Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Early to Rise

I subscribe to a daily success e-mail called Early to Rise. Yesterday it taught me something I wish I had learned years ago. Most people have learned this a long time ago. I think this is the one reason why I haven't accomplished what I could have accomplished in life. The writer of the article said that he has never missed a single writing deadline in 30 years.

The lesson is simply this--finish what you start. If you have a deadline, don't let anything stop you from finishing and meeting the deadline. That's it. Simple.

Throughout the years, I have let life and anything that comes up to take priority over my dreams and goals. My husband has been so sick so I stop everything to tend to him. If my kids are coming, I'll drop everything to get ready for them to make things nice for them. I have to do this but I also have to finish my writing goals and deadlines even if it means staying up all night.

I am interested in so many things that it is easy to get distracted by this great project or that great project. I have to keep centered on what I need to do to move my writing goals forward and keep focused on them.

I am printing out this great lesson. I will work hard from now on to outline what I now need to get done. Create timelines for when everything should be finished. Record deadlines. Make sure that I finish everything on time.

I want to win too. I need to work harder and work smarter. I need to not let anything stop me from being who I am and who I have the potential to be.


Daniel, my youngest son is in Vietnam. He's there with one of his classes for the MBA program at Ohio State University.

I just received an e-mail from him this morning. His group made a presentation before the CEO of IBM Vietnam. Here's what he said, "We really nailed the presentation and the CEO was very complimentary as well as our classmates. It was an incredible experience and it has really opened my eyes to a whole other world of possibilities. I really love what I'm doing and I feel very fortunate to have had such wonderful opportunities."

I'm so proud of Daniel and all he continues to do. He keeps reaching out for opportunities to grow and learn. He's my hero.

Wild Birds

Yesterday when I was stopped before driving into the parking lot of the complex at Good Samaritan Hospital where my husband has dialysis, I looked up and saw thousands of birds flying overhead in multiple V-shape formations. I've never seen so many in the sky at one time in my life. It was glorious. One left a package on my car window.

We feed the wild birds at our house. We see lots of wild birds. The other day we put up the hummingbird feeder because the hummingbirds are back. We put up suet for the Stellers Jays. I love them. We put out black thistle seed for the goldfinches. We put up dried corn in a feeder. We put out sunflower seeds and song bird seed. We see sparrows, robins, Oregon juncos, mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds, black-headed grosbeaks, rufous-sided towhees, swallows, ravens, turkey vultures, wrens, purple finches, evening grosbeaks, indigo buntings, lazuli buntings, scrub jays, blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches, and crows. I hear but I never have yet seen a Western meadowlark.

I love birds. I love to see them. They need to be protected, fed with plants in your yard and seed in feeders. My yard welcomes them.

Garden Seeds

I purchased some garden seeds yesterday at Fred Meyer on Kings Blvd yesterday when I was waiting for my husband to finish dialysis. They were 40% off. I got Ed Hume seeds because I like them. I got two packs of corn, beets, zucchini, and swiss chard. I'm excited to plant them and I'm excited to have a garden.

Everyone should have a garden these days to put food on the table.

Health Care

Our health care system has failed. Health care should be provided to all who need it. Emphasis should be put on prevention, not in plugging holes and damage control.

If you are not yet a believer just watch SICKO, the documentary by Michael Moore.

With my husband having another catastrophic event that landed him in intensive care, we are again in jeopardy of lossing our home and having more mile high bills to pay. We haven't even finished paying off the bills from 2007 when he was in the hospital the last time.

Someone needs to do something fast about the health care crisis. One of the resulting negative effects may be severe damage to families. At a time when our economic system is in the dumper, families close ranks and concentrate on their own immediate needs. It's a protective mechanism and natural. Who can afford to help anyone these days with extra expenses when there is no economic safety net, no more retirement benefits.

My husband has Medicare Part A and D. He recently signed up for Part B, which is going to be tough to afford since it is going to cost him almost $400 a month considering all our other expenses.

