Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Mom's Birthday

Today is my Mother's birthday. She's no longer living. She's buried with my father at Willamette National Cemetary in Portland. I couldn't afford to drive up and take flowers this year. Her name is Irene Marie Ponikver Appelgren. She kept a clean house and was great on the piano. She was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana and went to a conservatory of music in Great Falls. She taught piano lessons in our home and could play almost anything. Her favorite music to play were the American standards from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. I love this music too.

I grew up as an only child. In the great effort to keep a clean house, my mother liked it best when I just stayed in my room and didn't mess everything up so I read or sewed or knitted. My parents and I went to church every Sunday to the Lutheran Church until the time when I was in college and my father stopped attending because he couldn't hear. After I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and saw the hatred that Martin Luther had for Jews, I haven't felt like I could be a Lutheran again.

My Mom used to tell me "love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe." She also told me that God was always watching me and could hear my every thought so I never worried about other people watching me in life. I always figured that since God saw everything and if I was very good that I would be protected. I figured God had it covered. I figured that God would intervene and help me. Now I'm beginning to question all this. I can't say I've never made mistakes in life. No one can say that but I've always tried very hard to be good. I've tried to be nice and kind to people no matter how I've been treated. I've tried to do what I felt was right and stand up for things that I believe in. My experience with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints soured me a bit on a lot of things. That ended in 2001 for me. I saw that people who go to church don't always live up to their beliefs, can be mean to others, and can betray without flinching. I've already talked about this in my blog so I won't go into it now. Remember my 3 minute screenplay that I included in my blog? Well, most of them were Mormons who represented Nemesis.

I see today people who go to church who have no problems with the idea of war and killing people. What's up with that? How can you go to church and then have such hatred in your heart for another group of people and want to kill them? How can people who go to church belong to hate groups like the KKK? How can people who go to church look down on anyone when they come out on church on Sunday and act as if they are better? How can people who go to church break the law during the week and commit crimes against others and not feel anything?

The last church I was attending was an Episcopal Church. I never really fit in though. The choir director didn't want me in choir. I asked one lady leader to visit me and call. She said, "I'll take that under advisement" with a mocking look.

I'm not sure there is a God out there anymore. There are homeless without shelter, children who are hungry, and millions without health care. Crimes go unpunished. Life isn't fair. Sometimes there is no justice. It is rare to find someone who is kind and nice, rather than the rule. I'm not sure what I think anymore. Church membership doesn't represent an example of the highest standard of behavior. I'm not interested in organized religion anymore.

I will do what I feel is right, act in a manner I feel represents my values, and be the best person I can be. I will try to act as a good example for my children and grandchildren. I will show respect to others, listen, be nice, and work hard at what is important to me. I will do the best I can every day. That's all I can do and when it's over, it's over.

Rock Bottom Remainders

The first book on writing I ever remember reading was ON WRITING by Stephen King. It was a Christmas gift from my daughter, Gretchen and her husband Chris Bennett in 2000. The written inscription in the book went like this...."Your creativity endures through the years. It's no surprise you continue to enjoy writing. I'm looking forward to having you autograph your first book for me! Love, Gretchen and Chris." Well, my first published book hasn't happened yet.

This is the first time I learned about the Rock Bottom Remainders. In the first forward, Stephen King wrote that..."the group was intended to be a one-shot deal--we would play two shows at the American Booksellers Convention, get a few laughs, recapture our misspent youth for three or four hours, then go our separate ways. It didn't happen that way because the group never quite broke up. We found that we liked playing together too much to quit, and with a couple of 'ringer' musicians on sax and drums..., we sounded pretty good." So you can get the idea that the Rock Bottom Remainders is a band and it's composed of my favorites--Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mitch Album, and Barbara Kingsolver plus others.

I just checked out three Barbara Kingsolver novels from the library. When I scanned a couple of her books, I realized that I need to study her books and linger over her words. I just found an article in MOTHER EARTH NEWS by Barbara Kingsolver on cheese making. It made me want to learn how to make cheese. It was such a well-written article that talked about making cheese on so many different levels, especially a human level and how it helps to bond family together.

