not everyone’s cup o’ tea…

I’m sure WordPress has invited many of you to participate in WordAds. For those not familiar with this, blogs approved for participation are potentially paid for ads that run on their sites.

Reality Television

Reality Television (Photo credit: badjonni)

Receiving the invitation is indeed an ego-booster, especially for a senior hobbit like myself use to toiling away in my cave incognito, more or less. Once the adrenalin rush has passed however, my own form of reality TV sets in.

One of the requirements for participation in WordAds is handing over my social security number. As a mom who has discouraged my daughter from revealing too much on Facebook, and as one who can’t wrap my brain around identity theft victims sorting out the mess their lives have become, why would I then relinquish my unique piece of identification to a company that is neither my health care provider, my banker or my loan provider? 

WordPress is as good a social network site as one can get. I’m particularly grateful for their attention to security. That doesn’t mean they’re impervious to hacking however. A year or so ago I was up close and personal with just how badly WordPress can be attacked. 

My blog was caught in the crossfire when WordPress pulled out their ‘big guns” to do battle with a global invasion of their systems. As a result of their hypersensitivity to intruders, I was spammed out of leaving comments on other WordPress blogs. I seriously contemplated leaving WordPress when it decided to pull the plug instead. My husband intervened with a few kind words on my behalf which finally got WordPress to review my situation. Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul was reinstated after they decided I wasn’t a bad egg after all. Their apology helped me recover from the bad experience. But I’ll admit…it was a long week.

I couldn’t imagine dealing with identity theft and picking up the threads of my life thereafter. At 63, would I really want the stress? It’s for sure the dollars earned from participating in WordAds would never compensate for the money I’d spend while waging the battle of my life.

Need a social security #?

Need a social security #? (Photo credit: Matt Blaze)

I’ve since learned that my social security number would be encrypted, a good thing. Unfortunately there are as many brainiacs trying to do evil as there are trying to do good. Where mega bucks is concerned, those on the “dark side” never give up until they can get their greedy hands on someonelse’s hard-earned cash.

I don’t fault anyone who opts to participate in WordAds. Why not make some money doing what you’re already doing, writing and blogging. Everyone buys and sells on the internet. Private information flows…in abundance. What’s the big deal?

For me, stress is a big deal. It consumes one’s life, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Research indicates that too much stress can lead to Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart ailments, diabetes and a whole host of other diseases.

Staving off illness is an uphill climb, moreso for those of lesser means. We all do what we must…to live. I choose to do so…with as little stress as I’m able. 


Scanned image of author's US Social Security card.

Scanned image of author’s US Social Security card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…your thoughts?…i’m open to some new age enlightenment…

………hugmamma.  😉

my heart’s in my throat…

The Plumber

The Plumber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

... my fingers are in my ears, and my breathing’s on hold. The plumber‘s returned to install the bathroom fixtures.

After oohing and aahing about the nice work the contractor had done with the tiling, the plumber proceeded to tell me he wasn’t keen about drilling through the tile on the wall in order to affix the pedestal sink. Seems he’d done that years ago and shattered the tile in the process. It cost him more to have the tile redone than he made on the job. Needless to say he wasn’t in a hurry to repeat the experience.

You can understand my cringing at the thought…and the drilling. I know if I hear a groan and an expletive the dastardly thing will have occurred. So I’m crossing fingers and toes.

Christ learning carpentry...

Christ learning carpentry... (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Where my contractor is a fine craftsman, my impression is that this plumber is fine. Having been through 2 remodels and being extremely attentive to details, I can differentiate between artists and workers. Thank God for the latter, but God be praised when one among them can create beauty, not just function. Gabe is that gifted person. 

Just as my daughter followed her heart in pursuing a professional dance career at 16 years of age, Gabe left college after a couple of years and eventually found his own niche. He’s in an elite group of men who can combine mind and hands to forge something not only practical in its functionality, but pleasing to the eye as well.

My husband and I have college degrees, having gone the traditional route expected of high school graduates. While this may have been right for us, it is not necessarily the path others should take. But deciding to do one or the other should not preclude changing one’s mind, in mid-stream or after having done the other.

