Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Meet our grandson, Stevie Jr. He will be 10 in July and has autism. Whenever I read of something new in the field of autism research, I get excited at the prospect that perhaps this will help to enrich Stevie Jr's life a bit more.
While browsing CNN.com I came across a video about a young girl who has an "autism dog". This is evidently the newest thing being tried to help to integrate these special needs kids into the world around them. The program appears to work much like the "seeing eye dogs" for the blind, though for an autistic person, the connection with a dog seems to give them a calm about unfamiliar surroundings. Often times our little guy will act out when put in a new situation for the first time. Our son, his father, works hard at making sure Stevie gets out around others as much as he can. He tries to expose his son to all sorts of experiences and with each new one, our little Stevie gains another big bunch of confidence in his world.
I'm hoping that there is a program for dogs near where our Stevie Jr can perhaps take advantage of it as well. Daily they find out more about this terrible affliction. They can't seem to find enough fast enough to suit this grandmother. =)
Till next time,
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I find that writing stories is an amazing experience. One's mind is transported to the time and place and age group of the characters that are being written about. For that time, you are there. Pretty much like the experience of reading. That's why I enjoy reading as much as I do too. What a tremendous experience.
If you enjoyed my work, I would appreciate a comment. If you didn't enjoy it or have criticism to offer, I would appreciate that as well. That's how we learn, by constuctive criticism.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Written by Mary More
Alex and Penny gobbled down their lunch. “Slow down, twins”, said their mother. “You act like you’re going to a fire”. “Okay mom. It’s just that we have to meet Kate and Kenny……..” Penny kicked Alex under the table and frowned at him, warning him not to say too much. Finishing their last bite, the twins went bounding out the door taking the porch stairs two at a time as they headed down towards the river. Their mother yelled, “Hey, wait. You didn’t brush your teeth”, then sighed a heavy sign of resignation as she realized they didn’t hear a word she said. “Those twins!” she exclaimed, smiling and shaking her head as she went back to washing the dishes.
On the outside, the “fort” looked like the rest of the trees and brush close to the bank of the river. Alex and Penny walked around to the river side where there was a well hidden entrance. They looked up and down the banks to make sure nobody was watching before they separated the brush, bent down and crawled into the fort.
Inside there was a large natural clearing where brush had died off leaving an empty space about 8 feet long and 5 feet wide. It was just the right size for the four of them. The boys had discovered the clearing when they were only 6 years old, and had laid claim to it as their hideout. The four of them had spent many hours there, the girls playing house, the boys talking and planning tricks to play on the girls. The girls had made the clearing into a little room, complete with a couple of old crates that doubled as shelves. They had found an old discarded area rug in someone’s trash, and that was on the floor. There were pillow cases filled with dried grass and leaves for them to lean against or sit on. It had all of the comforts of home. Each of the twins had contributed in some way to the things that made up this little private getaway. The boys had found arrow heads, and interesting jars and bottles that sat proudly on the shelves. They had also rigged up a trap that they armed whenever they left the fort. If ever some unwelcomed visitor were to enter their fort, the trap would be tripped, and the intruder would be pelted by the pebbles that filled the pail. So far, nobody had invaded their fort, but they continued to set the trap anyway, just in case.
Kenny and Kate were already there when Alex and Penny came in. They all were so eager to talk about the exciting developments of the mystery they had found themselves smack dab in the middle of.
Kenny pulled out his small notepad so he could make a list, and began to think aloud. “We need to get organized. We need a plan! First of all, let’s take inventory of what clues we already have, and what we need to do next.”
Penny and Kate both presented their finds. Kate opened the tissue carefully revealing the hair she had discovered. “I found this in the shower drain!” “Awesome”, exclaimed the boys. Having been wrapped in tissue, the hair had dried, and they could see that it was red. Penny then opened the envelope to reveal the red hair strands she had recovered. “We found these up in the Cragen’s bedroom on the pillow”, she exclaimed. “Red hair”!! Some stranger was definitely in that house, was lying in that bed and even took a shower. This red hair couldn’t possibly belong to one of the Cragens”. “Good job, girls”, said Kenny as he began to list their findings on a page he had entitled CLUES.
