Maniacal Ruminations or the “About Page”

Hmm.  About me?  I’m completely stumped.  I can’t think of anything that doesn’t sound kind of trite.  I will just stick with the basics.

I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.  I love children and relate to children so much better than I do most adults.

I have worked in Pediatrics since 1985, back in the days of big hair, synthesized music and multiple movies all with the same bunch of young actors.  Of course, I loved every one of those movies, especially “Breakfast Club”.  And I think I may have had big hair back then too.

I remember counting IV drips (no electronic IV pumps back then), mixing my own IV medications and taking care of 20 children with 2 Corpsmen for 12 hours (that was back in my Navy days).

I became a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in 1995.  I attended the University of Washington (great school, beautiful campus).  I was in the Air Force until 2003.

I have this fascination with ghosts, the supernatural (except Vampires – they freak me out).  I watch all the ghost hunting shows.  And I have seen a full-bodied apparition.  Only once though and it scared me to death. That’s a whole other post, with the most unimaginative title – “Haunted House in the Mountains.”

I am sure there is so much more going on in the world that we just aren’t willing to acknowledge.  I believe as children we are much more in tune with the supernatural and the forces that surround us and as we get older, our minds build barriers.  Why is that?

I started writing about two years ago, well, at least making a concerted effort to write.  I find it very therapeutic.  It is interesting when you get into the zone, and the words are flowing, it is almost like an out of body experience. I wonder if that is why some of the great authors self-medicated, because the world in their imagination is much more fascinating than reality.

“From Cornflakes to Eternity” is a blending of my love for children and my fascination with ghosts, ghost stories, the paranormal and the supernatural. This book can be purchased on Amazon.

ADDENDUM (1/17/22)

This is actually the first time I have re-read this page since I posted it, all those years ago. I thought it was going to be awfully written, but it is not.  It’s not my best work, but it serves its purpose.  I can’t believe I have stuck to blogging, albeit, intermittently over the last two years.  And although I don’t post daily, because honestly, I don’t have interesting things to say daily, I have racked up a fair number of posts over the years. I have made some really interesting “blogging” friends too, which is why I keep coming back to blog more.

I have participated in several of the April blogging challenges, the A – Z blogging challenges and even published a book using my posts from one particular challenge.  It hasn’t done well on Amazon, I think last time I checked, which was eons ago, it was buried in the bowels of Amazon, ranking at around the 7 million mark.  Oh well.  It was a book written for my boys, all the stuff I should have told them when they were younger but forgot to. The book is entitled A to Z Guide Survival Guide to Life – For Young Men Just Starting Out.  My youngest son has read the book, and my oldest – he isn’t much of a reader.

I am presently working on a third book, and I hate to admit it, but have been doing so for the last two years.  I don’t know what the holdup is all about.  My first book took me less than 6 months to write, but perhaps it is all the other chaos that has swirled into my life, slowing me down.  I don’t quite know. Eventually, I would like to complete it, and again attempt the arduous and really depressing job of trying to get it traditionally published.  Maybe that is just a pipe dream, but I will press on. Here is an excerpt from the work in progress – its present title is “Dreaming Through Time”.  However, that title is subject to change.

CHAPTER 2 – THE DREAM

The Matron, being the very capable and sensible woman that she was, immediately took charge of the situation.  She calmed the smaller of the girls by telling them that the bushfires were a natural part of the life cycle here in Australia.  We were then made privy to a rather terse explanation about how some of the trees in the forest could not germinate their seeds, in order to make new trees, unless exposed to the intense heat of a bushfire. And although, we as well-rounded, Australian girls all knew this, it was good to hear it stated once again in such practical and straightforward terms.  We all sat on our beds, cross-legged staring at the Matron who was now standing in the center of the dorm room, between the rows of bed. 

      But then some of the older girls, further down, closer to the big window at the end of room wondered what sense could be made of the strange appearance of the ancient Aboriginal man.  Donna, my cubicle mate asked,

     “Matron, what about that man?  Where on earth did he come from?”

     The other girls chimed in,

     “Yes, what about that man.  Had he been living in the forest?”

     “Why did he have to look through the window?

     And I of course, had a pressing question as well.

     “How did he run so fast and move so quickly?  He looked like he was flying.  Is he magical?”

