They say every face in a crowd has a story to tell, this is my story..

The news shows and newspapers all called it 'Road Rage'. To me that sounded like a disease, an affliction that can make you kill. A sorry excuse to take the claw end of a hammer and slam it repeatedly into the skull of a human being. In April of 1999 my little brother passed away. Doesn't passed away sound so gentle, even normal? David's death was neither. It was murder. He was found lying in a strangers driveway in a pool of blood. He had been punched, stomped and beaten over his entire body. I still have so many questions. I wrote this book at first for therapy and then for answers. I have found a few. I mainly realized l lost a brother tragically and senselessly. Like every other face in the crowd I have a story..and I want to share my story with you! PUBLICATION DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

My first guest blogger and you will adore her!

Rebecca Rasmussen is the author of the novel The Bird Sisters, forthcoming from Crown Publishers on April 12th, 2011. She lives with her husband and daughter in St. Louis and teaches writing at Fontbonne University. Visit her at
Leaning Roses & Giving Thanks
By Rebecca Rasmussen
“Visualize yourself as a tree,” Dr. Gilman used to tell me. “Your grand old roots are reaching toward the center of the earth. They’re strong, and so are you.”
“But my branches are blowing in the wind,” I used to say back.
I would be sitting on Dr. Gilman’s couch, trying not to hear the wind chimes beyond her office window, a soothing sound to many people, but a chaotic sound to me. She would be leaning forward in her chair, trying to pull me back from the edge of panic, which she recognized in my glazed-over eyes, in my inability to do what she was asking of me. “That’s perfectly fine. You’re rooted. Let go. You’ll see.”
Was I?
I don’t often tell people about the first twenty-five years of my life that I spent trying to cope with anxiety attacks, first as a child by doing things like going to bed at six o’clock in the evening or putting my hands over my ears to block out the noise of the stereo or later staying home because I was afraid to go wherever my friends were going, afraid they’d see what I was so desperately trying to hide because it wasn’t normal and because I knew nobody could help me.
That, I have learned, is the fundamental trouble with fear. It keeps you roped off from everybody else who wants to understand, who wants to help you.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” my mother often asks.
The adult me knows that my mother would have tried to help me and the child me knew that, too, but I didn’t believe a life without these attacks was possible. I simply didn’t believe in anything but fear.
For years, I resolved myself to the fact that I would have to live my life a little bit differently than everyone else. I’d never hang wind chimes from my porch. I’d never swing at a playground. I’d never arrive at a track meet and not wonder if the bleachers rattling would frighten me. I’d never…I’d never.
In my experience, once you batten down the hatches against fear, you are stuck with it.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my daughter Ava, when my anxiety attacks grew fiercer than they ever had before, that I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Gilman, a lovely psychologist in Northampton, Massachusetts, because I felt I owed it to my unborn daughter. The first thing Dr. Gilman asked me that day was, “What’s so bad about fear?”
And I thought: I’m obviously in the wrong place. But I stayed anyway.
Over the course of my pregnancy, Dr. Gilman worked with me twice a week. She taught me how to breathe deeply, how to remain in the present moment, how to be kinder to myself, gentler. She also taught me to start sharing my panic, which I wasn’t eager to do. She was right though.
One day, I tried it out on my husband.
“I’m scared,” I said, and he turned off the music or whatever I believed was triggering my panic, came over to me, and did this magical head rub thing to bring me back from wherever I was heading…
“Stay here with me,” he said. “You’re safe here, honey.”
You’re safe.
Fast-forward four years.
My daughter is a lively little love bug, who goes to pre-school three days a week. My husband is in graduate school. And I have a novel coming out in April. It’s Thanksgiving. Pies are in the oven. Roasts are roasting.
This fall has been tough. We lost my Aunt Donna to cancer. Uncle John, too. One of my cousins, a thirty-two year old mother of two wonderful kids, is in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for stage-IV ovarian cancer. People are leaving us in what feels a little like a mass exodus this holiday season, and sometimes I feel that old fear bubbling up again—It’s so unfair. It’s too much. What would I do if it were me? What would Ava do without her mother? What would I do without my mother?—but I’m more connected to the moment now instead of being boarded up against it, which means the fear is free to come but it’s also free to go.
Aunt Donna had a hard life. She had a disease that took her leg when she was a girl. She survived cancer several times and this last time didn’t. She loved roses.
After her death, something a little bit miraculous happened.
In the bed of tiger lilies just beyond the front door of our apartment, a beautiful red rose bud appeared on the otherwise bare rogue rose bush that has grown up instead of outward. It’s late November in St. Louis. We’ve had a frost already. We’ve worn our coats. And this little flower just keeps leaning toward our front door, its stem over six feet tall, opening itself up more and more each day. We’re all marveling at it—our neighbors, my husband, my daughter, me.
So each time I come and go I stop to smell the rose even though I didn’t think I believed in literal signs. I didn’t used to believe in a lot of things.
That’s what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. Belief in something other than fear. Belief in safety. Grace. Hope.
Dr. Gilman would be proud of me, I think. She’s one of those old-growth people you keep in your heart forever.
Am I still afraid? Yes. But I’m not so afraid of being afraid anymore.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

My first Guest Post!

