weekly photo challenge: through

A view of my front yard through the window of my newly renovated master bedroom. I’m inclined to recycle vintage pieces wherever I can. Have you any idea where this architectural piece may have “lived” prior to where it’s now been incorporated? Look for a photo showing more of the piece in an upcoming post with pictures of my remodel.

…see if you’re right then…

hugmamma.    😉                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

( note: this challenge occurred in mid-march…i guess i’m a little behind the times…no matter…it still works!)

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friends…and audrey hepburn…

 

I’ve been missing in action these last several months, what with life grabbing me by the hair like some prehistoric hunk and making off with me. Like it or not, as with my bedraggled, cave-dwelling ancestor, life led, I followed. All this to say…I’ve been busy.

It was nice to hear that my absence made a difference to some. But I’m certain we all get mired down in life’s details now and again. Best we do what needs doing, and return to blog about it…or not. Our choice.

Because of antiquated equipment, my body in this instance, sitting at the keyboard takes getting use to once again. Can’t do it for long stretches at a time as when I was younger, say…6 months ago. My constant companions, those niggling aches and pains, poke and prod me until I give into their constant demands for relief…a stretch, a walk, a snack. Funny how my tummy’s always in sync with my arthritis.

Upon returning to “hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul” I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d taken on some new “passengers.” My friends, the “oldies-but-goodies” were still along for the ride. Not giving up on this senior, no matter the interruption of service. God bless them for “believing anyway”… a loaner from my friend Kate Kresse.

Audrey Hepburn became the fifth person to win ...

Audrey Hepburn became the fifth person to win all four awards and the first person to complete the feat posthumously in 1994. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In cruising the newbies, I found “Based on a True Story” by Currie Rose. A charming storyteller, I borrowed the following from her. It seems we both share a tremendous affection for Audrey Hepburn. I’d not read these enchanting words before, but they seem an autobiographical sketch of the iconic woman who was really just like Currie Rose, you and me.

Words to Live By – Audrey Hepburn

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

Her words form an image…Audrey Hepburn…in the flesh…but more importantly, in the spirit…sending hugs to her…

English: Grave of Audrey Hepburn in Tolochenaz...

English: Grave of Audrey Hepburn in Tolochenaz, Switzerland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…in heaven…and you, dear reader, to… www.currierose.wordpress.com… for some mighty fine writing…

………hugmamma.  😉

 

64 years later…???

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wasn’t there when he was pulled from his warm, inner sanctum screaming at the top of his newborn lungs. And for obvious reasons. I was probably just a thought away from conception myself. Funny, how 2 infants, complete strangers at birth, are  inseparable soulmates 42 years after tying the knot. From umbilical cords to marital ties, a quantum leap…taken…one step at a time.

Faced with the conundrum of celebrating yet another birthday, I happened to mention it to my hairdresser Zorianna. We’re best buds, having my “crowning glory,” my hair, in common.

“I’ve no clue what to do for my husband’s birthday. After 42 years, what can I give him that he’ll really like. Men aren’t really into chachkas like we are.”

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To which Zorianna brilliantly responded, “You should take him to the iPic Theatre in Redmond Town Center!” Thanks to her, hubby and I had a fantastic date night on his birthday.

Prior to the movie, we snacked on seared ahi tuna atop won ton chips. While I sipped on a delicate blackberry mojito, the birthday boy guzzled a tall glass of a real man’s beverage…beer. A half-an-hour later we made our way to our plush, reclining seats. Yep! You read right. We were going to lie down in public to watch Men in Black III in 3-D! And like the Greeks and Romans before us, we were going to be further wined and dined…lying astride our couches…underlings running back and forth to do our bidding. Well, not quite…

Eating our Angus sliders and truffle french-fries in the dark was a trick. Trying not to dribble ketchup down our fronts was impossible for my husband. He remarked a couple of times “I shouldn’t have worn this shirt.” It was comfy…but white.

Struggling to add cream and sugar to my coffee in the dark without spilling it on my lap was a juggling act I thought I’d lose. You see the cup’s cover was not giving up its grip without a struggle. Me and the plastic cover battling it out in the dark, while Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were duking it out with gross-looking aliens on the big screen. I could appreciate what they were going through.

An hour into the film, I think hubby and I both nodded off. I don’t think we snored. At least I hope not. Thankfully, I’d selected 2 seats with aisles on either side which put some distance between us and our neighbors.

Not being a fan of the Men in Black films myself, I thought this, its third, was pretty good. The story line was a little sentimental, to my liking. The action was fun, without being loaded down with a lot of blood and gore. What there was of it was more corn than protein. Albeit at times it was both…corny and cheesy. 

