Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Stroke Surivival ~Is Everybody on the Same Page?

Happy Easter, y'all! It's a beautiful Resurrection day full of hope and promise.

I got to thinking about while hopping from doctors and everybody on the same page in your care plan? What happens in an emergency? Are they really prepared? Are they armed with the proper information?

For instance, I know mine are because I carry a printed sheet with me at all times for me and my husband. What's on this sheet, you may ask and I'll tell.

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • List of medications
  • List of allergies- drugs and others
  • List of doctors, their specialty, with phone #s and addresses
  • Current medical conditions
  • Past medical conditions and surgeries
  • Locations where copies of Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, living wills, DNR are on file, and emergency contacts.If not carried. I had my husband sign two copies while being notarized.
  • Shrink it down and laminate it if possible.
 I take these sheets with me to all my doctors and update as necessary. In  case of an emergency, the emergency team has access to information they might need to save your life. I wear an Medic-Alert necklace and had engraved on it, "check pocket for list."

I never keep it in a purse. It's always in my pocket and I'll tell you why. Think about a bad car accident scene. Everything is thrown all over the place. I want whoever needs this information to find it and save my life not search for my purse. If I end up in the water, it's laminated. No ink running everywhere making it unreadable.

When time is of the essence and minutes count in whether you live or die, this is very important. Even if it isn't a case of an emergency, everyone is on the same page including me. I even gave a copy of my info packet to my Podiatrist! He might never use it or need it, but if he does he'll have it.

A case in point. My mother had a routine visit to her family practice doctor. She went into respiratory arrest. Granted, he knew she had a DNR (do not resuscitate) order, but if he didn't have a copy or my father didn't, by law, he'd have to try and bring her back. No matter that she was eaten up with cancer. It covers his butt until the paperwork presented itself.

Another case in point. My husband cannot be injected with adrenaline without a heart team standing by. His cancer forms tumors throughout his body comprised of adrenal tissue. You give him adrenaline and it's like stomping your foot on the gas pedal of your car during rush hour. A very bad idea. His whole endocrine system goes into warp drive. Think of it as twenty-six adrenal glands instead of just one. Fun, huh? But this is important information the treating team needs to know.

Having worked as an RN/Paramedic in both ambulances and life flight helicopters, I can't tell you how many times I wished I had this information available. I still realize the importance after almost thirty years of not being in the field.

Another thing to think about and do. Arrange for copies of the above paperwork are kept on file in your charts or in the database at all your doctors' offices, EMS, and hospitals. Most will give you a card on where to locate the file with that information. You won't always be where you can get to these items in an emergency. Otherwise it wouldn't be an emergency, would it? Think about it as your emergency kit and don't leave home without it.

Remember, in an emergency or other times...
  • You may not always be able to speak for yourself or your spouse.
  • You may not remember and forget something vital
  • If someone questioned your authority to speak on behalf of the patient.
A word or two about the last one. Since HIPAA came into effect, everyone questions everything. I ran into an issue with this while I was hospitalize after my stroke. I am my husband's DPOAHC (durable power of attorney for health care) and his general power of attorney.

There I was stuck seventy plus miles from home, and my husband needed a prescription for morphine. It does no good for my husband to call the doctor, he can't hear to answer questions by telephone. Our daughter tried talking to the nurse as me. I know illegal as all get out, but this was a desperation move. The nurse caught her and even though she understood the situation they had to hear the request from my husband or myself. She ended up putting him in the car, driving to the doctor's office with him, and getting the prescription. She then ran into the same situation at the pharmacy. Morphine is a controlled substance.

I just never thought about this situation before. I've since remedied this by placing all four of my daughters on a separate DPOAHC for both of us. Not to supersede mine but in case of emergency when I'm not available. Have you thought about if anything happened to you who would take over in your absence?

My #2 daughter held up her power of attorney and laughed a maniacal chuckle, "I can pull the plug now. You're in my hands!"
She's always the comedian and not that we would have expected anything less from her after such a serious conversation. She sent me this card afterwards to carry on the laughter. It's so true.

