what the people want…

It’s true. Americans thus far have decided they want a bully in the White House. They’re tired of being Mr. Nice Guy to the world. Instead, they’d like a Putin…or worse, a Bashar al-Assad. I exaggerate, but Americans should be careful what they ask for. They’re rolling the dice with Trump, banking on his word to make America great again. What those voters don’t know…and don’t want to know, it seems…is how Trump is going to do what he says he’s going to do. They don’t want to know that he’s going to, in his words ” punch that guy in the face” and ‘ ” You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” ‘ Essentially, Trump’s devoted fans want something akin to the Mafioso in control of their lives.

These days I no longer turn on the news to hear updates on the presidential race. The news is too depressing. Reality TV is now real life played out on the national stage. Viewers of the Kardashians and the various and sundry Housewives shows much prefer trash talk and pushing the boundaries, rather than upholding moral standards of any kind. Just as Trump ruled the airwaves as King of Reality TV, he is now on his way to becoming King of America. And make no mistake…that is the title he seeks. He will not be the leader of a democracy. He will rule as an autocrat.

Trump says he doesn’t want to reveal his plans to the rest of the world, that’s why he drones on without saying anything substantive. Who is he fooling? Only fools, that’s who. The man has no clue how he’ll get Congress to bend to his will. I’d like to see him take on Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. Is Trump going to punch Ryan in the face if he dare protest?

I’m certain Trump’s fans will want to see him punch Putin in the face, but that won’t happen. The Soviet leader will have no qualms about putting loudmouth Trump right where he belongs…in the little boy’s sandbox with the rest of the wannabe bullies of the world. Why? Because Putin would take Russia to the brink of war to show his muscle. Trump won’t have that kind of backing from a democratic country where Americans are always second-guessing themselves. Should we? Shouldn’t we? What’s in it for us? Me. Me. Me.

It’s my fervent prayer that the 65% of Americans of whom Senator Rubio has spoken as being dead-set-against Trump will pull this country back from the brink. Americans are proven risk-takers. They love gambling, especially when the winnings are in the billion-dollar range. Just as with the recent power ball jackpot, Trump’s followers are hoping to win big with the billionaire businessman. What they don’t realize is that he’s no dummy…he’s in it to win it…for himself.

Trump is about Trump, first and foremost. Whatever wheeling and dealing he does will benefit his coffers above all else. After all, those voting for him aren’t blinking an eye at any of his shenanigans so far. Why would they do any differently after their man is president? Like the man said on January 24 of this year “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Voters have given Trump carte blanche…a complete pass…to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases, however he pleases.

I for one think the man is a pig. And the only pig whose stuffed likeness I’d put in the White House is Miss Piggy. Although I’d be up for stuffing Trump and exhibiting him as a trophy over some fireplace mantle in some lodge in Alaska…alongside his surrogate, Sarah Palin.

…can you tell?…

…i’m p/o’d.

………hugmamma.

(photo…businessinsider.com)

 

 

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what do you think…

…about concussions and football?

I’m not a sports fan myself so I’d just as soon see the game go away. In theory. I say that because I understand that football, and other contact sports, are acceptable outlets for aggressive behavior. Since prehistoric times man has had to use brute force to survive. Times have changed, but man’s primeval behavior hasn’t gone the way of the dinosaurs.

The over-arching problem is the millions of dollars the NFL dangles before would-be prospects looking to play pro-football. Most concerning, however, is that parents wholeheartedly encourage their sons to play a game which, according to recent statistics, puts their lives at risk. Is the money worth it?

…about bringing trade schools back?

In our rush to outdo, or at least keep up with, China and other countries technologically, America has placed tremendous emphasis on math and science. Our children are pushed to excel academically in order to secure jobs with Microsoft, Apple and the like. As has always been the case, not every child is suited for college.

Trying to force square pegs into round holes is as implausible today as it was in generations past. A child who is more adept with his hands is not going to be happy sitting at a computer all day. Forcing youngsters to pursue careers in the hopes that they will be set financially, can set them up for failure in the long term. Besides which, all the jobs for which they might be better suited are being shipped overseas. Meanwhile, folks who might be happier in those blue collar jobs are beginning to form a new class of “have nots.” They are the ones clamoring for a return to the good, ole’ days when they could “pull themselves up by their own boot straps.”

