Saturday, June 28, 2014

How To Do Your Own First Time Ghost Hunt

Scare something different into your life. Go on a ghost hunt. It's really cheap and it will give you something to talk about for a little while. In a previous post, I wrote about my first ghost hunt with some friends. We are going to go on another one eventually. But, this blog is not only about me leaving the confines of home and work to experience life, but also you.
   So, what will you need to go on a ghost hunt? The first and foremost - another person or a group of people. A lot of supposed haunted locations are abandoned and in the thought of safety, having someone with you is the best thing to do. Not only for environmental safety (the building may be falling apart) but also for potential unforeseen dangers. Wild animals sometimes like to dwell in abandoned buildings. Normally, that's all well and good, but some might be feral or have rabies. Not to mention spiders (YUCK!). Spiders generally are harmless but if you run across one of those evil brown recluse or black widows and get bitten, it's good to have someone close by. But the biggest threat would be a squatter. Entering an abandoned building, there is a possibility that a member of the living might have taken up residence there.
   Second: A light source. Flashlights are recommended. You don't want to trip over something in the dark.
   Third: An EVP (electronic voice phenomena) recorder or EMF (electromagnetic field) detector. Now, you can go out and spend money on one or both of these. Or you can download a free app on your smartphone. Mandy had both downloaded on her Galaxy and she said she got them for free. I have an iPhone 4 and I could only find one free app that looked decent enough to download for our adventure. And I did not even use it. Mandy had hers out and running at all times.
   Fourth: A video camera. I used a camera that was the size of my iPhone. Very convenient and portable and I was able to review the video afterward, in case my eyes missed something as I was walking around. Plus, it's fun to watch.
   Now, if you have everything, go online and Google search haunted locations in your area. Once you have found one, check to see if it is under ownership. If it is, you will have to contact the owner to gain permission to hunt there. Otherwise, you are looking at breaking trespassing laws and that's bad ju-ju. Also, check out your state's trespassing laws. Be sure that whatever you do does not break any of them.
   It's always good to do some research on the history of your location. It will give you some knowledge and increase the creep factor of the location. If your spot is secured, you are good to go. It's best to go at night, primarily for the atmosphere. Things are always creepier in the dark.
   Once you get inside, turn on whatever equipment you might have. Starting with the room you are in, ask questions of any spirits who might be there. Make them generic and vague - "Is anyone here?" "Would you like to make contact with us?" Will you see or hear something? I can't answer that. But, if you don't, go to the next room. You don't have to rush from room to room. Take your time.
   One of the apps Mandy was using was asking the questions for us and recording any EVP that might occur. It might have been better to ask the questions ourselves, but everyone was too busy checking the place out.
   Stay as long as you deem necessary and get as much recording as you can. When you leave, review everything at home and see if you captured anything.
   I am, by no means, an expert in ghost hunting. I only did it once. But, this is the advice I can give you based on my

experience. I encourage you to contact any local ghost hunting organizations or individual ghost hunters (whether professional or amateur) in your area for tips and tricks. The organizations are there, trust me. They're everywhere!
   Now, grab some friends and go out and have some different kind of fun!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Do Something Different and Go Ghost Hunting

