I miss the Ice Cream Man

I Miss the  Ice Cream Man

For some reason, this morning I was remembering how happy the Ice Cream Truck melody made me feel when I’d hear it rolling through my childhood neighborhood.
George was our  “ice cream man.” A nice, very patient man.

Even though I rarely had any money to buy something, I loved chasing the truck and crowding around George with the other kids. I’m glad I didn’t often have the money because it made the treat so much sweeter when I did. I was a fudgsicle girl!

 


Here is a compilation of 22 ice cream truck songs.

 
0:00 Mister Softee 0:30 The Entertainer 0:59 Turkey in the Straw 1:11 Pop Goes The Weasel 1:20 Sailing, Sailing 1:37 Little Brown Jug 1:54 Red Wing 2:13 Camptown Races 2:39 La Cucaracha 3:04 Turkey in the Straw 3:26 Brahms Lullaby 3:46 The Entertainer 4:09 Music Box Dancer 4:42 Stagecoach 5:33 The Picnic 6:15 Romance de Amour 6:41 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 7:02 Buttons and Bows 7:19 Go Tell Aunt Rhody 7:42 Rock-a-Bye Baby 8:04 Greensleeves 8:27 The More We Get Together 8:49 The Yellow Rose of Texas 9:15 Old MacDonald Had a Farm 9:41 The Cuckoo Waltz 10:12 Oh! Susanna 10:38 Old Folks at Home (Swanee River) 11:10 It’s A Small World After All 11:43 I’m a Little Teapot 11:57 London Bridge Is Falling Down 12:11 Turkey in the Straw 12:26 Row, Row, Row Your Boat 12:37 Frere Jacques 12:51 Happy Birthday To You 13:07 Fur Elise 13:21 Korobeiniki 13:39 Yankee Doodle 13:51 Mary Had a Little Lamb 14:08 Six Landler 14:23 Brahms Lullaby 14:45 Home on the Range 15:11 Song of Joy 15:40 Moonlight on the Colorado 16:19 If You’re Happy And You Know It 16:36 The Moon Shines Bright 17:00 Oranges and Lemons 17:24 I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside 17:48 Match of the Day 18:20 Home on the Range 20:05 It’s A Small World After All 20:46 Row, Row, Row Your Boat 21:08 Mary Had a Little Lamb 21:25 Oh! Susanna 22:12 Happy Birthday To You

My First Job

My First Job

In 1967, I rode my horse, Glory Be*, to a quaint little hamburger joint, “The Little Store” in Woodside, CA**. I tied my horse’s reins to the hitchrack and timidly went inside to apply for my very first job. I was so nervous! Mrs. Iris James, a petite sixty-ish woman, was the owner, and for some unfathomable reason, she hired me.


The minimum wage in 1967 was $1.30 an hour. I thought I was rich!*** 
I look back now and realize what a typical first-time teen worker I was. Pretty clueless, definitely a little lazy. My patient mentor-boss-mom always had one teenager on staff, along with two older women. Those three motherly ladies were such a positive influence. They had no idea how much they meant to me—but that’s a story for another day.

I remember one Sunday afternoon, the Hell’s Angels rolled into town. We heard a loud roar in the distance and looked out the window. There had to be fifty bikes heading our way. Mrs. James had dealt with them before and wasn’t about to do it again, so she locked the door and flipped the “Open” sign to “Closed.” We sat on the floor behind the counter and waited. Sure enough, they stopped at our place and lined up their big, shiny motorcycles along our front porch and parking area. We held our breath as they banged on the door. I was so scared! Luckily, with a helluva lot a cussing, they revved up their bikes and moved on.

I met my first boyfriend while working there. Greg had become a regular weekend customer and I realize now, that my co-workers were on pins and needles waiting for him to ask me out. He was a great guy and a wonderful first boyfriend.

When I retired from that job at the end of my senior year, I passed it on to my dear friend, Elaine, who was two years younger.

I’ve been in the restaurant business**** for over three decades now. Thousands of employees later, I wish I could tell Mrs. James what an impact she had on that young, goofy girl and that I’ve always tried to emulate her. Through the years, many of our teen employees have remained family friends after they grew up. They come to visit, we go to dinner, and some have teens of their own who have worked for us! I call that success!


