This blog contains my thoughts and feelings only. It IS titled, "The Daily Life of Carol: My Thoughts, Rants & Raves." They do not represent those of anyone else. While I still can't imagine how my little blog is making the rounds locally, it is mine and mine only. If you are going to be offended or feel it necessary to whine or complain to those completely unassociated to me and my blog, stop reading and find something else to do with your time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: Old Before My Time: Hayley Okines' Life with Progeria by Hayley and Kerry Okines

Have you ever read a book and because of its subject you really, really wanted to like it but then you didn't? That is how I feel about Old Before My Time: Hayley Okines' Life with Progeria by Hayley and Kerry Okines.

Hayley has Progeria. It is a rare, fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging in children. Although they are born looking healthy, children with Progeria begin to display many characteristics of accelerated aging at around 18-24 months of age. Progeria signs include growth failure, loss of body fat and hair, aged-looking skin, stiffness of joints, hip dislocation, generalized atherosclerosis, cardiovascular (heart) disease and stroke. The children have a remarkably similar appearance, despite differing ethnic backgrounds. Children with Progeria die of atherosclerosis (heart disease) at an average age of thirteen years

Hayley has an incredible life story to be told by herself. But, only some chapters are written by Hayley. The majority of the book is written by her mother, and that is why the book was a difficult read. Hayley's mother made the book about Hayley's mother. You may read it and get a different feel for it. But, I found myself skimming through "mom's chapters" but actually reading Hayley's chapters. For instance, the constant arguing of her mother and ex-husband was nerve-racking. 

Hayley is adorable, and brave. She has been among the first children to participate in drug trials. That takes courage. She certainly has a maturity beyond her age - even if the drug trials won't help her prolong or improve her own life, she hopes her participation will help others. Way to go, Hayley!

I was glad to have read Hayley's stories. I hope to hear more by this unique little girl. I certainly recommend learning about Hayley's life, but I can't freely recommend this particular least, not all of it. When I finished, instead of forwarding the book to my mother, I just returned it to the library. And, that's my difficulty with this book.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Jeff did the cooking. The boys and I cleaned. The day before Thanksgiving we decorated the house with Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. I have enough Christmas stuff to decorate 2 or 3 houses, but I used the decorations sparingly. I needed it to feel like "the holidays," but I didn't want to suffocate Jeff. The results were lovely. 

Thanksgiving this year was exactly what I needed to get out of the doldrums. The presidential election on November 7 really threw me into a tailspin. I was positive that Romney would win. I was positive we'd get out of this economic quagmire, but now we're further into it. So, Greece and Spain weren't good enough examples..... Twenty-five million people unemployed wasn't enough.... $16 trillion dollars in debt wasn't enough..... I should have seen it coming -- with half of the country or more booing at God, it's no wonder Obama was reelected. 

A quote from a Czechoslovakian newspaper summed it up for me: “The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.” -Prager Zeitung

I read article after article proclaiming Onward Christian Soldiers, but I didn't feel it. I shut everything out and consumed myself with reading books. But, that finally wore me out too. {I have so many book reviews to write, but haven't had the motivation to write them.}

The day before Thanksgiving, I came across an article about singing nuns. It's a cloistered convent - the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles - that have produced a CD called Advent at Ephesus From their website, "every Benedictine of Mary vows to detach herself from the ways of the world, continually turning to the ways of her Redeemer." And, I realized "That's it!" Detach from the ways of the world. So, I'm turning off all the mental noise in my head. It's time to focus on my faith, family & friends.

So, I'm very thankful for this Thanksgiving. It gave me the chance to sit back, enjoy family, and just breathe.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: The Midnight Club by James Patterson

The Midnight Club by James Patterson is a highly enjoyable book. Patterson himself wrote: "The Midnight Club is the novel I wrote just before Along Came a Spider. I'm certain that both Alex Cross and Sampson originated in ideas I had while writing this story. It's one of my favorites, and I believe it could make the best movie of all my novels." I totally agree.

This is by far the best James Patterson book I've read. And, I would put James Patterson in my top five, perhaps by top three, writers. So, the best of his best is pretty awesome.

The Midnight Club is an international organized crime cartel. The three main characters are NYPD Detective John Stefanovitch, best-selling author Sarah McGuinness, and the evil Alexandre St.-Germain a/k/a The Grave Dancer.

Besides killing one of my favorite characters, it's an excellent story with a Hollywood ending - just the way I like it. There are plenty of twists and turns and some unbelievable surprises. More than once I thought, "What?! No way!" Very, very good. Yes, the old cliche "it's a real page-turner," but it truly is. I didn't want to stop reading once I started. I don't do that very often.....Let's see, authors Jonathan Maberry and Andrew Peterson. Patterson is in good company.

Yes, I recommend this book. I recommend this book over the other James Patterson books (if you don't have time to read them all). Highly recommended!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: The Sinner: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen

The Sinner: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen is AWESOME! The third in the series, it is again about Jane Rizzoli, a homicide detective, and Maura Isles, the medical examiner. 

Rizzoli and Isles each work their portion of the mysterious deaths of two nuns, a faceless woman, a corporate executive, and a village in India. The plot may seem like it's too much, but it's not. And, Gerritsen does an excellent job weaving the story in and out of all these tragedies.

The book was also about the personal lives of Rizzoli and Isles, and the different events they had to deal with. We're introduced to Dr. Isles's ex-husband Victor, and thankfully FBI Agent Gabriel Dean re-appears too. I enjoyed these portions of the book too.

