"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

To Buy One or Two, That Is the Question

I went to Stokes this morning to buy a tea infuser. They offered me two choices:

a) one tea infuser with a handle for 2.98$
b) two tea infusers (different sizes) without handles for 2.99$

What, praytell, would I do with two tea infusers, I wondered and reached for the single package. Then, I realised that, doh, I was going to need one for work, too.

I've fallen in love with spearmint tea and haven't found it in tea bags, so I bought some last night from the tea house where my writing group meets. They only sell it in loose leaves, hence the need to purchase a new toy.

Anything that can get my mind off coffee is 2.99$ well spent in my book. :-)

Nice While It Lasted...

Yesterday, the temps dropped to the single digits and then went to below freezing overnight. It was 0 when I woke up this morning.

I guess that our brief summery spell right dab in the middle of April was just a treat from the gods for surviving such a nasty winter and that we'd better get used to 'normal' weather progression again.

Tomorrow is (already) May 1st, so the temps can just climb. It's just that for several weeks my house has been steadily 20 degrees and it dropped to 16 overnight. BRR. I pulled out my flannel jammies again!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ecclesiastes 1:4

My Bible has a different translation for this passage, but for George R. Stewart it states: Men come and go, but Earth abides.

Hence the title of his classic book Earth Abides. Published in 1949, it is considered one of the finest examples of post-apocalypse literature.

I read it breathlessly, staying up past midnight last night, even, to finish the last hundred fifty pages.

It is a book that struck a profound chord within me. I could see myself in the main character, Ish. It's rare to find a protagonist in this sort of story who is like me, an observer, an over-thinker, and someone marginal. I was also struck by how it reinforced my belief that, in the grand scheme of the universe, our lives are pointless.

The story is obviously a Biblical metaphor. At first, Ish is Adam and his wife is Eve, and they live in the Garden of Eden. But, soon, they take on the roles of Abraham and Sarah, becoming parents to 'The Tribe' from which a new civilization will come as the Tribe is fruitful and multiplies.

I like that it sticks to one perspective, that of Ish, and that all we know about the fate of mankind is what he gleans from the limited information available to him. We know very little about the great plague that decimated our civilization, but very much about what he will miss of that civilization, as well as the bitter realisation that very little knowledge once thought vitally crucial needs be shared with the new generation. Again, our lives are meaningless.

Surprisingly, the book doesn't feel all that dated and it reads well. I could have done with a bit more description and a bit less moaning about the fate of humanity lying the in the hands of stupid people, but it remains brilliant nonetheless. Just think of the premise--a student leaves the world for a bit to get some research done and when he comes out again, he finds that the world has ended.

A haunting, thought provoking read.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Not a Good Position to Be In

At four this afternoon, I began to feel unwell. I experienced hot flashes and then started to shake. I recognized the symptoms to mean that I'd just had a serious drop in my blood sugar levels and I needed food immediately.

So, I went to my cabinet and pulled out my trusty jar of peanut butter, only to find it unpalatable! It turns out that I'd actually managed to pass the point of expiration for peanut butter! I'm obviously eating a lot more at home now.

Since it was the end of the day, I gathered my things and stumbled downstairs to a convenience store where I bought a Snickers bar that righted things quickly. Yup, I had to pay full price for a chocolate bar because I haven't been monitoring my store levels at work. Bad Raven, no cracker!

I got home and signed up at fitday.com so that I could get an idea of the number of calories I had eaten up to my energy drop. I'd eaten 700-800 calories.

Many months ago, I worked with a nutritionist to determine the number of calories I should aim for in a day. 1,200 to 1,400 when trying to lose weight, 1,400 to 1,800 when trying to maintain weight (depending on how active I am), and 1,800 to 2,000 when I'm doing some serious training for a race (which I should be doing right now, but that's neither here nor there). Today, I should have been aiming for about 1,400, meaning that by four I'd only eaten half my calories for the day.

