what’s wrong with…this picture?

Did you see the one where the guys in a boat headed straight into the tornado’s water spout…with boyish glee? And when interviewed, the boat owner said…he’d do it again, given the chance?

Did you see the congressmen who, when interviewed, swore they’d shut down the government…rather than allow millions of Americans the opportunity to sign up for health care insurance tomorrow?

Did you see the video in which a black SUV is chased down by a pack of motorcyclists who travel the road as if…they own it?

As we all know, there are two sides to every story. Whatever the arguments, certain facts are indisputable.

Had the boat overturned going through the water spout, the coast guard would’ve been called into action to rescue those numb skulls. And who would have footed the bill…us, the taxpayers, of course!

If the government shuts down, thousands of middle class folks will be furloughed, military families will cease to be paid, and the health care law will go into effect. So what will those idiot Tea Party reps have gained? Why…attention on the world stage, of course…at no cost to themselves since their salaries remain intact, regardless.

The pack mentality screams out…”One for all and all for one!” So when a gang of motorcyclists takes over the highway, surrounding a car on all sides and traveling as though they’re “rubbernecking,” what’s a car driver to do? Get out and walk?

Some days it’s difficult to believe what I’m seeing…

…ever have one of those days?,,,

The Gadsden flag

 

………hugmamma. 

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weekly writing challenge: dna analysis

I’m a comic.

No. Not the Sunday news kind or the Superman kind, but the stand up kind. My daughter threatens to follow me around with a video, recording me as I mouth one-liners. And, of course, you know what comes next? She wants to share me with the world by uploading the video to YouTube! Yeah, right! Like that’s ever going to happen.

Superman

It’s not what you’re thinking, that I’m shy or humble. Heck no! It’s because neither of us knows how to upload a video onto YouTube. We’ve got the brains…we just lack the motivation. 

Funny thing about being funny. It just comes naturally, for me at least. I can’t remember anyone else in my family being funny. With 9 kids to raise after my dad died, funny was probably the furthest thing from my mom’s mind. Most likely she was thinking…life sucks…those stupid kids…I gotta get me some…I need a drink.

My siblings can be funny, when they’re not reminding me that they’re older and smarter. My brother Ed never does that though. He knows I’m smarter. I’ve got a college degree to prove it. Even though I know diddly-squat about computers, something at which Ed’s been working for 40+ years, only retiring a couple of years ago. And when it comes to being funny, he just had to open his mouth and cackle, and I was on the ground laughing my head off while holding my pee. A couple of missing teeth in his wide grin was enough to set me off.

Adolf Hitler, head-and-shoulders portrait, fac...

Talking about toothless grins. My once exuberant smile is nearly nonexistent now, unless I’m with close friends and family. That’s about 4 people.  You see, I’m in the midst of a tooth implant. Since it’s a couple of teeth back from the front left side, my smile is the length of Hitler‘s mustache. Get the picture? I could wear the retainer which the dentist made for me. It’s got my old tooth where my new crown will be. I’d have my old smile back, but then I’d have to take the retainer off every time I ate. You can see my dilemma…smile or eat…smile or eat…smile or eat. My ingenious solution? I eat during the day…and I smile when I go to bed at night. My husband likes my smile, although he wishes I wouldn’t wake him up to look at me…smiling.

It could be said that I cornered the market on funny because my siblings beat me to everything else…beauty…brains…brawn…booze. Being the youngest, I had to settle for the leftovers. Except there were no leftovers. So I went outside my family and found…funny. 

I probably caught the bug when black-and-white TV was invented. I learned funny from the masters…Laurel and Hardy…The Three Stooges…I Love Lucy…The Honeymooners…Abbott and Costello…George Burns and Gracie Allen…Red Skelton, Jerry Lewis, Art Linkletter, Milton Berle, and Jack Benny

Lucy watches Little Ricky's birthday party fro...

