Thursday, January 31, 2013

Random Reflection - The News 24/7

Finally starting to feel a little bit better after suffering from Sciatica for the past two or three weeks. The massaging treatments have really been helping and I'm glad to say that the $37.00 I spent on the book was worth every penny! Now that I'm getting better I need to start taking better care of myself, exercising more, doing my stretching exercises and trying not to stress too much...which is what this post is about.

Today my co-worker came into my office to tell me that she had just read about another shooting at a school in Atlanta. I knew about it already because as I was scanning my facebook wall during a trip to the bathroom...yes, I take my cell phone to the bathroom, I will defend that later; anyway...I was scanning my facebook wall and I saw a post from one of the local news anchor that I follow that read, "Report: 2 people shot at Price Middle School in Atlanta. 2 suspects in custody. here we go again."

Just a few posts later there was another post from another anchor that I follow from the same local news station that read, "Breaking news: ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta fire official: 14-year-old shot in head at middle school, hospitalized."

Each post had several comments such as"Oh my God what is the world coming to", "this is why we need gun control", "this is why I will not send my kids to school but will home-school them" and "where are these kids parents? Why don't they know what their children are up to?"

Frankly...I myself am sick and tired of all the media coverage of events like this. Back in the day (before cell phones and Internet and 24/7 coverage of every single little aspect of life), we didn't hear all day about anything that was going on in the world unless we maybe turned the radio on in our car during our lunch break. We wouldn't hear anything until we got home and turned on our televisions and listened to the evening news.

By the time that we got to our homes and turned on the evening news, the media for the most part had all or most of the facts and they were able to tell us what had happened. Briefly we would be riveted to the television, waiting to hear the details. Then the details would be given to us and we would know whether the person involved was hurt or had died and who had committed the crime and whether or not they had been apprehended. We had the facts.

So what right? Now we have news instantaneously. No...we don't have news, we have rumors and sound-bites and they are interviewing anyone and everyone, even people that don't know anything about what is happening but want their 15 minutes of fame!

For example, the shooting of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was at work when I heard about it and my co-worker and I were riveted to every piece of breaking news showing up on yahoo and MSN and Google. First we hear the name of the shooter was Ryan Lanza, we later find out that it was his younger brother Adam. We hear that Ryan shot his mother Nancy, who was a teacher at the school...come to find out Adam shot his mother Nancy and she was not a teacher at the school.

My point today is not to point out all the inconsistencies in what was reported that day but mainly to point out that myself, along with millions of others that day were riveted to the news, on our phone, laptops, Ipads, computers...all of us with tears in our eyes and our hearts in our throats stressing out and suffering all day long with every little detail that surfaced.

Since that day I have resolved to not read news items during the day. To spare myself that pain and agony and stress. Does that mean I don't care about what happened at Sandy Hook, or today in Atlanta? No...I care, I care very much and my heart hurts for all the victims and for their families and friends; but I won't spend every minute of my day poisoning my mind and tormenting my heart with all the "news" the media is putting out there just for ratings or shock-value. I'll wait until I get home and watch the news, or read the newspaper the next morning and spare myself the constant torture AND STRESS of a too quick to report world.

What I love about blogging though is that I can put my thoughts and ideas out there and YOUcan tell me in the comments what you think? Why you think that having instantaneous news, correct or not is important to you...or why you feel like me. I'm interested in knowing your thoughts on this matter. What say you?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sciatica Update and a Recipe and a Mosaic!

Photo Credit - Carmen Beecher
When last we got together I was one big throbbing ball of pain due to Sciatica! That was Wednesday and today is Saturday. Thursday and Friday actually got worse, the pain radiating and moving at times to my knees, then to the shin area of my leg, then to the top of my foot. I had a very difficult time sleeping and had to take a Vicodin...and I hate taking any kind of medicine, especially those that alter your mood and character!

