Saturday, November 29, 2008


Vanessa, my sister Bonnie, me and Christel

A few months ago, I joined a "social networking site" set up for all alumni from my high school. My siblings and I attended Thomas Jefferson in Port Arthur from the fall of 1970 when I entered as a freshman until the spring of 1980 when my youngest sister graduated.

Having spent our whole lives in Port Arthur and, in fact, in the same neighborhood and in the same house, the number of great friends as well as casual acquaintances my siblings and I know from high school is huge. (Each of our graduating classes had several hundred people in them.)

Last night, as a result of the website and the hard work of some of our classmates, we had a "gathering" of several hundred people at a local club. Seeing people I hadn't seen in over 30 years who I used to see every day of my life was mind boggling. Add a few beers and the overall affect was surreal.

Early in the evening, a guy who used to be a coach when we were in high school came over to our table. My sister Terry told him who we were and that he had coached our brother. He said he remembered Stuart and said hello to everybody at the table. I wasn't really paying attention because I was talking to somebody else when he walked to my side of the table, looked at me and said, "I remember you."

Being the least athletic of my siblings and the keeper of the lowest profile of the family, I was stunned. My mind began to spin wondering what I had done in high school that would cause a coach to remember me. In the split second between his remark and my response, I tried to pull memories from the deep dark recesses of the 1974 portion of my brain storage unit and came up with zilch.

Had I unknowingly walked out of the restroom sometime in 1973 with my mini-skirt tucked in my pantyhose? Had I tripped down the stairs in my platform shoes one sunny afternoon in 1974 and landed at his feet and blocked it from my memory? Did I run over his foot in driver's ed the summer of 1972 and bury it in my subconscious?

I looked up at him with saucer eyes, fearing his answer, and helplessly asked, "What? No, way. Why? Wait. What? You do?"

He sheepishly said, "No. I just didn't know what else to say."

Attending a reunion advice:
"I remember you" isn't a good opening line unless you have something to follow it up with.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

As God is My Witness...

The absolutely, positively best sitcom Thanksgiving episode ever. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everybody!!!

Watch the whole episode here. There's a six second ad at the beginning, so I'm pretty sure it's legal. You should all make watching this classic episode part of your Thanksgiving tradition. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm confused

I was listening to NPR again and, as usual, I'm confused. This time, I'm confused about the economy. Part of the solution being proposed by the experts is to put more money into the system to loosen up the credit people will borrow more.


I thought the problems began in the first place because people were buying homes they couldn't possibly afford, spending more than my monthly mortgage on a pair of shoes or a purse and buying cars with all the bells and whistles even though it was way outside their budget.

Now that their credit cards are maxed out and the houses are being taken back, the economy is suffering because people aren't buying things they can't afford. Being a responsible consumer is bad for the economy?


Banks and credit card companies are rightfully denying loans and lowering credit card limits, which they should have been doing all along. If people don't have enough sense to do a little simple math ("I make this much money, ergo I can afford to spend that much money"), someone has to draw the line somewhere and not loan money for nonessential purposes or extend credit for luxury items to people who can't afford it. To do otherwise is criminal.

How is opening up the credit market so people can once again spend more than they earn going to make things all better?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program

We didn't see any ghosts on our paranormal retreat, but I did have a few strange occurrences. I had a lot of trouble with the altitude, so I attribute my general feeling of uneasiness to that. However, there were people in our group who said I might have been sensitive to my surroundings and that instead of leaving the areas where I felt uncomfortable, I should have stayed there and tried to decipher the feelings. Maybe next trip. The altitude was making it difficult for me to breathe, think or function without my heart pounding. So, any time I felt bad, I tried to find a way to feel better. I'll be sure my next ghost hunt is at sea level and we'll see if I get those strange feelings again.

