the kennedy legacy…

…includes a belief in entitlement…and wanton womanizing.

I’ve read a number of biographies about the Kennedy dynasty. The latest, RFK Jr. – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Dark Side of the Dream by Jerry Oppenheimer, is by far the most disturbing. The fact that he probably continues to live a life driven by the demons which have haunted many family members following in the footsteps of patriarch Joseph Kennedy, is downright scary.  Scary for those driven mad when they get tangled up with the Kennedys. A family living on the edge…pushing the envelope. I would even go so far as to say, Princess Diana’s embattled years with England’s royal family pale by comparison.

The Kennedy women, beginning with its matriarch Rose, turned a blind eye to the philandering of their men. Her husband, Joseph, carried on with Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson. President Kennedy followed suit by bedding tinsel town’s blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, among many others. When he was done with her, he handed her off to brother Robert. Until he married his last wife, Vicky, Ted Kennedy was an infamous philanderer as well. Brother-in-law, actor Peter Lawford likewise cheated on Kennedy daughter Pat. Maria Shriver famously suffered the same fate when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was found to have fathered a child with their live-in housekeeper.

Whatever the reason…religion for Rose…wealth for Jackie…obsession for Ethel…naivete for Joan…family first for Pat and Maria…all these women enabled their husbands by their quiet subservience to the status quo. That they loved their husbands was beside the point. Their gilded trappings belied their comparable situation to ghetto women suffering the same fate at the hands of abusive husbands. The only difference is that the Kennedy women had the means to escape the trauma of their everyday lives.

Turning a blind eye to their husbands’ indiscretions fed these men’s sense of entitlement. With wealth and a wife to keep the home fires burning, they could confidently set about vanquishing the world beyond…especially women mesmerized by the Kennedy charisma.

What none of these couples seemed to consider was the serious effect their transgressions would have on their offspring.

For some philandering was like a right of passage.

Michael, the 6th child born to Robert and Ethel, carried on a 5-year relationship with babysitter, Marissa Verrochi…in front of his children. According to biographer Oppenheimer…


Michael Kennedy’s trip to rehab had followed within hours the shocking discovery by Vicki Gifford Kennedy of her husband in bed with Marisa Verrochi in one of the Kennedys’ spare bedrooms at their home.

Kennedy had blamed his drinking for his illicit affair with the teenage babysitter and family friend, and his wife believed him for the time being. …

Around that time, Michael Kennedy was caught stalker-like on a security camera breaking into the garage where the teenager kept her car. He left behind a bizarre offering–an “artificial penis” that he had attached to the windshield. …

Kennedy subsequently did a stint in an Arizona rehab center for his sex addiction, and he followed one of the rules set down for him: identify in writing the names of all of the women with whom he had had sexual trysts. (A few years later, Bobby, in a diary, would do something similar.)

When the sordid details of Michael Kennedy’s philandering were revealed, Vicki Gifford Kennedy–shocked by the number of women with whom he obsessively had had sex, some of whom she knew–took their children in the spring of 1997 and left him after sixteen years of a troubled marriage. …

Having turned eighteen and become a college freshman, Marisa finally decided to confess all to her parents. Her mother was so devastated that the next day she climbed to the roof of the trendy six-story Boston building where she and her husband had a chic apartment and threatened to jump. According to reports, a spokesman for the family denied that suicide was the motive.

Bobby Kennedy, Jr.’s history of womanizing rivals that of the elder Kennedy men.

With his diary entries, Bobby became the first Kennedy male known to have documented his philandering in writing, albeit in a private journal. His reputed womanizing forebears–the patriarch, Joe; his uncles JFK and Ted; and Bobby’s own father–had never done so.

Reading published portions of the diary, one might wonder whether Bobby inherited his uncle Jack’s affliction. As the president told power broker Bobby Baker, “You know, I get a migraine if I don’t get a strange piece of ass every day,” according to Seymour Hersh’s The Dark Side of Camelot.

The almost four-hundred-page diary had a legend. The number “10” represented women with whom he had had intercourse. Sixteen had fallen into that category. In one day alone, less than two weeks before he and his family celebrated Thanksgiving 2001, he documented that he had had three separate sexual encounters. That same month one woman’s name–only first names were written–was noted in the diary twenty-two times, and on thirteen consecutive days, the Post reported. …

In early November 2001–two months after 9/11–he wrote that he felt “great,” and went on to note, “So I’ve been looking for ways to screw it up. I’m like Adam and live on Eden, and I can have everything but the fruit. But the fruit is all I want.”

At another point, he boasted: “I have been given everything that I coveted–a beautiful wife and kids and loving family, wealth, education, good health and a job I love yet always on the lookout for something I can’t have. I want it all. No matter how much I have–I want more.”

Sadly, confronted by the reality of her husband’s womanizing,and his desire to end their marriage for another woman, Mary Richardson, his second wife, committed suicide on May 16, 2012. She was obviously not prepared to be left behind, even though Bobby had gotten her pregnant when he was still married to his first wife, Emily Black, whom he had also left to marry again.

One of the big shockers for Mary, a confidante maintained, was when she learned that Bobby was having an affair with the TV actress Cheryl Hines, who would become his third wife. It was a shocker because Mary claimed she had introduced Hines to Bobby at a charity event, although Bobby and Hines asserted that their friend the comedian Larry David had brought about the introduction. Still, Mary felt “very betrayed” by what she termed the “Sisterhood,” said a confidante. “The Sisterhood was very important to her–women sticking together, women supporting one another.”

Hines already was publicly boasting about her relationship with Bobby, which infuriated and humiliated Mary. Online, she saw that Hines had tweeted that she had become friends with one of Mary’s pals, the actress Glenn Close, and had bonded with Kerry Kennedy. [Bobby’s sister] She boasted on Twitter that she had become pals with Bobby’s then-eleven-year-old son, Aiden, talking football with him.

