Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

More EVP's

Since I'm snowbound and bored I finally got around to uploading two more EVP's that we had picked up from way back in September.

The first two EVPS were not taken during a "session" but rather just "showed up" during an investigative dig while we had our digital recorders running. In this one, EVP 3, you can hear a lot of "whispering" going on but the clearest section to me was "It's not what you think" which I believe was in direct response to our pondering why the property is so active.

In EVP 4, you will hear me speaking about an e-mail address and then shortly thereafter it sounds like someone saying, "F You."

As far as I'm concerned, this one is still the creepiest of the ones we picked up that day and it was captured during a very brief session.

Creepy, eh?

Friday, January 29, 2010


I think I figured out why Keagy Village in Roanoke County remains empty and cannot attract tenants. The rent they're asking is too damn high! I happen to know of a restaurateur who had a very successful restaurant in Salem years ago which he sold and then relocated to Christiansburg where he opened another thriving establishment. I was thrilled to hear that he wanted to open another restaurant back in Roanoke and was checking out Keagy Village. The developer wanted $9,000 a month rental. Is he kidding? Naturally the restaurateur passed and is looking for another local location. But really $9,000? That place is a morgue. They have no anchor, and only Dunkin Donuts, Firehouse Subs, Ntelos and Scottrade. The place is huge. I would think they would have jumped to get this guy in at a reduced rate so they might be able to attract other vendors. It's illogical not to. No wonder it's vacant. In fact, didn't I hear at one time they were willing to have downtown vendors relocate there, rent free?

And what's the deal with the Roanoke River Greenway in Salem? It seems the recent flood has once again destroyed the path that they had just fixed (well some of it anyway) from November's flood.

After I saw the damage from the first flood I wondered if they were going to address flood control before cleaning and clearing up all the debris, restoring the guardrails and re-asphalting the damaged trail. I spoke to some workers who didn't have a clue but did remark that they expected this to happen about every three months, which was fine with them because that meant they would have work. Your tax dollars at work!

Now, I do like a greenway. In fact I really enjoyed this greenway the times I was able to walk on it, but it just seems illogical, a total waste of money and an exercise in futility to keep rebuilding it when nothing is going to be done to control the flooding. That water's got to go somewhere and every time it floods it washes away whatever's there, sorta like flushing your tax dollars down the toilet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Chimes, The Chimes

It's damn hard work trying to keep your family safe. This week has pretty much been a bust as far as productivity is concerned, unless keeping us alive is considered productive. In typical over-reacting fashion I went all out in making my home a safe compound. My son said all we need now is the moat and crocodile. I won't reveal all the purchases or details but will say one of the cheaper devices has proven to be the most effective, and most annoying, one.

I bought a driveway alert system which consists of a receiver and monitor that emits a loud bell chime whenever the receiver's beam is broken. I didn't set it up in my driveway but have it hidden strategically somewhere else. It seems it works too well -- the beam must travel pretty far -- and was even able to pick up deer who like to graze throughout the night at 3, 4 and 5:00am.

The first time it chimed out, my husband and I bolted out of bed, "It's go time!" grabbing our loaded protection and phone with 9-1- already pressed just waiting to enter the last 1. Neither of us even bothered to put pajamas on, just for this reason. The adrenaline was rushing and for a moment I wondered if I really would be able to pull a trigger on something other than a bulls eye or paper target. When the chime rang again I decided if I had to I could.

We flicked the surveillance cameras on and did a sweep. There was no one there. We still weren't stupid enough to go outside and look but felt it could have been four-legged animals instead of two setting the alarm off. Every time we'd settle back down, off it would go again. I felt like I was inside JC Penney's fitting room during a clearance sale. Even if I wanted to go back to sleep it was impossible, too much adrenaline. Watching the monitors was a little more interesting than watching "Launch My Line."

Once dawn broke my husband went outside and saw the fig tree had been eaten down. There was also deer poo nearby so I'm assuming that's who our visitor was Tuesday night. Everyone left and I decided no matter how tired I was I needed to ride the bicycle and get back on track. I was only on 15:00 when the chimes starting in again, persistent, not just once or twice, but like a stampede out of that fitting room. WTF? I ran upstairs, and turned the monitor on and saw two men standing outside my door. I ran and got my .38 which I've now taken to calling Myrtle. I stood to the side of the door and asked, "Who's there?" loudly over the chimes. A man said his name was Henry and they were Jehovah Witnesses and wanted to share the Lord with me. I quickly opened the door and let them in. Pfffft! Yeah, right! I told them I wasn't interested. They turned and left. I sat down, and tried to calm down, but was too revved up. I put Myrtle down and just stared at it. The chimes started again, I picked Myrtle back up and for a second thought about blasting the thing. I felt like Quasimodo, only I was screaming, "The chimes, the chimes" while holding my head. I shut the monitor off.

Last night I went to sleep by 8:00pm. I slept straight through to midnight, that's four hours more than I've gotten since Sunday night. After figuring out a better place to set them up the chimes didn't ring last night, but my internal chime kept waking me up every hour, listening, just listening. I think I finally fell back at four and then overslept. I had forgotten to turn the alarm clock back on. When you're overtired you forget a lot of things, like how to be happy and how to smile. This is no fucking way to live.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Make My Day, Punk

So far, so good. Other than the raging wind, it was a quiet night here, although restless for me. I don't know if it's from growing up in Brooklyn, or growing up Italian, but there's one thing about me...I never get scared. When someone threatens me or my family something just kicks in, not fear, more like anger, and I bolt into protection mode. Not for a moment do I worry about getting hurt, but I do worry about what's gonna happen when I hurt the person or persons that are looking to hurt my family. My husband is the big tough guy, but I'm the one the bad guys have to worry about. Sicilian and Napoledon blood courses through my hot veins, need I say more?

If I sense danger I slip effortlessly into a state where logic takes over. Plans immediately formulate to protect us and thwart my enemies. I sit the kids down and tell them this is the way it might go down. No sugar coating here. I drill in them that we always fight to the end. We never give in, we never give up. We never believe that if we do something that evil wants, the evil will let us go. Evil never lets go. We never do what they want. Naturally we try and avoid trouble, but if trouble comes looking we don't run away. We confront. We outsmart. We win.

I've always told my kids that the worst thing they can allow happen is to get pulled into a car. If they do chances are very good they're going to die. They will never be let go, no matter what the criminal says. It's up to them to save themselves. Do whatever you have to do to not get in the car in the first place but if it happens, then the main goal is to get the hell out of the car.

At home, if someone comes to your house and tries to get inside in the middle of the night assume they have weapons. They are there to hurt you. If you let them in they will kill you. If they get in on their own they will kill you. Do not believe that if you give them what they want they will let you go. They will not. It's up to you to fight back. It's up to you to take them out. You do whatever you have to do but the main goal is to protect the family and defeat the evil.

I think we are prepared. I don't take for granted for a second that I live in a "good neighborhood." In these times evil takes over good, or at least tries. What the bad guys may not realize though is that in this house we don't roll over. We fight. We will win. And they will lose. C'mon punk, make my day.

You know what's the craziest thing about everything that's been happening freaking husband was actually right for a change...we need to protect ourselves...and that's what scares me the most.

On the brighter side...all my bitching to the cops complaining they're letting the neighborhood go to pot with all the grafitti that's been springing up apparently hit home. My kids told me they saw the tags being painted over yesterday. Good, that's a start.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Protecting Myself

So this morning when it got brighter out my husband came back to the house to give it another once over. He called me outside to show me that someone indeed was here. The foliage in front of my office window was trampled upon and the window box was pulled away from the window and hanging. I had about six inches of blinds pulled up so that anyone could look in and see my computer and other office like things right there. I got a really freaky feeling knowing that criminal eyes were looking into my home and devising a way to get inside while my children lay sleeping.

