Memories, Reality and Peace

Bohooho – The Joy of Achieving Independence. – The new life envisaged. – Chapter Eleven
In Chapter Eleven of, “To Dance with Ugly People,” Dani dreams of a “new life envisaged.” As we all do, when envisioning a new beginning, we reflect on the past. Dani reflects on several memories, perhaps to bring you, the reader, closer to her. Does it?

Memories: I’d like to reflect on something I have spoken of in the past, in hopes to bring you, the reader, closer to me. I guess as a writer, I have my own “Peace.” I live life as peacefully as I can, even when in the eyes of others, my existence is anything but peaceful.

If you’ve read an interview I’ve given it is very likely I mentioned the Putnam Hotel in Deland, Florida. It is and old relic of a hotel known to be haunted. It has been shut down for a couple of years, but when driving by I find myself staring at it, sitting there abandoned and alone.

At one time, residents moved in and out on a regular basis. Rent was due daily, weekly or monthly which resulted in a large revolving door of new people. The two bars on the ground floor kept the Parking Lots full on the weekends. The regulars, people like me, who resided there three years, got to casually know each other. I lived in Apartment 313 (Labeled the most haunted room in the hotel).

The RIP HUNTERS: “Investigated the Putnam Hotel in July 2011 and we had a huge amount of activity there. I took my team of 6 people to the first session in room 313 and I set up the equipment on the floor and I also sat on the floor and sat my team in chairs in a half circle towards me.”

I had a one bedroom with a sleeper sofa in the living room and a small kitchenette. It was better than most kitchenettes as it had a full sized stove and refrigerator.

Reality: Yes, the Putnam was ransacked with drug dealers, drug addicts and various amounts of people with criminal records. Apartments, were broke into, children where taken by Child Protective Services and drunks staggered all over the place. The arguments were loud. The rooms were worn out. The carpet old and smelly, the curtains, dry rotting and the paint peeling off walls. The elevator was frightening, breaking down at least once a day, and every time I got on it I prayed to the Good Lord that I would arrive upstairs or downstairs safely. To most, the place was so disgusting, they wouldn’t even visit me.

It was hard to sleep, at night, because the bars downstairs had bands or music playing nightly, so loud, the floors thumped, the walls vibrated and the sounds from below where unbelievable. I wasn’t the type to sit around downstairs or drag a chair out into the hallways as so many others did. I stayed locked up in my room. I stayed to myself and ventured out only when it was necessary to get new provisions or allow my grandson a little sunshine.

I stayed in touch with the outside world using Face book on a Cell Phone.

Peace: I awakened each day and posted on Face book. I posted on Face book several times a day. I described the beautiful sounds of the birds singing in the trees outside my window. I wanted others to hear the melody of my Grandson’s laugh, and he laughed often. I spread the gently breeze of sitting in the park across the street, watching my Grandson play out to my readers. I wrote, “To Dance with Ugly People.” I hoped I’d reach my Facebook Family and Fans by trying to get to know them. What is your favorite color? What would you do if? Where would you live if you could?
I was under constant attack, by family members! I was labeled fake. Told to get a life. I was told I do not face reality. I was called phony. I mean it seemed everything I posted sent a certain group of people into a rage. Multiple people lined up to attack, loudly making it clear I lived at the Putnam with all those drug addicts, etc., etc. for their own ego and proof of my supposedly “ignorance,” and for all others on Face book who did not know that – to read. After living in my car, living in public housing – sleeping on the floor, and knowing what it is like to live in one room flea bag motel – The Putnam was Luxury! I cried a lot. It hurt, but I remained in my own “Peace.” I remain in that peace, In hopes, to gain new readers and, in hopes, you get to know me a little bit better!

My Protagonist, Dani, cried a lot, but continued on her own path towards, “Peace.” I would be honored to have you, dear reader, enjoy, “To Dance with Ugly People,” and contact me Let’s discuss, your “Peace.”

Lucky Foods for the New Year

Fume Fume – Altered Consciousness. – Change in life cycle. – Chapter Ten

We all will, sooner or later, find ourselves having to make the hardest decisions of our life. Dani found it hard to make the decisions she had to make, in Chapter Ten, “To Dance with Ugly People,” but her altered consciousness pushed her into the direction of making a change in her life. Dani wanted to forget the past and make a clean start.

My Friend and Fellow Author with Lock Publishing, Jenny Dunbar posted a Recipe and it gave me an idea. I want to offer you the chance to push in the direction of making a change to your menu for, January 1 2016. Join in the tradition of eating lucky foods on the first day of the New Year 2016.

