on the edge…

Getting older has its pitfalls; some being more evident than others. I don’t think we notice them in ourselves until we see them reflected in others. With his erratic behavior growing ever more so each day, Donald Trump should be a warning to those of us on the brink of going there ourselves.

If we disconnect with the changing world around us and become more and more insulated inside our own “bubbles,” we run the risk of becoming like Trump. We begin to see the world as hostile; people unfamiliar to us as “the enemy.”

As he has demonstrated time and time again, Trump sees another conspiracy lurking just around the bend. Beginning with the “birther” movement for which he enthusiastically assumed the leadership role, he has progressed to his current vendetta against the media, global bankers, his sexual accusers and the Clintons  as being in cahoots to take him and the country down.

We all know folks like Trump. Folks in their 60’s, 70’s and older, who can’t see beyond yesterday when the world was familiar and they felt safe. Arguing for the past in bellicose tones empowers them, even as reality slips through their fingers.

Years ago while sitting at the table with good friends of ours, dining on a wonderful array of delicious, homemade, Italian dishes, I was keenly aware of the elderly dad sitting quietly unable to participate in the banter of lively conversation. Now and then someone would try to draw him in, with no success. That image remains  etched in my mind, and serves as a reminder against the debilitating effects of isolation in older age.

That’s how I see Donald Trump…a dynastic patriarch lost in a world of his own, unable to set aside his glorious past for a present in which he doesn’t figure as prominently. I’ve known men and women like Trump. Folks who continue to view themselves as THE authoritative voice on all things, unwilling to allow that others might know better. Many a time I’ve been on the other end of such dogmatic arguments.

I don’t want to be like Trump…seeing conspiracies where there are none. Getting older doesn’t mean we automatically slide into a world of paranoia. It happens when we allow negative thoughts to overwhelm our minds, wreaking havoc where there is none, and wallowing in our own isolation to the exclusion of all else.

A couple of nights ago, hubby and I enjoyed a date night. I was looking forward to seeing Adam Levine and Maroon Five perform ever since we received the tickets as a Christmas gift from our daughter. While I thoroughly enjoyed his music, I must admit to feeling older than I expected. As thousands stood for the duration, my arthritic back found comfort in remaining seated. And while everyone else sang along with Adam, I was at a total loss for the lyrics. I felt “left out.”

Early on, I asked a woman standing in front of us to please sit so we could see the performance. She eventually acquiesced, but at the end of the evening I realized rock concerts might no longer be for me. Rather than be a curmudgeon, I’d prefer to remember when nothing could keep me down; when I’d be up and moving before anyone else.

Letting go…happily and with dignity…is a nice feeling when getting older. Although I promised myself that if I could see Bruno Mars perform live, I vow to stand with the best of them…and learn all the words to his songs! My daughter promises to join me at a Mars concert, and I’ll bet one or two of my sisters-in-law would fly in from Hawaii to join us as well.

Being “young at heart” would serve us seniors well. Old age doesn’t have to deprive us of youthful ideas and feelings, or guarantee we’ll suffer the effects of dementia…or worse, Alzheimer’s. It’s never easy to teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s…

…not impossible.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

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autumn recalls…a bad memory

Crimson Carpet of Autumn Leaves

Image by Visualist Images via Flickr

Autumn in Connecticut remains one of my fondest memories…driving along country roads flanked on either side by trees awash in brilliant oranges, reds, yellows and rusts. My young daughter would often remark at her good fortune, being born in Redding…a rural town surrounded by more commercialized ones like Danbury Ridgefield, and Westport. I agreed. We were indeed lucky. Folks drove from far and wide to savor what we awoke to…every day. My husband and I still enjoy the seasonal change here in the Pacific Northwest, but the east coast remains the mecca for Mother Nature‘s “changing of the guard.”

One memory that will forever be interlaced with pleasanter ones of Fall foliage is my one and only brush with poison ivy. Actually, it was more like a wholehearted embrace of the menacing vine.

Without a home of her own, my mom would live with my various siblings and me for extended periods of time. Once she spent more than a year with us in Redding, It was from her that I inherited my love of gardening. We enjoyed time outdoors, on our knees, digging in the dirt. We’d often sit on the front porch of our small, 100-year-old Victorian farmhouse admiring our handiwork…flowers blooming…bees, butterflies and birds hovering…to snack on the delicacies spread before them.

Autumn fallen leaves of Zelkova serrata

Image via Wikipedia

The “fly in the ointment,” however, were dead leaves that had accumulated on our property alongside the road. From my mom’s bedroom window, she could see those leaves. For her it was a daily reminder that a passerby could flick a lit cigarette or match out his car window…and woosh!…a brush fire. 