The Rock Bottom Remainders have been on my mind this month. First I read DUMA KEY by Stephen King. Then I found the article by Amy Tan in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Then I found the article by Barbara Kingsolver in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. So I also thought of Dave Barry in Florida and Mitch Album. I woke up thinking the other night that heaven must be playing with the Rock Bottom Remainders and sitting around with all these great writers as one of them who has earned the right to be there sipping tea and talking about writing in a beautiful lush garden or on the beach.

Sometimes I get sick of doing everything by myself and being alone. The only friend I have is Les, my husband and he doesn't like to do things. He loves to shop and then stay home to cut brush or watch FOX News. We play Canasta every day so that's our fun but I dream of the glorious time it must be to sit down to talk about ideas and writing with real friends. The people that I love spending time with are my children, especially Daniel and Benjamin, but they're grown and busy with their own lives. I can't expect my children to always be my best friend. It's not fair to them.

A real friend to me knows how to communicate, loves to discuss ideas, watches your back, and tells you the truth. They don't try to manipulate or play games. They don't expect you to read their mind. A real friend likes you the way you are unconditionally. They laugh and are fun. They want to see you at your best and encourage you to be your best. I don't have any friends like that in my life. Maybe only in heaven...................

Duma Key

A few days ago I finished reading DUMA KEY by Stephen King. I didn't want it to end so I dragged it out. I lingered. It was a great book. Stephen King is a master storyteller and is able to twist your emotions this way and that, and open up characters to be seen from the inside out. He's been named as one of the best writers of this century. If I remember correctly, Writer's Digest named him the most important writer of this century. He's won all kinds of awards and with good reason. He's a great writer. He can do anything with words.

I wish I could live in a beach house and just write and create when I want. Get up when I want to create, sip ice tea, and then walk along the beach. Only I don't need the shells under the house screeching or Perse waiting in the water or the march of the dead people you have to fight off with silver pointed harpoons.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Job Search

I'm searching for a full time job. Right now I work part time in the afternoon as an office manager for Beaver Creek Software in Corvallis. I've worked there for about 6 months and I've enjoyed talking to customers all over the United States who use our software. However, with the recent escalation in gas prices, half my paycheck goes into the gas tank so I need to find something that is full time, that pays more or find a way to make money staying at home. My husband says I have to work. I don't have a choice right now plus I want to earn enough money so I can pay for the sleep apnia machine he needs.

Sleep Apnia

My husband has severe sleep apnia. He was tested in May by OHSU. They found out that he wakes up an average of 80 times an hour, which means that he never reaches REM or has restful sleep. They believe this condition has existed for years, possibly since birth. His body has found a way to adapt to very little sleep.

I've been studying YOU STAYING YOUNG: THE OWNERS MANUAL FOR EXTENDING YOUR WARRANTY by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. This is a great book for everyone, especially babyboomers. On page 187, they say, "Sleep problems and sleep deprivation are self-imposed torture. And the stakes are high: a weakened immune system, increased risk of heart disease, and a brain that works about as fast as a Commodore 64 computer."

The doctor from OHSU showed my husband a range of risk factors of sleep apnia. My husband's case was off the charts. He had never seen anyone like him with such a severe case of sleep apnia. He is shocked that my husband can function at all and has lasted this long.

We don't have medical insurance. The people at OHSU have been trying to locate a machine for my husband with no success so far.

I've become so increasingly aware of how little medical science still doesn't know about the brain or human body. My husband was told in the late 70's that he had alzheimers based on an MRI and in the mid-80's he passed the MENSA test with a score in the 99th percentile, which means he has a genius IQ. He's still the smartest man I know. The body adapts. The brain adapts.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Willamette Writers

I enjoyed reading the June, 2008 issue of the Willamette Writer. Cynthia Whitcomb is the President of Willamette Writers and I loved her article on page two of this issue, "The Elasticity of Fame." Her piece was the best in the newsletter, in my opinion. It was funny. I had the opportunity to listen to Cynthia Whitcomb speak at a monthly meeting in Eugene for Willamette Writers about three years ago. She frequently holds workshops all over the country when she's not busy working on a screenplay. She was electric, animated, and resonated with energy as she shared pearls of wisdom about being a writer.