We decided, hubby and I, that as a destination iPic is a once-in-awhile luxury. Twenty-two dollars a pop for each member is fine in small doses, as is the decadence of dining on gourmet food while covered with a light blanket. Comfy, cozy…but more preferable…

…in the comfort of our home…and on my wonderful…memory foam mattress…aaahhh…

………hugmamma.  😉     

New luxurious movie theater coming to Redmondof course…we didn’t have to recline…but hey, when in rome…  😉

weekly photo challenge: summer

Here in the Pacific Northwest summer is but a fleeting moment in an otherwise gray, soggy landscape. So we don’t really discuss the weather except when the sun shines brightly and the warm air settles upon us like a lightweight blanket, comforting but not suffocating.

For us, spring signals that summer cannot be far behind…

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…happy spring…and very, very soon…happy summer

………hugmamma.  🙂

…let the young man speak…

Love, Hate, Life

No one told me I had to have a future plan. You know what I’m talking about, what you’re going to do once you graduate from high school. Some people go to college , some choose the military as their path, and some drop out. My mom would never consider the latter option as being apart of my future and I love her for that. She motivates me to do my best so that I can get in the best college. But here’s the catch, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. The clock for me to make a decision is slowly running out and now I’m panicking. So many other kids at my school know what they want to do. Not me.

Yes, I’m good at math. But should I be a math teacher? I don’t think so because I don’t really like kids…

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would i want to know?…would you?

A question we ask ourselves, those of us with loved ones who have succumbed to Alzheimer’s.

I must admit to having pondered the possibility of being tested myself. Wouldn’t it be prudent to prepare myself, my family? Get my life in order; do what I need to do…before I can’t.

Wouldn’t I want to go out with one, big, last hurrah? Go out with a bang! Dare to live on the edge, knowing that now is “as good as it gets.”

Ronald Reagan

Ron Reagan chose not to know if he had the gene responsible for his dad’s demise. President Reagan suffered the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s soon after he left office. The son’s decision was predicated upon the simple fact that as yet there is no cure. I was swayed, but not totally convinced myself. Until I read the following article in the  Wall Street Journal.

English: A healthy brain compared to a brain s...

