tiger or leopard…they don’t change…

With the presidential campaign dominating the news, there’s obviously much talk about both candidates. Since I’m neither a politician nor a pundit, I can only speak to what I surmise from all that’s been “hung out to dry.”

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

I liken President Obama and Governor Romney to the “tiger who can’t change its stripes” or the “leopard who can’t change its spots.”

Obama is the product of divorced parents, an African American father and a Caucasian mother. Raised by a single mom, with the help of her parents, Obama managed to graduate from Harvard, work in public service, serve as a senator, and go on to become the first Black President of the United States. His upper class status is the result of his current salary of $400,000 a year and earnings from books he has authored. He’s made known the taxes he has paid, as well as his charitable donations. Time and again Obama has indicated he’d be willing to pay higher taxes as part of the wealthy 2% in our society.

Romney’s background is one of affluence, having grown up in an upper class, Caucasian family. He served as governor of Massachusetts, followed by a career at Baine Capital where he continued as sole owner and served as CEO for several years while he ran the Winter Olympics in Utah. The perception is that Romney’s wealth amounting to hundreds of millions has been acquired through chicanery. He is revealing only the minimum information required as regards the taxes he has paid, and the specifics about his foreign, offshore holdings.

Dreams from My Father

Dreams from My Father (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the one hand President Obama’s life is an open book, several in fact. Among them, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance . By contrast, Governor Romney seems to be playing his hand very close to his vest.

As ordinary citizens both Obama and Romney are free to live their lives as they so choose. Their capitalistic endeavors are their business.  However, when they ask me to consider their qualifications for President of the United States, trust means a great deal to me. And I have little faith in someone who is dealing me a lot of doubletalk.

I understand there are those who will vote for Romney because they don’t like Obama’s politics. At least I know what his politics are.

Aside from making himself a multi-millionaire many times over, I’ve no idea who Romney is. My overriding  impression is that he will hold tight to his wealth and help others like him do the same.

I credit both presidential candidates as being…

President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady M...

President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, prepares to read “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak on Monday, April 13. 2009, to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…exactly as they seem…

………hugmamma.

Advertisements

fire extinguisher 101

1905 advertisement illustration showing woman ...

1905 advertisement illustration showing woman using fire extinguisher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quick lesson on the use of a home fire extinguisher gratis World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer.

According to the report, many homeowners have fire extinguishers. I’m one of those. Unfortunately, not many know how to use them. I’m one of those too.

The good news, if there is any when you’re in the midst of a home fire, is the following. Useful instructions provided by a fireman interviewed for the ABC nightly segment.

Remember to………P.A.S.S.

  • PULL the clip.
  • AIM the fire extinguisher.
  • SPRAY the chemical ingredients.
  • SIDE to SIDE sweeping movement.

 The report went on to say that using a fire extinguisher is fine if the fire is still in its infancy. However, if it is full blown…GET OUT…FAST!!!

If you’re like me, you’ll print a copy of this and post it near the stove…and anywherelse you think a fire might start.

…my memory’s…not what it use to be…

………hugmamma.   😆

weekly photo challenge: movement

On a cruise of the British Isles last Fall, the Queen Mary II was hailed with majestic fireworks while anchored in Liverpool. Lucky us, we had a ringside seat.  There’s nothing like the movement of explosive sparks of fire as they hang suspended…disappearing from sight shortly thereafter. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

…movement…electrifying and ear-shattering…

………hugmamma.   🙂

go julia!!!

Seventeen (magazine)

Seventeen (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NBC news  recently shone the spotlight on teen ballerina, Julia Bluhm. From Maine, a normal looking youngster…with a passion for activism. Her debut efforts at effecting change? Getting Seventeen Magazine to stop photoshopping its models’ pictures.

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Another benefit of aging, for there are some, is that vanity takes a permanent back seat. At some point we realize no matter what we try, short of comprehensive plastic surgery, we’re not going to alter our genetics.