Thursday night I went on an Internet hunt to try to find something, some exercise or food or medicine...that would give me some relief! I found this website, and reviewed it, searched online for reviews from others that have tried it. I contemplated it because you have to purchase an online e-book for $37.00! Anyone that knows me knows that I don't pay more than 80cents for a book because I buy them all at the Goodwill Store! But I was desperate and my pain-filled brain said, "Do IT!" So I ordered it and quickly reviewed it and went to bed, exhausted from the pain.
Sciatica Treatment

Friday I told my sister about it and sent her an email with the part of the book that tells you what you need to do in order to start relieving the pain in as little as 7 days if not sooner. She said she would come over that evening and help me as it requires some massaging in an area I can't reach. Friday evening I told her it would be better to wait until Saturday morning as I didn't know if having her massage me on Friday night might make the pain worse and I would be unable to sleep.

This morning she came over and we opened up the ebook and looked at the drawings and read the directions and she went to work. The book says you need to do the process for 8 minutes, it was tiring work and hard and painful on me so we did it for a little bit less. (It was also tiring for my sister, just try massaging someone for 8 minutes...8 minutes is a long time!) When I got up I told her I felt better, but it was really hard to gauge it as the massage itself causes pain.

She left and I sat for a while with the heating pad on my leg, which I had been doing all week and then I started watching low-carb videos on YouTube and that made me hungry. I debated just eating some cereal because it's very difficult for me to stand and walk with Sciatica, the pain is excruciating (and I have a high tolerance for pain). 

As I went into the kitchen to get the cereal, I noticed that the pain was not quite as bad. I walked around for a bit and thought, "hmmm, maybe I should try making those breakfast muffins I just watched a video on."

Amazingly I was able to stand and walk long enough to put these together.

I kid you not! After just one treatment! I did have to sit down while I chopped the veggies and the ham and usually I stand at the counter to do it, but I did it! I am amazed and SO happy because as I mentioned in the previous post I am supposed to go to Arizona in February for a huge family reunion and I was really looking forward to it but knew that with the Sciatica this bad I would not be able to attend!

My sister will be coming back tonight to do another massaging treatment and hopefully within 7 days I should be cured from Sciatica forever! (At least that is what they say on the website) Sciatica Treatment

So, I am going to continue to take it easy today and do the normal Sciatica stretches and continue to use the heating pad, but I can't wait for my sister to come back tonight to do another treatment! Maybe tomorrow, if I feel well enough I can take my mom to some Goodwill Stores and hit the supermarket to do some grocery shopping as our cupboards are bare.

For those of you that don't have Sciatica, or don't know anyone who has Sciatica and just want the recipe for those yummy breakfast muffins pictured on the mosaic above, here we go...

I got the idea from Pinterest and watched this video

As I cupboards are bare and so is my refrigerator. I didn't have any sausage or bacon, but what I did have was ham and veggies and the eggs of course. So I diced up my red bell peppers and diced up the ham. I sprayed the muffin pan with non stick spray and then filled them with the ham and some with ham and veggies. Because I love me some spiciness...I also chopped up some pickled jalapenos and even added some of my mom's Chile Macho (diced up roasted Ortega peppers with tomato and seasonings).

Then I mixed up 6 eggs, I figured one per muffin, but as you will see in the photos to follow, maybe 5 eggs would have been enough. I poured the egg into each muffin cup. 

That looked great already but then I remembered the cheddar cheese! BAM! as Chef Emeril Lagasse would say! That kicked it up a notch right?

Now it was time to put them into a pre-heated, 350 degree oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. DO NOT do what I did and overfill the can see what happened! See they rise up almost like a souffle but then start shrinking back almost as soon as you take them out of the oven.

Aren't they gorgeous???? Even with the horrible quality of my cell phone camera you can still see how lovely and puffy they are!

In the video you can see that she takes them out of the pan immediately  but mine seemed to be stuck, so I waited a little while but still had to use a butter knife to pry them out. They didn't break apart or anything but they did leave me a messy pan I have to clean up...later.

But regardless of them spilling over and sticking to the pan, they were so pretty! And the best part is you can freeze them or just put them in a plastic container in the fridge and grab one and nuke it and go in the morning, or take them to work with you for a delicious filling snack!

