Thursday, March 27, 2008

Five Paranormal Experiences

1) Once while walking down a nearly deserted shopping street in Turin, Italy, (the shops were shut) the skies opened and the mother of all storms let go. I was cowered against a wall, trying to stay out of the rain when my eye was caught by a shoe shop on the other side of the street. Feeling rather bored and sure the storm wouldn't pass in a hurry, I decided to brave the downpour and rush to the other side of the road so that I could at least look at the shoes in the window. I had just reached the other side when I heard a mighty crack behind me. I turned and saw that the electric cable I had been leaning against had been struck by lightning and was on fire. I would surely have been killed but for those shoes. Now that's not so paranormal but I do believe in little voices urging you to take a certain path and not another. I think that little voice was on my side that day.

2) One night many years ago, I dreamed of a multi-storied building which had no front, as if some super being had sliced it off with a sharp knife. I could see inside all the apartments like inside a doll's house. Just another nightmare? Not so. The next morning the main photo in the national newspaper was of a building in Argentina (if my memory serves me right) that had lost its front in a gas explosion. You could see right inside the apartments - exactly as in my dream. Eeek!!

3) When Dario was about three, I left him at playcentre for a few hours while I went for a part-time job interview. I was sitting deep in conversation with my future employer when I had a disturbing vision of a figure covered in a black sheet leaping out and Dario bursting into tears in fright. Out of necessity, I put it aside and continued with the interview then went to pick up Dario. The playcentre teacher wanted to apologize to me because they had taken the children to see a local theatre group and when a figure covered in a black sheet leapt out on the stage, Dario had burst into tears and had been very upset. We narrowed down the time and I had had the vision at almost exactly the moment it had happened. Go figure!

4) The next two experiences concern my father , who died less that two years ago. That's a distant cousin with him in the photo.
When my father was very ill, he was living with me and my family, but the time came when I needed a break and we went on an eight-day cruise around the Pacific. He went to stay with my sister. One day, we were on this splendid semi-deserted beach in Vanuatu when I started having difficulty breathing. The others were all swimming so I walked up to the toilet block and could hardly get there for the pain in my chest. I returned to the beach and sat and waited for my family to finish swimming and tried to analyse what was wrong. Anyway we caught the bus back to the ship and I didn't say anything because I didn't want to worry them but resolved to go straight to the doctor when I got back. Once on board I was starting to feel better so went to the cabin to change first. When we got to the door, the phone was ringing. It was my sister telling me that Dad had died a few hours before because his lungs had filled with fluid and he had stopped breathing. I asked what time he had died but it was an hour before I had suffered the same symptoms as he would have had while dying. Then I realized with shock that there was an hour's time difference between New Zealand and Vanuatu. I had actually felt him die while far away on a tropical beach.

5) Once back in New Zealand, I was so upset that I asked my husband and son to empty my father's bedroom and even remove all the furniture before I went upstairs. He had been sleeping in the room that used to be my husband's study so all the original furniture was put back in.
While alive, each morning, my father would put the radio on at about 7am and lie in bed listening to it. A few days after returning, I was downstairs getting breakfast when I heard a radio come on and I went upstairs to see where it was coming from. I approached the study where I could hear the sound and opened the door. The computer was on and the radio was playing through it. I immediately went to ask Adriano why he has turned the computer on but he and Dario were both asleep. This happened several times and Adriano (who believes nothing but what can be proved scientifically) searched for an explanation to it. He eventually decided that the next door neighbours had some kind of electrical signal that was activating the computer. Even if this weird explanation were true, why would the radio play and why exactly at 7am? Anyway, we had to get on with life and I tried to ignore this phenomena. But one morning I was downstairs again in the morning when I heard loud banging and crashing upstairs as if someone was moving piles of books about. I automatically thought it was Adriano in his study moving books but when I went upstairs, he was asleep in bed and didn't know what I was talking about when I woke him up. So I thought the time had come to acknowledge Dad's attempts to contact me and I went into the room and told him I knew it was him and that it was time for him to move on. And he did. We had no more unusual occurrences at 7 in the morning.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Five Creatures that have Bitten Me