Lucy watches Little Ricky’s birthday party from the window ledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or maybe I decided to be funny as an attention-getter. My friends and classmates thought I was hilarious when I fooled around, making goofy faces and spinning tales that were only half true. 

Once during elementary school I told a fib that back-fired. I did it to gain popularity among my classmates but wound up making enemies instead. I don’t remember what the lie was; I only remember crying and sweating…profusely. I forgot to mention one minor detail…I was in Catholic school where the nuns taught us…not to lie. I must’ve been MIA during those lectures. 

I was cured of fibbing, but I went on being funny. Like the time I pulled a papaya tree completely out of the ground. I didn’t plan to, of course. It just happened while my best friend and I were taking a breather from hunting down a litter of stray kittens in a neighbor’s backyard. I leaned against the skinny fruit tree, wrapping my arms around its trunk. When I moved to leave…the tree came with me. We had a hard time “replanting” it, especially since we were laughing so hard. We finally leaned the papaya tree against another one nearby, and ran like the dickens before the homeowners found us trespassing on their property. The hard-working Japanese couple might have beaten us with their shovels! Can you blame them? Of course I never did tell my mom. She would’ve beaten me for sure.

My daughter thinks I’m at my funniest now, when I’m on a rolling laugh. It only happens with her. One of us starts laughing, then the other. Then it’s as though we’re hitting a ping pong ball back and forth over the net. It’s even more hilarious when we’re on our cell phones. Using TANGO, we get glimpses up each other’s nostrils or deep inside our cavernous mouths. Jiggling our phones as we rock back and forth with uproarious laughter, we catch site of pimples…blackheads…”crow’s feet”…snot…drool…perspiration…smudged eyeliner. Not a pretty sight, I guarantee you. But one worth all the gold in Fort Knox

…a 27 year-old daughter cracking up at her 64 year-old mother’s…funniness.

………hugmamma. 

Papaya trees

Papaya trees (Photo credit: 4nitsirk)

man-made food…and i don’t mean home cooking

Corn

Wonder why sweet corn no longer tastes…sweet, or for that matter…like corn? I could say the same thing about…farmed shrimp. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish…farmed vs. wild.

Only recently have my taste buds been questioning the corn I’ve been buying, specifically canned and frozen. Fresh ears of corn have not yet given me pause to wonder. Emphasis on…YET. 

There’s a Washington State vote on the horizon, I-522, to do with genetically engineered foods. I’ve read enough to know that messing with food made by Mother Nature is not good for my health. In fact, eating stuff created in corporate laboratories probably contributed to my digestive system being out of whack for some time. Thankfully I’m back on track with the help of a naturopath, and literature I’ve read on the subject.

According to local nutrition educator Nick Rose, genetically engineered foods are not more nutritious as is being touted. Instead they’re ” ‘stacked with foreign DNA so they will either produce pesticides or withstand herbicides or both, such as Monsanto’s new ‘double-stacked’ sweet corn.”

Rose goes on to speak of his concern about salmon…”the very first GE animal for human consumption, genetic engineering has produced a food offering less nutrition than the original food it is replacing.”

Salmon intended for consumption as food

Salmon, easily the most iconic food celebrated here in the Northwest, will very likely soon become the first ever GE animal food for human consumption. And the company that produced it admits their GE salmon is less nutritious.

What’s the unique nutritional benefit from salmon? Omega-3 fatty acids that supports brain health, helps manage inflammation, and is found in very few foods.

So, why would anyone want to put eel-like genes into salmon, knowing the end result would be a less nutritious food? To make the fish grow faster. GE salmon reach their market weight in about half the amount of time it takes today’s salmon to be ready for market. As a result of this super-growth, the GE salmon contain higher levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, a known carcinogen.

