wake up!…the clock’s ticking…

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus (Photo credit: anaxolotl)

That’s the news I received from my family doctor. I’m pre-diabetic.

According to the news, I’ve something in common with millions of Americans. Small comfort since statistics don’t help in battling the disease. We’ve each got to help ourselves regain and maintain good health. It’s not impossible…just lots of hard work. And the older I get, I’ve less energy and will power for using more elbow grease. Especially when my elbow’s arthritic.

Learning that I’m pre-diabetic wasn’t a surprise. My mom had it, a brother has it, and I’m sure most of my other siblings do as well. It’s in our genes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. We have a say in the path our health takes. And it always comes back to…exercise and diet.

Rather than assign me to some implausible regimen, my doctor agrees that my best resolve is to ramp up my exercise and stay clear of anything white…foods, that is. No white breads. No white rice.

I’ve done it before; I can do it again. The difference being…time’s running out on my ability to hit the reset button. Older age has a way of dealing with procrastination…it doesn’t. At a certain point the door closes on our options.

Only one option remains for me now…a lifestyle change with no going back. I’ve gotta do…what I’ve gotta do…

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus (Photo credit: rosmary)

…the alternative…is not an option…

………hugmamma.     😦

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a brave decision…a necessary one…

English: A member of the audience holds a &quo...

English: A member of the audience holds a “Thank You” sign during President Barack Obama’s speech on medicare fraud and health care insurance reform at St. Charles High School in St. Charles, Mo., March 10, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stepping out from behind his conservative mantle Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts stood apart, and gave voice to his own thoughts on the matter of Obama‘s Health Care Reform Law.

In my 20s I worked for Hawaii Medical Service Association, the Blue Cross-Blue Shield in that state. I was a customer service rep for a few years, helping insured members understand the hows and whys of their reimbursements or nonpayments. It was a tricky path to maneuver, defending the insurance giant’s decisions.

Looking back…it was a lot of mumbo-jumbo, smoke and screens. Granted, it makes more sense when one is ensconced in the jargon on a daily basis. However the reality of it is insurance companies want to give back as little of the money as possible in benefits, that they garner in premiums from its members. At the time I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable that the big-wigs were giving themselves great salaries and nice perks. I heard this from a friend who was married to a rising star in management.

Granted, huge compensation packages are part and parcel of capitalism. Companies use them to attract and keep excellent executives. However in dealing with life and death, making money is not like buying and selling merchandise. Unlike any other enterprise, health insurance coverage deals in morality. Dismissing this fundamental fact in favor of believing that disbursement of health dollars should be strictly measured according to some committee’s valuation is disturbing…at least to me.

I don’t profess to be an expert on Obamacare. Just as there are some good points, I’m certain there are some that don’t bode well for certain groups. I can only speak to those that hold value for me.

Among those items I support…family plans to allow coverage for children until age 26, drug help for seniors, premiums for women the same as for men, no disallowance for pre-existing conditions, and no maxing out of coverage. 

Having to explain to insured members that they aren’t covered for treatment of diabetes or heart disease or pregnancies because they’re pre-existing conditions was like walking on hot rocks. Not fun. Not easy. But I made it to the other side of the argument. And if I didn’t, I turned the customer over to my supervisor. He was better at walking on hot rocks. I guess it helped that he made more money than me. That helps when you’ve got to take on a nearly-impossible task.

 Then there were the times when I had to tackle the conundrum of insured members maxing out their medical benefits. “Oh, sorry. We’re no longer covering your chemotherapy treatment because you’ve run out of coverage. Sorry. Sorry.”

think outside the box

think outside the box (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Ever since I left the insurance business, I’ve been extremely reluctant to deal with my own or my family’s medical claim problems. I know the rigamarole, the yada-yada-yada, the run-around. I’m resigned to the fact that customer service reps are regurgitating what they’ve learned to say by rote. Thinking outside the box is not generally allowed.

insurance

insurance (Photo credit: I am marlon)

Rather than succumb to stress which would ultimately undermine my own health, I try to “think outside the box” to help myself. Not everyone has the means or wherewithall to do the same. So I commend President Obama for sticking his own political neck out, and Chief Justice Roberts for alienating his conservative cronies. They have given a hand up to those unable to take on the big conglomerates by themselves.

Having been to the emergency room on several occasions, I can attest to the astronomical costs those visits incur. After my last trip when I was sure something was terribly wrong when nausea and sharp abdominal pain came on suddenly, I firmly resolved never to return when I saw the $8,000 bill. And I have insurance! So I’m not obligating my fellow taxpayers to foot my expenses. Without health care reform, we’re all paying emergency room visits for the uninsured.

Those with the most to lose, don’t like it when the status quo is disrupted.