I let my mom be the guinea pig and she tried one and proclaimed it to be very good (she ate the whole thing so she was either starving or it really was good.) Now it's my turn, here's my breakfast muffin!

Mmmm, it is very good! It's got a great texture, you can pick it up with your hands and eat it like a cupcake, or you can be refined like me and use a fork! Either way it was yummy. I was going to eat a slice of avocado with it, but it was so good alone I didn't even think about the avocado. 

I found this great tool online where you can type in your ingredients and it will give you nutrition info, including how many carbs per serving. You can find this at Calorie Count. As you can see from the info below, these muffins have 1.5 grams of carbs and only 0.9 grams of sugars. You could probably add flax seed to add some fiber to it. But that's awesome! This site is great because it gives you grades for each ingredient and then gives you pros and cons of the recipe  As you can see it is high in cholesterol and sodium, so you might want to use Egg Beaters which would help.

So anyway...I hope my healing progresses and I'll keep you all updated. For now I'm going to go take a little walk and maybe clean that muffin pan and then I'm going to watch a movie and perhaps nap a little. I am recuperating you know.

Hey! Thanks to all of you that have emailed me suggestions and ideas on how to help my Sciatica pain or just emailed me to send me get well is so appreciated!

Joining the gang at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. It's been a long time since I've played along with them and it feels good to be getting back into the swing of blogging!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sciatica Pain has got me down again!

     I am suffering from an ailment more painful than childbirth! I kid you not! I've given birth naturally and by C-section and I would rather give birth to 100 babies in a row than to suffer Sciatica for even one day!

     Back in April of 2010, Sciatica hit me for the first time. It was so bad that I was off of work for almost a month, had to go to Urgent Care about three times, Emergency room once and had to go to physical therapy. I had almost decided back then that I would have to go on disability as I could work. I couldn't sit, stand, lay down or do anything without excruciating pain.

     Because of Sciatica, I can no longer wear beautiful shoes. No more sexy heels, just flat, ugly manly looking shoes. Because of Sciatica I have a deathly fear of Escalators!

     Well it's baccckkkkk! I've felt it coming on slowly for about two weeks now. For those of you that don't know what Sciatica is...

Sciatica (pron.: /sˈætɪkə/; sciatic neuritis)[1] is a set of symptoms including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve, or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, or various parts of the leg and foot. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Typically, the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body. Pain can be severe in prolonged exposure to cold weather.
Although sciatica is a relatively common form of low back pain and leg pain, the true meaning of the term is often misunderstood. Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis for what is irritating the root of the nerve, causing the pain. This point is important, because treatment for sciatica or sciatic symptoms often differs, depending upon the underlying cause of the symptoms and pain levels. Sciatica is also referred to as Lumbar Radiculopathy,[2] which involves compression of the sciatic nerve roots caused by a herniated (torn) or protruding disc in the lower back.

     On Monday I was able to hang in there at work until 2pm, then Tuesday I toughed it out until 3pm. Today I got up and was determined to go to work but after a restless night of hardly any sleep as I could not find a position that was comfortable and pain free, I decided "the heck with it, I'm staying home!"

     I've been doing all the recommended exercises and stretches. I have a TENS unit that I apply three times a day but nothing is really helping at this point. I know that it just has to run it's course and go away by itself.

     I hope it's soon though as I have a huge family reunion to attend in Arizona in February and there will be games and dancing and other activities and I sure don't want to be sidelined, if I am even able to attend as it will be a 6 hour drive!

     So for now I'm going to go take a little walk as movement is better than bed-rest when you have Sciatica, and I hope to be able to go back to work tomorrow. Wish me luck!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

I'm Obsessed with Pinterest

Are you Pinteresting???

I am! And I have been for a long time now. If you visit my PINTEREST PROFILE you will see that I have tons of boards (51) and tons of goodies in each board (1,249 pins).

At first I didn't get it. What was the big deal? You go to the home page and just look at pictures of stuff. Ok, kinda cool. Then you can click on the picture and it takes you to the pin of the person who pinned (shared) it, then you can click on the picture and it should take you to the original blog or website of the person who originally shared whatever it is, whether it be clothing, shoes, recipes, crafts, quotes, books...the possibilities are endless.

