Veterans

Welcome Home — Vietnam Veterans Day


Dearest Readers:

Did you know March 29, 2015 was Vietnam Veterans Day??? What?!??? You did not know? Why didn’t the news media share this information? Good question which I do not have the answer!

I confess, I have a special place, bonded tightly within my heart for Vietnam Veterans; after all, my husband is a Vietnam Veteran. I am extremely proud of him. Well, on most days. Returning home from Vietnam, I noticed his temperament was intense. His jealousy grew. There were times when he noticed a man looking at me and he glared, then asking in a most arrogant mannerism, “What the Hell are you looking at?” During those times, I wanted to crawl into the floor and hide. I recognized the gentle, caring man I married and waited on while he was in Vietnam, was not the man I was married to now. That man was still in Vietnam.

Looking at my husband, I saw a man with emptiness in his eyes. While visiting his parents, we knocked on the door of their trailer. His mother opened the door, managing to say, “Oh…You’re here.” We entered the trailer, awaiting hugs and kisses. His mother sat down at the kitchen table, lighting another cigarette. Never did she or his father show any emotion of gratitude for his homecoming. No special meal. No reunion…NOTHING! Strange. When I asked my husband if his parents always reacted with such a frigid demeanor his reply was a simple, “It don’t mean nothing.” The phrase “It don’t mean nothing,” now rang inside my head constantly.

I suppose emotions such as those awaited many Vietnam Veterans. Over the years, I grew afraid of my husband, especially when his jealous rages exploded. I withdrew. Rarely made friends. And if I was away from our home, my husband would phone everyone he knew, including retail stores I shopped at, until — he found me. I was quickly becoming a prisoner inside my own home.

In 2001, my husband played golf with a Vietnam Veteran. I do not know what happened on the golf course, but when he got home, he made a comment I never expected. “Some of the guys think I have PTSD,” he said.

“Think?” I responded…”I KNOW you have PTSD.”

“What makes you think that?” He asked, moving closer to me. My body flinched.

“Your temperament. Impatience. Anger. Jealousy. The rages you get and how you treat me. You’re not nice when that monster gets in your eyes.”

My husband simply walked away. No discussion. No communication.

I knew the warning signs of PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After all, I was living with a man who brought it home from Vietnam.

Vietnam Veterans Deserve…

I find it interesting and extremely sad that the media does not share stories about Vietnam Veterans Day. Listening to the news yesterday, I expected to hear something about it, but did not. My husband and I know many Vietnam Veterans. When I greet them, I always say, “Thank you for your service and Welcome Home.” I’ve seen these veterans choke up at times. I suppose they are getting a bit of relief now about how America treated these Veterans when they returned. One of my neighbors, no longer a part of our neighborhood since she moved, actually told our son that, and I quote, “Your daddy is a baby killer.” Then, she spat in my son’s face. He rushed home. Tears streaming down his face. When I hugged him he told me what he experienced from this neighbor.

“I’ll be right back,” I said. “You stay here.” No doubt my seven-year-old9th Inf Div, Commo Platoon_Aug_2007 son knew where I was going. Knocking on her door, she refused to answer. My knock grew harder. “I’m not leaving until you open this door,” I shouted. The door opened.

“How could you,” I said in a calm voice. “You called my husband a baby killer to my son.”

“That’s what he is,” she said. Her hair was long and stringy. She wore a loose caftan, reminding me of a hippy.

“How dare you to be so cruel. My husband fought in a war for your freedom. It’s a shame that you have the ability to express what others say. It’s a shame you were not fighting a war. But maybe you are…with your drugs, alcohol and fast life. Don’t think the neighborhood doesn’t know about you. You neglect your child and you are always strung out from something you shouldn’t be doing. Your house smells of marijuana. Maybe that’s the style of life you choose…and you can only do it here, alone in your home. You should be thanking the Veterans for your freedom, not wasting it away…”

I spun on my heel and walked away. Never did I see her again.

Yesterday, March 29, 2015, I would like to wish all of our Vietnam Veterans a profound Welcome Home, and Thank you for your service. While it isn’t easy to live a life with a Veteran, I am still very proud that my husband and I weathered the storms in our marriage, and we chose to work through the difficult times…and there were many. Nights of fitful sleep. Nightmares. Days and nights of reassuring him that I loved him and wanted to work through the difficulties. While in therapy, I told my husband and the therapist that the reason I had the strength to place things in perspective and to ‘work it out’ because I still remembered how difficult and alone I was while he was in Vietnam. Newly married, three months later, he flew away to Vietnam, on Thanksgiving Day. Our First Thanksgiving Day. A day I could not give thanks!