English: A healthy brain compared to a brain suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Curse of a Diagnosis
by Melinda Beck
     If you were in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, would you want to know?
     That question will haunt a growing number of people and their families as scientists devise more ways to diagnose the degenerative brain disease before it causes severe symptoms, but still can’t prevent or cure it.
     Linda Dangaard underwent a spinal-tap test last year confirming suspicions of early Alzheimer’s disease at age 56. Allowing his wife to be tested “was the biggest mistake of my life,” says Colin Dangaard, age 70. Even though she is still functional and vibrant and works in the family’s Malibu saddle-importing business, the diagnosis cost her her driver’s license, many of her friends and much of her self esteem, her husband says. “Her golden years were ripped out from under her by a diagnosis that I think is cruel, because there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”
     “It feels like a bomb has gone off in my life,” says Mrs. Dangaard, who concedes that she sometimes gets confused and repeats herself. “I also ask myself, ‘Why me?’ I eat right. I exercise. No one else in my family has this.”
     Traditionally, the only way to confirm Alzheimer’s was with an autopsy, when the disease’s characteristic plaques and tangles are found in a patient’s brain. Before that, doctors diagnose it on the basis of symptoms, once they rule out other explanations. But experts say the plaques and tangles start forming 10 to 20 years before symptoms appear.
     New tests are emerging that can detect those early brain changes, and more are on the horizon. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved a radioactive dye, Amyvid, that makes brain plaque visible on a PET scan. It is expected to be available this summer.
     The spinal tap test that Mrs. Dangaard had measures changes in the cerebrospinal fluid associated with brain plaques and tangles. It has been available for several years, but used mainly in research settings.
     Neither test is covered by insurance or Medicare, and neither is definitive alone. Negative findings reduce the likelihood that cognitive impairment is due to Alzheimer’s. But 20% to 30% of people over 65 have some plaques in the brain and many are cognitively normal. It is unclear if they will ever develop the disease.
     Genetic tests can identify gene variations that raise the risk of Alzheimer’s to varying degrees. One rare variation virtually guarantees that a carrier will develop Alzheimer’s at an early age; their offspring have a 50% chance of inheriting it. Researches are testing a drug that could potentially prevent Alzheimer’s in a large Colombian clan that carries the gene variation. As in many research trials, family members won’t be told who has it and who doesn’t, since the knowledge can be devastating without effective treatments.
     For patients already experiencing memory problems, the ethical issues are different, experts say. It pays to have a medical evaluation, since many treatable conditions can cause dementia-like symptoms. Once those are ruled out, neurologist John Ringman at the University of California, Los Angeles, says he typically asks patients with mild cognitive impairment if they want to know if it is likely to progress to Alzheimer’s–even though the knowledge won’t change their treatment. “Some people say, ‘Doc, I want to know everything.’ Other people say, ‘If it isn’t going to affect the treatment, I should just live my life.'”
     Mrs. Dangaard’s sister, Dawn Coffee, says it was Linda who first raised concerns about her tendency to repeat herself several years ago. Mrs. Coffee and their mother–all of whom work in the Dangaards’ business–were concerned as well, so they encouraged her to investigate.
     Her primary-care doctor found that she had a severe deficiency of vtamin B-12 which can mimic Alzheimer’s. B-12 injections helped a little, but when her symptoms persisted, they consulted a neurologist, Paul Dudley. He conducted more tests, including two MRIs, which were inconclusive, and suggested they seek a more definitive diagnosis at UCLA. Still, Dr. Dudley found enough evidence of dementia that he notified state health authorities, as required by California law, triggering a review of her driver’s license.
     At UCLA, Mrs. Dangaard fared poorly on tests of memory and word recognition. But her age and the insight she displayed weren’t typical of Alzheimer’s, so Dr. Ringman suggested the spinal tap. “I wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything,” such as an infection or inflammation in the spinal fluid, he says. (Drs. Ringman and Dudley both had the Dangaard’s permission to discuss her case.) The spinal tap found levels of beta amyloid protein and tau “consistent with Alzheimer’s disease,” he says. And given her scores on the cognitive tests, he adds, “it isn’t what I’d call the early stages–she has significant dementia.”
     Mr. Dangaard disputes that his wife is significantly impaired and says the diagnosis has done more damage than the disease. “Sure, she can’t do the complicated ordering that she used to do in our business, but there are lots of other things she does very well,” he says.
     Losing her driver’s license has been particularly hard. “It is like house arrest in California,” he says. Mrs. Dangaard attempted to win it back but failed the written test. Mr. Dangaard blames the stress of the situation and says she misses only one or two questions out of 220 when he quizzes her at home. “She can out-Sudoku me,” he says.
     Mrs. Dangaard jokes that while her short-term memory can be hazy, “I figure if I keep doing those tests over and over again, eventually they’ll be in my long-term memory and I won’t have a problem.” Asked if she thinks she has Alzheimer’s, Mrs. Dangaard says, “I guess my wiring is a little off. But knowing it is worse than having it.”
     Her husband says, “There’s no way this diagnosis benefits people who have it. It just crushes your spirit.”
     Her sister has a different view. “I love my sister dearly. We’ve been best friends all our lives. But she’s gotten worse and he’s in denial,” says Mrs. Coffee, who says that disagreements over Linda’s condition have caused a rift in the family.
     Experts in caring for Alzheimer’s patients say it is typical for family members to disagree in such cases. It is also typical for people with Alzheimer’s to remain highly functional in some areas of life and deteriorate in others. “Patients often work very hard to compensate for it, but there comes a point where they can’t hide it anymore,” says Lori Bliss, a care manager at Senior Concerns, a nonprofit organization that serves adults with special needs in nearby Thousand Oaks, Calif.
     As devastating as it is, an early diagnosis can give families time to plan and let patients participate in financial, legal and health-care arrangements. The course of the disease is often unpredictable. Some people work and remain independent for years after a diagnosis. “Families should let people with Alzheimer’s do as much as they can and be there as a safety net,” says Norma Featherston, a senior care consultant at the Alzheimer’s Association in Ventura County, Calif. Staying active and connected socially is vital to patients’ well-being, particularly in the early stages, she adds.
     That is one thing everyone agrees on in Linda Dangaard’s case: “I just want her to live every day and be as happy as she can be,” her husband says.

With ongoing research many diseases are being dealt with successfully. It’s not the case with Alzheimer’s. Longing to know if it’s in one’s genes is logical. But we are not devoid of emotions, and feelings. Most of us would be unable to fight the tidal wave of resignation. Sinking into depression would be the equivalent of standing in quicksand. The stress and worry of knowing one’s fate might even accelerate the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Wouldn’t it be bliss if we could rid ourselves of the weaknesses of the flesh, face the inevitable head on, and leave our material trappings behind … happily … peacefully? That would be my “happily-ever-after” wish. Unfortunately, life’s not a fairy tale…

The Reagan family in 1960, from left to right:...

