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

Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) in Otternd...

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

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

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

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

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

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

Image representing Tweetree as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

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

 
 
The kids bought me a GPS

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

Image via Wikipedia

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

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

Image by Dave McLean (aka damclean) via Flickr

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

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

Korean traffic sign

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…THE STORY OF MY LIFE…HUGMAMMA. 🙂
 
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getting my mojo back…with love letters

It doesn’t take long to settle into the rut that is my life. I say that with my usual tongue-in-cheek humor. But after the last few weeks of unexpected twists and turns, I’m glad to be doing the same old, same old. There’s comfort and bountiful pleasure in just being able to muddle along…contentedly. Small things mean a lot at this stage of my life.

Cover of

Cover of Elvis in the Twilight of Memory

Half-Price Books at Crossroads Mall is where my eyeballs become the size of saucers. You know, cups and saucers. The biography section being my favorite. It’s always inevitable that a title or two or three will beckon me to buy, and I usually do. Books about celebs from the Golden Age of Hollywood, or singers whose songs got my foot tapping or my heart beating, or historical figures who let their guard down, always get my attention. Skimming the jacket covers I decide if, in fact, they’re worth my time and money. The titles I brought home tonight? Herbert G. Goldman’s Fanny Brice – The Original Funny Girl, Paul Alexander’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams – The Life, Times, and legend of James Dean, Elvis – in the twilight of memory by teenage girlfriend June Juanico, The Bluebird Cafe Scrapbook – Music & Memories from Nashville’s Legendary Singer-Songwriter Showcase edited by Amy Kurland, Mark Benner & Neil Fagan, and I Love You, Ronnie – The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

If you’re a regular to hugmamma’s mind, body and soul, you already know you’ll probably be reading a review of one or more of the above-mentioned books. But the one that most impressed me tonight was the slim paperback containing Reagan’s love letters to his wife, Nancy.

Unlike most of America it seems, I was more enthralled with Ronald Reagan the actor than Ronald Reagan the president. Not that I didn’t think he was fine, but after all he was a Republican, not necessarily my brand of politician, although I might’ve voted for him. Neither was I a huge fan of Nancy Davis, preferring Jane Wyman, the first Mrs. Reagan. But all this is ancient history, as they say. What was obvious then, and now, is how devoted the Reagans were to one another. That’s why I was intrigued by the book of letters. Following are 3 of the many contained therein.

July 13 (1954)…a.m.

My Darling
     The first day of shooting and like all first days I can’t tell you good bad or indifferent. Everything is hectic and upset what with the truck caravan arriving from L.A. in the dark last night. Most of the morning was spent getting the trucks unloaded and the equipment straightened out. Ben. B. is on hand so things can really get buggered up. I think Alan D. is trying to get some of the story holes plugged and this morning changed one scene “a la” a suggestion from “guess who.” However, our opposition is B.B. himself so I only whisper in an off-ear and let them fight it out. So far “Lady S.” is no help–taking the attitude of “who cares in these kinds of pictures.”
     However there is one golden glow warming my soul in this first sunset–I’m twenty-four hours closer to you. Last night was another one of those nights–just too beautiful to stand. So tonight I’ll probably be looking at the Moon which means I’ll be looking at you–literally and figuratively because it lays far to the South of this mountain top and that’s where you are. That takes care of the “literal” part–the “figurative” part requires no direction, I just see you in all the beauty there is because in you I’ve found all the beauty in my life.
     Please be careful and don’t get too good at covering your own shoulder at night–I’d miss doing it. Be careful in every other way too–nothing would have meaning without you.
     Now if two “Muffins” I know will exchange a kiss for me–my good night will have been said.

I love you
Ronnie

Newlyweds Ronald and Nancy Reagan, March 4, 1952

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Feb. 14 (1960)

Darling Mommie Poo
     Feb. 14 may be the date they observe and call Valentine’s Day but that is for people of only ordinary luck.
     I happen to have a “Valentine Life” which started on March 4 1952 and will continue as long as I have you.
     Therefore realizing the importance of this to me, will you be my Valentine from now on and for ever and ever? You see my choice is limited, a Valentine Life or no life because I love you very much.

Poppa

According to Nancy Reagan “The assassination attempt made us realize how very precious our lives were. It made us all the more devoted to each other. I think this comes through very strongly in Ronnie’s Christmas letter of 1981, written nine months after the shooting.”

The White House
Washington

Dec. 25 1981

Nancy Reagan says her last goodbyes to the pre...