I hope someday that I can scrap together the bucks to go to one of her screenwriting workshops and that I can go to the yearly Willamette Conference. Every year, I want to go and there are always higher priority needs for our money. Now with gas prices at an all time high, Portland is too far away. Maybe ship will come in.

If you want to hear about the great conference coming up go to Every year it sounds like it gets better and better from the conference brochure. You can e-mail about joining and receiving the newsletter.

National Geographic

National Geographic is one of my favorite magazines to read. I love to read it from cover to cover. The May, 2008 isssue is all about China. My favorite article is "Village on the Edge of Time," by Amy Tan, one of my favorite writers. She made the culture and environment of the Dong people come alive in a way that few freelance writers can do. It was a treat reading her article.

One of my favorite books that I have ever read is the Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. If you haven't ever read it, check it out from your library or buy a copy. You'll enjoy reading it over and over.

American Gold Finch

We have quite a show outside our dining room window. We have a black thistle feeder hanging in the window. We fill it one day and the next day, it's empty. We have so many beautiful yellow American Gold Finches right in our window. It's fun to see them up close and it's worth the price of the black thistle seed. In previous years, we've had as many as three black thistle feeders up at once. We need to buy more feeders so we can do this again.

If you want entertainment at your dining room table, put up several black thistle feeders and several hummingbird feeders under the eaves right in front of your window. It's worth it and it's fun for the whole family.

Stark Brothers Nursery

At the first of May, we ordered four trees from Stark Bro's catalog. We called up and ordered 2 Flamin' Fury Jumbo Peach trees and 2 cherry trees. They came in great condition. We have bought from them before and we are always happy with the plants we receive. We planted them right after we received them and they are already growing leaves and are healthy. Order one of their great catalogs at or call 1-800-325-4180.

Garland Nursery

My husband, Leslie purchased several beautiful trees from Garland Nursery in Albany, Oregon. They are growing great. He bought cherry, plum, and pear trees. He also bought table grapes, blue berry bushes, raspberries, Marion berries, and loganberries. We planted them right after we bought them and we look forward to next year. If you want a great selection of flowers, perennials, shrubs, trees, and any other need for your garden or yard, stop by Garland Nursery at 5470 NE Highway 20 or call 541-753-6601. Check out their website at

Thyme Garden

Yesterday, my husband, Leslie, went out to buy some sweet basil plants for me at the Thyme Garden here in Alsea. He brought back gorgeous healthy plants. He took my wish list of Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet, Sweet Basil and Lemon Basil and brought back all three for me. They are all planted and I'm excited to see the results. I needed the Sweet Basil for the roasted tomato sauce that I freeze and I needed the Purple Majesty Ornamental Millet because I've never had it, I'm curious, and I want it for the birds.

If you want a great garden catalog for $2.00 that is worth every penny, write or visit The Tyme Garden, 20546 Alsea Highway, Alsea, Oregon 97324 or call 541-487-8671 or e-mail

Take a look at their website at

Straw Bale Gardening

Yesterday, I spent time outside planting tomato plants in straw bales. I have 5 straw bales so far and I hope to get more next month. I've never tried this before. I still haven't read Rose Marie Nichols McGee's book on straw bale gardening so I decided to experiment. I read an article in the Corvallis Gazette Times about it. If this works out, I think this is going to be a permanent part of my gardening. I have the room and it's perfect to have the extra straw at the end of the season to put on my garden beds for extra mulch.

If you want to buy Rose Marie's book or get one of her garden catalogs go to Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 NE Old Salem Road, Albany, Oregon or call 541-928-9280. I remember meeting Rose Marie at a garden club convention in the Portland area. She's also a master gardener. She's really nice and a great speaker.

To order the herbs and rare seeds catalog, go to

To read an article about straw bale culture, go to I can see after printing out this article and before I even read it that I planted in the wrong side of the straw bale.