     The other girls muttered in agreement, they too had been wondering how a man could move so fast, but not look like he was trying to move.  We all looked up at the Matron, her faced glowed with the light of the distant fire.  She was silent for a minute, as she stared towards the windows.  And then a most unusual thing occurred.  She looked puzzled. She shook her head slightly and said,

     “What man?” She seemed startled by this little tid-bit of news.

     We all began talking at once.  The little girls spoke of a gnarled man, scaring them, others talked of the man painted like a skeleton flitting about, running but more like gliding and the Matron raised her hand to silence everyone.

     “I don’t know of this man.  I have no explanation for any of this.”

      What was this, the Matron could not explain the reason for the presence of this man.  This, in and of itself, was more unusual than anything that had happened tonight, this caused the girls and me more consternation than raging brushfires and strange men running willy-nilly around the fields behind the dormitory.  What could this mean?

     After the Matron had overcome the strange feeling of not knowing why this man had appeared in our window, she primly straightened her bathrobe and patted her already perfectly placed hair and said,

     “Right.  Let’s gather our blankets and pillows and head towards the auditorium.”  She clapped her hands together adding,

     “Chop, chop.”

     We all clambered out of our beds, gathering our counterpanes and pillows.   Forming into a ragtag line, we waited for her at the door to our room as she gathered the other girls, the older girls from the rooms down the hall.  And with that, we followed the Matron down the hall, past the cubicles and out the door.

     The night air was filled with the smell of the eucalyptus burning, the smoke was heavy and made us cough.  My eyes were burning with the heavy layer of smoke that had settled near the ground.  I buried my face in my blanket but found that was not an efficient way to navigate the walkways, as I stumbled several times over some the ridges of the pavements.

     The majority of the boarding school staff had arrived. We assumed they had all been called because the issue of the enormous fire raging in the woods.  But to us, that was not the biggest concern, that wasn’t what was on all of our minds at all.  What we really wanted to know was why the man with the furrows of life in his face felt the need to peer into our window.  Where did he come from?  Why was he here?

      All the girls in the dormitory were led by the Matron to the auditorium, a huge, white stuccoed building closer the entrance of the school, set up on a hill, overlooking the school grounds.  My friends Nikki, and Cauliflower, who were seasoned boarding school attendees, they were a year older than me, found their way up the line, in order to walk with me.  Nikki walked quickly up to my right side, and Cauliflower flanked my left side, with their blankets and pillow wrapped tightly in their arms.

     As I said, Nikki lived in New Guinea, which even for Australian girls, seemed like a really an exotic place to live.  Her Dad was some important man in the government over there, which always impressed me for several reasons.  The first being, the fact that there was any type of civilized men in New Guinea, which had the capability to be governed, and secondly that man-eating tribes, which is really all I thought was in New Guinea, would need proper governing.  One would think if they needed something taken care of, they would just go find the troublemaker and cook him in a vat or something like that, deep in the jungles.  I told Nikki that, when I first met her, and she held back her head and laughed, really more guffawed, and then looked wisely at me and said with a little shake to her head,

     “You Australians.”

     Just like that.  As if she was implying, we were so unworldly in our knowledge of outside cultures and things that happened elsewhere.    At first, I thought she was really quite full of herself, looking down her nose at the rest of us, but it was only a momentary blink of dislike, because she was so incredibly likeable and adventurous and feared nothing.  She was game for anything.

     “Liz, how exciting all of this is.”  She said.  I nodded, looking up to be sure the Matron did not have her eagle eye trained upon us.  Cauliflower murmured her agreement as well. 

     “It is. That man in the window, where did he come from?”  I asked, whispering really loudly over the sounds of shuffling of feet and muted whisperings heard down the line of girls all armed in blankets and pillows.

     “I think he lived in the forest, amongst the gum trees.”  Cauliflower said, so quietly, we barely heard her.

     We both looked at her, as we stumbled along.  She had curly blond hair, with rings of platinum blond hair so tightly coiled along her scalp, it did resemble cauliflower, the vegetable, which even when covered with gobs of cheese was still hard to eat.  Hence her nickname.  Cauliflower really wasn’t her name at all, it was Margaret, and we really only knew that fact because that is what the teachers and the staff of the boarding school called her, when taking roll or when pointing at her to answer a question in class.  Margaret was such a grown-up name and did not fit her at all.  She had a wild streak, and was brave, but at the same time so soft-spoken.  She had to be tough, because she was from Queensland, and from what we knew of Queensland, those people were rugged and tough, because the land, its harsh environment, and the crazy weather, made them so.