Thank you Rebecca for the opportunity to guest post on your blog.  To check out the post and to learn a bit about Rebecca (you will love her) go here:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Black Friday Fragments....

Tough working here :(

Just a mess..
Happy Friday Fragments were we can dump all the little bits floating around in our minds..the brainchild of Mrs. 4444 you can find her and join in on all the dumping

 I also like to join in over at the lovely Java's and her over 40 can join her

So FIOS is coming today!!  I am excited!!  This will be a very busy and crazy weekend..I work today, then pick up Morgan Layla and Avery Paige..I have Beta Reading to do..content writing for my brand new Author web site!   And I am having author photo's done (what do you think the difference is between a photo and an author photo)?
 My dad is very sick and will be having very scary surgery next week in Florida...I may go down... My favorite quote this week...."If you did not want me to write about it on my blog or in my book then you should not have said or done it" me...


My new office is almost done!

Mom-Mom and Peyton Elizabeth

Allyson; Julia and Morgan

Julia; Jillian and Avery Paige

Thanksgiving dinner

Our Chef and host..Big Dom

Miss Adriana (Hungry)

So sad no video games today..

Julia and brother Trey

Before Dinner

Avery Paige waiting for snow..

Morgan Layla and Daddy Kevin

Peyton Elizabeth and Adriana in the car seat together :)

Dancing to 'Kid Rock'

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More from "Bristol Stomp"....the sentencing

Driving to the courthouse that day was surreal.  I could not believe it was March 17, 2000.  It was Saint Patrick’s Day.  Hopefully that meant the day would be lucky.  I guess that is not the right thought.  What I wanted had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with justice.
 David died in April.  It was nearly a year.  I had trouble comprehending it had almost been a year.  Little Michael will be turning two at the end of this month.  I thought about Michael’s first birthday.  That was the last time our entire family was together, happy.  I remembered Dave’s smile that day as he proudly held his son.  The tears started. 
I had to pull over.  I had to pull myself together.  I wanted to do an effective job reading my impact statement.  The prosecutor told us this was our day in court.  We did not have to cry quietly.  We were not going to be told where we could look and where we couldn’t.  Our day in court, yes this was important.  I had to get myself together.
I pulled down my visor mirror and did my best to repair my running makeup.  Shortly I would witness once again the two scumbags being led off to prison in shackles.  This time they would be going off to prison for at least twenty five years.  That thought gave me peace.  Not happiness, just peace.  And of course there was satisfaction in the sight.  I could not help that feeling.  The thought of the two of them being thrown into little cells with little windows, alone, God forgive me but that was satisfying.  I felt better, stronger so I pulled back onto the road.
As I saw the huge round building, I thought about how out of place it looked in this old town.  It was too modern.  I wondered who designed the ugly building.  Maybe ugly isn’t fair, it didn’t fit the landscape of historic Doylestown.  Supposedly the courthouse was built here because Doylestown was the center of Bucks County.  I wondered what it looked like from the air. It probably looked like a big round ugly dot right there in the center of Bucks County.
I loved the quaint little town.  The shops, the old Victorian homes, galleries, the restaurants and of course the bars and churches that reminded me of Bristol.  The people that lived in this town, a lot of them were stuck up.  They thought their town was so much better than Bristol. They thought they were better, people.   But, they did not have the Delaware River and I doubted this town could even come close to the real small town feel of Bristol.

