dorian gray…

Whatever the outcome of the election, whoever becomes our next president, Donald Trump is…lost.

Trump is like Dorian Gray, the man whose portrait is transfigured over the course of his life…from that of an ordinary man to that of a hideous monster. How appropriate it would be to view The Portrait of Dorian Gray, a horror film sure to tickle our Halloween fancy, if it weren’t for the scary fact that we have seen it unfold before our very eyes over the last year of the presidential campaign.

Like Dorian, Trump views his likeness as projected back to him…by himself. He needs no other confirmation of his greatness. The fact that others believe in him only fuels his grandiose self adulation.

We all tell “little, white lies.” I don’t know if it’s possible for any man, woman or child, to go a day in his or her life  without ever having said at least one untruth. I’m sure even the religious will tell a lie if it were to further a greater good…like saving someone else’s life. At the same time I’m just as certain there has never been another American, at least in my lifetime, who has lied with such vigor and constancy as Trump.

Trump is a pathological liar.

We all have prejudices, born of our circumstances…ethnicity and culture, spiritual beliefs, gender, education, jobs, social standing. Until now, we have all strived to keep our individual wants and needs in check. America, and the world at large, belongs to all fortunate enough to have been born. If anyone thinks differently…look around. Savor the beauty of autumn’s changing colors; ponder the undeniable affection a loved one has for you. Don’t take these for granted. They could be lost in the blind fervor Trump supporters have for a self-serving autocrat.

Trump is narcissistically selfish.

Women continue to struggle for respect…in our private and public lives. Physical and verbal abuse continues to plague us…in the home and in the workplace. I’m not sure it can ever be balanced out given our physical differences and the fact that men have long governed every aspect of our lives since the beginning of time. Perhaps if the roles had been reversed as in the time of the ancient Amazon women who ruled their people. Trump is disrespecting of women; even as he promotes them in his empire. He uses them to amass his wealth; while he uses their bodies to satisfy his sexual appetite.

Trump is a misogynist and a sexual predator.

Manipulative people assert themselves upon others. Perhaps we all do this from time to time…with our spouses, our children, other family members, friends and acquaintances. Whether we do it knowingly or unknowingly, it happens to the best of us. Taking it to a whole other level, however, Trump has shown himself to be a master manipulator. Not only is it obvious with those who have abandoned their morals to his presidential coronation, but it is also apparent in those gathered in a tight circle around him, his family. His children and his wife serve as his mouthpieces. Makes sense…they are Trump’s legacy and the benefactors of his wealth.

Trump hustles everyone with abandon.

Education, whether formal or informal, fosters the growth of civilization. Mankind pulls itself ahead of the other species with whom we inhabit the earth by our intelligence. Were we to abandon our thirst for knowledge, we would find ourselves back with our ancestors, the cavemen. Trump has shown by his ignorance of the facts, that he prefers syphoning information off of the Internet, in particular, Twitter and Brietbart. In so doing the Republican presidential candidate is allowing the more learned among his staff, such as Harvard-educated Steve Bannon, to drive Trump’s conversation. It’s not a stretch to imagine that he could easily succumb to the wiles of Vladimir Putin, former KGB operative steeped in the ways of undercover intelligence.

Trump is intellectually lazy.

Living in his ivory Trump Tower, The Donald is isolated from reality. Reality TV will always be his domain. As depicted on The Apprentice, Trump thrives on judging others. Lo and behold those who attempt to judge Trump, however. They run the risk of inciting his ire. At the second presidential debate he promised to appoint a special prosecutor to see that his arch enemy, Hillary Clinton, is brought to justice.

Trump justice.

Mingling only with the rich and famous, Trump cannot organically understand the plight of the lower classes. He only knows them as the doers in his empire. Folks who serve his needs and those of the wealthy classes with whom he prefers to associate. While he professes to empathize with the plight of Blacks and Hispanics, he can only spew stereotypical anecdotes about their lives. All of them bad… including those which condemn these groups for criminal activity. For someone totally alienated from lower class, nonwhites on a daily basis, it’s easy to revert to what’s familiar, what’s natural.

Trump is an ignorant racist.

Indulging his own desires at the expense of all else, has altered Trump’s humanity beyond all recognition.

…trump is dorian gray.





on the edge…

Getting older has its pitfalls; some being more evident than others. I don’t think we notice them in ourselves until we see them reflected in others. With his erratic behavior growing ever more so each day, Donald Trump should be a warning to those of us on the brink of going there ourselves.

If we disconnect with the changing world around us and become more and more insulated inside our own “bubbles,” we run the risk of becoming like Trump. We begin to see the world as hostile; people unfamiliar to us as “the enemy.”

As he has demonstrated time and time again, Trump sees another conspiracy lurking just around the bend. Beginning with the “birther” movement for which he enthusiastically assumed the leadership role, he has progressed to his current vendetta against the media, global bankers, his sexual accusers and the Clintons  as being in cahoots to take him and the country down.

We all know folks like Trump. Folks in their 60’s, 70’s and older, who can’t see beyond yesterday when the world was familiar and they felt safe. Arguing for the past in bellicose tones empowers them, even as reality slips through their fingers.

Years ago while sitting at the table with good friends of ours, dining on a wonderful array of delicious, homemade, Italian dishes, I was keenly aware of the elderly dad sitting quietly unable to participate in the banter of lively conversation. Now and then someone would try to draw him in, with no success. That image remains  etched in my mind, and serves as a reminder against the debilitating effects of isolation in older age.

