Since my husband and I are pre-diabetic, this recipe sounds like a match made in heaven…for us. Thought it might appeal to some of you as well. Christine sounds like a winning chef. Bon appetito!!! ………hugmamma.

Pudbudder - It's all about fun!

One of my friends recently messaged me on Facebook asking for my Banana Nut Muffin recipe.  A few months ago, I had the honor to be a highlighted cook in the “Cooking with Shanna” feature in The Palm Coast Observer, our local community paper.  This was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed welcoming Shanna, community editor for that publicaition,  to my home and more importantly, my kitchen.  We both enjoyed exchanging cooking tips and stories, and I was flattered to share my recipe with the local community through her cooking column.

This particular recipe evolved out of a recent mission to lose weight.  My husband and I both decided back in March of this year that we could definitely stand to lose some weight and improve our blood work reports along the way.  As we both come from families where diabetes is a common trait, we were determined to…

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spooky?…or not?

Your call.

For me, it’s a mixture of both.

With heart beating a little faster…eyes peeled for anything unusual…I love to wander through cemeteries, especially old ones.

These photos were taken in Kinnish, Ireland. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck as I wandered the grounds. 

I tread lightly in and around these head stones…there are humble souls dwelling beneath who deserve respect…even in the after-life.

Even the church gave me goosebumps as I toured its ancient interior.

…a heavenly treasure…with souls…heaven-bound.

………hugmamma.

(My inspiration for this post…  http://everywhereonce.com/2012/10/31/photo-of-the-day-new-orleans-cemetery/ )

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Orange

Because today is Halloween…BTW…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!…I thought I’d join in on this photo challenge. After visiting CEE’s blog and viewing the photos there, I knew I had the perfect ones to celebrate today.…again…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

………hugmamma.

(Click here for more orange fotos… http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/cees-fun-foto-challenge-orange/ )

undecided?…or…independent?

Politics are personal.

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Most of us don’t like revealing our voting choices. We like to keep them…close to our vest.

So it was a nice change to read the following by an Iowan, who claims to be an Independent voter.

I know about Independents…I’m one myself. I voted for George W. Bush the second time around.

What I hadn’t a clue about…were Iowans. Now I know them…a little better. And I like what I’m hearing.

On the college campus where I write and teach in Iowa, the trees are aflame with red and yellow leaves and the students — more than 90 percent of them if 2008 numbers hold strong — are ready to vote for Barack Obama. With early voting, many students cast their ballots before they headed home for fall break, to far-flung states where their votes may not matter quite as much.

Still, at least according to the media’s incessant reporting, a large segment of Iowa voters are still independent and undecided. And they’re getting a lot of attention. I’m a registered independent, and I’ve spent my whole life in the Midwest — MichiganWisconsin and now Iowa — so I’ve gotten a lot of calls from pollsters over the years. And every time they ask me whom I plan to vote for in November, I always tell them I’m undecided.

It’s always a lie.

I always know whom I’m going to vote for months before the election, though I’ve cast votes for at least three different parties over the years. For many Midwesterners, saying I’m undecided is akin to saying it’s none of your darn business. In Iowa, it’s often hard to predict how people will vote, largely because it’s a fairly private place (there’s plenty of elbow room) and it’s an awfully polite place, too. We try to get along despite our differences. Bumper stickers and yard signs go away swiftly once an election is over.

Defying Convention

While I can sort of guess whom most of my students will vote for based on their T-shirts and the Howard Zinn books sticking out of their backpacks, I’m less certain about the political leanings of my fellow bowlers on Wednesday nights or my fellow worshippers on Sunday mornings. Last week, at the same stoplight, I saw a Romney sticker on a Prius and an Obamasticker on a massive Dodge pickup. Iowa defies convention. Still, I believe these mythical swing voters will once again go for Barack Obama in 2012. Here’s why:

— We don’t like to change horses in midstream. Here in the Midwest, if we hire someone to do a job, we try to stay out of the way and let him or her finish it. It’s stoicism common among the farmers and laborers of the region. Good work takes time. You can’t solve a problem overnight. You plug away a little every day.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presi...

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate, strolls the Iowa State fairgrounds Aug. 16 in Des Moines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is, I think, a big reason George W. Bush won Ohio in 2004 and why Wisconsin GovernorScott Walker staved off a recall attempt earlier this year. It’s simply a matter of respect. Iowans remember, acutely, the economic collapse of 2008 and understand a community doesn’t recover from disaster overnight. Federal assistance and federal subsidies have helped Iowa recover from many unforeseen disasters in the past; while we don’t trust the government to do everything, we understand that effective federal programs, such as Obama’s economic stimulus, student-loan and health-care plans, can steadily help a nation work toward recovery. If we see some progress, we are patient people.

