Monday, October 5, 2015

New Release Available for Pre-order


I had a university student write my newest book's listing description and it came back yesterday. I made only a couple of small adjustments to it so that it would be accurate. But now the eBook's listing page is complete so that pre-orders can be made.

Note that this is a spiritual memoir. It is 100% fact (from my own perspective, of course). Here is the description! (What do you think?)

When I was a child, I would sit in the church captivated by the calming resonation of chanted prayers. It provided a great sense of comfort to me—like leafing through a well-read leather-bound book. This was the first inkling I had of the place where my heart belonged—the Catholic Church.

As the years passed, no one would have known that my bright childhood would take a turn towards a seemingly dark and isolated future.
There were many times when I skirted death—birthing complications and multiple emergency surgeries stemming from malformed blood vessels in my brain. What had saved me at these moments, were miraculous chance happenings that came at times when I prayed the hardest for them.
I lost a great many things—my balance, my gift for math and sciences, my visual clarity and my short term memory.
It was a heavy burden that I still carry today. Even so, I knew that it was not the end… God must have had other plans for me. I was still here and there was a child that counted on me. I attained a Bachelor’s degree in a prestigious Wisconsin university and found myself anew. If there is one thing I believe with conviction, it is that everything happens for a reason and that He has a plan for each and every one of us. Allow me to recount the memory of these miracles with you.

NOW available for pre-order from Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.
Special eBook price through October 7, 2015
$ .99 (USD)
P. S. This inspirational title is so good it brought my beta readers to literal tears! Get it cheap while you can because you will want to read it if you believe!
P.P.S. Please -tell your friends and clergy about it. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Joke

My parents drove up to visit and help me with some household construction over the long, Labor Day weekend. "We" (by which I mean mostly "they") put up crown molding in my entryway (aka foyer or vestibule or any number of synonyms in my mother's extensive vocabulary), patched some holes in my walls that I did not know how to attack, used power tools they brought to cut and lay down laminate flooring, and repaired a hole in my ceiling that magically appeared when the crown molding was being installed. It was a huge job that took the better part of two and a half days. Thank goodness for Mom and Dad!

At either the beginning or end of a lunch break, I can't remember which, my mom was up and in the entryway while Dad was sitting with me in the living room. Out of the blue, he addressed me, "You know, you wouldn't be here if it weren't for your mother."

It was a completely off-topic comment, not unusual for someone whose brain makes hyper-quick connections. (My dad has a genius IQ.) I figured I should ask what he meant. Maybe Mom swayed a decision in my major medical issues or some other aspect of my life and the construction we were doing reminded him of it? I didn't know and Dad clearly was giving her credit for something. So I asked, "How so?"
His answer:
"Well, she's the one who got pregnant."

Mom grimaced. I guess she expected it after so long of being together. I, on the other hand, did not expect it at all. He took me completely by surprise. In the middle of this enormous construction project, tools and sawdust everywhere with lots more work to do, Dad had made an off-topic joke. It came out of nowhere like a kamikaze attack and I could not help myself. I burst out laughing.

What an awesome way to momentarily break the tension in our day.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Trump vs. Ramos: My Opinion

This piece is a little bit after the fact but I keep hearing about it and I have something to say. 

One of the sweetest ladies I have ever met and one of my favorite people of all time, an ex-neighbor of mine from Texas who happens to be a naturalized citizen, posted up to Facebook a somewhat hurt and rather angry comment / video in response to Donald Trump's altercation with Univision's Jorge Ramos. So I am bothered. Liberal media seems to be spinning the incident as Ramos asking too difficult of a question and Trump not wanting to answer. Liberal media is being stupid: What's new? My dear friend is upset and hurt: It bothers me.

So I am going to give my thoughts and here they are.  I saw a more extended piece of the video than is being broadcast around the majority of media and I beg to differ with the claim that Trump was either afraid to answer tough questions -or- being prejudiced against hispanics.

Firstly, who are we talking about? Straightforward, Blunt, Tell-it-like-it-is, I-don't-care-about-anyone's-feelings, Never-apologize, Multi-millionaire businessman, Donald frikken Trump. No question is one that he is afraid to answer because he thinks he is right and people who disagree can just suck it up. He sticks his foot in his mouth with the WAY he says things ALL THE TIME and people kind of expect he will. In fact, we kind of love the brazen way in which he does. So much so that we have made him quite a bit of money by watching his reality TV programs. Even proposing there is a question or series of questions that he is reluctant to answer when the public loves his blunt responses is kind of amusing.

Photo from
That said, Ramos did not really ask a question. He BEGAN to ask a question and got stopped. But why? We have just established that "the Donald" is not afraid to answer questions. Well, believe it or not, there indeed ARE some rules of conduct to which even Mr. Trump adheres and Ramos broke one of the more basic rules: He interrupted.

