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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ain't She Sweet? Not...

Awww, ain't she sweet? She just can't bear to be away from Mommy, even for a minute. Try as she might. she cannot claw her way through that glass window.

"Mommy, come inside NOW!"

If only the sweet, baby girl would let me put a collar and leash on her I would bring her in the front with me. But, no, she will not allow it. After all, it does paralyze her.

"Carry me, carry me, carry ME!"

Sorry honey you'll just have to wait a couple more minutes and I'll be back inside. Here I come. Where are you? Oh, on my bed, on the freshly washed sheets? Wait a second, what is that? Did you just pee on my bed? You spiteful little bitch! As if I don't have enough to do around here! And I just washed that mattress cover too! You freaking better hide!!! No ice cream for you today!!!

So cute, but oh, so bad! I don't know if it's the breed or the sex, but one thing's for more high maintenance female Malti-Zhu's. If I ever become insane enough to get another dog, I'm sticking to male Corgi's.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why I Watched the Jodi Arias Trial

I am a trial watcher, and although I didn't follow the Jodi Arias trial from day one, I've watched enough to realize that she is a sociopath. The more I heard about her actions, the more I became involved hoping justice would be served. And once I saw her testify, that was it. I was convinced that she was full of shit. You see, I have dealt with a sociopath before and the behavior Arias exhibits mirrors what I have observed firsthand.

In no particular order, here are signs of a sociopath that you should watch for...

Compulsive liar -- If they repeat the lies enough time it becomes their truth. Since they believe they are smarter than you, they are convinced they will sway you to believe them. They usually have a "silver tongue." If that doesn't work they will employ other means for you to become "sympathetic" to their cause.

Chameleon -- They will become whatever they need to become and tell you what they think you want to hear.

Charming -- They will hang on your every word without ever hearing you.

Dead Eyes -- They look right through you. It's as if they're looking beyond you to see if something better is coming along.

Manipulator -- They will search out what triggers your emotions and use that knowledge against you.

Fast Movers -- Once they glom on to you, they will try to convince you you are meant to be together, often times saying they are your "soul mate" with the goal to become your roommate, or better yet, spouse.

Aliases -- One name may not be enough. The more names they use, the harder it is to trace their backgrounds.

TMI -- They offer too much information without any substance. They have the gift of gab. They know everything, yet reveal little about their pasts. When confronted with a "discrepancy" they will deflect and drone on and on and on about something else. They are exhausting.

Narcissistic -- Me, me, me, me, me. Everything is about them. No one else matters.

Isolation -- They will try to keep you away from your family and friends, especially those that are "on to them." They will instigate situations hoping to create a fight between you and the ones that truly love you. They want you all for themselves.

Can't Take Rejection -- Don't know how to take no for an answer. Almost impossible to break up with them. They will continue to stalk you and use whatever is in their "arsenal" to get you back. If they are a woman it's usually sex. If that fails they may resort to the "If I can't have you, nobody will" action.

Conniving -- Will try to cover their tracks by performing actions that suggest that had no knowledge of a situation, from a benign event to something horrific like a person's death.

Victim -- They are always the victim.

No Responsibility -- It's always someone else's fault that caused them to commit a despicable action.

No Remorse -- The only thing they're sorry about is that they got caught.

Resilient -- If they fail at a particular attempt they easily divert their energies and focus on another goal. Sometimes it's another victim. Sometimes it's another way to bring more attention to themselves.

Know the signs of a sociopath, and if someone you love begins interacting with one, let them know of your concerns. Unfortunately, by the time my father listened to me, it was too late. He's dead. I didn't want to write Fractured Facade, but I knew I had to. I am sad to say I am not surprised by the emails and comments I've received from those who read the book and have encountered something similar. There are many sociopaths that slither among us. Thankfully, Jodi Arias will not be one of them any longer.

Whether Arias lives or dies I refuse to watch or read any interview she gives. Her fifteen minutes went on far too long. The best way to stop a sociopath is to take the power away from them. Ignore them. Grant them no attention. They don't deserve it. Sociopaths don't just hurt their victims, they destroy the victim's family and friends as well.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Help Oklahoma Tornado Victims

"There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." Dwight D. Eisenhower

My heart breaks for the folks in Oklahoma. Click here for links on how to help Oklahoma.