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Mrs. Reagan 2

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Mrs. R.
     I still don’t feel right about your opening an envelope instead of a gift package.
     There are several much beloved women in my life and on Christmas I should be giving them gold, precious stones, perfume, furs and lace. I know that even the best of these would still fall far short of expressing how much these several women mean to me and how empty my life would be without them.
     There is of course my “First Lady.” She brings so much grace and charm to whatever she does that even stuffy, formal functions sparkle and turn into fun times. Everything is done with class. All I have to do is wash up and show up.
     There is another woman in my life who does things I don’t always get to see but I hear about them and sometimes see photos of her doing them. She takes an abandoned child in her arms on a hospital visit. The look on her face only the Madonna could match. The look on the child’s face is one of adoration. I know because I adore her too.
     She bends over a wheelchair or bed to touch an elderly invalid with tenderness and compassion just as she fills my life with warmth and love.
     There is another gal I love who is a nest builder. If she were stuck three days in a hotel room she’d manage to make it home sweet home. She moves things around–looks at it–straightens this and that and you wonder why it wasn’t that way in the first place.
     I’m also crazy about the girl who goes to the ranch with me. If we’re tidying up the woods she’s a peewee power house at pushing over dead trees. She’s a wonderful person to sit by the fire with, or to ride with or just to be with when the sun goes down or the stars come out. If she ever stopped going to the ranch I’d stop too because I’d see her in every beauty spot there is and I couldn’t stand that.
     Then there is a sentimental lady I love whose eyes fill up so easily. On the other hand she loves to laugh and her laugh is like tinkling bells. I hear those bells and feel good all over even if I tell a joke she’s heard before.
     Fortunately all these women in my life are you–fortunately for me that is, for there could be no life for me without you. Browning asked; “How do I love thee–let me count the ways?” For me there is no way to count. I love the whole gang of you–Mommie, first lady, the sentimental you, the fun you and the peewee power house you.
     And oh yes, one other very special you–the little girl who takes a “nana” to bed in case she gets hungry in the night. I couldn’t & don’t sleep well if she isn’t there–so please always be there.

     Merry Christmas you all–with all my love.

Lucky me.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

 I Love You, Ronnie should be required reading for men and boys everywhere. Maybe then both sexes would be from the same planet…Venus. Now I “get” the passion between Nancy and her Ronnie. Perhaps if this book had been published at the time he was president, onlookers wouldn’t have been so disparaging of her. But then again the naysayers would have probably faulted her for self-promotion had she made the letters known back then. Or worse, the couple might’ve been ridiculed for being more absorbed with one another than they were already viewed as being. Whatever the case may be, I’m glad Nancy Reagan gave us a peek inside her love affair with Ronald Reagan.

…always room for one more pair of star-crossed lovers…another Romeo and his Juliet…hugmamma.

blows me away…!!!

 

WOW Hits 2006

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It never ceases to amaze me when a particular post, and I never know which one, sends my views soaring. I was reminded of the once-in-a-great-while occurrence, when hits to my very recent post ” 365 photo challenge: loaded” skyrocketed to 408 views…and counting! The same thing happened with “the best gift…ever,” which hit 149 views. Long before that, as far as I can remember, was the post “putting a face on the unknown,” which got over 250 hits.

I know for sure there are other blogs which rack up astronomical views regularly. I don’t pretend to know their secret formulas. While all writers would love to be read, I think most who are passionate about their own messages, their own voices, can’t help but remain true to their own styles, whatever that may be.

Johnny Weir SP 2009-2010 season (2009 Rostelec...

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So while I value what I write, I never know what readers will value. But sometimes it may involve “gimmicks.” The post about being “loaded,” connotes drinking to excess which may have a broad appeal, especially among the youth. The post about my daughter’s invaluable presence in my life, included a very fetching picture of her, again an attractive element to youthful readers, especially the males. And the post about the “unknown” was to do with the Human Rights Campaign efforts on behalf of the gays, lesbian and transgender community. That included a segment about American ice skater Johnny Weir, with accompanying photo. I learned that mention of this athlete brought a flood of gay fans to my blog.

