Veterans

9th Infantry Division Reunion – Thoughts Before My Second Cup of Coffee!


Dearest Readers:

The posting below is one I wrote in the wee early morning hours of my husband’s Vietnam Veterans Reunion, held here in Charleston. This just shows, I should not post until I am completely awake. Somehow, I posted these comments in the comments section, not in the blog. This should teach me that I should have at least two cups of coffee prior to writing in my blog. Such is the life of a writer!

 

Another early morning amongst the velvet blanket of darkness outside. Across the street, I see a light glaring in a neighbor’s home. Sunrise will arrive soon, kissing the Charleston community with another blessed morning. Although it is early, I feel blessed. Over the weekend, Phil and I shared his 9th Infantry Division reunion — laughing, joking, listening carefully, and talking about a band of brothers experiences during a time of war…a time when America refused to support the war…Americans blamed our soldiers for the war…and all that happened during it. The Mi Lai Massacre…The Tet Offensive…and Agent Orange…other events that happened, which most Americans cannot understand — simply due to the fact that it is a war. Unless we were there, we the Americans, cannot understand.

With each of these reunions that Phil and I attend, I see a healing process. As you know, my husband suffers with PTSD. There are times I simply wish to run away from him and never let him catch me, or bring me back…but this weekend…was different. He only grew anxious once…Just once…and when I confronted him about his ‘grumpiness,’ this time — he appeared to listen to me…no fighting…no belittling me. Thank you, God! Normally, his ‘rage’ kicks in during these times, and knowing him as I do, and how verbally cruel he can be, I ‘handle the situation’ by walking away…attempting to ignore him. Unless you live with someone who has the emotional scars of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, especially from a combat zone, you cannot understand what we, the supporters of this ‘condition’ tolerate. Let’s just say, it isn’t a pretty package!

This weekend was different. When he grew so grumpy, I decided it was better to hang out with the girls and leave him be. For once, it appeared to work.

And so, to all of you who were here — at the reunion — a total of 16 people, I cannot thank you enough for embracing us into your extended family…Once just a ‘band of brothers…’ now…an extended family who may not understand…or just might understand what we…the wives, and family members experience whenever the PTSD triggers kick in. I would like to thank all of you, especially Dusty and Lou Dewberry for opening a door and welcoming us as a small portion of your extended band of brothers and sisters – from the remnants of the Vietnam War, slowly we find hope and acceptance. May God Bless All of You and may God keep you safe as you journey home. Thank you!

Some of the 9th Infantry Division, Vietnam Veterans, and Loved Ones at Angel Oak
Some of the 9th Infantry Division, Vietnam Veterans, and Loved Ones at Angel Oak
Veterans

The 9th Infantry Division, Commo Platoon Reunion Begins In Charleston, SC


Charleston Reunion 2013

Just wanted to share an image from the Vietnam Vets Reunion – pictured are Dusty Dewberry, Founder and Greg Ellis, who assists. Never have I met a more enjoyable group of people…the band of brothers and their lovely wives. Such a great group. I truly hated to see the reunion end.

More photos and details will follow. Another busy day!

Free Writing

A Busy, Busy Week — For A Writer — Insomnia Continues…


Dearest Readers:

Such a busy week, with little time to spare, so this will be a brief posting. Working as a writer, I have many deadlines approaching and will meet all of them; meanwhile, I have a proposal to complete, another story to finish, among the other demands of my life.

People who meet me always appear to be happy to hear that I am a writer. Little do they know what the statement, “I am a writer” means. I start mornings uncluttering a cluttered desk, organizing, or if I am away from my desk, I organize things wherever I might be. Now, if only I could ‘unclutter my mind.’ Today, I watched the dark clouds of midnight or early morning break into another gray, dreary day. I crawled out of bed at 3:45,unable to unclutter my brain. So many thoughts dancing, refusing to allow sleep. After one cup of coffee, I stared out the window, furious that I cannot sleep. There was a velvet-black cloud of darkness in the skies. All I could see were street lights. Nothing more. Insomnia happens to me more than it should and sometimes my head feels so cluttered I wish I could erase it. So far, I do not believe there is ‘an app for that!’ Maybe I should check. On second thought, maybe not!

Just what is a writer? According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, a ‘writer is one who writes.’ Great definition…Maybe I need a new dictionary, although in all reality, I can Google words now. Nevertheless, I am of the personality type that does not believe EVERYTHING I READ ON THE INTERNET! I suppose this post could be categorized under ‘freewriting.’ After all, I have no notes to revise, no research to review. I am simply attempting to unclutter my brain so I can sleep tonight and write today.

