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The Top 20 Things Oprah Knows for Sure

Posted on by V.C. August

Oprah Winfrey has always been one of my heroes. I feel that the many years she had her daily show brought help and wisdom to not only to the United States, but to the world. I couldn’t agree more with Oprah’s, Things she knows for sure. I hope that you will enjoy this.


 The Top 20 Things Oprah Knows for Sure

Since the day the late Gene Siskel asked me, “What do you know for sure?” and I got all flustered and started stuttering and couldn’t come up with an answer, I’ve never stopped asking myself that question. And every month I must find yet another answer. Some months I feel I hardly know a thing, and I’m always pressed to make the deadline for this column. This time around, I looked back and came up with my all-time top 20:
1. What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what. (This is my creed.)

2. You define your own life. Don’t let other people write your script.

3. Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only you give it power.

4. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. (A lesson from Maya Angelou.)

5. Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you.

6. What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.

7. If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough. (From the German theologian and humanist Meister Eckhart.)

8. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.

9. Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction.

10. If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.

11. Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie.

12. Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others in every encounter.

13. Let passion drive your profession.

14. Find a way to get paid for doing what you love. Then every paycheck will be a bonus.

15. Love doesn’t hurt. It feels really good.

16. Every day brings a chance to start over.

17. Being a mother is the hardest job on earth. Women everywhere must declare it so.

18. Doubt means don’t. Don’t move. Don’t answer. Don’t rush forward.

19. When you don’t know what to do, get still. The answer will come.

20. “Trouble don’t last always.” (A line from a Negro spiritual, which calls to mind another favorite: This, too, shall pass.)

So thanks, Gene, for asking me the question. The answer continues…

Response to Huffington Post Article by Judy Shapiro

Posted on by V.C. August

Huffington Post

A Different Kind of Medical Battle http://huff.to/N0B341

I am deeply flattered and grateful that a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Judy Shapiro, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-shapiro/ chose to write about my memoir, The Healing Hour. www.TheHealingHour.com Judy Shapiro has chosen my book about the arduous journey through a dysfunctional health care system and my struggle to seek help getting diagnosed and treated for a debilitating, serious disease – Lupus. I see it as an opportunity for others, who may be in a similar situation, to realize they are not alone and help can be found.  Thank you, Ms. Shapiro. I was inspired to write this memoir as a tribute to a wonderful psychiatrist who changed my life profoundly. I also wanted to provide inspiration to those who struggle with the health care maze and the many challenges of our medical system.


My intention was to also pay tribute to my dear partner Carol, of over twenty five years who stood by me every step of the way through a journey that felt endless. Some people feel that gay relationships don’t work; I hope and believe that reading The Healing Hour will give a new perspective.


Another area covered in my book was a subject that is rarely spoken about: the fragility of life when a patient/doctor are both facing a serious illness.  What does a patient do when she/he knows her psychiatrist is going to die?  I wanted to explore the symbiotic bond that was formed during this difficult journey and how often roles can be reversed.  Humanity is what must always first and foremost prevail.


VC August-The Healing Hour

Beatles Fest 2012 Part 3

Posted on by V.C. August

July 23, 2012 Beatles Fest: Part 3
Hello all. Please forgive me for the delay in the blog update. Since lupus awareness month, I have been very busy. I was on the Coach Marla Show, attended a lupus fundraiser that Lucy Santos organized. She ended up being able to donate $3000 to the SLE lupus foundation! I was on Fox morning news in Seattle to talk about my book, The Healing Hour . I also have been attending many book signings. The bracelets on The Healing Hour website are a smash hit. I promise new designs coming up. More angels. More spiritual jewelry. More jewelry to celebrate mothers, daughters, family and friends. Thank you to my new friends in the UK!
Well back to The Beatles Fest 2012! What happened with Peter Asher, Mickey Dolenz, Henry McCullough? Where is faceripper, the honey badger, that I thought was a dog? Who else was jamming to the Beatles? What was the strange sound that I heard in my room? How about the hippies that that I picked up hitchhiking, Jupiter and Mars? Where is my work out buddy, Dorie? Is there any food left in Manhattan? Dorie loves her eats.
Well all the jamming continued into wee hours of the morning.

