it’s raining cats and dogs…

The rain has come home to roost in the Seattle area. There was never a question as to its returning…it was just a matter of when. Thank goodness hubby and I are pretty near done spiffying up the front yard after a year of neglect. Now I’ve just got to get the slug bait down before those little buggers feast to their hearts’ content. Once they get going, there’s no stopping ’em. Meanwhile the bunny rabbits, cute as they are, continue hippity-hopping about as though they own the yard. Truth be told, they pretty much do.  

So while it drizzles outdoors, here’s a little something to warm your heart and  lift your spirits. 

…gotta love our furry little pets.

………hugmamma.

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living her best life #47: counting down…

…until I’m home again. That’s what’s foremost in Pat’s mind, having touched down in Rochester, Minnesota only 48 hours or so ago.

After spending a couple of days with my husband and me sightseeing in and around Seattle and its environs, Pat and Brad headed to The Mayo Clinic where they will now spend the next month-and-a-half. To get them off on the right foot, so to speak, we were intent upon wining and dining them and making them smile and laugh until they were exhausted, falling into bed…happy as clams tucked snugly into their shells for the night. And I mean snugly since they insisted on sharing the vintage double bed in our former master bedroom suite-turned- guest suite. They opted not to share our daughter’s queen-size bed, probably because they knew she’d be enroute home the day they left.

Arriving from Honolulu where they reside Sunday evening, we drove to a casual waterfront restaurant where I’d made reservations for us to celebrate Father’s Day. Dining outdoors on the deck was like being in Hawaii, the sun beating down without letup. While the others weren’t bothered by the heat, I almost followed through on the server’s suggestion to check out their souvenir shop for visors. Instead I decided that if Pat could withstand the sun’s rays, so could I. If there’s one thing I’ve since learned from her it’s not to be a wuss.

On Monday we traveled into Seattle from where we live in the suburbs to visit the Chihuly Museum. Pat had asked to see it, and like her fairy godparents, my husband and I wanted to grant her wish. Even though we’d been there before, we did not need to be asked twice to return to the museum again. For those unfamiliar with master glass blower Chihuly, he has become a global phenomenon because of the glass structures he has created to mimic the beauty found in nature. His museum is not to be missed. In fact, seeing it again my husband and I were once more awed by how the outdoor gardens had matured around Chihuly’s glass creations.

Following our tour of the glass museum, we lunched in the Sky Cafe high atop Seattle’s  landmark Space Needle. When asked if she’d prefer…a great view and good food…or great food and a good view…Pat said she wasn’t aware there was a restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. I’m sure she’d agree, the view AND the food were awesome. While dining, the restaurant did 2-3 revolutions showing us all of Seattle a couple of times over as we sat enjoying our meal. Afterwards, we stepped out onto the Observation Deck one level above to enjoy the gentle breezes of the outdoors while gazing down at the rooftops of the myriad buildings below.

Before leaving the city, we headed to Seattle Center’s huge fountain, an attraction for old and young alike…adults chilling while children frolic in the water cascading down from on high after being shot into the air as though from a cannon. Again, Pat remained in the scorching heat with the men as wimpy me sought comfort under the canopy of trees offering shelter from the afternoon sun. Oh well. I am a decade older than my sister-in-law so maybe I can claim old age as an excuse.

To round out a wonderful day, we enjoyed a casual meal at a Japanese restaurant closer to home. It’s always nice to visit with our nephew Kanoa and his wife Erica. The evening was made even more special by their beguiling 6-month-old, Luca. He literally charmed the pants off of all of us…well, at least mine.

When we sent Pat and Brad on their way the next day, it was with armfuls of love and prayers. And I know they’ll continue to need as much from all of us as they prepare for what lies ahead.

…love and prayers, pat and brad.

………hugmamma

got your lottery ticket?

If the pundits have it right the Tea Party will run Congress after tomorrow’s election. Maybe not the day after, but soon enough. And if that’s the politics of the majority of voters, it’s almost certain there’ll be a Tea Party president in the White House in 2016.

My reaction? Congratulations!!! They finally did it.

While other Americans sit around twiddling their thumbs and moaning about the state of affairs, Tea Partiers and their billionaire backers, have accomplished what they set out to do.

