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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Clinton on "Maury"

According to Jimmy Kimmel, Obama's not the only president to have appeared on daytime television. Here's Bill Clinton on "Maury..."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Slurping the Slop

Michael Daly from the NY Daily News nails it in this column entitled,
"President Obama and the U.S. focus on triviality, not real issues like the Afghanistan war"...

"The death of the two Marines received little public notice, which is not surprising, for most of us walk around as if there were no war.

The leaking of 91,000 secret documents about the conflict in Afghanistan was met with yawns by people who did not even bother to ascertain whether there was anything really new...

For myself, I found it a touch surreal that at a time when other Marine pilots are dying, four Marine helicopters and a small army of cops and secret service agents were being mobilized so Obama could dish with Barbara Wawa and then hit some fat cats up for more than $30,000 a plate.

Even so, we ultimately have only ourselves to blame."

He's right. We do have only ourselves to blame. As long as we keep slurping the slop the media and government slings at us, we're doomed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So, Who Was on Journolist?

Here's an interesting post on Politico - "Journolist Veers Out of Bounds."

"Somewhere along the way, things have gone terribly wrong. Journalism has become a toy, an electronic plaything. I do not blame technology. The giant megaphone of technology has been coupled with a new, angrier, more destructive age. (Yes, you can find extremely angry, extremely partisan times in our past, but I always thought the goal was to progress over the centuries, not regress.)

Until recently, there was a semisecret, off-the-record organization called Journolist. It was a listserv, which is a bunch of people who sign up (if allowed) and then get the same e-mails and can reply to everybody on the list.

Journolist was founded by Ezra Klein in early 2007, when he was 22 and working for the liberal publication The American Prospect. Klein continued running it when he went to The Washington Post in 2009. The Post is a mainstream publication, but Journolist was limited to those “from nonpartisan to liberal, center to left.”

Klein determined who would get on Journolist — political reporters, academics, think tank members, left-wing bloggers — and it grew from a manageable 30 members to a pretty unmanageable 400. There was no censorship, but if Klein felt you had gone too far, he would tell you to stop it. You could be threatened with expulsion, but nobody was ever expelled."

Based on the coverage of the last election I'm sure many are not surprised by the existece of such a "list." Many a story from local and national media seemed to have had the same "talking points" to the point that I often joked yet wondered if the media received a morning e-mail of sorts steering them/advising them on how to handle that day's "events" - how to focus on something, ignore, or deflect away from something.

Strangely enough I haven't read anything about Journolist in my local newspaper. A search on their website garnered 0 results. I'm sure the discovery of such a list might be one of the "events" they'd like to ignore. What I would love to see is the full list of "unbiased" reporters/columnists/journalists, etc. who were members. If the members felt what they were doing was honorable, and not a clear affront to all unbaised journalists, surely they're not afraid to out themselves. Heck, I wonder if any from our local Roanoke newspaper were on it?

Monday, July 26, 2010


My cherry trees are dying. It seems to have happened very quickly. Dead branches, brown leaves destined to fall on the burnt lawn. I've been searching the sky for rain clouds for weeks. When they show up they taunt me. Hovering above my head an angry grey cloud hovers. It grumbles. The wind whips up a wee bit. Then just like that it's gone without leaving a tear. Many neighborhoods around us get a heavy drink while we in Southwest Roanoke County don't even get a sip.

I think I may have waited too long to nourish the trees with hose water. I don't care about the flowers, the vegetables or the grass. I care about these trees. The first thing I noticed about this house was the four cherry trees.

Splendid - although to some they're grown too large and need to be scaled back. The constant arid days have replaced pruning shears. I would be devastated if I lost them. I was trying to conserve water, especially after my last water bill. I hadn't even been watering the yard. But now I have to.

After a couple of tries I finally found the best placement to get the most water out the lawn shower. As soon as the sparkling fountain hits the sunlight excited chirps bounce from the trees. The birds call to one another. They swoop from the browning branches and totter at the edge of the water, drinking and cooling off. When a puddle forms they splash and play. It's like a day at the beach for birds. The best part is they're not afraid of me. They sing to me. It sounds like "Thank You." Especially grateful are the wrens, sparrows, cardinals and black capped somethings. Sometimes they yodel "Fill the bird feeder!" -- especially the chickadees who perch inches from my face in the backyard dogwood, flying to and fro from the feeder. Ok, ok, I get it.

