friday fictioneers: the devil incarnate…

PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright - Adam Ickes

It was devastating to see her sitting there, on the edge of her bed, scissors in hand, cutting her dress into shreds. Thin, wiry strands of hair fell carelessly across her face. Eyes swollen and puffy, tears streaming down her cheeks, she was in agony. 

We approached, my toddler and I, fraught with anxiety at the horrible scene. Uncomprehending, we tried to console the poor soul. 

She would have none of our pity. Flailing her arms to keep us away, we could only watch as her consumption began.

Alzheimer’s was feasting on my mother.

I could do nothing.

Except cry. 

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nurturing thursdays: we are the result…

…of our upbringing. “That’s the unvarnished truth,” as some literary folk might say. Plain…yet not so simple.

Biographies, for me, are a treasure trove of personal information. It’s like mining for gold that I’m never prepared to find. I always know I’ll glean greater understanding of the human spirit, but I’m like a child opening that unexpected gift on Christmas morning when I find buried among the pages of someone else’s life a particular truth that resonates within myself.

One weekend morning as I sat at my mom’s feet clipping her toenails, a ritual begun at her behest, she casually informed me that I had been unwanted…a mistake. I was probably 9 or 10 at the time. I’m pretty sure my reaction was mild, more one of curiosity than anything else. She told me she didn’t want a ninth child so she did what she could to abort me naturally. Naively, she thought spending hours in the ocean would somehow rid her of my fetus. And perhaps more on the mark, she’d down lots of soy sauce in the hopes I wouldn’t survive.

As you can see, I’m still alive. However, the seed of self doubt was probably planted within my psyche that sunny day, long ago.

Parenting is like a magic trick. If done right, we are applauded for our skill at making something so difficult look…so easy. If we go awry, eyebrows are raised, tongues click and refrains of “she’s a bad parent” are doled out mercilessly.

Because of my own childhood experience, I’m particularly sensitive to the influence of parents upon those whose biographies I read. And as you might guess, not one of them leaves home without taking some of their parents’ baggage along with them.

Gary Cooper, whose biography I’m currently reading, was forever devoted to his mother. Trying to please her and keep her happy meant juggling her high opinion of him, while being romantically involved with scores of women his entire life. Of the dozens who met mama, only one or two scored a home run. Unfortunately, they didn’t last long with a man who was enamored of all women, and felt sexually empowered to bed the lot of them.

Mary Astor, never one of my favorites, was a particularly interesting read. Her immigrant, German father, a stage parent if there ever was one, railroaded her acting career from its inception. Her beauty and fledgling talent inspired him to quit his job and move with his wife and daughter, first to Chicago and then to New York, in search of his dream to be rich. Eventually he struck gold in Hollywood where he set up house entirely at his daughter’s expense, both economically and emotionally. She became an alcoholic, fell in and out of abusive relationships, weathered financial ruin, and hit “rock bottom” many times. Discovering God later in life helped Astor out of the hell that had been her life until then.

John Kennedy could have been so much more, in my estimation, had his parents been less self-absorbed. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was a man driven to overcome his humble beginnings. His natural savvy for besting the next man would bring him wealth, and with that, power in high places. He bought the presidency for his son, and the perfect wife to be First Lady. What the senior Kennedy could never fully render however, was the approval his presidential son had sought ever since he was born into the shadow of older brother, Joseph Kennedy, Jr. What was meant for him only fell to JFK upon his brother’s death.

And what of Kennedy’s mother, Rose? Not allowed to divorce her husband, notorious for his philandering, she complied with the mandates of her mayoral father and her Catholic faith by devoting herself to God, while neglecting the emotional needs of her many offspring. She had a small cottage built towards the back of the main house on the family’s Hyannisport compound. There, the mother would often retreat to find comfort in God. It was also a common practice of both parents to be away from their children, each one going his and her separate way to find pleasure. Rose shopped abroad; Joe Sr. caroused with Hollywood starlets, most famously with Gloria Swanson. She was even amazed at his wife’s tolerance when he invited Swanson along on a European vacation cruise.

