Saturday, May 30, 2009

Book Review: Scarpetta

I just finished reading Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell. Her character of Kay Scarpetta is one of the best fictional/mystery characters ever, and I have been reading her books for twenty years now. But this one was so disappointing I'm not sure why I bothered to finish it.

The characters all seem so broken and sad in ways they never felt before to me. That's understandable considering what they've all gone through since the late eighties. But in this book they continue to rehash and reiterate the same things over and over and over. So much of it was monotonous and dull. I kept screaming in my head "Get on with it!" and was bored much of the time reading the conversations. I think a good third of this thick tome could have been eliminated.

If you want to read a Kay Scarpetta book that is amazing, try Post Mortem. Cornwell's first book about the medical examiner won several awards, and rightly so. Also, it is written in first person with Scarpetta herself telling her story, something Cornwell has dropped these last few books. Her writing is sharp, the story is focused and gritty. And I think she started the national craze into forensics long before CSI his the scene. Give it a shot. But I'd pass on this one.

Friday, May 29, 2009


We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don’t think it was, and I would advise you not to wait 10 years before admitting today was great. If you’re hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.
Art Buchwald

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Testify to Love

All the colors of the rainbow
All of voices of the wind
Every dream that reaches out
That reaches out to find where love begins
Every word of every story
Every star in every sky
Every corner of creation lives to testify

For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take
I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love

From the mountains to the valleys
From the rivers to the sea
Every hand that reaches out
Every hand that reaches out to offer peace
Every simple act of mercy
Every step to kingdom come
All the Hope in every heart will speak what love has done.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Remembering when ....

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

"Song for a Fifth Child" by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Friday, May 22, 2009


Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Carl Sagan

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twenty One Years and Counting

In my family when you celebrated the birthday that matched your birth date, it was called a "golden birthday." I know that being married 21 years on the 21st doesn't make it a golden anniversary, but it's pretty great all the same.

I have had such a terrific time these years. We started out in a little 900 sq ft condo, bought a sweet house, then moved here to Colorado nine years ago. What an adventure these years have been! Some more photos:
Here I am with my bridesmaids. My friend Ilene once said it looked like the Rose Parade court. I love all the lovely lavendar dresses, which of course no one would dare wear after that day! From left to right they are: Stan's sisters Merodie and Susan, my sister (matron of honor) Cheryl, Ilene and Beth. Aren't they beautiful?

Here's my father and I beginning our walk down the aisle. The poor thing was crying and so emotional, I had to be strong to get him down there. Actually, he's holding on to me, not the other way around! A sweet memory for me.
We're married! Leaving the chapel I was so happy! It's interesting to me that all these years later I am still crazy about the guy. I can't imagine my life without him.

I wanted to post a picture of our cake. It was poppy seed with lemon filling and so good!

Good things do come to those who wait!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wedding Bell Memories

More memories of our special day. We had the best time. The building we were married in is adjacent to the community college. Behind it stands the Institute Building, which has a large lawn next to it with a huge, gnarled old oak tree. My mother, who was the Institute secretary, and I thought that would be a perfect spot for photos. They came out great!

We had family members come from South Carolina, Utah and and all over the state of California. We were blessed to have had Stan's Grandma Helen with us as well. I adore this picture of all our family that came gathered together at the base of the oak tree. Even though it was May, it was hotter than the hinges of Hades that day, and everyone was so great to stand there and pose for us! It's fun to see the babies that are now grown, and the think about the ones that have been born since this day, and to remember all those we've lost since this was taken.

Our wedding party was composed of our dearest friends and siblings.
Standing are: Stan Eriksen, Owen Chiu (who introduced us), my nephew Neal, Brian Duke, Stan and I, my sister Cheryl, her other son Eric, her husband Bruce, Beth's husband Ken, and Stan's brother-in-law Al.
Sitting are: Ilene Hahn, Merodie Mullis, Beth Myers, and Susan Applegarth.