1.Strands of red hair from pillow.
2. Red hair from bathroom drain.
3.Broken kitchen window. (Obvious break-in)
4.Bloody shoe print with “S” pattern on sole
Kenny again asked himself, “Where have I seen the “S” pattern of that bloody shoe print before?” He pondered that........."where?"
Kate reached behind one of the crates and into the brush pulling out a tin fishing tackle box. She opened the lid and put the tissue and envelope containing the hair samples inside. Placing the box back into the hole in the brush, she carefully arranged the twigs, completely obscuring the “safe’s” hiding place. There! The clues were safe.
Kenny reached inside of the backpack he brought back to the fort. He had flashlights for everyone, his digital camera, baggies to put evidence in, candy bars for quick energy, rope just in case, a whistle, just in case, qtips, because they used them on CSI, notebooks and pencils for the others, four bottles of water and a book. The book was entitled “Unsolved Mysteries”. He was reading it and wanted to have it in the fort for reference.
Penny put the water and candy bars into an old cooler they had in the fort. It didn’t have ice in it, but it kept ants out of their supplies of food and drinks. Kate had gathered some wild flowers earlier, and they were in a jelly jar sitting on top of the cooler. “Pretty”, thought Penny. “The boys never even noticed, I bet. Boys!!!” she sighed heavily.
“We need to go back to the Cragen’s,” Kenny told Alex. “I think that the girls should stay here, this time, though.” Simultaneously, the girls yelled, “NO WAY!”. They all laughed. That happened so often. They had decided that twins have an ESP that others don’t have, and that it works back and forth between pairs of twins as well as between the siblings themselves. They were convinced of this, and each time they saw evidence to that fact, they were all the more sure that the four of them could communicate on a level that other “regular” siblings and friends could not. It made them feel special and gave them a special bond as well.
“Okay, okay, you girls can come too. Sheeezzzzzz….a man can’t get away from his sisters for a minute!” Said Alex as he reached over and tugged lightly on Kate’s hair. Kate let out a fake “Ouch” and fowned, though the frown fast became a grin. Alex had called her his sister too. She liked that.
“This is what we’ll do”, said Kenny quietly, in case anyone was listening that shouldn’t be. “We’ll scatter and then meet back in that small clearing outside of the Cragen’s place that we hid in earlier. We’ll go back into the house. I want to recheck under that kitchen window to see if there are any footprints out there. Alex, you and I need to go down into the basement and see what we can find down there. The girls let out a little screech and hugged one another. “Girls, we need you two to stay upstairs, gather some samples of blood from the chair and the footprint, so take some q-tips and baggies. Also, we need you to look around for other clues like mail, or notes. Check desk drawers and that sort of thing. See what you can find that doesn’t appear to belong there.”
“Okay, we all have our jobs set for us,” said Alex quietly. “Ready? One, two, three, SCATTER” he whispered as loudly as he could. The twins took off once again, all in different directions. Kenny, grabbing his backpack, stayed a moment longer to set the trap and then he too was off.
