How I found myself in the medical marijuana movement

Get ready for some venting and the use of a few passionate words.
My involvement with the medical marijuana movement started from a very dark place, which still makes me angry. I normally don’t share these years with the public, but sometimes the origin story is necessary to understand the premise of the  passion.
As a staunch advocate for punishments for those involved in the illegal drug trade, I’ve had many people ask me, “How did I became a voice for medical marijuana?”
Simple. I was forced to see chronic pain from the other side.
I was forced into a position of chronic pain and I saw what true abuse of power can do to patients who need real help.
Do I still promote strong punishments for illegal drug trade? Oh yes! The people behind the Fentanyl pills, made to look like regular pain pills, which are killing people right now, should be held up as murderers.
Those drug dealers are using the new CDC policies to prey on patients who are in pain and have been let down by their government and by their physicians. The drug dealers doing this are using the nationwide panic to purposely kill people with a medication needed by some people to survive. During the Tylenol scare of the 80s, the perpetrator was held up as the murderer, but when drug dealers are killing people based on new policies created by the CDC, the unsuspecting buyers, (the ones the CDC have hurt worse) are being held up as the guilty parties. In reality, it’s the CDC, who behind closed doors, used their infinite uncontrolled power to create criminals from chronically sick citizens (don’t we have enough people in prison in America without forcing normal citizens to become criminals just to survive?).
The people who stand outside of schools to sell drugs to little children or those who get young girls addicted, only to use them for profit, should be put so far under the jail they should never see the light of day again. My position on those situations have never wavered.
When exactly did my position on medical marijuana change?
It happened while I was in the military. Due to many injuries, back issues, and chronic pain diseases, I was left in severe pain on a daily basis. I was allowed to suffer worse than a lost pet in the county kennel. I explained to my medical team what my goals in life were and what I needed to accomplish these goals. My new Physician Assistant (PA) allowed me to take pain medications for my diseases and I was able to function again. I could spend time with my children, I was attending grad school, conducting limited exercise, maintaining my weight, and working at G3 on my Army base. I was hurt and sick, but with the help of my PS, I was still rocking and rolling. I knew I was slowly making a comeback. Even if I wasn’t going to be 100%, I knew I was fighting this mess and my PA knew how to help me.
Then a new physician came in, CPT C. Brill, a total arrogant asshole if I’ve ever seen one. He wanted to become a holistic physician, so he requested and was approved for a large number of holistic classes, then he commenced to use his patients as his guinea pigs. Now let make this clear, we had no choice. We could not leave him as our physician. There was nothing  we, as his patients, could do about his actions, without causing ourselves even more harm. He was the only PA we were allowed to see, so any medical help we had, went through him. Each time someone complained about him, he would use his power to hurt that person even more. No matter how many complaints he received, he was the experimental holistic doctor on our base and his research (he was about to retire) would take him to the next step in his life. He did not care about his patients. His only care was for his career.
Let me make it clear, there are some incredibly awesome holistic measures patients can use to help with their diseases; yoga, vitamins, massage, chiropractic medicine, meditation, and more. In fact, I participate in some of these activities when I am able. But when a medical professional forces patients, through lies, intimidation, and abuse of power, to participate in his experiments, then the entire reason for holistic medicine is negated. Bring forced to give up what works for something that doesn’t work (holistic or not) is not healthy for anyone and can cause irreparable harm. I’m not against holistic medication, I’m against the abuse of medical power by medical professionals in any form.
The first month he took over for our old PA, he took all pain medications away from his patients, except those with deadly cancer. Even patients who had severe back issues, pins and braces in their body, shrapnel in their body, and men and women who suffered with chronic pain diseases and could barely get out of bed, were subjected to his outrageous claims of holistic practices alone treating these conditions.
He did not titrate his patients down, as an ethical PA should. No. He told his patients flat out they would follow his way, period. He came to our unit with an agenda and used that agenda to conduct painful procedures on the Soldiers assigned to his office. There was no reasoning with him at all. On top of his experiments, he also ignored and did not follow orders from real medical doctors, such as specialty physicians, from RA offices or Pain Management offices. Soldiers would come to him with records from capable, respected, Medical Doctors, but due to his position, he could ignore the orders. CPT Brill was an entity by himself, allowed to treat his patients as he wanted, even unethically. He was the epitome of abuse of power and an shining example of how military medical care is handled. The lack of voice Soldiers have concerning experiments that harm them and the military carrying out medical practices contrary to their medical needs is exactly why the Feres Doctrine has outlived it’s usefulness.
We were used as his study patients, no matter how much it negatively affected our lives.
The month he took my medication away I was in incredible pain. I started feeling the difference right away. My joints swelled up, I used my cane more, I dropped out of school, and I could barely get out of bed. My brain could not process the amount of pain I was feeling and started shutting down parts of my body to handle the pain in my vital organs.
My blood pressure soared, my blood tests results were scrambled, my face turned bright white many times, and I was dizzy from pain more often than I admitted in public. I honestly think the damage he inflicted on my body will never fully recover. Severe pain changes your DNA and how your brain processes pain and pain memory. I truly believe CPT Brill ruined any chance I had of making a decent recovery.
It was at that very moment, June 2013, I swore I would never allow a flipping arrogant asshole to have that much control over my life ever again. My life means too much to me, for myself and my children, to allow someone I barely knew, whom I did not approve of, to ever control my life 100% and to put me in a position where I could die and the trusted person would not care. I refuse to be just another number to some jerk who only cares about himself. I owed it to my children to fight for my life against someone who didn’t care about out future, but only his own.
How dare that asshole think he could experiment on me (and other Soldiers, some of whom wanted to take their lives due to the pain they were forced to experience) and think I would go quietly in the night. I may not have been able to move from his care, but I made my anger and dissatisfaction well known.
The problem was, no matter how many complaints Soldiers or I filed (or my family filed) our physical well being was not as important as the experiments the Army was allowing CPT Brill to do to us.
