Sunday, June 28, 2009

RYL is Giving Away a Free Asus Netbook!!

Click Here to Enter!

Contest Prize

Asus Eee PC Netbook with Intel Celeron Processor
-Intel Celeron Processor 353
-160GB Serial ATA hard drive
-1GB DDR2 SoDIMM Memory
-8.9″ WSVGA widescreen display
-Built in webcam and 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
-Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Operating System

Contest Dates

Start (entries can be submitted) - Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Finish (contest closed, no more entries accepted) - Friday, July 31, 2009
Winner Announced - Monday, August 3, 2009

I can think of the 100 different ways this would be useful for Mason at college. Especially carrying it around while he rides his bike from class to class.

Do you guys want to enter? And then give it to me? JUST KIDDING! But, I can think of quite a few of you that REALLY need one! Especially my favorite "nerd" or I am sure you have a need for it also or for someone you know. I could use it myself, but, kids come first!

So, Head over to "Revive Your Life" and Enter to Win The Asus Netbook!

And while you are there, check out the rest of their cool site.

You all know I like to enter contests, but, I enter contests at blogs that I especially like, and I like this one ranks high on my list. I am really glad I found this one! It is a lot different then most.

This is a community-based website that focuses on promoting self improvement and wellness.

Revive: Verb; From L.revivere "to live again"

rethink.renew. revive your life

Here are some of the great posts that everyone;

Refined Sugar and Health
Do You Suffer from Hyperventilation Syndrome?
The Impact of Magnesium Deficiency on Well-Being
What Are Antioxidants and Why Do You Need Them?
The H2O Factor: Hydration Supports Healthy Weight Loss

I found them all very informative, especially the "The Impact of Magnesium Deficiency on Well Being". I had been diagnosed with severe deficiencies in Vitamins D, B, and other things. To my surprise, there are a LOT of folks deficient in Vitamin D. I would have thought living in Hawaii and Florida would have given me enough to last my entire life but, I guess moving to the PNW was my downfall. Who knows why, just that it is common and folks should check into it.

The recent Post

"Do Before you die - A Bucket List" is one I really enjoyed.

A little preview:

Instead of hiding from death by putting strict limitations on your life, it should be accepted and subsequently used as motivation to reap the benefits life has to offer and get the most out of it while you still have the time.

While the glimmer of Hollywood production values and the combined talents of two respected actors shed an entertaining light on having a “bucket list,” the film consequently reinvented the notion of living as if there may be no tomorrow. If everyone compiled a list of goals they want to achieve before they die, it would not only help many come to terms with their impending fate, but also allow them to feel complete and satisfied with their lives when the time comes.

The article goes on to talk about some ideas about what you might want on your "list" or just finding what it is that inspires you so that even if you have accepted death, you can still have a more inspiring, purposeful life that you find that completness and comfort in.. I would hate to think that I, for instance, would let my disability get in the way of doing the things that make me happy down to my heart and soul and that I derive a feeling of completeness from.

Sitting around and using my illness as an excuse not to live my life to its fullest gives me the willies. I do not want to pass on thinking I did not do all I can do to grow in spirit, love and adventure. I have so much I want to do, especially for my kids. I want to make sure I leave behind a lot of memories for them and my grandkids. I don't want them to remember me as someone that just sat around miserable all the time.

So, go and check it out and enter to win. You do need to sign up for a subscription, but, I think this is one you will get lots of insight from.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wanna Win a Dyson?

I want one and I even have a Oreck!

Now, My Orek works great, but, it just so happens it sucks so hard it is hard for me to push since you all know my arms don't work that well!

I am thinking this will transform to move itself and all I have to do is guide it! Plus I am hoping I can turn it into a blower to blow off my porches, drive way and then it will extend all the way up to blow off my roof and all the gunk in my gutters. Yes, it can be done!

Just click here: Enter to win a Dyson from Mamaanista! And follow the directions for entry. You can even earn extra entries if you want.

To learn more click: Dyson.

Just think of all the possibilities this machine can turn into to help you out, especially when you are disabled!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bellingham Herald "McHenry ready for test at USATF Championships"

