Friday, August 12, 2016

Summertime Ends!

Vacations are over and school is back in session! It ended up being a somewhat stressful season. It started with a car wreck, then my dad had a horrible bout of pneumonia--so bad that I really didn't think he would make it through--to my daughter being hospitalized. But I have to say, it ended with the most peaceful couple of days at the beach that I have experienced!

I came of age very close to a beach resort area. As a teen, it was wonderful and very quaint, but by the time I was an adult, people were shoulder to shoulder along the sand and large condos and towering hotels lined the beach blocking it from view. When I took my kids to the sea and surf, I took them far down the beach to the state park, but even it suffered from over-crowding.

So imagine my surprise in finding a beach resort that harked back to the quaint in Florida of all places. We could walk out of the door of our hotel, look to the left, and see beach and ocean a block away. No big high rises. No blocking hotels. We were on the edge of a state park which I think helped prevent development and the area must have decided to restrict building to maintain its quaintness.

It was absolutely peaceful. We asked the hotel staff, "Where are all the people?" "Oh, its always like this," was the response. Somewhat skeptical, we asked fellow guests. The response was the same. One set of guests came every year so they should know! We walked out in the evening, sat on benches lining the beachfront, listened to distant music played by an outside band, and let the night breeze waft across our bodies. In the morning, we returned to the benches to watch the sun rise above the Atlantic.

I still feel sorrow at having to leave such a place. I want to return next year and spend more than a couple of days as just those few hours seem to have recharged me. When stress and life's difficulties become too much, try to find peace. Somewhere. Anywhere. The beach experience has made me realize that I have to find peace here at home, too. I've always been big on nature and the outdoors, but for a time I apparently forgot about it. My summertime beach stay has reminded me that we can't let life overwhelm us and nature often has the answers when no one else does. Go outside and take the time to breathe.

Friday, July 8, 2016


“In our thirst for Freedom, let us not drink from the cup of bitterness and anger.”  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

You know, not all white people hate black people. Not all black people hate white people. In this day and age, the color of one's skin is an excuse people utilize to release psychopathic tendencies of unreasonable hatred whether one is a criminal or a police officer.

If a black person killed me thinking to make a statement against prejudiced white people, a mistake would have been made for I have friends of color. I like all kinds of people. I don't look at religion, race, or ethnicity to determine my likes or dislikes. I look for honesty, respect, and intelligence. I am equally horrified at injustice no matter who the victim. Somehow it makes it worse when the crime is perpetrated by a police officer because the officer is a person of authority upon whom we should be able to trust and depend. A crime committed by a police officer or two does not excuse the shooting of random cops in another city. The shooter does not know if he is shooting decent people or not, just as a person killing me wouldn't know how I felt about others.

My son knows no boundaries when it comes to people and never meets a stranger no matter their color or beliefs. When he was about ten, he shaved his head, and I worried that he would be hurt by others because they might think he was a skinhead. Sure enough, he was cornered in the school bathroom and attacked by a black boy. Racially, the school makeup was something like 95% blacks. Should I have blamed all the black children at that school? Should I think that all, or even most, of the black children hated my son because he was white? Should he? What possible good would that accomplish? To this day, his best friend is a boy of brown color. People need to get a grip. If someone kills someone else, it shouldn't matter what the skin colors are, and the killer should be brought to justice. Killing random strangers as a 'protest' makes no sense. It is a lame excuse. Not to mention the ones who would have seen to that justice may have just been killed!

I'm a white woman and, believe it or not, I've faced prejudice. Does that define me? No. Should it? No. Have I faced prejudice as perhaps a black woman has faced it? Probably not. But how would you know? You don't know what I've experienced in my life. Should prejudice define that black woman? No. People cannot let hate define them! When we do that, it is giving the people who hate a victory.

