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I consider myself a reasonably intelligent and caring person, open to new ideas, non-judgmental and a variety of other adjectives. I see and hear things that make me go, “hmmm,” and I see and hear things that make me go, “what?”

confused-man

And then there are things that make me produce the expression on Steve Harvey’s face above. (more…)

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So, the holidays are officially over and 2017 is underway. I’d like to say thank you to all my readers for continuing to follow me into the new year. I hope I continue to bring a smile to your Mondays.

Let’s reflect back a couple of weeks and see how this Christmas stacked up. Because there are so many aspects to consider, I’m going to narrow my focus to one thing – Santa Claus. (more…)

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It is with heavy heart that I write this post. Not because of the election results. I’m not overjoyed (I remain hopeful), but neither do I feel the need to slit my wrists. I am saddened because of the ugliness that followed the results. Come on, America – knock it off already. (more…)

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I consider myself a pretty hardworking person. But, I also know how to sit still and just exist. I can take those precious moments to enjoy the quiet, the stillness, life. I am not a workaholic.

But, because I am pretty ambitious, I find myself easily irritated by laziness. I’m not talking about people who find thousands of excuses not to work so they can collect unemployment or welfare benefits (that’s a whole different post). I’m talking about those little chores that require two to three extra seconds to complete.

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I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I try to pop in every day or so to see what’s going on with my “friends.” Sometimes I post stuff, sometimes I like stuff, sometimes I use those cute newfangled emoticons. Usually, what I do is snort, scoff or laugh at other peoples’ posts.

woman on computer

Ever notice that there are some people you can bet money on what their post is about? I have. I’ve comprised a list of the FB personality types I come across most often on my feed. Because – and I think I’ve said this before – I’m a giver, I’ll share my analysis with you. Please keep in mind that some people fall into more than one category and I am in no way asking you to unfriend me. This is simply my observations about the most commonly posted stuff. I, undoubtedly, have fallen into one or two of these categories on occasion myself.

Here goes:

Bragging soccer mom – These posts are ALWAYS pictures of their kids with some clever or cute sentiment about how amazing the littles are. I’m not opposed to these posts, I just get tired or seeing them. “Here’s number 412 of Johnny at X event.” “Here’s little Susie all dolled up in her ____ (fill in the blank).” “followed 2 seconds later by another of Susie in one of her other 800 cute outfits.” Are you living your life vicariously through your kids? Can we see just one picture of you doing something interesting?

family in car

Overjoyous grandmother – Yup, this one’s like the one above only it skips a generation. Again, I love seeing the cuteness, so don’t stop, but you might want to throw in an occasional instructional video about how to cook something sinfully delicious that no one’s ever going to cook up. Your grandkid didn’t get cuter in 15 seconds.

sick woman

Perpetual sick-o – Do you, like me, have that the one (or a dozen) “friend(s),” who always has something ailing them? Sometimes their ailment is accompanied by a disgusting picture or description of their illness. Or, if they’re not sick, someone in their family is. Let’s find something positive and post that tomorrow shall we? I’m tired of hearing about everything that’s wrong with you and/or your loved ones.

Excessively needy –  These are the people who subtly boast about how awesome they are by posting negative stuff. Like how much pain they’re in because they’ve just climbed Half Dome at Yosemite in 15 minutes. Or they have injured themselves – again – for the umpteenth time in karate class earning their tenth black belt. Do these people just need sympathy or do they think they’re bad ass? I have no sympathy. I’d rather you just post the accomplishment and leave it at that. If it’s the pain you get off on, then just say that, don’t use the poor, poor me post to brag about yourself.

Humorous meme sharer – I think these are the people who appreciate good humor but are themselves not funny so they post cartoons or pictures with captions that make people laugh. I love a good laugh, and I have often shared some of these clever witticisms, but once in a while I’d love to see an actual post that you’ve typed up yourself.

funny meme

YouTube abuser – This one’s pretty easy to figure out. Have you noticed how many videos are being posted on FB these days? Seems like I get dozens of them a day. They slow my computer down. Let’s use the video clips sparingly people.

