Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Be Careful at the Bank....They Have Lost Their Minds...

Happy Halloween

       I think life was more sensible and more orderly when I was a teen and a young adult.  I am simply not that old, at just under fifty, and sometimes I could verbalize exactly what my grandmother did, which is that I may have lived too long.
             Today, I ran some errands in our nearest small city, a couple of hours away.  I stopped at a pharmacy, picked up a birthday present and some wrap, and stopped at my favorite upscale antique shop, not to buy anything, but just to say hello to the owners who are friends.  I also stopped by the art supply shop and got a few things as I haven't been there in quite a while.  On the way out of town I stopped at the Wal-Mart and at the bank within the Wal-Mart.  I could not believe my eyes.  The gentleman who is the branch manager was dressed us for Halloween, as a pimp !  He said hello and offered me an oatmeal cake with cream filling, which I politely declined.  As I went to leave, I saw a female bank employee clearly dressed as a prostitute !    Is it just me, or is this entirely inappropriate ?   Here we are in this country expressing dismay as our banks make it difficult to borrow for homes and cars, and while they almost refuse to give any amount of interest for funds on deposit.  On some of the lists I am on, people are talking about pulling their money from banks entirely.   In my state, prostitution and pandering are still crimes, as is being a customer to them.  Banks overall,  are trying very hard to put a professional foot forward.  This had to be the most unprofessional Halloween costume worn at work that I have ever seen.  Which bank was it, you ask ?  Well, surprisingly, it was NOT Bank of America, although I did get paperwork regarding a class action lawsuit against them, concerning my credit card, yesterday.   I wish Daniel had been with me at the bank in the flesh.  He would have laughed himself silly !

     Have a Safe and Happy Halloween

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: A Hybrid Storm of Epic Proportions

The scope of this storm is great.  It will likely combine with a westerly storm which is not shown on this graphic.  (Graphic: NOAA)

   As many of you who follow this blog know, we homeschooled Daniel. One of the ways we taught history, weather and preparedness, was to have him help us ready for storms and set up and review emergency kits with us.  I have no doubt that he would have enjoyed helping to set up the animals, particularly the alpacas, for this superstorm being referred to as "Frankenstorm".   I know Daniel would have been fascinated by how Hurricane Sandy might join a forming Noreaster, and morph into a rare hybrid storm, which incidentally will occur over a full moon, which will enhance the tides.

These are Hurricane Sandy Rainfall Potentials on Day One.  (Graphic: NOAA)


      Although Daniel is no longer here on Earth to explain the complexities of why this storm is so dangerous and may well be a hybrid storm of century proportions, I will try a little.  More than 50 million people in the Eastern US will be affected by this storm.  Schools, and universities are closed. Mandatory coastal evacuations have occurred in anticipation of it's coming inland in now eight states.  The NY subway system has closed.   Do whatever is recommended in order to remain safe from this storm. It's breadth is greater than eight-hundred miles. It also is fairly slowly moving, which means that it could stay put for longer than normal, causing unprecedented flooding in some places.  Power companies along the Eastern US are predicting potential power outages of one to two weeks, due to anticipated ground saturation and then winds which will topple trees over distributive power lines.
        Wherever you are, heed the warnings and do your best to keep your animals safe also. Daniel would expect nothing less !  Stay safe everyone.

This is the Hurricane Sandy Situation Page:

