Thursday, January 24, 2008

Writer's Strike

The Writer's Guild of America is on strike. The Writers Guild of America East [WGAE] and WGAW who represent film, television, and radio writers are fighting for all writers and putting themselves on the line for copyright infringement, more money, and intellectual property rights. I wish I could join the writers on the picket line to show support. They deserve everything they are asking. They are the ones that write the words that make people laugh and cry. They inspire and encourage. They write the original scripts and stories that everyone profits from. They deserve to profit.

Not too long ago I read that Publisher's Weekly listed the average freelance nonfiction writer as earning 4,000 bucks a year and the average novelist earning a whopping 9,000 bucks a year. You can make more on minimum wage than you can as a writer in most cases.

Boston Legal

My TiVo is clogged. I'm trying to watch some of the shows that I've been saving. Some of the television shows that I enjoy watching, I like to watch slowly to savor since I don't want them to end.

Boston Legal is one of my favorite shows. I just finished one episode, "No Brains Left Behind" 2007. I love the statistics sprinkled by James Spader playing Alan Shore the litigator with heart who constantly skates the edge of being held in comtempt of court.

Here are some alarming facts of the consequences of the Iraq War and how the money spent could have been spent to better use: 450 billion was spent on the Iraq War, 650 billion counting the invasion of Afghanistan, 2 trillion if you add all the indirect costs of war. This would have paid for free health insurance for every uninsured family--124 billion. It could have converted every single car to run on ethenol--68 billion. It could have given a primary education for every child on the planet--30 billion. It could have ended hunger in America--a mere 7 billion.

In this show two studies of National Geographic were revealed to determine the literacy of young Americans. They found that half couldn't locate NY on a US map. Even after Katrina, 1/3 couldn't find Louisiana. 29% couldn't find the Pacific Ocean, 58% didn't know where Japan is, 69% couldn't find England. Out of all the other countries tested, the U.S. came in 2nd to last, ahead of Mexico.

No Child Left Behind is tackled in this show: less than 40% of high school seniors can read proficiently. Mississippi on a national test showed that only 18% of the kids could read proficiently so they made a special Mississippi test so that 89% could read proficiently. I think this is done more often than people know. No one wants to tackle the hard challenges. Our mantra becomes cover up, change the figures, and claim victory. Is that what we really want in this country? We only suffer the consequences and mop up the mess later.

Who was the shining example in education? Marva Collins from Chicago who headed all her students, that no one wanted on the South side of Chicago, straight to college. Every child can win [as long as they are not brain damaged]. Every child deserves a chance. Every child deserves to have a future and have someone advocate for them to have a place to shine. Our kids are much smarter than we think. A baby in the first six months of life is capable of great learning and it is rare to see anyone teaching babies. How sad that we ignore this time when children are a sponge for all knowledge.


My son, Benjamin Haber flew to Singapore for work on the 8th of January and returned on the 14th. He spoke at a medical convention for one hour representing Zymo Genetics.

I'm so proud of my son and all he has accomplished. He has worked hard for everything he has achieved. He's brilliant and amazing plus he's fun to be around.

Ben, keep your Canasta fingers limber for our next game................Get ready to lose.

Health Care

I've been having chest pains the last couple of weeks and now I have symptoms of an active bleeding ulcer.

What does one do when you don't have health care, savings to pay for a doctor, or know which doctor go to, if you do have the resources?

My husband, Leslie has been calling about his medical bills coming in the mail questioning bills from doctors he didn't see and asking for an itemized bill. One person said, "welcome to the horrors of our modern health care system."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Days of the Week

I wrote a poem this morning that I'll share with you.
It's called DAYS OF THE WEEK.

Cheat your fellowman on Monday,
Ignore the homeless on Tuesday,
Lie to your children on Wednesday,
Judge your neighbor on Thursday,
Fight with your wife on Friday,
Kick the dog on Saturday, and
Pretend to be a Saint on Sunday.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Jewelry Television

A couple of weeks ago I walked into a jewelry store and looked at the selection of colored gemstones. When I told the salesperson that I enjoy watching Jewelry Television, she said that one of her customers who used to buy from JTV, now buys exclusively from her. I wondered why to myself because I wasn't impressed with the quality of the selection and I didn't see a lot of choices.

