you should…talk to strangers

Not something you often hear, especially from a mom who’s been very protective of her only child, even now that she’s 27.

While NOT talking to strangers is still a good idea for youngsters, doing just the opposite might be exactly what the doctor orders for our ailing adult society.March 2011A 00059

Remaining clueless about one another will prove to be humanity’s death knell. Wearing blinders isolates us from the possibilities. And without them, what kind of hope is there for our future? Life offers no guarantees EXCEPT that we’re all in it for the long haul…until death do us part. So why not let your guard down and reach out to someone…as often as you can.

March 2011A 00061Reaching out to others who reach right back…totally makes my day.

My insatiable curiosity, and gift for gab, make it impossible for me not to want to know… “Whaaas up?” So when an idea takes hold, I usually follow its lead.

Today, while enjoying a celebration of my native Hawaiian culture at a local retailer, I happened upon an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair. He reminded me of a famous entertainer my husband and I had taken our parents to see a few times when we were visiting the islands. Rather than drop the thought, I stopped to ask the woman sitting next to him if he was from Hawaii. It turned out that they were husband and wife and were originally from Honolulu. Until moving to Seattle recently, they had lived in Nevada for more than 20 years.

Mr. Cummings was from the same town as my husband, and his grandfather had been in law enforcement in my hometown…before my time, obviously, since Mr. Cummings looked to be in his 70s, or perhaps 80s. Small, small world…getting smaller every day.

It felt so natural to chat and laugh with total strangers who felt, if only for a few moments, like friends of the family.

I can’t recall ever being rebuffed when I’ve extended myself in a gesture of friendliness. I can only remember being repaid in kind. My experiences have encouraged me…

…to talk to strangers…

………hugmamma. March 2011A 00046

Tiers

My friend Claudia nailed this one! Comparing a wedding cake to the folks who fill our lives. There are those at the top…beginning with “moi”…and then there are those at the bottom…whom we might want to just…take a hike. Enjoy reading…and mulling it over.

………hugmamma.

Humoring the Goddess

TiersI believe our lives are divided into tiers. Think of a wedding cake. The more layers, the larger the base has to be.  Not too complicated, eh?  Well, what I’m finding is that the older I get the more tiers there are on my cake and the chubbier ~I~ get.

Let’s go through this extra-spacey theory.

First is the top layer. Small, spectacular. Room for only one statue. You. It has to be you and you alone – after all, you are the only one in your head and heart, your thoughts and….well, you get it.

The next tier is only a quarter of an inch lower than the head tier. That’s the one you stand on. That isthe one for the people closest to your heart. I know – you love everybody. But just run with this one. This second tier contains your life partner, children, parents, and…

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reconnecting…a necessity

Often times in our busy lives we have difficulty meeting up with others who make us feel good about ourselves. But when we do, they provide a much needed shot in the arm. I’ve returned from just such an appointment. Exactly what the doctor ordered…my chiropractor, that is.

I didn’t make it to exercise class this morning. I’m not an early riser as my classmates know, and after having been up at the crack of dawn to go touring every day while on vacation, I’m taking it nice and slow now that I’m back into my normal routine. Sleeping in…and burning the midnight oil. Some may not understand my schedule, but anyone who’s spent time in Hawaii knows that the natives like to take their sweet old time. I think that’s true of islanders anywhere. “What’s the hurry?” That’s our motto.

Starbucks on Briggate

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I did meet up with the ladies after they were done exercising. At Starbuck’s we chatted about this, that and the other. In the mix…vacation experiences while on cruises…Kauai being the island of choice to visit…the charm and beauty of the British Isles…biographies about rock stars…lumbar aches and pains…rotator cuff exercises to alleviate pain…an upcoming fashion extravaganza for which one of the women would be applying makeup for all the models…the real reason for closing the doll museum in Bellevue. You name it; we talked about it. Women do that.

A skateboard

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Upon exiting the coffee shop, good friend and exercise instructor, Kristina told me of repairs she was making to a condo her family owns. She installed a new garbage disposal. Imagine that! It seems there’s nothing she can’t do if she sets her mind to it. We also spoke of our children. Her son, in his early 20s, is a professional skate-boarder. He tours the world competing, as well as doing exhibitions and promotional gigs for his financial backers. He’s even had a skate board named for him. Like my daughter, he began his career path at the age of 16. Kristina and I agreed that our kids jumped into their passions feet first, learning as they aged how to manage the real world of adults. And they’ve both done a heck of a job!

