques of something or someone else 

Hmm?

Seems I write a combination of Horatian and Juvenalian satire (understatement) in an attempt
to be humoro . . .

WAIT!

"Juvenalian?" Isn't that where the word juvenile comes from?

Oh, WOW!

Don't you see?

Juvenalian = juvenile = kid = kidding = I'm not mean-spirited = I'm just kidding!

Always, Em-Musing

Monday, October 19, 2009

FALLING FOR IT


If I hear one more person say they love the fall, I’m going to make them bob for apples and keep their heads under water until they come to their senses.

Saying you like fall because of pretty leaves and fresh apples is—at least to me—like my mother who used to tell me when I had to get a shot from the doctor, “If you act like big girl and don’t cry, you’ll get a lollipop.”

A lollipop?

A sharp metal needle was going to be jammed in my rear end!

And my mother thought a lollipop was going to make me feel better?

NOT!

I didn’t buy that crappy reasoning then.

And I ain’t buying that kind of reasoning now.

No matter how pretty the leaves are, no matter how clear the air is, no matter how many recipes are best to make this time of year—WINTER IS COMING!

Oh, sure, a bowl of hot chicken soup is therapeutic when you’re shivering you booty off.

But I don’t want to shiver my ass off in the first place! I like my air temperature warm.

And of course the leaves are gorgeous. Of course they are! Who wouldn’t think they are?

But that reasoning is like flowers at funerals. Of course the flowers are gorgeous, but that that doesn’t mean I want to die to get the flowers.

And speaking of death, all this frigging’ frosty, overcast, dampish weather is really about death. Those pretty colored leaves? They’re dying!

And the smell that’s in the air when I walk in the park? It’s from leaves decaying!
They’re rotten and decomposing!

And that other smell this time of year?

Is smoke from burning all those decaying leaves.

And after this season of multihued dying comes the frigid, gray, grand finale of death—WINTER!
Bah!
Humbug!
Perhaps if spring came right after fall, I think I could handle it.

OK!

Thanks for allowing me to rant.

I feel better now.

Now, apple pie and hot cocoa anyone?

Always, Em-Musing