In the wake of Hines’s controversial and embarrassing tweets, an Internet commenter observed, “Was Hines so self-absorbed that she did not think her giddy and public celebration would have no effect on the woman left behind?

According to the N.Y. Post online article “43 Suspected Mistresses Found in RFK Jr.’s Phone,” dated 7/13/14,

Kennedy’s name was dragged into another divorce battle last month when he was alleged to be the “other man” in Kirwan’s divorce from plastic surgeon Laurence Kirwan.

Laurence Kirwan believed his 42-year-old wife was having an affair with Kennedy, whom she met at a Westchester gym, a confidant of the surgeon told The Post. The couple separated in July 2012, but Laurence Kirwan believed the relationship began several months earlier, while Richardson was still alive, the friend said.

Cellphone records showed Chelsea Kirwan and Kennedy spoke five times a day in the summer of 2012, according to the friend, who said Kennedy, 60, could be called as a witness in the divorce case.

Chelsea Kirwan is supposed to testify on July 22 in a Stamford, Conn., court hearing.

Her name and number were copied off Kennedy’s Sprint Samsung phone by Richardson.

When contacted by The Post, the mother of four asked to know where her name fell on the list and whether there was any notation beside it.

According to the Daily Mail’s online article “EXCLUSIVE: The wedding is still on: RFK Jr WILL marry Cheryl Hines despite affair allegations with surgeon’s wife.”

And so, it seems, Hines was willing to turn a blind eye to her fiance’s philandering…

…continuing in the kennedy family tradition.






from #2…to #1

One thing that comes to mind when I see Hilary Clinton, aside from all the obvious political ones, is how she remained married to her husband, Bill Clinton, after the Monica Lewinsky fiasco.

I’m pretty sure most of us, women and men alike, would’ve dumped the jerk. Obviously Hilary knew the man she had married…his ability to be a great President, as well as his tendency towards personal self-destruction. As it turned out, she was right. Bill Clinton has become an American statesman on the world stage. And the more I see and hear him speak, I agree that he does have a lot of good to contribute at a time when our country is in such a state of flux.

After I get past that flash from the past, I’m amazed at Hilary Clinton’s fearlessness in holding her own against the preponderance of white men in politics. She does not allow them to define her as a person, let alone a politician. I’m in awe of the confidence she displays time and again, despite the barrage of negative attacks heaped upon her. The fact that she’s eager to play with the big boys as President is nothing short of phenomenal.

How many women are up to the job? Maybe one. Carly Fiorina. Maybe. Or Senator Elizabeth Warren, whom I’d support should she think about it in the future.

Just as Barrack Obama was singularly up to the challenge as the first black, American president, so too is Hilary Clinton ready to shoulder the mantle as the first woman President of the United States.

I am more than ready to give Hilary that opportunity. Heck. She can’t do any worse than some of our former presidents…George W. Bush among them. If we wind up with troops on the ground in the Middle East, it won’t be a move she initiated without help from her predecessors. Like Obama before her, she has to continue fighting the battle Bush started when he took out Sadam Hossein. The balance of power has been on the slide ever since his removal. The U.S. got involved where it probably shouldn’t have, unless we were prepared to remove all the dictators in the area, including Syria’s Bashar al-Asad.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor is a prime example of an extremely proficient leader. According to Forbes…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues her reign as the most powerful woman on the planet for 10 years running. Why? She clinched a third four-year term of Europe’s most vibrant economy in December 2014, making her the longest-serving elected EU head of state. She fought off a national recession during the global economic crisis with stimulus packages and government subsidies for companies that cut hours for workers, and she is in the thick of trying to help Greece revive its economy. She has used her power against ISIS, breaking the post-Nazi-era taboo of direct involvement in military actions by sending arms to Kurdish fighters. In the Russia-Ukraine crisis, she has been engaging in shuttle diplomacy trying to broker a peace deal with Vladimir Putin. There’s only one woman who has a chance of endangering her tenure as No. 1 in 2016 — the world’s No. 2 most powerful woman.

And who is that you ask? 

Hillary Clinton has appeared on this FORBES ranking every year since it launched in 2004 as, in order, a senator, secretary of state and influential personality. In 2015 Clinton is No. 2, just a breath and a ballot away from the Most Powerful Woman crown.

I for one…plan to see that Clinton moves Merkel…

…to the #2 spot.


stand-up comics…

…Donald Trump and Kurt Schlicter. 

We know who Trump is, but have you ever heard of Schlicter? I hadn’t a clue until he popped up on CNN today in defense of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Actually, Trump also defended his fellow Republican candidate for not being politically correct, and telling it like it is. They all agree on one thing…the second amendment, the right to bear arms.

Carson said about the Umqua Community College shooting…and continues to say…

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all,'” Carson said.


Okay. Maybe in our wildest fantasies as super humanoids we might automatically go there…take a bullet and die like heroes. In fact one brave soul did do just that.

Chris Mintz, a 30-year old veteran who served 10 years in the army wasn’t “…going to stand around and watch something this horrific happen,” according to his cousin, Derek Bourgois of North Carolina. He went on to say of Mintz ” ‘He was on the wrestling team and he’s done cage-fighting so it does not surprise me that he would act heroically.’ “

Carson had not heard of Mintz’s heroism when asked by a reporter.

It’s so easy for Carson, Schlicter or Trump to say that the Umqua victims should have taken Mintz down. Are these men so sure they would have done exactly that…in the heat of the moment…when your brain is still in shock, unable to make any sense of the situation, knowing in seconds you may be dead? How do you process all that information with a gun pointing in your direction? Unless you’re trained to fight back from the get-go, as Mintz was, flight is usually the first thing you think of.