My pain became so grave, my right foot swelled up with CRPS (the most painful disease known to humans) and became paralyzed. The day before my daughter’s 25th birthday, another Doctor on FT Campbell took over my pain care and I was put in the ICU on a Ketamin drip. I missed my daughter’s 25th birthday because an arrogant CPT decided his career and his belief was more important than my life. Well, that would not do for me.
While he was on leave, April 2014, I made an appointment to see another Doctor, a real Doctor on post. She wasn’t the best, but one thing we both had in common, we both disliked CPT BRILL, so I was able to really talk to her about my pain and my right foot. Before my PA came back from leave, she arranged to have me as one of her experimental patients. Yes, I was again an experiment, but this was an experiment I had to agree to and I needed to agree to (at least I was given the choice this time). We had to move fast. We had to get approval, my agreement, and a secured bed before he returned. We did.
I was the very first Ketamin patient on our post. Within 3 days my pain had decreased, my foot was working again, the swelling had gone down, and blood flow returned. If it had not been for her I don’t know where I would be now. That three days of “pain vacation” was what I need to keep going just a few more months. I knew I could survive just long enough to escape his torture.
With all my medical paperwork and my retirement very quickly approaching, I was able to get a referral to a pain clinic to get help in the form of correct pain management, such as shots in my back, an upgraded TENS unit, and yes, medications.
I tell this story because, my fight for medical marijuana did not come to me because I was looking for something to do or because I want to get high (I have still never used MJ at all, even though I could pop over to CO or Washington), or because i want people to be able to get high with no consequences, even alcohol and cigarettes have consequences and they are legal.
I became involved in the movement because I saw how medical professionals can use their positions to harm patients in the worst way possible, they are allowed to watch them suffer and force the patients to beg for help which never comes. Some medical professionals, use their positions and attitudes towards something they are scared of and don’t understand, to justify treating patients as second class citizens and puppets in their own screwed up play.
I have seen first hand what physicians can do when they have full control of a patient’s health care. The bad ones do acquire the “god complex” so deeply ingrained, they can justify anything to force their way on their patients. I have seen first hand the suffering they inflict when only their limited knowledge on a subject is allowed to take control of their treatment of patients. This is especially true when the physician has knowledge that his patients have no options
I’m older, educated, I have confidence, and I’m very vocal about my health care and yet, I was still experimented on, against my will, and there was very little I could do about it. I was a prisoner and victim of abuse of medical power. So, what about the Soldiers and civilian patients who have no voice. What about the constant amount of patients, who are so afraid of breaking the law, they are killing themselves everyday instead of risk being arrested and making it worse for their family members. What about them? How can anyone say those patients, who are in severe pain, don’t deserve at least the same care and dignity we offer to dogs in a pound? Why are patients allowed to suffer with chronic pain and this seems to be an accepted course of action by the CDC and some physicians, when a pet in pain is allowed pain medication because to allow the pet to suffer would be inhumane? How does any of this make sense to any government agency?
When I left the military, I did end up with some really fantastic physicians. I worked hard to build the team I need to work with me as I go through this medical journey. I was once more accomplishing a few things normal people would just call living. I call it having a good day. With each passing month, I was slowly having a few more good days. Not only did I have to fight my diseases, but I also had to drag myself up from the damage inflicted on me by my “trusted” medical professional (unfortunately, he was not the first nor the last to let me down, but the most trusted one who damaged me more greatly than all the others).
It has been exactly 2 years since I was in the ICU and I’m finally gaining back what I lost through underhanded practices. I’m finally (again) on the road back to some sort of normal I can live with. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve worked hard to get here, fighting the some really stupid people every step of the way. This year, I actually danced for the first time in 5 years. That wasn’t because of some holistic treatment given to me by some arrogant physician assistant, trying to boaster his career, no that came from real medical help, in the form of a muti-specialty approach, including the correct and controlled application of various medications.
But, now, the CDC and the FDA have decided they wish to punish all patients and do a sweep of all pain medications from every patient, no matter what the condition of the patient or the judicial background of each patient. We patients are not treated as humans, we are treated with contempt and hatred that we dared survive and we dared to want a life worth living.
Again, I fight for medical marijuana because the CDC and the FDA do not put my life nor my family first in their decision. In fact, they even ignored some of the top rated physicians and made policies behind closed doors, to take control away from the patient and their physician, and give it directly to the CDC. My physician is a top rated physician, who works hard with his patients to allow them the best life they can live with the diseases they must face each and every day. Now he must turn control of his work over to whom ever the CDC deems appropriate for their goals. Not only does this put an extra burden on the patients but, when more physicians are added to the mix ( especially those directed by the CDC and not by the patient), the clear standard of care is lost between a Doctor and a patient. These new policies are doing nothing to punish criminals, but will do so much harm to patients. The CDC is allowed to approve some of the biggest discrimination policies in our nation. As chronic pain patients, we deserve treatment with dignity and respect, not abuse and suspicion.
Why am I a huge advocate of marijuana (all marijuana, even recreational), because I’m tired of government agencies (the CDC, the Army, the FDA) thinking my life, my family, and my future is a flipping game. I’m not a number. I’m a human who also happens to be a patient. I may live in constant pain, but by GOD, the more pain you leave me in with your stupid, outrageous policies, the louder I will get. There are millions of patients just like me. They suffer daily because of the games played with their lives. They sit in dark corners, they lie in bed, they hide from society, and some of them wish they could die. They are the chronic pain patients of our nation and they have rights too.
I’m not a number and I’m not a toy to be played with. The more pain you force on me the more I will fight you until my last breath. CDC, it’s been a long 2 years coming back from what CPT Brill did to me and I won’t give my life up again without a fight.
I have a voice and I’m not afraid to use it.
#patientsnotaddicts  @patientsnotaddicts 

