Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dagnab It, I Admire Our New President!


President Obama's speech tonight was just the shot in the arm we needed. On the other hand, Governor Jindal's speech was ... just nowhere near "there" yet. (But he's just a puppy, in his mid-30's... he'll probably get better as time goes along.)

I know the GOP needs new blood to redeem itself, but neither Palin nor Jindal have done a thing for me, and I consider myself pretty malleable when it comes to politics, although I'll probably always "default" to Democrat as long as nothing better comes along.

Can't say I'm SAD Jindal's speech was a ho-hum sort of response, because I want Obama to be President until his second term runs out, and I feel pretty secure that'll be the case with what the major opposition party has shown us so far. It would take a miracle for Obama to lose to Republicans in 2012, I think.

He's going for the gold in all the major areas of concern -- new energy sources, the economy, education -- and with a large percentage of the American people (and the world) behind him, he can get something done because if the GOP continues to try to stall, I think they'll see their ratings tanking even faster than they are right now. The American people are really sick of seeing "politics as usual" and want to see some progress. If they don't, they'll go after the people who are blocking it and mis-communicating (aka fibbing) as to why they're blocking it.

They just can't appear to be "for" anything Obama suggests without (they believe) losing in their districts next time and ensuring Obama's re-election in 2012. They think they're representing their constituents. I hope their constituents who disagree with them will let them know so they can feel more secure about stepping out and helping the President get something done!

Anyway, not to get onto politics again, but I was just very happy to hear everything President Obama said tonight. His tone was just right. He's a great leader. But a leader needs followers. Without them, his rhetoric and plans can produce nada.

We have our marching orders. I like them. I'm going to write my representatives and let them know I want them to do whatever is necessary to "Make It So" so we can enter a new era of stability, decency, fair play and equal access to our plans and goals.

The people Obama spotlighted tonight (the CEO who got a 390 million retirement and shared it equally among all his present and former employees, a school girl from SC whose school building roof leaks, and others) reveal the America that I love. We can be that again. Most of us have never stopped being that way. It's time to throw out the rascals who don't believe in sharing their bounty with the people who work for and with them and make their fortunes grow. Instead of cutting health care plans and pensions, freezing wages and curtailing bonuses, businesses should be rewarding employees for remaining faithful to business goals and agendas. If they did, maybe employees wouldn't change jobs as often. Right now it's pretty much "Take care of yourself because your boss sure won't!"

I'm just tired of selfishness. I want to see people treating each other better. We may not be able to legislate morality and ethics, but we can certainly mandate that regulations be placed so that people who abuse the system for their own selfish gains are spotted, caught and brought to justice. That alone would put a nice crimp in their tails and make trying to rip others off less appealing than it has been for decades.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Finally! Jerry Lewis Gets His Due at the Oscars!

Okay, I admit it. I finally broke down and watched the Oscar telecast for the first time in ten years after swearing I would never watch it again. (Why? Because they didn't have DeForest Kelley listed in their MEMORIUM section the year he died. They wrote back to say it was because their "sister organization" the Emmys had acknowledged his passing, but that never satisfied me because he was the only STAR TREK star to get his star for his MOTION PICTURE body of work, not for TV.) Anyway, that's all water under the bridge, and I really wanted to see how Heath Ledger, Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire would do, so I watched the show.

The best line of the whole evening (in my opinion): "I had a choice between hate and love, I chose love -- and I'm here!" AR Rahman

What a great line for a time such as this!

I was deliriously happy to see Jerry Lewis get the Gene Hersholt Award last night. It was a surprise to me that he was getting an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because they almost never honor comedians and comedies; they're usually into meatier fare.

Jerry Lewis was the second love of my life, following Roy Rogers. I devoured everything he was in -- movies, mags, TV shows, comic books -- from the time I was eight or nine until I was fifteen or sixteen (when STAR TREK and DeForest Kelley and Leonard Nimoy took over). Because of Jerry, I even became Junior Chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association in my home town of Cle Elum. I wrote articles about MD in the local paper and placed MDA canisters in all the stores, then collected them just before MDA Telethon time and sent them in.