And for local Roanoke Valley residents from WSLS' Lindsey Ward's Facebook Page -- "God's Pit Crew, and Spirit FM are working together to collect donations for victims in Oklahoma. Stop by the Bonsack Walmart today or tomorrow from noon - 7 p.m. to drop off your donation. Water, cleaning supplies, snacks and baby supplies are needed."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Powerball? Hey, You Never Know...

Before I play Powerball or MegaMillions the prize has to be way up there. So yes, today I played both. I know the odds of me actually winning are ridiculous, but I look at it this's a 50/50 shot...either I win, or I won't. Getting struck by lightning is supposed to be rare, but I've had three encounters with a bolt, one at this house, and two others at my old house in Brooklyn, so you never know.

It's been an "odd" week here. First I stumbled upon a phone message saved on my cellphone that I never knew was there. It was from my cousin JP who died a year and a half ago. I cannot tell you the joy I felt hearing his voice, "Hey's me." I cannot tell you the sadness I felt knowing that I couldn't return his call, "Call me back." It had to be on there well over 2-3 years since he called from his job and he had been out of work a while.

On the same phone I have the last text messages he sent me. Every time I have to clear my messages I do them one at a time so his remains. Now that I pressed "save" after hearing his voice message, Verizon informed me it will only stay on the phone for 21 days. I plan on resaving it every 21 days until I find my digital recorder so I could record it and then transfer it over to my computer. My phone is over 6 years old, it's not a smart one, and one of the reasons I have not upgraded is because of those texts.

The following night as I was performing my insomniac ritual of flicking through the channels, I stumbled upon "Dog Day Afternoon." And who do I see in the middle of the crowd shot outside the bank? Yup, my cousin JP! I spotted him immediately only because I knew he was there. It made me smile. 

All week there have been strange knocks, bangs, doors opening and closing, whispers in my daughter's ear, and Bella freaking out and barking at nothing I can see, but apparently she does. I started to think maybe we're being visited. Maybe it's my cousin. His birthday is next week. Maybe he's trying to tell me something. I'm Sicilian...I believe in signs and listening to that little voice. I don't know if my cousin is with me, but just in case he is, I thought to myself, "I think I will play the lottery using his and my birthday numbers." So that's it...I spent a couple of bucks on our numbers.

Hey, you never know...Too bad there's not enough money in the world to bring him back.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Congrats Class of 2013!

I didn't realize how wonderful it was beforehand, but after attending VWCC's graduation ceremony on Friday, my kids did us a huge "favor" by graduating together. It was just a year earlier when we found ourselves in the Salem Civic Center attending my daughter's high school graduation. At that time I thought the ceremony was long, but it was over in a blink of the eye compared to Friday's.

A lot, and I mean a lot, of students graduated. That translates to a lot, and I mean a lot of cars in the parking lot, and a lot and I mean a lot of folks in the stands. We had to wait on a line where before even entering the door I was searched. Why are only the women searched, huh, huh? Anyway, we found our way to some seats where for the next three hours our butts and legs would go numb, my husband would experience a charlie horse, and our ears blasted by screams, catcalls, and air horns. It makes me wonder...are the folks who scream like mad people when a student's name is announced doing that because they never in a million years imagined they would graduate? It's annoying, rude, and not fair to the next student whose name gets lost in the cheering.

Anyway, as we were waiting for the event to begin, there were two huge screens above the stage where students spoke to their parents, God, or whoever, thanking them, etc. I joked to my husband, "Yeah, I'm sure we'll see our kids up there." Just as I said that, my son popped up! I was so stunned I dropped my camera as I fumbled to turn it on. I missed the shot. It was such a nice surprise, and the highlight of my evening. A couple of headshots later, there was my daughter! Again, I missed the shot. Lucky for us just a smidgeon of the huge student body spoke on camera, so they looped it. My husband brought it to my attention as he recognized one of the students before our kids. This time I was ready:

In case any of our relatives want to hear the kids speak, I've embedded the video from that night. Frankie starts at about 9:33 in and Marie at 10:47.

