Sunday, August 30, 2009

Big Brother

I watch Big Brother every year and get all involved. It would be fun to be on the show. It's the ultimate test, in my opinion, of being in a group and around other people. It's a show for young people and it's fun to watch. They should have a Boomer Big Brother.

My favorites are Jeff and Jordan. Number one is Jeff. Number two is Jordan. My third favorite is Kevin. I hope that Jeff or Jordan win.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy

I have always admired the Kennedy family. Senator Ted Kennedy has been an inspiration to me for years with his tireless leadership, public service, and working on great causes to help people.

My son, Aaron wrote to Senator Kennedy when he was around 5 or 6 and sent him a valentine. Senator Ted Kennedy wrote back and sent him a letter and autographed picture. I will always treasure the photo. The fact that he would take the time to answer a little boy says it all.

When I started homeschooling my children in Arroyo Grande, California in 1978 and created the curriculum, I asked myself, "What would go into the curriculum of a school that would be good enough for the Kennedy children?" Without a lot of money or resources, I tried to create a curriculum that I thought would do it. It was a Kennedy-inspired curriculum.

The greatest way to honor Senator Ted Kennedy now would be for the Senate to work together to put single-payer health care into law NOW, for all people to have care, to put emphasis on prevention, and to end GREED.

Senator Orin Hatch

I called the office of Senator Orin Hatch this morning in Washington, D.C. and left a message with staff for the Senator. I called to urge the Senator to use his leadership and years in the Senate to work for single-payer health care to honor Senator Ted Kennedy.

Two nights ago around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., I was up working on a writing project. Fox News was on in the other room. I walked by and stopped as Senator Hatch was speaking about everyone in the Senate working together to honor Senator Ted Kennedy and work on single-payer health care. I was surprised because I had the impression that Senator Hatch, up until now, was uncompromising unless it was his way, his answers, his solution. I'm pleasantly pleased.

I urge Senator Hatch to do the right thing and work hard to bring concensus in the Senate for single-payer health care.

We have the opportunity today, a moment in time that may never return, to work for real health care reform that puts people first, care first, prevention first.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy

There is no greater way to honor Senator Ted Kennedy than for everyone in the House and Senate to work together to pass health care reform—real health care reform—single-payer health care so that all people who live in the United States are protected and have health care. Senator Kennedy’s whole life was an inspiration working for others in public service. Honor Senator Kennedy. Put differences aside. Put others first, instead of greed.

You can make it happen. In the last election, many said it was impossible to elect President Obama. It happened. Health care reform can happen too. Nothing is impossible. All you need to do is unite, work together, and put others first. Senator Kennedy’s life would be honored if health care reform is passed that puts care first, prevention first, and cuts self-interest and greed.

Please honor Senator Ted Kennedy by passing single payer health care!

Senator Jeff Merkeley

Outside the Salem Public Library on Wednesday late afternoon, a volunteer was collecting signatures for single-payer health care. I signed. I was there with my daughter, Gretchen and grandchildren, Jack and Lizzy. As I was signing, I spoke to the man collecting signatures and found out that he went to dinner with Senator Jeff Merkeley. He said that Jeff Merkeley is supporting single-payer health care. I felt so proud of my new senator from Oregon. It takes great courage as a new Senator to work hard for something so controversial, even if it is so right. I was so proud of him and proud that I had volunteered to elect Senator Merkeley.

There is no greater way to honor Senator Ted Kennedy than for everyone in the House and Senator to work for single-payer health care and pass it NOW. This is not impossible. Nothing is impossible if everyone unites and works together to do what is right.

I called Senator Merkeley today and asked him to work to pass single-payer health care to honor the great tradition and memory of Senator Ted Kennedy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama is the greatest President we have ever had in the history of the United States. He became President at a time when a hero and leader was needed that would change the world and bring justice to our land. He has moved flawlessly and yet everyone taunts him. I shake my head when I hear that he “throws like a girl,” and that he wears “mommy jeans.” Ridiculous! He’s perfect as he is. The greatest leaders in the history of the world who have corrected great wrongs and injustice were NEVER appreciated or liked at the time.