While I lived in Hollywood I met a number of people who knew and worked with Jerry Lewis. I learned he was generous to a fault when someone needed help, and an absolute perfectionist as a producer/director. (But then, when your name and image are all over a product, I expect that gives you a "complex" that it better be damned good!) I've worked with other perfectionists and usually got along with them very well, because I understood them and honored what they were trying to do. (I'm a bit of a perfectionist myself.)

I was just so happy to see him finally receive an honor that he has deserved for so long. Every time I see Jim Carrey mugging, I can't help but think he's ALMOST as good as Jerry was. It takes an eternal kid to pull of what those two do -- an eternal kid with a big heart and a lovely mind.

I even saw Jerry live in Vegas one night. Asked him for a hug from my seat (not far from the stage) and he recoiled in feigned horror, grabbing near his crotch and saying, "You want a hug?! That's how I got this rash!"

I was horrified then... and embarrassed... 'cause I was just 30 or so and shy to begin with. Looking back on it now, WHAT A HOOT!

When I was ten or eleven, my family went to Hollywood and Disneyland and I begged Dad to drive us past Jerry's 33-room Bel Air home on St Cloud Road (was it 227 St Cloud Road? I think that was the address.) When we got to it, Dad pretended he was going to drive right in, and I shrieked, "NO! NO! NO!!!!" embarrassed as all get out, just certain that Jerry would come out and I'd be "busted" in his driveway!

Jerry, if you happen to see this by some stretch of the imagination, know that I am among the happiest people alive tonight because you were honored by the Academy. It has been far too long in coming.

P.S. to other Jerry Lewis fans, young and old: I don't know if you can still find it, but Richard Gehman wrote a book, THAT KID: THE STORY OF JERRY LEWIS. I read it as a kid and loved it. If you can still find a copy, it's well worth the read, although I understand Jerry himself is coming out with a marathon book on his life at some point if he can manage to live long enough to finish it! It's quite the tome, from what I hear. It might take two people to lift it!

God bless you, Jerry, for all the entertainment you have given us and for the billions of dollars you have raised to fight Muscular Dystrophy over the decades.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

President Obama on Abraham Lincoln

Very cool... Thanks to Margot Worthington for sending me this link.


<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And on another front, although I'm not allowed to disclose the actual article (since I ghost wrote it from talking points for a regular Elance client of mine), a cable news channel published an article that I formatted and finessed yesterday on a well-known host/moderator's blog , will be publishing another one today, and should be using additional ones into the forseeable future!

So things are moving along -- and moving UP! -- in the Elance world! WOO HOO! I'm very excited about the cable news "gig," and wish I could shout it to the moon, but alas... I can't! Not that I've signed a nondisclosure agreement or anything (or I wouldn't even have published this little ditty), but I just feel obliged to keep the lid on it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Your Tax Dollars at Work...

Logon to the following URL and watch every dollar that's spent by the new Administration as they work us out of the recession we're in:


This is from President Obama:

"The recovery plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs, provide tax cuts for working and middle-class families, and invest in health care and clean energy.It's a bold plan to address a huge problem, and it will require my vigilance and yours to make sure it's done right.I've assigned a team of managers to oversee the implementation of the recovery act. We are committed to making sure no dollar is wasted. But accountability begins with you."

This is government at it's transparent BEST!


More About Selena Rogers -- 1986-2009 from Her Mother April

Dear Kris,

You are the second to ask me to tell about Selena- she must have been popular.

Selena was the miracle child of the family. She was born 3 months premature in November, 1986. She barely lived throughout the first year of her life, but somehow, by the grace of God, she pulled through.

We noticed something was not right, as she was very stiff and rigid, with some other startling symptoms. She was diagnosed several weeks after her birth with Cerebral Palsy.
She was always a fighter. She had to fight for her place in school, in life and in friendships. She dealt with discrimination from everyone because she was different. I hate to admit it, but the funniest thing I can remember from her childhood was when she was 12 years old.
She wanted to call from a school office to be picked up from school, but someone stood in her way and told her that she was stupid and could not do anything but sit there. She ended up running over this person's foot with her wheelchair. I remember her telling me about it just after she did it. She just laughed and told me, "It will teach _____ a lesson - to never bother me again."
The person whose foot she ran over repented folllowing the incident and became one of her best friends.