 But we do know she'll abide by our wishes also. All of them will. Your choice of whom you choose is important and not to be bestowed lightly. This is a decision of total trust. 

This blog has very little to do with stroke recovery, but is important. If you haven't thought about it, do. The clock is ticking. If you're all set, then hunky-dorry it's time for some fun! Party time. Let's do the Hockey Pokey. You put your right foot in...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Saunter~ Blog Comments and Questions

I've gone into here on why I don't comment on most of the blogs I read. Number one is that I don't have a witty or supportive thing to say about the blog I've read. Number two is the unreadable captcha attached to many blogs which is why I don't require them here.

I get tons of hits on this blog, and feel that the topics are worthwhile for the most part so my question is...why don't more people leave a comment. and why doesn't the writer respond to the comments?

Now I understand if you get a hundred comments why you don't respond to each andevery comment, but if you are getting less than fifty. I think the most comments I've had of a blog was my interview with author Nick Wilford, standing to date at 16 unique comments.

I guess I'm just anal/result oriented when it comes to things I do. Even though I see the hits, I'm puzzled by the lack of viewable comments. That aside, the direct emails are through the roof at 250 per day, and I love answering your questions. Thank you for emailing. Yes, some of these are junk and don't answer them. About 75% are bonafide and I take considerable time to answer and read through them carefully.

If you open up your blog for comments, why don't you answer comments? Comments are a dialog. Whether it's good, bad, or ugly is no matter. For a long time I just read my comments and didn't answer them, but I realized how wrong I was after my stroke when it became difficult for me to even write a comment.

Granted, a few comments don't warrant an answer or reply, but someone takes the time to leave you a comment on what you've written of either support or other. Don't the commenter deserve at least a quick thank you?

The following questions are not for my readers who comment often, but feel free to comment if the need arises <grin>...

Does my blog not raise questions? 

Do the questions I ask not appeal/relate to you? 

Are you bored? Do you read half of it and click it off? 

Is it helpful to you? 

Is shorter really better? 

What would you, my blog readers, like to see more/less of?

Just pondering these questions today. If I don't know the answers, how can I fix it to make it better?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Fun ~ Movies: Against the Dark

I spend a great deal of time watching films in Netflix or on television. There's a reason for that, my husband's deaf. What's the sense of going to the movies if I can't go with my best beau? I think the last movie I saw in a movie theater was when I took my #2 daughter to see Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollow Part 1 for her birthday.

Today's review is on a home viewing of...
Against the Dark  2009 "R" 94 minutes
Steven Seagal, Tanoai Reed, Jenna Harrison, Danny Midwinter, Emma Catherwood, Stephen Hagan, Daniel Percival, Skye Bennett, Linden Ashby, Keith David
Action Thrillers, Action Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Vampires, Action & Adventure
After vampires overrun planet Earth, it's up to a special ops squad leader to stamp out the bloodsuckers and save humanity. But for those who've survived and taken refuge in an abandoned hospital, hope is running out -- along with food and supplies.
My Grade
"C" for content
"D" for Acting
"No" for will I watch this again

All I've got to say is I should have known better. While Steven Seagal was fine for his usual kick-butt martial arts, he has not aged well. The older, paunchy "savior" was found lacking with few spoken lines and heavy reliance on special effects tricks. 
While keywords such as "virus," "vampires," "horror," and "action" drew me to watch. The only interesting part was the marriage of zombie eat flesh and behaviors, and the blood sucking vampire nature of the virus's mutation.

Say "pass" on this one unless your into martial arts and sword play for its own sake. It even gives "B" movies a bad rap.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Turmoil ~ Not Us This Time

Early therapy day for me, but felt I had to comment.

I was browsing my blog roll yesterday and ran across a humorous post by Joe Konrath. Is print books dying? Really? Will e-readers replace physical books? Yeah, I do read most of my 100+ blogs that I follow although I may not comment or else why would I follow them?