After Kristina and I parted, I trotted over to visit my lady friends at the nearby gift shop, Look’s. Shelley and Shelley, one the owner, the other her right-hand employee. They’ve been a welcoming twosome during the years I’ve frequented the store. We’ve shared anecdotes about our lives, our children, our concerns. On one occasion, they couldn’t have been nicer to my daughter when she accidentally broke a wine glass while reaching for an item nearby. She offered to pay for the breakage, but both Shelleys explained that it was an accident, that my daughter owed nothing. Well! That confirmed my loyalty to Looks from then on. Treat my offspring kindly…and I’ll be back again and again, with my business.

Driving home, my spirit felt refreshed. My reservoir of compassion had been replenished. A sisterhood, my friends and I support one another’s efforts to carry on…

…in our daily lives………hugmamma.

a warm, fall day…then gun shots

Temple Mount and Western Wall during Shabbat

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I’d sometimes wonder what it felt like to live in Israel. Terrorism literally at one’s doorstep, 24/7. How did people go about their daily business? How were moms able to feel secure about the safety of their children when they were sent off to school each day? Were shoppers constantly on the lookout for suspicious activity? Did commuters ride the buses wondering if that day would be their last? And even now, how do the Israelis accept that life goes on, such as it is? Death staring them in the face in the form of any passerby. 

I now know the answer to all these questions…yesterday there was a shooter in our midst.

The day was warm, my husband even commenting he thought it was hot out. “Pleasant” I thought, as we drove leisurely through the neighborhood on our way to visit a nearby flea market, and then lunch at Molbak’s, my favorite garden nursery. Pulling out onto the main road, then making the first right onto another road which we frequently use to get to the freeway, we quickly noticed a commotion ensuing.

A police car blocked the road just before the high school. Cars ahead of us were furiously making u-turns. As one SUV slowly approached our car going in the opposite direction, the driver slowed down as if wanting to explain what was happening.  Not comprehending at first, my husband was slow to react. Female intuition led me to believe something was definitely amiss so I insisted he roll down his window.

The driver of the SUV, probably a student, told us that we should turn our car around because the school was under lockdown and that there was a shooter. As she spoke these words, we could hear a volley of gun shots ring out. Even now as I sit here typing, a chill runs through me as I think back to that moment. That was the first time I’d ever heard the sound of live shooting.

Not waiting to make a u-turn further ahead, my husband turned our car around as soon as the SUV drove on. As we made our way the short distance back to the main road we could see people collecting on the sidwalks, obviously wanting to view the action. “You crazies!” I thought. “You could soon become embroiled in the action!”

We soon discovered that trying to make our way through town via the main road was slow going. Traffic was beginning to back up. Fear had me in its grip moreso than my husband, always the calm one. So I asked him to turn around and head in the opposite direction taking the long route out of town. As we drove onto the graveled parking lot of a Lutheran church I asked him to roll down his window. I wanted to tell a woman sweeping the nearby sidewalk to be careful because there was a shooting in the area. Smiling, she thanked us. But as we pulled away it didn’t seem she took the situation too seriously.

Misery (novel)

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(Am I the only person with a vivid imagination approaching that of Stephen King‘s? Tell me there’s a shooter walking around blasting gunshots willy-nilly, and I know to run for my life…away from the action!!!)

Leaving town, my husband and I commented on how surreal everything seemed. Everyone going about their business, including us, with only several handfuls of people at the heart of the shooting, caught up in a life and death situation. News reports trickled in from the car radio. And when I stopped in at the flea market where my friend Cindy had rented a table, my husband searched for news of the shooting on his laptop.  

Shaken by the news, Cindy immediately called home to ascertain the whereabouts of her 2 high-school children. Thankfully neither were attending any of the scheduled activities held yesterday. According to the news, a football game had been underway when the shooting commenced. Coaches were instructed to hunker down under the bleachers with their players, along with those watching the game, until given the all clear by the police.