My mom’s distress at the thought of a fire, pressed her to try and light one under my butt. Not something I, or my husband wanted to do on the weekends, after commuting and working in NYC all week. We assured her that all property owners blew fallen leaves to the edges of their property, where they were left to decompose. My mom was not swayed. She never let up trying to make her paranoia mine. What finally coerced me to rake and bag the leaves was my mom’s threat to do it herself. Need I say more?

Extinct?

Image by Chiot's Run via Flickr

I threw myself wholeheartedly into cleaning up the entire bank of our property that sloped down towards the road. Since it was a warm, summer day, and I was a naive, Hawaiian, I undertook the cleanup in shorts, ti-shirt…and bare hands. Once I got going, I was determined to do a great job in ridding the area of all debris.

And so for hours I raked leaves, scooping up handsful, emptying them into trash bags. Entangled in the leaves were vines. I decided they too needed to go. I proceeded to do battle with all vines that got in my way. At day’s end it felt good to survey all that I’d accomplished. My mom’s smiling approval was the icing on my cupcake.

Found the lotion

Image by T Hall via Flickr

My happiness was short-lived. A couple of days later my entire body was one giant itch. I didn’t have enough fingers to scratch myself into lasting relief. There wasn’t enough chalomine lotion in the drug store to afford relief either. The worse aspect, if anything could be worse, was having to go to work.

Commuting to and from my job as a paralegal at TWA was nerve-wracking. I wanted to scratch. Sitting in my office all day, I scratched while researching and writing briefs for arbitrations. Spots of pink medicine covered my arms, legs, neck and face. I wasn’t a pretty sight, that’s for sure.

Steamy Shower

Image by SweetCapture via Flickr

After a long day in NYC, I would return home, jump in the shower and stand under the hottest water I could bear. That numbed my skin, providing the most relief, however temporary. My doctor finally prescribed prednisone. It was a God-send, for it permanently cured my overall itch…from the inside out.

You can imagine my ongoing fear of vines. I don’t touch it unless I am certain what it is…like ivy…nasturtiums…or my favorite, clematis. One introduction to poison ivy was all I needed to know…

This is an old poison ivy vine from my backyard

Image via Wikipedia

…been there…done that…not going to do it again…ever…

………hugmamma.

public enemy #1..obama?

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve a stack of articles cut from the Wall Street Journal which I’d wanted to share, eventually. Upon review, I toss those that are no longer relevant. You can imagine my surprise when I came across the following from 2/14/11, which begs the question “In light of recent events, what say you now?” And I mean specifically as it pertains to President Obama’s loyalty to America?

Obama Isn’t Trying to ‘Weaken America”
by Michael Medved

Some conservatory commentators may feel inclined to spend President’s Day ruminating over Barack Obama’s evil intentions, or denouncing the chief executive as an alien interloper and ideologue perversely determined to damage the republic. Instead, they should consider the history of John Adam’s White House prayer and develop a more effective focus for their criticism.

Oil painting of John Adams by John Trumbull.

Image via Wikipedia

On Nov. 2, 1800, a day after he became the first president to occupy the newly constructed executive mansion, Adams wrote to his wife Abigail: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

More than a century later, Franklin Roosevelt ordered the inscription of these words on a mantel piece in the State Dining Room, inviting serious consideration over the extent to which divine providence responded to the earnest entreaty of our second president.

In terms of wisdom, some of Adam’s successors who “ruled” under the White House roof most certainly fell short. James Buchanan comes to mind–or Jimmy Carter.

When it comes to honesty, skeptics might also cite heaven’s mixed blessings, reviewing a long history of presidential prevarication. Richard Nixon almost certainly lied about Watergate, as did Bill Clinton about his amorous adventures.

But in the deeper sense that Adams longed for “honest men” to occupy the White House, the nation has fared much better: Those who rose to the highest office worked hard, took their responsibilities seriously, and sincerely pursued the nation’s good–in order, if nothing else, to secure a positive verdict on their own place in history.

Even the most corruption-tarred presidents, Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding, agonized over the demands of the office and drew scant personal benefit from the scandals involving unworthy associates. They both retained the profound affection of the populace while they lived and drew massive outpourings of grief at their funerals. Both (especially Grant) have begun a recent rise in the estimation of historians.

President John F. Kennedy and daughter Carolin...

John F. Kennedy may have suffered from sex addiction (and a host of other secret maladies) while Franklin Pierce drank heavily in the White House (in part in mourning for his 11-year-old son who died before his eyes in a train accident two months before the inauguration). But neither man ignored his duties, and both had previously demonstrated their love of country with courageous military service.