I hope not. Granted e-reading is easier for me right now, but there is something about having a physical book that appeals to me. Granted they take space and are expensive when new. But aren't some books worth it?
Now granted the two things I mentioned are of paramount importance with the current down sizing trend and the economy being what it is, but still the idea of never reading without a video screen is depressing to me.

Maybe I'm a dinosaur and in the minority, but I like physical books. I will say that recently because of health issues, I tend to read more e-books now than physical paper books. But then, I still have LPs, 8-tracks, and reel-to-reel movies I enjoy. The quality is better on the newer versions of these production, but not every one is available on the newer formats.

Don't get me wrong. I've always been pro-innovation. I'm a techno geek, but I, like everyone else, have my preferences. I want choices. In today's economy and for right now, living on a fixed income cheaper is better. Authors upload their works for cheaper than the publishing houses and that makes sense to me too. If the price was more reasonable. I'd be more apt to buy the publishing house version of their e-books. If e-books had all started out at the price of paperback versions, they might have had a chance in my mind. But given the choice between the e-book and paperback, paperback will win in most cases.

The deciding factor is the material. If the book is something I will want to read more than once, I'll splurge and buy the paperback. If it's something that I'll refer to repeatedly, I'll buy the hard bound version. There have been times that I will read an e-version,  go back and buy the book book version, but that has to be something really special. E-books give me that option. After all with any technological advancement, there will be changes and batteries involved, screens that crack, or even die.

A physical book is mine forever. That's my two cents worth  and in today's economy, I'm squeezing it into a quarter.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Ways ~ Surprise! You Are a Business

This week, as you might have noticed, I'm talking about the business end of writing. Surprise! As a published author, you are a business. As a business, there is a long laundry list of what you have to know about being a business entity. Most of it you already know, but some you may not have thought of.

  • Production
  • Scheduling
  • Promotion
  • Distribution
  • Accounting and tax laws
  • Business license
  • Marketing

I hear you groaning out there. And you only thought you had to write a good book. You knew as an indie or traditionally published author, you'd have to do marketing. Even if you are traditionally published there are things you have to do to promote yourself. You'll attend conferences, meet the author events, public speaking events, and book signings.

I'm not going to take these in order. I'm going to hit your panic buttons first. Over the course of a few Wednesdays, I'll cover the other topics list above and even combine a couple.

Public Speaking/ Promotion

Putting yourself out there is not for the faint of heart. You'll be in a room full of strangers all eagerly awaiting to hang on every word that comes out of your mouth. Sounds scary, huh? Relax. Just remember a couple things when faced with a room of dive, ten, one hundred, or several thousand strangers and no, I'm not going to say picture them all naked. That could make you sick in some cases...
  • Breathe -Everyone has a sense of uncertainty when faced with a room full of strangers. Plaster a fake smile on your face, if you have too. Before long, your smile will be genuine.
  • You know at least one person there or maybe two- the coordinator that made the arrangements so it is not a room of total strangers.
  • Strangers are people you haven't met yet. Usually before an event there is a general chat session while things are being renailed down. Walk up to a small group of maybe two or three people like you would do at church to welcome new members. No pressure. You don't even have to mention that you're speaking or the anything. Just some general chit-chat.
  • You may have your speech written out on cue cards- don't. Instead put one word on each card and a couple of touch points. 
  • You are the expert on your book. You lived, breathed, sweated and cried about it for months if not years.  How many parents cannot think of something to say about their babies? This book or books are your babies.
  • You are not talking to a group. You are talking to this person or that person that you already met.
  • They all want to be you. That's why they came. Of course, they could have come for the rubber chicken and the overcooked roast beef served at dinner also.
  • These people took time out of their busy lives to be here, to learn from you, and meet you because you wrote those books or that book. They are there to support you as an author. They are friends and fans you haven't met yet.

Do you look at events any differently. I've had decades worth of public speaking events.

The hardest one for me was a television spot for the Arthritis Foundation. But I practiced the above. I'd made a point of meeting the person beforehand that was holding the microphone and the camerman. The hard part was looking at the camera alone after I was given the microphone.