The federal government will be disemboweled and states will have to go it alone in trying to figure out how to serve their own constituents. Some will fare better than others. It depends upon the talent and intelligence of their politicians, the benevolence of their wealthy citizens, and whether or not Lady Luck is on their side.

Seattle will definitely do better than some.

We’ve got Bill and Melinda Gates, billionaires with heart.

Headquartered here are Starbucks, Costco, Boeing, Amazon and Microsoft. Other tech companies have begun moving into town and more startups are on the verge. Wine tasting is becoming a favorite past time, with wine bars popping up all over the place.

I recently read somewhere that Seattle’s Eastside has the best track record for cardiac rehabilitation in the nation.

Ours is one of the few states to recognize gay marriages.

Marijuana is legal for those 21 and older.

A $15 minimum wage might become reality. 

A couple of suburbs have led the nationwide list of “most desirable small towns” in which to reside.

And signing up for affordable health insurance has been comparatively stress-free.

Of course we have our issues…over-aggressive police…theft…homelessness…dui…sex offenders…gun control. Yes, we have school shootings too.

It’s probably obvious from what I’ve said that Washington is pretty much a liberal state. Thanks to that, its citizens will do better than most when the Federal Government of the Tea Party, run by the Koch brothers assumes power.

It might be that our country is headed for the Great Depression that President Obama tried to head off when he took office. The faction of right-wing conservatives who were never going to submit to the leadership of a black liberal have convinced the majority of their political brethren to go back to the likes of George W. Bush.

This time though it will be more than just another economic collapse and another war. The earth as we know it will finally succumb to the oil barons. And the entire world will revert back to the days of the Wild, Wild West with the have-nots going after the haves with a vengeance.

I feel for folks who live in Ohio and similar states marching to the drumbeat of ultra right wing conservatives. A recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine highlighted a couple of towns suffering under the ideologies of Tea Party politicians.

Most of the young middle-and working-class women I meet in Lima had children very young, many before they were 18; Allen county has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Ohio. And yet, Ohio has been at the forefront of recent attacks on reproductive rights. The state has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and its most recent budget placed $1.4 million in funding for Planned Parenthood at risk, while allocating money to Christian-based “crisis pregnancy centers.” Lima’s one family-planning clinic offering limited abortion services recently closed down; today, a search for abortion clinics in Lima will turn up a pro-life organization called Heartbeat of Lima. Though the county health department offers free birth control, a woman wanting an abortion must travel more than an hour to Toledo, to a clinic that, thanks to restrictions that have closed almost half of Ohio’s abortion clinics in the past year, may soon be forced to shut its doors. “People don’t talk about abortion in Lima.” says Carissa.

Carissa split with the father of her son when she was 23. She waitressed while putting herself through college. When her hours were cut back she had to go on public assistance. ” ‘It wasn’t something that I talked about…I wasn’t taking advantage of anything. I had to have insurance for my son. I had to feed my son. My only other option was to drop out of school.’ “

“The problem is that if you grow up in, say, a lower-income family, your options are extremely limited,” says Carissa. It doesn’t matter what kind of grades you get in high school, she notes, as college is now a luxury for most people. And even with a college degree, then what? “It used to be you go to college, get married, have children–you did the right things, and then you’d be guaranteed some kind of future,” she says. “But the whole pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps American-dream thingy…that’s kind of mythology at this point. To me, it’s like a winning lottery ticket.”

When the Tea Party overtakes Capitol Hill and the White House, it’s my fervent hope that you’ll be living in a state where you feel like you’ve…

…hit the lottery!

…hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

“a doubting thomas”

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a “doubting Thomas.” In fact  my husband, a former seminarian, has raised an eyebrow or two when I’ve taken to interpreting Catholicism differently from that of the Church.

I’m no pushover as a follower. Perhaps that’s the black sheep in me. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve always been a rebellious, youngest child. Tell me I can’t do something, and you’ve got me wondering…”Why not?”

Give me something I can understand and own for myself, and I will follow you to the moon and back. But never try to pull the wool over my eyes, for you will probably lose me.  Perhaps forever.

