Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's Eve



I hope everyone will have a good and safe New Year's Eve and of course HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I am glad for the most part my holiday is behind me. We will order in pizza tonight but nothing planned after that. of course I will probably order a couple of cozy mysteries with my kindle gift card my daughter got me for Christmas. So that will be fun.

I have to try and find some small gift bags today and finish some belated Christmas Shopping. By tonight I doubt I will watch the ball drop. if I have a nap maybe...or if I am cross stitching then again maybe.


My house is a mess since husband has been home all week. We started out great but New year's Day I will probably be working on this house. This is so I can get back to writing my book on Thursday since Frank goes back to work Thursday and Friday. He has the weekend off and next week will be a full week.

Now this isn't to day that he hasn't worked in one fashion or another all of this past week almost every day. He drives a wrecker and so he gets called out at all hours. Even for unlocks, changes of flat tires and then people who have accidents and abandoned cars.

This year how was your holiday?

I hope 2014 treats all of us better. I pray mine won't be so drama filled. On one of our reading groups someone asked what is your word for 2014. I think I should have said progress as I want to be progressive this year. I also need local friends so I think I am going to try to arrange to start a local cross stitch and hand stitching group. Maybe thru our local library. See if they will put it in their newsletter.

Happy New Year,


Monday, December 23, 2013

Highlights of 2013

What were the most memorable highlights of 2013 for you?

What is the best book you have read in 2013 at least so far?


Now I want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday and I hope this season brings you peace, joy and reflection.




Review: Death by Surprise by Carolyn G Hart


Author Carolyn Hart

One of the Carolyn Hart Classics


Carolyn hart Orginally penned this book in 1983. I am not going to try to do a traditional review today.

Instead I will say that DEATH BY SURPRISE reads like a cross between a detective novel, a legal thriller and a traditional mystery with a flair for noir.

The main character K.C. Carlisle grew up rich and her cousin Kenneth Carlisle also grew up well off. Both cousins are now lawyers. Kenneth is a well off lawyer and K.C. works as a lawyer on the storefront and pretty much takes most any case that happens across her desk.

However the woman who walks into all their lives Francine Boutelle, is trouble for of the Carlisles. She tries to blackmail K.C. or she will tell what she knows about K.C.'s late father. Soon there are enough skeleton's falling out of the closet that it's no wonder Francine Boutelle is found dead and of course it's murder.

However they arrest Kenneth for the murder and K.C. doesn't think he did it. Soon she investigates Francine Boutelle's past an present.

There are plenty of suspects with no alibi's and even more twist and turns. With every turn of the page you wonder what will be a lie and what will be a fact.

Carolyn Hart writes with character and shadows long and short shadows but always there in the back of your mind you know there is something else yet to be discovered.

DEATH BY SURPRISE by Carolyn Hart is sure to snag your attention.


Pam I give this one *******

Friday, December 13, 2013

Many Topics

Many topics:


I hear that a lot of people spend over one hundred dollars for jeans. Now there is a store that will rent used jeans to you for a price. Okay well let's see I kinda think my jeans fit the shape of my butt. So having said that then there are those people who go commando? I don't think I want to rent expensive jeans that somebody else wore then return them for someone else to rent them after I wore them!


I know we give our clothes away to charity all the time. I still think that renting jeans is  bad idea. Any thoughts on the subject?


Moving along to a different topic:


I was watching an episode of "What NOT To Wear on the TLC channel the other day. They were helping a woman get rid of her clothes. On this show they clean out your closet (you may plead your case on a few pieces) then they give you a 500.00 card to shop for new clothes. They have a few ground rules. Anyway on the episode the woman had sweaters, turtlenecks and tops on her bed. Also had a other clothes in the closet etc...I am happily amused until they started throwing out the clothes on the bed. I kidd you not...there were two of my turtlenecks on that bed and one sweater!!!

Two things were Christmas themed and they told her to grow up. Okay well........I didn't know we were no longer approved to wear Christmas turtlenecks.