1) When I was living in Italy, I had riding lessons to improve my skills and one day a horse which was riderless felt pangs of jealousy towards the horse I was riding, feeling left out, and went to take a nasty bite of his rump but misjudged and took a mouthful of my thigh instead. And I do mean the whole thigh inside his mouth. He clamped down and dragged backwards with his teeth. My leg was not a pretty sight afterwards and for days I had to crawl about because if I tried to stand, blood would rush into the injury and I would almost faint with the pain. Going to the toilet was excrutiating and I would have given anything for a hole in the ground. The whole upper leg area swelled up to double its size and turned every colour of the rainbow. I realized later that I should have gone to the hospital but was in too much pain to even think straight. I still to this day, twenty-five years later, have a lump on my thigh the size of a grapefruit.

2) Also while I was in Italy, I was bitten by a dog. Despite having been born and bred on a farm, it has been the one and only time this has happened. I love dogs and they generally love me. But this day, I was walking through someone's property with friends when I felt a sudden pain in my ankle. I looked down in shock and there was a dog running hell for leather in the other direction. A fly-by-nighter. Bite and run. Completely weird. It wasn't a serious bite but surprised the hell out of me for the sneakiness.

3) Yes, a vervet monkey. My uncle in Zambia had a pet monkey, Blossom. Tragically she has since died. Anyway, this monkey had been with my uncle since shortly after birth and was obsessively jealous of any female who came within five meters of him. As far as Blossom was concerned, he was her mate and in the wild every other female would be warned off. And that's what she did to me as soon as I stepped foot on their property in Zambia. I was walking around the garden with my aunt when what felt like a ton of bricks hit me from behind. She sank her teeth (fortunately her main fangs had been removed) into my upper arm and then ran off. Again a major swelling with brilliant colours. It hurt like hell, by the way. The rest of my stay there, I carried a big stick around and a tentative relationship of mutual respect developed. My uncle and aunt were devastated when she became sick and died. I shed a few tears myself.
4) When Dario was two years old, he bit me. (He's about 10 in this photo.) Accidentally, of course. I handed him a bite of sandwich and he chomped down with great energy - unfortunately right on my knuckle. The doctor said it was probably broken but there was no point in x-raying it because there's nothing they do with broken fingers anyway. We laugh about it now but it was a bit inconvenient at the time.
5) Ha! Fooled you! There is no fifth. But I still have a few years to live so I will keep you informed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Five things you didn't know about me.

I was tagged by Tinasue to make this list so here goes:

1) When I was 18, I spent a year teaching at a High School in the Fiji Islands on Volunteer Service Abroad, which is the equivalent to the US Peace Corps. I had an incredible, harrowing, inspiring year but would probably not want to repeat it. That's me in the photo in Fiji.

2) I sometimes dream at night of tables laden with cakes, which I am unable for various reasons to reach. Very frustrating. I have dreamt this all my life. Yes, I have a sweet tooth but am now at an age when I can no longer eat a cake without my weight increasing by at least 10 kilos so they are taboo. Certain elements of life are very sad.

3) I hate conflict - will avoid it like the devil, but if you get in my face I will fight back like a lioness protecting her young. This is my space, my life and keep your sordid hands off it. Touch me or my family and I change character. There are certain things which are sacred. Stay away.

4) I do arm exercises with weights almost every night and though my muscles are strong, the surrounding flesh is still less than desirable. What's that all about? By the way that is not me in the photo.

5) I studied ballet from 4 years old until I was 17. I also ran my own ballet school while still at high school. That was the first of many teaching jobs that I have had throughout my life. At different times I have had jobs teaching, Math, English, Art, Fashion Design and Ballet as well as homeschooling my son for many years.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Five Reasons for wanting to be a Writer

These five reasons are taking for granted that I love writing. These are in no particular order.

1) No office politics. Hallelujah! I have just changed jobs because of a snake in the grass, who, by the way, got forced out before my last day. So there was some justice for us all. I now love my work as Marketing and Design Manager but office politics are rife once again. I try to stay below the radar but sometimes it hits you on the nose while you're looking the other way. I won't miss working outside the home.