It was Richard Nixon’s Quaker mother who instilled in her son the ambition to excel…always. And as history can attest, he never, ever lost that desire to drive the political conversation…much to the chagrin of his wife, Pat. Resigning the presidency before his second term even got underway was a hard lesson learned. Nixon’s resiliency, however, brought him a modicum of success in his comeback as an elder statesman on the world stage.

 I could go on, but you get my drift.

What I continue to learn through these biographies is that parents were children once who thrived, and suffered, at the hands of their parents. We’re really no different from any other species in that we’re all just trying to survive in an alien world. We use whatever resources are available to eke out a life for ourselves as best we can. For humans, those resources include psychogenic ones instilled through the generations. Parents beget children who become…parents who beget children…and so on…and so on. 

So where does the blame lie when children lead miserable lives? Nowhere really. It’s so easy to point a finger, but it’s just as fitting to turn that finger toward oneself.

We don’t have to continue on within the confines of the lives in which we were swaddled since birth. We can change out our “soiled linens” for fresh ones that have been aired out in the sunshine and smells of the scent of a new day. It’s up to us to make up a new bed…

…in which we can rest peacefully…and happily.

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: a true friend likes who you are…and lets you know it

I’m certain my female readers can relate when I say…at the moment my “plate” is full to overflowing.

It may not seem that way to look at me, but keeping my mind from becoming unhinged is a daily exercise. At times it’s almost as strenuous as the weight resistance class I’ve begun doing 3 times a week. If I lost a few pounds I know it would lessen the load I have to push off the floor, just as I’m positive once my life is decluttered my mind will return to point balance once more.

Easier said than done…both…losing those last 10 pounds and ridding my brain of its overload. At least for the time being.

Enter…friends!

Just when you need to take the “edge off” the craziness in your life, a few good friends lend a hand…or an ear…or both.

I have three “go-to” girlfriends…Cindy, Mary, and Suzy.

We tend to weave in and out of one another’s lives with very little, if any, fanfare. We never apologize for lapsed time. We just pick up where we left off, even if many months have come and gone since we last got together.

Our friendships are casual. We’ll either email or text synopses of what’s going on at the moment, knowing we’ll expand further over coffee and a bagel, or salad and some pizza.

What I love best about these gals is their love of family, their upbeat attitude, their can-do resolve, and their easy laughter. And with each of them, I feel loved and valued for exactly who I am. 

There’s an unspoken acknowledgement with each of these ladies, that we’re good moms, hardworking wives, contributing citizens, and above all, compassionate people. 

What’s more we’re not inclined to pass judgment on one another. We don’t offer unsolicited advice. Instead, we compliment one another wholeheartedly and without hesitation. 

Good friends not only love one another…they truly like each other.

I like Cindy because she’s extremely humble, speaks thoughtfully, and exudes so little effort when she laughs with abandon.

Mary is a rock. I like that about her. Although the youngest of 7, you’d think she was the eldest the way she manages whatever dilemma befalls her extended family. I’m always amazed at her fortitude and no-nonsense demeanor. She gets things done…and moves on.

My friend Suzy use to be my neighbor before she moved out of the neighborhood. I’d see her mowing her lawn once-in-awhile, but she was up the hill so we never really spoke. And she worked full time, so I’m sure she had better things to do than while away her weekends in idle chatter. When she married a widowed neighbor whom I greatly admired, Suzy and I became fast friends. As retired “snowbirds,” the two go south to California for half the year, but when they’re here she and I fall back in sync so easily. She’s a friend who makes me feel very glad I’m alive.

I make friends easily because I genuinely like people. And I like letting them know how I feel. Most folks respond with grateful hearts. Only a few, like Cindy, Mary, and Suzy, know to cherish what I am offering…

…my heart on my sleeve.

………hugmamma.

 

Nurture Yourself – with Love and Compassion

hugmamma:

This speaks beautifully to my life as the youngest child born to a single mom herself struggling to survive. Compassion for others has become the cornerstone of my own life, founded upon having compassion for myself first…
………hugmamma.