The adrenalin was flowing through Kenny unlike anything he had ever felt before. He couldn’t believe that he had an actual mystery to solve. He’d read mystery novels since he had learned to read. He knew that he was meant to be a detective or a spy, and this adventure was doing a lot to reinforce that desire in him. He was a natural. Totally lost in his thoughts as he rank Kenny didn’t see the raised branch on the ground in front of him. He tripped and fell. Picking himself up, he bent down for his backpack. In doing so, something shiney caught his eye. Brushing the leaves aside, shining in the sunlight was a necklace. It was a large cross that he recognized immediately. It belonged to Mrs. Cragen. She wore it all of the time and was so big, you couldn’t miss it. Even his mother had remarked about it while talking to Mrs. Cragen one day. Mrs. Cragen had said that her grandfather, a silversmith and had made it for her. She treasured it and never took it off. Kenny shivered involuntarily. For a moment he wondered if they hadn’t gotten themselves into something that was bigger than they were. Maybe they should tell their parents. Maybe the police should be called. But then, the latent detective in him took over once more and he knew that this case was his big chance to prove to everyone that he was indeed a detective. He needed his chance to solve this case. He just needed a few more clues. Back to business at hand, he once again took off running in the direction of the meeting place. Maybe this time they would find the missing pieces to the mystery that would make it all come together and make sense of what had happened.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
When they got to the house, the four of them split up, the two boys went around one side and the two girls around the other. “Hey guys. Come here”, yelled the girls. The guys came running around the back of the house to where the girls were standing. Kate was pointing up at the window. It wasn’t just broken, all of the window’s glass was knocked out so that someone could crawl through it without cutting themselves. Kenny tried the back door and it was unlocked too. Very strange! Very strange indeed!
Kenny opened the back door and started into the house. Alex followed him, putting up his hand to signal the girls to come in behind them just in case. They had entered the kitchen, where the intruder had broken in through the window. “The glass is on the floor. That indicates that the intruder broke it on the outside. The glass fell inwards”. Said Kate as she walked around careful not to step on any of the glass. Alex was crouching down over the blood on the floor. There was a partial footprint made from someone having stepped in some blood. Where had he seen that shoe sole pattern before?? The grooves were shaped like the letter “S” up and down the bottom of that shoe sole. Hm…. Kenny went into the living room to search for more clues. He wished he had brought a flashlight. They always used a flashlight on TV when they did crime scene investigation. He took out his pad and made a note to himself to get flashlights for everyone.
Kate and Penny took off in the direction of the stairs. They wanted to see what other clues they could find upstairs. They were careful not to touch a thing. They watched CSI and knew the drill when investigating a crime scene. Their eyes combed the walls and other surfaces for signs of finger prints or blood splatter as they made their way up to the second level of the house.
Once up stairs, they walked down the hall to the left. They saw a bedroom. Glancing in, they saw that the bed was made, the room was tidy and undisturbed. They turned around and headed down the hall in the other direction, past a bathroom. Again, it was tidy, no signs of anything out of the ordinary, but wait!! Kate walked over to the bathtub and pulled back the shower curtain. “I thought so”, she said. Someone had showered and there were traces of hair in the drain. Hm……DNA, thought Kate. Lacking any forensic supplies or tools, she just stuck her fingers into the tub drain, took out the hair and wrapped it carefully in a tissue she’d had in her pocket.
At the other end of the hall was another door. This lead into what was apparently the Cragen’s bedroom. There were two twin beds, a night table between them with a lamp on the table. In the corner sat a dressing table and stool.
One of the beds was made, though had been sat on, while the other had been slept in. The girls walked over closer to take a look. Hm…..no signs of blood there. Penny leaned closer as she gazed at the pillow. On the pillow case were some strands of long red hair. Red hair!! Mr. and Mrs. Cragen both had short gray hair. Now this was very strange! Very strange indeed! Penny picked up the strands of hair. They were at least 12 inches long. She looked around for something to put them in. Kate rushed over to the dressing table in the corner where she found an envelope. “Perfect!” and she rushed over to Penny so they could put the hair strands inside of it. “There, safe and sound. Let’s go see what the boys have come up with”, said Kate, as they headed back towards the staircase.
Once they reached the stairs they saw the boys were just about to join them, but seeing the girls coming down, they waited for them at the bottom of the stairs. “ Wait until you see what we found”, said the girls, holding up the envelope with the hair strands and the tissue with the hair from the drain.