But instead of leaving everything up to fate, why not enjoy a meal to increase your good fortune? There are a variety of foods that are believed to be lucky and to improve the odds that next year will be a great one. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but there are striking similarities in what’s on the table. I grew up eating:

Collard Greens
Their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune.
The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress.
Black-Eyed Peas
Peas are also symbolic of money. Their small, seed like appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind.

Round Pan of Corn Bread
Round is the shape you want for the new year.

Southern-Style Collard Greens
12 hickory-smoked bacon slices, finely chopped
2 medium-size sweet onions, finely chopped
3/4 pound smoked ham, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 (32-oz.) containers chicken broth
3 (1-lb.) packages fresh collard greens, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Cook bacon in a 10-qt. stockpot over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until almost crisp. Add onion, and saute 8 minutes; add ham and garlic, and saute 1 minute. Stir in broth and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 hours or to desired degree of tenderness.

Fresh Black-Eyed Peas With Bacon
1 1/2 pounds fresh black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained
8 to 12 ounces bacon, diced
Leftover diced ham and/or a ham bone or ham hocks, if ya got it
2 bay leaves
Additional water or chicken broth or stock, if needed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red and green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a tall stockpot cook the bacon until done but not crisp; add the onion, bell pepper, to the rendered bacon fat and cook just until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute or so. If you have some leftover ham, add it here also and cook it until browned. Toss the peas in the pot and sort of stir fry them with the veggies for a bit. Then slowly begin adding the hot water, stirring in as you do, and bring it up to a full boil.

If you’re lucky enough to have a ham bone, stick it in there after you add the water but before you add the peas, reduce heat to medium and allow the ham bone to cook by itself for about an hour to deepen the stock. Once that cooks (or if you don’t happen to have a ham bone) go ahead and just add the dried peas, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Then bring it all to a boil.

Reduce to a medium simmer and partially cover, cooking for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until peas are tender and creamy. Add additional chicken stock or water only if necessary to slightly thin out.

Moist Southern Cornbread
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal, sifted before measuring
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups whole milk, divided
Preheat oven to 350°.
Put the butter in a 9-inch round cast iron skillet and heat in the oven or on the stove top until the pan is hot and the butter is melted but not browned.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and and 1 cup of the whole milk. Stir into the dry ingredients until well blended.
Pour the batter into the hot pan. Carefully pour the remaining 1 cup whole milk evenly over the top of the batter; do not stir. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until cornbread is set and baked through.

Instead of leaving everything up to fate, Dani made a move, was it the right one? Get your copy and find out today!

– Lorene Stunson Hill –

If the Way To A Man’s Heart Is Through His Stomach, What is the Best Way To A Woman’s Heart?

Babasiko – Proposal of Intimacy. – Flirtatious theatrical and elegant. – Chapter Nine

Well, certainly in Chapter Nine of, “To Dance with Ugly People,” you will experience delightful, theatrical, elegant and flirtatious Proposals of Intimacy! But, how does one get there? Is the secret in the question the following clichés proposes: “If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, what is the best way to a woman’s heart?”

Care to answer that question? Got any ideas? OK, I’ll give you my answer in a short story about my life. “If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, what is the best way to a woman’s heart? Answer: Is through her children.

After my first divorce, my son was only nine months old. Any Proposals of Intimacy fell under that old cliché. I found it hard to date unless the man adored my child. My choices were entirely based on their interaction with my son. If they asked me to seek out a baby sitter too often – They were out. If they ignored him entirely – They were out. If my son reacted negatively towards them – They were out. Needless to say, I spent many years alone!

It took me 10 years to remarry. He bent to his knees to shoot rubber arrows at paper targets, he pushed cars along the floor and taught my son wrestling moves. Every date, we had, involved the three of us. We never left my son with a babysitter. As far as the other side of the cliché – I am a great cook! He beat us all to the kitchen table!

Of course, I married him quickly, within 2 month of meeting him. In my eyes he was the perfect father. Declaring himself unable to have kids, my second son was born. Swearing he’d never been married, I was his third wife. Pretending to be a Social Drinker, a pint of Vodka was always stuck in his sock, another inside the toilet tank, a few hidden inside the pockets of his suit jackets hanging in the closet and often a couple hidden under the couch cushions. Tired of his Alcoholism, I walked away.

Read Chapter Nine, “To Dance with Ugly People,” and see if Dani Ransom ran into any roadblocks during her Babasiko – Proposal of Intimacy. – Flirtatious theatrical and elegant. You may fall in Love.

He Walked On His Toes.