Mason at the ASU Invitational back in March. Photo by David Daer
Former Sehome standout Mason McHenry says he is not intimidated about going head-to-head with world champion distance runner Bernard Lagat, NCAA Champion 800 meter champion Andrew Wheating or the rest of the nation's best middle distance runners.
At the same time, he said he isn't setting his sights too high for this weekend's 800 at the 2009 United States Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., either.
"I just want to go out there and have some fun," McHenry said in a phone interview. "I had a pretty good season, so I'm looking at this as sort of a bonus."
If McHenry manages to finish well enough, he could receive another bonus - a trip to Berlin, Germany, to represent his country in the International Association of Athletic Federations World Track and Field Championships.
To earn that trip, McHenry would need to finish in the top three in the only event in which he will be participating. The first round of the 800 will be held Thursday, June 25, with the semifinals scheduled to follow on Friday, June 26, and the finals set for Sunday, June 28.
"I figure it will take about a (time of 1 minute, 44 seconds)," said McHenry, who just completed his freshman season at Arizona State University. "Probably not (something he can accomplish) this year, but it's definitely something I think I'll be able to do it in a year or two." McHenry's best time in the 800 is a 1:47.76 he ran during the NCAA Indoor season at a national championships qualifier at Iowa State.
His best time during the outdoor season was a 1:48.25 on March 28 at the ASU Invitational. At the time, that was one of the fastest collegiate times in the nation.
He was hoping to improve upon that mark at the Pac-10 Conference Championships in May, but a late-season bout with bronchitis slowed him and held him to a 21st-place finish.
"Initially, I was a little surprised by how things were going to start my freshman year," McHenry said. "It was a little rough at the end because of the illness. I wasn't happy with how the season ended there at the Pac-10 Championships, but overall, I thought I had a pretty good year." McHenry said the Sun Devils had him focusing almost solely on running the middle distance events, which helped him improve his times quickly in his first year in college.
Though he ran mostly the 800 - an event he won a 2008 Class 2A state championship as a senior at Sehome - the Sun Devils also used McHenry a little in the 1,500 and on the 4x400 relay. "Basically, I think it helped me to just be running all year and to have some really good training partners and coaches to work with," he said. "Coming to college, it was just a matter of stepping up to another level. I realized pretty quickly that if I did what they told me to do and start making the steps they asked me to make, I could be pretty successful."
Among the areas the ASU coaching staff had McHenry focus on was more weight training. They also tried to bring more speed to his middle-distance with some sprint-like training.
And now he hopes that work will help him this weekend in Oregon. "I'm not surprised that I'm running on this level," McHenry said. "I guess I always thought I could make it here. Maybe I am a little surprised that it has happened so quickly. I didn't think I'd make it here after my first year of running college track."
Now that he's here, it's not an opportunity he plans to waste. "I plan to use this as a learning experience," McHenry said. "I'm going to go out and do the best that I can do and see what I can do against the best runners in the country. If I make it (to Berlin for the IAAF World Championships) that would be really exciting, but this year I'm just trying to lay the groundwork for the years to come."
Reach David Rasbach at or 715-2271.
USATF CHAMPIONSHIPS When: Thursday through Sunday, June 25-28 Site: Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore. TV schedule: Friday - 5-7 p.m., ESPN; Saturday - 4:30-6:30 p.m., ESPN; Sunday - 1-3 p.m., Ch. 5 800 meters schedule: Thursday - 5:35 p.m. preliminaries; Friday - 6:10 p.m. semifinals; Sunday - 1:53 p.m. final
We, Papa, Mama, your sisters, the Herald plus numerous folks in the community that have been supporting Mason are so proud that he made it this far his first year in Collegiate Track and Field.
Little did we know when he decided to quit baseball his sophmore year that his words "I am not quitting to Loose" would ring so true!
I guess it runs in the family since all our kids have the same determination. We are so proud of our children who all have worked hard to attain their goals no matter how hard it gets. They all have been through a lot but never loose sight of what they really want or loose their determination even if they have to walk through fire to get there. I could not be more proud of all of all of my children.
Your whole family and friends plus many in our community are proud of you son! We know that you will be going far in the years to come no matter what happens today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ok, Ok, I can tell you what ONE of the Wins is...

It sure was a great weekend for Papa!

I entered quite a few contests last week hoping I could get SOMETHING for Papa for Fathers Day. It is no fun being broke, and not working so I can at least have some money in my pocket. Everytime I spend money, Papa knows and he never lets me spend any money on him. Shoot, I have a hard time getting him to spend more then $20 for a pair of jeans or pants! So, imagine how hard it is to do something for him. I have to sneak everything.

Even though was not the Tractor or 10k worth or tools, it is something he does need. And you cannot ask for a more quality product either! No more cheap sunglasses for my man! These are the REAL Aviator sunglasses by RE! I am so happy that I was able to win these for him. Yes, it would have been nice to win some HUGE prize, but, this win on top of "the other win" I recieved the same day, he really did score! I could not have planned it better for him on Fathers day! I was able to surprise him which is hard to do! Somehow he ALWAYS finds out what I am getting him.

These are the perfect style of sunglasses for Papa!

There are countless aviator styles out there, but only one Randolph Engineering. Built for the U.S. Military, the RE Aviator surpassed their rigid specifications standards. RE can be seen in movies like Apollo 13 and Armageddon (Love these movies!) and have been listed on Michael Bastian’s Top 10 Essentials for Men. They run around $99 for a basic pair and can reach up to $160 depending on lenses.

I still have "The Mom Fuse" button on my side bar for the Fathers Day Giveaway she was having on her site. She gave away a ton of prizes! And still is. I just need to get a new button to post now so you all can click and find some contests to enter. She also has other great things on her site also, such as parenting, recipes, crafts, fab finds, etc. She also has a monthly giveaway!

A huge thanks to "Mom Fuse" and a huge hug and kisses to Papa for being the best Papa I could ever want and have for our children! Papa I love you baby and you Rock our World!

Enter For a Trip To Hawaii!!

Also help to make an impact on our world today by being Green!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Papa's Day!!

Well, what a weekend for Papa!
I recieved 2 win notifications totaling over 3 grand, both for Papa!
I will post as soon as it is all official, don't want to jinx it, but, I bet most of you can guess what the big prize is since it was all because of YOU! And even though it was suppose to be going to Mason, he traded it to Papa for the car! Hmmm, the car is worth MUCH more! But, we can't ship it down to him or fit it in the car. So, we will keep it and save a TON of gas by Papa using it. He is totally excited, so is Mason now that he has a car to use!
So, a huge thanks to all of you for making Papa and Mason's weekend! I can only hope everyone elses is as wonderful as ours is turning out to be!