     I, being the smartest of our trio, or at least I liked to think so, shook my head in disagreement.

     “It doesn’t make any sense, why would he be painted in ceremonial paint?”

     “Maybe he was in the midst of some type of ceremony and the fire broke out and he ran.” Nikki said.

     Cauliflower shook her head up and down in agreement, muttering something.  She muttered a lot.

      “He would be in a ceremony all by himself? And how did he run like he was flying? He seemed to be gliding. And he moved so fast, almost inhumanly fast.”

     Nikki chimed in, “Maybe the other men in the ceremony ran in another direction, coming out of the forest at some other point.”

     That didn’t make much sense to me either, because why would the Aborigines separate and scatter, one would think they would stick together in a situation like this.  But of course, my knowledge of the Aboriginal culture was limited, but that didn’t stop me from acting like I knew what I was talking about.

     I really wasn’t pleased with any of these answers, and I said,

    “I don’t know, I really think he was sent here to tell us something.  His eyes looked like he was trying to tell us something, maybe warn us.  Either way, he was incredibly frightening.”

      We all agreed on that, he was indeed a scary sight with all that ceremonial paint, gliding and zooming in front of the bushfire, and then suddenly popping up in front of the window like that.

      We couldn’t talk anymore, because having arrived in front of the Auditorium, the Matron was instructing us on where to place our blankets and to be quiet and stop fuss-budgeting about. 

     The Auditorium was a huge building with high ceilings.  Here, we performed all our plays and recitals when our parents came for Parent’s Weekend.  But today, the chairs were neatly stacked up at the end of the large room and we were instructed on where to place our blankets and pillows.  We tried to get as comfortable as we could, but the excitement of the fire, the oddity of the strange man peering through the window at us made it very difficult to settle down and rest. 

     Never having been one for camping out, I found the prospect of sleeping on the floor rather depressing.    I liked soft mattresses with featherbeds and thick counterpanes, so I felt like I was floating in feathers, a cocoon of fluffiness.  You can imagine how I felt, reposing on a well-polished, rock-hard wooden floor, with merely a blanket to protect my delicate frame.  Needless to say, I did not fare well through the night.

      During the night the hue of red, shining through the windows high up near the auditorium ceiling had faded to a light pink.  At some point, my eyes began to burn as I watched, and my eyelids closed.  I heard the girls around me, deep in slumber, some breathing peacefully, some taking deep breaths and holding the breath, slowly allowing it to escape from their lips, almost as if they were whistling a hypnotic tune.

     I felt heavy with exhaustion and floated down into my subconscious, forgetting the hardness of the floor, the discomfort of the not being in a fluffy bed.  My arms and legs became heavy with sleep, as I slipped into my dream world.

     My dreams were vivid and filled with colors.  I was standing at the edge of the forest, the fire so close and intense, I could feel my skin was hot and dry.  The smoke billowed around me, but I seemed to be impervious to the effects it would normally have on my lungs.  Nikki and Cauliflower were with me, the light from nearby flames made Cauliflower’s otherwise whitish-blonde hair pink and red. We stood in our nightgowns, listening to the flames, as they fed off the oils from the burning eucalyptus trees in front of us.  The flames were whispering to us, telling the story of the ancient forest. The trees said the fire was a time of rebirth, not of death, a time of rejuvenation and cleansing, not a time of destruction.

     All three of us, as if on cue, turned to the left, facing west.  In front of us, stood the ancient Aborigine man.  He was gesturing to us, cupping his hand and pulling it towards him, as if to say, “Follow me.”   His face was painted in white, and the crevices of his life were so vividly highlighted. His hair was gray and curled against his head.  His body was lithe and seemed so much younger in comparison to the lines of time that ran every which way along his forehead and around his eyes furrowing their way down his cheeks to the corners of his mouth. His heavy eyebrows hung over his eyes, making them seem more intense and wiser, further set back into his face.