Car Auction

I turned on Direct TV to find an upscale car auction for the very rich. Channel 76 HDTH. I've never seen a car auction before but this looks like the ultimate car auction for anyone with a lot of money looking for the perfect car. This is a whole different world from the one I live in. As a writer, it's perfect to be able to peek into a world that I would normally not have contact. With additional research and the pictures in my mind of the shiny cars rolling out on the red carpet, a scene like this could find its way into one of my books.

Here are some examples of what is being sold: 1964 Ford Mustang Indy Pace Car Lot #S134 labled as the ultimate collectible Mustang with the bid at $300,000 and it continues. 1964 Shelby Cobra Roadster Lot #S137 with a bid at $560,000 and it continues. 1934 Chevrolet Cabriolet 2 door Lot #S138 sold for $46,000.

If you have plenty of money and love cars, take a look at

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oregon Primary

The Oregon primary election is over and Obama won by a strong margin. Hurray!

I voted for Steve Novick for the U.S. Senate. As an environmental attorney from Harvard, I believed he was the best candidate to fight for Oregon. Jeff Merkley won the democratic nomination to run against Senator Gordon Smith in the general election. Jeff Merkley was the candidate chosen by Oregon voters so he needs to win. We need change to start protecting Oregon.

A couple of years ago, I was invited to sit in the auditorium at Newport to hear Senator Gordon Smith. I heard him tell this fishing community on the Oregon coast that he would protect fishing and the commercial fishing industry. Now there are no fish and the fishing industry is drowning. There is a dead zone off the coast of Newport. All commercial salmon fishing has been shut down.

It's interesting that Senator Smith's commercials run on television as if he is not the incumbent and says that he is the candidate for change. I have to laugh. How easy it is to spin the facts. Oregon is known as having a smart voting electorate so I certainly hope that Oregon votes to change the person for U.S. Senator.


Subway has made a value menu of several footlong subs for only $5. Such a deal! Right after this change, I overheard some grumbling that some customers are complaining that THEIR sub isn't $5. To that I say, Subway didn't have to keep several popular footlong subs at a $5 price. All the subs could have gone back to regular price. This is great for consumers and everyone who loves Subway. Be grateful and once in awhile say thank you to the great person behind the counter who is building your sub.

Subway is healthy eating. You can count on fresh ingredients and a sub made the way you want it.

Protecting Children

On the front page of the Corvallis Gazette Times this morning are the headlines, "Texas seizure of polygamist-sect kids thrown out." It's sad that children and women continue to find no legal protection against abuse. This is in the great state of Texas, the home of President George Bush. It's also interesting that under President George Bush that women continue to lack protection under the law. In 2008, there is still no constitutional amendment saying that women have equal rights.

Obama has the inner strength and character to go the distance. A brilliant man who has ignited the spirits of so many young people and voters all across this country, Obama will protect this country and all its people.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

American Dream Pizza

Yesterday I went chasing after a dream at American Dream Pizza on 214 SW 2nd St in Corvallis and chickened out. When I was in the drive-through at Citizen's Bank in downtown Corvallis, I looked in my rearview mirror to see this shiny black new stretch limousine drive past. It was a mini-hummer, brand new. It was the kind of stretch limousine that the richest people ride in. Somebody really important was in Corvallis. I thought it had to be Obama or one of the Clintons so I made the decision to see where it would go.

I'll tell you about my adventure or mis-adventure as it turned out. In my quest to be a pretend investigative reporter, first I had to go to the post office for work. Then I parked my car near Subway and started walking to Old World Deli. I went in and I didn't see any evidence of a Clinton or Obama there so I asked questions. I asked about other choices to eat in the neighborhood--maybe pizza. He mentioned New Morning Bakery and then American Dream Pizza. I told him what I saw. He said, "All the political types go to American Dream Pizza." I thought it must be great pizza. I asked where American Dream Pizza was and I walked briskly towards it. It's right next door to the Citizen's Bank parking lot. I went in the door and scanned the room. I didn't see anyone who looked like the Clinton's or Obama. I didn't see secret service standing guard at attention.

