changing things up…2013

Now that a dusting of snow has settled upon us like a wintry blanket, and holiday memories fade into the background, the time has come to think of new beginnings.

Of course some things never change. We can only hope to manage them better. Such as the arthritis in my lower back and at the base of my right thumb.

Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarenc...

Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarence Odbody in It’s a Wonderful Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s about aging gracefully…until “a bell rings”…and this broad’s wonderful life becomes…heavenly. I’m thinking of George’s guardian angel, Clarence, of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Having saved George from committing suicide, Clarence is finally awarded his wings.

I’ve so much more of life to sample. Older age is not…a death knell.

However doing nothing to revitalize ourselves can deprive us of sunshine and passion. And I’m not referring to citrus fruits. Although I’m hell-bent on downing more of them each week.

Promises! Promises!

With the advent of the New Year, however, I have kept one long-standing resolution.

I’ve gone back to college! Who’d have thought?!?

Yesterday was my first Creative Writing class.

I must admit to being slightly intimidated, uncertain as to the level of writers I’d encounter. Fortunately I met a fellow classmate in the hallway prior to entering the room. She calmed my nerves considerably.

A fixture in the class for 15 years, 74 year-old Gail assured me that I would be nurtured, not judged, by our instructor Doris and the other students.

Two hours flew by, unlike my younger years in a classroom. I can remember watching the clock in those days, willing its hands to pick up speed.

Interesting how age reverses our perception of things.

Listening to others read what they’d written, was akin to feeling the rush of cold, fresh air bursting through unlatched windows.

Yanna, a musician, wrote the most soulful piece about her beloved dog, the surrogate child unto whom she pours all her pent-up, maternal feelings.

Helen, who recently returned from visiting her native South Africa, shared intimate memories of a 95 year-old friend who died. Through Helen’s writing, we came to know a woman whose life had resembled a precious gem…preserved in its natural beauty, not having yet been mined.

I have deep admiration for an 88 year-old who has been Doris’ student for the last 5 years.

Pat is writing her memoirs, hoping to publish them in a book. Her story promises to reveal her family’s hardships and heartaches in the aftermath of their mother’s death, and the subsequent inability of their father to parent.

To write is to tell one’s story. We are all storytellers. We are all writers.

…resolve to write your story…make it your new year’s resolution

………hugmamma.   🙂

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superior to all…servant to all

Words uttered by an actress in the role of Mother Superior to actress Deborah Kerr, a nun venturing forth to serve a mountaintop community in Tibet. An unlikely place to find words appropro in describing my recently deceased mother-in-law. However her eldest son, my husband, likewise referenced an old film, It’s A Wonderful Life, in eulogizing his mom.

(Photo credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It’s_a_Wonderful_Life )

He likened her to Jimmy Stewart’s character who, though just a common man, figured greatly into the lives of those in Bedford Falls. Given the opportunity to view life had he not been born, Stewart realizes his invaluable service to others. He chooses life with the help of his guardian angel Clarence, who garners himself a pair of wings in the process.

My husband ended his remarks with an aside to his mom…”You got your wings, mom.”

Superior to all…though definitely not by her own admission.

Mom, a homemaker with no college education, held court around her small, formica, kitchen table, in a house whose walls remained in place because never-ending armies of termites “held hands” as generations of family members went about their business of daily living.

Now that mom is gone from her humble abode, the termites will likely meet their demise when the house is leveled by a buyer intent upon rebuilding to his or her own liking. I hope the resulting dream home brings its occupants as much happiness as was previously enjoyed in the house held together by termites.

Serving without question and with unconditional love…her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and all those with whom she came into contact, my mother-in-law unknowingly mounted the ladder rung, by rung to…superiority…in God’s estimation…and ours.

…all those whose lives are better…for having known her…

………hugmamma.  🙂  🙂  🙂

jimmy stewart’s bedford falls…the real deal?

It's a Wonderful Life

Image via Wikipedia

I never stopped to think that Bedford Falls of It’s A Wonderful Life might really exist. Perhaps the fact that so many films were made on Hollywood‘s back lot in the good old days, had me assuming that such was the case with this Christmas classic. That Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed graced the streets and inhabited the buildings of one lucky town, seemed unlikely.

New friend and fellow WordPress blogger, Judy Berman, wrote a fascinating post about visiting the real town of Bedford Falls. I was intrigued enough to comment that I might have to add it to my bucket list…to be fulfilled when hubby retires. 

You might want to take a trip back in time, reliving a vintage, black and white, Hollywood Christmas…strolling down memory lane…by clicking on http://earth-rider.com/2011/12/17/jimmy-stewarts-bedford-falls-comes-to-life-2/#comment-107. 

Maybe you already know which town she’s referring to…and maybe you don’t. You’ll only find out for sure if you hop on over to Judy’s blog, earthriderdotcom and have a look-see for yourself…

and tell her…i sent you…

………hugmamma.  🙂

david and goliath…best buds?

