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, July 31, 2013

Bella Before and After

Bella before her haircut...

Bella after her haircut...

She's such a sweet little girl!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Poor Middle Finger

I totally took you for granted. I am sorry. I never realized how much I depended upon you until you reminded me. The pain radiates from you and I know you're not the cause, but the effect. There's nothing I can do to help you heal so instead I try to ignore you. The silent treatment doesn't work. I try to take you out of the equation, but you keep slipping in, pushing in, reminding me you are the one I use the most. Again, I never realized it, until now.

I salute you my middle finger...

For the last four days my body has been in more pain than usual, especially my hands and feet. I know "they" say the weather has nothing to do with Rheumatoid Arthritis, but "I" say differently. As the barometric pressure falls, my pain rises. I'd continue on the usefulness of my middle finger, but my hands hurt too much to type.

This is what I think of RA...

Yes, I use my middle finger for many things...

Monday, July 22, 2013


As my son was about to pull into the driveway he saw a turtle in the middle of the road. Worried the little fellow was going to get smashed, he quickly parked his jeep and rescued the turtle by placing him in our front yard. We now know you cannot keep them as pets, and the best thing you can do for a turtle about to be squashed is place him in a safe area facing the direction he was heading. When the kids were young, we knew nothing about turtles and actually built an outdoor habitat for two of them. They escaped. I wondered if this was Thunder or Lightning. The little guy was not afraid of us at all, and was a fast mover in the grass. Hopefully he found his way home without getting eaten or squashed...


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

501 Speakeasy

It's always a good sign when I open a restaurant's door and the Stones' "Paint It Black" greets me. That tells me the place has good taste in music and I'm hopeful that trickles down to their food. After having lunch at 501 Speakeasy yesterday I am happy to report that is indeed the case.

The girl and I were looking for something different yesterday so instead of making the usual right when we hit Campbell Avenue, we made the left to seek out the new eatery. One of the advantages of not being in the "heart of downtown" is parking is no problem so no worries about the tires getting chalked and winding up with a ticket on my windshield.

501 Speakeasy has a cool vibe without the hipster attitude. I didn't have my camera so only got the one shot above with the girl's phone. The stools, reminiscent of a Brooklyn luncheonette sans the glass jar of pretzel rods, line a counter. Tables sprinkle the space, with a couch and seating area tucked away in the back. Since there was a card on each table with dates of performances, I'm assuming that's where live music is played on the weekends. The art on the walls reminded me of the old Lower East Side's punk rock galleries before they were gobbled up by rich developers. When The Cramps "I Was a Teenaged Werewolf" came on, I knew I had to ask who had programmed the music. Pandora did. Gotta check that out.

Location, check. Music, check. Vibe, check. So now for the important parts...the food and service. There's not a huge menu, but there was enough on it for the girl, who is the most picky eater in the world, to find something. Me? I'm not so picky so there were a couple of things from which I had to narrow it down. I chose the Burek Salad which had two spinach and cheese "pastries" which I'm assuming were the bureks, served over greens with cucumbers, roasted red peppers, and tomato. The bureks were delicious -- flaky, not greasy, and heavy on the cheese. The blue cheese dressing was a little thin but quite tasty. The girl chose a chicken taco which she said she would get again. For her one was enough, for me, I would probably need at least two. She also got a caramel iced coffee something which she slurped down to the ice cubes -- a rarity for her.

Our lunch was light enough so that we had room for desserts, and a harder choice to choose only two. Anytime we see Tiramisu we give it a shot. Most places cannot get it right. This Tiramisu was good enough to pack up the leftover and walk through Kohl's with it so it wouldn't go bad in the car, but couldn't hold a candle to the real star -- coconut custard pie.! That was the best coconut custard pie I have ever had. There were no leftovers. The chef came over and let us know his mom made it. Please tell Mom she is a great baker! I definitely look forward to trying more desserts, especially the pies.

501 Speakeasy is waiting on its beer and wine license which is almost a "must" for my husband to eat dinner anywhere. Until that time, I could probably talk him into going there at least for dessert after some sushi. Meanwhile, the girl has found a dinner break place close to the television station, and one where she doesn't have to deal with downtown parking on a Friday night, and can go to alone and not feel uncomfortable.

