Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Scare Seriously Backfired on Me!

I was a ghost at a friends Halloween party for her daughter. There were at least 50 kids there who were aged from infant to 12 years old. I spent the night running around the outside of the house appearing at windows and doorways and hiding before the kids could find me. (I was a very effective ghost!)

At the end of the evening I decided to go upstairs and run through the crowd and scare the living daylights out of them before I went home. I sneaked in the front door and up the stairs and burst into the room screaming and running through those lovely children. The next thing I knew this mob of screaming, clawing, biting, hitting, kicking children started whaling on me unmercifully!!! There were no adults up there to help me or take control of the situation.

If I had not had years of experience breaking up greyhound fights without hurting them, I would have been forced to hurt those little darlings just to break free! When I finally extricated myself from the mob I took off running. The only part of my costume that was left on me was a piece around my neck and a piece around my waist. Just when I got to the top of the stairs one of the little bastard's clotheslined me! I was dangling down the stairs and the only thing holding me up was a piece of material around my neck that was strangling me!

I managed to twist my neck so that I broke free and promptly went thumping down the stairs to land at Sis' feet who was running to see what all the commotion was. At this point I thought the whole thing was hilarious and recounted the story of the kids trying to kill the ghost. We all had a good laugh. However I wasn't laughing the next morning.

I went to get out of bed and I couldn't. I mean to say I was physically unable to raise up and what little bit I did move put me in excruciating, backstabbing pain. It took me about 20 minutes to roll out of bed. (and I mean roll out of bed and plop soundly on the floor) I had to crawl to a phone to call for help. When I told my boss I couldn't walk, he thought I had a sprained ankle or something. I had to explain to him that my legs were paralyzed and I had dragged myself, in pain, to the phone. He said he would be right over.

I managed to stand by pulling myself up by the side of the couch and I staggered, holding anything that was available, to the car before he got there. I drove myself to the hospital. When I went to get out of the car I couldn't stand up again. I pulled myself up by sheer strength of will by my arms only and was supporting myself between the door and the roof of the car when a man found me. He was kind enough to go into the hospital and get me a wheelchair and wheel me in.

Anyway it took 6 months of therapy and 2 years to get myself right again. The moral is "DON'T SCARE THE FUCK OUT OF LITTLE KIDS WITHOUT PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF!!!"

How I Got My 100 Acres

It really wasn't mine, I leased it. I read an ad in the paper and to get the 100 acres you had to submit an essay about why you wanted it. I went to look at the property and I immediately fell in love with it. I could see myself spending my entire lifetime on that piece of property - me and all the animals I could handle. It was also 10 minutes from the track which was a major coup in the dog business. I could work and drive back and forth all that I needed.

So I wrote my essay and the landlord was impressed. Unfortunately I was going through my divorce and my ex had just finished blasting my credit to smithereens. The man wasn't going to let me have it until I had my boss (who was a local big wig car dealer) call him with a personal recommendation. I had the property within seconds after that call.

I still didn't have the money to get the property so I went to my brother. I lucked out. It turned out that he had made several hundred thousand dollars playing the stock market that day. At first he turned me down but I pointed out to him that he could change the entire course of my life if he would just knock off one $800 price tag on that endless column of numbers he was bragging to me about. He changed his mind. Lisa, his wife, brought me the money the next day (I paid it back). I had the property.

The house on the property was a shack. It was sturdily built though and it had running water, power to the breaker box and a gas line. I would need to build everything from that point though - including a road to get to it. I went to my dad. The next day he had a man there with a bulldozer building a road to my house. I had my road. Unfortunately the man ripped out my gas line in the process, so I had to use kerosene heat.

Both my dad and my brother saw the difference that piece of property would make in my life. They knew it would make my future a success.

Next I built a 2 acre field for my greyhounds. I had all my basics now, I just needed to grow from there. Unfortunately that Halloween a bunch of kids threw me down the stairs (there's a blog about that incident somewhere on this site). I was hurt. I couldn't work my farm. I couldn't work at the track. I couldn't work for almost a year and I had no means of support except for the parttime work that a friend was giving me.

oops - gotta finish later

Women in Sports (then and now)

I can see the awesome improvement in women's sports in just one generation. We weren't that great (except for my sister - if she had been born now she would have been a professional!) but we were better than our mothers were. Title IX was enacted when I was in grade school and all the gym teachers told us that it would change the face of women's sports. Apparently they were right. Money is the great equalizer.

We used to look around at our hand me down equipment while being told they didn't know if we could play because there wasn't money to pay a coach. It looks like all that has changed now with astounding results for women. Women are making a fortune in sports now and who knows by the time the next generation comes around things will probably be even better. They would ask us every year if we wanted to play if they could scrounge up the money. We were told it was important so that the little girls could see what they could do some day. So we played. We played on substandard equipment that was falling apart but we played.