So you think, ok well...big deal? So you get to that persons site and then what? Well if it's a recipe it makes it really nice to keep all the recipes you see online together in one place so that if you're in the grocery store and you see chicken is on sale you can just go to your board for chicken recipes and Voila! You have the recipe easily at hand and can buy the ingredients you need. Like the Orange Chicken Recipe below which I had pinned and comes from . I had this Orange Chicken recipe on my board entitled "Chicken Delicious!"

But it's not just great for recipes. I have a board entitled DIY for Do It Yourself and this is where I'm putting ideas on things I want to try someday.  Like these crayon hearts made with Wax Paper and Crayon Shavings. In fact, right now would be a good time to get started on these in time for Valentines Day. This project is from the Martha Stewart Website.

Pinterest is also a great place to organize thoughts and words you see online or you hear quoted in other peoples blogs. I have a board entitled simply "Words" where I pin quotes and poems and song lyrics and other special things having to do with words. Here's one of my favorites from


Pinterst also has a search option so if you want to search for Low-Carb Recipes it will give you the boards of other Pinners that may have some pretty great recipes, tips and ideas on a Low-Carb lifesytle.
Is Pinterest something I can live without? Sure. But do I want to? No...I love it and it makes me happy and it's the simple things in life that makes us happy right?
Even if you don't create your own Pinterest Profile, please go visit mine, lots of goodies, I promise! 
**Oh, and I've created a new widget at the top of my latest blog post, right underneath my header that shows the most recent items I've pinned. Can you tell I'm a sucker for food pins?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Super Mom - The Expats

This post was inspired by mystery thriller novel The Expats by Chris Pavone. Kate Moore happily sheds her old life to become a stay at home mom when her husband takes a job in Europe. As she attempts to reinvent herself, she ends up chasing her evasive husband's secrets. Join From Left to Write on January 22 as we discuss The Expats. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

I had a difficult time trying to think of what to write for my book club, From Left to Write. We don't review the actual book itself but write about something inspired by the book.

I finished the book a while ago and wondered what to write about as I didn't really enjoy the book. Don't get me wrong, the book was good, but when you read in bits and pieces like I do, it gets difficult to follow a book with so many twists and turns.

I racked my brain trying to think of something to write about and as I pondered various ideas I got to thinking about how the main character in the book, Kate Moore, is a mom. A mom with a secret identity that she keeps from her kids as well as her husband. She plans and plots and connives and her kids are none the wiser, she's always there to pick them up after school and play games with them and feed them.

It made me stop to realize just how many identities moms have, identities that their kids and many times their spouses know nothing about.

My mom for example. I used to go off to school and I never wondered what my mom did all day. I knew she did housework because our house was always clean and there was always food on the table, but what else did she do? To this day I still don't really know.

Just like my kids probably will never know exactly what I did. I wonder if my kids knew that while they were at school their mom was working as a bill collector. Calling debtors, fighting with them to get them to pay their financial obligations. I was threatened and had things thrown at me. Once a man threw a stapler that was on the counter at me (we learned not to leave anything on the counter that could be used as a weapon.) Luckily I was quick and ducked in time to avoid getting hit.

Their mom also spent many years meeting with families who had just lost a loved one in order to organize funeral arrangements. She also arranged flowers and photos in the viewing rooms and many times helped the embalmer to casket a body and helped the funeral director to load caskets into the hearse. She even drove the limo once for the family of prize fighter Jerry Quarry who once fought Muhammad Ali. 

There are also lots of other things that I did that I'm sure I never want my kids to find out about and some things that I really wish they knew about me. But what is amazing is that there are so many moms out there doing interesting and amazing things but to their kids, they are simply mom.

One thing that I always loved about working in funeral service was hearing kids give their memories and thoughts about their mother when putting together an obituary. Many times I would hear one of them say, "Really? I never knew that about mom."