I started to feel awkward so I decided to leave. Maybe I was wrong. I didn't have extra money to buy a small pizza. I started to feel foolish. The "who do I think I am" script started to play in my head so I started out the door to see a man and woman. The man said, "You're right." Now what does that mean? I don't like it when people talk in code. How would he know what I was thinking or that I was trying to follow a dream? Do I have neon words flashing on my forehead? Could he read my mind? I dismissed all of this as absurd and continued out the door.

I was close. Maybe someone really was there. I walked to my car in 99 degree heat, turned on the air conditioner and went home. Later I tivoed two Eugene news broadcasts. It could have been Hillary on her way to Portland or Obama on his way down to Roseberg. Who knows? I may never know, but it was fun to try.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Since I visited Waldo Middle School on Saturday, I've been thinking a lot about Salem. In my 7th grade year, I went to Leslie Junior High in South Salem. In the middle of the year, my parents bought a new house in Keizer, Lot 1, Block 1 Palma Cea Villa on Delight Street. After we moved in, I rode the bus every day to Waldo Junior High.

When I went to high school, North Salem High School was soooooo big and crowded that half of the kids went early in the morning and the other half stayed for a second session until evening. In my senior year, McNary High School opened and I was part of the first graduating class in 1966.

During my last two years of high school, I worked half time at W.T. Grant Company on Liberty Street. I was department manager of three departments. My favorite was ordering for the candy department. Candy was kept in stainless steel bins. I measured out the candy, weighed it, and put it in white sacks for customers. What fun! This was my first job at $1.19 an hour.

Gas Prices

The last time I filled up my gas tank in my Toyota, it was $36. No one is talking about an end to the march of the higher and higher prices.

One of the things that really troubled me about what President Bill Clinton said when I heard him in Corvallis on Monday at Lincoln Elementary School was his comment about gas prices. He said that Hillary would make sure that a new hybrid car that gets 100 miles to the gallon manufactured in Massachusetts would be manufactured on mass scale. He said that with a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon, it doesn't matter how high the price goes.

There are people right now who are having problems dealing with high gas prices. These people aren't going to be able to buy a new car that gets 100 miles to the gallon, if they are already having trouble paying for gas.

The cities in this country haven't been set up to be self-sufficient and not rely on transportation to get you from home to work and to shopping. Neighborhoods need to be created that are walking distance to a grocery store, restaurants, shopping, work, a library, a gym, schools, and recreation. Each neighborhood hub needs to have all the components necessary for survival without the need of a car.

Is the office of the President of the United States, both Houses of Congress, powerful attorneys, and great leaders in the country really going to allow gas prices to continue to rise without doing something about it? If this is going to continue, maybe we need a Wal-Mart in every neighborhood and in every small town.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

President Clinton

President Bill Clinton came to Corvallis yesterday to speak to a crowd at Lincoln Elementary School. I decided to go. I was in a large line wrapped around the school and didn't get to go into the auditorium. I was in a crowd of people closely packed together in the parking lot. I actually got a pretty good view and wasn't too far away. President Clinton stood on the bed of a pickup truck and at the end, I got to shake his hand as I reached over a couple of people. He spoke for close to an hour and a half.

It was nice of him to shake hands with everyone and speak to people afterwards. It meant so much to everyone. I think there were a lot of Obama supporters in the crowd. Everyone was pretty quiet for a political crowd and didn't react much one way or the other.

I proudly voted for Obama and I believe he is the best person to be President of the United States who is running.

I went to hear President Clinton because he was the President. How many chances in your life do you get to hear a President or see a President up close. I got to shake the hand of a President whose hand has shaken the hands of the leaders of the world, members of the U.S. Supreme Court, Senators, members of Congress, and people who have accomplished great goals to help our nation.

I'm struck by how superficial the election process is and how easy it is to spin the facts. It would sure help people who don't keep up with politics to have handouts of voting records, and statements with charts on voting positions and comparison guides. People get caught up in emotion and this isn't how we should be electing someone for the highest office in our nation.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

My son, Daniel Haber, who lives in Columbus, Ohio sent me a Mother's Day card that I received in the mail yesterday. Daniel works for Battelle in Columbus and is working on his MBA at Ohio State University. I love Daniel very much and am so proud of him. His card was a Hallmark. It said, "Everyone knows that 'mother' is another word for love, but to me, 'mother' means even more--it means support and encouragement, patience and wisdom, holding close until just the right time to let go. The older I grow, the more I've come to understand how lucky I've been to have you as a mother and how grateful I'll always be for all the ways you shared your love with me." Happy Mother's Day.