…about life imitating art…or real life imitating reality tv?

With the media’s constant hype about Donald Trump’s steady rise in the polls, it makes one wonder…”What in the world?” This morning it finally dawned on me…reality TV may have more to do with it than we might like to think.

Look at Barbara Walter’s choice for the most fascinating person of 2015. Caitlyn Jenner!

(Photo…businessinsider.com)

Yes, I get that she champions the gay-lesbian community but that’s primarily because of her celebrity on reality TV. By comparison Johnny Weir, a well-known, gay American figure skater, does not share the same mega-watt platform as former Olympic track and field star Bruce Jenner aka…Caitlyn.

Who would have thought that the Kardashians and the Housewives and the Bachelor would still be with us…years later? And what about Abby Lee of “Dance Moms” fame? My daughter, a professional dancer, cringed whenever she caught a segment of that reality show. How those mothers could allow that evil woman to treat their daughters as she did is unfathomable.

I must confess to watching those shows now and then, especially since they dominate much of what’s available on TV now. I’ve done so with fascination and disbelief. And perhaps that’s what most viewers find intriguing about reality TV. How can these people put their lives out there for millions to see? Do viewers relate to the flaws…the gaffes…the ridiculous lives? Or are these reality stars so far outside our realm of what’s normal, that we watch in disbelief, our mouths wide open?

Is that then, Trump’s appeal? A reality star transcending the small screen into the arena of real life politics? Looking for our votes as…favorite reality star of all time? A vote for Trump as President is akin to saying he’s won the Oscar of all Oscars?

So again I ask you…

…what do you think?

………hugmamma.

 

 

reality tv is not…reality

If you’ve ever watched The Housewives of Beverly Hills…Orange County…NYC…or NJ…you know those folks are larger than life. They’re not the real deal. They’re like the super-sized balloons flying overhead during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All blown up with…mega-sized eyeballs, lips, hair and bodies.

The same applies to Donald Trump. Followers enamored of him imagine that as President of the United States, he will fire and hire employees exactly as he did on The Apprentice. That’s the individual they want running the country. They further fantasize that President Trump will stop illegal immigrants and incoming Muslims singlehandedly. They don’t ask how. They just know he’ll do it because he says so.

Trump’s presence in the presidential arena replicates exactly what has happened in Congress. Moderate Republicans and their extremist counterparts cannot see eye to eye. A President Trump would tip the balance of power in favor of the Tea Partiers. Where we escaped the same fate with a President Palin, we will now come face to face with an egomaniac far more maniacal and lacking in knowledge than Sarah ever was.

If Trump doesn’t like Mexicans and Muslims, how will he govern those who already live in this country as American citizens? Will he backtrack on his inflammatory rhetoric? Probably not enough to satisfy those groups. And it’s unlikely that the extremists who devour the “red meat” Trump holds out in front of them on a daily basis are going to allow their candidate to renig on his promise to cleanse the population of racial and religious misfits.

Today Trump’s focus and those of his Tea Party followers are upon the Mexicans and Muslims, is it possible that tomorrow they might want to distance themselves from Blacks? Asians? Jews? Catholics? Who knows. Once extremists gain momentum, America could be facing its own Hitler and the evil he wrought upon millions. What happened then in a land far removed, could happen here.

The KKK and the Skinheads are surely smiling at the turn of events…

…and their good fortune.

………hugmamma.

kanye west…for president???

OMG!!! Just heard on CNN that Kanye West might be considering a run for the presidency in 2020??? Reality TV in the White House??? The Kardashians taking over Washington D.C.???

That is even more bizarre than Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Just because we can…all run for president…does it mean we should? 

Tea Party conservatism has dragged in all manner of folks thinking they know what our country needs. Forget the need for wisdom and self-control and experience.

For Heaven’s sake! If I had the energy…I could be President!