What about me? I have high blood pressure. Am I going to end up having to have dialysis because of the stress of all this? High blood pressure is the leading cause for the need for dialysis. It has already been determined that I have pressure on my right eye for some odd reason. I have an appointment at the end of the month at OHSU. What about a complete check up? I can't afford it. I can't afford the $150 to give to OHSU for another six months to be seen by them.

Yesterday I walked around the Good Samaritan Hospital complex two times, which took me about 55 minutes. It felt great and I felt much better afterwards. This is the only answer I have for me. Exercise and eating healthy. Am I going to be able to eat healthy as the bills keep coming in and there are fewer and fewer pennies?

Kidney Transplants

I recently attended a 3 1/2 hour kidney class--everything you ever want to know about kidneys and more. It was interesting and I learned a lot. One of the topics was kidney transplants.

I don't believe it is right to ask people to give you a kidney if you need one. I would never do it myself and I wouldn't want to be part of the process. Everyone needs their kidneys and it isn't right to ask someone to give up one. If someone wants to be a donor after they are dead, that's a different story.

I'm grateful that we have President Obama in the White House. He's a great guy, brilliant, and he believes in stem cell research which is the answer for patients who need a kidney transplant. Stem cells can be used to create kidneys. It's been done and they can start turning out kidneys by the thousands once the green light is given.

Weight Loss Surgery

I don't believe in weight loss surgery. People have mentioned it to me that I should have it but I roll my eyes and ignore them.

Weight loss surgery is an oxymoron. I can't understand the logic of trying to get someone who has a problem with food and eating to have weight loss surgery when their life may depend on eating miniscule portions of food during the day. The trick is to eat miniscule portions of food, like a bird or a model, NOW without the major surgery.

I figure if weight loss surgery were a great idea, Oprah would have it.

Many people who go through this major surgery end up plumping up in a couple of years so why go through it in the first place. The expense. The miniscule portions of food. The potential life threatening surgery. I don't get it.

Okay so I'm fat. Most of the time I see myself as slim. At the moment I weigh 281, which is a lot. I'm not sloppy fat. I'm firm and packed tight.

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois did research about weight loss and stress. They determined that stress causes weight to stay and linger. I think this is it in my case.

Just put me on a beach with a cool ocean breeze with no hurricanes where I can write and eat healthy food and you will see me slim in a few months.

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Lady Michelle Obama

I admire First Lady Michelle Obama so much. She is such a good person. She's brilliant and she has her priorities in all the right places. She is a wonderful mother and perfect in every way. I believe that she inspires all women to be better.

I was so pleased that she is working on a garden with children on the front lawn of the White House. She is a great example to everyone. I sure like her.

President Barack Obama

I feel confident, safe, and secure that President Barack Obama is President of the United States in these difficult times. I believe that President Obama is the greatest President that we have ever had in the history of the United States. No President up until this time has had to deal with more challenging circumstances.

I'm amazed at the nerve and gall of Republicans who say that they don't feel safe under President Obama. Republicans caused all this mess in the first place. President Bush was in the White House for the last eight years. When President Bush came into the White House there was no deficit. Now we have a deficit of over 10 trillion dollars. I don't know what the current tally is but I know it keeps rising.

I wouldn't feel safe under a Republican President after what has taken place. Republicans feel entitled to take money that doesn't belong to them, take bonuses that they didn't earn, and don't want to be held accountable. They feel entitled to all the money and don't care about the rest of the people who live in the United States. They believe in socialism for the rich.

The world rejoiced when President Obama was elected. I think everyone feels safer. I sure do.

President Obama is doing everything he can to correct all the problems and mess of the last Republican administration. I trust him. I believe in him.

Jack and Lizzy

Jack and Lizzy, my grandchildren, invited me to a party to help the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center.