      Nikki asked “Why?  Why should we follow you?”  Cauliflower, now standing by Nikki’s side, muttered, as she always did, something about following him into the fire seemed like a really silly and nonsensical idea.  I said nothing but watched his eyes. 

     The ancient Aborigine continued to motion, “Come with me, I have things that you must learn.”

     The fire raged beside us, the oils in the limbs of the eucalyptus whistled as they heated up and melted, the forest appeared to be turning into a liquid state, so intense were the flames.

     His motioning became more insistent.  I stepped forward, but Nikki put out her hand in front of me as if to provide a barrier, to stop me.  I placed my hand on her forearm gently and pushed her arm away. 

     “Nikki, this is important.  We must follow him.  He has come to show us the way.  Do you not see it in his eyes?” I said, shouting above the whistling of the gum tree oils, the breaking of tree limbs, the roaring of the flames as they fed off the wind. 

      Nikki did not stop me as I moved toward the ancient man.  I stood in front of him, looking up into his eyes.  The light of the flames flickered on his face, at times making it seem as if he had no eyes and other times, the flames appeared to be deep in his eyes, dancing.  I could sense that he had a wisdom so much deeper than anyone I had ever met in my eight years on earth, his wisdom encompassed everything since the beginning of time.

     The ancient Aborigine, nodded and turned to walk away, checking to make sure I was following.  I stepped forward to follow him and Nikki put her hand on my shoulder and said “Lizzy.  Lizzy. Lizzy.” 

     The flames faded, the roar of the fire died away and I heard “Lizzy.  Lizzy. Lizzy.”

     But it wasn’t Nikki, it was Donna, my cubicle mate, with her hand on my shoulder, shaking me.

     “It is time to get up, you can’t spend all day, laying around.  Come on.  Get up.”

     I opened my eyes, and Donna’s round face, framed in her long brown hair, is staring down at me, with concern and irritation in her eyes. 

     I was confused as to where I was.  Rubbing my eyes with my knuckles, I tried to sit up.  My bottom was aching from having lain on the hard wood floor all night.  Donna backed up a bit, allowing me to come to a sitting position.  After blinking several times, I remembered the events of the night before, the fire, the strange man, coming to the Auditorium to sleep.  The dream, from which I had so rudely been awakened, seemed more real than the Auditorium filled with girls attempting to collect their blankets and their pillows in preparation to return to the dormitory.  I could still feel the heat of the flames and the smell of smoke in my nostrils.  Never had I experienced such a vivid dream, a dream that took precedence over my waking world.

92 replies »

      • I’d be annoying the crap out of everyone if it were me. Maybe threaten to withhold the baby pictures until they send me proof of an Amazon Verified Purchase 5-Star Review. 😉

        I have it downloaded on my phone to read in the coming weeks, looking forward to it!

      • I really do, but it isn’t in my nature. I figure it will languish in the deepest, darkest depths of Amazon and then someday it will be discovered. It has received great reviews (all 6 and 4 of them are from people I don’t even know). It’s a bit sad at first, but it ends on a good note. Thank-you for your enthusiasm!!!!!!!!!! How did you do on the Mommy blog poll?

      • I am ranked 15 in my category…I was 25 so it’s a step up….thank you 🙂 I do get some stragglers to my blog from that site so I try to keep me on the first page of my category which is Stay at home moms :)) I am going to have to check out your book for my kindle…Going on a long family vacation in July and I will need LOTS to read!

    • Thank-you Audrey. Being a PNP is probably the best job in the world. You get to talk with little kids all day and goof around with them (I work an outpatient subspecialty clinic – so very little heartbreak – I have had my share of that over the years being a PNP). I love it (although I could do without the paperwork – AARGH!) I am excited about following your blog as well. We redheads have to stick together. Maybe that is what I will do ‘R’ on – redheads.

  1. Thank you so much for following me and liking my posts as well. 🙂

    Anyway, you have a very interesting blog.

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    • I love watching the music videos back then, with all the long-haired band members. I am trying to grow my hair so I can be like a geriatric (well not quite) Twisted Sister guy.

  2. Hello SD,

    I saw “From Cornflakes to Eternity” on Amazon. I’d like to discuss this book with you. Please contact me when you get a moment.