To summarize, the biotech industry has created a new “food” to replace one of the healthiest foods on the planet, except that the new and “enhanced” GE salmon will offer fewer heart-healthy omega 3s, and more cancer-promoting IGF-1 growth hormones. Oh, and did I mention that consumers won’t be able to tell whether the salmon they are buying at the store is genetically engineered? That is, unless…

This November, Washington voters have a chance to tell the food industry that they would like to know whether or not their foods are genetically engineered. Voting “YES” on intiative 522 will require foods produced with genetic engineering to be labeled in Washington state, making it much easier for everyone to make an informed choice when shopping at the grocery store.

GMO labeling is important to eaters around the planet for a wide variety of reasons, and 64 countries around the world already label foods produced with genetic engineering.  Do you want to avoid GMOs in your breakfast cereal, lunch box and salmon dinner? Then vote YES on 522!

Needless to say I intend to vote YES to labeling genetically engineered foods.

I understand that the practice of speeding up nature’s growth cycle may have been in response to feeding the planet’s hungry. Unfortunately success seems to have caused the industry to run amok. It’s as though a new magic trick has been discovered and all manner of magicians want in on the act. The fact that there are health risks seems of no consequence. After all, we never think preventative until we’re in the iron grip of some dastardly disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s or diabetes

Having Diabetes

Having Diabetes (Photo credit: MsH_ISB)

Why is it that mankind is always “behind the eight ball?” Is it because we think we can always dig ourselves out of the hole we dive into? Or is it because we’re just…plain stupid???

I don’t know if you live where foods have to be identified as having been genetically engineered. If you do, count yourself lucky; if you don’t…start reading labels…and everything else you can lay your hands on to do with genetically engineered foods. After all it’s your life…and those of your loved ones…that’s at stake! Even a capitalist society should allow for…freedom of choice. 

Yes, we all need to eat. But need it be at the expense of…

…our health?…

………hugmamma.

ConAgra: Genetically Modified Foods You Love (...

ConAgra: Genetically Modified Foods You Love (g1a2d0035c1) (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

 

fundraising…with the rich and famous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………hugmamma. 

Seattle Museum Flight Mar05 48

 

what’s your “cup of tea?”

My least favorite meal of the day is…breakfast. There’s no adventure to it. Unless you’re a gourmet chef…whether professional or amateur. Or if you are a connoisseur of eggs, bread, and coffee, like my husband.

Perhaps if I lived in Japan where rice is eaten three times a day, I’d like breakfast better. You see growing up in Hawaii, I ate rice every day, sometimes even for breakfast. Probably a tradition heavily influenced by the Chinese and Japanese immigrants who settled in the islands and worked on the plantations.

New Turkey Bacon!

The choices I’m permitted on the 2 or 3 diets I follow at any given time, sometimes simultaneously, are…eggs and turkey bacon…oatmeal and turkey bacon…or freshly-made juice and turkey bacon. Oh, I can definitely change it up if I’d like…veggie omelette, scrambled eggs with veggies, oatmeal with blueberries, oatmeal with diced apples, juices made with any combinations of fruits…apples, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach. Oh yes! And Instead of turkey bacon I can have Canadian bacon.

Yahoo! Aren’t I the lucky one!

What never, ever changes is my cup of green tea. Make mine decaf, please. I’m an insomniac, you see. Thanks to a middle-aged woman’s worst enemy…menopause.

I imagine in other parts of the world…like France and Italy…the first meal of the day offers more delights. Like chocolate croissants or pasta with meat sauce. I’ll bet the French and Italians don’t think twice about what they’ll have for breakfast. Do those folks even diet? Probably not since they have a glass of wine which is heart healthy.  If not at breakfast, then perhaps a couple of hours later. 

So much is made of breakfast being the most important meal of the day. I shouldn’t skip it or I’ll be grazing all day long, or my glucose level will spike. School children need a hearty breakfast so they’ll be primed to do their best work. 

I totally agree with all the research, but breakfast is still not my favorite meal of the day. Lunch is better…dinner better-er. Funny thing is when I’ve made breakfast for dinner…it’s been wonderful. Maybe it’s the novelty…or maybe it’s because…

…i’m not a morning person!…what’s your breakfast specialty?…

………hugmamma.