"Sandy" from 1976   By: The Carpenters

Friday, October 19, 2012

Writing Books in Desk Disarray


    Many of the readers of this blog who log in and read from time to time know that I am in the completion phase of writing two books.  One is named for this blog, and traces the entire experience of having Daniel join us on Earth, his life and his passing, and our experience afterward. In contrast,this blog tends to be snapshots of my thoughts and our lives taken from time to time following our loss of Daniel.
             I don't think I have heard anyone else speak about the impact of writing a book or two books on family life or on their household. Normally, I write fairly quickly, because after all, it is simply speaking or storytelling. My husband tells me that most women talk and unfold stories pretty naturally and I am not an exception. However, writing a book is an entirely different process.  First of all, the stakes are higher. I can delete a blog post should I read it later and decide it's too depressing to remain, although I never have. A book takes a long time to write, some time to get to and through a book publisher, and then sits with your words and phrases steaming, in a sense forever.  It will have it's day in the sun, and then maybe eventually copies will be sold in places I actually go, garage sales, and dollar stores !   Although my friends are more positive about it than that.  Maybe instead of asking John Grisham to autograph the latest copy of his book, he will eventually ask me to autograph one of mine !  This might squarely fall into my fantasy life, if it weren't for the fact that John Grisham did once ask me why I buy carob and what I do with it, when we happened to be in the same grocery store together. But, once again, I digress.
           When you are writing a book or two, there is scarcely time to pay bills, let alone to file the paid ones properly. Consequently, all three of my desks are piled with actual paperwork. My personal desk has things to file. My writing projects desk has paperwork awaiting being placed into manilla folders. My "college professor desk" has books and other things awaiting my reading and either reviewing them or sending them to someone else.  My normally clean and organized home has piles of supplies and canned food sitting in staging areas, awaiting being put away.  The few things I normally iron are in a basket awaiting rewashing and a more careful trip and removal from the dryer this time.  About all I have kept up on lately is the writing of the books, aiding my daughter in the readying of her new house, and animal care.  I am going to need to put my full attention on the house as soon we will be facing another Christmas. So, it would be safe to conclude that writing a book probably contributes to some degree of home disarray.  Some of this is just not my fault ! Several times I have had everything in neat piles and then the cat, in his zeal to sit next to me as I write, has cosied up to my warm computer and knocked everything to the floor !
              The thing I think I like least about writing a book is not the revisions I have to make myself but the copy editing process.  A book is a very personal thing.  How can a mere mortal reduce ones thoughts and feelings to the mechanics of things like adverbial phrases ?    As much as I tried not to feel as if someone unknown to me was going through my underwear drawer, this is how it felt.  I also disagreed with a couple of the recommendations. I didn't want everything in perfect grammatical style. I wanted people to feel as if I am relating a story to them, not as if I am relating a speech.  Maybe this is a flaw of mine, because there are many, but I felt magically transported to high school when the creepy honors English instructor corrected every word choice, every tense, my proclivity for British spelling, etc.   In life, I take correction fairly well. I think in writing, perhaps I do not.
             The next time you read a book, please understand that the person who wrote it may have trashed their house, their relationships, and possibly their health to do it.   Also, both of my books should be out just before Christmas, or so we hope.   One is "What I Learned from Daniel" and the other is "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness".    Please buy a paper copy, either from Barnes and Noble or Amazon, or get one electronically the same way.   I need to hire some temporary cleaning and organizing help !

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You Held My Hand

This looks very much as it does here just now.

    Daniel, this week as we clearly pull in like a train to a station,  to the time of the year in which you so abruptly had to leave us, now almost four years ago, I have been thinking of you rather a lot.   The manuscript to the book which centers on your life is at the publishers and they are busy doing everything from reviewing format, grammar and spelling as well as fact checking.  Fact checking ? Hmmm.  Only you could do that on such a book.  Still it is moving along quickly    Many times I thought of you this week and I had to giggle about a few of the things you said or did as they came to mind.  Do you know what I remember most of all about you, and one of the memories I cherish so much ?   I remember very clearly that when we visited a town or a city and we were about to cross the street, that you would hold my hand, and we would walk across the street together.  This may not seem unusual to you, but most boys, do this when they are very young, because their mother is walking a child across the road. When the boy starts to grow up as you did, this usually stops because the boy wishes to remain independent of his mother.  You did not do that. When we crossed the street, you would hold my hand and we would cross together.  It was not as if you were a small boy reaching for his mother's help. It was not as if I were a decrepit little mother and you were guiding me across a busy road. It was as if two souls who come to Earth were linking their hands in order to manage the hazard of the road.  I remember that well, and I miss it.  No one holds my hand when I cross the street now. Yes, I have your siblings with me here on Earth still, and of that I am appreciative.   I have your Dad here too.  I even have James who came to us through adoption after your passing. I have a busy loneliness. Though I very much do miss you, your personality, the things we did together, all of it. I know you watch and walk with me whenever you can, and I really appreciate this.  I know you communicate with my Dad and that you have quite a family there with you. I just thought you might appreciate hearing how much I love you, and that I always will.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Neurosurgeon's Journey to the Next Life

