Monday, June 30, 2008


I got up early this morning to drive my husband to Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland to have eye surgery. He has a cataract in his right eye. I'm happy that he is getting help since we have no health insurance or savings and I'm grateful to OHSU that they are going to do the surgery required.

Critical Thinking

I believe you can teach critical thinking at all age levels as soon as there is understanding, which is very young. I believe it is always important to teach your children why you make choices, discuss consequences, and possible alternative choices. I believe it is important to talk to your children and discuss the whys of making this discision or that decision. I believe it is important to teach critical thinking in schools.

However, it is threatening to teach critical thinking for those individuals who only want to control the thought process and desired outcome. If you are willing to teach critical thinking, you must also allow the individual to make a mistake or choose a different path than you would. This is why it is best to start teach critical thinking within the safety net of a family where you can guide the process and where the child is loved. Teaching critical thinking at home is essential for a child to learn how to grow up as an independent, contributing adult.

To teach critical thinking requires respect for the individuals with whom you teach. For people who are very controlling and threatened by change or a difference of opinion, this can be very difficult. However, if the goal is to have the student or your child soar, find their own path, and discover their genius, it is important and essential to teach critical thinking within every subject in school from kindergarten through college and within the home in the family.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weather in Alsea

The weather is all over the place in Alsea, Oregon today. So much so that I thought I would talk about it. My husband went to the Post Office here in Alsea and our car declared a temperature of 97 degrees hot as you know what. After he told me about the temperature, I asked him to check the temperature in the shade outside our front room window. It said 88 degrees. The temperature on our clock in the house said 76 degrees. Then I turned on Direct TV and looked at the temperature for zipcode 97324, which is Alsea, Oregon and it said that it was now 62 degrees, for a high of 65 degrees!!! What's going on here?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Math and Children

I was reading the Summer, 2008 issue of Northwestern Magazine, the Alumni Magazine for Northwestern University. Researcher Greg Duncan studied 35,000 preschoolers in the U.S., Canada, and England. He came up with some important results. Here is what was printed in the article:

"Researchers found that children who enter kindergarten with basic math and reading skills are the most likely to achieve later academic success. The study discovered the paramount importance of early math skills--of beginning school with a knowledge of numbers, number order, and other rudimentary math concepts--as the very strongest predictor of future academic success."

It goes on to say.... "Mastery of early math skills not only predicts future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement," Duncan said. "And it does so just as reliably as early mastery of vocabulary, letters, and phoenetics skills predicts later reading success."

However.... "The opposite--reading skills predicting math success--does not hold up."

And..... "Attention-related skills also consistently, though more modestly, predict academic success."

So what's important? Study math. Teach your children at home from birth on in a fun, no pressure atmosphere where learning is valued and thought of as exciting. There is no greater thing a parent can do than to teach your child so they have success in school and life. Children who start school reading and who can do basic math problems are going to be ahead and stay ahead.

Military Contract

On the front page of the Corvallis Gazette Times this morning was the headline, "Government awards man on 'watch list' arms contract." It goes on to say that "Lawmakers question how 21-year-old won $298 million military deal." I want to know too. How does this happen that a 21- year-old listed on a State Department watch list is given $298 million dollars? This sure doesn't show good thinking or decision making. What is going on in our government? How could something like this happen? Here we have so many problems in this country and $298 million buckeroos is given out for guns to a youngster that our own government questions. This doesn't make any sense to me. I think we need a line by line audit of government spending and military spending. I think someone needs to start making sure that money is spent on high priority items when our country is having a difficult time.

I think we need to pay attention to the high priority needs of the citizens of the United States of America. We need to take care of our country first. We need to make our country strong again. The dollar needs to be strengthened. Our citizens need health care for all. Jobs need to be protected.

It is a good thing that Congressional Democrats and Republicans caught this and they need to be vigilant to make sure that that these kinds of money expenditures don't happen again. We need to see real leadership to put our country back on course and make it strong.


I talked to Daniel on Sunday for a few minutes. It sounds like he's has a wonderful professor who inspires everyone in class. Daniel is working on his MBA at Ohio State University in Columbus. His professor is discussing, dissecting, and analyzing large corporations to understand why decisions are made in marketing and planning. They analyze what works and what doesn't work. It sounds exciting and makes me want to go back to school. I wish I could. It sounds like what they do in law school when they discuss U.S. Supreme Court law cases. I'm sure happy for Daniel. This professor is what every teacher should be to every student in every school who inspires, excites, and teaches students to think.

Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson, the STAR of The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson is my favorite. I love watching Craig Ferguson and if I were to pick one show out of all shows on television, I would pick The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

I watch Craig Ferguson during the day. I tivo it so I can watch it when I want. Last night Henry Winkler was on Craig's show. Henry Winkler is another one of my favorite stars. I used to love to watch the Fonz. Now Henry Winkler is an important producer and director living the good life with creative people all around him.

Jeffrey Tambor was also on Craig's show recently. I love watching Jeffrey Tambor in Welcome to the Captain. Is this show going to be on in the fall again? I sure hope so because it is one of my favorites.

Craig has lots of great music groups that play on his show at the end. I really enjoyed Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters. I believe he labeled his music as rockabilly which is a mix of country and rock. They buy their authentic Beattle suits from Liverpool, England. They're a great band. Go out and buy one of their CD's.

And what did I learn on the show tonight, Craig? I learned you like stamps!

Nanotechnology and the Constitution

Woe to the man with a chip in his neck,
pulled this way and that without choice or decision.
Merely an experiment, a rat in a maze.
No respect or dignity. Sadness replaces joy.

Woe to the man whose every word is on tape,
and every action is videoed.
Freedom gone. Mankind loses.
Is this the end of thinking?
Is this the end of creativity?

(I wrote this on 6-18-08.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Senator Gordon Smith

Am I going to vote for Senator Gordon Smith? NO!
Why? First of all, he hasn't worked hard to protect
Oregon. Our environment needs to be protected.
Off the coast in Newport, there is a dead zone. This
is after I listened to him at a town meeting in Newport
say he would protect the fishing industry. Now there
is no commercial salmon fishing in Oregon. Chemicals
are allowed to be poured into the Willamette River.
Senator Gordon Smith stands for oil drilling in the Arctic.
This is outrageous. Senator Gordon Smith will say
anything to get elected, just like Romney. What do they
have in common? They are both Mormon and members
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Would I ever vote for a Mormon? NEVER!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Most of the state of Iowa is under water. Many levees along the Mississippi River might break causing more damage and destruction. I can't help but wonder about scientists around the world who seed the clouds with chemicals to get rain and the impact this has on other areas. I've read in the newspaper about Oregon State University having the ability to manipulate the weather. We've had a lot of rain this spring which is needed. We should conserve our water since we need it, instead of selling it to California. If we have manipulated the weather to cause rain in Oregon, has this been a direct cause of problems for Iowa and the midwest?

Corporate Greed

The very rich and large corporations need to be taxed and pay their fair share. It isn't right that billions of dollars go untaxed that could solve problems for everyone in the United States. We are all linked. We are all connected. When a corporation fails to clean up a mess that they caused or refuses to be responsible for detrimental consequences they caused, it isn't okay.

It isn't okay that chemical companies pollute precious sources of water. The bi-product of companies that manufacture plastic is dioxin, a dangerous pollutant. Industry that pours pollutants into the air should be shut down. All corporations that pollute the environment should be given a cease and desist order. To allow these same corporations to get away with not paying taxes and not holding them responsible is nothing less than sanctioned rape and run.

Michele Obama

Michele Obama made a comment that was in the news that some "people are mean." I agree and it's refreshing to hear someone tell the truth. I like her. She's genuine and nice.

I think that people in positions of power are so used to spinning the truth and saying what people want to hear that few people really tell the truth anymore. Religious people spin the truth even though one of the ten commandments is to not bear false witness. Leaders of large corporations spin the truth to make everything appear better than it is. Many self help books are filled with words that say to concentrate on the positive and ignore anything negative. The problem with all this is that when people count on the truth when they make a decision, the outcome is faulty.

I think it's important to tell the truth and be honest. I'd rather know the truth about everything.


I understand there is discussion about offshore drilling in the United States. Why is this even being considered when we know the environmental impact is a disaster when we drill for oil? We need to start using alternative sources of energy and halt the use of oil.


I was born in Libby, Montana and lived in Libby until the end of my third grade year when we moved to Salem, Oregon. I've heard that the Native Americans a hundred years ago used to call Libby, the Valley of Death. You may have heard on the news about the cancer deaths in Libby caused from Zonolite.