Breakfast of rasperries, blueberries and oatmeal.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

…may not work in autumn…but summer follows spring 2014…never too early to plan ahead…
………hugmamma.

MixerUpper.com

When the mercury rises, and the humidity starts to build, it’s nice to have a few refreshing “go to” recipes in your back pocket. Cool green cucumbers and juicy red watermelon provide a colorful, thirst-quenching option. I like to dress this salad with a tangy vinaigrette. The watermelon absorbs some of the dressing as it chills, and each bite bursts with a sweet-tart zing. Served in elegant martini glasses, or shared casually at a family picnic, this versatile dish really hits the spot on one of those hot summer days.

Ingredients
¼ seedless watermelon
1 cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
¼ cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Preparation
Remove rind from watermelon, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups), and place in large bowl. Pare cucumber, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups) and add to watermelon. Add fresh dill, and stir in…

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weekly photo challenge: saturated

I often times think my decorating style is…saturated.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Wish I could go…simple…you think?

…nnnaaahhh!!!…

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays

I happened upon a new idea…..Nurturing Thursdays...as I browsed another blogger’s site” On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea” at http://beccagivens.wordpress.com 

So although today’s Friday and not Thursday, I’d like to offer some words which I hope will nurture…someone in need.

My own life is oft times crazy, trying to do this, that, and the other thing. Always running it seems…and I don’t mean around the track at the community center where I might find some time to recoup and re-energize…and drop a few pounds while I’m at it. 

If you’re like me, you set yourself goals…short term and long term…and like items on a “to-do” list, you check each off as you accomplish them. It’s a rat race for sure, and usually of our own creation.

Women seem especially prone to setting ourselves up for failure when we can’t get it all done. It seems especially true of women in their 30s, 40s, and perhaps 50s. Those are the years when careers are evolving and children are born.

Book of Answers

Book of Answers (Photo credit: Caro’s Lines)

How to make it all work? That’s the $64,000 question…or more currently…the answer’s worth a billion dollars. Experts and amateurs alike have tried their hand at the jackpot. To my way of thinking…there’s no one-size-fit-all response.

I’ve finally found my way to the truth after six decades on this planet. Like other women, I’ve been looking under every pebble, stone, rock, and boulder for the answer. Know where I found the answer? My answer?

INSIDE MYSELF!!! That’s where I discovered how to make this crazy hamster’s wheel of a life work.

I listen to my own voice, not someone else’s. No one knows the path I’ve taken…to get to where I finally am.

I decide what my goals are…and when I need to achieve them…or not.

I set about working at something…or not.

I establish my own priorities…or not.

I choose my friends..or not.

I forgive my enemies…or defer it to another day…knowing I will forgive them in the end.

I take time to “smell the roses” and bask in the warmth of sunny days…whenever I need.

I make up my own mind…after listening to all sides.

I don’t argue…unless it’s meaningful…never doing so for the sake of…or just because.

I try not to judge others…for I’ve not been in their shoes.

I let my heart rule…not my head.

This is not to say I can’t ever get myself into a pretzel…twisted and discombobulated. But at least I can say it’s one I’ve cooked up all by myself. So that the next time I’ll know which ingredients worked…and which didn’t.

Breathing in and breathing out is what life’s all about. Perfecting the intake…and the release…of each breath, requires a lifetime of practice.

…i’m still practicing…and perfection is not my goal…neither is an immaculate house!

………hugmamma.

six word story challenge: youth

Young at heart…Old of mind.IMG_5001

Youth is never wasted…it’s overdone. 

Young maiden chases…young man runs.

Sexy is young…dried up is old.

Young pointed peaks…old sagging valleys.

Youth lasts forever…only in fairy tales.

Young men speed…old men walk.

The young flirt…the old fart.

Wisdom grows with age…stupid youth.

Religion bores the young…and buries the old.

