Monday, September 12, 2011

In Honor of Halloween: A Famous Ghost Story

In hopes of getting in the Halloween spirit, here is a ghost story I found that I would like to share with you!

The Bell Witch

What if you were vengeful and utterly unrestricted by the veil between the physical and the next dimension? That’s exactly what Kate Batts had going for her. She was a spiteful old woman who believed that she had been cheated in a land purchase by John Bell and was hell bent (literally) on tormenting him and his children, or at least his favorite 12-year old daughter, Betsy.

On Kate’s deathbed, she vowed to haunt the family of the Bell’s who had done her wrong. After her death, she made good her promise. It felt to the Bell family that this ghost took no other pleasure than tormenting them incessantly. Kate pinched their noses, poked needles into them, threw kitchen objects about, screeched at them in her now notorious high-pitched voice, pulled hair and was a presence that none of them could escape.

Kate’s wrath was particularly directed at John and his favorite daughter, Betsy. With the wife and other children she was sometimes heard crooning softly, saying something pleasant, or just ignoring them completely. John and Betsy were not so fortunate. Kate enjoyed mentally and physically torturing them with her shrieking voice or physically punishing antics.

Gossip moved as quickly then as it does now and this was a much talked about event in the small farming town of Adams, Tennessee. People were deeply fascinated by the rumors and some even came from hundreds of miles away to visit the place of unrest. Some spectators were greeted with handshakes, some with shrieks and some with a full dialog of warning. So popular did the story become that General Andrew Jackson, the future President of the United States, gathered a few friend to investigate the story himself. He and his cohorts wanted to either debunk or repel the feisty spirit of Kate Batts.

Jackson and his men were in for a surprise though. When their wagons stuck fast to an otherwise smooth and flat road, their jests of dealing with the witch came to a halt. No matter how they examined, pushed, cursed or whipped the horses, their wagon was not moving. It was said that Jackson, in a fit of frustration and resignation, declared, “By the eternal, boys, it is the witch." Much to the amazement of Jackson and his men, the legendary screech could be heard from a nearby bush that replied, “"All right General, let the wagon move on, I will see you again to-night." Moments later the wagon and horses were suddenly free to move about. There wasn’t a person present that could account for the voice’s owner or its whereabouts.

Kate wasn’t miserly in her haunting antics and bestowed upon Jackson and his men the same torturous treatment as she had John and his daughter Betsy. Jackson’s bedcovers were repeatedly yanked from his body and his men were delivered the same pinches and pokes as the family were. Jackson and his men realized they were no match for the Bell witch and hastily abandoned their adventure first thing in the morning.

Ghosts never die so it was not surprising that the haunting of Kate lasted the duration of John Bell’s life. In fact, the ghost of Kate Batts was said to have been responsible for John’s death.

In October of 1830, John Bell was rumored to have suffered a stroke and taken ill. While he was bedridden, his family found him in a particularly bad state of stupor and position. Alarmed, his son ran to the medicine cabinet to fetch what he thought was his father’s medicine. After administering it, the family heard the witch’s glee as she victoriously declared she had poisoned John herself the night before with that vial and this last dose was surely his undoing. True enough, it was. The contents were later examined by a doctor and found to be very poisonous.

Kate was not satisfied with death alone. She sang in merriment at John’s graveside and was still heard singing happily as the last person hastily left.

Notable points: This story is popular enough to have spawned several recent movies of which include the Blair Witch Project and The American Haunting. It is also noted as one of the very rare poltergeists that caused a man’s death.

Keep it in Perspective

Sometimes I look at the miles I have to run to prepare for my half marathon and they look insurmountable! But then I read about this guy Dean Karnzes who ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days! Not THAT is a lot of miles! I heard he had a book too so I went to check it out and ended up finding a website about him, his Endurance 50 adventure and so much more. I learned that he also completed a run that was 262 miles long and since then, has a completed a 300 mile continues run! Makes my 4.5 seem much easier! HERE is the website if your interested. If you click on the section "Books and Lectures," you can watch an interview he did on The Late Show with David Letterman. It's actually pretty funny, so if you have a few minutes, watch it! (I wonder if I could get pizza delivered to me on one of my runs?!)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oh, Bother!

So yesterday I was all excited about some of the different trips I was taking. Well today I just found out that I won't be able to go on one. I was supposed to help chaperone the 5th grade trip to Michigan, but I found out today that my principal didn't approve me to go. I asked the trip supervisor about it and he said that he didn't know why. He just gave her the list and she crossed off some names -- mine was one of them. Being the super paranoid person I am, I then start to wonder... "Why did she cross MY name off? Was mine the only one crossed off? Does she not like me?" Oh, bother! I need to not worry about that stuff so much. And to top that off, I've been running for 6 weeks now and haven't lost a single pound. UGH. I don't need to lose a lot -- maybe 10 pounds. I used to tell myself that the dryer was shrinking my clothes...I don't think I can use that excuse anymore!

On a more positive note, I have decided to register for a 10K race to be held in June. It's a long way away, but I need something to look forward to at this point. Hopefully that'll help!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Clinging to a Dream

I was so pumped about my 8 mile run yesterday, I put aside the fact that my knees were hurting a little during the run. They didn't really hurt bad, just enough to let me know they were there. Well, as the day went on, they were hurting more and more! I did some stretches for my IT band, which usually does the trick, but they only got worse! Walking down the stairs was extremely painful! I wanted to CRY -- not because of the pain, but because of the possible loss of my dream! I've just been getting into a training groove! My long runs have been getting longer than I ever thought and I've been improving with my speedwork. I've been so happy with my progess, I don't want to stop now! Besides that, I can't afford to take time off right now...I have a race I'm already signed up for in less than 4 weeks! That sounds like a lot of time still, but my training runs are scheduled so that I'll be ready just in time for the race. It's a 10-mile race and my longest run so far is only 8. I'll need every day of the 4 weeks to work up to 10-miles and still have some time to rest. BOO HOO!