We came to know about her having leukemia because for a couple of months she was throwing up off and on for no apparent reason. She lost a lot of weight, and just was very listless. But she refused to go to the doctor, saying it was "nothing". We listened to her, which we shouldn't have, because she finally ended up in the emergency room after fainting. They ran some tests and told us something was seriously wrong. They kept her for observation for several days and finally called an oncologist in to look at her results. He told us that she had an advanced stage of leukemia.
They told us she had less than a month to live, but she didn't listen. I remember she told me she would fight this and get over it. She said, "Too many people die from this, and I am not going to be a statistic."
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Selena, although you didn't win the battle, you will never be a statistic to all those who loved you...
We hope you're swinging on a star, eating a candy bar, and singing "You Are My Sunshine" to your Mom, who loves and misses you so.
God bless you for being the light in the world that you were - and still are!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sad News to Report...

April Rogers emailed me this morning to let me know that her beloved daughter, Selena, passed away last week in her sleep. As those of you know who have been following this blog for at least the past several months, Selena was a "follower" of the blog (and will remain listed as such) and had been battling leukemia. She lived in Australia, as does her mom, but I believe her mom is a transplanted American, as her parents live here.

April and I want to thank all of you who held Selena in your thoughts and prayers since finding out about her battle a few months ago. She told her mom she wanted to fly back to America sometime to see her grandparents again and to meet me. April said it was one of her fondest wishes even though she knew it would never happen (she was already very ill when she spoke the words).

Selena is freed from her chrysalis now and her spirit can go wherever it wants, so if she still finds such a trip alluring, it's FAST and FREE now and I'm more than happy to welcome her sweet spirit any time as, I'm sure, are her grandparents. I will look for her with open arms!

That's two, too-young friends I have lost to leukemia (and one toddler cousin, back in the early 50's). If you want to help banish this scourge from the face of the earth, please consider sending a donation to the Leukemia Society in memory of Selena or in honor of her mother (or both!).

I'm feeling very sad today. I pray that April will find her way through the grief she feels to a place where her memories of Selena bring her nothing but grins and comfort. It won't happen overnight, or probably for a very long time, but I know it's what Selena would want for her: wonderful memories instead of the latter day sad ones.

Please keep April Rogers in your prayers during this sad, sad time in her life. Losing a child is the worst trauma a human being can suffer.

Father God:

Please wrap your arms and spirit around April at this terrible time and let her know that You're with her, without any doubt. Let your voice speak through others as they express their condolences, their concern and their care for her. Help her to feel free to talk about Selena endlessly and to mourn as she needs to, and grant her willing ears and hearts to listen and to cry with her and, finally, to laugh with her as she makes her way from abject sorrow to a renewed spirit, replete with good memories of the years they shared and the trials they endured. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fun and Games, and Memories Galore

Last night Jackie and I went to the home of friends we have known, literally, since we were toddlers. Their names, as kids, were Penny and Judi Cooper. (Their names are still Penny and Judi. Surprised?) Both are married with different last names now, and we're all 50 years older than we were waaaayyyy back then.

Penny has two friends (both of whom are school teachers, as is Penny) and they were at Penny's place, too, last night. Oddly enough, one of these friends, named Maureen, happens to live literally two or three doors down the street from where Jackie and I now live, and she told us last night that she came real close to bringing us cookies when we moved in, but figured we'd consider her "too way out there" if she did that, so she didn't! Isn't that hysterical?!

Needless to say, we all got along just great.

We played Catch Phrase for an hour and talked for at least an hour in between munching snacks and a luscious dessert.

Just before going to Penny's house, Judi, Jackie and I stopped to see her mom, Mary Jane Cooper, who lives two doors down from Penny. Mary Jane was our coach when Jackie and I played baseball as kids. (I wrote a little about Mary Jane last Mother's Day in this blog and she's in one of my books, too. )

Anyway, last night I told Mary Jane I would stop by her house today and bring her copies of my four books, because she said she'd be interested in reading them, since she knew my family and me so well for ten years back in the 50's. So I stopped by there today and took her my books.

Mary Jane and I have a lot in common. We're both environmentalists and animal lovers. She's an Audobon Society member and still teaches birding -- at 85!

I just wanted to be sure to stop by while she's still here (as I suspect she will be for another 10 or 15 years, as great shape as she is still in!) and let her know that every time I have thought about her these oh so many years, my heart has always smiled.