The most peculiar things I experienced seemed to point to my being surrounded by some sort of protective energy or field or something.
  • I spilled coffee on my shirt, but it made no mark.
  • I set the alarm on my phone, but it didn't go off. However, I woke up at the exact time I had set the alarm to sound. When I checked the alarm setting it was set to "off" even though I had checked and rechecked it several times before I went to bed.
  • My friend told me there was a line at the restrooms (the "haunted" restrooms, by the way). As I was standing in line, I told the people ahead of me that nobody was in the first stall. They said that the door was locked. I pushed on the door and it opened. I looked at them. They looked at me and said, "You can go ahead." It was an odd moment. You probably had to be there.
  • There was a room in the Concert Hall that people were supposedly having experiences in. My friend and I went in there. When we got inside, I looked around and didn't see her. I thought she had decided not to follow me in there. It was dark, but I could see the other people who were four or five feet away from me. I looked around. I looked around again and decided to leave the room. When I saw my friend again later, I asked her, "Did you decide to not go into the room?" She said, "I was in there. I was standing right by you." I said, "I didn't see you." She said, "You looked right at me before you left. I wondered why you didn't say anything." I said, "I never saw you."
  • My sister told me she spoke to me several times in the Concert Hall and I didn't respond. I did see her, so it would have been natural for me to expect her to speak to me, but I never heard her.
  • The night before we left, my friend had to wake me up because she said I was moaning and "screaming" and thrashing about. The weirdest part about that is that when she woke me up, I wasn't having a nightmare. I know I was looking for something in my dream, but that's all I remember. The dream itself wasn't anything terrifying at all. I'm sure of that.

Also, in the concert hall, mom was hit in the head by a bathroom stall door. When we came out, she told Grant (of TAPS Ghost Hunters) what happened. I said, "Yeah, but she might have been pushing on the wall when it happened." He looked at me and said, "NO! That's the phenomenon that's reported in there. I've sat in there for hours waiting for that to happen."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Madison Monroe

Last night Madison Monroe opened for my friend's (Longneck Road) band. He's a local boy who attended the same high school as me. If you ever have an opportunity to see him, you should check it out. I loved his set.

I don't know Madison well enough to know if he would approve of the comparison, but to give you an idea of my impression of his music, I would say it was sort of a combination of Bryan Adams and Tom Petty. That is high praise indeed from me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Forget the coffee

The coffee just wasn't working this afternoon. I told a co-worker that I need someone to come into my cubicle and pinch me every couple of hours to wake me up. Then I decided that a pinch wouldn't do. I need someone to come into my office every hour and slap the crap out of me.

Any volunteers?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That Was Inappropriate

Another delay in the vacation posts...

Today, I walked out into the hall on my way to the restroom and there was a construction guy drinking out of the recessed water fountain. As he finished drinking, he stood up and bumped his head. Hard.

Unable to contain myself and with total disregard for his probable embarrassment, I asked, "Did you just bump your head?"

Shocked that I said anything, he shyly looked at me and said, "Yeah."

I laughed inappropriately and said, "Sorry. It's not funny, but it sort of is."

Then, I laughed some more.

Humiliation is funny.

In-Box Rebellion!!!

One more thing, then back to the ghosties...

Spread the word! Stop the madness!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Paranormal Retreat Marriage Proposal

I've had more requests for details on the marriage proposal than requests for ghost stories. So, off we go. Early in the retreat, our host Dave Schrader announced that prior to the last event of the retreat a door prize would be given. It would be the first ever door prize at one of these events.

As we all sat waiting for the panel discussion to begin, Dave announced that it was time for the door prize giveaway. He made a grand show of shaking up names in a box and calling out a name. When nobody responded, some people in the audience started shouting, "Have to be present to win! Have to be present to win."

While people were harassing Dave about drawing another name, I was watching the guest speakers. I noticed they were smiling and whispering and laughing. Something was up. Dave looked at the guys and said, "I'm going to tell them." Grant said, "NO!" That's when I started thinking wedding proposal. Finally, the "winning" couple came running across the hotel lobby and into the room.

The guys "proposing" in the below video are Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Chris Fleming and Patrick Burns.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Michael and Marti Parry Gallery Reading

Michael and Marti Parry are psychic mediums. One of the events at the paranormal/ghost hunting retreat I just attended at The Stanley Hotel given by Darkness Radio was a "gallery reading." At a gallery reading, the psychic receives and gives messages from the deceased family and friends of the people in the gallery.

There were about a hundred people in the room and my deceased grandmother stole the show. I had mentioned many times to people before the trip that I wasn't sure if I would sign up for the gallery reading, but that I knew my grandmother would be mad at me if she came through and I wasn't there. It's a good thing I went.