Originally posted on Inside the Mind of Isadora:


The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our sense of well-being.
Tenzin Gyatso-the 3rd Dalai Lama

ANGEL - Purple FlowersWhat is compassion?

It’s a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. info marion dictionary

From birth, we are part of a community called family. The bond is our connection to security and survival. There are situations where our biological family does not serve that well. We become the sufferers due to horrific acts such as child abuse and abandonment. The lack of love and compassion leaves us lost. It heightens stress because we feel loneliness and isolation. Our ability to be compassionate to others fails as we have no guideline. Sometimes, the compassion comes from somewhere else such…

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nurturing thursdays: shine the light…on the devil

I’m getting ahead of myself publishing a post for next week’s Nurturing Thursdays. However something has occurred which I’d like to write about now, while it’s still fresh on my mind.

A young woman committed suicide.

Alone in a big city.

Illness.

Cancer.

Incurable.

Like a death knell, she took the news hard. She holed up, alone, in her apartment for a week. And then she threw herself out the window onto the sidewalk below. Barely missing a person who’d just walked by. Traumatic for that person; the end of life for another. 

Family and friends kept reaching out, trying to keep in touch. But having suffered depression before, the young woman was still caught in its stranglehold.

Depression is the devil. Not to be toyed with. Not to be entertained, even fleetingly. The devil doesn’t play games; neither does depression.

Don’t go there. 

Hang on for dear life, with all the strength you can muster.

Surround yourself with only positive influences. 

There’s no place in your life for negativity. 

Say “no” to negativity…that’s a positive step forward…and upward.

Bask in the sunshine…even if you have to switch on all the lights in the house. I do…

A high electrical bill is way better than a hospital bill…or a funeral.

Fight to live the one life you’ve been given.

Despite the darkness you encounter without…and within…the light is your friend.

Let it in…let it in…please, let it in.

…you matter…because i care…

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

calling out the posse…iraq

Having already made my way through several presidential biographies, I’ve decided to keep on the path of learning who the real man is behind the facade. So I picked up a book I’d purchased a while ago at Half-Price Books…The Family, The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty…by Kitty Kelley. 

I was never a fan of the president, or the author, for that matter. That’s why the delay in reading the book. I’d bought it thinking “Why not? I’ll get around to it one of these days, when I’ve nothing else to read.”

Since I was on a presidential roll, it was Bush’s turn. Knowing Kelley’s tendency for sensational reporting, having read Oprah: A Biography, I should’ve been prepared for her book. Well shame on me, I wasn’t.

It’s not to say Kitty Kelley doesn’t report facts. She does. It’s her explosive style of telling a story that has me on the edge of my seat. The lady is not averse to confrontation. Far from it. She welcomes the challenge.

According to USA Today

The Bush Administration and the Republican Party launched a vigorous campaign to discredit Kelley as a Democratic partisan and discourage coverage of her 733-page book….Kelley pointed out that she has never lost a lawsuit and ‘never, ever had to retract a story.’ “

…and the Houston Chronicle adds…

Doing what {Kelley} does is like poking a stick into a hornet’s nest. The holder of the stick gets a nasty reaction from the disturbed occupants….The resulting book, however, is a good read.

Describing Kelley as a woman “with balls,” is putting it mildly. She’s more like a bulldog on a mission. Point in case? Her tell-all on the Bush family was written while George W. was the sitting president.

 With every book I’ve written, I’ve encountered a certain amount of hesitancy on the part of potential sources, because they are understandably reluctant to talk about powerful people, either for fear of retribution or for fear of being socially ostracized. The amount of trepidation I encountered in writing this book was unprecednted, but perhaps that’s what comes from writing about a sitting President whose family has a long reach. Many sources were reluctant to tell their stories on the record, and much as I dislike using unnamed sources, in some cases I had no choice. Many people who know the Bushes–friends, former employees, classmates, business associates, and even a few family members–were skittish about speaking for {fear of retribution.} I heard an endless stream of excuses and apologies, some comical, others disconcerting: “You don’t know that family…If they think I’ve talked to you, they’ll never speak to me again.” “This town is too small to rile the Bushes.” “I want to live to see my grandchildren.” One man said, “You can’t use my name. They’ll come after me. The Bushes are thugs.”