You know how I feel about supporting local businesses, and 501 Speakeasy is another one I think you should check out. Funny thing -- when I awoke yesterday morning "Don't Worry, Be Happy" kept playing in my head. I had no idea why. As we were paying our bill I noticed a reflection in the mirror of a sign with that exact phrase. Guess my subconscious knew where I would end up later that day. Good job brain!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July Has Arrived

With the arrival of the heat of mid July and the threat of a heat wave this week, I dream of the sea.

 I long to be here...

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

or here...

Belfast Bay, Maine

as well as many other shores, but for now I have to remain here, near no shore...

Roanoke County, Virginia

Could be worse...I could be here...

New York City, New York

You know I love New York City, but not in the summer.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Elephants at the Salem Fair

When one goes to a county fair one would expect farm animals to be present, although I don't know if all fairs race pigs.

This one is eating an oreo, which is probably the only one at the fair which has not been deep-fried.

But seeing elephants there is a strange sight, and there were two at the Salem Fair -- one from India and another from Africa. Although the trainers say they are treated well, I swear I felt the sadness in their eyes. Here's the Indian princess...

"Don't let my smile fool ya..."
The lady is crossing her back leg
"If you don't give me a treat I'm gonna eat this little girl."
"Ya got nothing better than a whole loaf of bread?"

Here are some shots of the lady from Africa...

"Help me..."

"I'm just of ghost of my former self..."

After the show, a long line formed to ride the elephant for $7.00. Fairs are supposed to be a "happy" place, so why does the Salem Fair always make me sad?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The 2013 Salem Fair

My daughter and I had our mandatory one hour walk-through of the Salem Fair yesterday.

As usual, the skies looked threatening, but unlike many past years, this time there was no rain.

The fair seems to have added more rides, attractions, foodstuffs, shows, games, and animals. I think that's the most disturbing part of the fair for me. They look just so darned sad. More on that in another post. I was disappointed the Smallest Woman in the World, Gloria, was not there. I always stop in to say hi. Last I heard she was up in New York City for the Italian feasts. The goldfish ping pong game was there. Should have counted those balls, but I only paid $5.00 for a feeder gold fish who is now swimming happily in my pond.

There were some new additions to the foodstuffs. Although I always plan on getting something to eat there, I don't think I ever have. Their fried dough looked sorta like the zeppoles I made the other day, only greasier. No way was I paying $6 when I could buy them in Brooklyn at 3 for a buck, or, now that I know how, just make them at home. They had fried gummi bears??? along with the usual fried everything. I was *this close* to getting fried frog legs. I've never eaten them and I was feeling daring. The girl would not allow me to get them, "This will be the worst decision of your life." And she was serious. I listened to her. I longed for the caramel or jelly apple, but my teeth ached just looking at them.

As is our usual routine, after walking the outdoor perimeter we headed indoors to cool off. On the way, some guy actually commented to me that he loved my hair. He said something else with a sly smile but I couldn't understand his heavy accent. I actually looked around to see if he was talking to someone else, but he wasn't. Keep in mind this is about the second month of my going au natural so there is heavy silver and black going on. Most days I spend too much time blowing it and then straightening it. This morning I just pulled it back with two clips while it was wet and left it that way all day, so it dried rather curly. I smiled and said thank you, and stopped short of remarking on his tattoos. Definitely rough trade. I turned to my daughter and said, "See, I still got it." Ha!

Inside, we stumbled upon an alligator show, a strange addition to a county fair. It was held by two brothers from Florida who didn't really "wrestle" any gator, but taught the audience some facts about them in a humorous manner. They sorta reminded me of Penn and Teller as the "wrestler" doesn't speak, but makes good facial & body expressions.

I enjoyed the portion of the show when they asked for a volunteer from the audience and a 4th grade girl volunteered. She wasn't the squeamish girlie girl I think they were hoping for. In front of a very large crowd, she handled herself with wary bravery. She touched the alligator, and even sat on his back.

The two brothers were very cool with her and I wonder if something like this will have made an  impact on her life. It could have opened up potential paths perhaps she never considered taking before. Maybe she'll want to work with animals, or, perform on the stage. She could always look back to this day in overcoming any stage fright or anxiety she might encounter. It could possibly shape her into a stronger woman, "Hey, don't screw with me. I sat on an alligator!" It could be a wonderful memory for her. Or, maybe eating the fried gummi bears left a bigger impact. I don't know.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Entertainment Weekly's 2013 Top 100 All-Time Greatest Movies

Entertainment Weekly released their list of the 100 All-Time Greatest Movies. I agree with a good portion of them, but not the order. Next to each film I have given my "ratings" of Like, Love, Eh, Hate, or Never Saw. I haven't seen 17 of the films and there is only one that I "hated." The films I "Loved" are ones that I would watch again and again and again. The "Liked" ones I probably would watch if I stumbled upon it. "Eh's" probably not, and "Hated" definitely not. I would be hard-pressed to say which is my all time favorite number one film. How about you?