At the moment I’m once again a “doubting Thomas.”

For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, “doubting Thomas,” it refers to one of Christ’s followers who, when confronted by the risen Christ is unable to accept that He is, in fact, risen from the dead. So that Thomas can believe, Christ instructs His disciple to place his finger into the holes in both hands where the nails were, and into the hole where a soldier’s lance pierced His side.

Only with physical proof could Thomas accept that his Lord and Master had indeed risen from the dead

Maybe that’s what I need. A face to face meeting with God.

You’re probably wondering what set me off this time. Well I’ll tell you.

Eastside Catholic School, an institution of some repute within our community, is in the midst of an uprising of sorts.

The school’s president and CEO, Sister Mary Tracy, fired Mark Zmuda, the vice-principal after learning that he married his gay partner last summer. She did so because, historically, the Catholic Church preaches against the evils of homosexuality. And according to her, she was acting on behalf of the very conservative Archbishop J. Peter Sartain formerly of Tennessee, who now heads the Church here in Seattle.

The outpouring of support for Zmuda from students, parents, the alumni, and the community-at-large has grown exponentially within the last several months. The protest has been brought to the attention of CNN’s Anderson Cooper and will probably make it onto Stephen Colbert’s show.

At this juncture it seems Sister Mary Tracy acted on her own.

The website of the archdiocese clearly states that it has no jurisdiction over Eastside Catholic School.  “…this school is a Catholic institution that is separately incorporated and is not part of the Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle. It is not sponsored, directed, administered or managed by the Archbishop of Seattle or his delegates.”

It’s almost a certainty that she won’t be turning to Pope Francis for help since he has publicly stated that he is fine with gays.

And it’s that papal statement upon which the protesters have decided to hang their cause. If the Pope is up for change, then why isn’t Sister Tracy?

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the school’s theatre director, also gay, intends to marry her partner this summer. To make matters worse, her contract was renewed along with an increase in salary.

Alumni member Mary Helen Nuxoll Kopczynski, class of 1996 and the school’s first female student body president, now residing in NYC, also questions how two long-time Jewish teachers at EC can follow Catholic doctrine since the school fired Mark Zmuda for “not following Catholic doctrine.” Kopczynski goes on to say that 17 teachers were fired in 2010 for wanting a grievance policy; they were each paid $7,000 for their silence. Kopczynski remarked

We are the crusaders, we are the product of this school and we don’t agree. I’m having a tough time understanding these weird unilateral, dark decisions. 

In addition, Kopczynski said the alumni want to see the school’s board include two parents, two teachers and two alumni, not just ‘rich people.’

She said the school’s attorney, Michael Patterson, donated $90,000 to the school and he is also the attorney for the archdiocese, which would seem to be a conflict of interest.

An adult protester made note that “If Jesus were here today, he wouldn’t be in Sartain’s office, he’d be out here with us.” You’d think that was a no-brainer, right?

Unfortunately the Church bureaucrats get so caught up in their rules and regulations that they forget to live like Christ. They keep Him high up on a pedestal away from His followers.IMG_2301

And so, here I go again…

…i’m a doubting thomas…and glad of it…

…hugmamma.

fundraising…with the rich and famous

Hubby called mid-day yesterday asking if I’d like to accompany him to a fundraiser. His company was one of the corporate donors, and he was asked to attend on the company’s behalf. Normally I prefer to settle in for the evening, especially when I’ve had a busy week running around doing whatever it is I do as a housewife. But since we’d not had a date night within the last month or so, I thought…”What the heck! Just go for it.” And so I did.

Of course it took some primping…and wriggling in and out of outfits…before I passed the visual test. I looked in the mirror…gave myself the once over…and decided that was as good as I was going to get. Hubby, on the other hand, always tells me I look…”beautiful!” I don’t always agree…but hey!…I’ll take it.

I had a chance to visit the Museum of Flight a...

Funny thing is my husband referred to the fundraiser as an “event.” After I hung up the phone, I said to myself “Event? What kind of event?” The only clue I had was that it was being held at the Museum of Flight. I’d been there on a couple of other occasions for cancer fundraisers. So I imagined we’d be attending something similar. Although my husband did say this wasn’t the same “event.”