When the first strains of Pomp and Circumstance rang out I couldn't help tearing up. I caught a couple of shots of them as they passed by.

Earlier in the day, after their rehearsal, the kids had let me know they would be sitting in the first row. One of the benefits of your last name starting with an A!

They also let me know I shouldn't get too excited as they weren't going to be the first called as it was starting stage right. It didn't really matter as we couldn't "sneak out" anyway after they received their diploma. Before that happened there were numerous speeches with everyone patting themselves on the back. Academia can be so full of themselves, Ha!

The longest speech was given by a young lady who previously had been heralded in the local press, for what I can't remember, but I think it had something to do with getting a scholarship. She was chosen to speak for the students and speak she did...on and on and on and on and on. The title of her speech was "Words" and she used way too many! The speech was over 16:00 long, which was longer than any other speaker, including the dean. I kept thinking in my head of the Dave Chapelle skit, "Wrap it up Box!" She wasn't really engaging and lost the audience after 5:00. At one point later on in her soliloquy, some of the audience could take it no more, so when she paused to take a breath they began clapping wildly to get her off the stage. I felt bad, but that didn't deter her and she continued. Meanwhile, the audience started talking amongst themselves. I thought that was rude, but I think taking that much time to talk about one's self is also rude. There should be a time limit and I hope the speaker will learn from her experience. Oh and what does she want to "be?" English Professor, not a teacher, but a Professor. When I heard that, Professor Fritz Owl immediately came to mind:

The most succinct speaker of the evening was the Pastor who gave a one sentence blessing at the end to the effect "Lord, keep the rain away for the folks traveling home," or something to that effect. He received a resounding applause!

All in all it was a proud evening...

We went to a late night dinner afterwards at Red Lobster, which sucked. You would think a seafood restaurant would know how to cook fish! And by the time we got out of there it was quite late, so no celebrating was done at home. Not that we had any friends or relatives here who would celebrate with us, but even so, I wanted the graduates to feel special so I did decorate a little.

I'm glad it's over...and now I wish them, and all class of 2013 graduates well in their future endeavors.

"My great-grandfather used to say to his wife, my great-grandmother, who in turn told her daughter, my grandmother, who repeated it to her daughter, my mother, who used to remind her daughter, my own sister, that to talk well and eloquently was a very great art, but that an equally great one was to know the right moment to stop." ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Friday, May 10, 2013

They Did It!

Seems like it was only yesterday when my daughter graduated high school. was only a year ago! Seems like forever when my son graduated high school. was three years ago! And today they both are graduating from the same college. How does that happen?

Well, the girl took many advanced placement classes while in high school and scored high on the tests, as well as taking any dual enrollment classes offered. She entered college with so many credits that she was able to finish in one year with an Associate Science in Social Services and First Aid & CPR certified. The boy received some credit for advanced placement classes, but no dual enrollment ones, so he had to take more classes to get his degree. Unfortunately, the requirements shifted to engineering classes to complete his computer science degree, so the boy had to rethink his future. Determined to finish and make lemonade out of lemons, he chose to graduate with two degrees -- Associate Science in Social Services and Associate Science in Business.

The original plan for the girl was for her to continue her education to gain a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. The colleges we visited in Virginia would not add to the knowledge she had already received during her high school years when she had attended Burton and graduated from their Mass Communications program. About the only thing, besides a piece of paper, additional college would help, is that she would be an intern somewhere hopefully in the industry. The best bet in Virginia was VCU in Richmond, but we determined a better one would be at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn. I had resigned myself to losing her to New York City sooner than I thought, but then a mini miracle happened when a local television station placed an ad.

Even though she was still in school she applied, and luckily the person who was hiring remembered her from when she interned two years ago. Although there were persons with higher degrees, and more experienced, they knew the girl's performance and decided to give a local kid a break. They've been wonderful to her and worked around her school schedule. After two weeks on the job she began directing with supervision the weekend late night newscast. Within a month she took over the newscast without supervision. Next week she begins training for the prime time weekly newscasts. She loves what she's doing, loves the people she works with, and really loves getting a decent paycheck. She even loves her job as a hostess at a local chain restaurant, so she hasn't given that up either. Some days she works 18 hours, but she doesn't mind.