Flight or fight? It’s not fight or flight.

Our brains are primed to flee. Fighting is not an automatic for those of us in normal daily living mode. It might be different if our children were in the line of fire, then we might go into mama bear/papa bear mode. The same could be said for a husband willing to die to save his family. But strangers barely connecting before a mass shooting? Especially students in a classroom who are sitting ducks.

It’s for sure these men who throw words around just because they’ve got an appreciative audience, would eat their own words if their children or wives were those same sitting ducks. I can’t imagine Carson thinking…”I hope my son (he has 3) volunteers to intercept a madman trying to kill others.”

In an online article, “What The Hell Is An Angry Conservative Suppose To Do?,” Kurt Schlicter, a conservative commentator, derides the various and sundry Republican candidates for president. Of Carson, Schlicter says…

The outsiders shouldn’t be president. Sorry. Dr. Carson is a nice man who has no instinct for ripping out his opponents’ jugular. I want to hear some liberal womyn lamenting the crushing of our enemies, Doc, but you’d probably go and comfort them.

And of Trump, Shlicter says…

And then there’s Donald Trump, whose embarrassing debate performance started the trend of people saying, “You know, it was fun for a while but this guy has become tiresome.”

Trump has the aggression – that’s the only thing I like about him – but it’s also the only thing he has. The polls are showing that his novelty is wearing off; people can only deal with so much whining. He’ll always have a hardcore set of minions, but for the first time in weeks I don’t think we have to seriously contemplate the notion of Ivanka the veep.

So what makes Schlicter an expert on presidential candidates…or for that matter, politics?

He is a successful Los Angeles trial lawyer, a veteran with a masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and a former stand-up comic. …Kurt rose to the rank of Army colonel (Infantry), commanded a cavalry recon squadron, and served in Desert Storm and Kosovo as well as multiple disaster operations. He lives in the South Bay area of Los Angeles where his hobbies include red meat and red wine.

I think it’s what he said at the end of his article on being an angry conservative…that makes me dislike Schlicter intensely.

Which leaves Carly. She seems ticked off. I like that. She kicks tail. I like that too. She can put together a coherent sentence. Finally. I don’t despise her. That’s something new for a GOP candidate. And, best of all, I think the elite distrusts her and Hillary fears her – in fact, she could mop the floor with the Orange Pantsuit Lady.

Yeah, maybe Carly.


But if not her, and if there’s no one else, then I’m still ready to burn it all down.

That’s the trouble with the extreme rightists…

…they’d just as soon america go to hell…

…than work with obama and the democrats.


vacation home rentals…

It’s become a thriving business…renting your home to vacationing tourists. And in our family’s case, short term rentals for our daughter when she’s gone out of town for dance gigs.

The first rental I booked was when we returned to Honolulu, Hawaii for my mother-in-law’s funeral several years ago. Hotels in Waikiki are understandably uber-expensive, thanks to the island’s booming tourist industry. Access to the beaches makes that strip of land prime real estate. So instead I decided to have a look at VRBO…Vacation Rentals By Owners.

It’s been about 4 or 5 years since we booked that first condo. It wasn’t exactly as I’d expected from the photos. The balcony off the bedroom…where 2 chairs were sandwiched between the sliding, glass door and the wrought iron railing…overlooked a huge parking lot. IMG_4456Good luck sitting out there to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Needless to say hubby and I didn’t dare go there. The view of the mountains was a peekaboo one…a sliver of green between two skyscrapers. The balcony off the living room was exactly like the other, except it had a couple of tall, potted plants which the owner asked if I could water. I think I tried to oblige…once. The kitchen, newly remodeled, was awkwardly configured…cabinet doors opening into one another…knick-knacks taking up valuable counter space, what little there was…dishes stored where a “shrimp” like me couldn’t reach. And because the vent fan in the bathroom, which must have been original to the unit, was sooo loud…I’d do whatever I needed to do in the tiny bathroom by candlelight. You see, the light and the vent were on the same switch. All of this combined, however, did not compare to a couple of other downsides to this rental.

The linen closet where the towels were stored was rigged with an old-fashioned light bulb screwed into a porcelain base. The worst part was that the switchplate to turn on the light was not secured to the wall. It stuck out an inch or so. So when I flipped the switch, sparks flew. You can bet I never used the light when searching for anything in that closet again.

Another drawback, albeit minor by comparison, was that the carpet in front of the wicker dresser was wet a good bit of the time. We’d lay down beach towels to soak up the moisture which seemed to work for awhile. When I mentioned the problem to the housekeeper, she agreed that the air conditioner might be to blame. 

I never did complain to the owner about my disappointment with her rental. You see she was out on a yacht with friends somewhere off the coast of Canada. Getting a hold of her the first time to book her condo was a trick, especially when I’d awoken her in the middle of the night…or early morning. I had no clue where she was from her cell phone number. So how could I know she’d be asleep. 

According to the owner, I was the first one to book her recently updated unit in a building that dated back to the 1960’s. She’d not even seen it since the renovation. And thinking I would love it as much as she, she asked if I’d write a review recommending her rental to others. After what I’d experienced…I didn’t have the heart to say anything. Instead I moved on to another unit in the same building the last day we were in the islands, because the first one wasn’t available for our entire stay. And thank goodness it wasn’t.

The unit we rented our last day was far and away a step up from the first. In fact, it was 8 floors up, on the 16th floor, with an ocean view…AND a balcony where two of us could sit facing one another across a bistro-style table. But who needed to sit out there when we could enjoy the panoramic view through the sliding glass door wall, comfortably lounging on the sofa and chairs in the living room. The price, $159/night could not be beat! Needless to say, it’s been our home away from home whenever we visit family in Hawaii.