Change is inevitable. History overflows with examples. Mankind has always adjusted, sometimes kicking and screaming all the way. Life moves forward, regardless.

My advice? Live long. Live happy. Even if you can’t embrace it, get use to change…

…especially when it’s…for the better of all human beings…not just some…

………hugmamma. 

one american’s thoughts…

 In 2009 I began blogging in response to pundits who said they were speaking for the American people. Almost daily I was scrunching my nose, rolling my eyes and talking back to the TV. Exasperated, I often fumed…”are they talking about me?” No one called to ask, not that I’d answer the phone. But still…who told them what I was thinking?

Well here we are again in the midst of another Presidential campaign. How time flies…when you’re having fun. Hmmm…

What are MY thoughts?

President of the United States Barrack Obama

President of the United States Barrack Obama (Photo credit: AN HONORABLE GERMAN)

It seems to me that a black man with a Muslim name wasn’t ever going to occupy the Presidency…without forever having to prove he belonged. As far as white men, and those who think like white men, are concerned Barack Obama is the outsider with his nose pressed up against the glass…still trying to play with the big boys. In this case…the “good ole boys.” If he were a “front man,” things might be different.

That Obama has a mind of his own is a double-edged sword. He’s doing things the way he knows how, which doesn’t always  win him friends. As we well know. He’s a thinker… prone to weighing all options before acting. He’s a professor…encouraging discussion and compromise. He’s a constitutional lawyer…knowing how far he can push the envelope. And he’s a public servant…driven by his compassion for the underdog.

I imagine Obama as a man with a family who goes to work every day, like any typical American providing for his loved ones.

As President, Obama’s days are long. He’s juggling a war, a recovering economy, high unemployment, a combative Congress, terrorists, Mid-East turmoil, nuclear threats, natural disasters, Europe’s financial upheaval…and criticism…nonstop criticism. Including those who deny his U.S. citizenry.

The man has stamina. He’s ready, willing, and able…to go another 4 rounds. Obama’s a glutton for punishment…or the eternal optimist…or both.

Decades ago, when I was in college, I read a novel which told of international bankers who controlled governments, manipulating them for their own selfish purposes. During a class discussion there was talk that bankers were, in fact, in control of global finances. I’d never heard of such a thing. It seemed so hush-hush.

Here we are today with Super Packs buying the White House. And no one’s sweeping it under the carpet. It’s front and center in the media, 24/7. No secrets here, except as it pertains to who the money men are. They could even be foreigners with a vested interest in America’s activities at home and abroad.

So the vote for President of the United States is between an unlikely incumbent, and the “old boys” choice who might be obligated to one or more foreigners with their own agenda.

A U.S. citizen who happens to be black, with a name that some ascribe to our enemy…or the man with all the right credentials which might not be the case with some of his backers.

These are my thoughts based upon gut instinct. I don’t presume to know…what every other American thinks. We’re all entitled to our own opinions…

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington’s 1789 inauguration. VIRIN: 090120-F-3961R-919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…we’re all equal…in God’s eyes…

………hugmamma.

 

say what?…eat…what???

Offal Tacos

From time to time I’ll post an article of interest from The Wall Street Journal. Well, this is one of those times. I couldn’t regurgitate it if I tried. And believe me…I don’t want to try.

You might be more the gourmand than moi. Read on…

Smalahove

Smalahove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Offal Tale: For This Club, Everything Is on the Menu
In New York City, ‘Innard Circle’ Samples Wide Range of Fare; ‘Always Terrific
by Spencer Jakab