Finally at some crazy hour I decided to crash in my room. Stupid room service never brought my pizza up. I was too tired to eat anyway.
I thought I heard little growing and chomping sounds, but figured that exhaustion got the best of me. I flung myself on the bed and was out.

I had crazy dreams of being in the wild.

Stay tuned for Beatles Fest Part 4

Working out with the Beatles Part 2: Arrival to Beatles Fest 2012

Posted on by V.C. August

Finally made it!!








My two new friends and Face Ripper ran into the hotel as quickly as possible.  “You introduced me to Face ripper but what are your names, I’m V.”  A puzzled look came across their face.  “Oh sorry man,  I’m Jupiter and this is Mars.” I wondered when this guy would figure out that I AM A GIRL!

Everybody was already jamming. 









Jupiter and Mars asked me if they can just leave their backpack in my room for the day. They planned on camping in the back of the hotel later. I was cool with it. I gave them my room key and told them to just drop it off. I started digging the music. http://youtu.be/opNLB0MrISs

The jamming was in full swing. Cocktails were involved. 




Fans were screaming.  “John, Paul, George, Ringo!!”  Beatles Tee shirts were worn by all.

















Talent of all ages!


I took a break from the festivities to bring my bag up to my room.


My room was more beautiful than I ever imagined. I heard a strange sound like scurrying. I thought that it must be the neighbors.  I threw my back pack down and got back out to party!







Everywhere I walked I found a new band to jam with.






I met the Sleepwalkers band. http://youtu.be/S61xOcznJdE


Time to belly up to the bar for another cocktail.






A firewater martini? I tried it.




Strong stuff. I had a burning sensation all the way to my stomach.

Stay tuned for the next Beatles Fest 2012 Update with Peter Asher, Mickey Dolenz, Henry McCullough, Mark Hudson and more!














What happened to Face Ripper?







Where did Jupiter and Mars go?






How about working out?




Where is Dorie? Did she dump me for another workout partner? Did she eat all the food in my fridge while I’m gone?





All your questions will be answered at Beatles fest 2012 Part 3

Stay tuned!!



Working out with The Beatles!

Posted on by V.C. August

Dorie wanted to sleep in for the weekend. She ate way too much garbage the day before and just needed some relaxation. I felt for her.





The news was going crazy with reports this day.  The 2012 Beatles fest for Beatles fans was in full swing and located just through the Lincoln tunnel is Secaucus New Jersey. I knew that my friends were going to just go nuts to go. I left a message on my friends Suzy’s answering machine and told her that I would be right over to pick her up for the Beatle’s rock out fest. To my surprise she wasn’t home. I couldn’t find here anywhere. Darn!





I then called my friend Judy. “Judy there is a rocking Beatle’s fest in Secaucus. Why don’t you and your little dog come along. It is totally happening!!” My friend Judy was very upset. “I can’t find my little Precious! I have been looking everywhere! Please help me.” I wanted to help,

but the Beatle’s were waiting. “Wish I could Judy, but the band needs me. Sorry”



I thought that my buddy Rick would do anything to go. His reaction was a little disturbing. 




I’m going to surprise the kid down the hall. I’m sure she loves the Beatles. Why is she crying? 



She has never been shy like this before. Must be too exciting for the little thing.

Michelle. Michelle Obama. She will do anything to hang with me. I called the Whitehouse. ” Hi, this is Barack. I have Michelle’s best friend on the phone, please put her on the line.”  A quick answer said, “Yes Mr. President! Soon the click of a phone picking up came. “Hi honey! It is so nice to hear from you!” I then said, “I feel the same way Michelle. Boy do I have a surprise for you! We are going to the Beatle’s fest in Secaucus New Jersey!!!” Michelle was so overcome with excitement, she couldn’t speak. 




“Who are you??” Laughing I said, “It’s me, V , silly!” Strange noise. “Hello, Hello, Michelle?” 




I decided that I will go on my own. My friends will be crying from missing the event, but, I tried. I am off to boogie! 