My cousin sent me a letter written by my mother in 1946. I was born in 1948. One paragraph of my mother's letter talks about zonolite. "Did the girls fix candles up with the zonolite? It's pretty on vases, flower pots, picture frames, etc. If you want more of it, Alma, let me know. We have lots of it upstairs."

I remember sitting in a circle with two of my cousins in Libby. There was a big pile of zonolite in the middle. We threw it up in the air and watched how the sun made it sparkle and shimmer.

Betty White

It's been fun to see Betty White on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. She's so much fun, lively, witty, funny, and nice. I like her. She's genuine. She would make a great talk show host during the day. I really admire her. She's positive. She keeps up and gets along with everyone.

I've always loved watching Betty White on the series Golden Girls. I need to watch more reruns of this show. It's delightful.

Stress and Weight Loss

Our whole family has lived with a tremendous amount of stress through the years. We've started over more than once and we've lost so much. We moved to different homes because my husband was transferred with his job. Our oldest son died in 1995. One of the biggest causes of stress is that my husband hasn't slept in 58 years.

I remember reading in the Alumni Magazine of Northwestern University that Northwestern did a study that showed that stress causes one not to lose weight. It's interesting that I've had a weight problem since 1978 when my husband got sick and stopped working. I didn't have a problem before. Now that he's able to sleep and is much calmer, maybe I'll be able to lose weight.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Table Tennis

Did you know that the BEST sport for the brain is table tennis? I know! I didn't either. I'm reading a book called MAKING A GOOD BRAIN GREAT by Daniel Amen, M.D. You need to read it. He says that the best sports and exercise for the brain are table tennis, golf, tennis, walking, running, swimming. He said that the sports that you should not play and that are bad for the brain are football, soccer, and boxing. I used to love to play tennis and golf but that was years ago. I wish I had a tennis court near me or a golf course.

The brain has the consistency of butter and is extremely vunerable to brusing and damage. A concussion can bring complicated symptoms that haunt you for the rest of your life with a string of debilitating problems.

Football, soccer, boxing..........BAD!
Table tennis, golf, tennis, walking, running, swimming............GOOD!

To be honest, I've never understood why people push kids into playing football. Isn't sitting down and reading a book more important? Isn't learning math and science more important? Isn't it more important to learn how to think? Why spend the time playing football? Football creates generations of beer drinking men who sit on the couch watching a chosen few bash their heads during a game. After these chosen few who make the big bucks playing football on television are finished, they suffer severe disabilities with head injuries and other parts of their body battered, living in pain for the rest of their lives. Is this worth it? Is this worth the millions of dollars spent to glorify the sport of football? I don't think so.

A Clean House

After your kids are grown, it's time to worry about having a clean house. That's my opinion. My mother felt that having a clean house was very important. I would have rather had her spend time playing games with me, talking to me, and spending time with me. When I had my own children, I was determined not to place the priority of having a clean house over spending time with my children. I figured that the most important thing that I could do with my children was to teach them. Time is precious and is the most important gift you can give. I read them stacks of books, played games with them, and found ways to teach them. I homeschooled them for four years in Arroyo Grande, California. It was the happiest time of my life.

Now that my kids are grown and since I am not going to be working, I guess I need to start organizing my home and start making sure I have a clean house at all times. Somehow, spending my time cleaning, just doesn't sound as exciting as spending time with my kids.

Alsea Graduates

The graduating class of Alsea School in 2008 was eleven students plus two foreign exchange students. It's cute here in Alsea. Each graduating class is very small, like a family.

I don't have a lot of money. If I did, I would want to give each of them a book or something for graduation. One thing I do is to make each of them every year a bookmark. I make the bookmarks on my computer and then go to Office Max to have them laminated. I didn't mail them this year, I drove over to the school on my way home from work and gave them to a nice young girl who said she would hand them out for me.

Here is what I write on the bookmarks that I hand out:

"Commit to a lifetime of learning, set goals and plan for your future. Work hard and never give up on projects important to you. Believe in your goodness and your ability to make a difference to those around you." Then I write "wishing you success in all you do" and sign it and my husband signs it.

