Wedding Vows to Jeff

Today is my 6th month wedding anniversary with Jeff.  Many people asked me to share my wedding vows online the day of the wedding, but I decided to save them to share on another day – this day.  My feelings for him are stronger now than ever before and my vows printed here are only a small part of how I feel about him.  This past six months have been wonderful and amazing; moreover, I wouldn’t change a thing.jeffcarmenweddingbronzestatue

Jeff, when I met you and saw how much we had in common, I knew I wanted to “live long and prosper” with you.

You truly compliment every aspect of who I am as a woman, a nerd, an artist, a music lover, an educator and lifelong learner, a hiker, a pun enthusiast, a television and movie buff, and an adventurer.

When you told me that 3057 was not long enough, you wanted forever, there was no hesitation for me to say yes to be your partner in life, your best friend, and your true love.

I promise to always love, honor, respect, and inspire you every day of our lives, whether it is “the best of times or the worst of times,” whether we are healthy or sick, and whether we are rich or poor.

Starting on our marriage trek today, we will embark upon many epic adventures together, where “no one has boldly gone before,” laughing and holding hands, walking together side by side into an enchanting life.

As the raven quotes, “Nevermore,” shall we be alone, because together, we will “Live! Live the wonderful life that is in us!” to the fullest.

“Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther” to embrace each other with nurture, support, and love.  “For our love is a love that is more than love.”

I am ready to spend the rest of my days with you; therefore, “Engage!” and “Make it so!”

The Unexpected Adventure of a Clever Crawdad

This is based on a true story when Jeff, my husband, and I were traveling to New Orleans and found a crawdad in a gas station parking lot.  We actually did rescue him and take him to a pond.  I hope you enjoy…  

“I escaped!” I exclaimed.  The past few days have been…er…much to say unbelievable.  I don’t even know where to begin with my adventures.  My mind is so muddled; I can’t think straight because all I’m thinking now is “Where do I go?” “Where is the water?” “Will I find food?” “Will I be killed?”  “Was I just lucky?” and on and on and on.  Wow, I need to calm down and seek a plan before someone sees me or I die.  I don’t have much time before that happens.  Oh, where is the water?  I wish I could ask someone, but then everyone would know I escaped.  You see, I am a crawfish, or crawdad, if you like, and this is my story…

Just a few days ago, I think, I was minding my own business at the bottom of the river I called home where I was having breakfast on a dead bluegill.  Fortunately for me, he died in a fishing accident and sunk heavily to the bottom where he has been keeping me alive for several days.  On this morning, I was thinking to myself, “I really appreciate those fishermen!”  Sometimes good meals are hard to find close to home.  As I was eating, I was thinking of what I would do for the day when I was scooped up with several other crawfish, fish, plants, and other odds and ends from my world into a net.  My mother warned me of this, but I never thought it would happen to me.

We were packed so tightly together I couldn’t move.  I didn’t realize until today how claustrophobic I truly was…I felt trapped with nowhere to go.  The fear of what would happen to me almost drove me insane…I wanted to die, but I didn’t’ want to die.  I just wanted to break free from that extremely tight, packed in feeling of terror.

I had begun to feel nauseated with sensations of passing out.  In a haze, I barely remember being flung out on a wooden floor next to crawfish I knew.  As I crazily looked around with question as to what was happening, I noticed some of my friends were not moving, and some were fidgeting, struggling, and angry trying to move around.  We all had one idea in common right at this moment – to find the water again.  Well, we got our wish when water was thrust upon us with a vengeance.  I never knew water could be that hateful.  When I gained better conscience, I realized humans were using some type of tubing thing and that’s where the water was shooting out from.  “Oh, if I could only break free and hurriedly go back to my river home!” Unfortunately, I knew I wouldn’t make it before being caught.  I stayed against my will to find we were being scooped up into crates.  I knew my turn was coming, and so I waited like I do for the next fish to fall from another fishing accident.  The dread in this waiting made me cringe with the horror of each passing moment of what would happen next.

Scooping finally happened to me; luckily it didn’t hurt.  I was in a crate with several others who just sat there in the same disbelief I was feeling.  No one spoke, and no one moved: we were frightened.  We could tell we were moving because it seemed like the crate was going up and down and all around.  Suddenly, we seemed to stop and we could hear the humans yelling different words out to each other like they were planning our doom.  Then the unthinkable happened – the crates began moving off this vessel who carried us to unwanted land with no water.  “Water…oh sweet water, how I miss you!”  That is all I could think; I craved the water because I knew if I didn’t find it soon, my demise was surely imminent.