I couldn’t hope to duplicate such numbers if I tried. It’s like chatting with a friend in a crowded room with everyone talking, and your mention of some inconsequential tidbit, draws everyone’s attention to your conversation. “Whaaa?!? What’d I say?…what’d I say?”

that’s exactly how i feel when views go through the roof…without any preconceived help on my part…hugmamma. 

well worth a visit…

 

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

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Have found a few more blogs of interest, again for different reasons. Wish I could visit the millions of blogs that exist on WordPress, but I think that’s very unlikely. But every so often I peruse the pages, and pause on a blog whose post’s title and first several lines make me curious enough to “click,” and read more. I never gave much thought to how very important those 2 items are to getting read. But with so, so many to choose from, how does one decide? I have no idea, truthfully. My method is just to handpick them one at a time. And these are the ones I’ve recently enjoyed.

New York, New York. Newsroom of the New York T...

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Carloscollazo06 is an avid baseball fan. I mean avid.  He’s a high-schooler who hopes to become a sportswriter. Judging from his blog, I’m sure he’ll succeed. I understood one post, the one about his passion for writing, in spite of his being so young. His observation, not mine. While he hopes to venture beyond scripting posts about baseball, I’m not so sure he’ll be successful there. Scrolling down, I saw entries containing words like the Braves, Joe Madden, the Phillies’ second baseman Luis Castillo, and a reference to fantasy baseball on ESPNDid I get that all right? I also knew this blog and mine were generations apart because there were words I’d never known before, like yerd (yearbook nerds) and  werd (“writing nerd, of course”.) Of course! Who wouldn’t know what a yerd and a werd are? Duh!?!? Me!!! Nonetheless, this young blogger is worth checking out. He did spend time in NYC on a yearbook conference sponsored by Columbia University’s Scholastic Press Association. We might be reading his sport’s column in the New York Times one day, so you might want to get started now.

 My Life in Photos – 365 Challenge, a newbie of 2 months is off and running, challenging her readers to post a photo a day in correlation to a given word. Today’s word, for example, is “situated.” Not an easy challenge , as you can see. My brain cells will definitely grow by leaps and bounds, which is more than welcome in my case. How about yours? Someone who has journaled for 25 years, you might want to check out this blogger’s photo-take on life.

Quickly becoming a friend, another blogging buddy, but one with whom I also regularly exchange emails is Figments of a Dutchess. Living a world away from mine in Holland, she shares my sense of fun, love of pets, appreciation of the great outdoors, and a passion for blogging. What we’ve not got in common is the wind blowing like a jet stream through her beautifully coiffed, short, blonde hair, while she sits confidently astride a Harley. Yikes! If I were to do that, my thinning, henna-rinsed hair might come undone…totally. Like gone, goodbye, fare thee well. I don’t think I’d look good in bald.

The Duchess is a great writer of fiction, having whet my appetite with “the second room on the right.” Hopefully, she’ll be launching the full episodic novel very soon. Like my buddy Scriptor Obscura who has been sharing technical tips with me, like “adopting” my internet doggie, Cheddar, Figments of a Dutchess has assisted in attaching the image “of pointed-toes, an umbrella, and raindrops” in the right sidebar of my blog. The amazing thing is that clicking on the image magically brings up the YouTube video of Gene Kelly in his signature dance role, “Singing in the Rain.” Try it!!!

finding friends on the internet…like finding gold…hugmamma.

please visit…#2

My ongoing challenge to you, dear readers, will be to “please visit” other blogs in the WordPress community. There are literally millions of others whose voices want to be heard. I can’t guarantee you’ll love all that you “hear.” But they will definitely broaden your outlooks, as they’ve already begun to enlarge and in many cases, enhance, mine.

One of the better advantages of the internet, I find, is the capacity to meet people I would otherwise never know. Not only that, but be allowed inside their private world, be privvy to their innermost thoughts, probably be told things that not even those they hold dearest and nearest know. It’s mind-blowing, if you think of it.

Mark Zuckerberg at South by Southwest in 2008.

Image via Wikipedia

Which came first, blogging or facebooking? I don’t know, but they both serve a great purpose, social networking. Although I’m not an avid Facebooker, since blogging occupies the majority of my computer time, there’s no denying that Facebook has risen to the top of the ranks in social influence. Its millions of users are able to change the course of history with a click of their computer keys. Who knew that it would be a global power player? Maybe Mark Zuckerberg had the tiniest inkling when he founded the media Goliath.