Not!!! I know my limitations and strengths. Managing the President’s “to do” list sure as heck isn’t something I’m up for.

What makes Kanye West think he can…interface with our military hierarchy?…world leaders twice or three times his age?…Wall Street financiers?…white constituents who hate black rappers?…and most of all, Tea-Party congressional reps who’d just as soon impeach him, as recognize that he is the executive branch.

Talk about a political stalemate!!!

And who, besides the Kardashian fans…many in other countries, would want to see those women parading around half-naked in the White House? Moreover, it doesn’t seem likely they’d give up their millions as reality TV stars to sit around twiddling their thumbs. I can’t see them volunteering to mingle with the underprivileged at homeless shelters. The sisters would stand out in their stilettos and bouffant hairdos.

The fact that sex is a huge part of the Kardashian brand won’t sit well with conservative evangelists, either.  Come to think of it, neither would liberals with good, old-fashioned values. 

Between Kanye West’s ego and Kris Jenner’s managerial skills, I’ve no doubt they’re thinking seriously about the presidency. After all, Donald Trump is just as qualified. 

Reality TV and real life…

…are they really one and the same???

………hugmamma.

it takes a village…

No matter the scenario…a village lies within.

Yesterday was not a day I’d been awaiting…with joy. However neither was I anxious. Let’s just say I was…numb. Beginning the day before I forced myself into another zone…mentally, that is. Anyone who’s had a colonoscopy, and if you’re over 50 you should start to ponder the possibility, knows of what I speak.

One of my siblings had had colon cancer a number of years ago, making me a prime candidate for regular colonoscopies. That he is free of the disease doesn’t matter. That I havent’ lived near him in Hawaii doesn’t exempt me either. That we have probably not consumed the same foods for 40 years or more also carries no weight. Seems I’m hooked for good…every 5 years.

Zoning out mentally is necessary because you have to be fully present physically. A restrictive diet begins several days beforehand. It felt strange not to eat my usual high-fiber foods…whole grain breads and pasta…brown rice…leafy, green salads. Being told to eat the exact opposite was like being let go in a candy shop.

I relished the taste and texture of country, white bread…a hot dinner roll right out of the oven, slathered with butter…white spaghetti with meatballs. Because my mom had diabetes, I’d subscribed to a diet of whole grains to stave off getting the dreaded disease. From all I’d heard and read, white anything…goes straight to sugar.

Downing 4 liters of a liquid that helps you lose weight, whether or not you want, is when I knew I was paying for my hay day in the candy shop. Twenty-nine, eight-ounce glassfuls of anything is too much to stomach. I was fine until the last 5 or so. I wasn’t chug-a-lugging the stuff anymore. More like huge gulps. Of course you can imagine what I was doing between-times.

Anyhow…

I was only allowed a low-fiber breakfast the day before, followed by a liquid diet until midnight when consumption of everything came to a screeching halt. Not even a drop of water was allowed. So, of course, I couldn’t pass my half-filled water bottle without longing to take a swig. Water never looked so good…

The day of the procedure I was fully prepared to have the dastardly thing done and behind me…literally. I even told the doctor as much. “Okay. Let’s get this over.”

English: Poster showing a nurse, with her arms...

Image via Wikipedia

From the get-go, I felt ensconced in a family of helpers. The nurse who escorted my husband and me from the lounge to where I would get ready, had the same name as my daughter. That got us chatting. The nurse congratulating my daughter on her career and the discipline that went with it.

I was handed over to an Asian nurse who was serenity itself. With calm patience she readied me for the inevitable. When Dr. Patterson arrived, he whipped out his iPhone and showed the nurse a buffet he’d attended earlier for a colleague who was leaving. The nurse had contributed a couple of the homemade items. I asked to see the photo, which the doctor was only too happy to share. Everyone laughed when I said I’d not eaten for 24 hours, and gazing at the picture of food might help quiet the rumbling in my belly.

I was wheeled into the surgery room where 2 nurses attended to me. Both were very pleasant. The younger one, probably in her 30s, asked if I was cold. When I hesitated, she immediately set about to warm me up with heated blankets…several of them. As she layered me with them I commented “It’s been a long time since I’ve been tucked in.” Chuckling she told me she had a 3-year-old.