Mason, off to the US Championships?

Yes, he has qualified, but, has yet to be declared. The coaches are taking him along with another 8 Track and field Athletes to compete against the best in the US and to see who will go to the World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

His illness for the past few months really set him back but, his fastest time of 1:47.76 during the beginning of the season, kept him on the list. Now we are waiting for him to be declared!

Though he says his training and strength is not back to 100%, we can't be more please that he will just be there! He will at least learn a lot of what it will be like when he returns the following year and hopefully take home the GOLD! He will at least be able to get over the nervousness of being around the best talent in Track and Field in the US including Pros and Olympic Contenders!

You go Mason, we hope to see you on TV, but, we will be patient and wait till next year if we have to. Either way, you are the Champ for everything you have accomplished your first year!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wow, what service!!

I can't tell you who it is, at least not until I am able to buy the gift for my husband because I don't want him to figure it out. But, I have never gotten such unsolicited help from a website like this in all my years of buying off the internet.
I tried add what I wanted to purchase and then the computer froze up and it would not let me continue. So, I decided to just wait and look later.
Next thing I know, I am getting an email from a wonderful lady asking if I was having problems and if she could help.
How COOL is that?
She told me they were a new site and wanted to make sure that their customers were not experiencing problems and that she would be glad to help me in any way she could.
Who does that?
These folks do. And they have exactly what I want and I am sure every mother or father would love to have one too, but, not the one I am trying to buy! He, will just have to wait till I can afford it and give it to Papa before I can tell you what it is. Unless you email me, then I can tell you. Papa reads my blogs, but, not my emails!
So, contact me if you need to know now, or look out for when I finally get one and give it to Papa. He will freak. I know for a fact he wants one, and will flip when he sees it. Even Kids would love this! Maybe I will order a extra one, smaller of course for a contest. Hold onto your hats folks, this is one company that is really looking after their customers, even when you don't know it!

Calling all Empty Nesters!

I feel like the lone man out in the blogging world.
Though I like a few blogs, that are moms of young children and how they are so much like I was so many years ago, somehow I do not fit. They don't want to hear from me, they are trying to get through the early years and are not ready to hear about the future. Though I will enter some of their contests so I can win prizes for my daughter and her husband for when they FINALLY honor me with a grandchild, I still find it hard to relate to all that are experiencing things and talking about situations that I have already gone through.
I am lucky to be a member of some that are not just all about being moms and who have other interests. It is so fun, and I learn a lot from them, though they don't learn much from me even though I usually talk 4-EV-ER! I think I have the longest posts known to man. They write wonderful, funny posts, have some great contests, not just for mom's of small children, they review books and household items and talk about everything!
Anyway, I went searching for the older set of bloggers, the empty nesters. Parents with kids that are soon to fly off, or who have flown off already. Ones that have kids that are married, in College and even ones stuggling with a relationship with one or more of their kids.
I am disabled, ughhh, I hate saying that over and over. But, I do have intrests such as the arts. I do all kinds of crafts and will hopefully have an inventory of knitted items, jewelry, paintings, home decor, etc. I even love to work in the garden, remodeling our new home which my body has limited me on but, I still try to do and am always looking for new ideas on how to get it accomplished.
I would like to trade stories, ideas, etc with anybody who can relate. To me it does not matter if you are a young mother, because if you like art or crafts like I do, we definitly need to talk. If you are disabled, we definitly can talk and if you are a Empty nester, I know we have a lot to talk about. It seems a whole nuther life begins when they leave and if they are in College. It is almost like they really are not gone, just spending the night a few thousand miles away! Especially since we are still supporting them somewhat.
So, if you are a Empty Nester, you enjoy arts and crafts, contests, or are disabled, and you have a blog, or not, come visit and play with me. And of course young moms or older moms are welcome! I will be having more contests, probably starting this month, and will be talking more about my kids, Sarah, Leah and Mason and how it is going with them.
Mason, who is the most active one and I have the most videos of, gets talked about too much. I also want to talk more about my daughters. One that works, who is married and has been trying to get pregnant for a while. She is now on fertility drugs. This is Sarah and her husband Michael. They are facing many challenges with Michael loosing his job and trying to train for another in Ohio which has a high unemployment rate. Then the other that has disowned us, Leah. Who is so talented, and could be so successful but, got involved with the wrong guy that has complete control of her and her every move. She decided that because we won't let her take advantage of us or because we won't help support her indigent lifestyle, we are the ultimate in evil, and we don't love her or refuse to accept her for how she wants to live. Well, the last part is right. We willnever accept or support her when she chooses to live how she is living. But, we love her and know how smart and talented she is. She should be a huge success right now like her brother. But, for the last 3 years or more she has been on the streets or living in holes in the walls, partying, jumping from one job to another and living off the state.
I know that no family is perfect and everyone has their own dysfunction. This is what I like about meeting others so we can share not only the wonderful, but, the scary. I would like to see us come together like most communities do to share in our commonalities, worship, and have fun with contests and hobbies, talents.
So, this is the start of a new direction for my blog. I hope I meet some new people and introduce you to all my other great blogger friends. One of which designed my new look. Isn't it fabulous? One smart lady, and so talented with the cutest kids! I was blessed to run across her one day.
Hopefully when I get my prize finished, you all will enter and we will meet new subscribers we can share our lives with.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dear Senator Murray and President Obama

I am so fed up with our system and government I sat down and wrote a letter to our US Senator, Patty Murray. I think I will try to mail it to Obama too. But, won't hold my breath for any answers.