For the wedding my nephews, aged 5 and 3, also wore tuxedos. However, Eric, the three-year-old, absolutely REFUSED to wear the vest and tie. As a result he looked like a little lounge singer in his tux and open collar shirt. So cute, I wish I could go back in time and give him a squeeze. Neal kept thinking we were calling them Ring Bears, so we got them little t-shirts to wear at the reception. I think it's cute that Eric, who refused to wear a tie, somehow found a flower to wear on his t-shirt and thought that was okay. I so love these boys, who are now grown. Neal is serving in the Peace Corps in Jordan, and Eric is a preparing for his own wedding this September!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Remembering Friends

This week Stan and I will celebrate our 21st Wedding Anniversary. I've been thinking about it a lot and reminiscing about the people and events of that week. I've decided to share some of the photos in this blog over the next couple of days as I make a trip down memory lane.

This is Stan and his family. From the left are: his sister Susan's husband Al, Susan, Stan's father Jim, his sister Merodie, and his mother Joanne. His sisters and Al were in the wedding party, and his father wore a tux. I had selected the old fashioned English style tuxedos, and Jim looked like a propery English gentleman with his grey hair. Stan looked pretty awesome too!

I asked the photographer to take a portrait of my parents, and I am so glad I did!
They look so nice in this picture, and I'm so happy to have this. They worked very hard to make sure my day was special. It was!

Stan's best friend Brian was his best man, and his best friend.

We lost Brian the summer of 2002; we miss him terribly.
Knowing he was with us when we started our lives together is a precious memory.

My best friend of over 40 years, Beth.
She wasn't my matron of honor, although she should have been. (One of my regrets)
She went through EVERY aspect of getting ready for my wedding with me, from helping me select my gown, to getting to the bed and breakfast we stayed in on our wedding night and placing a banner and some goodies in our room waiting for us.
In my heart she is more than my best friend.

I'll post some more pictures tomorrow! Hope you enjoy revisiting this with me. And, if you don't recognize the man with the dark hair and beard, it's my very own Stanley Bear before the kids and I turned him grey!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Finally Here!

It looks like summer weather is finally here! After months of winter lingering we are having a gloriously beautiful day. I am so happy! Time for BBQs, picnics, outdoor adventures and blue blue skies with white fluffy clouds. Who could ask for anything more?

I am editing my last book -- once again -- to send out to a couple of agents who are interested in looking at it. Working on the outline for the next one, which isn't going too well. I'm hoping the good weather gets me back in story telling mode. I've got all these plots running around in my head, and I have to get them down on paper.

Schools coming to an end. AJ took his finals last week, Kevin will take his the week after Memorial Day. Looking forward to summer SO MUCH! I'd love to host a big BBQ with my friends. I guess I'm in a party mood. Yipee!

This is a recipe I got from my mother last year, and it is very yummy, and refreshing on a hot summer day. You can steep your own tea to make it, or use some of the instant if you can find it. It also works well with the diet soda if you prefer, which is what I usually use. I hope you like it!

4 bags of herbal peach tea
4 cups boiling water
1 2-liter bottle ginger ale
Steep the tea in the water then remove bags. Mix with ginger ale and serve over lots of ice.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

My friend Beth and I have been best friends since we were 13. Every year on her birthday her mother would fix this recipe for Beth, and I have continued the tradition since her mother's death. Even if I am far from her (she lives in California) I still fix it and serve it in her honor. It's so easy, and the meat just shreds. Pile it onto those yummy french sandwich rolls and enjoy!

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

4-5 lb pot, chuck or rump roast
3 medium onions, sliced
¼ cup water
8 oz tomato sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon chili powder
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup ketchup
2 pressed garlic cloves
¾ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon brown sugar
Sourdough French rolls (sliced sandwich size)

Put meat in crock pot or heavy kettle. Top with onions. Combine remaining ingredients into a smooth sauce and pour over beef. Simmer covered for approximately 8 hours. (If it dries out add water.)

Serve on heated and buttered rolls.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I am counting my blessings this day. I am a mother! There were so many times, in my twenties, when I didn't think that this would happen for me. And when it did my heart sang. When it happened a second time I thought all was right in my world.