* I didn’t name my horse; he came with it. I wanted to name him “Darcy” from
Pride and Prejudice, but he was comfortable with his name, so we kept it. He was a beautiful chestnut with a perfect white blaze down his face. Glory Be was loveable, playful, and very skittish. I think his first owner probably swore at him a lot; hence the name “Glory Be!” He and I had so many fun adventures!

** Woodside is a charming little town in the California Bay Area. When I was a kid, I boarded my horse at a stable there. When I got my job, I took over all of my horse expenses and started saving for a car. I felt so proud!
The “Little Store” opened in 1902 and today I just found out it has closed. We are nearly eleven months into the pandemic at the time of this writing, and as a restaurant owner, I know first hand how 
tough it is to stay in business when you’re not allowed to have inside dining for months on end. 

*** So how much would that $1.30 equal these days? I checked it out on this inflation calculator, and it’s $10.07!  And if Mrs. James had been paying me $10.07 way back then — that would equal $78.03 today.

**** Klondike Pizza.
We had lived for several years in Anchorage, Alaska when in the late ’80s, the US basically stopped drilling or exploring for its own oil. This decision destroyed many economies–both here in the states and in Canada. Our local banks were failing. Our jobs were gone because of the domino effect. My husband worked for a restaurant franchise corporation, and I was a graphic artist and advertising director.

Our house had a mortgage, but its value had gone down the drain. People were leaving the state in droves. It was time for a new plan—one with no snow! We loved living in Alaska, so we decided to bring a little bit with us—hence our Alaskan themed pizza restaurants.

In Alaska, I was an ice-hockey mom. In California, I became a soccer and golf mom. Way easier than ice hockey mom!

 

Fun February National Days

There are a lot more “national days” than what I’ve listed.  But I’m kinda picky. I don’t want to celebrate national serpent day, umbrella day, home warranty day, don’t cry over spilled milk day, battery day, cabbage day, public sleeping day …

If you want to share, I’ve included a link to a jpg: February National Days JPG
And a pdf:  February National Days PDF

February 1

  • Baked Alaska Day 

February 2

  • Tater Tot Day
  • National Groundhog Day

February 3

  • Carrot Cake Day

February 4

  • Homemade Soup Day

February 5

  • Shower with a Friend Day
  • World Nutella Day
  • Wear Red Day 
  • Bubble Gum Day 

February 6

  • Frozen Yogurt Day
  • Ice Cream for Breakfast Day 

February 7

  • Fettuccine Alfredo Day
  • Send a Card to a Friend Day

February 8

  • Kite Flying Day

February 9 

  • Bagel and Lox Day
  • National Pizza Day I write books and I’m in the restaurant business!

February 10

  • Cream Cheese Brownie Day

February 11

  • Make a Friend Day

February 12

  • Plum Pudding Day

February 13

  • Galentine’s Day
  • Cheddar Day

February 14

  • Cream-Filled Chocolates Day
  • Organ Donor Day
  • Valentines Day

February 15

  • Gumdrop Day
  • Presidents Day 

February 16

  • Do A Grouch a Favor Day
  • Fat Tuesday 

February 17

  • Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • Cabbage Day
  • Ash Wednesday

February 18

  • Drink Wine Day

February 19

  • Chocolate Mint Day

February 20

  • Love Your Pet Day
  • Cherry Pie Day

February 21

  • Sticky Bun Day

February 22

  • Margarita Day

February 23

  • Banana Bread Day
  • Dog Biscuit Day

February 24

  • Tortilla Chip Day

February 25

  • Chocolate Covered Nut Day
  • Clam Chowder Day
  • Pancake Day 

February 26

  • Pistachio Day
  • Toast Day 
  • Chili Day 
  • Muffin Day

February 27

  • Strawberry Day
  • Polar Bear Day
  • Kahlua Day

February 28

  • Chocolate Soufflé Day
  • Tooth Fairy Day

 

History Trivia: Presidential Pardons Through History

History Trivia: Presidential Pardons Through History

If you’re interested in history, you may find this post about Presidential Pardons and Commutations interesting. For eons, presidents have dished out loads of pardons and commutations on their last day in the Oval Office. Some good, some pretty darn odd, and some that are jaw-dropping questionable.

Make sure to check out “Presidential Pardons That Made the News” and “Which president started the tradition of pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey?” at the end of the post.

First off—what’s a pardon, and what’s a commutation?

PARDON: The President’s power to pardon is not restricted by any temporal constraints except that the crime must have been committed.

