Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Presents and Returning Them and Values of Stuff

I am looking at the pile of Christmas presents I got this year.  It's rather disturbing.    Clothing in six different sizes that will have to be returned and exchanged if I am ever to wear any of it.  And then there's the knick knacks.  People paid money for these things, and I keep thinking about the necessity of it all.   I mean I keep wondering where is the necessity of it?   What am I going to do with eight candles that smell like fruit of one kind or another.  I don't like to smell fruit, I like to eat fruit.  Fake fruit smells don't really turn me on.  I do like spice smells and floral scents, but the fake fruit scents are yucky.  And another basket.  I got another basket.  I know!  I will place the candles in the basket and find someone who would appreciate them!

Meantime I picked up a couple more things that I should have left where they were.  One is a small table my father assembled.  I could have let it go to the charity place, but my father made it out of a marble top, and a plaster of paris candlestick that I made many years ago.  So now it sits on my front porch.  Maybe I will find a place for it.  The other is an antique croquet of an antique croquet set.  I think I will take pictures of it and see if anyone in the world can use the balls and mallets from an antique croquet set.   Oh yeah, and I brought home a couple of yards of furry material that Zach used to make a wind cover for a microphone.  Maybe I can make furry mice for cat Christmas presents for next year.   Shouldn't I be doing something more productive for my keep?   I've worked for 47 years, and have many office skills.  I've run at least one manufacturing company when the people who were supposed to be running it fell down on the job.  I kept a law office open for six months while the attorney was incapacitated.    I've written numerous business plans for others.   And I can make wind buffers for microphones...and numerous other things.  

My friend Kathy's daughter always used to make her father upset whenever anything needed to be done, or fixed, or whatever.  She'd say "Call Jana.  Jana can do anything."   I guess I can pretty much.  My father told me "nearly anything you need to know how to do is in a book, or there is someone around who can teach you how to do it.  Nothing is impossible."

I think part of my talent is that I can look at a problem from outside the box, and look for answers outside the box.  The answers I come up with may be unique, but often they are the answers needed.  

A friend of mine who is Mexican wanted me to teach her how to make a pinata.  I did.  Then I taught her how to make "Mexican gravy" for putting over burritos.  I thought it was funny that I was teaching a Mexican friend to make Mexican things.    I don't like to tell someone they can't do something.  I'd rather try to show them how to do something they think they can't do.

I think I'll go to bed and see what time I get awakened in the morning when someone thinks of me at some early hour when I'm not really ready to wake up!!   This morning it was 5:46 a.m.  I went back to sleep and slept until 8:30.  But I was up until 3:30 a.m. writing.   I wonder if I woke anyone up thinking of them at 3:30 a.m.?   This merry-go-round of wondering is wonderfully fun.

Love and kisses...Jana

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Carols and Church Hymns and Security

I remember singing in church a lot.  Mostly I remember my Grandad Bristow and his deep booming baritone drowning out my Grandmother Bristow's off-key, but heartfelt singing.  Unfortunately I think I inherited my Grandmother's singing voice.  Perhaps not, I can stay on key, it's just that my range is very limited.  But I love to sing.  The cat doesn't mind.  But when Zach was very little I would sing to him in the car.  He would say "Mom why can't we get a radio?"

My grandparents attended the Church of God in Columbia City.  In my hometown we attended the Evangelical United Brethern.  They called it the singing church.  I did sing in the children's choir.  They placed me in the alto section.  I couldn't do much damage there and I learned all the words to the songs.  I loved singing.  I even sang in the high school choir, but I didn't stand out and I made certain to sing quietly within my range.  As well Johnny Pflieger usually stood behind me, both in the school choir, and in the church choir, and he had a great strong voice.  He is now a world-reknowned opera singer.  He is very famous in Germany.  Then there is Janie Fricke who won a couple of country music awards.  She grew up in my hometown.  She can tap dance too.  Crystal Gayle grew up just a few miles away in Wabash, Indiana.  Apparently the musical talent doesn't come from drinking the water! 

Last night I was watching one of the Country Music channels on cable, and they were singing old church hymns and then Christmas carols.  I sang right along with them.  Fritzie the cat came running to make sure I was really all right.  Sometimes singing the old hymns makes me cry.

Somewhere back in my childhood I learned a phrase that has stuck with me throughout my life and gotten me through scary things and even danger.  I think my Grandmother Terman taught it to me.  Whenever I'm alone and afraid or in danger, the phrase repeats itself in my head...."God is with me all the time."  

I remember watching a scary movie and then one of my friends bringing me home to the farm house.  It was dark and empty, no one else was home yet.  I found the key to the back door and let myself in.  "God is with me all the time.  God is with me all the time."   Got me inside the house, away from the scary cellar stairs, and into the kitchen, where I began turning on all the lights until the house was blazing with light.   Knowing God is with you all the time is a great comfort.    Singing church hymns and Christmas carols is a joyous way to celebrate. 

Mother called me Friday night to tell me she'd just been caroled by her church friends.  She named off all of the people who were there singing to her.  They were all friends who sang in the same choirs.  I'm sure not all of them were perfectly on key, but they were singing joyously.  That's the point.  Even if you have to do your singing in the car with the windows rolled up so as not to frighten pedestrians, one should always keep on singing.  It fills one's heart with joy.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

Well, the excitement is beginning.   I am getting ready for a party tonight at my house.

Then tomorrow I get up early and have to be ready to leave the house around 11:00 a.m. to drive to Pierceton.  I don't know how big Guy's extended family is, but he's invited us to his Christmas on Sunday at his house, which is out in the country.  The house isn't all that big, so I wonder how it will go.  It should be interesting, and Mother will be there, and perhaps my brother Jan as well.  I expect I will leave around 3 or 4 and get home early.  Then I hope to get to bed early so I won't be late the next day for Christmas at my brother's in the country.

Perhaps this year my niece and her family will be coming from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  I hope so, I haven't seen her at Christmas in eight years.  They lived in Germany for awhile.

Off to make Christmas pizza from scratch.  Merry Christmas, and love and kisses.  Jana

Friday, December 22, 2006

Darfur. Let's All Help (See my tongue in my cheek?)

I've been watching various advertisements put out by celebrity types about how we ought to come to the aid of Darfur.  They want us to do this because there are people being murdered in Darfur.  People are starving in Darfur.  Bad people are hurting nice people in Darfur.  

Wow.  I wonder how we could point out to them they could go back in time about seven years, and substitute the letters IRAQ for DARFUR.  

How is this different?   Well, probably, because they want us to give them lots of money (we tried that with Iraq...remember?), and talk nice to the people in charge in Darfur (we tried that with Iraq...remember?) and talk to the people in the UN and see if they can't solve this problem diplomatically (we tried that with Iraq...remember?).

Hey this is making me tired.  I think I'll go take a walk on my treadmill. 

I've got to get into the holiday spirit.  So far for Christmas I got three bells, a Christmas CD, two candles, and a Snowman Kit.   It's not working yet.  I've had the tree up since the Friday before Zach left for California. 

I am not depressed.  I'm happy.  I am looking in the mirror and making faces at myself.   Now I'm laughing!   I've got to go shopping. 

Merry Christmas and etc.   Love and Kisses, Jana

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

White Elephants Again...Better than Pink Ones???

I went to that Xmas party last night, and I went around the house and picked up a cup I didn't pick out for myself that I've never been too fond of, stuffed one of the kitchen towels I've been crocheting into it, and wrapped it with a couple of crocheted hot pads.  I dumped a bracelet that I'll never wear into it, and wrapped it all up.   I hope it or parts of it are appreciated by the recipient.    For my White Elephant present,  I got a bag with some Christmas cheer type things, including a poem that was written for the Christmas party, three jingle bells, two candles and a star, a Christmas Music CD, and a "Snowman Building Kit".   The only problem I see is that all of that takes up more space than the stuff I put in my package.  I could burn the candles, use the star for a bird feeder, put the CD in with my Christmas music, but what to do with the Snowman Kit?   No Snow So Far this year.  And that's okay with me.  The bells are too big for the cat, but I could tie them onto a holiday wreath on my front door.

What's with the no snow do you suppose?  And don't tell me it's got anything to do with global warming!  You know Al Gore invented global warming don't you?  Who told me that?  

I love Christmas, but I am looking forward to summer at the lake again next year.  It is so calm there, and quiet. 

I would be there now, except I don't want to sit inside, and it's cold outside. 

Perhaps if I had my own place at the lake, decorated the way I'd like, then it would be more conducive to peace and quiet at the lake.   

I am not crazy about the "rustic" look some people have in their cottages.  I'd prefer the "cottagey" look, clean, neat,  pale colors, and serenity.  Nothing red!   I like pinks, but red is kind of scarey.

The above is just in case Santa is reading my blog, and is working on getting me that place at the lake I have on my list.  In that regard, Red Roses and Red Bows on presents doesn't turn me off.

