Fun Fact Friday

Okay, I know that I haven’t finished posting about my birthday month – September. But I have been crazy busy trying to find a full-time job and also promote my books.

Since it’s Friday, I wanted to share this little fun fact with you.

If you know a fun fact, share in the comments.

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More Birthday Month Fun!

September 15th:  Had a fantastic time with 2nd grandson (and his mommy) at the Oklahoma WONDERtorium in Stillwater, OK. It’s an interactive children’s museum that is just amazing!

September 16th:  A friend from graduate school days at OSU-Stillwater was in town with her husband and darling little boy. I haven’t seen Darcy and Fred for six years. We got to visit for a little while – great fun! I didn’t have my camera with me. Dang it!

September 18th:  My birthday! Very full and amazing day! Started the day with breakfast with 2nd daughter at Panera – Yummm!

Had a birthday lunch at Louie’s Grill and Bar with some new wonderful friends I have met through the Heart Link Network – for women entrepreneurs. Thank you, Karrie, for arranging this celebration (and for my lunch!).

An article about Benjamin Boo Books was published in the Stillwater’s Community Connection e-newsletter today. Woo! Hoo!  http://www.stillwatercommunityconnection.com/?p=13545

Meet Dawn Behrens/Author….Sponsored by Pita Pit

Written on September 18, 2012 by  in community spotlight

Tuesday afternoon, went to my favorite spot to have a birthday granita (frozen coffee) break with my friend and favorite barista (and owner of The Daily Grind), Ginger.

Then headed for Oklahoma City to shoot a commercial for the OKC Community Foundation. Great director and crew. The weather was perfect (we were shooting outside on a rooftop). The actor who played my husband in the scene was amazing to work with – our first time working together.

After I finished with the commercial shoot, I was blessed to have dinner with my dear friend, JoAnn, and her niece and family.

Aren’t these two little ones just adorable?!? It was a double celebration because JoAnn had received an “all clear” report on her mammogram after breast cancer surgery last year. Hurray!

Donna (JoAnn’s niece) made yummy cookies and put a candle in one for me. Thank goodness I didn’t have to try to blow out 62 candles! Oh, and don’t you just love the extra makeup I was still wearing from the commercial shoot?!?!?

My birthday “day” also included calls from 1st daughter and sons-in-law, cards (with surprises) in mail, texts, and many birthday wishes on Facebook. A very full and exciting day!

More birthday month to come. . .

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Exciting Birthday Month So Far!

September is my birthday month, and this one has been especially busy and exciting. So many things are happening.

September 1st:  The eBook of the new Benjamin Boo Book released on amazon.com – Benjamin Boo Plays Hide-and-Seek With You.

September 5th:  Proof of print version of Benjamin Boo Plays Hide-and-Seek With You arrived for me to hold and see.

September 6th:  I attended my first meeting of The Heart Link Network where I met some amazing women.

September 7th:  The print version of Benjamin Boo Plays Hide-and-Seek With You released on amazon.com.

September 8th:  My dear friend, JoAnn, and I shared a booth at a huge Craft Show at the Payne County Expo Center in Stillwater, OK. We had a great time, showed our wares to many fun people, and even sold a few things (me – books; JoAnn – knitted items and upcycled sweater pillows).

JoAnn has a store on Etsy – Aunt J’s Knit Knacks. Please check it out – she has awesome creations!

I’m afraid you won’t find the orange pillow with the black ribbon in JoAnn’s Etsy store. I took that one for my living room. Love it!

September 9th thru 11th:  Promotion on amazon.com for free eBook of Benjamin Boo Plays Hide-and-Seek With YouI am so thrilled that hundreds more children now have the new eBook and can enjoy Benjamin Boo and his friends.

September 11th:  Drove to Owasso for Grandparent’s Day with 1st grandson at his school. We went to lunch and chapel together.

September 12th:  Drove to Owasso for Grandparent’s Day with 1st granddaughter at her school. We went to lunch and chapel together.

I had an amazing time with both grandchildren. I love them so much!

I have had several coffee and lunch meetings already this month since attending my first meeting of The Heart Link Network. These ladies are being so helpful with my new venture of book writing and publishing.

And, of course, I am now tutoring part-time for OSU Athletics Academics Services. Still no full-time job yet.