Initially I thought I’d just dress up a pair of nice jeans with a tank and a knee-length jacket made of glittery threads. I imagined the crowd would be young and hip. After all, it was the Museum of Flight…not Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony plays…or McCaw Hall where the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the opera perform.

As it turned out it’s a good thing I decided on a safer, more traditional floor length, brown, sleeveless jersey dress with matching lace jacket.

When we pulled up in front of the museum, we were greeted by young men hired to park cars. Waiting to greet us were young women in gowns with fur capes. A tent set up over the entrance was lit with chandeliers. The cement floor was covered in a red, outdoor carpet. And before ascending the stairs to the tent where we had to register our credit cards and pick up our bidding packets, we were greeted by a ritzy, black, L-107 2013 Lincoln MKZ Luxury Sedan…one of the items up for bid.

English: 737 body in the Museum of Flight, Sea...

I couldn’t help thinking…”This is going to be a mighty interesting evening.”

As it turned out the event was to raise funds for the museum and the educational opportunities it affords younger generations of pilots, aeronautical engineers, scientists, astronauts and the like. We were treated to a video of just such a young hopeful who today, at 24, is involved in retrieving photographs from outer space and deciphering what exactly it is they are viewing. She was on hand, as were several young pupils who hoped to follow in the doctor’s footsteps. Yes, Laura is now addressed as “Doctor.” 

It was evident from the high bidding that took place as the evening unfolded, that Mr. and Mrs. William Boeing of the Boeing Company, had brought along their monied friends.

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

One of them was wearing a dress once belonging to Marilyn Monroe. Try as I might to get a glimpse of the woman who’d obviously succeeded in bidding for the famed celebrity’s clothing, I left without knowing for certain. If it had been the white one Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch, it would have been easy. My guess is it was the satin, white dress with large, black flowers that the star wore in her last film. The one in which she would’ve starred opposite Dean Martin. And the one Monroe more famously left in the middle of filming to fly to New York City’s Madison Square Garden to sing “Happy birthday…dear Mr. President. Happy birthday to you.” That was none other than…President Kennedy. Due to Monroe’s erratic behavior, the movie was finally completed with Doris Day and James Garner in the starring roles.

Last night’s “star,” the Lincoln sedan, donated by Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally, as a personal favor to Mr. Boeing, ultimately sold for $45,000. It was valued at $49,500. Other big ticket items up for auction were…dinner for 8 hosted by Boeing Commercial Airlines President and CEO Ray Conner, and Alaska Airline‘s Chairman Bill Ayer…first class airfare on Alaska Airlines with hotel and reserved tickets to the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in NYC…lunch with the Boeings at their home followed by a “once-in-a-lifetime ride” on Miss Wahoo, their hydroplane…first-class air for 4 on Alaska Airlines to and from the Four Seasons Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii…Delta business class tickets and 3-night vacation at a Tuscan villa for two couples…and “Kentucky Derby experience for four with private jet air travel to Louisville” as guests of Bernt Bodal, Museum trustee and President and CEO of American Seafoods.

English: The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) begi...

One of the more interesting items which sold in excess of its $13,000 value was “to take the reins of the Hubble telescope and explore the universe…As Space Ambassador, you will receive the following:

  • An invitation for two to the exclusive finished spacecraft unveiling event, where YOU will be a guest of honor.
  • Your name etched into the actual historic spacecraft before it blasts into orbit!
  • At the event, you will mingle with the rockstar team at Planetary Resources that previously landed NASA’s Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity on Mars.

Finally, once the spacecraft is in orbit, you will:

  • Receive a special pass to use the ARKYD’s Space Photobooth for THREE special personal occasions on demand. (get your selfie in space!)
  • Have the opportunity to propose a name for an asteroid discovered by the ARKYD.
  • Help educate the community by donating a school and classroom of your choice the chance to be among the first to control this starship through their very own educational program customized just for them. You will be their Space Ambassador as you help them encounter their INNER ASTRONAUT and explore the wonders of the universe with the ARKYD starship.

Launch estimated for 2015. Donated by Planetary Resources, Inc.