Political activist – This one is self-explanatory. Just stop people. Stop right now. I know where you stand from the first hundred dozen posts. And – here’s a shocker – your posts are not going to get me to change my mind or my opinion. Stop already.

nature

Nature lover – Only posts pictures of nature too beautiful to be real. (See photo above for example.)

Save the world prayer seekers – Again, stop with the pictures of grossly disfigured children. I don’t need to see them. I know where to donate charitable funds. I’ll pray for everyone not just these poor unfortunate souls.

Sales people – This one is tough because as an author, you want to make people aware of your books and where to buy them, but some authors seem to only put “buy me” posts up. I’d like to know a little bit more about you. Let’s see some clever posts by the author so I know whether or not your book might be enjoyable.

buy book

World travelers – Ever notice how some people always seem to be going somewhere or doing something? I am sure they have regular lives like normal people, but every day there’s a new post from somewhere other than their home. Yay for them and I love the super cool photos or super cool places, but sheesh, when do you do your laundry or pay your bills?

So there you have it, my analysis. Keep in mind, this is just my own personal FB feed and yours will look different. However, I’m sure if you take the time to look and keep track, you’ll find one of two of the types listed above on your feed too. And again, don’t hate me people; this post is mostly tongue-in-cheek.

If you fall into one of these categories and you think I’m making fun of you, well, I probably am, but that’s how I roll. If you really know me, you know that I laugh at myself as well and if I’m laughing at you, it’s because I really like you. If I ignore you, watch out; that means something else entirely. I scoff because I care.

How about you dear readers? What kinds of trends do you see on Facebook? Do you get tired of some of these offenders? I’d love to add to my list, so let me hear your thoughts.

Word of the day: Hautbois (alternate: Hautboy)

Fun fact about me: I think I’m one of these FB post offenders.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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So there’s been some excitement here in Vicksburg, but not necessarily the good kind. The Baer House Inn is located adjacent to the Warren County Sheriff’s office, Juvenile Detention Facility and County Jail.

Vicksburg jail

The building itself is pretty cool, but apparently the security is not so cool. As evidenced last week when inmate, murderer and rapist, Rafael, escaped. It’s an old brick building surrounded by other old brick buildings and parking lots. That’s it. No chain link fences, no curled up, razor-sharp barbed wire, no nothing. As soon as you open those doors, bam, there you go, freedom.

Vicksburg jail 2

So Mr. Rafael constructs a crude shank and threatens the night guard with it, forcing him to open the jail cell. Rafael manages to get the guard’s clothes and radio and off he goes, into the wild blue yonder. Or so one would think.

Nope, not Mr. Rafael. Rafael decides to hang out. Here. In Vicksburg. About a mile from the jail. Oh sure a manhunt ensues following his escape. Everyone is on solid lock-down. Schools beef up security, businesses turn the closed signs and head for home. US Marshals comb the area with hunting dogs, officers from other counties join in the search, but, nothing. No Rafael. A door-to-door search turns up, zilch. Nadda. Nothing. Fantastic, we have a house full of tourists eager to get out and explore this quiet little town. What as I supposed to tell them?

police dog

The next day, a gaggle (I don’t know what you call a whole bunch of them) of US Marshals assemble in the parking lot across the street from the Baer House, some in uniform, some in full tactical gear, some in plain clothes. My hubby goes across the street and asks if they’ve had any luck finding Mr. Rafael. Nope. No luck. But, we are assured that Mr. Rafael is long gone by now.

Whew.

Two days later, in the early afternoon, a helicopter begins to circle my neighborhood, quite frequently and quite low to the ground. Is it him? Rafael? Is he back?

Back on lock-down. Reports of Mr. Rafael entering a home about 3 blocks away begin to surface. We hunker down beneath the whirling of the helicopter. After a couple of hours of intense helicopter drama, silence. No sirens, no alarms, no barking dogs. Silence.