Most of you know of my disability and how long I have had it. You also know that it has kept me from doing the things I love most, especially fixing up our new home by decorating, remodeling and working, remodeling the garden. Oh, how I have been tryingwanting to try and fix up the garden now that it is summer and wanting to get my hands dirty and plant my garden! It was so neglected by the widower that lived here. And I know all I have to do is clear and clean and rearrange what is here. But, my body just won't let me! The kids have flown the nest, and we want to be doing so many things to fix the house the way we want and do the hobbies we love so much, like Papa going bowling and me with my arts and crafts. If I was working, we would be having the times of our life, doing what we want to do and not having to worry about the kids. I want to work so Papa and I can do the things we love to do the most!!

If I could work and have the money to do this I would be there in a heart beat!! I have always worked! I started in the 3rd grade when my dad put me to work at the Hobby Shop on base that he was in charge of along with the Marina where my brother worked and the Horse Stables where my sister worked. I have always worked unless I had to take time off to move, have a baby, or when I got sick, had surgeries, etc. Even then, usually after surgery or having a baby I was back to work within 2 weeks or less! I had great jobs that I was good at and made great salaries and benefits. Why in the world would I just quit and go broke so that we have to go without the things we love and want the most for us and our kids? Do you think that I am not scared at the possibility of having to pull my son out of college because we can't afford it? Or loosing our home? Not that we are behind or close to it.

We were smart in making sure we could buy a home, and have enough in savings so that we could survive on Papa's salary. But, that savings is going by quickly. Unexpected expenses, and then being ripped off really took a big chunk of change that we had. Now how can we replenish it? Especially with new debts from college, or the house and cars?

I applied for disability over a year ago. I was immediatly turned down and had to get an attorney. But, they tell me it could take 2 more years before I get a court date to see if I can qualify for benefits. And the exam they sent me to have, oh what a joke that was!


Why do we have to go through so much and wait so long, when we did everything right to survive when I got sick and lost my job just so I can recieve what I am rightfully entitled too? Why do we have to fear our son will not reach his goals because we cannot afford it, when we should be able too? Why are we going without so many things like my diabetic strips and supplies, medications or Physical Therapy to save money for more important things such as paying our bills, and our sons needs at college when I worked and paid into a system that gives money to welfare recipients or the unemployed in less then a month or two?

It is ridiculous and scary to think that we might tank before I am able to receive the few hundred a month that I had worked for and contributed towards for a long time.

Is it the government holding back the funds, or not providing the public with enough staff out there to handle these claims that they deny more so then they approve and provide a process a more efficient and faster before we loose everything we worked so hard for?

Welfare recipients and unemployed workers get money in usually a month and they are treating us like criminals in order to recieve any benefits we are entitled too. Yet if I were an indigent, I could get help, benefits from the state without a cross examination by a judge or box full of proof saying I can’t work! Yes, they too have a process and can be turned down, but, not compared to Disability insurance where you have to wait for years and then go before the courts to see if you will be granted any benefits.

I see able bodied young kids that are able to get housing, health care and food. Able bodied young adults also that loose jobs because they just don't feel like showing up, and who would rather go to the concert at the Gorge instead or adults who just refuses to pick themselves off the couch and drive themselves to work. I know people like this! It is all about fun and friends, celebrating birthdays for a week, or until the next birthday! I see it happening and it repulses me to think we have such a talented generation who wish to turn their backs on their goals, or working for what they need and want and settling for surviving on our tax dime and having a great time! They don't need much to be able to party 24/7. Who cares, they are living their lives their way.

I saw it at the hospital when I worked at the cancer center. People that worked all their lives, and then lost everything because their health care benefits, and SS was not enough to help them. Medicare pays worse the Medical Coupons and Medicaid! They have to sell their homes, use up their savings to try and stay alive and get treatment. While Welfare recipients get everything paid for, even free transportation. Now, I am not saying that all Welfare recipients do not deserve it. But, I see more people on it that should not be, then those that do. People that served our country and worked all their life so they can live out their retirement in comfort. Bam, they get sick and loose everything! They have to loose everything to survive, yet Welfare recipiants don't. These people that worked hard all their lives get healthcare that pays squat and even less for prescriptions and medicine, and oh, no, they don't get any help for paying for these things at all. Not even the free transportation, cab fares that Medicaid recipiants are allowed. They either don't take their medicine, or starve themselves to be able to afford it. God forbid if the gas prices go up again, they won't be able to afford to drive themselves to the doctors or to get their treatments. They end up having their spouses going back to work at age 70 or more to try and survive.

People are able to get these welfare and unemployment benefits in less then a month or two. Is there something wrong with this picture? Someone who has gone through jobs like Emelda Marcos goes through shoes, gets fired for calling in sick or not showing up, goes gets a nice apartment, medical insurance, and food stamps and all within a month or so on the tax payers dime. And with no proof of whether or not they can work, or are looking for work. Yes, some people loose a job through no actions of their own. They deserve benefits until they find another.