This heat has been hard on all the living creatures. Even kids. Especially ones who don't have a pool to cool off in. A rain puddle is just as good though. It's like swimming in the concrete without getting your makeup ruined. We haven't seen many puddles lately. The other day I drove through a monsoon in the Raleigh Court area. After the girls had ice cream they found their swimming hole. My daughter captured her friend cannonballing into it...


We need more splashes...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fish Kill

There was another fish kill yesterday, only this time it wasn't at our outdoor pond, but rather in the indoor aquarium at the shop. When my husband went to feed his babies he found most of them floating at the top. Befuddled, as just a couple of hours earlier they were swimming around swimmingly, he looked for the cause. The first thing he noticed was the temperature in the tank was about 125 degrees. The fish had almost boiled.

Anger took hold so he thrust his hand in the burning hot water, snatched the offending killer out, the heater, and threw it against the wall shattering it. This was the third time a heater had killed his fish. The last time it happened was over the winter when it shut down and froze the fish. This time it shot up and baked them. He was at a loss as he looked longingly at the one four year old angel fish he had nursed back to health struggled to stay afloat. "I don't think she's gonna make it," he informed me on the phone.

I felt terrible because I know how much he loves those fish. He would spend a day out of his weekend tenderly cleaning the tank so it glistened without a speck of algae. He'd buy his "babies" special freeze-dried worm treats. He'd show our customers how he could get the angelfish to dance for her dinner. Even though they were in the front waiting room he felt like they kept him company in the shop and he treasured them. Our customers seemed to enjoy them too although the younger ones seemed to have a problem not tapping on the glass.

I asked him how such a thing could happen and he assumed the heater just broke. "Cheap shit from China!" I wondered if it had broken wouldn't it be more likely that it would have shut off instead of shot up? I suggested he check it to make sure some asshole hadn't tampered with it. Once before he suspected foul play when he found someone had dumped some liquid into the tank. He was able to save most of the fish that time and he never found out who did it, although he suspected it was a small kid that was in the waiting room earlier that day. He informed me that he wouldn't be able to check the heater because of his rage it was in a million little pieces, but now that he was looking at the top of the tank he noticed something strange. There was a fresh ring on top from a glass or bottle in the dust as if someone had placed a drink up there. Now he was perplexed, "What asshole would put a drink on top of a fish tank when there's tables everywhere in here?" Good question. Answer: People who are clueless, cruel morons.

A little while ago he went to the shop. He just called to report the angel fish didn't make it. That's it. He's through with fish tanks..."It hurts too much to know how they suffered..."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Waiting

Boy do I have a lot to say, but I'm doing something uncharacteristic for me...I'm waiting. I'm giving my thoughts a place in the back of my head. I'm keeping my fingers off the keyboard. I'm wondering if I'm steaming because of the unbearable heat, or because of the unbearable direction this nation is heading. I'm waiting before I hit that post button.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pensacola Beach Report - 7/21/10

Plan on swimming at Pensacola Beach today? In case you've not been paying attention and actually had the inclination to subject your children to the toxic mix, the Coast Guard advises not to. I'm waiting for the day they advise not to smoke on the beach because it might explode...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Starving off the Land

I have garden envy. After reading so many blog posts and viewing pictures of others' growing vegetable gardens I look at mine and sigh. This is my harvest...

The apple...

The peach...

The tomato the chipmunk got to before I did...

The two tomatoes he can't get to, but aren't growing any larger. Oh well, that's what I get for cheaping out and buying the knock-off Upsy Downsy instead of the Topsy Turvy...

The blackberry bush was full of berries until I went out yesterday to harvest them...

This is what's left after the birds had their shindig...

Maybe I could get a fig if the deer would give the tree a chance to grow...

Here is the motherload...hundreds and hundreds of pears. Too bad they're pretty much useless to me since they never seem to ripen, but the critters love 'em. They make a tasty side dish to the koi.

Yup, if we had to live off the land, we'd starve.

Monday, July 19, 2010

When Greenways Go Bad

It had been way too long since I walked along the Roanoke River on a Sunday morning with my husband, so even though it was already 90 degrees I dragged him with me. It's probably been about a month since I was last on the Salem Greenway and I couldn't believe how much it's changed, and not all for the good.

The first thing I noticed is how low the Roanoke River is.

Normally the grass in the middle is covered by flowing water. Now it resembles a grassy marshland that would not allow any of the kayaks or canoes navigation.

I was happy to see the blue heron again.

