hard to believe…

…it’s been 50 years since I graduated from high school! Jan 14 024

I don’t think I’d have remembered if I’d not received an email reminding me. Unfortunately my daughter’s wedding precludes my attending the reunion.

Half-a-century ago the island of Maui was my entire world. As a youngster, I only knew mainland America as it was reflected in TV sitcoms, like I Love Lucy or variety programs, like The Ed Sullivan Show. Anything beyond the United States might as well have been somewhere out there in the universe.

Today, Maui is one of the most sought after destinations in the world. Oprah Winfrey calls it her home-away-from-home, with a beautiful spread in Kula.

The Maui I knew was small-town USA, in the middle of nowhere. Actually, it was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean…still is. Kids were kids, trying hard to be seen but not heard. Entire neighborhoods were ours to explore. We were allowed to wander as far as our small legs could carry us, to and from. Walking to the local library, 45 minutes from home was not a big deal. Lugging a bag of groceries home from the supermarket was a fact of life for me.

Scoring a dime from my mom for an ice cream Dilly stick at Dairy Queen’s was a rare treat. Joining my best friend and her dad for a Saturday morning cartoon, and having him pay my 25 cent theater admission was a huge deal! And waiting outside the local bakery’s back door for hot-out-of-the oven butter bread, was well worth all the kneeling and praying I’d done at church just prior.

For 12 years, St. Anthony’s School was my life. And while my feet were firmly planted in Maui, the nuns who taught me helped grow the wings I would use to one day leave behind my idyllic, island life. Much to my chagrin at the time, the good sisters would prod me on to do better academically. It was easier for me to dance the night away, than it was to recite correct algebra answers. Pranks were more my style, like the time I squirt dish soap into the fish tank. Sister Dominic, the biology instructor, was not too happy at having to empty the tank of all the suds and refill it with fresh water.

I learned about boys, even dated a few…in spite of the nuns. Although I’m certain they had a hand in keeping me virginal until the right time…and man…came along. Thank you, Sisters!!! My husband thanks you as well…

Periodic newsletters arrive from my old alma mater. Images of fresh-faced, young students rekindle a flood of memories reminding me of simpler times. When folks lived simpler lives…enjoying one another…and being thankful for what we had.

Then, as now…

…getting back to basics…is life in a nutshell…no matter where I live.

………hugmamma. 

 

 

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a good man…but

I like Bernie Sanders…his affinity for everyman. Sanders’ compassion for the less fortunate is palpable. His ideas to uplift the struggling masses and level the playing field is what America should be about. If everyone thought as Sanders does…peace might be possible.

Sanders, however, cannot be our next president. He proselytizes, speaking to our “better angels.” Abraham Lincoln first spoke to that side of human nature in his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861…

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Almost 155 years to the day, we are where we were then. American turning against American, each side using the Constitution in defense of its own dogmatic, ideological stances.

I give Sanders credit for being the voice of Lincoln when that President’s own party, the Republican Party, has long turned its back on what he stood for…and died for.

Being a senior citizen myself, I can understand Sanders sense of urgency to remake America before he dies. He’s 74. He wants it done…yesterday.

Like President Obama before him, Sanders has started a movement, primarily among young adults. He is calling upon them to help fix our broken society. Sanders expects that they will continue to actively support his presidency, if and when that day materializes. They are to strong arm Congress into enacting all that Sanders envisions in a progressive society.

It may be that Obama wrongfully shouldered the burden of his office alone, as some in the media have accused. However he may have been more realistic than Sanders who expects working class folks to add to their daily overload by actively involving themselves in remaking America. It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s just a question of how realistic an expectation it is.

How will Sanders pay for all the freebies he proposes to give out…free college education for all, rich and poor…and Medicare-like health insurance for all, rich and poor? In addition he wants to expand Medicaid benefits…raise the minimum wage…make it easier for people to join unions…break up the big banks…bring parity to women’s wages…invest in our crumbling infrastructure…and more. Fantastic…rhetoric, to be sure. But who’s going to pay for all of this?

If Sanders’ desire is to fashion our society to look like some in Europe, then we must be prepared to pay the price, as do those citizens. For example, Norway’s total tax burden is 45% of GDP…twice that of the U.S. More than the cost in dollars, however, is the price paid in individual enterprise and hard work.

Yes, I’d like the have-nots to have more, but they should still have the opportunity to work for it.

Hillary Clinton’s plan to help college students is to…allow them to refinance, just as we are allowed to refinance our homes, so that they are not paying excessive interest rates of 10% or more. She is not about forgiving their debt altogether. Furthermore, Clinton offers college students the opportunity to repay their loan as a percentage of wages earned after graduating. 

Bernie Sanders is unrealistically ideological. Hillary Clinton is pragmatic about her ideology.

…I’m for getting something done…

…not for daydreaming about it.

………hugmamma.

what do you think…

…about concussions and football?

I’m not a sports fan myself so I’d just as soon see the game go away. In theory. I say that because I understand that football, and other contact sports, are acceptable outlets for aggressive behavior. Since prehistoric times man has had to use brute force to survive. Times have changed, but man’s primeval behavior hasn’t gone the way of the dinosaurs.

The over-arching problem is the millions of dollars the NFL dangles before would-be prospects looking to play pro-football. Most concerning, however, is that parents wholeheartedly encourage their sons to play a game which, according to recent statistics, puts their lives at risk. Is the money worth it?

…about bringing trade schools back?

In our rush to outdo, or at least keep up with, China and other countries technologically, America has placed tremendous emphasis on math and science. Our children are pushed to excel academically in order to secure jobs with Microsoft, Apple and the like. As has always been the case, not every child is suited for college.

Trying to force square pegs into round holes is as implausible today as it was in generations past. A child who is more adept with his hands is not going to be happy sitting at a computer all day. Forcing youngsters to pursue careers in the hopes that they will be set financially, can set them up for failure in the long term. Besides which, all the jobs for which they might be better suited are being shipped overseas. Meanwhile, folks who might be happier in those blue collar jobs are beginning to form a new class of “have nots.” They are the ones clamoring for a return to the good, ole’ days when they could “pull themselves up by their own boot straps.”

…about life imitating art…or real life imitating reality tv?