Why when I have letters and documents from my doctors, does the SSDI doctor, not even look at them and does a 20 minute SS Doctor exam, only asking me to touch my toes, taking my vital signs and poking me in places and asking if it hurts? Then having only that information, not even READING my doctors notes, x-rays, etc, he decides I am an able bodied person that can work? I am not even allowed to work while taking the drugs I am on! But he did not care to know what drugs I was taking or what my tests said. Because I probably was nice and not looking like I was about to die, (Papa said I was trying to hard to look good when I should have been letting him see the pain I was in and how it makes me miserable, etc.) But, how can a 20 minute appointment without ANY Doctors notes, x-rays, lab tests, etc, make a determination that I can work or not? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Just because I can touch my toes?

Is it discrimanation against the sick and disabled or a scam so that attorneys can make money on that comes from the government fund. Who thought up this process and how many Senators and Congressmen voted on it and how many of these politicians were attorneys?

They can’t make money off the unemployed or Welfare recipients, but, the disabled or sick….they are making a fortune, especially the longer the client has to wait. Because they get a percentage of the retroactive payment, if it takes 3 years, that is 36K if you get a benefit of $1000 a month and the attorney gets...hummm depending on the state, sometimes 30%. And all they do is gather all your records and "wait" for the hearing. I have to get my records, or they will charge me, and deliver them myself to the lawyer. What exactly besides gathering records and storing them until the hearing and then telling the judge the findings do these guys do to make so much money??

But, Welfare folks, unemployment benefits, oh, no. They just get the benefits with a little wait time and not even half the paper work, such as doctors notes, medical records, medical tests, etc. We the sick, disabled people are told to suffer, go broke while we WAIT for a HEARING to see if we qualify.

We eventually have to stop our medications, treatments, loose our homes, cars, go deeper into dept because we can't afford our bills, the late fees and added interest that keeps adding up daily, monthly, yearly. Buy the time we do get a settlement, our money is gone to all the debt incurred by the attorney and debt incurred because of having no money. Our cars need extensive repairs because we could not afford to pay for the upkeep or small repairs before they turned into bigger issues like spending 3x more for those brakes because we waited to long to replace the pads. Our house is rotting from a leaky roof we can't replace so we have to pay 5x the cost because we have to replace the siding and facia instead of just the roof because that small repair became a monster and destroyed everything around it because we had to WAIT.

Why am I and so many others I know of, being punished and humiliated like this? Is it discrimination against the disabled and sick or is it just so the Lawyers can make money? They turn down so many claims that the courts are back logged for years? Yes, they turn down more claims then they approve. It is almost like it is the procedure for SSDI. Deny all claims first. Then hopefully they will get better, quit trying, or die before they can make it to their hearing before the judge.

So what will my Senator say about this? What does the public say? I wonder what Obama would say. Maybe I should write to him too.

On the Website for the White House it says that:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included a number of provisions of particular concern to people with disabilities.
The Act included $500 million to help the Social Security Administration reduce its backlog in processing disability applications.
The Act supplied $12.2 billion in funding to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
The Act also provided $87 billion to states to bolster their Medicaid programs during the downturn; and,
The Act provided over $500 million in funding for vocational rehabilitation services to help with job training, education and placement.

Where is the help I need? Why is it taking even longer? Is nobody using the money to get the back log down? Who got the money and when is it going to take affect? Where is the transparency?

By the way. There are lots of people that need unemployment and Welfare benefits and are entitled to it. I respect them and wish them the best in finding a new job and getting out of the Welfare rut when they are able and I am proud of them when they are able. That is what the benefits are for. But, there are people that take advantage of this departments as well as the SSDI. In fact, A LOT of people take advantage. I am not trying to say that all people on Welfare or unemployment are frauds. But, I do know a lot of them that are frauds, even ones that recieve disability. I do not want to offend anyone that deserves it, and I hope they can work with me to contact our Politicians and demand transparency and change so that innocent people like us do not have to suffer for others mistakes. We the people that need it and deserve it should be making sure that others are not stealing it from us.

At least make it an even playing field. It should NEVER be that people who are suffering with an illness should also have to suffer financially also. Make it more rigorous and take as much time for people to get Welfare or unemployment as it does for disabled people to get benefits. It all comes from the same pot, right? Yet for some reason, the sick and disabled are more able to wait and have to PROVE we are entitled. Even then, they still poke you and tell you to touch your toes and say, "Nah, I think you can work" And if it is proven you did not deserve it or were fraudulent, you have to pay it back, for instance: When they spot people going sky diving, or surfing when they have a bad back, they are charged and fined and have to repay the benefits. It seems the fraudulent folks get benefits faster then people that are diagnosed with cancer or MS! How is it that someone who has a bad back, which I had surgery on mine, was able to get benefits without going to a hearing? They did not even require a hearing! I have all kinds of documentation regarding my back and surgery. But, the SSDI doctor did not even care to look at it. I could touch my toes. I guess I am not that bad.

Lets make sure our government changes this system that is nothing but a defective process in getting help to those that need it so badly.

