Because of You

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Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly”-Toni Robbins

Maui evenings

Maui evenings

To move forward in Life, sometimes you have to humble yourself and take the helping hand of another.

     My cousin, Stewart Johnson, offered a chance for me to promote my book, You Need Love Like I Do, on his every other Thursday radio show. Talk time with Stew is part of Blog Talk Radio (blogtalkradio.com) the largest online talk radio and podcast hosting platform.
 
     The thirty minute interview was fun and a chance to shine in a different way. The broadcast offered a different avenue to reach listeners who may be readers about my work. This new way of advertising would not have been possible without his help.
 
So here is my shout-out to my cousin Stewart. Many thanks to you for using your radio platform to help me move forward in my writing goals.
 
The link to the broadcast is-http://tobtr.com/s/6306885
 
 
 

Interview with Ms. Lila Johnson – Author of “You Need Love Like I Do”

Right On Time

Listen in on Talk Time with Stew to hear interview with Ms. Lila Johnson author of “You Need Love Like I Do” and a new upcoming book that you’ll have to listen in to hear about.

We’ll see you at 10:00PM – Thursday, April 10, 2014

Check out her blogs:

http://seekingmonsieur.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/ready-set-hit-the-road/

http://seekingmonsieur.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/a-donut-affair/

 

The Party’s Over

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“Your body hears everything your mind says”-Naomi Judd

 

The fun stops here

The fun stops here

Recently I experienced something that all healthcare workers should go through; the simple act of being a patient.

On Monday, March 10th I had completed a twelve-hour shift. Due to the illness of a co-worker, I stayed over to help with a third shift turnover. Once things were calm, I returned to my home and had dinner around 8-8:30, relaxing in the knowledge that I would be off the next day to work on chapter 20 of my second book.

At 11:30 that evening, my stomach felt as though someone was doing a dumpster dive in my gut. The pain felt as though long claws were tearing at my flesh. (No exaggeration) I tried to reposition myself to my right side but that only increased the pains intensity along with breathing difficulty. When I lay on my back it felt as if I were suffocating.

After two hours, I got out of bed and took something for indigestion and tried to put the matter out of my head. For ten hours the discomfort intensified coupled with increased weakness. I had no choice and immediately went to Shawnee Mission Medical Center the morning of March 11th.

Under normal circumstances I have a high pain tolerance but it was being eroded away with each passing minute. Once I settled on the hospital gurney and the ER physician Dr. Cross walked in, I did what the song from the movie, Frozen said, “Let it Go.” Yes, I let the tears flow from the pain I held in.

The doctor’s kindness and gentle disposition went right to work as she ordered IV fluids, morphine and sonograms to decide the culprit of my discomfort. My ER nurse, Jodi, explained everything as she proceeded with my care. She was expert in placing my IV, drawing labs and medicating me for comfort. Jodi pulled the bed rails up not only for safety reasons but for the fear that I would dance a jig in my room due to the relief of pain I felt from the morphine.

Even the technician that performed my sonogram (sorry I can’t remember your name) carried herself professionally. She was concerned for my comfort level as she expertly went about her work.

Once it was determined that gallstones were blocking the neck of the gallbladder, an effective decision by Dr. Cross to move forward with surgery was made for that afternoon. To be honest, I really wanted to leave this world with all my body parts but I guess that was not to be. Without delay I was added to the surgical schedule and a patient room was found and upstairs I went for preparation.

I thought the caring would end at the ER but I was wrong. The treatment I received only increased tenfold. My nurse Teresa and her assistant Luz quickly went to work. I changed into the famous patient gown, Luz helped me with my sexy hospital white TED hose as I answered pertinent questions for admission.

The next person to enter my room was the surgeon, Dr. Carlo Jurani, M.D., F.A.C.S. His gentleness and patience provided the calm I needed in the madness of everything that had taken place in the past five hours. He introduced himself while handing me his business card then explained slowly what he planned to do. He demonstrated on my midsection were the incisions would be made and then placed his initials in the area that would be worked on. “Now everyone knows where we will go,” he said with a smile. Afterwards he answered questions, relived any doubt and made sure my son understood all that would happen.