The Reagan family in 1960, from left to right: Ronald Reagan, Ron Reagan, Nancy Reagan, and Patti Reagan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…so we do what we can…to make each moment…worth living… 

………hugmamma.  

…only the brave answer…

“If not me, then Who?” I think most of us prefer to ignore the question, for ourselves and our loved ones.

My husband barely missed being shipped off to Vietnam in the late 60s, when the lottery was in place. The fact that he was in college may have gotten him a deferment. By the time he graduated, the war was winding down. We breathed a collective sigh of relief, and got married.

From age 13, my daughter knew she wanted to dance professionally. The military held no fascination for her. My mom’s heart skipped a beat, happy that my only child had also escaped the possibility of ducking bullets for a living.

afghanistan

afghanistan (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

It is with awe that I read of those who willingly put their lives on the line so that we might do whatever it is we do. It’s difficult to wrap my brain around the sacrifice made by these brave men and women, and the families they leave behind, anxious for the safe return of their loved ones.

Memorial Day is a time to honor these brave Americans. But let’s remember them everyday, as we go about our own busy lives. The following has helped me do just that.

English: ARLINGTON, Va. (Oct. 4, 2010) Members...

English: ARLINGTON, Va. (Oct. 4, 2010) Members of the Naval Special Warfare community pay their final respects to fallen teammate and friend Lt. (SEAL) Brendan Looney by pounding their Tridents into his coffin at Arlington National Cemetery. Looney was one of nine service members who died in Zabul Province, Afghanistan after the helicopter they were traveling in crashed on Sept. 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Syberg/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Why They Serve: ‘If Not Me, Then Who?'”
by Tom Manion
   I served in the military for 30 years. But it was impossible to fully understand the sacrifices of our troops and their families until April 20, 2007, the day my son, First Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq.
   Travis was just 26 years old when an enemy sniper’s bullet pierced his heart after he had just helped save two wounded comrades. Even though our family knew the risks of Travis fighting on the violent streets of Fallujah, being notified of his death on a warm Sunday afternoon in Doylestown, Pa., was the worst moment of our lives.
   While my son’s life was relatively short, I spend every day marveling at his courage and wisdom. Before his second and final combat deployment, Travis said he wanted to go back to Iraq in order to spare a less-experienced Marine from going in his place. His words–“If not me, then who…”–continue to inspire me.
   My son is one of thousands to die in combat since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Because of their sacrifices, as well as the heroism of previous generations, Memorial Day 2012 should have tremendous importance to our entire nation, with an impact stretching far beyond one day on the calendar.
   In Afghanistan, tens of thousands of American troops continue to sweat, fight and bleed. In April alone, 35 U.S. troops were killed there, including Army Capt. Nick Rozanski, 36, who made the difficult decision to leave his wife and children to serve our country overseas.
   “My brother didn’t necessarily have to go to Afghanistan,” Spc. Alex Rozanski, Nick’s younger brother and fellow Ohio National Guard soldier, said. “He chose to because he felt an obligation.”
   Sgt. Devin Snyder “loved being a girly-girl, wearing her heels and carrying her purses,” according to her mother, Dineen Snyder. But Sgt. Snyder, 20, also took it upon herself to put on an Army uniform and serve in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan as a military police officer. She was killed by an enemy roadside bomb, alongside three fellow soldiers and a civilian contractor, on June 4, 2011.
   Air Force Tech. Sgt. Daniel Douville was an explosive ordnance disposal technician, doing an incredibly dangerous job depicted in “The Hurt Locker.” He was a loving husband and father of three children. “He was my best friend,” his wife, LaShana Douville, said. “He was a good person.”
   Douville, 33, was killed in a June 26, 2011, explosion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where some of the fiercest fighting of the decade-long conflict continues to this day.
   When my son died in Iraq, his U.S. Naval Academy roommate, Brendan Looney, was in the middle of BUD/S (basic underwater demolition) training to become a Navy SEAL. Devastated by his good friend’s death, Brendan called us in anguish, telling my wife and me that losing Travis was too much for him to handle during the grueling training regimen.
   Lt. Brendan Looney overcame his grief to become “Honor Man” of his SEAL class, and he served in Iraq before later deploying to Afghanistan. On Sept. 21, 2010, after completing 58 combat missions, Brendan died with eight fellow warriors when their helicopter crashed in Zabul province. He was 29. Brendan and Travis now rest side-by-side in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery.
   “The friendship between First Lt. Travis Manion and Lt. Brendan Looney reflects the meaning of Memorial Day: brotherhood, sacrifice, love of country,” President Obama said at Arlington on Memorial Day 2011. “And it is my fervent prayer that we may honor the memory of the fallen by living out those ideals every day of our lives, in the military and beyond.”
   But the essence of our country, which makes me even prouder than the president’s speech, is the way our nation’s military families continue to serve. Even after more than a decade of war, these remarkable men and women are still stepping forward.
   As the father of a fallen Marine, I hope Americans will treat this Memorial Day as more than a time for pools to open, for barbecues or for a holiday from work. It should be a solemn day to remember heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, and also a stark reminder that our country is still at war.
   For the Rozanskis, Snyders, Douvilles, Looneys and thousands more like us, every day is Memorial Day. If the rest of the nation joins us to renew the spirit of patriotism, service and sacrifice, perhaps America can reunite, on this day of reverence, around the men and women who risk their lives to defend it.

