Book Review: Sleep, My Child, Forever

Sleep, My Child, Forever: The Riveting True Story of a Mother Who Murdered Her Own ChildrenSleep, My Child, Forever: The Riveting True Story of a Mother Who Murdered Her Own Children by John Coston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

True crime at its most chilling.

I was intrigued by John Coston’s tale of Ellen Boehm since I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where the sordid tale is located. I was very young during the series of events so I only vaguely recalled the story of a mother who slaughtered her children in cold blood. Being a true crime fanatic, I grabbed a copy of this book during an Amazon sale.

Ellen Boehm and her husband Paul came from a long line of abuse. When they met and eventually married, they had dreams of the perfect life together — the house, the children. What happened what much, much different. After meeting a new woman, Paul abandoned his wife and three children, leaving them to fend for themselves with little money and no support. Ellen quickly lost her home and took on extra work when she could in an effort to make ends meet. It still wasn’t enough and soon the woman was overwhelmed with her own fantasy world and three children standing in the way of her wonderful life.

What unfolds next is something of horror stories. Ellen kills her two youngest children within a year and attempts to murder her eldest daughter. By a stroke of luck, her daughter survives unscathed but life will never be the same. Ellen tries to reap the death benefits following the murder of her sons but underestimates the tenacity of the St. Louis Police Department.

Sleep, My Child, Forever is a tale of true monsters. Not the ones that live in closets and under the beds of children, but the ones that we see everyday and never suspect.

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How Bill Belichick and the Patriots Toppled the NFL Empire

Here we are on the other side of yet another New England Patriots victory.  Nobody can deny that Tom Brady is exceptional — probably the greatest NFL Quarterback of all time (as much as it pains me to say that).  However, the Brady and Belichick era is marred by controversy and that dims the shine of their accomplishments more than a little.  Not only does it harm the history of the Patriots, but it’s brought about the end of the NFL’s glory days.

It all started with “Spygate” back in 2007 when the Patriots were accused of filming the New York Jets.  While it’s not against league rules to film other teams, the filming can only be done in authorized areas and the Pats were caught offsides (ha).  There were huge fines and docked draft picks and it was a mess but when it was all said and done, we’d entered a new era of football.

“Deflategate” was the next big issue for the Patriots.  Under normal circumstances, I posit that some under-inflated footballs wouldn’t have been a huge issue in the NFL.  However, with that single incident of cheating by the Pats, normal circumstances went out the window.  Suddenly there was mass pandemonium involving physics, a media circus, and an intense investigation.  Again there were docked draft picks and the incredible suspension of Tom Brady.  And the NFL was tainted forever.

The Patriots keep winning.  Some of that is skill but there’s always that inkling of doubt in the back of everyone’s minds.  It leaves a sour taste in the mouth.  It’s left the NFL open to quite a bit of scrutiny, too.  If the games were more intriguing, if we weren’t guaranteed another Patriots win, would people be so interested in the inner workings of the NFL?

Since the Pats have started their indefatigable winning streak, we’ve seen the NFL attacked for other things that had previously gone overlooked.  The concussions.  The domestic abuse.  The black-listing of players fighting for social justice.  Perhaps people do care more about these issues today.  Though I deeply believe if there was more chance within the NFL standings, people would still be willing to look past some of the NFL’s indiscretions.  Thanks to the Patriot’s striking ability to win at any cost, a Pandora’s box has been opened that the NFL can never again close.

First of the Month: BuJo Update!

Alright…this is my FIRST ever bullet journal post!

I came to bullet journaling in December 2017 because I needed a way to keep track of my bazillion tasks at work, my grueling grad school schedule, and whatever tiny amount of free time I could accrue.  Since then, it’s become an outlet for my crafty side while keeping my brain organized and my life on track.

So, on to February 2019!

50946172_484628498732352_5954413234629902336_nTime for some straight-up honesty:  I’m not one to take super fancy pictures of my bujo.  Ain’t nobody (in this house) got time for that.  So you’re stuck with my randomly lit, poorly edited photos.  Sorry.

ANY-way.  After January lasted 1548963651 days, I’m hoping February will be a more reasonable month.  I’m not a hearts and love person so the theme this month is pink and gray birds.  I’m not a huge fan of pink either but the birds were freaking adorable.  I grabbed the sticker pack during a bujo meetup so I don’t know the creator unfortunately.

