Thursday, October 20, 2016


Autumn intoxicates my senses and I savor its delicious uniqueness like a fine wine.
Don't snicker. I'm trying to be poetic.
Having been raised in temperate Southern California, I never experienced the splendor of a real autumn. I had traveled with my parents, of course, and saw glimpses of the changing seasons - but it wasn't the same as permanently living in a seasonal environment.

It wasn't until I was 33 and moved to the Missouri Ozarks that I experienced genuine seasons - and became completely obsessed with autumn. On the first brisk October days, with the first sign of the changing colors of foliage, I would go out and immerse myself in nature's glory: drives in the country, long walks in the woods. I collected colored leaves, pine cones, acorns, and decorated the house with pumpkins, apples, and gourds. I sat by the fireplace on frosty nights - drinking hot chocolate, spiced tea, or spiked cider. I spent hours wandering in old graveyards, accompanied by the ghosts of imagination.

When I moved to Texas, autumn vanished and was replaced by surrealistic dust storms and ruthlessly howling winds. I was determined to survive long enough to see a real autumn again.

So here - nestled in the unfamiliar but satisfying solace of rural Tennessee - I have finally found another autumn. I'm admittedly tired, worn out, plagued with health problems, and haunted by the turmoil of emotional ghosts - but the gentle cloak of autumn is comforting. It rekindles life in the living dead.....

The best part is that I only have to step out my door to be reunited with nature.
Yesterday was unseasonably warm and gorgeous. Recent winds have stripped some of the trees of their leaves, but the remaining foliage is ripe with color. I ventured outside again with my camera. These precious days are fleeting and need to be captured and remembered.

 This was the full Hunter's Moon last weekend. Photo taken just before dawn, when it was setting in the west.

 Bosco, enjoying the warm weather

Afternoon view from the back porch

It's a good thing I took photos yesterday. It's pouring rain tonight and the temperature is dropping.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


When I was nineteen I became a state-licensed (as opposed to unlicensed) California security officer. It was in complete contrast to my artistic nature, but in my youth I enjoyed delving into unusual adventures. Besides, the work usually entailed the late-night shift, which coincided with my notoriously nocturnal persona.

My very first security job was a stint at Hughes Aircraft in Irvine (Costa Mesa, actually), where I was armed (though not particularly dangerous). It was an easy job because I didn't have to make any patrols or rounds. My most perilous duties included operating one of the night switchboards. I remember that a group of women from the front office took photos of me because they thought I was cute. I also received numerous phone calls from a male executive who propositioned me for sex.
I'm not bragging, boys and girls - - I'm just telling it like it is. And I'll politely refrain from revealing what happened.....

Late night security work wasn't all fun and games. I had some unbelievably horrific the time I worked at Goodwill Industries and the janitor turned out to be a murderer. He left the body of one of his victims outside my office door! I wrote about this in a previous post:
My Night With a Corpse

I was fearless back then, and often purposefully reckless, but the murder incident admittedly scared the living jeeters out of me.

A few years before the murder incident, I had applied for a late-night security job at Westminster Memorial Park Mortuary on Beach Boulevard. The supervisor liked me, but admitted that he thought I was too young. He preferred someone older and more "mature". 

During the duration of our interview, he finally admitted the truth: all of the previous security guards had quit - because of strange occurrences at the mortuary. It was supposedly haunted. Loud footsteps were reportedly heard in the hallways and apparitions frequently appeared. After careful consideration of the applicants, a fifty-year-old security guard was chosen.

Three days later I was surprised to get a phone call from the mortuary supervisor. He told me that the new security officer abruptly quit, after experiencing a few "difficult" nights. The job was open, if I still wanted it.

"Hell no", I said. "I'm a guard, not a ghost hunter." 

Eventually I did work in another spooky place. It was a company in Brea that manufactured sinks, showers, and bathtubs.  The facility consisted of two large buildings - - the factory and warehouse. The entire place was closed on weekends, and that's when I worked there: twelve-hour shifts, from noon 'till midnight, Saturday and Sunday. I was entirely alone and had to patrol the two buildings every hour  (12 times a day). Patrolling during the daylight hours was bad enough, but after dark it was especially unnerving.

My apprehension increased when I learned (from my supervisor) that there had been a long-ago accident on the upper floor of the warehouse, where a worker was crushed to death. It was rumored that his ghost lingered there, and his screams could be heard.

That upper floor was extremely creepy - gloomy, dank, and filled with lots of weird noises. Creaks, groans, and muffled human-like gurgles echoed through the cavernous walls. I always dreaded going up there and hurried as quickly as possible. I never did see a ghost, but the noises were strange.

One night I discovered a drunken derelict hiding on the first floor of the factory building. I feigned toughness and managed to scare him out of the building.
Unlike Hughes Aircraft, I was completely unarmed on this job and only had a flashlight. And it was before the era of cell phones. 

My work as a security officer was only a small part of my many youthful adventures, but I could write a book about the experiences. 

Cabinet of Curious Treasures 

Sunday, October 16, 2016


 This morning

Actually, it's my first forest walk of the autumnal season. There's not much to see in the summer - except eternal greenery, bugs, spider webs, moss, and snakes.

Now that it's autumn, the only thing I have to fear is being shot by a hunter - - or intimidated by a ghost.....
The autumn foliage isn't at its glorious peak yet, but it's such a beautifully warm day that I was inspired to get up off my sedentary ass and wander. 

I didn't really wander too far at all (only on my property), but it was enough to absorb the essence of my surroundings.....whatever that means.

I have several Halloweeny-type posts lined up, but decided to do a few photo posts first - - in order to disarm you with my charm and photographic expertise - - and hopefully to expunge the bitter taste of my recent political rants.

I'm actually a harmless sweetheart, but there are a few clueless souls who don't realize it (I'm writing this accompanied by a wry smile).

This has been a fairly good week, by my standards. On Tuesday my cousin Nancy drove me into one of the big cities (big meaning population over 100....just jesting...). We visited a huge bookstore and later had a fantastic dinner - which we both deserved.

On Thursday I drove into town to get much-needed supplies (photo documentation on my previous post).

Here are some of the pics I took this morning.

This was taken at around noon, and I'm surprised at how low the sun is this time of year.

It's difficult to see on the photos just how tall some of the trees are.

Scratch preferred to watch from a window.