Do you know what your mom did while you were in school? Was she a surgeon, an astronaut, a baker, a business woman? Did she write a book or invent a product we all know about?

Mom's are the unsung hero's of the world, except on Mother's Day of course!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Kicks!

Well another busy weekend in which I did a lot of stuff. I shopped alot, ate a bit and didn't get one thing done at home. Ok, wait! I forgot, I did get all my bedding washed, so that's quite an accomplishment considering it seems that I was hardly home all weekend.

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to look for some sweaters to make some adorable sweater pillows. Alas...not a cute sweater was to be found at Goodwill this week. But I am nothing if not a hunter and I shall be out there again next weekend shifting through clothing racks and looking for the perfect sweater to make a pillow out of!

I also got my grocery shopping done and bought all kinds of things to keep my new eating plan going. Not going to go into that right now, let's just say it's low-carb and I've already lost 8 pounds! Yay! I had a great lunch yesterday with my mom and a great lunch today with both my mom and my sister and best of all I got some new kicks! (Shoes for those of your not as cool and with it as I am.)

Aren't the just adorable? No I don't mean my cute little feet, I mean the shoes. I just love them. So comfortable and they just make you feel like you have a continuous massage going on! I love the color too. My sister bought a pair because Sketchers had a buy one get one half off sale, but hers are black. We both love them and wore them out of the store! I highly recommend them if you need good shoes to kick around with on the weekend! Sketchers claims they are walking shoes and while they are comfortable for walking, just make sure you only walk on a smooth surface, I wouldn't recommend them for hiking.
My next buy after I save up some more pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters are these.....
I just love the green color and they were so super comfortable! My mom also got two pairs of shoes and she was like a kid in a candy store and couldn't decide which ones she wanted.
So there's my weekend. It was a pretty great one and now I'm going to go finish watching The Golden Globes and have some dinner.
Have a great week ya'll!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why I Blog. Why do you?

I was reading a post from Audra over at Frugal Missus where she talked about how it had been a while since she had posted on her blog but it was always on the back of her mind and she wondered if she should start again and if anyone really wanted to read what she wrote. Then she came to the conclusion that her blog is her diary, her way to keep a record of what is going on in her life.

I kinda went "Amen" in my head because that was one of the major reasons why I started my blog. I've always loved to write but hated to write long hand with a pen and being able to just type on a screen sounded like a great idea to me.

And it the beginning I would write three or four posts a day. Just random stuff, not always personal. But then somewhere along the way I got sidetracked into wanting lots of followers and trying to write about things that might interest them. So now when I get an idea about a post I think, "no one wants to hear about that."

Reading Audra's post reminded me that I started writing for ME and I should continue writing for ME, no matter how boring and dull my life might be, it's my life and my thoughts and I should write about them if it makes me happy, right?

That's what I think I should do. For instance my plans for today include a trip to Goodwill to try to find some sweaters so I can make these awesome sweater pillows that were featured by Yvonne at Frugal Missus. Will I actually make them? Probably not. I'm great at getting excited about projects and buying all the supplies and then putting them aside for another project and starting all over again. But I get such joy from the thought of doing it and purchasing the projects that it's almost enough except for all the crap I have in drawers and boxes!

I also plan to go get groceries and have lunch with my mom. I plan to wash all my bedding and maybe wash my car. I plan to watch a few movies and read a little of my book. So I guess with all this planning going on I best get off of the computer and get to getting right? Ya'll have a great day!

OH...almost forgot, what about you, why do you blog? Or what's your typical Saturday like?


Friday, January 11, 2013

A Touching Love Story

A few days ago I posted about an elderly couple that had been neighbors of mine.

I was in shock because the husband had murdered his wife and then killed himself and I was in total disbelief and apparently so is our little community. I just know that the husband had to be in some form of mental or emotional distress because I never saw anything but gentleness and love from him towards his wife. Here's some further information on this story that brings be to believe this more than ever. This is a story from one of our local news stations, 23ABC.

SHAFTER, Calif. - Circumstances surrounding the murder-suicide of an elderly couple in Shafter reveal a touching love story.