“Thugs? Surely, you’re kidding,” I said.

“Look what they did in Florida during the 2000 recount,”  he answered, and then detailed the “Brooks Brothers Riot” of Republican activists who helped stop the voting in Miami by storming the canvassing board. To prove his point, the man sent records showing that many of the rioters in pin-striped suits had been paid by the Bush recount committee.

With stability in Iraq hanging in the balance, George W.’s war against Iraq is once again called into question. 

Call me politically naive, but I’ve always thought the presidential son had a personal vendetta against Saddam Hossein for the assassination attempt against the presidential father. An article from the History News Network dated 3/6/07, “How Do We Know That Iraq Tried To Assassinate President George H. W. Bush?” lends credence to my claim.

On June 2, 1993, representatives of the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and others in the Department of Justice (DOJ) discussed the results of their investigations with representatives of the Clinton Administration. Three weeks later, the DOJ and CIA reported their conclusions. The DOJ and CIA reported that it was highly likely that the Iraqi Government originated the plot and more than likely that Bush was the target. Additionally, based on past Iraqi methods and other sources of intelligence, the CIA independently reported that there was a strong case that Saddam Hussein directed the plot against Bush. – See more at: http://hnn.us/article/1000#sthash.1KMHbZkx.dpuf

So in true Wild West style, George W. gathered up his posse and went after the bad guys. “Shoot ‘em up, cowboys! Bang! Bang!” Too bad a lot of innocent people, Iraquis and Americans alike, got caught up in the bloodshed. Not to mention the trillions spent in the process…hard-earned taxpayer dollars. 

Minutes ago I visited another blogger’s site since she’d been by to view mine. From what I can surmise, she resides in the Middle East. It may even be that she’s an Iraqui. Reading her post, “Who Destroyed the Cradle of Civilization,”  it’s obvious she’s not speaking tripe. 

Saddam Hussein might have been the craziest of leaders but the man knew the geopolitics of Iraq. He was the impetus behind turning Iraq from a mere Arab nation to the most advanced Arab country in history. Iraq was always better than its neighbours. Healthcare facilities were excellent. Education was imparted right from the primary level up to the university, completely free of charge. Iraq was a nation where more human rights were granted to its citizens than any other Arab nation, especially in the areas of religion and liberation of women. The New York Times had thus, once called Baghdad “The Paris of the Middle East. Toppling Saddam Hussein was the biggest misstep US committed and now Iraq has to face people, I call pre-historic barbarians . I’d never thought a day would come when I’d have to support a man like Saddam Hussein over President Bush. Sometimes, I feel that the biggest Weapon of Mass Destruction in Iraq was Mr. President himself.

The day Saddam was caught President Bush had said, ” the world will be better off without you, Mr. Hussein.” Today Iraq has gone worse, and so has the world.

( http://akritimattu.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/who-destroyed-the-cradle-of-civilization/ )

I’ve always wondered why it is that some Americans insist other countries adopt our ways…lock, stock, and barrel?

Democracy, as we know it, works for us because it is founded upon Christian principles…because our ancestors were determined to free themselves from oppressive rulers…and because we’ve had centuries to make democracy our own.

How do Middle Eastern countries founded upon Islam adapt their values and cultures to Western ways? Not easily, that’s for sure. Should it be our battle? Or should it be that the people of the region figure it out with as little outside interference as possible?

A complex question with an impossible answer it seems. But it surely didn’t help…

to have a cowboy mentality in the White House. 

………hugmamma.

summertime…and the pickings are slim

Remember the first job you ever had? A paying job, I mean. Not some volunteer stint  in exchange for a pat on the back and a stellar recommendation to go along with it. Or as in my case, a couple of summers helping the nun in charge of the bookstore set up shop for students returning to school in the Fall. That got me a break in tuition and a discount on my books. My mom was forever indebted to the Marianist Sisters; I was grateful too…in a less religious way. I got to play “big shot” in front of my fellow school mates.