Guests are asked to bring donations to help the center, like Iams Kitten Chow, bleach, paper towels, washing machine soap, hand washing soap. walnuts, almonds, peanuts, fleece material for squirrel sacks, and Cherrios. At the party, the guests will enjoy face painting, pin the tail on the donkey, mazes, animal games, dancing, snacks and cake. It's going to be a great party and I'm proud of my grandchildren for caring about the animals at Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center.

If you can help, please look at the website and donate.

National Kidney Month

March is National Kidney Month. Over 260 million people have acute kidney disease. Over 350,000 Americans are on dialysis and the number is growing rapidly. The two major causes of kidney failure are high blood pressure and diabetes. I wonder if exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment and lack of exercise can also be contributing causes.

My husband went into Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis on March 2nd with acute kidney failure. His creatinine level was 22.9. The normal level is 0.7 to 1.2. He was in ICU for 5 days and then spent another five days on 2nd South until he was sent home. No one knows what caused his kidneys to fail. No one knows any answers so far. It happened very rapidly. He had talked to his doctor four days before he went into the hospital and no one thought it was urgent or an emergency. A few weeks prior to admission, he took a bunch of blood tests at OHSU and the creatinine level was not elevated. In the weeks prior to admission to the hospital, he had a recurring rash over his body and respiratory symptoms. The rash was gone and his respiratory symptoms had gone away prior to his kidney failure. About two weeks prior to admission to the hospital, Les took Nabumetone for inflammation, which is medication prescribed by a doctor in Corvallis. After he took the medication for a couple of days, he had black urine. Dr. Wahba thinks that this might be the cause of his kidney failure but is not sure.

He's now on dialysis three times a week. He's getting better and his doctor says he may be able to get off dialysis in another week. A kidney biopsy revealed that his kidneys are inflamed but any cause isn't known.

We need answers so this doesn't happen again. Everyone at Good Samaritan were amazing and worked together to help my husband. I'm very grateful.

After this experience, I believe that it is so important to eat healthy, drink water, exercise, and avoid medication unless absolutely necessary. One thing that I have been doing for my husband is to play in the background positive affirmations from a ThinkRightNow CD called "I am healed now." I feel it makes a difference.

Monday, March 16, 2009


This morning I got up around 6:30 a.m. I started by doing Wii Fit, which I love. I weighed and found that I had lost over 6 pounds since yesterday. My Wii Fit age today is 35, even though I just turned 61. I did 15 minutes yoga, 15 minutes strength training, 15 minutes balance, and 15 minutes aerobics.

Then I turned onto my stash of saved programming from FitTV and turned on to Gilad's Total Body Sculpt, which was recorded earlier today. I did 18 minutes of it. I love exercising with Gilad. I love seeing the ocean in the background. I admire Gilad's expert training and I feel strongly that his shows are the best fitness training on television.

I plan on doing at least another half hour of aerobics with Wii Fit today. I'm grateful for my Wii Fit because it is interactive, encouraging, keeps track of my progress, and I don't feel alone.

Alsea Garden Club

I moved to Alsea 7 1/2 years ago. Since I went through the Oregon State Master Gardening Program in Salem in 1999, I joined the garden club when I moved here. Not too long after, I was elected President. I was excited and had big plans. I outlined at least two years of gardening workshops I wanted to teach since I love teaching. I was pleased that I was elected President. I had plans for meetings that included seed and plant sharing, members teaching the group with what they were learning, hands on gardening projects, and much more. I welcomed this opportunity.

Not too long after, I started receiving letters from the Oregon Department of Justice that alerted me that the Alsea Garden Club was in violation of the law and that the Club had to cease. The garden club was also in violation of Oregon State Garden Club rules. I felt it important to let the membership know the status of the Alsea Garden Club. I was told that no one cared and that no one wanted to follow the rules. I didn't understand this at all. If you take on the group umbrella of another organization, then I feel you should follow the guidelines and basic rules or the group had the option of just being an independent garden club. The group wanted to be a garden club connected to the Oregon Garden Club structure without following all these goofy rules and regulations.