Goliath

Image by vmcampos via Flickr

Had some interesting piece of news from my husband just minutes ago. He noticed that my recent posts didn’t contain any ads. Not sure what to make of it. Am “knocking on wood.” Don’t want to get ahead of myself…jumping up and down…shouting from atop Jericho‘s Walls of having negotiated with Goliath. After all I’m only a peanut in a jarful of Planters…probably sitting on the very bottom, dying to get out from under.

So did someone from WordPress take pity on this senior citizen, deciding to give me a break. If so, it’s like I hit the lottery or something. I never win anything…tangible, that is. I’ve got closets full of spiritual stuff…compassion, hope, empathy, gratitude, kindness. I could use the other kind of stuff once-in-awhile, like the time Comcast answered my prayer for internet connection via a comment on my blog post. Mark, Comcast’s customer service rep, was my Clarence, James Stewart’s guardian angel inIt’s A Wonderful Life.”

Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarenc...

Image via Wikipedia

I know I risk having the plug pulled on what I perceive to be a little bit of good fortune…no commercial ads inserted into my posts. But I must profess to being giddy over the prospect. So even if Lady Luck should take her leave…please allow me to wallow in the moment.

…it may never come this way again…

………hugmamma.  😉

Iconic screen shot from the movie It's a Wonde...

Image via Wikipedia

“calling comcast…earth to comcast”

Well, it may be that Sunday’s a day of rest, as the Lord said, or it may be that my Comcast relationship has been laid to rest. Perhaps my guardian angels Mark, Michael and Amanda have all “gotten their wings,” like Clarence, Jimmy Stewart’s angel in “It’s A Wonderful Life.” And just as he deserved them, so too did mine. I don’t remember if I ever thanked them for their services, I’m hoping I did. Asking, and then receiving, should always be followed up with a gracious “thank you.” So “Thank you, Mark, Michael and Amanda! Wherever you are!”

Meanwhile, back to Sylvia’s phone issues. Maybe some new guardian angels will come along, looking to earn their wings. “Dear God, please help my friends…”

for messed up phones…let’s all pray, from our mouths…to comcast’s ears…hugmamma.

“and the beat goes on, la, de, da, de, day,” comcast

Comcast’s Mark  appeared from nowhere again, leaving me a comment! It’s like having a guardian angel. Maybe he’s trying to earn wings like Clarence, Jimmy Stewart’s sidekick on “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Love that show, just saw it last night, or was it the night before? Running between the computer downstairs and the laptop upstairs to see if they’re working is again taking its toll. Comcast is one topic I’d like to relegate to the archives, but of course it’s the first thing on my mind since I can’t even use my own computer to blog. Every time I sign on to my husband’s laptop, I must wend my way through a very lengthy process. It’s amazing how we take so much for granted, until we have to go through each and every step. No shortcuts here. This laptop only knows my husband; it treats me like an alien from outer space, or as the case may be, “internet space. But you know me, neither snow, nor sleet, nor rain, nor lack of internet service will stop me from blogging.

You may think I’m ludicrous, but I’m still hoping for a “happy-ending.” Do I have a choice? Well, maybe, but I’m an optimist, most of the time. Other times I’m a fatalist. Perhaps I’m a fatalistic optimist. Remember, I’m trying to help Mark earn his wings, while practicing compassion, and positivism. You can help by sending all the good karma you can spare. It’s the holidays after all, the season for giving…and forgiving. Do I sound like I’m trying to convince myself not to blow a gasket? You bet your sweet life!

Do you know about THE COMCAST CUSTOMER GUARANTEE? With our bill today, was a graphically appealing leaflet touting the company’s efforts on behalf of, well, us! Here’s how it reads, in full.

You spoke, we listened. At Comcast you can expect faster answers to your questions–24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A $20 account credit if we’re late to an appointment and a complimentary service if we don’t solve a routine problem in one visit. IT’S TIME TO EXPERIENCE WHAT GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE FEELS LIKE. comcast.com/guarantee 

hmmm???…breathing deeply…ahhh…hugmamma.

attitude adjustment

One day I had occasion to visit a beautiful, upscale mall in sunny southern California, The Costa Mesa Mall. Sprawling over several acres, it was a shopper’s paradise. A favorite phrase,”eye candy,” coined while strolling the cobblestone streets of Venice, seemed just as applicable at this retail complex. Anchoring this shopping mecca, were giants Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Sak’s, and Sear’s. Sprinkled in and around them were other name stores, Gap, BCBG, MaxMara, Mango, Barney’s New York, Abercrombie & Fitch, and a seemingly endless list of other brands. Rolex caught my eye. I’d not seen it in any other mall I’ve visited. In fact, I’ve never seen its storefront before.

My first stop had to be Bloomingdale’s. Our first “introduction” was at 53rd and Lex in NYC in 1976. Several years ago, my daughter and I visited a branch in Soho, New York. There’s a distinct vibe to the retail icon. It’s upscale with a contemporary, youthful flavor. New York is culturally diverse, with Chinatown and Little Italy as neighbors, deli workers commuting alongside doctors on subways, and homeless setting up house across the street from Trump Tower. As a result, Manhattan’s Bloomingdale’s caters to customers from all walks of life. Everyone is treated equally. When you enter the store, whether you browse or buy, you’re a BFF (best friend forever).