2) I can live to my own timetable, taking into account my family's needs, of course. I am a reasonably earlier riser, though that was not always the case, but I also love going to bed late. I guess the solution to that is to have an afternoon nap, which is impossible at work. LOL. Being able to do errands at whim instead of all blocked together on Saturday would also be a great breath of freedom. I am disciplined enough to get a block of writing done every day so that doesn't worry me. I can mix with people in the weekends. I can't see any downside.

3) I could live anywhere in the world. If I earned enough (yes, I know, but I'm allowed to dream on this blog), then husband could leave his job and follow me, along with our son. Where would we live? Probably 6 months in Italy, close to Adriano's family, and 6 months here in New Zealand close to mine.

4) The ability to travel at will to anywhere without having to ask permission from the boss. This is still considering my husband is no longer working. And more importantly, we would be able to wake up in the morning, look out the window, see the sun and go out for the day on our launch. The problem at the moment is the launch needs a crew of four but we could change it to a smaller one for more frequent trips. We so seldom get out on it because come the weekend, either it's raining or even if it's fine, the winds are too strong.
5) I would have better control over my diet and exercise regime. At work I try to go for a walk at lunchtime but it's now only half an hour and by the time I've eaten and got my walking shoes on, it's hardly worth going out. And who wants to work after a hard day's work.? I know a lot of people do but not me.
At work, food is eaten on the fly and not good for the digestion so I tend to eat very little during the day and then eat the bulk of my day's food at night, which is not ideal. I could have complete control over both these things if I were working to my own rhythm.
This all seems a long way off but a girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Last Five Movies I've seen

1) Saw Jumper yesterday and was not particularly impressed. The concept was great but the execution left much to be desired. The main characters didn't grab me though Samuel Jackson did a satisfactory job as the villain.
I kept thinking about the movie while watching it instead of being sucked into the story to a place where nothing else exists. I was aware I needed to go to the toilet and I was aware I had eaten too many M&Ms. I wouldn't really recommend this one.

2) Last week I saw PS I Love You and this is quite a different story. It was great. I had been reluctant to go to this one because I knew he died early on but I'm so glad I did. Hilary Swank, of course, is a wonderful actress and so believable. Take a box of tissues because you will cry almost all the way through but it's worth the tears. It's powerful, full of strong characters, sucks you in emotionally and the story lingers long after you've left the cinema.

3) I have mentioned already that I saw The Bucket List a couple of weeks ago. Well worth seeing though a little cliched and the dialogue could have been sharper. But what great actors. Worth seeing just for them and they do visit some amazing places in the world. I love a story about people getting out there and living life to the fullest no matter how much time is left.

4) Saw Juno a while ago. Yes, I enjoyed it but didn't rave about it like many others. I felt the actress was too pretty to be convincing as the weird girl though I'm not saying that being pretty excludes being weird. I just would have liked her to look a little quirky too. Some of the offbeat scenes, which were obviously supposed to show us how different she was, like sitting in the armchair outside the boyfriend's house (see photo), for me were cliched and forced. For a pregnant teenager, she showed very little real distress until she actually gave birth and even that was glossed over. I felt her decision making was over simplified and made the whole process of getting pregnant and finding a solution to such a massive problem appear offhand and of no great consequence. I know others will disagree but I didn't feel her at all. I felt the Jennifer Garner character much more though, even there, that marriage split didn't ring true because there was no background to the reason for it - even though we got the reason. Again over-simplified.

5) Recently I saw 27 Dresses. A light comedy but thoroughly enjoyable. Of course it had the usual gimmicks to create the laughs but the main characters swept me along with them on this crazy ride. And the dresses were great - the costume designer must have had such fun with them. There was never any doubt as to the ending but then comedies seldom have any twists or turns . So, all in all, a pleasant afternoon out.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My Book Cover

Here's the cover of my book, Beneath the Surface. It's my first book cover and I'm so pleased that they read the form I filled in very carefully. This actually looks like my story.

I am expecting some revisions soon then I imagine I will be given a release date. Meanwhile I am writing, writing, writing. I have plenty more books already written and still to be written.