Must have got him. Happy innkeepers, happy guests.

police helicopter

The next day we hear that Rafael again managed to evade the police (how is this possible?) and again is on the lam. What happened to him being “long gone by now?” Are law enforcement personnel really that inept or are they trained to lie to folks to maintain calm? Hmmmm?

The next day, more reports about Rafael forcing himself into a home and taking the family inside hostage. Why has this idiot not left the area? Steal a car or something. Geez, don’t hang around the scene of the crime you knuckle-head.

Well, this time, the citizens of Vicksburg take matters into their own hands. Law enforcement had their chance after all and they failed. One of the homeowners managed to get untied and shoot poor dumb Rafael with a handgun. Shot him where it matters; in the head. Dead.

woman with gun

Now, I am not condoning vigilante justice or shooting people, but these folks were held hostage and beaten up. A child was also in the home. That homeowner did what he had to do to protect his family. And I, for one, am glad they did. I can rest easier now.

Citizens of Vicksburg are once again safe.

So, what’s going on in your world? Any excitement to report? Do you feel safe in your neighborhood? Do you own a handgun?

Word of the Day: Drumlin

Fun fact about me: I’m not a fan of guns, but . . . .

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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As you all know, I have an old yellow lab and he is awesome! I love him. He makes me laugh and smile and cry and shake my head in wonderment. He can also make me mad, but I’m taking the high road on that one.

dog in kitchenI don’t know about you guys, but my dog does some really weird stuff. It confuses me. Like where he chooses to lay, for instance. Sometimes I just can’t figure it out. Usually he chooses the absolute worst place to lay. It’s usually right underfoot and in a dangerous spot. Why right there? Can’t you see I’m working right there?

And what’s up with the whole bathroom thing? I go into the bathroom and sit down on the throne and bam – there he is – right in my business. Really? Do you have to stick your nose there? Sheesh. I do not need to be watched while I’m in the restroom. It’s weird. It freaks me out. I have to lock the bathroom door to keep my dog out. Who else does this?

dog in bathroom

The dreaming is downright scary sometimes. I’ve often thought he was having a seizure or something with all the shaking and leg flailing and whatnot. The silent jowl quivering as if he’s growling at something big and scary. He does that all the time. Almost every night. What gives? All that whimpering and whining is annoying in the middle of the night. But, I love him and I’m worried about him so I sneak out of bed, squat down next to his oversized doggie pillow and rub his tummy until he stops. What is wrong with me? I’m a big ole softie.

dog sleeping

They say dogs dream much like humans dream. If that’s the case, my dog has a nightmare every single night. Better him than me I guess. Weird.

The final confusing characteristic is his constant begging to play, but then when you throw his stick he won’t let go of it when he brings it back. Seriously? I’m not playing tug-of-war. I’ll throw it over and over if you’ll just let go of it. I’m not sure if he thinks he’ll never see it again and if relinquishes the stick to me or what? It’s so weird. I find myself negotiating with him about dropping the stick. I say things like, “You look like you want to play, but you’re not letting me play, too.” Or, “Do you want to play or not? Cuz if you want to play, you’re going to have to drop the stick.” “I’d really love to throw that stick, but I can’t if you don’t drop it.” Etc. etc.

dog with ball in mouthReasoning with a dog is just plain strange. And yet, that’s what I do. I can’t figure this whole thing out. Sometimes I’ll even throw a different stick (or ball), just to get him to drop the first one, but, nope; he’ll just chase after the second one with the first one still in his mouth. What a goofball.

Does your dog do anything bizarre? Do you often shake your head or roll you eyes at your dog? I mean, dogs are the bomb and all, but sometimes I truly wonder what goes on in their little dog brains.