Wish me luck as I have been getting worse with each month that passes. I only want to provide for my family like I use to so we can make sure my son can stay in College, or so we can afford my medical supplies and pay for the things we need to fix such as our defective roof and cars that need maintenance. Then maybe even take some time to visit our children, maybe go on a date with my husband or afford the food without having to go without the medications and treatments I need so we can afford food or money to send to our son. You have seen the videos and know how hard he has worked and how talented he is. You know he deserves to have a chance to go for his dreams! We did everything responsibly, just like people who served our country and worked all their lives to retire and deserve to live out the rest of their lives in comfort without having to loose everything because they fall ill and their benefits they paid into for 50 years don't come close to helping them survive the medical costs, or medicine that is more expensive then anywhere else in the world.

To not be able to work like I have all my live and support my family and myself leaves me feeling inadequate as a useful human being, then to be denied benefits that I am entitled to that I worked so hard for almost my whole life and have to go to court to PROVE I deserve these benefits, is a huge slap in the face and leaves me with no confidence in our governmental processes that are suppose to be there to help people like me. I will write more later and find out where this money is actually going and if it is really helping people like me. I am on my soap box and will be ruffeling some feathers if I need to.

But, I have a feeling, that there will be no accountability or laying the foundation for a new era of responsibility and transparency in this area. They seem to want to pass out the benefits to line their own pockets, or use it for something completely different such as their own self serving reasons or programs and not for the people that deserve it or need it the most.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Couch Surfers....The site

So with all the traveling we have been doing, and trying to come up with ways to save money on hotels, plus finding out my youngest daughter might be hitting the road for some traveling, our oldest daughter let us know about a website called "Couch Surfers."
Reading the stories and the FAQ's it all seemed like a really cool, fun, educational and CHEAP way to travel to other countries and the US. Hundreds of thousands of positive experiences by over a hundred thousand actual "Surfers" in over almost 60k cites around the world in over 230 countries.
Sounds all great, especially reading about the safty features they listed:
Verification Our Verification System gives members the option to confirm their identity and physical location. When you see the little green lock on a member's profile you can feel more comfortable they are who they say they are.
References References are an excellent indicator of the type of experience you can expect to have when interacting with a member. What do fellow members have to say about them? What kind of references do they leave for others?
Vouching The Vouching System is taken very seriously here at CouchSurfing. Users can only vouch for members that they have met face to face and feel are trustworthy people. Respecting the significance of vouching is essential to the integrity of the network.
Then the Guidelines:
Safety for Surfers When surfing, be aware of your surroundings. Your safety is your primary concern, and your responsibility.
Safety for Hosts When hosting, evaluate your situation and your guest. Here are some things you might want to think about when meeting guests for the first time.
Then you read the "Terms and Conditions":
1.2 Identity Verification. Because user verification on the Internet is difficult, we cannot and do not confirm each user's purported identity. Although we provide tools intended to assist you, such as verification of addresses (see Section 1.4) and our "vouching" system, you are responsible for determining the identity and suitability of others with whom you may match by means of this Site. We do not endorse any persons who use or register for our Services. We do not investigate any user's reputation, conduct, morality, criminal background, or verify the information such user may submit to the Site (other than the address-verification tool). We encourage you to communicate directly with potential hosts and guests through the tools available on the Site.
There is a lot more information also regarding responsibility waivers, use of information, rights to terminate accounts etc.
At first looking at it I loved the idea and thought, this would be great! Like hiking through the UK but, KNOWING where you will be sleeping and touring in advance. Just knowing you will need some money for traveling and food, which I am sure your host mostly prepares for you. I can also imagine that the "Surfers" do help the "Hosts" with help, either through work or donations of food and groceries.
But, in looking closer at the site I did not see anywhere about warnings or blogs about not so positive experiences. And the site, though they say they wanted to be contacted "If you stay with or host anyone who you feel is acting or has acted inappropriately, including but not limited to offensive, violent or sexually inappropriate behavior, who steals from you or engages in any other disturbing conduct,you must immediately report such person to the appropriate authorities and to us by contacting us at;'
But, the kicker for me is:
" provided that your report shall not obligate us to take any action or cause us to incur any liability."
So, this makes me worry that all they do is veryify your address and rely on people and others that know that person, to be honest about who they really are.
Now as a mother, these things would stop me in my tracks. Sure there are supposedly all these great experiences that are going on all over the world right now and great freindships are being made. This makes it sound like the safest way for your child to hit the road to places they want to explore and have adventures at. But, where are the reports of misconduct? You know there has to be a few bad apples out there that are a danger.
Don't you think we need this to make an educated decision? We all know there are risks in everything we do and usually we can gather the statistics related to these risks. It is when we don't know whether or not 30 or 50% percent of the time something bad happens because we are only seeing the successful trips. Usually the risks involved have to be told when it comes to doing just about anything, eating, parking, taking a medication or having a medical procedure, buying different products, participating in sports or visiting Disney Land. All the risks are posted or explained. People will post about a bad experience somewhere. We post sexual offenders on the internet, criminal backgrounds are investigated and can be found out very easily.
So, I am searching the internet regarding blogs or sites that talk about the negative as well as the positive. I guess I want to be thorough so I can educated the kids about doing this kind of thing so they can make an informed decision.
We all know we cannot just say, "No" anymore. And tell them "Cause I said so!" They need to know how to find out all the facts and be prepared so they know when to walk away or stop before something bad happens since we are no longer there making sure they are safe every minute. It is almost even more scary now then when they were younger. At least then we were in complete control, so we thought. Now, we have so little. Oh, how it hurts when they run into trouble and you cannot fix it for them. They have to suffer through the consequences themselves. But, we all did it, had to do it and we are the better for it.
I am not easily finding facts except the good ones. Which IS a good sign. But, if anyone has information, please feel free to share. Never know, we all might join up and have a blogger group where bloggers travel around visiting other bloggers, etc. How much fun is that especially for all the moms with young ones or the empty nesters who are traveling around trying to see their "always our baby" adults. Of Course, I am not to sure the kids will let the parents crash on the couches, if they have one but, I am sure the kids will crash on others to get back home!
I did talk to someone about another person we know that is not a trust worthy person that is using the the site to try and plan a trip. This is where I worry. Knowing that even though this person has not done any serious damage, or is in legal trouble, but, that they have stolen from many people, lied and is not a responsible individual, makes me nervous. Will this person be able to restrain from stealing from others or taking advantage of them? It makes me wonder how many more irresponsible people are going around and taking advantage of good hearted folks that open their homes with blind trust.
This is something I think would be fun to do except for knowing that one fact or one person. How many people are like that person out of the 130k+ people that are members of just this one site. 1 out of 20, 50, 5 that are undesirable and how would we know?
So we need to be able to report on the bad as well as the good to know our odds and so we can better protect ourselves. And at least be able to create a better way of confirming people that can be trusted.
I will do some more looking around, and any help or information anyone out there that has information would be so appreciated, the good and the bad. I have been reading a lot of good stuff from the site. If we can arrange something for Mason for his trip, that would be exciting and a great adventure for Mason on his first road trip! He is a bit of a shy guy and might not go for it. But, we can check it out. I know my oldest daughters Dad use to live near Frisco, and he knew a lot of people. Hopefully we can get a referral for someone in this area. I am sure Mason would get a kick out of seeing the San Francisco area.