And I was thrilled to see a white egret for the first time.

I tried to zoom in but I couldn't get close enough with the optical so this is the crappy image from the digital zoom...

That's him flying away...

I tried to get closer to it, but where there was once a clear view of the river, it's now covered with six foot weeds.

One of the stark differences between this month and the last time I walked along the Greenway was how unkempt it has become. Besides the fallen trees the weeds are almost impenetrable. The City of Salem had planted trees in the spring. They're in those plastic tubes that are being engulfed by grass. No mowing has been done in quite a while. Many of the trees have emerged from the top of the tubes and look like they're going to be smothered if they're not released soon. What's the point of planting trees if they're going to be forgotten? Naturally the grass around them needs to be mowed.

It looks like no progress has been made at all on the Greenway.

If anything, the Greenway is beginning to look like a dump with broken bottles,

and dog shit everywhere.

Disgusting. So now besides having to dodge bicyclists us walkers have to dodge dog piles. I saw many dog walkers, and wondered how many of them had any sort of plastic bags on them to pick up their dog's waste. I looked at the size of their dogs and tried to gauge which one dumped which load. Maybe Salem needs to place those little boxes along the path that contain plastic bags for the inconsiderate dog owners. I'm sure this little guy carrying a stick bigger than he is wouldn't think about leaving his waste right in the middle of the path. Too cute.

The picnic tables are now chained and grafitti has marred them. I'm really surprised that Salem, who "prides itself" on so many things has allowed this Greenway to go to pot. Amongst all the dirt, debris, overgrown grasses and weeds I found something interesting growing.

Two corn stalks can grow in this mess yet I can't get a decent vegetable from my garden!

Greenways are lovely until they're allowed to deteriorate. This one's not even a year old. C'mon Salem you can do better than this.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where's the Beef?

The only Korean food I've had here in Roanoke was at the Local Colors Festival and I enjoyed it very much. Recently a new Korean restaurant, Wonju, opened up so my daughter and I thought we would check it out for lunch today. Based on the raves it received on a local newspaper website, we were looking forward to it.

We shared an appetizer of fried dumplings. They were okay, but nothing to write home about and would probably have been tastier had there been some sort of dipping sauce other than plain ole soy. We decided we would both order something different so we could share. Not feeling very daring my daughter went with the safe chicken teriyaki and I branched out with a Bibimpap. She requested fried rice instead of plain white rice as her side, which caused the waitress to apologize as it would be a dollar more. I told her no problem.

For those of you like me who have no idea what a Bibimpap is, here is the menu description - "Served hot in an earthenware pot, rice, cooked vegetables and beef, mixed with red chili paste *Served with rice & dumpling." Sounded good. When the waitress brought it over I was surprised to be greeted with what looked like a dog bowl filled with rice and veggies and a fried egg on top of it. It didn't mention any egg in the description so I asked the waitress if she had brought me the wrong dish. She said no. I pointed to the egg and said there was no mention of that in the menu, although there was another dish that did have an egg on it which I didn't order. She said that's how it comes. Now that wouldn't have been a problem except the egg was mostly raw and slimy looking. I gag at the thought of eating a raw egg so asked the waitress to please have the egg cooked some more. No problem.

There were four little sampler side dishes they give you, none of which my daughter would try and all of which sorta tasted the same to me...some sort of chilipasted cabbage, some sort of chilipasted bean sprouts?, some sort of chilipasted cucumbers? and seaweed. I've put question marks because I'm assuming the red coloring was chilipaste as it tingled and I think those were the vegetables. I tried a chopstick of each one but didn't like any of them.

My daughter's chicken teriyaki tasted nothing like teriyaki so I'm assuming Korean teriyaki is different than Japanese, Thai or Chinese. The chicken itself was overcooked and of poor grade, definitely not white breast. The "fried rice" was inedible. It was really just white rice that was overcooked, as if it was sitting in a pot for a week, splashed with some soy sauce and a couple of canned peas, carrots and greenbeans thrown in.