Word of the Day: Cabestro

Fun fact about me: I never appreciated our pets until I had a puppy of my own. (Sorry Barney Boy. I was a bad human.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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raining on porch

Does anybody remember that Eddie Rabbitt song? As I compose this post I’m listening to the pitter patter of raindrops on my front porch. Well, actually, it’s more like a torrential downpour, but pitter patter of raindrops is so much more poetic.

I’m usually not a fan of rain, but I realize that it’s a necessary part of life. I’m especially fond of rain when it blows in in the dead of night and by morning has moved on. The world is sparkling with raindrops and everything is fresh and new under the sun’s warmth. That’s when I really like rain.

But days like today don’t bother me so much. Yeah, it’s raining, but I’m inside where it’s dry and warm so let it rain.

lightning

However, I am not a fan of thunder and lightning – by day or by night. I see a lot of cool pictures of lighting doing its thing in a cloud-drenched sky and I think, “wow.” But to witness it first-hand, noooottt so much. Especially if I’m driving. I have a tendency to close my eyes when lightning flashes. Not good if you’re behind the wheel.

And my poor dog shivers something awful when thunder shakes the house. Yeah, he’s a wimp. I feel bad for him when he cowers at my feet shivering like a dead leaf on a tree branch. He won’t even be coaxed into having a treat during those times of terror. Poor, poor, dog. (What can I say? He’s my fur baby and I love him.)

dog under covers

How about your readers? Do you love a rainy night? Do you like thunder storms? Do you have a fraidy-cat pet? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day: Abaca

Fun fact about me: Unless I’m swimming or showering, I don’t like to be wet.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, I live in an old house. As old houses go, mine’s pretty cool. But, I’ve discovered that if you have an old house, especially in the south, you have to have a ghost. So, naturally, we have a ghost (or 2 or 3 if rumor is to be believed).

According to the “experts,” (http://paranormalistics.blogspot.com/p/types-of-ghosts-and-spirits.html) a ghost is nothing more than: “the energy of a person or animals soul that once lived.” Okay. It makes sense that we’d have a ghost then since people did live in this house.

According to the same site, “There are multiple reasons why ghosts make themselves known to us and how they interact with the living is usually determined by what personality characteristics they had when they where alive.” Cool.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, what does that say about our ghost(s)? Nobody has actually seen a ghost in his house, but many have captured shadowy figures in their photographs, or so they say. I’ve taken lots of pictures and I got zilch, nadda, zip. But, I’ve learned that there’s many different ways to be “haunted.” This was news to me. Apparently ghosts make their presence known in several ways.

http://www.ghostsandgravestones.com/types-of-ghosts.php explains it like this: “Many of us have weird sensations about seeing shadows or shapes out of the corner of our eye, only for it to disappear when we turn to look. And while you may be one of those people who are not afraid of such a paranormal experience, did you ever stop and wonder just what kind of ghostly apparition you encountered? Maybe, like most folks, you didn’t even consider that there could be different kinds of ghosts out there.” (Me, me – raising hand.) “But the fact is, experts in the field have put together a list and definitions of the types of supernatural phenomena that exist and it may come in handy, especially if you’re headed out on a Ghosts & Gravestones Tour.” (Or perhaps the Haunted Vicksburg Tour.)

1. The Interactive Personality – The most common of all ghosts spotted are usually those of a deceased person, someone you know, a family member or perhaps even a historical figure. These ghosts can be friendly or not . . . ” (I vote for friendly) “- but often show themselves to others in a variety of ways. They can become visible; they can speak or make noises, touch you or even emit an odor like perfume or cigar smoke, etc, to let you know they are there. Experts say that this type of ghost retains its former personality of when they were alive and can feel emotions. And often, they are visiting you to comfort you or let you know something important.”

Aww, I feel so comforted. Or maybe I’m just missing something. Something . . . important. Hmmmm.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, to recap, there are the filmy white apparitions seen by the naked eye. There are “vortex” ghosts who freeze people out of a sound sleep. There are the “smelly” ghosts, who like to scare people away by filling a space with fragrance of some kind. And then there’s our ghost – the kind that most often “materializes,” in an auditory form.

