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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/kenzie/sort_by/entry_order DESC, entry_creation_time DESC/page/6
by Kenzie
Rated: ASR · Book · Writing · #1160028
Fibro fog, pain, writing sandwiched in between. Quotes. Sermon notes. Encouragement.
A Texas Sunrise

Sunrise on Surfside Beach, Texas

A friend, William Taylor, took this picture. He visits Surfside Beach with his dogs almost every morning, watching the sun rise while the dogs prance about at the water's edge.

This is only about ten miles from where I lived in Lake Jackson, Texas. Sadly, I only visited this beach about four times in the six years I lived nearby.

Each day is a challenge. A challenge to get by without thinking about the fibromyalgia pains. A challenge to stay awake when chronic fatigure wants to take over. And a challenge to navigate through fibro fog.

I haven't been writing as much as in the past. For years, I wrote at least 500 words a day. Now, I'm lucky if I write 500 words in month. Sigh.

For more information about what my day (or life) is all about with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pains, IBS, depression and everything else thrown in, check this out:

It's a New Day  (E)
My pain and welcome to it.
#1028189 by Kenzie

Sunrise on Surfside Beach, Texas
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October 22, 2007 at 3:52pm
October 22, 2007 at 3:52pm
We had a good sermon at church on Suday. Our church is participating in the 40 Days of Community, and this was the third Sunday message in the series.

The message was about what builds and what destroys relationships.

1) The only people who will agree with you 100% of the time are dead people. Hmmm.

2) We need more courting before marriage (courting vs. dating, that is), and we might have less court proceedings after marriage. Hmmm.

3) It takes more effort to maintain a relationship than to begin one. Hmmm.

1 Peter 3:8 (GW)

"Live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble."

Good advice, don't you think?
October 18, 2007 at 11:52am
October 18, 2007 at 11:52am
Every week, I get emails about the fact that travel writing is one of the fastest growing parts of the writing world today. In the emails, of course, are all kinds of courses offered to help budding writers become travel writers. Some of the courses are pretty expensive, and you have to wonder if the end results would justify the cost.

Each email gives a snippet of advice, a teaser of what is being offered in the travel writing courses. Some of those teasers are quite good, although sometimes they're just ideas that common sense would present to anyone.

One of these common sense suggestions is for anyone wanting to be a travel to first begin close to home. That's much like the advice given to writers that says, "write what you know." That makes sense.

The other advice given freely is to look at your local attractions with tourists' eyes. I was thinking about that the other day when I discovered a bunch of pictures that I took when I lived in Lake Wales, Florida.

To read the rest of the story...

Become a Tourist - Lake Wales, Florida (Part 1)

Become a Tourist - Lake Wales, Florida (Part 2)
October 15, 2007 at 10:00pm
October 15, 2007 at 10:00pm
Sometimes the fibro and chronic fatigue just takes so much out of me.
October 9, 2007 at 11:45pm
October 9, 2007 at 11:45pm
Have I ever shared that I'm left-handed? Well, I am. So are lots of (other) brilliant folks. *Smile* I always remind folks that lefties are the only ones in their right minds.

Yesterday I saw a t-shirt I liked. "Everyone is born right-handed. Only the gifted overcome it." *Laugh*
October 6, 2007 at 11:53pm
October 6, 2007 at 11:53pm
Prayers requested - again or still - about my Social Security Disability claim. I got a copy of a letter the judge sent to my attorney today. As you'll recall, I had my hearing on July 15 and the judge was holding his decision until he got the reports from my psychologist and shrink. He was allowing 30 days for those reports and said he would decide 30 to 45 days after that. Right.

Know what they did? They threw away the request. I have never changed my name legally (since I married), but my insurance has my hubby's name on it. So, when the request came in with my maiden name on it, the office staff decided that I was not a patient and threw the stuff away. EVEN THOUGH IT HAD MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON IT TO IDENTIFY ME!!! And my address and phone number too. Grrr.

They finally turned in the papers and there were too many to fax, so they went out in the mail to the judge on about Sept. 15. Okay. The judge should have had them in a few days and the clock should have started ticking again for another 30 to 45 days for his decision.

Guess not. I guess since we didn't meet his first deadline, then all bets are off about when he'll finally decide.

As you might also recall, my own doctor, whom I have seen since I moved to Cincinnati at the end of 2004 decided that she would not fill out the forms I needed for the SSD hearing. She also suggested I needed to see a rheumatologist. Of course, she decided this when there was about 2 weeks until my hearing. When I tried to find a rheumatologist, I discovered that each on in our insurance plan was so backed up that the earliest appointment I could get was 6 months later. Didn't help...

My chiropractor ended up doing the paper work for me. And she did a great job. Her comments said that she was certainly qualified to access my physical abilities since she had seen me more than any other medical professional - over 44 times in the past 2 years. Sounds good, right?