I don’t know if I agree with the definition of ‘a writer is one who writes.’ If that is true, then everyone is a writer, because during the course of our lifetime, we do write. Letters – or do people actually write letters now? I do – although they are not written in my floppy, cursive handwriting. My husband STILL cannot read my writing. “It’s too curly and loopy,” he says. My reply — ‘You’ve been married to me HOW LONG and you STILL cannot read my writing?” MEN!

No offense to those who are men. I LOVE men, and always will, but shouldn’t my husband — the man who has been married to me for ALL OF MY LIFE — wouldn’t you think he could read my writing? Maybe that is why when I write a personal letter to my dearest high school friend, Charlotte, it is typed. I do sign it with a personal closing, but if my handwriting is as ‘curly and loopy’ as my husband says — I say — so be it! I am a writer. A writer — WRITES!

Earlier, I read an article about writer’s platforms. Feeling a bit inspired, I decided I might need to write something on my blog again. Lately, I’ve only written on my blog about once weekly. As a writer, I’ve been negligent with marketing myself, since the demands and deadlines of a writer have dictated what I do, and I’ve allowed the clutter of my desk to discourage me.

Now, I have a new goal I must achieve, starting within two weeks. I must market myself and find an agent. I have seven screenplays, sitting in file cabinets. Years ago, I got discouraged with rejections and quit marketing screenplays for a while. Now, within two weeks, I will begin the search for an agent. Two, if not three, of my screenplays won awards, but I assure you, they cannot get optioned filed in a cabinet.

Looks like I have much to do — now, if only the cobwebs of my brain would close, so I could sleep.

Have a great week, readers. I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts!

Losing Weight, To Your Health, Uncategorized, Zumba and More Ways to Work Out

Doctor’s Scales vs. Weight Watchers Scales — WHICH One Is Correct???


Dearest Readers:

I hope you are doing well, enjoying the weekend. My plans for this morning were to go outside early and walk my silly children. Unfortunately, it is an overcasting morning with rain in the forecast, so the plans changed. I will play with my children, and hop on the treadmill instead. If I walk in the rain, I run a gigantic chance of getting ill, and for those of you who know, I was dreadfully ill from late October 2012 until January 19, 2013. I do not wish to repeat that illness. Isn’t it a bit funny how I remember the day I awoke feeling better, feeling that finally the acute bronchitis that strove to attack my body indefinitely, succumbed to my determination to get well. Crossing my fingers here for a moment, in hopes I do not get ill this year.

Yesterday, I went to my doctor for my six month check. As you know, I have Type 2 Diabetes. My last blood work was great, with an A1C level of 5.4. I am hopeful my levels this time are still as good, and they certainly should be. It would be great IF my doctor phoned, telling me I no longer needed the oral drugs I must take for Diabetes. Next week, I look forward to the phone call, revealing those reports. Until then, I continue my daily habits. Perhaps “Daily Habits” is the subject matter for this blog today.

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I attend weekly Weight Watchers meetings, and lately, I feel as if I am on a roller coaster ride, or a yo-yo. Allow me to explain. For about seven months I have bounced, back and forth, with weight loss. One week, I drop a pound. The next week, I gain two pounds. Next week, drop .02, and on…and on… At the meetings, I’ve learned this is an expected process; however, after this week, I maintained – the same weight as last week. At my doctor’s office, according to his scale, I weighed exactly five pounds more than I did — the day before — at Weight Watchers??? How can that be? When I visit my doctor, I must fast for the blood work, so it could not be something I ate. I addressed this discovery to my doctor. His reply — “I’d go with the Weight Watchers scale.” Another discovery at my doctor’s office was — his scale is located within the traffic area of his office. To the right of the scale, a nice looking older guy sat. No doubt he was probably reading the scale, so when I jumped off, I moved the weights! Of course, this doctor’s scale is one of those antiquated ones that I have never trusted – the type where the weights must balance, and because of the size of it, there isn’t any privacy. I made a suggestion to my doctor for him to please have the scale located elsewhere – for privacy purposes. “Women prefer privacy,” I said. I don’t know if that will encourage them to move the scales to a different location, but it would make women feel better. What do you think, readers? Have you noticed at doctor’s offices, there is NO PRIVACY for scales??? Aren’t doctors supposed to have Privacy Laws? Isn’t what we weigh — PRIVATE?