We called the police to come back so we could show them. The officer that came this time was from North county and not from around here. He didn't seem to take my concerns seriously at all. In fact when I would speak he seemed to almost ignore me and would answer my husband, and not me. I showed the box and told him I felt we were targeted for a home invasion. He said he didn't think that was the case as home invaders wouldn't ring the bell. They would just burst in. And home invasions have to do with drugs. And this is Roanoke. Uh, yeah this is Roanoke, and that's the only thing I agree with him on.

I think someone wanted to get into the house even though they knew we were home. There were three cars in the driveway and the tv had just shut off ten minutes before they rang the bell, so naturally they knew we were home. I think they wanted us to answer the door so they could push their way in. It doesn't matter that we don't do drugs, that's not the only reason someone invades someone's house. They were looking for money, duh! The cop totally pooh-poohed my theory and said the most he could give us was ten dollars! WTF? I don't money, I want protection, what the hell was that about? He said he wouldn't file a report but would make a note to increase patrols after midnight, and then he left.

I decided I would put my game camera in the window where I believe they tried to get in. My husband left. About a half hour later I thought I heard something but attributed it to the wind. Shortly thereafter I decided I would move the camera for now and place it looking out at my carport instead. When I picked it up I was surprised to see that a photo had already been taken. I looked out the window and saw that a portion of the window box was now on the ground! I quickly called my husband and asked if he had pulled on the box before he left. He didn't and ran right back over. Meanwhile I checked the photo which did take a shot at 10:39 but unfortunately it used the flash which caused the shot to be all white from the reflection through the glass. The perp doesn't know that though and I wouldn't be surprised if that's what scared him away.

Now I'm really creeped out. After my husband came back again we did another walk around the backyard and noticed that a portion of the crappy lattice fence was knocked down and flattened. We can't swear it happened last night because we haven't been back there with all the rain, but I don't like it. I'm devising a couple of traps, but most importantly, I'm listening to my husband and protecting myself. Good thing I got that permit. Scary times we live in...

Who's At My Door At 4:40am?

When your bell rings at 4:40am during a rainy dark night you just know it could be nothing good. When it happened to us last night my husband quickly put a pair of pants on as I cautioned him, "Do not open that door!" I reached for the shotgun and lay it next to me as I loaded my .38. Through the closed door, no one would answer my husband's question, "Who's there?" I pushed aside my blinds in the bedroom and saw there was no vehicle in my driveway, or out on the street. It was pitch black and pouring out there, and there was no way I was letting my husband go to check it out. I've seen Clockwork Orange and enough crime movies to know that once that door is opened even a crack, it could be pushed in quickly and a home invasion is inevitable. Instead I called the police.

It was a weird night to begin with. I was having a hard time falling and staying asleep. I kept hearing strange noises. I might have been a little spooked from earlier in the day when my daughter and dog heard "someone" come out of the spare room in the basement and walk to the laundry room. When I went to check, after she had screamed, I found no one. Even the dog heard something because he was checking on it before I got down the stairs, and he never goes into the laundry room. "The house is settling," I said, but that wasn't good enough for the girl so she ran upstairs.

Sunday nights are always tough to fall asleep to begin with, stemming from my earliest school days and the dread of Monday's arrival. Even the Benadryl didn't work last night and all the bangs and pings didn't help. I'm sure most of it was due to the heavy rain but the imagination works overtime during a sleepless night. Finally I decided I would just put the tv on and found a comedy, Naked Gun 2 1/2. I set the timer so the tv would turn off when it ended. I hoped I would be asleep by then. It ended at 4:30am and I did drift off to sleep. It was ten minutes after it ended and the house became dark when the doorbell rang. I wondered if someone was watching and waiting for all of the lights to go out of the house before they struck. I was dreaming of kissing a baby's foot when I was awoken. I looked at the clock and knew I was only asleep ten minutes and marvelled how I had gotten into a dream so quickly.

When the bell first rang I thought maybe it really didn't, but my husband woke up and the dog gave a, low grrrrrr! My bell has the habit of sticking in the on position and when it does there's a low hum in the hallway. The hum was there. The police arrived within ten minutes when I saw a flashlight hit my blinds. My husband went out to meet him. The cop never asked my husband who he was or for identification. That really bothered me. How did the cop know that it was my husband who called for help? Maybe my husband was the perp, who was pretending he was the home's resident, meanwhile me and my family were inside tied up. The cop never came inside either. I thought that was a major error in police protocol.

I checked the bell and sure enough it was stuck so someone had physically pushed it in. I mentioned to the cop that lately the neighborhood has become a victim of graffiti, such as gang tags that are springing up in great numbers behind the McDonald's down the corner. I've tried calling the leasing agent of the strip mall to request they be painted over but they never return my call. It started as one tag a couple of months ago and now there are too many to count. I agree with ex-mayor of NYC Guiliani who believed if you let the little things go like graffiti, the criminals think the neighborhood doesn't care and is rife for a takeover, so it's important to stop the crime immediately, no matter how small it may be. This is something that our neighborhood watch really needs to address at our next meeting.

Anyway, luckily there was no bad outcome, but I wonder if we were being "tested" to see how we could react. Would we be stupid enough to open the door a smidge to see who was there? Naturally I had the talk again with the kids about not opening the door, and my husband had the talk with me again about not keeping my gun loaded. This was the first time I had to load it quickly, and I didn't panic at all, but maybe he's right.

Today's going to be a typical lousy Monday...


The Police are coming back...We found something...Someone did try to break into my house last night!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Teens & Self Esteem

A couple of months ago I noticed my 17 year old son was becoming moody. I know all teenagers go through an angst period but this was unlike him. He'd always been an easy-going, never depressed, kind of kid. Respect was always shown to me so when he became snippy, over nothings, I knew something was wrong.

Naturally questions begin..."Is there a problem at school?" "Are you doing drugs?" "Did you have a problem with somebody?" "Is there something you want to tell me?" "Are you fighting with your friends?" "Is it a girl?" The answers follow..."No, no, no, no, no!" His grades are still up. I don't smell smoke on him. I checked the Jeep, nothing wrong in there. I asked his sister who didn't know anything either.

Never one to the be the life of the party to begin with I felt as if he was "hiding out" even more so than usual. It took a couple of weeks of hounding him before it dawned on me what the problem was...acne. During one breakfast he mentioned that he was out of some over the counter treatments he had been using. I told him I would pick some more up and he said it didn't really matter as it didn't work anyway. The way he said it flicked the switch on my brain so I asked, "Do you want to go to a dermatologist?" "Uh, yeah." Ohmigod, that was it. That was his problem. I'd asked him probably a dozen times over the last two years if he wanted to go to the doctor and he always said no so for him to agree so quickly must mean his condition was a lot worse than I thought.

I knew he was having bad breakouts on his face, but after a while I just didn't see them because I would look past them. I bought every type of treatment that I thought could help him. He never really complained. I suffered from cystic acne during my teenage and beyond years and it was the worst experience of my life. I didn't want my son to go through what I went through. I practically ran to the phone to make an appointment. Dermatology appointments are hard to come by and we were actually lucky we only had to wait three weeks.