Not only did I share the news with Cindy, but using my cellphone I also called a neighbor and alerted her to what was happening. Her daughter, also a neighbor living across the road from us, often jogs past the high school. Sometimes her young son and daughter accompany her on their bikes. 

I also made a call to the veterinarian where I take my cats. Sandy, who answered, said they had no idea that anything untoward was occurring in the streets around them. The office was only a few blocks from the shooting. Before hanging up, Sandy half-jokingly exclaimed that she would lock the door. Heck! I’d have bolted the door and crawled under the desk, or hidden in the back rooms!

Ford Crown Victoria police car

Image by kenjonbro via Flickr

Getting home was a trick. We thought we’d stayed away from town long enough, returning in the early afternoon. The news confirmed that the shooter had been killed. But after 2 attempts via the normal routes, we made our way back along the route which we’d taken when exiting town. As expected, the police were stopping cars from entering that way as well. Fortunately the state trooper who peered into my husband’s window let us pass when told where we lived. Otherwise we’d arranged to chill at friend Sylvia’s, the next town over, until permitted to return home.

What we learned from the evening news is that the shooter was a 51 year-old man who parked his car at the intersection of our town’s main road and the road leading into the middle-school. Exiting his car with a couple of shotguns, he made his way through the school compound, over the hill and past the community center, headed toward the elementary school and the nearby high school. Somewhere along the way the shooter began blasting.

A young boy standing within in gunshot range, felt the bullets whizzing past. He high-tailed it home. A man who was also interviewed in the broadcast said that when he stepped outside at the sound of gun shots, he saw a group of teens running towards him. Once they gathered inside his locked garage, the man said some of the boys were so shaken, they wanted to vomit. One asked if the man was prepared with guns of his own if confronted by the shooter. The reply? In a town like ours, who’d have thought guns were necessary.

A shooter at the Scottsdale Gun Club in Scotts...

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I’m certain the fact that a shooting range located behind the high school, having been there for many years, will not figure into what happened yesterday. But for one who has never grown up around firearms, the range’s presence in our midst remains disconcerting.

On September 10th when my husband and I flew to Amsterdam enroute to Southamtpon, England where we boarded the Queen Mary II for a dream vacation, we were glad, as was our daughter, that we wouldn’t be touching down in the U.S. on 9/11. Like everyone else we were skittish about air travel on the anniversary of the “Mother” of all terrorist attacks. Needless to say, Americans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.

9/11

Times have changed. Life holds little value for some. (As yet, the shooter’s motive has not been determined.) And with that reality, all our lives are on the line…everyday…everywhere. Now I understand how the Israeli people have managed to eke out a semblance of normalcy amidst the daily threat of being extinguished.

…life is precious…a gift, really…to be treasured…until destined to be returned…

………hugmamma.

 

365 photo challenge: fancy

Venice provided a treasure trove of handicrafts by the locals. The fanciest among them were, of course, the masks. They were gorgeous! Unfortunately photographs were not allowed to be snapped in some of the more elaborate shops…for fear of copycat creations. Of course I understood. But a couple of crafters were more than agreeable to my request. In fact, I wrote of my experience with one of the young women with whom I had an immediate connection. My ballerina daughter, for whom I was purchasing a mask, was the common denominator. You can read about my affection for the charming lady with the pointe shoes in a venetian stranger at https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/a-venetian-stranger/


…venetian fancy…for your viewing pleasure………hugmamma.

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details…little known facts

Secret Service agents in response at the assas...

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In summing up what I’ve learned about President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan from reading I Love You, Ronnie, a couple of details came to light which I’d not known before. And according to Mrs. Reagan, only those close to what occurred at the time, knew. The first dealt with the assassination attempt on the President’s life 3 months after he took office. The second was an incident that probably caused the premature onset of his Alzheimer’s. Only a handful, it seems, were privvy to both occurrences.

Waiting for news, Nancy Reagan sat with Sarah Brady, whose husband Jim had also been shot in the attempt on the President’s life.