Who let me adult? AKA The story of my big fat bloody shower

I’m so happy there are no cameras in my home. My life is insane at times.

Im done adultingAfter a headache yesterday and this morning, I finally felt well enough to take a warm shower.
While conditioning my hair, I was shaving my legs. I snipped the back of my ankle a little, but you would think I hit a flipping geyser. Forgetting I had conditioner in my hair, I stepped back a little to rinse off my ankle. The water from the shower made the conditioner run into my eyes. You would think conditioner isn’t supposed to burn, you would be wrong.

As I’m trying to get all the conditioner rinsed out of my eyes and mostly out of my hair, I’m trying to reach for a towel without getting blood from my ankle all over the floor. In the process of doing this, I lift my foot out to step out, but for a reason only known to Murphy, I banged my toe onto the side of the tub. I yelp, grabbing my toe, almost fall out of the shower, step out of the tub using the foot with the cut on it, and get blood all over my bathroom floor and the rug.

Finally, I get myself over to a dark Shaving creates murder scenetowel I threw on the floor; I stand on this while my ankle is bleeding all over the place. I also get a towel to wrap my greasy hair in (I never did finish rinsing my hair out).

As I’m really trying to get the mess under control (all I wanted was a flipping shower to make me feel better), I use the original towel I had in my hand to dry my body.

What I did not know is, while I was wrestling with this towel just a few minutes early, the bottom of the towel had rubbed against the cut, and had blood all over one side. As I wiped my body, I was wiping blood all over me, including my face, and because I was trying to remain on the dark towel due to my bleeding ankle, I didn’t know I looked like a victim in a murder scene until I stepped in front of the mirror to put lotion on and look for a band-aide.

At this point, my rug was bloody, my floor was bloody, and now my body was covered in streaks of blood. My left toe was hurting, so I was doing a little limp thing, and the towel on my head was falling off as if I had been running.

There I was trying to hold the bloody towel over my body until I can grab another one and hold the one on my head too. I finally drop the towel covering my body and let it fall to the floor, standing there naked as a Jay bird, this of course creates more bloody spots on the floor. I grabbed another towel and wrapped it around my body, but my body was still covered in streaks of blood.

Jason kills everyone

I swear, if anyone didn’t know better, they would have thought I just stepped off the set of one of the murder movies where women are caught in the shower and fight for their lives, like Bates Motel. I could have run out in the yard and it would have easily looked like I was being chased by Jason.

Sigh…. I took another shower, rinsed everything out of my hair, put a band-aide on my cut (I’ve nicknamed Old Faithful), and threw all the towels in a cold wash.

This all happened because I dared to shave my legs.

I’m finally sitting down in my recliner, resting after my ordeal.

I’m done today. I don’t know who allowed me to become an adult, but they grossly overestimated my abilities.

Until next time… Just be safe.

(seriously folks, keep me away from sharp objects, water, paper, and well, anything)

The ongoing saga of the mouse in my house – Me: 1 / Mouse: 0

WOO HOO!! The mouse, which has been hiding really well in my house, just popped the trap! The war is over!


 In 16 years, I’ve never once had a mouse in my house, then I had one I could not get rid of. No matter what I did, I couldn’t trap the silly thing, nor could I figure out how it was getting in.
 This one little mouse has been sneaking in incredibly small places which I could not reach and it avoided all traps. It even avoided the best trap I have, the teeth and claws of my 12 year old mouser. It became a battle of wits. I despise rodents or insects in my house. If I find one insect in my home, I tear the whole house apart and find where the little bugger is living, then I bleach everything, scrub floors, and clean carpets like crazy. Yep. I go a little over board when it comes to animals that don’t belong in my home.
Trust me, it’s never just a mouse with me, with my anxieties, I was sure this mouse was inviting his friends over, eating electrical wires, making little mouse plans, and planning to set my home on fire. I’m sure we will all end up with leprosy, the Black Plague, or some shit like that. I’m not afraid of mice, insects, or anything awful in my home, because when I banish it from our living areas (or kill it), I know I have saved myself and my family from a lifetime of being exiled to a far away island or being quarantined from society. Basically I live my whole life like a really terrible B-rated movie. The mice are terrible aliens and I’m the only who can save us… or what really happens is, I kill the mouse, make some popcorn, and watch a few hours of Hulu. That is my true reality. Not even a little Netflix and chill, but a dead mouse, bowl of popcorn, and hours of Hulu. (BTW The new show Lucifer is really good)

Where was I?