I went with him to see the dermatologist, Dr, Gross. Yes, that's really his name. The doctor looked at his face and then had him take his shirt off. I haven't seen my son bare-chested in years. He doesn't go to the beach, and was always very modest. What I saw blew me away. He had horrible acne across his chest and back to the point of scarring. The doctor looked at me and said he couldn't believe he'd never been treated before. I felt like the worst mother in the world. I had no idea his condition was so bad. I wanted to crawl under the table. I stuttered that I didn't know and the doctor just shot me a look of disgust.

I immediately tried to recoup and asked if he was going to put him on Accutane. I was one of the first people to go on Accutane after having spent years undergoing Draconian "cures" such as having my face swabbed with dry ice a couple of times a week, having cortisone needles injected directly throughout my face into cysts and even having some scapeled out. This was during the 70's and early 80's and when Accutane arrived on the scene none of my regular doctors would prescribe it so I searched until I found one. There were many potential horrible side effects but I felt it was worth it. It was. It worked. If I had gone on that earlier I guarantee you I would have become a different person than the one I am now. In fact I've been on it twice. The second time was after I had kids, and Dr. Gross prescribed it.

Luckily doctors don't use leeches anymore so my son's options were better than mine were. His doctor didn't want him to jump right on Accutane and suggested a different treatment first, heavy antibiotics and a new topical ointment called Epiduo. I sighed thinking that was just a waste of time...put the kid on Accutane and be done with it. Since Gross is the best dermatologist I've found, he cured my daughter's psoriasis and cut out that trilobite from my chest, we followed his advice. He also gave us a coupon for the Epiduo. With the coupon it costs $20.00, without it $189.00!

Twice a day I have to remind my son to take his pill. For the first couple of weeks he bitched that the medicine wasn't working, but he religiously put it on, ruining many a shirt. We had a two month follow up last week. I can't believe the improvement. His skin is so much clearer. He can pull a razor under his neck without chancing bleeding to death. Even his chest has cleared dramatically. But best of all he's walking with a bounce in his step. He's taken to wearing button down shirts. He's smiling more and going out. Who knows maybe he'll even take that step and ask a girl for a date. All I know is that I'm so happy he's happy and back to himself. Never underestimate the power of acne to kill a teen's self esteem. Thank God he never turned to drugs and turned to me instead. It's amazing what a little self-confidence can do. Now son, how about getting a part-time job?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Title's Taken

Well, burst my bubble! I googled Amazon and found out there's already a book out, released in February 2008 with what's supposed to be the title of my book. Upon this discovery I moaned out loud my disappointment. My daughter responded from the other room, "Did you really think there wouldn't already be a book out with that title?" I guess it's only logical since it was such a great title, and I suppose I should have thought of that possibility, but just didn't.

The only reason I even googled it yesterday was because I tried to start a blog with that title only to be informed that it was already taken. Hrmph! I typed out the web address and was directed to a blog that was formed in 2001 and had just one post on it. Clearly it's been abandoned, but that doesn't mean the address is available. There is a way around this little problem as I could still name my blog it, but the address would have to have an additional word. No biggie really. Then it flashed on me, before I go through all this trouble I better check to see if a book has already been published with my title. That's when I went to Amazon.

Tada! There it was. Now the already published book bears no resemblance whatsoever to mine. That book is fiction with a likable female star. Mine is a memoir and I don't know how likable I am -- I do know my arch enemy is quite unlikable. Even though I'm only on my second draft the title has changed three times. This last one, was the one. All my files reflect that title. I want that title. Notice I still haven't even typed the title because I don't want to jinx losing it! You know how that goes when you talk about an idea and the universe picks it up. Too late I guess. I think I can get around this. Why couldn't I keep the title and just add :A Memoir after it? I think that would work.

You know for someone who has googled their own name and have had 4,900,000 hits come up (obviously they're not all me) you would think I would have done this as soon as I "thought up" the title. Damn, sometimes I can be so oblivious!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Common Sense - Progress for Roanoke County

I received the following e-mail regarding a community based organization for the citizens of Roanoke County. I had planned on attending until I realized it's Thursday night, the same evening as my daughter's registration informational meeting at the high school. Since I can't be with her at the one-on-one with the guidance counselor, I need to attend the informational one so I can better advise her. If I get out of there early enough I'll show up at the library to find out more about this organization called Common Sense, Progress for Roanoke County. Sounds interesting...


to attend the inaugural meeting of


Progress for Roanoke County

7:00 PM
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Roanoke County HQ/419 Library
3131 Electric Road
Roanoke, VA 24018

Mission Statement

"To serve Roanoke County residents by working to enhance the economic, environmental and social quality of life in Roanoke County and to assure that the worth and dignity of every citizen is respected."

Founded by citizens of Roanoke County who care about their families and their fellow citizens.

A non-partisan, non-profit, community based issues oriented

Membership is open to any registered voter in Roanoke County.

We will discuss the need for volunteers to do the jobs necessary for our organization to be successful.

We need a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Five Magisterial District Chairs for Vinton, Catawba, Hollins, Cave Spring and Windsor Hills.

Our program will be

Doug Chittum
Economic Development Director
County of Roanoke

If you have any questions or if you want fliers to pass out to announce this meeting, please phone me on my cell phone.

Please forward this to anyone you wish.

Let's work together with all of our Common Sense to make Roanoke County the best place to live, work and learn!

Richard Evans
Progress for Roanoke County
P.O. Box 20061
Roanoke, VA 24018-0007

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

She's So Lucky

It was fun while it lasted. I was "this close" to picking a vacation spot this year, either it would be Key West or closer to home, Ocean Isle. After much discussion we agreed that the boy, who hates the beach, wouldn't have to come with us. After all he would be 18 and hopefully working somewhere. The girl, who loves the beach, wanted to make sure she would be included in any plans we made.

This summer would be the first time in three years we would have a "real" vacation. Going to New York, as we always do, doesn't constitute a vacation in my eyes as there's always work to be done at the house and is often stress-filled. There's always the pressure to visit people we really don't want to see, but luckily since we've been "banned" from some on my side of the family that's not as big a problem as it used to be. It's always a hurry, hurry, hurry feel with too much to do and too little time. Sometimes it's just nice to be able to do nothing but lie around listening to the surf hit the shore. So that's what I was looking forward to.

Before we could decide there was just one little obstacle in our way, my daughter's bones. Back in early December there was a period when the girl fell to the floor and was unable to get up on her own. Her leg had "locked" to the point that she couldn't even put her foot on the floor without being in pain. I felt her thigh and immediately knew the culprit was a tumor behind her knee that must have grown since her last operation. I could feel the hard rock and just pressing gently on it brought screams of agony to her. The tendons must have gotten caught up on it. When something like this happens there's not much that could be done. We can't bring her to a local emergency room as that would be useless. There's nothing any local doctor could do other than take x-rays and prescribe Vicodin. Her specialist is with UVA in Charlottesville. A phone call to him usually means we're in trouble. He always gets right back to us. It's always the same conversation, and it's never good. "Rest the leg, give her pain medication, if she still can't move after a couple of days prepare for the worst."

The "worst" is surgery. That's been our vacation over the last two summers. I spent my 50th birthday in the hospital praying my daughter wakes up from the anaesthesia and is not in pain anymore. The next 10 weeks was for healing. Last year's operation was supposed to be simple. Only one tumor was being removed, unlike the year before where there were over a dozen from both legs and her hand removed. Last year's simple operation developed into cellulitis which was a bitch to cure. It's not like UVA is around the corner so every time there's a problem it's on the road again.