President Obama lives a scandal-free life. He’s calm under pressure. He is brilliant. He can speak to all people. He has a family that can only be admired. He inspires. Yet those who live in the realm of superstition and who point fingers, instead of correcting their own faults, taunt, harass, yell, and criticize. These same people who speak the loudest are many who brought our country down and everyone’s dreams with it. President Obama has corrected and is responsible for bringing a healing in our country. Still Democrats in both the U.S. Representatives and Senate refuse to support him. Shame on them! Rep. from Oregon, Peter DeFazio voted against the stimulus package. Where is support for all that President Obama is trying to accomplish?

Our country needs a single payer system of health care. Greed in all parts of our society must end. It is destroying our way of life and the future of all. There must be a cap on profits. The richest must pay their fair share. Businesses and individuals must have tax loop holes plugged so they must pay for the opportunity to live in the United States and for doing business. In Oregon the legislature, this last session, put a tax of 1/10th of 1% and businesses squealed as if in pain. Churches expect their members to pay tithing of 10% of their earnings, even if they don’t have any extra money to pay their own bills. “Pay tithing and your blessings will come,” is a common refrain. The richest individuals and the businesses with the most profit must pay for the health care of all and for a basic standard of living for all.

Accountability is needed. I think there are a few too many nonprofits with too many hands in the pot.

There should be no homeless. All children have a right to a quality education and have the right to go on to a university. Universities should be free because all people have the right to develop their gifts and talents. It will make our country greater and stronger. Emphasis on prevention and building the resources of the best and the brightest should be a priority. The elderly and children should be protected.

Too many things have been wrong for a long time. These wrongs need to be righted and President Obama is the one to do it. I believe in him.

President Bush went on vacation all the time. President Obama has a right to take a vacation.

Michael Jackson

It has been determined that Michael Jackson was murdered by his doctor, says television newscasters. Doctors need to be held accountable for irresponsibly using medications and drugs causing harm and death. So little about medicine is evidence based. Ohio State University Medical School says only 15% of medicine is evidence based. Therefore, the rest is guess work.

So few doctors are held accountable for their harm. It’s funny that doctors want a cap on being sued for malpractice and yet they don’t want to see a cap on greed, on profits. More doctors need to be sued, lose their license to EVER practice medicine, and some need to be put in prison for deliberate, negligent malice. It should never be tolerated or condoned and yet it is every day.

The doctor who murdered Michael Jackson should be put in prison, if this is so.

Michael Jackson was such a cute little boy with such a great gift to sing and dance. It was sad that he didn’t appreciate that he was perfect as he was. The cloud of suspicion of child molestation hung over his reputation taking away from the greatness of his gifts and hard work.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Single Payer Health Care

We need single payer health care. Everyone needs to be assured that they have basic care. Emphasis should be on the patient, not on making sure enough money is made for the doctors and hospital. What irony that most hospitals are non-profits! At the very least we need the public option so that we can move towards universal health care and so that everyone is protected in this country with a safety net.

Spiritual Crisis

I’ve been going through a spiritual crisis the last few years. I was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2001. I had lots of people in my home for parties and dinners. I enjoyed visiting with people. I served in leadership positions and sang in the stake choir. I felt part of something wonderful. I felt like I had friends. The only people I associated with were members of this church so when I saw cracks in this perfect system and questioned, I was left without friends. When I sent letters to Salt Lake, Bishop Haslam of the Philomath Ward told my husband to shut me up and control me. My letters were about ethics and things that shouldn’t be happening in any church. I wanted answers. I learned that women aren’t respected and don’t have a voice. I learned a lot about this church that I didn’t know when I joined. I was sincere. At the last I was even serving a mission at the employment center in Salem helping people find employment and teaching workshops. It was odd that when we moved to Alsea during this, we weren’t asked to speak in church even though we wore missionary badges. I guess they don’t want anyone to hear what would come out of our mouths because we dared to question and speak the truth. All leaders are gods in this church. You can’t question their motives or ethics because whatever they do is the will of God, even if it is wrong. Yes, there are some nice people in this church but all Mormons are Mormons first before anything else.

