Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Albany and Lebanon

I recently learned in a financial fitness class that Albany and Lebanon Oregon share something in common. They top the list as number one for identity theft and fraud in the nation. It make me want to not even stop to shop or do anything in that area. That's pretty scarey. Be weary when shopping in Albany or Lebanon. Keep your ID close and be careful.

I've always loved going to shop in Albany whenever I've had enough money, and I never encountered any problems but after learning this, it makes me realize I need to be more careful when I do. I also like Lebanon because it has Wal-Mart and it's a cute town but I learned it has a lot of drugs and crime.

I guess there are dangers that lerk almost anywhere. All you have to do is read mystery novels to realize what can happen. I think that the trick is to be careful, watch, be alert, and don't deliberately put yourself at risk.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Book Fair

The Friends of the Corvallis Library had their annual book fair this weekend and I couldn't go because I don't have two nickels to rub together. Sad but true. I love books. It's painful and hard on me that I couldn't go. I'm tired of not having any money to spend on things. I don't want a lot. I just want to buy books once in awhile and fabric. I want to be able to buy everything I want to eat healthy--like all the fresh fruit and vegetables that I want, and fish, like halibut.

Books are what I really enjoy buying. Books are a necessity, especially if the book is a keeper. Some books I don't care about and don't want to read again or to use as a reference. I enjoy scanning the paperbacks on sale for 25 cents at the Alsea Library to see if there are good ones. At the first of the month when I have a couple of bucks, I buy a few. I usually buy mysteries.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Evaluating My Life

About three to four times a year or more often, I take a look at my life. I look at what works and what doesn't work. I realize that there are many things about my life that I can't change so I try to concentrate on what I can do something about. As I look at my life this morning, I will recommit to the following four areas to drive my goals forward--writing, reading, gardening, and exercising. I see that I need to make specific goals for each with deadlines. I will need to spend more time in planning at the end of the day and each week.

I usually write down all the areas of my life for evaluation. Here's the current status:
Family--I'm a pain in the butt and an annoyance to everyone.
Work--Not employed.
Writing--Not making any money.
Spiritual--I don't have a church home.
Husband--We play canasta daily. I do whatever I can to help him and he does whatever he can for me.
Financial--No savings or insurance. I have $500 in a 401K that I earned from Joann Fabrics that goes down daily.

I believe that things are going to get better and that I can turn things around. I can't do anything about some areas except to try. I'm nice to people when I see others. I work hard but I'm not getting any where. I have a lot to work on and a lot to learn. If I need to talk, I don't have friends to call who would listen or want to talk. My family are busy with lives of their own. It's isn't right to be a burden on anyone.

I get up each day and try to appreciate what I have. I have many blessings. I have many opportunities to learn and grow. I can have a large garden. I can work on making quilts. I can read great words in books. When I see people, I can smile and be as nice as possible, which I always try hard to do. I can start practicing the piano again. I can sew my clothes. I can finish writing projects and work on revisions. I have so much beauty surrounding me and birds that visit our property. I can exercise using my Wii Fit every day.

I will keep trying and keep working to make the quality of my life better. I have faith that my life will get better, if I keep trying, work hard and never give up.

House Hunters

It's fun to watch House Hunters and House Hunters International on HGTV. You get to see the world and other parts of the U.S. plus tour homes. It does wet my appetitite for more. I've always wanted a 4,000 to 5,000 square foot home overlooking water or the ocean within walking distance to a gym, shopping, a library, and restaurants. I would need a room just for floor to ceiling books cases for a library with comfortable chairs and a large table to spread out papers, a large kitchen with granite counter tops, a lap pool, a great room, large size rooms, and many other features that would be important to me. However, I can't afford all this but I can write about things like this in my novels. I always dream big and my husband says I always want more than I have.

Putting all this into perspective, dreams like this don't work unless everyone can have it. It doesn't work out when a few can have and the majority can't. It would be nice if everyone can have the perfect home of their dreams. That is what I wish for everyone.