Moving along they did a fabulous job on her new clothes, hair and makeup. I wonder though what I will wear this Christmas!


Another topic: My daughter had some very close friends. Well one of her two main friends fired another friend Kristine for lying to her. Okay moving along Lindsay told Melissa that she had now moved her up to best friend statics number one. Melissa was fine with that but Melissa gets a call at work the other day.


Lindsay calls to say that she has criteria for Melissa being her best friend. She tells her she is going to be needy for a while. That it is expensive being her best friend and they need to get together often. Any thoughts on this one? I happen to know said and she is definitely a outspoken, fun and funny. However my daughter was a little taken aback. LOLOL

I am hoping she wasn't serious but Melissa thinks she really was serious.

Anyway at least she didn't want her to sign a friendship contract?


Other topic: How about this weather? I am ready to move past it and since it's only December I don't think I will get my wish.


How are you doing with the Christmas Shopping? I am excited I will get to do some of mine over the next couple of days.


Is your tree up and what is your tree topper this year? If you are Jewish tell us about your holiday traditions in your family?


Last but never least: What was your favorite Christmas gift as a child? No surprise mine was a chatty Cathy Doll. LOL I am lonely for her even now!




Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Amelia 1868 by Janet Kay

Rose leaves her fiancĂ© at the altar and takes off on the road with her dog Lucky, trying to find something to soothe her restless spirit.  Finally ending up in Virginia City, Montana she settles in with a job at the local library doing research for a book with Paul DuBois.  He also has an interest in paranormal activity and after experiencing local ghosts, she becomes obsessed with the ghost who was known as Amelia 1868.  She begins to communicate with Amelia and past and present mix up for both her and Paul as past events are being replayed.

The history was fascinating and showed a love of the subject. The raw emotions of both Rose and Paul as they try to understand the intense feelings they have as Rose tries to discover the truth of Amelia's story are gripping, but at times I want to slap them both.  I like the paranormal elements that are left open to interpretation by the reader.  I found the ending very satisfying and felt the journey was complete.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mental Health Treatment in this country needs serious help

A couple weeks ago, one of our (Virginia) state senators, Creigh Deeds,  was brutally stabbed in house after an argument with his son, who then killed himself.  What made the story more tragic is that he had tried to get his son help the day before.  The court had mandated a hold for evaluation, only the hospital sent him home instead.  They claimed there were no beds for him anywhere.  It is a very rural area.  Only, now several facilities have claimed they had beds but no one contacted them.  Well, an investigation will hopefully sort that all out.

What I want to actually talk about is how broken the system is.  When there are tragedies where the mentally ill kill someone (Sandy Hook, Boulder, The Navy Yard and on and on), society looks for answers and asks how it could happen.  The thing is, it's easy.

I am going to use Virginia as an example, because all states have their own systems and they are similar.  Additionally, I am going to chose just one illness - Schizophrenia to use in my examples because it affects (according to NIMH) about 1% of the population (That's one in one hundred people - a LOT) and that makes the math easier for me.  But there are so many other chronic illnesses out there as well - Bipolar and Depression being two other major ones.

So using the numbers:

In Virginia there are 5,309 beds in state psychiatric facilities based on a 2011 report.  In 2012, the population estimate for Virginia was 8,185,867.   So 1% of that population would be an estimate of 81,859 people suffering from schizophrenia.  Now most people with schizophrenia are stabilized on medications and living relatively 'normal' lives.  But that said, a large number are not.  Either they refuse to take their medications, are undiagnosed (particularly in the late teens/early twenties, most common onset period), or the meds just don't work well.  5,309 beds for 81,859 people PLUS those suffering from all sorts of other mental illnesses who might need those beds.  Not good numbers.

So, I am going to take it further and just discuss Northern Virginia.  The state facility serving the Northern Virginia is called Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute.  It has 123 beds.  It is for acute care not long-term care.  I worked there for 6 months a lifetime ago as a psychiatric technician.  Burnt out quickly and bad.