— Iowa’s a “live and let live” kind of place. I recently learned that a well-educated gay man from the East Coast, now living in rural Iowa, whom I met at a cocktail party, is probably voting for Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, an insurance company employee I met at church, a married father of three who dresses in khakis and polos, turns out to be one of the fiercest liberals I’ve ever met. I know a small-business owner who is still undecided, but he’s wavering between Obama and theGreen Party. A former student of mine in Ames, an Iraq war veteran, will probably vote for Obama, but may very well go for the libertarian Gary Johnson or write in Ron Paul.

Few Converts

He doesn’t trust Romney on foreign policy or civil liberties. Simply put, for those coveted independent voters, Romney-Ryan’s hard turn to the right on social and military issues is disconcerting. Most Iowans don’t like to put their noses in other people’s business, whether it’s a neighboring home or a distant nation. Divisive social issues and jingoistic nationalism, which Republicans are pushing hard in Midwestern swing states, may mobilize the party’s base but they do little to create converts to conservatism.

— Wall Street is very far away from Iowa. In the Midwest, we don’t trust fancy. And while those on the far right have long tried to paint Obama as the elitist in this race, in Iowa, Romney is going to have a hard time hiding the silver spoon that’s been in his mouth since birth.

It’s not that Iowans resent wealth; it’s more that they resent the kind of wealth that Romney has accrued in his life, most of it “unearned” income — wealth that seems to grow through the manipulated magic of Wall Street rather than the pluck and perseverance we prefer. Wall Street’s recklessness in the past decade has had a profoundly destructive effect on Main Street and the fields that surround it. It’s hard for Iowans to forget that Romney made his money in a system that exploited, in multiple ways, the modest resources of the average American family.

In Iowa, we tend to follow our strong opinions with a polite disclaimer: Well, I may be wrong, you know. And I may. Yet one thing is certain. No matter which way Iowa goes this year, it won’t be long before the pollsters come back to us, looking toward the 2016 caucuses, asking us whom we will support the next time the presidency is at stake. And we’ll get everybody excited, by letting out a low whistle, shaking our heads and muttering, “Well, gee, I don’t know yet. I’m undecided.”

Have a nice day.

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in O...

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in Onawa, Iowa on March 31, 2007. Onawa Public Library. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

(Dean Bakopoulos teaches at Grinnell College. His most recent novel is “My American Unhappiness,” now out in paperback. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this article: Dean Bakopoulos at bakopoul@grinnell.edu.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net.

NYC…underwater

 

New York City

New York City (Photo credit: kaysha)I worked in NYC for nearly a decade, from the 70’s to the 80’s, and lived on the east side for almost a year.

It’s hard for me to fathom The Big Apple coming to a screeching halt. Can anyone recall the last time NYC was brought to its knees?

The Great Depression?

After Sandy takes her leave…how long before New Yorkers are…up and running?

…my thoughts and prayers…are with them…

………hugmamma.

“sandy”…nature’s equalizer

Those of us not impacted by the monstrous storms pelting the east coast, can only offer our heartfelt hope for everyone’s safety.

Mother Nature has a way of eliminating barriers, both of her own making…and of mankind’s.

She forces us to come together. 

She forces us to set aside our differences. Those endowed by God…and those we imagine.

Since man has been allowed to run amok with earth’s resources, perhaps Mother Nature is finally stepping in to put a halt to our destructive ways.

Her wrath shows no favoritism. Mansions and shacks alike fall prey to the winds and flood waters.

There is no escaping Mother Nature’s fury. 

We can only ride it out. And hope for the best.

Might we also rethink our use of her gifts?

Or shall we continue to pillage and plunder…until…

…we are…no more?…

………hugmamma. 

Breathtaking photos. Reminds me that I am an amateur picture-taker, by comparison. ………hugmamma.

Yoolie's

Last weekend my godson came to visit me with his mom. I’m always happy to hang out with him, because he’s a) an incredibly sharp and funny three-year-old, and b) I get to do stuff I would normally feel ridiculous doing by myself (like getting crazy at the playground or messing around in the fallen leafs).  So this time we went to the zoo. It was a sunny, golden October day and the animals were out and about enjoying the warm temperatures.

Okay, this one doesn’t exactly belong to the exibition.

This hippo really enjoyed the attention of an old lady who “petted” it through the glass wall.

Crocodiles cuddled together for an afternoon nap.

 

Muntjak is what they are called in German. Really don’t know the English name. They have the smallest feet ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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women…and the world…

Women have a way of softening the edges around acrimonious debate in which men often immerse themselves…and our world.

Would a woman…a daughter, wife, and mother…make a better President than her male counterpart? An intriguing question, which I hope will one day be answered.

Until that day…let’s continue to do what we do best…bring people together.