Agbaei – Courtship. – Youthful problems with dating. – Chapter Eight

Have you ever done something dangerous in the name of Courtship and Romance? I think we all have had that youthful problem with Dating – Being Young and Stupid. Many years ago I sat at a table in the Cafe – Barnes & Noble reading a Self Help Book Titled, “How to Be Your Own Best Friend,” deciding if I would buy it – I did. A gentleman slid into the seat across from me, at my table, and spoke. “I’ve been watching you from across the room. What is it about that book that intrigues you so?”

As I stared straight into his dark brown eyes, I thought, “None of your business!” But, he was the most gorgeous black man! I was hypnotized. “I feel I am lacking when it comes to self assurance and self love.” I said. I couldn’t believe I’d answered in such a personal way. He was staring back, tenderly, he said, “I find that hard to believe.” I blushed. He smiled with sparkling white teeth, and what he said next knocked me off my feet.
“Let’s buy the book and we will talk about it later. I want to get to know you. I am in this country for one year only. I am leaving this country in one year – Alone. I am born and raised in France. My mother is an African American and father White French. I am here to travel all over and get to know America. I have lived in 16 states over the last two years but will be here, in this city, one year to earn more money. I have a large home in France. I have horses in which my grown children are taking care of. I am a Hair Dresser and going to ride around town and pick up supplies. Would you ride with me?

I did. Who jumps in the car with a total stranger! I did. He could have been a rapist, a serial killer or a strangler! But, I went for that ride and we were together for one year! Ladies, don’t try this at home.

I had a wonderful year. He walked on his toes, meditated every Sunday for 8 hours in a dark closet, practiced Ta Chi at 5 a.m., in the morning, on his balcony in bright white pajamas. Exotic pictures of African princesses hung on every wall including the bathroom and he could tell you of all his foreign travels, their customs and his stay at a Monastery, so eloquently, you’d fail to realize 8 hours had gone by. On a trip back home, when he returned, he brought me boxes of exotic chocolates.

When he did return, he called my job just before noon and whispered in the telephone, “Go to your boss, tell her you have to leave. Come to me right now.” Within 15 minutes, I was driving to his Apartment. On the outside of his Apartment door was the Ying and Yang Symbol. And, on the other side of that door was Magic!

God Bless You – Single Mom’s

Gadzo – War Dance.  – Fighting back. – Chapter Seven – To Dance with Ugly People.

I raised two sons.  My oldest, born of my first marriage, was part of a broken home at 9 months.  The youngest, born of my second marriage, was part of a broken home at 10 years old.  Neither father cared to pay Child Support nor become a positive presence in their son’s life.

I was both Mother and Father.  War Dance – Yes!  It is painfully hard to raise children alone especially when you care so much and want to do it right.  You have to go to war with society, with your fears and with the children themselves.  Not always their fault, lacking that male role model, but I always had that, “Boy, I will climb up in a chair, if I have to, to reach you and slap you DOWN!” – Mentality.

Fighting back – You better believe it!  Everything is against you, being a mere woman in this alleged man’s world.  You fight in the workplace, fight with repair men, fight the letches off, fight with your kids,  fight to further your education and fight to get those bills paid.  Everyone forgets you are human, too. Everyone seems to forget your fight, except you.  I still wear the scars of battle.

And them, God sent me Kalen.  The Lord is trusting me with another little male soul – My Grandson.  I brought him home from the hospital and have raised him ever since.  I thought of him while writing Chapter Seven of “To Dance with Ugly People.”  Have you a child in your life you’d literally “Kill” for to keep him or her safe?  Sure, this is the same emotion I felt raising both of my sons.  I was hell on wheels if you crossed one of them in the wrong way!

But, what makes raising Kalen different?  I am here with him.  I am retired.  I have watched every moment of his life.  I have been a part of every “first.”  He is by my side, my constant companion and comfort.   He is Eight now and he calls me, “Mama.”  It never gets old.  Kalen love Lego’s, Stuffed Animals and Trucks.  His  imagination is wild:  His vocabulary excellent, yet Dyslexic – He struggles to read.  He and his stock of action figures and stuffed animals have parades, parties, go to War, fly to the moon, have shoot outs and travel back in time.  It gets noisy!  There are no video games in the house and the television he watches is monitored,

I missed the “firsts” with my children.  I missed any real play time they had.  I worked so hard getting as much overtime as possible, often two jobs.  Coming home meant homework, laundry, cooking dinner, discipline, solving problems and sheer exhaustion.  Weekends where cleaning the house, catching up on laundry, grocery shopping, shopping and car maintenance or repairs and more.  Yes, there were baseball with the youngest, Chess Club with the oldest, etc. and squeezing in the movies every chance I got.  But, mostly, I took  ½ vacation day once a month and had “A Date,” with  each of my son’s alternately, so they had time alone with ME.