So this latest letter says that since we're basing our claim on her report, the judge wants all of her notes, test results, etc. Of course, since she's a chirpractor, the judge probably knows that she didn't (can't?) do any tests. Except for maybe how much movement and pain I'm experiencing. Which is what she reported on.

We have another 30 days to get this new information in.

I'm thinking...since we have 30 days for that, I wonder if we can present some new info too. Probably not, huh? Grrr.
October 6, 2007 at 7:00pm
October 6, 2007 at 7:00pm
...the dinosaurs came. Inside joke. Something my son and I used to say to each other. Wanna know why? Guess you'll have ask.
October 5, 2007 at 4:46pm
October 5, 2007 at 4:46pm
Okay. Strange title. Let me explain.

I have been on the internet since 1999 and chatting and networking online with others who write ever since. Every time one of them starts blaming their ineptitude on or attributing their prowess to a "Muse", I tend to quietly retreat, backing out the door without comment. Today, I wondered why that word bothers me so much and decided to try to figure it out.

First, I have to admit that I love the word "muse" as a verb. I love the idea of meditating on something, ruminating upon and gazing wonderingly. I also love pondering, reflecting, mulling something over. I have been known to loiter in thought myself sometimes. I like those word pictures.

The next definition in most dictionaries is what bothers me, I guess. That's where Greek mythology comes into the picture. That's where Zeus' daughters are mentiond and where goddess presiding over a particular art is mentioned. Another definition is, a guiding spirit. That is definitely a problem for this Christian writer.

Lastly, the definitions show, genius or powers characteristic of a poet. A source of inspiration, is also mentioned, as is, a poet.

What I would like to discard is the middle part, the definition that refers to Greek gods and goddesses and to unknown spirits, but that's the definition most of our fellow writers are inferring when they use the word "muse." That, I am certain, is why I am uncomfortable with the word use, especially when it comes from the mouths (or pens) of Christian writers.

Usually one who claims a muse as his/her guiding source of writing materials equally places blame and fame to that muse for the writing. That has always confused me a bit. In instances other than writing and works of art, most people place blame but take credit.

Christian writers should be giving credit to God for inspiration and good writing materials. And we should be accepting our own foibles when we come up dry or when the pen is stalled on the page. Perhaps our connection to Him is temporarily weakened, and if so, it's not His fault but our own.

What are your thoughts on this?
October 3, 2007 at 8:03am
October 3, 2007 at 8:03am
Last night as hubby and I watched TV, I said, "I have a belly in my fire." We laughed, of course, but perhaps that slip of the tongue was more true than not.
October 3, 2007 at 12:38am
October 3, 2007 at 12:38am
Gather announces The Court TV Search for the Next Great Crime Writer Contest – an unpublished mystery/crime fictionwriter’s chance at a dream. One talented Gather member will have the opportunity to win a publishing and exclusive distribution contract with Borders, plus a $5000 cash advance! The only crime would be not to enter.http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977129969
October 1, 2007 at 12:57pm
October 1, 2007 at 12:57pm
Yes, I'm fartoost and farfuflet. Fartoost = bewildered, discombobulated (don't you love that word??!!??), seriously confused. Farfufket = befuddled, stunned, taken aback. And...I finally found a source of Yiddish words and phrases, so I could get fartoost spelled correctly. Yippee.

But, yes, I am discombobulated. Fartoost. Farfufket. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

There was a poll on the front page of my other stomping grounds that asked, "Do you support national healthcare for children?" I was surprised at the results, at least when I wrote about them. And I was even more suprised at the comments that came afterwards. I don't want to influence your comments, but really, I was surprised at how many adults don't give a darn whether kids have coverage or not. Period. At least at that other site. What about you?

I also wanted to share this because there are details of some of what I went through as a single mom that I have only mentioned in passing here.

Here's what I wrote. (By the way, I made the featured/front page with this one.)

Healthcare for Kids?

by Marilyn Mackenzie

The past few days, there has been a poll on the front page, inquiring about our thoughts about healthcare for kids.

The question is: Do you support national healthcare for children?

As I write, there have been 205 responses. 71% favor national healthcare for children. 16% said no. 9% said maybe. And 4% said I don't know.

Based on those numbers, 146 people were in agreement with having national healthcare for kids. This is for the 59 others, especially those 32 people who said, "No! No national healthcare for kids."

Even if you do not favor national healthcare for everyone, why would you oppose healthcare for every child? Have you ever had a sick child? Have you ever been without healthcare and had a sick child? Have you ever been without healthcare and had a sick child and had to figure out where to get the gas money to get to the doctor, how to pay the doctor and how to pay for the prescription? Just wondering.

Whether we like it not, whether we admit it or not, we have almost reduced our society (in the U.S.) to two distinct classes - the haves and have nots.

The haves have good jobs with somewhere between adequate and excellent healthcare benefits. They have equity in a home that they could borrow against if something major happened in their lives. They have some kind of savings, and probably some kind of investments that they could also tap if something major happened in their lives.