Anyway, it serves the Counties and Cities of Fairfax 1.1 million, Loudon 337 thousand, Arlington 221 thousand, Alexandria 146 thousand, Falls Church 13 thousand, and Prince William 430 thousand.  These numbers are also from 2012.  The grand total is 2.2 Million and only 123 beds. 

Of course that doesn't include private facilities or half-way houses or whatnot.  But even so.  There are not many places to care for those who are really mentally ill.  And those who do, have an incredibly high turnover.  Where when someone really bad comes in, pick the one best off and they leave to make room.  Treat Them and Street Them is a reality.  stabilize their meds and get them out with aftercare setup, but you cant make them follow through with aftercare.

After a tragedy we ask didn't anyone see the signs?  Or why couldn't it have been prevented?  Great questions.  I would propose a couple answers.  People probably saw the signs, may have even intervened or tried to, but there isn't a lot that they can do legally if the person doesn't want help.

In most states a court can order an involuntary evaluation hold for 24-72 hours, at which time, if the person is NOT considered a danger to self or others, they can just walk away or get voluntary treatment.  But if they are paranoid, they might not think anything is wrong with them or that the treatment itself is a threat to them.  Or they may be good at hiding their real thoughts (esp. if they have been in the system before) and delusions.  And they will lie.  They don't want to be locked up.

In the past, committals were easier (maybe too easy) but after deinstitutionalization in the 80s, the mentally ill were rarely kept against their will over time.  Whether people like it or not, they have rights including the right to refuse treatment.  Unless they are a danger.  But how easy is that to prove legally BEFORE they do something awful?  It's not.  And the fact is, it is a SMALL number that actually are dangerous.  And though some seek help, many don't.  And even if they do seek help, is the system really equipped to help them?

And then there is money.  A lot of insurance has very little coverage for mental illness, or caps on time allowed in a facility or under treatment.  And the nature of the illness also means, they may not be able to hold down a job that provides insurance.  So then who pays?  The state?  Mental Illness is not one of the high funding categories.  And building more facilities?  Nobody wants them in their neighborhood?  Do you? 

And where is that tenuous line between societal vs. individual rights?  We have a right to be safe from those who are dangerous.  Yes.  But do we have the right to lock them up and medicate them against their will?  These are questions we need to have MAJOR discussions about as communities and as a country.

I do not believe the mental health system can prevent these kind of tragedies without some huge changes. 

I believe the biggest obstacle to improving the system though is this society's attitude towards mental illness.  People DON'T want to talk about it or educate themselves about it.  They would rather look away, until it affects them personally.  And then, like poor Gus Deeds, it is too late.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013




Folks the world is changing and to prove my point! In the past two weeks the morning news shows have talked to the inventor of a flying car. Now if you missed 60 minutes on Sunday evening you missed another up and coming moment. By the CEO and inventor of amazon.com. This is the delivery drones that will be probably be used in the next 4-5 years.


These drones are to drop off small packages by amazon to your home! He showed Charlie Rose a video of how this would work and Charlie got to see the prototypes of the drones last night. Currently they are only designed for up to five pounds of packages.


I wonder what is next but I have to say this is intriguing.

You all thought syfy was just for Jetson cartoons, movies, series, comic books and super heroes etc...Looking out world because George Orwell isn't the only one predicting the future. LOL


Any thoughts on the new delivery system that is coming or the flying cars that may one day fill the skies?



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fruit Loop Cookies

A favorite from childhood.  Mom is making some today.

Froot Loop Cookies!

Fruit Loop Cookies

2 cups Fruit Loops cereal
2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Shortening
1/2 cup Butter-soft
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
Orange Icing (recipe follows)

Crush fruit loops and set aside. Sift dry ingredients together. In a seperate bowl, beat together the shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and orange juice, stir to combine. Add the flour mixture. Beat well. Stir in fruit loops and walnuts. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350 degrees, about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool. Frost with orange icing.