Then Daniel wrote, "Mom, these statements are very true, but don't even begin to describe how important you've been as I've grown the different stages in life. I love you and miss you. As your Mother's Day gift, I want to give you what you've always asked for...time. I'm going to book you a flight to visit, preferrably as finals wrap up at the beginning of June. Call me and I'll schedule it. Happy Mother's Day. Love, Daniel"

How does it get better than this? I'm very blessed. I'll be excited to see Daniel and visit him in Columbus. I'm so proud of him and all he has accomplished. Daniel is the perfect son and I'm lucky to be his mother. I only wish that there were more people in the world like Daniel because the world and my world would be a much better place to live.

Stem Cell Research

I was talking to my son, Benjamin on the phone today for Mother's Day. We started to talk about stem cell research. He works for Zymo Genetics in Seattle. He told me about the new stem cell patch made from the stem cells from pigs that was able to regenerate a brand new finger with a nail that matched the other fingers on a hand of a man who had a finger cut off. I was amazed that it actually matched the other fingers on the hand. The potential for this research is that anyone who loses an arm or leg can regrow the limb with this kind of stem cell covering.

There could be help for anyone needing a heart transplant or any organ transplant with stem cell research and development.

Why is stem research banned when it could help so many people?

Jack Bennett

Jack is my five year old grandson. I got to watch him play T-ball yesterday in West Salem. I got lots of great pictures and had a great time. Jack was concerned about his game and didn't feel good because of allergies. I told him to go out there and just have fun with his friends. He did and he was great. He was alert, listened, was a team-player, knew the rules, and played several positions on the team plus hit the ball. Jack can be whatever he wants to be in life, if he works hard and wants it bad enough. I'm proud to be his Grandma.

Lizzy Bennett

I had fun with Lizzy yesterday. She's my beautiful 3 1/2 year old granddaughter. I brought her a 25 piece puzzle and she quickly put it together. She's smart, full of fun, and loves puzzles. I don't think there is anything that Lizzy Parker Bennett can't accomplish in life, if she works hard and never gives up. She sure has a great smile and makes her Grandma very happy.

The Day before Mother's Day

I drove to West Salem to spend time with my daughter, Gretchen and my grandchildren, Jack and Lizzy.

Since Gretchen and I both went to Waldo Middle School, we attended the open house for the 50th anniversary. Then we went on to Olive Garden to eat lunch.

Olive Garden is one of my favorite places to eat. I don't live near an Olive Garden so I enjoyed eating at Olive Garden with my daughter, Gretchen, and granddaughter, Lizzy. It was a girl's day out.

I spent a lovely day yesterday with my wonderful daughter, Gretchen, my son-in-law, Chris, and my two grandchildren, Lizzy and Jack. Gretchen is the Executive Director of Liberty House in Salem.

After a Little League game in West Salem and my first T-ball game to see my grandson, Jack hit the ball, play the position of pitcher, and run the bases, we went back to their beautiful house for pizza and a nice evening visiting with family. Thank you for a lovely Mother's Day. It couldn't have been nicer. A gardening basket for Mother's Day and a nice card with hugs and love from Gretchen, Jack, and Lizzy.

Chris is a Senior Mortgage Planner at Today's Mortgage Group at 471 Lancaster Drive NE, in Salem. He has a website at for all your mortgage loan needs so e-mail Chris at or call 503-585-1152 at the office.

Waldo Middle School

Waldo Middle School in Salem, Oregon celebrated its 50 year anniversary on Saturday, May 10. Both my daughter, Gretchen and I went to Waldo so we visited the open house. It was fun to visit my old school. I was there for my 8th grade year from 1961 to 1962 and my 9th grade year from 1962 to 1963. I finally found the annual with my picture and they made a copy for me. It was fun to walk the halls with Gretchen, peek in the classrooms, and remember what it was like when we were students at Waldo.