The have nots are the rest of our society.

1) The homeless, some who have chosen that lifestyle and some who have been surprised to find themselves there.

2) The persons unable to work because of physical or mental disorders.

3) The elderly who were not among the haves before they retired and now live on Social Security benefits only.

4) The working poor. They could be making minimum wage and trying to support themselves and their families. They could be making much more than minimum wage, but have an employer who reduced their hours to 29-32 per week, allowing said employer to drop any/all benefits usually given to full time employees. They could be contract workers who were once employed by the very company now contracting their time and abilities, but who now do not have to provide any benefits. The list of working poor is long. They have little equity in their homes, if they own homes. They could be renters. They most likely have huge credit card debts, huge car payments, and live pay check to pay check.

A "have" cannot understand what a "have not" experiences. We found that out when the first President Bush suddenly realized that bar codes were scanned at the cashier stand in the grocery. Out of touch? Absolutely. That was probably the first time that man had shopped in years.

And so it is with the "haves". Many have not ever had to think about how to feed the kids or how to put gas in the car to get to a doctor's appointment.

When I worked at the newspaper back in 2001, I wrote a guest column at Thanksgiving, called "Thanks Living." I had submitted one to the editor called, "Giving Thanks - Not" but he changed the title and took out a bit of my verboseness.

Here's one paragraph from that column: "Living in the United States, we are generally thankful for the level of prosperity our land of opportunity offers. And we truly believe that those who have not succeeded or reached our own level of worth have done something wrong or have chosen poverty over wealth. How wrong we are to feel that way."

Repeating: "And we truly believe that those who have not succeeded or reached our own level of worth have done something wrong or have chosen poverty over wealth."

Unfortunately, that is the level of thinking in many of today's "haves." They think the have nots have done something wrong, even if it's just not knowing how to get the services that they need. We - Americans - think that because we have worked hard and paid taxes that if something happens to change that, the government will step in and help us.

We don't realize that in most states, if one does not have minor children that the amount of serives available are limited. That's why there are people living on the streets who never intended to do so.

The "haves" think that there are ways for the "have nots" to get medical attention for their children now. In a way, they are correct. But I wonder if the "haves" understand how much the "have nots" have to jump through government hoops and how much red tape has to be traversed before those benefits begin?

Here's a personal experience as an example:

In the county where I lived, if one was without a job and had a minor child and needed healthcare for either the child or the child's parent/provider, one had to go to the county offices. There, one had to fill out forms, provide proof of residence, proof of identity, etc. Not a problem.

The office that took care of these things was only open for new applications about four hours a week. Now that could be a problem. First, it has to be a time when the "poor" folks can get there, can find a babysitter or know that he/she will have to drag the kid(s) along and entertain them in the waiting room. Second, taking applications for so few hours means a line of people waiting.

Once the paperwork was filled out, and an initial interview conducted with one person, the application had to be approved by another person. That person might or might not have time to do that on the same day. In my case, she did.

That meant a second interview, which, of course, included multiple lectures about the importance of finding a job, how to take care of my child, and on and on and on. By the end of our discussion, this woman almost had me convinced that I was a horrible mom, although I really did know otherwise.

After the approval, I had to wait another five days before my healthcare cards were ready. They could not be mailed. I had to visit the office again - this time during different hours, set aside for those picking up their healthcare cards.

It took about 30 minutes for the social worker to explain the "system" to me. As she finished, I asked, "Did I understand this properly? If my child or I have what would be considered a minor medical issue - like a sore throat - they we'll see a tele-doctor? We will come to this office - which means we need to get sick during YOUR office hours - sit in front of a computer screen and say, "Ahhhhhhh" in front of a web cam?"

"That's right, Marilyn. Minor medical problems are handled by the tele-doctor."

Who ever heard of such a thing??? I had hemroids. Woud that be considered a minor problem? Would I have to drop my drawers and point my derriere at the web cam? I didn't ask.

"And am I correct in understanding that anything that is more serious than a cold or sore throat, or once the tele-doctor has determined that we need to be seen by a real doctor, then we have to drive 45 miles to the medical center in another county?"

"That's right. We have a contract with that medical center."

"But we have a hospital and doctors here."

"But our contract is with that other medical center in that other county."

"Does that make sense?"

"That's the way it works."

"What about emergencies?"

"Oh you can go to the emergency room here in the middle of the night if you have to. But, really, if you have an emergency during the day, we prefer that you go to the medical center in the other county."

"45 miles away for an emergency?"

"That's what we prefer during the day."

Okay then. I made an appointment to see a doctor 45 miles away - because I already had the recommendation from the doctor I used to see when I had money. I was informed that I might or might not get to see a doctor on my first visit. First I had to see about three different people as they determined that I qualified for assistance there, that I had a medical problem, and that they could have me seen that day or schedule me for another day.

