daily post challenge #227: more short stories in six words

short stories of little consequence

It’s 2:34 a.m. and I can’t stop my brain from coming up with short stories in 6 words. Thanks a lot, WordPress! I need insomnia like I need a hole in my head. Well, maybe I can let flow some of these words that are like molten lava. Hope you think these were worth getting out of bed to insert into a new post.

Beauty. Beast. You know the rest.

Potter and Rowlings work their magic.

Runaway bride caught. Gets life. Finally!

Dad’s “pumpkin pie.” A pretty ballerina.

Sunny Seattle! Are you kidding me?

Maui girl. Now in heart only.

Young…upward facing dog. Old…downward facing dog.

can you come up with any?…careful…you won’t be able to stop…i still can’t………hugmamma.

Note: Just noticed the last one has 8 words. Duh??? Well, now you know which way my dog is facing!!!  😉

not so trivial…trivia


Image by Velo Steve via Flickr

I’m overdue for a bit of trivia…a little of this…a little of that. Pieces of information fluttering like moths round a flame, in this case…my brain. So here they go…flying straight towards you…

Remember Rachel Beckwith, the 9-year-old who died in a 15 car collision on I-90 heading West into Seattle. Months before, she’d asked family and friends to donate money toward Charity:Water, in lieu of gifts for her birthday. At the time she was $80 short of the $300 goal she’d set for herself. Undeterred, Rachel planned to contribute again next year. Upon hearing her story, people began donating from all over. Recently, news reports indicated that contributions were in excess of $1,500,000. No more “tears in heaven.” Rachel must be smiling…knowing that she has helped bring water to Africans in need.

Cropped and b&w version of Mona Lisa. Used to ...

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As I was getting myself ready this morning, the radio was turned on to my usual jazz station. A song was playing but at first I wasn’t listening to the lyrics. After hearing the refrain a couple of times I focused upon the line Mona Lisa was a man.” I’d never heard the song before but I could picture the portrait with the infamous smile. Sure enough I thought “Why not? Men wore their hair like the model in the famous painting.”

I’ve not heard it positively proven that she was, in fact, a she. There’s only been speculation as to the person’s identity. What an intriguing thought…don’t you think? Maybe that’s why the smile. Only the model and the artist know for sure. Perhaps they were having the last laugh. They might have been the first gay couple…who “came out”…without “coming out.” I know! I know! Leonardo da Vinci…gay? Why not? Europeans have a more liberal perspective of sexuality. An interesting thought…and not far-fetched in my estimation. In fact, in googling the possibility, I came across an Italian researcher who made this exact claim in February of this year. Click here to read more. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1352915/Mona-Lisa-model-man-Was-Leonardo-da-Vincis-male-apprentice-model.html

Have you ever heard of the foreign accent syndrome? Neither did I. TV’s Inside Edition ran a segment on the rare occurrence. It seems when the brain suffers injury to a particular area and works toward recovery, it may change the victim’s language to one that’s totally foreign. Following are a couple of Youtube videos of women who were afflicted with FAS. And these are not stories from Ripley’s believe it or not! 

…if it weren’t somewhat upsetting…it would be amazing………hugmamma.

facebook…for teens…and their parents

An Issue of USA WEEKEND. The top blank bar fea...

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The following article ran in USA Weekend 8/5-7/11 and was written by Gregory Connolly. I thought it was important enough to post it on my blog in case any readers missed it the first time. The internet is a dominant force in our youngsters lives, Facebook being our stiffest competition for their time and attention. And then there’s the ever-present concern for safety and security, things against which our offspring seem to think they are impregnable. For those already in sync with their children’s internet activity, this should only confirm what you already know.

Your kids and FACEBOOK
What parents need to know

Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005

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IT SEEMS AS IF every kid has his or her own Facebook page–teens spend two to for hours a day online, research has found–and parents often feel, at best, shut out and, at worst, worried. Here are things parents should consider:
     DO talk. It may sound simplistic, but experts say regular talks help. Ask your teenager over dinner what he does online.
     DO explain some basics. Young people should never share their passwords, post anything that could damage their reputation or someone else’s (such as anything they wouldn’t want a parent, teacher or admissions officer to see), or accept “friend” requests from people they don’t know. (Note to parents: Kids must be at least 13 to create a Facebook profile.)
     DON’T be judgmental. Be open-minded and don’t criticize.
     DON’T be a “friend.” It can be more productive to talk to your teen instead of trying to “friend” him or her.
     DO learn Internet lingo. Web-speak is full of acronyms parents can learn by visiting websites such as commonsensemedia.org.