Here’s to You — The Vietnam Veterans

Perhaps it has become easier for both of us to become closer again after we reunited with my husband’s platoon. Every fall the 9th Infantry Division, Commo Platoon, have a reunion with the guys and their wives/loves/significant others…I must say, within this group is some of the kindest, most caring, loving people I have ever met. Never do I hear of anyone ridiculing the others, nor do they gossip and criticize others. Isn’t that amazing? We’ve attended just a few of these reunions. My husband is not retired. He finds himself happiest while at work, so there are many times when we cannot travel. Nevertheless, we still hear from all of these ‘bands of brothers’. I appreciate each and everyone of them.

So, to you, the Vietnam Veterans, I do hope your Vietnam Veterans Day was a happy one. I salute all of you, and I thank you for your service. Welcome Home Soldiers. You deserve the best.

http://wtop.com/tag/welcome-home-vietnam-veterans-day/ According to this site, ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Vietnam veterans are getting some long-delayed appreciation in Maryland. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is signing a bill Monday making March 30 “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” Perhaps soon all of the leadership in America will recognize our Vietnam Veterans.

WELCOME HOME VIETNAM VETERANS…THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY!

ARTICLES

Remodeling 101 — A New Kitchen


Dearest Readers:

Below is a story written in 2007 when our household decided to remodel our kitchen. Enjoy!

TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007

Remodeling 101 –

KITCHEN FACELIFT
The Saga of Remodeling a Kitchen, and a Marriage

For many years I’ve dreamed of a modern kitchen, filled with contemporary, custom-made cabinets with plenty of storage space, a place for the microwave and the clutter that was swallowing my work area. I dreamed of granite counter tops, traditional customized cabinets that opened easily and were convenient for storage. I wanted pretty wood instead of drab, cheapened boards containing too many coats of monotonous paint and drawers that refused to open easily. Recognizing it was time to sale our home or remodel, my husband and I decided to take on the task of a kitchen facelift. Knowing life is ALWAYS filled with unexpected surprises, we decided it was in our best interest to hire a contractor, a master of remodeling, instead of another Do It Yourself project that would undoubtedly take my husband years to complete. He has the tendency to start a project and finish it when he ‘gets around to it,’ and when he takes on a project, I serve as his helper which leads to many heated disputes.

After meeting with kitchen designers, we finalize the plans, pay for the project, including the expense of custom-made cabinets, new sink, granite countertops, faucet, a new stove and a convection/microwave oven. Our original budget was $10,000. After discussions with the kitchen designers, we decided to increase the budget. After all, we want the kitchen remodeled the right way, without cutting corners.

Next step for the renovation – packing up the kitchen and moving forward with the gutting process. The custom-made cabinets are scheduled for delivery March 22, so now, it is onward and upward! Every night after dinner, I empty a cabinet or two, package the dishes, cookware and ingredients into boxes so the facelift may begin.

Day One

February 26 – with cabinets and the pantry empty, and a portable kitchen area set up on the breakfast room table – microwave, coffee pot, and other incidentals that a family must have just to survive – we are ready to move forward with the first phase – demolition. I inform my husband that for the next few weeks, until the kitchen facelift is complete, we will be connoisseurs of microwave foods, nothing more. No gourmet dinners until. Our dining experience will include Lean Cuisines, Healthy Choice, sandwiches, and paper plates. Bon Appetit!

Thank goodness I do not have a headache today, and if I survive this date without a migraine, it will be a miracle! The contractor arrived early at 8:00 sharp. Before 9 am, the cabinets by the sink are gone. That’s where we run into the first surprise, and I am one who doesn’t like surprises.

Our old cabinets were built over a soffett, a construction term used to describe the installation process of the existing cabinets. When the top of the cabinets are removed, we discover exposed beams leading to the roofing. Apparently when the first remodeling was done in the early 1970’s, the couple who owned the house chose to cut corners and not box in this area. The cabinets they installed were built overhead, leaving the ceiling exposed. Thank goodness we chose not to cut corners and do this renovation the correct way.

Later, when the enclosed pantry is ripped out, we run into a brick wall – literally, figuratively and physically. My husband and I wondered why the pantry was such an odd and non-user-friendly pantry, designed with angles and corners leading to wasted space. I do not question it anymore. When exposed, the contractor discovers the pantry is attached to an exterior brick wall, which was built at a 45º angle. Now we will need to have the custom-made cabinets re-made. By this discovery, my husband is on a business trip and I am stuck at home to take care of all of the incidentals of this mess. Several phone calls later, I am relieved, but furious that I rarely have a husband who will take care of such things. Sometimes I wonder what the convenience of marriage is; nevertheless, I can certainly understand why marriage is referred to as an institution, and I agree with this description. My friends laugh when they hear me grumble about the business of marriage. If only they walked in my shoes. After phoning my husband, I reassure him I have taken care of the matter and everything will be worked out.