Perfect. I was going to drive 45 miles away and maybe not see a doctor. Back then, the gas prices weren't as bad as today. But when you're not working...I suddenly understood why, when I worked as a church secretary, so many people came in looking for gas money to get to the doctor's office. They were probably signed up for the county coverage.

I arrived at the medical center, found my way to the office where my appointment was scheduled, and checked in. I had a ten minute interview with the woman at the front desk, in clear view and ear shot of everyone in the waiting room. They all got to hear my personal stuff. I whispered my answers, and the woman behind the counter repeated them loudly. I figured it was another test. How much can we make a poor person wiggle and squirm before she breaks?

Even though I had my county's brandy new medical card, and even though they contacted that county office to verify that I did have the coverage, I did not see a doctor that day. You know why? Because NO ONE HAD TOLD ME that I needed a code number from my county for every visit to the other county's medical center. They couldn't get it over the phone that day. It had to be done at least 24 hours in advance. One had to call the county office, and ask for a code number for a specific appointment - already made - more than 24 hours in advance. Then you had to write the code number down and remember to take it with you to the medical center 45 miles away.

I was not pleased to be turned away that day because I didn't have the proper code number that NO ONE TOLD ME I had to have before driving all that distance.

As I was dejectedly heading out of the office, past all those people waiting who had heard all my personal business, the woman at the front desk said, loudly, "Next time you come, try to look poor. Poor people don't iron their clothes. I think if you had looked more poor, they would have let you get the code number over the phone today."

Seriously. That's what the woman said. Poor people don't iron their clothes. As I looked back at the group of folks waiting for medical care, I wondered. I wondered if such comments bothered them as much as they bothered me. I wondered if they tuned out such comments, of if they had acquired thicker skins because of such prejudices.

As I stepped out into the hallway, a man about ten years older than me followed. He said, "Play their game. I go to the Goodwill and get some wrinkled clothes to wear before I come in. Just put on a wrinkled jacket or a holey sweater over your regular clothes."

Amazing, isn't? But this is exactly what any mom will tolerate - and sometimes worse than this - to make sure that her child has medical coverage. Or that the mother has coverage so she can continue taking care of her child.

Should this happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave? I don't think so! I believe that if we're going to have a slogan that says "No child left behind" it should cover more than education. Even if one is against national healthcare for everyone, can you truly be against healthcare for kids? I believe we should have such a thing for our kids and grandkids. We should and we must!

What about you? Do you think healthcare for kids makes sense?

Did you see the recent Oprah show, with Michael Moore and some folks from the medical community? (Well, a lobbyist for the medical community anyway...) I applaud Oprah for getting it. I applaud her for understanding that there are persons in the U.S. of A. who have no coverage. And that those who have coverage - what Michael Moore was addressing in his movie, "Sicko" and what Oprah's show was about - have to beg sometimes for the coverage they supposedly already have.

Let's talk!

So, what do you WDC folks think? Should we at least be providing healthcare to all of our children? Maybe someone could do a poll about this here. (I've never done a poll. Hmmm.) I'm curious to see how we compare here to there. *Smile*

September 28, 2007 at 10:35am
September 28, 2007 at 10:35am
I received some emails about yesterday's blog entry from folks not wanting to go public with their comments. That's fine.

Only one person had a negative comment. She thought that sharing information about another site was unethical. Perhaps you think so as well.

Here is part of how I responded to that WDC member:

What I was trying to explain, and perhaps did not do it well, is that there are
contests at Gather that EVERYONE needs to know about. That doesn't mean anyone
has to give up a membership here.

If you've read my blog when I was active, posting daily and sometimes 2 and 3 times a day, you know that I listed contests I found all the time. That's what this is about. There are so many here who would like to be published. Why shouldn't they have the ability to try in a contest at another site?

I personally think it was selfish for those who have been on Gather - who specifically went there for the contests - to keep the information to themselves. I think that's unethical, frankly. That's not the way I work.

I will continue sharing any and all contests that I think are worth checking out.

You will find as you look back upon your life, that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love. - Henry Drummond

"The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one's self to others." -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself." -John MacNaughton

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -Ben Sweetland

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

So let's take a moment to discuss other writer's sites.

I joined my first writer's site in 1999. Themestream. How I loved that place! I've heard when it began that the writers were paid 10 cents per original page view. Then it went to 5 cents per view. When I arrived they paid 2 cents per page view. Pretty cool. The first check I received was for about $25. I never received another check, because the site closed. The owners did give everyone ample notice to get their writings copied and saved somewhere, in case they had not already done so. But they went away owing a bunch of writers a bunch of money. Why? They didn't get enough advertisers.

I've also been a member of other sites that closed. Frankly, I don't remember all the names. I wrote for Heartwarmers newsletter and had a personal page there I don't know what happened to that site, since the only email address they had on file for me was one from Texas that was no good after 11/03.