Life offers us possibilities. Why should we limit ourselves to just one choice. After all life is about change. Why not embrace it! I’m doing just that…

The Plumber (cartoon)

The Plumber (cartoon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…even as i cringe at the thought of…newly-set tile…cracking…(fingers and toes crossed)…

………hugmamma.  😦

a woman’s crowning glory…first and foremost

Cover of

Cover of Crowning Glory

There are some things for which a woman will never alter her routine, no matter what.

Five weeks into my master bath/bed remodel I’m finally getting use to having construction workers under foot all day. And wouldn’t you know it? They’re almost done. At least I hope so.

Certain appointments have been delayed because of my desire to be on hand for my pets, and for the rare question my contractor might ask. My next dental visit could wait. And my massage therapist hasn’t seen me in months.

But there’s no ignoring the white roots atop my scalp, once they’ve begun the reclamation process. One day I will fling off the trappings of youth and proudly proclaim my senior citizen status. Until then my hairdresser, Zorianna, and I are “dye-hard” best buds. 

Crowning Glory, Love-A-Belle, Precious Gem, St...

Crowning Glory, Love-A-Belle, Precious Gem, Star Catcher (Photo credit: RainMama)

Most women will agree that the way their hair goes…is the way their day goes. It is our crowning glory. Or not. If it’s frizzy or limp, no amount of fussing will make it better. Been there; done that. We’ll even go so far as to apologize for how we look. You know…bad hair day. It takes a concerted effort to not let our unglorious hair ruin a good time.

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until Zorianna restored my tresses to their fake color, normally a brunette, I was an Asian posing as a Caucasian. “How’s that?” you ask. Our recent spring sunshine helped spread the few streaks of highlighter Zorianna gave me during my last visit.

I told my massage therapist when I saw her recently that we could be related. My hair was almost as blonde as hers.

I’m sure that was a knowing smile my contractor gave me when I reappeared later today. I hadn’t told him where I was going when I left. The 31-year-old was wise not to comment…or even register a look of surprise. Or are men clueless? Maybe he really didn’t notice the change.

The only man whose opinion matters is my husband. And he’s okayed my hair routine. We’ll both be in for a shock…

Pet skunk in kitchen

Pet skunk in kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…when my crowning glory…finally catches up…with the rest of me…

………hugmamma.  😉

if you do it…do it right

dental floss

dental floss (Photo credit: Rakka)

Not a favorite subject, or task, of mine in younger years. However with age comes a certain wisdom. An ever-increasing awareness of my mortality made me realize that I had to do certain things that were heretofore relegated to the bottom of the heap. Flossing always brought up the rear.

Scientific studies have shown a direct link between plaque buildup and heart disease. That made me sit up and take note. Following an unhappy relationship with a cosmetic dentist who charged me $3,000 for a high-powered teeth cleaning, I took myself to another dentist. Fortunately he pronounced my gums healthy, and credited it to the thorough job done by the technicians at the previous dental practice. I guess I got my money’s worth.

Quality of life in older age is now my long-term goal. A healthy diet, exercise and good dental hygiene helps. And if you’re a believer like me, you might want to continue reading the following article in the Wall Street Journal‘s “Quick Cures/Quack Cures.”

US Navy 111023-N-VP123-142 Lt. Cmdr. Jennie St...

US Navy 111023-N-VP123-142 Lt. Cmdr. Jennie Stone, a theater security cooperation planner assigned to Commander, Task Force 73 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Be a Better Flosser
by Heidi Mitchell

     Flossing–beyond just clearing out the spinach from those eggs Florentine lingering between molars–aids in gum health and good breath. New research shows flossing may even protect against diabetes and preterm births.
     But there is little literature on flossing”s finer points, says Denis F. Kinane, professor of pathology and periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Dental Medicine. “It’s kind of like grandmother and apple pie. We know flossing is beneficial, but no one has even studied if it’s better to floss in the morning or evening.” We asked him to resolve some common household debates about flossing.