See, I really am kind of silly.   But then what you see is what you get.  Love and kisses, Jana

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

White Elephant Presents

I received an invitation to a Christmas party tonight, one of the things being to bring a "white elephant" Christmas present.   I'd forgotten about White Elephant presents.  Some of my best presents have been White Elephant presents, i.e., something somebody wrapped up because they didn't want it around their house any more.   One of the nicest ones I got was a beautiful antique "dancing lady" covered dish that I got from Ms. Hamm, who was my boss at the University of Illinois, Department of Graduate and Foreign Admissions.   The covered dish was a lady wearing a beautiful blue dress.  You don't see a lot of things made out of this blue frosted glass anymore.  It was a sort of turquoise blue.  My mother has absconded with the dish, and she uses it in her bathroom to hold cotton balls.  But she acknowledges that it's really my dish.  She has lots of things at her house that are really mine.  I let her keep them because she enjoys them.

Well, back to the White Elephant gift that I have to come up with.   Supposedly a white elephant is something that you have and don't need anymore.  I've got a box of floppy disks that I don't need anymore.  I've got a huge book called Fires and Explosions: Determining Cause and Origin, by Kennedy.  It's green and would make somebody a good doorstop.  I certainly have no use for it.  It was a very expensive book purchased by a former employer for a personal injury case.  The former boss very generously gave it to my son.  My son, very generously, didn't take it with him when he moved out.    I have tons and tons of books.  I could gift a book as a white elephant.  Perhaps it would be looked upon by its recipient with some favor.   White Elephant gifting is a good way to clean house.   But the box might be too big to transport to the party.

Well, off I go to deliver a book to someone on the other side of town, and then home to get ready for the party tonight.

This is my second Christmas party so far this season.  Though I'd prefer to stay at home and write my novel, I guess I must fight the urge to be a hermit and get out and socialize.   

Merry Christmas.  Love and Kisses, Jana.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happiness Is Yours


1.    The number one key to happiness is understanding your own mind and learning to have power over it.

2.  You hold the key to happiness. It is in your brain, not in your hand.

3.   Your mental attitude will determine your mental altitude. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

4.   To be happy, you need a relaxed mind.   Relax, let go of stress!  

5.   Live in the present,  it is the only moment you have.

6.   Focus on here and now always.

7.   Don't fight things in your mind or physically.

8.   Accept all that happens to you completely.

9.   And then let it go.

10.  Happiness is an inner state of well being. Focus on your inner state.

11.  Happiness is liberty, don’t seek approval from others.  It doesn't matter what others think!

12.  Happiness is power.   Use it wisely!   Sometimes people get upset with us because we're happy!!

13.  When you get angry realize that you are giving your power away.   It's not easy, but let it go.

14.  When you want react to anything, take a moment, do nothing and look within and understand you can respond to the situation using happiness as power to work for you.

15.  Don't judge people. Don't take things personally because it separates you from your own wisdom path of being happy.

16.  Your happiness affects your health.   Being happy  adds years to your life, and life to your years.

17.  Fear is the opposite of happiness. Fear will enslave you. Happiness gives you freedom.

18.  "Things" cannot make you happy.   Other people cannot make you happy.  You must become happy. 

19.  Happiness is a decision.

20.  Make the decision to be happy and you can always choose happiness in every situation.  

21.  Happiness is a conscious choice. Only a conscious person can choose to be happy, i.e., drugs and alcohol dull your ability to choose.   You can't choose anything if your senses are dulled.

22.   Don't give energy to negativity.  You are giving energy to unhappiness.   If you have a problem, give energy to the answer of solving it.   Being happy lets us respond in the best possible way available at the time and creating the best possible outcome.

23.  Stay away from negativity and unhappiness.  Make friends and associate with people you can learn from in your life.

24.  A happy life is a meaningful life. Find meaning in your life.  Find your meaning for yourself. No matter how long it takes; it is really worth the effort.

25.  Enjoy nature.   It's God's Happiness.  You're a beautiful part of it; a sunset or waves breaking on  shore, or a mountain top will  bring you closer to God's happiness for you.

26.  You deserve happiness.  Take it.

27.  Give yourself permission to be happy! If you can't give yourself permission, I give you permission to be happy.   Zap!  You're Happy!   Now Smile!!!

28.  Being Happy is an action art.   Look in the mirror and make funny faces at yourself until you laugh.  Smile at your reflection every time you see it! 

29.  Fake it till you make it!    Act like you're happy and you will become happy.

30.  Count your blessings.  Having blessings counted multiplies them.

31.  Accept yourself, God made you perfect just the way you are.   God is happy with you, so accept yourself.  This is the key to happiness.

32.  Find three or more things you are grateful for every day. Write them down in a journal if you like. Count your blessings before you sleep every night.

33.  Laugh a lot. Laugh at yourself.   Don't take yourself so seriously.

34.  Don't worry about the past, or fret about the future.   Have faith things are just the way they should be...  If you have a worry habit, ask God or your Spirit Guide to remove the worry from you.

35.  You are God's perfect creation.   You have a special purpose in life, and you can find it.  (Ask God or your Spirit Guide for assistance in defining your special purpose.

36.  Be generous.  Be a giver. Give compliments, give smiles, give yourself.   Be real!!

37.  Learn from your dog.

38.  Be childlike.

39.  Be yourself.

40.  Be kind.

Homeland Security

You know it makes a lot of sense to me that Homeland Security and/or the Border Patrol should hire unemployed Native Americans to guard the border.  Granted they didn't do such a hot job of that back in 1492, but there are good reasons why they should be so employed.  

One, they need jobs.  Most of them are on the reservations with nothing to do.  The ones who aren't on the reservations are filling up the ranks of the unemployed all over.  

Two, there are lots of Indians who don't really look like Indians...look at me, a case in point  (I don't want to work for Border Patrol.)   

Three, they have a wonderful patriotism for this country.  It was, after all, the property of Creator when the Indians had it.  They didn't ever really own it, inasmuch as it was the Indians belief that only Creator could own the land.

Four, they are, after all, called Braves.  Let the Warriors protect this country.  They would be good at it.   Many of the Native Americans are Veterans of the Armed Services.  At every pow wow you attend you see many veterans among the dancers.  There is a special dance just for the Veterans.  The flags of the Veterans are a part of the procession.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wrapping Christmas Presents

My ancient television set finally conked out.  I bought it in 1990.  I knew it was going to go, but its a Magnavox in a nice wooden cabinet, so I wanted to keep it around.  I think I am going to have someone take the old picture tube and speakers out, and replace them with a nice shelf, and then I'm going to buy myself a new flat screen tv that will fit right inside of the cabinet.

I went to South Whitley to my Mother's house and helped her wrap all of her Christmas presents.  I expected I would be wrapping all of our family's presents from her, but it turned out she has also purchased presents for all of her friend, Guy's family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as well!   So I wrapped everything.  I left this morning about 9:30 and stopped at Comcast to drop off the cable box I've been using on the old tv, and then I drove to South Whitley.  I wrapped presents for a very long time.  We took off and went out to the restaurant that used to be "Kenny's Drive-In" and now is a Mexican restaurant.  The food was good.

I think that my Christmas schedule is going to be that on Saturday the 23rd, my friend Becky and her kids are coming over for pizza and presents.  On Sunday, I am driving to Guy's house (mother's boyfriend) in Pierceton for a Christmas Dinner.  And then I will probably come home Christmas eve, and then Christmas morning I will drive to South Whitley to have Christmas at my brother's house with all of our family...except Zach who probably won't make it.

I should probably go to my mother's to stay on Christmas eve, and then I only have to drive 3 miles to Jan's house....instead of 26 miles...and that would save me about 30 miles from Guy's house to my house, 'cause it's only 8 miles from Pierceton to mother's house....however, Fritzie kitty should not be left alone overnight.  He will eat my Christmas tree and he will be very lonely.   I left him alone today, and he was a bit put out.  He thinks I'm supposed to be here all the time.    I adopted him from the will be two years in January.  His name was Moses then, and I was going to adopt him in July or August of '04, but never got around to it.  I'd seen him on television.  Then I ended up in the hospital with the open-heart surgery in September 04, so then I had to wait to get recovered from that, so I adopted him in January when I saw him on tv again.  They said he'd been returned twice because he had behavior problems.  He does have "fear issues", but he's a nice little cat, and I changed his name to Fritz.  My old cat that died in June of 04 was named Fred, and Fritz is a nickname for Fred.  The angel in my book is named Fred...and the teddy bear in my book is named Threadbare Fred Bear.  I think my spirit guide might be my old friend Fred too.  Wonder whatever happened to George. 

I'm so sleepy I'm getting loopy, and kinda silly.   I think I'll go to bed early tonight.  Nite nite.  Love and Kisses....Jana

Who Really Makes the Life Plan?

Who really makes the Grand Plan for our Life.  Sylvia Browne's explanation makes a lot of sense, but sometimes while you're living it you might rebel against the idea.  She claims that while we are at Home on the Other Side, we get together with the major players in our lives and make a plan for our next incarnation on earth, the goal being to live a life that will teach us more things in our ever-ongoing goal toward attaining near Perfection on the Other Side.  In other words, we have planned all of the good and the bad things that confront us in this lifetime in order to acquire the skills and character-building required to attain that near perfection.