Lying there, bright lights glaring down upon me, I couldn’t help but feel as though I were in a TV reality show, and I said so. The young nurse smilingly commiserated, adding that the idea was a good one. The other nurse made a comment which seemed to pooh-pooh the thought, something about rules and regulations. Not to be dissuaded, the young nurse chimed in saying “Not if they showed what goes on behind-the-scenes…the romances.”

Donald Campbell, Physician, Butte, MT

Image by Butte-Silver Bow Public Library via Flickr

I don’t remember what else she said. My mind was already picturing scenes from the next reality hit “Love ’em…and Leave ’em.” Laughing aloud I said that the TV patient would probably be yelling “Hey! What about me? This is suppose to be about me. Remember? Excuse me! Can we get back to my procedure, folks.”

I told the nurses that the doctor looked unexpectedly dapper in street clothes beneath his white physician‘s jacket, when he visited me earlier. However when he arrived and took charge, he appeared more as I had expected …wearing green pajamas…white cap atop his head. 

The cap was unique in that it was customized with an all-over pattern of a piano keyboard . During our first office visit Dr. Patterson had told me of his affection for music, being a voice student himself. So the cap made sense.

All I remember of the operating room was being told that the anesthetic was being administered slowly…the young nurse holding my hand, smiling…as I drifted off into a deep slumber. She told me to think of Maui. I told her I was going to go “moi moi”. Words Hawaiian moms whisper to their children, telling them to “go to sleep.”

D. T. Fleming Beach Park, Kapalua, Maui, Hawai...

Image via Wikipedia

It was a coincidence that the young nurse had lived on Maui for 7 years, engaged to an islander. They’d not wed, but she loved living there nonetheless. So while she may have been an attractive, blonde, my new friend felt like family. And given the circumstances…it was nice to have her by my side.

If you think my story is pretty funny thus far, you’ll bust your ribs when you read about my antics in recovery. Even I couldn’t believe what my husband told me. I guess under the influence of anesthesia (or lemon-drop martinis), I’m another…Phyllis DillerWhoopie GoldbergTina Fey…or my idol…Lucille Ball. All I can say is…

…heavens to mergatroid!!!…

………hugmamma.  🙂

 

Publicity photo of Lucille Ball from her Here'...

Image via Wikipedia

 

freshly pressed…wordpress lottery

From time to time, I take a gander at WordPress “Freshly Pressed” pages. Like tonight when I happened to see that another blogger had listed FP on her blogroll. The pages seemed endless. I don’t think I got past 9 or 10 of them. Each one contained 10 or more blogs, recognized as being the best on any given day. I think I perused the guidelines for winning a coveted spot once, but decided I couldn’t recommend my own blog. The Catholic nuns who’d taught me humility would surely roll over in their graves. God bless their souls, and mine for even thinking of self-aggrandizement.

But more importantly it seems a blogger must jump through certain hoops to be chosen. Can’t remember what they all were, but at my age, and with my limited knowledge of technical wizardry, I’m certain I wouldn’t make it through all the hoops. My arthritic back would give out. It’s like when I watch all those reality TV talent shows. I give the thousands who show up to audition a mountain of credit. I could do equally poorly as most of them, but they have one thing I don’t have…guts! Sometimes I must admit to many looking like idiots. But hey! To each his own; whatever makes their world go ’round.

So back to FP. For the life of me, and it’s getting shorter by the hour, though I’m in no hurry, I’ll never, ever in a million years figure out how to get on that moving locomotive. And I’ll soon be looking down the gun barrel of my 62nd birthday, so there’s no hope in h—k that I’ll be able to throw myself onto the train as it speeds by my hobbit hole.

So I wish all those with membership into the exclusive Freshly Pressed club a no-holds barred, hearty congratulations! I’m glad someone hits the lottery every day. “You’ve gotta be in it to win it,” as the saying goes. And those bloggers are obviously doing something right. I applaud their efforts, because blogging is hard work. But those of us with a passion…

reap its rewards…even when it’s not an FP award of recognition   …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...