When I was very young, probably in the 5 to 8 age range, I used to listen to a recording of a book about a statue of a prince who had jewels and gold leaves all over. A bird--a swallow sat on his shoulder. As the prince heard or saw great need around him, he would tell the swallow, pretty swallow, to take the gold leaf and other valuable ornaments off him to give to the poor. Even the jewels for his eyes were given to the poor so the swallow became his eyes. Slowly, the statue of the prince was reduced to barren stone. After that the swallow died from the cold, the heart inside the statue of the prince cracked.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alsea Library

I volunteered at the Alsea Library on Wednesday morning. I had been asked to come to the library to help people with word processing or work on their resumes. I was surprised and pleased to see a nice poster on the front door saying that I would come on Wednesday mornings and that I would also help anyone interested in writing a novel. That was nice of the librarian to write.

Mary Rounds, the librarian for the Alsea Library is the one who asked me and put up the poster.
She made me feel welcome by doing so. Although no one was interested in my help on Wednesday, I asked to help around the library since I was there. I shredded papers and straightened the juvenile section. I had a great time dressing the books.

While I was on the floor, I found Junie B. Jones on the bottom shelf. She isn't happy one bit for she wants to be noticed and read. She is clammering for attention. [At the risk of disappointing those who always want to think the worst of me...No, I don't hear or see things that aren't there. I just have a rich imagination, as do all writers.]

I was also happy to find a book by Judy Cox, a children's author who lives in eastern Oregon and who taught a class I attended about writing for children. She's such a nice person and talented writer.

One thing that is wonderful about a library is that unlike most groups in a community, all these books sit side by side with many differing points of view and they get along. They don't throw each other off the shelf, try to hurt one another, or say mean things. They coexist. What a wonderful example of respect for all. I have always loved the library and being around books. Books are comforting to me and in them are words of wisdom, great thoughts, and adventures to experience. I believe it is important to read many different points of view, think about it, and then come to your own conclusion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award Contest

I'm so disappointed! I am more than disappointed, I am devastated. I missed the deadline for the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award Contest open to participants of National Novel Writing Month last November who completed the challenge of writing the first draft of a novel in a month. Guess who is one of the judges? Sue Grafton--my favorite mystery writer. She won't be the judge next year.

I kept putting it on my list to check the date. I shouldn't think about anything else in life other than writing. I need a large writing calendar from Office Max. I put it on the grocery list but it never found its way home. I need to close myself off to the world and not surface until I get my writing done for the day. I need to cocoon myself. Maybe I shouldn't do anything else but work on my writing assignments and read.

When I told my husband, he smiled. What kind of husband smiles at his wife's disappointment? We've been married for almost 37 years. I'm tired of his daily medical drama.

Damn it! I can't let this happen again. It has been happening too much to me through the years. I've been waiting for this opportunity. Maybe I wouldn't have made it but I wanted to try. I keep slipping through the cracks. I don't have money to go to all the wonderful writing workshops offered through Willamette Writers. Every year I want to go to the screenwriting workshop offered by the President of Willamette Writers, the amazing and talented Cynthia Whitcomb but every year it goes by without my having the money to attend. I'm tired of it.

The answer is that the only one I can control is myself. I have to recommit to my daily writing schedule and let nothing come in conflict with it. I can't worry about the kids in Alsea not having a school lunch program. I can't worry about loading manure on my garden. I can't worry about my health. I can't worry about anything until I get my writing done for the day. I love getting up early and going to bed early. I got up at 5 this morning. I am scheduled to help people at the library in Alsea today learn how to use the word processor and write their resumes. I shouldn't be volunteering until I have my own life going smoothly and until I have enough money for some breathing room. I need to reassess and reevaluate.

Yesterday my neighbor, Nancy was kind enough to have manure brought over into my garden. It was a wonderful gift and I'm grateful. I hid away in the office to work on finishing the third revision of my nano novel and I fell asleep. I'm a human being who tries hard every day to do her best and I seem to fail miserably. All I can do is recommit to my daily schedule and try harder tomorrow. That's all I can do. All I can do is to keep trying and never give up.