I've been impressed with the few low-end priced gemstones we have purchased from JTV. I can't imagine finding a better buy for better quality than buying from JTV. I love watching the gemstone shows because of the information I learn about gems. I can't afford to buy what I want right now but someday I will. I know that JTV offers the BEST prices because it has the quantity to give you the bargains. Right now they are selling champagne diamonds. I never knew about the colored diamonds, like yellow and red.

I purchased a three carat yellow labradorite for under $20 to save. It's gorgeous. When I can afford to put it in a setting, I will have a ring that will make me feel beautiful. What does it matter if I didn't pay a lot, if it is beautiful to me and makes me feel happy? I know it is an amazing investment because the yellow labradorites are at bargain prices right now.

Gemstones are an investment that is possible for anyone. You can hold them in your hand and some are as rare and valuable as the highest end real estate.

Take a look at the website at and do a search for gemstones. Watch the gemstones show when you get a chance. You will learn more about gemstones as you sit on the sofa than you have ever learned before.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I've been wanting to send in a contribution to Starbucks for a long time to be considered for their quotes on the coffee cups. I went online yesterday and discovered that they no longer ask for contributions from writers.

This is what I wanted to send in so I will include it in my blog:

The way I see it...the job of a parent is to teach your children to become independent, contributing adults within the safety of the family
  • by providing enriching experiences,
  • by being an advocate so your children get the education they need to reach their potential,
  • by being consistent in establishing boundaries,
  • by giving the greatest gift of time,
  • by teaching logic and decision-making skills so your children learn to make responsible choices,
  • by reading to your children and showing them an example of a reading adult,
  • by stressing self-improvement and learning in your home, and
  • by being an example of the character, values, and work ethic you feel is important.

If you want a great cup of coffee, go to Starbucks! Starbucks is more than coffee. It is a corporation you can feel proud to support. It gives health insurance to part-time employees and cares about people.

Willamette Writers

I drove into Salem on Thursday night for the first official meeting of the Salem Chapter of Willamette Writers, the largest writing organization in Oregon. I've been on the mailing list out of Portland and received news of this meeting. I have been a member in the past and have attended meetings once in awhile in Eugene and Newport.

I'm so glad I went. It was glorious to walk into a large room crowded and buzzing with writers. I knew that everyone would be fun to talk to and that everyone had a great story. I knew that I had something in common with everyone there. I knew that everyone loved words and creating stories. I felt comforted being in their midst.

The speakers were two agents from Baker's Mark Literary Agency in Portland--Bernadette Baker-Baughman and Gretchen Stelter. I was grateful to be in the audience. I was impressed and inspired to listen to them. They are what every writer hopes an agent will be. I spoke briefly with Bernadette Baker-Baughman and wanted to talk to Gretchen Stelter but so many people were crowded around her. They are young and brilliant, like my own children, with great drive and ambition to work hard to promote writers. I'm glad I was there.

I need an agent. I need someone to care about my writing and about me. I need someone to give me a kick in the ___ once in awhile to keep me on track. But maybe that isn't the job of an agent. Maybe I just have to care about myself and keep myself on track. It's hard to be a writer and go it alone sometimes, especially when there are so many choices in the world of other ways to spend your time and when life throws you curve balls. I love writing. In my opinion, writing could never be boring, for the possibilities are endless. There is no greater power than to create an original story or write down your own thoughts. Words in books have changed the world and have inspired for centuries.

A screenwriter will speak at the next meeting of Willamette Writers in Salem and I'm excited to attend. The meetings for the Salem Chapter of Willamette Writers meets in West Salem at Roths on the second floor--the grocery store with the bakery that makes the best chocolate frosted donut in the entire world! or

Why are all Willamette Writer meetings on Thursday night though? If I wanted to attend a meeting in Eugene, I would have to make a choice.