That’s how I see Donald Trump…a dynastic patriarch lost in a world of his own, unable to set aside his glorious past for a present in which he doesn’t figure as prominently. I’ve known men and women like Trump. Folks who continue to view themselves as THE authoritative voice on all things, unwilling to allow that others might know better. Many a time I’ve been on the other end of such dogmatic arguments.

I don’t want to be like Trump…seeing conspiracies where there are none. Getting older doesn’t mean we automatically slide into a world of paranoia. It happens when we allow negative thoughts to overwhelm our minds, wreaking havoc where there is none, and wallowing in our own isolation to the exclusion of all else.

A couple of nights ago, hubby and I enjoyed a date night. I was looking forward to seeing Adam Levine and Maroon Five perform ever since we received the tickets as a Christmas gift from our daughter. While I thoroughly enjoyed his music, I must admit to feeling older than I expected. As thousands stood for the duration, my arthritic back found comfort in remaining seated. And while everyone else sang along with Adam, I was at a total loss for the lyrics. I felt “left out.”

Early on, I asked a woman standing in front of us to please sit so we could see the performance. She eventually acquiesced, but at the end of the evening I realized rock concerts might no longer be for me. Rather than be a curmudgeon, I’d prefer to remember when nothing could keep me down; when I’d be up and moving before anyone else.

Letting go…happily and with dignity…is a nice feeling when getting older. Although I promised myself that if I could see Bruno Mars perform live, I vow to stand with the best of them…and learn all the words to his songs! My daughter promises to join me at a Mars concert, and I’ll bet one or two of my sisters-in-law would fly in from Hawaii to join us as well.

Being “young at heart” would serve us seniors well. Old age doesn’t have to deprive us of youthful ideas and feelings, or guarantee we’ll suffer the effects of dementia…or worse, Alzheimer’s. It’s never easy to teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s…

…not impossible.





Women against…


My 30-year-old daughter, a millennial, joins me in my disdain for the candidate offered up to the American electorate by the Republican Party. Her outrage at Trump’s divisive racist and gender-based rhetoric matches mine… a 67 year-old woman of color.

I can only wonder at the loyal support Trump continues to receive from his daughter, Ivanka and his wife, Melania. I’ve no doubt they, like many of us, would stand with their man until the bitter end. It’s instinctive; it’s survival. Their fates are intimately entwined with that of their clan’s patriarch. Moreover, what Trump’s detractors are suffering at his hands would pale in comparison to what his own kin would have to endure were they to turn on him. Regardless of the stature they currently enjoy, it’s clearly apparent that Trump would put his heel to their necks were they, or any woman dependent upon his largesse, to step out of line.

Had Trump not run for President of the United States, he could have continued on his merry way doing as he pleased with whomever he pleased. We would not have been the wiser, nor would we have cared. When he took on his party’s mantle for the highest office in the country, and in the world, his business became our business.

In spite of his determination to keep us at arm’s length, even threatening to imprison his opponent and deny free speech to the media, Trump cannot shut us down. Or can he?

Could Trump, as president, limit our freedoms?

Could Trump imprison any of us on a whim? Could Trump terminate factual reporting? Could Trump be manipulated by others more intelligent than him? Could Trump wreak divisive havoc upon our country by tweeting his innermost thoughts of revenge? Could Trump decide who among us gets favorable treatment and who would not? Could Trump use our country’s financial coffers for his own self-enrichment? Could Trump take any woman for his own personal satisfaction? Could Trump get his henchmen to annihilate his enemies?

Donald Trump, the businessman, has already done all of this and probably more.

Trump has threatened to imprison Hillary Clinton were he elected president. Trump has already banned certain news media from accessing his rallies and has opted not to allow the media to travel on his plane with him, as Clinton is doing. Trump’s campaign is being fashioned at the top by Steve Bannon, a Harvard graduate, who until recently edited the internet right-wing extremist site, Breitbart. Trump, at 3 a.m., invited others to view a pornographic film involving a former Miss Universe with whom he was doing battle. Trump has touted his friendship and business dealings with billionaire Carl Icahn whose wealth came at the expense of middle class workers who lost their jobs in the process. Trump, in his own words, claims he has benefitted mightily from scamming the system…what’s to stop him from continuing to do so as the ultimate insider? By his own admission, Trump has already kissed and groped women because, as a “star,” he felt he was irresistible.

Win or lose, Trump has already incited his supporters to go after those who have opposed him. Jailing Hillary Clinton has been their battle cry for the duration of Trump’s campaign. He has done nothing to stop them; instead he condones their passionate outcry. He has also encouraged his believers to bash the media for bringing to light his transgressions against others. And let’s not forget when early on Trump himself spewed venom at a protester, saying “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Imagine that from the mouth of a future president of the United States of America.

If elected, Trump would be OUR Vladimir Putin…OUR Bashir al Asad…OUR Saddam Hossein…OUR Mohamar Ghadaffi…OUR Fidel Castro…and yes, even OUR own Paul Kagame who committed genocide upon Rawandans. Or worse, as others have suggested, perhaps America is beholding…LUCIFER himself, OUR own Adolph Hitler.

It’s unimaginable that we in America are witnessing the rebirth of Adolph Hitler. From within our midst, Trump has arisen cloaked in dark words meant to stoke the country’s fears. Just as Germans rallied to once again becoming a great Aryan nation under the leadership of “Mein Fuher,” Trump supporters are dogmatic in following him blindly into “making America great again.” According to him, President Obama took our country in the wrong direction, away from what it once was.