I have two of the most compassionate, sweetest sons a mother could ever want. If I could have put in a special request, these are the boys I would have chosen. They make every day a special day for me. And I can't believe it's gone by so fast already; they are now 19 and 17!

But -- if ever I doubt the Lord's love for me, all I need to do is to look into the faces of these precious lambs He entrusted to me, and I know I am loved!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009


Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Scottish Novelist

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book Review: True Colors

New York Times bestseller Kristin Hannah has done it again! She has created a beautifully written novel about three sisters, and the things that tear them apart, draw them together and keep them connected.
Sisters Winona, Aurora and Vivi Ann Grey have been raised by a cold-hearted, sometimes cruel father since their mother's death when they were girls. As a result, the three share a bond that seems unbreakable. That is, until an old friend and a stranger come to the town they call home on the Oregon coast. Jealousies, secrets and a competing desire to earn their father's love seems to tear the girls apart.
When a tragedy appears to finally do the trick the sisters learn about the gift and the power of forgiveness and how sisterly love is stronger than almost anything else.
I loved this book! Hannah is a writer I return to time and again. She paints a lush, colorful picture of women and life. Her characters are so real that I felt as if I knew them personally. As I finished this novel I was almost wishing there were a sequel in the works so that I could revisit these three women and see how they were doing. I'd recommend it to all women who cherish their relationships, be they sisters by birth, or sisters of the heart.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sometimes it pays ...

I'm not one to verbally complain when I'm in a store. But today I wasn't in a very good mood. I've started going back to the gym this week to try to strenthen my bad leg and knees. The treadmill, the bicycle and the stair climbers were so hard, and I am in a lot of pain. This doesn't excute my behavior, but possible explains it.

So I'm in Safeway and looking at the steaks. Our anniversary is coming up and Stan and I decided we would have a BBQ steak dinner with the boys to celebrate. Safeway had steaks on sale and said they were sold in the family packs.

When I got there the family packs were packages of three steaks. I needed four, and thought that the most common number for a family is five, so what was Safeway thinking? So I complained, I guess a little loudly, to my boys. "This is so dumb!" I cried, and AJ suggested I buy the three and a single one to go with it. "No! That single one is over a dollar a pound more!" I put the steaks back in the tray and added, "I'm just going to go to Costco and get them there."

At that point a meat clerk, who was standing behind me (unbeknownst to myself) and asked what the problem was. When I explained he told me to pick out a single steak that I wanted and he would wrap the four steaks up and charge me the sale price for all of them.

"Really?" I asked. "Absolutely," he replied. "I'd rather not lose your business." Yipee!

I thanked him and as he walked away I turned to AJ and said, "I guess it pays to complain out loud, huh?" I guess so. Can't wait for our anniversary dinner!

Pineapple Cream

Here is another dessert recipe, from the 1920s. It's been passed down from my grandmother, and is easy to make (my sister used to make it when she was a little girl) and really yummy!

2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons corn starch
Whites of 2 eggs, beaten until stiff
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded pineapple (crushed)
Heat the milk in a double boiler. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add them gradually to the hot milk, sitrring the mixture constantly until it thickens, and then occasionally until it has cooked for 15 minutes. Remove the cream fromthe fire and add the pineapple and the whites of two eggs. Mold, chill and serve with the sauce.
1 cup pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon REAL butter (no margarine)
Heat the pineapple juice. Mix the flour and sugar and add them to the hot juice. Cook until clear. Add the butter. Cool and serve with Pineapple Cream.

Monday, May 4, 2009

So True!

It's Just Like ...

I've discovered a television show that I am quickly becoming addicted to. It's "Whatever, Martha!" It so reminds me of sitting with my BFF, a bag of potato chips and a bottle of catsup and a couple of colas, and sitting and talking the night away.

Martha Stewart's daughter and her best friend watch old clips from Martha's myriad of shows and talk about them, make fun of them, dis each other and generally have a good time. As a result I have a good time when I'm watching it.

I'd recommend it to anyone who misses spending time with a good friend who is far away. It'll make you feel like they're there with you!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion

Dylan Thomas
Welsh Poet

Friday, May 1, 2009


Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
Victor Hugo
French Poet and Novelist