COMMUTATION is the mitigation of the sentence of someone currently serving a sentence for a crime pursuant to a conviction, without vacating the sentence itself. So it’s a good thing for the recipient, but not a full pardon.

Interesting fact: Barack Obama holds the record for the biggest single-day use of the clemency power on his last day in office.

President George Washington pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 16 people. Among them were: Philip Vigol (or Wigle) and John Mitchel, convicted of treason for their roles in the Whiskey Rebellion*.

Abraham Lincoln pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 343 people during his term, including 264 Dakota Indians who attacked white settlers in the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862**.

Andrew Johnson fully pardoned every soldier who fought for the Confederate Army on Christmas day, 1868. Though many thought he was being far too lenient to people who were considered traitors to the Union, Johnson believed it was time for the country to reconcile with the past.

Franklin D. Roosevelt granted 3,687 pardons in his four terms in office.

John F. Kennedy pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 575 people.

Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon–this decision won him a lot of enemies. He also offered conditional amnesty to over 50,000 draft resisters. I had a boyfriend back then who fled to Canada to avoid the draft. He was able to return and eventually became a professor.

Ronald Reagan pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 406 people.

Bill Clinton pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 459 people, including his younger half-brother, Roger. In the mid-1980s, Roger was caught on videotape trying to sell cocaine to an undercover cop. He was arrested, pleaded guilty, and served a year in prison.

Another notorious Clinton pardon was Marc Rich who was indicted in 1983 for evading over $48 million in taxes. He was also charged with 51 counts of tax fraud. And he was also accused of making illegal oil deals with Iran while it was holding U.S. citizens hostage. He was living in Switzerland at the time of his pardon.

Clinton also pardoned Patty Hearst—read more below.

Barack Obama granted 330 commutations on January 19, 2017, his last full day in office. During his presidency, he issued more commutations than the past 13 presidents combined.

In a letter to 46 people whose sentences he commuted in 2015, he wrote: “The power to grant pardons and clemency is one of the most profound authorities granted to the President of the United States. It embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws.”

Presidential Pardons That Made the News

Jimmy Hoffa, 1971

The Teamsters leader had been serving a prison sentence for jury tampering and fraud when President Nixon pardoned him in December 1971. There was a condition: Hoffa should not engage in any management of any labor organization until at least March 1980. Hoffa may have been trying to reassert his power over the Teamsters when he disappeared in 1975. We may never know.

Patty Hearst, 2001

The granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst made headlines in 1974 when an urban guerilla group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) kidnapped her from her Berkeley, Calif., apartment. Two months later, the 19-year-old was photographed robbing a San Francisco bank while brandishing an assault rifle. Apparently, she had taken up her captors’ cause. At her trial, her lawyer asserted that she’d been brainwashed. She was convicted and imprisoned for almost two years before President Jimmy Carter commuted her seven-year sentence and freed her from jail. President Bill Clinton granted her a full pardon on the last day of his presidency, January 20, 2001.

John Forté, 2008

In 2000, recording artist, Forté was arrested at Newark International Airport after accepting a briefcase containing $1.4 million worth of liquid cocaine. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute. He was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 14 years after being found guilty. Carly Simon and her son, Ben Taylor (son of James Taylor) were advocates on Forté’s behalf, believing he didn’t receive a fair trial. They fought to appeal the mandatory minimum drug laws that remove a judge’s discretion in a case.

With Senator Orrin Hatch’s help, Forté’s prison sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush on November 24, 2008. —Wikipedia

Alice Marie Johnson, 2020

She was convicted in 1996 for her involvement in drug trafficking. Johnson received a life sentence even though it was her first offence. Years later, her cause was taken up by celebrity Kim Kardashian West***. In June 2018, after serving 21 years in prison, she was released after President Trump commuted her sentence. In August 2020, he granted her a full pardon.

Which president started the tradition of pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey?

Actually, it started with Christmas dinner in 1863. President Abraham Lincoln’s clemency to a turkey was recorded in a dispatch by White House reporter Noah Brooks, who noted, “a live turkey had been brought home for the Christmas dinner, but Lincoln’s son, Tad, interceded in behalf of its life and the turkey’s life spared.”