In short, the White House record of more than 200 years shows plenty of bad decisions but no bad men. For all their foibles, every president attempted to rise to the challenges of leadership and never displayed disloyal or treasonous intent.

This history makes some of the current charges about Barack Obama especially distasteful–and destructive to the conservative cause.

One typical column appeared on Feb. 5 at the well-regarded American Thinker website, under the heading: “Obama Well Knows What Chaos He Has Unleashed.” Victor Sharpe solemnly declares: “My fear is that Obama is not naive at all, but he instead knows only too well what he is doing, for he is eagerly promoting Islamic power in the world while diminishing the West.”

These attitudes thrive well beyond the blogosphere and the right-wing fringe. On Jan. 7, Sarah Palin spoke briefly on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, saying, “What I believe that Obama is doing right now–he is hell-bent on weakening America.” While acknowledging that “it’s gonna get some people all wee-weed up again,” she repeated and amplified her charge that “what Obama is doing” is “purposefully weakening America–because he understood that debt weakened America, domestically and internationally, and yet now he supports increasing debt.”

Cover of

Cover of The Roots of Obama's Rage

The assumption that the president intends to harm or destroy the nation that elected him has become so widespread that the chief advertising pitch for Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” promises to “reveal Obama for who he really is: a man driven by the anti-colonial ideology of his father and the first American president to actually seek to reduce America’s strength, influence and standard of living.”

None of the attacks on Mr. Obama’s intentions offers an even vaguely plausible explanation of how the evil genius, once he has ruined our “strength, influence and standard of living,” hopes to get himself re-elected. In a sense, the president’s most paranoid critics pay him a perverse compliment in maintaining that his idealism burns with such pure, all-consuming heat that he remains blissfully unconcerned with minor matters like his electoral future. They label Mr. Obama as the political equivalent of a suicide bomber: so overcome with hatred (or “rage”) that he’s perfectly willing to blow himself up in order to inflict casualties on a society he loathes.

On his radio show last July 2, the most influential conservative commentator of them all reaffirmed his frequent charge that the president seeks economic suffering “on purpose.” Rush Limbaugh explained: “I think we face something we’ve never faced before in the country–and that is, we’re now governed by people who do not like the country.” In his view, this hostility to the United States relates to a grudge connected to Mr. Obama’s black identity. “There’s no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.”

Regardless of the questionable pop psychology of this analysis, as a political strategy it qualifies as almost perfectly imbecilic. Republicans already face a formidable challenge in convincing a closely divided electorate that the president pursues wrong-headed policies. They will never succeed in arguing that those initiatives have been cunningly and purposefully designed to wound the republic. In Mr. Obama’s case, it’s particularly unhelpful to focus on alleged bad intentions and rotten character when every survey shows more favorable views of his personality than his policies.

Moreover, the current insistence in seeing every misstep or setback by the Obama administration as part of a diabolical master plan for national destruction disregards the powerful reverence for the White House that’s been part of our national character for two centuries.

Even in times of panic and distress we hope the Almighty has answered John Adam’s prayer. Americans may not see a given president as their advocate, but they’re hardly disposed to view him as their enemy–and a furtive, determined enemy at that. For 2012, Republicans face a daunting challenge in running against the president. That challenge becomes impossible if they’re also perceived as running against the presidency.

(Mr. Medved hosts a daily, nationally syndicated radio-show and is the author of “The 5 Big Lies About American Business” – recently out in paperback by Three Rivers Press.)

A couple of things come to mind in reading this article. One is that Palin speaks plain, but she doesn’t make sense in an arena larger than the bubble in which she moves. Secondly, I think she and Limbaugh are two of the cleverest people around. Why would they ever change their platforms when they have a following for which Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Beyonce would sing their hearts out. Even sweeter, Palin and Limbaugh are laughing all the way to the bank. Why should these two give up the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg? They aren’t dummies!

One final observation is that while conservatives like Palin and Limbaugh abhor Obama personally and politically, there are liberals who abhor him just as much because he’s not annihilating those same conservatives. I’ve seen extreme-left blogs whose writers have turned their backs on the man they elected, because he hasn’t stampeded over anyone getting in his way to effect all that he promised. It seems Obama shouldn’t spare the sword, and  he should definitely take no prisoners. Off with their heads!

I know of no person in a relationship, any relationship worth its weight in gold, who doesn’t believe in compromise. Why is that so impossible in politics? In the current environment it feels as though the populace is neither conservative nor liberal, but rather we are either venutians or martians. We look different. We act different. We don’t even speak the same language. Sadly enough, it may be that Barack Obama has been the catalyst to this unearthly event…a black man…a muslim name……………………….      no right to be America’s president.

sad…but maybe too true…hugmamma.