 Is it better to floss first or brush first?
     The typical regime would be brushing, flossing and rinsing. Flossing cleans out places where the toothbrush can’t reach. But if you were on a desert island and could only bring one dental-health item, choose a toothbrush.

What about morning versus evening?
     Your teeth are typically covered in microbial plaque, or biofilm, which is understood to be linked to every disease caused by infection, from strep and on.
     When you should remove that plaque depends on why you’re removing it in the first place. If you are removing it for prevention of tooth decay or periodontal disease–such as gingivitis, which destroys the root and makes the teeth fall out–then I believe it’s best at night. This gives you an eight-hour, food-free rest so your mouth can fight against the ravages it faces all day.
     If you floss in the morning, because you have to say hello to people and want nice teeth, that is useful–but less so from a biological point of view. Although it should be noted that this has never been researched–call it the Kinane Hypothesis.

What is the biggest flossing mistake?
     Sawing back and forward is wrong, that can abrade the tooth, create a groove and eventually saw off the crown.
     You should always introduce the floss at the top of the tooth, in the gum line, and bring it down, then remove it and find an unused length for the next tooth.
     The old piece of floss is fully laden with plaque. You wouldn’t want to use it again and spread those germs. And be gentle. If you’re too rough, you can cut into the gum and cause bleeding or even a soft tissue wound over time. We also see a lot of what we call “oral health athletes,” who are overzealous about flossing. Once a day is plenty.

Do any other tools–water picks, harps–work better than floss?
     Harps can be fast, and water picks are easier to use on crowns, but a basic cheap floss is perfect.

Waxed versus unwaxed? Ribbon versus string?
     This is really a matter of personal preference. The waxed surface helps the floss to slip in and slip out, which most people like. The string floss can cut your fingers if they are dry; the ribbon has a larger surface area to reach more of the tooth. The popular brand Glide is actually PTFE, or Teflon, so it is slip-free, and because it’s actually in a ribbon form, it has good contact with the tooth.

Doesn’t vigorous water rinsing do the same job?
     You cannot get in between the teeth well with anything other than floss. Your mouth gets a lot of bacteria on various surfaces, which can recolonize clean areas. So while mouth washes are great for killing remnant bacteria on all surfaces, you have to get between the teeth with the ancient invention called floss to really reach every spot.

If you managed to read my post through to this point, and nodded your head in agreement with what Dr. Kinane said, then you’re a flosser. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the small things in life that really matter…

Took this at Loch Fleet while photographing du...

Took this at Loch Fleet while photographing ducks. This ewe was in the field across the road staring at me as if to ask for help with her flossing problems! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…including the not so fun stuff…

………hugmamma.  😦 

if thoughts could kill…

The book cover.

The book cover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the midst of all this hoopla, our dog and 3 cats are prepared to take us all out. And I don’t mean…to dinner. Truthfully though they’ve had the patience of Job. You know, the guy from the Bible who was slammed with more than his fair share of trials and tribulations.

Ours are indoor pets. So having their territory trampled upon by total strangers does not sit well with them. Making matters worse is the fact that they are confined while the men work. Mixing construction workers with 3 cats and a dog would make for total chaos. As mediator, I would be the one pulling my hair out by its white roots. Not a pretty sight!

Corraling the menagerie into their respective safe havens runs like clockwork now. Initially the prospect of managing our pets and their needs was overwhelming. The 3 cats have different dietary needs because of issues ranging from pre-diabetes, kidney failure, and a slow colon. Then there’s our dog who needs her own space. She gets along just fine with the kitties when we’re watching. I’d hate to find out how she really feels about them, if they cohabited without supervision.

I had originally placed our prediabetic cat into the large crate with 3 shelves that sits in the laundry room. Locking him in safely with food, water and a litter box, I then confidently sheltered our dog in the laundry room as well. They were together, but not. Returning to check on the roommates later on the second or third day, both greeted me at the door. Was it my imagination, or were they wearing Cheshire grins? 

I was shocked! Surprised? No.