The formalities of pardoning a turkey gelled by 1989, when President George H.W. Bush remarked, “Reprieve,” “keep him going,” or “pardon”: it’s all the same for the turkey, as long as he doesn’t end up on the president’s holiday table.—Whitehousehistory.org

President Harry S. Truman pardoning a 35-pound tom turkey
in the White House Rose Garden on Nov. 18, 1952

 

*Whiskey Rebellion

**Want to know more about the Great Sioux Uprising? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_War_of_1862

***Kim Kardashian West has said she’s studying to become a criminal justice lawyer and is planning to take her exams in 2022. The reality star began a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco around the time she played a role in the release from prison of Alice Marie Johnson

Book #4 is finally available!

Number 4 in the Murder Blog Mysteries is now on sale! Yay!

What took me so darn long?

I’d love to say the dog ate my work, but what really happened is I had a heart attack. And to make it even more dramatic –I had the attack seven days after my husband had undergone a quadruple bypass. Talk about an awful time!

Mike jokes that I did it because he was getting all the attention. Yeah, right. 

Trust me—I can think of better ways to get attention.

What I have learned is when your body is telling you something isn’t right, do not ignore it like I did. I kept telling myself that as soon as Mike was well, I’d get a check-up. That kind of thinking nearly killed me. A lot of women have said to me that they would have done the same thing. We are often so busy taking care of everyone else that we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the list. 

Please listen to your body and if something feels odd, don’t wait until it’s too late. I am counting my blessings every day …and working on the fifth book in the series


Nothing bad ever happens in the peaceful English village of Bridleford—except for murder, that is.

In the latest Murder Blog Mysteries novel, Katy finds herself at loose ends. She’s jobless, but not penny-less thanks to a recently discovered box of rare coins in her attic. But she’s clueless as to what her next career will be. Plus, her sizzling romance with Josh, is doing a fast fizzle since he left town to continue nursing his ex-wife through her cancer battle.

Just as Katy is settling in for an extended pity-party of weepy old movies and tubs of mint-chip ice cream, her mother calls with tragic news. A dear family member has met an untimely end. Now Katy and her grandma must travel to the scenic Cotswolds of England to sort out legal matters. When they arrive, they’re overwhelmed by the friendly villagers who offer help and moral support.

However, when Katy and Ruby become the target of vandals, they realize that not everyone in town is pleased about their presence.

Is murder next on the list?


Was It Murder? is available in ebook, the Kindleunlimited program, and paperback. This particular book’s paperback edition is (for some reason) priced much lower than the first three, even though its page count is similar. I’m glad about that, but annoyed that I can’t lower the price on Dead Girls Don’t Blog, Better Dead Than Wed, and Coins and Cadavers. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that!

I’m hard at work on Book #4 in the Murder Blog Mysteries!


Bibury Cottages and Pamela Frost Dennis
The next book in the Murder Blog Mysteries takes place in the
beautiful Cotswolds in the U.K.

Several years ago, my husband, Mike, and I rented a quaint four-hundred-year old stone cottage in Bibury for a few weeks—so I could pretend I’m English. Yes, I realize how silly that sounds. I guess I’ve watched too many Midsomer Murders, Rosemary and Thyme, Sherlock…. And read too many Agatha Christie novels, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Dickens…. So even though my heritage is mainly Norwegian, my heart belongs to England.

The villagers were charming, and by the second day, it was as if we’d lived there for years. We made a lasting friendship with the couple living in the cottage behind ours. Phil and Denise are dear people, and they took us places that most tourists would not know about—including a coal mine tour that I probably could’ve done without. 

When we were deep down in the pitch-black bowels of that old nineteenth-century mine, my imagination wandered to things that could happen if our English friends were not quite so nice. Hunched over in the narrow, claustrophobic shaft, I realized that not a soul on earth knew where we were. No one that is, except Denise, Phil, and our tour guide.  After the tour, we all went for tea and I told them about my fearful thoughts, and we all had a good laugh. 

Those dark thoughts eventually evolved into the Murder Blog Mysteries, although it wasn’t the right time to tell that story until I had a few books already in print. I’m excited that I’ve finally have reached the point where it’s time. 

And my dear British friends may not be quite so nice in the book….

 

Worst Blogger Ever!

833242bc4d27782094d62f1b5867d4b3
RE: Today’s earlier post

When I saw my post in my email and the darn video wasn’t there — ACH!

Isn’t it funny that I write a mystery series about a blogger
and yet I’m the worst blogger ever?

In my defense, when I checked and double checked the other post
before hitting “publish” the video was always there.

Here’s a link to the video I talked about in today’s earlier post.