As I wandered through Costa Mesa’s Bloomingdale’s, the mood was the exact opposite of its “sister” in the east. I felt invisible as I made my way through different areas of women’s wear. Several of the saleswomen were young and Asian. None approached to assist me, instead greeting and speaking with Caucasian shoppers. I took notice because I’m half-Chinese. Perhaps I didn’t appear to have the money to spend. No matter I thought, I’m just browsing. If something “grabbed” my attention, I would’ve made myself known.

In lingerie, I looked at a selection of bras displayed on a table. While fingering one in particular, a lovely, black, young saleslady approached saying “Isn”t that nice!” I replied that it was, but couldn’t find the price. She checked one like it nearby. It too had no price, so she left to make inquiries, indicating she’d be right back. Upon returning with the price, she pointed to another bra that was on sale. Following her to the “sale” rack, I explained that I had been searching for one that I had seen more than a year ago at Free People. The saleslady quickly informed me that the store had a branch in the mall. I was pleasantly surprised that she referred me to a competitor. Her recommendation reminded me of the Santa Claus in “It’s A Wonderful Life.” If an item was not in stock, he sent customers from Gimbel’s, where he worked, to Macy’s where he thought they’d find exactly what they were looking for.

Leaving Bloomingdale’s I pondered what had just happened to me. I was ignored by my own ethnic “sisters”, and treated kindly by a black woman, who reached out in true sisterhood. On my way out of the store, I saw BCBG, a retailer of expensive, designer wear. Stepping inside, I strolled about, stopping to more closely inspect items that were of interest. The 3 young, Asian, sales help never acknowledged my presence. Interesting, I thought. As I made my way from the back towards the exit at the front, I stopped to allow one of the sales women to pass. I noticed a half-smile on her lips as she walked by. Continuing towards the door, I saw a Caucasian customer enter and heard one of the sales ladies call out “Hi! How are you?”

In my 20’s I perceived such affronts as there being something wrong with me. Almost 40 years later, I find such experiences curious. On its face it might seem that the Asian women thought I was “beneath” them and their Caucasian clientele. I was dressed well, but not anything like their regular customers. By contrast, the young, Black woman treated me as an equal or better, since I was a potential consumer. But setting aside what might seem like the obvious, it may be that the Asians were behaving according to stereotype, quiet and shy. And the black woman was, perhaps, more outgoing by nature. Murmuring to myself, I continued on my way.

My next encounter, more pleasant than those previously, added another dimension to the racial question. Sylvia, in DKNY, greeted me with a pleasant smile and “Hi! How are you?” As I wandered from table to rack, looking at Donna Karin designer digs, Sylvia’s eyes followed me. Stepping closer, she commented that I should let her know if I needed any help. I thanked her. When I finally spied a long, grey, sleeveless dress that might fit my daughter nicely, I asked for Sylvia’s assistance. We talked a little about the details of the dress, its fit, its color, its multiple use. I shared a picture of my daughter. Sylvia complimented my daughter’s beauty and her pursuit of dancing as a career. I learned that Sylvia was of Korean-Polish ancestry. I expressed my feeling that marriages between easterners and westerners, can produce attractive offspring. My husband and daughter who are Hawaiian-Chinese-Portuguese are proof-positive. I left in a very good mood, promising to return later that day, my daughter in tow.

Before heading off to get a bite to eat, I stopped in at Free People. Immediately inside the doorway, Ashley greeted me with a huge smile and friendly manner that wrapped around me like a warm blanket. We chatted continually while I moved hangers aside to better inspect each piece of clothing. I couldn’t stop staring at her, wondering who she looked like. After a few moments playing charades, we arrived at the conclusion that she bore a close resemblance to the youngest of the 3 protagonists fighting the “good fight” against the witches in “Hocus Pocus,” a Halloween favorite on the small screen. Throughout the boutique, Ashley met up with me to comment on an item that I’d hold up for a better look. A native Californian, she was the friendliest I’d ever met, and I told her so. She laughed, and thanked me for the compliment. To better explain myself I told her of my experience in Bloomingdale’s. “Oh!” she exclaimed, eyes rolling, “They need an attitude adjustment!” Well, I just loved her absolute candidness. She was too precious, I thought.

It was so refreshing to make small talk with a young person, so totally unimpressed with outward trappings. She was Caucasian, but it didn’t matter. She was a resounding reminder that it’s what a person is like on the “inside” that matters, not skin color, or social status, or age. Because of her innate skills for serving customers, Free People made a tidy sum when I returned with my daughter to make a number of purchases. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I wanted to return to Bloomingdale’s and BCBG to say “I was the one you wouldn’t help. Big mistake! Huge mistake! Huge!”

best not judge a book by its cover…hugmamma