Oh yes! This mouse had to go. With it avoiding normal areas and places mice can normally be found, I was at a lose of how to get rid of it. I purchased many rodent deterrents and live traps, but it came down to snap traps.


What sucks is now I feel incredibly guilty for using such a mid-evil trap. Ughh… The balance between loving nature and animals, and keeping nasty varmints out of my home, is always a precarious situation. I actually spent a ton of money on fancy traps and high pitched deterrents. My original plan was to either deter the mouse from coming in or catch it and relocate it to a local field (and let the hawks or snakes eat it). The terrible part is, all those fancy plans did not work. The mouse did not get the memo that it was supposed to enter the mouse hotel so I could transport it’s butt outside, or he was just too smart, and possibly thought avoidance would be the best alternative. It wasn’t. This mouse had to go and I still didn’t know how to find it.


Then, a wonderful thing happened. Two days ago I noticed the mouse had become more confident with his living arrangement in my home and he had been chewing on my oven mitt. Well there you go. I had a plan. Peanut bread on a trap with the oven mitt as the prize. POW! Got’cha you varmint!


 After a strong conversation with my cat, concerning his duties of Varmint Control Officer and his failings as of late, I remembered all the loyal years of service to our home, and gave him a treat anyway.


With my cat not being able to find this unwanted guest and all the highfalutin ideas failing, it came down to me purchasing those back breaking snap traps from the dollar store, four traps for $5. I then baited the traps with perfect little mouse sized peanut butter sandwiches and put my oven mitt nearby. The poor little furry creature met his fate by playing with my oven mitt and looking for his last meal.


Don’t worry, I didn’t let it suffer any more than necessary. I made sure it was completely dead before disposing of it. Poor little baby. I really wish it had just stayed away. They can play outdoors all they wish, but once they enter my home all bets are off.I do hope he doesn’t talk ugly about me after reaching the Rainbow Bridge. I normally have a good reputation up there and I don’t need one mouse encounter to ruin my chances of playing with all the animals when I reach the end of my life.


It would be terrible for me to visit the animals over the Rainbow Bridge and find my photo up in the wanted section of their post office. Little FBI mice waiting for me as I sign in to see an old pet. They carry me away as I’m yelling, “I tried to keep the mouse away, I really did. It was the mouse. The mouse broke into my home and I had to defend myself. I honestly tried to use all non-lethal means possible, but it wouldn’t leave.” My defense will be he should have stayed outside where mice belong. Damn mouse should have stayed where he belonged. I hope the jury of animals will accept that defense (and they have not read Animal Farm anytime recently…. or talked to Mike Vic recently).  …  Sigh. Yep. I’ve got to do some serious good deeds to do to make up for killing that mouse today. Maybe I will receive only a few hours of community service cleaning out horse stalls. Here’s hoping for horse stalls! (Damn little mouse)


To prevent this from happening again, I need to figure out how the little mouse found it’s way in and look for signs of anymore (I hope it didn’t have babies). Between my cat, my neighbor’s cat, a few snakes, and of course the chickens, we typically do not have an issue with any indoor mice at all. Like I mentioned, this was our first one since living here, so something has changed.

After 16 years, I’m sure something must have shifted out of place or a crack has formed, now it’s time to close it up tight!


My summer list just became a little longer.


Until next time… be safe, be kind, and always be happy!


(and watch out for mice. They are tricky little jerks)

Medical Cannabis Conversation

Over the last few years I’ve had many conversations concerning Medical Cannabis, some of those conversations were with medical professionals. For many, is seems, they can’t think outside the propaganda the FDA sells them.

This is why I can’t take medical marijuana protest people seriously,

The FDA, the CDC, big pharmacies, and many organizations have no monetary incentive to support medical cannabis (not yet), so they don’t. With all the research of medical cannabis around the world and even in the US, politicians still say it’s not enough and they demand more. Yet, they make it hard to obtain research on medical cannabis due to the insane cycle which state cannabis can’t be studied because it’s still listed as schedule 1, the same level as Heroin and LSD.

About a year ago, I a crazy conversation with one of my nurses.

We were talking about all the prescriptions I am on, and I said how dangerous they are. Yet, maybe I could get rid of a few of them if MM was legal in our state.

Me: Medical Marijuana has TONS of medical use. Medical Marijuana has been shown to help with many diseases, MS, Childhood Seizure, chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, everyone on cancer treatments could be saved, and senior citizens feel so much better because they are able to sleep and get real rest, plus so much more.

Nurse: But, it damages the brains in teenagers when used in high doses, so it should be banned.

Me: (SHOCKED LOOK!) — Well, I’m sure as a medical professional you would not give medical marijuana in high doses to someone in the teenage bracket, right? You also don’t give certain medications to pregnant women because of dangers, correct? Plus, and this is proven, chronic pain damages the brain of all ages, babies, teens, adults, and senior citizens (and ME!!), so you want to ban a medication that does more good than bad, because it is bad for the brains of normal teens? Really?

Nurse: Yes.

Me. But, alcohol is highly abused for teenagers, and college kids die every year from alcohol abuse, even when they are old enough to drink it. Plus, alcohol has very few medical purposes and causes more harm than good. Do you want to ban alcohol from everyone to save the children? You’re a nurse, you see the damage alcohol has done to babies and to children, you see the deaths at colleges, you see the deaths of all the people who die in DUIs? Don’t you want to ban something that has no medical use.