“Good,” he replies. “I’ll try to get home early.”

Knowing him as I do, I understand he feels a bit guilty for not being home now, and he should. My one request just last week was for him to be home, but Corporate America dictates his schedule, so I take this in my stride, thankful that I can write even when the hammering and banging sounds like a wild eyed monster is loose in my gutted kitchen.

Sometimes it is a good thing that I cannot crawl through the telephone lines because if I could, I would probably want to do something not too nice. Perhaps now he understands why I insisted on hiring someone to remove the cabinets. Our marriage would never survive if he took on these projects. I suppose it is good that opposites attract – since I am the partner in our marriage who is gifted with multi-tasking, and he is good at directing, controlling, and walking off when things do not go as expected. Since today is only Day One of things to go wrong when remodeling, it is the perfect day for his business trip and my stress level to be tested.
In the afternoon, the construction crew leaves and I have the luxury of quiet again. I decide to turn the stereo on and when the music fails to relax my mood, I leave the house to get a manicure. Sometimes a woman needs a bit of pampering! Tomorrow will be another day of hammering, sawing, the constant ringing of the telephone, and more unexpected surprises. Calgon, please take me away!

Three Weeks Later – March 22, 2007

D Day arrives – Delivery Day! Last week I received a call from Kraft Maid. The cabinets are on track, scheduled for delivery March 22. There is a three-hour window of opportunity set for delivery, between the hours of 12:00pm – 3:00pm. At 11:40, the truck arrives with seventeen boxes. Last week I was told, we would need 337 cubic feet of room – whatever that means. I do not claim to be a mathematician! Now, I am living in a sea of boxes – everywhere! Even the front door is backed up with boxes, especially one lengthy box exactly 94 inches in length so large it cannot turn the corner to go into the kitchen. Since we are blessed with a kitchen located in the front of the house, we have no option left. We must place this monstrous box next to the front door! The question at hand is – when the cabinet is removed from this coffin sized box, will it turn the corner into the kitchen for installation? Let us hope we do not have a fire in the house. We only have one exit/entrance now. I created a Caution Under Construction sign, taped it on the front door, in the event someone rings the doorbell, and does not understand why we cannot open the front door.

I confess, I did everything humanly possible to prepare the house for this arrival, feeling as if I was giving birth to these cabinets and this project. Why is it a woman MUST DO EVERYTHING in a marriage???

This morning, I rushed around in anticipation of an early delivery since my husband had something to do this morning and wasn’t around! I had labor pains, excruciating pains from muscles stretching to move so I can lift awkward pieces of furniture. The coffee table bit me when I moved it, leaving a nice scratch and bruise on my leg. Labor pains! I moved living room furniture around, making way – only to discover due to the tall pantry we ordered, we cannot open the front door. If I survive this disaster, it will be a miracle! My husband is receiving the cold shoulder treatment from me – well deserved. This is my way of dealing with his abstinence!
When Phil arrives home, he asks if I have contacted Home Depot to let them know the cabinets are here. My reply, “I’m working on a deadline. Why don’t you call them?” He grumbles, requesting the phone number.

Later we have a slight discussion. Phil reminds me he has done his part to prepare for this project. He was the one who rented the machine to strip and remove the wooden kitchen floor. He was the one who sanded the concrete smooth. He reminds me he worked on this labor pain for two days while I was out of town.

“Oops,” I reply, conveniently forgetting that I was out of town for four days during this process.
“Oops,” I apologize. “I’m so sorry.”

I move closer to him, managing to give him that stupid, innocent grin that usually works to make this stubborn, persnickety man respond to me and forgive me. Then, I kiss his lips. He pulls me close for a moment. Grins. We’ve never been the type of couple to remain angry for long, so the moment of silence and cold shoulder is gone. Anger never resolves issues. Never.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The representative from Home Depot arrives a bit late, due to traffic in Charleston. No surprise there. Traffic is ALWAYS a problem in this holy city. After a couple of hours of opening boxes and investigating what is inside, it appears we have one or two damaged cabinet doors. I must say, the cabinets are beautiful. Later, while basking in the sun, the phone rings. I ignore it since I am outside enjoying the beautiful spring weather we’ve been blessed with. My cell phone rings and I’m surprised to hear that the scheduled installation is set for Monday, March 26, 9:30 am.

“I had no idea,” I shriek, excited that soon I might be able to do my spring cleaning, instead of having a sea of boxes and kitchen clutter everywhere in the house. The dining room table is covered with items we might need during this process, and there is not a corner left to place anything else. At least for now, I’ve recognized that I can sort mail and put it away, instead of allowing it to clutter the kitchen and dining room tables. I make a mental note to self – Never allow mail to be left on the tables. Put it away.