As we waited, I looked out the window and saw how, in the buildings all around the hospital, people had thrown sheets out the window saying things like GET WELL, MR. PRESIDENT and WE LOVE YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. Every now and then, a nurse would come and report to me on Ronnie’s progress. At first, the doctors were having trouble finding the bullet, which was a devastator bullet, the kind that explodes inside. One time, the nurse came and said, “We just can’t seem to get it out. We may just have to leave it in.” Well, that didn’t sound so good to me. And then another time, she said, “They’ve found it, but the doctor is having a hard time removing it–it keeps slipping from his fingers.” Finally, she came back and told me that the doctor had gotten it out, but I almost lost him then. The bullet had been lodged an inch from Ronnie’s heart.

We were lucky–we didn’t realize how lucky, in fact–because when Ronnie had arrived, all the doctors were in the hospital for a meeting. No one had to be called in. Everyone Ronnie needed was right on hand, and there was no waiting. …

I wanted to stay there all night, but the feeling was that it would be better for the country if I left and went back to sleep at the White House. Otherwise, people would have assumed the worst and there would have been panic. As it was, Ronnie’s aides had to do all they could to calm the country down. The briefings made to the press were partial, to say the least. The assassination attempt was really a much closer call than people were led to believe at the time. Everyone was trying not to frighten the people in the country, but the fact was, Ronnie almost died. It was a miracle that he didn’t. And I knew all along how serious things really were. …

Needless to say, I was terrified. After the shooting, every time Ronnie walked out the door to make a public appearance, my heart would stop–and it wouldn’t start again until he came back home safely. Ronnie knew how scared I was. But if he was frightened too, he never let me know it. As always, he was cheerful and optimistic. God had spared him, he believed; there had to be a reason why. By making jokes…he tried to take the edge off my fear.

The Reagans wave from the White House after Pr...

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Who could fault the First Lady’s hovering over the President thereafter? No wonder her seeming control of his life, personal and public, for which the media liked to criticize her. I know because they had me convinced she was running the country with her husband, an unofficial cabinet member, as was constantly written and spoken of in the news. How the spinmeisters love to slant the facts. Readers, beware!

Fast forward to July 1989, after the Reagans had left the White House. Visiting with friends Betty and Bill Wilson at their ranch in Mexico, the President went riding. An accident occurred.

Ronnie had been thrown off his horse. He was riding with some other men, going up an incline, when one of the ranch hands had hit something that made a loud noise and spooked Ronnie’s horse.

The horse reared once, and Ronnie stayed on. It reared a second time, and Ronnie stayed on again. Two Secret Service men tried to move in and calm the horse, but they couldn’t do it. The horse reared a third time, bucking so hard that Ronnie fell off and hit his head on the ground, miraculously missing the jagged rocks all around.

President Ronald Reagan

Image by edalisse via Flickr

We got him on a plane and immediately took him to a hospital in Tucson, Arizona. He should really have stayed there, but it was my birthday and the Wilsons had planned a celebration, and Ronnie was determined to go back to the ranch. We went back–but at my insistence, we took a doctor with me.

The day after…we flew home. I was very uneasy and kept at Ronnie until he agreed to get his head X-rayed. We went to the Mayo Clinic, where we’d gone every year for checkups. It turned out that Ronnie had a concussion and a subdural hematoma. He needed to be operated on right away. It all happened so quickly that I think, once again, I was in shock. …

I’ve always had the feeling that the severe blow to his head in 1989 hastened the onset of Ronnie’s Alzheimer’s. The doctors think so, too. In the years leading up to the diagnosis of the disease, in August 1994, he had not shown symptoms of the illness. I didn’t suspect that Ronnie was ill when we went back to the Mayo Clinic that summer for our regular checkup. When the doctors told us they’d found symptoms of Alzheimer’s, I was dumbfounded. Ronnie’s fall from the horse had worried me terribly, of course, and I’d had to urge him to take time out to recover after his operation. But I had seen no signs of anything else.

There’s no telling if President Reagan would have enjoyed more years of retirement, free from the debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer’s. How fragile the brain, with only the skull as protection from the hazards of everyday life…like horse back riding. Spared from the assassin’s bullet, Reagan succumbed to no less a devastating end. As his devoted wife, and true witness to her husband’s last 50 years on earth, Nancy Reagan suffered Alzheimer’s alongside him.

