what feels right…

I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, although I have liberal tendencies born of a childhood bordering on poverty. I know what it’s like to wear Salvation Army hand-me-downs, and share meals with orphans at a home run by Maryknoll nuns. I’ve been fortunate, however, to have “pulled myself up by the bootstraps” and married a man who has done the same. For us the stars were all aligned, shining good fortune down upon us. Not so with millions of others in America…and around the world. As one of my brothers liked to say of me, and perhaps it’s true…I’m a bleeding-heart liberal. And he didn’t mean it kindly. He’s hard-core conservative.

While I have voted for Republican presidents, like George W. Bush, I’ve never felt in sync with the party. I get that its members are about preserving the status quo and each and everyone earning his own keep. What I don’t get is how dogmatic Republicans are about their principles. It’s as though all poor people are guilty of abusing the system and must therefore prove themselves innocent. Why they can’t do just that seems beyond comprehension to dyed-in-the-wool conservatives. If folks find themselves in unfortunate circumstances, then they should get themselves out however they can and not look to society to do it for them.

Democrats aren’t without their own prejudices and faults. However what I can align with is their concern for the welfare of all people, including the less fortunate. There isn’t an automatic assumption that they are slovenly people living off the fat of the land, without first paying their dues. Yes, there are those who take advantage of welfare, but those who don’t shouldn’t be condemned alongside those who do.

My mom, a widow with 9 children, was never on welfare. She worked hard and took help whenever it was offered. If she was ashamed, she never showed it. What I did witness, however, was her compassion for others who shared her plight. She shared what little she had. A lesson that has remained with me to this day. Whether or not it comes more easily for folks who are themselves outcasts from society, I don’t know. I only know that having been there, I could never turn my back on those still stuck in the muck of poverty.

Life is complicated. There are no easy solutions to its complexities. All we can do is the best we can do, given our individual circumstances. And the only compass we have to guide us through life is a moral one. And at the risk of sounding like a “bleeding heart liberal,”…whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together. There’s no escaping to another planet, anytime soon that is. So rather than run from one another, we’ve got to figure out how to make this place where we all live…work for the good of all. Sooner or later the have-nots are going to overtake the haves, and help themselves to what they’ve long been denied.

…we are our brothers’…and sisters’…keepers.

…whether we like it…or not.

………hugmamma.

 

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trump…and the pope

What do these men have in common? Not much it would seem.

Trump is about Trump. Pope Francis is about others.

Trump lives like a king, isolated in his own tower. Pope Francis lives in apartment #201 at the Vatican Hotel…so he can be closer to the people.

Trump seeks the presidency so he can, as he tells it…single-handedly return America to its glory days. Pope Francis agreed to forgo retirement so that he could shepherd world citizens to do what we can for the less fortunate among us.

Perhaps the Pope’s message of inclusion will resonate with those seeking the presidency. We can only pray that those who call themselves Christians, are, in fact, Christ-like.

The Pope’s words spoken during the homily at the Mass canonizing Junipero Sera to sainthood…

Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice! These are striking words, words which impact our lives. Paul tells us to rejoice; he practically orders us to rejoice. This command resonates with the desire we all have for a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a joyful life. It is as if Paul could hear what each one of us is thinking in his or her heart and to voice what we are feeling, what we are experiencing. Something deep within us invites us to rejoice and tells us not to settle for placebos which simply keep us comfortable.

At the same time, though, we all know the struggles of everyday life. So much seems to stand in the way of this invitation to rejoice. Our daily routine can often lead us to a kind of glum apathy which gradually becomes a habit, with a fatal consequence: our hearts grow numb.

We don’t want apathy to guide our lives… or do we? We don’t want the force of habit to rule our life… or do we? So we ought to ask ourselves: What can we do to keep our heart from growing numb, becoming anesthetized? How do we make the joy of the Gospel increase and take deeper root in our lives?

Jesus gives the answer. He said to his disciples then and he says it to us now: Go forth! Proclaim! The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.

The spirit of the world tells us to be like everyone else, to settle for what comes easy. Faced with this human way of thinking, “we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world” (Laudato Si’, 229). It is the responsibility to proclaim the message of Jesus. For the source of our joy is “an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy” (Evangelii Gaudium, 24). Go out to all, proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming. This is what the Lord tells us today. He tells us:

A Christian experiences joy in following a command: Go forth and proclaim the good news! A Christian finds ever new joy in answering a call: Go forth and anoint!