I told her that I don't think kids under eight have many particularly vivid memories -- I certainly don't, unless they involve some kind of trauma, major or minor -- but that my heart has a memory of her that is 100% positive: ebullient, fun, joyful and compassionate. That brought a big smile to her face, and I know it made her heart smile, too, so I'm glad I said it, even though it brought me close to tears to actually bring the words and the emotion out of my heart and up into my mouth.

I remember being on her team. We were the Ponytails. I kept hitting the ball so hard that I broke several wooden bats, and I remember her saying, "We're going to run out of bats if you keep this up!" with a big grin on her face. That was her way of indicating that I was a very strong hitter. She wasn't mad; she was thrilled!

I don't have a lot of rock-solid memories of Mary Jane, but there's one other time I remember VERY well. She found me inner-tubing (ALONE at age seven or so!) in the middle of Spanaway Lake and told me to come back to shore, get my little fanny home, and that she would be calling my mother to tell her about my unsupervised swimming! (Oh, joy!) This incident is mentioned briefly in HARVEST OF MEMORIES in a letter to De within the first 20 pages of the book, which she will find when she reads it real soon. That ought to give her quite a grin!

I listened and learned a lot more about her than I ever knew before. (Kids don't ask questions of their coaches, like "Where you from? When did you move to Washington?"). She moved to Washington from a very small town in Iowa in 1950. She has stayed in touch with Iowa friends all these years but has only been back once, when her kids were teenagers. I think she'll be going back again soon because in the last year or so she hooked up over the phone with a boy she has known since they were six or seven. They were fishing buddies. He has been married for 64 years to the same wife and they call her every Saturday to chat -- have for over a year. His name is Stewart Smith.

As I drove to Mary Jane's this morning, I stopped and took photos of the brick house that Laurel, Jackie and I grew up in. Dad built most of it and he built the koi pond that's out front, too. The place looks so much smaller than it did when we were kids (Duh! We were shorter and smaller then!) but the shrubs that Mom and Dad planted when we were there tower over everything now. I tried to download the photos so I could put them on this blog, but my EasyShare is being recalcitrant at the moment, so I'll have to add them later. Jackie took a photo of Mary Jane and me, too. I'll include that when the hardware is working again.

OK, All You Romantics -- HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Follow this URL and fall in love all over again -- or find out new ways to reveal the love you already have within you! These stories are ahhhhhh-some!


Friday, February 13, 2009


Click here and prepare to smile -- and *sigh*


It's 2:30 A.M.

Good night! It's 2:30 a.m. and I'm wide awake. Got a bee in my bonnet about a press release I wrote for a client late in the evening yesterday and sent off to her. I knew it wasn't quite "there" yet -- just 99.9% there -- but because I was so wasted from writing several other articles yesterday, I sent it off anyway, thinking "fast turnaround" more than "kick-ass press release." (My Unique Selling Point is fast turnaround at Elance but it goes without saying, I hope, that I expect myself to provide EXCELLENT COPY and fast turnaround in combination.)

Well! My Conscience (the good Lord) got on my butt about THAT (with love, with love)! The press release isn't even due yet, so I knew I had plenty of time to make it top-notch before sending it off.

So I got out of bed, looked it over again, and sent something close to perfect for my client to find when she gets up in the morning. I know she hasn't seen the earlier version yet, as she's on the east coast and was fast asleep before I sent it, so I haven't caused her any problem in sending a revised version.

I also sent a note to another client who wants the articles I wrote for him to be more editorial style than ghostwriting style. I'm not sure what that means! Does he want me to identify myself? Does he want me to have a byline and a link to my Elance page or blog? Does he want me to insert my own inimitable style into the articles?

I'd be happy to do any or all of that, but the project description didn't have that detail in it, so I wrote the articles as "web copy" for his website, and remained anonymous. They're informational articles about cosmetic surgery options. So now I'm waiting to hear back from him on his vision for the articles before I adapt them. He says they're excellent articles. He doesn't have a problem with what I've written so far. They're accurate and engaging enough. He just wants them "more editorial style than ghost-written." (???) Awrighty, then! What in tarnation does that mean?! If he does want me to have a byline, I'll divulge the URL so y'all can take a look at the articles and let me know what you think about them...

I'm published with a byline on the Modern Woman's Divorce Guide website. If you'd like to look up my bi-weekly blog there the URl is http://themodernwomansdivorceguide.com/ I'm writing blogs for the site until I run out of information to share.