Orange Icing
2 cups sifted Powdered Sugar
3 tablespoons Butter-soft
2 tablespoons(about) Orange Juice
Mix together well, adding a little more orange juice if needed to make of spreading consistency.

Can make smiley faces with fruit loops on top of frosting.


My Friend Terri

My friend Terri:


I am sure you have heard of my friend Terri and probably many, many of you know her. LOL


Anyway I know who to hook up with for co-blogger buddy. Here is why I say this...


Terri is a speed reader. This means she reads many more books than I do a year. For blogging reviews this is great. Also she knows many authors and we have went to her well of authors to interview time and again.  Not only is she well read and has more contacts and friends than me but she also lives in the mecca of excitement.


This means she always has a topic to blog about and for me this again is wonderful! I live in a of the road hometown. I sometimes think I don't have a topic but I have discovered lately actually have a lot to talk about so okay maybe some of them are not always spot on but I am sooo much better than I was a month ago! LOL


Anyway back to Terri not only has she travelled to many countries and around the USA we also share a hobby or two so that makes life interesting. I say all of this for you to know that more of our personalities and topics will be stepped up in 2014





Review: The Murderer's Club by PD Martin

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; 1st edition (December 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778324419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778324416

  • I read Body Count, the first in this series a couple months ago and really looked forward to number two.  And I wasn't disappointed. 

    A couple of dead bodies turn up with similar signatures to prior crimes, but not quite. Profiler, Sophie Anderson, is on vacation but can't stay away from the case.  Her visions won't let her. And it looks like the victims are being lured into a fake reality show situation by a quartet of serial killers who have formed a twisted online club.

    What I liked was that the investigators had to really work hard to find the clues that led them to figure out what was happening - they didn't figure it out too soon.  A complex killer system like this would take a lot of outside the box thinking and investigating and that was delivered. I liked how the pieces fell together and though I "knew" the twist at the end, it was satisfying.


    Monday, December 2, 2013

    Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

    A Month Full of Dogs

    (to one degree or another)


    As most of you probably already know, I belong to a breed-specific rescue group, New Mexico Dachshund Rescue. Mind you, this isn’t so much because I adore dachshunds as a breed (although I do. I think it’s because they’re so funny looking) as that they seem to be attracted to me. Kind of like a steel fragments are attracted to a magnet, cats to dead birds, and stuff like that.


    However, the fact that I attract dachshunds is the reason last month was so full of the little creatures. It all started with my three foster children, Cindy, Santana and Mr. Sausage. Some kind person drove them all up to Albuquerque for a special NMDR Adoptathon held at the PetCo on San Mateo. I was intensely grateful not to have to foster those dogs any longer, not because I didn’t care for them, but because, with the exception of Santana who’s about as big as a peanut, they were big, heavy dogs (for dachshunds) and used to drag me all over the place. I’m not as young as I used to be (more about that later), and I’m kind of semi-crippled because of a deteriorating spine, so I’ve decided only to foster small or elderly dachshunds from now on. But it all worked out. Cindy, Santana and Mr. Sausage (whose name is now Jimmy Dean) were all adopted either at the Adoptathon or shortly thereafter, and I went to Albuquerque to join in the fun. And it was fun. Lots of nice people and a whole bunch of oddly shaped doggies.


    That meant my own personal family of dogs had dwindled to a mere five. Until Jacob, the vet tech at the place I take my dogs, found a simply gorgeous dachshund puppy at the side of the highway. It looked as if she had been dumped, she was full of fleas, skinny as a toothpick, and had claws Freddy Kruger would envy. Jacob decided to keep the dog, whom he named Jazzy. The name fits her. Jacob had never had a dachshund before, and I guess he wasn’t prepared for the dachshund temperament, which is stubborn, not particularly smart (don’t tell my dogs I said that) and, often, wildly aggressive. When he couldn’t stop Jazzy from going after his standard French poodle, he asked if I could take Jazzy. Well, what could I say? So then I had six dogs. Again.