With the media’s constant hype about Donald Trump’s steady rise in the polls, it makes one wonder…”What in the world?” This morning it finally dawned on me…reality TV may have more to do with it than we might like to think.

Look at Barbara Walter’s choice for the most fascinating person of 2015. Caitlyn Jenner!

(Photo…businessinsider.com)

Yes, I get that she champions the gay-lesbian community but that’s primarily because of her celebrity on reality TV. By comparison Johnny Weir, a well-known, gay American figure skater, does not share the same mega-watt platform as former Olympic track and field star Bruce Jenner aka…Caitlyn.

Who would have thought that the Kardashians and the Housewives and the Bachelor would still be with us…years later? And what about Abby Lee of “Dance Moms” fame? My daughter, a professional dancer, cringed whenever she caught a segment of that reality show. How those mothers could allow that evil woman to treat their daughters as she did is unfathomable.

I must confess to watching those shows now and then, especially since they dominate much of what’s available on TV now. I’ve done so with fascination and disbelief. And perhaps that’s what most viewers find intriguing about reality TV. How can these people put their lives out there for millions to see? Do viewers relate to the flaws…the gaffes…the ridiculous lives? Or are these reality stars so far outside our realm of what’s normal, that we watch in disbelief, our mouths wide open?

Is that then, Trump’s appeal? A reality star transcending the small screen into the arena of real life politics? Looking for our votes as…favorite reality star of all time? A vote for Trump as President is akin to saying he’s won the Oscar of all Oscars?

So again I ask you…

…what do you think?

………hugmamma.

 

 

man-made food…and i don’t mean home cooking

Corn

Wonder why sweet corn no longer tastes…sweet, or for that matter…like corn? I could say the same thing about…farmed shrimp. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish…farmed vs. wild.

Only recently have my taste buds been questioning the corn I’ve been buying, specifically canned and frozen. Fresh ears of corn have not yet given me pause to wonder. Emphasis on…YET. 

There’s a Washington State vote on the horizon, I-522, to do with genetically engineered foods. I’ve read enough to know that messing with food made by Mother Nature is not good for my health. In fact, eating stuff created in corporate laboratories probably contributed to my digestive system being out of whack for some time. Thankfully I’m back on track with the help of a naturopath, and literature I’ve read on the subject.

According to local nutrition educator Nick Rose, genetically engineered foods are not more nutritious as is being touted. Instead they’re ” ‘stacked with foreign DNA so they will either produce pesticides or withstand herbicides or both, such as Monsanto’s new ‘double-stacked’ sweet corn.”

Rose goes on to speak of his concern about salmon…”the very first GE animal for human consumption, genetic engineering has produced a food offering less nutrition than the original food it is replacing.”

Salmon intended for consumption as food

Salmon, easily the most iconic food celebrated here in the Northwest, will very likely soon become the first ever GE animal food for human consumption. And the company that produced it admits their GE salmon is less nutritious.

What’s the unique nutritional benefit from salmon? Omega-3 fatty acids that supports brain health, helps manage inflammation, and is found in very few foods.

So, why would anyone want to put eel-like genes into salmon, knowing the end result would be a less nutritious food? To make the fish grow faster. GE salmon reach their market weight in about half the amount of time it takes today’s salmon to be ready for market. As a result of this super-growth, the GE salmon contain higher levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, a known carcinogen.

To summarize, the biotech industry has created a new “food” to replace one of the healthiest foods on the planet, except that the new and “enhanced” GE salmon will offer fewer heart-healthy omega 3s, and more cancer-promoting IGF-1 growth hormones. Oh, and did I mention that consumers won’t be able to tell whether the salmon they are buying at the store is genetically engineered? That is, unless…

This November, Washington voters have a chance to tell the food industry that they would like to know whether or not their foods are genetically engineered. Voting “YES” on intiative 522 will require foods produced with genetic engineering to be labeled in Washington state, making it much easier for everyone to make an informed choice when shopping at the grocery store.

GMO labeling is important to eaters around the planet for a wide variety of reasons, and 64 countries around the world already label foods produced with genetic engineering.  Do you want to avoid GMOs in your breakfast cereal, lunch box and salmon dinner? Then vote YES on 522!

Needless to say I intend to vote YES to labeling genetically engineered foods.

I understand that the practice of speeding up nature’s growth cycle may have been in response to feeding the planet’s hungry. Unfortunately success seems to have caused the industry to run amok. It’s as though a new magic trick has been discovered and all manner of magicians want in on the act. The fact that there are health risks seems of no consequence. After all, we never think preventative until we’re in the iron grip of some dastardly disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s or diabetes

Having Diabetes

Having Diabetes (Photo credit: MsH_ISB)

Why is it that mankind is always “behind the eight ball?” Is it because we think we can always dig ourselves out of the hole we dive into? Or is it because we’re just…plain stupid???

I don’t know if you live where foods have to be identified as having been genetically engineered. If you do, count yourself lucky; if you don’t…start reading labels…and everything else you can lay your hands on to do with genetically engineered foods. After all it’s your life…and those of your loved ones…that’s at stake! Even a capitalist society should allow for…freedom of choice. 

Yes, we all need to eat. But need it be at the expense of…

…our health?…

………hugmamma.

ConAgra: Genetically Modified Foods You Love (...

ConAgra: Genetically Modified Foods You Love (g1a2d0035c1) (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

 

reality check…for college grads

Eleven years ago when my daughter decided not to pursue a college degree, opting instead to train for a career in ballet, I had to do some mighty fancy footwork of my own in order to convince my husband that she had the talent and passion to succeed. It helped…a little…that her conservatory high school instructors supported her decision. After all, ballet is for the young at heart…and bodyIMG_0442

The fact that our daughter was lauded for her potential in all the summer dance programs in which she participated was also very encouraging. Her first summer away from us…ever…at the age of 14 was to Banff, CanadaBeing awarded a scholarship to return  the following summer probably clinched the deal in my husband’s eyes. Wow! Even the Canadians recognized a rising star, or so we doting parents liked to think.