I listened to a talented string quartet and girls choir. Gretchen bought me a Waldo Middle School T-shirt which I will be proud to wear.

It concerns me that there was a window broken that was boarded up and that the courtyard needs tending. It's obvious that Waldo Middle School doesn't receive the same money from Salem Keizer Public Schools District that the more affluent neighborhood schools do. The neighborhood that feeds into Waldo Middle School is multi-cultural and doesn't have the resources or money that is needed. Probably many families need to work two jobs. This school, in my opinion, should be open from early in the morning until at least 9 p.m. with afterschool activities and classes. After school they could work on a newspaper, drama, music, art, gardening, and all sorts of fun projects. This school needs these types of preventative programs in place so all these kids have a chance to develop their potential.

Please send donations to Waldo Middle School, 2805 Lansing Avenue NE, Salem, Oregon 97303.

I ate some delicious cake that was being served to all who attended. I asked who made the cake. The girl said it was donated by Costco. Thank you, Costco for helping Waldo Middle School.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sharis Berries

Last night when I came home from work, there was a box on the table that was delivered by FedEx. FedEx is the great deliverer of gifts.

What did I find in the box?........STRAWBERRIES, yes, strawberries. Not just any ordinary strawberries, one of my favorite foods and in the essential food group, but gourmet chocolate dipped strawberries! Big, huge and perfect berries decorated and draped in chocolate.

The box came packed with an ice bag on top to keep it cool and the berries perfect. What a nice gift! I opened the card and it said, "Happy Mother's Day!!! You are the best Mom in the world. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for you. Have a wonderful day. Love Ben and Amanda"

Wow! Is this great or what! Ben is my Golden Boy who lives in Seattle, the one who runs, the genius boy who is perfect at everything, and who works at Zymo Genetics on cancer research. He's also the one who graduated from Northwestern University in biomedical engineering. He married the beautiful Amanda Label who makes him happy. Thank you, Ben and Amanda. I love you.

If you want to send perfect chocolate dipped strawberries to make someone happy, call Sharis Berries in Rocklin, CA at 1-877-berries or go to wonder, do I have any left. I have three left. I am savoring each one. I shared one with my husband, Leslie.


On Wednesday, when I got home from work, I found a box of flowers that was delivered by FedEx. It was a gift for Mother's Day from my son, Benjamin and his wife, Amanda who live in Greenlake in Seattle. They are gorgeous tulips of several colors with a beautiful light green vase. They sure make me happy. I love fresh flowers.

The card enclosed said, "Happy Mother's Day!!! You are the best Mom in the world. I wouldn't be the person I am today, if it weren't for you. Have a wonderful day. Love, Ben and Amanda.

What a great son and what a nice daughter-in-law!

If you want to send beautiful flowers to make someone happy, call ProFlowers 1-800-ProFlowers who are located at 5005 Waterridge Vista Drive in San Diego, CA 92121.

Timberhill Athletic Club

So...I've decided that I have to get serious again about exercise. I have to bit the bullet and start behaving. Don't get me wrong...I love to exercise. I have fun going to Timberhill Athletic Club in Corvallis, but when you are trying to be invisible when you're so fat, it's hard to hide the extra poundage in a swim suit unless you wear black, baggy diving gear.

I was actually thinking of giving up my membership but then I I don't have any health insurance, I don't have savings, and my membership to Timberhill is the only thing I have to prevent medical problems so I can be healthy. I can't afford to give it up! It sure is cheaper than health insurance. Even if you do have health insurance, sometimes doctors lop off the wrong part or give medication that is worse than the original symptoms so I think I'll stick to preventative measures of eating healthy and exercise.

I had so much fun yesterday. After work, I decided to try hydrofit again. I love hydrofit in the deep end of the pool. I wasn't sure I was ready for it since I've been sluffing off for the last year and a half, but it worked out great. We went outside in the outdoor pool. I've never been out there in the new pool outside. The water is 87 degrees warm. There are two slides. I've been looking out the window at all this but never ventured outside before to try it. It was so much fun to be outside in the water.