Dr. Eben Alexander

   In 2008, when our dear Daniel left the Earth at only twelve and a half, a neurosurgeon named Dr. Eben Alexander had his own problems.  Dr. Alexander was a noted neurosurgeon who taught at Harvard. At about the time that my father passed to Heaven, and then Daniel did, Dr. Alexander passed into a coma for about a week, the result of meningitis. During this time, Dr. Alexander, whom I shall call Eben from here on, experienced a cessation of function in the neo-cortex of his brain.  This week, in the cover story of Newsweek magazine, Eben tells of his journey to Heaven, and what we saw and learned there, before returning to Earth approximately a week later.
      This is also the subject of a book on the subject which will be available also this Autumn. It is called, "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife".
       I know I should be a little miffed that Eben's book will predate the release of our book "What I Learned from Daniel" which should be available just before Christmas (fingers crossed here), but I am not.  I think it benefits us, especially in these times, to hear the recollections and experiences of those who visited the life after this one, and then were permitted to return to tell us of their experience.
       These types of books are important, not only for those for which passing from this life is imminent, but for all of us, who will all eventually pass.  It is also of particular comfort to those who had a loved one, and particularly a child who made it home before we did.   Thank you Eben, for the courage it took to divert from being a neurosurgeon and scientist for a moment, long enough to describe the bigger truth and the bigger picture.  It's good to have you back on Earth for a while longer.


    Eben Alexander and his family reside in Lynchburg, Virginia.


     In the numerous dedications and thanks in my book, I mention, J.T. Baptista, who is the son of a friend of mine, psychic Sarina Baptista.     Sarina will be speaking in Crete, Greece along with Dr. Eben Alexander on October 7-14, 2013.  There will be other speakers also.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lauren Spierer Has Also, Not Yet, Been Located

Lauren Spierer is a 4'11" young woman who would now be 21 years old.

   Earlier this week I mentioned two young men who have disappeared without a trace. I updated their cases two posts ago.
          There is also no new information on Lauren Spierer who also continues to be missing.

The loss of a child, as I can tell you is devastating. It is my belief that the only thing worse than this, is having your child missing, and not knowing where they are, or if they need you.  This is a letter from Charlene Spierer, Lauren's mother.  It was recently published in the Huffington Post.