Instead of returning to dance in the Canadian Rockies, however, our budding ballerina decided to accept American Ballet Theatre‘s invitation to their summer intensive in The Big Apple. I mean what kid isn’t going to prefer…candy to rocks?…the rat race to mating elks?… Times Square to isolation?

Truth be told…my daughter wishes she’d gone back to Banff. The training was better…the ratio of dancers to teachers was better…and the cost was way less. But hey! You win some…you lose some. But you always…move forward.

In the grand scheme of things, however, our daughter’s won…big time!

An 11-year dance career (and counting) is no small feat!

As long as our daughter’s passion and body hold out…she’ll be dancing…until “the fat lady sings.”March 2011A 00095

Meanwhile, it’s ironic…and devastating…to learn that college grads are having difficulty finding jobs these days. The following Wall Street Journal editorial reminded me of their plight.

Sorry, College Grads, I Probably Won’t Hire You

by Kirk McDonald

Dear College graduates:

     The next month is going to be thrilling as you cross this major milestone in your education. Enjoy the pomp and circumstance, the congratulations, and the parties. But when it’s all over and you’re ready to go out into the world, you’d probably like to meet me, or others like me–I’m your next potential dream boss. I run a cool, rapidly growing company in the digital field, where the work is interesting and rewarding. But I’ve got to be honest about some unfortunate news: I’m probably not going to hire you.

     This isn’t because I don’t have positions that need filling. On the contrary, I’m constantly searching for talented new employees, and if someone with the right skills walked into my office, he or she would likely leave it with a very compelling offer. The problem is that the right skills are very hard to find. And I’m sorry to say it, dear graduates, but you probably don’t have them.

     In part, it’s not your fault. If you grew up and went to school in the United States, you were educated in a system that has eight times as many high-school football teams as high schools that teach advanced placement computer-science classes. Things are hardly better in the universities. According to one recent report, in the next decade American colleges will mint 40,000 graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, though the U.S. economy is slated to create 120,000 computing jobs that require such degrees. You don’t have to be a math major to do the math: That’s three times as many jobs as we have people qualified to fill them.

     It’s time to start addressing this crisis. States should provide additional resources to train and employ teachers of science, technology, engineering and math, as well as increase access to the latest hardware and software for elementary and high-school students. Companies–particularly those like mine that depend heavily on information technology–need to join the effort by sponsoring programs that help schools better train graduates to work in a demanding industry. But there’s one more piece of the puzzle that’s missing, and it’s the one over which you have the most control: you.

     I realize that you’ve a lot going on, and that the pressures of finding gainful employment are immense.  But understand this, because your future might very well depend on it: If you want to survive in this economy, you’d be well-advised to learn how to speak computer code.

     I don’t mean that you need to become genius programmers, the kind who hack into NASA’s computers for fun. Coding at such a level is a very particular and rare skill, one that most of us–myself included–don’t possess, just as we don’t possess the athletic ability to play for the New York Knicks.

     What we nonexperts do possess is the ability to know enough about how these information systems work that we can be useful discussing them with others. Consider this example: Suppose you’re sitting in a meeting with clients, and someone asks you how long a certain digital project is slated to take.

     Unless you understand the fundamentals of what engineers and programmers do, unless you’re familiar enough with the principles and machinations of coding to know how the back end of the business works, any answer you give is a guess and therefore probably wrong. Even if your dream job is in marketing or sales or another department seemingly unregulated to programming, I’m not going to hire you unless you can at least understand the basic way my company works. And I’m not alone.

     If you want a job in media, technology or a related field, make learning basic computer language your goal this summer. There are plenty of services–some free and others affordable–that will set you on your way.

     Teach yourself just enough of the grammar and the logic of computer languages to be able to see the big picture. Get acquainted with APIs. Dabble in a bit of Python. For most employers, that would be more than enough. Once you can claim familiarity with at least two programming languages, start sending out those resumes.

     So congratulations again on your achievement–and good luck getting your real-world education.

Mr. McDonald is president of PubMatic, an ad tech company in Manhattan. Previously, he was president of digital for Time Inc.

Just the other night hubby and I were talking about his having to replace his administrative assistant who decided to leave to pursue other interests. The foremost requirement he cited in her replacement was…computer proficiency. Everything else is secondary.

Looks like I won’t be applying. Now if communicating were the priority…yeah, right!

My daughter’s love of dance motivates her to continue training during the summer months when her ballet company is on hiatus. (Most companies are off at this time.) Her feeling is…and I agree…that she needs to keep honing her skills…to keep challenging herself to be better.

How do you remain relevant in your career? Keep learning. Learn everything within one’s power so that you can do what you want…for as long as you want…and hopefully…

Four Financial Tips for College Grads

…get paid what you want…(oh well, two out of three ain’t bad)…

………hugmamma.

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.

through others eyes…

A number of my posts have referenced my cultural heritage…I’m Hawaiian.

I’m also half-Chinese, although I know very little about the culture since my father died when I was one, and my mom was never accepted by her in-laws because she wasn’t Chinese. What I do know was gained from having lived among the Chinese, whose numbers figured large in  Hawaii‘s “melting pot.”

You’ll agree, I’m sure, that who we become is influenced by the environment in which we have been raised. By osmosis, we absorb the good, the bad, and the nuances…of our surroundings.

Born in 1949, I was a Hawaiian on the verge of becoming an American. Once a monarchy, Hawaii became a state of the union on August 21, 1959. I turned 10 that same month.

English: President Sanford B. Dole of the Repu...

English: President Sanford B. Dole of the Republic of Hawaii, his cabinet, and officers of the United States Army, reviewing from the steps of the former royal palace the first American troops to arrive in Honolulu, in 1898, on their way to Manila to capture the city, which Commodore Dewey held at bay with the guns of his fleets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the lead up to becoming an American, I was not allowed to speak my native tongue nor learn about the history of my island home. Instead, I was formally educated in the English language and in American history.

My mom, widowed with 9 children, supported us with her meager earnings as laundress for a Catholic orphanage run by Maryknoll nuns from Boston, Massachusetts. She inferred from them that she should only speak English, and she should abandon her superstitious, island traditions.

As a result of my family’s experience with having to adapt to become  Americans, I am sensitive to others who view America as wanting to usurp their uniqueness as a people…with their own cultural beliefs and traditions.