My doctor and I discussed many issues this time, including why I was having such difficulty losing weight now. I understand as we age, our metabolism slows down; however, I am an active woman. I work out five to seven days weekly. I eat healthy and track my foods via the Weight Watchers e-tools site. Years prior to Weight Watchers, I tried my best to work out on the treadmill. My goal was ten minutes. At first, I could not move for five minutes on the treadmill without huffing and puffing. I blamed it on asthma. Determined, I started moving on the treadmill more, working up to ten minutes…then 20…30, and now — I am proud to say, I can move on that treadmill for 50.30 minutes. I count it down with the timer on my phone. Never do I get winded now. I am so proud of that accomplishment, and the inches are coming off, but the weight — I do believe the brakes to my weight loss are locked in place.

My doctor suggested going to Metabolic Weight Loss Medical Centers. http://www.goingmetabolic.com/faq.php I did a bit of research, reading their frequently asked questions site, and I have decided to remain with Weight Watchers. Years ago, I was successful with a weight loss program of drugs, shots and special meals, but this time I am determined to do this on my own — with the beauty, encouragement and lifestyle change of Weight Watchers. I have known people who have lost weight in this style and plan, but I am not motivated to go there. I want to accomplish my weight loss on my own — with Weight Watchers! Yes, it has been an incredibly slow process for me, but I have to remind myself that IF I stop and go to some other ‘weight loss’ plan, I will be hurting myself. I walked into Weight Watchers, mortified…ashamed…shaking like a leaf…afraid that someone would recognize me… When the leader saw that ‘familiar look’ on my face, she reached out to me, encouraging me. “We were all in those shoes before,” she said with a beautiful smile. Kathy, my leader, has become a friend. She is there to encourage me when I squeal with a weight loss, and she is still encouraging me when I frown. I do not consider that I am a ‘Loser’ — that is someone who gives up, and I am a ‘winner’ even when the scales say otherwise. Yes, it is taking such a long time, but I am truly liking the person I see, reflecting me, at the full-length mirror.

I joined Weight Watchers because I wanted to accomplish my weight loss on my own. I wanted to be one of the women who says, “This I do for me,” and I wanted to feel the achievement of my own weight loss, regardless of the cost. I still believe I will break this bouncing rubber ball plateau, and I will accomplish my goals. After all, this I do for me. Now — if only I could persuade my doctor’s office to move their scales to a more private area. Wouldn’t that be an accomplishment!

Losing Weight, Uncategorized

Why I Must Attend Weekly Weight Watchers Meetings


Dearest Readers:

Yes, I Know I’ve Been Negligent About Weight Loss. Why? Simple. Life has a way of dictating and affecting my life, probably similar to your life. Days come and go. Since I joined Weight Watchers, I have devoted almost every Thursday to my meetings; however, after a bit of time, life really kicked in. I hit a plateau with my weight fluctuating up and down like a yo-yo. I grew despondent. I promised myself that I would not hit a plateau and I would not gain — again. That was not realistic for me, or anyone to believe. I suppose I was wearing rose-colored glasses, wanting to be different. The reality is — I am human! After that discovery, I got extremely ill with acute bronchitis. Trust me, no one wanted me around during that battle! I wanted to run away from myself!

Now it is fall. Today is a breezy day in Charleston. The meeting at Weight Watchers was wonderful and this leads me to the reality of discussing what we do at a Weight Watchers meeting. Yes, we arrive, grab our card and weigh, but the weigh-ins are confidential. Standing at the desk, behind the scale is a receptionist or leader. Every leader I have met is wonderful – definitely well-trained, professional and compassionate, along with encouraging. Like today. I think I was the first to arrive, so I jumped on the scale hoping for a weight loss. Unfortunately, today, I gained .02 of a pound. Grumble…Grumble! The scale does not show the number, or dare I say it – your weight. The blessed weight number is only revealed to the leader or receptionist standing behind the counter. Never does this person reveal what you weigh. She simply writes it on your card and gives it back to you. Nothing is shared. Let me repeat that, nothing is shared. When I read my card, I said, “Rats…a gain, but only a slight gain! At least I am still coming to the meetings and I have to remind myself that IF I quit, then I would be gaining again, and again, and again.” I am convinced I cannot do Weight Watchers Online, and I cannot quit! If I quit, I lose — not weight, but so much more, and I am not a quitter — not anymore!

If you have ever considered joining Weight Watchers, I highly encourage you to do it. Incidentally, I am not a receptionist, or a leader, for Weight Watchers, and I pay the same fees everyone else does, so there is no compensation here for me sharing my experience on my blog. My job as a writer is to share news, current events, stories and my life experiences with my public, and that is why I share and write about my struggles to lose weight.