The moral of the story is to have a much bigger breakfast than I've been having (which I thought was calorific enough), keep on aiming for the kind of lunch I had today, and have a snack mid-afternoon even if I have to buy one because I left my oh-so-delicious royal gala apple on the counter that morning.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Moving Mountains

Mountains of books, that is.

I'm so weary of it.

At least, after so many years of moving the same books, I've finally a) gotten a good grasp of what's worth keeping; b) lost any sentimentality in regards to keeping a book I enjoyed, but will never read again; and c) accepted that a book I've told myself I'll read 'someday' will obviously not get read.

I got rid of four more bags (big ones) of books today.

My library is growing sparse, but very special, holding mostly books that I have read over and over again, tomes I have given myself permission to mark up and mutilate by breaking the spine or bending corners. This serves to remind me that the value of a book is in the words within it, not its physical condition.

The more books that leave my house, the more books I feel comfortable bringing in to replace them, perhaps one really special book for every twenty that goes out. If a book does not inspire me to mark it up as I read, then I know I won't be referring to it again, so out it goes. It's nice to email a friend to offer her a book you enjoyed and which you're certain she'll enjoy (and even better to learn that it was on her reading list).

I used to be a Reader. I don't consider myself to be one any more since I only read in fits and spurts. This week I read three books, and started two others, but I can go for weeks without reading anything other than reference tomes on Wicca or ancient Egypt. The more I declutter my library, however, letting go of books that no longer reflect who I am, the more I want to read again, and voraciously so. No longer encumbered by the weight of books belonging to an old life, I feel free to devour piles of tomes that will open new horizons.

This past year, my focus was very heavily on my religious studies, but I've given myself permission to move on to other topics. A few days ago, I was reading a frothy novel by Sophie Kinsella while today I am deep into a post-apocalyptic novel (more about that one to come). Yesterday, I read the memoir of an American in Afghanistan. I am beginning to rediscover the me who was a true Reader.

I've decided that I will be limiting myself to five boxes (of the printer paper variety) of books on this move. It's a frighteningly small number and I will not consider myself an abject failure at purging if I go over this number. But I will listen to that little voice in my head reminding me that soon I will need to fit my library on a bus. The massive dictionaries I no longer consult thanks to good online reference sources will need to go next. That will lighten the load of the move considerably!

Much as I love the idea of acquiring technology like the Amazon Kindle, there is something to be said for the weight of a book in your hand. I love the different textures of paper, but prefer heavy scratchy pages. There is also that heady smell of ink mixed with dust that never ceases to remind me that I am about to embark on an adventure. Marking a striking passage with a pen and/or highlighter is another thing that cannot be done quite so dramatically with pixels. Those messy little lines and symbols tell me that I have been possessed by the material, that I have truly grasped it. Writing in books used to horrify me, but now I can't imagine not doing it. They are my proof that I read the book and that what the author had to say mattered to me.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Monasticism fascinates me. It is something that is contrary to Wicca as I understand my religion and, yet, I find it very appealing. Renouncing the world in order to serve the gods would be very freeing.

This fascination led me to Mark Salzman's book Lying Awake, the story of a cloistered nun in modern-day Los Angeles who faces a crisis of faith.

I cannot offer any opinion of the book as a study of monastic life for Carmelite nuns. But, as a study of faith, I can say that the author knows something about the subject. Even though the nun's faith wasn't expressed in a way I find personally valid, the questioning was no different from mine.

A tiny sample of the passages I highlighted:

But what is my dream? Is it really to know God, or is it to know personal happiness? Didn't Teresa also warn that the price of following a dream includes painful setbacks, even having to start all over again? Sometimes it means facing things that we can't face, to learn the depth of God's mystery and our need for faith. My God, I feel as if I am being torn apart.

You [God] was here all along.

God made me as I am. Each of us is given a unique cross to bear, each situation in life a personal call to become holy. He would not have taken me on this journey for nothing.