Despite the Birthers who refuse to acknowledge President Obama’s American citizenship, he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 at 7:24 p.m. at Kapiolani & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu. His father, 25 at the time; his mother, 18.  You can view the long form of his birth certificate at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf

President Obama and I share a commonality…we were born in Hawaii. Me, 10 years before it became a state; the President, 2 years after.

I think most will agree that the first years of a child’s life are the formative ones. They were for me.

English: President Barack Obama signs H.R. 847...

I don’t profess to know all about President Obama, but I sincerely feel he is imbued with the Aloha Spirit so closely identified with the islands we both call home. In fact, he has said as much.

Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: “The opportunity that Hawaii offered—to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect—became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.”[38]

President Obama’s approach to foreign policy is reflective of his upbringing.

He stands tall for American values, all the while recognizing that others have the same right to take pride in who they are and in what they believe. In attempting to bring them around to a more democratic outlook in how they govern, the President does not see the need to annihilate the essence of who they are as a people.

Respecting other nations and supporting them as they take the lead in pursuing their own democracies, President Obama acknowledges that America can no longer act  as the imperialist nation it once was.

America remains the most powerful nation on earth. We still “speak softly and carry a big stick.” It’s just that others are more inclined to call our bluff…namely the terrorists…and China.

We need more in our arsenal of weapons than just bullying postures and empty threats.

First and foremost the President is opting to sit around the table with our allies, and other nations important to the stability required in these very uncertain times. He has made every effort to effect what he has said. That he hasn’t done it to everyone’s expectations might be credited, in part, to the rapidity with which events unfold. And the need to remain flexible, feet grounded, but not immovable.

That America must assert its authority as it once did in previous eras, such as during the Cold War, is not seeing where we are today.

The Middle-East is comprised of such divisive factions. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution to the problems that exist there.

Governor Romney’s vision of American leadership in the world is a throwback to what prior Administrations have held. Perhaps appropriate to some degree then, less likely today.

President Obama’s’ visits to leaders of the Arab world had been viewed as currying favor with those leaders.

My view has always been that the President was reaching out to people who have always been demonized by us, just as we have always been demonized by them. He was trying to build a bridge. A conversation between perceived enemies, if you will.

The world is not black and white. It is colored…textured…multi-faceted.

We need to live outside of ourselves, in the real world where others are trying to do the same. Realizing that how we expect to be treated by others…is how they would like to be treated by us. Sound familiar?

…i invite you to step back…and see the world…through others eyes…

………hugmamma.

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.   😆

daydreaming…a lost art

daydream

daydream (Photo credit: island home)

It’s been awhile since I’ve even heard the term…daydreaming. As a child in the 1950’s I daydreamed…a lot.  It was an option as I flew out the front door, my mom’s favorite refrain ringing in my ears. “Go outside and play!”  Free of schedules, free of chores, free of homework. My brain and I were in control of my body, willing it to do…whatever…or…nothing at all.

I could daydream…imagining make-believe worlds so different from the one in which I lived. Or I could let my mind float…somewhere…out there. Hovering with the butterflies, soaring with the birds, crawling with the insects.

Technicolor and high-definition were creations of my own intellect. Heightening the vibrancy or tweaking the images were mine to control…without buttons and knobs. I had time…to daydream. Pity today’s children. They’ve no time to daydream.

Cover of

Cover of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

In Praise of the Summer Daydream
by Danny Heitman
   As another summer arrives at our doorstep, I’ve been thinking of what my 11-year-old son told me not long ago on a long drive back from a weekend of camping. “If it’s OK with you,” Will said from the back seat, “I’m just going to sit here and daydream for a while.”
   I was heartened that Will had decided to claim a few moments for mental wandering after two days devoted to the outdoor regimens of his Boy Scout troop. But as I gazed through the rearview at the woods receding from view, I had to wonder if Will’s plans would produce the desired result.
   Daydreaming, after all, is something that tends to defy planning. The best daydreams just happen, serendipitously, as we’re doing something else–the brain slipping its leash for a random walk away from work, or class, or the Sunday sermon gone on too long.
   But my son’s sense of daydreaming as a pastime requiring a certain amount of room in the day–a slow half-hour or so when thoughts can float like balloons into the waiting sky–seemed a wise recognition of the freedom needed to let a mind go. Summer, in our ideal vision of the season, seems a natural incubator for daydreaming, as office schedules slacken, and beach vacations beckon, and the close of school liberates children from campus.
   But in squaring off his daydreaming time the way that a grown-up might pencil in an appointment with the dentist or CPA, Will reminded me of the degree to which kids these days tend to think in schedules, even in summer.
   Summer camps nudge America’s children from one enrichment activity to another, and little-league sports perpetually point their little eyes toward the urgency of a ball in play. Do youngsters have any real chance for daydreaming during the vacation months–or in any other time of the year?
   A daydream is a stolen pleasure–a moment or two pleasantly robbed from some more obviously useful task as the brain leaps a fence, goes adventuring and, with any luck, returns to active duty before anyone knows it’s been AWOL.
   But as texts and tweets and ringing cellphones keep a constant claim on attention, such mental escapes can seem all but impossible for youngsters and grown-ups alike.
   If an awareness-raising campaign for daydreaming seems in order, then there’s no better role model for the cause than the title character of James Thurber‘s 1939 short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” A genius at mental digression, the unassuming Mitty evades the tedium of errands with his wife by casting himself as the star of several fantasies, alternately trying on the roles of rakish military commander, ingenious surgeon, crafty murder suspect, and tragic hero facing the firing squad.
   Thurber’s story took on a life of its own, proving wildly popular among careworn Americans fighting World War II. Readers seemed to know that even in the midst of a global conflict–or perhaps because of it–a little mental doodling like Mitty’s could do them a lot of good.
   But Thurber was amused, some years after his free-associating hero first appeared in print, to discover that a British medical journal had coined the term “Walter Mitty syndrome” to describe “pathological daydreaming.”
   Maybe it was inevitable that Mitty would be appropriated to equate daydreaming with illness. Today, as concern about attention deficit disorder informs the popular culture, a practiced daydreamer might find himself classified not as an artist of improvisation, but a case to be cured.
   Long before Walter Mitty’s wife tried in vain to return him permanently to reality, the world had its daydreamers–and diligent guardians bent on reforming them.
   When asked how he happened to create his famous daydreamer, Thurber suggested that he didn’t so much invent Mitty as simply extend a lengthy tradition.
   “There were Walter Mittys, under other names, in the writings of dozens of men ahead of my time, including Shakespeare,” he told a reader.
   So maybe, given its genius for subversion, daydreaming might survive–and even thrive–in a summer that’s probably going to be much busier than it needs to be.