Luckily this December outburst lasted only a couple of days. I tried healing her as best as I could to the point where at least she wasn't in pain any longer. Unfortunately I could still feel the lump when I placed the light from my hands on her leg so it wasn't a "successful healing." I try and schedule all her appointments when she has off from school. She's in all advanced classes and at Burton so if she loses any time it really sets her back. Yesterday we made the trek to UVA.

It's always funny to watch the faces on the residents who come in to give her an exam and ask questions before her doctor does. When they feel her bones you could see the looks on their faces. "Does it hurt here?" "Ouch!" "How about this one?" "Ouch!" They can't believe what they're feeling so they always send us to xray to get a better picture. After they're done that's when her doctor joins them. Yesterday's xrays showed ugly pictures. Her upper arm has a hook-shaped tumor growing out of it that they want to remove. She doesn't want it removed because she doesn't want any scar on her arms. She's already got a half-dozen on her legs which causes so many stares. She feels the "hook" can't get snagged on anything since there aren't any tendons or ligaments there and it only hurts her if someone grabs her arm. The leg is another story.

There are two tumors causing the problem. One of them the doctor knew about last year but couldn't get to from where the incision was made. He was afraid to remove it because so many nerves were wrapped around it and he didn't want to chance paralysis. Now it's grown. Above it is a sessile shaped one that needs to go as well. This time he would have to come in from the outside of her leg and not enter into one of her previous scars in order to get them. I asked about the nerve damage and he said he couldn't guarantee there wouldn't be any but coming in from the other side would allow him more leeway. He wants her to get a CT a week before she's scheduled so that he could get a better view.

Last year my daughter had lamented that if she had known her recovery was going to be so bad she wouldn't have opted for any surgery so I asked her what she wanted to do about these "bumps." When her doctor had said that doing something out of the ordinary could have caused her recent pain, my daughter laughed and said, "yeah, I guess putting one leg in front of the other walking is out of the ordinary. I don't have any choice. I can't sit on a chair and sometimes I can't walk. They need to go."

So it shall be. We'll do it again this summer. Can you imagine she actually apologized to us? I apologize to her. She's the one who's lived all these years in pain and suffered. She's the one that's missed too many summers. She's the one that has to listen to the comments and ignore the stares. She's the rag doll, as she calls herself. And yet, she's never lamented, "Why me?" or shown the least bit of anger at the world, even in her teen aged years. Instead she says how lucky she is... "It's better I get them now so "the nutty professor" could remove them. Once I'm 18 I'm no longer considered pediatric and he won't be able to help me. It's really lucky I have them now."

Yeah, real lucky. And if she's really, really lucky she'll heal quick enough so that I could take her to a beach at the end of the summer. I'm not throwing those brochures away just yet. It'll give her, and me, something to look forward to...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Geese on the Greenway

It was great to get outdoors and back on the trails over the weekend. I revisited the greenway in Salem along the Roanoke River to see how much progress they've made reconstructing the path that was demolished during the floods.

Not much has been done since the above picture was taken. They did remove those pieces of asphalt but haven't replaced them, so it's just a dirty mud path, and the greenway has not extended from where it was two months ago. I'm assuming it's because the weather has been less than cooperative.

I was surprised to see how busy the trail was, and not by humans. It seems the area has been taken over by geese. Awwww, aren't they cute?

I have no idea where they have come from. In the past I've seen ducks and a heron but never a goose there. Do geese migrate? Were they on their way somewhere but got snowed in? These are big geese, many, many, many big geese. These geese scare me.

When I parked my car at the beginning of the greenway in the park a couple of the geese started heading towards me, extending their huge wings and barking. I thought they were going to attack me so I ran. As I was running I started slipping and sliding, not because of ice remnants but because of goose shit everywhere. Have you ever seen goose shit? It looks nothing like bird shit. It's like dog shit only it's green.

It stinks too, and when I say it's everywhere, I mean everywhere. I couldn't even walk along the path to the greenway from 419 without stepping in it. It is nasty. I didn't have my camera with me so these shots were taken with my phone, no zooming, which does not do them justice.

I don't think I'm going to be walking along the river again until the geese and their shit is gone. I gotta tell ya, maybe from far away as you're driving past them goose look cute, but one-on-one, not so much. I imagine a lot of folks will feel the same way I do once they experience them up close and personal. I hope the geese appreciate the greenway (how ironic is that name now?) since they may be the only ones using it...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Message Received

I was awoken this morning to a sound of something hitting the bedroom floor. When I got up to check I saw a picture frame was in the middle of the room, face up. The picture was still on the shelf. This frame was a hand-made colored glass frame that once had a picture of my mother when she was a child in it. It stood for years on her fireplace mantle. During one visit to NY a couple of years ago, I found it in a box that was destined to go in the trash with her picture torn from it. My father didn't do it and I know who did. I took the frame and picture back home with me. The picture ended up in a Memory Box that I made for my mom.

Since then the frame rested against a photo of my mother and my two kids taken the year before she died. They all look so happy in that shot. I don't know why or how it was flung across the room, and am just glad that the frame did not shatter. I'm still scratching my head wondering how it landed face up.

Last night when I was cleaning out my dresser drawer I found an envelope addressed to my daughter from my father dated January 19, 2004. The note inside was brief..."Here is the present I promised you to get your computer. I hope you have a beautiful time with it. Love and kisses, Grandpa"

When I read the letter to my daughter she said, "Grandpa never lied to me. I miss him so much." The irony is not lost on me after yesterday's post. I feel like my mother and father have stopped by to let us know they're still with us even though they're no longer here. Maybe my mother was annoyed that my daughter said she missed Grandpa and didn't mention her and that's why she flung the picture frame to remind us she's still here too. Message received!

This morning when I went downstairs to work out on my bike I noticed my legs suddenly were too short to reach the pedals. When I looked at the number position I noticed it was now at the number 5. Yesterday it was at the number 3. I tried to unscrew the knob to loosen it so I could make the re-adjustment back to 3 but I can't budge it. When my husband first set it up he had to use a wrench to release it and when he tightened it, it's like he tightened the pickle jar so that I can't open it without him. I called him at work and asked him if he screwed with the bike last night or this morning. Of course, he didn't go near it. So I woke up the kids and asked them if they had ridden or changed anything on it. My son said the last place he would be found would be working out on a stationary bike and my daughter reminded me she doesn't even go downstairs. Strange. Who or what moved it? I don't know, and I don't get the feeling it's either of my parents, but they actually did me a favor because I find it more comfortable now to scoot down in the chair while pedaling. This gives me more room to place a book on my lap so now I can read while working out. Ten miles went like that! So thanks!

One more thing...could whoever hid them please return my Chromium Picolate pills? It's been two days since they're missing and now I'm beginning to wonder if someone is trying to tell me they're not good for me or something...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

When someone lies to you are you the type that just ignores it, or are you like me, the type that calls them out on it? Would you rather someone lied to you, to say feign interest in you, or are you like me and prefer that they just not pretend?

We've been having this discussion in my house lately. I'm the only one that seems to think calling someone out on a lie is a good idea. I have to tell you I have lost friends and family members doing that, so my family is probably right when they say to "just let it go." I actually have gotten better over the years and don't do it immediately, and sometimes don't even do it at all. It all depends upon the person and if I expect them to lie to me. There are some people that are compulsive liars so what good will it do for me to confront them when they're just gonna lie saying they didn't lie. I will say though, that I may "forgive" but I do not "forget."