Col. Manion, USMCR (Ret.), is on the board of the Travis Manion Foundation, which assists veterans and the families of the fallen.

An Officer and a (Little) Gentleman

An Officer and a (Little) Gentleman (Photo credit: JakeBrewer)

These men and women are not just wartime statistics. They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, close relatives and friends, co-workers, neighbors and friends. Their loss leaves a hole in their communities. Their legacy is that they died so that others’ lives might be better, abroad and at home.

A simple “thank-you” might seem a pittance by comparison to the gift bestowed upon us by these brave Americans. Behold a wildflower in a field of green. Its beauty still manages to captivate, although it stands alone.

Ohio Wildflower Along Interstate 270 in Columb...

Ohio Wildflower Along Interstate 270 in Columbus, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…so thank-you…

………hugmamma.

warm and sunny…just like mama

It’s been awhile since I’ve bolted from bed, putting fingers to keyboard because  thoughts and words started assembling like soldiers in a military dress parade. But I was given my marching orders, so here I am, albeit a little bleary-eyed still.

All this to do about a holiday honoring women of the world, hell-bent on doing a great job. Whether charged with the care of one, 9, or however many, moms awake each day to the sounds of their offspring calling their generic name…mommy, ma, mama, mom, or mother. Can’t warm to that one myself; but to each her own.

Memories are unique, according to one’s own experiences and perceptions. Today I remember the warmth and sun…of my mom.

Mama wasn’t perfect…neither am I.

She gave away hugs…the same ones I now share…as “hugmamma.”

Though poor, she was always “dressed to the nines,” her hair coiffed in the style of the day. A habit I’ve acquired.

A quick smile, an infectious laugh, twinkling eyes as if to say…”Have your best day.” She left me that too…that which I give to you.

Sunday best required a hat. Mama bought me Easter ones…when she could. A new, store bought dress was included…if it didn’t “break the bank.”

A pot of soup for a sick friend or neighbor; a kindness returned when mama was “under the weather.” I helped transport the generous offering…both ways.

Mama left me her “green thumb” and passion for gardening. I love flowers, their colors, their fragrances, their attraction to birds, butterflies and bees. I can feel her beside me, when I’m pulling out weeds.

Each Christmas she handcrafted wreaths from evergreen branches we’d gathered, along with wire clothes hangers, newspaper strips and string. Mama’s strength and dexterity always amazed me. As did her gifting these homemade treasures to friends and relatives.

When I was sick she’d minister to my every need, lathering my chest and throat with Vicks to break up the congestion. Or massaging my upset tummy with warmed oil because she said I had “bush.” A Portuguese term for a “turned stomach,” according to mama. The onset of which probably occurred when I took a tumble.

She let me burn a small candle once when I was playing with my dolls. My brother complained, saying I’d start a fire. Mama defended my frivolity.

 Sundays at the beach, running its length, the warm Pacific waters our reward. Mama took time out of her busy week to ensure my siblings and I had fun.

TARO PATCHES ALONG HIGHWAY 36. TARO ROOT IS TH...

TARO PATCHES ALONG HIGHWAY 36. TARO ROOT IS THE BASIS OF POI, A TRADITIONAL HAWAIIAN DISH – NARA – 554077 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trudging through murky, muddy Taro patch waters, mama taught me to scour the bottom for “pupus.” Hawaiian relatives of the French escargot, the smell of pupus boiling on the stove was enough to send me running out to play.