Image via Wikipedia

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

Image via Wikipedia

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.

 

“real” reality tv

Glee

flooding “down under”

Super Bowl Sunday

egyptian citizens protesting economic deprivation

Angelina Jolie, “Cleopatra”

mother nature reeks winter havoc

Oscars

mubarak thugs descend upon unsuspecting protestors

Oprah celebrates birthday

initiative to continue funding educational programs

Justin Bieber, “Never Say Never”

monroe prison guard killed

Crystal Mountain Ski Lodge, gondola, weddings, Summit restaurant

revolution spreading as i type

that’s how it is on “real” reality tv

are you getting the picture?…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     

irksome things that “niggle”

Perhaps because I’m in a Comcast frame of mind, meaning “things that need fixing,” I was just thinking of little things that “niggle” me from time to time.

Making toast for my husband and me just now, I reminded myself to empty the crumbs from the catchplate at the bottom of the toaster. As on previous occasions, it irked me that I had to unplug the toaster first, turn it around so that I could remove the crumb catcher. I wondered why Oster didn’t just place it on the other side where all the buttons were located. That might make it easier to remember to empty the catcher more regularly than I do.

Another manufacturing snafu is that the catchplate is as flat as a pancake. How do the crumbs stay put, until they’re emptied? They don’t. The day I found mounds of the stuff in my appliance cupboard is when I realized the drawbacks of my toaster. Its vintage look and fabulous red color were what drew me to purchase this particular model. It toasts well, but what’s left behind just plain “niggles” me. The manufacturer should’ve hired a “professional” toaster maker to test the product, before it was rushed onto the assembly line. Real moms who’ve been using these items regularly for years and years, not the ones on TV, like “Desperate Housewives,” or “Housewives of OC, NYC, NJ, ATL, DC, and BH.” I jest, of course!?!

When our kitchen was remodeled a few years ago, we didn’t install a garbage disposal. Having an in ground septic tank take care of our household disposal needs, we didn’t want to overload it with waste that could be recycled, like food scraps. Catching all those small tidbits before they race down the drain, however, is messy and tedious. Relatives of ours had the solution we needed, a small strainer that fit snugly into the drain. Voile! Problem solved!

A carpenter I’d used some time before we did our remodel, recommended I not use granite or purchase stainless steel appliances. But of course, I did. Just as he said, fingerprints are a chore to remove from the stove, refrig and dishwasher. Water stains are a constant source of irritation on the granite surrounding the sink. Imagine when I hold a dish or pot under the faucet, the water splashes all over the beautiful, dark green granite. I’ve learned to live with stains, for no matter how many times I clean them, they reappear as if they’d never left. I do love how the granite slabs and stainless appliances enhance the look of our kitchen, as long as I don’t look too closely.

Before the remodel, we had a gas top stove. I’d only cooked on electric prior to that, so the change took a little getting use to for me. I found cooking with gas to be fine, but it wasn’t “to die for,” as with the majority of cooks. The thing I liked least about it, was cleaning all the grease and grime that would collect in and around the burners. When I lived away from home with my daughter who was training to become a ballet dancer, my husband, who remained here, hired a housekeeper. Reluctant to keep her upon my return, I soon found Lucy to be worth her weight in gold. The gas top stove was flawless after she “waved her magic cleaning wand.” Poor thing, after many years cleaning others’ homes, Lucy returned to Brazil for back surgery. Our home has never been as clean since. 

Litter dust that is perpetually tracked up the staircase, and along the hallway, also “niggles” me. No amount of vacuuming with my upright, or hand-held, does the trick permanently. And I’ve tried every form of litter known to man, clay, wheat, corn, lavender-scented, baking soda-added, newspaper pellets, pine-scented, scoop, non-scoop, flushable, non-flushable, multiple-cat. Wish I’d toilet-trained my 3 cats, and my daughter’s 1, when they were wee things. Now that they’re full-grown, ranging in age from 6 years through 15 years, they’d probably all tell me to flush myself down the toilet if I tried to alter their potty habits. Wouldn’t you?