The evening’s piece de resistance, however, was funding the Museum of Flight’s educational programs. The goal was $300,000. Two couples donated $100,000 each, one of them included…the woman walking around in Marilyn Monroe’s dress. Others raised their paddles at $75,000…$50,000…on down to $500. Obviously there were more raised paddles at the bottom rung.

That’s where we normally jump in…at the $500 level. However early on in the bidding, hubby and I decided this fundraiser was not something we were moved to join. While we agreed with its mission, we’re more inclined to donate towards cancer research or some other social issue. It was obvious that The Museum of Flight had a plethora of wealthy donors who could probably give to various charities. We, on the other hand, are middle-class donors who must be selective since we’re not able to…burn through money like the big rollers.

These patrons of flight gave a whopping $450,000 toward the museum’s educational mission alone, surpassing their goal by $150,000. I would imagine the evening’s grand total probably approached $1,000,000. Not bad for one night’s work.

As I anticipated, the evening was fascinating for so many reasons…the money donated, the people, the food, our dinner companions and, of course, the flight memorabilia that surrounded us on all sides…some even floating overhead.

I heartily suggest that when you visit Seattle…you can skip the fundraiser, but…

…the museum of flight…is a must-see!!!…

………hugmamma. 

Seattle Museum Flight Mar05 48

 

you should…talk to strangers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…to talk to strangers…

………hugmamma. March 2011A 00046

sunshine…in my heart

I may live in an area where skies are gray more months than I care to admit…10 out of 12.IMG_1705

I may get rained upon more often than I’d like.

The cold may chill me right down to my bones, activating my arthritis…big time.

My garden and I may not keep company as much as we’d like…the weeds love it…as do the bunny rabbits and deer.

Walking Mocha isn’t as much fun when it’s wet…for me.

The upside is…and there’s always an upside…I can hibernate and not feel guilty about it!

Screenshot of Tyrone Power from the trailer fo...

Screenshot of Tyrone Power from the trailer for the film Alexander’s Ragtime Band (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can watch TCM‘s oldies but goodies…give me Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara…any day of the week.

Turning on all the lights in the house brings the sunshine indoors.

Cuddling with my pets is something we all like.

Warming my innards with a cup of hot tea and dunking ginger cookies to nibble upon…well! could life get any better?

But in my bag of tricks there’s one precious item that never allows me to descend into the doldrums. It is the sunshine that I hold within my heart all year round…my daughter!

I celebrate Mother’s Day… 365 days a year. 

And as I use to do when she was a child…I sing this lullaby to her…

You are my sunshine,

my only sunshine,

you make me happy,

when skies are gray.

You’ll never know dear,

how much I love you.

Please don’t take my sunshine away.

My prayer for you who are also mothers is that you are blest with…

…everlasting sunshine too!!!…Imported Photos 00065

………hugmamma. 

weekly photo challenge: illumination

A visit to the newly opened Chihuly Museum in Seattle left me breathless. With mouth open, I wandered through the rooms oohing and aahing at the fantastical glass sculptures which were a testament to Chihuly’s genius. Could the inventors of glass ever imagine the majestic heights to which their creation would one day soar?

Awed by the creations at Chihuly's Museum in Seattle.

Awed by the creations at Chihuly’s Museum in Seattle.

 

…i wonder…don’t you?

………hugmamma.

common sense…business sense

As I was returning home from exercise class this morning, I overheard chef Tom Douglas, a Seattle fixture, speaking on NPR radio. He was in the midst of an interview with the station’s host.

_MG_9096

_MG_9096 (Photo credit: rwoan)

It was no surprise that the main discourse centered upon food, recipes and Douglas’ several restaurants, of which there are many…

Lola
Palace Kitchen
Dahlia Lounge
Dahlia Bakery
Etta’s
Serious Pie Downtown
Seatown
Brave Horse Tavern
Cuoco
Serious Biscuit
Serious Pie Westlake
Ting Momo

Douglas was also promoting his recently published…The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook.

While I did salivate at the mention of…flaky pie crusts piled high with homemade coconut cream filling…made-from-scratch whipped cream…soft, fluffy, buttery biscuits…it was Douglas’ talk about something else that I found most intriguing.