A man wearing a tin foil hat

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But my ramblings about social networking are to largely encourage you to visit 3 sites I’ve recently discovered. Beyond a small introduction, I’ll let you discern more about the bloggers for yourselves. “Ramblings of an Emmett” is a single mom’s adventure. She writes from the heart, and shares moments of joy, as well as frustrations. A recent post about her dad resonated with me. “Haleywhitehall” writes beautifully of sweet remiscences. There’s a light and airy feel to her blog. I don’t recollect that she rants about causes, as I’m oft inclined to do. And finally, “Beneath the Tin Foil Hat,” which I’ve just now discovered is poised to take on any ultra-conservatives among you. He makes no bones about being a liberal, probably as left-wing as he can get. I can sense a big heart beneath his brawn. He and I agreed that the current NFL-management money brouhaha is much ado about greed. As I’ve said before, athletes like professional dancers, get paid “peanuts” by comparison, but show up for work every day because of their passion for their job. I wonder if these over-paid, over-coddled, self-aborbed football players would perform for “peanuts,” for the love of the game? What do you think?

go become a “site-seer”…notice my new gizmo in the right side bar of my blog…it’s still getting “up to speed”…hugmamma.

“true you,” more than enough

Almost done reading True You: A Journey To Finding And Loving Yourself by Janet Jackson. Yes, she’s “the” Janet Jackson, sister of Michael Jackson. But I wouldn’t have read it for that reason alone. Interviews of her by Meredith Vieira, and then by Piers Morgan, piqued my interest. Prior to that, I really wasn’t motivated to know more about Janet. Other than her videos, songs and a couple of films, she wasn’t in the media, unless it was to do with her more famous sibling. The youngest Jackson, and second most celebrated, Janet favored living her personal life in the shadows. The reason, as revealed in her book, is that she has suffered low self-esteem her entire life.

True You is probably one of the best biographies I’ve read to date, although Janet doesn’t refer to it as such. She prefers to think of it as a spiritual and physical journey towards accepting and loving, one’s true self. The unique element about her story is its compassion throughout. There’s nothing narcissitic about the book, although the focus is obviously upon her. Janet bares her soul, but does so in relation to her commonality with all of us. We can all relate to her experiences. She’s one of us. And that’s where she seems most comfortable. She appreciates and is grateful for her position and wealth, but not at all like the other so-called “rich and famous.” While Michael remains my favorite performer, Janet is definitely my choice for BFF, that is if I had a choice.

One of the things I enjoy most is how Janet weaves anecdotes shared with her by others, whether personal acquaintances, or strangers who have written letters. Their stories are as poignant as hers, and she generously acknowledges this by featuring them throughout the pages of her book. I like that about Janet, her generosity and her humility too. Wish Michael could have been as balanced in his personal life. But his sister admits that it has taken all of her 40+ years to get where she’s at, and she’s still not done yet.

a lesson for all of us…True You …hugmamma.

“getting over getting old,” laughing helps…a lot!

You want more laughs? You’ve got it! The usual instigator being my Brit friend with the wicked sense of humor…Sylvia.  🙂

 
 
 
Questions and Answers from AARP Forum
Q: Where can men over the age 
of 60 find younger, sexy 
women who are interested 
in them?
A: Try a bookstore, under fiction.
Q: What can a man do while his 
wife is going through 
menopause?
A: Keep busy. If you’re handy with 
tools, you can finish the basement. 
When you’re done you’ll have a 
place to live.
Q: Someone has told me that 
menopause is mentioned in 
the bible. Is
 that true? 
Where can
 it be  found?
A: Yes. Matthew 14:92: 
“And Mary rode Joseph’s ass 
all the way to  Egypt …”
Q: How can you increase the 
heart rate of your 60-plus 
year old husband?
A: Tell him you’re pregnant.
Q: How can you avoid that 
terrible curse of the elderly 
wrinkles?
A: Take off your glasses.
Q: Seriously! What can I do for these Crow’s feet and all those wrinkles on my face?
A: Go braless. It will usually pull them out.
Q: Why should 60-plus year old people use valet parking?
A: Valets don’t forget where they park your car.
Q: Is it common for 60-plus year olds to have problems with  short term memory storage?
A: Storing memory is not a problem– Retrieving it is the problem.
Q: As people age, do they sleep more soundly?
A: Yes, but usually in the afternoon.
Q: Where should 60-plus year olds look for eye glasses?
A: On their foreheads.
Q: What is the most common remark made by 60-plus year olds when they enter  antique stores?
A: “Gosh, I remember these!”
SMILE, You’ve still got your sense of humor, RIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

     

    

just in the nick of time to help me reach my goal…hugmamma. (gotta love my friend Sylvia!)  