If you and your teen are like my daughter and me, we’re hardly on Facebook…

The Facebook Man. Facebook is celebrating its ...

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…no time………hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: before

''I Love Lucy

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It’s been a while since I’ve read The Life Story of Vivian Vance.  I remember very little except that during the initial filming of the I Love Lucy show, Vivian Vance was remade according to Lucille Ball‘s liking. As the star of the sitcom, she didn’t want to be upstaged. She made certain that Vance always played second fiddle. She had to gain weight for the role, wear frumpier dresses, and agree to having William Frawley, years older, as her TV husband. Vance would’ve preferred someone younger than him. So it was no secret that they hated one another off-screen.

Actress Lucille Ball and husband, Desi Arnaz s...
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As the years passed, Ball and Vance became life-long friends and confidantes. Especially since their marriages were sources of grief for both. Ball had a great business partner in Desi Arnaz, but a less than ideal husband because of his womanizing and alcoholism. He was not the polished, elegant sort of partner she wanted beside her in later years. Instead Arnaz was falling down drunk most of the time.

Vance’s husband, Philip Ober, was a fellow actor who belittled his wife because he was envious of her success. As a result, she spent many years in therapy because of ongoing self-doubts. The photo of her during the “Lucy” years belies the miserable life she led. The before picture, however, is Vance before fame took hold, changing her look…and her life.    

…the price of fame…worth it???………hugmamma.

age doesn’t matter…

For the Young at Heart

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We can learn a lot from one another…the not-so-young…and the young.

Among the subscribers to hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul are some who are “on the cusp”…20-something-year-olds. Their outlook on life is refreshing…simpler… not yet burdened with the baggage of experiences…good and bad. They speak their minds without fear of consequences…without concern for approval or disapproval. Those I refer to herein have left comments on my posts which suggest there is no generation gap. And there isn’t, if our hearts and minds are open to one another’s lives…without preconception…without judgment. I’m extremely grateful to have their attention…and input…however long the duration.

Screenshot of the blogging system WordPress.

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I was very fortunate to have another young blogger as a regular visitor when I was still a novice to WordPress. I was overwhelmed by her continuous praise, support and technical assistance. I returned her kindnesses and became an ardent supporter of her blog as well. But then she disappeared from my life altogether. After visiting her blog a few times, I understood that perhaps we parted company because of political differences. And my feeling was, and is, that those who are still in the midst of building their lives need to do just that. At some point we, their elders, must relinquish them to find their own way. We need no longer be at the forefront, showing them how. 

Now, with the three young bloggers I’ve mentioned, I find we have  things in common. My Web Log seems to share my sense of curiosity about the world in which we both live, albeit from different perspectives. Please Stay Curious shares my sense of living in the moment, through the ups and downs of our lives.Truth With Doriswritten by an “old soul,” is someone who shares my love of yesteryear and my decorating preference for comfy…cozy…and intimate.

Arnab Ghosh, the blogger at My Web Log kindly invited me to write a guest post. Click on http://myweblogblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/guest-post-generations-alike/, to view my thoughts on bridging the gap between generations.

The young female blogger at Please Stay Curious writes like a novelist. Two of her posts left me breathless for more. Romance and intrigue hung in the air. I had to ask if what she wrote was truth or fiction. I was pleased when she replied that the events she wrote of had, in fact, happened to her. I’m awaiting her third installment… to see WHAT HAPPENED??? She’s got me on pins and needles…!!!

Cropped screenshot of Doris Day from the trail...

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From a comment she left on one of my posts, Doris of Truth With Doris  let me know that she loves her mom. I immediately imagined them to have a relationship like that of me and my daughter. Doris also said she was a year older than my daughter. Further revelations made me feel more and more in sync with a young woman I’d never met. She loves the music from my era, recommending I search the internet for youtube videos of such singers as Doris Day and Dean Martin. And viewing photos of what Doris imagines to be beautiful, I find that she and I have similar tastes there as well…vintage…country…shabby chic…soft colors.

Looking past our differences in age and culture…Arnab is from India, Doris is from Belgrade, Serbia and the other young lady is from the U.K. …I find we share common interests, attitudes and thoughts. I recommend you visit their blogs and be charmed as I am by 3 young adults who see the world…with so much promise for the future. Something shared by all of us…young and old…

whether looking forward…or remembering what it was like…when we were young………hugmamma. 