Here’s how http://www.ghoststudy.com/types.html explains our most common type of “haunting”: “CLAIRAUDIENCE: the ability of hearing the paranormal as opposed to seeing it.”

Ah. Now, I have heard things. Unexplainable things. And others have, too. So . . . perhaps we are “haunted?”

Again, quoting from the paranormalistics blog, “Ghosts were once human, just like you and I. It is believed that you keep your personality characteristics when you die. For example, if you where an evil person in life, you will be the same as a ghost. Mean spirited ghosts usually torment the living at haunted locations, feeding off the victims fear energy. The same goes for good people. If you were a loving person in life, you will be a loving ghost. Good spirited ghosts are usually very protective of families that live in haunted locations. Remember not all ghosts are bad.”

So, if I’ve done my deducting correctly, we have a friendly, even loving, and protective ghost. Probably a family member who once lived in the home. Here’s why I think it was a family member:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

http://www.angelsghosts.com/family_ghosts says this about family ghosts: “Family ghosts may best be defined as spirits of deceased humans, as well as animals,” (more on this below) “that remain around certain families for a particular function . . . who still care for the family in his or her own way, in a sense, acting as an angel or guardian over the family. And the ways they might find to interact with the living is fascinating . . . Family ghosts are commonly believed to also make themselves knows through use of strange sounds (the hoot of an owl, the sound of a dog, a bird against a window, etc.). Some ghosts of families are said to make everyone aware of them by the cracking of pottery or dishes!” (Or an expensive chandelier, like the sound I heard? Hmmmm.)

So, there you go. We have a friendly family music-loving ghost. Lots of guests report hearing music. Happy music like perhaps from a party. Perhaps a ball? Some have heard the jingling of a dog’s collar. Some hear dripping water (not that that’s particularly happy).

That’s right, it’s not just people sounds. Remember above I mentioned the jingling of a dog’s collar?

Here’s what I unearthed about animal spirits: According to http://listverse.com/2013/03/27/10-little-known-mysterious-ghost-types/, “Animal ghosts make their presence felt not just in manifestations, but also sound and smell. It is not unusual for a person experiencing a haunting which includes animal ghosts to hear the pitter patter of the invisible animal, or whimpering, panting and scratching on the walls and doors.” Add to that list, the shaking of the head so that a collar and metal tags jingle merrily. Could we also have an animal spirit hanging around?

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, why are we experiencing paranormal activity but the neighbors aren’t? Here’s what the paranormalistics think: “An area can become haunted for many reasons, not just untimely deaths or tragic accidents. Sometimes an area can become haunted because it was the favorite place of a person who has passed. People do not have to die at a location for it to become haunted and it can technically happen anywhere. The architecture of a structure, the minerals in the land, underground springs and other water sources can have a major factor as well. For example, you should never build structures on top of limestone or water tables, because limestone retains energy and water is a conductor of energy. This belief dates back over 5000 years in ancient China and other areas in the region.”

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Okay. There you go. We have at least 2 cisterns below the house previously used for water collection. Hmmmm. Are we a conducting ground for paranormal activity? Could be.

Stay tuned for Part Two next week. Maybe after hearing a little more about the history of the Baer House, we can discover the whos and the whys. Until then dear readers, have you ever experienced a “haunting?” Did you know there are different types of ghosts? Is your house built on a limestone foundation? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day: Panoply

Fun fact about me: I’m glad we’re out of pumpkin season.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2015.

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Here’s this week’s message of happiness. Enjoy!

Now, get out there and jump, read, travel – be HAPPY!

What makes you happy? How do you spread happiness to those around you?

Here’s an added bonus, because this is one of the things that always makes me smile:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Word of the Day: Dacha

Fun fact about me: I’m a sucker for baby anythings.

Original post by Jansen Schmit. Video courtesy YouTube. Photo courtesy Google Images.

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