Monthly Archives: August 2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Just a Little Bit…

You all remember this picture, right?


When life hands you lemons, make lemonade?

Well, after last week’s post on West Nile and having received some very kind and healing words from you all—thank you very much by the way—it made me think.

Uh-oh, I know that might sound dangerous!

I began to think about just how much everyone seems to be dealing with these days.

When we engage in conversation or a relationship via the internet, we tend to put our best foot forward. It, the internet, becomes a comfortable screen that we may hide behind. After all, no one can see us. What we say represents who we are. So we hope.

But what we don’t know, and cannot know because of this unique realm of invisibility is—how is the other person who we are conversing with? They may sound chipper and happy, perhaps even supportive. Yet, what things in their life have they experienced or are currently experiencing and how are they coping?

First of all, think about what you’ve all accomplished over a relatively short time.

There are a great number of you who are experiencing pretty amazing things in your life. Some have already published books and are on the road to success. Meanwhile, you’re Writing, Blogging, Tweeting and well, let’s just say that you’ve become very social. 🙂

Congratulations to you all!

And then there are the rest of us that are right behind you. This is such an exciting time!

However, some of you are pulling double or triple duty. You’re working, parenting, writing and publishing. You’re involved in the many extra-curricular activities that revolve around your children or aged parents. You’re also cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping and again, writing.

You all need an award!

But then there are the other things. You know, the things that we may keep to ourselves not wanting to share the burden with anyone else. Yes, the personal stuff. After all, we must keep up appearances, mustn’t we?

Let’s face it. Life happens. Yes life and the many things that happen out of our normal routine. Yet, how do we get through it? Ah, that’s the piece of the puzzle that seems to be different for each and every one of us. And because of that difference, that’s when we need to apply that little word from above—Respect. If we apply a little respect to the other person, it gives them dignity and makes it pretty hard for us to judge one another.

I want you to know that y’all are awesome about this! After last week I just want to give you guys a big hug!

Think about it. Had I not blogged about my experience with a life threatening virus, would you all have known about it? Probably not. Yet there are so many of you who have also dealt with serious issues such as the death of a loved one, a severe health issue, a divorce, a family crisis, a financial crises, the loss of a home, the loss of a job, burn-out, depression and the list goes on.

What, you thought that I was the only one who’s had problems?

So what can we do?

Show one another Respect. You know, what Aretha sang about. And no, I will not be singing to ya! Okay, maybe just a little bit.

Here’s a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T:

Relevant- Each an every one of us is important. Each of us plays a key role in another’s life besides our own.

Esteem- Admire and appreciate one another. We need to give ourselves value and overall worth.

Sense- If you get a feeling from someone that something is wrong, be supportive. Look for ways in which you can give added strength.

Prize- We are each exceptional, desirable individuals. There is no competition here. We all have something special to offer.

Enjoyment- Every one of us possess the ability to entertain and give others a sense of immense joy and happiness.

Cherish- Cultivate long-lasting affection and care to family and friends.

Tribute- Acknowledge others with generous gratitude and appreciation.

With much gratitude and affection I want to thank you all for your support!

So what do you think? Have you been overwhelmed lately? Has life thrown you a curve? Are you suffering from burn-out? What have you found helpful to replenish your energy and focus? What time do you make for the more important things in your life? What has helped you to feel grateful and full of appreciation?

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Smack ’em Dead!

On one bright September morning in 2004, I looked down on my right ring finger and discovered a bite. My eyes flashed up at my husband. He knows me so well. “DON’T PANIC,” he said, “it’s only a mosquito bite.”

Why would I panic over a little mosquito bite?

There was an outbreak of West Nile virus.

Okay, I told myself. He’s right. It’s just a little bite and it’s probably like so many of the other mosquito bites that I’ve received in my life. For some reason, those little suckers just love me. And why not? I’m a sweet kind of girl. 🙂 So I went on with my day. Ran some errands, caught up with a friend over an iced Mocha Latte at a nearby Starbucks, then went home and started dinner and it was all forgotten by the time I went to bed that evening.

The next day I was tired. I mean, dragging-my-butt-around-tired. I tried getting on my rebounder to exercise thinking this would help. Get that blood circulating Karen! You’ll feel much better! But all through the day it was like watching myself in slow motion.