When my dog bowl came back the egg was cooked but the bowl was no way "hot", tepid at best. I searched and searched for the beef, but couldn't find any. I called the waitress back and asked her, "Where's the beef?" as I moved the contents around. "There's a piece!" Was that a piece of beef? I don't even know. It tasted more like a half inch of shredded steak-um. I found two other pieces as well, so the total amount of "beef" in the dog bowl was about 1/4 of a steak-umm, if that much. The rest of the dish was 3/4's inedible white rice, and some shredded mystery vegetables. I did recognize a mushroom, but it was one of those slimy ones that I don't like cut into six pieces so I didn't bother eating it. In fact I didn't bother eating hardly any of it. Well, I did eat the now overcooked egg once I put salt and pepper on it. The waitress noticed and asked why not? I told her I was disappointed because I thought the dish was going to have more/some beef in it and I felt the rice was way overcooked. She said that was the way the cook sometimes does it. She also recommended I put the red contents of the plastic bottle that was on the table in it to give it flavor. So I did. Ouch! That must have been the same chilipaste that was on the veggie samplers. That, as they say, was that. By the way, not once was I asked if I wanted a refill of my drink. When you're serving such spicy food that should be a given.

My daughter did not like her meal at all either, "Local Colors food is waaaaaay better. We should have just gone for Thai" so she declined, as did I, a "to-go" box. The waitress said next time I should try something beef. Haha! I told her, "I thought I was! And by the way weren't we supposed to get dumplings with this?" She apologized again saying she forgot and said she would take one dollar off the bill.

We left and about a half hour later I needed to, ahem, use the bathroom, so we beelined home. We won't be heading back. I think I heard my husband breathe a sigh of relief. Based on the meal we had, and all the reviewers who've raved about this place, I am convinced that my taste in food, and oh so many other things, run counter to the vast majority of folks in Roanoke. Don't let this review stop you from trying it because you may very well rave about it. I wish anyone starting a business in this climate the best of luck. I'm sure Wonju will remain open for a long time as only the restaurants I like and think are good in Roanoke seem to disappear or change...the subpar ones linger on forever.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pensacola Beach Before & After

Gregg from Pensacola Beach put together a 7:00 video of before and after shots of Pensacola and weep. I'm sure you won't be seeing this on any newscasts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Teen Slaying Update

Everyone I spoke with this weekend kept saying the same thing, "Why would Padgett kill Cara, why? why? why?"

According to this Roanoke Times article, the killer of the local 18 year old girl admitted to kicking her, choking her and bludgeoning her to death so he could steal her new SUV.

"He stated that it was in better shape than his 'to make his journey' out of Roanoke," according to the warrant. Padgett stated that he choked and kicked and beat her with a tire iron until she was dead."

I am just sick over this. Give the piece of shit the death penalty.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Friend of a Friend is No Friend

My daughter's face was ashen when she revealed to me last night that the murderer of a local 18 year old girl had tried to get her to meet him in person three weeks ago. No, she didn't know him but he was on her Facebook friends list, a "friend of a friend" that she had accepted. Three weeks ago the killer sent my daughter a personal message that "gave her the creeps." Thank God she ignored it and promptly deleted him from her "friends." But what if she hadn't? What if her sixth sense hadn't kicked in, or he wasn't "creepy" but "good looking" and she would have struck up a conversation, or worse, met him in person? What if this person tracked my daughter down, stalked her and then kidnapped her? What if this person was the one ringing our doorbell at all ours and then hiding? What if? What if? What if? I get sick to my stomach just thinking about all the "what ifs." Would our family be forever changed and inconsolable as I'm sure the victim's family are?

Clearly this person had "problems" as evidenced by a comment left on WSLS's site..."i did know shane and he was truely a sick person..he used to tell me all the time he was going to kill someone but i never believed he would actually do something like this…". No one ever thinks something like this would happen in a small town like Roanoke, but I do. I learned quickly years ago that small towns have plenty of psychos living amongst us. When I put my Roanoke zip code in Virginia's registered sex offenders crime base I was horrified to see how many were living right under our noses. When I put my Brooklyn zip code in NY's registered sex offenders, zero came up. There are way more people living in my Brooklyn zip code than my Virginia one. If you need more proof that there are more "weirdos" here take a stroll any night through the Salem Fair. It's scary, and that's why I wouldn't let my daughter go alone with her friends.

When my husband found out the killer had contacted my daughter via Facebook he held her hand tightly as we crossed the parking lot to the restaurant. He wanted to pull the computer away from her. He wanted to chain her to her room. He got up all through the night to check on her. He told her he was taking her up to Potts Mountain to learn how to shoot. I told him to calm down. The girl had done the right thing, this time, and we just had to reinforce all the dangers lurking out there.