     You’ll never be a member of the Innard Circle if the likes of brains in black butter, Uzbek boiled spleen or Fujianese pig heart make you squirm.
     Since 1999, an intrepid band of New York City foodies has been meeting about once a month to indulge their penchant for “nose to tail eating” in a city that provides great opportunity to do so. The city’s thousands of ethnic restaurants are constantly refreshed by new waves of immigrants, many of whose cultures serve animal parts that most Americans wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot fork.
     For the organ-lovers though, what really gets their goat–or pig or sheep or rabbit–is when a restaurant is out of a delicacy they traveled across town to sample.
     “I mean really, who eats bull’s penis before 7:00 p.m.? complained Bobby Ghosh at a May meeting, recounting a recent trip to a northern Chinese restaurant in Queens.
     They had to settle for the animal’s somewhat chewy testicles and a dish on the menu called “Big Buckstraps Paddywack.” The waitress, who only spoke Mandarin, pointed energetically to her diaphragm when asked what they were eating. Mr. Ghosh said. That was as close as the group got to discerning what part of the animal it was.
     It was tough but tasty, they say.
     Mr. Ghosh, originally from Bengal in northeastern India, was Time Magazine‘s Baghdad bureau chief for five years and worked in Hong Kong–both places where he sampled a wide range of food. Always seeking variety, different types of meat began to taste more or less the same to him.
     “But a camel’s eyeball is way different from a goat’s eyeball,” he said.
     Digging in to a five-course meal of organ meats specially prepared for the group by Umbrian chef Sandro Fioriti at his Upper East Side eatery Sandro’s, journalist Daniel Okrent, one of the group’s founders, tries to explain what attracts him to innards.
     “Growing up, I was a very picky eater,” he said. But his wife Becky, a food critic and a member, introduced him to what’s known as the “fifth quarter” of the animal and he’s never looked back.
     “There’s no question there’s an element of showing off, but it’s great food,” he said, between bites of brain, kidney, intestines and sweetbreads with polenta.
     Though he has had many memorable meals with the group in New York–and who wouldn’t remember the likes of “crispy colorectal,” North Korean jellied tripe or a central Asian organ melange called “geez-beez”–he says the pinnacle of his offal-eating days came in the 1990’s during a trip to Italy. An old restaurant near Rome’s stockyards served him rigatoni alla pajata–the intestines of a freshly-slaughtered nursing calf still containing the curdled milk of its mother.
     “Does that gross you out?” asked Melissa Easton, an industrial designer and the group’s unofficial “organ”-izer.
     A shrug brings a nod of approval, as if having passed a squeamishness test. Many haven’t.
     “We’ve had people join us for a single meal and never come back, without explanation,” Ms. Easton said. “There’s a certain kind of discomfort that registers on their face when they realize what they’ve gotten into.”
     No wonder the late Calvin Schwabe’s 1979 book on Americans’ disdain for foods that he called “cheap, nutritious and good to eat” is titled

Cover of

Cover of Unmentionable Cuisine

Unmentionable Cuisine.” He chalked it up to “prejudice or ignorance.”
     It is no accident that the Innard Circle, which has about a dozen steady members, isn’t only a well-traveled group but, with journalists, authors and a book publisher, a well-read one too. After all, the most famous organ-eater of all time is the character Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s  novel Ulysses. Bloom “ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes.”
     Ms. Easton, like most members, struggles to come up with the oddest thing she has eatern because it all seems normal to her and usually delicious. The best thing she has had is seared calf liver sashimi at a Japanese place in the West Village.
     Jeannette Seaver, a publisher and author of four cookbooks, joined the group a decade ago because of her love for her native French food.
     “Our cuisine offers many succulent dishes made of innards, so it seemed right for me to be part of the group,” she says. “The food is daring, challenging at times, but always terrific.”
     The group, which is also known as Organ Grinders, finds plenty of humor in the foods. Fond of puns, the word “offal” is particularly ripe for abuse. The word’s English etymology speaks volumes about Anglo-Saxon disdain for organs. With origins in the 14th century, it is thought to refer to the “off-fall” from the butcher’s block, meaning the less desirable parts.
     Some members’ attraction to offal stems from their disdain for Western squeamishness and wastefulness.
     “This isn’t weird–it’s perfectly normal for lots of people around the world,” said criminologist Leonid Lantsman between mouthfuls of spicy duck tongue and braised goose intestine at a June meeting of the club at Chinatown eatery Rong Hang. “If more people ate entrails and offal then we wouldn’t waste so much food.”
     The seven-course meal began with duck kidney, before moving on to more hard-core offerings: beef large intestine in Fujianese red wine paste and pig stomach. The somewhat lighter frog’s legs and pig skin hot and sour soup followed and then gave way to a couple of exotic but non-organ offerings.
     “Watch out everyone–there’s no offal in this one!” joked Robert Sietsema, a food critic at the Village Voice, as a seafood dish was placed on the table.
     The one organ the group has yet to sample, despite it being a delicacy for some ethnic groups, is uterus.
     “I guess it’s more of a home-cooked thing,” said Ms. Easton.
     But she would eat it in a heartbeat.
     “Am I missing some part of my brain–the part that screams revulsion? Perhaps. In fact, very likely.”

 

Roast Pork and offal on rice AUD11.50 - City B...

Roast Pork and offal on rice AUD11.50 – City BBQ 鸿运 (Photo credit: avlxyz)

Now I ask you…aren’t you just going to rush right out and get yourself…some innards?

Growing up on the island of Maui, and being of Hawaiian descent, I did partake of ancestral foods at festive celebrations known as…luaus. At the time I was so caught up in the deliciousness of things our family did not regularly eat, largely owing to our near-impoverished status.  A greenish, pea soup looking dish was pretty tasty, until I learned it was made from pig’s intestines. Blood sausage…was just that. I never cottoned to it.