Prejudiced old teaches prejudiced young…both wrong.

The body may age…memories don’t.

…hugs to figments of a dutchess for the challenge at http://www.figmentsofadutchess.wordpress.com

………hugmamma.

do it…or you’ll pay the price…

Helicopter Hugmamma urges one and all to…brush…floss…and visit the dentist regularly. Or else you might be gumming your way through food in your golden years.

What prompted my plea? The aftermath of a visit to my dentist today.

Before you assume that the fault was his, let me assure you it wasn’t. The man couldn’t be lovelier. And I wouldn’t entrust my teeth to another dentist at this stage in my life.

The fault is mostly mine because as an informed adult, I should know better. That being said, I didn’t start life learning how to properly care for my teeth.

English: Native Hawaiian women and three children.

English: Native Hawaiian women and three children. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t think the native Hawaiians learned about dental hygiene from the missionaries. And I don’t recall that the Catholic nuns with whom my mom worked at the orphanage told the orphans in their care, many of whom were my buddies, that the Ten Commandments included…brushing their teeth.

So you see, as an islander in the 1940s and the 1950s…I thought little about my teeth, let alone that one day they would be…front and center in my life. 

The summer before I went to high school, my mom finally decided it was time I saw a dentist. I think I may have pressed for it  since, as a teenager, I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted to fit in with my classmates.

Because I worked in the bookstore during the weeks leading up to the start of school, the tuition at my Catholic school was discounted. And uniforms leveled the playing field. No worrying about my homemade duds and orphanage hand-me-downs. Only my closest friends knew how difficult it was for my family to make ends meet.

The jig would’ve been up if the other kids had gotten a look at my rotten teeth.

So what kind of dentist could my mom afford? How about a dentist who was trained in the military who happened to be Chinese? And one compassionate enough to accept $5 a visit as down payment toward the bill.

Being half-Chinese, familiar with the idiosyncrasies of that culture, I know the Chinese to be no-nonsense, ambitious, “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” kind of people. Whining is not tolerated…no way…no how. So that coupled with the military’s strict adherence to discipline, I instinctively knew I had to suck-it-up in the dental chair.

I went under the needle with no anesthetic to have teeth filled. And when I had a tooth pulled, the needle the doctor used to numb the area looked like the same one he might have used on a horse. I swear he must’ve left two holes in my gums, the one where the tooth had been…and the hole where he’d injected the needle.

Needless to say I did not go back for more of the same…until I was married and had a child. Wasn’t there a warranty or something that guaranteed my dental makeover for life?

Dentures

I had some work done while we lived in Conncecticut but, of course, when we moved to Washington State going to the dentist was relegated to the very bottom of my…”to do list.” That is until I started down the path toward my “golden years.” 

The possibility of wearing false teeth loomed large in my mind. Remembering the trials and tribulations my mom encountered with hers, was enough to scare the bejesus out of me. I hope my brother Ed has had better luck with his over the years. God bless him!IMG_4143

It took me a few tries until I found my dream dentist, and found him I have.

Dr. Quickstad, my hero, has been working on improving my smile these last few years. He’s worked his magic on my teeth…root canals…crowns…cleaning and filling cavities.

And today I had a tooth implant. Wonder of wonders! 

A month or so ago Dr. Quickstad did a bone graft. Today he implanted a screw which will hold the new crown in place…another hour-and-a-half appointment. Today’s procedure lasted 2 hours.

I saw the chiropractor later in the day so she could work on my jaw as I’m prone to TMJ. I wasn’t prepared for the mind-numbing pain which overwhelmed me as I sat in her waiting area. The anesthetics had worn off, leaving the left side of my face throbbing. The chiropractor’s gentle ministrations and adjustments finally calmed the pain, enough for me to drive myself home. 

Wisdom does come with age. I’m brushing, flossing, gargling and having my teeth cleaned three times a year. As they say…

…better late than never…or deal with the alternatives!