Usually my dad's car dealership would end up sponsoring the team because nobody else wanted to sponsor a girl's softball team. He and my mom would also buy uniforms and my mom would take the whole team out to dinner (even if we lost). I can remember carrying giant coolers full of gatorade and water to the games and practices because the girls weren't allowed to get stuff at the boy's little league concession stand. My mom said she did it because she didn't want any of "her girls" dropping from heat prostration and it didn't hurt that it was good for business. Thankfully it was also because my mom wanted us to know that as girls we could do anything we set our minds to. She didn't let anybody tell us we couldn't do something because we were girls - including my dad!

When I tell teenage girls that we didn't have sports when I was their age or that I didn't join the military because they wouldn't let women fly a plane back then. They look at me like I'm from another planet. That's good. It shows just how far we've come.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Time in Beautician School

I was cutting a lady's hair. She pointed to one of the particularly handsome students and asked me if he was gay. (he was a modern day Clark Gable lookalike) Since he was very openly and unabashedly gave I told her that he was. She commented, "just think of all the women he could have made happy."

After she left I told him what she said. He just smiled at me and said, "the next time somebody says that to you, just tell them, "well just think of all the men he has made happy."

I flew a plane once

When I was at Ohio State I became interested in Aviation. I completed the written part of the pilots exam which means that I had 2 years to get my flight time in and become a licensed pilot. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control at the time, I didn't get the flight time in.

I did, however, get one hour of flight time in. My dad paid for it to show me what a waste of time it would be for me to be a pilot. (My parents wanted me to be a veterinarian) The lesson originated from the local airport in Logan, WV, in a place called Taplin. It was an interesting lesson because Taplin airport was a narrow flat space alongside the Guyandotte river right between two very steep mountains. The takeoff went smoothly as I glided along with the pilots help and then lifted up to climb over the mountain (it was either that or crash into the side of it).

I got to fly over my house at 1200 feet. I was surprised to see how small the house was in comparison to the church next door. I had no idea that the church was bigger than our house. We also flew over the park and the town of Logan and just generally spent an hour flying over the mountains of West Virginia. It was one of the most relaxing and exhilerating things I have ever done. (yes, I experienced both emotions at the same time).

Then I turned the plane back toward the airport to go home. Yes, I was flying it by myself. It's kind of like being a student driver, you have to drive, it's just that somebody is there supervising your every move. When we got back to the airport I assumed that the pilot would take over but he told me that I had done fine and he proceeded to explain how tricky the landing was going to be.

To land the plane you had to skim down the side of the mountain just barely over the tops of the trees. That was the only angle there was to land in the field. Since it was a short runway you had to start braking immediately once you landed. We started down the side of the mountain and he IMMEDIATELY took over. Apparently I would have killed us, he said. He was not laughing either.

I told him I was glad he was there. To be honest I was surprised that he wanted me to try the landing that soon anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed that lesson, but I never made it back for another one.

Life happens you know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Most Crushing Defeat Ever

I went out for track when I was in high school. I wanted to be a miler. The first meet rolled around and I was no where near ready so the coach put me in a 440 yard relay. (that means I was supposed to run 440 yards and pass the baton to someone else).

I say "supposed to" because I started out running neck and neck with the lead runner all the way around the track. People were clapping and cheering and the world was wonderful. Then I got to the last 50 yards. I hit the wall as they say. It was like my body had turned to stone on the spot. Every step was a struggle and as I plodded along I watched the leader pull farther and farther away from me as the other runners passed by me like I wasn't even moving. (I barely was)

I managed to finally hand off the baton to the next girl, but we were too far back by then to make up the difference. It was a crushing defeat. Nobody wanted to talk to me the rest of the night and the next day I was cut from the team. (surprise!)

It was utterly humiliating but the one glimmer of sunshine in it all is that I didn't quit. I did manage to finish the race even though I was sure that I was going to die!

On Tropical Storms

I know everybody who doesn't live in Florida hates to hear it but you really do ignore anything under a category 2 hurricane if you live down there. You learn that anything less than that is basically the same as a bad thunderstorm anywhere else in the country. Sometimes you get a nasty little surprise though.

One time when I lived in West Palm we were hit by the same storm 3 times. It blew in from the Atlantic, went straight across Florida to the Gulf and promptly turned back around and came back across West Palm again. Then the storm went up to Jacksonville and turned around and decided to visit West Palm for the 3rd. and thankfully last time.

The water was so deep in my front yard that the neighborhood kids were surfing in it. (you know how it is when you are a kid, you can find the fun in anything!) On the 10th. day of rain I looked out and I saw my 6 week old greyhound puppies playing and swimming through the yard. I ran out and put their doghouse up on the sidewalk (the highest point in my yard) but they kept jumping off the sidewalk into the water. They were having a such a blast that I finally gave up trying to stop them because they were obviously having too much fun. Another fraction of an inch the water would have been in my house and I and my animals would have had to evacuate.