Senator Corker greets former First Lady Nancy ...

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…First of all, there is a feeling of loneliness when you’re in this situation. Not that your friends aren’t supportive of you; they are. But no one can really know what it’s like unless they’ve traveled this path–and there are many right now traveling the same path I am. You know that it’s a progressive disease and that there’s no place to go but down, no light at the end of the tunnel. You get tired and frustrated, because you have no control and you feel helpless. We’ve had an extraordinary life, and I’ve been blessed to have been married for almost fifty years to a man I deeply love–but the other side of the coin is that it makes it harder. There are so many memories that I can no longer share, which makes it very difficult. When it comes right down to it, you’re in it alone. Each day is different, and you get up, put one foot in front of the other, and go–and love; just love.

I try to remember Ronnie telling me so many times that God has a plan for us which we don’t understand now but one day will, or my mother saying that you play the hand that’s dealt you. It’s hard, but even now there are moments Ronnie has given me that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Alzheimer’s is a truly long, long good-bye. But it’s the living out of love.

Photograph of Newlyweds Ronald Reagan and Nanc...

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

…blest by true love…even in the face of adversity…hugmamma. 

 

365 photo challenge: happy

It’s been a month of happies………Happy Father’s Day

Happy Anniversary

 

…soon-to-be Happy Fourth of July

…and Sylvia’s Happy Birthday!!!

…happines…….all around………hugmamma. 🙂

 

 

 

youtube…”to go, please”

YouTube Live

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Have been having trouble adding YouTube videos into my posts for some time now. Thought it had to do with the fact that I wasn’t a subscriber, and YouTube was “cracking down.” No matter that I continued to do what I’d done before, following WordPress instructions. Something changed it seemed, and no one told me.

Thinking it might make a difference if I was a subscriber, I spent a couple of days recently trying to become one with YouTube. It was like trying to break into Fort Knox! Because I’d started on Google’s blogger.com, I already had an account. But I couldn’t remember my password. It’s been over a year since I went there. I guess YouTube is Google’s, so since the “big G” didn’t let me in, the “big Y” said “Sorry…no trespassers allowed.”

Determined to work at the obnoxious task before me, I kept jumping through the hoops. I even left my laptop, and went into the basement family room, which I dislike because it’s so dark, to see if using the computer where I’d signed up for Google made a difference. In fact, that was one of their prompts. No go. No amount of jumping through the same hoops down there made a difference. So I returned to my laptop, and jumped through one final hoop…and presto! I got lifetime membership into YouTube via Google. Don’t ask me how I did it. I couldn’t repeat it if I tried. And truth be told, I wouldn’t try it again if YouTube offered me a singing contract.

Thinking I now had the problem of inserting videos into my posts solved, I confidently tried to do just that. You guessed it! I still couldn’t get those little movie boxes to cooperate. They just didn’t want to come over to my blog, no matter how I tried to entice them. They didn’t care how well I wrote, at least to my way of thinking, nor did they care about all the great photographs keeping them company. Those YouTube videos just wouldn’t budge…so help me.

Funny how the old saying comes to mind, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I think, perhaps, that it’s not so much the inability to learn new tricks, it’s probably that one needs to empty one’s mind of how the tricks were done in the past. You know “Out with the old; in with the new.” So intent was I on trying to add YouTube videos the old way, I wasn’t really reading their current directions about the new shortcut. I thought I was, but obviously I wasn’t. My brain assumed that the words in front of my eyes, said what they’d said the last time I read them. 

Bench Press illustration

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Guess who got me to read what was in front of my eyes? My roommate…better known as my hubby. It may be that WordPress has become second nature to me, that I think I know everything about it. I know I’m kidding myself, but I like to live the fantasy. So when I ran into this technical “brick wall,” I asked my husband to tinker with the problem. Mind you, he doesn’t know WordPress from a bench press. But clear thinking has always been his forte.

Michael Jackson, cropped from Image:Michael Ja...

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After taking him to a YouTube video of Michael Jackson’s career altering moment when he moonwalked for the first time in public, at the Motown 25th Anniversary celebration on TV, my husband figured out, after some hemming and hawing, that rather than copying the “share” URL for the video, he copied and pasted the URL at the top of the screen. The reason being, he said, and which I confirmed, was that the “share” URL spelled “youtu.be,” instead of the usual “youtube.” That period between the u and the b made all the difference in the world. Lightbulb moment!!!