Writtenbyme and Thoughtcafe are two other sites. I remember when Writtenbyme closed down. I don't know what happened to Thoughtcafe. I had lost my password and completely forgot about that site. When I remembered and found my password, it was gone.

Prose-n-Poetry.com was started by a guy who had been a Themestream member, I believe. I do have some of my writing there, and some kind soul actually paid for my membership through January. But it's a site that frustrates me a bit. If you're not a gold member (and I'm not sure what the qualifications are for that) when you write a story or poem, it goes to a workshop. It cannot be moved to the "regular" part of your portfolio until a certain number of votes or stars have been collected. I have had some things in the workshop for quite a while. Others have had things in the workshop for years. Discouraging, to say the least...

PearlSoup.com. I liked this site when I found it. But everything you write there has to be a pearl of wisdom. You have to prove that it has a lesson or some value. Not all poetry teaches a lesson, so there are some arguments amongst writers about what is or isn't a pearl. It's a free site, so that's nice. There are discussion boards that get really crazy. But the sad/bad thing is that the owners seem to have taken off to parts unknown. They don't update pears of the day/week/month anymore. They don't respond to correspondence.

I'm a member at AuthorsDen.com too, but I only have a few things posted there. There is a two-tier system there. Paid and not paid. I used to have a paid membership. Now just the free one. It's nice, but...

Gather.com. I mentioned that they have some great contests there. They do. It's also easy to share pictures and graphics if you're an artist. And recently they added the ability to post videos. That's nice, but with my slow computer, I cannot see videos. It's a free site that has some point rewards for posting articles, commenting, etc. That's nice, but... There are some serious writers there and lots of folks just messing around for getting points. I know that frustrates some "real" writers. The ratings go from 1 to 10, and people do give out 10s. Lots of them, in fact. *Smile*

Back to Writing.com. Here you have a mixture of old and young, of rich and poor, of writers and wanna be writers and readers. Here you'll find people from all over the globe who will become your writer friends. Here you'll find someone always ready to lend a hand if you're a newbie and confused about the site. There are folks who will give gentle reviews if that's what you prefer. And there are folks who will give complete (and sometimes harsh) reviews if that's what you desire. It's all here. You can be a free member, or for just a little bit you can be a paid member and have more features available. There's even a writer's school here - A-1 Academy. So...if you're trying to grow as a writer, this is a great place to be. I have been here for 6 years and, hopefully, I have grown as a writer, as a person, as a friend in that time.

Personally, I think you can be a member at lots of sites. It's a bit like shopping. Sometimes I like to shop at a number of stores to get what I want. At other times, I prefer the one-stop-shop.

What we need to do is encourage the StoryMaster to find a way to offer contests that result in getting a book published...
September 27, 2007 at 7:05pm
September 27, 2007 at 7:05pm
Yes, I did get my son into the hospital emergency room, but not until after I had called some urgent care clinics and discovered that they wouldn't see him if he might have some kind of heart problem.

Derek predicted that the hospital wouldn't take his racing heart too seriously, and, sadly, he was right. I guess even doctors pooh-pooh the idea of someone who is 23 having heart problems. Perhaps they don't watch the news, where we learn about high school athletes suffering heart attacks. Or they didn't hear about the 29 year old writer (from another site) who suffered one.

In the emergency room, Derek's pulse rate was 147. They said that was as high as it should be if he was running or working out, not sitting in a chair. Well, duh. That's why we were in the emergency room.

They took his blood pressure, and it was low like it had been at home. But they took it only once and said low blood pressure in someone so young wasn't really an issue. Hmmm.

They did put him on a monitor for his pulse rate. For most of the time he was there - about 3 hours, of course - the rate never went lower than 95. Except when he was being silly and telling me a joke and I was laughing uncontrolably. Then his rate went down to 83. I told him that he needs to be a stand-up comedian because it appears that telling jokes and making people laugh agrees with him.

The doc said that with Derek's measure of fitness - which is pretty good these days from eating well and tossing boxes at Target - that his heart rate should be between 70 and 80. Still, they weren't all that concerned about his 100-147 rate.

He actually went to work last night with a note that he could not unload the truck or do anything requiring strength, running, lifting, etc. Luckily, in addition to unloading the truck, he was supposed to stock the electronics department. He just did the stocking and someone else had to do the truck.

The doc gave Derek these instructions: stop drinking caffeine, stop smoking, try to have less stress in your life. If this persists, see a specialist.

Helpful, huh? They did tests but have no idea why Derek's heart rate was racing. They thought it might be anxiety. Still, they didn't offer to give him a prescription to get the rate down until he could see a specialist or some doctor. Grrr.

The doc admitted that most people who drink sodas and coffee and even smoke don't have racing hearts like this - for a full day. Still, because these are stimulants, that was the only suggestion the doc could offer.