I graduated from McNary High School in 1966 in Keizer, Oregon. I don't remember how many graduated with me but it was a lot. Our class was split in two. For my sophomore and junior years of high school, all of us went to North Salem High School. The class was sooooo big that half of the students went to school in the early morning hours and the other half of the students came home in the evening from school. Then McNary High School opened in 1965 so half of the students went to McNary and the other half stayed at North Salem. It sure was different than Alsea High School where you don't get lost in the crowd.


My last day at work is on Thursday. It's too expensive to drive into Corvallis for a part-time job. I haven't been successful at landing a full time job as I had hoped, so I'm going to stay home to garden, write, read, and work on organizing all my stuff.

With gas prices over $4.11 at the last time I looked and planning to scale $5 a gallon, it's hard to live far from your job. We paid out over $350 in gas in May. That's too much. Our 2006 Toyota already has 44,000 miles on it.

City planners need to consider planning communities with everything that a person needs within walking distance of their home--shopping, schools, recreation, a gym, restaurants, work, and whatever else brings balance to your life that you feel is important. You shouldn't have to drive everywhere. At $4.11 a gallon, people are going to have to start looking around them to find ways to make do with what they already have within walking distance. It's a little easier for some than most but it's necessary.

I'm going to spend my time growing food. Yeah, that's the ticket! That's the answer.

12 Kids

I wanted 12 kids. I had five. Each is precious to me. If I would have had 12 kids, maybe I'd still have someone left at home. When my kids grew up, my fun left. I can't help it but I had the BEST kids in the world. I've never known any other mother to have great kids like mine. They are the ones I enjoy talking to, kidding around with, laughing with, and spending time with. There just isn't anyone else in the world as great as my kids. They are all independent, successful and busy with their own lives.

I especially love Daniel. He's the only one not married but he's so busy. After your kids get married, that's it. Daniel's so precious and takes the time to talk to his mom even when he doesn't have time. I always try hard not to bother him. I love discussing world issues, solving global problems, and inventing new solutions with him. Daniel's the youngest. He was born on June 15, 1980 in San Luis Obispo, California. He was the first Father's Day baby of the year in 1980 in San Luis Obispo County, and our family was in the newspaper celebrating Daniel's birth.

I think being a mother is the greatest job in the world. It's much better than anything else and much more important since you are molding and sculpting lives that can potentially change the world to make a difference. I'm very proud of how all my children turned out. I think that's the only thing that I accomplished in life was to have great kids. They work hard and never give up. They work hard to be the best they can be and each is amazing.

Being a mother is much more fun than being a grandmother. As a grandmother, you don't get to be around your grandchildren all the time. The parents are the ones who get to have all the fun. The grandparents who are lucky get to live close to their grandchildren and be part of their lives.

You know the reason why I wanted to have 12 kids?.....The reason is because I grew up alone as an only child and I thought it would be glorious to have the house alive with laughter and fun. It was grand.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I trust that all will work out and that life will get better.
I have no idea how this is going to happen but I feel this
way deep down.

I'm grateful that I can play in my garden.
I'm grateful that I can ride my riding lawnmower.
I'm grateful that I live in such a beautiful area.
I'm grateful that I have birds that sing for me everyday.
I'm grateful that I am strong and feel good.
I'm grateful that I have lots of books to read.
I'm grateful that I have Craig Ferguson on TV to make me laugh.
I'm grateful that Leslie got a sleep apnia machine.
I'm grateful that I have food to eat.
I'm grateful that Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination.
I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head.
I'm grateful that I have great children.
I'm grateful that I can write everyday.
I'm grateful that I have a husband who loves me.
I'm grateful that I know how to sew.
I'm grateful for my cats, Thomas and Angel.
I'm grateful for my wonderful grandchildren.
I'm grateful that I have this Blog. Thank you, Google the Great!

Sleep Apnia

I'm grateful my husband, Leslie received a phone call from OHSU that they have a machine for him for his sleep apnia. Imagine...sleeping for the first time at the age of 58.

Thank you OHSU!


I spent several hours over the weekend in my yard and garden. I had so much fun. I caught myself telling my husband when I was going out the door, "I'm going out to play." I don't think I have said those words since I was a little kid. I meant it too.

Obama WINS!

Barack Obama wins the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Band playing in background.
Balloons floating from the sky.
All is right with the world.

Barack Obama is a great man. A brilliant man.
A man of character. A man that unites and
gives people hope that the United States of
America can become a great nation again.

I'm grateful and hopeful.