Nurse: No. Of course not. Alcohol is regulated but the FDA (It isn’t, but I let that slide) and medical marijuana isn’t regulated by anyone. It will only be used to get high. It’s a gateway drug to more bad behavior and I hope it stays illegal.

ME: (Just shaking my head.) Well, then, you and all the professionals, who believe the same, have been gravely misinformed.

At this point, I asked for another nurse. I actually received wonderful treatment from the second nurse. The second nurse was open to the idea of medical cannabis and explained the various instances in his own family when medical cannabis could help. He explained that his aunt had cancer and he wished he could give it to her and before his father’s death he had Alzheimer’s, and became very upset and agitated towards the end. My nurses explained he would have more than welcomed a medication which would have calmed his father with making him in a zombie everyday.

The difference in the underlying beliefs of the two nurses were like night and day. I believe the difference was personal experience with someone close to them who was truly sick and could be helped with a medication used around the world, but not in certain parts of the US.

This is why people are dying and suffering for no reason in this world! If you are going to argue your point against something that will help millions of people, at least have a good reason for the argument. Alcohol and cigarettes are incredibly harmful, yet they are legal. Cannabis has many benefits for patients, yet this is illegal. There are patients dying and suffering in pain, all over the United States, when one medication could help in so many ways. None of this makes sense to me.

In my opinion, it’s all smoke and mirrors set up to keep patients on only pharmaceutical medications for the rest of their lives, no matter how miserable or short those lives are, they will be owned by pharmaceutical money.

Sick patients are owned and are the slaves of Pharmaceutical companies. Patients make billions of dollars for the big companies, due to committing the one sin in the US which takes away  all rights, the sin of becoming sick. The patients are the slaves and the Doctors are the enforcers.

This relationship will never change until medical cannabis laws are changed in this country.


Until next time… be safe, be kind, and always be happy!

Writer’s Wednesday – Duchess of Devonshire – Business leaders could learn a lot from this lady

This week, instead of interviewing an author, I wrote about one. 

My life goals in one photo. 

The chicken lady

This is a photo of Deborah Vivian Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. She was not only beautiful, but she was also smart and powerful. The social media stars and business leaders of today could learn solid lessons from her business practices. 

Born Deborah Mitford, she was the youngest of 6 aristocratic sisters. TMZ would have covered the girl’s lives in details. They were scandalous! One of her sisters, Diana Mosley, even served time in prison. 

Debo (to her family) had huge dreams of riches and knew exactly what she wanted out of life. She did marry Lord Andrew Cavendish, who was the son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire, but he was only a second son. Deborah believed she had traded love for the lifestyle she so desired. In a twist of fate, during WWII, Lord Cavendish’s older brother, William Cavendish, rightful heir to the dukedom, was killed in action in 1944, leaving Andrew to become the only heir. 

When her father-in-law passed away in 1950, her husband became the 11th Duke of Devonshire and she became a Duchess. He fairy tail life was coming true. The fly in the soup was the inheritance of the family home, The Chatsworth House. The home had been open to the public for many years, but was not used as a private residences and was in great need of repair. 

Not to dismiss his title, nor the role of the family in history, but there are many Dukes and Duchesses in extended royal families, and many of these extended family members can often find themselves bankrupt, losing their family homes and all their possession. Most Dukes and Duchesses must maintain real jobs to maintain the lifestyle their ancestors once had. Duchess Cavendish understood this problem all too well and took matters in her own hands. 

The Duchess (Debo to her family) was “going viral” at a time viral meant something a lot more ominous. When she realized the economic value of living in a stately home, she took over the business side of the home and marketed the family name as a brand. 

She was the powerful force behind the restoration of the home, she was the business mind behind the commercial endeavors connected to the home and the family name, and she was the force which agreed to license images of the family and home designs carrying the Cavendish name.  She was the leader behind opening large gardens, a huge farm store, and opened their lives to the public. She pushed the retail side even farther through catering and selling high end food to the wealthy, with of course, the Cavendish label always prominent on the goods. 

She oversaw the building of two hotels owned by her family business, one baring the Cavendish name, the other her title; the Cavendish Hotel and the Devonshire Arms Hotel. 

“In 1999, the Duchess was appointed a Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, by Queen Elizabeth II, for her service to the Royal Collection Trust.”

After building her own empire for her family, living a full life, and raising a family, at the ripe young age of 60 she started publishing books, starting with Chatsworth: The House in 1980 and ending with All in One Basket, published in 2011. Before her death, in 2014, she had written and published 15 books. 

Deborah Vivian Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire took what she was given in life and through good solid business sense, she built a small empire. The Duchess was beautiful, smart, vivacious, stubborn, tenacious, classy, and a force to be reckoned with. She didn’t care what others thought about her or her ways. She was going to do what she needed to do to reach her dreams. She is an example of what can be accomplished when you work hard and bring ideas to life. 

Some people are born onto a bed of rocks and leave behind a pile of sand. Others are born on a bed of rocks and leave behind castles.

The Duchess was the type to leave behind castles. 

Read more about her life here..,_Duchess_of_Devonshire

The photos of her and the stories behind them are just fantastic. Find then here.


I hope I’m like the Duchess, I want to build castles. 