This sea of brown boxes is confusing our pups, The Three Stooges, Shamus, Shakespeare, and Shasta. Shakespeare continues sniffing at the boxes, as if he cannot wait to find the perfect spot to lift his leg and claim his territory. When I scold him, he rushes away, as if to say, “I was just testing you to see if I could do it.” Our pups do not like change and this clutter is mystifying to them.

Shamus likes things clean and tidy, with everything in its proper spot. He prances quickly through the rooms, as if to say, I gotta get out of here. This mess is driving me nuts.

Shasta, our princess of a Maltese, the smallest of our troop of rescue animals, doesn’t like change – in any way, shape, or form. She is the ditzy little blonde in our household and each time I open the door to let her outside, she scatters back to her little bed, her private territory. Her tail is tucked between her legs, and she looks back at me as if to say, I’m so confused. I may never survive this change.

Tomorrow at 1:30, Phil and I are scheduled to go to Home Depot to learn how to paint a textured wall. Since the walls in the kitchen are plaster and quite defective – fifty years of age has not been graceful to them – I made the suggestion to texture the walls with a textured paint, and use stencils with a nautical theme. I found some cool looking dolphin and nautical stencils at a craft store and I’m hopeful they’ll give me the look and creativity I desire.

Home Depot was swamped on Saturday so I suggested we could play with the paint technique at home. If this textured effect works well, I have a master bathroom to do, using the nautical theme, or maybe I’ll get more creative and do a lighthouse on the wall. Wouldn’t that be cool!

Monday, March 26:

Today is the day. Installation of cabinets. Let us hope it goes well. The installers are named Scott and Kyle. Not your typical construction workers, they are tall, lean, and hard working. They arrive on time and go straight to the task at hand. I am impressed with the quality of work they do. With saws grinding a painful tune into the wood, I am reminded of dental visits, and I clench my teeth, thankful it is not me on the cutting board. I am so grateful I do not have a headache today.

Phil arrives home at lunchtime, no doubt to stupervise. Yes, I said stupervise!

He walks through the kitchen, looking at things, especially looking for things that can go wrong. He questions a few things, makes comments and suggestions. Again – stupervising!

After a few minutes of his getting in the way, I remind him the kitchen is long and narrow, only having so much room. He looks at me, turns his head, continues to ask questions. Always in charge! Think I’ve decided if we remodel again, I am running away for a while!

Press Releases

10th Annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival Billed as “The East Coast’s Answer to the Sundance Film Festival”


PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From McKenzie News Service
(long and short version provided)

View this press release online with photos:
http://mckenzienewsservice.com/news/Myrtle-Beach-International-Film-Festival/index.htm

10th Annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival Billed as “The East Coast’s Answer to the Sundance Film Festival”

Billed as “The East Coast’s Answer to the Sundance Film Festival,” the Festival boasts the most impressive lineup yet, according to organizers. Films and film makers from around the world will showcase their work, many as a world premier.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, March 23, 2015 – The 10th Annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival (MBIFF), billed as “The East Coast’s answer to the Sundance Film Festival,” has set this year’s Festival dates for April 22-25, 2015. The Film Festival will utilize a state of the art theater at Carmike Cinema 17, Broadway at the Beach, 1175 Celebrity Cir., Myrtle Beach, SC.

Winner of prestigious international and national awards, such as “Top 25 Film Festivals To Submit To In The World,” by Movie Maker Magazine, and recognition as one of the best film festivals in the world, by Film International, the MBIFF call for entry has closed for this year’s event and organizers look forward to a phenomenal line up of films that will be on the big screen this year.

“The MBIFF’s reputation as one of the top venues for showcasing feature films, documentaries, and short films has helped the festival grow,” says founder and director, Jerry Dalton. “While we are proud of how international the festival has become, the beauty of expanding MBIFF over the years has also opened a submission category for local and regional student and budding filmmakers, in addition to the outstanding global films we enjoy. It simply is a wonderful opportunity for exposure for our community and artists.”

Attending this year’s event will be filmmakers, industry producers and several actors from featured films, short films, and documentaries, all of whom will have interaction with the audience in informal “Q&A” sessions following each film. This audience participation will not only provide film industry networking, but will also offer a deeper understanding of the filmmaking craft, from the on-the-screen and behind-the-screen perspective.

Over 80% of last year’s films had at least one if not many attached to the film attend the festival. The interactive setting makes for a unique film going experience.