The news has been rife with talk about businesses that are planning to adopt drastic measures with regards to the Affordable Health Care Act, should President Obama win a second term. Among them…firing employees, or cutting hours so that full-time employees are made part-timers without benefits.

Chef Douglas spoke with disdain for a particular restaurant conglomerate that is opting for the part-time solution. The crime in this, as Douglas sees it, is that the conglomerate has just purchased a large chain of restaurants for $567 million…IN CASH!!!

A throwback to the good old days, Douglas places great value upon his employees. He takes pride in providing a workplace environment in which his workers are productive. And for their efforts, Douglas pays them well and provides them with good health insurance.

It was my sense, that how he managed his employees was a…no brainer. Interesting how some businessmen get it…and others haven’t a clue.

When asked how much his labor costs were, Douglas indicated it was 45% of his business. He went on to say that with revenues in the millions, he felt it was a fair price to pay. Douglas admitted to a thin margin of profit, but explained that it was enough for him to live well.

HHHEEELLLOOO???  Could we please clone this man…Chef Tom Douglas???

I’ve been to two of his restaurants, Etta’s and Dahlia. Having been enlightened about Douglas’ management practices, I plan to patronize his establishments more regularly.

Seattle chef Tom Douglas and staff in front of...

Seattle chef Tom Douglas and staff in front of his restaurant, the Dahlia Lounge, on Second Avenue in, Seattle, Washington, doing a sort of pre-Thanksgiving Day stunt of giving away food. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…we can make a difference…one decision at a time…

………hugmamma. 

paying homage…to the sun…what else?

Seattle

Seattle (Photo credit: Martin Cathrae)

Here in the Seattle area where the sun doesn’t abide year round, we’re always focused upon its next appearance. So while others may perform rain dances…poor, deranged souls…we close our eyes at night hoping that when next we open them…the sun will have risen in our neck of the woods. So to help it along, I’ve written a song…actually a ditty…hoping the Creator…or Mother Nature…or whoever’s in charge…will take pity.

Thanks for the sun…that lights away the shadows…inside…and out,

its warmth…that blankets all beneath,

making the flowers bloom…the birds chirp,

the children frolic…while the adults tend to chores…outdoors. 

Power-washing the driveway…digging pine needles from the gutters…pulling the weeds and watering the plants. Setting furniture out on the deck.

But what am I thinking???

Forget the tasks…forget the grind…

I’m headed to Molbak’s…where the sun always shines…no matter the weather!

A sip of java…some turkey on foccacia…nibble on a cookie (peanut-butter, of course!)

Gift items…plants…small treasures abound.

So look about you…there’s sunshine everywhere…you’ve just got to find it.

It’s probably hiding…somewhere…inside you!

For it’s no secret…you and I… 

…are the keepers of the sun…

………hugmamma.    🙂

Molbak's Woodinville

Molbak’s Woodinville (Photo credit: burienundressedblog)

Molbak's outdoor eating

Molbak’s outdoor eating (Photo credit: burienundressedblog)

Molbaks' Orchids

Molbaks’ Orchids (Photo credit: JHall159)

pioneer woman…duh…i don’t think so…

Betsy Ross sewing flag

Image via Wikipedia

Had I been a descendant of Betsy Ross‘s I might’ve come up with a new flag for our country these last several days. While hubby was enjoying the bright lights and warmth of Seattle, I was hunkering down here in the burbs just trying to keep myself, 3 cats and a dog from going stir crazy…and freezing to death!

The weather forecasts predicted impending doom in the form of snow and ice. What they didn’t tell us was that the ice would turn tree limbs into makeshift spears that were sure to impale if you happened to be out and about…walking your dog…fetching your mail (the post office takes its job seriously!)…or just stepping outside for a breath of fresh air.

So that he wouldn’t miss work, God forbid, my husband opted to join other employees who stayed in a hotel at the company’s expense to ensure they’d be at work each morning. It seemed almost certain that meant 3 nights, which it was.

The first 2 nights were fine since the power was still intact in our area. However flickering lamps and TV images that froze intermittently, should have warned me of imminent darkness and cold. 