How blessed I am to know that God is real. What a gift, to know that God's love never fails.

Faith is faith, no matter its expression.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Lesson

I got online very early in the history of the net. At the time, I used my real name. As search engines became more powerful, I began to realise that this was a mistake. I'm the only person in the universe with my name, so anyone who searched for me would find things that I didn't necessarily want associated with my name (ah, the follies of youth). I learned very quickly (but not quickly enough, judging by Google results of my name *g*) that I needed to protect my identity online. I stopped doing things I'd be shocked for the 'real' world to know, but realised that just because I wasn't doing anything embarrassing didn't mean everyone I knew needed to know what I was up to online.

So, I came up with a couple of different identities (and accompanying email addresses) to compartmentalize my life. Sometimes, the identities overlap. They're all me; I'm genuine in whatever area I'm engaged in, but my being a Witch isn't relevant to the forum of a game I play nor is the fact that I play that game relevant to those on the forum of a show I enjoy discussing.

Any detective worth their salt could piece together my online identities and link them back to my legal name, so I still try to limit how much information I give in an open setting. I do have a 'private' journal that only a small handful people can read, where I rant about my job in great detail, use my real name, and paint a non-compartmentalized portrait of my life.

Someone I know wasn't so cautious. She kept a public journal where she used her real name, discussed her controversial hobby, mentioned her employer and colleagues by name, and shared truly personal information figuring that she had nothing to hide and who would be interested in her anyway? A copy of her journal wound up in the last place she would have expected and the fallout could be shattering. I hope for her sake that everything blows over with no major repercussions.

Monday, April 21, 2008

When Did It Happen?

This change of priorities that has come over me, I mean?

I've journaled my entire life, so I can understand the gradual little shifts and assume they must be 'maturity.' But how does one go from wanting land and a house filled with stuff to realising that land and a house filled with stuff is to trade your idea of freedom for that imposed by society?

I do want a home filled with lovely things, to wake up surrounded by nothing but prairie, to make my living from the earth. I've always wanted this. I'll always want this. But it's time to let it go. How foolish I feel, looking back on past entries in this blog. One idiot's tale indeed.

My goal for the time I would spend in this house has been met, only not in the way I envisioned. In finding myself, I have lost myself, too. As I take my first steps into yet another new life, I mourn and rejoice.

In the past, when I'd reach a moment like this, I would wipe the slate clean by starting a new journal. Not this time. I like this blog; it is the clearest and most honest record of my path.

And, so, the journey continues, if not as before, at least as it seems it is meant to.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Making Quiche

(Ooh, I do so love productive days like this!)

This evening, I am attending a pot-luck dinner for Passover for which I was asked to bring a main dish that could feed six. I immediately thought 'quiche.'

I absolutely cannot stomach the taste of eggs, so quiche is a hit-or-miss type of dish for me and not something I'll order in a restaurant. But my quiche? Ooh, now that's good eatin'! I only use two eggs and rely on super savoury cheese and mountains of sautéd onions to mask any potential egginess. The result is rich, but oh-so-satisying.

Raven's Onion Quiche


-one prepared pie crust (I favour the 'No Name' kind as it is made of 100% vegetable oil and comes out a lot flakier and less greasy than the lard-based 'Tenderflake' brand);

-2 eggs;

-about a half cup of milk, cream, or soy milk;

-one cup of grated cheese (the stinkier, the better, but I usually go with the oldest cheddar I can find);

-about four onions (depending on the size), quartered and sliced;

-basil (fresh or dried) to taste;




-Sauté the onions in vegetable oil until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. I know they're ready when the ones at the bottom of the pot start to brown. The onions need to release their sugar, so a longer cooking time is much better than a shorter one.

-Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the liquid and add salt, pepper, and basil to taste. Mix in the cheese.

-Add in the hot onions and stir to coat them well with the egg and cheese mixture.