My mom, a native Hawaiian, drooled  over tripe stew, pig’s feet, turtle soup, taro patch snails, sea urchin…and who knows what else. I’m certain my father, of Chinese ancestry, had his peculiar tastes as well. Somehow their taste buds never made it down to me…their 9th child together.

…can’t say i’m sorry…that i feel i missed out or something…   😦

………hugmamma.

life…death…life

Just returned from visiting blogger friend, Jeanne, at http://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com/. I came away with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat after reading her most recent post, Lucy’s Light…A Mother’s Story. After viewing the youtube video, I remembered a story that also tugged at my heart.

Suncadia - Destination Hotels & Resorts

On a recent getaway to Suncadia Resort in Eastern Washington, I luxuriated in having a manicure/pedicure. Not something I normally have done, but when offered for free, I find very difficult to reject. And as it turned out, I’m glad I did because it meant money in the pocket of a very deserving young woman.

Because I’m inclined to chat with everyone as though they were long, lost friends, the manicurist and I “hit the ground running.” I told her my life story…and she told me hers. In a nutshell, of course. We were only together an hour.

I learned that my new friend has 2 young sons. Her husband is a high school baseball coach. During the summer months he helps coach local youth groups. Because it takes up so much of his time, he’s planning to cut back so he can spend more time with his own boys. But given the current economy, he’s planning to return to school to become  a teacher. With family and friends living nearby, the children have ready-made babysitters when their parents are at work.

Bill and Melinda Gates during their visit to t...

Bill and Melinda Gates during their visit to the Oslo Opera House in June 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As if I didn’t already wish I was Melinda Gates who doles out megabucks to families in need, the end of the manicurist‘s story humbled me further.

Speaking softly, as if lost in her own reverie, my friend recounted how she had been pregnant with a girl. The family anticipated her arrival with unimaginable joy. A joy that wasn’t to last. 

The umbilical cord had wrapped around the baby’s neck, causing her to die. To compound their sorrow, the baby had to be delivered at full term. No shortcuts allowed.

If I remember correctly, having a Caesarian would’ve proved fatal for the mother. 

There is a happily-ever-after to the story, however. When I met my friend, she had just returned from an 8-week maternity leave. The family is now complete…with a girl. The baby’s middle name is that of her sister…had she lived. 

Tears streamed down my cheeks, co-mingling with the water in which my fingers were soaking. I wanted to reach for Mrs. Gates’ checkbook…   😦

Umbilical cord

Umbilical cord (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This story made me reflect back to my own daughter’s birth. She too had been in distress because the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around her neck.

At the time, heavily into labor, I’m sure I wasn’t thinking I’d lose my baby. That was probably the furthest thing from my mind. I’m certain I assumed the doctor would correct the problem, even if he had to perform a miracle. Doctors do that, don’t they?

At 36-years-old, death was not something I contemplated. Ask me now…that I’m going to be 63.

Funny thing…the manicurist and my daughter share the same name.

And now back to Lucy’s Light…A Mother’s Story, You might want to view it on Youtube as narrated by her mom Monica. And be prepared to tear up. By the way…she’s a friend of Jeanne’s, my blogger friend who got me thinking about…

…life…death…life…

 ………hugmamma.

i was a ford mustang…now i’m a volkswagon beetle

God bless my brother Ben who must sit at his keyboard forwarding every email forwarded to him from everyone he knows…and doesn’t know.

I must confess to not reading the political ones…we might as well be on different planets where politics is concerned. I’m so-so about the doom and gloom ones. Sometimes I read them…sometimes not. The ones that are meant to tickle my funny bone…I’ll have a peek at those. Once-in-awhile I might even share one.

Here’s that one…

If my body was a car this is the time I would be thinking about trading
it in for a newer model.

I’ve got bumps and dents and scratches in my
finish and my paint job is getting a little dull, but that’s not the
worst of it. 

My headlights are out of focus and it’s especially hard to
see things up close. 

My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I
slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of
weather. 

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins

It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. 

My fuel rate burns inefficiently.

But here’s the worst of it –> >Almost every time I sneeze, cough or
sputter…. either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires!!!!!!!!! 

 

Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my youth I was breezy, carefree, silly, romantic, kinda sexy, dance-y, chatty…

 😆     😆     😆

 

 

 

English: Volkswagon Beetle in London Road

English: Volkswagon Beetle in London Road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nowadays…I’m sneezy, stressed, glum, menopausal…cuddly, still moving, still gabby!!!

………hugmamma.      😦     🙂     😆

 

thought…for today

Sometimes an inspirational phrase crosses my path which I feel compelled to share…

“Honesty is the First Chapter in the Book of Wisdom”
-Benjamin Franklin-

………hugmamma.  