We are divided on the "Is it better to be lied to or not?" question. My daughter and I prefer that we are not lied to. We don't need to have our feelings coddled. My son prefers that someone lie to him, to at least "feign interest" as he puts it. What we've been talking about in particular is if my daughter really will receive a Sweet 16 birthday card from her grandmother. The girl's birthday was almost three weeks ago and even though her Uncle came down a couple of days before, oddly enough he didn't bring any Christmas or birthday presents from his mother to her grandchildren. I didn't expect him to, although I have to admit it would have been nice.

The other 10 grandchildren never have a Christmas or birthday overlooked, but for some reason (they're mine) these two kids have yet to get a gift from her. Money's not a problem, anymore, (that's always been the "excuse") since she did a reverse mortgage on her home (against out advice.) My silly husband even thought that maybe, just maybe, she might have sent something down to pay back all the money he's given her, notice I never say loan, to help with her bills. Haha! At least his son, who is her eldest grandchild gets treated well as he said he has to keep turning down money from her, and that she even wants to buy him a car, but since he's in the army he thought it wouldn't be wise right now. I do wish he wouldn't have said that in front of his brother and sister who just exchanged looks and smirks.

Anyway, on the day of my daughter's birthday my husband got a call at the shop from his mother to wish her happy birthday, because obviously where else would a 16 year old girl be that day but under the hood of a car swinging an engine? When my husband asked why she didn't call her at home his mother said she did and we weren't there. Of course, we were there and she didn't call. Call ID, you know. She said she had a card sitting on her dresser and just hadn't gotten around to sending it out to her but she would, and then she could go on a shopping spree. When my husband came home and told her that we all burst out laughing...we know there is no card, there is no money, there is no shopping spree in her future, at least not from her grandmother.

It's become a running joke here every time the mail is delivered and there's no card in the mailbox. "Must've gotten lost in that black hole from Brooklyn, again." Everything important does. And this is one of those instances where I've decided to keep my mouth shut and not call her out. Although I had really hoped she would have stepped up and at least played pretend Grandma to my children since the death of their grandparents, and the banning from a good part of my family (due to my calling the family out) she hasn't. I think she's gotten worse. My husband says it's because she hates him. I say no, because she treats his other two kids and his ex-wife very well. I say it's because she hates me probably because I have called her out in the past. My daughter says she wishes she just wouldn't even say she's sending something when we all know she's not. My son said at least she pretends she gives a shit about my daughter, as he never even gets an acknowledgement, and he wishes just once she would lie to him and pretend she gives a shit about him too.

lies Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lack of Electives, Lack of Everything

There was a quick blip in the Roanoke Times yesterday, about Mike Stovall, the new school board chairman "Roanoke County School Board Chief Sees Tough Times Ahead"...

"The coming year is going to be one of the most challenging this board has ever seen, and I look forward to meeting that challenge," Stovall said. "Together this board will work to make the best decisions we can to ensure our students continue to receive a top-quality education."

Now that my friends, has got to be the understatement of the year. I'm so happy my son is graduating this June and fretting my daughter will still have two years left. I've seen some changes the last couple of years and they've not been good for the students.

This is the second year that the RC schools do not have enough money to even print up the registration guide. Students and parents must go on-line to find out what courses are being offered so that they are prepared for their meeting with their guidance counselors. In the past, parents filled out a form with three options as to the best times they could join their child for the one-on-one with the counselor. This year that is not an option. According to a letter sent home,

"Due to the economic times and staffing concerns, the registration appointment scheduling process is changing. We will not be able to accommodate day and time requests as we have in years past...The appointment can not be rescheduled except in cases where school is closed due to inclement weather."

Naturally my daughter's date and time coincides perfectly with a dental appointment I have had scheduled from six months ago with the only hygienist I like. I cannot get another appointment with her until September! Since I will not be able to attend my daughter's registration meeting we both sat down and looked at the options that are available to her.

First off, according to the same letter that was sent home..."The unprecedented budget shortfall, which we are currently experiencing, will have an effect on the electives that will be offered in the 2010-2011 school year...We cannot ensure that a student's first choice of elective will be available...Should a student have the misfortune where none of their elective choices are available, the school has the right to contact the parent and assign the student an available elective."

That's what they did this year, only they didn't contact the parents, just assigned an elective that neither of my kids even picked as one of their classes. Looking on-line at the electives there aren't even many to pick from to begin with. They got rid of Driver's Education, some Marketing, as well as some computer classes, and probably others too that we're not even aware of. They have made Personal Finance, a semester class, mandatory. Last year I was extolling how wise that was and I made my son take it, even though he wasn't required to. It sounded good on paper, but now I have changed my tune. According to him, that class is a joke. My son said it was the most inane, ridiculous waste of time class he has had in four years. This is not a rant against the teacher, but the curriculum, a good part of which consisted of watching movies such as "The Money Pit," "Cheaper by the Dozen", "The Client" and others, one of which was from The History Channel about the Great Depression which at least was informative. One of the assignments was drawing a snowman in Word which my son felt insulted his intelligence. He did remark that many of the other students in the class, freshman, actually had a harder time with that assignment, which he blames on the freshman not having received laptops this year, one of the major cutbacks from Roanoke County. He also commented that he sees a big difference in that grade level's understanding of basic computer use and thinks it's going to have a detrimental effect on their level of learning throught their high school years. Interesting perspective from another student.

There are no other semester only electives so if a student takes Personal Finance I'm assuming the other elective will have to be a Study Hall. That's what happened in my son's case even though he had requested sociology or psychology as they were offered this year as semester classes. They're not next year. This mandatory class which has replaced Keyboarding as the mandatory class, a class my daughter already took in 8th grade to fulfill that now unnecessary requirement, puts a wrench in her schedule. Since she goes to Burton for Mass Comm she's already under a tight ship and only has room for one elective. She wants to takes Spanish IV but there's no guarantee she'll even get it. Personal Finance is at the bottom of her list, and although she'll have one more year to fit it in somehow, with her having an internship as part of her curriculum in her senior year I don't see how that's going to happen. She's hoping the School Board will realize the class is useless and no longer require it by the time she gets to her senior year. Like my son said, "If they're gonna cut classes, start with that one and bring back the useful ones, ones we may actually learn something in."

Ending this post on a bright note...Hidden Valley High School, along with two other Roanoke County Schools, Clearbrook Elementary and Cave Spring Elementary earned the 2010 Governor's Award for Educational Excellence. According to SWOCO, "The award is the highest honor under the Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) incentive program created by the Board of Education in 2007 to advance Governor Kaine’s “competence to excellence” agenda promoting advanced learning and achievement. This is the third straight year Hidden Valley High School has received the Governor’s Award and the second straight year for Cave Spring Elementary School. Clearbrook Elementary School received the Governor’s Award in 2008."

Congratulations to the staff, students and parents of those schools, and good luck in the future...looks like you're going to need it.

One other can help your local schools by donating not just money, which is tax deductible but also supplies. When my daughter took art last year by the second semester there was hardly anything left for the students to even use. Every little bit helps and you'd be surprised at what "junk" you might have hanging around the house that would be "treasures" to the art and other departments.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back to Black

Something strange is happening to my hair and it's not the cut and style my daughter gave me, nor the blue-black dye she put underneath in the back of my head. Some of my roots are morphing through the dyed "natural blond" which is covering the white/grey and heading back to black!

I thought I noticed something odd yesterday when I was straightening my bangs. I lifted them up and saw at my scalp about 1/2 to 1" long in some places, black hair. I frantically began pushing my hair all around looking closely at the scalp and noticed it wasn't just in the front but everywhere. I ran to my daughter's room and had her look in he back of my head, on top of my head, underneath my head. Yup, there are little black roots sprouting. It's not on every strand, but they're there. How and why is this happening?