Finding such a gem encouraged me to investigate other rental properties when we traveled. My daughter stayed in two different ones for a couple of jobs she had with the Houston Grand Opera. Both were found on AirBnB, another site where owners can rent their properties.

IMG_5126The first place was somewhat of a disappointment. As with the first Honolulu rental, the photographs did not show the hidden flaws…one overhead light bulb in the living room (we bought cheap lamps for more lighting)…an antiquated gas stove that burnt food if you weren’t careful…a French door in the bedroom whose frame was cemented shut with putty making egress extremely difficult if there was a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Worse was the open flame heating system which, thank God, our daughter never had to use even though the mornings could get cool.

Thankfully, the second rental my daughter stayed at in Houston was a newly built apartment over a garage. The owners whose house occupied the front of the property were very gracious and the accommodations were exactly as pictured. 

Another time my daughter spent 7 weeks summering in NYC…dancing, what else? We rented from owners who lived in Chicago. Because of the lengthy stay, we were able to get their family rate of $175/night. Extraordinary for The Big Apple. It was a 1 bed/1 bath with a 24-hour doorman in a residential area, directly across from a small Broadway theater where “Kinky Boots,” which won the year’s Tony for Best Musical was playing. Surprisingly enough, once inside the upper-floor apartment, we were oblivious of the street noise below. It was a magical time…for my daughter who thrived on the big city vibe…and for us as a family when my husband and I joined her for a week. Being close enough to the action without being IN it was the best we could hope for in…”the city that never sleeps.”

Needless to say I’ve once again turned to looking for a rental when my daughter marries next year. Close family members from Hawaii plan to join us for the happy occasion. Finding a house large enough to accommodate 8 or more is like “looking for a needle in a haystack.” Take it from one who’s been searching for a couple of months. That’s why I started my search this far out. There aren’t many affordable ones out there. The savings are well worth the effort, however. Hotel rooms in June can go for $300/night and more. Divvying up the cost of a house is a lot less than a hotel room for 2, and provides a lot more space to gather and enjoy everyone’s company. And being that we’ll get to spend time with family whom we only see every so many years is priceless.

Just when I thought we’d nailed down “the deal of the century,” along comes a hitch. A big one. The owner has a clause in his rental agreement which states that he won’t refund us our money if on the day we check in, his house is uninhabitable due to some unforeseen event beyond his control.

The fact that the owner has 3 other properties, one which he and his family occupies, makes me think he uses renters’ monies to pay his mortgages…like “taking from Peter to pay Paul.” A “red flag,” I think. Yes, we would be refunded our money if we cancelled 30 days prior to check-in. After that, we’d forfeit all. However, learning that we had nowhere to stay on the day we arrived, out the money we paid in advance, would cast a tremendous pall over what should be one of the happiest occasions in our family’s life.

So we’re backing away from this rental. Way far away.

And so, it’s back…

…to the drawing board.


parents matter…

The role we play in the lives of our children really does have a lifelong impact. Whether we are good at it or not so good, will affect the adults our children grow up to become. It follows the rule of…cause and effect.

For most of us the path is unpredictable. It’s not like hitting a bull’s eye with a bow and arrow. Or is it?

I’ve never shot an arrow, but I imagine that when you pull the arrow back there’s a quiver in the movement which you must control so as to hit the target. That momentary quiver might be compared to the push and pull parents and children engage in as they strive to become independent. Not all “hit the mark” set by society.

Special needs children are doubly challenging for parents ill-equipped to manage their youngster’s early years, not to mention when they become teenagers and young adults. Their journey towards independence requires a lot more strength…to keep the bow from quivering so much that the arrow misses its mark altogether. More patience is required to keep a steady hand, no matter the repetitive practice involved.

Introducing guns into the mix is likely to upset the fine balance necessary in youngsters’ lives already compromised. Once they begin to think for themselves, they begin to make their own judgement calls.

A gun in the hand of a youngster beset by his own trials and tribulations can be a tool to end it all…as in the cases of the Newtown, Connecticut and Umpqua,Oregon shooters.

California just adopted the “right to die” law allowing assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. It is only the 5th state to enact this law. A testament to the fact that lawmakers, all right-thinking adults politically appointed to make decisions for their constituency, have pondered long and hard whether or not to allow suicide under any circumstance.

Why then would a parent put a gun in the hands of a youngster who, at times, struggles with life? The responsibility if he takes his own life and the lives of others must be shared by those making guns accessible to him…

…including those who love him.


the top one percent…

…are the ones in control of the U.S. economy and therefore what happens, or doesn’t happen, in our country. The country’s purse strings are essentially managed by these few. If they consider something that’s good for the country is also advantageous to their bottom line, these mostly white men will put all their weight behind the cause. However if there’s even the smallest doubt that they will benefit from the outcome, these few will either step aside and let the cause die a natural death, or use whatever it takes to ensure that it dies.

Lack of gun control.

Global warming.

Two issues that are killing people. Unless the top one percent are personally affected by either problem, they will continue to fan the flames of our destruction. It might be that they’re hedging their bets.

Until the earth self-destructs, the uber-wealthy will continue to line their pockets with gold. Meanwhile, it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan…they’ve booked a flight into outer space on Virgin Airlines. Such a likelihood was depicted in the movie Elysium.

Of course some of the wealthiest, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet among them, are notable philanthropists. I’m not sure where they stand on gun control and global warming. Whatever their stance, however, I don’t see them or any of the other wealthiest one percent in America taking on those lobbying against gun control, namely the NRA, and global warming.