I had talked to a couple of actor friends I know, some are quite famous now, about how to ignore the camera and speak naturally. The best advice I got was carry something I cherished with me to place above the lens. I talked to the cameraman, and he agreed to placed my ceramic teddy bear on top of the housing. The teddy bear was one I'd used as a focal point during Lamaze childbirths with my older two girls. It worked. I got through the speech exactly as it was scripted.

Other times, a small object will do. I used to have a key shaped stick pin I'd wear on my jacket, until the pin broken from too much wear and tear. It was my personal key to success. It was a reminder to me that if I wasn't successful, I would not have been asked to speak. Now it's a pen my mother bought me over thirty years ago when I published my first article. She told me at the time, "You'll be signing autographs with this pen on day."

Ya gotta love mothers for their undying love and devotion to their children.The only book I ever autographed with it was hers. It's too precious to me for daily use even more so since her death in 1988.

Are you afraid of appearing in person and talking to strangers?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Tumbling Term~ Business

As I take my darling hubby for yet another series of nerve burning procedures, I hope you continue to enjoy tumbling term for indie authors.

Wow I just noticed a bump in my following list to 55 of y'all. A big hop in numbers since January 2013. Welcome to all just joining me on my regularly scheduled station.

Tuesday's Tumbling Term for indie authors is Business.

1. an occupation, profession, or trade: His business is poultry farming.
2. the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.
3. a person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern.
4. volume of trade; patronage: Most of the store's business comes from local families.
5. a building or site where commercial work is carried on, as a factory, store, or office; place of work: His business is on the corner of Broadway and Elm Street. 

I'm am constantly surprised that writers don't realize they are a business.  They write every free moment they can, even for years,and publish their work. Sure it might be pleasurable to them, but if they publish they are a business too.

Even if a writer publishes their work for free, it's still a business. Yep, that's right. Although in the true nature of the world you should try to make a profit. There are expenses related to creating that manuscript. It's a tax deduction even if you do not make a profit.

For some, it's a marketing ploy to give away copies of their books to...
  • Get people to read a newbie author. They may offer the first of a series of books for free and charge on an increasing scale for each subsequent book.
  • They will limited the amount of time or copies. I did this with The Author Business. I offered this guide for free, but only the first 2,000 copies. After I reached that number, I charged $0.99. They may even host giveaways on their or other sites.
  • The author is unsure what the value of their book. OMG if this is the reason, take a look at what your competition is doing.
  • Ultimately, to build readership.
I mentioned a marketing ploy, at tax time these "costs" are deduction against revenue on your Schedule C form. Even if the reader would have paid nothing for the book it has a value. How much would you have charged for the book? If you go by the e-book standards between $0.99- $5.99.

The Amazon KDP Select program is making a killing by this option. They select certain books of published works within their program and offer it free for a couple days during this period. This will also be a deduction. But if memory serves, payment is calculated by the number of downloads from their library so you could actually make money. It's been a while since I looked at this program.

Either way, whether you make money or not publishing your are a business. When you are just starting out as a self employed author, you probably used your Social Security number. That's fine. That's how many small businesses start out. You didn't have a huge outlay of cash to set up a company. Maybe you published one book to test the publishing waters of indie publishing.

Once the monies start rolling in, this could take a long time or as little as 30 days, so much so, you might have to hire an assistant. That's when doing business is a little bit trickier. You still could be a sole proprietary business based on your Social Security number. In the years I've spent doing tax preparation, I've seen companies with upwards of twenty employees and millions of dollars in income operate this way. But it gets riskier and every accountants nightmare.

Another line of thought is to formed a LLC or S Corp. Yes you will be paid a salary, but you will also be protecting yourself from lawsuits. Yes even writers get sued. Dan Brown spent YEARS in court over Da Vinci Code. Your salary is yours, but the corporation pays all the bills.

As an author, have you considered yourself as a business?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Mailbox~ Self Employment

Today is Monday and time to answer your questions.