 

former homeless songwriter, chris scott’s story

Homeless Lessons Learned was produced by Andrew Diffee, a talented young college student majoring in videography. While looking for subject matter for a required video production assignment, Andrew and I crossed paths outside The Contributor office downtown. Intrigued by the details of my living situation, and my positive attitude and outlook in the midst of it all, he decided to tell my story. We arranged a shooting date on a Sunday afternoon, and armed with a film crew and a pizza, production began.

I have lived and survived the last 18 months in the woods on the back side of Fort Negley (coincidently named after General James Scott Negley). That makes me a veteran with an honorable discharge who has lived on a former military installation all while trying to establish himself in a new city. But on December 3rd, 2010, after a long, hard “tour of duty,” I finally moved into an apartment. (Selling The Contributor had a lot to do with that.)

Life is different when you have a roof over your head and a safe place to go. For me, that has become an achievement and a reality. But for so many of my dear brothers, sisters and friends, it is not within their reach at this point in time. I know what they are going through every night, night after night, with no place to go, no place to be. Wherever they try to lay their heads, they end up being either ticketed or incarcerated for trespassing.

During the entire 18 months I camped on that hill, I was never ticketed or jailed for trespassing. I did, however, have everything I own dragged down the hill and thrown in the back of a garbage truck–twice! (It’s much easier the second time.) I made it through Nashville‘s coldest winter in 30 years in a tent I built myself. I survived the flood of 2010 and didn’t lose one thing to the rising waters. I did whatever I had to do to make it happen, help my fellow-man, and survive. How I did it and what I learned over that period of time is the focus of Homeless Lessons Learned.

Armed with a plan to alleviate the plight of my brothers and sisters on the street, those who attend the screening will learn about ways they can get involved. I believe that 2011 is going to be a year of growth and change for a lot of folks. Things are going to get better. I have seen so much happen in 2010 and I know that we’re just getting warmed up. Things can’t stay the way they are. Justice must prevail for everyone. We are Americans! And more importantly, we’re family. Together we’re stronger–as individuals as a community, and as a nation.

a man with a story to tell…of compassion… for all…hugmamma.

Note: A public screening of Homeless Lessons Learned, a 45-minute documentary, was held on 1/12/11 at Nashville’s Downtown Presbyterian Church (DPC).

“homeless celebrity,” ted williams

 

Along with most other Americans, I rooted for Ted Williams as his resurrection from the homeless heap was broadcast across all TV channels not too long ago. But where is he now? Is he still in rehab for alcoholism? Is he still getting phenomenal job offers? Does anybody care anymore? Now that I think about it, didn’t Dr. Phil assume responsibility for getting Williams “back on track?” But no longer media’s darling, he seems to have been quietly relegated to castaway status again.

An article in Tennessee’s homeless paper, The Contributor, “Lessons Learned from Ted Williams the homeless man with the golden voice” by Gemma Holmes, once again shines the spotlight on the man who was given the chance to salvage his life in a big way. Holmes explains, convincingly, that the homeless experience cannot be rinsed clean by fame and money.

The rags to riches story of a homeless veteran with a golden voice took him off the street corner begging for change to the sets of the Today Show, The Tonight Show, The Early Show, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight, and Dr. Phil. He had a tearful on-air reunion with his mother and a public meeting with his children. Lucrative voiceover contracts with Kraft, MSNBC and others were given to him within days of his story going viral. The video of him being interviewed by a local reporter has been seen by 15 million viewers and counting. His rise to stardom in less than two weeks was remarkable. The glare of the spotlight showed us his talents, but it also showed us his demons that made the media who took him to the high heavens in one swoop, quickly throw him back to earth with a crashing hand.

Comparing Williams to other homeless whose “comeback stories are filled with ups and downs,” Holmes says about them

They may not have a golden voice, but many have skills and abilities that have been buried under the hardships that come with being homeless. Homelessness affects a person physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Many are looking for a second or even a third chance to correct the mistakes of the past.

The remainder of the article speaks to the selfless involvement of a local Nashvillian, Pat Waggoner, who is giving a “hand up” to the homeless in his community. Unlike Ted Williams who obviously had no support system in place to help him maneuver his way back from the brink, Waggoner provides the backbone needed for the homeless to stand tall once again, taking their rightful place among the rest of society. He understands “that getting a Ted Williams off the streets does not stop the struggles instantly. Unlike our culture of instant gratification, Pat is patient and believes that with faith, perseverance and hard work, lives can change for the better.” In offering the usual assistance to the homeless, such as meals, clothing and housing, Waggoner enlists the aid of others in the community, from “networking and civic groups, and church members who abide in his passion for helping others.” But he goes “above and beyond” as well.