A wheelchair in the facility.
As some of you readers might remember from The List, going on a ghost hunt is included. Well, last night, myself, Mandy, Allen, Katie, Joel and my husband went on one. A friend of mine at work would go on ghost hunts in his spare time and he told me about a creepy, abandoned nursing home, which was a favorite location of his.
   Quick, I made the plans with my friends to check this one off of the list. And if you have any interest in the paranormal (I watch the hunting shows, but I honestly do not know if I believe), then I suggest you do the same. If you do, be sure to check out state laws on trespassing. I made sure that no laws were broken in our escapade. And, if you find a spot, go check it out! It costs nothing and it is certainly something different for you to do! Not to mention fun!
Joel journeying into the depths of the darkness!
   It was not exactly what I expected. I was expecting something straight out of Hollywood - creaks, groans, mirrors, etc. What we saw was much more mundane. We did not receive any thrills (except for a spider that crawled out from under a Thanksgiving doll I was poking with my foot). And I was very proud of myself for keeping my overactive imagination in check. Of course, since there were so many people with me, it was not difficult to do. I guarantee that if I had been alone, I would have ran away screaming!
   Now, picture it. Completely dark, dirty and filthy, smelly and rather hot. The couches were still in the common area. There was a walker and a wheel chair left behind. Numerous Christmas decorations by the abandoned piano. The office was littered with leftover papers. A closet had clothing belonging to an old man just hanging in there. The beds were in hallways and in the rooms - some with mattresses still on them and some missing mattresses.
Tony and Joel checking out what was behind a counter
   There was a beauty salon for residents to get haircuts - the chair and the dryer still sitting there, waiting for someone to take a seat. Some serving trays were still in the kitchen. Throw in the standard disrepair of an abandoned building - holes in the ceiling, insulation on the floor, broken windows, the smell of feces and mold - and it definitely had a creepy feel to it.
   Our shoes crunched on a variety of debris as we made our way through the kitchen, through the common area and into a portion of the facility that housed the mental patients (you know, for that added creep factor). Mandy was dutifully using an EVP app she downloaded on her phone. She tiptoed her way through the place, whispering. Katie was into trying stuff out - walkers, pianos, wheelchairs, beds. Allen, Tony (my husband) and Joel were intent on checking everything out. Tony took his time and the other two went through a little quickly. Me? I was video taping and checking stuff out while trying to keep my eyes open for things that go bump in the night.
Selfie time! (Left to right) Katie and myself
   My heart rate picked up slightly the second time I entered the office. The first time, it smelled like everything else. The second time, there was a sickly sweet scent in the air. And I frantically asked Allen what was causing that. He calmly pointed out a bottle of air freshener that was open. He had mixed the contents a little bit, causing the scent to float after I had left the room the first time.
   After about an hour and a half of wandering through the facility and just having fun goofing around, we called it a night without getting any proof of life beyond the grave. But, we had such a good time that we are going to repeat the experience! It's cheap. It's exciting. It's different from the standard party or movie outing. And it's something to experience!
   NOTE: A video of questionable activity will be uploaded and another one of a more humorous nature (as soon as I get them video broken into smaller clips).