I've always said to my kids, "Love what you do for a living, and you'll never feel like you're working." I can attest to the truth to this statement -- when I was single I worked in television, when I had kids I worked as a mother, & now I hope to work as a writer. By the way, the mother job will never end, and will continue to be the best one.

The original plan for the boy was to continue his education to gain a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. As explained above, that did not happen. Some people aren't thrilled with going to school, and based on the number of times I had to wake him up to make sure he did get to class, I think my son has had his fill. He has been working for three years at a Fortune 500 company. Over that time they have made promises to him, none of which they have kept. Although he is responsible and fulfills his end of the bargain, he does not enjoy his job any more. I think the third time they screwed him over was his breaking point. He feels confident with the skills he has and his two degrees he can improve his future with a full-time gig somewhere else. Beginning Monday he will be sending out his resume. I hope he finds the job he loves.

To say I'm proud of both of my kids goes without saying, but I did anyway! The girl is the first one in our family to graduate college. Heck, on my husband's side, she's the first one to graduate high school! The boy is also the first one to graduate college. It's always been our desire to see our children do better than we did, and I think they have a good start as neither one has to pay back any student loans. What they do from here on in is up to them, but I am confident in both of them. However, the days of Mommy waking them up have come to an end. You can't teach common sense and I think they've both been blessed with it. The only sadness on this most happy day is that Grandma and Grandpa aren't here to witness what fine young adults they've become. I know they're looking down on them, but it's just not the same.

Congratulations to anyone who is graduating. Give yourself a big pat on the back...You did it!!!

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves." -- William Shakespeare

Sunday, May 5, 2013

No Yard Sale Here

The other day I found a folded piece of paper wedged in my screen door. I figured it was probably from one of the candidates running for the Board of Supervisor's position who have pushed the Jehovah Witnesses out of the "most annoying early bell ringer" detested spot. Nope, it was a type-written notice from one of our neighbors letting us know that May 11th has been deemed the Neighborhood Yard Sale Day.

They hope we will be part of it as "the more the merrier," and they even have taken the liberty of posting it on Craig's List. Oh joy. They spared no expense, and are sure to attract the brightest of the valley. You know, the ones that look at a 8:00am start time and arrive at 6:00 so they get the "best deals." To say I am underwhelmed would be an overstatement. I am not a yard sales person. The one and only time we participated with our neighbors was not a good experience.

I spent days gathering, cleaning, organizing, pricing, and carrying crap up from the basement to put on tables on our lawn. Too many "professional yard salers" came. Even though I was trying to get rid of the stuff, I didn't like some of the more skankier folk handling my articles. What if they didn't buy it and I had to bring it back in the house? A can of Lysol was under the table at the ready. No, you cannot use my I look like I fell off a turnip truck? Take a check? Why not just give me a credit card for a $2.00 toy. And, no matter what price you put on something, someone will try to haggle you down. How much lower can you go on a quarter? What, a nickel? Just take the freaking toy. I don't think I sold one article.

My next door neighbors made hundreds of dollars. I heard them selling like they were closing on a house. Me? I was too honest..."Yeah, I had another one and can tell you that sushi maker is tough to use. That roaring dinosaur sometimes just decides to growl in the middle of the night. Oh, I hated that book!" Yeah, I'm not a good salesperson. I think the strangest "sale" I had was giving away a box of Barbie Dolls to some guy who wanted them for an "art project." Creepy.

So, it goes without saying we will not be participating. I have plenty of stuff clogging up my basement but I will do what I always do with it...donate it to Goodwill. It's much easier, more satisfying, and a lot safer than talking to a potential Craig's List thief. Probably the only good thing that will come out of this neighborhood sale is that my next door neighbor will not be using his leaf blower at 7:00am.

Now as to the problem of fools parking on my lawn -- I asked my husband if it would be wrong if I just threw some nails near the sign I plan to put on the tree saying "No Parking!" He said it would be, but then I reminded him of how they tore up our lawn the last time they thought under the cherry trees was a parking lot for the neighborhood sale. He handed me the box...

Stay off the lawn, or else...