He even finds jobs to help them become independent and self-sufficient. Pat is a strong advocate for rehabilitation to make sure that individuals stay drug and alcohol free after they leave the streets…he makes sure that for long-term well-being, he mentors men and families about financial literacy along with making sure they have someone to call when stressful situations occur that can push one over the edge. He encourages group therapy and spiritual counseling and believes strongly that counseling is one of the keys for personal growth. No, Pat Waggoner is not superman, but he is dedicated to deflating our homelessness numbers one person at a time.

The author goes on to say that Waggoner recruits others to help in his crusade by telling one homeless story at a time, enlisting his listeners compassion in believing in “the goodness of men and women who just need a break.” Undoubtedly not every story has a happy ending, but this doesn’t deter Waggoner from continuing to reach out to others.

“All too often when a very public rags to glad story falls short of our expectations, it has a chilling effect on us, and cynicism can creep into our giving and serving others.” This says the article’s author is why Pat Waggoner’s actions “can teach us to give to those in need, to step out on faith and build relationships with individuals who may still stumble and fall on the road to recovery. Leaving a life on the streets can happen with just one faithful encounter, but the emotional scars often remain as they transition into their new dwellings.” The writer goes on to suggest

If you come across a Ted Williams today, help him find a Pat Waggoner. Slowly but surely, you just might change a life.

there’s nothing i can add to such a profound statement…except “amen”…hugmamma.

  

life has an expiration date…

My busy elves have been trolling the internet for goodies. Thought I’d share a recent find.
PASS THE BISCUITS  
 

  When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then.  And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.  On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad.  I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!  Yet all my dad did was reach for his Biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. 

I don’t remember what I told him that night; but I do remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits.  And I’ll never forget what he said:  “Honey, I love burned biscuits.” 

  Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.  He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your momma put in a long hard day at work today and she’s real tired.  And besides… a burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!” 

  You know, life is full of imperfect things… and imperfect people.  I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else.  What I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults and choosing to celebrate each others’ differences, is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

  So…please pass me a biscuit. And yes, the burned one will do just fine!  And please pass this along to someone who has enriched your life… I just did! 

  Life is too short to wake up with regrets… Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don’t. 

  ENJOY LIFE NOW – IT HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE!

 
 


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Charles Whittlesey
C W Consulting
2301 42nd Street
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402
(319) 560-1440 cell
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ever have one of those days?

Wandering around looking for my camera. Can’t remember where I set it down. Checked its case, not there. Where’d I put it? In and out of rooms. All the time thinking, picturing, remembering. Took a few photos of Christmas past last night. Might be useful in my blog. Never know. But what’d I do with the camera afterwards. Doggone camera! Not on desktop, not on nightstand, not on dining table, not on sofa or chairs. Nowhere. Disappeared into thin air.

Calm down. Don’t panic. It’s not Alzheimer’s. Just simple case of misplacing something. It’ll show up. I’ll just ignore it for a little while. My brain will reset itself. And voila! The camera will appear right in front of my nose.

It’s like the other day when I was at the grocery store. Fred Meyer’s, I think. Don’t know why I input the pin I did, when I used my debit card in paying. The numbers just flew out of my head onto the machine pad. Twice, the numbers I typed in were wrong. I gave up, paying with a credit card. Leaving the store, I thought about what happened, and realized I’d not even been close. Where on earth did those numbers come from? At Trader Joe’s I tried again, twice! Again, a no go. I even mumbled something about getting old to the cashier, as I wrote a check.

Later that night, much later, my pin popped into my brain! Thank goodness, I thought. But where were those numbers? Where were they when I needed them? Roaming around in some far off corners of my mind, obviously. The next day they were back, performing like good little soldiers. I think I was at QFC, this time. Hmmm…???

My husband just asked me for the checkbook. Told him it was in my purse. It’s not there, he said. What??? Am I losing my mind altogether, I thought, as I got up to check for myself. Nope! There was the checkbook, in my purse, just as I said. “It’s here,” I bellowed, as he came back down the hallway. “Where?” he asked. “Right here, in my purse,” I said. As he took it and turned away, he chuckled as I started proclaiming that he was, in fact, trying to drive me insane, which wasn’t necessary. I could do that all by myself. Thank you. 