Left to his own devices our bottomless-pit cat will spend the day tackling any challenge set before him. I have to credit him for patiently unhooking the latch and letting himself out of the crate. What must our dog have thought as she watched in silence? Of course she wouldn’t squeal on her fellow, four-footed friend. After all wasn’t I the enemy for shutting them out of their normal stomping grounds? Had they continued to board together, clever feline might have taught puzzled dog a thing or two.

Having learned my lesson I now house the cat with a slow colon, and a pacific personality, in the crate, and our nimble paws kitty in the downstairs bathroom. Switching them out has proven successful. Peace reigns once again. Except, of course…for the buzz-sawing, hammering, sprinting up and downstairs, door-slamming…aaahhh…

…there’s no place like home…

………hugmamma.  🙂  

weeds…a god-send…

weeds (Photo credit: gusset)

Tis the season…to weed. For gardeners, that is. Although anyone can partake of this tedious task. If you haven’t a patch of your own, I’m certain your neighbor would lend you hers…gladly. And if you’re an urbanite with no natural greenery in sight, there must be a little piece of square footage belonging to Mother Nature alongside the highway. Go borrow it for a minute or two…or however long it takes for you to vent your frustrations.

What’s that old saying? Busy hands…? I’ve never been very good at remembering how those go. I only know they’re true and have value, even today.

It’s been almost a month that I’ve had 2 men living under my roof from 8:30 a.m. until they decide to leave, which varies from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. They’re hard-working, considerate, pleasant, and attractive to boot. “What more could a woman want?” you ask.

“I’d like my privacy and space back, that’s what!”

I can count on Sundays, but sometimes my temporary housemates show up on Saturday and put in a full day’s work. God bless them! They’re worth their weight in gold. Right now I’d gladly share my treasure…for some peace…and quiet.

Living in an organized mess is definitely not my idea of home. I can’t easily find something clean to wear since I’ve taken to stacking all my available clothes, and my husband’s, onto one chair in the bedroom we’re now occupying. It’s large enough for one person to move about, usually my daughter when she’s visiting us.

Being considerably wider than our ballerina offspring, my husband and I aren’t usually in the room together. Until we crawl into the double bed at night, that is. Then we try to lie as still as we can…a near impossibility.


we-never-talk (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

Thankfully after 41 years of marriage, my husband and I still like each other. Love is a must entering into Holy Matrimony. But without “like” it’s almost certain that spouses would be picking up the pieces of their lives…after a divorce. Enduring a home renovation together can do wonders for bringing partners closer together. Or it can widen the chasm, given the opportunity.

“So what do weeds have to do with all this?” 

Paul Brindley, Harriet Wheeler, Patrick Hannan...

Paul Brindley, Harriet Wheeler, Patrick Hannan, and David Gavurin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I need to get away from all the commotion happening inside my house, and the 3 men with whom I now live…weeding is a God-send. Yanking on those little suckers makes me feel in control again. And there’s no one to encroach upon my peace and quiet…my space.

So there I am…kneeling to weeds, while my domain is being usurped by trespassers. With my blessing, I might add.

needs weeding: june
needs weeding: june (Photo credit: Runder)

…how ironic…since i asked for this…didn’t i?

………hugmamma.  😦

…not always in control…but that’s life…

Getting Older 1981–1991

Getting Older 1981–1991 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting older seems to bring with it a keener awareness of life’s mishaps. Or is it just my imagination? The upside is that it doesn’t matter as much as it did when I was a young know-it-all, unwilling to give an inch because youthfulness is akin to immortality, which is akin to godliness. Try telling a teenager what to do, and you’ll see what I mean.

Confrontations aren’t “my cup of tea.” They give me heart palpitations, and words of rebuttal literally stick in my throat. In attempting off-the-cuff comebacks, I’ve swallowed a few words. Words that never made it from the pit of my stomach…to my lips…to the ears of my antagonist.

With age and experience comes the realization that there are those whose opinions I will never alter, come hell or high water. But that’s okay. I don’t need for everyone to approve of my viewpoint. They have theirs; I have mine.