What America once was.

Women supporting Trump for president have offered to give up their votes so that his election as president would be guaranteed. This sacrificial offering came on the heels of a poll showing that if the vote were held today, Hillary Clinton would win because of the women’s vote; if they weren’t allowed to vote, Trump would win because of the men’s vote.

Imagine where we were prior to the woman’s right to vote. Imagine going back there. Imagine all that we would lose. Imagine all that we are still struggling to attain. Imagine living like our female counterparts in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia…subservient to men in all things, even as it pertains to our own bodies…limited access to education, if any…workplace inequalities…as well as other inequalities under the law.

Just imagine, moms and dads, your daughters and granddaughters living in an autocracy presided over by Trump. His minions, in and out of politics, ready and willing to implement his will from wherever they are in the country. From what we’ve heard in recent days, saying “no” won’t be an option. If the leader can grope women against their will, so too can his lackeys take liberties.  

“Making America great again” translates to an America where once again white men rule unchallenged, and the rest of us paw and scratch for our place at the back of the pack. If Trump is president, get ready to be…

…groped against your will…

…and worse.



the gender gap…

Aside from the obvious underlying theme of racism which pervades Trump’s race for the White House, there’s another that runs concurrent. It may only be apparent to women, for other demographics are obviously focused upon their own concerns. If you listen to presidential politics like I do, and have been doing throughout this campaign, you’d understand the undertones of the push back coming from the Republican candidate, his surrogates and supporters who have aligned themselves with Trump. In fact, he put it succinctly when he espoused that Hillary Clinton did not “look presidential.” In other words, she, a woman, does not look like any of the legitimate, white, male presidents who preceded Barack Obama. The latter remains illegitimate to Trump whose cryptic, one sentence proclamation is not sufficient to convince the public otherwise. Compare that to the volume of words over several years where he excoriated President Obama’s citizenship and religion.

Except for his usual female surrogates, including Ivanka, who not surprisingly are young and attractive, most of the others who espouse Trump’s supposed virtues are men.

After last night’s presidential debate, the pundits were quick to weigh in with their opinions. Across the board, the majority declared Hillary Clinton the winner. Yet this morning, Micah on “Morning Joe” made a significant point…that women are not treated to the same standards as men during job interviews. While the male commentators lauded Clinton’s deft parrying, Micah persisted with her doubts saying that while Hillary’s performance was “pitch perfect, women don’t get the jobs.” Having worked in the corporate world for a couple of decades before retiring to be a stay-at-home-mom, I saw first hand the inequalities between the sexes.

Because I was a female with “smarts,” and a person of ethnicity, a Pacific Islander, I was afforded opportunities at a time when Equal Employment Opportunity was the law of the land. That, however, did not translate to equal treatment. While handling employee benefits for a major NYC corporation with world-wide interests, my compensation was less than that of a department secretary. The same was true in my next job as a Labor Relations paralegal with TWA. Female admin assistants to male department heads were considered more valuable than women with considerable responsibilities of their own.

America is entrenched in the tradition that white men are better-equipped at “taking care of business.” They continue to occupy the majority of corporate and government positions assigned to the movers and shakers across our country. Women have made great strides, but occupying the presidency continues to be just beyond our reach.

Hillary Clinton, the best prepared to be president by all estimations, is held to a higher standard by the American people than her Republican counterpart. Trump showed himself to be totally unprepared to be president during last night’s debate, and yet a portion of the populace continue to give him a pass on everything. For them, he can do no wrong regardless of the facts, and regardless of his refusal to share his business liabilities with the public.

“Trust me” and “believe me,” satisfies Trump supporters that he can do the job. Facts are inconsequential to him and, therefore, they matter not to his supporters. “Change for the sake of change” is their steadfast mantra. Truth, morals and common sense are obliterated by Trump’s bombastic dynamism. He’s the “nuclear bomb” awaiting his place on the world stage.

It’s uncanny how free citizens, enjoying a modicum of the good life desired by people the world over are willing to relinquish democracy in favor of autocracy. Trump’s promises have a familiar ring. Much like Hitler was to post WWI Germany, the Republican candidate posits himself as America’s savior. He alone will solve the myriad of problems our country faces, from destroying Isis…to forcing NATO allies to pay up what they owe…to getting Mexico to pay for a border wall to rival the Great Wall in China…to bringing law and order to the streets of Chicago…to uplifting African-Americans with whom he has only recently interacted…to strong-arming companies who want to take jobs elsewhere…to improving health care, education, and so on for everyday Americans.

How does Trump propose to do all this? By lowering the taxes of the wealthy and removing government regulatory restrictions which prevent them from keeping their money in this country. Trump is counting upon this offshore stash to solve America’s problems. Welcome to Trump’s “reality.”

Women are traditionally, the nurturers; while men continue to occupy the position of patriarch, the protector and provider. Many Americans still subscribe to that world order. Even when the choice is a man as morally flawed as Trump, his supporters are steadfast in their allegiance to tradition. Real change, fundamental change, is scarier to them than is entrusting our democracy to an autocrat.

President Obama commenced real change in America. Hillary Clinton, the first woman qualified to be our next president, promises to move us forward on the path of real change.

…a vote for trump is a vote for…

…more of the same.







…”a very, very, nice, long vacation.”…

Image result for donald trump golfing images


…that’s what Donald Trump wants. That’s what he says he’ll do if he doesn’t win. In this case I, for one, would love to give the man what he wants.