Can it be due to my recent lifestyle changes? According to WikiAnswers it can be and Lord knows if it's written there it must be true. Can this be another added benefit from my dieting, exercising, stopping smoking and drinking? I don't know. I started turning grey very young, and I always blamed it on all the video monitors and radiation I was surrounded by during my career in television. I also didn't have very good "lifestyle habits" then either, and sort of abused myself throughout the years, not worrying about what I was putting into my body. Since I've been very cognizant of every morsel lately, eliminating and/or cutting down on sugars and fats, and piling up on the protein, I wonder if my body is now rejuvenating. I don't know, but if my brown eyes start to turn blue I'm going to be doing cartwheels...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Prognosis: Positive!

It's been a week and 2 days since I started the "Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salad" diet so I thought I would post a progress report. Prognosis: Positive! I've actually lost 10 pounds! That's the most I ever lost in one week on any diet. Oh man how I wish I could lose a pound a day and after a month just be done dieting, forever, haha! I know that's not how it works. The first week is probably a lot of water and the 7 day diet was sort of a kickstart diet to rev up my body's metabolism. It worked. I feel quite energetic, more so than I've felt in a long time. I've also been sleeping through the whole night, that is when the spooks don't bother me.

I also have been exercising daily. Every day I ride the bicycle. At first my goal was to do five miles a day - now I am doing ten miles, even if it's not all at once, and I'm hoping to get up to fifteen. Every other day I also either lift weights, do a dance routine, or some other aerobics. I haven't even bothered with the Wii since it really aggravates me. I had received the exercise game that has the camera but it's so inaccurate. It'll tell me I'm not moving my arms or my legs right when I know I am. Meanwhile if I sit on the bed resting while it does some ridiculous yoga pose it tells me I'm doing a great job. I could see why my son mocks the technology behind the Wii. I wish it wasn't below Arctic temperatures since I would probably be out walking, but that's not going to happen right now.

I think eating every four hours is working well for me as it's keeping my blood sugar in check. That was one of the problems I was having. I'd be so hungry and feel so weak that the only thing that would give me energy was to pop something sugary in my mouth. Since I've been on this diet I haven't had any sugar and instead am using agave nectar. It is a great substitute and I highly recommend it, there's no disgusting aftertaste like most sugar substitutes have, it's all natural, and it's not heavy like honey. I've not had any bread the last week and I haven't really missed it as much as I thought I would. This week the diet introduces it back in but on a limited level. Saturday night was the first night I had steak and it tasted great. My family laughed at my portion size, 3 ounces, but it filled me up.

One of the drawbacks of this diet is that I think I've hurt my right hand from all the preparation that goes into it, or, I'm developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This diet requires a lot of peeling, slicing, cutting, chopping, mincing, grating etc. of fresh fruits and vegetables. My hand first started hurting from that freaking slap chop thing. Now I noticed that where the knife rests a "lump" has developed and the bottom of my hand looks swollen. The pain radiates up my lower arm and when I went to pour out the water from the pot of potatoes I thought I broke my wrist. I've also been doing a lot of pencil pushing, calculator crushing and typing for the end of the year shop shit, so that's not helped either. Good thing I'm not a tennis player.

It's been hard to hang around my husband though. Although he eats most of the meals I prepare, unlike my kids who are about to stage a mutiny (my daughter even introduced her brother, who was always opposed to even trying it, to the joys of ramen noodles), afterwards he snacks. "I'm so hungry," my husband complains. The sound of the peanut shells cracking and the wine glass hitting the table annoys the shit out of me. When he takes out his platter of cheese, the smell is too much for me to endure. I do miss my fresh mozzarella and blue cheese slabs. I can't sit in the same room so have been spending time in my office, riding the bicylcle, or I just go into the bedroom, watch tv and fall asleep. They tried to get me to go out to dinner last night, but I refused. I really want to make more progress before I allow myself some leeway. Do you know how hard it would be for me to go to a regular spot and not get the usual Bloody Mary, wine or sake? It was the same way when I quit smoking. I needed to avoid anyone who could tempt me and now I am no longer even tempted. In fact the very smell of smoke now sickens me and when I pass a smoker in the supermarket or on the street I can smell them even if they're not smoking right there and then. I have apologized over and over to my family for all the years I exuded that sickening smell. I just never realized it. Anyway, right now it will be harder to say no to that Bloody Mary or three when I'm out than to a cigarette, so why should I even put myself in such a position? I'm suffering enough, damn it!

But you know what, it's a good "suffering." I'm really not deprived of food, just eating the right type of foods. I'm seeing results and I feel positive. I no longer have the pain in my lower back. I'm not as hungry as I first was and I really do have more energy. My family is just going to have to deal with me eating healthier. What a lousy role model, eh?

10 pounds Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, January 8, 2010

It Must Really Suck to Be Rich

On Wednesday evening my husband and I watched Artie Lange's stand up special, "It's the Whiskey Talking" which I had found used for five bucks and stuffed in my husband's Christmas stocking. I fell asleep halfway through it and when I awoke I uttered, "I can't believe this guy is even still alive." What I meant was that it was clear he was spinning out of control with his drinking and drugging and I assumed he would have pulled a Belushi by now and OD'd.

So it was really freaky to read this headline from the New York Post yesterday, "Artie Lange Stabbed Himself 9 Times"...

"Troubled comic Artie Lange landed in the hospital after stabbing himself nine times in an apparent suicide attempt, sources told The Post. Lange's frantic mom called 911 Saturday morning after she entered his Hoboken apartment and found the bloodied funnyman, a law-enforcement source said. Lange sustained six "hesitation wounds" and three deep plunges."

If someone didn't know who Lange is they would probably think this sounds like total bullshit, but those of us who are familiar with his self-destructive behavior know it's probably not. In case you don't know who Lange is, he's Howard Stern's sidekick (but apparently hasn't been on the show for a couple of weeks), a stand-up comedian, an actor who had a gig on Mad TV until he screwed that up, an author who came out with a book last year, his memoir "Too Fat to Fish" which was pretty good and I think did pretty well since it landed on the NY Times bestseller list.

ARTIE LANGE TOO FAT TO FISH Pictures, Images and Photos

He also starred in a couple of B movies, most notably as Santa in "Elf" with Will Farrel. I remember him saying how much money he had made just from that one scene from the residuals every time it played. I think it was on 24 hour rotation on some channel this holiday season so Lange must've scored big. I guess all those royalty checks pouring in were the last straw.

It must really suck to be rich and famous, even if you're only semi-famous. It must suck so much that some rich people think about getting a knife and stabbing themselves nine freaking times to just end it all. It must suck so mega much that taking pills, or jumping in front of a train is not even an option to be thought of when thinking about killing one's self, and that the only way to end the miserable existence of being a millionaire/drug addict/comic/actor/best-selling author has to be to take a blade and shove it inside your fleshy body numerous times, unsuccessfully, so that your mother could find you bleeding to death when she brings food over to feed your pathetic fat face. Nice son.

Yup, it must really suck to be as rich and famous as Artie. I wouldn't know as obviously I'm nowhere as rich, famous, nor miserable, as he is. Since he failed in his stabbing suicide attempt, I'm guessing his next book will be titled, "Too Fat to Filet."