"Johnie and Claudine are perhaps one of the most loving couples I have ever met in my life," said their church pastor Mike Polley.

Whether out at events or at home, Johnie and Claudine Saulsbury were always side by side, unable to go without at least slightly touching each other.

Neighbors and the couple's pastor say every afternoon they would walk hand in hand around the neighborhood.

"They told me it was because they had to hold each other up and I saw the look in their eyes and they just needed to be together. They loved each other desperately," said Polley.

So desperately that Johnnie said he wanted them to die together

And they did.

Thursday morning, a relative went to check on Johnie and Claudine at their home in Shafter and found them dead inside.

Shafter police say Johnie had stabbed Claudine to death and then hanged himself in the garage.

One day before they were scheduled to move to an assisted living facility.

"He didn't want to move away from here. He decided he didn't want to move into Bakersfield," said a neighbor who did not to be identified.

Friends and family say for the past 50 years, the couple had lived in that Shafter home and raised three children there.

They were active in the community, especially at Valley Bible church.

The neighbor said Claudine was more willing to move than Johnie.

"[Claudine] said [to me] 'I won't even have to cook in there unless I want to'," said the neighbor.

She said the couple were in poor health and Johnie was taking medication.

"I'm sure without him taking that medicine that he would not have done this. There's no way. He must've snapped," said the neighbor.

Everyone 23 ABC spoke to are shocked, saying they will miss the couple who loved their community and even more so, each other.

"Johnnie and Claudine are pillars in this community...and they have had a great impact on their family and friends and all the people in their neighborhood," said Polley.

Johnie and Claudine Saulsbury would have celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this month

Such a sad situation. I drove by their home this evening on my way home from work and there were several cars parked there and there were people moving things out of the home. I'm sure it was their children and people from their church. That was not the way they had planned to move.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Heart is Heavy

My heart is heavy today. Tragedies happen all the time, but then it hits close to home and you just can’t comprehend why things happen as they do.

Yesterday was a day of shock and sadness. Let me begin by saying none of the things that happened affected me on a personal level, they did not happen to me… but yet they did affect me on an emotional level.

Yesterday morning my co-worker came into my office to tell me that one of the truck drivers we insure, a regular client that we speak with all the time had contacted her to report a claim. A fatality. He hit an individual with his truck-tractor and that individual was dead. The driver was in shock as you can imagine. I don’t believe it had still fully registered with him that this tragedy had actually happened, that someone was dead.

The news made our local news and newspapers, so I don’t feel that I am divulging any personal or professional information. This is the story as reported on

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A 63-year-old man is dead after walking into the path of a semi truck on Interstate 5.

Ira Eugene Bennett, of San Diego, stopped his car around 5:30 a.m. Thursday on the shoulder of I-5 between Millux Road and Bear Mountain Boulevard, southwest of Bakersfield. He called the California Highway Patrol and reported having medical issues. The CHP didn't give specifics of the medical problems. Arriving officers found Bennett's car but not Bennett.

Officers found a stopped big rig about a half mile up the highway, and the truck driver told officers he had hit an unidentified object. A search of the area revealed the truck had hit Bennett, who had walked into the northbound lanes of I-5.

The CHP didn't say whether it had determined exactly why Bennett stepped into traffic.

I’m not sure what Mr. Bennett’s medical issues were, but I do know that our client, the trucker will never forget this. He will never forget the sound the impact made as he hit this poor man.

I had a friend who was a truck driver, his name was Oscar. Oscar was driving West on a local highway in clear weather and coming up to an intersection where he was had the right of way and no stop. The other person had a stop sign. The other person did not stop.

Oscar told me that as he looked down from the cab of his truck he saw the face of the woman looking up at the oncoming truck and on her face was sheer terror and then he saw her mouth something which he thought was “Oh God” and then he hit her.

Oscar never forgot or got over that moment. He continued trucking but his confidence was gone. He hesitated at intersections. Every day that he had to go out there and earn a living for his family was sheer hell and he didn’t have any relief from the fear and stress until he turned the key to the off position and parked the truck for the day.