This is what I've done since April 28................
April 28....walked 1/2 hour
April 29...walked for 27 minutes
April 30...1 hour on the elliptical runner at Timberhill
May 1...30 minutes on exercise bike at home
May 2...20 minute swim
May 3, May, nada, nothing
May 5...45 minutes elliptical runner at Timberhill
May, nada, nothing
May 7...30 minutes exercise bike at home
May 8...50 minutes hydrofit at Timberhill

Not much but it's headed in the right direction. I eat healthy but I eat more than I should. Now if I can just keep the portion size down and exercise more, I just might start losing weight.

Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson on the CBS The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is essential TV. Craig needs to be on EVERY night for two hours. If I were to watch one show a day, I've decided it needs to be The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. He makes me happy, smile, and laugh. How does it get better than this?

So...when are you going to have Robert Downey Jr. on your show, Craig? He's another genius boy who is magic on the screen, like you.

And what about Jerry Lewis. I've always loved Jerry Lewis.

I was talking to my son, Benjamin on the phone who lives in Seattle and who works for Zymo Genetics. We laugh and joke around. We talk about American Idol and Survivor and other essential things. I told him how much I love Craig Ferguson and I found out that Ben and Daniel, my son who lives in Columbus, Ohio who works at Battelle and is working on his MBA at Ohio State University, saw Craig Ferguson in San Francisco as the main attraction at a comedy club. Wow! How exciting!

I think Craig needs to be cloned to spread his joy around. People need more laughter and joy today to balance out the sadness and heartache. I wish Craig was my brother or best friend. I'd love it, if I got to go to parties where he was at, stand around, talk, and laugh. He's so cute.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Chad C. Hagen, MD, assistant professor of the Sleep Disorders Program at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland is a true medical hero in my eyes. My husband, Leslie Haber, who is 58 years old has suffered from sleep deprivation since a toddler in the crib. Over the years, he has rarely slept. If he sleeps a couple of hours in a row, that's a bonus. Doctors have given him sleeping pills over the years which don't work. He snores so loud that you can hear it in the next county when he does sleep. Once when family came to visit, they left the house in the middle of the night to sleep in the car because of the snoring. The next time they came, they brought earplugs. He's up almost the whole night watching FOX News, doing crossword puzzles, and searching for snacks.

What's amazing to me is that Dr. Hagen says that some people may be born with a facial structure that prediposes them to sleep apnea in some form throughout their lives and are treated with sleeping pills unsuccessfully for years before the condition is diagnosed. What's up with this? It's logical that if someone has breathing passages that are narrow, it's more difficult to breathe. A pill doesn't answer everything and pills most often cause more problems than they solve.

Dr. Hagen says the best solution for my husband is to be attached to a CPAP breathing tube which forces air into his nose, which will allow him to sleep. Thank you, Dr. Hagen.

And who is the medical hero who made the arrangements for Leslie, my husband to be seen by Dr. Hagen? None other than the great medical hero who has an office in West Salem, Elaine Broske.

I love smart, brilliant people who think, search for solutions to help people, and then act.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Barack Obama what's the big deal about Rev. Wright?

Good grief!

Hillary isn't worried about distancing herself from Bill even though he was impeached as President and had a big sex scandal in the White House. No one seems the least bit concerned about this. No one blinks an eye. No one is saying, "Hillary, you didn't stand up and divorce your man so I can't vote for you."

So why is everyone ready to char-broil Obama who doesnt agree with everything his minister says?

Is America saying that you have to agree with everything that everyone says who you associate with in a group? I think not! This would mean no one should join any group for fear that someone would utter an opinion different from their own. This is America--the land of the free and the home of the brave where you can have an opinion and not be shot or locked up for it. Difference of opinion and debate is important.

I'm voting for Obama. My husband is voting for Obama, if he makes it to the general election.

Barack Obama has ignited the hearts of young people and has given the American people hope for real change. There hasn't been this kind of leader on the horizon who has inspired the voting electorate since Kennedy. We need real change and we need someone willing to make it happen. We need Barack Obama.