What I need is interactive writing software that is plugged into Writers Market that not only encourages, inspires, gives writing prompts, keeps track of writing and reading, but tells me which when writing deadlines are coming and alerts to possible writing markets that might want my writing. This is what I need but I would also need the money to pay for it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Joel Osteen

I've been watching Joel Osteen on ABC Family Television for several months every week on Sunday night or when I get around to watching it during the week. I like him because he's positive and he smiles. He inspires, and uplifts. He should be on daily, in my opinion. He always says at the end that those who watch should join a good Bible based church but it is hard to duplicate the enthusiasm of Joel and his positive messages. He's rare. I'll continue watching him. I'd love to live in Houston and have the opportunity to go to his church every Sunday but I don't have the money to do that.

Here's his website: http://www.joelosteen.com/

I do think he needs to have someone work on his website. It doesn't fit him. It should be filled with streaming videos of his positive message clips that changes at least weekly. There should be a way to find all the archive of messages he has given in the past. It should have colors other than a somber brown.

Most ministers in church look as though it is the last place they want to be with their serious and ominous faces. I remember thinking just this when I went to the Episcopal Church in Corvallis and wondered why no one was smiling. I thought if it were me, I would be smiling with a huge grin because I was in God's House and doing his work. I was thinking that it's like the spiritual Disneyland for ministers to be in church. Most of the ministers I have seen through the years act as if it is the last place on earth they want to be. I've also been disappointed to see in the examples of many who seem to care more about the money coming in than making sure that the people who walk through the door are treated with kindness and friendship. I remember discussing this issue with my Aunt in Montana who has passed away. She said that many ministers are "mama made preachers." I had never heard that before and asked her about it. She said that not all ministers are there on Sunday because they chose to be but were pressured by their mothers to go into the ministry.

Maybe that is what happened to a minister who recently committed suicide. Maybe he was pressured into a life that he didn't want. If you make this kind of choice, obviously the religion didn't have the meaning for him that it should have had. It also says that the community in which he lived and all who knew him ignored his unhappiness and sadness. I guess it is rare these days for people to reach out in kindness to others. Sometimes it is the simple acts of kindness that help get others through the day. A smile here and there can heal hearts and make a day easier for others.

My husband, Leslie says that religion takes advantage of people's fear and enslaves the mind and spirit. He says that religion encourages people to follow in lock step and obey. Les is anti-religion after our experience with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I don't blame him. In many ways I agree after seeing the poor example of many leaders in churches. Maybe he's right that religion is just a big lie to control people.

Michael Phelps

After becoming an Olympic Hero in Beijing, I was so disappointed to hear in the news that Michael Phelps decided he needed to experiment with drugs. Leaders, sports heroes, and all in the public eye need to hold themselves to a higher standard and to be the example for others. I'll bet his mother gave it to him for his antics. I bet that's how his ears grew straight out--from his mother pulling on them. I want to pull them myself. Shame on him.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Signe Danler

Signe Danler is a realtor for ReMax in Corvallis. She's amazing, brilliant, nice, and goes out of her way to help people. I met her in Master Gardening in Corvallis.

She does a lot of volunteer work for Master Gardening. Once when I drove up to the library in Corvallis, she was busy working on the flowers in the park across the street. She helped to organize the last Master Gardening event in Corvallis. Once a few years ago, I was invited to tour gardens with her and others near Eugene, which was fun. She gave me a forsythia which is ready to bloom in my yard soon. I respect her and have high regard for her.

I called her on the phone recently to ask her about our property. She went out of her way to help me, spend time, and give me information even though it didn't mean a sale for her. That's what she is like. She goes out of her way to help people. She's smart, responsible, and is one of the best people I know.

I highly recommend her. If you are thinking of selling your home or have questions about your property, call Signe Danler. As far as I am concerned she's the best in the business.

Signe Danler, ABR, Ecobroker
Buyer Specialist with Samantha Alley's Home Team at ReMax Integrity
She's a proud member of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and her motto is "I listen. I care. I follow through...for YOU!"

It's true. She does care. Give her a call. She's terrific.


I watched Sicko the other day on television. It's a film by Michael Moore. It's a courageous film that tells the shocking truth about our health care system in the United States, or lack of it. He even goes to other countries to show what health care in other countries is like. It makes me want to move to Canada or England or Sweden or France.