Jesus sends his disciples out to all nations. To every people. We too were part of all those people of two thousand years ago. Jesus did not provide a short list of who is, or is not, worthy of receiving his message, his presence. Instead, he always embraced life as he saw it. In faces of pain, hunger, sickness and sin. In faces of wounds, of thirst, of weariness, doubt and pity. Far from expecting a pretty life, smartly-dressed and neatly groomed, he embraced life as he found it. It made no difference whether it was dirty, unkempt, broken. Jesus said: Go out and tell the good news to everyone. Go out and in my name embrace life as it is, and not as you think it should be. Go out to the highways and byways, go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out to proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father. Go out to those who are burdened by pain and failure, who feel that their lives are empty, and proclaim the folly of a loving Father who wants to anoint them with the oil of hope, the oil of salvation. Go out to proclaim the good news that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person’s life. Go out with the ointment which soothes wounds and heals hearts.

Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing.

The Church, the holy People of God, treads the dust-laden paths of history, so often traversed by conflict, injustice and violence, in order to encounter her children, our brothers and sisters. The holy and faithful People of God are not afraid of losing their way; they are afraid of becoming self-enclosed, frozen into élites, clinging to their own security. They know that self-enclosure, in all the many forms it takes, is the cause of so much apathy.

So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). The People of God can embrace everyone because we are the disciples of the One who knelt before his own to wash their feet (ibid., 24).

The reason we are here today is that many other people wanted to respond to that call. They believed that “life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort” (Aparecida Document, 360). We are heirs to the bold missionary spirit of so many men and women who preferred not to be “shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security… within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving” (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). We are indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of the Gospel to be, in every generation, both “good” and “news”.

Today we remember one of those witnesses who testified to the joy of the Gospel in these lands, Father Junípero Serra. He was the embodiment of “a Church which goes forth”, a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God. Junípero Serra left his native land and its way of life. He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life. He learned how to bring to birth and nurture God’s life in the faces of everyone he met; he made them his brothers and sisters. Junípero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it. Mistreatment and wrongs which today still trouble us, especially because of the hurt which they cause in the lives of many people.

Father Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward!

…words inspiring us to act with mercy and compassion.

………hugmamma.

a man…a saint

As I drifted off to sleep last night, I prayed for Pope Francis. Image result for pope francis gallery

Not someone I normally think of when I pray.

I had real concerns for the Pope’s safety…still do…as he rides amidst thousands gathered to see him. There’s no way of knowing whether or not there’s a gunman among them. 

Even the Pope needs our prayers. Like us, he’s made of flesh and blood. At 78, Pope Francis has limited stamina and energy. His crusade to alter the plight of the world’s poor is a task not even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet can fully accomplish with all their billions. And yet the Holy Father is like the fountain of youth, offering life to all in need…physically and spiritually.

I can’t recall another world leader, past or present, so aligned with the downtrodden. A humble man where his needs are concerned, Pope Francis is nonetheless outspoken when promoting the causes of the less fortunate. Using his powerful platform as the head of the Catholic church, the pontiff runs the risk of incurring the wrath of those who disagree with his beliefs. It matters not to him. He is about God’s work.

Just as Jesus Christ was about His Father’s work…for which the Son was crucified…and subsequently rose again in glory, to sit beside His Father.

I believe one day, Pope Francis will be canonized a saint. Yet I’m sure many agree that he walks among us today…

…already a saint.

………hugmamma

Image result for pope francis gallery

Homeless and Luckless, Piano Man Wows Internet and Gets New Start

…never too late…to live your best life…

………hugmamma.

The Feels

The city of Sarasota, Fla., has a project called “Sarasota Keys,” which installs lovely old upright pianos in public places where anyone can play. One day last week, a homeless man sat down at one of these sidewalk pianos at a public art exhibit and started playing the Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” Passersby took notice, pulling out smartphones to capture the moment and dollar bills to thank the musician.

Donald Gould, 51, a scrawny man of “cave man” appearance with scraggly hair and unkempt beard, kept his eyes on the keys and his music filled Main Street in downtown Sarasota, Fla.

Gould, or “Boone” as he is known around town, said he only wanted to earn a few bucks. A week later, video of his impromptu performance has been viewed more than 7.5 million times on YouTube and more than 5 million times on Facebook, with the videographer, Aroar Natasha,

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living her best life…#38

When I think my life’s hit a bump in the road, I know there’s always someone else whose life has hit a pot hole. Some, even sink holes.

Like the young housewife and her infant children who lost husband and father, when he smashed head-on into the back of a city bus while driving to work. Natashia Henderson is a teacher on maternity leave. Her third child is due in June or July. Donations for her husband’s funeral as well as support for the family can be made at http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/in-memory-of-glenn-henderson/331230. 