No. I’m talking about 8 hours work for 8 hours pay, and overtime when warranted.

On the Hawaiian Island of Maui where I grew up, the best most of us graduating from high school could get was a job at the Maui Pineapple Cannery. It had openings for hundreds on their assembly lines. We were literally…hired hands.

I was a pineapple packer making $1.25 an hour. That was a heap of money in 1966 for the youngest in a family of 9 who never got an allowance. Good luck trying to hire a teenager for that kind of money these days, unless you outsource to the Philippines or India.

Swelling like a proud peacock as I walked through the warehouse entrance those first several days, I embraced the scent of ripening fruit that surrounded me. How fortunate I felt to be part of the pineapple family. I was motivated to be the best employee ever hired to pack pineapple into cans.

There were female foremen who walked among us, correcting or praising as the situation warranted. Once-in-awhile they moved into position, demonstrating the proper way to do the job. 

I’m positive I got a little of both…complimented for doing good work, and lectured for wasting perfectly good fruit. When packing a pineapple, I had to decide whether or not all the slices were worthy of being sent along to the consumer. At 16, I had the power!!! Yeah, right.

Sometimes I substituted for a person cutting pineapples. I’m pretty sure I was petrified at the thought of slicing off a finger, or at the very least the tip of one. Developing lightning speed took time. I never occupied the position long enough to acquire that skill. I was always relieved when the regular cutter returned to her position. Phew! Talk about my relief…at being relieved.

It didn’t take long before I landed in the cannery’s infirmary. Nausea and the heat generated from the machinery made many of us sick to our stomachs. It didn’t help that the humidity outdoors made its way indoors. Thankfully, I eventually developed an armor-like constitution…along with an aversion…to pineapple.

To this day I welcome the occasional piece of pineapple-upside-down cake…or a piece of pineapple in my favorite recipe of island-style meatballs, or sweet-sour spareribs. But a bowlful of pineapple all by itself? I don’t think so. I’d sooner eat a serving of broccoli steamed with a sprinkling of lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

That’s saying a lot for someone who grew up eating canned veggies.

Without a doubt, working in the Maui Pineapple Cannery “grew hair on my chest.” I was ready to face the big, bad world as a college freshman in the big city, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu.

…no one dared mess with me!

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

camelot revisited…

I’ve just concluded Jack and Jackie…Portrait of an American Marriage by Christopher Andersen. Published in 1996, it’s a biographical reflection of an iconic couple.

Why the love affair with individuals born into affluence and power, so far removed from those of us relegated to society’s lower stratosphere? Perhaps it’s through the celebrated we’re able to live out our fantasies, without having to deal with the inevitable pitfalls that accompany fame.

This particular biography, unlike others I’ve read about the Kennedys, puts a lot of meat on the bones of what others might have portrayed as mannequins in display windows.

The author’s concluding words summarize his adoit handling of two lives intricately intertwined. He gives us insight into a man and a woman, not unlike you or me. Only circumstances of birth and the resulting evolution of events, catapulted them into the spotlight.

Did Jack ever love Jackie? Patrick’s tragic death only a few months before the assassination was a pivotal event in the lives of the Kennedys, one that redefined the nature of their relationship. For the first time, Jack was able to reach out to his wife in ways he never could before. Did Jackie love Jack? There is no evidence that she ever stopped loving him.

Now that both Jack and Jackie are gone, perhaps the hysteria that enveloped them in life will be replaced with reason and understanding. Conceivably, we will be able to strip away the layers of hype and mystique to reveal the often vulnerable, tentative human beings underneath.

He was unquestionably a brilliant man whose vision of a better world continues to inspire millions. By virtue of her beauty, grace, and dignity, she is no less admired here and abroad. But to canonize them does us no less a disservice than to demonize them. For all their Olympian traits, Jack and Jackie argued over money, clothes, furniture, and in-laws. They grappled with infidelity, disease, and drug dependence. They fretted about infertility and childbearing, and both worried about and delighted in the children they had. They shared the death of one parent, the debilitating stroke of another, a miscarriage, a stillbirth, and the most crushing blow of all–the loss of a child.

