weekly photo challenge: object

This larger-than-life size statue of actor John Wayne at the John Wayne Airport in Irvine, California is massively impressive. Not only was I awestruck, I was also filled with patriotic pride.

I’m certain all Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, are proud to call him their hero. What he represented on film, readily transferred to real life. John Wayne was, and still is, an All American Hero.


Misc Aug 2010 00020



friday fictioneers: no happily-ever-after

Copyright -Claire Fuller

As a toddler I loved burrowing into the freshly laundered clothes in the large crates.  Since they’d been drying in the sunshine, I felt warm and cozy as I fell asleep.

The world was perfect, but not for my widowed mom.

On her feet all day, mom washed, dried, and ironed clothes for an orphanage. Removing her shoes, she’d stand on the cool, concrete floor.  Unfortunately, she developed varicose veins and, worse, arthritis in both knees.

Mom needed rescuing. Mr. Chalmers, the handsome gardener, seemed made-to-order.

Unlike Cinderella,  mom never married her prince charming. No fairy tale ending for her.IMG_4143

mars and venus…aligned

As in the film Back To The Future where caveman-like shennanigans brought out the knight-in-shining armor, this video share by pyschotherapist and marriage counselor, Linda Hoff-Hagensick, at  http:www.marriagetherapy101@blogspot.com takes us back to the basics of a great relationship.

Venus, fragile and other-worldly, borne upon the strength and cunning of Mars, crosses over the hellish landscape below, untainted and intact.

With regard for one another, each content with the stations to which they were birthed, they grow in harmony and love forever-after.

why do writers…write?

 I’ve come across two quotes that seem to go hand-in-glove in describing writers.

The first is that of Anton Chekov, renowned Russian author. It was shared by http://www.livesimpletheblog.wordpress.com

…people who lead a lonely existence always have something on their minds that they are eager to talk about…

The second is a line spoken by Walt Disney to author P.L. Travers in the film Saving Mr. Banks.

Our stories are redemptive. That’s what we story tellers do. We restore order with imagination.  We instill hope again and again and again.

According to psychotherapist Linda Hoff-Hagensick at http://www.marriagetherapy101.blogspot.com,

Both P.L.Travers and Walt Disney found redemption and healing for their childhood pain through telling their stories through the magical lenses of their characters.

I think it’s fair to say that writers can lead a lonely existence given their need for isolation while getting in touch with their creative genius. I wonder how long C.K. Rowlings kept her own company while knocking off volume after volume of the iconic Harry Potter? 

Judging from my own experience, words can haunt a writer’s every thought. Not until allowed to escape the confines of the mind, will the words give a writer some peace, if only for a few moments.

So for me, it’s not that I seek solitude, it’s that my constant companions, my thoughts,  long to escape into print. They do not relish captivity; rather, they long for escape. Escape into the light of day. It’s my task to arrange them into some coherent story that others might want to read. And that, as every writer knows, takes time and…solitude. 

In recent months I’ve taken to having my laptop on the kitchen island so that I can write in between my other duties as a housewife. Of this relocation from the dining room table to my current station, my daughter lovingly commented “You really are a writer!”

I often wish I could ignore other duties and interests, and simply write the book that’s still on hold in my brain. Actually, there are a handful waiting to be written. For me however, life is too precious to let slip away for hours, days, weeks, even months at a time.

One day soon, I’ll see my way clear to balancing both. Until then, blogging remains an excellent outlet.

Storytellers come in all shapes and sizes. What they have in common is the desire to express their thoughts and feelings in a comprehensive manner. The icing on the cake is to capture the attention of an audience of readers or listeners. To bring them along on a  journey, whether it’s into familiar territory or uncharted terrain.

Writers are usually inspired by strong feelings about the environment in which they live. Whether it’s physical or psychological. Whether it exists in the past,the present, or the future. Whether it’s just a fantastical concoction of their imaginations. Or whether it’s a little bit of everything.

Like Disney I prefer writing redemptive stories, where chaos is banished, order restored, and hope is renewed. 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Tinker Bell and her magical fairy dust. I like to think it represents…

…never ending hope…

………hugmamma…and tinker bell.

...sprinkling fairy dust for hugmamma...

…sprinkling fairy dust for hugmamma…



the layman’s ten commandments…

I’ve borrowed the following from fellow blogger and friend Inside the mind of Isadora at http://www.insidethemindofisadora.com …for  Nurturing Thursdays. 

“The Layman’s Ten Commandments”

1. Prayer is not a “Spare Wheel” that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a “Steering Wheel” that directs the right path throughout the journey.

2. Why is a car’s Windshield so large and the Rear View Mirror so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE; so look ahead and move on.

3. Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes a few minutes to Burn, but it takes years to Write.

4. All things in life are Temporary. If things are Going Well, Enjoy It; they will not last forever. If things are Going Wrong, Don’t Worry; they will not last long either.

5. Old Friends are GoldNew Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don’t forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

6. Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, “Relax, sweetheart, it’s just a bend, not the end!

7. When GOD solves your problems, you have Faith in HIS Abilities; when GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in YOUR Abilities.

8. A blind person asked St. Anthony: “Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?” He replied: “Yes, losing your vision!”

9. When you Pray for OthersGod Listens to you and blesses them, so sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10. WORRYING does not take away Tomorrow’s TROUBLES; it takes away Today‘s


nurturing thursdays: to bend but not to break…

“To bend but not to break… to yield but not capitulate… to have pride but also humility.”

In the film, The Trouble With Angels, Rosalind Russell goes on to say “This has always been my struggle, Sister. Can I be less tolerant of Mary than the Church has been of me?”

Russell is speaking of the character actress Hayley Mills portrays, a student who is hell-bent on breaking all the rules at the parochial boarding school where her father has dumped her, while he carries on with various and sundry women who are in and out of his life.

“To bend but not to break…” Being flexible enough to change if change is warranted.  But never relinquishing one’s core values.

To yield but not capitulate…”Accepting that someone else might be right. Without being a doormat.

“To have pride but also humility…” Standing tall in one’s beliefs. Yet quietly invoking one’s presence while at the back of the room.

I think humility is the most difficult quality humans can strive to acquire. 

In our struggle to survive we are always vying for validation. We need to feel that after we are gone our legacy as having lived will continue ad infinitum. Well, at least for a few generations.

Balancing our innate sense of pride while allowing others to have their shining moment is an even greater struggle.

Giving up center stage is a battle we should constantly wage with ourselves. It’s more than likely we will only succeed 10% of the time. I think even priests and nuns, who commit to putting others first, struggle to honor those vows.

When I think of those I love, whether family member or good friend, humility stands out as their most attractive quality.

They never boast of their accomplishments. Rather they are acclaimed by others.

They never suffer the martyr. Rather they move beyond.

They never insist on center stage. Rather they applaud others.

They never openly speak ill of others. Rather they keep their thoughts close.

They never wear their gifts and talents like flashy accessories. Rather they reveal them as needed.

They never hold forth on how to be humble. Rather by example, they teach.

…i’m still learning…

………hugmamma. IMG_3348




friday fictioneers: “rich man, poor man…”

Copyright - Björn Rudberg

“Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, 

doctor, lawyer, Indian chief.”

I remember repeating those words as a child, growing up in an elite suburb.

As a teen I drove a BMW, wore designer duds, and dined at celebrity eateries.

So what happened?

I married a Harvard grad with the right credentials…money, looks, brains, and a Wall Street job.

We lived luxuriously…homes, cars, a private plane, a yacht.

Living among the rich and famous, we were of another world.

And then the CRASH!

Now I’m  a Tent City dweller…”back in the hood.”

I won’t be knocking on doors anytime soon.


Family and Love Outside The Box

I thought this captured the essence of family and Valentine’s Day rolled up into one. And I’m hoping that it reiterates the obligation we all have to ensure that everyone has the right to celebrate what’s in their heart with those they call family, even those who might be different from ourselves in ways that have no bearing on their valuable contributions to society.


a small victory…

In a previous post, doubting thomas, I wrote that Mark Zmuda had been fired as the vice principal of Eastside Catholic School because he had married his gay partner during the summer. It seems that an overwhelming protest by students, parents, alumni and community supporters has brought about the resignation of the woman who fired Zmuda, Sister Mary Tracy, former president and CEO of EC.

Only time will tell how Eastside Catholic  moves forward from this landmark event. Catholics nationwide, perhaps even worldwide, will probably stay tuned to the fall out. 

At a time when the Church is still recovering from a black eye rendered by priests accused of molesting boys, the fact that faithful in the community are voicing their support for gays who are trying to live their lives openly with loved ones while contributing to society is a step in the right direction. 

In my opinion rules that suppress those who try to use their God-given gifts and talents to help others, are archaic and should be changed.

I must admit to being a johnny-come-lately to the cause of gay and lesbian equality. I grew up with the same taboos as many in my generation. When it came to homosexuality, I left the thinking to the adults. 

Since I’ve become that adult, I no longer subscribe to the hokum that I was spoon fed as a child and teenager. 

As with any prejudice, overcoming it occurs when we get up close and personal.