DIABETES MAY SLOW THE PROCESS
To those of you who do not know, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2005. I was shocked to discover that I had Diabetes, but when the reality kicked in, I decided it was time for me to become pro active and do what I could to care for myself and to control Diabetes. I researched Diabetes, determined that I could control it without injections. I confess, I have a phobia about needles and whenever I see one coming near me, I squeal lightly and turn my head away. I behave worse than an infant or an animal does when I get a shot. Such a baby! I’m pleased to share that within three months, my A1C level decreased from 8.0 to 5.4. My doctor was amazed! I had lost fourteen pounds in three months — all by myself by changing my eating and health habits. In 2011, I stopped losing weight. No matter what I did, exercise, eating properly and lifestyle change — nothing would help me to lose the additional weight, so one morning while listening to the local news, Jennifer Hudson shared that she had lost 80 pounds with Weight Watchers. I decided if Jennifer Hudson could look so good, so could I, and that is the morning I rushed to Weight Watchers. At first, I researched the Weight Watchers website, http://www.WeightWatchers.com and read a bit about the new Weight Watchers program. Dancing inside my head was the last experience I remembered — years ago, after joining Weight Watchers. Back then, a beige curtain hung by the area where the scales were placed. Although the scales were supposedly ‘confidential’ trust me — they were not! I remember hopping on them, like I was at the doctor’s office. I could see the number the last person experienced, and I was mortified! I am so happy to know that now, it isn’t that way. No dingy beige curtain hangs. Yes, the scale sits on the floor, but if anyone should pass by and look down, they see absolutely nothing but a scale without numbers! Confidential weigh-ins!!!

Today, our session discussed moving, and how much we sit. Sitting at a computer desk. Sitting watching TV. Sitting while talking on the phone…sitting. The reality is we should stand and move more. Oops…I’ll be back in five minutes…I must move again!

This week, I’ve been negligent, or as my son described himself once — a lazy lion. Insomnia captivates me at night and while I struggle to sleep, I grow exhausted. This week, I’ve used the treadmill once, due to insomnia…at least, that is my excuse. Sometimes our bodies dictate what we do, the actions, energies and exercise we get. No doubt, this week has been one of those weeks; nevertheless, I will get back on that treadmill! One major discovery for me at the meeting today was the times of the day I am active. For example, most mornings, I am active – busy with the demands of my life; taking my four-legged children for 30-40 minute walks three to five days weekly, then I jump on the treadmill for 30-40 minutes, and I end the work out with an upper body workout for about ten minutes, with exception of this week — my “Lazy Lion” week!

During our weigh-ins at Weight Watchers we are given a “Weekly Reader,” with good tips, brief articles, recipes and suggestions about how we can adjust our daily lives so we accomplish goal. Today, I discovered my laziest moments are after dinner. At this household that is 6:00pm. After dinner, I am busy with the clean up. Other households work this together – but my husband is not the cook at home. Heck, he doesn’t even know how to turn on the stove or the oven, and let us not even discuss him loading the dishwasher or cleaning up. He DOES clean the table, and hand me his dishes, and then he drifts away to the TV for his extensive hand workout of surfing on the TV, while I clean up the kitchen. After this routine is completed, I usually join him, or shower, then I rest. What I need to do in the evening is another routine at the treadmill. Tonight, that will begin!

I simply must get myself out of this “lazy lion” rut and continue my exercise routine. Now that the meditation and yoga, deep breathing tactics are helping me drift to sleep better, perhaps I will find the energy to get back to working out and walking my four-legged children. I swear, if I see Prince Midnight Shadow (my giant schnauzer) jump up at the hanging leashes again, I think I will scream from the guilt he is giving me. How is it a four-legged child can communicate so much to me, without saying or barking one word! It certainly did not take him long to learn that in this household our four-legged children rule! Silly me, I thought I was the adult here!

If you desire to lose weight and have been curious about Weight Watchers, I strongly encourage you to attend a meeting. Although I was 100% mortified when I entered the meeting, I can truly say, Weight Watchers has changed my life. Now, I don’t overeat, nor do I snack or neglect breakfast. I have learned to eat something in the morning, usually a Greek yogurt and toast with my coffee. I’ll eat a light lunch and a small dinner, and I drink more water than ever! I no longer freak out from the scales, and when, on rare occasion, I go shopping, I must remind myself not to head to the larger sizes. On one occasion I bought a dress two sizes too large. I gave it to a friend!

If considering Weight Watchers just remember — we are all wearing the same shoes. All of the members, and leaders, had to walk into a meeting – join – and reach goal. Although I haven’t reached goal — YET — I will, and when I do — I intend to celebrate while still counting the points, and this time, I’ll not feel guilty. After all, everyone is entitled to treat themselves — with Weight Watchers and with LIFE!

If you find these columns helpful, please contact me and share your story, or simply introduce yourself. After all, we are all in the same shoes, and we all want to Dance!