God Bless you, Single Mom’s, buy my book and share in the world of Dani Ransom – To Dance with Ugly People!

Lorene Stunson Hill

Ghosts in The Room

What ghosts will Dani Marie Dobson Ranson carry for the rest of her life in Chapter Six of, “To Dance with Ugly People?” Wali – Tough Dance. – Work Dance – Strength

Some experiences in life are so harrowing we carry them for the rest of our lives. Have you had such an experience? Compare yours to Dani’s as you “white knuckle” grip your seat through Chapter Six.

Ponder the eloquent words of Author Jenny Dunbar who penned “Sweet Earth.” “And what of the ghosts in the room? They vanish with their season, set free by their carriers who become as silent as ghosts themselves. Lifted up with the chatter into the air, becoming semi decipherable echoes of experience and function. Flights of perfumed innuendo and shadow.”

Powerful thoughts, Jenny! I felt goosebumps as I read. The “ghosts in the room” are Dani’s memories and they do seem to vanish until she sees a familiar face, standing there silently, catches a whiff of a familiar scent, or jolts awake from the chatter of a nightmare. All bringing back the “echoes of experience.” Thank you Jenny for the inspiration I needed to write this blog.

My harrowing experience? I experienced the Dani Marie Ransom’s life you read in Chapter Six! Where are my ghosts? As Jenny states, “becoming semi decipherable echoes of function.” They became the thought waves of baffling tragedy, and to some probably indecipherable (Are they Ugly?). They created an image to which I functionally portrayed on the pages of Chapter Six of, “To Dance with Ugly People!”

Get your copy and keep what you read in the “shadows” of your mind!

– Lorene Stunson Hill –

“Criminal Minds”

You are going to find an element of “Criminal Minds” in, “To Dance with Ugly People,” Chapter Five – Bewa – Communicate Social Control. – Beginning and end of rainy season.

Have you ever been knocked off your feet by human behavior? Read how the “Rug was pulled out from under” Dani Marie Ransom’s feet in Chapter Five.

I am not a fan of police procedural television, but I accidentally ran across an episode of, “Criminal Minds,” and have been knocked off my feet every time I watch. The show’s portrayal of the criminal element in society pulls the rug out from under you. It makes you double check your locked doors at night.

It is an American police-procedural television program, so if you are reading this from another country, you may not be familiar. The series follows a team of pro filers from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) based in Quantico, Virginia. The BAU is part of the FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.

The show differs from many procedural dramas by focusing on profiling the criminal, called the unsub or “unknown subject”, rather than the crime itself. I love it because I have always wondered what makes people, “tick.” What makes people do the things they do? And, so does Dani in, “To Dance with Ugly People.”

After I cringe at the horrific serial killers and crimes, I can relax watching my two favorite characters: Special Agent, Derek Morgan is the shows eye candy. He’s pleasing to look at. And, Penelope Garcia who is the fun, outrageously, shocking computer genius in the BAU. She submitted her resume to the (BAU) on pink stationery. Garcia (as they call her) is perfect for balancing out the dark topics and relieving the emotional strain of the crimes depicted. And, Derek’s emotionally intimate but so far platonic relationship with Garcia is delightful.

It is a kind relationship providing nearly as much tension and suspense as the serial killers they track week after week. You know her neon-polished fingers are going to be the ones doing the pushing, keeping Derek going, because, well, what woman doesn’t want to hear such a gorgeous man utter the immortal words, “Woman, you are my God-given solace. Don’t you ever stop talking to me.”
Well, my dear fans, keep pushing, “You are my God-given solace. Don’t you ever stop talking to me.”

– Lorene Stunson Hill –

Was the new bride honored?

Writing Chapter Four of, “To Dance with Ugly People – Nmane – Honor the new bride – Becoming a woman. I reflected on Relationships.

I married twice. My first HUSBAND had been my only boyfriend in High School and we married at the age of 18. That lasted five years. My next relationship was amazing, although filled with the road blocks of both of our loss of trust and our fear of repeating the horrors of our first marriages, unfortunately he passed away after 6 years together. I was left filled with regrets. My second HUSBAND was a rebound from the loss of the wonderful man before him, whom I saw as my “Soul Mate.” Second husband was able to pity me into marriage, asking me to marry him almost as soon as he met me and we married two months after meeting and that lasted 12 years.