For that, the kid will probably get a $500 bill - especially since he had not met his deductable for the year. And this mom is NOT less stressed...since there were no answers provided.


I've been wondering whether or not I should write about something else and decided I would. If you've been a follower of this blog, you know that I went from months of writing in it every day to very few entries this month. You'll probably remember why and how that happened. I felt that a member of the WDC community was unfairly treated (still do) and when she and her friends left and went to Gather.com, I couldn't blame them.

I already had an account there, not because I really wanted to get active there, but because MyPoints.com offered me 50 or 100 points to join. So I did. (MyPoints.com sends me emails each day which I read and get 5 points for. After a while, I trade the points in for a gift card to Target or K-Mart. Or maybe Starbucks. Or Red Lobster. Getting 50 or 100 points was lots better than getting 5.)

So, I started searching around Gather.com. I posted some things. And I started getting comments, leaving comments and collecting points. Cool.

I discovered that Gather has some awesome contests, contests that result in getting books published by pretty decent publishing companies and even getting advances. That's not always something that happens for new writers - the advances. So having a site that offers contests where the winner(s) get published is pretty cool.

I have been open about being over at Gather more than here. I have said so in my blog.

But you know what I discovered?

There are A BUNCH of WDC folks with memberships there, folks of all different case colors (if you know what I mean). I'm betting that they ran to Gather when these awesome writing contests started. From what I've gathered (haha), the contests were pretty widely advertised. I'm not sure why I didn't see them, except that the one now, for instance, is a contest for romance books and that's just not my thing.

So lots of WDC folks found out about this site and its contests. Perhaps they told each other. Perhaps they found it and never told anyone. I don't know.

But I do know that I have not seen anyone here talk about Gather and its contests.

That bothers me a bit. To me, that's like they found something that could benefit lots of folks here but they kept it a secret. Why? Because they didn't want the competition? Could that be?????

I have been corresponding with two fellows who already won contests there and had books published. They're both on book tours right now and having the time of their lives. Lucky dudes. Well, they must have been good writers too. The one was among 2600 entries for the first contest the site held. I'm not sure about the second one. The one going on now must be the third.

So, I didn't want to be like those other WDC folks and not tell you about the great contests at Gather. There is a contest right now in its 2nd round, so y'all can't get in on that. (I was too late for round one...if I had been a romance writer.)

If you are seeking a way to publish eventually, you might just want to check out membership over there now. It's free. The points you get for posting your work and for commenting on the works of others adds up pretty quickly. I have a $20 Borders card in my purse as my reward for getting 5 referrals. (I'm being honest about this!) And I'm sitting on almost enough points to get a $25 gift card from somewhere - all since about mid-August. And I'm not living there. *Smile* I do have some entries here, plus I've been poking around at prose-n-poetry.com, writing things for ezinearticles.com and goarticles.com. So the point accummulation isn't too bad.

Thought you should know. If you decide to check it out, give me a shout once you've signed up.

Something fun. Are you Yankee ot Dixie?


September 26, 2007 at 1:17pm
September 26, 2007 at 1:17pm
I'm not sure what's going on with my son. He's 23, remember. Has had the feeling of a racing heart since yesterday at about 4 pm. I wanted to take him to the emergency room, but...he's a guy. He finally did sleep, called off from work. But this mom didn't sleep much!

Last night, his BP was LOW. 103/46, 114/54, 105/48. His pulse rate was usually around 115. Considering that he's now more healthy than ever, I'm thinking his normal pulse rate is in the lower part of the "normal" which the internet says is 60-100. So being over the 100 probably does feel like a racing heart to him.

This morning before getting out of bed, his BP was 99/47 with pulse 118. I don't think those are good numbers for resing numbers. Anyone know about these things????

He has consented to seeing a doc this afternoon. He NEEDS to work tonight (since he missed last night and since his last night is Saturday) and will need a doctor's note if he has to have a light work night.

September 21, 2007 at 1:45pm
September 21, 2007 at 1:45pm
One of our local TV stations, WCPO Channel 9 in Cincinnati, shared the story of an autistic child a few days ago.

This little boy, 6 years old and in kindergargen allegedly assaulted a teacher's aide. She has filed criminal charges against him, and according to the news report yesterday, the court is going forward with the charges. The charge is a juvenile fourth degree misdemeanor assault.

This is amazing to me!

First, the child is in kindergarten. Many children that age have not yet learned to control their anger. There are kindergarten kids in our neighborhood. They are still learning not to hit and punch.

Secondly, this child's mental capacity is that of a child half his age. He functions at about the three-year-old level.

When my son was young, I worked as a day care teacher and as a child care director. One day, a boy in the three-year-old class kicked me in the shin. Boy did that hurt. We put him in time out for a while. When he calmed down and was apologetic, I let him look at the bruise on my shin. Huge tears fell from his eyes as he told me how sorry he was for hurting me.