Until next time… be safe, be kind, and always be happy!



FREE! So Cool! The British Library’s collection of images

This is just so cool not to share.


“The British Library’s collection of images on Flickr are taken from books it has its collection from the 17th, 18th and 19th Century – so well out of copyright – and are vaguely arranged by theme: such as book covers, cycling, illustrated lettering,comic art, ships or children’s book illustration. There’s also a collection of ‘Highlights‘ that’s a good place to start if you just want a general browse.”


Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.

Writer’s Wednesday: Author of Catch the Moon, Mary, Wendy Waters

Wendy Waters - Personal Pic 2


This week, as promised, Writer’s Wednesday explores the careers and writing paths of two different Australian author’s. 

Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary, is not only a writer, she is also an award winning composer, lyricist, and librettist. Her latest work wonderfully combines both her love of music and writing.

AB:  Thank you Ms. Waters for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.I see that you have a vast musical background and you’ve spent time volunteering with musically gifted children. Did these experiences have an influence on your story? What other life experiences have led to the stories you write and/or enjoy reading?

WW:  Thank you for acknowledging the music! Music is probably my religion and certainly my drug of choice. That a good bottle of red! Whenever I’ve needed calm and reassurance, a song or piece of music has had the power to transcend my temporary loss of faith and realign my soul to that vast Otherness where perspective and hope find balance.

Music is a universal language requiring no translation, validating a unique interpretation. It is the one language that unites us all in response. An important message reaches into the soul and heart through the medium of music more readily than a verbal or even written delivery. Music demands emotional involvement from the listener and can unlock long-held hurt and pain, things we can only face under the hypnotic influence of music’s regenerative vibration.

I did volunteer with Oasis and had the joy of supporting many homeless young people whose musical gifts were their only pathway to healing. Many of them had been sexually and emotionally abused. In that situation the focus is the future because the past has nothing but pain to offer. If they wanted to talk about the past I would certainly listen, pain and anger must be acknowledged but I never let them leave the Center without challenging them musically. By that I mean, if the person was a brilliant pianist I challenged them to compose a piece of music on the spot. If the person was a singer I made them sing something outside of their comfort zone. The healing implicit in challenge can never be under-estimated. When they faced their challenge head-on and gave it a shot I noticed a change in their demeanor. Their eyes brightened, they smiled and our conversation became more positive.

Having accomplished something inspired feelings of self-worth that gave rise to seeds of ambition, hope, purpose and sometimes we were able to work on a game-plan for a very different future. My own challenge then was keeping those goals in place. People who have to struggle through life without families to fall back on or friends they can trust find their strength within and it’s very important when your paths cross that you become inflexibly positive about their ability to construct a more rewarding life all alone. People who can trust no-one must learn to trust themselves and the fastest way to do that is to find out that you can meet a challenge.

Too many people create victims by drowning them in sympathy and sentimentality. To say to someone who has lost everything “I believe in you and I know you can do this” is the most powerful affirmation you can offer. To say “Oh you poor darling, how you have suffered” is to keep them stuck in despair.

AB: This is incredible work. Your passion for your music and for the children are very apparent. This passion really crosses over to your writing. Of your published work, which book or written pieces have proved to be most successful?

WW:  My short story Fields of Grace, which won the WW/Penguin Short Story Contest in 2007 was probably the most universally popular thing I’ve written. Nearly everybody found something in it that resonated.

The other published piece was a humorous poem I wrote called The Wife of Lance Allot, a parody of The Lady of ShallotIt came second the Wergle Flomp Humorous Poetry Contest 2010 run by Winning Writers  and loads of people thought it was hilarious. Some didn’t get it all!

A short story called Zabadiah published by Foliate Oak Literary Magazine 2010  also had lots of positive feedback and then of course we come to Catch The Moon, Mary, published by Linen Press UK  in 2015. It’s had a very mixed response. Some people find it very challenging and difficult to get through, others have raved about it.

Catch the moon, Mary

AB: You are a very busy person. You are musically talented, you volunteer, and you’re a published author. These are some remarkable achievements. Many new writers have careers, families, and are trying to publish their own stories. For new authors, what are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus using a publisher?

WW:  No matter which way you go never settle for second best. Writing is a calling. It’s hard work, often thankless and demanding, it brings out your best and your worst, it requires/demands years of dedication and incessant rejection and the right WORD is elusive at best, a trickster at worst. It tests your character and your spirit and when finally after multiple drafts your story still doesn’t quite hang together you feel cheated out of the life you might have enjoyed had you not been stuck behind your desk writing! And yet, if you’ve got the right stuff you’ll go back to the page and redraft until the story begins to cohere. At that point you may consider testing the publishing waters by submitting to houses open to unsolicited mss (manuscripts). Please DON’T.

Please get a professional assessment and take notice of her/his advice. Polish your ms (manuscript) again and then ask some readers to give you their honest opinion. Then carefully consider their feedback and polish your ms AGAIN. Then and only then are you ready to submit to publishers. It’s called respect. Respect for your work and respect for yourself. You’ve done the hard yards. You’ve offered only your very best work and you’ve risked the purely subjective opinions of publishers who will almost certainly reject your ms. Famous writers have tales of myriad rejections, enough to paper bathroom walls. You will also start to hear opinions about your writing and at that point you need to be solid enough about your voice to either take them on board or dismiss them.