Friday, June 5, 2009

AMTRAK is flying us on a trip, and Mason is driving on his first ever Road Trip!

Wow, what a crazy last few weeks it has been!
First I want to send out a HUGE HUG to Amtrak for going beyond the call of duty and making it so I can fly out to see Sarah since I could not take a train trip anywhere because of my disability!

When I entered the "Journey to the Center of the Earth Contest", I was not this disabled. I don't enter contests I know I cannot use or take. That would be a waste of time! But, when I tried to tell them I could not accept because of my recent disability and the rules stating I cannot upgrade so that I could handle the long rides, have a place to stay for the day long layovers or ability to sit on long bus rides they would not take "No, I can't do it!" for an answer.

Lena was insistent that I won and that I was going to take a trip to be able to see my daughter like I had planned but had thought I would have to give up. So, Lena worked her magic and got a hold of Debbie and they gave Greg and I round trip tickets and a car rental to be able to fly to Ohio to see Sarah and Michael!

So, thank you Debbie and a SUPER HUG and thank you to Lena!! Sarah an Michael are ecstatic and cannot wait for us to come so I can finally meet Michaels side of the family and see their home.

Sarah and I are already planning on doing a LOT of swimming, going to auctions, touring Amish country and crafts. Then we are hoping that while we are there the trees will be turning into their fall colors. It has been so long since I have seen the fall colors on the East side of the country. It is also right at the time of Sarah and Michaels birthdays, WOOOHOOO, time for some fun. I bet we will have lots of Michaels family there for a reunion. I am smellin' the BBQ, it had better not be too cold!

And yes, you read it right! Mason is taking one of our cars and going on a road trip down the 1-5 corridor from here to AZ! He tried to tell me he can drive straight through for 24 hours without rest to get there.....Uh, NOT! If you are thinking like me which is "There is no way in this lifetime you will EVER drive that long" then be sure to comment so I can show him how much of a very, VERY bad idea this is. Papa tried to do it once coming back from Colorado. Let's just say, he was lucky he was not hurt, did not freeze to death and that the car was not too damaged to drive the rest of the way.

Sarah told me about this website called "Couch Surfers" and I will have to look it up before we try to reserve hotels for him. (I want him to stop at LEAST twice) But, Sarah says that people are put in touch with other people that need a couch for the night while they are traveling.

You know me, being a mom and of the era of never going with strangers. They can make it look good an then who knows, they might sell him off somewhere for hard labor, or kidnap him..ahhh!
I really gotta look closely into this. Any of you know about it? Any body living on the I-5 corridor? I think I would trust my bloggers before a "Couch Surfer" website!
Of course we are getting the car ready, and yes of course it is ending up costing us more then what is was suppose to. Gosh, taking your car in for a simple tune-up, new brakes or tires ALWAYS results in something else being wrong that costs a fortune. I remember my van a few years back, the engine light kept coming on, seemed like it cost us 3 grand each time we would take it in, then, then after they seemed to have fixed everything, it needed a new engine!! All in about a 6 month period! So, by the time we were done paying for everything, about 9k later, we could have bough another car!
At least the 4Runner is not in as sorry shape, but, still those unexpected costs when we want to save our money for the trips and those unexpected costs that pop up for college, it makes you dig in and do what we need to save and make more together. So, not only am I entering contests, having a garage sale, selling things on Craigs list hopefully on my blog by next month, we are looking for some "Couches."