We planned to meet all of the people we met, both good and bad.  We planned all of the excitement and drama and even the boredom parts of our lives.  We planned to have confrontations between other entities (I find this one hard to buy...I've endured some pretty scarey things, but I did get through them, and I came out ahead in the long run...)   We planned the heartbreakers.  And we planned the confrontations with those we can only describe as dark evil ones as well.   Why would we do that to ourselves!!?   To foster the growth of our Souls.   I guess the most interesting fact about it is that the difference between our Human selves and our Souls is that as humans we have the earthly ego. 

When I run into people who argue that they would never choose to live the lives they are living, I try to point out to them that their souls chose these trials in order to foster the growth of the soul.  Nobody wants to buy that conception.  But if you can accept that idea, and accept that you're going to get through the trials, and accept that your Soul has written a happy ending into the Plan, it begins not to matter so much whether the happy ending occurs on this plane, or on the Other Side.

At the same time this conception also makes it easier for your human self to forgive those you believe may have wronged you.  If you can accept the idea that your Soul chose these events, then who do you have to blame?  It makes it so much easier to forgive every bad thing that ever happened to you. 

Patience is probably the lesson I'm supposed to be learning...and possibly my job is to reach and teach others they are responsible for where they found themselves.

More things to think of...isn't life grand!!

Love and kisses, Jana

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More on Sylvia Browne and what she says

Sylvia claims that everyone on the Other Side speaks Aramaic.  Does that mean I could interpret what I was hearing?  Probably not.    I don't think so...maybe on the Other Side, but not here.

She also claims that on the Other Side everyone is 30 years old.  I could handle that.  She claims that we can often cross over to the other side by Astral Projection in our sleep, and that when we have been to the Other Side and come back to awaken we are happy about the trip. 

When I awakened from my surgery I was angry to be back.  I don't remember being anywhere else, I just went to sleep and woke up with everything in between being black.  But I was very angry when I awoke.   One of my friends who is psychic says that sometimes people who have visited the other side while unconscious will come back angry because they wanted to stay.  I couldn't stay because I'd promised I'd come back.  I'm happy that I came back.  I have more to do here anyway.

I do believe in reincarnation, and Sylvia explains that and why remnants of stories about reincarnation were removed from the Bible by Pope Constantine, leaving behind references to people coming back as someone else, which can seem mysterious if you don't believe in reincarnation. 

I found the whole book very interesting and clarifying.  

I once dreamed that the person I call my Soul Mate was my father and that I was a little girl.  We were in a courtyard in the Middle East and he was standing wearing a brown suit.  I was wearing a blue robe.  We were standing around a water well with a wall that was only a few inches high.  And we spoke Aramaic or a language that sounded very much like Aramaic.

I'm open to all of these things.  I'm not denouncing them until someone proves everything to me one way or another.  Keeping my options open.

Love and kisses, Jana 

Who and What We Are and Why It Matters

I've been reading a book by Sylvia Browne, who calls herself a psychic.   The name of the book is  Life on the Other Side.   I believe we're all psychic to some degree, some people just use it more productively than others.  Unfortunately, some claim to have the ability and then make things up while they go along. 

I'm psychic to the extent that I have what I call "psychic caller ID", i.e., when the telephone rings...if it is someone I know, I know who it is before I pick it up.  If it's a stranger, I guess I know that too.  If it's somebody I've just talked to on the phone, I always think, 'now why are they calling me back?' and I'm always right.  If it's someone I haven't heard from in a long time, I think I'm just imagining things.  Often times we will think of the person we haven't heard from in a long time, and then they call.  Generally we tell them " I was just thinking of you yesterday!" It's no coincidence!

This book is very interesting, and some of the things she has to say coincides with what I have learned here and there.  I do have the unusual ability to converse with people who have crossed over, sometimes.  Sometimes they are too busy to converse.  Sometimes I only get the sound of their voices.  Sometimes there is a short but sweet message.  Most of the time, I just want to tell them something, and I don't worry about whether I get an answer back.

In my writing, I sometimes will "contact" the Other Side asking for guidance with portraying a historical character with some accuracy.  Sometimes I ask for literary guidance.  Most times I don't ask, I just say "thank you for directing me in my writing." 

Anyway Sylvia's book is very interesting and very succinctly explains things I have only vaguely understood.  For that reason I believe her answers for things make a lot of sense.  And she claims to get these answers from her guides from the Other Side.  So if you don't believe in Guides from the Other Side, you might have trouble believing in the things she says, but her explanation about some of the concepts on the Other Side are very, very interesting and make a lot of sense.  I found this book very comforting.  In particular I found her statement "there is no such thing as death" to be the most comforting thing of all.  Inasmuch as I have spoken to people who have crossed over, I know they are very near to us. 

I also have an understanding that we live a life on this plane of existence in order to learn certain lessons.  Hard to take is the understanding we have chosen the lives we live.  Well, actually, our souls chose the lives we live on earth  in order for us to grow and become more like Christ.   So in effect, the lives we live aren't really "God's Plan" for us, but the Plan that our Souls have chosen for our growth.    At this age, I can say that I have learned some lessons, and that my understanding has grown.  

I believe one of the goals of this existence on Earth for me was to learn patience!   Boy have I!!!  Another goal, I believe was to learn Tolerance.  I'm working on that one too.  I have become much more tolerant than I was in the beginning.  Although I was born an Aquarian and came with a certain degree of tolerance for others, I find I still have some prejudices that I have to deal with.  One of those I'm working on, is tolerance for those who are downright evil, and tolerance for those who are downright stupid!

(I'll write some more on this later...come back to see what I have to say....I have to get ready for a Xmas party at Bear Creek Farms.  I am going with my friend Eleanor...this should be interesting, a bunch of Realtors.)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Soul Mates

Soul mates is an interesting concept.  One day about ten years ago my son had just broken up with a girlfriend.  He said, "Mom, I thought we were soul mates."   I told him, "just because you're soul mates doesn't mean you're going to spend a whole lifetime together."   Then I told him about the situation I experienced, and why I wasn't with the person I believed to be my soul mate.   Zach asked, "doesn't that make you mad?"   I said "No."   And he wanted to know why I wasn't mad.  I had to think about that for awhile.

Along with this person being the love of my life, my soul mate, and a very special person to me, he was also someone I have always considered to be a life long friend.  I felt the circumstances that separated us were things neither of us had chosen.  But it took a while for me to figure out why I wasn't angry about the circumstances. 

I thought about it for a couple of years.  One of my jobs when I left the law office temporarily was with the post office, working at the remote encoding center.  It was a night job.  Sometimes I would drive across town at 4 a.m. with silent, empty streets.  

During that time I would often think about the Soul Mate.  Particularly because we were still connected.  If I close my eyes I can see a bright white line going from me, up into the sky, and back down where he is.  That connection has always been visible to me.  I've always known where this person was.  I've often spoken to this person without the benefit of the telephone, and not being together, and they are as close to me as if we had spent our lives together.  

One night I remember in particular driving home.  I can still remember precisely where I was when the answer came to me.

I wasn't angry about the situation because I was blessed with the knowledge this person has always loved me.   How do I know this?   We haven't seen one another for many years.  But we have had occasional telephone conversations.  I could always hear the love in his voice.  Well, almost always.  I realized that there were times when it wasn't there, and I determined that when that occasion arose, it was because he wasn't alone at the time we were talking.  I think the lack of the love in his voice was when I really realized that I got a special voice when he spoke to me alone.

The Soul Mate has been in another relationship for many years.  I don't resent that relationship.   I respect that relationship, and I respect my Soul Mate for respecting that relationship.   I don't want to interfere with that relationship.  I don't need to do so.  I am happy and content with things as they are. 

Does this mean I wouldn't wish for things to be different?   No.  I do wish things were different.  But I cannot resent the children that came from that relationship.   After all, for reasons perceived by only us, those children were wishes that did come true.  I cannot resent my child.   I am blessed to have experienced such a child.   Perhaps God had a Grand Plan that worked things out this way.  Perhaps God's Plan is not finished.  Perhaps the best is yet to come. 

One evening I was reading a book.  The characters in the book had a relationship much like the one between us.  They had been separated for a very long time.  The line was "I loved you then, I love you now, and I have loved you every day in-between."    I said to myself, "I wish I could hear [my soul mate] saying that to me."    And I did.  Right that very minute, I heard his loving voice, saying that very thing.   It frightened me!   I thought he'd crossed over and I didn't know about it!    Very soon after that I confirmed that he was, indeed, still alive and kicking!

I'm happy and content with this life.  But that doesn't keep me from wishing for us to be together again somewhere down the road.   When two people make the same wish it almost always comes true.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Great Raccoon Adventure - You Can Do What You Must

Early this past Spring I awoke to hear thumping and galloping in my attic.  I couldn't figure out what it was but the cat was as spooked as I was.  I went to the pulldown stairs, and pulled on the rope and thumped the stairs a couple of times to frighten whatever was up there.  I thought perhaps it might be squirrels that had somehow climbed up under the eaves.  

When I pulled the stairs open to take a peek, whatever was up there started throwing Christmas ornaments at me!  

I thumped the stairs some more, and turned my stereo on in my bedroom and put on Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, hoping the cannons would frighten them.   I aimed it at the attic door and turned it up very loud.   Maybe it would frighten them away. Rather I think they began to march across the attic floor.