How my sister-in-law Pat has lived with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis for almost a year is hard for me to fathom. Even my daughter who just went through her own personal hell, can’t imagine how her aunt weathers the constant storm brewing inside her body. How does she do it? Not very easily, I’m sure.

Physically, Pat says she has no complaints. A little fatigue now and then, especially after chemotherapy. Personally…I think Pat complains very little, if ever. 

Pat still has difficulty chewing; her back molars no longer work. In fact, her dentist recommends removing them. The way Pat tells it you’d think it was no big deal. But, of course, it is. It’s just that she’s been living without the ability to chew for a while, ever since her diseases took hold. 

No chewing means resorting to baby food. Well, maybe not Gerber’s, but pretty close. Few adults could live on pablum and love it. I know of none.

Losing a few pounds is one thing. Losing 20-30 pounds when you’re not really trying is scary. At least to those of us who love Pat.

I enjoy making Pat laugh…even when I’m not trying. What I’ve never heard her do…is cry. 

Why shouldn’t she cry, considering what she’s living with? I would. Then again…I cry every time I see An Affair to Remember…starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

Pat and Brad are making a quick stopover in Seattle this weekend, en route to The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I can’t wait to hug her skinny body and make her laugh until her belly aches. I want to catch up on all the little things left unsaid in emails and phone calls. In short, I’d like to mother Pat, allowing her to relax into the loving care and concern of one who’s lived longer. 

I’m not wiser, I’m just more inclined to…

…hug…and never stop hugging.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

living her best life…#37: wabi sabi

Wabi Sabi. A phrase I’ve now heard 3 times within the last couple of months. A phrase I’d never heard before.

Pat’s husband Brad first mentioned Wabi Sabi just about the time she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis. Then Pat’s sister Mary spoke of it again in an email. I’d been meaning to bring it up in a post, but never did. And so…the “third time’s the charm.”

A Blog for Humans at   https://tomrains.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/sehnsucht/  defined Wabi Sabi as “a Japanese philosophy concerning the beauty of imperfection.”

The beauty of imperfection. 

Describes Pat’s life at the moment…at least insofar as how Pat is living her life…in light of her health issues.

Life really is as the Japanese perceive it…Wabi Sabi. 

Beautiful in its imperfection.

Following is an email from Pat updating her “imperfectly beautiful life.”

*****************************************************************************************************************************************

Hi [hugmamma…]

How is Sitka doing? I felt so sad reading your post about him. It was really hard when Lady died. It took a while but I’m finally ready for another dog, but the timing is just not right. And how is the renovation going? Smoothly, I hope! I’m not sure if my text messages from my phone are going through, so wanted to give you another update, as things are starting to move forward…

First things first, though. Had an enjoyable, busy weekend. Saturday was a bridal shower for John’s (my nephew) fiancee, Estee. Then we got together on Sunday at Johnny’s (my brother) because Carol and her family are in town for the week. Any time family’s together is a good time…

I’m still working 3 days a week and will start doing half days on most Thursdays. Basically, I’m running out of sick leave and vacation time! There’s a “shared leave” program at work where co-workers can donate leave. My boss says there’s a lot of interest from people at work who want to donate, so I’ve put in a request and hopefully will get some additional time. I’ve also put in for leave without pay for June – August. I will be able to keep my medical benefits as long as I pay my premiums, so I wanted to make sure to set that up.

We just got a letter from the Mayo Clinic scheduling my first appointment for May 11. Chemo is scheduled to end Wednesday, May 6, so the following Monday we’ll be in Minnesota. The Kaiser transplant coordinator told us Mayo said to plan on staying for 2-3 days. That doesn’t help us much so we are trying to get more details before we make our travel arrangements. I have 2 appointments the first day we’re there which look like a consultation and possibly a bone marrow biopsy. Kaiser has said all along that the Mayo Clinic will most likely want to do their own tests, etc. So there could be additional appointments while we’re there.

Brad and I still have so many questions, as well as a lot of preparation for the trip and beyond. 

Ethan will still be in school. Need to make arrangements for him to stay with Brad’s sister. Aiden is due to return home on May 10, so we’ll be crossing paths in the air. What’s unknown is how soon after this first trip we’ll be returning to the Mayo Clinic for the actual transplant. We’ve learned that they won’t want to wait too long from the time I end my chemotherapy before starting the transplant process. So we’re guessing we’ll fly home only to fly back soon after. Not so easy when traveling from Hawaii!

It’s still a little ways away, but I get anxious if I think about it too much. Just have to take it one day at a time, because…

…life goes on…things needing to be done this week…a meeting with our tax consultant…chemo treatments…

…and things to look forward to…John and Estee’s wedding in a couple of weeks…the annual Easter brunch at our house.