(Mr. Heitman, a columnist for the Baton Rouge Advocate, is the author of “A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House” (LSU Press, 2008)).

I read Thurber’s Walter Mitty in high school. I don’t think it was such a big deal at the time because I indulged in daydreams. 

daydream

daydream (Photo credit: island home)

It’s been awhile since my mind floated skyward…in search of…nothing in particular. I’m not sure adults are able to daydream without reality undermining our efforts at every turn. Too many concerns, worries, stresses. No time to waste; too many tasks at hand. 

Do we outgrow daydreaming as we age? Or have we been brainwashed into accepting, that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop?” I heard that a few times from the nuns who were charged with educating me for 13 years, including kindergarten. 

Within the last couple of decades the good sisters have been replaced with enormous school workloads and extracurricular activities, not to mention texting and Facebooking. Every moment is earmarked and spoken for…before it’s even materialized. The devil’s had to find lazy-bones elsewhere…not that he’s had any trouble on that front.

Kids need time…to grow their own “brand.” Daydreaming provides fertile ground for imagining…and creating.

…isn’t that how great minds like da vinci…edison…madame curie…chihuly…and others like them…invent, discover, and create,?…

………hugmamma. 

if you do it…do it right

dental floss

dental floss (Photo credit: Rakka)

Not a favorite subject, or task, of mine in younger years. However with age comes a certain wisdom. An ever-increasing awareness of my mortality made me realize that I had to do certain things that were heretofore relegated to the bottom of the heap. Flossing always brought up the rear.

Scientific studies have shown a direct link between plaque buildup and heart disease. That made me sit up and take note. Following an unhappy relationship with a cosmetic dentist who charged me $3,000 for a high-powered teeth cleaning, I took myself to another dentist. Fortunately he pronounced my gums healthy, and credited it to the thorough job done by the technicians at the previous dental practice. I guess I got my money’s worth.

Quality of life in older age is now my long-term goal. A healthy diet, exercise and good dental hygiene helps. And if you’re a believer like me, you might want to continue reading the following article in the Wall Street Journal‘s “Quick Cures/Quack Cures.”

US Navy 111023-N-VP123-142 Lt. Cmdr. Jennie St...

US Navy 111023-N-VP123-142 Lt. Cmdr. Jennie Stone, a theater security cooperation planner assigned to Commander, Task Force 73 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Be a Better Flosser
by Heidi Mitchell

     Flossing–beyond just clearing out the spinach from those eggs Florentine lingering between molars–aids in gum health and good breath. New research shows flossing may even protect against diabetes and preterm births.
     But there is little literature on flossing”s finer points, says Denis F. Kinane, professor of pathology and periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Dental Medicine. “It’s kind of like grandmother and apple pie. We know flossing is beneficial, but no one has even studied if it’s better to floss in the morning or evening.” We asked him to resolve some common household debates about flossing.

 Is it better to floss first or brush first?
     The typical regime would be brushing, flossing and rinsing. Flossing cleans out places where the toothbrush can’t reach. But if you were on a desert island and could only bring one dental-health item, choose a toothbrush.

What about morning versus evening?
     Your teeth are typically covered in microbial plaque, or biofilm, which is understood to be linked to every disease caused by infection, from strep and on.
     When you should remove that plaque depends on why you’re removing it in the first place. If you are removing it for prevention of tooth decay or periodontal disease–such as gingivitis, which destroys the root and makes the teeth fall out–then I believe it’s best at night. This gives you an eight-hour, food-free rest so your mouth can fight against the ravages it faces all day.
     If you floss in the morning, because you have to say hello to people and want nice teeth, that is useful–but less so from a biological point of view. Although it should be noted that this has never been researched–call it the Kinane Hypothesis.

What is the biggest flossing mistake?
     Sawing back and forward is wrong, that can abrade the tooth, create a groove and eventually saw off the crown.
     You should always introduce the floss at the top of the tooth, in the gum line, and bring it down, then remove it and find an unused length for the next tooth.
     The old piece of floss is fully laden with plaque. You wouldn’t want to use it again and spread those germs. And be gentle. If you’re too rough, you can cut into the gum and cause bleeding or even a soft tissue wound over time. We also see a lot of what we call “oral health athletes,” who are overzealous about flossing. Once a day is plenty.

Do any other tools–water picks, harps–work better than floss?
     Harps can be fast, and water picks are easier to use on crowns, but a basic cheap floss is perfect.

Waxed versus unwaxed? Ribbon versus string?
     This is really a matter of personal preference. The waxed surface helps the floss to slip in and slip out, which most people like. The string floss can cut your fingers if they are dry; the ribbon has a larger surface area to reach more of the tooth. The popular brand Glide is actually PTFE, or Teflon, so it is slip-free, and because it’s actually in a ribbon form, it has good contact with the tooth.

Doesn’t vigorous water rinsing do the same job?
     You cannot get in between the teeth well with anything other than floss. Your mouth gets a lot of bacteria on various surfaces, which can recolonize clean areas. So while mouth washes are great for killing remnant bacteria on all surfaces, you have to get between the teeth with the ancient invention called floss to really reach every spot.

If you managed to read my post through to this point, and nodded your head in agreement with what Dr. Kinane said, then you’re a flosser. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the small things in life that really matter…

Took this at Loch Fleet while photographing du...

Took this at Loch Fleet while photographing ducks. This ewe was in the field across the road staring at me as if to ask for help with her flossing problems! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…including the not so fun stuff…

………hugmamma.  😦 

live your own life…not someone else’s…

Water ripples

Image by mcconnell.franklin via Flickr

Simple advice from the man who is touted with changing the world in my lifetime…Steve Jobs. While he may have touched upon my life like the furthest ripple from where a pebble hits the surface of the still waters of a lake, Jobs words are more in sync with who I am, than those of family and friends who think they know me best.