My club officers were Kay Podmore and Katrina Carver.

During this time I applied for a grant for the public garden on Highway 34 in Alsea that the garden club was responsible for with upkeep. The club was awarded $500 in grant money, which I was responsible for securing.

I was happy about the grant money for the public garden and the garden club has made this area beautiful after I left the club.

I didn't find support among the membership in the Alsea Garden Club so after I brought the club back into legal status with the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon State Garden Clubs, I quit. Can't do much without support, no matter how much you want to help or serve since I don't believe in forcing things. I did stay long enough to bring the club into legal compliance for my own protection. It's funny but people acted like it was no big deal to get letters from the Oregon Department of Justice. Well, I did and I took it seriously. I guess I don't understand people sometimes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Alsea School Board

There is a position open for the Alsea School Board and I'd like to serve in this way to help the children at the school. I believe strongly that all children have unlimited potential, except for those who are brain damaged. I believe that all have the potential to go on to college and make their dreams come true. I'm surprised that this isn't the case since not all students enter college who live here. There have been several examples of almost every student going on to college even those who live in severely economically disadvantaged areas because of the program and teachers. I've been critical about the lack of a federal school lunch program which I feel would help many children to have a free hot breakfast and lunch.

The deadline is the 19th of March. What is holding me back? Several reasons.....
1. No one has encouraged me to run. No one around here seems to want anyone disrupting what they are doing now. I've volunteered to help set up enrichment programs in the past but it was always discouraged or not wanted.
2. My husband has been seriously ill and needs care.
3. I had an experience as a Gates City Council member which makes me hesitate. I'll tell you the story. We were in a meeting. I questioned whether the issue discussed should be in an open meeting. The person in charge walked to the front door and opened the door saying, "It's now an open meeting." I then said that no one was alerted to the fact in the paper that it was an open meeting. I asked to see on paper where what we were doing was legal since I am big on following the rules. It turned out that I was right and that the meeting was in violation of the law. I was asked to sign saying that I had done something illegal. I refused to sign because I was the only one that even questioned it. I stood up for doing the right thing. Since everyone else signed, no one else had a problem. No one would help me take this blemish off my record even though I tried to do the right thing so how could I protect myself under similiar circumstances as a member of the school board?

Good Samaritan Hospital

I'd enjoy working at Good Samaritan Hospital. The people are all there to serve and help others. They are intelligent, active, busy, and doing what they believe in. I'd love to be part of it. I've applied in the past for probably over 35 jobs that I am qualified for but I've never received a phone call to even come in for an interview. I have a bachelors degree in social science. I'd love to eat in the great cafeteria with all the great food choices.

Alsea School

The Alsea School is one of three school districts in the state of Oregon without a federal school lunch program. The Corvallis Gazette Times ran a story on the front page last Sunday about this issue.

I believe there should be a federal program that is free for any child who needs it to make sure that children have the nutrition they need in order to learn. Many school districts all over the United States have federal school lunch programs. I believe that it is the easiest way to solve the problem of getting food to the students.

The meals that have been provided over the years have had a charge of $2.00 to $2.50, which those who would qualify for the free program cannot afford. Volunteers through the years have worked hard to cook meals for the kids but it takes more volunteer manpower to cook these meals than if they would just hire a cook, which would give someone a job who needs it. The meals that have been provided at a price haven't been offered every day.

Some say that the people are coming up with money to pay for the meals for those who can't afford it but I have talked to students who say that some children go hungry. Pride is the reason I think.

I've been told that as much as over 50% would qualify years ago. Then I heard that the figure was 25%. In the article in the Gazette Times, it lowered the figure even more to 10 to 15%. Even if the lower figure is true, it is too many children not receiving help.