-Pour into the pie crust.

-Bake about 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and crispy, the eggs are set, and the top is golden brown.

This dish is wonderful at any temperature; hot, cold, and warm (making it particularly useful for a potluck if you don't know if you'll have access to a fridge or an oven). It freezes well, but is a bit soggy upon thawing, so I recommend heating it in the oven.

Since the pie crust comes two to a package, I tend to make two quiches at once by doubling the ingredients. Cooking time will be a bit longer, then.

In my family, this dish is traditionally served with a green vegetable (usually green beans, my favourites) and potatoes.

Probably a Bit Premature, But...

I've succumbed to the idea that spring has truly sprung.

Yesterday, I went to work in sandals (no tights!) and a sleeveless top since we were promised 23 degrees by the afternoon. I conceded that it was 'just 9' when I left in the morning by adding a light shawl to my ensemble.

When I got home, I finally clued int to the fact that even though I've had the thermostat at 16.5 the past week, my house has consistently been 18+. This morning, it was TWENTY-ONE degrees inside, and this with no help from the furnace. I turned off the furnace. I'll have one more big gas bill and then it's freeeeeedom.

Then, I stripped my bed of my winter (flannel) sheets and made them up again in my summer (crisp cotton) sheets.

Finally, the first thing I did when I arrived in the kitchen this morning? Throw open the back door to let in fresh air and sunlight all day. My cats are in heaven.

Last night, I wiped off my clothesline and put out a load to dry outside, then I went for a long walk. Oh, it feels so good to not be trapped indoors anymore!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Hate Shopping at Walmart

As I headed out for a first aid meeting this evening, I noticed just how gross my (rental) property looks because of garbage strewn across the parking surface, along the fences, and the flower beds in front. It's definitely spring! I decided to corral all of that stuff upon my return since it just so happened to be garbage night.

On the way home, I remembered that, hey, I'm all out of garbage bags. I had this thought just as I came up to the exit for Walmart. It was 8:30 and the store closes at 9. I figured I could grab the garbage bags, stock up on my favourite pizza that was on mega sale this week, and also buy some TP, tissues, and cat litter. I was in line at precisely 8:40. Said line stood still. The cashier was a typical Walmart cashier who has no sense of time. It took her 20 minutes to get to me (there were two people with five articles between them ahead of me) and almost 5 minutes to ring me up. My debit card wouldn't scan and she was no help at all, just staring vapidly into space instead of offering me a plastic bag or other tip. I finally gave up and used my credit card instead. Then, her printer fluffed up and the paper got jammed and wrinkled, but the receipt was readable. She started to fiddle with the machine and I told her that the receipt was fine. She asked me if I was in a hurry. I am proud to say that I was very calm and polite when I told her I'd been waiting almost a half hour for her to ring up a grand total of 13 items and I just wanted to go home. GRR.

I'll probably be known in my neighbourhood as the crazy chick in the skirt who picks up garbage at 10PM. There was plenty of light from the office tower across the street to illuminate the yards. I picked up almost a full bag of trash!!! I won't be embarrassed to live here tomorrow. :-) I caught my neighbours looking at me through their living room window as I worked, but won't call them lazy for not picking up trash themselves since he did more than his share of shoveling this past winter.

Spring Seems To Have Sprung

Wow. Just wow. We hit 22 degrees this afternoon! I enjoyed my lunch outside, picnic-style, and then went for a walk along the river while wearing only a tee-shirt on top (and wishing I could ditch my tights and shoes!).

It was most amusing to see people in shorts, sandals, and tank tops navigating their way around the remnants of this winter's massive snowbanks.

We had a brutal winter this year and I'm hoping that I can safely pack away boots and coats now... even though we usually get just one last big storm at the end of April or beginning of May. :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cake Verdict

The cake is ludicrously delicious. The icing, not so much. Together, they're decadent.