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

the flexibility of…youth

Apart from the age difference, there’s a mental and physical fluidity that separates the generations. My daughter and I are living proof of that chasm.

Today she’s enroute to a new life, or at least a modification of her normal one. At the invitation of a friend who created her own contemporary company, my daughter will be dancing with them for the next month. The pay is small, not even minimum wage. That she’s even being paid is amazing since the company is fledgling, at best just a year old. Donations and grants are sustaining the venture; passion and hard work are growing it by leaps and bounds.

My daughter made out better financially dancing with California’s University of Irvine’s program, the National Choreographer’s Initiative. For 3 weeks work, she was paid $2,000 plus partial airfare and pointe shoe costs. She was invited to return for a 4th summer, but had promised her friend she’d help with the effort to grow the newbie company. A promise is a promise, after all. And there’s always something new to be learned from unexplored turf.

English: Modern pointe shoes. The edge of the ...

English: Modern pointe shoes. The edge of the toe pad, which is inserted between the foot and toe box for cushioning, can be seen on the right foot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite glitches in my daughter’s flight with Delta due to mechanical problems, she was not deterred from the adventure that lay ahead. Even if it meant she had to return home, and begin the trip anew tomorrow. Her luggage might’ve made the trip ahead of her, but after all it only contained stuff. Thankfully, however, she’d stashed her pointe shoes in her carry-on bag. They are not easily replaced as they are hand made, and at a hefty price, with a lengthy ship date.

My husband and I were pleased to finally hear that our daughter and her luggage made a later flight, and is headed for some kick-butt fun.  She might’ve expressed it a tad differently, but after all I’m still a product of my generation and Catholic upbringing. I must admit though…there’s always been a little bit of the devil in me. Isn’t that an Irish trait? Well then they have something in common with us Hawaiians.

So while my daughter is off somewhere living a jet-setter‘s life, albeit on the salary of a starving artist, I’m living vicariously through my writing, my blogging. Easier on my back, although it’s questionable since I’m hunched over a keyboard for long stretches at a time. Less stress since there’s no packing or security lines involved. Not to mention delayed flights. I can use the restroom anytime, a luxury compared to sucking it up when I squeeze into the plane’s port-a-potty. I can eat at will. Not an advantage, more like a sin committed every half-an-hour or so. And no amount of confessing gets me the absolution I need…weight loss.

Energy and will power diminish with age. That’s my excuse. I reckon I’m not the only one hiding behind that one. At least I hope not. Wish I could rev up my engine and let loose like a ball shot from a canon. I won’t stop trying, but I won’t complain either.

Life is change and change is good. Adjusting to change takes work, but the rewards are pretty satisfying. So I’ll do my thing…

…and i’ll happily watch my daughter…do hers…

………hugmamma.    🙂

weekly photo challenge: create

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Furnishing dollhouses was a hobby my daughter and I shared as she was growing up. The first dollhouse was a gift for her which my husband assembled from a kit. We painstakingly finished it off with paint, wallpaper, roofing tiles, and electricity. We were quite pleased with the finished product, as was our daughter who squealed with delight upon seeing it Christmas morning.

The following year my husband’s aunt and uncle visited from California, bringing with them a surprise for our daughter. Driving their trusty trailer the 3,000 miles to our home in Redding, Conncecticut, they eagerly presented her with a dollhouse that uncle had built with pride. He’d built dollhouses for 3 granddaughters as well.

To our great surprise uncle had built the exact same dollhouse that we’d presented to my daughter! There was a slight difference, one that made his more convenient for 360 degree viewing. Attached to its underside was a turntable. This dollhouse could be placed anywhere, unlike the first which had to be situated so that the front of the house and the inside could be seen at the same time. Displaying it took some creativity on my part when trying to incorporate it into our home furnishings. A dilemma not easily solved in a 100-year-old, 1500 square foot, Victorian farmhouse. But I managed.

Now there were 2 dollhouses to display and furnish. Over time, the one built by uncle  was furnished with pieces selected by my daughter. She lovingly arranged each as she imagined a house should look…lived in. Miniature food was left out on the table, pumpkin carvings on newsprint on the floor, magazines and games strewn about.

The one my husband had built became a haven for the vintage finds I favored. I was delighted to have another outlet for my insatiable passion for antiques…of any size. Normal size or miniatures, originals or replicas, none of that mattered. The “look” is what I obsessed about. This dollhouse began to resemble the feel of our house…only in miniature.

What fun my daughter and I had creating comfortable dwellings for imaginary people. And she and friends spent countless hours playing house like the wee folk…thanks to 2 creative geniuses…

…her father…and great uncle…

………hugmamma.   🙂

what would you do?…if there were no more days left?