I just can't say enough how great this book is. I gasped and cheered through the whole book. I highly recommend!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Review: The Apprentice: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen

The Apprentice: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen is great. It's a good compliment to the first book The Surgeon

Book 1 was about Thomas Moore, a homicide detective, and Dr. Catherine Cordell, a trauma surgeon. The setting is still Boston, Massachusetts. However, Book 2 is a follow-up story to Book 1. This time, the book is about Jane Rizzoli, a homicide detective and Maura Isles, the new medical examiner. And, I really enjoyed it. 

There is significantly less man-bashing and more character development of Jane Rizzioli. The Apprentice introduced a new character, FBI Agent Gabriel Dean. He makes Rizzoli a much more likeable person, so I hope he continues in further episodes. I've started reading Book 3 so I'll let you know.

The Apprentice is about a serial killer called The Dominator. But, only Rizzoli realizes that he's actually an apprentice to The Surgeon, the serial killer from Book 1. When The Surgeon escapes from a maximum-security prison, she has to find two killers instead of one. 

Book 2 was a much better book than Book 1, especially since the story was finally about Rizzoli and Isles. You don't need to read The Surgeon to enjoy The Apprentice; it just provides more in-depth background on the serial killer The Surgeon. Book 1 does help to understand The Surgeon's obsession with Rizzoli in The Apprentice. So, read The Surgeon just knowing the story gets so, so much better with The Apprentice.

The Apprentice had an awesome ending. Clearly, we haven't seen the last of The Surgeon! Oh, yeah.....I recommend.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Book Review: The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson

The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King - a Nonfiction Thriller by James Patterson is an interesting book. 

The book is woven into three stories - (1) Modern day as James Patterson researched and wrote his version of the life and death of King Tutankhamen and his only wife Queen Ankhesenpaaten. (2) The life of Howard Carter, the Egyptologist who discovered Tut's tomb in the early 1900's A.D. (3) And, of course, the lives of Tut and Anhke. But, Chapter 1 starts in 1492 B.C. with the death of Tuthmosis I, the first pharoah buried in the Valley of the Kings.

After King Tut's death, the pharoah was Ay (or Aye). After him was Horemheb, former General/Commander of the Army and advisor to Tutankhamun. Horemheb obliterated images of the Amarna queens and kings so much of the 18th dynasty history was lost. Tut's life was probably pieced together by the artifacts and paintings in his tomb.

Patterson wrote a very good story about these Egyptians. The life and death of Tut and Anhke are especially compelling. There is so much controversy about King Tut that scientists and scholars cannot agree to the identity of his mother, whether Queen Ankhesenpaaten was Tut's half-sister, and whether Tut died from murder, accidental or by natural causes. In fact, his age for his reign are questioned. Somebody believe it was 8 years old to 17 years old. Some say not until he was 9 or 10. Whatever...either way, he was quite young.

Patterson does a well enough job with his version of King Tut's story. It's enjoyable, but it's not true history. Patterson's conjecture is plausible enough for a "recommend."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

American Heritage Girls

American Heritage Girls is a nonprofit scouting program dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. The organization offers badge programs, service projects, girl leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences to its members. This program of character building has successfully served thousands of girls since its inception.  

Given the pop-culture icons present in today’s society, there is an obvious need for a cultural change for our nation and its daughters; a need for girls to know the love of Christ, the joy of lasting friendships and the fun of new wholesome experiences –in essence, the need for a ministry for girls that has transforming significance.  Please watch their promotional video "Countering the Culture." 

Patti Garibay, executive
director of American
Heritage Girls, founded 1995

As Girl Scouts becomes more secularized, American Heritage Girls is growing. “Over 90% of the people who come to us have left the Girl Scouts,” said founder Patti Garibay. “We’re like the best kept secret.” In the 16 short years since its inception, AHG boasts 18,000 members and has expanded to 45 states and four countries. It has become the fastest-growing all-girl scouting organization. According to the group, membership spiked by 50% last year. While AHG is a Christian group, it includes girls from all faiths. Today, it is considered the premier faith-based national character development and leadership group for young women.

The American Heritage Girl Oath: “I promise to love God, cherish my family, honor my country, and serve in my community.” Creed: “As an American Heritage Girl, I will be:  Compassionate, Helpful, Honest, Loyal, Persevering, Pure, Resourceful, Respectful, Responsible, Reverent.”

For more information about AHG or to learn how to start a troop in your area: American Heritage Girls, 175 Tri County Pkwy Suite 100, Cincinnati, OH 45246. Phone: 513-771-2025. Email: 

AHG Troop TX2928
Congrats to AHG Troop TX2928 from Houston, TX, for being presented with the 2012 Archbishop's Trophy - for outstanding contributions of service to the church, community and home, by participating in numerous service projects totaling more than 610 hours to the community. Service projects included but not limited to care packages for soldiers in the Middle East, Wreath across America, assistance to a women crisis shelter, a homeless shelter, adopting two large families for the parish Adopt-A-Family Christmas project and Scouting for Food with their brother Cub Scouts. TX2928 has more than 50 girls (presently K-10th grade) and draws members from at least four other Catholic parishes and protestant congregations. Currently there are eight AHG troops in the greater Houston area.

About Me

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Winter Springs, Florida, United States
I am a stay-at-home mom to three boys (18, 16, 14), three Mini-Dachsunds, and a wife to an incredible husband {think MacGyver}. I am Catholic. I am passionate about making a difference in my world while still making a great life for my children and family. Besides being a mom, I am also a blogger for and I hope to make my voice heard and make a difference in my own way.