Later I put rat poison cubes on the stairs and raised them back up again.  That evening I was sitting in my office, right where I am now, at the NW corner of my house, when I heard something scurrying overhead, making a frantic effort to get out of the attic.  I ran downstairs and turned on the backyard light.  I saw three smaller than adult raccoons jumping from the old television antenna on the back of my house to the cable wire, and then across to a tree and to the yard.   Someone appeared to have built a nest on the inside of the antenna.   They jumped over the back gate and took off.  I figured they'd eaten the rat poison and were looking for water.  I figured that would be the last of them.  I didn't hear them in the attic after that.   That was about late March I think. 

About mid-April while Zach was in California visiting his father, I was awakened in the middle of the night by my cat, Fritzie.  He would run into my room, bounce off the side of my mattress and then run down the stairs.   I just yelled at him, and tried to go back to sleep.  He did it over and over again.  It was about 3:30 a.m.   So I got up and went down stairs to get a bottle of water.  I get the hiccups sometimes when I get woke up in the middle of the night.   As I was standing at the refrigerator reaching in to get a bottle of cold water, I heard noises coming from my pantry, which is off the kitchen and if you open the door it leads down to the basement. 

I looked at Fritzie to see if he'd heard what I had.  He was on full alert.  And he was bravely hiding behind me.  I turned on the overhead light, and looked through the slats of the door to the pantry.  I couldn't see anything.  But I heard some creatures bounding down the stairs.  At least two of them.   I grabbed a flashlight from the drawer and cautiously opened the pantry door. 

Everything had been pulled from the shelves and I could barely get the door open!    Stuff was all over the floor.  My supply of plastic bags which had been stuffed into a container were all pulled out all over the floor.  I began putting things back on the shelves.  I wasn't ready to go down the basement to see where the beasts had gone.   As I picked up plastic bags I pulled a wastebasket out of the corner.  At least I was gonna.   A pair of masked eyes looked back at me from the bottom of the wastebasket.  It was a smallish raccoon!   I looked at her for awhile, and then began stuffing plastic bags in on top of her.  She let me do it.  I stuffed it full, and then put some paper bags on top of that, and I picked the waste basket up and carried it out to the back porch and down the steps.  I carried it out to a tree and dumped it out.  She gave me a look, and then ran up the tree. 

I hurried back inside.  I now knew what kind of beasts I was going to find in the basement!   I ventured down the stairs turning on lights as I went.  I got to the back room of the basement and found where they'd gotten in.  They had torn out the old air-conditioning duct work, and had crawled through the holes. 

I closed the door between the front room and the back room and locked it, and went to bed.  The next day I called my handy man over to board up the hole where the beasts had broken in.  We did a half-hearted job of it, hoping the air-conditioning ducts could be salvaged because we'd heard it was going to be a very hot summer.  I didn't think it was in my budget to get a new air-conditioning just then.  I called my air-conditioner guy to come fix it.  (He never did show up all summer long!  I bought a window unit for my office, and endured the heat in the rest of the house all summer.  Hopefully I can get this remedied before the next heat wave.  If not, I'll just remember how cold I am right now!)

In the meantime, the beasts broke in the next night before I got really mad.   I boarded it up good so they couldn't get in, and I was afraid they'd go back up into the attic, so I went out and rented a raccoon trap.   

Over the next several weeks I caught a big mother raccoon, three smaller raccoons (including the little girl raccoon I'd already caught in the wastebasket), and three possums.   I stuck the cage in the trunk of Zach's car and took them one by one to the park and turned them loose.   When I took the little girl raccoon to the park, she didn't want to get out of the cage.  Zach got home from California in time to help me with the last couple of them.

The great raccoon adventure helped me to see that I'm not totally helpless, and I can conquer anything when I'm faced with a problem.   Nothing is impossible.  One can accomplish anything if one sets one's mind to it. 

So watch out.  That means dreams can come true too...even the ones viewed through rose-colored glasses in times long, long ago.    Isn't life grand!?


Friday, December 8, 2006

All Work and No Play Makes Sam a Curmudgeon?

"They say" that all work and no play makes one a dull person.  Sometimes its a good thing to work very very hard with the end goal in mind of having time to play.  When I was working very hard every day doing legal writing I was just ornery enough to put tiny little fun things into my writing.  Judges looked forward to reading the things I had written, and they liked looking for the tiny little fun things I usually "snuck" in.  Most of the times they were tiny little puns, or ironic twists I'd manage.  I worked off and on for the same lawyer for a number of years.  Whenever I'd write something that would go to Court, the Judges would say to the boss "I see you've got your paralegal back."

Sometimes men work too hard and don't take time to play, even though I'm sure they schedule times to do their own dreaming.  Lots of times men work too hard because they don't really want to go home for one reason or another.

I worked for a man like that.  I asked him one day if he thought he would ever retire, and he said something about being taken away in a long box.   I knew his wife too.  She was awful and used to work in the same office, but she also liked to go out and spend lots of money.  I know why he liked to hide out at the office.  She ran him into the ground actually, or tried to do so.  He had a stroke, but he seemed to have recovered enough to still come downtown.  Someone said they saw him at the Court house watching a hearing the other day.  His wife, once said to me, "If you can't afford to have a sit-down wedding reception for 500 people, you shouldn't get married."  She was sort of snooty, don't you know.  She works at the Hallmark card shop now because Sam had that stroke.  Don't suppose she could afford a sit-down dinner for 500 these days do you?   

The moral to the story is don't work so hard you can't have some fun from time to time.  When the notion strikes you to do something that is totally unlike yourself and unexpected, do it anyway, it's good for you.  Dream your dreams, and make some of them come true.   Be a Sam who plays from time to time.  Life is short, and fun is fun.   Keep on smiling and dreaming.   And remember, when you're dealing with the Wish Lady you get unlimited wishes come true forever.  Love and kisses from Jana.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

ESP--Thinking of Others & Others Thinking of You--Wondering

Every Wednesday before I ended up in the hospital, I would drive down a certain road to the bank at Noon, and I would drive by a certain man-made "mountain" and think of someone from my past.  I don't know what triggered that thought, but I thought of it again yesterday as I, once again, drove past that mountain (who knew there were mountains in Indiana).  You know how you will think of someone just before they call you?  Well, I wondered if when you are thinking of someone as you drive by a certain landmark, if that same person for an instant is reminded of you.   (And I also wondered if they got an image of a mountain and wondered where in the heck that came from!!) Or perhaps, you thought of that person, because at that very time of day, that person was actually thinking of you.   It can get to be a merry-go-round of wondering if you wonder too hard.

I do believe that people who are "connected" either by past lives in other times, or perhaps just a previous connection in this lifetime, or maybe both at the same time, have continuing connections with one another.  Actually I truly believe we are all connected to everyone else, and this is the reason we should always have love in our hearts for all mankind (lots of times in order to do this you also have to have tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness!!)   It goes back to my theory of "giving energy to negative things" causing them to magnify and reproduce more negativity, and in the opposite giving energy to positive things magnifies the positivity.   And thankfully, it seems that giving positive energy to positive things seems to work a whole lot more efficiently and provide a whole lot more than the negatives.

At any rate, it is a whole lot more productive to think positive thoughts, to have happy positive thoughts, and to always expect the best, and to be excited about life and what the next minute, hour, day, week or year is going to bring to you than it is to worry about anything whatsoever.  So stop worrying, and start planning for a brighter, happier future.   Love and Good Wishes from Jana.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Law and How to Make it Wiggle

I'm working on some legal research right now.  I used to read the case law pamphlets and newspapers that came into offices when I was a legal secretary and a paralegal.  It was one of my favorite things to do on coffee breaks and lunch breaks.  In the process I filed away tons of information many would consider useless.   I always loved to read an opposing attorney's side of the argument, and then take his citations and read them.  In most cases they would only read the "head notes" and not read the entire case.  I would go and read the entire case, and find that the head notes didn't really support their argument, but in many cases, it really supported the other side.  In many cases, they'd be right on point.  I loved using the other guy's "research" and turn it against him.  I guess this is caused by laziness.  In the "olden days" we had to look stuff up in books.  It was a tedious job for many, but I found it fun.  The people who merely looked at the head notes sometimes (often) trapped themselves, by not looking at the underlying layers of the case.

Now it is much easier to read tons of cases.  And the legal search engines can take you right to the on point cases you need.  Isn't technology wonderful?

I remember my grandmother getting tears in her eyes when she was watching the flight to the moon in 1969.  She said something about horse and buggy and going to the moon.  It's sort of that way with me now and looking at computers.  One of my jobs at the U of Illinois was in the Physiology and Biophysics Department and I coordinated the "new" computer admissions and courses information.  I was the liason between the department and the computer.  The computer itself was as big as a house.    And it was very hot inside and things were going "clickety'clack".  I had to tell the computer operators what the computer cards were supposed to be telling the computer.  It is rather amazing that the cpu that sits here on my desk is unbelievably more efficient, faster, and holds more information than could be printed on boxes and boxes and boxes of those cards I used to carry over there!   I love technology.

My first job as a legal secretary was in Urbana, Illinois for Finfrocke Law Offices.  We typed Wills and things.  I would spend an entire day typing one will, and if I made one mistake, I had to pull the paper out and begin again.  We were not allowed to make an error.  With my WordPerfect Merge forms, I can do a simple will in about 60 seconds.   