They were nothing like us and everything like us. Theirs was an American marriage.

…thank goodness for writers…and the stories they tell…

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

Malcolm, Mildred, Jason and Joy

hugmamma:

Had to share this Friday Fictioneers piece. A mind-bender for sure…at least for this often clueless senior…
………hugmamma.

Originally posted on me.you.coffee:

Malcolm and Mildred had lived here for years. At first just a house, they’d eventually made it their home.

Mildred was pregnant, and if history (and the size of her tummy) were anything to go by, she was pregnant with septuplets. At this stage in proceedings Malcolm had taken on the role of hunter-gatherer. Every morning he’d be up early scratching around, looking for items that would sustain his ever-growing family. Lately things had been quiet. Times were tough.

Jason and Joy had lived here for years. At first it was their home, but the rat problem had become intolerable.


This piece was submitted as part of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 1 photograph. 100 words. Over 120 people taking part. And hey, if you still can’t get enough – why not check out my almost-FREE eBook, People Watching. US link here, UK link there.

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nurturing thursdays: the eaglette has landed…

IMG_0493You might wonder why I write of my daughter’s comings and goings under the heading of nurturing thursdays.  It’s because health and wellness also includes…peace of mind. And knowing that my child is happy in her life…comforts me like nothing else can.

Having left Nashville Ballet a year ago in search of a better fit, my daughter traveled far and wide from Atlanta to Chicago to Germany to Toronto. She even poked around here in the Seattle area. Wanting to expand upon her contemporary dance experience to improve her resume, she opted to return to her mentor and coach who started her own company in the Music City, as Nashville is most famously known.

My daughter’s dance career has been 95% training, 5% performing. Opting to always hone her craft, she has trained elsewhere in the summers when ballet companies are usually on hiatus. In the early years she would have to pay for the training, but as she grew in her profession she was paid, and handsomely I might add.

In the end however, all things considered, the majority of dancers fall under the category of…”starving artists.”

I would compare a dancer’s life to a roller coaster ride. If she hangs on long enough, she’ll adjust to the twists and turns. And if she’s truly passionate, she’ll love the adrenalin rush in spite of being tossed about.

Social dancing was more my speed. Were I in my daughter’s pointe shoes, I’d have “caved” the first time I was critiqued in front of other dancers. Just as I would lose my meal the first time the roller coaster spun me upside down.

Enjoying the company of hardworking dancers once again, my daughter is elated to be back in the studio.

While fledgling, NEW DIALECT promises to thrive as a much-needed alternative dance platform in a city dominated by country music. That it might gain the financial backing of some of that genre’s most influential singers is powerful stuff. It’s not surprising though, since the director, Banning Boudoin is as much a woman with heart as an artist with talent to burn. Both extremely attractive to those wanting to bask in the aura of one poised to do great things.

Like hanging onto a shooting star, my daughter will thrill to the ride of her life as she and Banning soar the universe, exciting others with their passion.

Dancing…

…for the sheer joy…and love of it!

………hugmamma. img_5200.jpg

 

 

dr. oz…channeling oprah?

Like his mentor, TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz is loved by millions of women. Granted, there are men in the audience…if only a few handfuls.

I too was bitten by the Oz bug, never having caught the Oprah bug. Probably because he’s a NYC cardiologist and he’s undeniably cute. That he’s “hot” in a passive-aggressive way helps.

When Dr. Oz began his show, I’d hang on his every word. I’d write down his health tips and bombard my husband with them as soon as he came through the front door. Not the jealous type, my husband merely chuckled at my exuberance over the man whose company I kept every day at 3 p.m.

As my initial adulation began wearing off, or maybe because I wasn’t one of the lucky ladies sitting in front of him, Dr. Oz reverted back to being mortal again. At least to me… sitting alone in front of the TV without other giddy women egging me on. 