Now this other poor truck driver will always and forever remember that tragic day. All day long my coworker and I commented on how badly we felt for this trucker and our hearts hurt for him and the family of Mr. Bennett.

After work, sitting in my chair at home, getting ready to watch a little TV I get a phone call from my brother Fred who is calling to ask me if I heard about the suicide. My brother is also a truck driver and I just assumed he was talking about my client. So I told him yes, the trucker was one of our clients. Fred said, “No, I’m talking about your neighbor.”

As it turns out, my neighbors across the street from my previous house where I had lived for four years had suffered their own tragedy on Thursday as well. This is the story from our local news:

SHAFTER, Calif. - The Shafter Police Department is investigating an apparent murder-suicide. Officers say the bodies of two elderly people were found just after 7 a.m. Thursday and their deaths have left many community members in shock.

Shafter police say the bodies of an 84-year-old woman and an 86-year-old man were found inside their home, a place neighbors say they lived for several years.

Police are not releasing their names, but say the husband stabbed the wife a number of times and then hung himself. This all happened on the 200 block of Walnut street in Shafter.

Police say family members found the bodies after they went to their home to check up on them. According to neighbors, the home was sold and the couple had plans to move into a nursing home.

The neighbor says the couple left behind three adult children. Two live out east and their oldest daughter lives in Bakersfield.

A neighbor we spoke with – who did not want to be identified, says she is still in shock over their deaths. “They were good people, good neighbors. They attended church all the time. I’m extremely hurt and I’m hurt for their children and for what they are going through right now,” said the neighbor. She also tells us the 84-year-old woman use to be a teacher before retiring and her 86-year-old husband use to work in the oil fields.

I have to agree with the neighbor they interviewed. They were good people. When I first bought the house across the street from them, my sister and I spent about a week cleaning and painting the inside and the woman came over right away and introduced herself and invited us to her church.

At Christmas the first year she brought us a plate of cookies.

When my mom moved in with me a year after I bought the house the woman came over and introduced herself to my mom and would frequently invite my mom over for coffee. She and mom became walking buddies and would walk early in the morning after my mom came home from church.

I would frequently see the woman and her husband around town on their daily walks and I went to the yard sales she had and once purchased the whole set of the Left Behind series of books from her.

Her husband would be out puttering around in the yard every day and they seemed like the perfect couple. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors but I believe they loved each other very much and if he did stab her I choose to believe he was insane due to old age or perhaps some medication he was on or maybe he just didn’t want to go to a nursing home.

My mom had run into them a few weeks ago at a local restaurant and the woman told my mom they were selling their house and moving into a nursing home as she needed help caring for her husband.

I am so sad to think that this couple that had been together for so many years both met such a tragic end. I am so sad for their children who will always wonder what their mother suffered at the hands of their father, maybe even doubting that the father killed their mother, that maybe someone came in and made it look like a murder/suicide. I will always remember Johnie and Claudine with fondness and picture them walking around our neighborhood always talking to each other.

I don't understand why this had to happen to them and to the poor truck driver. I just don't understand. But my heart is heavy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Books Read in 2012

I've been keeping track of the books that I've read each year on my blog. In 2009 and 2010 I read 24 books each year. In 2011 I read 29 books. For 2012 I set a goal of 30 books but unfortunately didn't reach my goal as I only read 26! I was so close! The cool thing is that I've started keeping track by using Goodreads.

By using Goodreads I can keep track of what books I've read, what books I want to read and I can review the books I've read and read reviews of the books I want to read that other readers have already read. Wow...that sounds like a tongue twister!

And another thing I love about Goodreads is that I don't have to go search for all the book covers...they save them for me! Gotta love that. Here's the first 20 I read. Of these twenty the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is my favorite, but the book and the movie The Help are a close second.

Here's the rest of the books...

So my goal for 2013 is to try to reach the goal that I didn't reach in 2012...30 books. Can I do it? I think I can. Maybe if I turn the TV off a little more often and reach for a book I'll make it!

What's your goal for 2013?