By the way, if you're a skeptic, you might want to quit reading. (Except for you J***, you better keep reading.) I don't have an objective bone in my body when it comes to the paranormal or the spiritual...including saints, angels, etc. I believe. Period. So, I'm not interested in a skeptic's explanation of the events we experienced.

I've watched John Edward's show many times and often wondered if he was reading the minds of the people in the gallery (an interesting ability in itself) rather than actually communicating with their deceased relatives. However, when your deceased grandmother starts talking to you, believe me your mind is a total blank.

Michael Parry was on the other side of the room when he said, "Ruby." (My mom's name.) He asked, "Who would be loud that would be trying to talk to you?"

She said, "My mother-in-law." The audience roared.

Some people believe these guys do something called "cold readings" which means the audience member is inadvertently providing information to the medium. There might have been a couple of instances of this in our reading, but 99% came directly from the other side. I'm sure of that. I bought the video of the event, so we'll be able to analyze our responses further.

Some skeptics also say the psychic listens to people in line or while they're waiting for the show to start. My mom, sister and I didn't speak of grandma while we were waiting. Nor, did I speak of the two people whose names he mentioned to me later. One of those names not being a common name. He mentioned my grandmother's neighbor Mary and my cousin Charlie by name. I agree that those are common names, but their names were totally in context with grandma's messages about them.

Things Michael Parry hit on the nose:

  1. My grandmother had brown curly hair which she was very proud of and I had spoken of it at her funeral. It was one of the things that made me saddest when I saw an old picture of her there with her hair fixed like she used to wear it before she got sick. She told Michael Parry she had beautiful brown curly hair and that he better not tease her about it.
  2. My grandmother's inheritance allowed my sister and I to have down payments on our homes and my cousin moved into grandma's house after she passed away. He said she mentioned that "she" bought three houses.
  3. She and my grandfather argued all the time, but loved each other very much. (Grandpa died a week short of their 70th anniversary.) Grandma told him Grandpa had his own place "there" (on the other side) but she "let him visit."
  4. He described her personality perfectly and everything he said was in a way she would have said it. (Even if there was some way that he could have overheard conversations over the weekend from us about our grandmother, he would not have known her personality. I honestly don't remember talking about grandma at any time during the retreat prior to the gallery reading.)
  5. He mentioned my mother's gardening. He said grandma said, "She regular gardens, not 'pushing up daisies' like me." Grandma would have totally said that.
  6. Grandma said my grandpa was a "stick in the mud." Yes, he was.
  7. He asked "Does she gamble?" That's when I totally lost it. She LOVED Vegas. Went several times a year.
  8. He saw her playing cards. When she wasn't in Vegas, she was sitting at the kitchen table playing solitaire.
  9. He said my grandmother's friend/neighbor Mary was there with her and they were having a great time.
  10. He knew Bonnie (my sister) was divorced before grandma died and that Bonnie "isn't looking" for a man but that grandma said she was going to send somebody to her.
  11. He spoke of Bonnie's two dogs, one of which is with grandma.
  12. He mentioned my cousin "Charlie" and asked what the number or word "one" had to do with him. I said, "He has cancer and a couple of months ago, he was given one week to live." He said grandma will be there to meet him and wanted us to know.
  13. Mentioned my friend "J" by name. He looked at me and said, "I need to talk to YOU now." I said, "Okay." He said, "J***." I said, "Crap." He said, "She says he needs a kick in the pants." Note to "J": I don't think you need a kick in the pants, but that's totally something my grandmother would say to you.
  14. Mentioned my office manager "M" by name. He said, "Who's M***?" I said, "My office manager." He said, "You work in a small office? About ten people?" I said,"No." He said, "Initials G or J?" I said, "No." He said, "Well maybe this is for the future."
  15. On my way home, like a brick wall it hit me. My office has ten attorneys and the senior partner's initials are G. J.

One last word to the skeptics who might think the Parrys got their information from this blog or by Google-ing us or something. We were asked at the sign-in/registration table for the retreat if we wanted to attend the gallery reading. If we did, we paid $20 and were given a sticker for our badges. The line was moving fast and there was no way that the person taking the money for the gallery reading had time to note in the computer who was attending the gallery and who was not.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Slideshow of my pics and videos

Click here for pictures and videos of my trip. The marriage proposal is in there. There will be a separate post about that later. I promise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm baaaaaaaack!