Maybe we can talk on Wednesday or Thursday morning? Chemo on Wednesday is at 1 p.m. 

Anyway, must be going. Trying to gather all our tax papers for tomorrow’s meeting.

Love to you and the family,

…and all my supporters…

…pat…and hugmamma.

 

like the rock of gibraltar…but not

Just got off the phone with my wonderful and loving daughter. She it is who is wise beyond her 28 years. She who can heal whatever it is that ails me. And not with a cup of green tea to warm my insides, although she does that too, but with sentiments that wrap themselves around my oft-times troubled soul.

Without going into details, suffice it to say my normally blissful life has been upended by something that occurred decades ago. While I’d been able to move on with my life, the event was there like a rock secured to my ankle which I dragged around with me…everywhere. For a long time I barely noticed it was there.

But it was there.

Resolving issues through compromise is always my preference. I’d like to think I’m no different from other folks in that regard.

It’s not my style to pretend like something never happened. It’s like glossing over the truth. And if I learned anything from the 12 years I spent in the daily company of Catholic nuns…TRUTH above all else!

What I didn’t assimilate until I was older is that the truth can hurt…real bad.

I recently decided to stop ignoring that “rock” and see if I could break free of its hold once and for all. 

My daughter’s words of encouragement were enlightening.

She reminded me how far I’d come in living my best life. As far as the “rock” was concerned, she felt I’d had the best of intentions in trying to be rid of it, and that I no longer needed to agonize over it.  

My “light bulb” moment was when she reminded me of how I felt when I decided to buy coffee and food along with a $25 gift card from Starbuck’s for a woman I thought was homeless. What I chose to ignore was that the woman wasn’t dressed exactly like one might expect of a homeless person. In fact, she could have been the poster person for what the homeless could look like…poised, almost like a model…modestly dressed, but still fashionable-looking…hair done in dread locks, and impeccably clean-looking …face made up, even more so than mine.

Of course I didn’t see these details until my daughter and I were standing in front of the woman, gifts in hand. What had caught my eye, and my heart strings, from the distance was the shopping cart behind the woman which looked to be loaded down with all that she had in the world.

How could I leave, packages in hand…loaded down with Christmas gifts for my loved ones, when this poor woman stood there in the cold and rain as countless shoppers passed her by, sometimes only inches away from where she stood?

Upon approaching the woman, my daughter spoke first offering the coffee, sandwich and cookie that we’d bought. We were caught off by guard by the woman’s quick response…”I don’t take food from people I don’t know.” Needless to say my daughter and I were totally thrown off, and took a bit to recover.

While I tried to ascertain her circumstances, ever so carefully choosing my words, the woman asked who we were, where were we from. She wanted to know what ethnicity we were. When told we were Hawaiian, she said she’d lived in Hawaii and asked if we knew someone she’d known there.

Trying to process the conversation as we stood rooted in place, still clutching our donations, I couldn’t decide if the woman was legitimate or simply conning us. Unable to think straight, I offered her the gift card which she took. Without acknowledging our donation, she continued talking. At which point I wished her well, eager to extricate myself from a situation about which I wasn’t quite sure.

To this day, we’ll never know if the woman was homeless or if she was simply trying to solicit cash. And yes, I did agonize over whether or not I’d done the right thing.

Why? Because a number of years ago I gave a guy $20 after he told me his hard luck story. A few days later he told me the same story, not realizing he’d already hit me up for money before. And at the time I gave it to him, my girlfriend, who was with me, told me she thought I’d been scammed. 

My daughter explained that just as my intentions were good in wanting to give to the woman, so too were they good in removing the “rock” that continued to weigh me down. She went on to say that I’d gotten rid of the “rock,” and that I needn’t dwell on whether or not I did the right thing. Rather, that I needed to return to…living my best life.

…i think i’ll do as she asks…for my sake…

and hers.

………hugmamma.

 

charitable gifting…a holiday twist

The Food Bank in our community recently held a holiday event for parents unable to provide gifts for their children.

Rather than having donors make the selections for family members, we were invited to bring our unwrapped donations to a specified venue on December 8th and 9th. The Food Bank’s website provided the age categories and a list of possible suggestions of gifts for both boys and girls. Donors were asked to indicate, if possible, what items we were planning to bring. Most likely it was to have an indication of what and how much to expect.

Parents wanting to participate in the shopping spree which occurred on December 10th and 11th, were asked to register online. Again, it was probably to ensure that there would be a sufficient inventory from which they could make their selections.