365 photo challenge: quits

Goodwill Industries

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Deciding to marry, my daughter’s friend Krissy vacated her 1-bedroom apartment. We visited it after most of her furnishings were removed because my daughter was next in line to rent it. I took snapshots of the spaces so that I could help her with furniture placement, as well as deciding what she’d need to give away since my daughter was downsizing from a 2-bedroom.

We both knew from the get-go that Goodwill would be the beneficiary of a lot of stuff. I don’t know if they were as grateful as she, when they saw 4 carloads coming their way. In fact my daughter’s friend had to tell the loading dock guy to take it easy with some of the bags because there were some good hand-me-downs in them. The guy didn’t seem to care. He’d probably had to handle so much of other people’s junk that he’d become jaded to the so-called “treasures.” Other people’s junk to him was probably just that…junk. Not treasures as in the old saying “other people’s junk…are some people’s treasures.” 

It seemed appropriate to share these photos of the nearly vacant apartment, before my daughter took occupancy. You’ll have to wait to see how it’s furnished now, as I’ve yet to take pictures. 

calling it………quits……….hugmamma.

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weekly photo challenge: flowers

Thought I’d offer a slightly different rendition from the norm. I’m sure participating blogs will have an abundance of pictures featuring beautiful flowers growing in gardens or displayed in homes. Excellent photographers abound on WordPress, so there’ll be no shortgage of breathtaking entries.

My love for melding both old and new into my home decor, prompted me to share household items whose designs incorporate floral motifs. Beauty that’s timeless…and that never goes out of style…

…i hope you’ll agree………hugmamma.

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daily post challenge: what prompts me to create…to write?

I’m a storyteller. Aren’t we all? I think what I have to share is worth sharing. I don’t know of too many people who feel differently about themselves.

Danny Lambert of the Socialist Party of Great ...

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I want my turn at the soap box on the corner, where I can spew nonsense, or platitudes, or gut-wrenching experiences. Who doesn’t do that, every day?

I’m looking for an audience, beyond my immediate family, who’ll nod in agreement, offer sympathy, or call me a genius. Don’t tell me you don’t have those same fantasies?

Escaping the reality of housework, endless meal preparations, weekly laundering, tending the garden…other good reasons…to create…to write. Surely you have your own list of reasons to seek some respite in more pleasurable past-times.

We’re human beings, after all. We’re not mythological gods who manipulated fate on a whim. Nor are we members of the lesser species whose only business is to survive. We must carve out our own legacies…with our own hands…with our own creative juices.

My professional career was spent behind a desk, several in fact, from Hawaii to Washington D.C. to Boston to New York. During that entire time, the artist in me lingered in the shadows, while my more practical side set about to conquer the world. Well, maybe just a fraction of it.

Now the only desk I enjoy sitting at is the one on which my laptop sits. And any desk will do…

…as long as I can write………hugmamma.

the 60s…stepping back in time

Couldn’t resist another couple of youtube clips on heart throb Jack Jones…both duets. The first is with Joanie Sommers, the second with Judy Garland. “Eye candy”…all of them. The good old days of frilly dresses, glittering gowns and tuxedos. When hairstyles were suave, bouffant, and swept back. When guys held their gals close, or held…just their fingertips. When passion hung in the air…like the pungent fragrance of gardenias.

the 60’s…as i remember them………hugmamma.

and then just a music video of one of my favorite songs………charade…as sung by jack jones.

memories…are made of these…

Truth With Doris reminded me of yesteryear’s songbirds. I’d forgotten the beautiful music they made…that would have me daydreaming…and romanticizing. Where, oh where, have those days gone? Listening to song after song on youtube had me daydreaming of younger days…when I’d twirl about the dance floor in a pretty dress…when I’d flirt with Mr. Wonderful from beneath dark lashes…when I’d sigh heavily wishing and hoping for him to ask me out…when he first touched his lips to mine…when we walked down the aisle…as Mr. and Mrs.?

In my romantic revery I came across this video of Jack Jones. How could I ever have forgotten him? He with the gorgeous face and the voice that probably broke many a baby-boomer‘s heart, back in the day. Seeing him now reminded me of my hubby’s heart-breaking, good looks…when first we met.

i hope jack jones is as happily married as me……….hugmamma.

…thanks for taking me down memory lane, doris!!!

daily post challenge #222: do i prefer to lead or follow?

Female Mallard with ducklings

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What I’ve noticed in four decades of marriage is that I’ve become the social leader in our family. Those of you who are married, don’t you find that’s true in your families as well? It seems to evolve naturally over time, that wife and mom becomes “it” in deciding when to do what, with whom, how, why, when and where.