Kids that age still do stupid things. As a day care teacher and director, I experienced other physical altercations, but it never crossed my mind that a child's punishment should include filing criminal charges.

The little boy in the news story is autistic. Children that age and with autism do lash out, especially if you're trying to get them to do something they don't want to do.

The teacher's aide has refused to talk with news people. The school says they have adequately trained their staff. The school board mouthpiece says they have followed proper procedures.

If you would like to read Channel 9's commentary on this, here is the link. You can also watch the video. http://www.wcpo.com/mostpopular/story.aspx?content_id=1faaed2c-0902-4c23-8d9a-52...

If you would like to contact the school principal, here's that link: http://www.bracken.k12.ky.us/education/components/contact/default.php?sectiondet...

And here's the link to contact the school board: http://www.bracken.k12.ky.us/education/components/contact/default.php?sectiondet...

I really don't think this child should have a criminal record. I do think the school should provide teachers and teacher's aides adequately trained to handle austic children. And I'm going to write and tell them so.

September 17, 2007 at 5:25pm
September 17, 2007 at 5:25pm
Do you really know what's in the Constitution? Or the Declaration of Independence? Now would be a good time to find out.

If you let someone else tell you what's in these founding documents, isn't that like having someone else tell you what's in the Bible? You really have to read things yourself to understand. And to verify or prove wrong claims made by others.

Just a thought.

I found a book published in the 60's (and last copyrighted in 1976) about the American Ideal of 1776. Fascinating, I thought. Here's what I wrote: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977117261

On October 11, 1798, President John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
September 17, 2007 at 12:31am
September 17, 2007 at 12:31am
They're Lying To Us - Lying has become a way of life in America. In fact, it is so common that we almost expect it. I don’t know if America can ever recover from our acceptance of lying. Honesty used to be a virtue. Today it is a weakness. The truthful are ridiculed. The dishonest are promoted.

Illegal Immigration Bankrupting America - Few Americans comprehend the various impacts and financial costs of illegal migration into the United States. Like a cancer, it enters the body while proliferating until, at some point, it compromises, then destroys the integrity of surrounding tissue. Illegal "migration" encroaches on legal American taxpayers who work honestly within their system.

How Female Illegals Abuse the System - Every year thousands of Americans are victimized by a swindle known as the “immigrant abuse scam.” What’s amazing is this shake-down is paid for by the U.S. taxpayer under the guise of stopping domestic violence.

Know what I found out? There are lots of former and current WDC folks here: http://www.gather.com/inviteLanding.jsp?parentMemberId=223207&tc=14. Know why? Could be the contests. Like the first chapter contest. At the end the winner will get a book contract and a $5,000 advance. Not bad.
September 16, 2007 at 8:47pm
September 16, 2007 at 8:47pm
Our pastor talked about judging people today in church - how we shouldn't. He said that judging people is in Satan's job description - as a daily occurence. And in God's job description - as we stand before Him on Judgement Day.

One comment our pastor made that I thought would be of interest to the WDC community was: "There's a big difference between critiquing and criticizing."

I think that is the message I have tried to share on many occasions when the topic of reviews and ratings has been discussed.

If you look at how the words have evloved, offering a critique has come to be a gentler word. More people consider it a neutral word, where the act of criticizing has a more negative meaning.

Critiquing, in today's world, means to offer a review. Criticizing means to censure, find fault, make judgments about merits and faults.

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots. - Frank A. Clark
September 13, 2007 at 1:37am
September 13, 2007 at 1:37am
Come on...you know you want to..

Come on over to Gather.com and visit with me there. We're having lots of fun.
It's FREE - a social network where people write about and share interests. Like myspace.com for big people. *Laugh* The content ranges from politics to cooking, plus you can publish your own articles or photos OR VIDEOS and comment on others' contributions. We even earn Gather Points just for using the site! You can exchange your points for great stuff like books, CDs, wine, and vacations. Check it out!

September 11, 2007 at 5:51pm
September 11, 2007 at 5:51pm
I just finished writing this:
 We Must Still Be Bold or Where Were You?  (ASR)
It is six years since the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. We must still be bold.
#1317537 by Kenzie

So, where were you that morning six years ago?
September 11, 2007 at 9:53am
September 11, 2007 at 9:53am
This is a rant, so it may not be well organized. It may sound like rambling. But isn’t that what a rant does?

The case of the mother whose two-year-old daughter died because the mom left her in an SUV for eight hours, on a day when the temperature reached over 90 degrees, continues to make the news. This mother is the vice-principal at a school, and last night the school board met to determine her career fate.

Personally, I think she should lose her job. If I had a child in the school where she works, I would be concerned that this woman would ever be responsible enough to care for my child. As a member of the community, I question her ability to have good judgment about the care of children – ever.