Not once in his demeanor nor speech did I feel like an item or ‘another body’ for the surgical table. My fears he understood and took comfort in making sure they were arrested before he said that he would see me downstairs.

I arrived in the pre-op holding area and any and every one that was involved in my care showed the same politeness, caring and gentleness that I received upstairs. I thought to myself that I must be dreaming.

I told the operating room staff, “Thank you for caring for me,” since there would be no chance later, and then the light turned to darkness.

When I opened my eyes again, I was in the recovery room and my nurse was calling my name. She asked about my pain and reminded me that it was being controlled. Later, I returned to my room were Teresa and Luz continued their careful watch over me. I never had to want for anything because every hour they were there.

As one hour moved into the next, another team took over, JoAnne and Kelly, but the care never ended. Throughout the night they checked on me and again made sure my pain remained low. I attempted to draft part of chapter twenty and did well until my body said otherwise and back to sleep I went.

Somehow Wednesday made its way into my life and with it Carrie and Luz entered my room to take up their caretaker duties. They assisted with my trips to the bathroom and restlessness brought on by anesthesia and the gas used during my procedure. Dr. Jurani arrived late in the afternoon and chatted with me explaining the results of the surgery. His bedside manner is exceptional.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s motto is, “Much more than medicine” and it is so true. My pain management was always forefront from the doctor to the staff. Assistance was always available within a matter of minutes when and if I needed it. Consideration and politeness was always given, like knocking on my door before entering. My room was always neat.

The manager of the unit, Shannon Brisendine, took time from her busy schedule to make sure things operated as they should with the biggest concern regarding pain management. My 48 hour adventure as a patient exposed to pain, modesty and a surprise surgical procedure was soon ending.

The one thing I did not have to ask for and got was respect as a person, concern for my well-being and care as a human being. So here is my Shout Out and a Big Thank you to the staff at Shawnee Mission Medical Center: In the ER-Jodi, Dr. Cross and the X-ray technician. The second floor staff for 225-Ms. S. Brisendine, Teresa, Luz, Carrie, Kelly, JoAnne, Norma (my discharge nurse), the surgical team, Dr. C. Jurani and my recovery room nurse. If I’ve forgotten anyone, it was not intentional and I thank you.

As a side note, I returned to work five days post op, and I’ve changed my diet and eating habits.

Ready, Set, Hit the Road!

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“Travel teaches toleration”-Benjamin Disraeli

Plumeria

Plumeria

I am featuring guest blogger Kendra Thornton for this special story. She contacted me regarding our favorite places to travel. Although we have listed some of our top picks, trust me it wasn’t easy, at least not for me. I could have listed twenty more but I did not want to appear selfish on the page. Hopefully this will give you an idea for the upcoming spring and summer vacations.

Lots of Family Fun in Las Vegas

Words cannot describe how much I love to travel. One of the best places to visit in the United States is Las Vegas. Here are some fantastic places that my family and I enjoy.

1. Mini Golf that Matters

My children are thrilled to play mini golf, and my husband and I like it as well. All of us love unique courses, and there is a great one that features the theme of the band KISS. There are 18 holes on the course. We enjoy various memorabilia and symbols featuring KISS. There is something very special about putting the golf ball into the head of a 12-foot Gene Simmons. Needless to say, this event is truly memorable.

2. Memorable Museums

People usually do not think of Las Vegas when they think of culture, but Las Vegas has some terrific museums that feature culture and the arts. My children like going to the Discovery Children’s Museum. There are plenty of exhibits as well as activities that our children like. My husband and I like the Neon Museum, which features a junkyard, paths and ramps. The National Atomic Testing Museum absolutely thrills my husband. After all, it is only 65 miles from a nuclear testing site.

3. Dolphin Fun

My husband and children wanted to do something unique for me, and took me to the Mirage. In that facility, they signed me up for the “Trainer for a Day” program. This program enabled me to spend some time learning how to become a dolphin trainer, courtesy of Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. As I worked with experienced dolphin experts, I learned about behaviors, eating habits and other unique things. I felt like a marine biologist.

