Mother Nature RULES!

Leapin’ Lingerie Batman!

It’s a great time to be a woman and this year we get another extra-special day. (Around my house it’s sometimes called womanly time.)  We can choose any profession, except sperm donor, and we can say exactly what we want to say however we want to say it, except in places where we can’t.

Hang on, we’re gettin’ there.

There is a woman who inspires me in so many ways. Her higher education goal was to be a math major. She did that. Then she decided to become an attorney. She did that. When she decided to create a spectacular garden, she did that too. She wins awards for being a rock star gardener and receives praise for not only her exceptional networking skills but also for being my co-superhero.

She has lived longer than I have. She has stronger political opinions than I have. She has more experience with social media than I have. She’s been published more times than I have. But there are some things I have that she doesn’t; some books she loaned me almost two years ago and a problem knowing when to use the word past instead of passed.

My friend writes about what she knows; bunnies and gardening. If you are a gardener, you might be surprised to discover that the two can go together very nicely when you understand how to approach it from Mother Nature’s point of view. You can read about her Funny Bunny Year and her declaration: Mother Nature Does Not Need My Help in GreenPrints magazine. If you don’t already subscribe to GreenPrints, maybe you should. Just like gardening, this magazine offers hope, joy, encouragement, peace, humor, comfort, beauty, and friendship to those of us who like to play in the dirt.

Mother Nature Does Not Need My Help as seen in GREENPRINTS

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, the written word can excite, provoke, inspire, and sustain us. I also believe that an honest word spoken by a friend is indeed perfection. Thanks SNP.

Next week is READ AN EBOOK WEEK. See this Friday’s post for a discount code to get Summoning The Strength @ Smashwords. Also, a dramatic guest post!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

This week is all about books. If publishers and purveyors of the written word are the high rollers, then self-publishing insiders are holding their own at the penny slots. Whether trading on NASDAQ or trading on word of mouth, the book biz is a gamble. When the dust settles after the brick & mortar moguls finish their demolition and reconstruction, the structure that emerges will make the Bellagio look like a Dave & Busters.

The word on the street is that books in print may go the way of the dinosaur and readers everywhere will be retro fitted with a digital implant capable of holding every word ever written by man or machine. Who knows who will be first in line to get that hip and trendy device. It makes no difference. Books are treasures and someone somewhere will keep them safe. Hopefully.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is just what the title says. The beautifully crafted, nostalgic animation by award-winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg perfectly illustrates the relationship between book lovers and their books. When you escape into this sensational allegory, your day will become brighter than the Vegas strip.


Contrary to what you may have heard, you cannot contract an STD from the Smashwords self-publishing platform. Authors of books in every imaginable genre have turned to this aggregating service for eBook publishing because it is cheap (free actually) and easy (if you follow their Style Guide). I was by far the most analog person on the planet, and I managed to upload my manuscript successfully the first time around in just a few hours.

Today I am surprised to learn that banking law does apply to more than just engaging in questionable lending practices. New rules are being imposed on Smashwords by PayPal restricting the buying and selling of some explicit material. The creator of Smashwords has modified the Terms of Service to include language regarding eBooks with explicit content that they will not allow. Some authors are furious about this restriction and say censorship is being forced upon them. The titillated tantrum isn’t helping to promote Smashwords as an excellent choice for self-publishing. New indie authors are conflicted about whether to settle for pennies on the dollar for sales of their books at popular online retailers or take a chance on being engulfed in flames for their choice to epub on Smashwords.

A friend of mine, when asked about something she’s unsure of responds with a comment I believe is applicable here. She says, “I don’t know, but it’s just like pornography, I know it when I see it.” Sometimes I wonder if we really do know it when we see it. Objectified and yet willingly engaged women all over the world know that sex sells. (a.k.a. pays the bills.) The unspoken rule of course is: as long as men are in on the action, it is acceptable. I wonder if people who purchase those magazines that arrive in the mail with brown paper around them will have to start going to the corner store and paying cash for their reading material. (Just wondering.)

There is NOT ONE REASON to amplify, aggrandize, paint in a positive light or in any way take pleasure in encouraging violent behavior of a sexual nature or any other nature for that matter. Choosing not to talk about it and pretending not to be affected by it doesn’t make it go away. It just allows chaos to ensue. The view-point of just about any person of what constitutes unacceptable behavior will be different from that of any other person. (Assuming they can get beyond what the definition of “is” is.) Reasons to be for or against anything vary wildly from as close as the next room to as far away as a continent. Choose a side if you must, but remember the reasons matter greatly.

Stop The Presses!

This morning above the fold in The Wall Street Journal there is a photograph of a man holding Old Glory. Above the photo it says U.S. Troops Killed as Afghans Seethe. At the bottom of the photo is the caption UNDER ATTACK: An Afghan policeman confiscated a flag from protesters as Taliban-led violence, spurred by burning of Qurans at the U.S. base, led to the killing of two U.S. Soldiers. President Obama apologized. (A6).