I sat there waiting, and waiting.  All I could hear was the humans talking away to each other, but at least it wasn’t about us.  Along with the talking, I kept hearing a thud like sound, but I had no idea what it meant. The next thing I knew, my crate was moving again, and then, “Thud,” the noise that sounded so awful.  I looked around and my crate was placed very high on some type of elongated container.  The humans kept moving crates, and finally, they yelled goodbye to each other, and we were moving again, but not like before.  It was weird, I can’t even explain how it felt.  There was a zooming noise and then we would stop some and move again.  We also kept moving up and down with some type of bumps.  This felt very weird.  “Wow!” I screamed, I jumped in the air non-voluntarily.  The bump we hit was massive.  I thought to myself, “I’m glad I didn’t get hurt.”

Hours crawled by and the moving didn’t seem to end.  We then slowed down and I moved even farther on top of the pile of my fellow crustaceans where I could see structures and humans walking around and in other vessels like the one I was traveling in. “Ahhh,” another bump…” wait a minute…maybe, just maybe one of these bumps could be my salvation, my way out of this,” I didn’t know what to even call where I was or what was going to happen to me, “torture.” I plotted by thinking that if we hit a bump hard enough, I could launch myself in a direction where I could fall out, but if I am too high, it might kill me.  At this point, I was willing to do whatever it took and take my chances.  I knew if I didn’t try something I would be dead in a few hours anyway.  We kept moving, and so I waited, but was ready if a bump came again.  The waiting seemed forever, but honestly, it probably wasn’t that long when suddenly a huge bump happened and all I knew was that I was flying in the air to either my freedom or my grave.  I looked down and I saw green stuff where I was heading and it looked more inviting than the grayish black, rock-like flat surface the vessel was moving on.  I prepared myself just in case this was it, but I landed, and it wasn’t so bad. The green like substance was soft and moved as I moved on it.

I sat there for a moment speechless in awe I didn’t die.  I thought to myself, I better move each limb to make sure nothing was broken, or at least, broken too badly.  Everything checked out because as I moved each limb, I felt hunky-dory.  “Wow, I am the luckiest crawfish alive!!” I yelled with utter astonishment.  Now, onto the next dilemma, where can I find water?  I decided to just start walking and using my crusty instincts to find what I needed.  There were boxlike things all over the place along the blackish flat surface on either side.  I guess this is where the humans lived.  I also realized I had to watch my back and move off this surface because more vessels were moving on it and if I wasn’t careful, I would be a goner.  The next thing I knew, I saw a little puddle, so I raced as quickly as I could to it to at least get my feet wet; unfortunately, it wasn’t very deep.  At this particular spot, there seemed to be lots of commotion with humans stopping their vessels next to small box things and putting tubes from them into their vessels.  I wondered what this was with amazement.  Once I felt a little refreshed, I knew I had to make a run for it to make sure I got past the humans on my aquatic scavenger hunt.

I looked around intently and saw that the humans seemed to be connecting these tubes to their vessels, so I began to walk as quickly as I could across the brown like flat surface where these vessels were stopped.  I was hardly out in the middle of this when I heard a female human, as she pointed at me, yell at her male human, “What is that over there?”  He walked over to me and I immediately went into fight mode with my arms up high turning bright red to signal, “Leave me alone or I’ll snap you!!” The male human said in disbelief, “Come over here, you are never going to believe what it is.”  Additionally, she walked over to me and I was still in combat readiness. I was so afraid of just being crushed by one of them I didn’t know what to do.  When she stepped close to me, she bent down and said, “Oh, how cute is he.”  Both the male and female began talking about me and wondered where I must have come from.  They seemed shocked to see me here.  From their conversation, I could only deduce we were in a place called Tuscaloosa and they mentioned signs they passed for a crawfish boil coming up this weekend.  They figured I must have been brought up from the coast for that.  “I’m so glad I took my chances leaping off that vessel,” I thought to myself. winston-attack-mode

The female started talking about giving me a name as she looked around curiously for signs.  A name, my mother never called me anything but “my little crusty” so when I would talk to other crustaceans, I would just say call me C.R. because I didn’t care for “Crusty.” I always felt how obvious a name that was. She finished looking around as she spied a sign for something called cigarettes that had the word “Winston” above them.  She told her male human, “Winston, that’s what we’ll call him, Winston, the crawdad.”  I beamed with delight at the name, even though I had no idea what cigarettes were.  I didn’t care; I finally had a real name and it sounded glorious.  As I pondered what life would be like now having a name, I suddenly realized, “What are they going to do to me?”  Wait a minute, if they gave me a name, surely they wouldn’t kill me, or would they?  As I was anticipating every action that might happen next, I was picked up on the back by the male human and placed on a seat in his vessel partitioned just far away from him, but close enough for him to see me as he got in and placed dangly objects into a crevice by a circle; moreover, the vessel started making that zooming noise.  The female must have been in her own vessel because we started to move, but he was talking to her with some rectangle next to his ear.  My biggest fear right at this moment: “Where were they taking me?”winston-in-car