I don't have health insurance and haven't for years. When you don't have health insurance, you feel as if no one cares and that you don't matter. You ignore symptoms. I've been trying to eat healthy, exercise, and take vitamins. I sure eat a lot healthier than my husband and exercise much more but I'm the one with the weight problem. Sometimes I worry whether I am ready to have a stroke. Sometimes I worry about my heart. I have had high blood pressure for years. A couple of months ago my blood pressure was 169. Thanks to my son, Benjamin, I've been checked at OHSU. Now I'm worried about my eyes. I have high pressure in my right eye. They don't know what it is. It could lead to blindness. OHSU will help me for some things but they aren't going to help me with anything major.

In other countries like Canada, everything is free. They don't have to wait. Doctors care about their patients and don't worry about the business end of trying to squeeze dollars out of every patient and double bill insurance companies. When I watched Sicko, I was sick. We don't treat people well in this country. I saw on the news how a big hospital in LA just drops patients off in the street who can't pay their bill even though they need urgent care. Is this really how people should be treated?

President Obama is coming to the rescue and is the only hope the United States of America has of turning things around so there is free health care for everyone. Those who have should pay and those who need should receive without question or guilt.

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama is as perfect a President as they come. I have never felt about a President the way I feel about President Obama. He's doing everything he can to get this nation working again and back on track. The economic devastation that we just went through will not be easy to fix.

Republicans aren't doing anything to help from what I'm hearing on the news. They're concerned about being Republicans first and don't care about this country. I think the Republican party stands for greed and selfish interest. It makes me feel sad that Republicans don't care about this country and justify what has been done for the last eight years.

President Obama is the President for all Americans, no matter what color, economic background, or opinion. He cares about everyone and he works to help make this a better United States for all of us. I believe in him and I know he will make a difference.

Kath and Kim

Kath and Kim is a new sitcom on NBC that I started watching last fall. I love it. It's cute, fun, and addictive.

Anna Rose

Anna Rose Haber is my newest granddaughter who was born on February 11th at 8:49 p.m in Seattle. She was 7 pounds and 2 ounces and 18 inches long. She has cute dimples like her beautiful mother, Amanda and long skinny legs and long skinny feet like her father, Benjamin, who is a runner. She sounds perfect to me. She's healthy and on her first night she slept 7 1/2 hours.

I'm excited to see her, hold her, and tell Anna that her Grandma loves her.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Oregon Legislature

Yesterday on the front page of the Corvallis Gazette Times is an article with a headline that reads "Salem seeks input on state cuts." I was thinking that I wanted to testify since I was planning on staying with my daughter, Gretchen and her family on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I thought it would be fun since I have always wanted to testify before the Oregon Legislature and I have something to say.

I even wrote a speech in large type to take with me. A short one since I figure they only allow a couple of minutes of testimony per individual.

Here's what I wrote:

I am very happy to be here. [I would smile very big and wave.]

All of you in this room care about Oregon and the people who live in Oregon. I came here today to ask you to think about your financial choices in a different way and ask that you show with your choices that you value the people of Oregon.

The last few months has shown what greed can do to business, our economy, and our country. President Obama is working hard to lead this nation to give hope to all Americans and to heal our country.

The most important resource we have in Oregon is our people. If you make the choice to invest in people, to show you care about the people in Oregon with services that provide support, there is no limit to the greatness Oregon can achieve.

Taking away services, takes away hope. All Oregonians should have the opportunity to have a quality education. All Oregonians should have the opportunity to receive health care and services that help them. All Oregonians who are unable to protect themselves, like children and the elderly, must be taken care of and protected. Public safety is also an essential service.

I came here to ask that you get to the root cause of the problem by putting a cap on greed. I ask that you encourage new businesses in Oregon who agree to pay their fair share in tax dollars. I ask that you find ways and incentives to encourage old business in Oregon to start paying their fair share and shoulder the burden. I implore you to put a cap on salaries and freeze salaries until Oregon is in a healthier place. I implore you to follow and support President Obama by taxing the people of Oregon who earn more than $250,000 a year.