Trump rightfully deserves to be put out to graze. No one has worked harder at distorting the truth than The Donald himself. God bless him. He didn’t even break a sweat in his Goliath undertaking, unlike Marco Rubio who was drenched in his own sweat according to Trump.

Trump is to be admired for driving his own brand of rhetoric that had him circling roundabouts of his own making that had the experts tied up in knots, stumbling over their own tongues.

The presidential candidate will go down in history as having done it “his way” all the way. Move over Sinatra, Trump can sing those lyrics better than you any day of the week…and some.

If I had to choose a despot-in-the-making for the 21st century, Trump wins hands down every time. The man can twist himself into a pretzel better than any yoga practitioner on both sides of the ocean. Doesn’t matter that he always ends up lopsided, unable to stand tall in his Italian made shoes. The ones he has copied in China for U.S. consumption. Or is that his daughter Ivanka’s entrepeneurial expertise?

Trump supporters are smart to entrust him with their lives and all that they posess, for there is no one more adept at the “art of the deal” than The Donald. As he said “Nobody knows the system better than me. I alone can fix it.” He should know. He’s been gaming the system for decades.

While he adamantly refuses to release any of his taxes, those under audit and those already done, he and his surrogates proudly admit that he pays the least amount possible. You can bet he’ll find a way to write off all expenses to do with his presidential campaign. After all, if he loses why should he be stuck “holding the bag.” That’s what the taxpayers are for…including his ardent supporters. The ones he likes to refer to as “uneducated.”

The Donald and his cronies, like Carl Icahn…Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary…are delighted to lead the “uneducated” towards “making America great again.” Icahn helped companies like TWA, where I worked in the early 80’s, reorganize so as to survive. Have any of you flown TWA lately? I didn’t think so.

I got pregnant so I missed all the “fun” when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. My coworkers weren’t so lucky when Icahn sold off lucrative pieces of TWA, and let the rest of the company sink into oblivion. Icahn is now worth $17 billion. Following are some of what he believes…

Image result for icahn imagesAnyone that makes me a quarter of a billion dollars, I like.
When you have no one to answer to, vendetta as investment strategy is as legitimate as anything.
You learn in this business: It you want a friend, get a dog.
My wife watches me like a hawk.
I’m a cynic about corporate democracy and boards.
It could be that Trump considers Icahn a mentor, not just a friend. As for Icahn’s take on The Donald? “If you want a friend, get a dog.” Icahn’s words; not mine.
And in Trump’s own words… 

Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.

I vote we retire Trump, at 70 years of age, to his palatial, D.C. Mar-A-Lago on Pennsylvania Ave. The man needs to catch up on some serious sleep, and be allowed to capitalize on his run for the presidency. I can already see his brain going…



Donald Trump and Carl Icahn attended a Tyson-Spinks boxing match in 1988 at Trump Plaza in New York City

Donald Trump and Carl Icahn attended a Tyson-Spinks boxing match in 1988 at Trump Plaza in New York City


…the beautiful…


Image result for cascades mt range images

Wanting to share the best of the Pacific Northwest with a dear friend, I decided we’d tour Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen’s. This was Laurie’s first visit, and airfares from the east coast being what they are, I was pretty sure she’d not be returning anytime soon.

I’ve no idea why I’d never thought to travel out that way before, except to say that neither my husband nor I are overly keen about venturing forth into the great outdoors. Simply put, we like to leave it to the critters that call it home.

One day, while out walking in Banff, Canada, I almost came face to face with a giant black bear. From then on, I decided to enjoy the outdoors…from the safety of the indoors.

Since I was born in Hawaii where volcanoes loom large around every bend in the road, it could also be that I had no inclination to see two more.

Was I ever wrong.

The drive towards Mount Rainier felt desolate. The two-way road was pretty isolated, except for the occasional car driving in the opposite direction. Acres and acres of evergreens lent an eeriness to the quiet hanging heavy all around us. If it weren’t for the intermittent chatter between Laurie and me, we might have been three souls traveling alone toward a destination as yet unrevealed to us.

A little spooky, I thought.

Thankfully the sun shone bright as we made our way along, what was for us, uncharted territory. More than once I proclaimed “How majestic!” as the Cascades Mountain Range unfolded before our eyes. If there ever was a place God designated as his, this was it.

While we didn’t see the summit of Mount Rainier because it was hidden by a heavy blanket of clouds, we hiked a winding trail up a nearby mountain in the hopes we’d catch even a glimpse. Breathing heavily because of the elevation, we climbed uphill gingerly so as not to lose our footing and tumble backwards over bumpy terrain.

Image result for Mount Rainier

Stretching out all around us were fields and fields of wildflowers. Seeing them made our questionable decision to continue the ascent worthwhile.

The following day we drove in the direction of Mount St. Helen’s.

In May 1980, it famously exploded in an eruption that sent a landslide of uprooted trees, bridges, houses and other debris 50 miles downstream. Sadly, lives were also lost. According to Wikipedia…

Fifty-seven people were killed during the eruption.[52] Had the eruption occurred one day later, when loggers would have been at work, rather than on a Sunday, the death toll would almost certainly have been much higher.[8]

83-year-old Harry R. Truman, who had lived near the mountain for 54 years, became famous when he decided not to evacuate before the impending eruption, despite repeated pleas by local authorities. His body was never found after the eruption.

Another victim of the eruption was 30-year-old volcanologist David A. Johnston, who was stationed on the nearby Coldwater Ridge. Moments before his position was hit by the pyroclastic flow, Johnston radioed his famous last words: “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!”[53] Johnston’s body was never found.