Jo, You came from a business background. I got a shock when I took all my 10-99s to a tax professional this year. I am a business! How do I prevent my sticker shock when filing for 2013? JG

Good question! I wrote a guide on the business aspects of indie publishing. Originally it was free at Smashwords and I gave away the first 2,000 copies. Now it's priced at $.99. Eventually, I will get around to completing the full book when my mind heals some more. This guide now has a 5 star rating.

Most indie authors and traditionally published authors have the problem of not looking at themselves as a taxable business operation according to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). AND if you are lucky enough to live in...
  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
There is no state income tax to worry about. You lucky dogs. <G>

The 10-99 gives a specific amount you earned from your publisher(s). This amount is the taxable income you have to pay taxes on if its over $500. Believe me, I've prepared and gotten a few thousand of these every tax season for 15 years.

Think you can just not claim them, nope a copy is mailed to the Social Security Administration and sent to the IRS before the middle of January each year. They will send you a nice letter, at first, reminding you that you forgot to claim this income and they want their money. If the government OWES YOU money, they don't care, but if you OWE THEM money, they'll hound you about it and even seize your bank accounts.

I always thought it was wrong that you could only file 3 years worth of back taxes for returns, but they can demand payment for up to 7 years on back taxes. This year, I finally disposed, shredded and composted the last of my business consulting records from when I was in business. I was required to keep all documents for ten years!

I live in Georgia and I know my tax rate. Between state income tax and federal combined, the percentage is roughly 13.7%. Find out your state's tax percentage. Now for 2012, the federal tax rate changed taking a bigger chunk out of everyone's pocket. We found ourselves in a larger tax bracket. Higher bracket equals higher tax rates. So much for Obama's campaign promise of only taxing the rich. <sigh>

That's why as a general rule, every time I get a royalty check or payment for services rendered I withhold 20% of that income. It gives me a cushion for increases. I put it in a savings account to draw interest but I do not withdraw any until tax time. I'll round it up to the nearest dollar if need be. For a simple wedding I may have gotten paid $25, but $5 went into this account religiously.

As a published author, I am self employed. I run a business. Whether you use your Social Security number and set up as a DBA (doing business as), in other words, a sole proprietor or LLC (limited liability corporation), or S Corp (incorporated under sub-chapter S of IRS code). There are various tax advantages for each LLC or S Corp that don't apply to a sole proprietorship.

Why am I talking about this now that tax season is almost over? To give you time to plan for 2013 tax season, of course.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival~ Aggravation

What do you do when you are aggravated? I've had one of those weeks this week. To start with I'm back in OT & PT again which is great. The only aggravating part is I'm being worked into a standing schedule. I'm scheduled for 30 minutes of OT and an hour of PT. I could honestly utilize my time better in reverse with an hour of OT time.

As it stands now, the OT is working my wrist, hand and fingers with some elbow. The PT is working on the shoulder, elbow, and ankle. The spasticity is way too bad on some days that the ankle won't move. I'll know before I even get to PT that the session will be a bust on those days before we get started. The ankle is already making walking in the AFO painful. The toes will stretch up towards the ceiling and curl under at the same time. The ankle is pointed down like a ballerina in toe shoes except it rolls inward and locks into position.  Try putting compression socks over that configuration let alone putting your foot and leg into a rigid splint.

Stroke recovery is one step forward and two back. I'm beginning to think of this as the stroke two step dance movement. This blog is going to be like that today. Back and forth between good and bad.

I found when going through the hand grip test of the evaluation...wait for it...I felt my hand give a trembling movement to squeeze the therapist's hand. Better yet, she felt it to! After almost ten months I can focus really hard and get a little response in my hand. But even this small amount of movement takes tremendous effort. I'm hopeful.

Now getting back to aggravation. It used to be yelling, screaming, and punching a pillow was my way of dealing with aggravating things. For the time being, I can't do any of those things. Well I could punch a pillow one handed, but that's beside the point. Now, it's water works. Less than a year ago, weepy would have never happened or be used to describe me. It does now.