Maybe I'm getting the hang of baker's chemistry?!

The cake looks shiny in this picture because the icing is melting. I wanted to try the cake both hot and cold. Cold is better!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Baking a Cake

To celebrate the fact that the streets are now walkable again with no risk to life, meaning that I can go home for lunch for the first time in months (WOOHOO), I decided to make myself a chocolate cake, with icing, for dessert this week.

For the cake, I threw together whatever baking supplies I had in what seemed like roughly the correct proportions and order. The batter tasted great (no eggs, so no salmonella risk *g*), so I'm optimistic.

For the icing, something I've never actually made (!), I figured that I'd need creamed butter, powdered sugar, and some sort of flavouring. I don't keep powdered sugar in the house. So, what did this inventive lass do? She dumped granulated sugar in the coffee grinder. The result was coffee-flavoured powdered sugar to which she added cocoa to make a decent-enough mocha icing (bit too buttery).

Can't wait to see how the cake turns out. :-)

Ikea Seems to Hold Its Value

I bought three bookcases last year for 75$ and just resold them for 75$. *blinks*

Getting a Good Deal on a Last Minute Flight

Winnipeg is a three day drive from where I live so I had to take a flight out for my Friday interview. I didn't have much time to research flights and I had to be in Winnipeg for a certain date and time. Add to that that flights within Canada are generally much more expensive than flights outside the country. I expected to disburse at least 500$. With some savvy, I came in at 370$, a genuine bargain.

Here are some of the factors that enabled me to get this awesome deal.

1) Knowing My Resources

The first place I check when looking for flights is expedia.ca. Expedia sums up nicely exactly who is flying to my destination from my city. It claims that it finds the best deal, but I find that's rarely the case. So, now that I know which carriers provide service, on to step 2.

2) Going Directly to the Airlines

I often get a bit of a look from people when I say that I buy directly from the airlines. Yet, I have have never found as good a deal on 'discount' sites as I have by going directly to the airlines. It could have something to do with the type of travel I do or the destinations I'm going to. For example, I doubt I would book a flight to Cuba directly from a carrier since I'm certain I could get a better 'all inclusive' deal from a sun-vacation specialist. Once I'm on the airline websites, I search for my dates and go on to step three.

3) Keeping An Open Mind

I didn't want to take a lot more time off work, so I hoped to fly out after work on Thursday and then fly home mid-afternoon Friday. Both Air Canada and WestJet offered flights ranging from 134$ to more than $1,000. I focused on Thursday first. According to Air Canada, I had two options:

a) leave my home airport at 6:20AM (meaning be at the airport for 4AM!) and fly directly to Winnipeg for 134$;
b) leave my home airport later in the day and pay $500 for a mid-morning departure or $700 for a later day departure that would take me through Toronto, extending the length of the journey from two and a half flight hours (plus airport time) to seven flight hours (plus airport time). There was also the 'executive' class flights that were in the +$1,000 range.

Westjet, had very similar prices and options, but offered a 2:10PM 'seat sale' on a direct flight to Winnipeg for 134$. It would involve taking an extra day off work, but this was a pretty sweet deal.

Then, I looked at my Friday options. Air Canada's prices for mid to late Friday were comparable to Thursday's, but they did have a direct flight leaving at 8:45PM for $134. Westjet, on the other hand, offered flights that were only in the $500+ range. Which brings me to the final step.

4) Not Hesitating

I weighed all my options and decided to take an extra day off work, fly out at 2:10PM Thursday on Westjet and fly home Friday at 8:45PM on Air Canada, for a total cost between the two of about $370. I bought the tickets immediately knowing that 'sleeping on it' would result in flights filling up and cheap seats no longer being available. I knew that the price was excellent and that I couldn't hope for anything much better than that.

Interestingly enough, the base cost of the flight was the same for both, but Westjet wound up costing me $10 less. I could have saved $5 with Air Canada by stating that my luggage was carry on only, but would have then had to shell out $50 if something in my luggage was deemed inappropriate for carry on. With the way regulations are now, I decided not to take a chance and ponied up the $5.