    Then Heidi, my oldest wiener, and the very last piebald in my family, got too sick to eat, and I had to have her put down on November 26. This wasn’t unexpected, but it was sad. And my canine family shrank back down to five again.



    Until November 27, the day before Thanksgiving, when I got a mega-urgent summons to check out a dog that was scheduled to be euthanized at Roswell Animal Control. If the dog was enough of a dachshund to pass for one, I was asked to bring her home and foster her; if she wasn’t dachshund enough to pass, I guess I was supposed to leave her there to die. You can probably guess what happened next. My family of dogs is back up to six again. But Cookie, the rescue doggie, is NOT going to stay with me. She’s going to be adopted by some kind person who really needs a darling little part-dachshund puppy. I’m taking applications.




    I guess one of my Thanksgiving thank-yous went to the dogs in my life. I’ll be even more thankful when somebody adopts Cookie.


    Then, on the 29th, came my umpty-umpth birthday. The minister of my church asked how old I was in dog years, and I figured it out. I’m 476 years old in dog years, and I’m feeling every one of them, in case you wondered. But I got a lovely pictorial gift from my younger daughter Robin, her husband Gilbert, and my younger grandson, Riki:




    One good thing: on December 9, I’ll be flying to North Carolina (if the creek don’t rise and no snow falls anywhere) to visit my grandson, granddaughter-in-law, and two great grands! Now there’s something to be really thankful for.

    My contest for this month is choose-your-own book. Send me an email with your name and address, and if Bam-Bam selects your name from the special contest doggie dish, you get to pick your own book. I’m too tired to pick one for you. My email address is alice@aliceduncan.net

    An Idea



    I am not one who keeps up with my journal. This weekend I had an idea I would have to share with all of you.


    I know a lot of us have our own blogs or share a blog with others. What about taking your blog moments and printing them out? Then taking those blogs and put them in a scrapbook?


    I mean some days it might only be about a book your reading or a recipe and other days it could be that you're blogging about your feelings on a topic that day etc.....


    What I am getting at is that this might be a keepsake for future generations in your family. This could become a really great keepsake without having to keep up with a daily journal and it would leave a bit of your life and personality behind for those you may never meet. Great, great, great grandchildren etc......


    This is my cyber Monday thought!



    Review: Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington

    Title: EVERY TRICK in the BOOK



    Lila Wilkins has just been promoted to full-time literary agent. Lila also has a new home.  The home of her dreams and a boyfriend who is a police officer. Everything is coming up books including the Book and Author Festival to which is sponsored by Novel Ideas. Lila is happy and excited to discover new talent at the festival.


    Nothing could go wrong but it does. She let's promising authors pitch their stories and gives advice. All seems well until she discovers a dead body and a young man dressed in black with a killer look in his eyes flings plume feather at her and is gone. That is until she discovers the dead body.


    He's there but soon is on the run then when she goes to a promising author's home for a nice chat she soon learns that three days later that author is dead. Trying to find the link between the two murders may bring Lila face to face with a killer.


    To top this off Trey, Lila's son might be in danger. He loved living and working at the co-op but now he believes shady things are happening and he doesn't feel like anyone is safe and secure anymore. Lila agrees to help and come up with a plan of her own to filter out what is really happening at the co-op.


    EVERY TRICK in the BOOK is a sit down and read it now kind of mystery.

    I loved every moment of reading the his book and more to the point I can't wait to read the next book. I can't thank Lucy Arlington enough for making my holiday weekend that much more thankful...thankful for a good book. It has a wonderful cast of characters with depth, a little humor but most of all a plot to die for.......




    Review: Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell

    Maeve Malloy is a lawyer who has had struggles with drinking, done a stint in rehab and trying to prove herself again as a lawyer.  She is...