A glance in the mirror confirms that I’m looking more like my mom with each passing day…especially without makeup. I’m fighting the battle of the bulge, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to regain the figure I enjoyed in my 20s, 30s, and even 40s.

Who decided that ordinary women with looks ranging from…dour…to homely…to lovely…to breathtakingly gorgeous…wanted to see only one end of the spectrum represented in advertising and in the media. Whoever it was, or whoever they were, must’ve thought we were gullible sheep who wouldn’t buy anything unless touted by foxy hotties.

These days I tend to look past the glam and listen for substantitive words instead. I’m not saying beautiful women have no place in the world. They just don’t represent ALL the women in the world.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see faces and bodies more akin to those reflected back from our mirrors?

Advertisers need to overhaul their perception of what women want. We can help them by boycotting their products.

I for one could easily see Victoria Secret Angels banished for good. Flaunting their scantily clad bodies, these women invite men to fantasize. Some acting out their fantasies with murderous results.  And young girls to imagine themselves as less than, if they don’t see themselves reflected in these sensual goddesses.

How do I start this petition rolling?

 

Victoria's Secret Black Friday at Westfield Sa...

Victoria’s Secret Black Friday at Westfield San Francisco Centre 2009 (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

…or am i just a lone voice?…   😦

………hugmamma.   

not all disney…

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman lingers front and center in our collective psyche because he claims to have killed a young man in self defense. What doesn’t sit well is that he pursued the victim under the guise of vigilante justice, even after a call to 911 advised Zimmerman to end his pursuit. So why didn’t he obey authorities?

Tomas Lopez, a lifeguard, was called into action by a witness to a man who was drowning. Without thought for where the incident was taking place, Lopez bolted to the scene and rescued the man, providing aid until the paramedics arrived. Upon returning to his station, Lopez correctly assumed that he had probably jeopardized his job by responding to gut instinct.

Lifeguard jumping into action in Ocean City, M...

Lifeguard jumping into action in Ocean City, Maryland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lopez was fired because employer rules prohibited him from saving lives outside the area for which he was responsible. Fellow lifeguards also quit, under protest. Media attention has pressured his employer to offer Lopez his job back. It’s a no-brainer that he refused. What would he do if such an incident occurred again. Lopez would undoubtedly do the job any lifeguard is prepared to do…save lives. 

Stereotypes exist of faraway places, both here and abroad. What tourists must remember is that everyday life continues behind the fantastic facades. And all that appears golden, may only be brass.

State seal of Florida

State seal of Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…perfection on earth…doesn’t exist…

………hugmamma.

love this life…

David Culiner’s manifesto…love this life. Musician, entrepeneur, one who philosophizes. He has his own website and is promoted on others. While I’m not following suit, I did think the words found on tags attached to his clothing line were worth repeating.

LovethisLife…
is about celebrating the moment
and that we’re not guaranteed
or owed another day
and how cool it is that what we hide
can actually be the fuel towards our glory
and that it’s not so bad being proven wrong

LovethisLife…
is about welcoming the blind turn
and the possibility that
 there’s no such thing as coincidence
and that empathy is incredibly sexy
and that it’s never too late to
pick up a guitar or a paintbrush
or to make an amend
or to make a new friend

LovethisLife…
could be about rekindling a past flame
or igniting a new one
or shapeshifting from a dreamer into a doer
or savouring the caress of a love long gone

LovethisLife…
means whatever it is you want it to mean
because

LovethisLife…
is a celebration of you and your path

Love thisLife…
‘cuz it could go at any second

you rock.

…amen!!!…

………hugmamma.   😉

out with the old, used…

…and I don’t mean me…or hubby, for that matter. Nope I’m referring to stuff. Lots and lots of stuff…tchotchkas, clothes, linens, baseball caps, framed pictures, curtain rods, picture frames, tossed pillows. Oy vay! So much history…of the junk kind.