About the time the girls reached the foot of the stairs they all heard a loud BANG come from the basement. Kate let out a scream as the four of them bounded out the front door, down the stairs and off into the grove where they could hide. They dove into the bushes and crawled into a small clearing that was hidden on all sides. Their hearts were beating so fast they could hardly catch their breath. They sat huddled together, peeking through the bushes at the house, afraid to take their eyes off of it for a second. They heard what sounded like a door slamming, some footsteps and then quiet again. Someone had been in there while they were, and had gone out the back door. Kate and Penny both started to cry. The stress and fear welling up inside of them. Alex and Kenny put their arms around their sisters, and comforted them. “Don’t be scared. We aren’t going to let anything happen to our favorite sisters.” This made the girls giggles. “We’re your ONLY sisters”, laughed Kate. “And the best ones you’ll ever have,” added Penny grinning.
They watched the house for a while and nobody came out and there was no more strange noises so they all relaxed.
Kenny looked at his watch. “Listen everyone. Let’s scatter for now and meet later at the hideout. First, synchronize our watches. It’s 12:00 noon” The others nodded in agreement. “We have to go back home for lunch. Let’s meet at the hideout in an hour. Agreed?” Again, everyone nodded in agreement. “Okay then, SCATTER!!” whispered Kenny as loudly as he could, and off they all ran in different directions, circling back to their own cabins.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Mystery at Poplar Cove
by Mary More
The Carson’s SUV pulled into the drive and stopped in front of their cabin. Twins, Alex and Penny Carson scrambled to get out of the car. Kenny and Kate Randall, also twins, were waiting anxiously to greet their friends. They had seen the car drive up, so had come running outside and were standing there with big grins on their faces. Kenny and Kate’s parents, Mr and Mrs Randall, stood on their cabin’s porch waving a welcoming hello to the Carsons as well.
This year Halloween fell on the last weekend of the season at Poplar Cove. All of the residence of the Cove gathered for the usual “end of the season” pot luck dinner the last weekend of October. Everyone was there getting their cabins ready for winter. On Saturday night they would have the pot luck, and later would gather around the camp fire for smores and scary stories. It was the last big party before they all closed up their cabins for the winter months. This year, being Halloween made it all the more special. Everywhere you looked there were Halloween decorations. There were witches, goblins, jack-o-lanterns, spider webs, and scarecrows up and down the cove.
Poplar Cove was on the Cottonwood River in Southern Minnesota, and got its name from all of the Poplar trees in the cove. There were six cabins nestled among the tall trees. The Carson’s and Randall’s cabins sat side by side in the center of the cove, separated only by a grove of Poplar trees. The Randalls lived on the right, and the Carsons on the left. The twins, were 12, best friends, and the four of them spent every minute together while they were at the cove.
Besides the Randall’s and Carson’s cabins, there were four others in the cove, six in all. There were the nice Madisons, a middle aged couple with grown children, the Bronson’s, a young couple with a cute little baby girl, Mindy. Next to them was the Jacobson's place. They're an older couple who keep to themselves most of the time.
Up on the very top of the hill on the far left, overlooking the cove, was the one cabin that was set off all by itself. You could barely see it as the trees and shrubs had been allowed to grow up around it, obscuring it from view. It gave the cabin a closed, unfriendly appearance which fit quite well with it’s owners, old Mr. Cragen and his wife. They were alone except for their scraggly old dog Bruno. Bruno would growl and bark if the kids got too near the cabin. Mr. Cragen would yell at them to get off of his property if a ball when anywhere near his place. He and Mrs. Cragen lived there year round, and the twins had heard stories that Mr. Cragen had been married once before, but his first wife left and never returned. That didn’t surprise the twins. They all thought that grouchy old Mr. Cragen would drive anyone away.
As they got out of the car, Kate and Penny hugged one another as they always did. Alex and Kenny just laughed at the girls and punched one another on the shoulder. “Gotcha”, Alex yelled as he ran off towards the river. The others followed close behind him. “Be back by dark, kids” yelled Mrs. Randall. “Stay out of the water” added Mrs. Carson. The mothers hugged too and stood there talking for a while as the men unloaded the Carson’s car.
The twins were out of breath by the time they reached their “hideout” down by the water. Kenny and Kate were both so excited they were talking at the same time. “WAIT!” shouted Alex. We can’t understand a word you’re saying. “Kate? Kenny? What’s going on?”