A young geologist lectured small groups of visitors on the science behind volcanic eruptions, and more specifically the one that occurred at that site. Of particular interest to me was her explanation that Hawaiian volcanoes aren’t destructive to human life unless, of course, a person is in the path of its lava flow. The difference, she said, was that the nearby ocean salt causes Hawaiian volcanoes to be fluid, not explosive.

My relatives living on the islands should be able to rest easy. You think?

Another volcanic dome is growing within the crater of Mount St. Helen’s. Earthquakes continue to occur regularly. When I asked the geologist about the next eruption occurring while folks were in the area, she seemed to take the question in stride. She said the experts would call in time to alert everyone to leave.


I think I’ll start reading the earthquake reports myself. I’m no Olympic runner.

…not by a long shot.






She was like a second mother, my sister Ruby. While it’s difficult to remember all the details of that time, I can distinctly recollect her being warm and understanding where my own mother was sometimes gruff and exacting.

Misc July 2010 00069The event that remains permanently etched in my memory was when Ruby allowed me to help run the wet clothes through the wringing rollers in her old-fashioned washing machine. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and very conscientious it seems. Wanting to do it correctly, I hung onto the piece of clothing a tad longer than I should have as it made its way through the wringer. In seconds my hand was being dragged along, all the way up my forearm. Screaming bloody murder, I was rescued by my sister who came running to unplug the machine. I’m sure I steered clear of that fandangled contraption after that.

As a youngster I spent a good deal of time with Ruby and her cowboy husband, Steve Autry. I’ve no idea what brought him to Maui back in the ’50s. Perhaps he was lured by the image of roping horses and riding Brahma bulls in the annual rodeo held at the base of Haleakala, the island’s dormant volcano. Or maybe he thought he’d work at what he knew best…being a cowboy and whatever that entailed.

My sister and her husband made an unusual couple in those days…a lanky, 6 footer whose mischievous, blue eyes peered out from beneath strands of blonde hair streaked by the island sun. His tanned face, deeply lined and freckled. Standing alongside him, Ruby was inches shorter. Hair cut short in the natural ebony color of the island women. A jaunty smile compared to her husband’s. A crooked one that partially hid his tobacco-stained teeth.

Watching my brother-in-law roll cigarettes was always captivating. First came the crisp, creamy-hued slip of rectangular paper, followed by the tobacco pouch. With deft agility he’d tug at the strings of the pouch so that a slim rivulet of tobacco dribbled onto the paper. Taking the strings between his front teeth, Steve would draw the pouch’s opening to a close. Returning it to the shirt pocket over his heart, he’d take the nearly finished cigarette between his thumbs and index fingers. Using his pointy, long tongue he’d spread just enough saliva along the length of one side of the paper allowing him to fasten it to the other side. Slipping the newly-minted cigarette between his lips, my brother-in-law would light it with the strike of a match along the underside of his boot.

To a clueless kid like me, it was pretty cool stuff.

A few years younger than me, my niece and I would often accompany her dad, as he scoured landfills and roadsides for stuff to resell, especially scrap metal. Growing up poor meant not having many toys like friends who did. So climbing over piles of junk in search of hidden treasures was fun. It was kind of exciting to see what I’d find under the rubble. One discovery turned out to be more than I bargained for. Watch for that story in a future post.

They might have made it as a country singing duet. With Steve on the guitar and Ruby singing harmony, they sounded like the real thing. Not that I’d had much opportunity to hear country music, but I knew what I liked and I liked what I heard. My favorite was a haunting lullaby which included some yodeling. My sister yodeled beautifully. Imagine that! An island gal yodeling as naturally as though she’d been born on the range. I’m certain my love of singing blossomed during these impromptu song fests right there on the front steps of their house. 

 Sadly for Ruby and her daughter, the cowboy didn’t remain a permanent fixture. He and my sister divorced when I was a preteen. Since they’d moved to Honolulu, the islands’ designated “big city,” I would spend part of my summers with them. And much later when I returned to attend the University of Hawaii, my sister Ruby’s apartment was where I went the first couple of summers after I vacated the college dorms.

My sister didn’t have an easy life, raising a child on her own. In fact, my young niece lived with my mom and me for a couple of years on Maui while Ruby sought to earn a living. I’m not certain, but it may be that she continued to struggle until the end which came on July 27. She died of lung cancer, a result of decades of cigarette smoking.

I will remember Ruby as a soft-spoken mediator, a comforting presence, humble, self-sacrificing and perhaps easily overcome by stronger personalities, like my mom. I truly believe she would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it more than she. I’m sorry we’d not been in touch later in life, but she seemed content with where she’d finally landed…living with her daughter and her family. Secreted away from the turmoil she’d known, it felt right to let her be, to let her live in peace and quiet, no longer saddled by the burdens of others. At least I’m hoping that’s how it was.

…blessed are the peacemakers…

…for they shall be called children of God.

………hugmamma.Miscellaneous Pictures July 2010 124









Laurie and I have known each other since our daughters were toddlers. She initiated the first ever playgroup in our small town of Redding, Connecticut. For that I will be forever grateful. It was my lifeline to the outside world since I’d decided to forgo a career in NYC to be a stay-at-home mom.

I’d worked since I was 16, so being in a twosome with a child for the next umpteen years was a thousand scary thoughts all rolled into one. I’d no idea how I’d make it from one day to the next without adult companionship.