What a September! And it’s only halfway through. I wonder what the next half of my birthday month will bring?

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Book Labor of Love on Labor Day Weekend

Yes, I did labor over the Labor Day Weekend. But it was a labor of love.

*Submitted, proofed, and approved “print proofing” version of third book in the Benjamin Boo Children’s Picture Book Series – Benjamin Boo Plays Hide-and-Seek With You.

*Wrote and published book website post about print version of third book.

*Completed formatting for eBook version of the third book.

*Submitted, proofed, and approved the eBook.

*Wrote book facebook page post about release of eBook on amazon.com.

*Updated author information on amazon.com.

*Created author page on amazon.com.uk.

*Created sign and other materials for upcoming Craft Fair where I will (hopefully) sell print books.

*Created facebook ad for print book selling at upcoming Craft Fair.

*Met with a friend to answer questions about publishing eBooks and print books.

*Oh. . . and, at one point, got caught up in a Steel Magnolia’s movie quoting marathon on Facebook. Love that movie!

And in the midst of all that, I was blessed to reconnect with some old (meaning ‘previous’) friends on facebook.

Whew! I know I did lots of other stuff over the holiday weekend, but my brain only holds so much at a time.

I hope you had a wonderful and productive (whether laboring or resting) Labor Day Weekend.

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Getting Government Assistance is a Full-Time Job

For those who say the government makes it easy for poor people to get and stay on government benefits, I say “Pshaw!”. Actually, I don’t say what I’m thinking because that would be inappropriate.

Here’s the scenario outlining time and energy spent just getting the food stamps card (a small section of this is repetitive from another post):

I went to the DHS office, completed the paperwork, and turned it in. I was told that I would receive a letter in the mail telling me when my interview would be scheduled.

I received the letter a couple of days later. It stated that I would have an interview a week later. It also stated (not part of the form, but actually typed in) that I needed to be sure and bring the required documents that were marked on the back of the page to the interview or my request would be denied. None of the documents on the back of the page were marked.

So. . . I called the phone number that was shown. It rang and rang and rang. No one ever answered, and it never went to a voicemail.

So. . . I waited a few hours and called the number again. This time, someone answered, and I explained my dilemma. She said that the typed statement is a standard statement they type in their form. If no documents were marked, then I did not need to bring anything.

So. . . I went to the interview a week later. I had to wait a while because, as it turns out, the worker I was supposed to see was out sick. The worker I did see was very nice and apologized for the delay. She said that I needed to watch a little interactive video first. I would be asked some questions, and I needed to click on the correct answer. One question required me to state how many days I would have to let DHS know if my situation had changed. My OCD kicked in. “What? I haven’t been given any information. How am I supposed to know that? What if I give the wrong answer?” The DHS worker assured me that a wrong answer would not cause my request to be denied. (Yeah – right!)

At first, she said that I receive too much unemployment to get food stamps. Then she changed that after she realized I am over 60. I’m not sure what being over 60 has to do with it, but I’ll take any positive I can get at this point.

She then said that I would have to come back and watch another video and pick up my food stamps card. This was Friday, so I couldn’t do that until the next week.

So. . . The next week, I went to the DHS office to watch the required video and pick up my food stamps card. The video was informative – except for some missing information.

The guy in the video said several times that we need to make sure we figure our food purchases carefully. However, he never said how to figure the purchases. In Oklahoma, sales tax is charged on food. Am I supposed to include the sales tax when figuring the total amount of my food purchase? This issue was never addressed in the video – nothing – nada!

So. . . I asked the DHS worker who issued my card after the video. “Am I supposed to include the sales tax when figuring the total amount of my food purchase?” Her answer – “I don’t really know. I think that you don’t include the tax, but don’t quote me. You will need to read the booklet that’s online or call the phone number on the back of the card.”

So. . . I found the booklet online and read it. Nothing about whether to include the sales tax amount.

So. . . I called the phone number on the back of the card. At first the person on the other end of the line didn’t even address my question. He just started telling me what things I could and could not buy using the food stamp card. When I finally got him to actually listen to my question, he said, “I don’t know. Did you look at the booklet online?” After I told him that I had looked at the booklet, he said, “I think you probably include the sales tax. You’ll just have to use the card and see if the total includes the sales tax. ” I asked if he could tell me which stores accept the card. He could not.