This was my first time buying one way tickets so that I could fly on separate airlines, but it worked out great. My Friday flight was a half hour late departing, so I got home insanely early Saturday morning, but at least it was Saturday morning and not Sunday.

The timing of my flights also meant that I was able to enjoy Thursday evening in Winnipeg and a full day on Friday.

This was my first time flying Westjet and I was very impressed. There's a wee bit more legroom and they actually serve a snack with the drinks. So does Air Canada, but you have to pay for the snack. :-)

Now that I know that a deal for Winnipeg can be found, I'm not so nervous about needing to return for other interviews or, best of all, a home hunting expedition!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cats again

1001 Petals requested a picture of my furbabies. I put up a picture of them back in November.

I've debated whether or not to share their names because He has an unusual one that would be an immediate identifier of me, then I decided, bah, I've given away more info than that.

So, here are two more that actually show their adorable little faces:

This is my girl, Tabitha, who turned ten, or will be turning ten, this year.

And this is my boy, Neelix, who will be eight later this month.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The joys of living in an older home

The house I live in is at least 100 years old. It creaks and groans mightily. The best part of it is the funky wiring my landlords didn't fix that means that there is no switch downstairs for upstairs. At night, unless you want to come back down to the kitchen to close its light, you have to climb a set over very narrow and steep steps in pitch black darkness until you reach the upstairs light.

Last night, I did that, but didn't bother turning on the light since I was going to bed. I crossed the whole dark upstairs, got to my bedroom, and went to bed without ever turning on a light.

Moments later, I heard a weird noise that I had never heard before. It was a muffled falling sound.

My first thought? "Oh, cripes, I hope it's not the shower rod." As it turns out, it was (must remember not to hang a sopping wet towel from it.

The point of all this being that while I might have ghosts on the brain this week, I don't get creeped out or think GHOST when I hear a bizarre noise in a non-haunted house, so I haven't lost leave of my five other senses. :-)

My sister was actually surprised when I told her I haven't been 'seeing things' in my 'creepy old house' since I got back. Why should I? Just because it's old and has dark corners and my dad has shown up once or twice doesn't make it haunted. Waitaminute. Maybe that last bit does. :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Back to more mundane topics. :-)

My cats have been insanely cuddly since I got home on Saturday. My catsitter says that she did not see my girl at all when she came over. Soon as I was through the door, though, said girl was in my arms. Obviously, my cat recognizes me. She pines when I'm gone. She's very affectionate (more so than usual) in the days after I return from an extended absence. And, still, people say that I could give her to someone else and my cat would never know the difference. Yeah.

My boy has also been behaving strangely since I got back, jumping into my lap (something he's only done a couple of times since I got him last July) and talking to me (he's normally the strong silent type).

It's nice to be loved and it feels extra special to know that not many people can see that love.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Veeeery Interesting

My skeptic friend just emailed to say that he looked at the picture again and said that he can definitely see a man looking to the right.

He still doesn't know that he's been the control group in an experiment. I've now got three people who believe in ghosts who see the face, plus myself. Now, a total skeptic is seeing the same thing.

I can't wait to tell him that he just saw a person in an empty room of a supposedly haunted house. It'll be interesting to hear his explanation for what he's seeing. I'll continue to reserve judgment about this picture until I get this information.

Monday, April 7, 2008

More weirdness

I sent the picture to a friend who is a truly skeptic. I didn't say anything to him about the context of the picture, just asked him what he saw. He says that he doesn't see anything, but he did provide a contrast enhanced version that doesn't make me feel any less weird about this picture.

You can still very clearly see the features of the face... and a second face. Can't see it? Look again.