Thank God for that ad in the local paper inviting new moms to gather with babes in arms. Laurie and I have been lifelong friends ever since.

There were a number of women with whom I’d been close, but Laurie was the only one with whom I’d been so totally in sync. There were never, ever any issues over which we’d have a falling out. Never. Our daughters, only children, were our common cause. It was always about their well being. Our worlds revolved around doing our best for them. We always commiserated over that common goal. Our egos never got ahead of us that way. Amazing! Truly amazing.

It’s been 18 years since our family moved to the Pacific Northwest. During that time, Laurie and I have managed to meet up…in Redding,  NYC, Chautauqua (New York), Atlanta, Martha’s Vineyard and just last week, here in Washington State. (We’re already looking forward to where we’ll next meet.) As with long time friends the world over, we spent every waking moment catching up on…our lives…our daughters’ lives…the lives of friends and acquaintances we’d both known…and Redding, past and present.

As an unexpected bonus, Laurie and I discovered we both dreaded the thought of a Trump presidency. And so from the outset, politics wove their way in and out of all of our conversations. Empowered by our discussions, she vowed that she would help register voters upon returning to her home town in Pennsylvania. And, of course, I plan to continue trouncing Trump with the written word.

One of the first compliments I paid Laurie on this visit was that she was everybody’s enabler…her daughter’s…her ex-husband’s…her two sisters…her niece and nephew…her friends…her coworkers. It’s in Laurie’s very DNA to quietly support those with whom she’s in contact. She never pushes her opinions; instead she listens carefully, building upon what the speaker has said. To her great credit, many have remained loyal to her. And to her very great credit, her daughter is thriving in a gay marriage and enjoying an awesome career as a veterinarian.

I count myself very lucky to still be among Laurie’s closest friends. No matter the distance, no matter the passing of time, we will always be kindred spirits…




…forever friends…forever love…

Of all the testimonies given by countless Americans, prominent figures and everyday citizens, something that comes to mind as I sit watching all of them speak about their memorable relationships with Hillary Clinton, is what no one dares mention…Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

The only one chomping at the bit is The Donald . And I’m certain he’s saving it as his Trump card.

The image that remains with me of that tawdry period in President Clinton’s Administration is Chelsea strolling  between her parents, an arm around each of their shoulders, as they cross the White House lawn on their way to the helicopter. It’s a compelling glimpse of their beloved daughter holding her family together. With heads bowed toward hers, they look like broken people, especially Hillary.

Today there’s no evidence of that Hillary.

Whether it was their unbreakable family connection, their devotion to an only child, their enduring friendship, or their unwavering faith in God’s power to heal, or all of these combined…the Clintons have remain together for 38 years.

The “fighter” Hillary, the “change-maker” Hillary, the “stronger together” Hillary, and Hillary the wife, the mother and grandmother, “made lemonade out of lemons.” She stuck by her husband and faced down their critics; she didn’t turn her back on life. Instead, she returned to public service and became New York’s senator.

Observing Bill Clinton as speaker after speaker heaps accolades upon his wife, there’s no mistaking his pride at being the man who is lucky enough to be by her side as she makes history. However I’m sure Hillary would be the first to say, that she too is privileged to still be married to her soul mate. The man who encouraged her to be the best he knew she could be.

I know a thing or two about being married. My husband and I celebrated our 46th anniversary in June, the day after our daughter’s wedding. Married at 20, three years after we began dating, we went through the usual ups and downs of newlyweds. It takes time and work for a husband and wife to finally fit like “hand in glove.” It doesn’t just happen with vows. Personal issues don’t disappear with a wedding ring. Choosing a mate doesn’t mean he or she is perfection itself. For marriages that last, perfection comes with time and a willingness to compromise.

Weathering the worst together makes for enduring marriages, and…

…truly best friends and soul mates.







nurturing thursdays: powerful words…

A few things in historical documentarian Ken Burns’ speech to Stanford University’s 2016 graduating class, continues to resonate with me. He said…to educate all of our parts…to make babies…and that the arts make our country worth defending. 

To educate all of our parts.

I always tell my daughter “Being fully informed makes your decision, whatever it is, an educated guess. Whatever the outcome, you know you did all you could to make the best choice you possibly could in the moment.” Because she was a blessing, my only child after 16 years of hoping I would one day become a mother, I live with the thought that she could be gone in the blink of an eye. With the hateful rhetoric inciting Trump supporters to take America back to a darker time when the world was white and black, I worry as I see other mothers lose their children to gun violence.

An adult and wife at 30, I can no longer stand between my daughter and the world. And yet I know I have armed her with a clear vision of the real world ever since she was a youngster. Unlike a friend who felt her son at age 5 was too young for the truth, I felt my daughter was not too young to learn the facts of life. In doing so, however, I always followed the truth with positive words reinforcing hope, not negative resignation.

To make babies.

Not until you have a child, can you understand what it is to lose a child. Not until you lose a child, can you understand a mother’s desire not to go on living afterwards. I hope, as parents the world over do, that my daughter outlives me by decades.

The arts make our country worth defending.

Supporting my daughter in her desire to dance professionally will always be something of which I am proudest. It was not an easy path; neither was it a lucrative one. My daughter said, when featured in Discount Dance Supply Magazine at age 16…

Dancing is a gift that I would like to share with the world.

The greatest satisfaction is knowing when my performance has touched or moved someone.