Then came the next morning. And when I woke up, oh boy did I ever take notice. Why? Because I literally couldn’t move. I couldn’t turn over in bed. I was stiff as a corpse. Now by this time, it was Friday.

With a fever, I forced myself with great effort to get out of bed and was rewarded with a horrific headache. Every beat of my heart pounded through my skull. Something was up and I had the funny feeling that it had something to do with that blasted mosquito. But I still tried not to PANIC.

I grabbed the phone and called the doctor. At first, I had a funny feeling that they wouldn’t believe my suspicions. Oh no, it’s just wacko Karen calling. Sure you think you have West Nile. Uh-huh. “Well, if you’re not feeling better by Monday,” they said, “call us and we’ll fit you in. And if you get worse over the weekend, go to the emergency room.”

You mean if I’m not dead by Monday. LOL! Ah, I was in for a fun weekend.

Well, you have to know that I am into all things natural. It is not in my nature to run to the doctor or to the hospital for every little thing. So I got my own arsenal of viral fighting goodies out and started my own battle. But as the weekend progressed, I could tell, this was no ordinary bug I was fighting. I was sick. Very sick.

I made it through the weekend and bright and early Monday morning I called the doctor and they told me to come in right away. My husband took off work and brought me in about mid-morning. We both sat across from the doctor as I told him about the bite on my finger and my symptoms. My doctor told us that they would run the necessary tests.

When the test results came back, sure enough, I had West Nile Virus. But I not only had West Nile Virus, but Acute West Nile Virus with Spinal Meningitis. The fluid in my entire spine froze from the base of my neck down into the bottom of my spine. Oh yeah, when I get something, I don’t mess around. Apparently, I was bit by a very sick mosquito that bit a very sick bird.

You see, because West Nile is a virus, there isn’t much that doctors or hospitals can do. They can’t give you an antibiotic. It’s not a bacterial infection. I have to tell you, this is when I thanked God that I knew my doctor. (An MD/H)

“I know how to treat it,” he said. “I am currently treating another patient and he is doing very well.” As you can imagine, those were words I will never forget. He started treatment that very day. And for four days a week over the next four weeks, I had to come into his office to get treatment.

I have to tell you, at first, it was a close call. My doctor wasn’t sure I was even going to make it. My husband, two sons and sister watched over me day and night for days on end. I thought I was going to die. Though the aftereffects from the virus didn’t leave me unscathed, I am so grateful for every day of my life since I pulled through.

So why do I bother to bring this up?

With good reason. It seems that some of you are at threat. Just last month, officials in New York City said that West Nile virus has been found on Staten Island, one of the city’s five boroughs. And more than 80 percent of all reported cases this year are from six states: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and California, with almost half of all cases reported from Texas.

Texas reports that it is battling an outbreak of this wicked virus, with at least 11 deaths (A total of 26 deaths in the U.S.) and another 381 reported sick (A total of 1100 cases in the U.S as of today). In fact, Texas is on track to have the most cases of West Nile since the disease first appeared in the state back in 2002. This has forced Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings to declare a local state of disaster.

What will declaring a local state of disaster do?

In Phoenix, where I contracted the virus, this meant they started to spray—insecticide. Yes, tanker-trucks drove down residential streets in the wee hours of the night sending a mist of foggy insecticide into the air. But as you know, in Texas they do things in a big way. They’ve chosen to crop dust the entire city of Dallas and its suburbs, except for President Bush’s neighborhood.

What can you personally do?

First of all, stay indoors while they’re spraying. You would not believe the host of other problems that are caused by direct exposure to insecticide spraying. In addition, the CDC recommends using an insect repellent that contains one of the following ingredients: DEET, picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus. Personally, I would go with the eucalyptus because, well, it’s natural. But the ingredients suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency provide practical long-lasting protection against mosquito bites.

They also suggest wearing long sleeves and pants, or staying indoors, at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so remove standing water from flower pots, pet dishes, buckets and barrels and children’s wading pools to reduce the chance of transmission.

So remember, if you see one of these…


Get ‘em before they get you! And Smack ‘em Dead!