So what am I doing on Independence day? Not celebrating my freedom, that’s for sure. More like trying to extricate myself from the things that bind. 

I’m prepping for a neighborhood, multi-family yard sale this weekend. You can believe I’m pricing everything to sell. For each item I relinquish, I regain a fraction of my freedom. Freedom from material things that have laid claim to me, mentally and physically.

Aging opens one’s eyes to the fact that…you really can’t take it with you. If you know what I mean.

So onwards and upwards. I’m throwing off the shackles that bind me to this earth…so I can enjoy what time I’ve left…before I fly heavenwards to meet my Maker. That’s my expectation…

…i sure hope it’s His…as well…  😦 

………hugmamma.    😆

p.s. hopefully you’re doing something more exciting…happy freedom day…celebrate your independence!!!

what are friends for?

I had a couple of nice outings with two girlfriends recently.

Both are open and forthcoming with their lives…the ups…the downs. They’re also quick to offer words of support when necessary, just as I am when they’re in need.

Women connect on the ground-floor level. Together we take the elevator to the penthouse. Along the way…we get off and on…as life directs. A metaphor to be sure, but good girlfriends travel the floors in life’s elevator together…physically…and spiritually.

Molbaks' Orchids

Molbaks’ Orchids (Photo credit: JHall159)

Suzy and I enjoyed an outing to Molbak’s to take advantage of its outdoor sale…buy 1, get one free. Perrenials, annuals, vines, groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, trees…all outdoor plantings were included. In the decade and a-half that I’ve been frequenting this, my favorite nursery, I’d never seen such a sale. And Suzy hadn’t been to Molbak’s in 30 years, so she was thrilled when I invited her to accompany me.

To and from the nursery the conversation was lively. Suzy and I learned we had much in common. My father died when I was one; hers died when she was four. My mom was manipulative in many ways; so is hers. The comparisons continued. We empathized. We laughed.

Once we arrived at our destination we delighted in the sights that surrounded us, and the delicious lunch served in the cafe. After wandering around the indoor gift shop, we wend our way through the plants, selecting several for purchase.  All in all…a pleasurable outing for both of us.

My friend Mary and I stopped for coffee after exercise class yesterday. She needed a little cheering up, so I gladly obliged. She’s done as much for me.

It’s good to have someone with whom to commiserate. Moms have issues not easily understood by husbands and offspring. Try as we might, we can never seem to get our dilemma across to our loved ones. Easier to turn to other moms, not so much for a solution, as for an immediate “I know just what you mean.” That alone opens the floodgates to fluid conversation.

When all is said and done, life continues on…the load…a little lighter. All a woman needs is a sympathetic ear and a few words of support. No judgments. No put-downs. No unsolicited advice.

Mutual admiration, respect, concern, like, and love…loosely tied ribbons that keep friends close.

English: friends like you

English: friends like you (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…i’m blest with a few…good ones…

………hugmamma.

 

uncommon…but refreshingly common

While saddened to learn of Andy Griffith‘s death today, I could only think happy thoughts.

The Andy Griffith Show

The Andy Griffith Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up with The Andy Griffith Show, even though I resided in Wailuku, Maui, not Mayberry, TV land. With no dad of my own, mine having died when I was one, I latched onto Andy Griffith, as did hundreds of other children, I’m sure.

Lucky Opie. He enjoyed the hugs, the chats, the sing-a-longs,  the laughter…and the absence of spankings .

Yes, it was all make-believe. Fictional characters living in a fictional town. Somehow, I never saw Mayberry and its folks that way.

For me, Andy Griffith, family and friends in tow, stepped through the television screen, and made himself at home…in my home. He wasn’t larger than life…he always felt like he belonged…he fit in.

I’m certain I gained a lot from the wisdom intertwined with the humor on each episode. I’m definitely of the opinion “you can get more with honey than vinegar.” There’s no doubt that Andy’s drawl dripped with the sweet, amber goo. And I just lapped it up.

