Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween and the real monsters among us

Well I'm all set for the little ghouls and zombies who will be arriving at my door, little bags opened and waiting for the goodies I have to share. This year, I bought lots of candies and for the wee neighbors which live on either side of me, I bought special gifts.

As you know from my last post, my grandsons and I are very into the zombie apocalypse, and the methods of survival if a national or world wide disaster ever occured. I've been doing research on zombies because they will be featured in the second book of my trilogy.

Unless you're an Eagle scout, Army Ranger or a member of the Navy Seals, most people don't have a handle on how to survive if communication is halted, along with the delivery of food or fresh drinking water. People need to prepare by stocking the basic supplies, such as water, food, first aid supplies, clothing, bedding, tools, etc. I will get back to you with more info on this in my next blog,

The History Channel had a special on the history of zombies, and of course I watched, hoping for some further research material. It was very informative, covering what to expect if there was an uprising of the living dead, how to protect yourself from someone who is trying to snack on you, as if you were a tasty cupcake, and what weapons of choice best served the permanent disposal of said zombie before they sank their teeth into you, ouch!!!

The show also covered the medical possibilities of a zombie apocalypse. Think biological warfare and a new scary word, prion. Watch the show on demand if you can. Well anyway they mentioned this group called the Zombie Squad, don't let the name fool you, this is an organization which prepares for disasters, and they also host disaster relief charity fundraisers and seminars and are looking for responsible volunteers. I put in my application, today.

Okay, back to halloween and the little cutie pies who dress as monsters and go door to door. Bless them all, I love them, but if you've been keeping up with the news, you soon learn there are real monsters around us, no costume needed for them to destroy. I'm an advocate who fights against human trafficking as you can tell by my facebook profile. The story which has been in the news is about a form of human trafficking, used by the woman, Ann Weston, who kept people in chains as she colleted their social security checks. I'll leave her fate to the court and the jury, but we can all help by being aware of the signs of human trafficking. Go on the website of Somaly Mam and learn how to  stop all forms of human trafficking, and check out the Zombie Squad site.

Happy Halloween to all my little zombies and remember chain saws do work when in a pinch.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Caring for the desparados while my daughter and her husband are renewing their vows

 My daughter and her husband wanted to renew their vows in Vegas, and made plans to spend six glorious child free days, seeing the sights, going to shows, gambling and on Sunday, renewing their vows with the aid of Elvis.

"Elvis?" I asked, "Isn't he dead, yet?"

"Mom," she replied with a sigh, "Yeah he's dead, but this is an actor who will be doing the ceremony and afterwards, Elvis will fly us on a helecopter."

"I would feel much better if it was Clint Eastwood flying the helecopter, but have fun," I wished them both as they left for their trip.

She had left a list of times for me to get the boys up and ready for school, plus what time they were to be in bed at night.  Apparantly, the boys did not review the list. Jimmy is seventeen, Joshua is fifteen, and Nathan is nine going on twenty one.

I stayed over at her house to make life a little less complicated, and on Thursday night, after a nice dinner, they all went to bed at their assigned times, homework completed, and clothes for the next day picked out. THEN IT WAS FRIDAY, and the list went out the window.

After coming home from school, the Wii came out and the two youngest played until dinner. After dinner, the oldest wanted to play X box 360 on the large T.V. in the family room. It was a battle between Zelda the Twilight princess and Gears of War three.

After much screaming, stomping, and throwing a tantrum, I finally talked them into a compromise. Mind you, I was the one screaming. Jimmy would have the T.V. Friday night and Josh and Nathan would have the large T.V. on Sunday.

I sat on the sofa, with a cup of hot tea, watching Jimmy play Gears of War. I hate war, even if it's a fake war on video.

Boys are from another planet. I have scientific proof of this.

Saturday, Joshua and Nathan, my sister Lucy and her granddaughter Alexionna and I all went to a museum. We had a great time, and next week will visit the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Saturday night, the boys talked me into watching Scott Pilgrim vs the world. It was really funny even though I kept calling the main actor, Jesse Eisenberg.  It wasn't him. My error. The actor was Michael Cera and the movie is based on a graphic novel about a young Canadian musician who falls in love with a girl called Ramona Flowers. I was surprised at how good this movie was. It even had a funny fight scene between Scott Pilgrim and a psychic vegan musician.

Sunday, I told the boys, no games, "We go for a long hike."

We walked for a few hours, and it was fun to get a chance to talk to them without any interruptions from Zelda, or soldiers in strange outfits, shooting at each other.

Sunday night, they helped me with my story line on zombies for book two. We all love zombies, so there were no arguments over the T.V.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gettysburg: History and Ghosts. Oh My!

    After cancelling our trip, once before because of bad weather, our team leader, Jean decided it was now or never to make our way to Gettysburg to take in the historical sites and to do a bit of ghost hunting.
    The already cloudy day, when we began our drive, had turned into a "chance for showers" by the time we had reached our hotel, but armed with umbrellas we headed out Friday night to our first ghost tour. Having picked out a company which offers the needed equipment to search for spirits, we headed for the bridge.
    Sach's bridge is a covered bridge, and we were informed by our guide, it is known for paranormal activity. After spending some time on the bridge, we then headed up the trail, towards an old house which was used as a makeshift hospital during the three day battle at Gettysburg.
    It was late at night, cold, and the air heavy with the promise of heavy rain. Left alone to explore at our own pace, I headed towards the hill, not far from the house, with my ghost buddies, Jean and Rita.
    I was scanning the area with my flashlight, when I passed over a shape at the top of the hill. My reactions slow because my hand was cold from the chill of the night, I aimed the flashlight at the spot where I had seen the shape, but it was no longer there.
   Wanting to make certain, I had seen what I did, I turned to ask my comrades to shine their lights on the hill, but I was alone because everyone in the group had moved back towards the  house. After finding my friends, I asked Jean to take several photos of the hill in hopes she would catch something on film, but nothing showed in the photos taken.
    We finally called it a night and returned to our hotel to get some much needed sleep fot the next day's activities, but I was unable to close my eyes, because the memory of the confederate soldier kneeling on one knee, rife in hand, kept me awake and curious.
     Saturday, we decided to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, surrounding ourselves in the history of the Civil War, and the 1863 battle of Gettysburg. The Museum and Visitor Center was worth the trip, and we had the chance to view the Cyclorama, a state of the art light and sound show depicting Pickett's Charge.
    Jean had purchased an audio CD and map for us to find our way around the many points of interest at the park, but unfortunately she gave the map to me. As my family knows from experience, never give the map to Marie, my sense of direction so challenged, I'm amazed I was even able to find my way through the birth canal.
   After several episodes of driving around in circles, we finally found Oak Ridge and from there
big round top.
   We braved the cold air and climbed to the top of big round only to be forced back to the car because of the heavy rains. The parking lot was deserted as it was closing time for the park and after climbing into our van, we were upset to find the battery dead.
    Girlscout that I am, I announced to my friends, "We'll be okay. We have snacks, water, and look over there, an outhouse. We can survive until help comes."
    My friend, Rita, not one to panic, calmly pointed out, "We have cellphones. We can call for help."
Lucky for us, two very nice gentlemen came to our aid and jump started the battery, and off we went to sign up for two late night ghost hunts, one at the Jennie Wade House and one at a former orphanage.
    Sunday was spent at the Soldier's National Cemetary, where Lincoln gave his speech at the dedication of the cemetary. Quite solemn, when you see all the unknown markers at the gravesites
    All in all, we had a great time, although a soggy one, and we'll be doing this again next year. This Saturday coming up, I'll  be attending a Witche's Ball, and will post about this soon.