As I ripped down the Jersey turnpike I saw some hippies hitchhiking with their little dog. I pulled over immediately.
 “Hey there. Are your far out, groovy dudes going to the Beatles gig?” With a big toothless smile, they said, “Oh far out man. We can dig having a lift.” They jumped right in the car, and I went peeling off.

” Your little dog is cute. Just put him in the front seat with me. I love dogs!” Mr. hippie man put the dog in the front seat to be my co-pilot. The dog had incredibly long nails. “What breed is your dog?” I asked. The chick with several long hairs on her chin and from her nose, said, “Oh it is a honey badger, not a dog. We call him ‘face ripper’.”




I was careful not to make eye contact with Mr. Face Ripper. I ignored the little growling, hissing sounds. I think I heard the sound of leather being ripped on my seat.

John, George, Paul and Ringo, here we come!! 




Stay tuned for my arrival at the 2012 Beatles fest!



My new friend and workout buddy

Posted on by V.C. August

The week started out a bit tough from the St. Patrick’s day workout. Got on the scale and to my horror, found myself two pounds heavier.

What’s a girl to do? I kept trying to find some kind of sign to tell me what to do.  I need a work out buddy and need one fast.  But then is working out all that important? I started to ponder the thought as I started to walk home. If only I had some kind of sign from the universe. I was in such deep thought that I bumped into a pole with this sign.  I finally had my answer.




As I was getting close to home I saw my friend Dorie running up to me panting. I crawled on the ground and we had our usual little make out scene. We slobbered on each other for about five minutes. I found my new work out buddy! If Dorie can’t motivate me, nobody can. My new workout buddy! Meet Dorie!


I never thought that I would enjoy chewing on sticks, but they are high fiber and low calorie.  If Dorie does it, I will also. “Like Beagle, like,… well,  whatever.”





OK Dorie time to work out more. Dorie?





Well it is our first workout. Stay tuned……


Must keep going!

Posted on by V.C. August

I have been staying away from the grocery store where I do my interval training.  I recently walked past the vegetables outside and saw an employee running inside screaming to the manager.  “She’s near the store!”  I of course assumed that the employee must have been talking about someone else.

I also wrote a thank you note to Michelle Obama for making my shopping experience easier by having the lettuce and hamburger available for me.  I never got a letter back.  How rude!

I have exercise to catch up on. Still need to accomplish the following.

1. Maiden voyage on bicycle.  Minimum 90 minutes

2. Tummy wheel.  50 reps.

3. Aerobic walking.  2 hours

4. Wii boxing 30 minutes

It was a beautiful weekend and I called my niece Ariel to walk me. I blocked caller ID to be sure that she picked up.  I think that she thought it was a boyfriend calling because she picked up with a chipper voice saying, “Hi there!  Great to hear from you!”  Delighted, I said, “Oh thank you Ariel.”  There suddenly was a phone problem.  The line sounded dead. “Hello, Hello, Ariel, it’s aunt V.”  After a very long pause, Ariel 




said, “Um, hi aunt V.  I have to study.”

I was surprised by this since my niece told me that her exams were over for the moment.  “Oh yah, um, Aunt V, I’m preparing for next semester.” 




I like a “go getter”, so I wished her luck.

I called my other niece Olivia, and simply heard screaming in the background.

What does one do when they can’t find a work out buddy?  I walked up Broadway looking for an exercise freak like me.  There were plenty of people around since it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  Oh my God!  It was Michelle Obama again!!  She and Barack were sucking down a beer in the local Irish pub. 




I screamed “Michelle!  It’s me. Me V!  Let’s work out!”

Before I knew it, I heard a man say, “Get Out!”





He apparently had a bad attitude.  Michelle is going to be pissed when I tell her about the treatment that I received!  OK Mr. “Secret Service” your attitude?  Noted.

Back outside: I screamed to the crowd.  “Does anybody want to work out with me!!!?” 