The website will be updated real soon and the owner says I'll probably get my own little "niche" there. We'll see about that. I kinda hate to do that if I only have about two months' worth of information. That might be setting someone up to be frustrated: kinda like a network premiering a series you really get into and then cancelling it after two months! I hate when that happens and don't really want to do that to readers if I can avoid it.

I'm going to see if I can find some divorce assistance for kids of divorce that I can carry on with after I've shared all I can find for divorced women, because I know their concerns after divorce often revolve around how the rift has affected their children and how best to navigate those troubled waters. So I'm looking for stuff about that.

DivorceCare.org has a lot of good information on that aspect of divorce, too. They have generously allowed me to glean from their materials and mention their resources for the divorce site blogs, so my byline acknowledges their agreement to let me spout some of their stuff as long as I don't violate their copyright (as long as I don't plagiarize), which of course I don't! If you read any of the blogs, you can tell they're pretty much 100% "me." Even though I have never been married (and hence never divorced), I know lots of folks who have, and I've seen what they go through emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially, and I resonate greatly with hurting people. (Yes, I'm a bleeding heart liberal - and proud of it. You knew that all along, didn't you?)

I knew about DivorceCare.org because I used to work at Church For All Nations (www.churchforallnations.org) and was aware that George and Cathy Young were (and still are) leading DivorceCare (trademark symbol goes here but I can't find out how to make it happen on this blogsite!) sessions for divorced and separated Christians in the community at CFAN. So I knocked on Cathy's door, mind and heart and was allowed access to their materials -- an older notebook she had filled out and other insightful materials. Then I contacted DivorceCare for their permission to glean insights from their materials and was granted it before anything was published online. I figure it's a win-win arrangement: my byline points to the DivorceCare website so women who read my blog can access their materials and perhaps even start their own DivorceCare session at their churches. Spreading the information in that way is always a blessing for so many more people. It's tough going through a divorce and feeling "all alone in the world." With these two wonderful websites and helpful materials, the road becomes a lot less lonely and mysterious. And there's constant reassurance that God still loves us without limit, no matter where our journeys take us in life...

Well, maybe THIS is another reason why God got me up tonight. I guess I was supposed to write this blog! I think I can go back to sleep now. My conscience is clear again, I'm smiling, and I think I've written something here that might bless someone.

If so, all glory to God! He's the One Who floats my boat 24/7!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Fans... Logon and Enjoy!


Want to Help Rescue Weird-Pet Animals?

Check out this website!


Better Late Than Never! Wonderful Email from a Reader!

I don't know what happened to my brain when I moved last year to this new abode, but I totally forgot about having an AOL email account as well as an MSN account. I still have the AOL account because some of the TREK/DE websites out there (and my book website) still have my AOL email address listed... but as I say, I totally spaced on having it last June after Jackie and I moved to the new place. I just remembered it last night, so had some catching up to do, and some apologizing to do as well! (Of the 247 emails that were there, only about six were from De's fans; the rest were ads and come-ons... so you can see why it was pretty easy to forget about my email account, as I assumed everyone who knows of me has my MSN account email!)

I received a number of wonderful emails via the AOL account about my DeForest Kelley book (A Harvest of Memories), but one in particular really "got" me, and I asked the writer, Stacey Cook, if I could publish it here. She said yes and also gave me an update. So here they are...

Hi Kris,

Wow, I feel like I know you personally. Tis not often that a book or a tv star gives you that feeling, but I have it; both about you and De. Congratulations.

Allow me to start out with a bit of biography, so you can know me too. My name is Stacey Cook. I'm married, have a step-son, I'm 31. I'm a Freelance Producer and I live in Orlando, FL. I do mostly commercials and brochures, but have also done the occasional tv show and movie. I'm also a devout trekkie. Unfortunately for both of us, this e-mail is not to offer you a job or anything (yet... but we shall see what the future holds, lol) but rather it is praise for your audiobook.