Just a bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel

Image via Wikipedia

Refusing to acknowledge the inevitable, I happily ate some cheese and ritz crackers while sipping a small wine glass of White Zinfandel. Aaahhh…the single life, I thought. No cooking big meals. No cleaning up afterwards. Just me, my book, my wine, my pets.

Of course I missed having my other half, but I figured he was better off not commuting back and forth in bad weather. Seeing him stuck on the side of the road because of icy conditions would have had me stressing through the night. Nope. We were both better off doing what we had to do.

English: Aerial photograph of Mt. Rainier take...

Image via Wikipedia

My tune hit a sour note when I awoke Thursday morning to freezing temperatures…indoors. OMG! I thought. I can deal with the dark. I can deal with not having hot food. But I sure as heck can’t deal with the cold. Being Hawaiian, I might as well have been standing buck-naked atop Mt. Rainier!

When our power goes, so does Comcast service. No telephone! No internet! And wouldn’t you know it…my cell phone‘s battery was dwindling. After a few calls back and forth to let my husband know I wasn’t happy with my predicament, and to learn how to start a wood-burning fire in the fireplace, I had but one bar left with which I could call for help.

My neighbor came by after I’d asked for assistance in starting the fire, even though I’d called him back to say not to come because a tree in our front yard broke under the pressure of mounting ice. I didn’t want to see him speared like some poor, unsuspecting fish. He came anyway. God bless him. Although he needn’t have because my fire was well underway.

During one phone call to my husband I broke down into tears. I thought I’d put too many fire starter logs into the mix. I was sure the mounting flames would burst through the glass doors. He reassured me that they would diminish, which they did. I felt better. However I was gripped by fear once again when I realized the fire might be dying out, and soon the cold would be back to keep me company. So I stoked the embers, putting on more logs as I retrieved them from the garage.

image of the statue used on a tee-shirt

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I must admit to having felt like a  pioneer woman who could do just about anything. Until I realized I’d run out of wood. “Could I chop wood?” I wondered more than once. My mind’s eye wandered the property trying to picture any fallen branches that I could easily cut to feed my small fire. “Cut with what?” was my next question.

I just got my back to where I could walk upright, and now I wanted to hunch down over a log, in the blistering cold, sawing back and forth…back and forth? You can imagine I had a few choice thoughts for my hubby. And they weren’t all loving ones either. Needless to say I didn’t roll up my sleeves and pretend I was Ma Kettle.

A can of Franco American Spaghetti & MeatBalls

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I watched the last embers of the fire die down. I warmed a can of soup in a crock over a small tea-candle warmer, checking it every half-an-hour. I think it was edible 5 or 6 hours later. I did the same in another crock with a can of Franco-American spaghtetti and meatballs. In the interim I had several more glasses of Zinfandel.

After settling my menagerie of pets down for the long haul, I burrowed deep under the many blankets and quilts I’d laid out on the sofa. I read my book until the last threads of daylight succumbed to the dark night. Lit candles weren’t equal to the task, so I lay listening to the battery-powered radio.

Are You My Neighbor?

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For what seemed like an eternity, I heard voices reaffirming the mess in which our state was mired. A local station was airing “Neighbor to Neighbor,” a program where people called in to tell of their predicament, resourcefulness, or good fortune at having their power restored. In some cases, the deejay offered to find out when electricity would be restored because a caller had a particularly distressed situation. Announcements were also made about locations where listeners could find warm shelter.

I slept fitfully and was grateful when dawn broke. When my husband returned home mid-day Friday, I think I finally exhaled a sigh of relief. But I couldn’t bring myself to get out from under the covers until he got the generator started, and the temperature in our house climbed into the high 60s. 

It’s no small wonder I found myself thinking of those who suffer the cold, living on the streets year ’round. How they manage to live on, hoping for a better tomorrow, is unfathomable to me.

…there but for the grace of god…

………hugmamma.

raining…lemon drops…

Photogram created by slices of lemon on colour...

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Ever hear the expression…”When it rains, it pours?” You’d literally expect that here in the environs of Seattle. However with my recent good fortune of having lemons dumped in my lap…I’ve now got lemons falling from heaven.