After lunch and browsing the aisles at my favorite garden nursery, Molbak’s, my husband and I decided to take in a movie at the iPic Theatre. Yes. The same one where the seats recline and cocktails are served. We opted for the normal seats this time, not wanting to doze off, even for a few minutes, as we did when we saw Men In Black 3.

Two Weeks (The Office)

Two Weeks (The Office) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scanning my cell phone for movies at nearby theatres, the only one of interest starred Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley. He’s funny; she’s a beauty. The title seemed to spell…light entertainment, Seeking to Find a Friend for the End of the World. My favorite movies are ones that make me laugh. If there’s romance, all the better. Hubby’s okay with chic flicks…now and then. Especially since I’ll go with him to action films…now and then.

Neither of us was prepared for what we saw.

Dodge, Carrell’s character, is abandoned by his wife at a stoplight when the radio announcer reminds listeners that the apocalypse is bearing down upon them in the form of an asteroid. Apparently she’d been having an affair and decided to end her days with her lover, rather than with her husband.

Penny, Knightley’s character, is distraught that she’ll never see her family in England again. She regrets having wasted her life with loser boyfriends.

When friends and strangers alike seem hell bent on re-enacting Sodom and Gommorah, the twin sin cities from the Bible, Dodge and Penny flee the scene. He promises to help her get home to her family; she returns the favor offering to help him find his first true love, a high school sweetheart who writes him a letter of regret for having dumped him way back when.

I won’t give away the whole story in the hopes that you might go see the movie yourselves. The twists and turns are unexpected, oft times funny, sometimes touching.

The bottom line? Given a short time to live before the destruction of the world as we know it…how would you want to spend those last days? Would you want to wear everything of value like one character who donned her fur coat, diamond tiara, bracelets and necklaces, and attempted to seduce Dodge? Or as another character did, would you screw every woman you could…just because? Or like a third character, would you hire a hit man to help you commit suicide.

 While the images above seem bizarre, you have to wonder what it would really feel like to face armageddon, the final apocalyptic battle between good and evil? According to the Mayan calendar, isn’t that suppose to occur on December 21, 2012?

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World made me think…and wonder…and decide…what’s really important to me. But is that how I’ll feel when and if, the end comes for all mankind? Can I be as certain of myself when times are good…as when times are horrific?

stock photo : The end of the world…what about you?…

………hugmamma.

12 ordinary women…

Not so ordinary…as it turns out. Twelve women, hence the name, 12 Ordinary Women (http://12ordinarywomen.com/) who came together to support a common cause…a handup for those in need. Whatever the need.

I’d never heard of the group until my daughter told me about the gift basket given her anonymously. The messengers who sought her out while she was in dance rehearsals at the studio, couldn’t tell her from whom or why she was selected as the recipient. A curious friend googled the website of the group and that’s how my daughter learned about her benefactors.

Along with gift cards to a couple of restaurants and other goodies, was a card addressed to my daughter. Not only were the ladies generous with their tangible tokens of affection, but their words of kindness were touching. They let my daughter know that she was loved and admired, that she should be proud of her accomplishments. I can’t recollect all they wrote, but I was moved that strangers would take the time to acknowledge my daughter with love and respect. What parent doesn’t want others to see how special one’s own child is?

We’ve no idea why my daughter was selected for such generosity. She and I spoke at length, seeking to find the basis for it. Whatever the reason, it warms my heart to know that in this world there are people who take the time to tell others…”you’re worth it.”

God bless…the extraordinary…TWELVE ORDINARY WOMEN…

…hugmamma.

a personal experience…voting…

The news is flooded with coverage of both presidential candidates, Obama and Romney. And there’ll be no letup until after the election in the fall.

How we vote depends upon our comfort level with each candidate, as well as our own life experiences.

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetor...

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro and Barack Obama, mid 1970s (l to r) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obama…the product of a divorced, multi-racial couple…a black child raised by a single, white mother in Hawaii… a child whose stepfather was Indonesian…raised by white grandparents upon the death of their daughter…college grad…public services worker…college professor…senator…U.S. President.

Romney…the product of a wealthy family comfortably ensconced in white society…college grad…businessman…governor…businessman.

Each man’s background and experiences define his candidacy. It’s unlikely he will shift away from the path he’s traveled.

Obama is mired in the morass of humankind as he struggles to lead. Romney won’t tolerate struggle. He’ll lead, even if it means a takeover. 

…your experiences…your choice…

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

………hugmamma.

my fountain of youth?…

Tooth!

Tooth! (Photo credit: Jacob Johan)

…my teeth!!! Hard to believe, but I’m convinced of it.