Kenny put his hand up to stop Kate so he could talk. “You guys aren’t going to believe all that has happened. Yesterday afternoon, Kate and I were walking up by the Cragen place. When we walked by there was no dog barking, no grouchy Mr. Cragen yelling at the dog to shut up, AND their door was WIDE OPEN.” “What?” Alex and Penny said in unison. Twins do that a lot. “Did you shut the door for them?” Asked Penny. “Well we started to do that, but when we got up to the door and looked inside, we saw BLOOD!” exclaimed Kate. “BLOOD?”, Alex and Penny asked again in unison. They all laughed at that, then Kenny went on, “Yes, blood. You can’t blame us for feeling we just had to go in and see what that was all about. We called for Mr. or Mrs. Cragen, but didn’t get any response so we went on in. There was blood all over the place. In the living room on Mr. Cragen’s recliner, in the kitchen on the floor, everywhere. We were going to go upstairs, but were too scared so we just ran out.” “Did you tell your parents or call the police?” inquired Penny, the practical one. “Well, no, there’s more,” said Kenny. “Later after we gathered our nerve again, we went back to do a little more investigating and we found this!” and Kenny pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket. “Look!”
The four twins huddled together as they strained to read what was in the note. In a scrawled handwriting was the message, “You have until Midnight. If you don’t pay up, you’re dead!”
The four children stood speechless, mouths agape as they looked at the note, then at one another. “I think we should go back there and see what else we can find. Maybe we can solve this mystery ourselves”. Said Kate. “Let’s go” yelled Alex as he took off up the hill in the direction of the Cragen’s house. “WAIT!” Yelled Penny. “I think we should call the police or at least tell our parents”. “We can’t!” exclaimed Kenny. “Mom and Dad have warned us to stay away from that house and if they found out we went in there, our heads will roll. I think if we can solve this case ourselves, they’ll be so proud and grateful for that, that they will forget that we disobeyed them. Besides, you know that I want to be a private investigator when I grow up and this is my FIRST BIG CASE!!” “ I know that we can solve it. So, let’s go!” and off he ran with the others close behind him.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I am at a loss for words over this happening. I usually have an opinion on most everything, but this situation has me struggling for answers. The number of children taken from the Texas polygamist compound, to begin with, boggles my mind. How can any authorities get at the truth in this situation? My heart goes out to those mothers whose children have been taken. Surely they aren't all abusers. And those little ones whose lives are so simple and protected as a rule, to be thrust into this strange environment and away from their parents for the first time. They surely are traumatized. That breaks my heart. How can the authorities even expect to get at truth?? What were they thinking??
I don't know. It appears to me that the ones who planned this whole thing weren't thinking, but just reacting. 400 kids, 800 parents (or so) Surely there had to have been a better way than this to find out what was going on. What do you think?
Let me know. Either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here. Let me know what you think. We'll all be watching with interest as this story unfolds.
Until next time,
Monday, April 14, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
One of the main reasons I am blogging about the "Geekster" is that I have always considered myself Mahalo's biggest fan. However, after a few days of fighting over this with Geekster, I had to admit that he out Mahalo'd me, he won, he is Mahalo's greatest fan. I'm trying to be really big about this loss, but it's not easy. However, I shall suffer quietly, well, not so quietly as I am blogging about it. =)
Keep your eyes open for Larry, the Connected Geek. He's a very bright technonerd and it's just a matter of time before his hits his stride and finds his niche in this world of the Internet. We're all going to be hearing a lot about this young man in the future. Trust me on this.
Until next time,
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tonight on 20/20 Dianne Sawyer interviewed Randy Pausch and his wife Jai. I was spell bound by this young man who has been stricken with pancreatic cancer. He and his wife have three young children and Randy has determined that instead of crying these last months away he wants to have fun and build lasting memories for his children and his wife. Even more so he wants to leave them with a legacy of things that are to them from him, so that in this way he will always be present for his two boys and his daughter. At the end of his lecture he even said that the lecture itself was for his kids and his wife. I have no doubt that they all will watch and re-watch it as years pass. I am sure that it will help get them through some rough patches in the years to come. His story is already changing the lives of all who read his book or who have heard his story.