In addition, this festival will host dinner on Friday, April 24 provided by Little Pigs BBQ and beer from New South Brewery. On Saturday evening, April 25th, Silver Coast Winery will have a wine sampling in the lobby and Sushi will be provided by Jimmyz Hibachi with entertainment provided by Denny Hess Jazz Trio. At the closing of the event on Saturday evening a gathering after the awards will be held at Sun City Café (801 Main St.) All the food, wine, beer, and after award gathering is included for the price of the ticket.

Tickets can be purchased individually for $10 per 2 hour film block or an All Access Pass for $50 which includes all films and all events available via Paypal at http://www.MyrtleBeachFilmFestival.com or call 843-497-0220.

For more information on purchasing tickets and event schedule, visit http://www.myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com or call 843-497-0220.

– END –

MEDIA CONTACTS/MORE INFORMATION:

Film Descriptions:
http://www.myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com/assets/mbiff-10-booklet.pdf

For more information/interviews/speaking engagements for talk show/telecasts/radio, contact:

Jerry Dalton
Myrtle Beach International Film Festival
Founder/Director
843-497-0220
jerry@mbiff.com

Sharon DuRant
MBIFF Media Coordinator
843-455-5931
shdurant@sc.rr.com

Twitter@MBFilFest
Facebook Myrtle Beach International Film
Web MyrtleBeachfilmfestival.com

CONDENSED VERSION:
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, March 23, 2015 – 10th Annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival Billed as “The East Coast’s Answer to the Sundance Film Festival”
The 10th Annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival (MBIFF), billed as “The East Coast’s answer to the Sundance Film Festival,” has set this year’s Festival dates for April 22-25, 2015. The Film Festival will utilize a state of the art theater at Carmike Cinema 17, Broadway at the Beach, 1175 Celebrity Cir., Myrtle Beach, SC. Winner of prestigious international and national awards, such as “Top 25 Film Festivals To Submit To In The World,” by Movie Maker Magazine, and recognized as one of the best film festivals in the world, by Film International. Attending this year’s event will be filmmakers, industry producers and several actors from featured films, short films, and documentaries, all of whom will have interaction with the audience in informal “Q&A” sessions following each film. This audience participation will not only provide film industry networking, but will also offer a deeper understanding of the filmmaking craft, from the on-the-screen and behind-the-screen perspective. Tickets can be purchased individually for $10 per 2 hour film block or an All Access Pass for $50 which includes all films and all events available via Paypal at http://www.MyrtleBeachFilmFestival.com or call 843-497-0220. For more information on purchasing tickets and event schedule, visit http://www.myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com or call 843-497-0220.

Uncategorized

Health Care 101…


Dearest Readers:

Saturday, I received a bill for a mammogram. Opening the envelope, I was curious why I received a bill for my annual mammogram performed in November, 2014. Wasn’t it just a bit late for them to send me a bill? And — why did the invoice state I was ‘uninsured?’ Was this the new/improved (???) OBAMACARE? Are mammograms no longer paid for by medical insurance? I’ve heard many stories about dear ole’ “Obamacare.” To be totally honest, I have no interest in fighting for medical rights — like I did in 1998-1999.

Readers – you will love the scenario I am about to share! Listen carefully! In February, 1998 – exactly at the same time my father is hospitalized with esophageal cancer, chemo/radiation therapy and a blood transfusion, my husband was rushed to the same hospital. Two days later, it was determined that he needed a quadruple heart bypass. Now, the two most important men in my life were fighting for survival. Yes, I did wonder how God had me pulled in two directions — actually it was three directions. The first my beloved father. Second – my husband. He knew he was second place now since my father was terminal and diagnosed not to live more than six months. Third place was my job at a college. I was told I (and I quote the exact words) — “I needed to get my priorities in order.” After all, it was almost March…a time to give speeches, tours and a time to meet the demands of a demanding career. “Get a life…My priorities ARE in order. My family comes first!”

I do recall rushing from one hospital wing to the cardiac wing to make certain all was AOK. But — ALL WAS NOT OK! While my father rested in bed, strapped to IV’s, oxygen and blood transfusions, I sat with my husband — striving to be strong. I was determined not to cry in front of either of them. Desperately afraid to show my fears, I recall rushing to the Atrium at Roper Hospital. There in that peaceful room filled with comfortable sofas, chairs and a small balcony, I found my peace standing on the balcony. Watching traffic rushing by, horns blowing from drivers who were rushing in a rage to their destinations, I wondered just how many would be admitted soon — from heart attacks, stress, accidents and attempted suicides. “Life is short,” I recall shouting, only no one could hear me. I looked up to the beautiful blue sky, the sunshine shining brightly, almost blinding me from the radiance of it. I prayed…and prayed…and PRAYED some more. Then, wiping my eyes — I screamed. After all, due to the hustle bustle of the rushing traffic congestion in downtown Charleston, SC, no one would hear my screams.