Once I’d stopped blogging, and was up and about anyway, I went in search of my camera again. Hubby and I threw quick questions back and forth. “You sure it’s not in your coat pocket?” “I checked! It’s not there.” “Where were you taking pictures last night?” “Around the Christmas displays.” Mocha’s barking the entire time, adding to my discombobulation. She was in a hurry to be out the door and on her way to her grooming appointment. She wouldn’t be, if she knew that’s where she was headed. Poor, misguided dog. I kept searching some more, as hubby left to run errands, Mocha in front, pulling on her leash. Still no camera.

Before he left, my spouse, so supportive as he is, reassured me that I wasn’t getting Alzheimer’s. He argued that oftentimes information we use so regularly, can escape us when we have to focus on it. In the moment, we’re unable to “stop on a dime,” and remember what it is we know like the backs of our hands. He backed up his assertion with the fact that he has difficulty remembering our daughter’s phone number, when dialing her on our home phone. That’s because it’s on speed dial on his cell phone. I agreed. But you know, Alzheimer’s is never far from my thoughts because of my mom having had it.

So, back to my camera. Where’s that darned thing? Probably watching from wherever it’s perched, having a good laugh! #@&?!!! #@&?!!! Ever have one of those days…?

and the day’s just begun…it’s only 10:27 a.m….hugmamma.

good samaritan #11

Saw CBS hit show “Undercover Boss” last night, and realized I had to write about this particular segment when I saw that my husband was tearing up along with me, routine for me, not for him. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the reality show, it follows a corporate CEO who shows up at company work sites to witness the day-to-day operations, first hand.

Kim Schaefer, CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, is the first female boss to do the show. Changing her appearance, with a new haircut and color, she, with camera crew in tow, pretended to be a stay-at-home mom being filmed for a reality TV show. Dressed down, that is, not in her usual suit and high-heels, Schaefer buddied up with an employee in each of the following areas: the day care center, the water park, the front desk and the restaurant. I’m pretty sure some, if not all, were at different locations, of which there are 10 throughout the country.

As a result of her findings, Schaefer reported back to her management team that  no drastic changes needed to be made, but there were things that needed tweaking. Front desk registration took too long, sometimes up to 15 minutes, causing long lines to form. The sweltering heat in the water park was great for guests, but unbearable for employees. Schaefer asked managers responsible for these departments to look into making the necessary modifications. She went on to say the company should look for ways to acknowledge its appreciation to its employees, for their dedication and great service. Credits at the conclusion of “Undercover Boss” noted that Great Wolf Resorts is now rewarding all its employees by allowing them free access to any of its locations for family vacations.

Schaefer acknowledged that while her motivation to go undercover was prompted by her position as CEO, her on-the-job experience as working stiff reverberated with her as that of a working mom. “My expectations were that I was going to come in as a CEO and look at it through the eyes of the CEO…It ended up being about the people and me as a working mom.”

At the show’s start, Schaefer was shown with her family, her husband who enjoys being a stay-at-home dad to 2 teenage children, a son and a daughter. Schaefer acknowledges that she is passionate about working, that she couldn’t imagine not dedicating herself to a job outside the home. In observing the family dynamics, it’s obvious she is a loving mom and appreciative spouse. She looks and behaves nothing like the domineering, sharp-tongued, controlling Miranda Priestly in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Unlike Meryl Streep’s character, Kim Schaeffer seems perfectly capable of being a top-notch CEO while maintaining the warmth of a normal, human being who loves her husband, children, and yes, even her employees. In the “great reveal,” Schaeffer invites to corporate headquarters, the 4 Great Wolf Resorts employees whom she shadowed during filming. Each arrives separately for a meeting with the CEO, unsuspecting that they’ve already met, albeit under very different circumstances.

I couldn’t help but think, as I’ve thought before, that moms would make the best bosses, the best leaders. That’s not always true, as in Sarah Palin’s case, in my opinion. But Kim Schaefer was as warm and unassuming in her CEO attire, as she had been in a camp counselor’s get-up, aquatic assistant’s shorts, waitress’ uniform, and receptionist’s drab garb. Schaefer spoke from the heart, reaching across her desk to hold the employee’s hands in hers. Her appreciation for their service was genuine, as were her tears. Her words weren’t “office speak.” They were the language of compassion, of empathy, for the plight of the working man and woman. 