To Whom This May Concern:
It sickens me to write to you once again, but I have no choice. Time continues to pass and I cannot let you forget about Lauren. Rebecca recently said she holds close those people who knew Lauren. I realized in that moment that our lives will be forever defined as the time before Lauren disappeared and the time after. Another thing you and I share, the before and the after. For me, living without Lauren, it's the little things in my day-to-day life which are the most difficult. The things that aren't mentioned. Getting mail addressed to Lauren, walking past her room just as she left it the last time she was home, still waiting for her return. The unpacked boxes I cannot bear to move. The notice Rob has hidden away among so many other pieces of mail, from the Department of Motor Vehicles. It's Lauren's. It arrived shortly before her 21st birthday. We try to shield each other from more pain. It is impossible to do.
On June 4, 2011, we were hoping for Lauren's rescue. That’s what the Bloomington Police Department was hoping for as well. As time passed, we were hoping for Lauren's recovery. Today we are waiting to find out if the remains found in the White River belong to Lauren. We wait along with other families of missing loved ones. It could take as long as eight weeks. That's 80,640 minutes of agony. We are waiting to find out if a skull found in the White River might be Lauren's. It's chilling to say the words. I find it incomprehensible that if by chance you are reading this, you know the answer already. I recently read that the White River is 362 miles long. I am guessing that if you placed Lauren in a body of water, the current could have relocated her to another area. I can't say that I have read anything about decomposition or what might happen to a body that has been in water for over a year. Though this past year has taught me things I never would have expected to learn, decomposition is one area I refuse to explore. Lauren's DNA and dental records are on file with CODIS. "CODIS is the acronym for the "Combined DNA Index System" and is the generic term used to describe the FBI's program of support for criminal justice DNA databases as well as the software used to run those databases. The National DNA Index System or NDIS is considered one part of CODIS, the national level, containing the DNA profiles contributed by federal, state, and local participating forensic laboratories." We continue to wait for the results from the Marion County coroner's office.
You may or may not be a parent. Somehow I doubt that you are a parent. I guarantee you have no idea what it’s like, waiting to find out if the remains recovered from any number of places are those of your child. I hope I am making you uncomfortable. I hope you have as many sleepless nights as I have. I hope that some day, your parents, your siblings, your friends will all be in a courtroom when your true self is revealed, the self which was born on June 3, 2011 when you took Lauren from us.
We were shocked when several people hired attorneys within days of Lauren's disappearance. Five young men, five attorneys. I'm still not sure why they felt it was necessary. I know hiring an attorney is not an admission of guilt, however it leads me to believe there was something to hide. Questions remain unanswered and law enforcement polygraphs remain untaken. We are still without Lauren. Did you hire an attorney? I wonder if you are among those who continue to refuse to cooperate with the Bloomington Police Department. You can well imagine, a year later, those conducting the investigation have more questions which need to be answered. And yet those that could help, refuse to do so. Who are you? Did you go on any searches? Maybe you were no longer in Bloomington as thousands helped look for Lauren. Did you use Lauren's disappearance to your advantage? Have we met? Time will tell. So many questions. I will never forgive those who could have helped and did not. Though I doubt my sentiments matter to you, I will never forget you for as long as I live. I hope that every time you look into a mirror you remember the choices you made on June 3, 2011. I hope with every breath you take, you remember Lauren.
We are grateful to all those who continue to make sure Lauren's tragic story stays alive. There are many who stand beside us in our quest for answers. No matter what happened on June 3, 2011, the fact that Lauren seemingly vanished into thin air is undeniable and for that you are responsible. I trust that Lauren will have her day and justice will be served. Until that time, we remain steadfast in our search for answers which will lead us to Lauren.
Charlene Spierer


Additional information on Lauren's case can be found in our prior post:


  As of May, 2013, Lauren or her body has never been found.
A woman's body was discovered in the Bloomington, Indiana area recently, but it turned out not to be the body of Lauren Spierer.    We pray for the family of the young woman it was, who died of hypothermia, and for Lauren's family who has gone quite some time not knowing her whereabouts.

A Tale of Nutkin


   Since my daughter bought her home in the Summer, there has been much to do there. Although she has done a lot of work, and her boyfriend has too, there is still much of a cosmetic nature to be done there. Things at her job have heated up, and she has less time than she did in the Summer. I don't mind doing a few pre-approved tasks, and so I drop by the house a couple of times a week and do some of the more time consuming tasks there. This week I was there painting the interior of both the front and back doors with the correct paint.  Normally, I play the radio while I am there, because it can seem spooky being there alone in a place with, as yet, little furniture, and sounds which are, as yet, unfamiliar to me.  I switched on all the lights I could in order to do a good job with the painting. I mixed the oil based paint for about fifteen minutes, selected a brush and got to work.  I was working on the second door when there was a thud on the roof, a roll down the roof, and a clang. It sounded like something fairly large. I opened the door and went out to the deck only to see Nutkin extricating himself from the gutter.  My daughter's home is shrouded by a number of tall oak trees which this year, are heavy with acorns. Since Autumn began, when we enter the back door of the house we are often pelted with acorns like ammunition. They really do hurt as they fall a great distance. This week my daughter raked up piles of them close to the house, and moved them away from the house so no one would slip. The lucky main recipient of all of these acorns is a solitary gray squirrel that my daughter calls Nutkin.  Nutkin spends his days gathering choice acorns from the gutters on her house. His favorite dining area is the flat railing top which goes all the way around her large deck. He leaves lots of eaten acorn parts on the deck railing.  The noise on the roof as I painted, was apparently Nutkin, who seems to have gained a little weight since I last saw him, slipping and rolling down the roof. He apparently got caught on the gutter and this saved him from a fall to the ground.  "Are you alright, Nutkin ?" I called.  He looked at me, as if to say, "I'm a squirrel, you moron. I don't speak to humans !" Then, he got up and danced away.    I finished up the painting. Turned off the fan I was using there to cut the fumes.  Squirrels can do a lot of damage to homes in terms of roofing, gutters and they can chew and enter a house and inhabit the attic I thought.  Then, I thought that this squirrel has everything he needs. He has a quiet place away from other squirrels. He has a lifetime supply of acorns. He lives in a high perch on one of the highest trees in a relatively mild climate.  We'll have to watch to make sure he doesn't do any damage. Other than that, I hope Nutkin stays.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Updates on Missing Students

             Ian Burnet disappeared while on a trip to New York City late last year.   There continues to be no new information. He was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University at the time.