In America, people like to think that it is the only place in the world where there is still prejudice. I have news for you, elsewhere in the world battles have been raging for thousands of years, and there appears to be no end in sight, because of race, religion, and ethnicity. It is nothing new. But in our cities we are fortunate as we do not dodge bullets daily nor fear bombs exploding in our faces. Why? Because we fight for our rights through our legal system. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. How could it be when it is run by people? And people have never been perfect. But America is better by far than other places in the world. Does it need improvement? Sure. But the only way for that to happen is to stick together no matter one's race, religion, or ethnicity. Stop playing the blame game, and blaming those not involved, and simply prosecute those who commit the crimes.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Medication and Disorders

Two decades ago, I called my grandfather who had moved into an assisted living facility after the death of my grandmother when he was in his early eighties. I lived over 750 miles away, and I had only ever seen my grandfather once or twice a year because of the distance, but he was a prolific letter writer. He didn't answer. As with any elderly loved one, I was concerned. After not being able to reach him, I contacted the facility only to be informed that he had been admitted to a psych ward. What? Yes, I was told, he has Alzheimer's. Impossible, said I. He's too old to suddenly develop Alzheimer's. No, he's got it and got it bad. I said, no, he has bi-polar, but there's no way he has Alzheimer's. I was told I would need to talk to someone else. Okay.

I finally reached his doctor. Keep in mind this was pre-HIPPA. Now, I have nothing against foreigners, but between a heavy accent and the attitude toward women, I had a difficult time understanding how the diagnosis had been reached. I called repeatedly. I have to say that the doctor probably hated my guts. After a couple of months, I finally discovered that my grandfather's medication had been altered, and that's when he had gone off the rails. You don't think that would have anything to do with his sudden change in behavior? I asked. No, I am the one with the multiple degrees in medicine. You don't know what you're talking about, I was told. Having a degree does not mean one has any common sense, I responded. Yes, I'm sure he hated me.

Along with one of his daughters, I went to visit my grandfather to assess his situation. The last time I had seen him, which had only been six to eight months, he had been mobile and had all his teeth. He was then in a wheel chair, they'd let his teeth rot out, and for the four days we were there, he never once was bathed or changed. I was horrified. He recognized me but not his own daughter. He was definitely unbalanced, but he begged me to help him. To this day, it was the saddest thing I had ever seen.

His daughter and I finally gained control of him and moved him into a nursing home near where we lived. We had to sign multiple documents stating we would not sue anyone before the local doctor would finally agree to switch my grandfather back to his previous medication for his bi-polar disorder. Almost immediately, my grandfather returned to his normal self. No Alzheimer's. With physical therapy, he regained enough strength to walk and lived quite happily for his few remaining years.

Then last year, I moved my elderly aunt from Tennessee to Missouri. She has COPD, is on oxygen, and only takes medication for her breathing. The trip was difficult on her. She quit eating, drank excessively, became disoriented and confused. Within days, I had her at the hospital. She went completely nutso. Not a medical term, I know, but she did. Walking naked in the halls crazy. She refused treatment. For days she didn't eat. They refused to strap her down and stick an IV in her. I was infuriated. She needed nutrition and, I thought, probably antibiotics. The only thing they wanted to give her was anti-psychotic drugs. What? Why? I asked. Because she obviously has dementia. No, I said, she is not normally like this. She's just like you or me, well, a little eccentric maybe, but definitely not crazy. All of the medical personnel didn't believe me. Refused to believe me. I didn't know what I was talking about, etc. Sound familiar? It was incredibly frustrating. It took five months before I found a doctor who actually listened to me. Then he strapped her down, stuck an IV in her, gave her antibiotics and nutrition. Basically re-balanced all her body chemicals. Guess what? Are you ready? That's dementia! No crazy. Does not need anti-psychotics!

I am writing this because an elderly cousin was recently diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's after being hospitalized for a mild heart attack. I said, but she's too old to suddenly develop Alzheimer's. The cousin I was talking to said that she had become forgetful over the past year. I said, okay, well, here's the story of my grandfather. Please be sure that it has nothing to do with medication. Through the phone I could feel the resistance to my idea, and it really depressed me. A month later my cousin was put into rehab and they changed her medication. Guess what? That's right, no Alzheimer's. No dementia. Apparently after the death of her husband they put her on anti-depressants. Completely understandable. Then she became forgetful, etc., but it was due to the medication. I managed to NOT say I told you so. Until now that is.