Determining that they have my best interests at heart, siblings have, from time to time, made suggestions as to what I might want to do. That we’ve not seen one another in years doesn’t seem to matter. The old adage that “blood is thicker than water” may have something to do with it. And while that may be true literally, figuratively…I’m not so sure.

In striving to live healthfully I’ve learned that water is essential to my body’s machinery. Supporting me in this assertion is the following from the website USG.

The movement of water around, over, and throug...

Image via Wikipedia

Think of what you need to survive, really just survive. Food? Water? Air? Facebook? Naturally, I’m going to concentrate on water here. Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. Each day humans must replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods eaten. …

There just wouldn’t be any you, me, or Fido the dog without the existence of an ample liquid water supply on Earth. The unique qualities and properties of water are what make it so important and basic to life. The cells in our bodies are full of water. The excellent ability of water to dissolve so many substances allows our cells to use valuable nutrients, minerals, and chemicals in biological processes.

One brother suggested I author a story about a little, Hawaiian girl discovering the world beyond; a sister liked a recipe I’d posted and encouraged me to include more in my blog. I thanked both but felt neither was what I wanted to write about. And now in my 60s, I thought I had a pretty good idea as to who I am and what I want.

Fower and bud of yellow chamomile (Anthemis ti...

Image via Wikipedia

It took me a long time to throw off the mantle of others’ expectations of me. Only when I became a mother, did I realize I didn’t want others meddling, however well-intentioned, in how I parented my only child. I was determined to raise her to be who she wanted to be, knowing that my husband and I would always support her with unconditional love.

Handing over the reigns of control to my daughter hasn’t always been easy. But I reflect on the long and difficult path to finding my own voice, and I’m grateful that my daughter has found hers at 25. She speaks to us almost daily, detailing things she wishes to share. We ask questions, but we don’t prod. We express our opinions, but assure her that she knows best because it’s she who lives her life, not us. We affirm the value of her decisions. And we empathize when things don’t occur as she thought they would.

Even in middle-age I looked to others for guidance. I called them role models, women aging gracefully. I thought for sure they had the secret to peace on earth. But I’ve come to realize that I can’t model myself after anyone. What works for another, probably won’t work for me because we’re different people. We’re the result of different parents, different experiences, different strengths and weaknesses, and different life views.

It’s uncanny how a man I never met, an icon, Steve Jobs, knew what was best for me…and millions of others.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

 Steve Jobs’ life should be a beacon for those who know in their heart what feels right for them. And my daughter is an example of someone who took up that torch…

…living her own life…with our love and blessing………hugmamma. 

like flies buzzing around…inside my brain

A proud mother watches from afar as Prince Wil...

Image by mharrsch via Flickr

One more thought before I finally end all discussion about Sarah Bradford’s Diana – Finally, The Complete Story. It centers upon her devotion to her sons, William and Harry. Not that there ever were any doubts. But first-hand testimony of a heretofore, unheard from source, only strengthens the universally held belief that the Princess of Wales excelled at mothering. 

According to Meredith Etherington-Smith, then marketing director of Christie’s Worldwide, who from September 1996 to July 1997 helped Diana prepare for the sale of her gowns to aid her favorite charities:

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Image via Wikipedia

The British Royal Family in 1880.

Image via Wikipedia

One thing she did take seriously was her role first as mother to the boys and second, as Meredith put it, as the Queen Mother of the twenty-first century. ‘Her relationship with the boys was patently a wonderful one…She was a very good mother. I expected them to be more protective of her than they were, and they weren’t, they weren’t mewling and puking and clustering round her. They didn’t have a neurotic relationship. It seemed to me to be perfectly healthy and normal and nice and a great tribute of all to Diana and secondly to Charles.’ ‘Constitutional plans–well, she felt her long-distance role was to be the Queen Mother of the twenty-first century, that the influence the Queen Mother had had on her grandchildren in a way, she felt that was the kind of role which in a curious way she had been chosen for and one did feel that there was a bit of divine right entering into this, a little bit of fate. And she felt that William should be a democratic King, that the boys needed to have friends, that they needed to know their generation, they needed to know politicians, not just Tory ones, that they needed to know the Blair children. They needed to be part of contemporary English life, not an English life that was really out of date by the end of the war–and I’m paraphrasing some quite long conversations about this. And her job was to make sure they were released from the glass cage, and that when he did come to the throne, a lot of people would know him, and he wouldn’t be a mystery, wouldn’t be a royal freak, that he would be a person. I think that she very much thought she would be a power behind the throne…Diana emphasized her desire that William should be a ‘very English King‘: she felt that her Spencer blood had a lot to contribute. ‘She felt that because of the spider’s web of marital alliances and blood they (the Royal Family) weren’t English. “I come from an English family,” she had said proudly, and “we (the Spencers) are a lot older than they are.” She was very proud of the Duke of Marlborough, for instance.

The Prince Willam Cup. The trophy that is cont...

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Who is hotter? Prince Harry or Prince William?

Image by feastoffun.com via Flickr

Diana was very anxious that her boys should not become isolated as the previous royal generation had been, as indeed their father had been. That was why she had wanted the boys, and William in particular, to go to Eton because they would have proper friends there and not sycophants, ‘Diana said, “There’s no messing around at Eton about someone being the heir to the throne. If you’re not popular, charming, intelligent, or good at games, you’re not going to rate, are you?” And so William knows a lot of people. And the interesting thing about that she said, “I think they’ll be protection, those friends too. They’ve grown up together and they’ll be protective.” And they are. You don’t see grab shots of William that often, and why? Because his friends don’t utter. She’d thought all this through. That’s what I mean by being smart.’ ‘They had money which they carried and spent and they went shopping. In other words she was trying to provide as normal a life as possible–they could come out from behind the glass window, and that was her great legacy.’

Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta in t...