I can't deal with religions that disrespect women. I believe answers are in empowering everyone so everyone feels uplifted and encouraged.

So after all this, I have kept myself at a distance from everyone. I have felt betrayed. I grew up going to the Lutheran Church every Sunday with my parents. I really don’t know where I belong. I guess I should just read books to try to figure it out.

To speed up the process I would like to go to one of the large conference rooms at OSU and invite religious leaders from the area plus people representing opposing points of view for debate to answer my questions. People might be interested in coming to have their own questions answered at a time when religions and churches fail to meet the needs of people to counter the increasing social isolation in this society. The LaSalle Stewart Center would be perfect.

Maybe the real answer is that I belong staying at home, writing, and reading to find answers.
I went into the 4-H office yesterday to meet with Tammy, the Director at the Extension Office for 4-H. She’s nice. I like her. I made an appointment to come in and meet with her about being a 4-H leader after talking to her on the phone a couple of days ago. After I got off the phone, I wrote up a curriculum of what I wanted to teach since they didn’t have any materials for a writing group.

This is what I thought should be included:
Elements that make up a meeting: 4-H meeting format, teaching writing craft, teaching graphic design and how to use Microsoft Publisher, writing exercises, grammar and vocabulary building, presentation by a student, learning to edit or critique, interview techniques, photography. Longer workshops could teach how to write creative non-fiction, essays, news writing, articles, interviews, and create Power Point presentations. Some of the writing projects that could be produced as a club: create a newsletter using Microsoft Publisher 2 to 4 times a year, submit articles to the Extension Newsletter, submit articles to the Alsea Valley Voice, encourage submission to magazines and ezines, visit the Corvallis Gazette Times to talk with reporters and editors, self-publish a book each year composed of essays, interviews, articles and creative non-fiction on sale at, create videos of mock interviews, start magazine for other 4-H clubs in Oregon to submit articles, visit magazines. Ways to mix other 4-H club elements with Writing Club—during long meetings bake something together, visit Neo Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis to interview experts and write articles, prepare questions to ask experts, like an entomologist.

I enjoyed my visit with Tammy. I thought it would be fun to be a 4-H leader again. The problem is that I don’t have any references. I need three. I don’t have any close friends or chums or buddies. I haven’t done anything against the law or caused harm so that’s not a problem but I have kept people at a distance the last few years. I’ve been going through a spiritual crisis. From 1995 through 2001, I was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had students involved with a newsletter and taught workshops for them. I was a Primary President and wrote a nativity play that we performed. All my friends were in this church but when I started to question the ethics and practices, I was shunned. I had no friends left. I was hurt, betrayed, and vulnerable so I have kept myself at a distance from everyone.

So I guess I’m back to square one. It was a nice idea. I wanted to feel needed and contribute to empowering children. I love to teach and I miss opportunities to teach. I guess I have enough to do to keep me busy. I’m having fun with the Alsea Valley Voice. I have a lot to do in my garden and take care of my home and watch out for my husband. I guess I’m backing into my cocoon again to nurse my wounds. When I whine like this, I’m not good for anyone anyway. I have a lot to do. I need to concentrate on losing weight, eating healthy, exercising a lot more, writing more, reading more, decluttering, and make my house spotless. That should be enough to keep me busy but my heart keeps yearning to be involved, contribute, make a difference, teach, and do more than I am doing now. It would help so much to have a good friend to talk things over with who would encourage me and want me to win. I think friends are rare and I’m not sure I have ever had a real friend for very long in my life, if ever. The only friend I have in the world is Leslie, my husband. That’s it. So I’ll concentrate on trying to make him happy. I love being around my kids but they are active and busy. They do what they can. Daniel calls often and listens to me. Benjamin sent me three train tickets this year to come visit. Gretchen calls. Sometimes I get to talk to Joe. I love them all. They are the best people I know.