Facebook is not your friend. Friends of friends are not your friends. Having 500, 600 or 1,000 friends does not make you popular. It makes you vulnerable. When I first signed on I just accepted anyone who asked me to be their friend. Eventually I realized that was foolish so deleted many. Now I've even gone back and anyone that I don't have some sort of connection to I've deleted. I've gotten requests from people other states that I have no idea who they are other than a common friend of my daughter. When I show her the people and she says she has no idea who they are, I've ignored them. Now I want her to delete them from her friends list. I told her to go through her list and begin deleting people she doesn't know. Just being a friend of a friend doesn't mean they're your friends.

I don't know yet what the connection was between the killer and Cara, but my story should serve as a wake-up call to all parents of teenaged daughters. Hold your babies tight no matter how old they are. Condolences go out to Cara's family. I can't imagine what they're going through right now.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Salem Fair

The girl's been stir crazy so she begged me to take her and two of her friends to the Salem Fair yesterday. I agreed as long as we didn't stay long, she didn't go on any rides, wouldn't touch any of the animals, and if her legs began to hurt she tell me immediately. What fun, huh?

One of her friends volunteered to participate in a lame magic show.

And since she didn't have any healing wounds was able to pet the animals, although I made her scrub her hands after she did...

This year there was an Australian exhibit that had kangaroos...cute little things but like every animal at the fair, they looked so sad.

Yellowjacks were landing on all the food and drinks so none of us wanted to eat there, with the exception being funnel cake. Doesn't this turkey leg look appetizing....not!

The rest of the fair was the same ole, same ole, and I couldn't wait to get the heck out of there, but the girl didn't mind the heat or the stares, since she was finally out of the house!

She hasn't woken up yet so I don't know how her legs are going to feel, but I'm starting to see the silver lining...I hope...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Doggy Flu Shot

Every time I bring my corgi to the vet for his well visit the cost seems to rise. On average it costs a little over $200 for him to get tortured. As each year passes I get the lecture on how he's way overweight. Yeah, that's what happens when a dog gets fixed. They try and push their diet food and diet pills, yes, diet pills. I always promise the kids will take him out for a walk more often instead of allowing him to wallow in his filth in his yard. After the last visit they wanted me to bring him by once a month to have him weighed. Haven't done that. Won't do that. What next, doggy fat camp?

For years the vet has been trying to convince me I need to spend a couple of hundred dollars more, I think the quote was like $600, on having dental work done, for the dog, not me. One of his back teeth has a chip in it, which he probably got from chewing sticks. Hey at least he has back teeth! At the very least I'm supposed to get him tartar treatments and brush his teeth daily. Haha, I have a hard enough time getting my son to brush. Forget the dog.

It always pisses me off that they insist he gets the heartworm blood test at $30 a pop even though he's on the heartworm pills all year round costing $120 because he's overweight. They won't prescribe me the pills without the test and I never fail to complain about that. I think it's a scam to drive up the bill.

Now they found another way to get more bucks out of me...the new doggy flu vaccine! Huh? Actually my vet didn't even mention this, the place where I get the boy groomed did. They informed my husband last month that they will be requiring all dogs get the vaccine along with all the other shots he needs. I don't know if they meant for when he's boarded or if he's to be groomed there as well.

Now I didn't get the H1N1 flu shot...thought is was totally overhyped and they were pushing it because they had too many vaccines, which proved to be true. So now I'm wondering about this doggy flu one. It's brand new and the dog needs to get a couple of doses before it becomes effective. My corgi is nine years old. He's never had sniffles or a flu. He's not around other dogs at all, unless he's getting groomed or for the "emergency board" situation. I am not comfortable putting him in a trial situation. I don't want to have him be a guinea pig for some drug that he doesn't really need, so no I am not having him get the doggy flu vaccine. He gets enough shots yearly and I'm not going to put him in danger by introducing something into his system that may be worse than any sniffles. So, bye bye longtime groomer. I guess I'll be giving Petco a try since they're half the price I've been paying anyway. It's not like he's a "show dog" either. I just want him clean and shaved for the summer. He's my baby and just like I wouldn't let my other babies get the chicken pox vaccines, the cervical cancer vaccine or any flu shot, neither will he.

What about you dog owners. Has your vet been pushing this and what will you do?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pensacola Beach Report - 7/7/10

Four years ago I was sloshing through the surf with my kids...after watching this I can't imagine when we'd be able to do that again, if ever...And still the oil gushes. If only it happened on a golf course, then something might have been done already...


I love the smell of gunpowder in the evening...