Five pages later after sifting through the oh-so-sad plight of BP Oil, the last gasping breath of retailer Sears, and some other crap my heart finally stops fibrillating when I am completely shocked to see what is happening. I hope contributors Nathan Hodge, Habib Khan Totakhil and Ziaulhaq Sultani are not in harm’s way for this story and that reporter Dion Nissenbaum will do a proper follow-up on this tragic and unnecessary loss of life.

It is time, NOW, for some real history lessons in our schools. What the hell are we doing? Burning books, and not just any old books, no, the most holy of books to those whose religion considers the Quran to be the sanctified word of God. Religion for christsake! You know the thing we are supposed to be in favor of being able to practice FREELY. Has humanity not learned anything? We need to unshackle our educators and let them present the facts. We need to require that they do it without bias and prejudice. We need to give students the opportunity to openly ask questions without fear of ridicule. We need to require our leaders to lead. OMG!!!!!

My son-in-law is currently deployed to this region and I am frightened and angry and so very disappointed that his first year of marriage is being spent for this. The article says our president offered an apology and a vow to hold coalition officials accountable for the “inadvertent” sacrilege. The report also says that a state department official said, “We understand that emotions are running extremely high”…..the official goes on to say, “We have seen demonstrations throughout the country and there’s no indication that these are anything other than popular expressions of outrage over this incident.” YOU THINK?

Hell, I am outraged and I’m safe in the comfort of my own home in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The faces of the demonstrators on page A6 are of people, human beings, (men) living in the shadow of thousands of years of fear. I see no women in the photo. They are scarcely living in the shadow of thousands of years of men living in fear. They are outraged too, but you cannot see it. Can you imagine the outrage (and the headline at the TOP OF PAGE ONE) if the photo had been a man burning Old Glory? (BTW there are nations older than Old Glory.)

Politics and religion may be taboo topics and I am certainly not going to pretend to be an expert on either, but I can read.  There is not one single way to spin this to anything remotely funny. I hope those who read this will understand I didn’t mean to ruin their weekend.  Please share this post, comment on it, and most of all remember that somewhere today mothers are weeping.

Going For Broke

… co-pay at a time

Healthcare is not the same as sick care; a fact that is lost on those in the reform business. Someone started to get the idea when the word wellness was introduced into the disease prevention discussion, but then of course a new sheriff came to town and it was back to the drawing board. Anyone who is a parent of a child with any type of illness or anyone who is an adult child of an elderly parent knows all about the state of the so-called healthcare system. Senior citizens who sit at the kitchen table on Sunday afternoons counting out their meds for the week worrying about falling through the doughnut hole understand that the system is designed for the A players, not for those with Part B.

As a general rule I don’t go to the doctor, I don’t take antibiotics and I don’t like having my breasts smashed between cold plates of steel once a year (or twice if the mammogram tech is unskilled).  If I had the insurance premiums for all of the months I haven’t seen a doctor, I could fill my closet with Jimmy Choo and Ferragamo and …..oh who am I kidding. You get the idea.

Avoiding unhealthy foods and staying active are a big head start to caring for one’s health. Sure I have had my share of flu symptoms that have sent me to the drug store to ward off death so I could show up for work. For some reason when I turned forty my body started to get a bit unruly, but for the most part I have enjoyed good health. If you have seen any of my recent posts you may be mildly aware that I am having issues. They are being properly treated, so not to worry. Here’s a quick run down so far. 

Visit to primary care physician $30

Visit to neurologist $40

One MRI $40

Follow up with neurologist $40

Visits to physical therapy $80

Visit to spine specialist $40

Outpatient procedure, physical therapy and follow-up visit costs TBD.

Seeing the actual charges billed & what insurance pays on the statement of benefits….priceless.

Getting angry about the cost of healthcare may fuel debate. It will not correct the hundreds of underlying causes of escalating costs that touch the lives of every single human being who draws breath whether they pay taxes or not, whether they were born here or not, whether they make healthy choices or not. Certainly there is plenty of irresponsible behavior in the healthcare industry itself; otherwise it wouldn’t be called an industry. Treating the sick, whether we like it or not is a business, and as long as it is there will be a cost of doing that business. Who pays? The same people who make their mortgage payments on time every month, the same people who work two jobs to put food on the table and send their kids to college. The same people who pay more than their fair share of the money that is mismanaged by those people who have the best healthcare money can buy.

Oddly enough every one of us knows that quitting smoking reduces serious health risks of heart disease and cancer. We all know drunk driving (& texting while driving) kills and is of course, just plain stupid. There are people who believe they are being taken for a ride and if they want to smoke and drink and eat junk food they’re gonna damn well do it no matter the risk because that is their way of stickin it to the man!

All I know is this, the problems are systemic and the solutions change from day-to-day. There is great value in small successes. If perfection is the goal, we will always fall short.

(Oh yeah, and we are being taken for a ride.)