A friend and I had fun shopping for items to donate. With no child of his own, he relished purchasing a couple of things to make someone else’s child happy. It brought me joy as well knowing that the toys and clothes I bought would bring great pleasure to the parents who would, in turn, give them to their children.

What a wonderful way to give during the holidays. Letting parents shop from among the donated items, allowing them to have the same experience as we who have the means to buy gifts for our own children.

…anonymity for the donor…dignity for the parent who can give…

………hugmamma.

an act of kindness…warms our family’s heart

My hormones were raging today, the downside of hormone replacement therapy treatment…Wiley Protocol in my case.

How do I know? My tear ducts were working overtime today. 

I think it began with An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. No matter how often I see this tear jerker, I always weep in all the same places. 

When Grant returns to his grandmother’s home after she’s died, remembering when he was last there, Kerr at his side. In the background, the haunting melody is playing which starts my tears. And then, of course, when Grant learns Kerr had been in a car accident and was, therefore, unable to meet him at the top of the Empire State Building. That’s when the flood gates burst, and I was a blithering idiot.

After gathering my wits about me, I went about my day.

In the evening I paused intermittently to listen to a couple of the singers on The Voice. When each of the 5 remaining contestants returned to their home towns to thunderous applause, again I choked up. How proud to be recognized by one’s own community, and to represent it on the national stage. How proud, indeed!

Then my daughter phoned. She has a way of making me sentimental mush. No, I didn’t cry…not then.

After filling me in on all she’s been up to since we last talked, she told me a story which had me choking back my tears once again.

An elderly gentleman stopped at a Discount Tire store to have a tire repaired. Upon looking it over, the young salesman informed the customer that, in fact, all of the tires on the old truck needed replacing. The man explained he only had enough money to make repairs, that he was doing it for his daughter. He paid the bill, indicating that she would return the next day to pick up her truck.

When the 17-year-old returned with her boyfriend, the salesman told her what he’d said to her father the day before. Again she reiterated that she had no money to buy new tires. She went on to say she had been accepted into veterinary school which took all the money her family had to spare.

The Discount Tire rep happened to be the Senior Assistant to the store manager. Making an executive decision, he authorized his technicians to replace all the tires with new ones. Noticing what they were doing through one of the store windows, the young woman was understandably upset and asked what they were doing. The young man, a 25-year-old, assured her that his concern was for her safety. He was probably also thinking about the safety of others she might encounter on the road, driving alongside her. She cried as he wished her a happy holiday season, inviting her father to make whatever payments he could…whenever he could…if he was so inclined. 

A Good Samaritan story for which I was not prepared. I cried when my daughter told it, and again when I retold it to my husband. It brought tears to his eyes as well.

The personal blessing for our family? The Good Samaritan is…

…our daughter’s boyfriend.

………hugmamma.

 

friday fictioneers: a man for the ages

Copyright -Randy Mazie

A man the likes of which we’d not seen in a long time sat behind those walls.

Praying and hoping his fellow countrymen would do the right thing.

Too long, his people denied the same rights and freedoms as whites.

An age old problem since Gandhi sought to end the oppression of Indians in South Africa, and elsewhere in the British Empire, nonviolently.

Aggressive and militant when he entered prison.

Twenty-seven years later, Nelson Mandela emerged a changed man.

Practicing peace among men, he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Bougainvillea from the barren earth grew.

Mandela bloomed.

Flourishing.

At peace.

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

fundraising…with the rich and famous

Hubby called mid-day yesterday asking if I’d like to accompany him to a fundraiser. His company was one of the corporate donors, and he was asked to attend on the company’s behalf. Normally I prefer to settle in for the evening, especially when I’ve had a busy week running around doing whatever it is I do as a housewife. But since we’d not had a date night within the last month or so, I thought…”What the heck! Just go for it.” And so I did.

Of course it took some primping…and wriggling in and out of outfits…before I passed the visual test. I looked in the mirror…gave myself the once over…and decided that was as good as I was going to get. Hubby, on the other hand, always tells me I look…”beautiful!” I don’t always agree…but hey!…I’ll take it.

I had a chance to visit the Museum of Flight a...

Funny thing is my husband referred to the fundraiser as an “event.” After I hung up the phone, I said to myself “Event? What kind of event?” The only clue I had was that it was being held at the Museum of Flight. I’d been there on a couple of other occasions for cancer fundraisers. So I imagined we’d be attending something similar. Although my husband did say this wasn’t the same “event.”

Initially I thought I’d just dress up a pair of nice jeans with a tank and a knee-length jacket made of glittery threads. I imagined the crowd would be young and hip. After all, it was the Museum of Flight…not Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony plays…or McCaw Hall where the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the opera perform.