    Thank you,

    Alison

  3. Hi
    I know Abyss Brain. I came to thank you so much for following my blog. Did you know I am a teacher? I relate to children too. Once again, welcome!
    Janice, Reflections

  4. Hi S.D. I was overdue visiting your great Ruminations page, my friend.

    So I have to share my ghostly story. I was assigned an overnight Stacy Jones Ghost Hunter experience at our downtown theater to write a feature piece when I was working for the big daily. The Landmark Theatre is said to house a very famous ghost, Clarissa. I didn’t see her that night, but did experience things that fueled my thoughts. The folks I was hanging out with kept taking photos of mirrors, and lights that WERE NOT THERE kept showing up in the photos, for instance. When we were herded into a supply room in the dingy basement, a can of nails came flying off a wall shelf on its own. You never saw 25 people jump so high at once. And the biggie for me was when I was one of a handful surrounding one of those scanners the knowing said communicated with the spirits. Voices drifted in and out as it, well, scanned. All of a sudden, a voice said “Mork” clear as a bell, sounding much like my dear Pop Pop did back in Brooklyn 30 years past, not quite Mark, but that accent …

    Now.

    I have tagged you in the Allergic to ‘E’ Challenge. Sound easy. Have fun. Happy Friday. 🙂

    http://markbialczak.com/2015/06/19/allergic-to-the-letter-e-challenge/

    • That’s a really cool story! Did your Pop Pop frequent that theater? I love those scanners – they fascinate me. I wonder though – do they attract only those spirits that reside in the building or do you think perhaps your Pop Pop is with you wherever you go (kind of like a Guardian Angel that is always by your side) which would be even more amazing. Thanks for the nomination – I will get on it this evening.
      PS. I went to Alcatraz with my kids one summer – I had those headphones on they give you for the walking tour. I was standing by a cell, with my back to it and all of a sudden I heard this gravelly “Hey” in my right ear, I could feel whoever’s breath it was on my neck. Funny thing was, my son heard it as well. Scared the snot out of me. I want to do the night tour there, but I am kind of chicken. I think the ghosts of the prisoners probably get a kick out of scaring vulnerable visitors – and I would be a prime target.

      • My grandfather never got from Brooklyn to the theater in Syracuse, to my knowledge, S.D. I didn’t move here until after he passed. So it must be that spirits can go wherever they darn please.

        I’d be chicken to go to the Alcatraz night tour, too, by the way, even before the voice and breath in your ear. Quite frankly, the whole ghostly thing falls in the “spooky” category for me.

      • Me too, but I am oddly obsessed about ghosts and spirits. There has to be so much more around us than we can see, Sometimes when I examining children in the clinic, especially the little ones, it is quite obvious they are staring at things that the rest of us cannot see. It’s really weird. I was talking to a little kid, and he kept on wriggling around, and I wasn’t even examining him. I asked him why he was wriggling – and he told me the little kid was tickling him. But there were no other kids in the room, only me and his parents. I must say I was a little unsettled by the whole experience. Spooky!!!!!

  5. hey, I just wanted to let you know that I gifted my mom with a copy of your book. I am so jealous that she now has a beautiful paperback of it.

  6. What do you know, another nurse (I’m retired, now), with a military background (but I was a spy, long before a midlife career change into healthcare). I appreciate your Liking my “chat” at the “party” on Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog, back on May 24. (My response rate is slow, but it is sincere.) Thanks!

  7. Nice to read about you. I didn’t know you already have a book out. Good to know! I was a children’s mental health counselor (the 0-5 crowd). Maybe that’s part off the reason I so enjoy the “voice” of this blog. 😀

  8. I love pediatric nurses- having spent a bit of time with my kids in hospitals. I think I’ve discovered you post blog challenge, but it’s a happy discovery and I look forward to reading more!

  9. SD, I just read this “about” page and am struck by how much we have in common…I too have worked in health care, I too have had a life-long fascination w the paranormal (specifically, ghosts) and I’m originally from Seattle…my mother and brother were both UW grads. I and in the past three years I’ve seen two ghosts. I’d love to exchange more, do drop me a line any time at my contact button on my blog. So glad you reached out! Best, Jan

    • Wow – that’s crazy!! I am glad I started back in my blogging and stumbled across your blog! How funny, I was just sitting here thinking, before I read this, I really need to get into my “About” page and tidy it up. Should do that this evening!

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