I got it last year at the Las Vegas Creation Convention. Unfortunately, I was out there working so I missed some parts of the convention, including your part, although I very much wanted to see it. You see, De is my absolute fave of all of Trek's incarnations stars...he is also the ONLY one that I never got to meet. (He died when I was in college). I have met all of the other ones, either in the line of business or various conventions over the years. Ironic that he's my favorite and the only one I never met. (In fact, I recently finished a video for the Department of Defense and LeVar was our emcee - part of the reason I was there last year.) Anyhoo, your book changed that for me. I'm 3/4 through and I feel like I know the man, and he sounds as wonderful as anyone could ever be. Carolyn too.

As for you, you have a wonderful personal way with words, I felt like I was there with you listening to your book. You and I have a lot in common, we both work in the "biz", we both love De, and we both found ourselves caring for a loved one in their declining years.

This brings me to my actual reason for writing: to say thanks. You see, my grandfather, who raised me and is the closest person in my life, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (blood marrow cancer) back in March. He is 81, and has good days and bad days. He lives in Naples, FL which is 4 hours frrom me. I make the trip back to Naples whenever I can get time off, which is usually about twice a month and spend 3 or 4 days there each time. I give the full-time aide days off when I'm there and take care of him, body and soul, personally the entire time I'm there.

As I said, sometimes he is good, hardly requiring anything, other times Chemo has been so tough that I have to help him bathe, dress, go to the bathroom, eat, put lotion on etc. etc. Anyway, you said it best when you said caring for a loved one like this is the most unsettling but at the same time rewarding thing we could experience.

I listen to your book on my long drives to and from Naples every month and it has made me laugh, cry, smile, pass the time, ponder life's unanswerable questions...but most of all, it has helped me in my current crisis. I sometimes leave his house and turn his care back over to the aide with a heavy heart and get back into my car for the ride back to Orlando and back to my life.

Then I listen to your book, your feelings in detail, how you took care of De and your mom...and I feel I have a friend who knows what it is like, and I take comfort and advice from it...and I love De more and more, he reminds me of my papa. ;)

Anyway, I'm usually not one for soapy scenes so I'll sign off now. Sorry I was so long-winded, just wanted to say thanks. I'm going to the con in Vegas next week again- wish you would be there this year!

Take care, hope you are doing well.
Stacey L. Cook

Needless to say, if I ever feel "slighted" by a reader's review at Amazon, I have a number of emails from people like Stacey who have read (or in Stacey's case, listened to) the book and truly benefited from it, so the very few one and two star reviews don't rile or touch me much, really (they're just a little ouchy, 'cause I'm alive and sensitive!). I just wish everyone had come away with what Stacey has, and that the book did for all others what it did for her.

Anyway, I apologized for not getting back to Stacey sooner, and received a follow-up, which I will also share with you:


Well better late than never! :) I was very pleased to hear from you, thank you for your kind words. To start off, let me say, yes, of course you may publish the e-mail. :)

Now, let's catch up. A lot has happened in the 6 months since I wrote that e-mail to you, so I'll update. My beloved papa died. However, everyone in the family seems to be doing very well.

When I wrote you that e-mail in August, papa was having a good month. In fact, it was the best month he had since he was diagnosed last March.

I had a feeling that August was his last hurrah. I was right. He got very sick in the middle of September and died on Oct. 7. I spent a few days a week with him those last couple of months going back and forth to Naples from Orlando, and that last week I was there w/ him round the clock, holding his hand when he died.

I finished your book shortly after I wrote to you. In some way, it gave me the strength I needed and the knowledge of what to expect. Papa died of cancer as well.

It was very sad and very difficult but at the same time, I believe I was as prepared as I could be when the time came. As soon as I finished your book, I got "Caring for aDying Loved One through Your Catholic Faith" and that helped too.

Papa's last week was so surreal. He was experiencing the phenomenon of "Nearing Death Awareness," talking symbolically and living both in this world and the next...talking to relatives and friends who died long before but was with it enough to be able to know me and tell me who he was talking to.

It was scary but amazing all at the same time. It was a comfort to know he had so many waiting for him when he died. I recognized the signs and was able to pinpoint the day of his death through my own intuition, what hospice said, and what he was telling me. He came home from the hospital w/ Hospice on a Saturday and I calculated in my head he had about a week and a half...and he died a week and a half later on Tuesday.

I was able to call all his relatives in NY and they came down. Many many family and friends and clergy came by to see him and say good-bye on Monday. (He had slipped into a sort of coma on Sunday) I'd say he had about 70 people in and out of his big Italian family house on Monday, and he died Tues morning at 6:10 am with his closest family around him. (His 3 kids, me - his granddaughter but really like his 4th child - his wife, and closest sister).