As it turned out it’s a good thing I decided on a safer, more traditional floor length, brown, sleeveless jersey dress with matching lace jacket.

When we pulled up in front of the museum, we were greeted by young men hired to park cars. Waiting to greet us were young women in gowns with fur capes. A tent set up over the entrance was lit with chandeliers. The cement floor was covered in a red, outdoor carpet. And before ascending the stairs to the tent where we had to register our credit cards and pick up our bidding packets, we were greeted by a ritzy, black, L-107 2013 Lincoln MKZ Luxury Sedan…one of the items up for bid.

English: 737 body in the Museum of Flight, Sea...

I couldn’t help thinking…”This is going to be a mighty interesting evening.”

As it turned out the event was to raise funds for the museum and the educational opportunities it affords younger generations of pilots, aeronautical engineers, scientists, astronauts and the like. We were treated to a video of just such a young hopeful who today, at 24, is involved in retrieving photographs from outer space and deciphering what exactly it is they are viewing. She was on hand, as were several young pupils who hoped to follow in the doctor’s footsteps. Yes, Laura is now addressed as “Doctor.” 

It was evident from the high bidding that took place as the evening unfolded, that Mr. and Mrs. William Boeing of the Boeing Company, had brought along their monied friends.

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

One of them was wearing a dress once belonging to Marilyn Monroe. Try as I might to get a glimpse of the woman who’d obviously succeeded in bidding for the famed celebrity’s clothing, I left without knowing for certain. If it had been the white one Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch, it would have been easy. My guess is it was the satin, white dress with large, black flowers that the star wore in her last film. The one in which she would’ve starred opposite Dean Martin. And the one Monroe more famously left in the middle of filming to fly to New York City’s Madison Square Garden to sing “Happy birthday…dear Mr. President. Happy birthday to you.” That was none other than…President Kennedy. Due to Monroe’s erratic behavior, the movie was finally completed with Doris Day and James Garner in the starring roles.

Last night’s “star,” the Lincoln sedan, donated by Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally, as a personal favor to Mr. Boeing, ultimately sold for $45,000. It was valued at $49,500. Other big ticket items up for auction were…dinner for 8 hosted by Boeing Commercial Airlines President and CEO Ray Conner, and Alaska Airline‘s Chairman Bill Ayer…first class airfare on Alaska Airlines with hotel and reserved tickets to the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in NYC…lunch with the Boeings at their home followed by a “once-in-a-lifetime ride” on Miss Wahoo, their hydroplane…first-class air for 4 on Alaska Airlines to and from the Four Seasons Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii…Delta business class tickets and 3-night vacation at a Tuscan villa for two couples…and “Kentucky Derby experience for four with private jet air travel to Louisville” as guests of Bernt Bodal, Museum trustee and President and CEO of American Seafoods.

English: The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) begi...

One of the more interesting items which sold in excess of its $13,000 value was “to take the reins of the Hubble telescope and explore the universe…As Space Ambassador, you will receive the following:

  • An invitation for two to the exclusive finished spacecraft unveiling event, where YOU will be a guest of honor.
  • Your name etched into the actual historic spacecraft before it blasts into orbit!
  • At the event, you will mingle with the rockstar team at Planetary Resources that previously landed NASA’s Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity on Mars.

Finally, once the spacecraft is in orbit, you will:

  • Receive a special pass to use the ARKYD’s Space Photobooth for THREE special personal occasions on demand. (get your selfie in space!)
  • Have the opportunity to propose a name for an asteroid discovered by the ARKYD.
  • Help educate the community by donating a school and classroom of your choice the chance to be among the first to control this starship through their very own educational program customized just for them. You will be their Space Ambassador as you help them encounter their INNER ASTRONAUT and explore the wonders of the universe with the ARKYD starship.

Launch estimated for 2015. Donated by Planetary Resources, Inc.

The evening’s piece de resistance, however, was funding the Museum of Flight’s educational programs. The goal was $300,000. Two couples donated $100,000 each, one of them included…the woman walking around in Marilyn Monroe’s dress. Others raised their paddles at $75,000…$50,000…on down to $500. Obviously there were more raised paddles at the bottom rung.

That’s where we normally jump in…at the $500 level. However early on in the bidding, hubby and I decided this fundraiser was not something we were moved to join. While we agreed with its mission, we’re more inclined to donate towards cancer research or some other social issue. It was obvious that The Museum of Flight had a plethora of wealthy donors who could probably give to various charities. We, on the other hand, are middle-class donors who must be selective since we’re not able to…burn through money like the big rollers.

