Sunday, August 17, 2014


Today, I'm writing about a show I've been watching for the last two seasons. It's called, "Cold Justice" and it's an unscripted police procedural drama that airs on TNT. As the name indicates, it's about cold cases that have never been solved. But what I love about this show is that we, the viewers, get to see the real workings of a crime scene investigation, a reenactment of what happened with those working on the case taking on the roles, and the local police following their lead as to how the crime could have happened. The two lead women are Kelly Siegler, a former prosecutor, and Yolanda McClary, a former crime scene investigator. 

These two women travel all over the country to work on reopening cases with the consent of the local law enforcement.  Of particular interest to me was the last episode of this season. It was a case that was 39 years old--the oldest one they've done so far. It's hard to imagine that a case that old could actually be solved after all this time, but I've seen these ladies perform miracles. Thinking back to that time, law enforcement did not have the kinds of capabilities available to them as they have today. 

This episode was about Kathy Earl, a 23 year-old woman who was found dead in her bathtub in 1975. The death was ruled an apparent electrocution and drowning when a clock radio was found between her legs. 

It wasn't long after Kathy's death that the husband remarried another woman. She didn't last very long either. She died when the vehicle they were driving ran off the road into a lake. The husband? Yes, you've got it--he was charged with her death and served 26 years of a 60-year sentence. And now, he's back. People in this small town have been accusing him of this death for years but no one has been able to prove it. Now, he's out of prison and back in Indiana picking up right where he left off hanging out in the bars apparently looking for his next victim. This is what prompted the local police to solicit the aid of Kelly and Yolanda to revisit the case.

The objection is to find enough new evidence to present to the prosecutor for a retrial. The evidence doesn't always produce such results. In this particular case, most of the witnesses had already died, and although the original coroner had died, it had been noted that he was initially suspicious of Kathy's electrocution. The current coroner confirmed drowning was the cause of death, but it was the bruising on her body at the time that aroused suspicion. The reenactment gave them much needed new evidence.
  1. The bruising on Kathy's body showed someone held her under the water until she drowned;
  2. The cord from the clock radio had been changed for a longer cord that was apparently thrown into the water after she'd drowned as a cover up;
  3. And lastly, there was proof that the husband, a former insurance salesman, had forged Kathy's name on several insurance policies a few weeks prior to her death.
This new evidence was presented to the prosecutor and he agreed a retrial. A warrant was issued and the husband was arrested and charged with Kathy's murder in July 2014.

To my author friends, if you write mysteries, this is one great show that provides us with valuable information. Watch for the new season in the early part of 2015, but old episodes are available by clicking on the link I've provided.  Cold Justice

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


As I sit here tonight and write this post, it's raining very heavily outside. A rare occasion in Arizona, but one most of us look forward to because tomorrow, everything looks clean. Even the air we breathe is different.

I often think of rain as someone in heaven crying, and that's a bit like how I feel right now after watching an episode of 20/20 on ID which aired a story about two Stuebenville, Ohio teenagers who raped a young woman against her will while she was incapacitated from drinking too much, and being egged on to drink more throughout the night. A houseful of teens, no parents around, they were celebrating after a win of a preseason football game.

One woman being interviewed was the editor of Seventeen Magazine. She said kids today live in a fishbowl. Everything they do, they record in pictures and post it to social media because they think it's fun. Pictures that helped convict these two promising young men who must now register themselves as sex offenders for the next 20 years--the very boys who were guaranteed football scholarships to two of the most prestigious colleges in the United States, but now, that's a thing in the past.

What I find even more upsetting is kids need to realize there are consequences from their actions. They've been raised by loving parents or guardians who've protected them all their lives. Then the second protector enters their lives--the football coach who even heard about what happened, but did nothing except advise the kids to only answer the questions being asked by the police and not to offer more information.  And here we are again, the boys thought for sure their status in the community as the super jocks on the football team would protect them. A team filled with members who were revered by everyone in town who knew them on a first-name basis.

What's even sadder is this crime would never have been reported if it wasn't for one woman, a crime blogger, who saw the pictures on Twitter and Facebook and investigated the event. It didn't take her long to put the pieces of the puzzle together. And what she found was so appalling that she couldn't sit back without doing something about it. Today, this blogger is being criticized. That's right, criticized for doing the right thing. And once she presented the voluminous amount of evidence, the case was pretty much cut and dry, and all that was left was having a trial.

A most unfortunate thing in today's world is that many teenagers do not realize what they're doing by posting their minute-by-minute happenings on the web and showing it to the world. Things they don't even realize is a crime. Understand that I'm not suggesting they do these things but avoid posting the pictures, I'm saying, don't do them. As evidenced by what happened to these two young men, trust me, it's not worth the future heartache.

As a parent and now a grandmother, I realize parents can't be with their teenagers every minute, and that you hope that what you've taught them will be enough. But that's not always the case. Both young men had loving parents who couldn't believe what had happened because that's not how these boys were raised. One mother said the boy on trial was not the son she raised.

So there are a few things here that need to be addressed: Acting responsible when they aren't with their parents, teenage drinking and telling the world everything they're doing, because there's always someone watching. I'm glad I'm not raising young kids today because it's a tough job--I don't envy them. Between pier pressure, the super jock imagine, and doing the right thing, they need to know that one silly mistake can cost them their future, and no matter how many times they apologize, it doesn't mean they're off the hook.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Happy Monday! As you know, I'm always cooking, trying new recipes out and having fun. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not so successful. But today, this upgraded recipes is off the charts!

If you've read any of my Chef Toque series, you've seen my granola recipe. Here's an update. Try it. I promise you'll love it!


9 cups mixed nuts (walnuts, sliced almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds and cashews)
2 cups Rice Crisipies
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbls cinnamon
1 tbls nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
8 dried apricots, chopped

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees

Place the nuts and Rice Crispies in a large bowl and mix together.

In a small saucepan, add the butter, coconut oil, honey, vanilla, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and melt over medium heat, stirring to combine. When completely melted, pour over the nuts and Rice Crispies and mix making sure the nuts are evenly coated. Spread onto two half sheet pans that have been covered with parchment paper or a baking Silpat Baking Mats. If you don't have one of these, you owe it to yourself. They are pricey, but wonderful and last for years!

Place the two sheet pans on the racks in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Pull the pans out of the oven, reduce the heat to 300 degrees, and mix the contents of the granola. Return to oven and bake for 25 minutes more.

While the granola is baking, mix the dried fruit together in a container to combine with the cooled cereal.

Remove from the oven and cool. Once cooled, scrape the nuts back into the large bowl, add the dried fruits and mix until combined. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Makes 18-20 servings

Anyone who has made this granola absolutely loves it and always has a container on hand. Bon Appetit!