…couldn’t have said it…any better myself…

………hugmamma.

a little odd…

The hostile environment surrounding our elections seems to eat away at one’s core. In order to prevent such an occurrence, one has to step back, breathe deeply, and take a broader view of the picture.

The political landscape has disintegrated into millions of dollars worth of negative ads…running 24/7. And, of course, there are the media pundits only too ready and willing to guide us through the maddening maze.

I’ve made my choice…I voted for President Obama.

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington’s 1789 inauguration. VIRIN: 090120-F-3961R-919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

These next few days are just gravy.

My brain continues to sift through all the lumps, so that what’s being dished up is…more palatable.

Through all the noise, the media has offered snippets of this Administration’s accomplishments.

To name a few.

Equal pay for equal work…insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions and for dependents until age 26…tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses…the elimination of terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden…repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell”…temporarily allowing children of illegal immigrants to remain in the country in which many were born, until more can be done.

Granted, the President has not done all things…for all people. What President has?

What’s disturbing is the ugly rhetoric that has been allowed to surface.

Former New Hampshire Governor John Tsununu has no qualms about slinging racial eptithets in the President’s direction.

One of the most frequent offenders along those lines from Democrats’ point of view, former New HampshireGov. John Sununu, stirred the pot again Thursday night. Appearing on CNN, the national co-chair for the Romney campaign told host Piers Morgan that he believed Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama was essentially based on race. 

Mr. Sununu said: “I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States – I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

He later walked back his comments, issuing a statement saying he believed Mr. Powell’s endorsement was based on “his support of the president’s policies.” But Sununu has previously come under fire for other remarks perceived as having racial implications, such as calling the president “lazy,” and saying he wished he would “learn how to be an American.”

Then there’s the abominable Donald Trump who, from time to time,  has interjected himself into this presidential election. Seemingly to draw the conversation away from serious issues, allowing him to momentarily bask in the spotlight, usually…to his complete embarrassment.

It’s not difficult to locate further YouTube examples of right-wing disdain for the Blacks, dating back just a few years.

There’s conservative FOX Channel TV’s Glenn Beck who tends to run off at the mouth…but when confronted about his deep-seated beliefs…refuses to own them.

And then there’s a member of Governor Romney’s church, who clarifies the Mormon viewpoint of Blacks…as being the descendants…of Cain.

So it makes one wonder, why…in spite of President Obama’s accomplishments and an economy that is on the upswing…whites are lining up in droves to vote in favor of Romney. In particular, white men.

…a curious phenomenon…or not?…

……..hugmamma.

Written some time ago, I thought I’d resurrect it from my archives…as my TREAT…to you. Read…at your own risk. Enjoy…or not. ………hugmamma.

hugmamma's MIND, BODY and SOUL

As Halloween’s ghostly hour draws near, prepare yourself for some true-to-life, Hawaiian storytelling. Granted, it’s from accumulated memories, some mine, some my mom’s, and some from my older siblings. A very superstitious people, belief in the supernatural is inherent in our culture. While native Hawaiians today may not speak of the religion of our ancestors, most, including myself, won’t dispute what we were told. I’m certain it’s the same with descendants of other native people, whose beliefs were so closely intertwined with nature.

When I was a pre-teen, I met “big-aunty” for the first time. I’d heard tales about her, so I imagined she’d look and act like a mean, ugly old woman, a hag, a witch. I dreaded having to look at her, scared to death that she’d cast her malevolent eye upon me. I didn’t want to touch any part of her, not even shake her hand. I was baptized a Catholic, but as a frightened…

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comedic relief…maru

Just reciprocated a visit to blogger friend Beneath the Tin Foil Hat…at http://tinfoilhatman45.wordpress.com . I’d not heard from him in a while so I thought perhaps he’d taken a break. I was very glad to “hear” from him.

The visit reminded me of how cute our furry friends are when they’re just being themselves. It prompted me to go in search of my favorite Internet cat…Maru.

Japanese, Maru is photogenic and loves being in front of the camera. He does whatever he wants, satisfying any urge that happens to strike his fancy.

Too, too, too cute for words. So I’ll let Maru show you himself.

…have to get my grandkitty on video…he’s a laugh a minute as well…

………hugmamma.

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a book…a movie…life

War and Peace. 

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer, posed in costum...

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer, posed in costume, while filming War and Peace. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sadly I neither read the book, nor was I able to sit through the epic film starring Audrey Hepburn, her husband at the time…Mel Ferrer, and Henry Fonda.

Despite this failing, I know one thing for sure. Peace is preferable to war.

College students during the Vietnam War, my husband and his brother, along with thousands of other students, were registered in a nationwide draft lottery. Fortunately, both had high numbers which, in the end, kept them from having to serve.

Family and friends mouthed a collective sigh of relief.