My son said I'm taking this suicide attempt too personal. And I guess I am. I'm pissed. I've always liked Artie. He was the one bright spot on the Stern show. I could relate to his upbringing (not the drug part) but the tight Italian family part, especially his relationship with his mother, who he always spoke so lovingly about. How could he do this to her and to his sister? I feel for her more than him. I know from reading his memoir that he harbored some guilt (waaaaaa! what Italian child doesn't?) for his father's accident, but I think he's used that as an excuse for way too long. I could never get into his mind and know all the real reasons he did what he did, but to me it's just plain cowardly and selfish. If he couldn't take living up in the New Jersey/New York area he should have done what I did 15 years ago, move to Virginia, or anywhere else. His mother would have preferred visiting him there rather than the hospital and/or his grave. I hope Mrs. Lange finds peace and Artie finds his mind. Good luck you dope.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sorcerer's Apprentice

When the kids got home from school yesterday I told them about the strange broom occurrence which one of my friends remarked reminded her of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

I think that snippet is the best/only good thing Disney/Mickey ever did. If only I could get my broom to sweep the house that would be cool, and it would be even cooler if my toilet bowl brush would fling itself into the toilet now and then too.

Anyway, as I was relating the story, my daughter said that reminded her of what happened in her room yesterday morning. She said as she was getting ready for school her eyelash curler flung across the room and hit her in the leg. I asked her why she didn't tell me when it happened as she usually does, and she reminded me how chaotic yesterday morning was with all of us rushing frantically since we were all an hour late to get to wherever we were going. That's true, as I even forgot to tell her about the broom.

My son, the "scientific one" tried to debunk the broom fling by setting it up in different corners and tipping it over through the doorway to see where it would land. Never mind that something would have to "tip it over" in the first place to have it fall. No matter where he placed it, and how forceful he tipped it, he could not get it to fall into my room, replicate the position it landed, nor fly the distance it was found from where it originally stood. After a couple of attempts we all just shrugged our shoulders, placed the broom back against the wall and had an afternoon snack.

I think what's really the weirdest thing is that we are so nonchalant about these type of events. I sometimes wonder if anyone else would experience what we experience if it would cause them alarm. I guess we've become so jaded that our paranormal experiences are "normal," and as long as there's no harm done to us, there's no foul.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tardy Wednesday

I hate when the alarm doesn't go off. Good thing I woke up suddenly to the miniature shaft of sunlight hitting my eyelid and noticed it was after 7, a full hour later than we usually wake up. The radio alarm was "on" but there was no sound coming from it until I smacked the knob. Time for a new clock. I've had this soothing sound/wave/rain/static noise clock since I was pregnant with my son 18 years ago. I guess I could splurge for another one.

It was a restless night. I fell asleep fairly early to a creepy Paranormal State episode. I don't even remember turning the television off but when I woke up at 11:30 from hearing a loud noise the house was dark. My husband jumped up, the dog grrrrrr'd, backing out of his "I'm scared and hiding between the bed and the fireplace next to the master's side place" and we turned the light on to see what the heck was up. On the floor near the foot of my bed the broom and dustpan was now laying. Previous to that location they stood in the kitchen leaning against the wall near the trash can. Although my bedroom is right off the kitchen it didn't make sense to see where the broom had landed. Even if it had fallen, for whatever reason, it wouldn't have fallen down the two steps into my room, turning around lengthwise and travelling about five feet, as much as it probably would have just fallen across the door frame.

My husband did the "turn on every light, check on the kids, walk though all the rooms, even the basement search" the same as he did the night before at 4:00am. The previous night we were both awoken to what sounded like someone taking a cup or glass and banging it on the kitchen table. Last night, like the night before, there was nothing to be found. We all went back to bed but I had a hard time falling asleep so began reading "Growing Up Haunted" which was probably not the best type of book to read when one is spooked.

I did finally fall back asleep only to be awoken again at 5:00 by another noise. This time I was the only one that heard it and didn't want to wake anyone up so I explored myself and found nothing. I attributed it to the wind. I fell asleep and then overslept. It's a tardy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Straggler

There's always a straggler left behind. The rebel decoration that doesn't want to join its comrades already packed away neatly in boxes. It hides out discreetly until the sun emerges to cast its bright light through the window. Dancing with joy from the forced heated air, glimmers of light shoot from the last tinsel and reflect across the wall. The distraction causes me to bring my nose from the book to the strange light. I see the last tinsel waving hello to me.

If only it had shown itself a couple of days ago it would be nestled safely with all the other decorations awaiting to return next Christmas. I feel bad ripping it off the wall and throwing it away, but only for a second.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The "Curse"

So it was about 10 days before Christmas when nestled between the Christmas cards in my mailbox was a strange envelope addressed to just my last name. The return address was from NASDAQ yet it had an Orlando postmark. The envelope had been sloppily opened before and taped back up. I looked at the handwriting and a chill went down my spine. I knew this letter was nothing good.

Since my spidey sense had kicked in I dropped the envelope on the kitchen table and got a pair of tweezers and a letter opener and proceeded to open the envelope. Sure enough it was nothing good, but at least it didn't have any anthrax spilling out of it. On a ripped piece of paper was a "curse" directed to me and my family.

The curser apparently opened up the book of Psalms and attempted to retrieve a line or two from them that was meant to instill fear in me. The curser is a moron because one of the lines in the letter says, "the lord will avenge you" instead of "the lord will avenge me." This is what happens when someone who has never looked in a bible before tries to use it against someone.

Naturally I knew immediately who the moron was that sent my family the "Christmas curse" dead father's sociopath, gold-digging, lousy lay, evil, piece of shit, pathetic, useless, thieving, hideous, ex-girlfriend. Those were just the first adjectives that came to mind, certainly there's many others as well. I had hoped we'd heard the last of her since it's been over two years since she put my father in the ground and tried to steal my home from me. Although I "hoped" I suspected she was still stalking me as she and her cronies had discovered my last blog a couple of months ago. As soon as I recognized their IP addresses I made the blog private and never even bothered addressing them. It must be killing her that she couldn't read all about the "cold dish" I have almost ready to serve her, and this "curse" was her feeble attempt to get back at me.

I imagine she's still obsessed since she was "this close" to cashing in and I thwarted her. From my research I've discovered that sociopaths do not like to lose. Rather than go on her merry way, looking for another victim, she's still out there devising ways to hurt me. I've said it before and I'll say it again...I didn't date her and she shouldn't be my problem. Talk about the daughter paying for sins of the father! Maybe her son should start paying for sins of the mother!

Anyway, if this "curse" is the best she can do, boy is she in trouble. Doesn't she realize that Sicilians invented curses? Heck, I don't' even have to "curse"'ll just backfire on her without me even doing anything. That's one of the dangers of a novice using the Psalms as ammunition. One time a mother of a psycho I was dating put a Psalm alongside my picture in her freezer in some santeria ritual to kill me. The psycho was so terrified for my safety. I laughed at him and said I wasn't worried. Sorry to say his mother died shortly thereafter. Coincidence? Of course, but the psycho didn't think so, and blamed me for his mother's death. Sigh.

In fact, the very day before I had received the "curse," I kept noticing a car in front of me everywhere I went that had a license plate that read Psalm 31 on it. I didn't know why I kept seeing it but figured there was a reason. After I read the letter I went to Psalm 31 thinking that's where she got it from, and understood exactly why I was shown it...she didn't use Psalm 31 at all, but it counteracted her perfectly and I immediately was put at ease. My "people" always look out for me.