In Ramos' defense, he is a go-getting reporter. But, honestly, the other reporters quieted THEIR questions when Mr. Trump called on one of their number. Ramos should have extended the same courtesy. He did not. When Trump tried to continue over the rude interruption in respect to the reporter who was called and all the other listeners, Ramos continued with his rudeness. He would not WAIT HIS TURN so Trump had him temporarily removed from the room. I'm sure he would likely have done something similar in a meeting with business people instead of reporters. It is the way he operates. But the liberal media is having a hay day spinning the incident all out of control. They want Trump to apologize. (Newsflash: Not happening.)


As a mom and average citizen, I react in kind of the same way. For example, the neighbor girl (a first grader I think) interrupted me once while I was talking to another neighbor by my back yard. I tried to ignore the interruption but she persisted. So I stopped my conversation and sternly told her that she was being rude and she should either wait her turn or go away. Just like what Trump did to Ramos. But unlike Ramos, the neighbor girl waited quietly for a few moments till she got bored and found better uses for her time.

Perhaps the media thinks I should apologize to the neighbor girl? Sorry media. Not happening.

My question: If a little girl can figure out how to comply with basic rules of turn-taking, why can't an adult man?  

Hint: It has nothing to do with his Latin blood or any unasked, theoretically "too tough" questions.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kentucky Gay Marriage Clerk Thing

Image from ABC News at
This will be short.

Let me begin by saying that I pretty much hate the news. For decades, I have done my best to avoid it. It is depressing and mostly negative. I like being happy, so I try really hard to concentrate on positives. News and I do not mix well. But sometimes... Sigh.

Let me also add that I am a political conservative and a Catholic Christian who has read enough of the Bible, especially on the topic of marriage, to know what it says. Jesus, Himself, makes several comments on marriage. But they are mostly comments regarding divorce. Divorce, as far as Jesus is concerned, is adultery. Divorce and remarriage, also adultery. But do most claimed "Christians" observe divorces? Yes. Second marriages while an original spouse is still alive?  Yes. Do we hear any hubub about Christian clerks denying marriage licenses to divorced people? No.


But what does it matter? Marriage according to the law of man does not have to agree with marriage in the eyes of God. God is going to get the final and eternal say. As far as what He says about Gay Marriage? Jesus says in Matthew that men who have sexual relations with men will not find life (aka go to heaven). I am pretty sure He is telling the truth.

So what do I say? I say this woman is being stupid by causing a futile and irritating disturbance. Christians are not called to impose our beliefs on others. We are called to peace (reference 1 Corinthians 7:15). I say obey the calling to live in peace. Adhere to the Supreme Court decision and issue the gay marriage licenses. Let God take care of the consequences.

What do you say?

Monday, August 31, 2015


Have you ever had a project where things seem to just not work?

Seriously, I am going nuts with this cans-tle project. It was intended to be an affordable and easy way to gather public attention for my historical fantasy e-series. I figured a castle made of soda cans... get people to donate their used soda cans, glue them together... Voila! Castle. Put it in my front yard, which is right on a business route, and draw some attention. Maybe get into the local newspaper or something. No Prob!

Not so easy. But I have to laugh a little. This is funny in a pathetic kind of way. (I know I am not really this pathetic!) Do you remember my recent post when the castle walls fell down and split apart? Well, I fixed them with the help of my daughter. We glued them together more securely and then I drove her down to school for the semester.

Cockeyed, not flat
When I got back, I stood the tower wall back up and discovered my securely glued walls were reattached together cockeyed. (Sigh.) I can't get them apart to re-glue them so I just stood them up again and smushed some things next to them to hold them up. (The castle must stand or the project is a bust.) I also posed the question of how to remedy the new problem to my dad and brother-in-law, the family engineers. (I have yet to hear their answers.)

Life went on for a few days as I recovered from my long drive to drop Anne off at school. Yesterday, the castle fell over again. Believe it or not, it fell right over the things I had put next to it to keep it standing. My roommate and I joked that enemy soldiers had attacked the castle and knocked down a tower wall. But the castle's defenders (meaning us) rallied and repaired the tower wall forthwith. It was quite exciting in our imaginations. In reality, I stood the walls back up, we popped out what dents we could from the cans, and I moved it next to a wall of the house where it would not be so easy for the wind to push it over. Then I put the things that had been holding it up where they would do the most good.

Today, I am feeling better and the weather is supposed to get to the high 70's (25.56 C), so I figured I would wash up some more cans while the weather is nice. But when I woke up and came downstairs, my roommate -announced, "We had another attack on the castle last night."

Good news: I can now align a portion of the cockeyed walls.

Bad news: Apparently, we are at war.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Hurricane Katrina: Ten Years Later."

This morning, when I turned on my computer and opened up my browser, I saw the headline "Hurricane Katrina: Ten Years Later." Instantly, the post I intended to write changed. Known to most as "The Big Easy" or the "crescent city," I think of New Orleans and I think, "Grandma's house."