A visit to the dentist the end of May for teeth cleaning brought discomfort to my right back molar. I dismissed it hoping with time the ache would disappear. While pain came and went in varying degrees, as the weeks progressed it became chronic. As is usually the case, self-diagnosing came to a halt. I decided it was time to call the expert…my dentist.

After some root canal work, it was pronounced that I had an infected tooth. Bacteria had probably been festering beneath the gold crown for some time. Who knows how long it’s been since a dentist checked beneath that molar. It’s been more than a decade since I regularly visited a dentist. The last time was in Connecticut. Even the xray taken by my dentist yesterday failed to show the extent of the problem. Drilling a hole through the crown was necessary. The dentist cleaned out the tooth but is uncertain if there’s more that he can’t see. I’ll return for further work, including a new crown. Meanwhile I’m on 1500 milligrams of amoxycillin a day for a week or so.

When I awoke this morning it’s as though the weight I’d carried around in my neck and shoulders for months had been lifted. I felt like a new woman. The fog that engulfed my head, lifted. The view from the summit, crystal clear. The headaches I’d been experiencing, gone.

I literally bounced out of bed, my energy at an all time high. I couldn’t wait to tackle my chores, though I’ve such a backlog, I need more than one day to cross them all off my “to-do” list. But even more surprising, the fatigue I usually begin to experience by late afternoon did not materialize. It still hasn’t, and it’s nearing my bedtime. I even managed to walk for half-an-hour after dinner.

No longer a “doubting Thomas,” I firmly believe our teeth hold the secret to longevity. Neglect them, and they will deteriorate taking us with them. I’ll bet the ills that befall the poor, the aging, the sick, and those who take life for granted stem from a lack of basic dental hygiene.

My eyes have been opened to faithfully…

…brushing… flossing… and visiting the dentist…regularly…

Postcard from the Fountain of Youth in St. Aug...

Postcard from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…hugmamma.

calling comcast…are you there?

Early readers of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul are familiar with several posts I’d written detailing my experiences, good and not-so-good, with cable giant Comcast. Knock-on-wood, for the most part I’ve enjoyed uninterrupted internet service since then.

Customer Service

My good fortune is owed in great part to the tracking of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul by Comcast national customer service rep, Mark. It’s been some time since we’ve “spoken,” so his last name escapes me. At the time I knew it backwards and forwards, that’s how much I had come to rely upon him.

Before I go the normal route of responding to computerized questions to resolve my situation, I thought I’d try calling Mark via the blogosphere. “Yo, Mark! Hugmamma calling…hello…are you out there?” 

 Just found his contact information from my earlier post, below…

Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations
We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

As a combination wedding anniversary/early birthday gift my husband bought me an android, a cell phone like an iPhone…but not. Talk about a boost to my brain cells. I must’ve grown several million these last few days while figuring out all the bells and whistles.

I got a great deal on my Motorola. Since it’s being replaced by a newer version with a larger battery pack, the price was reduced. With no room in my small purse for a thicker phone, the choice was a no-brainer for me. Additional savings of 30% was included when I bought other necessities…more gigabyte, a charger, a backup battery, cover, screen protectors.

Verizon, my cell phone provider, offered another amenity for which I wasn’t prepared, but which made sense for us…land line service. Though generally satisfied with Comcast triple-package, phone/cable/internet, a definite downer occurs when we have a power outage. No electricity means no calls coming in or going out.

During our last outage due to high winds and heavy ice accumulation, I was on my own without access to my husband who overnighted in Seattle. And making my way to friends, and even neighbors, would’ve been hazardous because of falling branches and limbs.

Verizon land service began yesterday. To continue with Comcast, we now need to find out if they’ll offer us a good price for a double package. If not…the search begins…

…any suggestions?

………hugmamma.

…comfort zones…

…stepping away from them.

Nuts (film)

Nuts (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re like me, human, you’re a creature of habit. It’s so much easier to stick with something you’ve thought or done a gazillion times, than it is to risk it all to try something unfamiliar. Of course if we’ve no choice, as when something or someone dictates change, then we rise to the occasion. But deciding to take that leap on our own…are you nuts?!? And the older we get the harder it is to…jump off a cliff…even with a parachute! 

200

200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The oldsters magazine from AARP, spoke to this topic in an article by Ken Budd. “New Adventures, New Risks, New You!” encourages seniors to jump into life without pausing to ensure there’s a safety net. Budd writes

I was struggling to find my purpose. And then a friend gave me some advice: “You only know about yourself when you’re outside your comfort zone.” Without really planning on it, I started volunteering around the world and plunging myself into sometimes scary, always fulfilling experiences. 