I parked, and started my long walk around the ugly round building.  It was windy and as usual I was freezing.  I wished bad karma on the idiot that closed the doors closest to the parking lot and the cheap morons that did not install security at both entrances.  Things would have moved so much quicker and smoother.  The security lines were always too long. 
If I was in charge- what a thought that was.  There would of course be two entrances.  I would also provide some kind of safe haven area for victims and their families.  The way it is now, throwing everyone together like cattle was ridiculous.  It was also very dangerous.
There was talk of tearing this courthouse down and building a new one.  I hoped whoever designed the new building would be a little more compassionate towards victims.
            Once again, there were many sheriffs in the hallway leading to the courtroom.  I was surprised again by the large crowd.  I scanned around looking for my family. I did not feel safe with so many people gathered in such a small area.  I saw my friend Sam the policeman who was now a county sheriff.  I would have to remember to wish him a happy Saint Pat’s Day. I knew it was one of his favorites.  I missed seeing him in his patrol car in Bristol.  He had been there for so long.
I had barely arrived when I was bombarded by my family with the news that Galione and Reeves also had the right to have people speak on their behalf.  I was livid.  We should have known.  It would have changed the way we prepared.  We would have had more letters written, we would have asked more friends and relatives to be here for us.  I tried so hard not to cry.  Damn, I did not want to have to fix my make-up again.  I wanted to appear confident and in control.
            I was truly shocked to see that Nicole Rivera, Jerry Reeves, girlfriend brought their baby to court.  This poor baby had been born with no arms or legs.  I felt they were using the baby for sympathy.  From what I had heard Jerry had never been there for Nicole or the baby.  I did feel sorry for Nicole and hoped she would have the common sense to move on with her life and find some happiness.  I hoped her family would be there to support her.  For Galione’s girlfriend, Janine, I wished misery for her.  She washed David’s blood off Galione’s clothes and lied under oath.  I knew she would not stick around and wait for her man.  She was too selfish.
            I was not prepared for the friends and family of the defendant’s to be given the opportunity to speak.  It was sheer torture sitting there listening to how wonderful these two young men were.  They were murderers.  It was ridiculous.  Galione presented the judge with seventy letters of support.  Galione’s parents enlisted their friends to speak on their son’s behalf saying, “he has always been so polite”.  I was going to be sick again.  The judge even commented, as to how disturbing it was to that so many of the letters claimed Galione was innocent.  The parade of aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and teachers seemed to go on forever.
            When it was finally my turn to speak I walked to the front of the courtroom and faced the judge.  I got through my letter.  Tears stung in my eyes but I fought them off.  I did the best I could.  When I finished, Mel Kardos asked permission to question me.  That had not happened to anybody else all day.  I looked at Matt and he shook his head yes.  The judge granted the permission.  I was shaking.  He asked me where I worked.  I was stunned.  What was his point?  I told the judge I was scared to say where I worked.  I did not want any of them to know where I worked.  I knew Kardos wanted me to say I worked at The Bucks County Courier Times.  He was going to say I had something to do with the press coverage of this case.  It was ridiculous, I was lucky if I got a pen in that building let alone the power to drive the news.  I turned to Kardos, smiled sarcastically and answered I worked for a company called GPN.  He was clearly, annoyed that he did not get the answer he wanted.  It was the truth.  GPN was Greater Philadelphia Newspapers, I did not lie.  That was what was on my paychecks.
            I nervously looked over at Laurie Mason, she is the writer for The Bucks County Courier Times, that covers all trials and court related events.  She even has her own little office in the basement of the courthouse.  I thought that was so cool.  She smiled.  I ran up to her as soon as it was over and asked her if I lied.  She laughed, and said no.  She said it was amazing that I came up with the perfect truthful answer.
            I found out later from the prosecutor and the reporters that they had never, ever, heard someone questioned after giving an impact statement.  It was another excuse to hate Mel Kardos.  What an arrogant sob he was.
            Judge Heckler gave a little speech.  He said there had been many lulls in the fighting that night and he said Jimmy and Jerry should have stopped.
 Jerry Reeves asked to speak.  He stood up and said he was not responsible for David’s death.  He said the real killer was still free.  Yeah, I had to agree there were other killers still free, but he was responsible for David’s death.  They all were.  Peter Hall asked the judge to delay the sentencing so he could do more investigating.  He was a moron, more investigating was not needed, more arrests were needed.  Thank God the judge refused.
Bucks County Courthouse; Doylestown, Pa.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Friday Fragments....

Happy Friday Everyone!

I am feeling almost normal again after my gall bladder removal..10 days today!

I have been on some serious drugs so if I have visited your blog or your face book page and sounded really stupid and couldn't spell; I is embarrassing!

Thank you to our amazing host for Friday Fragments, Mrs. 4444 over at Half Past Kissin Time.  You can find her 

Also the gorgeous Java over at Never Growing Old, if you are an over 40 blogger you will find many friends

So it is starting to get down right chilly in the Philly burbs...I do not like the cold..however did any of you catch our Eagles um I guess beat down the Redskins?
Only in Philadelphia can we take a convicted dog killer and make him a star.  We are all saying things like he did his time; he's changed; he deserves another chance...okay I'm buying into it..the guy is a damn good football player...bring on the Giants!!
And while we are on sports..congrats to our very own Doc Halladay!!!