Leaving the Atrium, I walked to the elevator. My shoulders drooped. Head hanging as I wiped tears. Looking into a mirror, I noticed my mascara was smeared. I found a restroom, grabbing my makeup I attempted to hide the raccoon eyes staring back at me. I reached for my Jackie Onassis style sunglasses. Just how I would survive this true test of life was unknown. Somehow I found the strength to be there for my husband at night and on the day of his heart surgery. I visited my dad. He kissed me, telling me to go back to my husband. I felt as if my body was rubber, or some stretching fabric and all I had to do was ask two people to pull my arms so I could stretch from one wing of the hospital to the other. My dad lived until July of 1999. My husband’s heart surgery went well…Seventeen years later, I still can say, Yes, my husband has a heart after all. Believe me, due to his PTSD as a Vietnam Veteran, I have often wondered if he really had a heart!

Readers, by now you may be curious why I regressed with those stories, but today when I phoned the medical facility that sent me the bill, I remember how thankful I was that I learned to document so much when my dad was ill, and when my husband was ill. My dad was admitted to Roper Hospital so many times, I made extra copies of all of his medical cards, Social Security Number and his ID, just so every time I could get him admitted. Yes, according to Obama Care medical treatments are supposedly more efficient now — due to technology. Let us hope so! When I served as the caregiver to my dad, I learned to carry a notebook, write questions and answers down…date and time stamp everything.

After my dad passed away, I sent letters to every hospital, doctor, insurance company…etc…etc…reminding them they needed to finalize additional bills to my attention. Exactly 16 months after my dad’s death, I received a bill – totaling over $1600. I phoned the company. Someone from billing reminded me I needed to pay the bill. “My father died 16 months ago and now you are saying I must pay $1600 due? I don’t think so.” Of course, the billing supervisor placed me on hold. When she returned, I reminded her the company was attempting to collect money from someone deceased.

Placed on HOLD once again, she returned. “We’ve decided to write this bill off,” she replied.

“Good,” I said. Documenting her name, the time of the conversation and date, I am pleased to say, I never heard another word from them.

I have a laundry list of scenarios I could share, including how it took me fighting with medical professionals for over another 16 months (is there something strange about this??) to get my husband’s medical bills paid. Both of us had medical insurance…both were with BCBS…and ALL were a hassle just to get paid. Nevertheless, let’s just say, I can be most persuasive when I need to be. After all — there are two B’s in my name. Do you dare to ask why? One = Blonde. The other — perhaps you should decide! Many of my friends tell me I have the style and demeanor of Julia Sugarbaker, and that’s on my good days! Nevertheless, I got those issues resolved!

Today, while speaking to BCBS and the medical facility, let’s just say, I do not owe the $69 dollars for the mammogram! This truly set the wheels turning for me.

*How many people receiving such invoices — four months later — just how many would assume the amount due WAS their responsibility and not the responsibility of the insurance company? *How many people would simply PAY the bill owed?

Since 1998, I suppose I have become extremely educated and pro-active where medical bills and the proper way to file them are concerned. Yes, advocate is another way to describe me!

SUGGESTIONS

I would like to suggest to ALL of my readers, please be pro-active. Become an advocate to fight for your rights.
Be diplomatic. Phone the company to inquire about how the bill was processed.
Phone your health insurance company. When speaking with these professionals –have paper and pen ready to document the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW to resolve these issues.
Yes, it is time consuming.
Yes, it is stressful, but the end result could be you do not owe this bill.
Don’t assume the bill will be resolved. Request follow up and a paid-in-full statement!

I wish you the best! We must all be pro-active and not assuming that this new health care known as ObamaCare is improved. Personally, I doubt it!

Free Writing, Weight Watchers

Welcome Back — To Weight Watchers!!!


Dearest Readers:

To quote my words from last night, when I was able to sing — and HOLD the notes as long as I am known for — I AM BACK! Last night at Karaoke I was fearful I could not carry and hold the notes of “I Who Have Nothing,” — one of my signature songs. Much to my surprise, I held most of the notes without interruption without another coughing attack. Gosh, it was great to finally sing again!

When I finished, after the applause, I said, “Hooray…I’m Back!”

So great to finally be living again! This morning was my first Weight Watchers meeting in exactly one month to the date! After removing my boots, a white jacket, and other things I could take off, I got on the scale with much anticipation. My leader weighed me…I waited…Inhaled…Exhaled, in anticipation of this weigh-in. My leader wrote 3.4 on my card. “What did I do?” I asked. She smiled, but she always does that, even when we gain. “3.4,” she repeated. Now, she’s teasing me….The anticipation continued until I finally said. “I’ve gained 3.4?”