We’re probably partly to blame because anything hubby suggests might be rebuffed. Been there; done that. Not at the beginning, mind you. I was very acquiescent. Aren’t we all when in the throes of budding romance? But as relationships evolve, women feel more empowered to make suggestions. Batting our eyelashes, we get our way. That’s when men relinquish all say-so in their social lives, like it or not. And we, the fairer sex, win the title of “Social Leader for Life!” Yeayyy…us!!! But wait a minute. Should we be celebrating? I’m not so sure.

For the rest of our relationship with that special someone, which could amount to decades, we women are charged with making all decisions pertaining to where to go, what to do, what to eat, how many days to vacation, where do we board the pets, who’ll mind the kids, what clothes to pack, who should we invite, where do we spend the holidays, what kinds of gifts to buy and for whom, with whom do we socialize, with whom should the kids socialize, keeping in touch with family and friends, making new friends, what to serve at parties, planning parties, grocery shopping and cooking for get-to-gethers and cleaning up afterwards…and on, and on,and on. The list is as endless as we want to make it. Yeayyy…us!

If I had it to do all over again? I’d shut my mouth and let my wonderful hubby have at it………hugmamma.

……..what about you?……..and you lucky, lucky men……..any opinions?  😉

365 photo challenge: contemporary

My tastes do not tend toward the contemporary…now. But if I had another house to decorate…perhaps. Meanwhile my current home is a split-level contemporary from the mid-70s. And it suits my primitive, vintage furnishings quite nicely.

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they grow up…in spite of…

Having an only child, one who was born more than a decade after my husband and I were married, makes me extremely thankful that she came along at all. I believe in God, and I believe He sent her to us. I don’t usually ask Him for anything, but I might have prayed for her, or him. At 36 years of age, I wasn’t about to be finicky.

Mary and Jesus

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It may sound corny, but I remember telling a close friend that I felt God had entrusted His child into my safekeeping…for a time. That like Mary, Jesus’ mother, I was just enlisted to care for my daughter’s earthly needs, while she was about God’s business…whatever that might be. Thankfully, my girlfriend didn’t laugh in my face.

As it turns out my daughter’s birth led me down the path to self discovery, self confidence and eventually…self esteem. Diverting attention from myself to her, meant investing most of my time and energy on being a really good mom to my daughter. That didn’t mean, however, that I was perfect. Far from it. I made mistakes. I got angry. I yelled. I cried. I reverted to childish ways. But I always returned to the job about which I’ve been the most passionate…being a mom…the best one I could be.

So when my 24-year-old daughter returned home to my husband and me in the Fall of 2010 because of depression, I felt helpless to fix her. We’d known she’d had bouts here and there, but nothing life-altering. And she thought it was pretty much because of her relationship with a former boyfriend, and some stresses with a former employer. While both tipped the scales, they alone weren’t to blame.

Because of my belief in Dr. Daniel Amen‘s work, we sought treatment for our daughter at his clinic. The psychiatrist with whom she worked discovered where her problem lay via a spect scan, a scan that tracks the blood flow throughout the brain. As a result he prescribed an assortment of natural supplements, including vitamin D, to correct her brain’s chemical imbalance. In addition, our daughter had a couple of sessions with a staff psychologist trained in life coaching. And for now, she remains on a low dosage of Cymbalta, prescribed earlier by another psychologist whom she’d seen.

My daughter returned to work in January of this year; her fellow dancers and the administrative staff welcoming her back with a tremendous display of love and support. A contributing factor towards my daughter’s getting better was the generous guarantee by the artistic director that her job would be waiting for her.

What I was surprised to learn from her treatment at Amen’s Clinic is that an accident our daughter had as a 7 or 8-year-old, might possibly have been the “seed” that sprouted her depression.

Twirling around as a last fare thee well to a fun birthday party for a good friend, my daughter fell flat on her face on a cement floor. This possibly resulted in a slight concussion which caused injury to her brain. At the time she showed no signs of needing emergency care. In the fall, one of her front teeth shifted. It was a fraction higher than the other. But visits to the dentist had both teeth eventually in sync again.

Cover of

Cover of First Time Parents

In hindsight, and after many family discussions, it seemed my daughter’s perception of life had altered after the accident. But as first time parents, with extended family living thousands of miles away, my husband and I were on our own in figuring things out. Unfortunately neither of us had a clue as to what our daughter was experiencing. However she soon became interested in dance, which seemed to turn her attention away from what seemed to “go bump in the night”…or at least in her mind.