My husband surprised me today by getting my new office painted while I was at work today..I love that man..he just gets me and he knows how badly I need this new creative space..I am only obligated to finish 2 more books in 2 months.  No problem seriously they are just about done I just must love to pile pressure on myself!  (hopefully by next week I will have before and after photo's :)

I have 3 prizes from my contest in my car; they are coming I gut hurts too bad to stand in line at the post office...maybe I should send my amazing husband. .to the post office...I will!  Only 20 more to reach my goal..for every 10 new followers I will randomly pick a winner from all followers...just for following...Thank you; all of you xxxooo

I am about to bust with amazing book news and you all here on this blog will be the first to know; before anyone...I am a bit overwhelmed with so much happening at once...I need to just breathe..and realize..I did it..finally..almost!

I am making reservations to take Morgan who will be 8 and Julia who is turning 11 to American Girl for their birthdays...I am so excited!

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving- We will be spending the day with most of the kids and grand kids; I miss them so much :(

 If you remember this past summer my step son Michael was in a terrible motorcycle crash.  It was touch and go for a long time.  If you are the praying type please send a few his way, he is not doing well and we are really worried...

I am so thankful for each and everyone of you.  I can always count on reading just the right comment I need to hear at the right time.  A big virtual hug for all of you (((HUGS)))!!

Brotherly Love..Lance and Louie
My favorite quote today: "When you ask for miracles, you get folks" Christopher Gallenberg

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just a quick update..

My gall bladder has been removed!!
 I was in the hospital for a full week (strange don't you think) I am now home and experiencing just a bit of discomfort.  I hope to be feeling 100% in a week or so.
 Thank you all for your kind comments and well wishes I really appreciate all of you!
I hope to be back to FF this week :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Friday Fragments....

What is wrong with this picture?
$5,000.00- cat scan- polyps in gall bladder
$5345.00- MRI- polyps in gall bladder
$3200.00- ultrasound- swollen gall bladder with polyps

2 weeks ago- primary Doctor "gall bladder has to come out before it becomes an emergency" so he prescribes another test which took 2 weeks to get the appointment for and that is today at 8am.

2 nights ago the agony started and has not stopped.  ER gives a drink of something disgusting to stop the pain and sends me home...

I WANT MY GALL BLADDER OUT NOW:  please!!! (think good thoughts for me today).
Sorry; I had to vent...but Friday Fragments is just that..the chance to vent all the fragmented pieces of your week.  It is the brain child of the brilliant Mrs. 4444.  You can find her and a lot of really nice friends
I am also very humbled by the amazing new friends I have found at the lovely Java's, Blogger's Over 40 Friday Follow.  You will be in good company
On my quest to reach 300 followers I have been having a contest/giveaway.  For every 10 new followers I will randomly pick a winner from all of my followers and send you a gift.  For my 2 winners from last week..your gifts will be in the mail on Monday!  To my followers Thank you!!
I would like to share with you, my friend Rebecca.  She is the author of the novel "The Bird Sister's" which is due out in April 2011.  She is a sweetheart and I wish her all the best; besides the fact that her book sounds amazing! I cannot wait to read!  You can meet her 
I would love to know what you think...
My Hubby's niece the amazing, Kate Walton had  
REALLY BIG NEWS This week.  She has sold her YA novel.  We are very excited for her.  You can read all about her (she is brilliant and funny) here:
Again; I would love to know what you think...
I am super nervous and super excited to have been invited to do several guest blog posts over the next few month's...more info to come...
We had a great time on Halloween with a handful (okay) a bunch of our grand babies a niece and a nephew.  Pop-Pop and I; after 2 blocks offered to take 'lil' monkey Peyton Elizabeth home. (It was freezing cold).  She got her first 2 bottom teeth and laughed the whole time.  I cannot believe she was 5 months old on November 1st.  Here are a few photo's:
Big Sis Allyson and Adriana
Adriana, Mom-Mom, Morgan Layla and Dominic
Isn't she the cutest little monkey?
Mom-Mom, Peyton Elizabeth and big sis Morgan Layla
Adriana as Nemo with a boo-boo
My Princess Allyson and nephew Michael
lil Jimmy B and the back of his sister Julia's head (the witch)
Adriana, Morgan Layla, Avery Paige, Mom-Mom, Peyton Elizabeth and big Jim
Pop-Pop and Peyton Elizabeth (she had the biggest smile; I just was not fast enough)
I am overwhelmed with blessings.  I adore my husband.  I love my family.
So; for the first time I put a photo of my handsome, talented, adored and taken away from us much too soon brother, David in a post from the book.  I thought it would be nice for people to see who they were reading about.  It was a step for me.
Favorite Quote this week: "In back of every creation, supporting it like an arch is faith.  Enthusiasm is nothing.  It comes and goes, but if one believes, than miracles can occur"
Henry Miller
I know a 'bad' question but how did the election go for you?