4. Food Wonderful Food

Everyone in my family has a healthy appetite, and that is great, since there are terrific places to dine within Las Vegas. In the Monte Carlo, my husband and son like to try the 8-pound Burger Challenge. It provides them with a fun challenge. Another restaurant in the Monte Carlo is the BRAND Steakhouse that offers the “Ultimate Steak,” which is 120 ounces of beef with two sauces and one side. It is a memorable experience with a price of $250.

Las Vegas is a fun place for the entire family with unique attractions and even hotels. Sites like Gogobot make it easy to read user reviews and help plan your trip. I truly like visiting this place each year. I am already looking forward to going back soon.

 “He travels the fastest who travels alone.”- Rudyard Kipling

     My taste in adventure is as varied and wide as the world at large. Listed below are a few of my favorite places (so far) that make me smile.

     City Museum, St. Louis, MO

     What do you do with an old shoe manufacturing building when it’s no longer needed? Turn the 600,000 square foot area into a giant playground, fun house and architectural delight. Located at 701 N. 15th, young and old alike can climb aboard a school bus that looks as if it careening off the top of the building or flip and tumble-down an outdoor slide. It’s a visual wonder and a chance to explore your inner child. There are construction cranes, ball pits, inside slides, a mini circus, arts and crafts and two abandoned airplanes and that’s just to start!

     I took two children, one five and the other eleven, and hung out for eight hours without tiring. From the roof to the basement, you can’t go wrong with the City Museum.

     Savannah, Georgia

     When the need to reflect arises, I head to Savannah, GA. There is a quiet beauty and long-standing history in Savannah that makes you want to swoon like Scarlett O’Hara. The Factors Walk gives an insight into commerce on the river with cobblestone streets and brick buildings full of restaurants, gift shops and areas to receive information.

     View Spanish-moss trees, the famous ‘squares’ that are home to architectural style of the 18 and 19th centuries. Founded in 1733 by James Oglethorpe as the first settlement of the British colony of Georgia, you can’t go wrong with the sweet offerings of the area. Don’t forget to venture on the outskirts to Tybee and St. Simmons Island and their lighthouses. Jekyll Island will give you a taste of high-end living.

     Maui, Hawaii

     For a taste of island life, the lovely land of Maui is a delight to the eyes and awakens the taste buds of the tongue. The weather blessed my free spirit and allowed it to fly high and wide. There are so many foods to try, hikes to take, flights to other islands, beaches to stretch out on and the long winding roads of Hana. While exploring west Maui, check out the Gazebo Restaurant in Napili Shores. Have a stack of pineapple pancakes, they are wonderful. Two of my favorite restaurants on the island are Kihei Caffe for breakfast and Café O’Lei for dinner.

    I spent nine months on the island of Maui and could have stayed another nine and never tire of its endless sights, sounds and treasures.

     The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

      This Museum turned into a love affair that I could not forget. I have visited many museums in my life and each has piqued my interest for one reason or another but not like the Walters. There is an intimate relationship that comes from this jewel at 600 N. Charles St. (thewalters.org)

     The treasures here are vast and eclectic; Mummies, armor, Medieval, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine art . I spent many hours on various floors of this building while drafting many of my writings. The beauty and richness of the paintings and the power of many of the depictions of emperors like Marcus Aurelius draw you in and make you want to learn more.

   There are so many places that I could continue to list but this will give you an idea of some of the warm and wonderful things to sample in a lifetime that is still too short. Along the way I also interact with people in and around the listed areas. You never know when they may point out a secret place known only to the ‘locals’ that they may let you in on.

Enjoy, travel safe and most of all, have fun.

Blog Transfer/Closure

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Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”- Victor Kiam

DSCF0106I want to thank all my followers on Roadway News 2. Your support of this site has been wonderful but it’s a New Year; time to clean up and ship out all the unnecessary baggage in ones life.