I had so many thoughts running through my mind from where were we going; what are they going to do to me; Ahhh, I love my new name…Winston; to I truly might die now.  We kept moving and turning, which was no fun, because I almost slid off the seat.  We didn’t travel far when he pulled over off the main path and stopped his vessel.  He got out and came over to the side I was on and picked me up by the back again and the female was out of her vessel walking towards us saying really sweet things to me.  I know it was about me because she kept saying Winston.  It made my heart melt.  The humans turned around with me in the male’s grasp to see what I was waiting for since I was scooped up from my home…WATER! At that very moment, I knew what these two were doing.  They were rescuing me bringing me to a new watery home.  I was thrilled and elated to see this large pond-like body before me awaiting all my new adventures.  I just wished I could communicate with the humans to show my gratitude, but I think they knew how I felt.  The female told me, “Winston, enjoy your new home and if we are back in this area, we will visit.”  The male said goodbye in his own way and placed me down into the water.  Oh, how utterly extravagant it felt.  I moved through the water, which wasn’t too deep, down to the bottom to find some fish swimming around and a few of my own species eating on some fish scraps. Hopefully, I would never experience this awfulness again in my lifetime. It was so amazing to see such selfless humans helping me and not thinking of their taste buds.    I was in pure bliss…a new home, plenty to eat, and a new name…Winston…I bet I would taste good if my fate had not been intervened by two perfectly sweet strangers.  I can live with knowing what could have been, but wasn’t…


Reason for Revenge – Part IX.

This is the final part of Reason for Revenge.  I would love to hear feedback from my readers on your thoughts.


Christopher got in his car and went to the park where he had instructed them to meet him. He got out of his car and went over to the big oak tree that had a hollow place grooved out of it. He placed his handkerchief down into the hole so it would look like something white was down there as to throw them off. He waited and waited and finally they came. They got out of their car and looked around to make sure no one was around, they ran over to the tree and stuck their hand in and to their disappointment, there was no glove. “What are you doing out here this late at night?” Christopher asked as he walked slowly out of the darkness over to the tree. “Detective Christopher, I found this note on my bed and came ever so quickly to see if I could help out with the case. If I found what was supposed to be in the tree, I was going to call you as soon as I could get back home to tell you the good news,” they said rather nervously. “What note on your bed, are you telling me that someone contacted you?” Christopher responded fallaciously. “Yes, they said that I should come out to the park and I would find the other glove that was missing from the investigation, and that would help solve the murders,” they said anxiously. Christopher looked like he was pondering, “Hmm, may I see this note?” “Yes, sir,” they handed it to him. “So, the note says: YOU ARE MY ONLY HOPE; GO OUT TO CHAPEL PARK TO RETRIEVE THE MISSING ITEM FROM THE INVESTIGATION. IT IS LOCATED IN THE BIG OAK TREE WITH THE HOLLOWED-OUT HOLE. TURN IT INTO DETECTIVE CHARLES CHRISTOPHER AT THE 14TH PRECINCT.”

Christopher asked slyly, “What did you say a minute ago, you were to retrieve the glove missing from the investigation? Well, was it in there?” “Yes, that is what I said and it wasn’t in there, just this old handkerchief. I think I’ve been had.” They responded quizzically. “Oh, I think you’ve been had more than you realize. Read the note again to me ALOUD.” Christopher declared. They began to read:

“YOU ARE MY ONLY HOPE, GO OUT TO CHAPEL PARK TO RETRIEVE THE MISSING ITEM FROM THE INVESTIGATION. IT IS… It was you who sent this to me knowing that I…” “Yes, knowing that there was a 50-50 chance that you would slip and say the magical word of glove and so I should have bet a big one on you honey,” Christopher announced gleefully; then asked confidently, “So, why did you do it?” I’ll tell you why, Dave Hailman was an awful man and I knew that he would have ruined my life; Tabytha hated me, and if I had not been so careless thinking that someone was coming out right before I pushed her in, that heel would not have broken off and confirmed that a woman was the murderer. I killed Emma because of the letter. I had to stop her. I guess…I really killed for revenge.” “You almost got away with this, my dear, except for three things: 1) Just because we had found that heel did not draw us to conclusions that it was definitely a woman, 2) In the anonymous letter, Vivien’s last name is now Tailord, not Hailman, someone close to her would not have made that mistake, and 3) Emma is not dead, you had just knocked her unconscious, she was taken to the hospital, so she will be able to identify you.” As Christopher said this, everything he had felt about her before vanished, he thought she was the most beautiful creature that he had ever seen, but now he only saw her as a cold-blooded murderer. About that time, his men drove up and came over to them both. “Arrest her, it will be murder one,” he sneered.

As he walked away, Becki stared after him with hatred in her heart as the cold metal handcuffs wrapped around her tiny, revengeful wrists.