My daughter has turned the corner in her depression with our help, and that of Amen Clinic‘s staff, and her friends and coworkers. That’s why she ‘s allowed me to speak of it now. She’s in control again, especially since she now knows that the problem is primarily a physical impairment. That it’s not all “in her mind”…but literally…in her brain.


Image by Hibr via Flickr

When I spoke to her about my writing this post, I suggested that it might help other parents who are dealing with depression in their own children. Studies seem to point to the fact that the disease affects more young people today, perhaps because of the world in which they find themselves…facebook, youtube, reality shows, bullying, unemployment, bad role models, immorality gone amok. How do parents counter this onslaught, short of encasing their children in a bubble?

I suggest that the answer is communication…an ongoing conversation…one that runs both ways…talking and listening, mostly listening. I tend to be verbose, no surprise to any of you who’ve followed hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. But hey! That’s who I am. It often takes a lot of circular discussion, a lot, before I arrive at the conclusion that feels right in my gut, and makes sense to all involved. 

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Cover of Daughter

What I think I learned from my daughter’s experience with depression is that in parenting there’s another part to the equation. So busy trying to fix our children, parents often forget that children are also trying to fix themselves. We need to listen. We need to hit the “pause” button in our yada, yada, yada…and suck in our breaths while we allow our offspring to have their full say…as often…and for as long…as they need. Sometimes our years of experience is unneccessary baggage in a conversation about their lives. A hard pill to swallow…

but one we might add…to our daily intake of vitamins and supplements………hugmamma.       

daily post challenge #220: why do i blog anonymously?

That’s a long story. The short version is…security, old-age, and camera-shy.

I began this blog because I wanted an outlet for my writing, and because I was tired of being lumped with the rest of America when news pundits proclaimed first-hand knowledge of how Americans felt, about everything. Who died and made them Rupert Murdock? But for a baby-boomer still in the semi-dark about technology, I believed what many my age felt about the internet…a scary place where the bad guys lie in wait to scam me out of my identity, my money, or both.

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Cover of WordPress For Dummies

As a middle-aged blogger I felt I’d always be operating behind the eight ball. I knew enough to get started, but wending my way through the magic and mystery of WordPress would be a challenge. But I plunged in wholeheartedly with the help of a couple of books, Blogging for Dummies and WordPress for Dummies. I also enrolled in a Blogging 101 class at the local college taught by writer-instructor Cat Rambo. She definitely relieved me of some anxiety, but not completely.

With upwards of 30,000 spams caught by Akismet, there’s a niggling uncertainty that remains about the safety of the Internet. And all I have to do is hear of someone hacking into a system, like what occurred here at WordPress in the not too distant past, and my qualms about exposure return full force.

My user name, hugmamma, was chosen on a whim. One day my daughter and I were reminiscing about a children’s sitcom she use to watch in the 90s. It depicted the lives of a family of dinosaurs in which the baby use to say “Hug the baby!” Laughingly, my daughter and I transformed the phrase into “hugga the mamma.” That, in fact, was my user name on my first blog at blogger.com. I eventually found my way to WordPress and hugmamma. Thereafter I ascribed an even more significant meaning to the name…a loving gesture to my mom’s memory. I use to call her “mama.”

When asked to choose a gravatar, there was no question that I’d not be putting a photo of me out in the blogosphere, again for security reasons, but also because I don’t like how I photograph. As a friend from exercise class explained it some time ago with regard to herself, “When I saw myself in my daughter’s wedding photos, I didn’t look like the me I pictured in my mind.” “How true,” I thought. I too am dumbstruck when I see a different version of me than I imagined when I look at a photo of myself. Only now that I’ve been blogging more than a year, do I feel comfortable releasing my photo likeness. I no longer grimace at the prospect.

Having grown accustom to my gravatar, floating water lilies, which reflects the inner calm I strive to maintain amidst life’s ups and downs, I’m not yet inclined to relinquish it in favor of the real deal.

The Wizard of Oz as pictured in The Wonderful ...

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I can’t say that I’m blogging in total anonymity, since there are images of me sprinkled throughout my posts, with my name having been the topic of one, what’s in a name…someone’s life, is all.  Let’s say that like the hobbit with whom I’ve often compared myself, I step out of my cave now and then. The child in me still likes to play games, I think. Of course if I decide to author a book or some literary piece, I may have to step out from behind the curtain of Oz once and for all. Until then, however, I’m still up to my old tricks of…now you see me…

now you don’t………hugmamma. 😉