How’s that you say? Raining lemons? Well for this Hawaiian hugmamma it might as well be. Snow has been falling steadily since 4 a.m. this morning. By tonight I might be up to my eyeballs in the white stuff. That’s if I venture out to romp around in it. Which you know I won’t. Maybe when I was a spring chicken. I’m afraid I’m an old goat now. My romping days are definitely over…sigh.

Mocha, on the other hand, would love to take me sledding. I can see us. She bounding along on one end of her leash…me bumping along on my butt on the other end. No. I don’t think so. Especially since my back is finally returning to that of a walking, talking 62-year-old, and not that of a bent over, wizened old crone. You think I jest?

Dr. Öz at ServiceNation 2008

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But what got me out from under my cozy covers to scribe this post was the effects of my latest vitamin supplement, SAMe. According to both Drs. Oz and Amen, its suppose to brighten my mood. I’m here to say it does seem to have that effect. No matter the situation, I’ve been able to  weather the dark mood that tries to settle in on my brain, by flooding it with positive thoughts.

So what can I make of the snowfall? Projects! Numero uno on my “to do” list is reorganizing my half of the garage, the side where I can’t park my car because it’s full of my opala…Hawaiian for…junk. The other half is where my husband parks his car. So, yes. As I type, my poor little Betsy is freezing her buns off…as she shivers in the cold…parked in the driveway. But she’s from Seattle, so she’ll manage.

Deutsch: König Midas, Öl auf Leinwand, 71 x 54 cm

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For crafty folk…no, not the deceitful ones…who love to putter away making things to keep or sell, what better time to get to it. I use to be one such. I’ve the supplies filling plastic bins in the garage to prove it. Those days of laboring for pittance are long gone. Now I prefer to write…for nothing. Actually both were, and are, done for the love of the thing. I never thought, still don’t, I’d become King Midas. I may lay an egg…but for sure it won’t be golden.

Meanwhile…

Lemon drops keep falling on my head…but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red…cryin’s not for me

………hugmamma.  🙂

tears…in heaven

Conventional 18-wheeler Semi-Trailer Truck diagram

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Eric Clapton‘s song Tears in Heaven seems appropriate when speaking of the recent demise of Rachel Beckwith, now God’s little angel. She, along with her mother and 2-year-old sister were among those caught up in a horrific 15 car accident a week ago yesterday. It had been caused by the driver of a tractor-trailer who failed to notice that traffic on I-90 heading west toward Seattle had come to a crawl. Attempting to brake at the last minute the driver caused the tractor-trailer to jacknife. It then crashed into a logging truck.

     The impact dislodged the rear axle of the logging truck and sent the piece hurtling into traffic.
     “The log truck continued, because it can’t stop that fast, …All of the logs were still contained by the chains, but now they’re kind of fishtailing back and forth as the driver’s trying to get control of the rig. So he’s basically dragging this load of logs down the road.” …
     The logs, dragging on the roadway, struck other vehicles as the driver attempted to stop the rig. The tractor-trailer and the dislodged axle from the logging truck also struck other vehicles.

The most seriously injured was Rachel, who suffered from severe head and spinal injuries. She died after medical efforts failed to keep her alive.

A child of charity, Rachel’s organs were given to those in need. But even in life she was a giver. Recently for her 9th birthday, she asked that in lieu of presents people make donations to a church fundraiser Charity:Water, a nonprofit that helps bring water to people in developing nations. “The organization estimates each dollar invested in improved water access and sanitation yields, on average, $12 in economic returns.”

Falling short of the $300 goal by $80, Rachel pledged to donate to the cause again next year. In her memory, contributions have so far totaled more than $500,000. Former Seattle Hawk’s quarterback, Matt Hasselhoff, a member of Rachel’s church, “posted a message on Twitter about Rachel and the fundraising effort to more than 70,000 followers.”

How a little girl gets that she should help those less fortunate, when adults, more experienced and better-prepared for life’s challenges fight for ideology, allowing those in need to suffer and perhaps die under the burden of poverty, is incomprehensible. Rachel can look God directly in the eye, knowing her last act upon earth was selfless.

…let’s hope we can all do the same when our time comes…and like Rachel…we won’t know when that is………hugmamma.