Construction is an arena in which women walk a slippery slope. More often than not we are the ones dealing with the men enlisted to build or remodel our homes. We’re at their mercy, even though we employ them to do as we would like. Having managed 2 remodels thus far I’m beginning to understand what it is I’m doing. I’ve gotten an education from the men whose company I keep 24/7. A reluctant relationship from which I yearn to be extricated…sooner rather than later.

Logo for Hiccups (TV series).

Logo for Hiccups (TV series). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No remodel is without its hiccups. I had my first case of the “hiccups” the other day. My contractor informed me that the closet bifold doors were shorter in height than the opening he’d cut in which to install them. It seems the store’s rep had written out the dimensions in a way that led to the mistake. Long story short, my conversation with the store’s manager ended in a stalemate. We both understood each other’s dilemma but were at a standstill as to how the situation should be resolved.

The store gave me 2 options. Keep the doors and pay my contractor more money to make things right, or switch out the doors for the correct ones, buy more paint for them and delay completion of the remodel by 2 or more weeks. Faith in my contractor, and the desire to exchange the current double bed on which my husband and I now sleep for our own king bed, convinced me to move forward without any delay.

Master Suite - King Size Bed with Jungle View

To my surprise the store manager offered another solution. He’d try to get some money back from the manufacturer for their part in the mistake. It seems they were fractionally off in the height of their doors which compounded the error. I’m awaiting a final call to inform me of recompense for the inconvenience and added expense involved in correcting the problem.

At this juncture I’ve decided what is, is. If nothing comes of this confrontation I’ll have done what I could. As I indicated to the store manager, this experience will color my opinion going forward. I won’t be as quick to recommend his business as I had been.

Customers are Ignoring You

Customers are Ignoring You (Photo credit: ronploof)

I’m all for supporting small businesses, especially in the current economy. But given the times, great service is an asset that helps grow customers. A favorite east coat farmer’s market said it best. “Rule #1 – The customer is always right. Rule #2 – When in doubt, always refer to Rule #1.”

Not everyone subscribes to this belief. But we always have the option of going elsewhere, or altering our choices to suit the situation. It’s our life…our decision. What matters in the end is not to stress

"No worries" text, on the cover of a spare tire on the back of an automobile in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…over what’s beyond our control… 

Cows at Reclain. No worries in the world!

Cows at Reclain. No worries in the world! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

………hugmamma.  🙂 

…time to exhale…getting away…

Tulip Era in the Ottoman Empire...

It was heavenly to escape the hammering, buzz-sawing and drilling for a few days. A nephew’s wedding in tulip and daffodil country was just the getaway I needed after weeks of preparation for our master bed/bath remodel. Never mind that the tulips have not yet made their much anticipated appearance. The longer than usual winter season has kept the delicate buds hovering underground for warmth. I’d join them if I could, although my cozy abode suits me just fine.

Wedding cake

Wedding cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spending several days in the company of family who are like best friends was the icing on the cake, wedding cake in this instance. Hawaiians “go with the flow.” Louise and Milton epitomize the laid back island tendency. Doing whatever is fine with them, which is totally in sync with my husband and me. That they enjoy browsing antique stores and retail outlets was a happy coincidence.

Much to my husband’s chagrin, every inch of our SUV was crammed full of luggage and new-found treasures. Thank goodness for side mirrors because his use of the rear-view mirror mirror was totally obliterated. Thankfully great friends and sunny weather kept my husband from focusing upon his inability to see out the back of the car.

Molbak's outdoor eating
Molbak’s outdoor eating (Photo credit: burienundressedblog)

Spring has probably sprung throughout most of the country. It takes a tad longer here in the Pacific Northwest. While I’m excited for the warmth and sun, I know yardwork cannot be far behind. I’ll have to visit a favorite destination, Molbak’s Nursery in Woodinville, to rev myself up for the inevitable weeding that comes with good weather. Wish I could just transport their gardens to mine. It’s safe to say this will remain…just a wish.

Molbaks' Orchids

Molbaks' Orchids (Photo credit: JHall159)

…how’s spring…where you are?…

………hugmamma.  🙂