I would think that there are many people located in Alzheimer's wards who are there because of medication rather than truly having a disease. But they have no advocate. No one to say, hey, he/she wasn't like this just six months ago, so this is impossible. Medication has a tremendous effect on our body and our brain. We have become an over-medicated nation. I am not opposed to a prescription drug if it is truly necessary. I just think that doctors are too quick to prescribe medicine before trying other methods, and then when a medication is changed, they are too quick to say 'oh, it's disease X and not medication.'

If your loved one has been or you know someone who has been suddenly diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's, please be an advocate. Step up and say, hey, are you sure? Has a medication recently been changed, taken away, or added? If so, maybe try something different just to be sure that a disease is truly present. Good luck!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Dog Diet

For some a dog diet might sound strange. Even perhaps odd. My son said, "Are you eating the dog?" Laughing, I responded, "No, I'm walking the dog." No matter how you look at it, dogs affect our lifestyle and, if you let them, our weight.

So let's say you've already tried every diet in the world to lose a few pounds. Naturally, nothing worked. Then you get a brand new pet. A dog. Any dog. Big dog, little dog, in between dog, it doesn't matter. You have to walk him every day at fixed times, and amazingly you will lose weight!

It has been shown that regular and daily 10 to 15 minute walks are the best diet of all. You don't even have to change your eating habits. You just have to move. Now walking by yourself can be boring and people tend to stop. But with a must continue. The dog will insist on his walk each day. Sometimes  he will even bring you the leash!

So all the money for gyms and personal trainers can go back in the savings account. All you need is a dog. With little effort at all, you'll feel like a new person, be healthier, have a new friend, and be a few pounds lighter.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

.99 Bargains at Smashwords

Death by Chocolate by Sally Berneathy

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Lindsay Powell loves chocolate. It tastes good, it makes her feel good, it never cheats on her like her almost-ex husband. But someone wants her dead and uses her inability to resist chocolate to try to murder her. As Lindsay battles an elusive stalker, poisoned chocolate, and a dead man who isn't very dead, she will need more than a chocolate fix to survive.

Gawain and The Green Knight
by Ben Gillman

Inspired by the classic medieval poem - After an impossibly powerful spectral Green Knight puts King Uther Pendragon's kingdom in peril, the mighty Sir Gawain embarks on a quest to slay blood-thirsty beasts, tangle with lovely ladies, and vanquish the devilish knight, but his greatest battle may be against his own foolish pride.

Trail Dust by John Miller

Joshua Brandt cuts ties in Tennessee and goes in search of his brother in the Wyoming Territory. Along the way he finds old friends and new enemies. A Texas judge lets him forge an unlikely team of U.S. Marshals. He leads them against train robbers, land-grabbers, and finds some unexpected ways to bring law, order, and justice to the West.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Apophis News

A devastating asteroid is about to rain destruction and chaos down on our world. Scientists create two groups to save mankind, our culture, and our technology. One group goes into stasis while the other heads to Mars. Centuries later, those in stasis wake up to find the Martians have invaded!

Click Here to Pre-Order from Amazon


The countdown has really begun for Apophis as the publication date of May 6th approaches. M. J. Joachim was kind enough to write an article about it on her blog here:

You can find all kinds of good things on her blog, such as writing tips, reviews & more (as the title states). Be sure to check her out.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Vegetable Gardening Tips

It's that time of year when we get our plants in the ground. Spring. I love it!

With the costs of living rising all the time, it's possible to save money and increase a family's health at the same time by growing vegetables in your backyard. Of course, it's a good idea to choose your favorite vegetables to grow. It does no good to plant veggies no one will eat! Plan beds for early, middle of the season and late varieties so your garden will work for you all season.

Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, some need 8, so be sure to check. Some quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available.

Throughout dry periods, gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting. During the growing season, watch for insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will be much easier to cure, but be careful to avoid pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked. I plant peppermint and spearmint in containers near my plants and never see a bug munching on them! It's a way to create a healthy and environment-friendly pesticide (or rather avoidance).

Once you've reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste in your compost pile so it can be recycled for next spring. I throw in a lot of my chicken manure too.

It is important to protect your garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support.

Follow these tips and your vegetable garden will yield a bountiful harvest. Happy planting!