She may not have secured millions as a professional athlete, but my daughter garnered millions in spiritual wealth. If she were taken by an act of violence tomorrow, my daughter can return to Our Father having lived a Christ-like life. And if I were to die first, I would do so knowing that I have been…

…a mother in Mary’s footsteps.


(Note: Click on the following link for more inspirational posts…


…”I pass”…

Something said during card games, like poker and Black Jack. Usually offered when the player feels he is pretty certain of a win.

Anyone who has been following this presidential campaign can attest to the fact that Trump supporters have awarded him the ultimate “pass.” He is allowed to play the game for as long as he chooses no matter what cards he holds close to his vest. They are betting all their money on him winning, and they don’t care how he does it.

Trump’s latest “pass” is that he probably won’t be investigated for calling upon the Russians to find the supposed 30,000 emails deleted from Hillary Clinton’s server.

“Russia, if you are listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said to a room of TV cameras at Trump National Doral. “I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press.”

Senior policy aide for the Clinton campaign responded “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent…That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

Showing his autocratic bent in suppressing the media, “When a female reporter asked Trump whether he was encouraging Russia to hack into emails, Trump snapped back: ‘Be quiet! I know you want to save her,’ a reference to Clinton.”

Just as Trump went after the judge involved in the Trump University lawsuit because of his Mexican heritage, Trump will do anything to go after his Democratic opponent including espionage. Sacrificing America to the enemy is NOT beyond Trump’s high stakes’ game. He will win at any price! And, it seems, Trump supporters prefer to annihilate a democratic America in favor of a Trump regime. They are willing to sacrifice whatever strides our country has made toward independence, preferring instead to once again be part of a dynastic empire. Only this time it’s the Russian bloc under Putin.

Understandably blinded by their own individual grievances, Trump supporters desperately cling to the cult hope that Trump, as messiah, can deliver them from the purgatory they inhabit. What they don’t realize is that this game of Russian Roulette with one bullet left is aimed point-blank at the heart of America…and at their own hearts.

…America’s death…is our death.





…as it should be…

As excruciatingly messy as it might be sometimes, democracy is still preferable to autocracy. Each person speaking his and her own voice is still preferable to one voice speaking for all.

The difference between the RNC and the DNC is stark. Last night, apart from the megawatt speeches delivered by Michelle Obama, Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, there were equally moving speeches delivered by ordinary folks like Cheryl Lankford. She was one of many trumped by the man himself when she enrolled in Trump University to the tune of $35,000.

I understood Lankford’s embarrassment at feeling she was the fool for being duped. I understood her inability to tell anyone about how dumb she felt. I understood how as a woman, we are primed to think it’s our fault if we’re stupid enough to get “taken to the cleaners.” Especially up against billionaire Donald Trump. Who would believe Cheryl Lankford if she spoke up against a man of his celebrated, moneyed stature?

Today, I was moved to tears by the story of Na’ilah Amaru.

“I was born on a dirt floor to a woman whose name I will never know. What I do know is that she loved me enough to give me up, so I could live the life she wanted for me. A life without hunger or despair, filled with hope, education, and opportunity.

As a baby, bundled up in the hopes and dreams of my mother, I began a new life in a faraway land called America. I was raised by two women, and learned early on about intolerance and hatred. But I also learned about the power of love, faith and hope.

The first time I saw Hillary, she was on TV addressing a panel of men with such confidence and ownership of self. Her poise and presence fundamentally changed how I would claim my own space in the world. I was 11.

Seven years later, my belief in America inspired me to raise my hand and solemnly swear to defend her ideals with my life. I joined the army as an ammunition specialist and gave the best of myself to a country that had given me so much. I returned from Iraq deeply committed to restoring the faith of America’s Promise—for everyone.

Tonight, in the birthplace of our nation, I renew our commitment to democracy with an historic step toward gender equality. Reflected in broken shards of glass, and Hillary herself, we can see the dreams of our daughters. This is America’s promise.

Along my journey, I have called California, Texas, Georgia, and New York home. And I know that what connects us runs far deeper than what divides us.

So, if you can hear my voice tonight, join me and everyone in this hall, by texting HILLARY to 47246—as we move forward, together.

As an immigrant, a combat veteran, a woman of color, and my mother’s daughter, I am American. My story is our story. The story of America.”

(PRNewswire, 7/26/16)

Ordinary women standing up FOR…

…an exceptionally, extraordinary woman.

…Hillary Clinton.



…a new direction…from the ground up

Millennials are determined to forge their own way irrespective of the mountain of experience stockpiled for their benefit by previous generations. Good for them! What they might lack in a foundation born of real life events, Millenials make up for in enormous self-confidence.

Technology and the great wealth it has afforded brilliant, young minds at an early age probably accounts for much of the risk-taking embedded in the very fiber of Millenials. There is no shortage of entrepreneurs, especially in the world of computers and cellphones. Where Baby-Boomers saved religiously for a down payment on a house, Millenials can plunk down millions on over-sized mansions.

Why then should Millenials heed any advice offered by generations that came before? Obviously they are doing something right. What isn’t apparent is other than themselves, what is it that they find worthy of their ambition that helps elevate those less fortunate than them?

It may be that Millenials can throw money at charitable causes of their choosing, but will they invest of themselves? Will they get “down and dirty” and grovel in the muck that is the environment of people of color, in order to help change the justice system?…to help level the playing field by funding educational opportunities?…to involve themselves in politics to improve their communities for others?

Millenials seem content to take, without acknowledging the hard-fought battles waged so that they could soar as far as they could dream.