“NO,” she laughed again. Her laughter is delightful. Melodic…a laughter that is welcoming and familiar. “You lost 3.4 pounds while you were sick!”

I squealed like a child. My voice is doing that sound a lot lately since I am still recuperating! So happy I’m back on track after this illness. Today is a new day!

BREAKING NEWS:

So much for the new day! After Weight Watchers we have a group joining us for lunch. On my way, I listen to music, singing again! Oh how wonderful it is to have a voice again! I glance in my rear view mirror. A black car is just a bit too close. Thinking to myself, I am praying she backs off. She doesn’t…There is nothing like driving on Hwy, 17, Mt Pleasant, SC with someone just a bit too close. When I slowed down to stop, the vehicle behind me gets a bit too close…THEN…BAM! Yes, I was in a slight fender bender today…No injuries to either of us. As for the cars — well they both need a rear end lift (mine) and hers — needs a major face lift. Thank you, God…we are safe…No injuries, and to the lady(???) perhaps I should just say — the female in the black car that had to switch lanes due to the accident – while I am on the phone with the police department…You should be ashamed for using that middle finger. It wasn’t very lady like for you to do that. Incidentally, the Police department told me not to move our cars until the police officer arrived.

Now that I am home I am calmer, so thankful that neither of us were injured. We have no witnesses to this little accident since both of us were driving in our cars – alone. When the officer arrived, he was very nice. I shared my ‘side of the story’ with him. He listened and approached the other driver. A young girl. She doesn’t get out of her car, and when I asked her if she was OK, she was in tears. No reason to cry. It’s an accident. Cars can be repaired. And that is exactly what the officer tells her as I am walking around since we have moved both cars out of the area into a parking lot. I didn’t want to sit in my car, so I walked, just to ease the stress. I’ve been ‘rear-ended’ before, so I’m accustomed to this in Charleston. Believe me, drivers in Charleston, SC LOVE to navigate almost on the bumper of the car ahead of them. What caused this accident? Traffic stopped, so I stopped. I had plenty of room to stop. Word of warning to anyone driving in Charleston, SC – please drive carefully and don’t get too close to the vehicle ahead of you. PLEASE!

REGARDLESS, IT IS A GOOD DAY…

Although my day started with a fender bender, it is a good day. I believe in focusing on the positive in life…allowing the negative to slip through my fingers. After all, my baby steps are working. I am definitely on the road to getting over acute bronchial asthma, I am losing weight once again. The pollen is flying around outside since Father Wind is gusting the world outside with fresh pollen and oxygen. Even if it is a cloudy day, my life is moving forward. I imagine there will be fog drifting down soon, covering the lawns and trees with the magical gray blanket so welcoming, and I can listen to the melodic sound so familiar and beloved by me — Fog Horns. How I love them! This morning I heard them while getting dressed.

Baby Steps, and now I’m off to rest, while I continue to improve! My cough is only an occasional raspy sound.

Yes. Baby steps while the beauty of spring time arrives as I continue my journey with Weight Watchers and Life!

BABY STEPS!

Free Writing

So Much For Valentine’s Day…


Dearest Readers:

Have you missed me? I’ve certainly missed writing. Please allow me to explain.

Most of you who read my blog understand that I am a writer, photographer and singer. Since February 14 — Yes, Valentine’s Day — I have been extremely quiet. My quietness started on February 12, when my husband acquired a ‘respiratory infection.’ He called in to work. When he got up, he sounded horrible. Understand I am not a doctor – although I know what ‘respiratory infection’ sounds like since I’ve had many. I backed away from a morning hug, telling him to go to the doctor now. “You seem to have a ‘respiratory infection.’

Hours later, he returns home with a gigantic bottle of cough/congestion medications and antibiotics.

“What did the doctor say?” I asked.

Phil glanced away, mumbling “an upper respiratory infection.”

BINGO!

I cared for my husband. Attempting not to get near his germs, but on Friday morning, I was coughing. Saturday morning, I felt like death!

Tuesday afternoon, feeling like I was stepping a few feet into my grave, I asked my husband to take me to Nason Medical since I did not feel like waiting a few days for an appointment at my doctor’s office. Monday night although I struggled to sleep, each time I fell asleep a horrid, raspy roaring wheezing awoke me. “What is that noise?” I listened again, setting up while struggling to inhale a breath of air. I fought to breathe recognizing the horrid, raspy roaring wheezing noise was me!

When the doctor saw me, she listened to my lungs. “You really are wheezing,” she said.