Charles and David Koch, and Donald Trump for that matter, are arch defenders of capitalism at any price. They put their substantive pocket books where their mouths are. They walk the talk.

No gun control.

No global warming.

As long as the wealthiest one percent in America can defend themselves against guns and global warming, they won’t take action against either. It would require too much effort…

…and too much of their amassed fortunes.


kanye west…for president???

OMG!!! Just heard on CNN that Kanye West might be considering a run for the presidency in 2020??? Reality TV in the White House??? The Kardashians taking over Washington D.C.???

That is even more bizarre than Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Just because we can…all run for president…does it mean we should? 

Tea Party conservatism has dragged in all manner of folks thinking they know what our country needs. Forget the need for wisdom and self-control and experience.

For Heaven’s sake! If I had the energy…I could be President!

Not!!! I know my limitations and strengths. Managing the President’s “to do” list sure as heck isn’t something I’m up for.

What makes Kanye West think he can…interface with our military hierarchy?…world leaders twice or three times his age?…Wall Street financiers?…white constituents who hate black rappers?…and most of all, Tea-Party congressional reps who’d just as soon impeach him, as recognize that he is the executive branch.

Talk about a political stalemate!!!

And who, besides the Kardashian fans…many in other countries, would want to see those women parading around half-naked in the White House? Moreover, it doesn’t seem likely they’d give up their millions as reality TV stars to sit around twiddling their thumbs. I can’t see them volunteering to mingle with the underprivileged at homeless shelters. The sisters would stand out in their stilettos and bouffant hairdos.

The fact that sex is a huge part of the Kardashian brand won’t sit well with conservative evangelists, either.  Come to think of it, neither would liberals with good, old-fashioned values. 

Between Kanye West’s ego and Kris Jenner’s managerial skills, I’ve no doubt they’re thinking seriously about the presidency. After all, Donald Trump is just as qualified. 

Reality TV and real life…

…are they really one and the same???


zealots in congress…

Zealot…”a person who has very strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings…”

That’s what Webster’s dictionary defines as those who are running away with the Republican Party…and trying to do the same with our government.

Our government. Not their government. Not the president’s government. 

A coming together of contrasting ideologies for the good of all…not for the good of a handful.

Where I might have entertained the idea of a Republican president, Boehner’s resignation as Speaker of the House cemented my vote for a Democratic president. Second in line for the presidency, Boehner, the most powerful Republican according to the constitution…if he has no faith in the Republicans…why should I?

By his action, Boehner voted against his own party. I cast my vote with him…

…i’m sure i’m not alone.



trump…and the pope

What do these men have in common? Not much it would seem.

Trump is about Trump. Pope Francis is about others.

Trump lives like a king, isolated in his own tower. Pope Francis lives in apartment #201 at the Vatican Hotel…so he can be closer to the people.

Trump seeks the presidency so he can, as he tells it…single-handedly return America to its glory days. Pope Francis agreed to forgo retirement so that he could shepherd world citizens to do what we can for the less fortunate among us.

Perhaps the Pope’s message of inclusion will resonate with those seeking the presidency. We can only pray that those who call themselves Christians, are, in fact, Christ-like.

The Pope’s words spoken during the homily at the Mass canonizing Junipero Sera to sainthood…

Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice! These are striking words, words which impact our lives. Paul tells us to rejoice; he practically orders us to rejoice. This command resonates with the desire we all have for a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a joyful life. It is as if Paul could hear what each one of us is thinking in his or her heart and to voice what we are feeling, what we are experiencing. Something deep within us invites us to rejoice and tells us not to settle for placebos which simply keep us comfortable.

At the same time, though, we all know the struggles of everyday life. So much seems to stand in the way of this invitation to rejoice. Our daily routine can often lead us to a kind of glum apathy which gradually becomes a habit, with a fatal consequence: our hearts grow numb.

We don’t want apathy to guide our lives… or do we? We don’t want the force of habit to rule our life… or do we? So we ought to ask ourselves: What can we do to keep our heart from growing numb, becoming anesthetized? How do we make the joy of the Gospel increase and take deeper root in our lives?

Jesus gives the answer. He said to his disciples then and he says it to us now: Go forth! Proclaim! The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.

The spirit of the world tells us to be like everyone else, to settle for what comes easy. Faced with this human way of thinking, “we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world” (Laudato Si’, 229). It is the responsibility to proclaim the message of Jesus. For the source of our joy is “an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy” (Evangelii Gaudium, 24). Go out to all, proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming. This is what the Lord tells us today. He tells us:

A Christian experiences joy in following a command: Go forth and proclaim the good news! A Christian finds ever new joy in answering a call: Go forth and anoint!

Jesus sends his disciples out to all nations. To every people. We too were part of all those people of two thousand years ago. Jesus did not provide a short list of who is, or is not, worthy of receiving his message, his presence. Instead, he always embraced life as he saw it. In faces of pain, hunger, sickness and sin. In faces of wounds, of thirst, of weariness, doubt and pity. Far from expecting a pretty life, smartly-dressed and neatly groomed, he embraced life as he found it. It made no difference whether it was dirty, unkempt, broken. Jesus said: Go out and tell the good news to everyone. Go out and in my name embrace life as it is, and not as you think it should be. Go out to the highways and byways, go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out to proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father. Go out to those who are burdened by pain and failure, who feel that their lives are empty, and proclaim the folly of a loving Father who wants to anoint them with the oil of hope, the oil of salvation. Go out to proclaim the good news that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person’s life. Go out with the ointment which soothes wounds and heals hearts.

Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing.