In fact, since I have received this "curse" I've never slept better. The "curse" helped all my family that travelled to and from Virginia with the best weather possible during a time that was filled with treacherous weather. Even though the sociopath tried to ruin our Christmas again, like she did two years ago, the "curse" was part of the best Christmas ever. Everyone I showed it to, got a good laugh out of it. We even hit a couple of small lotteries after rubbing the scratch-offs on the letter for luck.

There is no doubt this "curse" is from her. I compared her handwriting with the handwriting on the envelope and letter and it matches perfectly, especially the numbers. I'm surprised she didn't cut out little letters like a kidnapper would for a ransom note. That'll be the next letter.

Notice she wrote, "Tom, you may call me a snake but you're the snake..." (see my father finally figured it out in the end but by then it was too late) and then she writes in shorthand. She also mentions herpes viruses. Ewwwww.

I've put the "curse" in a ziploc along with the sample handwriting which I will bring to the 62 precinct up in Brooklyn, as recommended by my local authorities. I'm hoping it could be dusted for fingerprints and she will be arrested for threatening me and my family. If not, at least it could go into the ever-expanding file on her. Maybe I'll even make a copy of the "curse" and slip it under the door to her illegal apartment.

Oddly, I'm not even angry with her, as she is clearly deranged and disturbed. How could I steal something that was mine? Greed kills? Yes, yes it does. She is the greedy thief. She is the greedy liar. Does that mean she is going to kill me and my family? I know everything in my book is the truth, and wonder if she'll be stupid enough to out herself when it's published? We'll see. Hopefully the district attorney will then realize what I've been dealing with and take appropriate actions.

Anyway I have decided to follow Jesus' words about turning the other cheek...well, actually I've decided to turn another page, because now my book has yet another chapter. Every time I think I'm done, this moron just gives me more material. I may reach 100,000 words at this point. It's really sad, or, is it?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Less Calories = Less Smiles

I got through the first dieting day and actually ate less than what was on the menu. I saw no point in eating a 380 calorie power bar in the mid-afternoon and opted for a 90 calorie Mocha Special K one instead. I also left most of the quinoa, yuk, and baby carrots that comprised 2/3rds of my dinner. The other third was a chicken nugget even though the diet book says it's a full portion of chicken breast. I drank seltzer, water and even had a cup of tea (which I hate even if it's flavored) although I longed for wine and Pepsi. I had a headache by late afternoon which lasted until bedtime and I figured it was because I was lacking sugar. I was also very cranky which got worse as the day wore on. Apologies all around. Hopefully today will be better and I won't be quite as moody or hungry. This was breakfast this morning...

Huevos Rancheros which was made with egg white, non fat cheese, potatoes, enchilada sauce, onions, cilantro. It was really good. I figured out yesterday's caloric count which came out to about 1,100 calories...a huge decrease from where I was a couple of days ago...less calories = less smiles. On the bright side when I stepped on the scale this morning two pounds were gone...less weight = more smiles. Skinny girls may not eat salads, but skinny girls must be hungry all the time.

I brought back the "Slap Chop" I had bought from Tuesday Morning . Not only didn't it work, but I also hurt the palm of my hand trying to use it and it damaged my counter top when it slipped after I struck it for the 50th time trying to chop an onion. The kids said it's my own fault as apparently I bought the "knock-off" brand, not the one that Vince touts. Tricky tricky little tv label on the box fooled me. I don't think it would really matter even if I had gotten the "name brand as seen on tv" chopper, as it probably takes more time to prepare your veggies for this device than it does to just chop them with a plain ole knife on a cutting board. Don't even get me started on what it's like to clean this butterfly design guillotine device. At least I didn't pay shipping and handling charges.

I've been freezing my butt off lately, well not at 3:00am when I kick the covers off and put the fan full force on me, but whenever I'm outside. The wind chill this morning was -3 when I got up to let the dog out. This weather is like end of February cold weather, or end of the world cold weather, not beginning of January little nippy weather. Lucky for him my husband took down all the lights on Friday when it was downright balmy at 30 degrees. If he hadn't they'd probably be up until springtime. Some neighbors complained that we should have waited until January 6th to remove them, "It's so dark and sad now." Good thing they said that to me before my starving diet attitude kicked in.

I've been working on my end-of-the-year shop crap and it's official...2009 was the worst year we have had. Between the government taking over the new car business early in the year, and then ending the year by taking over the used car business, we pretty much got screwed big time. Since I've always lived by the "rainy day" creed, I feel luckier than a lot of the other local shops I know. So many people seem so sad and miserable lately. I really hope this will be a better year for everyone and that change encompasses more than the meager coins left in our pockets.

No worries here...I have big plans for 2010.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year, New Blog

New blog.

Some of you know me from my previous two blogs, which due to circumstances beyond my control I had to make private, or from my most recent photo blog, MsElenaeous Pics. I've enjoyed posting some of my photographs but found that I missed posting some of my thoughts, observations, raves and mostly rants. I make no promises that I will post daily or regularly. Who knows maybe I may even post too many times a day. Whatever. It all depends on my mood, schedule and if I have anything to write about. I've found the best way to find out if a blogger has posted something is by "following" them - maybe that'll work for you too.

Anyway, first off let me say that I don't make any resolutions, just vows. The first of which is to lose freaking weight. When I saw myself in a picture recently I cried. This couldn't be me. I refuse to let it be me. I stopped smoking cold turkey. I could stop eating. Well, not stop eating, but eating more healthy certainly. So with that in mind I have determined to follow the "Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salad" diet. Today is Day one. For breakfast I had Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, 1 tbs of crushed walnuts and a 1/2 tsp of agave nectar. This is supposed to stay with me for four hours. The way the diet is supposed to work is that I eat every four hours (a special diet under 400 calories per meal) to keep my blood sugar stable. I figure I better get on the exercise bicycle pronto before I lose any strength. I'm too embarrassed to even document my weight here but will relate my progress (hopefully there will be progress) as it happens.

The problem with a diet like this happens when you have a family to feed. When I showed my husband the 3 oz. chicken that each of us are supposed to eat for our main meal he said he couldn't even see it. According to the book, one 12 ounce steak should feed the four of us. My husband usually orders 12 ounces by himself. I figure I'm going to make my meals and if they don't want to follow along, they're on their own. I am determined to see this through and have already told my husband to not ask me if I want a glass of wine, told my daughter to not ask me if she should pop popcorn and told my son to not ask me if I want a Pepsi.

Besides family creating some potential "roadblocks" to this particular diet the real problem is the food the author recommends I purchase. She comes from California where there is an abundance of fresh fruits and odd ingredients. Here in Virginia it's not so easy to find a fresh peach, nectarine or watermelon this time of the year. Same thing with Sea Bass. I don't even know what fish I could use to replace it with so I'm going with flounder. Agave nectar was a search, and I finally found it at the Natural Co-op store along with other expensive products I needed to purchase. I took my daughter with me who commented she couldn't stand the smell of the store and that she'd never seen so many smug hippies. When she tried the organic pear that cost $1.99, at first I was annoyed when she spit it out. And then I bit into it. It was the worst tasting bitter fruit I have ever had and I can only hope that the red lentils, quinoa, rolled oats, wild rice, turkey burgers, agave nectar and other assorted stuffs taste much better than that expensive psuedo fruit did.

Don't worry this blog isn't going to be just about my diet, although if you have any diet success stories to share I'll be more than happy to hear them. In fact, I hope you'll be sharing many of your stories that relate to any of the entries I may post. Maybe tomorrow I'll post the "curse" I received in the mail a couple of weeks ago. That'll be good for a laugh...