I’ve not only exchanged greetings with any number of gays and lesbians, I’ve hugged them, laughed with them, rejoiced with them, and yes, even loved them for who they are…without reservations. There’s no BUT in my regard for these men and women. I will proudly stand with them before God on the day of reckoning, just as I will with non-Catholics and atheists.

All I ask of friends and family is that we join together in valuing others lives as we value our own.

God gave Moses the following Ten Commandments…

  1. I am the Lord, your God.
  2. Thou shall bring no false idols before me.
  3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shall not kill/murder.
  7. Thou shall not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shall not steal††.
  9. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  10. Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife (or anything that belongs to your neighbor).

There is no reference to the so-called sin of homosexuals.

Yes, the Bible as men have written it makes mention of the atrocities associated with sexual deviants. But I would include heterosexuals who commit such depraved acts upon unwilling persons. Why these should be welcomed into God’s kingdom, while good men and women who only ask that they be allowed to spend their lives with whomever they love, is incomprehensible to any thinking person. Irrational, really.

I never doubt God…but I’m always wary of the wolf in sheep’s clothing who seeks to lead me astray from the goodness I feel in my heart for those who are three-dimensional like me.

Unlike Hester Payne the adulteress in A Scarlet Letter who was forced to wear the letter “A” as a badge for the crime she committed, good folks of a different sexual orientation should not be made to live apart and in shame as though they were less than the rest of us. 

I know I’m not better than. I only know I am equal to.

I’ve not walked in their shoes. So who am I to sit in judgement?

…i am not God. 


Bullying – an adult artform..

Adults need only look to themselves and their behavior when they wonder why it is bullying is so rife among today’s children. Many tend not to think that what they are doing is wrong, because they insist that their message is infallible. They feel compelled to hammer it home any which way they can. These adults either create bullies in their own children, or bully them into submission. Either way, it is a dastardly thing they are doing to our society-at-large. Especially when guns are involved.



I deleted myself from a Facebook page yesterday.  It was a photographers “support” page.  I won’t name it as naming and shaming seems to be their thing and that would make my behaviour as bad as the sort I witnessed in there.  In my short time as a member of this page I had seen a lot of pontificating and posturing of egos in this particular group.  “My lens is bigger than your lens” type stuff.  When people asked for constructive criticism they were rewarded with remarks about how the model looked creepy or like a geek and comments about how blurry the photo is and the lack of ability the photographer has.   When someone asked for advice on buying a new lens, the topic went off on other egocentric tangents and competition between Nikon and Canon which were of no help to the person seeking advice at all.

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seahawks all the way!!!

I’m not a foot ball fan, even though I was a high school cheerleader. For me it was more about leading the crowds in cheering our team onto victory.  And, of course, there was the especially close proximity to the players. At the time I was dating the captain.

With the Seattle Seahawks winning streak thus far, football has once again propelled itself front and center in our household.

The difference, however, is that our daughter is home to share in the good times with her dad.

When she lived in Atlanta and Tennessee, our daughter joined friends at a few of the local football games.

Having gone to a high school conservatory where she majored in ballet, our daughter didn’t partake of the normal social scene most high schoolers experience. Nonetheless, she took to football like a natural, although hockey is her first love.

As a Christmas gift for her dad, our daughter purchased tickets to the last Seahawk season game. It was a father/daughter day they’ll never forget.

Because I never knew my dad…he died when I was one…I’m 100% behind my husband and my daughter having a great relationship. And because the Seahawks did their part in nurturing that father/daughter bond, I say…Seahawks all the way! 

…bring back a superbowl win!!!Photo: We're going to the SUPERBOWL!!! #GoHawks……..hugmamma.

Caring for Patients: Women and Poverty

I too was raised from the age of one by a single mother when my father died. There were drawbacks to be sure, but I inherited my mom’s strength to survive and was able to better my plight through education and hard work. However I feel similarly to this blogger, that poverty is mankind’s worst enemy. It keeps those caught in its grips from contributing fully to our collective society. And like my mom, I’m certain the poor do not like to be beholding to anyone. If they could only get a hand up…


A Family Doctor's Reflection

I read the latest Shriver Report A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink.  The statistics were not surprising to me. We have made great strides in some areas but only for a small percentage of women.  All my life, I have known personally the plight of women in America.  For me, it started at age 5, when my parents were divorced.  My mother was proud, independent and refused child support if it meant having to share custody with my father.  Women had few rights at that time. From that moment in 1962 she was a single mother with three girls and no outside income.  I was the oldest. So she went to work. We were fortunate to have the support of her family.  We first lived with my grandparents and later moved to our own home in the “Projects” or subsidized housing.  In between, we  shared a house…

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