Again many famous authors have been told they had no talent and many appallingly bad authors have been assured of their genius. Time and readers are ultimately the only measure of either. I pitched my book Catch the Moon, Mary for seven years before I found a publisher. I chose not to self-publish because I wanted the gate-keeper editor who would further knock my story into shape. I was lucky in Lynn Michell as she is one of the world’s best editors and mine is a very unusual story in need of a sympathetic editor.

My MS was in very good shape when Lynn got it but she improved it dramatically. For me, that was worth the seven year wait. Having said that many authors are self-publishing with great results and finding a loyal readership. All I would say is make sure you offer the world your very best work whichever route you choose.

AB:  That is very solid advice. I personally agree with your statement referring to, “Respect for your work and respect for yourself.”  In your own opinion, when using a publisher, do new authors need an agent?

WW: Agents have a role to play. But sometimes getting an agent is as difficult as getting a publisher. I’ve had very bad luck with agents and very good luck with publishers. If you have your work assessed and you received a Letter of Recommendation from the assessor as I did you can use it to approach mainstream publishers yourself. I was lucky in that Ali Watts, senior publisher at Penguin/Random House was one of the judges in WW/Penguin Comp and I have her direct email.

She tried very hard to publish another ms of mine Fields of Grace based on the short story in 2009 but the climate in publishing was so bad they weren’t taking any risks on unknown authors. It was Ali’s suggestion I try the UK publishers with both Fields of Grace and Catch The Moon, Mary. Writers can approach publishers directly these days. So strictly speaking you don’t need an agent but if you find a good one, they can be a buffer between you and rejections.

AB:   For any book you self-published, where did you find your art? Did you use an artist you located yourself or did you purchase cover art available to authors?

WW: I didn’t self-publish but I was given license to find the cover for my book. I scoured the internet for pictures of angels and finally stumbled upon Des Cannon’s @Anima Fotografie brilliant photograph of an angel statue in a Dublin cemetery. I just loved the play of light and shadow on the serenely beautiful face and I knew I had to have it. Fortunately Lynn agreed. And fortunately Des Cannon was generous enough to allow us to use his exquisite image on the cover of my book.

AB:  You were very patient when publishing you work, which I found admirable.   Did you use an outside editor for your books? If you did use an editor, did you use more than one? Would you like to give your editing service a shout out for their great services?

WW: I used two assessors, Katherine Hammond and Lainie Jones before I sent the opening chapters to Linen Press and then Lynn Michell did a further edit.

AB:       Where did you find trusted, experienced, beta readers, who would give you honest feedback on your book?

WW: I didn’t! I relied on friends and family.

AB:     In running, many runners face a wall, where they wish to give up and quit. They have to dig deep and push through the wall. Writers can face some of the same hurdles. To open themselves up completely and reach readers, an author can become emotionally and physically exhausted. Each writer develops a strategy to either keep going or quit. While writing your book, you mention the struggles you faced. 

Were there times when you wanted to scrap the entire thing and start over, or not publish the book at all? For new writers, who may also face this wall, what advice do you have for them to push past these feelings?

WW:  When you give up on a project you’re giving up on yourself. Bad plan! We all have bad days, bad months, bad years. I think it’s important to release the expectations around your work and write for its own sake. It’s the same in a personal relationship. Too often our happiness depends on the object of our desire, be it a person or a vocation. It’s an unwieldy burden to place on another human being or a project.

If you can separate the feelings of despair and self-loathing from the object of desire and own them it can be a lot easier to leave them at the door when you go to your writing desk to work. I write daily…and without expectations of inspiration or transcendence. I treat my writing as a job for which I show up daily. I work in very disciplined fashion. The ms gets my full attention, regardless of how shitty I feel. I know it’s very hard but do try not to take out your frustrations on your book!

AB:  Everyone has something they wish they knew when they started in a new field. If you could share one lesson you learned to avoid or one experience you wish you could re-do to make your writing experience better, what would it be? Feel free to share the experience leading up to the lesson and what made you choose the path you took.

WW: I wish I’d started earlier. I have a great work ethic so there’s nothing I’d change there. All I would say to any newbie is write daily. Doesn’t matter what you write just write.

AB:     What work, besides your own, are you reading right now or have you read recently?

WW: I always return to Jeanette Winterson and Paul Gallico. Right now I’m re-reading Winterson’s Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Last night I consumed The Snow Goose,  Gallico’s consummate anti-war book.

AB:  If you were on a desert island and only allowed one book or other written word, what written word would it be and why?

WW: The complete works of Oscar Wilde because let’s face it Oscar said it ALL!

 AB:   It’s time to give yourself a shout-out. What would you like your fans to know about you? How can they support you? What would you like your fans to look for on shelves now? Where can they find your work? Is there anything else you would like your fans to know about you?
WW: Well, to both my fans – Dani McFetridge and Susan Pola – just kidding there’s my Mum as well and my daughter…no, seriously the best thing anyone can do for a new author is give them a review on Amazon and tell other people about the book. Also pass the book on if you love it.