I have only one child myself, and he’s 23 years old. When he was a baby, we lived in Houston. When he was 2 years old, we lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida. There were no laws back then about leaving a child in a hot car. People were smart enough to know that it was not safe to do so. We rarely heard of any children – or pets either – dying because they were left in hot cars. Have we really gotten so stupid over the years since my son was that age that there HAVE to be laws about this? Have we gotten so busy that we could possibly forget a child? Have our jobs become so important that our children take a lessor role than our careers? Have we become so self-centered, so self-absorbed, so selfish that the needs of a child do not come first in our lives anymore?

My son was sick much of his first three years of life. His temperature would spike so quickly that he almost went into convulsions. I remember one time when we left the doctor’s office and drove to the drive-through window of our pharmacy. My son was quite ill, lingering somewhere between having bronchitis and pneumonia. He had fallen asleep in his car seat in the back seat of my car. As I spoke to the pharmacy technician through the window, I learned that because the doctor had prescribed a new drug, I would have to talk with the pharmacist and sign a paper showing that I understood the drug and the directions for administering it to my son.

I could have ducked into the drug store, signed the paper and gotten back to the car in a few minutes. But that thought never crossed my mind, even though I was concerned about waking my son. I knew he needed to sleep. I knew I needed the medicine for him. But I would have never dreamed of leaving him in the car alone for even a short time.

I explained my dilemma to the pharmacy clerk, who offered to come to the car to watch my son while I spoke to the pharmacist. I agreed to that and pulled around to the front of the store. How surprised I was when the pharmacist himself came out to the car to talk with me. I had already paid for the ‘script at the window, so after our discussion, the pharmacist handed me the prescription and my son and I were on our way.

When my son was well, he was a handful. He was a pretty big child. I don’t remember what he weighed at two years of age. He had been 8 pounds 14 ounces at birth and grew in leaps and bounds after that. Even so, because he was so active, and because sometimes his little legs just got tired, he was often resting on my hip as we went from the car, into the bank or store.

If he was asleep when we got to a store, I got him out of the car seat and tried to waken him so he could walk. If that didn’t work, I put him on my hip and went on my way. Was he dead weight as he slept? You bet. But I would have never considered leaving him in the car alone, not only because I knew how hot it could get, but because I would not risk having him taken from the car.

If I had done the unthinkable, like the woman in the news, and left him in the car to unload, the slamming of the car door would have probably wakened him. Even if it didn’t wake him the first time, it would certainly have done so the second or third time. The woman in the news appears to have gone back to her car three or four times to unload things from the car.

And that’s what I don’t understand. Maybe this mother was selfish and self-absorbed and busy. Maybe she did forget that the child was in the back seat of the car when she popped in to get donuts. That hardly seems possible, when her thought process included the fact that she could not drop her child off as early as she left the house. That she has admitted. Perhaps she didn’t see the child in the back seat when she put the donuts in the car, although I don’t see how that would have been possible.

Perhaps once she got to the school, she continued her forgetfulness about the fact that her child was in the back seat. (I don’t understand that, mind you.) But when that mother made numerous trips to the car to get the donuts and whatever else she needed for the job she obviously considered more important than that of being a mother – being the vice-principal – how could she not have seen the child sleeping in the car? The tapes shown on the news appear to show the mother opening both the very back door and at least one of the side (back seat) doors to get her stuff out.

That the child didn’t wake up with the numerous car door slammings is something I consider quite odd too. That was one deep sleeping child. I may have only had one child of my own, but I also worked in day care. And I have a number of nieces and nephews. None of them would have remained sleeping with that many disturbances.

I doubt very seriously that this mother forgot her child was sleeping in her vehicle, especially since she had been warned on three other occasions not to leave her child in the hot car. Those were the times she was caught. I doubt those were the only times she left her child alone in the car. To me, there is a pattern there.

I am usually one to think the best of everyone, but in this case I almost have to wonder if this mother didn’t set out to kill her child. If so, she has gotten away with it.

The District Attorney’s office has refused to punish this woman, saying that her forgetfulness resulted in a tragic accident. His decision has caused quite a stir here in the tri-state area. His phone and mailbox have been inundated with responses to this decision, some in agreement, and many not.

As a mother myself, I cannot imagine forgetting a child, even for an instant. My son may be 23, but I still do not forget him.

When he was a baby, I never forgot to pick him up from the baby-sitter. I never forgot when he was asleep in the car seat. I never forgot to pick him up from school. Even now, I have never forgotten to drop him off or pick him up from work, even when his schedule changed.

Last week, my son was in Memphis visiting his best friend (and ex-girlfriend) before she took off for a year in Spain. I did not forget to take him to the airport or to pick him up after his trip. While he was away, I never forgot him either.

You know what else? My mother, who is now very forgetful, has never forgotten any of her four children either. When we talk on the phone now, she does ask me where I live. But she tells me that she prays for me each night, and I believe that. Even in her state of dementia, my mother remembers that she has a son who is homeless and she wishes she could help him. Mothers don’t forget their children.

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