These are the places where you should be digging for money for the budget of Oregon, not by cutting services.

I implore you to show that you value the people of Oregon and set a precedent that leads the nation to a better tomorrow for all Americans.

This morning when I got up, I was thinking of a better idea to add but since I am not going to be able to go and speak to the legislature, I'll add it here. [My daughter is very sick. She called last night. She got a really bad cold after traveling to a conference in Texas. She needs to see a doctor. I'm worried about her. Gretchen is amazing, brilliant, and works hard to help people in her position as Executive Director of Liberty House so she needs to be healthy so she can continue to be a great mother and make a difference in Salem.]

I was thinking that all businesses who want to commit to a better Oregon and a better United States by paying their fair share of taxes instead of avoiding them could have a special sign that is posted that says Oregon Fair Share Business 2009. This sign is put up each year after the business has paid their fair share of taxes to help Oregon and help out President Obama. I think this is a great idea since right now businesses are into greed and avoiding taxes and don't want to be responsible for services or help out our nation. I know I would shop first at a Oregon Fair Share Business who is paying taxes to support the people of Oregon.

I learned after talking to Gretchen that her husband, Chris Bennett just got straight A's and is on the Dean's List for his online bachelor's degree that he's working on. I was very proud to hear that and even prouder when he said that he was planning on going to law school to become an attorney and wants to work in the DA's office in Salem. I'm very proud of him.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


On Monday I drove to Oregon Health Sciences University to see Dr. Lombardi at the Casey Eye Institute to check my cataracts that I was told I had years ago. I found out that I have high pressure in my right eye that they are concerned about that may require surgery. My left eye shows scarring of the retina. I remember when that happened. I was under severe stress and had high blood pressure at the time. I had a sea of floaters in my field of vision and was checked by a great doctor at Peace Health in Eugene who was very concerned about my vision. I learned that it is possible I have glaucoma. It seems like cataracts are the least of my problem at the moment. I could end up blind, which would cause a drastic change in my life so I couldn't see the beauty that surrounds me, or the birds, or the trees, or the words on the page of great books, or the words on my computer screen that I write.

Jeanine checked me before seeing Dr. Lombardi and she was the one who alerted Dr. Lombardi to the high pressure in my right eye. She is meticulous and careful and a nice person.

Karl took digital photos of my eyes afterwards and was great about explaining what was in the photos. He's a great guy who is professional and cares about doing an excellent job.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to be seen at OHSU where there is cutting edge research in all areas of medicine and the doctors care about helping their patients.

Dr. Chad Hagen

Dr. Chad Hagen of Oregon Health Sciences University has been a real medical hero for my husband in helping him with his severe case of sleep apnea. My husband, Leslie has suffered his entire life without sleep. He was tested and they found that during a one hour period, he woke up an average of 80 times. It is believed that my husband has never slept. Les has always slept a lot less than normal--only 2 to 4 hours a night and even this time wasn't in restorative sleep.

Dr. Hagen has been instrumental in helping my husband with a machine that now helps him sleep an average of 6 hours on his best days. He sleeps 3 to 4 hours most nights but this sleep is the best quality of sleep his body has ever experienced. My husband had to get a higher pressure level machine so that the air pressure reaches 21 to 25 during sleep.

I am grateful to Dr. Hagen and OHSU for their help at a time when many doctors and hospitals care more about the bottom line than the people they are supposed to help.

Brenda Kaye, Dr. Hagen's assistant who calls my husband on the phone to ask about his sleep has been so nice to Les. She's always positive and upbeat.

Stimulus Package

I just made two phone calls to Washington D.C. to urge Senators Merkley and Wyden to please pass President Obama's stimulus package.

I am outraged that Republicans would be more concerned about being loyal to the Republican Party, to greed, and to all that caused the economic devastation in the last few months than to support what is best for the United States of America and for all people. It makes me feel like the Republicans only care about the rich, themselves, and they don't care about ethics and responsible behavior. I am livid. I would never vote for a Republican again. I think that the Republican Party should be held accountable for the havoc they have caused and individuals should be held responsible for the great rape and theft of our economic system.