I was also thinking that since he is taking the double bed with him and it will be tied on the top of the car. he could just camp out under the stars on top of the car with one of those pop up tents, at the rest stops! Or he can just sleep under the stars and hope the bugs don't get him.

He is going to be able to stuff the car full of his things which kinda has me feeling blue. I have just recently got those feelings of him not living here anymore. Especially when he said he can't stay very long when he comes. He has to get back because of starting training for Cross Country, having to move again into his permanent apt since he has been "couch surfing" with friends the last couple of months. He has grown up so much, not physically, but, mentally this past year since he has been gone. He is no longer the baby. He has learned a lot, some the hard way, some in a good way. But, he knows what it is to be an adult and how we cannot come rushing in to make everything better like we use to do or when we want to or HE wants us to. I am waiting for that phone call when he starts getting his utility bills in the mail and he calls me up like Sarah did and says "MOM! I don't LIKE being an adult anymore, I don't like getting all these bills, and they won't stop coming!" LOL!

It is terrifying, because we spend our whole life trying to protect them from the real, unfair world and now he is out there and it is slapping him in the face and there is nothing I can do. I only know that he hs the strength to handle it. He has done well and I know next year is going to go a lot smoother for him. He really grew up into a very mature adult, and learned from some really tough times on how to get through it and come out shining.

Oh, and it looks like Mason might be going to the US Championships the end of June. He is still only at about 80% healthy he says. But, hopefully he will recover even more by then. I am dying to go, but, we can't even if it is in Eugene. With the car costing us more, and who knows what will come up after this, we can't risk spending money. We are hoping he makes it past the prelims so that he is on TV so we can watch and record him racing. So please pray that he heals fast and gets back into shape so he can show everyone he is still the great runner he has always been!

OK, I had all these pictures taken so I thought I would at least share them. They are of Mason and others from AZ when they were at PAC-10 Championships. I did get a shot of Andrew Wheating who was the Champion by a lean in the 800m. He made the Olympic try outs. (One of these days, Mason will beat him, I know it) I also got some pictures of Garrett when they played the Championship game and lost to Squalicum. Garret is graduating this year, so I hope to hear about all the great things he is going to be reaching for. Now is the most important time to get those goals set and to start woring for them. He will, if he wants too. So, enjoy the pictures.

Nectaly Barbosa running the 800m

Mason and John Klien running the 800m This is the first lap for Mason and he is already out of energy. He WILL be back!

Andrew Wheating running the 800m

Garret playing Squalicum HS
Keep up the hard work!

Monday, June 1, 2009

We have a Winner!

Using Random Dot Org I was able to come up with a winner and that is:
Your persistance paid off!! Congratulations!
I will send you an email for your info so I can get it mailed off to you. Please contact me within the week.
I cannot thank everyone enough for all the efforts you went through to put our entry in the number one spot for the last couple of months. There were so many wonderful entries I was up against and so lucky to have had the support I had from every one. I did leave a comment on Brick fish and I wanted to post it here so you all can see a little more to the story of living out here. We are in love with our home here in the woods and this entry is a true testement to the wonderful and different world it really is out here.
This is what I posted:
I can't thank you all enough for all your support especially when there are so many other entries that are of people doing so much more and educationg others to the importance of saving our world for generations to come. I have been truly blessed, and my story is just a piece of sand in the sandbox I live in. I am the guest in this wonderful wilderness amid all kinds of critters along with the deer above which is one in a family of 5 that come regularly to visit. (They also like to eat the bird food, gotta hang it a little higher) The other day we were outside where the humingbirds are like flies swarming around you. I guess having feeders might be the culprit. They were having so much fun flying and diving around each other about 3 of them slammed into my chest. Oops...but, I prefer them over the bees anyday. Then one of the Blue cardinals that hangs out in the trees off the back patio decided to come in the house for a short visit. He seemed to fly from plant to plant checking out the place and even hopped around the 5ft tall cat perch to see if anyone was home looking in all the little holes where the cats usually curl up. Maybe he was looking to play with the cats? It was almost as if he knew what he was doing because he just flew out the door when he was done checking us out without us having to try and shoo him out. He just seems to stare at us from the trees like a person does a soap opera from the couch. I wish you could see all the colors in the birds and all the different kinds such as yellow finches, purple martins, red and blue cardinals, wood peckers,and don't forget hummingbirds etc. Then there are the wild rabbits that seem to hop out of nowhere and give me a startle when I am hanging outside trying to garden, though I cannot do much since becoming disabled. Thank goodness I have all my vegies in hanging moss baskets or I am sure the rabbits would be munching down on those. For now they seem contect with the grass and weeds. But, I do throw some extras down when I am harvesting for a salad. The moss is dripping off the trees and one of these days I will get pictures of the birds and trees so I can show everyone how beautiful it is here and blessed we are to live here. I know with everyone working together and helping to educate others, this world I live in will thrive forever as well as other places that need to be cleaned up and restored back to its original state. We cannot fight the growth, but, we can grow with our surroundings and not against it. With the education a lot of the entries are doing we are sure to help our next generation learn and develope even better technology and ways to improve the only world we have. This contest has shown me how many people out there that really care and that are actively doing something to make a difference. I am so proud to have met so many of you and to be a part of this campaign that has encouraged people to make a change in our world for the better.