My husband thinks the “share” URL might bring too much excess verbage with it that WordPress would prefer not to have clogging up its system. Makes sense to me. But as I explained to my daughter, I can mimic what’s being said. I can follow instructions…to some degree. Obviously not always. But I don’t necessarily understand the why-fors, where-fors, and what-fors. Or else I’m too impatient to get started, to get on with it, to check it off my “to-do” list. Thank goodness I’m not the breadwinner in my house.

The glass of water

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…we might be subsisting on bread and water…not a bad thing since we’re always fighting the battle of the middle-age belly…hugmamma.

like flies buzzing around…inside my brain

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

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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

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The British Royal Family in 1880.

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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...

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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...

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     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.

365 photo challenge: scale

On a scale from 1 to 10………………………………………………….100!!!

…no doubt about it!!!…………………………………………………………….hugmamma.

men…going to the dogs?

Gone to the Dogs

Image via Wikipedia

I think my friend Sylvia and her network of Brit friends, commiserate daily on trying to gather “tall tales” that are sure to have people chuckling, and nodding their heads in agreement. Someone should pay them for their time; come to think of it, I’d like someone to pay me for mine. But no matter, we’re doing what we’re passionate about, although I’m not certain what their aching to do…except make us all laugh. Well, I’m game. Bet you are too. Here’s their latest offering.

Why Some Men Have Dogs and Not Wives

1.  The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.

2.  Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

3.  Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.

Dog sunny Day Afternoon

Image by allert via Flickr

4.  A dog’s parents never visit.

 

5.  Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.

6.  You never have to wait for a dog, they’re ready to go 24 hours a day.

7.  Dogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.

Kuvasz dogs

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8.  Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.

9.  A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, “If I die, would you get another dog?”

lotsa dogs

Image via Wikipedia

10.  If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.

 

11.  A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.

12. If a dog smells another on you, it doesn’t get mad.

13.  Dogs like to ride in the back of a pickup truck.

Monopoly!!

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And last, but not leastIf a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.

To test this theory…

Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour. Then open it and guess who’s happy to see you?

…definitely not “my cup o’ tea”…when it comes to a life partner…the guy…not the dog…hugmamma.  

 

 

this generation…”the voice”

If, like me, you feel totally disconnected from ” whassup?” with this generation, I highly recommend you start watching the latest, reality talent phenom, The Voice. It airs Tuesday nights on NBC. The first in the series ended last night with one of four challengers being hailed as “the voice,” in addition to walking away with $100,000 and a recording contract.

Trust me when I say, I knew very few, if any, of the songs that were sung throughout the course of the competition. Every once-in-awhile I recognized a piece of something from having heard it on my car radio, as I ran errands. Fortunately I love music with a beat, or tunes that have heart. I can be-bop to almost anything. I love singing; I love dancing.

Christina Aguilera performing during the Sanre...

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Of the 4 judges, who also coached the challengers, I’d only heard of Christina Aguilera. And it was only recently when I saw her starring with Cher in a film, that I became a huge fan of the blonde songstress. She is one amazing vocalist! But as I tuned in faithfully to watch The Voice each week, I became a huge fan of Blake Shelton, country crooner, and Adam Levine, pop rocker, who served on the panel with Aguilera. I’m still not familiar with Shelton’s songs, can only recognize a couple by Levine, and am well acquainted with only one by Aguilera, Beautiful.” Knowing who they are now, still doesn’t give me entree… into this generation. But at least I can step up to the peep hole and be a “peeping tom” into what makes the young folk tick.

Adam Levine from Maroon 5

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Adding to my credibility as an honorary member of this generation, is the fact that I’m the one who got my 25-year-old, professional dancer daughter hooked on The Voice. Like me she really wasn’t committed to watching any of the other talent shows. But The Voice definitely persuaded us to delay our phone conversations until we’d both watched it in our own time zones. Now that’s saying something!