Hillary Clinton, contrary to Republican propaganda, walked the talk from hopeful college student…to First Lady of Arkansas…to America’s First Lady…to New York State Senator…to President Obama’s Secretary of State…to the first female candidate for President of the United States for the Democratic Party.

It is a BIG deal to finally elect a female president. Hillary Clinton is breaking the tallest glass ceiling for women in this country. I can’t imagine that Millenial women don’t continue to face inequality in the workplace and in the community- at-large. They have it better for sure than my generation, but make no mistake…it is still a man’s world. Strides are being made everyday, the biggest being made now…almost 100 years after women won the right to vote.

Hillary has never played the woman card before now, but today she can do so with pride in all she has accomplished by sheer will, hard work and playing hard-ball in a man’s world. And in the run-up to the White House, she remains true to form.  She is not EXPECTING to win. Instead…

…Hillary Clinton will continue to work for every vote!



…Trump and Sander supporters.

Those continuing to protest Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic party’s candidate for the presidency look and sound like those of the Republican candidate. From what could be seen by way of the media cameras, they were mostly white.

What comes to mind first and foremost is that the opposition is not only directed toward Clinton, but seems to reflect an underlying disdain for Obama.

As the first, black president Obama continues to be held to a higher standard than any occupying the office before him. He is blamed for the unraveling of the Middle East, even though George W. is the one who declared war on Iraq despite being told that there were no weapons of mass destruction as originally claimed. The result? We are now facing the disenfranchised Iraqi military in the form of…Isis.

Further evidence that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to undermine President Obama’s efforts to succeed is the fact that he is given little, if any, credit for saving the country from another Great Depression. Trump supporters forget that once again, George W. is to blame for that economic fiasco. It looks as though dissatisfied Sanders supporters who promise to vote for Trump, also discard the fact their economic predicament is the fault of a Republican president.

Aside from the decades long, nonstop vendetta directed at Hillary Clinton by the conservative establishment, it is obvious that a majority of her supporters do not fit the typical Republican profile. For the most part, people of color support Hillary’s vision of an inclusive, democratic America.

In a speech before supporters this morning, Sanders’ request that they vote for the Democratic ticket was met with opposition. His call for party unity is falling upon deaf ears. No surprise since Sanders himself doesn’t seem to want to give up his campaign.

Rather than hi-jacking their respective parties, Trump and Sanders should have gone their own way. Even children know, you can’t force…

…a square peg into a round hole





…together…let’s do this thing!

Watching Hillary Clinton address supporters in Tampa a couple of days ago, I found myself back on familiar ground…feet firmly planted in the America I know and love. I saw myself among the smiling faces seated in back of her…all “mutts” who call these United States home, regardless of our pedigree.

STRONGER TOGETHER is the pledge Hillary is making, and one that all who believe in our democratic system can get behind. All of us together will move America forward as we have done since our country was founded.

On the competitor’s side, Trump supporter Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, one of the speakers at the RNC, appears representative of those aligned with their nominee. Thiel is against a democratic America; preferring instead an autocracy. In “The Education of a Libertarian,” dated April 13, 2009 Thiel wrote “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

A match made in Republican heaven…Thiel’s billions funding Trump’s autocratic candidacy.

In his acceptance speech, Trump magnanimously promised to take care of all Americans and “make the country great again.” Somewhat reminiscent perhaps of another seemingly magnanimous figure who promised to return his country to the greatness it had known prior to WWI. And so another world war was waged in which millions of lives were sacrificed for the cause. In its aftermath, Germany was devastated and the Germans were branded the most hated people on the face of the earth.

The first graduate to address Welsley College as valedictorian on May 31, 1969, Hillary said “ ‘One of the most tragic things that happened yesterday, a beautiful day, was that I was talking to a woman who said she wouldn’t want to be me for anything in the world…She wouldn’t want to live today and look ahead to what it is she sees because she’s afraid.” ‘

 Hillary went on to tell her graduating class of 400 that “Fear is always with us but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.” Almost five decades later, the Democratic nominee for president is still fear-less.

There is no time for fear.

Never in America’s history have we stepped away from a challenge. Americans have always united against the common enemy, including Japanese citizens whose families were stripped of both pride and property and relocated to internment camps during WWII. And during the Civil War Blacks donned the Union’s blue uniform, even though EQUALITY for their people was never something they imagined.

Today our enemy masquerades in the form of Trump’s message to “make America great again.” It signals a return to an America where fear of people different from ourselves inspired vigilante activities that led to lynchings and mob retaliation.

As recent as March 21, 1981, 17-year-old Michael Donald, a black teenager was hung from a tree by members of Alabama’s Klu Klux Klan. Donald just happened to be…in the wrong place, at the wrong time. His life was taken because a black defendant was acquitted of killing a white policeman during a robbery. “Bennie-Jack-Hays, the second-highest-ranking official in the United Klans in Alabama, said: “If a black man can get away with killing a white man, we ought to be able to get away with  killing a black man.” Hays’ 26-year-old son, Henry Hayes, one of four white men involved in the lynching was executed for the murder on June 6, 1997.

And let’s not forget the racist rhetoric of George Wallace who in 1963, as governor of Alabama, tried to prohibit blacks from enrolling as students at the University of Alabama. President Kennedy, backed by the power of the federal government, forced Wallace to stand aside. The following day, Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi.

As the fear messenger, Trump is inciting his supporters to take the country back to a more familiar world order. And some may already be answering that call.

Imagine if this was…

…your daughter…in the wrong place, at the wrong time???

…i already do.