Word-of-mouth is still the most effective, sincere and lasting form of marketing. I would like people to know that I also write lyrics and the musical I am currently working on is called The Last Tale, the story of Scheherazade ten years after she told the last of her 1001 Arabian Nights Tales. The brilliant composer on this project is Shanon Whitelock and his interview about our musical is on

For more info about me I can be found on Facebook and Twitter Wendy Waters (@wa_waters) | Twitter

More about my work and my professional musical background can be found at; 

Aboutme  wendy waters – author, lyricist, librettist | , Linked-In , and my blog

Lastly, Catch the Moon, Mary has her own page on Facebook

and is available on Amazon US:  UK: 

Wendy Waters - Personal Pic 3


WW: Thank you so much for the opportunity to raise awareness about my book!

AB: And thank you, Wendy Waters, for your valuable time and allowing us the opportunity to highlight your work today.

To our readers, thank you for your time and support. Please take the time to support the authors who support you. Take time to read their books, follow them on social media, and of course, share their pages.

As always…be safe, be kind, and always be happy!



Writer’s Wednesday: Murder in Absentia, Assaph Mehr

.     Assaph Mehr

This week, as promised, Writer’s Wednesday explores the careers and writing paths of two different Australian authors.

Assaph Mehr, author of Murder in Absentia, lives in Australia with his wife and family, and, of course, his cat Felix. His love of Roman history contributes to this murder mystery based in a fantasy world full of exciting battles and intrigue. We can only hope Mr. Mehr will be writing more stories with Felix the Fox (Hint: Read to the end to find out where you can find more stories with Felix). Continue reading

4/20 day! A great day to support children and Veterans!




Ahhhh…. 4/20! The day “secretly” known as the day to relax, kick your feet up, and smoke a doobie, blunt, joint, bowl, or one of the many names associated with smoking marijuana (legal name cannabis). From the early days in 1971 on a San Rafael, CA campus, to present day, 4:20 has become the socially accepted time to light one up and relax from a stressful day.

The country has come a very long way since “Reefer Madness” of 1936 and the “Say no to drugs” campaign of the 1980s. Millions of dollars have been spent on the so called “War on drugs”, creating mandatory life sentences for non-violent offenders, deaths for many innocent people who are caught up in drug wars, families have been broken apart due to parents spending time in jail (even for small amounts of cannabis) and they find it more difficult to find a job or go to school due to financial laws based on drug arrest, and then there’s asset seizure  of personal property, taken without a warrant or a crime being committed. All this time, hate, and waste of human life, yet, in all the years of the “war” marijuana use has yet to kill one person from the direct use of the product.

The insanity of the so called “drug war” and the crimes committed against the people of the US by the government are inexcusable.

I won’t go into the boring details about why and how cannabis became illegal in the first place and how it was less about abuse and more about bureaucracy. How it was less about saving lives and more about making money. How it was less about protecting the health of our nation, and more about arresting minorities to keep them away from the perfect white boys. I won’t go into the boring details of all the injustices since that time.

But I will tell you this, if you are legally smoking, drinking, eating, or ingesting cannabis today, please take the time to lift one in the air for all the people who put their lives and their reputations fighting for your right to do so.

Don’t forget many states do not have legal access to the one medicine which could help so many patients, including children and Veterans. In the middle of your healthy snack run or your third bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, take the time to sign online petitions, donate to a cause, petition in front of city hall, or donate to help send sick children to legal states, so they may be able to enjoy the medical benefit so many take for granted.

Prop your feet up, break out the ole debit card, and help others have the same freedoms you do.

Here is an organization who had been fighting for the right of legal Cannabis since the 1970s. NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)

So there you go. As you contemplate how you can help others, I’ve provided the answer, and you don’t even need to leave your couch. You’re welcome.

For all of you in legal states, have fun today! Burn one for the rest of us!

For the rest of the country, don’t forget, tomorrow is still a work day!


4-21 - surprise urine test.


Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.



Writer’s Wednesday Preview – Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters

A two-for-one Wednesday! The second author we will present today is Wendy Waters. Ms. Waters is the creative writer behind Catch The Moon, Mary.

Catch the moon, Mary

This tale of abuse, love, lost dreams, and redemption, will have the reader questioning the very values they hold so dear. Many people say they love others enough to kill for them, but is that really love or obsession?

Be ready for the roller coaster of emotions as you become invested in Mary’s future.

“Award winning author, singer and lyricist, Wendy Waters writes prose that soars with breath-taking beauty.

A magical story about a gifted, vulnerable girl who is both saved and damned by an angel who falls in love with her music and claims it in a devilish pact. With Mary in his thrall, he ruthlessly kills all those who threaten his grand plan to bring Mary to Carnegie Hall where her talent will be hailed as supreme.

Ghost story, horror story, thriller, fantasy, fairy tale noir. Catch The Moon, Mary defies classification in its originality and exuberance.”

The reviews speak to the beauty of the story.

“Mesmerizing. Vast and rarely visited themes, not just of love, but of purpose and the choices we make. Beautifully written and crafted.”  – Nina Writes Romance

“The blend of ambition and lyrically in this truly engaging tale explains why so many readers fall in love with this beautifully crafted story, which just screams out to be dramatized… Wendy Waters is a brave writer, with artistic integrity.” – Scott Hastie

“This is a great novel. Amazing imagery and an original story. I’m glad that I pre-ordered. It would be tricky to make a good movie of it but Hollywood will come knocking.” – Sabina

Life is never black or white. You can find all the happiness and heartbreak in paperback or downloaded to your Kindle. Be sure to get your copy here…

Don’t forget to catch up with Ms. Waters and Mary later today for the latest installment of Writer’s Wednesday!

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.