I've lived in Alsea for 7 1/2 years and have talked to many people about this. I've written letters for grants to the Gates Foundation and to Myers Trust. I'm not a professional grant writer but I alerted them to the need. Nothing happened. I spent time talking to a gentleman at the Clemens Foundation in Philomath who was also concerned and said that they would be happy to pay for the cost of setting up the needed lunch room but the Alsea School has to want it. I've talked to state politicians about this issue. I've talked to people who live here. I've talked to the school board.

In my opinion, the list of excuses don't outweigh the strong need for nutrition for children who are in school who may not receive it at home.I've been told that the Corvallis School District offered to truck meals to the school but it was refused. I've been told that a local sherrif deputy offered to transport milk from Corvallis but it was refused.The former school board president, Brian Leavitt seems to be the strongest voice against the federal school lunch program since he goes to Salem to lobby before the legislature. He's also the minister of the Church of Christ in Lobster Valley close to Alsea. He's the Fire Chief. He's a federal marshall. I don't understand this. He volunteers a lot to help people in the community. It doesn't make any sense to me.

I sincerely hope that someone provides the funds needed to set up the program so that the Alsea School can qualify. It said in the article in the Corvallis Gazette Times that it would take $250,000 to make it happen plus the salaries of two employees. Anyone out there with deep pockets and a heart who cares?


How am I? I am just fine. I am a very strong person and amazingly resilient no matter what comes at me. I adjust. I survive. I find activities to keep busy that work into my schedule.

Writing is a constant and necessary to finding meaning in my life. I'm working on four novel length manuscripts at this time, all in different stages of revision. Getting lost in my writing helps and heals life that is going on around me that may be difficult.

I'm excited about my garden this summer and I'm looking forward to seeing vegetables, fruit, and flowers grow. I'm excited to taste my first tomato and eating my first handful of peas in the pod as I stand in my gardening watering.

I am concentrateing on helping Les to make sure he has what he needs, to drive him where he needs to go, and be supportive. I want him to get better and to heal so he can have fun doing what he enjoys.

Life is good even though sometimes it poses challenges that are difficult and not easy. I look forward to the good that this year brings.


During a crisis, family gather together to support. When Les was in the hospital, Daniel flew out from Ohio to spend a couple of days to be supportive. Gretchen visited three times and called often to talk to Les. Ben called and kept in touch often. Jeanine, Les' sister near Chicago called and kept in touch.

I wish all our family could live on the same street so I could invite everyone to dinner often. No chance of that. Everyone has a busy life and work in other states so it just isn't possible. In my dreams................


Les is doing much better and adjusting to dialysis. He had acute renal failure and we don't know why. The doctors don't have answers yet. They have taken every test but no clear answers yet. He got out of the hospital on Tuesday. He spent over a week in the hospital. I'm learning lots of new vocabulary words and I'm learning about new medical issues that will probably find its way into novels in the future.


While Les was in the hospital at Good Samaritan, our son, Daniel flew out from Ohio for a couple of days to help us. He arranged for records to be sent from OHSU to the doctors and set up Google Health for Les plus a similiar medical account with Microsoft. It was great to see him. It was comforting to see him. I know that Daniel didn't have the time since he's always so busy but he makes time for what is most important to him. He's always been my hero. I've always admired everything that he stands for and everything that he is. He's such a good person. I miss him. I wish I could live near Daniel. He's thoughtful and kind and good and brilliant and has great ideas.

Friday, March 06, 2009

If I built a hospital...

If I built a hospital I would do things differently.
1. It would have a large fitness center that all staff at the hospital, patients, and visitors can use. It would have a huge lap pool and plenty of aerobic and weight machines.
2. It would have a wing just dedicated to families of patients to check them out to see how they are doing and monitor their health to give them needed care.
3. It would have a free healthy snack cart 24/7 for anyone coming onto each hospital floor.
4. It would have consultations that include family with printouts of what's wrong with the patient with daily updates for the family. All doctors and anyone dealing with the patient would meet in a circle conference exchanging what is needed for care and families can sit in. The families would be notified of these daily meetings so they can listen and receive daily printouts about their family member.
5. It would have hospital beds that are much different than the normal hospital beds. My beds would have biomedical devises to passively exercise the body to prevent problems that come from not moving for prolonged periods of time. You would be cradled in the bed in comfort but the bed would have the ability to move limbs and massage body.
6. And of course, my hospital would have free health care for anyone walking in the door because that is the RIGHT thing to do. Care and prevention is first priority. No one would have to worry about losing their house and everything they have because of large hospital bills.