               Jonny Dorey disappeared from Virginia Commonwealth University in March, 2010.  Although an open investigation still exists, and his family believes he may have committed suicide, his body has never been found.

               Both cases are open.

Please take a look at these young men, and commit their appearance to memory.

Two views of Ian Burnet

Jonny Dorey

  If you see either of these men, contact information for the correct police officers working these cases are in the posts below.

Our prior posts on this subject:

Ian Burnet:

Jonny Dorey:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Sudden Loss of Ronald Rouse


  This Autumn, in November, it will be four years since our beloved Daniel who was well and happy, walked into the bathroom and collapsed into cardiac arrest. Immediate CPR did not save him.
    Four years later, I am still bringing you how we survive this journey without him, and of other families for whom this journey sadly begins now.
     Last evening,  Ronald Rouse, a senior lineman for the Hartsfield Red Foxes, collapsed during the second quarter of the game.  Ronald,6'3" tall and 320 pounds, would have been eighteen years old in about ten more days. He had been involved in a tackle and stayed on the ground longer than expected. Then, he was escorted by officials to the sidelines where he collapsed.  Coaching staff began to work on his pulseless body immediately, and eventually a defibrillator was used. Emergency Medical Services arrived and he was transported to a hospital. The principal ended the game when it was realized how serious the situation with Ronald really was.  Ronald was pronounced dead.last evening.   Darlington County coroner will be performing an autopsy  today.
      Perhaps I should have noticed before losing Daniel, but far more sudden deaths of young people, often playing sports, have occurred and are not entered into a specific sudden death statistic database. No one can really tell us how often this is happening, yet there is never a shortage of young people who died in a manner similar to Daniel.
       The autopsy on Ronald has not yet been done, but I can tell you what it will likely say.  It will either note a slightly enlarged heart possibly due to a virus, and the theory will be that Ronald died of a heart rhythm disturbance. They could possibly find an undetected heart malformation, as is also sometimes detected as a cause of sudden cardiac death. Or, Ronald's autopsy result could be like Daniel's, which is a completely normal heart with no anomalies, no malformations, and clean coronary arteries, that simply fell into a rhythm which was incompatible with life. There is also a syndrome known as Commotio Cordis in which a person is hit in the chest either by a ball or I suppose by another person, and the blow comes during the essential "t" wave or rest period of the heart, and this triggers what becomes a lethal arrhythmia.
        Today, my prayers are with the people and students of Hartsdale, South Carolina, and most especially the parents and family of Ronald Rouse. This is a loss for them which simply begins today, and will last a lifetime, even with abundant faith in our God. . Ronald is remembered by students at the school as "a really stand-up young man".
        We must do better as a nation in terms of educating families, coaches, physicians, and students on sudden cardiac death. We need to have AEDs present at all practices and all games.  We will still not save everyone, but we may save more of our precious young people than we do now. We need to make sure that every child who plays sports, be it soccer, baseball, football, track, etc. gets an EKG first.   Again, we will not save everyone, because even with an advance EKG to playing sports, some arrhythmias simply do not occur until a possibly unique set of stressful circumstances occur creating a lethal heart rhythm.  But, if there is anything we can do to avoid the loss of some young life, and to avoid this experience for another family, then I would do it without hesitation.

Update: October 6, 2012  6 pm

         As I had speculated above as to Ronald's death, I wanted to update actual factual material as soon as possible, as soon as available.  Darlington County, SC Coroner J.Todd Hardee announced today that Ronald's autopsy indicated that he had a congenitally enlarged heart, and that his cause of death was an apparent sudden arrhythmia or heart rhythm disturbance.
         I send my condolences, my prayers, and best thoughts to the family of this young man and to his friends and teammates.