I didn’t dream of mansions and castles.

I fantasized about a bright, sunny home comfortably furnished, meat, potatoes and biscuits for dinner, a front porch where friends could sit a spell, and a loving dad to tuck me in at night. How I envied Opie.

Publicity photo from the television program Ma...

Publicity photo from the television program Mayberry R.F.D. Pictured are Ken Berry (Sam Jones), Buddy Foster (Mike Jones), and Andy Griffith (Sheriff Andy Taylor). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Married to Cindy Griffith  for 36 years, Presidential Medal of Honor recipient…I’ve never heard a bad word about Andy Griffith. Ron Howard, Opie’s real-life counterpart, speaks glowingly of the man he knew as his TV father.

Griffith’s on-screen persona doesn’t sound far removed from the real man. If his influence upon Howard is as he says, and little Opie has incorporated all he’s learned at the knee of his TV dad…so that Howard’s become one of the most revered and beloved Hollywood directors, then Andy Griffith is the genuine article…

…a man of integrity…above all else.

………hugmamma.    🙂

round and round we go…

Linguine dish

Linguine dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since my physician diagnosed me as being pre-diabetic, hubby and I have been exorcising “white” carbs from our diet…pastas, rice, breads. For the most part, that is. We did have linguine when we dined out the other night. I had asked if the restaurant served whole grain. As expected, the answer was a resounding…no. Well, I tried.

We are making progress at home, however. Neither white rice nor white bread passes our lips.

Tonight begins the third week we’ve been walking laps at the local community center. Within 30-40 minutes we’ve been able to walk 2 miles. Although I attend morning exercise class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I still accompany my husband in the evenings so that he gets a workout as well.

If we maintain our diet and exercise regimen for a month, according to experts, we’ll be on our way to changing our lifestyle permanently. I guess that’s the minimum amount of time needed to rewire our brains.

We’re determined to stick with the program in order to combat genetics and aging. It’s now or never…sooner rather than later…and doing nothing is not an option. 

Tonight there was a sweet moment in our sugar-free, kick-butt program…

…we held hands…as we walked 23 laps around the track…

………hugmamma.   😉

weekly photo challenge: fleeting moment

Nothing could be more fleeting than capturing snapshots of Venice on a taxi boat as it maneuvers the myriad of waterways. Each photo is a moment in time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

…sweet memories of…fleeting moments…

………hugmamma.  😉

getting more…than we give

Flanders, Netherlands

Flanders, Netherlands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hubby and I had a date night Saturday evening that included about 35 others. We helped serve dinner to those in need at our town’s community center. Although I donate a home-cooked meal with some regularity, we’re not always able to help with its serving. But when we’re able, we find those we help feed give so much more to us…than we give to them.

 All who volunteer agree that being able to share food with folks who are so grateful for whatever is placed before them, is humbling.  They thank us, numerous times, for making the entrees, the side dishes, the salads and the desserts. Some lower their eyes as they mumble their thanks. Others greet us with large smiles, asking after our well-being. Can you imagine? Concern for us who live comfortably, compared with their meagre day-to-day subsistence.

Marilyn, the meal coordinator, is a true Christian. She fills a need in our community without passing judgment on those who partake. All are welcome; all are treated with respect. They line up, help themselves, find their own seats. Returning for more helpings is fine, as is taking food home for another meal. They are sensitive to leaving some for others; they never exhibit greed. Many even help with the cleanup.

Most are men, some with jobs. Women, retirees, teens and children comprise the remainder who dine with us. Many are repeats who are known by name. No tension exists, only calm and serenity. Barriers dissolve into thin air. Class, ethnicity, education, religion, politics, even cleanliness have no place as we mingle with one another. 

We and they…have something in common.