Prying the meaty critter out of its shell with a safety pin and popping it into my mouth was not my fantasy snack. No amount of cajoling or pressure got me to down that nasty mollusk.

So how is it that I now relish the taste of escargot  bathed in garlic butter?

Mama cheered proudly when I stood before a basketball crowd as lead high-school cheerleader. 

She made my costumes for school plays.

Tänzerin beim Hula ʻauana im Wettbewerb

Tänzerin beim Hula ʻauana im Wettbewerb “Miss Aloha Hula”, Merrie Monarch Festival 2003, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, USA; Pentax Z 20, Tamron Zoom AF/MF 3,8-5,6/28-200 mm aspherical (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For Hawaiian dance recitals, she helped gather koa seeds for the leis we strung, and ti-leaves for the hula skirts she made.

All the small and big things mama did for me…I do for my daughter. Some days joyfully; others, like a zombie.

I wouldn’t trade my memories for someonelse’s…nor my job as mom…for another.

Great days or less than…my heart overflows.

…mama wasn’t perfect…and neither am i…

…hugs of aloha…on mother’s day…and all days…

………hugmamma.

Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..

 

are we done yet???

carpet store kitty

carpet store kitty (Photo credit: Kate Raynes-Goldie)

The carpet installers are vacuuming up the remnants of their work as I type. Finally! The last “t” is being crossed, and the final “i” dotted, on the master bed/bath remodel we began almost 2-1/2 months ago.

If I never see another contractor or subcontractor, it will be too soon. Having them in my space 24/7 is totally discombobulating. Ignoring their presence is impossible as their companion noises drone on and on and on. Whether they’re sawing wood, hammering nails, drilling holes, laying tile or carpet, tramping up and down the stairs, slamming doors, or laughing and chatting among themselves, they are inside my head…literally!

My Fair Lady (film)

My Fair Lady (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And now the end is in sight!!!

Hooray for the workers, me, my pets, and yes, even my house! If it could speak I’m certain it would complain loudly, what with all the pulling, tugging, denuding and rearranging it has had to endure. My house and I will jump for joy when the front door finally slams shut on these men’s backsides.

 In the famous words of Eliza Doolittle‘s Zvengali, Professor Henry Higgins, “Shall we dance?” 

A friend suggested I break open the champagne when all’s said and done.

Where’s the corkscrew? Let me at that wine rack! I’m pulling an all-nighter! Hip-hip-hooray!!!

And the sun’s out!!! Double hip-hip-hippety-hoppety-hooray!!!

Eliza Doolittle (EP)

Eliza Doolittle (EP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…da ya think i’m happy?…ya betcha!…

………hugmamma.  🙂

depression and alzheimer’s…linked?

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a stack of Wall Street Journals sitting in my husband’s home office. He keeps threatening to toss them into the recycling bin, unread. My immediate retort is “Don’t you dare!”

Hoarders

Hoarders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a pack rat, bordering on hoarding. Shhh!!! Don’t out me to “The Hoarders,” the TV reality show. I’m trying to change, especially after my bed/bath remodel is completed. I swear I’ll reorganize big-time. “Famous last words” is my husband’s response to my ongoing promise.

There are always juicy tidbits in the Journal that excite me into sharing the news with you. So bear with me as I post another which deals with 2 topics with which I’m keenly interested, depression and Alzheimer’s. I’ll bet most of us know someone who has one or the other, or both. And I’m just as certain that number includes many of us.

Because my mom died with Alzheimer’s, I’m always open to potential cures, given that children might inherit the gene. Avoiding stress is identified as a strong contributor to good health, mentally and physically. It seems reasonable to assume that stress-free would also mean depression-free. And according to the following article, as we age we should avoid the “big D” in order not to succumb to the “big A.” Makes sense to me!

Nederlands: Gezonde hersenen (onder) versus he...

Nederlands: Gezonde hersenen (onder) versus hersenen van een donor met de ziekte van Alzheimer. Opvallend is de ‘verschrompeling’ die is opgetreden bij de ziekte van Alzheimer, waardoor de hersenen in omvang zijn afgenomen. English: Healthy brain (bottom) versus brain of a donor with Alzheimer’s disease. Notable is the “shrink” that has occurred in Alzheimer’s disease; the brain was decreased in size. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Study Examines Depression and Aging Brain
by Jennifer Corbett Dooren