Saturday, June 14, 2014

RIIIIPPPP!!! Goes the Hair

The thought of getting hair ripped out of my skin through waxing was always rather disturbing to me. I can shave it, Nair it, pluck it, whatever I had to do that was relatively painless. Certainly a lot painless than what waxing seemed.
   Heck, the first time I had my brows plucked was after high school. I had a whole werewolf thing going on and was living with my cousin at the time. She made me sit down in a big chair. She (being 100 pounds at the time), kneeled on the arms of the chair and hovered over me with tweezers. I knew it was going to happen whether I liked it or not. Each pluck brought tears to my eyes and especially since I had never plucked before, some of those hairs were very deep. I think I gave a few screams as my cousin ruthlessly attacked my eyebrows. And since she was my cousin, I didn't push her off of me and run for the door. I didn't want to hurt her. I also wanted to have some groomed eyebrows for the first time in my life, so I stuck it out. After 45 minutes of torture, my eyebrows were thinner and groomed and the skin was swollen and pink.
   I have since taken up the task of plucking my own eyebrows. Now, I do not do it as often as I should and when a full moon rises, I should be outside howling. That is when I grab my trusty tweezers and go through the procedure. It is no longer painful, but it takes longer than what I would like because I wait so long in between pluckings. And I do not really enjoy the process. There must be an easier way to do it. But, I cannot afford laser removal yet.
   So, waxing. Yes, waxing seemed like the best time-saving way to take care of my eyebrows. I was going to suck it up, face the pain and get my brows waxed. I called my friend Mandy (who has joined me in my quest to do new things) and we set out to find a salon. It did not take long. Much like getting a manicure, there are a variety of locations in Tulsa that will cater to a woman's waxing needs.
   After a few stops at salons that were either closed for the day, out of business or did not do waxes, we finally found one next to a closed Blockbuster (gonna miss them). Mandy was apprehensive as she does not like people touching her face. I was apprehensive because I do not dig pain. But, we sat down on the hard chairs and waited for the lady to finish her current client.
   The lady walked into the back room and was there for about 5 minutes. She came out and Mandy opted to go first as I continued to wait. Luckily, I did not hear any screams, so I was more at ease. Mandy came out with puffy, pink skin above her eyes, but she said it was not that bad. I was proud of her - that she managed to work through her aversion of people touching her face.
   It was my turn.
   I followed the lady into the back room and she instructed me to sit in the chair. It looked like it belonged in a dentist's office . . . and I HATE the dentist! So, my heart started pounding as I eased myself down. It picked up speed as I leaned back. I clutched my purse to my chest as I laid there, waiting.
   She asked if it was my first time. I obviously looked nervous. I told her it was and she said it would be over very
soon. First was the hot wax above my brow, to take care of all those wayward hairs. Now, I closed my eyes because I figured it would be easier to calm my nerves if I could not see what was going on, if I pretended that I was going to sleep.
   I felt the strip of cloth being applied and some pressure as the lady pressed it down. I steeled myself . . . RIP! OK. That was not bad at all. She did the other side. Again, not that bad. Then, it was time for the underside of my eyebrows. And I heard the phone ring. She answered it as she applied the wax and pressed the cloth down. She was confirming an appointment as she was about to rip my hair out! I think I had some sweat running down my face. Before she hung the phone up, she ripped the cloth off. OUCH! The tears sprang to my eye - the one that was so close to the area of violation - and poured down my cheek.
   "You're OK. We're almost done. Don't cry," the lady said to me.
   "I think those were pretty deep," I told her. "I'm fine. It just surprised me." Yes, I was trying to save face. But, when I had the same reaction with the other brow, I gave myself away as a big weenie.
   I came out of the room with puffy skin and a wet face. Mandy looked a bit alarmed. I assured her I was fine. And my brows remained puffy for the rest of the day. However, I am happy to report that I did not have the need to pluck my brows for quite a few weeks afterward. I was also pleased with the arches that the lady gave me.
   If you are somewhat lazy when it comes to beauty (like me), I would recommend waxing your brows. If you do not enjoy pain or are a weenie, I would not recommend it. Will I do it again? Probably. After all, it only cost me $15. That is not a bad price. It's not going to be an experience that I will repeat frequently - only when I feel lazy enough to not do something about my werewolfiness.  
   Try to wax something - brows, lip, legs - whatever. Bikini wax? Don't think so. Not for me, anyway. Brazilian wax? HELL TO THE NO! I might have to draw a line in my new experience quest.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cinderella Has Pointed Toes