Cell Phone Tower

Alsea needs a cell phone tower on top of South Mountain Road. There are no cell phone towers in the area. In some places in Alsea, there are dead zones where no communication is possible by any means. Even the Sheriff Department is unable to communicate in some areas. This is dangerous. Emergency responders need to be able to communicate through as many ways as possible. A cell phone tower is needed for everyone.

I once asked a worker from Pioneer Telephone, our telephone company in the area and he said that they don’t want a cell phone tower in the area. I guess they want the monopoly on the business. Is this really kosher when it is a matter of public safety? This is not okay.

I brought up this issue in the Emergency Preparedness meeting in Alsea that met in the library on Tuesday evening. One leader in the community said it was impossible and that it can’t be done. I have a hard time understanding people who respond with this kind of rhetoric. I think if there is a problem, everyone should work towards figuring out answers and a way to make it happen.


I think medicine is in the dark ages. I recently heard that 15% of medicine is evidence based which means that it is something that can be proven. This means to me that most of medicine is guessing. We pay the big bucks for no one finding answers, making guesses, or causing harm! Add to this the fact that many doctors see how many patients they can see in an hour giving only 10 minutes per patient and you've got disaster with no one reading the files, researching solutions or answers. We've got a major problem in this country and we're paying for it through bankruptcy and worse.

We need single payer health care in this country. All human beings deserve care and there shouldn't be concern about the bottom line and profit. Care, no matter how deficient, needs to be at the top of the list.

500 pages a day

There is a 9 year old girl named Mia who was featured in the Corvallis Gazette Times on August 18. She goes to Ashbrook Independent School, the best school in the area, in my opinion for gifted and talented children. Mia is clearly a gifted child who is soaring even at 9 years old. She inspires me and makes my heart happy.

As a challenge to students at Ashbrook School, the kids are supposed to read 50 pages a day during the summer. Mia has no problem with that because she's reading an average of 500 pages a day and her Dad thinks that's a conservative estimate. Cool! She's so cute. When I think it is too daunting to read 100 pages a week for a writing critique group plus all I am doing, all I have to do is think about Mia. She inspires me.

During the school year, Mia reads 200 pages a day in addition to keeping up with the intensive academic curriculum at Ashbrook School, playing the piano, and gymnastics.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health Care Reform

I’ve been shocked and amazed at the conflict with passing health care reform. Money from groups who have a vested interest in keeping the current system has poured into advertising and given to people who will rally for and support their cause.

What shocks me is that the people who often show up in town hall meetings vehemently support the current system probably could benefit from real change. Many of these individuals are fearful of socialism. If socialism means a basic level of care for all Americans, then I’m for it. I don’t think that in this great country, there should be homeless or children going hungry or people going bankrupt over needed health care. This shouldn’t be tolerated.

There needs to be a cap on greed in this country. It’s not okay for the wealthiest Americans to not give back and pay taxes on their millions of dollars in profit. Hiding assets is common and unfair when so many Americans are in great need. Medical costs are out of control and must be brought into line. All Americans deserve care. Priority should be placed on patient care.

The richest Americans feel they should get to keep all their pennies. I don’t agree. The wealth in this country is in the hands of 1% of the population. I agree with President Obama that those who make over $250,000 a year should pay their fair share of taxes. Tax loop holes need to be closed. It shouldn’t be okay to be able to take profits out of the country and hide money in Swiss banks or in a bank in the Caribbean. If you do business in the United States, you should pay to bring the standard of living up for all Americans.

I don’t have health care. My only choice is to eat healthy and exercise. I don’t have a doctor. If something happens to me, I’m done for. This shouldn’t be tolerated. Every human being is valuable and has the potential of being productive. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows how when one is hungry or isn’t given basic care, they aren’t able to be the best they can be and reach their highest potential. A basic level of care should be given to all Americans so everyone can reach their dreams.