Music Notes, Press Releases

Top 10 Workout Songs – October 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Top 10 Workout Songs For October 2013

Fort Wayne, IN – October 1, 2013 – Summer’s now giving way to fall, but it seems no one mentioned this to Robin Thicke. His track “Blurred Lines” was decisively the song of the summer—having logged 12 weeks at the top of the Billboard 100 chart. Now the tune’s getting a second wind thanks to a remix from Will Sparks and dueling with Thicke’s follow-up single “Give It 2 U.” Rounding out this month’s top 10 are new singles from Eminem, Ellie Goulding, and Britney Spears along with additional remixes from Rihanna and Bruno Mars.
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
Robin Thicke & Kendrick Lamar – Give It 2 U – 126 BPM
Katy Perry & Juicy J – Dark Horse – 133 BPM
Ellie Goulding – Burn – 88 BPM
Eminem – Berzerk – 95 BPM
Rihanna & David Guetta – Right Now (Justin Prime Radio Edit) – 131 BPM
Britney Spears – Work Bitch – 127 BPM
Mat Zo vs. Chuck D – Pyramid Scheme (Radio Edit) – 128 BPM
Bruno Mars – Treasure (Sharam Radio Remix) – 125 BPM
Benny Benassi & John Legend – Dance the Pain Away – 124 BPM
Robin Thicke, Pharrell & T.I. – Blurred Lines (Will Sparks Remix) – 128 BPM
To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Contact:
Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred
Email: Admin@RunHundred.com
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Uncategorized

My Thoughts About “Following Atticus”


As a writer, I enjoy nothing better than reading a book that captivates me. One that is a page turner where my imagination and passion are consumed, or perhaps, kidnapped with the book. A few months ago, I found a Facebook site, Following Atticus. The site caught my attention because I am the mom to four schnauzers. Three mini-schnauzers and one giant schnauzer. All have unique personalities. I do not treat them as dogs. I describe them as my babies. My groomer gets a big kick out of that!

When I started following Following Atticus, I became captivated. Last week, I ordered the book. Yesterday, while I was baby sitting the service techs for a major repair of our heating and air unit, I sat in the kitchen, with my babies, reading Following Atticus. Some will describe it as a book about a man and his dog. Those of us who rescue and foster animals describe this amazing book as something more. It is a book about forgiveness, finding one’s self, compassion, acceptance, and in many ways, a story about finding yourself when you thought you were lost and alone and the journeys we take to come home again.

Atticus and Tom have a relationship extremely close to the relationship I have with my animals. Last year, when I lost my precious giant, “Prince Marmaduke Shamus,” aka “Shamey-Pooh,” I thought I wanted to go with him. I am pleased to say, my babies taught me how to accept his loss and how I must move on. That is when I decided I had to adopt another giant schnauzer, preferably, a rescue. For weeks I searched and could find nothing. One morning when opening Facebook, I found a posting of a black giant schnauzer now available for adoption — in Athens, GA. Immediately, I phoned to inquire and was told, if I applied, I would be the third person in line for him. Within 24 hours, I was contacted that if I wanted this abandoned giant, I would be the adoptive mommy to him! Isn’t it funny and strange how things work out. I believe in the power of prayer, visions and the power and strength to be clairvoyant. No doubt this was a sign from my precious Shamey-Pooh. He wanted me to go on and to stop all of the tears. The tears haven’t stopped, but I have opened my heart to love once again. Shamey-Pooh and I had a connection — a deep, passionate connection, but he was leading me to something he wanted me to do – to find the love within my heart to love and accept a lost and lonely black giant schnauzer that had been abandoned. In a dream my beautiful, silver gray Shamus pranced around again, telling me he was fine and I needed to “Move On,” just like I moved on after my dad died. This was truly another hard lesson in life, but Shamey-Pooh was guiding me, showing me how to journey into love again.

Now, a year later, my new giant schnauzer, Prince Midnight Shadow, has not taken Shamus’ place. That portion of my heart is reserved for Shamey-Pooh, but recognizing that life must go on has given me a new perspective to allow my heart to heal by allowing another rescue to teach me more about life, acceptance, forgiveness and love. “Shadow Bear” is full of life and in many ways, he is still a sneaky, energetic puppy that loves to jump up on me, until I remind me to ‘get down.’ His eyes grow wider with excitement when I come into the room. No, he isn’t Shamus. No one can replace that precious and fearful love, but we can grow and learn to accept the journeys we take in life, even the heartbreaking journeys.

If you have never read the book, Following Atticus, I strongly encourage you Continue reading “My Thoughts About “Following Atticus””