I love technology.  And I still love working with legal things.  It is fun and exercises the mind.  Exercising the mind is just as important as exercising the body.  Keeps it supple, and keeps those good words coming where they ought to be!!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

BRRR! Must get on the treadmill to warm up

Well, that poor old lilac bush is sitting out there with green leaves all right.  But they appear to be frozen solid.  They haven't turned brown yet.  Things are not always as they appear to be.  They appear to be alive, but obviously they can't be with the temperature as it is.

Suddenly I am popular again, and I have lots of work to do.  Doing legal research is fun and I like it.  I have to write it up on Monday.  And then, I have "document preparation jobs", i.e., two bankruptcies to finish up for people.   I am also doing taxes for a couple of small businesses....and one bookkeeping job for a small business.  

I really love the "right brain" functioning jobs, but the "left brain" jobs though not hard, require me to concentrate.   Well, here's where the weird comes order to do the left brain jobs, I have to "move my thinking" over to the left brain through this tiny little passage-way in my brain, and once I get over there, I pretty much have to stay there until the job is done or I get frustrated and have to start over again.    See, I told you it was weird.

I am preparing Christmas presents for my family.  I am going to have to figure out how to mail Zach's presents to him. 

I hate that, I would rather someone shipped Zach to me for Christmas, but it's highly likely he is going to be spending the holiday with his father.  That's okay, but his dad's family never did know how to do Christmas.  We used to show up at my inlaws.... (there were two sets and a grandma, so rather than one mother-in-law I had the Grandma who raised him, plus the mother-in-law, plus the step-mother-in-law.  I loved Granny and I loved the step-mother-in-law, but the regular mother-in-law was apparently one of my karmic punishments.) ...and no one had even bothered to clean off the table, or wash dishes (whole counter-tops, plus boxes on the floor and in the next room full of dirty pots, pans and dishes and the floor in the living room two feet deep in old newspapers encrusted with dog hair....yikes!!!)  Needless to say I hadn't met the in-laws prior to the marriage!!  Granny, on the other hand was a very good housekeeper, and she always had a Christmas tree.  But neither his mother or his father had any concept of a "family" Christmas.  I helped start a tradition, and his one half-sister (his Dad's child) and his half-brother's wives helped to begin a family Christmas tradition.

This thing about "holiday family fights" that I keep hearing about on television is a totally foreign concept to me as well.   Our family never had any holiday fights.   Unfortunately my brother somehow turned out to be a bleeding heart liberal (I thought that with age comes wisdom...I started out with that concept, but soon outgrew it...)    My son somehow slipped over that line as well, and believes himself to be a liberal, but inasmuch as he does things the way I did them, I am confident that he will come around and see the reasonableness of remedying that viewpoint in the very near future.  I think I was about 30 when I figured out it was far better to be conservative.  At any rate, in our family we steer away from politics at family gatherings.   It's best to avoid that topic in a family gathering.  My mother bites her tongue if my brother slips up.  She will give him a look. 

No, the only family fights we ever see are usually among the very, very young.  My niece, Ally's kids (Allison) are somewhat rambunctious.  There is Nate who was born on my birthday and will be 12 in '07, and then his sisters, Savannah and Dakota, and the baby Cameron.  They tussle with one another, but you can't really call it a fight. 

We used to call my father "the curmudgeon", and when he died, I guess my brother decided it was his job to be the curmudgeon of the family.  I'd have liked to have taken on that job, but mother says I am too sweet to be curmudgeonly.   My brother thinks I am too weird, so I get to be eccentric, rather than curmudgeonly.  I'm not eccentric, I just am open to all sorts of ideas, and when I express them, sometimes people look at me strangely. 

I guess the thing to remember about me is that although I may seem to be stubborn and very set in my ways, I am actually fairly flexible if you can give me a good reason why I ought to "flex".

I believe that laziness is the mother of invention, and figuring out the most efficient and least time-consuming way of accomplishing a task is merely clever, and not in any way lacking in diligence.    But it does allow one to have more free time to play.  Playing is something everyone should do from time to time. 

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Lilac Bush

It's all rather odd, but weather is something that teaches us to take life as it comes.  Today and yesterday and for the past week or so, the weather has been "coming in pleasantly".   I think it's all about to change, but it has been so warm this last half of November that my lilac bush has decided it's Spring!! It has leafed out on top.  I am afraid it is going to have a dreadful surprise in the next couple of days when its sweet little leaves freeze!

Life comes at us sweetly and pleasantly, and if we're lucky it goes on day by day without too many difficulties, and we are able to live our lives in sweet gentility.  But some days the world butts in and we are brushed by the hositilities of others.

One of the things I've recently begun to try to teach others (at least one person per day!!)  is that whatever we give energy to grows and becomes larger.  Therefore, if we give energy to negativity, then the negativity just gets bigger and bigger all the time. 

At the same time, if we give all of our energy to positive things (and this includes our positive thoughts) then those positive things grow larger and become greater in our lives.

If we give energy to poverty, then we will have poverty.  If we give energy to abundance, then we will have abundance.  Positive thinkers say we should always say "I am growing richer and richer."   You know what happens then?  Our brains say "yeah.  Right.  Then why isn't my bank account bigger?"  I've just recently read this great book about "Afformations", which advises rather than the Positive affirmations "I am rich", which your brain might argue with, ask a  question your brain can try to answer.  Therefore, you ask "Why am I so rich?"    It begins to work immediately!  For instance, I had been thinking, "I'm going to have to go buy tape so I can wrap Christmas presents."   Immediately after asking "Why am I so rich?"   I began finding things stored in closets and drawers including nearly a case of tape!  I also found a closet full of Christmas presents I'd purchased and forgotten about when I ended up in the hospital.

At the same time, complaining about the actions of others only strengthens and multiplies the negativity of which you are complaining.  Rather than complaining state the way you would like the actions of others to be, and frame it in a  question, i.e., "Why are my relationships with others so pleasant and productive?"  This is just my twist.  Twist your positive question to fit your situation.

I usually have all my Christmas cards prepared and sent out before the First of December.  For varioius reasons, I haven't gotten to it yet.  Maybe I'll do the same as I did some years ago.  I'll send out belated Christmas cards combined with Valentines!     One thing you can always count of me to be consistent about....I'm inconsistent.  My son complains that in my cooking, I never make anything the same way twice, and when something turns out "good", I might not remember what I did to make it so good.  Then again, some things are just habits, and I do them all the same every time.  Like Thanksgiving Dinner.   I can cook it in my sleep, and though I don't use recipes, it pretty much turns out the same every year...almost.  Yep.  I'm consistently inconsistent. 

One way or another I'll get around to the Christmas cards I guess.

Remember:   Give Power and Energy to Positive Things.  Giving Energy (worrying etc.) about negative things only makes them bigger.   Think about Happy Things.  Think about how you'll feel when your wishes come true.  Put yourself in the time when your wishes are manifest.  In other words, count your blessings.  In doing so, they will magnify.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Selling Oneself or Bragging About One's Abilities

I was brought up with the idea that it was "unladylike" to brag about one's abilities.  Therefore, when it comes to selling my "products" i.e., my writing, it is very difficult for me to "sell myself", i.e., brag about my accomplishments.  I know that I write "good stuff".  I know I get good ideas, marketable ideas.  I know I ought to spend a lot more time "talking up my abilities."   But it always comes back to the same thing...i.e., guilt about bragging about my accomplishments.     An ideal situation would be to have somebody else do the bragging for me, but even to do that I have trouble finding agents, because it still comes back to bragging about myself.  And then there is the idea that when one has made friends with people of influence, it is somehow not right to take advantage of that friendship by appealing to them to help me.   However, at some point, I am going to have to do it.    Or find someone to do it for me. 

At present, I am working on Christmas stuff, and getting Zach and his friend's "ends tied up" here in town.    And I'm also writing my novel.  I love doing that.  The writing is so much fun, and the selling of my writing is difficult.    Help!!  

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Safe Trip - Now Mom Can Breathe!!

He made it!  Finally.  The trip was very eventful apparently.  But he made it to the apartment.  Then he had to figure out how to unload two truckloads of furniture, etc., with very little help.  I prayed "Thank you God for Zach meeting many new friends who will help him."

When I heard they'd purchased chains and were going to go through the snowy passes to the get there, I was holding my breath.  Under normal circumstances they should have gotten there in two hours or less.  However, I allowed for twice the time, and then got anxious.  I had my Atlas in my hands when I called.  He was nearly to his destination, he thought.  He called out the road turn offs, and I told him where he was and how close he was to his destination.    Then I let him go.     I talked to him about an hour later, and he was in his apartment trying to figure out how to get the trucks unloaded without any help.  Hopefully his Dad arrived with muscle to help him. 

When my Grandmother Terman was about 93 she told me, "your babies never leave your thoughts, not even when they are turning gray!"    I think she's right.  My mother often admonishes me to "be sure to dress nice" when I go to a meeting.   "Be careful when driving home" when I leave her house.   If she thinks I'm sad she calls me several times a day to make sure I'm all right.  She's 86 and I'm 65.    So if Zach thinks I'm ever going to stop worrying about him, he's wrong!  It's a mother's job to always worry about their children.  At least it is in our family.  It's a good job and I love it. 