I have my bachelor’s degree and I’d love to work on my master’s degree or go on to earn a Ph.D. There’s no way I can afford this. A university education should be free, in my opinion. I love to learn and I would love to go back to school but it’s impossible the way things are now.

I support single payer health care because I think that a basic level of care should be given to all Americans. So you might have to wait a little bit. I don't have care now. Waiting would be better than no care.

What's this about the death panels that they bring up in the news? Comfort care has been alive and strong in Oregon the last few years under President Bush and Republicans in power. My mother-in-law, Sadelle Haber was coded comfort care when there was nothing medically wrong. Family was not notified. Food and water was withdrawn and morphine given for the pain of dying. This is called comfort care in Oregon. We rescued her in time to save her but this can happen and has happened to many elderly in the last few years when their money runs out! This has nothing to do with health care reform and President Obama. This has been going on for years!


My son, Benjamin and his wife, Amanda sent train tickets as a gift to Les and I so we could come and visit Anna. She’s our newest grandchild and she just turned six months old. This is the third time I’ve gone to visit Anna on the train since she was born. I love spending time with her. She’s so good, so cute, and so smart. I wish I lived closer but I am so grateful to Ben that I get to see her so often.

Ben’s an amazing father. He’s always been there for Anna since she was born. He took time off work so he could care for her and spend time with Amanda. Anna waits for Ben to come home from work and I know it’s hard for him to not take her with him to Zymo Genetics. I'm glad that Amanda can stay home with Anna.

I love Green Lake, Ballard, and Seattle. I love the walking trail around Green Lake. I love the energy and intelligence of the people of Seattle. I love the great restaurants. While we were there, Ben and Amanda took us out to eat at Kidd Valley and Spuds in Green Lake, and Portage Bay in Ballard—some of my favorite places to eat.

The train makes it so much easier to travel. You can relax and not worry about the traffic between Alsea and Seattle driving on the freeway. Many business people travel on the train every day to meetings or to work. The dining car has a great menu. It’s fun to watch out the window. I love sitting on the western side of the train so I can see all the water from Olympia up to Seattle. Many students on the train bring their laptops and work. I enjoy reading on the train.

Northwest Nut Growers

Les and I attended the Northwest Nut Growers Summer Tour on August 5th in Corvallis. I learned a lot about Hazelnuts and want to plant a few trees on our acreage.

Hazelnut Hill was my favorite stop on the tour. Sally and Rob Hilles’ farm is located at 27939 Highway 99W, south of Corvallis. Their phone number is 541-754-565. It’s worth a trip to visit Hazelnut Hill with your family and friends to stop for a hazelnut ice cream sundae or chocolate covered hazelnuts at their shop. I was sooooo impressed with Sally and Rob Hilles as they spoke to the large group of members of Northwest Nut Growers. Their intelligence, inventive solutions, and commitment to running a sustainable farm are impressive. Rob Hilles has invented equipment and found ways to increase the yield of his hazelnut tree orchard. They are both dynamic speakers.

I learned that it is possible to grow an observation research plot for Oregon State University and receive free hazelnut trees. Such a deal! If you have room for a few nut trees, call Dave Smith in the Horticulture Department at OSU at 541-737-2702.
Join the Northwest Nut Growers for only $15 a year so you can attend these great tours with expert speakers and receive important information about growing nut trees. Write to the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, 21595 A Dolores Way NE, Aurora, Oregon 97002 or e-mail or look at the great website at I’m impressed and you will be too.

Poison Ivy

I’ve had a bad rash from the poison ivy I touched in my garden. I read in a book by Readers Digest called THE HEALING POWER OF FOOD about the use of honey for wounds, rashes, and skin problems. It was used in ancient Egypt for wounds and skin problems. I decided to use it and found that it takes away the itch and heals the skin. I think it’s much better than taking Benedryl or using Benedryl cream. It’s messy though so I need to wrap up my arm in a towel and it isn’t going away as fast as I want.