Like I said, it was so sad but at the same time so spiritual and timely. Everything happened just as it was supposed to...I truly believe that and the one thing I never thought I'd be ready for, I was. Strange.

My grandmother (his wife of 62 years) is doing very well. We got her a live-in companion...the niece of my boss, and it is working out beautifully. She calls her grandma, takes her everywhere, gets along great with my family. She was really a God-Send and my grandma just loves her.

The rest of my family is doing well too after losing the patriarch. Well, I think I've talked your ear off long enough about all this...but like I said, I feel like I know you and owe you a thanks. :)

How are you these days? According to your blog, still writing, that is great. Good for you. Do you have any plans of any more convention appearances? I'd like to buy you lunch one of these days!

Stacey Cook

Stacey, if I ever get to a convention you're at, we'll definitely do lunch! And if you're ever in the Seattle-Tacoma area, let me know: I'll drag out all my De stuff and we'll have a De fest! You made my day with these emails!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What a Wonderful World! Fabulous Video!


Did My House/Horse/Dog Sitting Duty...

I spent all day Wednesday and part of the day Thursday up in Eatonville house-sitting and watching over two Swiss Mountain Dogs, a blue heeler, a Pomeranian, a pug and an adorable mixed mutt of some sort, plus three horses (two quarter horses and an Arabian, I believe). And yes, I know all of their names. In order, they are: Adonis and Star, Rocky, Coco, Rosie, Katie, Gus, Kissy (Charisma) and -- uh oh? -- Lady? I think the third horse is Lady but will have to ask next time to be sure, which will probably be pretty soon.

Luckily I didn't have to go to Clover Park Technical College yesterday because the class I take notes in was having a test for the full hour, so I was able to concentrate all day on getting about 12 articles written (for a cosmetic surgery firm, divorce insights, a diversity firm, and a security firm). I also spoke with a new buyer who wants me to write press releases for many of her clients, perhaps a few each week. If the cosmetic surgery firm likes what I wrote, I'll have them long-term, too.

So I'm building up a small clientele that wants me to write for them every week. Fabulous! There is still enough time left in the day to continue to bid on smaller jobs that have quick turnaround deadlines, too, so I'm in good shape. Not exactly "rolling in dough" by any stretch of the imagination, but over time maybe I'll find some to roll in... and if I do, it'll smell and feel like rose petals because my dream of being self-employed and making enough to survive will be fully realized! Boy howdy, that is going to be one mighty delightful day!

I was just thanking God last night for blessing the road I'm on. I told Him a year ago that if I was still struggling by the time my unemployment ran out, I would give up the notion of "writing for a living" and get a 9-t0-5 job as a secretary, administrative assistant or receptionist -- all of which pay pretty paltry sums up here, and are hard to find in this economy, but... hey, they're what I know how to do reliably! I kinda had a hunch that if I really hunkered down and went for it, pushing past the fear, something good would happen, but it took some serious doing to move forward with the plan. It was when I kept getting unemployment extensions beyond all understanding that I realized, "Hey, God really is in all of this!" so I kept plugging away, still applying for dozens upon dozens of other jobs as required by the Employment Security Department, but NONE of the many apps and resumes ever resulted in interviews (except several times for the same non-profit, which ultimately went another way). So I thought, "OK... I can't even GET a normal 9-to-5 job right now... so what does that tell me? GOD IS IN THIS! HE WANTS ME TO BELIEVE IN THE DREAM HE PLACED IN MY HEART AS AN EIGHT YEAR OLD, WHICH HAS NEVER WAVERED!!!!"

I'm a real dunce sometimes, ya know? I had Pulitzer nominees telling me I was a helluva writer (thanks Ted Crail!), actors who know good writing encouraging me (Thanks, De!) an English teacher buying me THE WRITER magazine because she saw my potential as a sixth and seventh grader and couldn't teach me herself, not being a writer... and still I doubted?!?!?!?

I should have had my head examined!

I still haven't had my head examined, because it's a pretty good head, with Jesus inside. I just have to listen to it, and especially to my heart, and decide to follow them! When I do, sometimes magic happens -- if not for me, certainly for others.