I try to pray most aggravating things away, or breathe deeply, and for the most part it still works unless the aggravation comes to quickly and are compounded like body blows to a prize fighter. Such was the case last Thursday.

It started out as a normal sunny day. Not too hot or too cold. After watching a glorious sunrise, and doing my usual morning routine, I reminded my husband I had therapy at 2 PM. He acknowledged with a nod and repeated 2 PM. We went on with our separate morning routines. Around 11 AM he asked if I would like Chinese for lunch. We'd leave around 12:30. At noon, I remind him about our lunch date and prodded him gently to get ready (sock, shoes, primp his hair). At 12:30 he decides to get up, goes to the bathroom and begins to get ready.

By 1:00 we are in the restaurant with our drinks in front of us and food ordered, and then my phone rings. It's our youngest daughter. I explain we are at a restaurant having lunch. She told me it wasn't an emergency and she'd call me later.  I figured if we hurried, I could still make my therapy appointment.

At 1:45, we finished eating and in walks our youngest daughter with toddler in tow. I explain that I have a therapy session that if I don't go now I'm going to be late. I might mention this daughter lives an hour's drive from us so we maybe see her twice a month. I hated to do it, but my therapy is important to me and a priority.

We pass the toddler back and forth for a quick cuddle and kiss from the grandparents, and we were out the door. When he started the car my husband noticed the idiot warning light for fuel was lit. No problem, I've had this happen before and know it has only hit the reserve we can still just make my appointment. It was well within the reserves range for the round trip.

No, my husband panics. We are going to run out of gas on the way and his oxygen tank is almost empty. To save time, I was going to take the car to the closest gas station less than half a mile up the road while he changed out oxygen tanks. He was hesitant about letting me drive by myself but he finally reneged.  I turned onto the main road and hit a construction crew repaving the road. <sigh> Why is it when you are in a hurry everyone gets in your way?

Finally, I pass through the destruction/construction zone and make it to the gas pump. I have five minutes to make it the fiftee- minute drive to my therapy appointment and I reach into my pocket for my ATM card for the gas, but it was not there. Where is my ATM card, I had a brief moment of panic before I remembered I had changed pants before leaving home.

I did a quick calculation of gas expended and gas left in the tank. I could make it to the rehab place and back to the gas station before I had a bone dry tank. I drove back home. Grabbing my ATM card, my husband and his oxygen, locked the door and started the drive to the rehab place.

I'm barely able to do the speed limit because of the granny driving in front of me. Yes I'm a granny too, but at least I'll drive the speed limited and not ten miles a hour slower. I glanced at the clock in my dashboard. I'm only five minutes late, but I still had eight miles to go, and five stop lights. We hit every one on red. I swear the low fuel light was laughing at me at every light.

We pull into the rehab place and I threw the shifter in park and made my way inside. I'm motioning to my husband to park the car. Now I was fifteen minutes late for my appointment for OT. I greet the receptionist who looks at the clock. By their clock there was only five minutes left of my therapy time. I told her to tell the therapist that I was here even though I knew I wouldn't have time with her.

My OT came out into the lobby and saw the look on my face. I started apologizing for being so late and began telling her why, but my aphasia ate my words. Tears started running down my cheek. She put her arm around me and took me to the back room so I wasn't blubbering in the lobby full of patients. Once seated in the back, she handed me some tissues. I was mad and aggravated, but I was crying which made me even more mad and aggravated.

 Of course my old, very concerned speech therapist came to my aid because she can speak aphasia. Not many people can, but she is truly a rare gem. Both my OT and speech therapists work almost exclusively with brain injury patients too which helps.

 Finally, I calmed down and my words came back. I somewhat haltingly told them what had gone on. Both were sympathetic and empathetic. There are some important differences between these two abilities, but having both is golden. By the time they were done with me, the water works had stopped and I was ready to begin my PT session.