Plugs that don’t completely fit into sockets also make me nuts. As I’m vacuuming I’m constantly aware not to yank the chord, otherwise I’m retracing my steps to plug the chord in again. Try doing this 15, 20, 25 times in an hour. You’d also want to shoot a hole in the wall where the socket is. But that was then; years of repetition have made me really good at having to put the plug into the socket only once or twice, the entire time I’m vacuuming. Yehhh, for me!!! I know, I know, the piece inside the wall just needs replacing. Well, my on-site repairman is going to get around to it, “later.” And that’s fine with me. I’ve figured a way to get around the problem, and there are other things I’d prefer getting done sooner, rather than…”later.” Picking my battles, you see.

Last year after Christmas, we retrieved the huge plastic bins from our garage to store away the holiday decorations. We found that mice had found their way in from the cold. Droppings were everywhere. Yuck! We had to clean and sanitize the garage before replacing the bins. Clorox wipes were handy helpers for wiping down the surfaces, along with a lot of elbow grease. My husband purchased poison-filled pouches, placing them into nooks and crannies. My contribution to the effort? Good, old-fashioned mothballs!!! I Rolled them out of the boxes until they covered a good amount of the garage floor beneath the shelving units. They worked! The potent smell kept those buggers away. Thank goodness I find the scent rather…refreshing, like being in the alpine. Mice poop, now that’s a “niggler” to end all “nigglers!”

After being married as long as we have, there’s bound to be things that “niggle” my husband and me about each other. I’m certain one HE CAN LIVE WITHOUT is hearing his name echo throughout the house when I’d like something done. I’m sure one “niggle” that’s had me “talking to myself” for almost half-a-century is when he asks me where something is, before he’s even searched. Or upon beginning to search, my husband is done looking, before he’s even really started. I guess it’s easier, ON HIM, if I drag everything out, to find that it’s always been right in front of his nose. “Niggling” is the “other face” of true love! Even bliss takes a break, now and then.

I’m sure we’ve all got things that “niggle.” Even our pastor, Father Brian, is “niggled” by inadequate church parking, a less than adequate parish budget, rising early to say 8:15 a.m. Mass. Looks like even the holiest among us can’t escape being “niggled,” once-in-awhile.

so go ahead and rant, about whatever “niggles” you…hugmamma.

dressing to “wow”

Ynez Sines is an overnight celebrity. Others have traveled similar paths to sensational success, like Kim Kardashian, a darling of reality TV. Her body hugging fashions with plunging necklines accentuate her natural assets, which include a gorgeous face. These days, such apparel seems the style of choice for reality TV divas. Picture the women of the “Housewives of…” shows, “Jerseylicious,” “Bethenny Gettin’ Married?,” “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” the “Batchelor,” and  “Batchelorette.” So why the uproar over Sines?

Women dressing to attract men probably began with our prehistoric ancestors. Like their contemporary counterparts, cave women needed an edge over the competition. Capturing the strongest cave man was essential to keeping  food on the table. But we’ve come a long way in dressing for survival, to dressing for the WOW factor. Where a woman might have narrowed her audience to a handful of men, she now wants to impress every man who sees her. And that can range from a roomful to a worldful, of men. Grabbing the attention of the competition is an added bonus. Maybe the media’s coverage of “red carpet” events has contributed to our narcissism.

We have increasingly turned our focus toward better health, including a better body image. Efforts to eliminate anorexia and bulimia are ongoing, as is obesity. On one hand we are attempting to regain control over our bodies so we can live our best lives; on the other hand, we continue to worship celebrities and models for their rocking, good looks and hip, hot fashions. It seems like an oxymoron to be striving for self-acceptance, while remaining shackled to our desire to look like someone on a magazine cover or a TV show. It’s as convoluted as trying to save in this economy, while trying to spend our way out of a recession. It’s a struggle, but it can be done. I guess.