The Church, the holy People of God, treads the dust-laden paths of history, so often traversed by conflict, injustice and violence, in order to encounter her children, our brothers and sisters. The holy and faithful People of God are not afraid of losing their way; they are afraid of becoming self-enclosed, frozen into élites, clinging to their own security. They know that self-enclosure, in all the many forms it takes, is the cause of so much apathy.

So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). The People of God can embrace everyone because we are the disciples of the One who knelt before his own to wash their feet (ibid., 24).

The reason we are here today is that many other people wanted to respond to that call. They believed that “life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort” (Aparecida Document, 360). We are heirs to the bold missionary spirit of so many men and women who preferred not to be “shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security… within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving” (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). We are indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of the Gospel to be, in every generation, both “good” and “news”.

Today we remember one of those witnesses who testified to the joy of the Gospel in these lands, Father Junípero Serra. He was the embodiment of “a Church which goes forth”, a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God. Junípero Serra left his native land and its way of life. He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life. He learned how to bring to birth and nurture God’s life in the faces of everyone he met; he made them his brothers and sisters. Junípero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it. Mistreatment and wrongs which today still trouble us, especially because of the hurt which they cause in the lives of many people.

Father Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward!

…words inspiring us to act with mercy and compassion.


a man…a saint

As I drifted off to sleep last night, I prayed for Pope Francis. Image result for pope francis gallery

Not someone I normally think of when I pray.

I had real concerns for the Pope’s safety…still do…as he rides amidst thousands gathered to see him. There’s no way of knowing whether or not there’s a gunman among them. 

Even the Pope needs our prayers. Like us, he’s made of flesh and blood. At 78, Pope Francis has limited stamina and energy. His crusade to alter the plight of the world’s poor is a task not even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet can fully accomplish with all their billions. And yet the Holy Father is like the fountain of youth, offering life to all in need…physically and spiritually.

I can’t recall another world leader, past or present, so aligned with the downtrodden. A humble man where his needs are concerned, Pope Francis is nonetheless outspoken when promoting the causes of the less fortunate. Using his powerful platform as the head of the Catholic church, the pontiff runs the risk of incurring the wrath of those who disagree with his beliefs. It matters not to him. He is about God’s work.

Just as Jesus Christ was about His Father’s work…for which the Son was crucified…and subsequently rose again in glory, to sit beside His Father.

I believe one day, Pope Francis will be canonized a saint. Yet I’m sure many agree that he walks among us today…

…already a saint.


Image result for pope francis gallery

…celebrity…at what cost…

Watching the Pope disembark from his flight today at Joint Base Andrews, it was as though God Himself was walking down the steps. At least to Catholics who believe that he is God’s emissary on earth. Dressed in white, Pope Francis seemed translucent, although he appeared like a man who enjoys good food. He seemed untouchable, although he’s a man who enjoys being touched.

What a dilemma for Pope Francis. While waiting for the chauffeur to drive away, the Pope looked as though he were about to bolt from his seat. The cries of the people behind the fence tempting him to do what he loves doing…walking among them…touching them and having them touch him.

Celebrity? At what cost?

The tabloids are filled with stories of entertainers trying to escape the clutches of their adoring fans. Those who jostle their idol for some tangible proof that they were up close and personal.

Michael Jackson tried to give his fans what they wanted…access to him. Sadly, there were opportunists who took advantage of Jackson’s desire to be loved. He paid dearly. One could say…with his life.

Elvis Presley enjoyed his celebrity. It provided unimaginable wealth which he could never have dreamed of…growing up like White trash on the wrong side of the tracks. He, like Jackson, allowed fans access. Whether it was a wise decision, is something you can judge for yourself. Numerous books have been penned about Elvis by those who had access to the icon.

If I were to meet Pope Francis, I would automatically reach out to hug him. That’s just my natural inclination, unless I feel the recipient would prefer I not. I think the Pope would reciprocate my hug, but I’m not sure his security detail would even let me. Those charged with protecting the Pontiff are on high alert to protect him from all harm. And no one can blame them.

The Pope realizes that allowing his followers access might cost him his life. He is willing to take that risk. He has said…”I feel the Lord has placed me here for a short time.”

Yes, Pope Francis is a celebrity…the state of being famous or celebrated (according to Webster’s Dictionary). However it’s unlikely that the pope considers himself a celebrity. He is what he has always been…

…a man among his people…

…a pastor shepherding his flock.


what i did this summer…

Remember those essays we had to write the first day back to school?

How I spent my summer vacation.

I probably wrote that I played with friends and helped my mom around the house. Apart from that I went to an occasional movie with my best friend, gratis her awesome dad who’d pay the price of my admission…a quarter. Yep. A quarter. Back then…the 50’s and early 60’s…we could see a news reel, a cartoon, and a feature film for twenty-five pennies. On Maui, at least. Not sure what mainland theaters were charging.

Our family wasn’t rolling in dough so there were no trips to California, New York, or Europe. Those places weren’t even on my radar. The most I could hope for was a short trip to nearby Honolulu on a propeller plane. That’s if my older sister paid for my round trip ticket, inviting me to visit for the summer.

It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out that my world view was pretty narrow…that of an island girl out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, that all changed when I got married.

My husband’s first job was with Pan American World Airways, so we honeymooned in Tahiti. His second job was with American Express, with whom he got a promotion which moved us to New York. A short couple of years later he joined Norwegian American Cruises…and the rest is travel history.

Our first trip to Europe was in the 80’s. This time it was on me, since I was working with TWA in New York. It included a quick 2-day glimpse of Paris. Years later when our daughter was a teen, I dreamed of returning to that glamorous city with her in tow. I knew she’d never be able to afford it on her dancer’s salary.

This summer my dream trip to Paris came true. Except that my daughter had to work. No whisking her off to Europe. So instead it became…a second honeymoon for hubby and me.