My PT session was the pits. My emotional outburst caused all the muscles to tighten so my range was not good. My ankle was in high spasticity as I described above and no amount of hand work would break the brain's response. God knows the therapist did try for over an hour using every tool she had available. Finally we both gave up. We'll try again next week.

We made it to the gas station with one tenth of a gallon to spare. Am I good or what?

So how do you deal with aggravation?

Nothing is impossible if you make up your mind to do it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Fun ~ My Blog/My Friend

Can you have fun writing a blog? I do. This blog and my other one have become cherished friends over the past year. How sick is that? Whew! I finally got that off my chest.

Yes, I've put a lot of time here too and in reading other people's blogs. I've learned a lot, comforted others, and interacted with others.

Am I becoming a geek? Honestly, I've always been one. I was the person in grade or high school you went to for help. This carried on through college every time I went back. I was the first on my block to buy a $600 VCR back when they cost that much. The first to buy a home computer and learned old programming languages to write my own programs. One of the first to get a dedicated phone line for the internet among my friends.

I've met a lot of people that I'll probably never met in person in real time via the internet. In fact, I met one person that I've chatted with for decades via the net just two years ago. We met halfway between NYC and Georgia which was Washington D.C. I was going to be at NIH in Bethesda anyhow.

Our children grew up with their cyber-buddies too. They helped each other with problems and day to day issues all via emails and an occasional phone call.. When we were getting ready for our first meeting my friend and I realized we had no idea what we looked like. Our children had passed pictures back and forth but we never had. It wasn't important to us. When we met it was, "Lisa?" "Jo?"

Over the years cyber-friends take the place of real life friends if you let it. I could be reclusive. Most geeks are but I'm not. I realize that even this blog has a way of reaching people I may never meet, but would love to. I'm different than a lot of geeks. I am a people person too. I enjoy all types of interaction by whatever means possible.

I've always said I've never met a stranger. I get that trait from my Dad. In later years it became, a stranger is someone you haven't met yet. I still firmly believe that. It's the advice I give people who afraid of strangers. Once you meet them they are not strangers anymore, but of course they can be stranger than you. Stranger than you maybe, but not me. I'm the queen of Abby Normal. All hail the queen. (pulled these lines from my ancient blog now defunct without additional input)

But is it fun? For me, yes! I love to write. Blogging equals writing. Okay not many blogs are word intensive like mine. But hey, I'm a writer. I make a living with words. I enjoy talking to people. Even though I can't talk clearly anymore, I can still talk this way. It's a form of communication.

Those that have met me in person will tell you I always have a story to tell. It's a good thing I'm a storyteller and writer. I don't think there's a incident borne by man I don't have a story about or couldn't make one up for any given situation. There's very few times I don't have anything to say.

So here's a toast to all friends met and unmet,
To friends cyber and real,
To fun and having fun,
 To writing and writers,
To readers of fairy tales and their authors.
And to all of you...
be you young or young at heart,
be you healthy or infirmed,
be you beautiful or two grocery bags ugly.
This blog is for you.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Turmoil~ The End for Right Now

This week came time to say goodbye again to my physical therapist. Sad, though she knows I'll be back.

I'd reached a point where PT was causing more pain than benefit with the returning of my spasticity and months to go, May, before another series of Botox injections. Yes, therapy does break the pattern of spastic muscles but the work outs were reaching the 8 out of 10 on the pain scale and lasting more than a day. Each therapy day I found myself having less and less progress because of it. The frustration was the real killer.

I had dropped the work on my foot and ankle for this very reason a couple of weeks ago. Between the Achilles tendon contracture and the spasticity we were only going through the motions, and not making a smidgen of progress.

Yes, I do know it takes time. I've said often enough here that time is money. I achieved a 30% increase in mobility of my shoulder and 80% regain in active motion of my elbow. I am now better in active range so that's a measurable progress. I absolutely despise having to pick and choose. But decisions have to be made towards optimal versus palliative alternatives within a given set of dollar choices. If I had my way I would stay in all therapies twice to three times a week until I recovered all I lost, but short of spending thousands of dollars out of pocket, that isn't an option.