These patrons of flight gave a whopping $450,000 toward the museum’s educational mission alone, surpassing their goal by $150,000. I would imagine the evening’s grand total probably approached $1,000,000. Not bad for one night’s work.

As I anticipated, the evening was fascinating for so many reasons…the money donated, the people, the food, our dinner companions and, of course, the flight memorabilia that surrounded us on all sides…some even floating overhead.

I heartily suggest that when you visit Seattle…you can skip the fundraiser, but…

…the museum of flight…is a must-see!!!…

………hugmamma. 

Seattle Museum Flight Mar05 48

 

what’s the difference?…

As events continue to unfold in Syria and the world looks on, wondering what to do, I too wonder…what would we do if the atrocities heaped upon the Jews by Hitler…were to play out in today’s society?

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia.

Would we vacillate about Hitler…as we are vacillating about Asad?

Would we allow German Jews to be killed by non-German Jews…as we sit by and watch pro-government Syrians murder those opposed to the government?

Would we complain of war weariness having fought one world war…as we are complaining of the several wars already fought in the Middle East?

Would we oppose President Roosevelt’s taking us to war…as we are now opposing President Obama’s efforts to level the playing field in the Syrian civil war?

Would we stand by as Jews are gassed to death…as we now watch as Syrians are poisoned by lethal chemicals?

Do we value Syrians less than we value Jews? Or do we value others’ lives…

…less than we value our own?…

………hugmamma.

Propaganda Poster

…a kid like no other…

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s talent. I was reminded of it a couple of days ago when one of the TV channels ran the song/dance videos from Jackson’s hit album “BAD.” The station was celebrating 25 years since the album’s release.

Michael Jackson

At the time “BAD” hit the airwaves, I wasn’t impressed. Like many, I preferred the sweet, innocent, black Michael. “Who was this whiter, sexier, long-haired version?” I thought. Unwilling to accept that he had changed, just as we all do, I dismissed him…and his music. Not until his death did I resume my admiration for a talent the likes of which we haven’t seen before, and probably won’t see again. 

I recently picked up another Jackson biography at Half Price Books, for 20% off no less. “My Friend Michael” by Frank Cascio is an honest depiction of the mega watt star from the stance of a young man who grew up knowing Jackson since age 5. At the time Michael was in his 20s. Along with his brother, Eddie, Frank got to know the boy behind the man…the Michael Jackson whose childhood was swallowed up by a career run amok.

Who can judge what should and shouldn’t have happened in another person’s life. We all do what we need to do to survive. Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, did for his family what any father in the same dire straits might have done. The fact that he drove his sons with a heavy hand, denying them the ability to experience other facets of life is something Jackson, Sr. will have to square with his Maker when the time comes.

We all have personal baggage left over from childhood, be it good, bad, or indifferent. Having my fair share of issues, I can see that life is never a straight path to old age. That Michael even made it to 50 is a wonder. The pressures he faced, perceived or real, would’ve taken a lesser man down.

The Cascio family of New Jersey offered Jackson a safe haven from all the ugliness that others hungry for fame and financial gain dished out.

Michael Jackson wasn’t without faults. Who is? What’s that line? People who live in glass houses…shouldn’t throw stones. We all tend to forget that, especially when the media whips itself up into a feeding frenzy. Great white sharks have nothing over the papparazzi when it comes to ripping people to shreds if given half the chance.

I’ve read all manner of books about the “man behind the mirror.” In doing so I’ve been able to formulate a pretty well-rounded impression of Jackson.

I subscribe to the notion that Michael was indeed misunderstood. He wasn’t blameless to be sure, but he certainly couldn’t take the time to explain every aspect of every decision he made. Remember the hyperbaric chamber in which he was photographed lying in repose? According to Cascio…

When he was photographed in a hyperbaric chamber, rumors began flying that he slept in it–in reality he’d donated it to a local hospital to be used in the treatment of burn victims. Of course, sometimes Michael was just being a character, joking around, but the impetus for his behavior was never as freaky as people were always so quick to assume.

And about the surgical masks Jackson had taken to wearing?

When he wore a surgical mask, people thought he was hiding some new plastic surgery–in reality he was at first protecting himself from getting sick before performances; then he found that wearing the mask made him feel like he was in disguise (when in fact it called more attention to him); and ultimately he turned it into a one-of-a-kind fashion statement, having his silken surgical masks custom-made.

Under normal circumstances, folks might have been asking if it were any one other than Michael Jackson…”Where were the parents?” Haven’t you wondered that with the likes of Brittney Spears and Lindsey Lohan? Perhaps because the Jacksons were black meant the standards were somehow different.

That, I think, was the underlying issue with the public’s perception of Michael Jackson and his family. It’s the same dilemma with President Obama.