     People who suffer from chronic depression throughout their lives are more likely to develop dementia compared with people who aren’t depressed, according to a study released Monday.
     The study, by California researchers, sheds light on whether depression might cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, or if it is merely an early sign of memory loss and other problems associated with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia; the second-leading cause is impaired blood supply to the brain, resulting in what is known as vascular dementia.
     “It’s quite clear depression late in life can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s,” explained Rachel Whitmer, a study researcher and an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. “There’s a lot of debate whether [depression] is really a risk factor for dementia, or if it just shows up.”
     The findings, published in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, add to the evidence that late-in-life depression is a likely early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and suggest that chronic depression appears to increase the risk of developing vascular dementia. Adequate treatment for depression in mid-life could cut the risk of developing dementia. The study is the first to examine whether midlife or late-life depression is more likely to lead to either Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia over the long-term.
     To look at links between depression and dementia, Dr. Whitmer and other researchers looked at 13,535 long-term Kaiser Permanente members who had enrolled in a larger study in the period from 1964 to 1973 at ages ranging from 40 to 55 years old. Health information, including a survey that asked about depression, was collected at the time.
     Researchers looked at whether the same people were depressed late in life, in the period from 1994 to 2000, and then looked at whether they were diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. The participants’ average age in 2003 was 81 and 57.9% were women. The study found depression present in 14.1% of subjects in midlife only, in 9.2% in late life only and in 4.2% in both.
     Looking at those who later developed dementia, the study found 20.7% of study participants without depression developed dementia, compared with 23.5% of people who reported depression in midlife only and 31.4% of those who were depressed later in life. Among those who were depressed at both mid-and late-life, 31.5% developed dementia.
     Researchers then did more analysis to tease out Alzheimer’s diagnoses from the broader dementia category. They found people who were depressed in midlife but not late in life had no increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. People who were depressed late in life were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s while those depressed at both mid-and late life were three times as likely to develop vascular dementia.
     Dr. Whitmer’s research focused on people’s health and how it affects brain aging. Previous studies she has conducted using Kaiser’s database of long-term members, have shown that factors such as smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and belly fat increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. A 2008 study looking at belly fat showed people who had more belly fat during middle age had higher rates of dementia when they reached old age. The finding held true even for people whose overall body weight was considered normal.
     Kaiser Permanente Northern California is a large, nonprofit health maintenance organization that provides health services to more than one-quarter of the population in the San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., areas.
     Dr. Whitmer’s most recent study, conducted with researchers from the University of California in San Francisco, was funded by Kaiser Permanente, the National Institutes of Health and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

Don’t let life get you down. You could end up losing more than a good night’s sleep. And do-overs are always possible, when a new day dawns. More time to create memories…

Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love

Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…the highlight of our golden years…

………hugmamma.   

braggarts???

Mother-Teresa-collage

A very telling article appeared in today’s copy of the Wall Street Journal. It probably applies to all of us who weren’t created from the same mold as Mother Theresa.

While the writer has a point, it’s my humble opinion that we talk about ourselves as a means of ensuring our legacy. If not us, who? Ninety-nine percent of us will never do anything to see our names lit up on a Times Square marquee.

Broadway show billboards at the corner of 7th ...

Broadway show billboards at the corner of 7th Avenue and West 47th Street in Times Square in New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A trait  we inherited from our prehistoric ancestors, storytelling is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing. And that we get to be the protagonists of our own stories…hey! everybody’s got a chance to be the star. So like I tell my daughter when she prepares for a performance, “Star in whatever role you’re dancing.”

Science Reveals Why We Brag So Much
by Robert Lee Hotz

     Talking about ourselves–whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter–triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money, researchers reported Monday.
     About 40% of everyday speech is devoted to telling others about what we feel or think. Now, through five brain imaging and behavioral experiments, Harvard University neuroscientists have uncovered the reason: It feels so rewarding, at the level of brain cells and synapses, that we can’t help sharing our thoughts.
     “Self-disclosure is extra rewarding,” said Harvard neuroscientist Diana Tamir, who conducted the experiments with Harvard colleague Jason Mitchell. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “People were even willing to forgo money in order to talk about themselves,” Ms. Tamir said.
     To assess people’s inclination for what the researchers call “self disclosure,” they conducted laboratory tests to see whether people placed an unusually high value on the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. They also monitored brain activity among some volunteers to see what parts of the brain were most excited when people talked about themselves as opposed to other people. The dozens of volunteers were mostly Americans who lived near the university.
     In several tests, they offered the volunteers money if they chose to answer questions about other people, such as President Obama, rather than about themselves, paying out on a sliding scale of up to four cents. Questions involved casual matters such as whether someone enjoyed snowboarding or liked mushrooms on a pizza. Other queries involved personality traits, such as intelligence, curiosity or aggression.
     Despite the financial incentive, people often preferred to talk about themselves and willingly gave up between 17% and 25% of their potential earnings, so they could reveal personal information. “We joked that this was the penny for your thoughts study,” Ms. Tamir said.
     In related tests, the scientists used a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, which tracks changes in blood flow between neurons associated with mental activity, to see what parts of the brain responded most strongly when people talked about their own beliefs and options, rather than speculating about other people.
     Generally, acts of self disclosure were accompanied by spurts of heightened activity in brain regions belonging to the meso-limbic dopamine system, which is associated with the sense of reward and satisfaction from food, money or sex.
     “It rings true to me,” said psychologist James Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin, who studies how people handle secrets and self-disclosure, but was not involved in the project. “We love it if other people listen to us. Why else would you tweet?”