I've talked about the contracture of my Achilles tendon, right? From what I've learned, it's fairly common with stroke survivors. It will take time to remedy. I'm using my therapy bucks wisely this year for optimal recovery. I'm in recovery for the long haul. There is no quick solution. I wish there was.

On a different note, I went shoe shopping the other day. I had no success. Where do y'all AFO wearers find shoes that fit??? I mean pulling the inside soles out of brand new shoes in the stores is sort of frowned upon. I was told one size higher and a wide width when purchasing shoes with my AFO. My orthodics maker said that Dr. Comfort makes shoes for AFOs, but the cost is like $175 for a pair of shoes! Then you are ordering via the internet so there's no guarantee once you get the shoes whether they'll fit or not. Now with the additional block on my AFO, it makes it doubly hard.

I must have tried on fifteen pairs of tennis shoes in the store! None of them were wide enough to allow for the width of the AFO. I could use some advice from someone who has walked in my shoes literally. My current pair was gotten while I was in the hospital by Hanger. I figured $129 worth of shoes wouldn't wear out so fast. In ten short months the instep sole has worn out to nonexistent in my left fully functioning foot. The soles are pulling loose and cracked. They pick up every piece of pine straw and Spanish moss it steps on. I've been to every shoe store in my town with no luck. HELP!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Blogging

This week I'm talking about blogging. You know how when you take your car to the shop for repairs you want to be updated on the progress. The same is true for readers.

As an author, you want readers to get in touch with you with feedback. You want to hear the raves but also the rants. It takes us, as writers, a while to produce a quality product. Meanwhile, the reader sits twiddling their thumbs waiting for your next book. Okay, maybe not twiddling their thumbs but reading other authors.

A blog is a way of keeping in touch with those readers. Keep your readers updated on your progress. Give them each a personal touch of the hand by letting them into your life. Readers want to know and they want to know before anyone else. :) My blog is also my writing lesson for the day.

Like a newsletter I planning to send out quarterly. Probably starting in the sign up process sometime this Summer with the first "Murphey's Madness~ Suspense with a Soul" going out in the Fall. Why so long and why announce it all ready? Because you all will have a heads up and the inside tracks of what's coming up when and *exclusive excepts* not seen anywhere else of upcoming books. In other give you time to drool and anticipate it. If I get 10 new subscribers, I'll be happy. If I get 1,000, I'll be dancing the Snoopy dance around the room.

As an indie author, building a client list is a hard commodity to garner. A newsletter is a way to start. Not that I don't have an email and snail list started but I want it to grow bigger. This blog has finally taken off as it were with consistent daily hits of over 100 and 3-5,000 hits per month. While the number of blogspot and & the facebook version of followers is low, the hits speak for themselves. I'm spending this month on a logo design for the letterhead and been working with Ali Cross from the conference on narrowing it down. If I'm going to do a newsletter, I'm going to do it right.

Likewise my twitter account is growing leaps and bounds without me being in there much except to post a comment or two a week and advertise my blog. I don't participate in the #WW Writers Wednesday or #FF Fast Follow either. But others do. The screen scrolls too fast for me to read. I most I've been in twitter was the nightly chat session during indierecon, the online indie writer's conference, I attended last month. My mind isn't recovered enough to handle it. By the time I typed in one response there were twenty more waiting to be read. By the time I finished those twenty another dozen were waiting.

Facebook and LinkedIn, I treat like twitter these days. I just don't have the time to spend hours and days there. I've got the email prompt and digests on a weekly basis. So where do I spend my time most? Books & Writers and GoodReads. I'm researching the market and honing my craft. It's a never ending job. Oh, and I spend it here writing my blog and reading other people's blogs. By doing these things I keep current on the writers I read and the industry.

According to the experts blogs should be short and quickly read. I differ because I'm teaching and leading the way for other authors and stroke survivors. Some how it would feel like cheating if I didn't give full measure.

So why should you blog as a writer?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.