As a little girl, being a ballerina was something graceful and princess-like . . . and OH, was it going to be me! Never mind there wasn't a ballet school for miles around. I stood on my tiptoes and did pirouettes and leapt through the air, kicking my legs out. Ballet was my calling! At six years old, I KNEW IT!
   Alas, that was not my calling. I never took ballet. I never put on a single shoe. I've never even taken a barre class (uh oh - might have to add that to my list). But, my interest in ballet remained long after I decided it was time to learn to walk on my whole foot and not just my toes. As a teenager, I would sneak a peek at ballets being played on the television - until someone from my family would walk in and rudely change the channel because "It was ballet."
   I moved on to watching movies in which ballet played a part - Save the Last Dance, Center Stage, Black Swan, etc. And when we moved to Tulsa, I saw to my delight, a professional ballet company! I checked out ticket prices. Ooops - a little bit beyond my budget. I figured I would bide my time.
   I didn't have to wait long. I got discount tickets to Cinderella by Tulsa Ballet (the principal dancers pictured at right). And it was being performed on Valentine's Day. And - it being a ballet about a princess, I knew my daughter (here on out referred to as Bee) would be dying to go. She had also gotten bit by the ballet bug and even now tries to do her own pirouettes as she begs for ballet dance class. I kept the tickets from her as a surprise. When she got out of school on Valentine's Day, I told her she needed to get ready because we were going to the ballet to see Cinderella! You can imagine her excitement - her being 6-years-old and everything.
   We put on decent clothes - a little better than the standard jeans and t-shirts. We were all set! First, of course, there was a trip to a local frozen custard stand for a special treat. But, then we were off to downtown Tulsa at the Performing Arts Center to watch Cinderella in all it's ballet princess glory! Our seats were by no means ideal, but they were not terrible. We had a decent view of the stage.
   One thing that made us both uncomfortable was the attire of almost everyone in attendance. We saw little girls in Cinderella dresses and adults in formal evening wear. And here we were - business casual pretty much. I promised Bee the next time we went to the ballet, we would buy brand new fancy dresses to wear.
   The lights dimmed and the ballet began, the notes being played by the symphony were clear and crisp. The stage was exquisite and when the dancing began - Bee leaned forward in her seat, drawn to the ballerinas. There was a surprising bit of comedy involved as some men played the parts of the step-sisters. We both laughed at their antics.
   Unfortunately, when the 20-minute intermission came about - an hour after the show started - Bee was passing out on a bench right outside the doors, her head in my lap. She said she was too tired to stay. I asked her if she wanted to go home or continue watching Cinderella. She opted for home. We bundled up in our coats and left half-way through the performance. I was sorry that I did not see the whole ballet, but I knew Bee needed to get home and crawl in to her bed.
   We received a lovely Cinderella postcard from Tulsa Ballet, thanking us for attending. Bee is proudly displaying that on her bedroom wall, and is looking forward to the next ballet. Which might be the Carmina Burana at the end of October, beginning of November. I LOVE THE CARMINA BURANA!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Do the Sushi!

Tired of going from home to work? Tired of the same ol', same ol' every single day? You can change it! Life does not have to be boring. It does not have to be routine. No matter what your station in life, no matter what your financial
situation is, you CAN experience life!
   Life is more than paying bills and taking care of your family. It's more than going to a job every day. Life is meant to be lived and when you get caught up in the day-to-day tasks, it's easy to forget that.
   Maybe you don't know what it is that will entertain you. Well, get out there and experience new things. Not only will you create memories, but you will also learn more about yourself. You can't say you don't enjoy sushi if you have never tried it! I use this as my prime example. I grew up hating sushi, because my family did. I never tried it once. When my husband and I were just friends, we went out to eat at a Chinese buffet that happened to have sushi, as well.
   He came back to the table with some weird rice, seaweed, fish concoction - in a perfect circle. I asked him what it was. When he told me, I made an "EWW!" face. He asked me if I had ever tried it. And if I hadn't, how would I know that I truly did not like it? I reached deep inside myself, grabbed a plate and bravely faced down the dreaded sushi. I sat at our table, staring at the round circle of sushi, my nerve escaping me.
   "Just try it," my future husband said to me.
   I squared my jaw, picked up the piece . . . and bit into heaven! That was when I realized I LOVE SUSHI! It is almost a monthly staple in our house now! My daughter LOVES sushi! (Or shushi, as she calls it).
   How could I have never tried sushi? I grew up on a ranch near a town of about 30 people. The closest shopping hub - Mobridge, South Dakota - had 3,000 people. Needless to say, sushi was not in abundance. And for some reason, my family hated it, even though no one had ever eaten it. I hated it, even though I had never eaten it.
   So, look at every new experience as a form of sushi. You never know when you might love it.