So I would like to welcome everyone to follow me on my first blog site, formally known as Seeking monsieur. It has been changed to, 365 Days of Love, Life and Travel. You will find the same fun, whimsical and informative stories as on this blog and on occasion a featured guest blogger.

This site will close at the end of the week. Until then, I will transfer a few of the best received stories to the primary blog.

A Donut Affair

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The Love Affair Begins

The Love Affair Begins

How does a love affair usually start? Sometimes it begins with a glance or a look over a glass counter at a shop. Before you know it, a desire courses through your veins causing you to think or dream about it all the time. All reason goes out the window and you must have them. That’s how it started with me and LaMar’s-donuts that is.

It seemed so long ago, twenty years I believe, on Linwood Blvd., while driving down the street heading to work that an unusual sight caught my attention. A line of people, from every walk of life, had formed from inside the door of a converted gas station to the outside and round the building. Cars were parked everywhere as more people dodged oncoming traffic so they could join the others in the line.

I had to know what type of aphrodisiac existed in that white building that made a reasonable person stand in the biting winter winds. I found a spot, parked my car and stood with the others that had to have “it.” When I finally made my way through the glass door, the sweet smell of yeast dough, cinnamon and sugar hit my nostrils. My eyes stared at the larger than life cinnamon twists, cake donuts, long johns and various delights.

I didn’t know what to say when the clerk asked, “What can I get for you?” My mouth wouldn’t move, not a sound did I utter, instead I pointed to the cinnamon twist and a chocolate long john. I don’t remember how I made it outside with the goods in my hands. The crisp breeze slapped me back into reality as I opened the car door and slid inside. After starting the ignition, I couldn’t move until I tried the twist. It was at that moment that I knew a love affair had begun.

The Birth of a Craze

In 1933, a then seventeen year old Ray Lamar started his career at the Jack Frost Donut Company. During that time, a dozen donuts cost eighteen cents and the shop was open from eleven a.m. until midnight. In 1940, Ray ventured to try new flavors besides the plain or dusted powdered cake donuts that were now offered. The choices included devils food and apple spice. Even the yeast donuts had a chocolate iced version.

The first LaMar’s Donuts opened in 1960 at Linwood Blvd. in the converted gas station mentioned earlier. From six in the morning until late afternoon, more than 11,000 donuts  sold. Due to increasing sales and popular demand, Ray Lamar and his wife Shannon, decided to franchise the business in 1990. Now twenty-seven locations in six states: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, could enjoy the LaMar’s craze.

The Man behind the Name

Ray Lamar worked for the Jack Frost Donut Company in LaSalle Theater at 34th and Broadway. He believed in his trade and demonstrated it through learning and progression through the ranks of management. This type of dedication earned him a position as partner in the company.

With the onset of World War II, Ray put his career on hold to fight for his country. Upon his return to civilian life he obtained a post war college degree in economics and an idea to work as a stockbroker. But a burning desire to return to the business he so loved won out and he returned to the art of making the best donut that he could.

Standing with Honors

I’m not alone in bragging about the product and flavor of LaMar’s Donuts. Countless magazines and newspapers feel the same way. LaMar’s has been featured in The New Yorker, Home and Gardens, Town and Country and Zagat to name a few. In a taste test conducted by the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado, LaMar’s Donuts held its own against top contenders like, Krispy Kreme, Winchell’s, Dunkin Donuts and eight of the mile high cities own. Need I say who won the contest?

When you have a product that can boast of no artificial flavors or stabilizers and made from scratch every day, you can stand with pride knowing you have produced the best for your customer.

The Love Affair Continues

After a three-year separation, LaMar’s Donuts and I are back together again. All it took was to pull into the parking lot of our local shop and walk through its doors. I understood then what had been missing from my life. This time I could say, “Cinnamon twist please.” I held what I longed for in my hands while staring lovingly at it. But it wasn’t until that first bite and the light flakes of glaze that fell upon my shirt, that I knew, we would never part again.

(Many thanks to Carolyn Tai and the Crew at Lamar’s- Brad, Alicia, Jessica and Amanda for making this story possible.)

 

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