How to Post  a Review on Amazon

Sure hope the link works 🙂

How to Post a Product Review on Amazon – 101

amazon-reviews

How to Post a Product Review on Amazon – 101

I’m often asked how to post a review on Amazon. The question always surprises me, but perhaps most people do not spend as much time shopping or posting reviews on Amazon as I do. I think I may need therapy!  Seriously.  

But to my defense, I try to shop locally. I really do!
Example: The other day I broke the butter dish. I went to four stores looking for a plain old glass butter dish and came up with zip.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond – nope.
World Market – nada.
K-Mart – zilch.
Grocery Store – negative.
Even our local Ace Hardware store that has all sorts of kitchenie things didn’t have one. And that’s where I bought the last one.

So I gave up and ordered one on Amazon. Eight bucks and I had it two days later. But, as usual, I digress.

Back to posting: I have a friend in Hawaii who’s asked me several times how to post reviews. I emailed her these instructions from Amazon:

To submit a review:
1. Go to the product detail page for the item on Amazon.com.

2. Click “Write a Customer Review” in the Customer Reviews section.
3. Click Submit.

It was as if I’d spoken Greek to Amy*. She’s a brilliant, lovely young woman, but computers freak her out.

So I made a video for her. Of course, in my video, I showed how to post a 5-star review for one of my books. Amy is a voracious reader and reads a lot of Indie published books, and when she enjoys one, she really should post a review for them because we Indie Writers are a pathetic bunch of zombie-like creatures who thrive on reviews. Make that – favorable reviews. Janet Evanovich (not an Indie writer) has like a bazillion reviews, so when she gets a negative one, I doubt she has a heart attack.

But when I get a negative one, I need therapy. Seriously. I guess I could also talk about my Amazon shopping addiction during my session and kill two birds with one stone.

________________________

You may be wondering how Amy did with my video instructions. I wish I could say she did super and Amazon invited her to become a “Vine Voice,” and now she’s receiving loads of cool free items to review… but no. She tried three times and gave up. 

Here’s my little video.
I had to learn how to do an on-screen recording.
It was fun making it and I look forward to honing my skills.
Or at least producing a video that Amy can understand.

*Amy (not her real name) is a real person,
not just a figment of my overactive imagination. 

Hey Kids! There’s Big Ben!

Hey Kids! There’s Big Ben!

I’m working on the latest book in the Murder Blog Mysteries. Katy and Grandma Ruby are going to England!

As usual, I’m incorporating some of my own crazy experiences–like driving in London on a Saturday night in the rain. That was not the plan, but somehow I wound up on the wrong road, going in the wrong direction, and next thing I know … Horrifying!

Nothing like your first “roundabout” experience happening in London–not to mention driving on the wrong side of the road in an English car. My husband kept telling me to take the next exit–but I was stuck in the lane closest to the center and too scared to change lanes. So, round and round we went.

Remember the funny scene in National Lampoon’s European Vacation? Not so funny when it’s happening to you. But I can laugh about it now!

Coins and Cadavers – Book #3

Updated 8-27-17 CandC Kindle Cover
It took me way too long to get the third book out in The Murder Blog Mysteries.
Life kept getting in the way. 
Originally, I was going call it Dying For Dollars, but that title got snapped up before I was finished.  Darn it! That’ll teach me not to dawdle! Or to share a title before I’m done writing.

Here’s the link: Coins and Cadavers

And a brief description…
Katy McKenna’s good intentions are going to get her DEAD….

While battling a furry vermin invasion in the spooky attic of her old house, Katy discovers a vintage wooden chest hidden behind a wall. Although everyone assures her the box is legally hers, its incredible contents compel Katy to search for the rightful owner.

Meanwhile, she takes a temp job assisting her hunky P.I. neighbor, Josh Draper. The assignment: Trap a sleazy wife-cheater. Something Katy knows about all too well from personal experience. During a cozy stakeout in Draper’s two-seater, things get awkward as the sizzling tension builds. Who will make the first move?

Since she’s already been searching online for past owners of her home, Grandma Ruby asks Katy to use her sleuthing skills to discover what happened to her bigamist great-great grandfather. Katy’s quest leads her to find an extended family she never knew existed.

Family secrets are revealed, for better or worse….
Romance blossoms, for better or worse….

And Katy’s good intentions lead her into a terrifying dilemma she may not survive.

_______________________________________________

So, what’s next? Book #4!  Already hard at work on it.  But this time I’m not sharing the working title.