It’s not easy to step outside one’s comfort zone, and cross over into the unknown. I’m sure it’s as difficult for those in need of our support, as it is for us who offer it. That we do… makes for a magical evening…

…of heartfelt…camaraderie…

………hugmmamma.

front and center…a golden nugget

English: Some gold nuggets from Alaska.

English: Some gold nuggets from Alaska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great lessons of older age is pausing  to reflect upon life while it continues to unfold. In our hurry to do it all and have it all before our mortality is eclipsed, we often let slip through our fingers small nuggets of gold. Worse yet when we set aside the biggest nugget of all, in the hopes of finding one even more humongous.

Living with someone is a compilation of habits, both good and not so good, accumulated through the days, weeks, months, and years we’re together. Romance and sexual palpitations give way to affection and sweet gestures, if we’re lucky. However butterflies in our stomach, whether thousands or simply a handful, are more often displaced by nibbling moths as we go about our daily grind.

It’s so easy to speak unkind words, raise an eyebrow in disdain, or lower the iron curtain of silence. In youth we pride ourselves upon our self importance, our independence, our ability to move on…alone, if necessary. Not so quick are we to dwell upon these things in older age.

Our significant other becomes like one with ourselves. No longer are the lines of demarcation so absolute. They’re fuzzier now. The distinctions almost a blur.

The same blood doesn’t course through our veins, having been born of different parents. But in a relationship that has weathered the tsunamis of life with steadfast resolve…water is thicker than blood.

While still requiring practice and firm resolution, acknowledging the value of those who have stood by our sides is imperative as life’s embers start to dim. As our insatiable appetite for things and glory wanes, what’s left are small golden nuggets. Always present, but often overlooked.

Bite your tongue when your loved one leaves a dish in the sink, rather than placing it in the diswasher. Give your loved one  that leftover, pulled-chicken sandwich you were hoping to devour for lunch. Allow your loved one to complete tasks when inclined, especially when relaxation is a luxury.

A less than sparkling home, an opportunity to lose weight, and keeping one’s blood pressure in check are a good tradeoff for keeping our loved ones happy and still over-the-moon with their choice for life-long mates.

…one golden nugget…is all i need…

………hugmamma.   🙂

on-air tantrum?

Cropped photo of Ann Curry

Cropped photo of Ann Curry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wasn’t sure how I felt about Ann Curry‘s meltdown on national TV as she exited from the Today show this week. I’ve admired her reporting and interview skills for a long time. I also thought she was a wonderful role model for Asian-Americans like myself. She’d climbed the corporate ladder with seeming class and elegance. With quiet humility Ann Curry was able to have it all. No hyper, in-your-face, beauty queen, she was one of us who happened to have a job hosting a morning TV show.

Being front man for the big boys means megabucks are at stake. The catchy ad that flashes across the screens at theaters says it all “GO BIG OR GO HOME.” Looks like Ann Curry wasn’t projecting big enough for the small screen. 

When I heard of her ouster from the Today Show, I felt sorry for Curry. However with bigger concerns occurring daily…people out of jobs, homes lost in wildfires, children dying from heat exhaustion, the tremendous growth in petty theft, pedophiles on trial…Curry’s situation paled in comparison. 

Hearing that she was receiving millions in a contract buyout didn’t make me overly sympathetic toward Curry either. Just enough since she was a woman, an ethnic sister, who slid from the summit of her career. Lucky for her she’s still working for NBC as a roving journalist. A job she’d had prior to her ascension. 

A smack to her ego for sure, but Curry’s lifestyle remains intact. The same can’t be said for millions who are unemployed through no choice of their own.