Anyone start Holiday shopping yet?

Have a powerful and positive week! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

From the book "Bristol Stomp"....I had a dream (nightmare about this lastnight)..

It was hard for me to go to Bristol at that time.   There was a makeshift memorial for David close to the spot where he was found.   It was slightly comforting.   I felt close to Dave in that spot.   I honestly am now affected every time I see any such memorial.   Crosses on the highway, flowers scattered by the side of the road,  I always wonder who they were, who their families are and how are they doing.   I wondered how many other people actually took the time to notice.   I once heard a woman say she thought they were eyesores.   I bit my tongue.   I know the comfort they provide.   I also got a sick pleasure out of the fact that the killers and their families had to see the memorial and be reminded every time they drove by.   My brother-in-law Tony was very diligent with the upkeep of the memorial.   He and my sister lived less than a block away.   David loved to stop at the WaWa in Bristol for a cup of coffee and cigarettes.   It always brought a smile to my face when I stopped by and saw a cup of coffee and a pack of Marlboro’s by the angel’s feet.   I hoped people would always remember.   I was so afraid people would forget.
            I was really getting frustrated waiting for the other seven people to be charged.  Months were going by.   The police kept telling us to be patient.   My patience was running out.   They were out there, living their lives and probably never thought about David or what they had done to his family.   I was obsessed with wanting to know every detail of what each of them had done.  I did not want to imagine anymore I just wanted to know.
 I realized I had not seen the car.  I asked Randy what happened to the car and he said it was evidence and suggested I do not go to see it.   I had to go.   I was not prepared for what I saw.   I wondered how much more my mind could take.  I was trembling and could not stop.  Every window was broken, there were dents everywhere and the car seat had been ripped out.  The seat belt holding the car seat in place had actually been ripped.   Who could do that to a baby seat?   I heard through the Bristol Borough grapevine that it was Steve Owtscharuk.   I did not know much about him.   I know I wanted him charged with something.   Any person that could watch; or beat a man to death knowing he was the father of a baby could not be anything but pure evil.   I am not very proud of some of the thoughts I had about him.   I saw him in WaWa one day and it was so hard not to scream at him.   I wished that he would have a baby one day and that he would be in a horrible accident with his baby in the car seat that was so mangled and he could not rip the seat belt and save his baby.  I could not believe I even thought of such a thing.   Not that I felt guilty about wishing harm on Steve because I did.  I did feel guilty about wishing harm on an imaginary baby.  I convinced myself it was part of the grieving process.  I was angry!

I could not shake the image of that car.  Did they do all that damage while Dave was still in the car?  Did they come back and do more damage after they left him in that driveway bleeding to death?  Is that why Joe, Anthony and Dave decided to run from the car?  Did they fear for their lives?  I would have, had someone been pounding on my car with that much force and anger.  I would have been terrified.  Dave had been hit with his own level.  The one he used for his mason work.  He kept it in the trunk of his car.  How did these killers get their hands on that level?  I imagined maybe as these wild animals were pounding on the car David pushed the trunk button to keep them from breaking the back window.
            Maybe Joe, Anthony and Dave were going to try to grab the tools and use them to get away.  On the other hand, the bad people could have gotten the tools after Joe, Anthony and Dave ran away from the car.
            Dave had glass fragments stuck in his face.  I saw them that first night in the hospital.  He had to have still been in the car while the windows were being smashed.  I imagined when Dave got out of the car he was immediately hit over the head with something and was injured and confused.  Was this why he never caught up to Joey and Anthony?  Why was I driving myself crazy trying to figure this out?  David was dead; did the horrific details really matter?
            I really wanted to know what was going on with the investigation.  I was not hearing much.  I feared the police where busy preparing for the trial and not preparing to arrest Jimmy Williams, Mike Good and Steve Owtscharuk.  I wondered if the two cars had been searched that night.  Where was the other hammer?  It could be anywhere.  It could be at the house where the party was held that night.   I felt it was most likely at the bottom of the Delaware River.  I heard that through the Borough grapevine too.   It was getting harder and harder to believe the good guys always win.  David was one of the good guys.  Without a doubt, he was a good guy.   I was hanging onto my faith by a thread.   Not that I questioned my belief in God, I was just having trouble believing he was going to make all this make sense.   I had to believe the bad guys would pay.  If I lost that thought for a moment I feared I would lose my mind.