Two of my brothers weren’t so fortunate. One served in the Korean War; another was drafted into the Vietnam War.

I never learned about the war fought in Korea. My brother, so much older than me, had long since moved out on his own. We saw one another from time to time, but our chats were limited to the weather and other pleasantries.

By contrast, my brother Ed, just a few years older than me and still at home when I was growing up, shared horror stories about his stint in Vietnam.

The worst was when his buddy was blown to smithereens…within inches of my brother.

Long after he returned home, married, and had children, Ed continued to sleep with a gun under his pillow.

He’d awaken to nightmares, sweating in the dark as he recalled the horrible war years.

A Marine at Vietnam Memorial on 4th July 2002

A Marine at Vietnam Memorial on 4th July 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I toured the Vietnam Wall with Ed when it was first built. My husband and I happened to be visiting with my brother and his family at the time.

In those days there was no end to the controversy that swirled around The Wall’s selection as the nation’s memorial to the Vietnam War. Even my brother weighed in, favoring a more traditional monument. Perhaps something more typically representative of soldiers.

So I watched in wonder, as my brother underwent a quiet transformation…standing just inches from The Wall.

Tears welled in my eyes as Ed gently fingered the names of men with whom he had served…soldiers who had died for our country…young men in their prime.

Standing steadfast, my brother wiped a tear from his cheek.

This is what I know of war.

Information relayed from one who was there.  Second-hand, but nonetheless…powerful.

I am for peace.

I am for working with others to ensure a world in which we can live side by side, with respect for our differences.

I am for life…quality of life.

I am for equality…of persons…and nations.

I am for sharing in the bounty of this earth…as well as in its preservation.

I am for helping to shoulder the burdens of the less fortunate.

I am for all of us…being One Nation Under God.

…for no man is an island…unto himself.

………hugmamma.

Vietnam War Memorial

Vietnam War Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It had to happen…sooner or later. FACEBOOK is the Disney World of social networking. The ride…is no longer…free.

Say It With A Camera

If you are a Facebook user you really should read this article at Dangerous Minds. The article explains how Facebook are “turning down the volume on your Facebook reach”.  Every time you post on Facebook only a fraction of your total “fans” are seeing the post.

I know I have noticed that I’m getting less comments on everything I post to Facebook. More importantly I’m missing notifications from pages I’m following.

To read the article, follow the link http://dangerousminds.net/comments/facebook_i_want_my_friends_back.

Please spread the word to other bloggers either by re-blogging this article or writing something about it on your blog

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there are bosses…and then there are those who care…

As I walked through the automatic doors at our local QFC supermarket a couple of days ago, the first thing that caught my gaze was a brightly colored balloon that said “Happy Boss’s Day.”

“There’s a boss’s day?” I asked myself.

I was aware of  secretary’s day, or in more recent times…administrative assistant’s day. Not a boss’s day.

The moment passed quickly and I didn’t give it another thought. Until last night that is, when my daughter expressed deep admiration for her dad…as a boss.

When my husband left for work this morning, we exchanged our usual bear hugs. Kissing him goodbye, I told him what our daughter had said. I added that, indeed, he was a boss who cares very much about his employees…and always has.

In his usual, humble manner my husband said he hoped he could convince some uneasy workers of that today.

Recently, I had occasion to speak with a woman who had worked for my husband several years ago. She use to arrange our family’s travel, for which I was always very grateful.

It was nice catching up with Chris.

Before we hung up, she mentioned an incident that remains the most memorable of her career.

One day when the company’s owner and a couple of his top executives were visiting with my husband, they happened by Chris’s office. Instead of continuing on his way, my husband ushered the gentlemen inside to meet her. Explaining how valuable she was to the operation, my husband turned the spotlight on Chris.

Years later, she has never forgotten that incident.

As Chris explained it…hierarchy didn’t matter to my husband. Without reservations, he introduced his supervisor to the company’s Owner and Chairman of the Board, and Chief Financial Officer.

My husband is a man of tremendous integrity.

Early in his career, a very grateful client sent my husband a Christmas card containing a check for $500. I immediately set about spending the money, figuring we could buy this, that, and the other. My fantasy evaporated seconds later, when my husband explained that he couldn’t accept monetary gifts for what he’d done as part of his job.

These days we get Omaha Steaks delivered to us…from another, satisfied client. I can’t recollect the last time I bought red meat.

A corporate man, my husband was inclined to vote for Governor Romney as the next President. But as the campaign unfolded, and Romney showed himself to be a man easily persuaded to retrofit his principles to fit his audience, my husband began rethinking his choice. And with Right-Wing attitudes about social issues playing over and over again in the media, my husband is even more convinced that he will re-elect President Obama.

…a boss with principles…who cares about his employees…let’s celebrate them…

………on boss’s day………