Budd goes on to describe his various volunteer escapades, from cooking spaghetti for 42 hungry and eager children in Kenya to “building rock walls in the West Bank or working at a school in China.” Along the way he

was kicked by a horse, scratched by children…lost half a thumbnail after slipping on a slope in the Andes (which felt a bit like an interrogation technique used by secret police)…nearly stepped on a tarantula…forced to drop [his] pants by Israeli security…suffered stomach viruses in China and Kenya…slept on the floor for two weeks in an unfurnished apartment with 18 guys and one bathroom…had a spider bite…the size of a golf ball…

In spite of his trials and tribulations Budd says “And yet thinking about these incidents makes me smile.” The man must’ve lingered in the Kenyan sun too long.

Experts, in this case Susan Biali, a Canadian doctor, wellness expert and life coach, and Cornell University researchers, weighed in on the benefits of risk-taking. According to Biali ” ‘A lot of people see anxiety, fear, and nervousness as a warning that says, “Danger! Danger!” but it’s actually a sign you’re moving forward…’ ”  And the Cornell researchers theorized that of study participants “57 percent…were happier after spending money on an experience instead of on stuff, compared with 34 percent who chose material goods.” The reasoning? We tend to own our experiences whose memories are longer-lasting than an outdated iPhone. Evidently we even tend to appreciate the “lousy experiences.”

It’s no surprise that the experts confirm what we already know in our gut…

…happiness helps us live longer: A study published in 2011 found that happy people were 35 percent less likely to die a premature death than their less content counterparts.

We’ve also been hearing a lot about challenging our brains. The article likens them to gardens for which “new activities are mental manure: the fertilizer for new brain cells.” We’re encouraged to change it up. ” ‘Take a new route to work. Get out of bed on a different side. Brush your teeth with a different hand. It stimulates your brain.’ ”

The experts also assure us more fun if we attempt to break old habits, especially when it comes to long-term relationships.

…a study of married couples in Psychological Science…Spending time together helps, but falling into dreary, moldy-marriage traps–meeting with a tax attorney is not a date night–will not rekindle passion. Try something new!

Budd writes “When my wife and I taught English in Costa Rica, it was exciting to see us escape our usual roles: to watch her play dodgeball and bowl with kids using a tennis ball and soda bottles for pins.” Psychologist Pepper Schwartz explains ” ‘Boredom is the enemy, so creativity is the rejuvenator.’ ” She points to examples of seniors who took a new lease on life…a couple in their 60s who started swapping partners, better known as “swinging” (really?!?)…and another couple who learned aikido, the art of self-defense. Other options include touring exotic locales, or embarking in a joint enterprise, such as a small business or foundation. Schwartz says “try new things and gain new intimacy: ‘Change the mind…and the body follows.’ ”

Finally, Budd recommends we let go of our inhibitions. He strongly recommends we give into our goofball selves.

In Kenya, I tried to say the Swahili word for shared taxi–matatu–instead said matiti, which means…boobs. As in, “Wow, the boobs are nicer here in the city…”

But I came to cherish my stupidity. Every time I felt dumb, I learned something. As Alina Tugend writes in Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong, “the fear of making mistakes is a cudgel that hangs over so many of us,” preventing us from taking risks. So here’s my risk-taking, rut-breaking advice to you: Don’t be bludgeoned by fear. Embrace every opportunity to be a bai chi. [Chinese for “idiot.”]

I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to traipse around the world getting myself into situations that would require all of my 9 lives…were I a cat…and a newborn at that…to survive and live happily-ever-after…let alone to live and tell about my adventures.

I think I’ll take baby steps outside my comfort zone.

  • When I’d prefer to ignore the sunlight peeking from beneath the drawn window shade, I’ll throw back the bed covers and eagerly dive into the day. I’ll will myself to make it to 8:15 exercise class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 
  • When I’d prefer to take our sweet dog for a short walk, I’ll will myself to go the extra mile…literally!
  • When I’d prefer a ginger ale, I’ll will myself to fill up my “tank” with no-calorie…water.
  • When I’d prefer to blog, I’ll will myself to get up off my b–t and do some housekeeping.
  • When I’d prefer to procrastinate with a doctor’s appointment, I’ll will myself to “buck up…and take it like…a man.”
  • When I’d like to sample a savory sweet…a bowl of white rice…handfuls of roasted peanuts…and second helpings of comfort food, I’ll will myself to…zip my lips!
  • And when I’m tempted to let time get away so that the night-owl in me gets the better of the early bird, I’ll will myself to slide under the bedcovers…by 10 p.m. 

Won’t you join me and throw caution to the wind. After all you only live once. So what the heck…go for it!!! Before you know it…

McNinja in mid leap

McNinja in mid leap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…baby steps soon become…tyrannosauras steps…

………hugmamma.   😆