Eventually I stopped watching Dr. Oz. In part, his shows were becoming repetitious. His favorite topic was weight loss, and probably still is. I guess I’d done enough research on my own to know what I had to do to keep my weight in check. Not that it made me an expert. It’s just that I’d…been there, done that.

Another reason I parted company with the Dr. Oz show was his obvious appeal to the women in the audience. They seemed to swoon when asked to join him on stage as volunteers for his experiments. I love hugging, don’t get me wrong. After all…I am hugmamma. It’s just that I got a little uncomfortable with the bountiful hugs being exchanged between the doctor and his female fans. They came to expect his hugs and he seemed only too glad to oblige. Granted, I’m sure he’s a genuinely caring person with a natural penchant for physical closeness. It might even be a cultural thing, like it is for me as a native of Hawaii where the Aloha Spirit abounds.

For me, it just got to be a little too much. 

Finally, there was one piece of advice he would voice time and again. I’d chuckle about it at first, especially while telling my husband that Dr. Oz said we should have sex several times a week. According to him, it was important to the male’s health. No pressure there.

As time passed, I simply stopped tuning into Dr. Oz. Pretty much like I stopped tuning into the Catholic Church every Sunday, because the priest seemed so far removed from the realities of today’s world.

You can imagine my surprise when I heard that Dr. Oz was called before Congress to answer to charges that he’s abusing his power over consumers. They feel he is energetically supporting products that have no proof in fact of working as he claims on his program. One example cited was the doctor’s claim that the geen coffee bean would increase weight loss. Evidently, there’s not substantive research to back up those claims. Can you imagine the FDA approving a drug because Dr. Oz says it works brilliantly, without scientific data to back him up?

Dr. Oz tried to do on his show what Oprah successfully did on hers…brought the audience along on her beautifully woven message of words. She inspired change, giving hope to millions who wanted to live their best life.

There’s a fine line between the psychological and the physical. And when health information is being doled out like a mixed bag of magic pills, then I agree with those who say…buyer beware!  Fortunately, Dr. Oz is now aware of his power over consumers and wants to help protect them against businesses only too happy to take their money.

As for me, if Dr. Oz could attend to me as a heart patient I’d be totally happy. I’m positive his bedside manner includes hugging. And in a crisis, who doesn’t want to have a compassionate soul holding you? However that doesn’t mean…

i’ll be watching him on tv…anytime soon…

………hugmamma.

Following is an excerpt from an article in the February 4, 2014 issue of THE NEW YORKER, written by Michael Specter…Is Dr. Oz Doing More Harm Than Good?

Oz has become used to crowds, to adulation, and to fame. That morning, when he arrived in darkness, hundreds of people, mostly women, already stood in line at the entrance to the hospital; many lacked insurance, a doctor, or medical support of any kind. There were screams of delight when he hopped out of the car. People had come for the free exam and for helpful advice, but also to see him. Oz is fifty-two and jauntily fit, with a perfectly tamed helmet of brown hair and lengthy sideburns. His scrubs, powder blue and cinched at the waist, fit so well they looked as if they had been run up for him onSavile Row. In promotional pictures, Oz, with a stethoscope draped like a scarf around his neck, looks eerily like Doug Ross, the character that George Clooney made famous on “E.R.” He worked the line like a gifted politician, hugging people as they flipped open their phones and tried to get a picture with him. Many had brought old copies of magazines to be signed: TimeGood HousekeepingPrevention—all with Oz on the cover. “I worship you, Dr. Oz,” one woman told him. Another threw her arms around his neck. “I haven’t seen a doctor in eight years,” she said. “I’m scared. You are the only one I trust.”

Oz squeezed her shoulder and stared into her eyes. “I’ll see you inside,” he said. “We are going to get through this, and we will do it together.”

 

 

friday fictioneers: finding the hidden value…

PHOTO PROMPT  Copyright -Mary Shipman

“Now that we’ve taken the walls down to the studs, remind me…what are we looking for?”

“Great grandad’s last will and testament, stupid!”

“And why would it be hidden in the walls?”