No takers.  Oh well.  If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em 













Calories burned:

Booze: ( - 3000)

After cocktail munchies at 5 Guy burgers:           ( - 1500)

Total Calories burned:  ( - 4500)

Money left in wallet: (-232.00)

Phone numbers in wallet +4 (Not bad)

Punishment for crawling home at 2 AM:  Being appraised, but in BIG trouble

The search for a work out buddy continues…………………….

The healing power of friends

Posted on by V.C. August

This Saturday C and I had planned on having about ten friends over for what we call our “happy hour.” We try to do this about once a month to have special time with some of the people who are dearest to us. It always starts at about 6 PM and we usually all fizzle out by about 10 PM. Friday night I felt so ill that I was in bed by about 7 or 8 PM. I wanted so badly to see our friends on Saturday, but knew that I most likely would not be able to do so. When C saw that I was out cold very early, she told our friends that Saturday wasn’t going to work out. I ended up sleeping for over fourteen hours. When I finally woke up on Saturday I felt sad about our plans being cancelled, but knew that C did the right thing. I just couldn’t push.  Her new plan was to have our nephew, Michael, over for what else, pasta.  If I needed to go back to bed, it would be fine. C however, forgot to tell my dear friend Michelle, about the cancellation. By the time we realized, Michelle was already on the train from Long Island to Manhattan to stay a night with us like she often does. When I found out about the miscommunication I felt excited that I would see her. With Michelle here, I knew that I could hang out with her in my PJs, watching TV in bed if needed. We always find humor in any situation. I also had some gifts for Michelle’s birthday that I had being holding for some time that I wanted to give her.


When my book went up on Amazon, Michelle ordered a copy that same day.  When she told me that she ordered the book, as asked, she promised that she wouldn’t open it until she was with me.  Michelle sounded a little perplexed, but knows that I am kind of nuts, so let it go.

Saturday evening, Michelle ripped through her gifts like a Honey Badger on steroids. As she was saying thank you, I mentioned that I have something to show her. I brought out my book, The Healing Hour, and asked if she could just read the acknowledgments to my nephew for me. When Michelle got to the second page of acknowledgments, she fell silent and started to cry. I took over reading.


Michelle Pierson:  I first met Michelle at the beginning of writing this book. She had supported me one hundred percent since the day we met here in New York City. She is brilliant, kind, witty, and the best friend that one could ever want. I will love my dear friend forever. She is my Best friend/Genius/Great Person. (BFGGP)


Sunday Morning:

I was feeling normal again. I told Michelle about my fitness quest.  It was a beautiful day and we vowed to walk ten miles in Central Park and take my bike out for its maiden voyage. It turned out that  C and I had to run some errands and unfortunately Michelle and I were not able to go to central park or ride the bike. The three of us ran the errands and were quite hungry. I needed to get lettuce, grapefruit juice and hamburger from the grocery store. Michelle suggested that interval training is very good for rapid weight loss. She asked my how fast I could run into the grocery store, get what we need and be back to the car where she and C would be waiting. I was aggressive with my estimate and said five minutes. Michelle said make it four minutes. I was up for the challenge and jumped into action.












         Sunday late afternoon is the worst time to grocery shop in New York City. The crowds can make you go insane. I had to get the lettuce!! Everybody was getting in my way.












Lettuce! I need Lettuce! Seconds were ticking away.


I just love that Michelle Obama! Thank you Michelle. I owe you one. Meat section, where is the meat section.  The stress was making me have evil thoughts. Move! Hey stupid, how long are you going to stare at the can for?


Now the grapefruit juice. Need the grapefruit juice! Oh, no you don’t! The juice is mine! You want to see a bad attitude? I will show you a bad attitude!















Give me that juice! It’s mine! Give it to me!






Now off for the hamburger. People, people and more people. It was grid lock everywhere. I was now at three minutes. I had only one minute left or I will be fat for life.




Suddenly, I spotted the hamburger in somebody’s cart.  My instincts took over. I ran to the cart and grabbed the hamburger. To my surprise, I had Michelle Obama’s support once again!










I could swear that I heard a curse word but must have just been stressed out and hearing things.

Final stretch. Zipped past long line to get to cashier. Hear background talking That &(U)*()I*!!!**. The nerve of **%^@@@!!!.