………hugmamma.

helicopters…

WikiWorld comic based on the article "Hel...

What do those whirlybirds in the sky have to do with parenting? Well, according to those in the know…evidently self-proscribed experts on the matter…helicopter parenting applies to those of us who forever hover over our children seemingly to fashion all their decisions about…well…everything.

Some who know me, and some who don’t, might think I’m a helicopter parent. As they say…”sticks and stones…” Although I must confess…I’m not completely immune to hurtful words. However as I said to my daughter when some other child would say something unkind…”It’s her problem, not yours. She’s trying to put her unhappiness onto you.”

Folks insecure in themselves tend to insist that their’s is the only way.

I can only speak for myself and offer my experiences as guidelines that others might choose to utilize. But I’m no expert on someone else’s life, that’s for sure. I don’t know where they came from…and I don’t know where they’re going. I’m only a pit stop along the way. And as we all know, there are various and sundry other pit stops from which we can gain sustenance and momentary reprieve.

I’m not familiar with any helicopter parents, probably because my daughter has been living on the opposite side of the country from us the last 11 years. It’s rather difficult to hover from 3,000 miles. I’m sure I’d have crash landed by now. 

Yes, my husband and I have offered our daughter advice on a whole host of topics…from drinking and driving…to being aware of her surroundings when she’s out alone at night. No, we haven’t told her who she should befriend or how she should spend her free time. We figure she’s learned by our example…and from what we’ve been saying since the day she could understand the English language. In other words…we’ve laid the foundation for what we hope is an upstanding citizen. Someone who cares about herself and others, and who shares her talents and abilities with her community.

I believe parents need to know who their children are, and toward that end need not be afraid to ask.

Bubbles.

 Having given birth to my child, I feel a basic responsibility for her well-being. No one else, other than her father, has that physical connection. Others may choose to be responsible for my daughter, but the obligation is mine and my husband’s. We brought this human being into the world, so we are charged with making sure she has a fighting chance at survival.

I cannot imprison my daughter in a bubble. I kid you not. Sometimes I wish it were that easy. I cannot physically safeguard her from the crazies of the world…the rapists…the kidnappers…the drunk-drivers…the manipulators…the screamers…the stupid boyfriends…and married men who hit on her. I wish I could pistol whip some of them! Not that I’d know how to hold a gun were I to get my hands on one.

Thankfully my daughter has grown very comfortably into her own skin. She listens very respectfully to what I might have to say…and does what feels organic for her. And I’m so grateful she does. As she’s aged she’s become the teacher…and I’ve become an unwitting…student. Funny, how the roles are often reversed between parents and children.

It might be said that my daughter is beginning to exhibit signs of a helicopter. She worries that if I fall at home…no one will hear me. So she’s thinking of getting me that device advertised on TV where the old woman who falls tells the person on the other end of the call…”Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

…a little whirrring…and worrying…is a good thing…

………hugmamma.IMG_4648

the whole truth…and nothing but…

Photographs can sometimes lie. Or at the very least…they don’t always tell the whole truth.

Having secured a number of rentals over the last several years, whether for family vacations or for our daughter’s use while working, we’ve come to realize that photos don’t necessarily represent the total picture. 

Take for example the 1 bedroom condo we rented on Waikiki Beach last year when we returned to Honolulu for my mother-in-law’s funeral. 

The unit photographed beautifully, including the balcony with 2 chairs. IMG_4457What the photo did NOT capture, was the fact that we’d be sitting with our knees touching the rail. That’s if we could even squeeze our way onto the narrow balcony. What the picture also didn’t show was the view of the enormous parking lot surrounded by wall-to-wall high-rises. I’ll give the owner credit though for correctly identifying the peek-a-boo mountain view.IMG_4456

Then there was the rental my daughter and I recently occupied in San Fransisco‘s Mission District. It looked like a charming enough studio. There was a queen-sized bed towards the back of what seemed a somewhat spacious living area with a couch and television. I liked that one could watch TV while facing the balcony and the Zen-like garden beyond. Unfortunately any thought I might have had of spending time outside, disappeared upon arrival.