Breast Cancer

I received a phone call about a half hour ago from a woman asking me to donate to breast cancer. I interrupted and said, "Let me tell you my story." I went on to say that I am a breast cancer survivor since 1993 and that I am without health insurance or money in the bank. She quickly got off the phone. I think I made her feel uncomfortable.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 6-1-93 at the Marion County Health Department in Salem, Oregon and a 1 1/2 inch lump was removed by a great surgeon who works with the Health Department, Dr. Van Rozlen. About two or three years prior, I had asked my primary care physician to check a lump in my breast. He said, "don't worry about it. It's probably a cyst." So I didn't worry about it. I was very trusting back in those days and put doctors on a high pedestal.

My surgeon was able to remove all the cancer since the lump was incapsulated so I didn't have radiation or chemotherapy. You can't really tell that I had the surgery since I'm pretty fluffy right now.

The lesson is you must advocate for your own and best health care. You must keep at your doctor to get the care you need and ask the questions to get the answers to your medical questions.

My husband of almost 36 years has been really sick for most of the year in 2007. He was in the hospital at Good Samaritan in Corvallis for 6 days and has been looked at, prodded, poked, cut, blood was drawn, and tissue was analyzed but no one still knows what is wrong or what was wrong to the tune of over $50,000 and climbing. We received bills from doctors who hadn't even checked my husband.

I haven't been checked by a doctor in years. I'm beginning to think that it's best, cheaper, and safer to stay away. I think the answer is healthy food, vitamins, and exercise.

We have a health care crisis in our country. I am one of those without medical insurance. It makes me feel like I don't matter and that no one cares. In my opinion, I believe it goes back to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs--if your basic needs aren't met, how can you be expected to perform at your best?

If someone's support system was pulled out from under him, losing his job with family and friends turning away so he ended up homeless on the street, how can this person be expected to be at his best? Even if this person has the potential of accomplishing great goals, EVERYONE needs support, care, encouragement, and help sometimes.

I remember a quote. It was from Aristotle or Confucius. It went something like this..."a life without friends is a life not worth living." I think it's interesting that this is Sunday and many people went to church today feeling good about themselves and how good they are. However, when there are people who are in great need, lonely, and need friendship and support, is the definition of a good person to turn a blind eye to those in need? Many people love to help anonymously without "getting their hands dirty." They don't want any complications to mar their life. They are willing to give a buck or donate something but they don't want to listen or offer real help and support. I don't think people heal without real communication with a real person and a real friend.

Just my two cents...............

Monday, January 07, 2008

Snow in Alsea

We have snow in Alsea this morning. We had a couple of inches yesterday and this morning it looks like there is two inches of new snow. It doesn't look like it is slowing down or there is an end in sight. It sure is beautiful. The outside temperature near the window says 30 degrees.

Pathway Oregon

I was listening to NPR or OPB on the radio the other day and I heard about Pathway Oregon. This program allows any student who can get into the University of Oregon who is a resident of Oregon, and who can't afford it, a free education for four years. I was thrilled about it and happy that we have this program in Oregon.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Greatest Presidential Debate

This was the BEST Presidential debate I have ever watched on television.
Thank you, ABC!
Thank you, New Hampshire!
Thank you, St. Anselm College!

We need more and frequent presidential debates just like this one in each state to keep democracy strong and alive. This is the BEST reality television and one that is the most important to our nation. We need to hear all the candidates. We need the interaction. We need debate. As Obama said, we need to "end the politics of fear." We need more debate in our country with people unafraid to stand up for their opinions to keep our nation strong.

It is debates like this and the caucus in Iowa that keeps the democratic process alive in our country. I still want to know why no one is concerned about protecting the integrity of the voting process and dealing with the tampered voting machines of the last two presidential elections.

This kind of debate allows the American people a look at each candidate without the script and shielding that often occurs among people in the public eye. We saw more truth tonight than in any other debate. This is good and needs to happen more often. Thank you ABC! Please have more of them and have them more often.