While not the romantic scenario acted out in movies by the likes of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, hubby and I managed just fine for a middle-aged couple. We held hands. We looked lovingly into one another’s eyes. We teased and bantered, sharing intimate jokes at which only the two of us could smile and chuckle.

And yes, there were moments of frustration. When we got on each other’s last nerve.

Like when we went in search of Rodin’s Museum and Napoleon’s Tomb, and instead found ourselves wandering the streets in an isolated industrial neighborhood, while my poor aching feet screamed…”Get off of me! You’re killing me!” And when we had to go in search of the nearest “toilette,” so I could pee for the hundredth time.

Dead tired from scouring every corner of Paris we would fall into bed early. No evening soirees for us. No moonlit boat rides on the Seine . No gazing into each others’ eyes while dining on squab and chocolate souffles. We were content with a simple meal, an I Love Lucy video we’d brought from home, and finally snuggling side by side, snoring contentedly beneath a fluffy, white duvet…the nearby Eiffel Tower keeping watch over all, and lighting the skies above.

Funny what rocks your world when you’re old.

My favorite tour was wandering amidst miles and miles of tombstones at the Pere La Chaise Cemetery.

(Photo courtesy of…

Morbid? Just the opposite! It was other-worldly. Seeing row upon row of oft-times centuries-old graves. It was as though, those poor, deceased souls were sneaking glimpses of us…as we were having a peek in on them. With my cell phone I snapped photos of such notables’ tombs as Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt, Chopin, and Gertrude Stein. Even Jim Morrison of the rock group, The Doors, was interned there. I was especially delighted to see the simple graves of actors Yves Montand and wife Simone Signoret. They had been larger than life on the big screen. Now they lay like common folk beneath the hard earth.

Especially sobering were the graves of those who had suffered under Hitler’s demonic regime. I could still feel their wretched agony, pulsating beneath the stone.


(Photo courtesy of…cemetery explorers.

I could hear my mom lecturing from her grave…”Don’t be taking pictures of the dead. They’ll haunt you. Wait and see.” Dismissing such thoughts, as best I could, I’d remark to myself…and yet loud enough so the dead could hear…”You’re a good person. I’m just honoring you, your memory.” Of course I didn’t wait for a response as I quickened my pace.

One particular tombstone stopped me dead…pardon the pun…in my tracks.

The image of a young man from the Victorian era…captured in bronze, dressed as though he’d been out and about, leather gloves and all…lay full length across his grave. He looked to be 6 feet tall. I kept staring in disbelief at the gorgeous hunk of cast stone. My eyes scoured every inch of him, hesitating where his crotch bulged…the only part not green from oxidation. Curious…

(Photo courtesy of…

I was certain mine weren’t the only eyes bewildered by what lay before me. I’d had to wait my turn while a couple of men gazed down at what seemed a very unexpected and highly unusual tombstone. I admit I was afraid of taking a photo of the dead man’s likeness. Looking at him through the lens, I thought he’d wink…or frown…or sit up and smack me. I admit, I was a tiny bit scared. Calming my fears, I turned to the inscription and quickly snapped a shot.

That night in the comfort of our rented apartment, I looked through the photos I’d taken. I paused at the image of the young man made of bronze. He continued to fascinate me. When I moved on to the snapshot of the inscription, I held my breath. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? How could the inscription be upside down? I was positive I’d not turned my cell phone around to take the picture. That would’ve been awkward. There must have been a good explanation, although neither my husband nor I could come up with one.

I was spooked. I could not look at the picture of the inscription again, without feeling as though a ghostly urchin was having fun at my expense. I almost believed my mom’s scolding that I would pay for disrespecting the dead. Almost. I finally convinced myself that whoever had commissioned the sculpture deliberately requested that the inscription…in French…be written upside down. After all, it seemed in keeping with the provocative tomb. Perhaps it was done so the deceased could read what it said without too much effort on his part. He could just…sit up.

Aaahhh, Paris…all of its sights and smells, large and small, grandiose and humble…captures the essence of European culture. Refined and earthy all at once. Grounded in centuries of history, yet comfortable in its modernity..

I left with a deep respect for people different from me. Folks at ease in their daily lives. In fact, I marveled at how easily Parisians worked and relaxed throughout the day. They don’t seem to subscribe to our American need to work 60-hour weeks, playing only on weekends, if even that. As we toured the city, we saw, and heard, many a Parisian bicycling, and lunching, along the Seine. They sat at nearby cafe tables, sipping wine and conversing as tour buses and motorcycles whizzed by.

Yet I was glad to be home, settling back into our normal life…resuming our normal routines…comforted by our cozy, familiar surroundings.

We’re no different from Dorothy, who preferred Kansas to Oz…

…there really is…no place like home.


(Note: I will post my own photos of Paris…as soon as I figure out how to upload them from my cell phone. I couldn’t wait until then to write about it. Something I already know how to do.)

…the world according to..

…Donald Trump.

Trump paint’s the world around him with broad strokes. Just as he employees hundreds of Hispanics, Trump has lots of Muslim friends. However when asked specifically about derogatory statements he’s spouted…claiming Mexicans are “rapists and murderers,”…and agreeing with the birthers that Obama was not born in America…Trump refuses to acknowledge his stupidity.

Trump is like a blind man painting the world as he “sees” it. Not that the handicapped are incapable of creating beauty from seemingly nothing, it’s only that Trump is an ignoramus. He refuses to see what’s right there in front of him. He chooses to pick and choose what he sees…and ignores all the rest.

So where do the rest of us fit into Trump’s purview of the world?

Obviously we’re all dummies to Trump. Those of us who believe the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate, and those of us who believe in the goodness of individuals, refusing to lump them all together within an ethnic group.