Sines is neither a reality TV diva, nor a red carpet regular; she works in an all male environment which, for the most part, revels in grunge and sweat. So why the need for body hugging styles and plunging necklines as a 9-year-veteran, professional sportscaster? Her response? That’s how she’s always dressed, and she’s not making any changes to her wardrobe. So why twitter that she was “embarrassed and uncomfortable?” It’s like “wanting her cake and eating it too.” So what’s wrong with that? Don’t we buy a cake to eat it?

I’m guilty of having worn hot pants in the day, even in Guadalajara in the early 70’s when I was a summer program student at a local college. I dressed provocatively to captivate my husband when we were dating. Obviously my tactics worked, 40 years later we’re still celebrating marriage. But I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have dressed to provoke unwanted cat calls from football players, of any ethnicity. I think it would be similar to walking past construction workers in tight jeans and blouse. 

I’m not averse to athletes, having dated the captain of the football and basketball teams in high school. It just seems that their attention would naturally be drawn to the human body, since playing sports involves their bodies. Being in a locker room is probably like being in a frat house, with behavior bordering on bawdy. I wouldn’t want to witness what goes on, but that’s my choice. According to journalist Cokie Roberts on GMA this morning, Sines presence in locker rooms is part of her job as a sports reporter.

The stand-off between Sines and athletes in locker rooms is being addressed by the NFL, and in the court of public opinion. I don’t think we’re looking for a winner; I think we’re looking for both sides to be accommodating, going forward. The best scenario would be if Sines modified her professional dress, and the players were more respectful in the presence of female reporters. Whether that happens or not, is for both sides to decide. Of course the resolution will impact the female-male professional relationship, beyond the locker room. Miniscule, small, medium or large, change is already underway. Eyebrows have been raised, so there’s no going back.

accommodating change, for the better…hugmamma.

eclipse, the twilight saga

Saw the latest installment of the much hyped vampire series, The Twilight Saga. Eclipse did not disappoint, unlike its predecessors. Twilight and New Moon were not as appealing because the actors seemed stilted in their conversations and movements. They projected as teenagers who don’t want the world to know their true thoughts and feelings, very different from their counterparts in reality TV. Viewers know only too well what they’re about, TMI (“too much information”, as explained by my daughter).

Robert Pattinson as a vampire, Taylor Lautner as a wolf, and Kristin Stewart as their human love interest were more engaging in this, the final episode. All 3 seemed to have matured since they were last on the big screen. Their complex love triangle assumed more depth. There seemed a real possibility that Bella could be in  love with both Edward and Jacob. I wondered if the story would end in a menage a trois. I’ll have to wait and see the final, final episode. Yes, it’s a two parter.

Pattinson’s handsome face, chiseled like a Greek god’s, seemed less overwhelming, while  Lautner looked less like a high school star athlete, and more like a man. Eclipse seemed less focused upon capturing their obvious traits, Pattinson’s brooding glare and Lautner’s 6-pack, bronze abs. More filming from the neck up meant they needed to express their emotions more fully, more genuinely. Tears welled in their eyes as they spoke with angry passion or loving comfort. There were tender moments, humorous asides, and fiery encounters. The teenagers who began the journey had evolved into young adults, finally comfortable in their own skins, whatever their composition.

Leaving the theater, I announced to my daughter that, for her sake, I’d see Eclipse a second time. I’m a fan of seeing performances more than once, as I like to do when my daughter dances. The first time unleashes a floodgate of sights and sounds which overtake  my senses. (Back from exchanging bear hugs with Juneau, my other Maine Coone, mixed-breed.) Subsequent views allow me to dissect a performance, so that I become aware of details that I’d not noticed before. I leave the theater with a greater appreciation or better understanding of someone or something. I may confirm an opinion, or have a change of heart.

It’s undeniable that the casting net trolled for only the gorgeous among us. Pattinson, Lautner and Stewart are easy on the eyes, as are the other actors. Would we be as attracted to ugly vampires and wolves? Perhaps if we were paying to see a sci-fi thrillerBut The Twilight Saga is fantasy, and we want fantastic, not scary, looking creatures.

If you want to feast on “eye candy,” first love, gorgeous vampires and hunky wolves, then I suggest you “fly like a bat outta…” 

and see Eclipse  …hugmamma.