I didn't expect to like Huckabee and I liked him best among Republican candidates. My feelings and opinions about Romney were confirmed. I would never consider voting for him. In my opinion, he came in last among Republicans. I liked McCain and his strength. Of course, Guliane was a strong candidate and has a great background to handle the problems in the office of the President. The only Republican that I would consider voting for is Guliane, but I am going to vote Democrat.

I didn't know our country was up to 9 trillion dollars in debt. Bill Richardson mentioned this figure. That could pay for a lot of health care and take care of a lot of problems in our country. Richardson also pointed out that we are 29th in the world in math and science.

Yes, a vote for Hilliary Clinton is a vote for strong women every where in this nation. I have been seriously considering supporting Hilliary after listening to Susie Orman on OPB. Women don't even have equal rights under the U.S. Constitution in 2008. But I keep thinking back to the failure of Hilliary Clinton to bring about change as First Lady when she was given the project to create a health care system for our nation. Not only that, but she didn't partner and work with Al Gore as the Vice President, who could have been a real agent of change to put forward health care reform. Yes, she is a strong woman and has accomplished many political goals to make things better in this country. She is qualified to be President, unlike some of the men for whom it is questionable. I may still vote for Hilliary.

The clear winner to me was former Senator John Edwards from South Carolina. I could have stood up and cheered in my living room as he came alive telling his personal story about fighting for justice and how he will fight for the middle class and all Americans. He was the clear winner, in my opinion. He is strong and he has courage. I want John Edwards as the candidate for the Democratic party. He has a clear message of needed change for this country. America needs him. We all need him to win. He understands the heart of America and what needs to be done. I didn't know this about him until the debate tonight. I'm grateful that I watched the four hour debate on ABC. John Edwards is my candidate of choice out of all the candidates running for the office of President.

As far as the economy, Bloomberg is the one with the greatest background to handle the difficult problems ahead, but I think John Edwards will do just fine. I am confident he will do what it takes to make our nation strong again. I still like Obama but I liked John Edwards the best last night.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I believe there is a need for successful mentors to sponsor talent in art and writing so I'm thinking of starting The Artist and Writer Sponsorship Program. No one moves forward without support, encouragement, and a mentor, or at least it is almost impossible to do so without someone in your corner to offer help. I thought that this would make the process easier for anyone ready to take the next step in achieving greatness in art and writing.

Anyone with documented potential and who is ready to go for it might apply to be matched with someone who has already achieved success and would like to mentor someone. We often hear of the starving artist and writer in this country because artists and writers who exhibit talent are not subsidized. I believe that should change. I believe there should be a support system and help for anyone who has talent in art and writing. [I believe the same is true for athletes, like runners but I've decided not to mix the categories at this time.]

The writer categories might be screenplays, plays, creative nonfiction, novel writing, short stories, etc. The artist categories might be sculpture, glass blowing, oils, watercolor, etc.

This is how the program might work at its best. A mystery novel writer or screenwriter who has achieved success and who is willing to mentor a writer might offer a stipend for living expenses for a period of time from 1 month to 6 months.

I've decided to test the waters for this idea and ask for comments and opinions.
Please write to me at:
Wendy Haber
PO Box 288
Alsea, Oregon 97324-0288

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Great Harvest Bread Company

I love anything at Great Harvest Bread Company. It is one of my favorite stores. They have healthy, delicious breads in plenty of choices, great muffins, and goodies of all sorts. I tried this morning a new product--pancake mix. It was a gift from Jessica, one of Daniel's best friends. The pancakes are delicious! It is made with fresh ground wheat, rolled oats, non-fat dry milk, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. It couldn't be tastier and it's a healthy choice for breakfast.

The one thing that I like best about Great Harvest Bread Company is how kind they are to people who are hungry by giving them a slice of bread. They offer bread to anyone walking in the door. I really love to try their different breads. I've shopped in the Salem store, the one in Corvallis, and the one in Ballard, the Scandinavian section of Seattle.

For the BEST bread, the healthiest bread, shop Great Harvest Bread Company. It is the better choice, the healthier choice for bread.