I heartily encourage seniors and anyone wanting to “get with it” to watch the next season of The Voice. By the way, the talent crosses all generations. One of the TV audience favorites was a 42-year-old, bald, Lesbian, with tatoos, who got the studio audience on their feet, moving to her powerhouse vocals. Beverly McLellan could belt it out with the best of them. She was one of my favorites.

Blake Shelton - 1

Image by tncountryfan via Flickr

While I liked many of the singers, my favorite was Dia Frampton. Coached by Blake Shelton, she succeeded in coming into her own as a performer, right before our eyes. Though still shy and exceedingly humble, Dia showed her creative genius for songwriting, versatility at playing the piano and guitar, and exquisitely different tonal quality which ranged from barely audible and raspy, to scintillatingly explosive. It didn’t hurt that she was Miss U.S.A. caliber either. While she wasn’t voted the winner by America, Dia wasn’t far behind. Only 2% separated her from Javier Colon, the guy who already had “the voice,” even before he joined the show.

I don’t think there was a doubt in anyone’s mind that Javier should’ve walked away with
the grand prize. Evidently he’d had a couple of non-starters at a musical career. With the unfailing love and support of his wife and 2 young daughters, as well as other family members, Javier continued to search for his breakthrough moment. Luckily for him, and for music afficionados, he found his way to The Voice, and a win he very much deserved.

Dia Frampton

Following YouTube videos are of Dia Frampton singing “Heartless,” Dia and Blake Shelton singing I Won’t Back Down,” and Javier Colon singing “Stitch by Stitch.” Hopefully these videos will convince you to tune into season two of “The Voice.”

…celebrating the voices…of this generation…hugmamma.

 

quench your thirst…and make some $$$

Sen. Joe Biden buys lemonade at the 2007 Itali...

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Have you ever sold lemonade from a makeshift stand as a child? I have. Those were the good old days, when making a living was simpler. When I needed some spending money, my best friend and I would just throw together some cardboard boxes, from which we’d sell our freshly-made beverage.

In my time, we probably sold a cupful of lemonade for no more than a nickel. Maybe some kind adult would spend a dime so we could sell out faster, and get down to the real business…of playing. This recipe reminded me of my childhood and some of the fun times my friends and I had. Of course, in those days lemonade was…well, lemonade, made with lemons, water and sugar. I don’t think my mom would’ve pitched in for some fancy, schmancy fruits to add. She’d have probably asked “What are you making? Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade?!?” I don’t think she would’ve followed it up with “Are you crazy or something?!?” But you never know…you never know.

So go help your kids set up a lemonade stand, and do pitch in for the extra ingredients. After all these are not the “good old days,”…these are the “better than ever days.” And have a cupful yourself. Then get out there, enjoy the day with your kids…and play!!! Take the opportunity when you can, for one day you’ll be reminiscing like me…about the “good old days.”

Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade

Raspberries (Rubus Idaeus).

Image via Wikipedia

6 cups watermelon cubes (seeds removed)
1/4 cup raspberries
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 lemon juice

Place watermelon, raspberries and water in blender
container; cover and blend until smooth. Strain
through fine-mesh strainer into pitcher. Stir in sugar
and lemon juice until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate
until chilled, about 1 hour. Makes 4 servings.

Obviously you’ll have to up the quantity of ingredients. I don’t think 4 servings is going to make successful entrepeneurs of your children. Unless, of course, they have a little bit of Christ in them. You know, like when he multiplied a few fish and loaves of bread in order to feed the masses gathered about him. Or unless your little ones can pull off some of the stunts I’ve seen magicians do now days on America’s Got Talent.” What am I thinking? If you’ve got budding magicians in your household…forget about lemonade stands…even ones selling fancy, schmancy…Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade!

…save me a cup…oh, by the way…what’s the price?…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.

365 photo challenge: culture

Although I’ve not lived in the islands since 1977, my heart will always be Hawaiian-bred. The spirit of Aloha with which I was raised is forever ingrained in my moral fiber. My penchant for compassion, hope, and sending forth positive energy in an ever-increasing environment of me-ism and profit above all else, are owing to my Hawaiian roots where harmony within ourselves and with others is always something for which we must strive.

….and so i celebrate…………………………..ohana (family)………………………………

…the best example………….of my hawaiian culture………………….hugmamma.