Here is a link to find out more about the history of the virus and its symptoms :–abc-news-topstories.html
So what do you think? That might be a loaded question today! 🙂 Yet, how many of you were aware of the West Nile virus or are plagued by those nasty misquitoes? The end of the season is still a few months away. What precautionary measures do you and your family take to guard against this or other viruses? And how is your summer been thus far? I hope that you haven’t been bitten!
Thank you everyone for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


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Olympics or Surfing?

17 days

10,500 athletes

2,300 medals

Innumerable cheers, jeers and tears.

What a feat!

But did any of you happen to catch the Surfing event? What? You didn’t watch the surfing competition? Well, it was slightly dwarfed in comparision to the Olympics, I’ll give you that. Yet, while most of you were glued to your TV monitors watching the 2012 Summer Olympic games, in my home, we watched surfing. That’s right, the “Nike U.S. Open of Surfing.”

Yep, this is the same guy I caught playing in my backyard a couple of months ago and now he’s back in a big way. Only this time, he’s brought along quite a number of his friends from all over the world.

It’s been said that the Nike U.S. Open is the “Superbowl of Surfing. It is the epicenter of the surfing world. It doesn’t get any better than this. It is the best of the best. And let me tell you there is a huge difference when watching an amateur surfer verses a pro. Hands down, there’s no comparison.

But why does it all happen here? What makes this area of the Pacific Coastline so special?

Where is here you might ask? Oh silly me, that’s right. I didn’t tell you.

Well, besides deriving its name from an old Beach Boy song, this city is identified with the sport of surfing and is known as the “Surfing Capital of the World.”

Surf City lies across an eight and a half mile stretch of wide open sand along the southern California coastline otherwise known as Huntington Beach. Throughout the world, “HB” is synonymous with world class surfing. Yet, at one time, this area was recognized more for its oil and agriculture than for the sport of surfing.

You see, Huntington Beach is situated at a unique location. No other beach in the world can boast its dependability of surf. It seems there’s an ocean current that provides the ultimate in surfing with waves that are unparalleled; influenced naturally by a diffraction of ocean swells via the island of Catalina off its shore twenty some miles away. And if there is a hurricane off in the distance, all the better.


I could get all techie here, but I have a feeling I’d lose some of you! So let’s just say this is what helped to put Huntington Beach on the “World Map of Surfing.”

But here’s the thing. Even though Huntington Beach is known for its consistency of surf, the worst part of the year for surfing is in the summer. Are you thinking, what I’m thinking? Why on earth would they hold one of the biggest surfing competitions in the world when the surf is not at its best?

Kelly Slater, 40, an eleven time world champion surfer admits that at “this time of year, we only get south swells. You need a combo swell with some west in it or some north in it to kind of make the waves a little peakier and more surfable.”

Oh, that’s just gnarly dude. That makes perfect sense. We get it, right?

See, I told you there was a little techie something to this.

Apparently, the big whoop-de-do about holding the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing in the summer is due to the fan element. The Nike Open attracts quite a swell, of people that is. Hundreds of thousands descend upon the beach just south of the “HB” pier.

Oh, so it’s about the money. Noo, I find that hard to believe.

What still doesn’t make sense to me. And maybe it’s just me. But after all these years, I thought we’ve come further than this. That is, the huge spread in the purse between the Men and Women Champions. While the first place winner in the finals earned $100,000.00 for the men, the women’s first place winner only received $15,000.00.

Say what?


In my research for this post, it looks like there are likely two reasons that might shed some light on this. One, the age span for professional male surfers may reach middle age, while most women stop competing in their early to mid twenties. It seems the womb has something to do with this. And two, men draw more crowds than women surfers.

That’s kinda sad. I think we need more women surfers, don’t you?

Yet, whether you were watching the Olympics or Surfing, no matter what type of athlete or reward, there is a certain enjoyment that is derived from competitive sports. We respect and admire these talented men and women for all their years of hard training and devotion—for they give it their all!

Here’s a little taste of what you may have missed…

So what do you think? Did you watch the Summer Olympics? What was your favorite event or athlete? Do you enjoy the beach or watch the surfers as they ride the waves? Have you ever attended the Olympics or other sporting events?

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