Image via Wikipedia

Princess Diana

 Why would Princess Diana be so forthcoming with Etherington-Smith, you ask? Probably because she was older, very much like her other confidantes, Lady Annabel Goldsmith and Margueritte Littman. “Meredith surmised that Diana was very comfortable in the company of older women. ‘I think possibly, without being too psychotherapeutic about it, because of the lack of a mother…most of her confidantes apart from Rosa Monckton, were actually older women…and I think she felt very comfortable, they weren’t competition, they were fun and she could become slightly girly with them without the baggage of “I’m the most beautiful person in the world”…’ “

Another random, final, or maybe not so final, thought occurred as I lay awake last night, reading I Love You, Ronnie. President Reagan had a very human, extremely sentimental side. Apart from his family and a few close friends of the couple, I’m sure no one suspected what a great romantic he was, and how he could wax so poetic. At the same time, however, his vulnerability as a human being comes through. To know that the man who could dial up a third world war lay bare his soul in love letters to his wife, is hugely touching. I find myself remembering Ronald Reagan as President, but trying to imagine this newly revealed man behind the strong facade. What I picture is someone like my husband, my father-in-law, friends in high corporate positions. Not only them, but husbands and fathers the world over who, to the best of their abilities, care for their families.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan aboard an Ameri...

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The following letter was from a man to his wife, his best friend. It’s a letter any man could’ve written, in fact. This one just happened to be from a President to his First Lady, although at the time he was a working stiff, and she was a housewife.

Ronald Reagan
Pacific Palisades
Thurs. (May 24, 1963)

My darling
     Last night we had our double telephone call and all day (I didn’t work) I’ve been re-writing the story of my life as done by Richard Hubler. Tomorrow I’ll do my last day of location and then I’ll call you and I’ll tell you I love you and I’ll mean it but somehow because of the inhibitions we all have I won’t feel that I’ve expressed all that you really mean to me.
     Whether Mike helps buy his first car or spends the money on sports coats isn’t really important. We both want to get him started on a road that will lead to his being able to provide for himself. In x number of years we’ll face the same problem with The Skipper and somehow we’ll probably find right answers. (Patti is another kind of problem and we’ll do all we can to make that one right, too.) But what is really important is that having fulfilled our responsibilities to our offspring we haven’t been careless with the treasure that is ours–namely what we are to each other.
     Do you know that when you sleep you curl your fists up under your chin and many mornings when it is barely dawn I lie facing you and looking at you until finally I have to touch you ever so lightly so you won’t wake up–but touch you I must or I’ll burst?

Cropped screenshot of Ann Blyth from the trail...

Image via Wikipedia

     Just think: I’ve discovered I can be fond of Ann Blyth because she and her Dr. seem to have something of what we have. Of course it can’t really be as wonderful for them because she isn’t you but still it helps to know there are others who might just possibly know a little about what it’s like to love someone so much that it seems as if I have my hand stretched clear across the mountains and desert until it’s holding your hand there in our room in front of the fireplace.
     Probably this letter will reach you only a few hours before I arrive myself, but not really because right now as I try to say what is in my heart I think my thoughts must be reaching you without waiting for paper and ink and stamps and such. If I ache, it’s because we are apart and yet that can’t be because you are inside and a part of me, so we aren’t really apart at all. Yet I ache but wouldn’t be without the ache, because that would mean being without you and that I can’t be because I love you.

Your Husband

Queen Mother Rose

Image by OctogenEm via Flickr

…would that all men could, and would, …..bare their souls
…..without flinching ….. at the thought ….. hugmamma.

a little of this…a little of that…

Haven’t shared trivia with you in sometime. Thought you might be interested in the following regurgitated facts from experts in the field.

…from www.fsis.usda.gov: I was surprised to learn that what I thought would cause food poisoning insofar as perishable items are concerned, was incorrect. Mayonnaise may not be the culprit, but protein sources might. 

best egg salad sandwich ever, flying star, Alb...

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Can mayonnaise in egg salad make you sick when it’s warm out? Karen ( the virtual food safety rep) says people often think mayo is the cause of foodborne illness from chilled foods such as chicken, tuna and egg salad or on deli-styled sandwiches. But since mayonnaise is made with acid (vinegar or lemon juice), it tends to prevent bacterial growth. Usually it’s the meat, poultry, fish or eggs in a sandwich left unrefrigerated for more than two hours that becomes the medium for bacteria to grow.

What about leftover fried chicken? According to Karen, food left out of the fridge for more than two hours may not be safe to eat. At temperatures above 90 F, food shouldn’t be left out for more than an hour. If you have any doubts, throw it out.

When you’ll be in the great outdoors and a cooler chest isn’t an option, Karen suggests packing such items as fruits, vegetables, hard cheeses, dried meats, dried cereal, bread, peanut butter, crackers and bottled drinks. 

…from Jackie Keller (nutrition expert/licensed and certified wellness coach: Debunks popular myths.

My Weight Loss Coach

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Myth: Detox diets jump-start weight loss. I advise against detox diets, as they can cause the body to go into starvation mode and slow down the metabolism. If you want to cleanse your body, eliminate bad-for-you, processed foods and replace them with nutrient-dense foods.

Myth: Cutting carbs will help the pounds come off. The weight loss that low-carb dieters achieve in the first two weeks of carbohhydrate deprivation is measurable and not surprising. Carb-cutting will cause the body to shed water weight, as carbohydrates are stored in the body with water. That water weight will come right back on, and such a yo-yo weight loss is counterproductive and bad for overall metabolism.

Myth: Fat is the enemy. Research shows that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats–which are found in foods such as fish, olive oil, avocados and walnuts–can actually improve levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the risk of heart disease. These healthy fats can aid in weight loss and even delay hunger pangs when consumed in appropriate amounts.

…from David Horowitz (leading consumer advocate) @ www.fightback.com: Warns against scams. In my February 27, 2011 post, “ever have one of those years…?” I talked about the first one. So trust me! It can happen to you.

McAfee
Image by biggraham via Flickr

A message flashes on your computer screen: “Warning! Your system requires immediate anti-virus scan.” A free scan is offered. What do you do?
This incredibly common scam is almost guaranteed to occur as you use your PC. Upon first look, it would appear that clicking “No thanks” would be the right solution. Wrong. Clicking anywhere in the on-screen alert can open the program further or direct you to a website you have no interest in going to. Worse, clicking anywhere in the on-screen alert can instantly infect your computer with a virus that can be difficult or even impossible to remove. (It cost me $199 to have Tech Pros remove it.)