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Journey - Letting Go

My son, Zach took off and drove to California.  He has an apartment there waiting for him.  There were many adventures along the way.  Two separate people commented it sounded like "The Grapes of Wrath" road trip.  Zach and his friend are now stranded on the East side of the mountain passes, unable to get across because of bad roads.  Perhaps they needed a respite from the driving 'cross country anyway.   So at present he is stranded in tiny South Tahoe (there are worst places to be stranded) with a truckload of furniture and pets, and cable television, awaiting a storm's ending that is supposed to cease around Noon today.  Hopefully the roads will clear, but if not they are prepared to purchase chains for the truck and go over the passes toward the apartment.   "Bated breath"???   Just Mommy.   Prayer really works, if for nothing more than to reassure a worrying mother.  I know that God is keeping my son safe and free from harm, and that He will travel with him throughout his life, ensuring his journey is blessed, safe and successful and uniquely his own.

Sometimes detours in our lives take us to unexpected places where we experience unexpected blessings.  When they first pulled into South Tahoe they met a couple who asked about their destination.  Zach mentioned he would be looking for a job, and the man stated that he should go to a certain place and tell them he was recommended for a job.  Blessings flow when we trust in God to lead us in our directions, and those things that appear to be negative can turn out to be a positive twist in the road that takes us places we've never dreamed....or perhaps always dreamed.

Now I go back to the fiction writing, back to Spring of 1811 and my research into the life and times of Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (the Prophet).  What an adventure that is!   I just love writing!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dear Santa

Dear Santa:

For Christmas this year, I have a lot of things on my list.  You don't have to bring me everything.   But most particularly I'd like to have Zach home for Christmas.  After that I'd sure like to have a Pearly White Cadillac CTS, but I'd settle for a Mercedes convertible (anything but red), but if you like I can use one of for each foot.  I'm very fond of roses.  Diamonds would really turn me on, but they are a waste of money because I rarely wear jewelry.   A house at the lake is on my list as well. 

Back to reality.  Perfume and flowers are great presents, but they always go away after awhile.  But I have vases from flowers I received many years ago, and they still bring fond memories, even though I tried to reject the one bunch of Christmas flowers.

My favorite Christmas presents:

When I was 10 months old I received my Anne doll.  I still have her, and a table and chairs set.  I had them for many years. 

When I was about 10 or 11 I received a mint green and lavendar Schwinn bicycle.  It was a very special wish come true as well.

My very favorite Christmas present is to be with family and share good times.  Some families talk of the "holiday fights".  Our family holidays have always been special occasions when we can all get together and hug everyone and make and share special memories for the future.  As I write this I can remember special holidays spent with my grandparents years ago, and then most recently with my extended family.  

Here's a special story that I wrote, based upon a true happening when I was about five years old.

Merry Christmas


Happy New Year


(or Diary of a Five-Year Old)

The doors had never, ever been closed before. I didn't even know they were there.

Grandmother, said, "Bill. It's time."

Grandad stood up from the table and went and pulled the doors right out of the wall. The light from the big front window in the parlor disappeared.

The doors had never, ever been closed before! I didn't even know they were there!

Closing the doors meant we couldn't look out the big front window to see the porch.

"Can I go swing on the swing?"

"No. It's too cold. You stay in the house."

I was sent to the sewing room to sit in the rocker. I couldn't even see the doorsanymore.

Why do I have to sit in this rocker?

This is some Christmas.

I wish I had my Anne Doll. She had to go to the hospital.

I didn't even know she was sick. Those doors had never, ever been closed before!

I didn't even know they were there!

here goes that sound again, the doors I didn't know were there have been opened again, and here I am in the sewing room. I can't even see them doors from here.

"I'm tired of playing in here. Can I come out and play in the parlor now?"

"No. You have to be a very good girl and stay where you are or Santa wont come." I could hear the doors slide shut again. The doors had never, ever been closed before! I didn't even know they were there!

"You can come out now."

The doors were still closed. The adults stood around in a circle, in front of the doors that had never been closed before. They were all smiling foolishly.

Suddenly, from the other side of the doors, I heard a sound I'd never heard before.

"Jingle, Jingle."

"Ho, Ho, Ho!"

I looked suspiciously at the adults whose smiles were so foolish.

Suddenly, I felt a draft come under the doors that had never been closed before, and I heard the parlor door that lead to the front porch open and close. Nobody ever used that door!

Grandmother smiled and nodded at Grandad, and he pulled the doors open.

There in the parlor was a raggedy little ole Christmas tree. And next to the tree was the dollhouse I thought Santa would not bring becauseI was not good.

And on the other side of the tree was my Anne Doll. She didn't look sick to me. She looked married. She was wearing a bride's dress of satin and pearls, with a long white veil.

Santa stole my doll and then gave it back to me dressed up like the Bride Doll I wanted! What a crock!

Is there really a Santa? I don't know. I wasn't good and I got the doll house anyhow. It's a mystery to me.

How's come nobody ever told me those doors were there?

(This is a story I wrote. Its a true story, embellished a bit. Not sure I was such a smart aleck kid back then.)

Love, Jana

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Some reasons why I cry

I've decided some reasons why I cry, especially about my son, (and I'll just cry by writing this) are that I have always set goals for myself regarding him, and when I reach those goals without having an outlet or a subsequent goal for myself, I feel let down, and then I feel sad, and then I cry for a little while. I guess it's just feeling sorry for myself, and a little sad that an era in my life has ended, without giving myself a new goal to head for. I'm working on new goals about things right now!

When Zach graduated from high school, I was so proud to go to his graduation. His dad and I were divorced by that time. My mom and dad were there, but they went home right away afterwards, and Zach wanted to go to parties that were being held at various people's houses. His party was set for a few days later. I went home by myself, and cried and cried. I got over it pretty quick, getting him into college, and going on with life.

Then he moved out and left home, and frankly, I was kind of glad to have him move out and be on his own. He was right here in the same town, and I saw him nearly every day or so for awhile.

Then he got married, and I got on with my life, and didn't worry too much about him, believing that he was married, and happy, and it wasn't for me to worry about anymore. That turned out not to be true, and he had gotten into a relationship that was lacking. Unfortunately, his wife had some problems that he thought he could fix. Famous last words that all of us who've been in the same situation fully understand. Something better learned sooner than later...we can't change another person. Either get 'em the way you want them for the rest of your life, or don't get 'em!!

The family tried very hard to love this woman, because Zach loved her, but it was very difficult. I later learned the extent of her problems, and the best way I can describe it is, "remember the movie, Misery?" She did everything but break his legs to keep him. It's a shame that she doesn't think better of herself, but I believe she truly believes no one would love her...and she may be right...unless she keeps them prisoner. She wouldn't allow him to fix his vehicle, insisting he could drive hers. She wouldn't let him get a "real job" insisting that he work at his "craft" of glassblowing. Though he did sell some of his art, it brought in very little money.

After about 2 and a half years, he finally fled from the relationship, having acquired  an obsessive-compulsive disorder in the process. Fortunately for him, that wore off, and he has been cured of it. He has grown and gained greatly after he removed himself from that situation. Unfortunately for me (just joking) he no longer arrives at my house and immediately begins vacuuming the whole house! Perhaps the vacuuming was originally to drown out the strident voice of his soon-to-be-ex-wife. But by the time I learned of it, it had become a deep concern for any sign of dirt on the floor whatsoever.

The first thing I told him when he moved out of his marital residence was that I would be happy to let him move back, but I thought it would be best if he found someplace else to live. He moved in with the friend with whom he is making a movie. He rescued some of his pre-marital monies from the marriage and used most of it to live on until he found a job, and until he could get a vehicle. After he left her, he was also unable to continue earning money from glassblowing, and he had no vehicle.

He got himself a job here in town, and worked hard at it for several months. During the break-up of the marriage he had gone to California to visit with his dad a couple of times, and had been toying with the idea of moving out there to go to college. He also learned he could get a job with the same company he works for now once he got out there...if they had any openings.

When he suddenly announced that he and a friend were going to move out to California, I was suddenly sad. I didn’t want him to leave, and I certainly didn’t want him to leave the day before Thanksgiving. That’s what it turns out he did. We had our family Thanksgiving early both for him, and for my niece, who had to work today. But then he probably will spend Christmas with his Father in California. I shouldn’t feel bad about that because in the years since I divorced his father, he has spent every Christmas with me and my family. Perhaps, however, for that very reason, I feel very sad. Christmas and tradition are very important to me.

The first Christmas I moved to California in September, and I didn’t make it home for Christmas that year either. It was a very weird Christmas with a fake tree made of tumble weeds painted green. But it was an adventure. I have to believe Zach will be having adventures, and that he will grow and become a successful man. I am already very proud of him. On the one hand, I am happy that he is moving on in his life and working, belatedly (just like his mother) to acquire the rest of his education, and that he is still searching for his calling (it took me a few years to discover I was really a writer). I can only love him and encourage him and never make him feel guilty that it makes me sad. I’ll get over it.