Lunged to the car only to see my friend chatting away on her phone with her boyfriend. She forgot to set the timer. I hope I’m not on New York’s most hated list.




Finding a training buddy.

Posted on by V.C. August

Get off the couch!

I am going to get very serious with my fitness. Although, I must admit, it is a little nippy out today. I don’t think it will be a good day to take my bike on its maiden voyage. I just called my niece Ariel and I have a plan to meet her at her campus so she can walk me. She attends Fordham University and the campus is a great walk. However, Fordham just happens to be next to one of the largest Italian pig out areas in New York City. Arthur Avenue. It is OMG great food!!

This is the plan for today:
1. Ariel walks me for two hours.
2. We return to my home and play Wii Tennis
3. Shoot baskets for 30 minutes
4. Set of 50 rolls with tummy wheel
5.Go to my gym. I will swim and Ariel does the torture machines that she likes for some reason.
6. Half mile walk home from Gym.
7. 30 minutes of Wii Boxing

Although it was a bit chilly, I arrived at Fordham University to be walked by my niece. We encountered some adversity, but, I inspired my niece to walk for over an hour. See clip:

Results: Walking. Check. Wii Tennis, well, did some Wii bowling instead. However I did win. My niece is 21 years old. Basketball. Check. Kind of. I shot a basket. Tummy wheel? Rolled away somewhere. Gym? It was too cold outside. Wii Boxing. Well no. I didn’t want to work my niece too hard on her first day of training.

Spring Training that requires motivation. Update from V.

Posted on by V.C. August

True to my word, I did indeed walk past three subway stops before getting on the train to meet with my writing coach, Gay Walley, to discuss my next book. I took the train to the West Village and walked about a half mile over to meet Gay.

Only three more flights!

Gay buzzed the door for entry into her building. I got the usual sinking feeling that I get when I look at Cardiac Stairs. It is four long, long, flights of stairs to get to my wonderful writing coach. The drill is always the same. First of all, it is uncanny that almost every time I have a meeting with Gay, my joints are acting up.
I started to slowly slither up the steps, stopping to catch my breath at moments, and grabbing my stinging knees. I don’t know why I try and grab my knees. It does absolutely nothing for the pain.
I then hear Gays sweat voice from what feels like the sky above. “V are you OK?” Can I help you? I always manage to spit out that I am fine. I would rather croak than ask for help.
Finally I reach the final step to see Gay waiting for me with concern on her face. “Hi V, how are you doing?” I am always too out of breath to talk, and move to the sofa for my writing review like a trained, well, a trained rat.
Towards the end of our meeting, Gay asked how my blog is going. I couldn’t talk. Since Gay has been my writing coach/psychiatrist for so long, she picked up that I was disturbed by something. She was staring at me. I suddenly blurted out “Do you think it would be awful if I didn’t tell the full truth to my blog followers tomorrow!”
Gay was very calm. Most likely from her psychiatric training meeting me and being a writing coach. “Why would you want to do that V? That isn’t like you at all.”
I took in a deep breath. “I never made it to water aerobics like I said I would!” Gay smiled and said “Oh that all! Everybody does stuff like that! It will eat you alive if you don’t tell the truth.”

So my dear readers. The truth. I had a stressful day. I stayed up too late playing Texas Holdem on Face Book. I was ahead by a million dollars in fake money! (Now long gone.) I couldn’t wake up in time for my class. However lets add up what I did do.

Skipping three stops to the subway = 18 Blocks
Walking back and forth East Village = 16 Blocks
Getting off two stops early on way hm. = 11 bocks
(Ya, I know, was supposed to be three stops. Spaced out on the subway playing black Jack on my phone)

Total Blocks of walking = 45/20 = 2.25 Miles! According to some calculator I found on the internet. this equals about 200 Calories. (That’s all!)
But then, what should we add in for Cardiac stairs? Well it takes me about ten minutes to reach the top. I guess it should be the same as 10 minutes on a Stairmaster. Some other site claims about 60 lousy calories! I hate the site and will never return again for life. So the grand total: 260 calories burned. Not so bad. It’s a start. We will prevail!!

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