The solution is to hold down the Control and Alt keys and hit “Delete.” Once the application tab pops up, select “End Task,” then do a full scan of your computer with the anti-virus software you already have. (That’s exactly what the expert at Tech Pros told me…after I paid the $199.)

You are in financial trouble, and as a result your credit is suffering. You have been approached by a variety of services offering to repair your credit. What do you do?
Although many companies offer to repair damaged credit, it can be difficult to tell which are legitimate. The most common scam involves a company advising you to stop paying your creditors and deposit money into a special account instead. In reality, the debt-settlement company withdraws fees from your account for “services,” long before it negotiates with your creditors, if it negotiates at all.

If these companies send you an unsolicited email or advertise on the radio touting a stellar track record, it may be a scam. Stick with a legitimate nonprofit counseling outlet with an established track record, and always try to negotiate directly with your creditors first.

Ebay Explained 2006 (KLCC)

Image by liewcf via Flickr

You have made an online purchase and the item never arrives, or the item is not what you thought you were buying. What do you do? 
If you made the purchase from a reliable company, review the return policy and keep all receipts once you ship the items back. …However, if you made the purchase through a third-party entity on a website such as craigslist or eBay, the solution can be  bit more complicated.

Eiko's credit card

Image by eikootje via Flickr

Look for telltale signs of a scam before charging your credit card. For example, buying tickets can be risky, as scammers often change one digit in the theater address or the ticket number, tricking you into buying tickets you think are real, only to be told they are fake once you try to enter an event.

Beware of merchants who provide you with only a cellphone number; they do this because cellphones can’t always be tracked. Look out for sellers who ask you to wire money, retail websites that don’t list an address or a phone number, and companies that don’t have much of a presence or any reviews online. These likely are scams.

…more than enough…to contemplate…hugmamma.

“shaka, bra…”

Sunset from Ka'annapali, Maui, Hawaiian Islands

Image by Mastery of Maps via Flickr

That’s Hawaiian speak for “it’s easy,” “no worries,” “right on.” At least that’s what I’ve thought it to mean when I lived and played in the islands, decades ago. I’m sure over time it’s come to mean more things to more people. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find the following email from kamaainas (non-locals who become locals by virtue of moving to Hawaii or owning property there). I don’t know them personally, but feel I do through their intermittent communication. Hope you enjoy this mini “pigeon-english” lesson. Never know, it might come in handy on a future visit to my native island paradise.

Aloha!
The “shaka” sign has meant many things over the years and is a definite part of Hawaiian culture and the aloha spirit that is always present in Hawai’i. Today, it can mean many things, including “Howzit?” (How’s it going?), “No worries!”, “Thanks!” and much more. It is by far the most well-known and used gesture by Hawai’i locals and islanders, men, women, and keiki (children) alike. It’s used as a gesture of friendship, to greet, and to say goodbye. It’s how local people wave at others. Interpreted to mean “hang loose” or “right on,” the “shaka” sign is a constant reminder that in Hawaii, it is not the norm to worry or rush. “Shaka” represents the embodiment of “island style.” It signals that everything is all right.

Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaiian Islands

Image by Mastery of Maps via Flickr

The “shaka” sign is more than just nonverbal communication. When you use it, you acknowledge the true concept of aloha and participate in the synergistic heartbeat of Hawai’i. A guest expressed it this way: “We remember when we got our first “shaka” in Hawai’i. We were enjoying the drive on the road to Hana. We looked in the rearview mirror and noticed a pickup truck following behind us. We assumed the folks in the truck were local residents and weren’t on a sightseeing mission as we were, so at our first opportunity, we pulled over to let the truck pass by us. As the truck passed, the passenger gave us a ‘shaka’.” (By the way, local residents will always appreciate your pulling over to allow them to pass if you are driving slowly.)

Edited photo of

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To make a “shaka,” extend your thumb and pinkie while curling in the index and middle fingers. You can rotate your wrist too.

The “shaka” is a simple, yet powerful, way to remind locals and visitors of the way people look out for each other on the Islands, and strive to spread aloha day in, and day out, in keeping with the Hawaiian principle of “malama i kekahi i kekahi,”…”take care of one, take care of all.”

If you’re new to the islands, don’t be shy about throwing up “shakas.” Just make sure you’ve got the hand gesture down first!

road to hana

A hui hou…
Anne & Wes

 
 

 

 

“re-cal-cu-la-ting”…”re-cal-cu-la-ting”…”re-cal-cu-la-ting”

Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) in Otternd...

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My friend Sylvia always provides some much needed levity. Once again she doesn’t disappoint.

Should I really join Facebook?…A good laugh for people in the over 50 group!!!
 

Senior Citizens Find That New Ulm, Minnesota, ...

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When I bought my Blackberry, I thought about the 30-year business I ran with 1800 employees, all without a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grandkids and 2 great grandkids could communicate with me in the modern way.

 
I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space. That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter,

Image representing Tweetree as depicted in Cru...

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Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world. My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag. 

 
 
The kids bought me a GPS

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

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for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then, going over to the grocery store or to the library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue Tooth (it’s red) phone, I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife and everyone within 50 yards who glared at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, so I got a little loud.

 
I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say “Re-calc-u-lating.” You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead…well, it was not a good relationship. When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.
 
To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the

Image by Dave McLean (aka damclean) via Flickr

cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven’t figured out how I can lose 3 phones all at once and have to run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty laundry basket when the phone rings.  

 
 
The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden “paper or plastic?” every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those reusable, cloth bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them into the store with me. Now I toss the question back when they ask. I just say “Doesn’t matter to me. I’m bi-sacksual.” Then it’s their turn to stare at me with a blank look.
 
I was recently asked if I “tweet.” I answered, “No, but I toot.”  
 
P.S. I know some of you are not over 50. I sent it to you to allow you to forward it to those who are. We seniors don’t need anymore gadgets. The TV remoteand the garage door remote are all we can handle.

Korean traffic sign

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…THE STORY OF MY LIFE…HUGMAMMA. 🙂