I cry for other reasons too, but I’m going to cry a lot when I miss my son. My kitty is wondering why I keep picking him up and hugging him, and then get him all wet by crying.

Well, okay, now here are some other reasons I cry. I always cry when I hear the Star-Spangled Banner, and America the Beautiful. I cry when the flag goes by in a parade. I cry when I hear marching bands.  I cry when I see fireworks.  I cry when I see rainbows.

Okay, now I am going to get busy and set some goals for myself. The first one is to hopefully have my novel finished by my birthday on February 12.   You can send me roses for my birthday.  I love red or pink roses.  And since it's just a couple days before Valentines Day, anything with hearts on it really turns me on too.  P.S.  It will make me cry.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kekionga - The beginning of my novel.



Jana Lynn Shellman

© September, 2006

318 W. Leith Street

Fort Wayne, IN 46807-1439

All Rights Reserved


The Shaman of the Kiskakon tribe envisioned a place where three rivers came together. . In the air above the three rivers rose a white tipi of light. This white tipi of light illuminated the area with a special protective influence.

When the Shaman found the place where the three rivers met he knew he had found the sacred place of protection, and in this place he settled and the village of Kekionga sprang to life.

The Shaman foretold from that day forward this place would never be tormented by the whirling winds from the Southwest. Legend thereafter told of Miami tribesmen seeing the winds coming in tall dark pillars streaking across the open meadows and tearing swaths of destruction through the forests. They told of finding the paths of these pillars of darkness. They told how three pillars came to an area just West of where the three rivers met, two turned and went to the South, one turned and went to the North. Later braves would comment even the rain storms seemed to turn and head away from the place where their village sat.


Knitting needles clicked. One pair quickly and the other slow and halting. Two red heads snuggled down inside their respective blankets, their chairs pulled close to the fire. Their noses poked out of the folds of the blankets.

In the cold air they could smell the aroma of bear stew, laden with onions and pieces of squash bubbling heartily in the iron pot slung over the fire. Chamomile, mint, catnip, sage and bay leaves hung in fragrant bunches from the rafters, imparting their own exotic scent. This scent mixed with the muttony smell of the pulled and combed wool hanging in frothy clouds over the railing of the loft above their heads.

The two red heads snuggled down inside of their patchwork quilts and pulled their chairs closer to the fire. Their hands peeked out holding knitting needles. The only sound in the room was the clicking of the knitting needles and the crackle of the fire. Now and then sounds of bubbling could be heard coming from the iron pot slung in the fireplace.

There was an occasional hissing sound as snow melted from a pair of boots hung over an iron drying arm. Suddenly, one pair of needles stopped their clicking and a soft curse issued from inside the quilt.

"Lally, shame on you. You must watch your language."

"Do not ladies say such things?"

"No, Lally. Ladies never curse."

"I don't think I can bear never cursing:"

Maggie chuckled at the look of consternation on Maria Louisa's face . She noticed that the half-Indian half-French young woman had changed her hairstyle. It was now exactly like her own. She had also noticed that her friend had stopped wearing the satin gowns and gaudy scarves she had worn when they met, and was now wearing a simple cotton gown, much like Maggie’s. It appeared to be homemade. She was surprised to learn that her friend could sew.

"This is so boring, Cheri. Are you certain that this is what ladies are supposed to be doing?"

"Ladies who want to provide for the comfort of their men do these things. Especially, when there isn't much money to send East for such luxuries.,"

"I could buy these already ,finished?"

"Perhaps, There are more and more things being shipped here. But they would be very dear. It is more prudent to make your own."

"What is prudent?"

"Prudent is making one's own clothes. Like you made your dress."

"I didn’t make my dress. Father brought this for me from Grandmother, Marie Louise.. It was stolen from a family in a pirogue. She got it for me because I am her namesake. Is ‘namesake’ what you say?"

"Yes, Lally. That is the formal definition."

Louisa nodded, proud that she at least sounded like a lady in her conversation.

The girls continued their knitting in silence, the lonely whine of the winter wind blowing through the trees, whipping around the small cabin, suddenly rose to a scream. As it whirled down the chimney it swept up sparks and threw them out at the room’s occupants. Maggie jumped to her feet and stomped them out with her small moccasins. The stench of singed leather mixed with the other scents in the room. She laughed nervously.

From a distance came the howling of a wolf. Maggie ran quickly to the tiny window covered with oiled paper.

"You’re jumpy tonight, Cheri!." said her companion, Louisa.

"Oh Lally, if only Sam would get back. He left to check his traps a week ago. He should be back by now. I don’t know what I’m going to do, if... Oh, Lally, I’m scared." cried Maggie.

"I’ll stay with you until he returns. Do not worry. He is a brave man. He is trapping near the village of Little Turtle, my Uncle. You know I’ve sent to him to look out for Sam. They will find him. He will be safe."

Louisa stood, letting the comforter drop to the floor. It fell in a soft puddle around the chair, crudely fashioned from willow saplings. Her moccasins swished across the smooth, swept dirt floor .as she crossed to the pile of wood and gathered an armful to carry back to the fireplace. The iron pot creaked as she swung it out of the way. She knelt, brushed back her long auburn hair and began placing the firewood carefully atop the glowing coals. Using the folds of her skirt to protect her hands, she lifted the lid from the pot. Steam rose from the bubbling stew. She replaced the lid, lifted the heavy pot and carried it quickly to the crudely made table nearby. Maggie carried two nicked and checkered plates to the table, and placed them near the stew. As she turned to pull the chairs to the table, the door of the cabin swung open. Snow and wind spilled into the room: The light from the fire reflected back from the darkness, as it struck a dozen eyes. Louisa rushed to the door, leaned her full weight on it and fought a fierce battle with the wind before the door closed. She lifted the wooden bolt and dropped it into place

."Lally. Those were wolves. What if Sam tries to get home and the wolves are waiting outside?"

"Sam is strong enough to outwit a few wolves. Now get over here and sit down. You have to eat something and stop worrying. You must eat." said Louisa. She ladled chunks of meat and vegetables onto the plates. Remains of a loaf of bread were unwrapped from a scrap of cloth. Louisa hungrily dipped a chunk of bread into the broth in the pot. She stuffed it into her mouth and wiped the grease from her chin onto the sleeve of her dress. She glanced quickly at Maggie, picked up the rag in which the bread had been wrapped and wiped at her already clean chin. She noticed Maggie had placed two wooden spoons on the table. She grabbed one, and began noisily spooning the stew into her mouth. She glanced at Maggie, who was daintily sipping the broth from her spoon. She sighed. Maggie looked up at her friend with concern.

"Whatever is the matter Lally? Is there something wrong with my stew?"

"No, Cheri. It is wonderful. It is just I will never learn to be civilized."

"You’re wonderful just the way you are. Besides your Grandmother has told me the ways of your tribe. I think from your legends, your people have been civilized much longer than the Americans. You have nothing to worry about."

Maggie stood and shivered as the wind screamed down the chimney again. From outside the wolves began their mournful howling. There seemed to be more of them now. She paced from the fire to the door and back again. She should feel warm and safe. There was plenty of food to last the winter. The woodpile was large enough to heat the cabin for two years. If she could get out to bring it in...she’d be fine. If Sam got back... She shook the frightening thoughts from her head, looked around the chilly room, smiled at her friend and determined to be brave and make the best of it.

Maggie picked up the comforters and wrapped one around her friend’s shoulders, tucking the ends around her feet. She wrapped herself in the other and pulled her chair up to the table. As the light from the fire flickered wildly over the dark walls of the small cabin, the world outside screamed to be let in. The wind moaned and the wolves howled. The two friends finished their lonely supper.


Twenty miles away, a man-shaped form struggled through the forest, the wind whipping the thick buffalo robe. The hide was white with snow, adding to its weight. The man’s eyebrows, mustache and beard were encrusted with snow. His eyelashes were heavy with their own tiny icicles. The wind roared and screamed through the trees above him. His hands and feet were numb from the cold. He peered through the thick snowfall wondering if the faint light he saw ahead was an illusion of the blizzard or reality.

He stared so intently toward the light he stumbled over the stones in the path. Overhead he heard the sound of a thousand antlers, and gourds crashing together. As he struggled to his feet, arms reached out from the darkness to support him. He found himself being carried quickly toward the light. He lost consciousness.

When he awoke, he kept his eyes shut tightly. He could smell much humanity in a small space. He could smell food cooking, and he could hear a child laughing and singing. He could hear the language of the Miami.

"Aya. Wahpam. Weechilum." . "Hello, Look at Him. Help Him." said a voice near his ear.

He detected the smell of tobacco. Outside he could hear the wind blowing wildly. He felt a slight draft over his face, as the wind swept inside his bedroll.

He ran his hands down his chest. He was not wearing clothing. There were warm rocks at his feet. He felt a hand brush softly across his brow. Sam opened his eyes and saw nothing.


Maggie awoke to see sunshine streaming through the small window in the loft. Snow filled some of the cracks near the roof line, but not before it drifted through the cracks and spilled onto the coverlet on Louisa’s side of the bed. She slept, oblivious of the snow drift she slept under.

Surprise visits from the Indians were not unusual. Louisa had assured her none were going to go out in the blizzard to surprise two women alone.