“Because he was always stuffing pieces of paper in random slits in the walls. Slits he’d just randomly slice with an ax.”

“I hate to keep asking…but was he a nut case or something?”

“Or something. Eccentric is what grandma called her dad.”

“So why do you think he had any money to inherit?”

“He won a Power Ball. He never spent a dime of it.”

“I’m in!”

 

could i do better?…could you?

Every now and then something on CNN prompts me to reflect upon President Obama’s handling of national and world affairs. I must confess I’m no expert in government matters.  Who is?

Yes, there are those with years, even decades of experience. Naturally, that counts for something. But so does an opinion. 

In the last month or so I’ve read a couple of presidential biographies, one on Dwight D. Eisenhower, the other on Richard M. Nixon. I’m now burrowing through one on John F. Kennedy.

Biographies are my favorite reads. They’re part history, part gossip…some factual, some speculative. I especially like getting to know the private person, the one the public rarely, if ever, sees.

My takeaway from Eisenhower’s biography was that he was a disciplined man given to sacrificing his personal life for his life as a public servant. His wife, Mamie, followed in her husband’s wake keeping herself intact, physically and mentally, as best she could. Eisenhower governed like the military man that he was, gathering his group of trusted, male cohorts about him to advise his next moves. Oddly enough, or maybe not, Vice President Nixon was not among them.

Political ambition had the starring role in Nixon’s life. It took him to the summit only attained by a few mortals, and it plunged him into the darkest depths where few souls ever tread. Pat, his “partner in crime,” believed her husband honorable in all he undertook. She saw the glory and the sorrow of a man driven to create the America of his vision. As we all know, Nixon fell far short of his ill-conceived plan.

There were moments of greatness in Kennedy’s life. His inaugural speech challenged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country.” Thousands answered the challenge by joining the president’s newly instituted Peace Corps. The Cuban Missile Crisis probably aged Kennedy faster than all other obstacles combined…chronic back pain…a spendthrift-fashionista-first lady…an insatiable appetite for women…and Governor Wallace’s hard-core opposition to black-equality.

And where was Jackie in all of this? She loved Jack is all…and his money. Evidently the Kennedys were a good match. He had his faults; she had hers. Great thing is…they both understood each other’s imperfections and still managed to love one another “until death do us part.” Which it did, unfortunately.

The Obamas seem a different breed from what we’ve encountered before. At least I think so. 

President Obama, as a former law professor, governs as though he is still in the classroom. He welcomes, even encourages, creative thinking. In the end, however, it’s his lone voice that decides the course of events. Yes, he has campaigned hard for tenure, and won. How he has managed to do so in the face of the Koch brothers and the billions they spend advancing the cause of the Tea Party is unfathomable.

I like to think it’s because Obama’s cause is morally right. I’m a sucker for those showing compassion for the less fortunate. And although the president has an ego the size of the universe…what leader doesn’t?

Funny how I can relate to Obama’s thought processes in making decisions, and the mistakes he’s bound to make given that he’s human. And maybe that’s just it…he’s human. It might also be that he lived a life more similar to mine, especially since he grew up in my native Hawaii. Beyond that, however, he wasn’t a product of a military background like Eisenhower. Nor from what I can surmise, Obama wasn’t driven by a burning desire to star in the White House. That came later, after he failed to move mountains as a human rights activist in the Chicago projects, and a stint in the senate.

While I’m an unlikely prospect to be one of Michelle Obama’s best buds, I get what she’s about. First and foremost, she’s a mom like me. Moreover, she will preach her husband’s goodness to all and any. Woe to those who dare challenge us on that front. 

No, I don’t consider myself in the same league as these notables. Nor would I ever care to be. With their power and celebrity comes a whole host of problems I wouldn’t want. Given their unique circumstances, I think the presidents and their first ladies do the best they can. It may be difficult for them to remember that they’re made of clay like us, given how the media keeps the spotlight on them 24/7.

Maybe we can remember for them…

…they wear bvd’s and girdles too!

………hugmamma.

(I know. I know. I’m dating myself…) 

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