Without precedence for blacks who succeed beyond their wildest dreams, Jackson and Obama are scrutinized to the nth degree. Journalists try to get inside their brains to determine how in the heck such unlikely candidates for success…succeeded. And we, the public, are caught up in the media tidal wave. It’s up to us to grab for whatever life raft we can to bail ourselves out of the flood of hysteria that ensues.

Elvis Presley

Most of my generation will remember the similar persecution of another amazing talent who took the world by storm…Elvis Presley. He with the voice, and moves, of a black entertainer. Nothing like him had happened along before.

Whether we are resistant to change in our music, or find it difficult to accept that all races are created equal, we should keep reminding ourselves that…for better or worse…we all inhabit the same earth. None of us are going anywhere…except to meet our Maker. Until that day we should all try to be less quick to judge.

Shakespeare’s Shylock from “Merchant of Venice” says it more eloquently…

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means,
warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer
as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility?
Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his
sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.
The villainy you teach me, I will execute,
and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
(Act III, scene I)

 

………hugmamma.

Michael Jackson performing The Way You Make Me...

on the right side of white…

Dear Dr. King,

Your ears must be ringing since everyone’s been talking about you. The media has been playing your “I have a dream” speech over and over again.

The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Free...

The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on the National Mall facing east from the Lincoln Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One anecdote was of particular interest.  It seems a pro basketball player who stood nearby asked if he might have your speech after you’d delivered it. Evidently you gave him the 3 pages, because he still has it.

I have no such memento of that historical day, or the faintest recollection of where I was when you spoke those famous words. It’s safe to say I probably felt as far removed from the black situation as I was the day you stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I was thousands of miles away on the island of Maui in Hawaii. You were changing history…and I didn’t bear witness.

But just as a pebble causes ever-widening ripples to occur when it hits the water’s surface, your words have affected generations of lives…for the better. And so it seems only fitting that I write you this long overdue thank you letter.

If you hadn’t stood tall for racial injustice I might not be living on…the right side of “white.”

I graduated from college, and with my degree was able to work alongside white colleagues in a number of different jobs.

My family and I have felt at home in neighborhoods predominantly populated by whites.

Our daughter has thrived in all white schools.

We can shop where we please. We can choose which theater to see a movie. We can dine where we like. We can use public restrooms without reservation. We can travel by plane, train or ship. We can overnight in a Hyatt or a Best Western. We can decide which services get our business be it the cable company, the dentist, or a contractor.

No one looks twice at my driver’s license picture. Retailers are only too happy to take my money. Pre-approved applications for credit cards always arrive in the daily mail.

I owe my quality of life to the steps you took to improve your family’s life, and the lives of other African Americans, Hispanics, Middle-Easterners, Asians…and Pacific Islanders like me.

What you did 50 years ago will continue to resonate until mankind ceases to exist.

I may have been born on the wrong side of white, but thanks to your dream of what could be…

English: Inscription on the steps of the Linco...

English: Inscription on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, commemorating the location from which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington on 1963-08-28. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…i’m living on the right side of white…

…mahalo!…

………hugmamma.

non-profit hospitals offer financial assistance…???

Learned something new while watching ABC World News tonight with Diane Sawyer.

Seems a woman who owed a hospital $27,000 was on the verge of losing her house. With the help of an ABC investigative reporter, the woman’s bill was lowered to $7,000…allowing her to keep her home.

Non-profit hospitals (I never heard of the concept…Have you?) are required by law to publicize the fact that financial assistance is available to those in need…even folks with health insurance.

How is that possible? Government money.

Non-profits get our money. It’s only fair…they give back.

So next time you’re in a hospital, check if it’s non-profit.

Felicia Willems: Thank You Affordable Care Act

If it is…look for some kind of public notification which indicates the hospital is in compliance with the Affordable Care Act‘s financial assistance requirements.

The ACA directs the IRS to establish Section 501 ( r ) of the Internal Revenue Code to implement new community benefit rules for hospitals that are subsidized through the federal tax exemption. These new rules are currently in effect and require that hospitals do the following:

1. Establish written financial assistance policies describing who is eligible for free or reduced cost care and publicize them to patients and the community.

2. Refrain from extraordinary collections actions against patients before screening them to determine whether they qualify for financial assistance.

3. Limit fees charged to patients eligible for financial assistance to rates paid by Medicare or the lowest amounts paid by insured patients.

4. Conduct a regular community health needs assessment and implement a plan to address selected needs.

(An excerpt from   http://blog.credit.com/2012/05/how-obamacare-keeps-debt-collectors-out-of-hospitals/  )