Les is at Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis. He's been there since Monday. He's been growing gradually weaker over the last three months. He had a bunch of blood tests last month at OHSU that didn't reveal anything significant. He talked to his doctor in Salem last Thursday or Friday and she didn't say it was urgent. Les wanted to wait to come in to the Benton County Health Department on Monday. I called at 8 a.m. and they made an appointment for him at 3 p.m. When we got there, there wasn't an appointment available but someone talked to us and told us we should go to the emergency room at Good Samaritan so we did. I'm sure glad we did.

Everyone at Good Samaritan Hospital has been so nice and are doing everything they can to figure out what's wrong. He's had every test in the book with specialists to monitor and consult. He's now on dialysis, which was a shock. He had acute kidney failure but they don't know the cause yet. He's had an EKG, eco cardiogram, CT scan, ultra sound, and yesterday he went for an MRI because they wonder if he had a stroke. He's been through a difficult time. I've been there every day for hours to see him. Yesterday, we played a short game of canasta but he wasn't able to continue. He's ordering his own meals and having fun with that. He feels like he's on a cruise ship without the rudder.

He's getting much better and stronger. When he comes home, he'll concentrate on getting well, follow dietary restrictions, and do what he wants. We haven't found out yet what caused the problems in the first place. It's a medical mystery so far but everyone is doing everything they can to figure it out. We're waiting to get medical records faxed to Good Samaritan from OHSU and Benton Health Department to help the doctors. Everyone is working hard to find answers.

I'm worried about what the cost of all this care and if we will lose our home and be booted out on the street. At 61, I don't want to live under a bridge or on the street. I sure hope President Obama gets the health care system fixed so there is free health care for everyone just like there is in Canada and England and the rest of Europe. Emphasis should be on prevention and no one should have to go without medical care.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Medical Safety Net

There isn't a medical safety net for millions of people here in the United States without insurance. I have hope that President Obama will change this.

Right now my husband is having a medical crisis. The Benton County Health Department told him not to come back. A letter to one of the doctors at the Lincoln Clinic by my husband was ignored asking for help. Good Samaritan Hospital told him not to come back. He challenged many items on his bill that showed double billing, a charge from a doctor who didn't even treat him, and other disparities. What do you do?

In Canada and European countries, the care of the patient comes first and doctors don't even think about the money. They think about helping, curing, and finding ways to solve the medical problem but not in this country. Greed rules in the United States.

He called his doctor on Friday in Salem and she told him to get a test done if the problems persist in two weeks. He needs to be seen now. As soon as it is 8 a.m., I'll call around to find SOMEONE to help him. Is compassion tossed in the garbage these days?

All people need to have the medical care they need without thought of money or having to lose their home to pay medical bills. Instead people have to ignore symptoms which makes things rise to an emergency. There is considerable stress in not having the opportunity to receive care. Focus should be on prevention and care of the patient.


I visited Seattle by Amtrak on February 25th and came back on the 27th. I had a great time visiting my son, Ben for my birthday and to meet my newest grandchild, Anna Rose. Anna is such a good little baby and such a beautiful little girl. I can't get over how smart and alert she is at only two weeks old. I got some beautiful pictures that are precious to me.

Joan Stradling

Congratulations to Joan Stradling for winning the Simon and Schuster Children's Book Contest for her book, WHO INVITES A PIG TO DINNER? She wins $1000 from Cheerios. I'm very happy for you, Joan. Your win is richly deserved.