Well, I've been icing all day long and will do so again tomorrow. I may take off tomorrow and hopefully run Tuesday instead. We'll see. Send me some good health vibes if you can!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blueberry Crumb Bars

My MIL and I went to pick blueberries the other day. I was so excited because for one, I had never picked my own blueberries before. Secondly, as much as I love blueberries, I never buy them because they are so crazy $$, so I was happy to be able to get them at a lesser cost. Anyhow, we were picking for nearly 3 hours before I was finally able to almost fill my bucket. When we went to pay, I was completely surprised to see how many I had picked -- nearly 8 pounds! I was even more surprised to hear the girl tell me how much they cost. My almost 8 pounds was only $9.40! Woo hoo! What a steal! I immediately took them home and starting cleaning and freezing them.

I set a few aside to make a quick blueberry recipe. After asking on the What's Cooking forums, Melissa from Delicious Meliscious recommended these Blueberry Crumb Bars. They looked mighty tasty and better yet, super simple, so I decided to give them a try. Here is the recipe with my minor adaptations. For the original, see Melissa's blog or

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening (I used butter instead)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
4 cups fresh blueberries
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon, if desired. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening and egg. (I used my food processor.) Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, gently toss the blueberries with zest and juice of 1 lemon. Stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

I brought these over to my friend's house and both she and her husband loved them! Now I am wondering if 8 pounds of blueberries is going to be enough for this and all the other fab blueberry recipes I'll be making this fall and winter!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Valentines Already!

Well, I was afraid if I waited too long, I would put off scrapbooking Christmas pics until forever, so I did them as soon as I developed them. Here are a few pages. I still have a few more to do.

Anyhow, while I was out hitting the after Christmas sales, I noticed that the stores are already putting out Valentines stuff! Well, I guess it is a month and a half away. Normally I don't get too psyched for Valentines, but what can I say? I am in the spirit this year! I decided since I had so much fun making Christmas cards, that I would do Valentine cards too. So, today I went to a Valentine card making class at a local scrapbook store called Archivers. I really just wanted to learn some new techniques. Since I was still kind of new at some stuff, like embossing, my cards did not come out...stellar, but they are still pretty nice. It was funny though because at one point the instructor saw me fussing over a piece of ribbon trying to get the glue dots in just the right place so that they would not be visible and she was like, "The person looking at it probably won't even notice. It's okay if it's not perfect." I almost gasped! Ummm, not perfect? Ah yes, we just met. Let me reintroduce myself: My name is Tammie and I am a perfectionist. If the glue dots can be seen from behind the ribbon, I might as well just throw this away! (Okay, I'm exaggerating a little. I do know that my work doesn't have to be perfect, but I do like it to look neat.) I didn't say that of course but I was thinking, "This lady is crazy!" Then I realized that it probably wasn't her that was crazy! :-)

Anyhow, here is a link to the cards I made: Archiver's cards. Once I got home, I made a few of my own Valentine's Day cards. A lot simpler, but still cute I hope. (The colors in the pic came out funny. The heart gems are dark pink, not red, and the pink ribbon is the same shade as the pink paper. They are perfect matches!) :-)

On another note, with the postings and blinkie I put up for the blog Sheetload, I was entered in a contest to win some cool Studio G dollar stamps. I used my positive thinking and simply thought, "I can't wait to see that I've won those stamps!" Then when I looked to see whose name got drawn for the prize, I saw my name as one of the 5 finalists (out of 50 people!) Cool! I am happy to even be a finalist. I have a few of those stamps already, so I am just hoping that the person who would benefit from receiving them the most wins. I wouldn't be sad though if I did get them! Wish me luck! Or should I just say, send out those positive vibes for me!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Unexpected (and Unwanted) Effects of Running


Now I normally don't talk about this sort of stuff, but I just thought it was too funny that I just had to share. So I was commenting to my DH the other day about how I am pretty mad because I swear that my excess running is causing me to lose weight, but unfortunately -- it's in all the wrong places! Not sure what I mean? Well, have you seen that commercial where there are these pencil drawn characters -- a man and a woman and the woman is talking about losing weight...she says, "My husband and I wanted to lose weight so we starting eating better. This is what happened to him," and in the picture, the guy becomes super skinny, then the woman says, "And this is what happened to me," and her body stays completely the same except her boobs get super tiny? Well, let's just say that I can relate! Now, being an A cup, I am not well-endowed to begin with, so I'm like, "You have GOT to be kidding me! Is it even physically possible to GET any smaller?!" After a week or so of thinking that my bras which no longer fit would magically fix themselves, I finally decide to go out today and buy some new ones. I remember that there's this one brand that has the half sizes, so I swallow my pride and walk into the dressing room with a "nearly A". Now get this...I put the flippin thing on...and it's TOO BIG! WHAT?!?!?! OMG, I am so going to need therapy over this! That's it! Just point me to the training bra section! Or maybe I should just save my $$ and buy some bandaids! Ugh. I was so mad, I just left the store altogether!

So be warned ladies! You want to lose weight? Be careful what you ask for! And yes, feel free to laugh at my misery. I am! :-)