I’ll bet Ms. Tamir and Mr. Mitchell smiled broadly when they saw their names in the Journal this morning. Instead of being buried in some musty scientific archive, their research results are national news. I cheer them, along with their colleagues, teachers, friends and family. After all, they’re only human…

…just like the rest of us…

 

………hugmamma.   😉

 

Twitter 6x6

Twitter 6×6 (Photo credit: Steve Woolf)

 

no greater love…than that of a mother for her child…

Mother holds Child

Mother holds Child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 A mom myself, I’m particularly sensitive to stories of moms and their offspring. I personally know many who continue to give of themselves in an effort to smoothe life’s path for their children. As much as is possible, that is. Yes, the umbilical cord is severed; but no, it is not.

Close friends Katy and Becky hover nearby as their children contend with life’s difficulties.

Katy’s son and daughter forge ahead in spite of illnesses that are disabling, physically and emotionally. Their spirits, however, continue to soar under the watchful eye of their mom whose generosity of spirit knows no bounds.

Three ballet dancers

Three ballet dancers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Becky has not allowed the naysayers to get in the way of her son’s desire to dance professionally. She has helped him wend his way through life’s ups and downs while managing ADHD and depression. That he graduated cum laude with a double major from Indiana’s Butler University and has been a member of a couple of ballet companies since, is in no small way owing to my friend’s perseverance on his behalf.

Friends Mary and Zorianna, she who keeps my tresses trimmed and colored, each have a daughter and a son. In their early 20s, they are still growing into adulthood. Not such an easy task in the current economy. College fees and lack of jobs are enough to have parents talking to themselves without letup. Better that my friends and I vent with one another, to let off steam. 

Skateboarder in Grants Pass, Oregon. Category:...

Skateboarder in Grants Pass, Oregon. Category:Skateboarding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exercise instructor and good friend Kristina parents with steadfast understanding. Her son, a professional skateboarder with a board named after him, has pursued his love of the sport since he was 16. Now in his early 20s, he proudly pays a monthly mortgage on a home in Oregon. And his mom is only too willing to make the 4 hour trek to help with household repairs that pop up. God bless her!

Kristina’s daughter graduated with a degree in theatre arts. Satisfied doing a stint with a traveling company that entertained school-age children and a year or so with local theatre groups, she redirected her focus to becoming a nutritionist. An extrovert by nature, Kristina’s daughter eventually opted out from behind textbooks to work full-time in a health food store. It’s for sure she’ll work her way up the corporate ladder for she’s got the ambition and the discipline to go after what she wants.

Of all the stories that touch my heart, my friend Barbara’s is the saddest. In her 70s, I’m not certain she will get the happy ending she so desires.

Jeogori

Jeogori (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barb and her husband, both Caucasian, cherish the Korean daughter they adopted as a baby. Enfolding her within their warm embrace, they gave themselves totally to raising their beloved child. They encouraged their daughter to learn about her own culture and were happy to welcome a Korean son-in-law into their family. As fate would have it, their daughter’s in-laws and college friends heavily influenced her withdrawal from her adoptive family.

Infrequent visits with her daughter, who resides out-of-state, and their 2 grandsons brings tears to Barb’s eyes. The boys had spent summers with their grandparents but no longer do so, because of the strained relationship between their mom and her adoptive parents.

Fortunately my friend and her husband have a son upon whom they dote, as well as his family. But they continue to hope their daughter might someday have a change of heart. They love her dearly. It’s evident each time Barb and I speak of our daughters. She always commends the closeness I share with mine.

Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..

…there’s no sacrifice too great or love too abundant…for a mom whose child is life’s greatest…reward…

………hugmamma.  🙂