Forget That ‘Today’ Star–Weep for Today
by Joe Queenan

EVERY YEAR or so Americans get really upset because somebody insanely famous loses their job.
     First it was “Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien, who whined and whined about getting purged from a job he was unqualified to fill in the first place. People were outraged. People were exorcised. People thought he got a raw deal. In fact, he got a payout of at least $30 million for taking a hike. And then he landed another show on TBS that also paid him millions. A show , like his stint at “Tonight,” that has mostly had crummy ratings. If he loses that one, we’ll never hear the end of it.
     But that will have to wait. This week, the nation’s lonely eyes turned toward embattled “Today” talk-show host Ann Curry. Stiff, distant, short on pep and nobody’s idea of fun, Ms. Curry was reportedly being offered $10 million to leave the venerable morning talk show and go back to being a real journalist. Ten million dollars. All in 20s.
     On thursday, Ms. Curry stepped down from “Today” (but she will stay on at NBC). Whatever the final financial deal, many people thought it was horribly unfair for her to get the ax. Was it her age (55)? Her gender? Or her performance?
     Just try watching her . Forget about paling in comparison to Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira. Based on what I’ve seen, Hillary Clinton has more pizazz than Ann Curry. And a better sense of humor. 
     Anyway, who cares? The number of unemployed young African-Americans in this country is staggering. The number of unemployed young people in America in general is staggering. In Spain, almost a quarter of the people are out of work, a Depression-era level. And, yes, when last I looked, lots and lots of people in developing countries were still hungry and poor and miserable.
     So explain to me why Ann Curry getting the bum’s rush was important news?
     Earlier this week, I found out that one of my wife’s young relatives had just lost his job. He has a house. He has a 3-year-old. He has a problem. One of my closest friends was recently forced to retire from his job due to kidney failure. And a weird blood disease. And, oh yes, cancer. The 60-something clerk at the convenience store I frequent, a guy who used to work in finance, is now happy to have a part-time job manning the checkout counter. The 70-something cashier at a local drugstore, a woman who fled Castro’s Cuba in 1959, recently got tossed out into the street.
     In April, in the space of 10 days, four people I know were forced into early retirement. They worked in the fields of education, air travel, publishing and journalism. They weren’t needed anymore. 
     Join the club. A few weeks ago I heard some noise outside my office and found a man in the hallway who used to work for a brokerage firm banging on every single door looking for a job. Any job. Nobody answered; I am the only person in this building whose office is still open for business. The other suites have been vacant for years.
     So explain again to me why we’re supposed to care about Ann Curry? Or Conan O’Briend? Or Indiana’s Sen. Richard Lugar, finally given his walking papers after 40 years? Or anybody else in the fields of sports, politics or entertainment?
     Maybe it’s time we redirected our concern and started showing some compassion for the truly unfortunate. Most of the people I know who lost their jobs recently lost them because of the economic downturn. They didn’t lose them because they were stiff or wooden or incapable of pretending that Al Roker is actually funny. None of them is self-pitying. None of them is overpaid. And none of them ever got $10 million to go away.
     So we can all hold the tears when Ann Curry’s name comes up. My advice to her is simple: Get yourself a real job. Not a job where you sit on a couch for two hours and gasbag with the planet’s most fiendish self-promoters. No, a real job.
     The kind of thing millions of Americans can now only dream of.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Jan. 15, 2010) Lt. Gen....

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Jan. 15, 2010) Lt. Gen. P.K. Keen, deputy commander of U.S. Southern Command, talks about humanitarian aid distribution with Ann Curry of NBC News at the Port-au-Prince National Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. United States military personnel are conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Haiti in the aftermath of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry, Ann. You’re a big girl now. Dry your eyes. Dust off your bruised ego and get back to doing the job you’ve a real talent for…directing the world’s attention to the plight of the downtrodden. It may not be glamorous. It may not pay as much. But it contributes so much more to society than a job that elevates gossip to the level of substantive, thought-provoking conversation.

Civilization has made great strides in advancing the way our needs are met. On the other hand, we’ve made very little progress in what we find entertaining. Watching others writhe and squirm under the media’s spotlight continues to captivate, just as the slaughter of Christians for sport captivated the Romans of old.

today’s message…avoid the spotlight…

hugmamma.