To each of the four, Schaefer made a personal gift in addition to promotions and pay raises. For the mom who supervised kids in day care, her daughter was given a full scholarship to college. The young man who oversaw aquatic operations would realize his dream of becoming a pilot, with fully paid flying lessons. The receptionist who suffered with knee problems because of a bad fall would not only have surgery, but would be guaranteed the day shift so that she could better parent her children as a single mom, and some extended time off to be with them.

The most heart-wrenching to watch were the tears shed between Schaefer and the waitress, who’d lost a 9-year-old daughter years earlier in a car accident. Of all her employees, this woman resonated the most with her boss who realized how precious her own daughter, and son, were to her. The waitress’ positive attitude about life, “I live each day as if it were my last,” and “I do my job, regardless of the size of my tips,” was an amazing testament to her character. The fact that she worked double shifts to support her family, including a baby, moved Schaeffer to cut her employee’s work hours without reducing her pay, by making her a floor supervisor. In this capacity she would impart valuable customer service experience to others.  And she was also given extended vacation leave to enjoy her family.

As I said before both my husband and I wiped a few tears from our eyes, watching CEO Kim Schaefer interact with her employees. I even said to him, he should keep his eyes and ears open if he ever heard that someone was looking to hire an amazing person to run their operation.

from my lips to bill gates ears…hugmamma.

Following are the 10 Great Wolf Lodges and their locations:

  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Poconos PA, Scrotun, PA
  • Grapevine TX
  • Charlotte, Grand Mound WA
  • Mason OH
  • Williamsburg VA
  • Kansas City KS
  • Traverse City MI
  • Wisconsin Dells
  • Sandusky OH     

“george, who would be king”

Enjoyed another great night at the movies with close friends Sylvia and Jim. She and I were particularly keen to see “The King’s Speech.” Sylvia was a subject during the rule of George VI and was, therefore, very excited to see the film’s portrayal of England’s beloved monarch and his queen. Revisiting her homeland by way of the vivid photography was an added bonus. I’m a devoted fan of Colin Firth who acted the part of the king. But I too wanted to see what George VI was really like, the man beneath the crown. I’d heard of his speech impediment, but wanted to learn more about it, and how such an introvert as he, dealt with the problem. Our spouses were on the fence about the film, but decided to accompany us. They were both very happy they did.

Colin Firth did not disappoint, nor did Geoffrey Rush as the king’s speech therapist, Lionel Lough. Firth’s handling of the king’s prominent stutter was excruciatingly realistic. It pained me to watch him struggle to speak. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the dilemma to form words and emit them naturally were so physically apparent. Firth’s eyes bulged and teared, beads of sweat sprung up on his forehead and beneath his squinting eyes. He seemed unable to breathe at times, the words sticking in his throat. I felt his dizziness, his nausea. I wanted to collapse alongside him, under the weight to speak publicly as the people’s sovereign, especially when he announced that England was joining the war against Hitler.

A great actor, but not necessarily a favorite of mine, Geoffrey Rush acted the role of Mr. Lough with eloquence and restraint. If you’re not well acquainted with Rush, you might remember him as Johnny Depp’s nemesis in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Barbossa, captain of the haunted ship, the “Black Pearl.” In this role and others previous, Rush seems verbose, wordy. In “The King’s Speech,” he spoke in reaction to Firth. The part of therapist was to encourage the king to speak, a lot.

As the story unfolded, it was apparent that Lough’s value to King George VI transcended the professional. Lough became mentor, confessor, friend, and “family” to the king. They remained so, for the rest of their lives. As is so like me, I shed silent tears here and there.

How sad that George VI’s difficult childhood contributed to his stuttering. How sad that his brother abdicated with little thought to the burden he was placing upon George, who would be king. But how wonderful that he had his wife and daughters, and Lionel Lough to love and support him throughout his reign. And, of course, the overwhelming love of a grateful people.

a beautiful and touching “fairytale,” deserving of an “oscar” for all involved…hugmamma.

“if i could turn back time” (wasn’t that a song?)

my hands,

skin thinning, veins popping.

my feet,

heels cracking, toenails crooked.

my hair,

henna-colored, white roots, not so thick.

my eyes,

heavy lids, dark circles, corner wrinkles.

adding “insult to injury?”

bulging tummy, sagging breasts, aching back.

long-term solution?

healthy diet,

exercise,

no stress,

lots of rest.

short term solution?

body shop.

complete overhaul.

better yet,

new model!

make mine

39!

40 was good too…hugmamma.