Anyway we made it through that and many other storms (including Andrew). I was so thankful after Andrew that we weren't 90 miles away in Miami. It looked like a 3rd. world country. The only problems that I had with Hurricane Andrew were my animals were extremely upset when it blew in(the only storm that they ever paid attention to) and I had a can of biscuits explode in my refrigerator!When I went to get up the next morning after the storm was over to check out the damage, it turns out that I couldn't raise my head up off the bed. The drop in pressure is hell on your sinuses it turns out!

The night before Andrew I was out looking at the sky and I was fascinated to see that the clouds were blowing in in a giant pinwheel shape. It was pretty neat to see - if I had only known what it meant. I didn't evacuate because I was sure that someone was going to wreck in that long line of cars and I didn't want to be stuck on the interstate in a storm. That was probably the wrong decision but I decided I WOULD evacuate the next time because all the cars they showed after the storm were still whole. They may have been in the top of a tree but they were still whole cars while the houses were just matchsticks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rave Review's Coconut Cake

I found this recipe online. It looks the same and sounds the same...

Rave Reviews Coconut Cake Recipe


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. Blend the cake mix, pudding mix, water, eggs and oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed for 4 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the coconut and the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans for 15 minutes then remove and finish cooling on rack.
  4. To Make Frosting: Melt the butter or margarine in a skillet. Add the 2 cups flaked coconut and stir constantly over low heat until golden brown. Spread coconut on absorbent paper to cool.
  5. Cream the remaining 2 tablespoons butter or margarine with the cream cheese. Add the milk and confectioners' sugar alternately, beating well. Add the vanilla and stir in 1 3/4 cups of the toasted coconut.
  6. To Assemble Cake: Spread tops of cooled cake layers with some of the frosting. Stack them and then frost the sides of the cake. Sprinkle Cake with the remaining toasted coconut.

The Best Birthday Cake Ever...

...aside from the Raven Coconut Cake that my mom used to make for me every year when I was a kid was not even my cake. My friend Dave was having a birthday and Gail, his wife, was out of town so I bought one of those small Walmart Birthday Cakes and took it over to their house.

Shaun, their son, and I went into his room and put 48 birthday candles in the cake. There was barely room for them on top of the cake. Then we hollered for Whitney, Shaun's sister, and we proceeded to light the cake. By the time we were 3/4 through lighting the candles it was obvious that we had a major problem on our hands! While I finished lighting the candles, Whitney and Shaun were busy moving all flammables out of the way of that flaming torch of a birthday cake! At the same time we were all screaming for Dave to get in there before the room went up in flames!

When Dave got to the bedroom he yelled out in complete disbelief and shock. He jumped in and started blowing out the candles, with help from all of us, and he actually had to beat the candles and cake a little to put out the conflagration! There were actually a few seconds when we wondered if we would be able to put out that fire! However we did manage to put out the fire and while everyone was laughing I was chipping the candle wax off the top of the cake because all the candles has melted down to little nubs on top of the cake.

As bad as it looked though, THE CAKE TASTED GREAT!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Have Witnessed a Man Walking On Water...

actually he was running on water.

When I lived in Florida I was homesick a good bit of the time. One day I received a collect phone call from someone I did not know but I accepted it anyway because I knew from the accent it was somebody from home and I was curious. It turned out that my brother had sent a driver from WV to Florida and told him to call me when he got to West Palm. Unfortunately my brother neglected to inform me that he had done this. (which was completely in character)

Another funny thing about the situation is that Danny (the caller) called me collect even though he was only 3 miles from my house. I went and picked Danny up and he was at my house for 2 weeks before my brother bothered to show up to get him. Danny was as country as a West Virginia country boy could be and Bobby and I enjoyed showing him around Florida. He was like a big kid.

One day we took him to the beach. At first he refused to put on swim trunks, insisting that he wear his cutoffs and his hunting boots to the beach. After we got there he decided that he should have worn the swim trunks which was OK because I knew he would change his mind and I packed him a pair.

After changing in the brush he joined Bobby and I in the ocean. It took him awhile to get the nerve to come out past the foam on the beach. Gradually he made his way out to where Bobby and I were just past the breaking waves. Once he started to get comfortable Bobby and I decided to play the old "SHARK!!!" game. You know the one, the one where you scream, "SHARK!!!" and start swimming for shore as fast as you can.

Poor Danny's reaction was priceless! He turned 30 shades of pale and I swear to you that he actually sprang out of the water and literally ran across the surface to actually beat Bobby and I to shore. It was great!!!