And that's the way God planned it, from the very beginning... before any of us were here! That everything we engage in should be either "good" (of God) or "very good." Jesus said, "You will do even greater things than I have..."

I'm still waiting to see that happen in our lives! LOL!

Now, THERE'S a mountain to climb!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Sad...

Several of President Obama's key people have withdrawn their names from consideration to serve him because of tax or other investigation problems. Sadly, I think it's a sign of the times, and since the President is really intent on "cleaning house," this just shows, I suppose, how systemic and broad the underlying problems really are and have been for decades if not generations. When even "good" people fudge on their taxes until they're caught and charged, it's awfully scary. Until we fully "get" the Golden Rule (which probably won't be till Kingdom Come), I suppose we'll always have some of these problems. It stinks!

I do think that whatever house cleaning Obama can do will be good for all of us down the road, though. I'm sad to see Tom Daschle take the fall -- I really, really like the man and it's a shame he won't be heading up HHS. The others, except for Bill Richardson, I don't know as well and so can't comment on. I hope Richardson's name is cleared during the investigation so he can help Obama, as he wants to do...

I still am gung-ho for Obama-Biden! Haven't seen anything in this team that dissuades me from continuing to feel good about them and their assembled team.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'll Be Away From Home Again Soon

Jackie will be holding down the fort once again while I take a day and a half to house-, horse- and dog-sit in Eatonville (about 22 miles away) for a 36-hour stretch while a couple I know gets away for a quick wedding anniversary retreat at Cannon Beach, Oregon. I should have Internet access there this time, and so may be able to continue to blog and do my Elance work from there, but no guarantees until I actually get there!

I took on another role at a divorce assistance website today. I'll be doing their e-newsletter, too -- with talking points provided by the owner of the site. The site is being re-launched later this month. When I know the URL, I'll let you know what it is so you can glean information from it if you're going through a divorce or know someone who is.

I'll be writing articles for a cosmetic surgery company here in Tacoma in the not-too-distant future. They found me via Elance! I'm looking forward to that... And I'll be writing for a life coach soon, too, God willing and if everything goes forward as planned... all via Elance!

I'm at the tail-end of a large project for a Canadian company right now. I've written 95% of the material and now just have to make any edits that are necessary after the client reviews it. I hope that'll be all put to bed before I head for Eatonville the day after tomorrow.

Today is Jackie's birthday so we've been celebrating that for about three days with various family members and friends. It's always a lot of fun. There were 13 people here for the Super Bowl yesterday while we celebrated Part One of Jackie's Birthday Gala. What a game at the end, huh?

By contrast, I hide during my birthday. Always have, even when I was a kid. I don't even remember any birthday parties for me; I have blanked them out of my memory entirely, although I know I had them, as did Laurel and Jackie. I don't like being placed into a spotlight. It's too nerve-wracking. I've been that way pretty much forever -- which is probably why I love to write! I have lots to say, but am too freakin' shy to say it when I'm around other people!

The funny thing is, I register as a very high "I" (along with a very high D and S) on the DISC personality insights scale. I used to be a Shirley Temple-type sparkler when I was very young. But it got it "corrected" out of me by my parents, who viewed me as "over-the-top." The correction stuck and kinda crippled me: I guess I figured there was something intrinsically wrong with being a sparkler!

But I wanted to be an actress (and always a writer!) as a teenager, after I worked my way out of the corner of every room, where I usually hid. I started with puppet shows, then graduated to debate and speeches. (If you can survive debate and speeches and not have a heart attack, you're doing fine in the public arena, even if you're still feeling scared spit-less.)

What else? Our next Writer's Edge class gathering is this Saturday at church from 10-1 so I'm very much looking forward to that. Pastor Ken Ecker (my former boss at Church For All Nations) is going to give the class a refresher course on proper written English and grammar using all those fancy terms that teachers use when teaching, most of which I have long since forgotten. He was an English teacher before he became a pastor, so we've corralled him for a few sessions every few months or so.

The student I'm taking notes for at Clover Park wasn't in class today. Her teacher told me that her husband suffered a heart attack this morning. So please keep him and her in your prayers. Her name is Cheryl. I don't know his name, but God does, so your prayers are much appreciated, I'm sure.

Guess that's all the news that's fit to print for this time...