Okay, That's Weird

My ghost tour guide advised me to take a good look at any pictures I took on my trip to see if I captured anything paranormal. My best bet were pictures of the Mercer-Williams house. I did notice some weird things in the window of most of the pics, but was able to dismiss them as the reflection of trees or other objects. Except for this picture. That's clearly a person looking straight at me.

The room was definitely empty when I took this picture. Photos of the interior of the Mercer house aren't exactly permitted, so I discreetly took some shots from the outside using the zoom function of my camera.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Home Again

Whew. What a week it's been. 4000+KM in 8 days. I'm beat!

I had to cut my trip short because I got an email informing me that I've been selected for an interview in Winnipeg this coming Friday. Flights won't be cheap, so I chomped two days off my trip. That said, I save a ton of money in an unexpected category while on this trip: gas. In my city, gas averages out to about 1.15$/L these days, making a full tank cost about 46CDN (OUCH). In the US, I was encountering gas prices that averaged out to 3.15$/G, making a full tank cost about 33$CDN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every time I tanked up, I had an extra 13$ to do something fun. I haven't finished crunching the numbers yet, but it looks like my gas expenses came in close to 200$ UNDER budget. Wow!

The main reason of my trip was to spend a day in Savannah, Georgia.

I'm glad I booked just one day, with a second spent exploring the environs (Bonaventure Cemetery, Fort Pulaski, Tybee Island). One day in Savannah was plenty. Maybe even too much. The following will make it seem like I had an awful trip, regret my holiday, had no business going to Savannah, etc., but that's not true!

Savannah is touted as being the US's most beautiful city. My eyebrows continue to raise at that. Its historic district is quite beautiful, but, overall, Savannah is no more beautiful than San Francisco or Chicago. So, right off the bat, I didn't succumb to this city's façade.

There was something else going on, though, something that not very many people understand. Those who know me well take this as being a fact about me, an integral part of me the same as my having grey eyes and a love for grilled cheese sandwiches cut into triangles--I am very 'psychic.' Not in the sense that I see the future (although I do have the odd premonition dream), but that I can feel 'vibes' around me, and, yes, I sometimes see dead people.

Savannah's vibes were really bad. I knew from the second I set foot in the historic district that this was a place where horrible things had happened, where the current beauty had come at a price paid with innocent suffering.

My last night in the city, I took a ghost tour. I'm not so gullible as to say that I took everything I was told at face value. But the guide did explain a lot of things to me about Savannah's history, things I've been able to corroborate with other sources, and the vibes the city gives off make a lot more sense now.

During my full day in the city, I noticed a house that bothered me. 432 Abercorn if you want to Google it. This house turned out to be the last stop on the ghost tour. The guide had stories about this house that completely freaked me out, but I'm pretty sure these stories were 99.9999% fiction. That said, there is still something horribly wrong with that house. Perhaps the problem lies with the ground the house is built on.

Edinburgh, Scotland, is another city with bad vibes (so bad, in fact, that I cut a four day stay there down to a day and a half!). I think that it's important for me to show respect when I go to this sort of city. I need to understand the history and pay my respects to those souls that have stayed behind, but once I understand what I'm feeling, I need to move on. It would simply be disrespectful to have a merry time in a place that is begging me to notice its suffering.

I'm glad I went to Savannah, but I'm not convinced that I'd go back.

My favourite part of the trip was definitely the excursion to Tybee Island on Wednesday. The day was gorgeous, temps in the high 20s (C!), the ocean plenty warm enough to swim. I couldn't believe that I was a mere three days driving time from winter. My skin was shocked by this sudden exposure to the sun and burned right through my two layers of sunblock, with my back being the worst, but I can't regret to decision to spend the day out in the full sun in skimpy clothes because it charged my thoroughly depleted batteries. It was the kind of afternoon that defines 'vacation.'

What this trip did best, though, was prove to me that the bus idea is a very good one. I could have stayed on the road forever, but would have been much happier to be able to sleep in my own bed at night with my cats.