I wanted to scream “No joke” but my voice, nor my bronchial tubes would not permit me to speak. My voice was not only raspy, but a small, little voice sounding more like a small child, or someone inhaling helium…and I never do anything such as that!

ACUTE BRONCHIAL ASTHMA

By Tuesday, my husband was almost well and back to work. As for me, I was deathly ill…unable to breathe without gasping for air…and…coughing…COUGHING…Coughing…until my body ached. The doctor diagnosed acute bronchial asthma, gave me a breathing treatment and 10 minutes later, with prescriptions in my hand, we left. I could not wait to get home — to crawl back in to bed. No, not for extracurricular activities — for rest and sleep.

Now, it is four weeks later. For four weeks, I’ve been inactive. Unable to work out on the treadmill, and unable to do upper body workouts. It takes a lot of air to exercise. Air that I do not have! I’ve missed my weekly Weight Watchers meetings. Heck. I’ve missed LIVING!

Since I’ve been so ill, I haven’t written, with exception of publishing a few press releases sent to me. Last night we attended the Committees Dinner at the Elks Lodge. I found a seat, and sat. No socializing for me. When friends came to say hello, I put my hands up, letting them know I am still sick. I really doubt if I am contagious. To get acute bronchial asthma, one must be asthmatic…nevertheless, I do not want someone to get sick and blame me!

After the dinner, I did not make the rounds of hugs and kisses and goodbyes, sending virtual hugs to my friends, I struggled to walk to the car to go home. Today, I am still sick; however, today is the first day, I have not heard the little monster of wheezing inside my chest. I am thrilled that he has left me — finally. Still, it is a bit difficult to breathe, but I am now taking “Baby Steps” to health — FINALLY! Some of my friends tell me they are worried about me. “I need to go back to the doctor and get more drugs to get well…”

Give me a break! I’ve fought Acute Bronchial Asthma since childhood. I know what to do.

WHAT TO DO

*Get my nebulizer – AND USE IT — every four to six hours
*Use the inhaler
*Take cough medicine
*Rest
*REST
***REST MORE…

I’m sick of resting. AND I REFUSE to take Prednisone — the infamous ‘wonder drug’ for Bronchial Asthma!

The last time I took Prednisone, I drove my car off the road! I could not sleep! Reportedly, Prednisone increases appetite; however, when I am sick, I do not eat! I am a total zombie…bimbo…or ditzy blonde when I take Prednisone. Let’s just say — this illness does something to my brain! I cannot focus. I struggle to find the correct words to communicate and I am not a nice person…so Prednisone makes me a monster.

Have I lost weight with this illness? Beats the heck out of me, but when I am well enough to return to Weight Watchers I pray I have lost a pound, or maybe two!

Today, I am taking more ‘baby steps’ to get well. Since today is the first day I’ve written on my blog in a month or longer, just maybe I am getting better. Today, I did not awaken with another headache and the awful gasping sound of coughing. Just maybe….

Baby Steps…!

Press Releases

The Top 10 Workout Songs for March 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Top 10 Workout Songs for March 2015

Fort Wayne, IN – March 2, 2015 – This month’s top 10 workout songs cover a wide array of tempos and styles that will complement an equally diverse range of workouts. For low rep exercises that strengthen your body—crunches, weights and so on—you might start with one of the slower tracks from David Guetta or Flo Rida. For a cardio routine—running, ropes, and the like—consider one of the faster numbers from alt-rock favorites Bleachers or club stars Yellow Claw.
If the feel is more important to you than the tempo, there are tracks spanning 100-128 beats per minute (BPM) and a variety of genres. The mix includes the latest confection from Maroon 5, a remix of Big Data’s crossover hit, and a collaboration between X Factor alumni Fifth Harmony & L.A. rapper Kid Ink.
There should be something here for every taste and routine. If you’re looking for a few new songs to spruce up your existing mix, you’re in luck. Alternatively, if you need a clean break, you can swap in this entire list—since it blends a variety of speeds and sounds that will get you moving and keep you guessing.
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
David Guetta, Afrojack & Nicki Minaj – Hey Mama – 86 BPM

Flo Rida, Sage the Gemini & Lookas – GDFR (K. Theory Remix) – 73 BPM

Big Data & Joywave – Dangerous (Spacebrother’s Electro Stomp Remix) – 126 BPM

Fifth Harmony & Kid Ink – Worth It – 101 BPM

Madonna – Living for Love – 123 BPM

Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life (Alex Adair Remix) – 117 BPM

Bleachers – Rollercoaster – 163 BPM

Maroon 5 – Sugar – 121 BPM

Yellow Claw & Ayden – Till It Hurts – 146 BPM

Penguin Prison – Calling Out (Elephante 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: mail@runhundred.com