Me with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of SciFi Channel's Ghost Hunters

The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park, Colorado

The ghost hunting vacation was fabulous. I just might be posting about it for the next couple of weeks. I didn't see any ghosts, but my grandmother came through in the gallery reading with very specific names and messages for me, mom and Bonnie. More on that later.

There was a costume party and a marriage proposal. I got video of the surprise proposal which occurred at the last event of the retreat. That will be posted later.

If you are considering a fabulous and eventful vacation and you're interested in the paranormal, I highly recommend one of the Darkness Radio vacations. It's like four vacations in one: resorts in beautiful areas of the country (Queen Mary, The Stanley, etc.), four hours of ghost hunting with the celebrity speakers, two days of fascinating presentations by interesting speakers and you get to meet and hang out with (seriously, you just hang out with these guys) some of your favorite paranormal celebrities and knowledgeable people in the field (Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Chris Fleming, Patrick Burns, Father Andrew Calder, Chip Coffey, etc.).

Thanks to Dave Schrader for putting on these amazing events.

"Here's Laurie!"

Sunday, November 09, 2008

No Internet...posts after vacation

I can't seem to get the internet in my room and I'm too busy to come down here to the cafe to do posts. Talk to you next Thursday!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I'm on vacation!

I'm leaving tomorrow to go on vacation. This will be my first vacation with my laptop and I'm going to try to post daily about our ghost hunting adventures. It'll be like little daily postcards from me. How special.

Where I'll be staying:

What I'll be doing:

Click here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Walgreens Rocks

For the second time this year, Walgreens' pharmacy has saved me a butt load of money on my prescriptions just by being observant, knowledgeable and kind. To all the people in the Walgreens Beaumont pharmacy at Calder and Dowlen, I salute you!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I Flunked Out of Zen Meditation Class

A while back, I signed up for a Day of Christian Zen Meditation. For some reason, I thought it was a class about meditation which included a little actual meditation and a lot of lectures. I was wrong.

Realization hit me at breakfast when a man distributed the schedule for the day. There were strange words on the schedule I had never seen before: Zendo, Zazen, Kinhin. I told Mary Beth, "I didn't Google enough for this." There was also an ominous statement on the schedule that read: "Silence begins."

Before entering the Zen room, we all had to remove our shoes. A man introduced the instructor then said, "Four tables have been reserved for you in the dining room for lunch so that you will be separate from the other people who are here attending retreats. Since this is a silent day, we don't want anyone accidentally speaking to you."

Wait? What?! Silent? What the hell? I can't even talk at lunch. This Day of Zen lasts until 4:00 p.m. You're telling me I can't speak a word until 4:00 p.m.? It gets worse. The instructor then promptly informed us that not only could we not speak to people, we couldn't even make eye contact because of this experience being all internal and Zenny and stuff like that. Telling a Ransonette they cannot speak or make eye contact for eight hours is like telling a fourteen year old she can't text for a week. It's physically impossible.

The instructor went on to explain the schedule: Zazen is twenty-five minutes of silent meditation and Kinhin is ten minutes of walking. The walking is done in a straight line, one Zenster in front of the other (about a foot apart) with your hands held in a very specific way, no speaking, no eye contact.

I could have handled perhaps one cycle of the Zazen/Kinhin experience after some sort of instruction on meditation techniques. What I could not handle was Zazen/Kinhin No talking. No eye contact. Just Zazen and Kinhin from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. only interrupted by the impossibly silent lunch. Oh, and two tea breaks. What's the point of a break if I can't discuss The Office or The New Adventures of Old Christine?

The first Zazen began at 9:00 a.m. I began plotting my escape at 9:02. I knew that before the first Kinhin I'd be gone gone. When we filed out in an orderly manner for our first Kinhin, I broke ranks, headed for my shoes, pantomimed to Mary Beth that I was leaving and hauled ass.

I thought I was out free and clear to enjoy a normal Saturday with family and friends out in the great big beautiful noisy world when I realized that the only way to get out of the retreat center was to circle around the back of the building and drive right alongside the path where my former Zen mates were Kinhin-ing.

Feeling like the evil barbarian in Shogun, I drove my air polluting petroleum burning vehicle past the silent Zenny's. As instructed, I did not make eye contact.