Reason for Revenge – Part VIII.

After dinner, Emma snuck into the study that used to be the office of Dave Hailman. She had been taking computer classes in her spare time because she knew that she needed to ‘modernize’ herself and figured she would type a letter to Detective Christopher and sign it anonymously so she would be kept out of the whole thing. The computer was positioned where her back would be to the door, so she shut the door to where just a little crack would be open so she could hear if anyone was coming up the stairs. She turned on the computer and started typing quietly. She didn’t realize that she could hear from the stair angle, but she couldn’t hear from down the other hallway. Someone was walking from the other direction to go downstairs when they heard a soft tapping coming from the study, why should anyone be in that room typing, that was Mr. Hailman’s study. They walked in as quiet as a mouse and discovered Emma typing. They walked up even closer hoping that she would not turn around so they could spy on what she was typing. They couldn’t believe it…what to do now? The closest thing to them was a piece of artwork on the desk; they grabbed it and hit Emma over the head. She slumped down into the chair, so they pushed her onto the floor and moved ever so quickly into the chair and onto the computer. They typed over their name and slowly inserted someone else’s and hit print, so it would look like the murderer was a little careless with the evidence sitting right on the printer, and then they closed out the program on the computer. As soon as the paper started feeding through, they were gone like the noon train out of town.

Stephen had decided to retire to bed earlier than his wife, and even the rest of the family. As he was coming up the stairs, he thought he saw a light on in Dave’s study, so he went in. He noticed that there was not just a light on, but the computer was on as well. That was odd, he thought to himself. He went over to shut it down, when he discovered Emma lying on the floor. He immediately felt her pulse and saw that she was just unconscious; he reached for the phone and called an ambulance. He ran downstairs to inform Joanne what had happened. “Joanne, as I was going past Dave’s study, I saw a light on, so I figured Emma or someone had left it on from cleaning, so I went in and turned it off. I realized that the computer was on and I found Emma on the floor… ” Before he could finish, Joanne was running up the stairs to her, Stephen turned and followed right behind her. “Joanne, I have already called an ambulance, she is still alive, her pulse was very faint, but at least she has a pulse.” Joanne went to her and held Emma while they waited for the ambulance, “Stephen, please call Detective Christopher, you can find his number in my bed stand in my room.” Stephen ran down to her room and found the number and called Christopher right away, “Detective Christopher!” Christopher responded, “Yes.” “This is Stephen Tailord and I wanted to tell you that we have just found Emma, our maid, in my father-in-law’s study unconscious. Mrs. Hailman would like you to please come over here quickly.” “I’ll be right there!” Christopher said as he was gathering up his things.

Christopher walked in right after the ambulance pulled away. He went straight up to the study and found Joanne and Stephen there. The rest of the family was asked to remain downstairs at Joanne’s request. “Detective, I am so glad to see you, what are we going to do; is this maniac going to wipe out my whole family?” Joanne frantically exclaimed. “Ma’am, I don’t know what will happen next, has anyone else been up here?” “No, they haven’t,” she replied. “If you would both go downstairs, I have called my men to come over, please let them up when they arrive,” he asked. “Yes sir,” Joanne agreed.

Joanne and Stephen walked downstairs and left Christopher to do his work. He looked through the desk to see if there was anything in it that would answer some questions, but there were just business papers, office supplies, stationery, and letters; nothing of any importance. He then turned around to the credenza behind him to find the computer, still lit up, but nothing on the screen but a desktop. Why was the computer on, what was she doing? He asked himself. He then noticed out of the comer of his eye a printed letter on the printer. He took out his handkerchief and grabbed the paper as he read:

Dear Detective Charles Christopher,

This is hard for me to tell you what I saw this afternoon from the inner balcony that is on the second floor. I watched as Vivien Hailman removed a white glove from under the hydrangea bush located outside by the pool.


This was the first piece of evidence that would prove who he expected because all the other evidence was so circumstantial. “Vivien tried to pull a red herring on me with the planted shoes in her own room. The evidence from the glove came back showing that it was bought at the usual little boutique where Vivien and Tabytha both shopped exclusively. Why shouldn’t they shop there, the clothes were from their father’s company?” He said to himself beaming. He reread the letter again and again before he started down the stairs, but wait. “I have been so stupid; I was just going to arrest the wrong person. Now, I must lay the trap and hope that I am right.” Christopher went back into the study and sat down at the computer and wrote a letter himself. As soon as he was done, he slipped out of the study running down the hallway to another room. He left the letter on the bed addressed, “To whom it may concern.” He went downstairs and apologized to the family and told them that something had come up and he would have to go. He left just as his men were coming in, “Hey Jones, do your thing and I hope to be back shortly. Call me if you find anything.” “Gotcha boss.” Jones replied.

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