Seeking help, hoping to make my second marriage work, I fell under the psychoanalytic concept of being a “Codependent,” in both my marriages. Codependent is described as a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. I was labeled the “person who supports or enables.” Blew my mind! It still doesn’t make sense to me. But, the following are examples they gave me:

When your husband indulges in his affliction, spending up all of the money needed to pay the household bills, or the portion of money he was to contribute towards the household bills, you work overtime, or get a second job or a loan to patch things up. That is wrong! “Let the lights get turned off, they said. “Let the water get shut off,” they insisted. “Let the house go into Foreclosure!” They sternly announced. I sat and stared at them. But, my mind was racing.

I was thinking – My lights go out and my two children and I will sit in the dark, unable to watch television, wash our clothes or cook – with him! My two children and I will sit in a Foreclosed House unable to take a bath or get a drink of water waiting for the Mortgage Company to come throw us out on our ears – with him! I packed up my two kids and left.

What have I learned? I am best at being single! Curious about the relationship in Chapter Four of, “To Dance with Ugly People?” Get your copy and enjoy!

Who are the “Ugly People?”

In the Third Chapter of, “To Dance with Ugly People” – Sanga – The Chase. – Gay and flirtatious first romance. I reflected on some on my experiences during the 1967 Detroit Riots. Detroit, a city in which I grew up.
I used “The Riots” and my experiences to give my protagonist, Dani Ransom, a reason to make an emotional decision. Important, because an emotional decision may use a tiny bit of logic but the main driving force is the emotion, which often overrides logic completely or uses a pseudo-logic to support the emotional choice. Of course Dani was too young and too naive to know that.
In lieu of the Ferguson, Missouri Riots – St. Louis, just outside of Ferguson being a city in which I was born and lived my early years – I see history repeating itself. It puzzles me as to why the human race can’t learn from past mistakes. No one wins! “Riots” leave a profound implication of a crime ridden community for the affected cities in the decades to follow. Unrest takes decades from which to recover. Looting and arson in the 1960s wiped out entire business districts in black neighborhoods. One district right behind the house where I lived. When History repeats itself, Who are the “Ugly People?” Everybody? I am personally a fanatic, over analyzing everything I do, in an effort to never make the same mistake twice.
I agree with what Activist Jerry G. Watts said after the 1992 Los Angeles riot:s “rioting is not a democratic act. … Had the rioters polled their neighbors they may have discovered that the majority of the local residents, who were not participants in the rioting, did not want their neighborhood burned down.”
Read “To Dance with Ugly People,” for a tiny glimpse into the mind of a young girl caught up in chaos.

A Place To Belong

A Place To Belong

I wrote Chapter Two of, “To Dance with Ugly People,” – Klama – Puberty Rites – Youthful entry into adolescence remembering my search for a place to belong.
I was thrown out of my home at the age of thirteen. I spent a few years bouncing between my divorced Mother’s and Father’s houses. As an adult I have rented apartments, owned a home I lost to foreclosure, lived in my car – homeless and stayed at an old, Haunted Hotel. Now I live in a “Little House on the Prairie.”
I live in a small town build in 1888. It’s called a “Village.” The current population is 2700 and the whole town only 24 square miles. Wild Turkeys roam around the town, often strutting through the open field that is my front and back yard. Cats sit at the back door hoping I will throw a scrap of food out and sometimes a Deer springs out of the woods in back, startling me, but so beautiful. Often, at the tiny local Post Office, a “Bear Sighting” will be posted as a note of caution.
Neighbors ride to the General Store on Horseback and drive by my house and with a single “toot” of their horn signal, Hello!” There are no street lights. There is only one small library, recreation hall , fire station, police department, pizza parlor and ice cream shop. If you want to do any “Real” shopping you have to drive to the nearest “Town”  If you want to have any “Real” fun you are forced to drive to Orland, fl. or Daytona Beach, Fl.  many miles away.
Everyone knows everyone. The residents are proud of the well preserved Victorian architecture and small-town atmosphere. You’ll always get a friendly wave and a smile. A nearby church distributes food to the “Needy” of Small Town, Fl. the first Monday of the month. Another distributes toiletries the last Saturday of the month.
My house, you ask? I rent it. It’s an old, ugly wooden house that needs painting. I see character! The windows are sealed tight, so tight, you cannot open them. Yet, they are so aged, when the wind blows they rattled and the curtains rise.
The floors snap, cackle and pop as you walk through, but some how, that is comforting to me. No one can sneak up on me. Perhaps, my lifetime of dealing with “Ugly People,” has left me a little jumpy.
I’ve added wind chimes to the front porch and love the melodies of the breezes. A melodic message to the “Heavens” as a “Thank you,” for a place where I belong.

– Lorene Stunson Hill –