Once I read this book I will do a review of it here. Meanwhile, I see that it's available online at Amazon.com. I'm going to send for one. I urge you all to do the same.
Mahalo.com has an awesome page on Mr Pausch his book, as does Wikipedia. I am excited about this book and hope you all will at least check out the links here and see what you think. If it has left me speechless, that's saying a lot. =)
If you get it and read it, I would appreciate a note so that we can share your thoughts and impressions with my other readers.
Until next time,
Monday, April 7, 2008
On Mahalo's homepage http://www.mahalo.com/ you will find all of the headlines for every category of news that you might be interested in. It so simple to find out what's happening with your favorite celebrities, politicians and so on, all right there ready for a click of your mouse.
I must add here that I work for Mahalo writing some of those incredible pages that you'll find when you search for information at Mahalo.com. They are always looking for new guides, so if you have extra time on your hands and would like to earn some money, consider signing up for Mahalo.
I could write on and on about what a great company Mahalo is to work for, but that's a topic for another blog posting. Just know that you will find that Mahalo sets the bar high with a refreshing degree of integrity that is rare on the internet, unfortunately. Give them a try.
Happy Monday, everyone.
Until next time,
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
It took me until the second season of American Idol to really become a fan. The last two years have been disappointing as I felt that the winners weren't the best they had to offer. I can't even remember the names of these winners, but can see their faces. The black single mother was one, and the other was the young man with gray hair. See, I can't remember their names. What does that tell you. I should look them up and will do so.
Meanwhile, back to Idol 2008. This young man that I have pictured here, Michael Johns has my eyes and my ears whenever he performs. I like a couple of the young ladies too, so have pictured them here. They are, on the left, Asia H Epperson and on the right, Cristy Lee Cook. They are very good as well.
I do feel, though, that Michael Johns is by and large the most talented of them all and the one whose records I will buy, and there will be records whether or not he wins!!!
A note on Simon Cowell, he is truly a hoot. I don't have him figured out yet so am not sure how much of his persona is truly him or just a part he's playing, the antagonist to Paula and Randy.
Anyway, I'll keep on watching. They do put on quite a show. =)
Until next time,
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Are you as excited about the release of the Sex and the City Movie as I am?? I am sure that I am the biggest fan of Carrie, the girls and their escapades around New York. I can hardly wait for the movie to be released. They have an official site for it, now so I have included a link to it for you. http://sexandthecitymovie.com/ You really must go visit it for your daily dose of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. Not only do they offer all of the latest buzz on the movies, but they also have Sex and the City MERCHANDISE. This is a must see!!
My two daughters and I have already made a date to go see the movie together. I'm thinking we should make it a total "Sex and the City" evening. It just wouldn't be complete without dinner, wine, and dressing up in something "simply fabulous". What do you think?
It occurs to me that if we are to do this up right, we really have to go shopping together for our simply marvelous outfits. I can see it all now. We'd walk up to the window of our local shoe store, glance lovingly at that perfect pair of heels, heave a heavy sign and whisper softly, "Hello Lover" in our best "Carrie" voices. Then we'd laugh hysterically and go off to PayLess to get our shoes. =)
There are 99 days and counting until the movie's release. I personally can hardly wait. Until then, though, I'll continue watching my "Sex and the City" DVD collection. I watch them from the beginning when Carrie meets "Mr Big", until the end, when he goes to Paris to rescue his maiden. (Insert heavy "SIGH" here)
I'd love to hear if any of you have special plans for the big Sex and the City Movie release day. I'm thinking I feel a movement coming on, a Sex and the City movement, "Dahling".
Oh, and by the way, here is another link you must see. This site has all sort of Sex and the city merchandise you can send for. Check it out. http://store.hbo.com/sm-sex-and-the-city--ci-1885647.html
Until next time,