 

Next up, I always have my monthly 51376300_484628528732349_5088448991968886784_ncalendar.  This one is super simple and pretty self-explanatory.  The washi is from Michael’s Recollections collection and the stickers are from various MAMBI sticker books.  This is a before the pen spread (obviously) but February is shaping up to be a stupid busy month and it hasn’t event started yet.  Eep!

 

 

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This is the first time I’ve done a colorful habit tracker.  Usually I’m a minimalist kinda girl.  I want just the facts because it’s too much effort and takes too much time to color in my spreads.  But I’ve been out of a job so I have to do something in between job searching and networking events so here we are.  Straight up not doing something like that again!  It was a nightmare.  Also, I need to think up some goals for February.  Jeez.

51392113_484628618732340_4828804646829031424_nNext up are my Line A Day and Gratitude Trackers.  Pretty straight-forward.  And we’re back to NEVER AGAIN will I be coloring in those damn lines.  Freaking nightmare and it took me the better part of an hour to do.  It better be worth it when I go to write in my stuff.  Good news?  I won’t have to change pen colors every day.  So that’s nice.

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Finally we have the last of my pre-monthly pages: My Currently Happening Tracker.  I got this awesome printable from My Blue Sky Design on Etsy.  I love tracking what I’m doing each month.  Sometimes my boxes have more than one thing, sometimes they are blank.  Just depends on the month.51155586_484628698732332_930165310722408448_n

Following my weeklies and dailies I have my wins and losses page.  It just helps me stay focused on what’s happened during the month, good and bad.  It keeps me in the moment I suppose.

So there you have it.  My first Bujo post.  It wasn’t great but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever written either.  Stay tuned for more Bujo fun as I attempt to keep this blog alive whether it likes it or not.

 

Book Review: Silent Witness

Silent Witnesses: The Often Gruesome But Always Fascinating History of Forensic ScienceSilent Witnesses: The Often Gruesome But Always Fascinating History of Forensic Science by Nigel McCrery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a thing for true crime and a passion for history and Nigel McCrery delivered on both fronts with his book Silent Witnesses. McCrery’s book takes an interesting look at the history of forensic science in crime scene investigation. It’s a nasty business but the book outlines just how far the science has come throughout the past century.

Each chapter covers a different part of forensic science and traces the path of discovery throughout the ages. Starting with identity and ending with the study of DNA, McCrery discusses what detectives relied on before the advances and the major cases leading to the discover and use of certain techniques. The paperback version also includes some fantastic color photos to accompany each of the chapters explaining the techniques and cases highlighted.

This one is not for the faint of heart. It’s gory and intense. McCrery discusses some very nasty and cold-hearted murder cases that might upset some readers. For those interested in true crime and scientific history, this one is for you!

Book Review: The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins

The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins: The Life and Legacy That Shaped an American CityThe Ghosts of Johns Hopkins: The Life and Legacy That Shaped an American City by Antero Pietila

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this book. As a current Johns Hopkins graduate student, I spent two weeks in 2018 traveling around Baltimore getting to know its history and its people. I learned so much as a student and I was thrilled to grab an advanced copy of this book in hopes of learning a bit more about the city and the history of the university that calls Baltimore home. Alas, it was not to be.

It’s difficult to write a book about a man who destroyed all of his papers and correspondence. I get that. However, Antero Pietila tries to cover a Johns Hopkins the man, Johns Hopkins the University, and Johns Hopkins as the city of Baltimore. It’s just too great a swath of time and place to discuss well. Rather than a succinct history of a person, place, or time, Pietila has left us with a rambling narrative that only briefly touches on Johns Hopkins the man but also highlights struggles in funding a university, Civil War strife, grave robbing, building various railroads, race riots, mobs, and more. It’s incredibly difficult to follow as time jumps from the 1700s to the 1920s to the 1850s and back again. I often wasn’t sure who was being profiled or what century I was even in anymore.

While there are some really interesting bits of information (the part on Arabbers and the history of rent-to-own homes were fascinating) the book is just so difficult to follow and tedious to read that I quickly lost interest. For those who have an intimate knowledge of Baltimore, very little in the book will be a revelation. Most importantly, this book isn’t really about Johns Hopkins at all but an overarching view of the history of the university with a greater focus on the city of Baltimore.

It’s not often that I don’t finish a book, particularly an advanced copy, but this one is going to sit on the “to finish” shelf for a bit longer.