1. Citizen Kane (1941)- Like
2. The Godfather (1972) - Love
3. Casablanca (1942)- Like
4. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Love
5. Psycho (1960)- Love
6. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)- Eh
7. Mean Streets (1973)- Love
8. The Gold Rush (1925)- Love
9. Nashville (1975)- Like
10. Gone With the Wind (1939)- Like
11. King Kong (1933)- Love
12. The Searchers (1956)- Never saw
13. Annie Hall (1977)- Love
14. Bambi (1942)- Like
15. Blue Velvet (1986)- Like
16. Singin' in the Rain (1952) - Love
17. Seven Samurai (1954)- Love
18. Jaws (1975)- Love
19. Pulp Fiction (1994) - Love
20. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969) - Never saw
21. Some Like It Hot (1959) - Love
22. Toy Story (1995) - Eh
23. Notorious (1946)- Like
24. The Sound of Music (1965) - Eh
25. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Love
26. Bicycle Thieves (1948) - Never saw
27. The Maltese Falcon (1941)- Like
28. The Wizard of Oz (1939)- Like
29. North by Northwest (1959) - Like
30. Sunrise (1927) - Never saw
31. Chinatown (1974) - Like
32. Duck Soup (1933) - Love
33. The Graduate (1967)- Love
34. Adam's Rib (1949) - Like
35. Apocalypse Now (1979) - Love
36. Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Love
37. Manhattan (1979)- Like
38. Vertigo (1958) - Like
39. The Rules of the Game (1939)- Never saw
40. Double Indemnity (1944)- Love
41. The Road Warrior (1981) - Love
42. Taxi Driver (1976)- Love
43. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)Eh
44. On the Waterfront (1954)- Love
45. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - Eh
46. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) - Never saw
47. A Clockwork Orange (1971) - Love
48. It Happened One Night (1934)- Never saw
49. Goldfinger (1964)- Love
50. Intolerance (1916) - Love
51. A Hard Day's Night (1964)- Love
52. Titanic (1997) - Like
53. Star Wars -- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - Like
54. Breathless (1960) - Like
55. Frankenstein (1931) - Love
56. Schindler's List (1993)- Like
57. Midnight Cowboy (1969)- Love
58. The Seventh Seal (1957)- Like
59. All the President's Men (1976)- Like
60. Top Hat (1935)- Like
61. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - Like
62. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - Love
63. Network (1976) - Love
64. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)- Never saw
65. Last Tango in Paris (1973)- Never saw
66. The Shining (1980)- Love
67. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) - Love
68. Goodfellas (1990)- Love
69. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Love
70. L'Avventura (1960)- Never saw
71. American Graffiti (1973)- Love
72. The 400 Blows (1959)- Like
73. Cabaret (1972)- Love
74. The Hurt Locker (2009)- Never saw
75. Touch of Evil (1958) - Never saw
76. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Love
77. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - Love
78. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Love
79. Night of the Living Dead (1968)- Love
80. Dazed and Confused (1993)- eh
81. Blade Runner (1982) - Hate
82. Scenes From a Marriage (1973)- Never saw
83. The Wild Bunch (1969)- Love
84. Olympia (1938)- Never saw
85. Dirty Harry (1971)- Love
86. All About Eve (1950) - Love
87. La Dolce Vita (1960) - Like
88. The Dark Knight (2008)- Eh
89. Woodstock (1970)- Love
90. The French Connection (1971)- Love
91. Do The Right Thing (1989)- Like
92. The Piano (1993)- Never saw
93. A Face in the Crowd (1957)- Never saw
94. Brokeback Mountain (2005)- Eh
95. Rushmore (1998)- Never saw
96. Sullivan's Travels (1941)- Like
97. Diner (1982)- Like
98. All About My Mother (1999)- Never Saw
99. There Will Be Blood (2007)- Like
100. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)- Never Saw