And why doesn’t Trump counter the extremists among his own followers? Those who hate that the President is a black man, and worse that his name is proof-positive (to them) that Obama is Muslim. It’s because Trump, a supposed sophisticated man of the world, really is an uneducated bumpkin at heart. If not for his wealthy trappings, he would just as easily fit in with the right-wing element of the Republican Party who want to be left alone and have nothing to do with a society that believes we are all one people.

Donald Trump has a lot to say…much of it off the cuff. Whatever goes on in his head seems totally preoccupied with dollar signs and self-promotion. He does NOT represent Americans……me, most of all. So I wish he’d stop saying he’s what Americans want. He’s what a small minority wants. Thank goodness the majority of us sees the world…

…as it is.


…a man at peace…with himself…

It could be said that President Obama is as unpopular these days as Donald Trump.

Where Trump spews volumes of empty words, Obama speaks only when he has something important to say. Both are equally bad in the minds of some.

There’s no doubt that Trump is an egomaniac. I’m sure The Donald himself would agree…and wholeheartedly. Some say Obama is just as arrogant, holing himself up in the White House, unwilling to glad hand Congress in order to wheel and deal.

Trump uses the media, as does Obama. Don’t all folks who find themselves in the glaring spotlight of 24/7 coverage?

It’s said the back story makes the person. Trump, the real estate prodigy with NYC in his veins. Obama, the interracial child nuanced in the ways of a tropical paradise. Both, strangers to main stream USA.

Trump, in his own convoluted way, is convinced he is what America needs. So too did Obama feel the need to bring Americans together for the good of the entire country. Just as the President fell short of the mark, so too would Donald Trump. Neither man can be all things to all people.

I didn’t expect much of Obama when he took office. I was just happy to see what I thought was a good man, occupy the White House. The fact that he was raised in Hawaii, where I was born, gave me hope that the Aloha Spirit could spread to all Americans. And maybe that’s what he thought too. Islanders can be naive that way. After all, we’ve not the sophistication of mainlanders who have experienced more of everything.

The fact that Obama was the first black president was a plus. How nice, I thought, to have someone other than a white man in charge of our country.

That Obama was an academic, was even more appealing. Finally! A thinking man. A man disinclined to pull the trigger first, and ask questions later. Of course that hasn’t sat well with the trigger-happy, gun-toting bullies who want our country back up on the pedestal, our God-given right in their eyes.

For me it’s enough that Obama has accomplished what he has…saved the country from fiscal armageddon…brought a halt to health insurances denying coverage to those with pre-conditions…returned the country’s focus to the need for quality education…rid the world of Osama bin Laden…made it possible for gay partners to legally unite…resisted the clamor to send our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, into harm’s way yet again.

Yes, it’s more than likely that the future president should be a glad-hander…a back-slapper…a social drinker…someone more akin to Bill Clinton, who refused to accept that he couldn’t make friends with his enemies. Next time around, I’ll probably vote for a person who’s a schmoozer, even though I’m not crazy about having to do it too much myself. But I’m not running for president.

What I am crazy about is my family…my husband and my daughter. And it’s obvious to me that Obama shares the same craziness for his wife and two daughters. Barring a national emergency, he has dinner at 6:30 every evening with his family. More importantly, he’s moral. Michelle is still the the love of his life…and his children remain uppermost in his thoughts.

Recently I wrote the President a letter thanking him for Obamacare. I explained that earlier in the year my daughter, who dances as an independent contractor, had had a surgery to repair a tear in her bowel wall, inflicted during a prior surgery to remove fibroids from her uterine wall. Thanks to the surgeon correcting the mistake, my daughter recovered completely. Unfortunately she was saddled with medical expenses in excess of $52,000 and unable to work for a couple of months. That meant no money coming in. Thank goodness she had obtained insurance coverage only 6 months before. It paid $49,000 of her $50,000 hospital bill.

I was surprised, and impressed, to receive a letter in return. While I’m certain it wasn’t penned by President Obama, I’m almost positive the signature is his. And even if it isn’t, my words of gratitude were acknowledged.

Politically, I’m only a constituent. Personally, however, Obama and I are “ohana,” having both grown up under the same rainbow in our beloved…

…hawaiian islands.


nurturing thursdays: she’s getting married…

…my daughter…my only sunshine.

How did my little girl go from shadowing me one minute…to standing apart, aglow in a life all her own?

I can remember hearing folks in my mom’s generation saying of children…”Enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.” I too say that to young parents now, more out of habit than something to which I truly subscribe.

I think my husband would have preferred carrying his little “pumpkin pie” about on his shoulders…just a little longer. And building igloos together with her in the icy snow that covered our front lawn…just a little longer. And reading bedtime stories in the soft glow of the lamplight, her little head against his chest…just a little longer.

As for me? I wanted tomorrow to come…and the one after that…and the one after that…and all the tomorrows to follow . I wanted time to pass, knowing that with each passing year my only child was still here, beside me. Not until my husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage did we become parents. Because of that I always felt she could be gone…in the blink of an eye.

Still do.

Like other parents, I hoped I’d live to see my daughter grow into adulthood…and settle into a marriage with someone who would cherish her for the wonderful person she is. Whether or not she bears us a grandchild is unimportant. She, and the son we gain through marriage, are gift enough for us. Of course we would celebrate a little addition to the family…if that is God’s wish.

And so with my daughter’s marriage, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, passing the torch of all-consuming love along to her husband-to-be. Although the love I bear my daughter will always glimmer and burn so that she will never, afraid of the dark.

I’m certain my precious little girl will always remember what I told her long, long ago.

When I’m gone from your side, I’ll still be with you…like a blankie wrapped around your heart…warming you always.


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