So. . . I called the local DHS office again to see if they could tell me which stores would accept the food stamp card (since they had not given me a list when I picked up the card, and there was no list online). I explained my dilemma to the woman on the other end of the phone. This woman told me that I should not count the sales tax when figuring my total food purchase. And she told me that they don’t have a list of stores. I would just have to go to a store and look to see if they had a decal at the front door of the store.

Okay. . . I spent about two weeks, three trips to the DHS office, and phone calls just getting the food stamps card. Then I spent several hours searching online and making phone calls to try to find out how to use the card properly – and I received three different answers. Then I had to drive to stores to look at the front door and see if they accept the card. “Why didn’t you just call stores and ask them?” you might ask.

Here’s the thing. . . By the time I finally could use the card, I was so frustrated and depressed that I could not stomach hearing another person on the phone telling me, “I don’t know.”

I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. I have been a teacher for many years. I am a reasonably knowledgeable person. I have dealt with many complicated issues in my life. I did not choose for my company to down-size. Dealing with the government paperwork and bureaucracy to get a food stamps card was enough to beat me down to a puddle of nothingness. Sigh. . .

Time to rise up out of the puddle and get going again.

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Maybe I Could Make How-To Videos

Since I’m still looking for a job, I’m trying to think of jobs that I could make up for myself. Maybe I could make How-To Videos. Here’s one that’s on youtube.com.

What do you think?

Poor Ima!  🙂

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Accidental Water Portrait

Portraits appear in many different types of artistic media. But have you ever seen a portrait done in water on concrete? I didn’t think so. Here’s an accidental portrait that appeared when water was splashed on the sidewalk.

This guy has a huge nose!

 

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It’s Time for Food Stamps

Today, I did something I never thought I would ever have to do. I applied for food stamps at the Department of Human Services. Sigh. . .

I know, in my head, that the purpose of DHS services is to help people like me who have been put in a bad situation. I know, in my head, that I have helped fund these services with taxes that I have paid while employed for many years. I know, in my head, that using these services does not make me a bad person. I know, in my head, that I am not a failure. I know all of these things – in my head.

My heart, on the other hand, is breaking. Unemployment is taking its toll in many ways – financially and emotionally.

I have applied for over 30 jobs in the past 4 1/2 months. I have worked diligently to review job postings, revamp my resume’, write professional cover letters, complete applications, and apply – apply – apply. I have prepared thoroughly for the few interview opportunities I have received. At each interview, I have felt that I presented myself in a professional and positive manner. But, still, no job.

A funny thing did happen in the DHS interview. The representative told me, at first, that the amount I receive from unemployment is just over the limit to receive food stamps. Then, in conversation, I mentioned that I wondered if the fact that I am almost 62 had anything to do with not receiving a job offer. She said, “You’re over 60? That means we can count your medical insurance payments against your unemployment income.” Hmmm. . . I’m taking it as a positive that she didn’t realize I was over 60. I’ll take any positive I can.  🙂

I am thankful that I will be able to receive some help with purchasing food. I am thankful for many things. . . I would be even more thankful if I could get a good job that uses my knowledge and expertise.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

This is definitely wrong – water shooting up in the middle of the road that runs by my house. Workers have been in the process of replacing the road for several days (it sometimes seems like years). I’m not sure if they hit a water pipe or if the pipe was already leaking and the leak could be seen once the old road had been removed.

Thank goodness, they were able to get it fixed and continue replacing the road.

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After Death

Days so busy. . .
Much to do.
What’s accomplished?
Not a clue!
 
List gets longer
By the minute.
Does that list
Have rest time in it?
 
Call retirement
And another.
What’s available
For my mother?
 
Call insurance.
Call the VA.
Did they call back?
No, not today!
 
They say one thing;
Then they change it.
How to know
Dad’s death benefit?
 
What? You changed
My mother’s name?!
Are you brainless
Or insane?
 
Send more faxes –
Make more calls –
“Thanks for holding.”
Patience falls.
 
Now it’s sleep time. . .
Hope I can.
I’ll start tomorrow –
Once again.
 
–Dawn Cawthon Behrens
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