Maggie felt safe having Louisa, a daughter of Chief Papakechee and the niece of Chief Little Turtle, as her companion.

Her own grandfather had been a son of the Wolf Clan of the Shawnee. But with her red hair and freckles she was not reassured that the tribe of the Prophet and Tecumseh would believe she was kin to them.

From the stories she’d heard as a child, she believed it was Tecumseh himself who had counseled the young people to inter-marry with the Europeans. Her maternal grandmother had told her how she had sent the young boys off through the woods to the Settler’s houses to steal clothing hanging on the lines and bring them back to her. She traded skins for cloth, and taught herself to sew. Eventually she taught Maggie to sew as well.

The clothing they made was hidden in deerskin bags in the dwellings. When the American soldiers got closer to their homes they would move on, disguised as white settlers. Eventually we would build homes like the Americans. My mother was very proud when she had a house with windows and a door. She was pleased when my father built her a table and chairs. It was very hard for them to learn to sleep on the beds of the whites, and almost everyone slept on the floors in their bear robes and other skins. They slept in the loft of the cabins, and the heat from the fire would come up and warm them. Before when they slept in the wigwams, everyone slept together and they were very close and kept one another warm.

When the old ones slept with us it could be very noisy, and sometimes very smelly. Sometimes as she grew older, in the very bitter cold, she wondered about the people who still live in the wigwams. They heard of the very old and the very young dying from the bitter cold. She could always go to the fire to keep warm, and they always had food.

She often wondered why the very old and the very young in the wigwams did not have fire or food, but grandmother said sometimes the very old were not able to keep the fire going and had no one to look after them.

Sometimes the very old hid and were left behind to survive for themselves when the solders came and moved our people West. That’s why, when Maggie’s mother became a young woman, she married a Swiss farmer. The Shamans foretold a time when the whites would take over our land, and try to do away with our people. In order to preserve our blood and our ways, our Chiefs told us we were to stay quiet and pretend to be white.

No matter her heritage, Maggie still worried that there might be a drunken Indian who didn’t take the time to check a woman’s ancestry before accosting her.

It was true the annuities weren’t due for another two months. It was highly unlikely any of the Indians had enough money to purchase the illicit whiskey sold in the forest.

She was grateful for Louisa’s presence. She had to admit most of the Miamis and most of the white men knew Louisa. They knew she shouldn’t be bothered. Their first meeting came about when Louisa rescued her from the advances of an amorous trapper.

Their second meeting came when she rescued Maggie from a drunken Shawnee. Maggie needed someone to look out for her when Sam was trapping or farming. Maggie welcomed the female companionship.

The ladies of the fort frowned on her choice of friends. The wives of the American officers were scandalized by the freedom the half-breed women possessed, but they secretly relished their visits with them. Maggie and Louisa delighted in fueling the ladies’ active imaginations. They often speculated about the gossip as soon as the two girls left.

Sam’s trapper friends declared Louisa a rich, spoiled brat, who didn’t know how to act like a lady. Though Louisa didn’t seem to know how to act like a lady, she knew one when she saw one. She knew Maggie was a lady. She also knew how a lady should be treated. She demanded Maggie be treated as one. She also demanded to be treated like a lady. It was difficult for the men to remember this when she flirted openly with them, made unladylike comments, and could ride, shoot and swear like a man.

She was the best friend Maggie had in this wilderness. She appreciated everything Louisa had done for her. She knew Louisa had many secrets she didn’t divulge. She wondered how much of the savage was left in her. The two young women with similar heritage had vastly different upbringing. Maggie’s mother and grandmothers had always demanded she behave in a lady-like manner and to always observe the words and philosophy of Tecumseh.

Maggie wondered how many of the things Lally did tell her were completely true or just told to shock her.

Maggie flung the covers from her and hurried into her warm clothes. She pulled the woolen stockings over her feet, and pulled on the boots that reached to her knees. Louisa’s Grandmother had made them for her.

She scooped up a handful of snow from atop Louisa’s blankets and let it melt in her hand, and then let the droplets drip from her fingers onto Louisa’s forehead.

With a whoop Louisa shot out of her bed, danced as her feet hit the icy cold floor, and jumped back under the covers and pulled them around her.

"Cheri! Is this hospitality?"

"It’s such a wonderful sunshiny day. I thought we should get up and see it. The dark is so depressing. Can’t we get dressed and go outside? Can’t we get more wood in? Can’t we just be out in the sunshine for a little while?"

"You will freeze to death out there. Do you see rabbits? If the rabbits are out looking for food, then we can go out. If the rabbits stay in, then we stay in."

"I will look for rabbits, if you will run down and make the fire hotter. It is too cold up here. Did you let the fire go put?" Maggie looked down over the railing of the loft,.and screamed.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mother & Guy and Somewhere Down the Road

Some seventy years ago, my mother was a 16 year old girl, attending a little high school in Whitley County, Indiana. When she was 18 she met and married my father, who was four years older. For years thereafter, when they would attend her high school reunion, one man (his name is Guy) would always tell my father, "you got the prettiest girl in our class."

After graduation my mother met and married my father. My father always put my mother on a pedestal. He treated her like royalty, and he always did, up until the time he died in May 2000. About a year later, Mother moved back to our hometown of South Whitley. She has a cute little house that looks like a palace inside (suitable for the Queen, you know). About that time, Guy, who’s own wife had died some time prior, started courting Mother again. He was very subtle about it, arranging outings with her and other "girls" who went to school with them. Mother finally gave him an ultimatum and said "if you want to see me, you’re going to have to stop seeing all those other women."

The week after my open heart surgery Mother insisted that I go to South Whitley and stay with her for awhile. I did, though I was pretty independent from the start. I would get up at 6 a.m. every day and walk out the driveway to pick up the paper. And I’d make my own breakfast. Mother would sleep in and wouldn’t get around to fixing her breakfast until 10 or 11. I lasted there just one week, I was itching to get home and be on my own again. The last night I spent there, Mother had her first date alone with Guy. They went to a dinner in Fort Wayne. Mother came into the house later that evening, and she sort of giggled and told me "He asked if it would be all right to kiss me good night." I asked her what she said, and she said "I told him I supposed it would be all right." Then she told me he said he’d kissed her before when she was sixteen. She said "I don’t remember that!"

They’ve been dating steadily for the past two years. They sit and hold hands and watch television, and then he drives home to Pierceton, about twelve miles away. He calls her when he gets home. Guy is now 87 and Mother is 86. They have gone to Ohio to a relative of Guy’s where they made apple butter two years in a row. He sent me an "itinerary" and was very sure to point out they’d be sleeping in separate rooms. Mother says "we have so much fun together, we just laugh all the time." They see one another nearly every day, and go to community events in South Whitley and Pierceton. He drives her to Fort Wayne for her doctor appointments, and for other things. He comes to all of our family get-togethers, and she goes to all of his family get-togethers, unless they happen to occur simultaneously.

Reminds me of a song. "It doesn’t really matter when, our roads are gonna cross again, It doesn’t really matter when But somewhere down the road I know that heart of yours will come to see That you belong with me."

Mommy Was a Truckdriver

"How did a little girl like you end up driving a semi coast to coast?" I was asked that question more than once in the year and a half I drove. And a lot of times since. The answer is very simple...someone said I couldn’t do it. One should never tell me I can’t do something, or that something is impossible.   There's only been one man in my life who could tell me what to do.    One of my recent bosses keeps complaining, "why won't you ever obey me!?"   My reply is "it's not something in my job description."

Would I drive truck again? Not anymore in this lifetime! I can’t imagine pulling myself up into a truck three or four times a day, thundering down the road for miles and miles at a time, and getting home once every six weeks or so. Then there’s the loading and unloading. Fortunately I didn’t have to do that a lot, since the company I drove for supplied us with money to pay others to do the heavy lifting. But do I regret having done it? No. It was a sort of perpetual vacation with pay. I didn’t mind driving, and I met lots of people. I had lots of adventures, and I was probably a bit foolhardy.   My favorite truckdriving "uniform" was short-shorts and cowboy boots.

I began thinking of it again when I was talking to my son about driving West in a rental truck with all of his belongings. I was envisioning the trip through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. I’ve done it in two days with a co-driver, but I didn’t want him to try to get there that fast and furious.

I had the good fortune to have a wonderful co-driver. He was a good friend, and the relationship was fun until he asked me to marry him. That ruined everything. I think my answer was, "I want to drive truck John, not keep house!" Actually, I was 33 years old at the time, and driving soon became "old". Every day around supper time we’d drive down the road and we could see into the backs of houses, and see families sitting around their dinner tables. One day I realized I did want children of my own, even if I didn’t really want to get married. In fact, I sometimes said I wanted a dozen! Then I realized it wasn’t going to happen so long as I was on that particular adventure! Once again, John was a really nice guy, but not the man I wanted to marry. I’m afraid I hurt John’s feelings. I’ve done that a number of times in my life.

Driving across country was fun, and since then I’ve thought it might be fun to have a nice motor home ( a tin tipi ) that I could drive across country in the summer, hitting all of the pow wows, camping out and visiting with my Indian friends. It’s lovely to fall asleep at night with the comforting sound of the Native American drum.