My first reaction to the headline was, "Has it only been ten years?" So much has happened since then. Then memories flooded my mind of events from the days following the storm. After that, the storm's date filtered through my subconscious and I thought, "That SOB did marry me for money! He started looking to leave me almost right away after my great aunt left her millions to her caretaker." I did some quick mental calculations... September 2008 (the divorce he pushed on me was finalized)... November 2007 (I found him with the other woman in the back seat of our new car. Then, sometime between finding them together and mid-December, he accused me of marrying him for money, which is utterly ridiculous given the circumstances and a clear projection of one of their motives)... October 2006 (he changed jobs to the firm where he met her), and August 29, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina. Yep. The timeline fits. 

My great grandmother's house
Sigh. Oh, well. Nobody can change the past. My thoughts turned back to family events immediately following the disaster. My grandparents, thank goodness, were not around for the hurricane. If they had been, they would likely have stayed in their Kenner home for its duration. Grandma might even have left Grandpa there and decided to ride out the storm with her sister in their mother's house. (My great grandmother willed her house to Aunt Geri.) But both of my grandparents passed well before the storm hit, so that is not what happened.

Instead, Aunt Geri had a caretaker living with her. He was awful, if you ask me. She'd found him through a friend of hers after my grandmother passed. (Grandma lived with her sister after Grandpa died in 1997 and until her own demise in the later 1990's... Maybe 1998 or 99?) This man moved in with our aunt and did his caretaking job well enough (from all reports), but he was very resistant to allowing any of the family to visit with our aunt. He did let my dad see her, but Dad only flew down for a visit about twice a year and if Dad had not been allowed access, the three brothers together could have taken legal action. So it was in the caretaker's best interests to not deny my dad his biannual visits. Dad's two brothers, though, live right outside of New Orleans and I remember them complaining quite bitterly about being denied access to our aunt. 

Awful though he was, this caretaker insisted Aunt Geri follow the advice of officials and leave her home during the storm. His determination saved their lives. Take a look at the flood map.

Katrina Flooding

Now look where my great-grandmother's house is.
My great-grandmother's house

Her house was under water.

My mom, of course, was the hub of all the news so I accessed her for updates. Aunt Geri and her caretaker were safe and in a hotel near the Superdome, along with the mayor and other important people. My uncle, the doctor, was required to stay and help but he had sent his family to safety in central Mississippi before the storm. I think he wound up just living in the hospital for a while. My other uncle, the engineer, had some of his wife's family and several co-workers staying in his home. There was no city power in his area (north of the river) for several days but he had a generator so was fine.

The big concern was my great aunt because she was elderly, frail and in a bad location and communications were outbound only and spotty. Then all the communications with her stopped. Her caretaker would not answer the phone. The last time anyone (which means Mom, since my parents' number was the only one he would answer) talked to him, he had mentioned something about leaving the hotel to head elsewhere. Then he and my aunt just disappeared. I am not sure where they went, but it was a few weeks before they resurfaced. When they did, they could not return to my aunt's house because of the damage. So they moved in with "a friend," but we were not told who and we were not told where the friend lived. So nobody could check in on my aunt to see how she was doing.

At the time, my family (husband, 2 children and myself) was living in central Texas. My son, 19 years old, heard that there was good paying reconstruction work in the outskirts of New Orleans and decided with a friend of his to go in search of it. I offered to drive them down so I could try to see my aunt. I always visited her when I went to New Orleans and I hadn't seen her for a number of years because it was such a long drive for us, so I figured her caretaker would let me visit for a few minutes. He refused.

I did drive by her house, though. The whole area was a mess. I was so glad my dad was not there to see the street he grew up on. Even weeks later, it was heartbreaking. All I remember now was that there were cars pulled up onto the boulevard median, brush and debris was everywhere (a big pile sat in front of my aunt's house), and all the houses had large, painted circles drawn on their sides with two numbers and a slash in them. My uncle later told me the numbers were "how many residents" over "how many dead found." (I'm glad I didn't know that before I went.)

Because Aunt Geri's caretaker would not let me see her and I complained to my mother about it (my mom even coached me on what to say to try to get him to let me visit), my dad took action. He arranged a flight for himself to go for a visit. My aunt was dead and buried (without notice to our family) before he got there.

We do know that Aunt Geri survived the flood, though. Between my visit and her funeral, my uncle the doctor got to see her in the hospital for a few minutes after the amputation of her legs. (She was a career dancer.) Unfortunately, he was unable to find out where she was living and she disappeared again when her caretaker took her. She died in a "friend's" house, only a few miles away from the generational family home where she resided for over half a century.

Ten years ago today, my family was together and my great aunt was alive. Is ten years all it's been? That seems so long ago. Doesn't it?

Do you remember Hurricane Katrina? What are some of your memories?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Beginning to Look Castle-y

So far so good. After many, many hours' work, my cans begin to form shape. Here you see the first four walls (628 cans) standing side by side on my front porch. My "sculpture" is just starting to look like it is thinking about looking like something intentional.


I had just finished this post when I heard a loud crash from my porch. It was one of my castle wall-pairs (picture at right), falling over and breaking in half. Sigh. I now have repair work to do (again). I guess the partial castle will not be drawing attention from my porch today, after all.