The area was a mess. A year’s worth of leaves had accumulated. Spider webs had taken hold. Plants were dying. Chairs were in disrepair. It was obvious that outdoor maintenance wasn’t a priority. Thank goodness a regular service handled the indoor cleaning. Or I’d have been out of there in a hot San Francisco minute.

Two other factors about the apartment were a little more disconcerting. One was that it shared a common wall with the owners’ garage. I sometimes wondered if we’d wake up under a car if one of the drivers stepped on the gas instead of the brake. The second was one of hygiene. The bath towels felt as though we were wiping ourselves with chenille bedspreads. You know, the kind grandma used on her beds. They were so thin. And sometimes we’d find strands of hair embedded in the dark fibers of the brown towels. Yuck! Yuck! And yuck!

I was reminded of these experiences after helping our daughter settle into her current digs this past weekend. She’s in Houston rehearsing the female dance lead in The Grand Opera‘s AIDA.

The best I can say about the apartment is that it’s spacious. It had been a detached garage in a former life. Now it’s a bungalow…living and bathroom/bedroom separated by a narrow breezeway-turned kitchen. Funky is the best way to describe the decor. I expected that from the online photos. What I didn’t expect was almost nonexistent lighting and dirt beneath the surface…not dust, but grease and grime.

My spirits nose-dived when we walked into the dimly lit living room. I could barely see the furnishings once we’d switched on the 2 over-sized, recessed ceiling lights. And it was only 6:30 in the evening! Some natural light shone from the kitchen windows, but not enough to make a difference. In fact, the overhead track lighting in the kitchen wasn’t the best light to prep and cook in either. The bathroom light was better, albeit haphazardly assembled. The light bulbs above the medicine cabinet were mismatched or missing, and only one of the mismatched lights that were part of the ceiling fan worked.

The bedroom lighting was a disaster.IMG_5094Light from an old-fashioned desk lamp shone like a spotlight on the wall next to the bed. With dark wood flooring and black bed covers, it was difficult to find comfort in that dingy room as well. The closet was an alcove to the left of the bed. There were enough shelves and hanging space for sure, and at least the ceiling bulb with pull string shone a good deal of light.IMG_5093 Fortunately there was an overhead light with ceiling fan in the bedroom, which lit up the space.

Family and close friends know I’m never deterred by less than desirable accommodations. I’m always up to the challenge of making things work, and I was determined to instill happiness in this apartment with a few dollars, and a whole lot of elbow grease and creativity.

Imagination is my middle name. Growing up poor in the good, old days meant having to dream up much of what I needed…whether it be play things or just pretty things. And at a very young age, I also learned the art of decorating. 

Charged with the task of cleaning and straightening our small upstairs rental each Saturday, I became extremely proficient at arranging and rearranging our thrift shop furniture. I took pride in making worn out furnishings look good. Over the years, first as a college student and then as a wife and mother, I have honed my talent such that I could do it in my sleep. Which, in fact, I often do…imagining how I would make over a room so that when day break arrives, I can “hit the ground running.” It also helps that my passion for hand-me-downs, in the form of antiques and vintage items, has only grown throughout the years. I’m now surrounded by what feels like…very dear, very old…friends.

So while our daughter followed her heart to the dance studio, her dad and I did a little sprucing up around the apartment.

Rolling up our sleeves, I scrubbed surfaces that looked like they’d not seen a sponge and disinfectant for some time, while hubby worked his magic on the laminate floors with a Swiffer mop. He went through half a box of replacement sheets, before we felt we could walk around the place with bare feet.

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…air mattress in living room for company…$1 pumpkin with gift tissue for hair…cheap place mats for dining…standing lamp brightens up a once dark room…colorful throws bought on sale, add cheer and coziness…

Once we sanitized the place, I proceeded to give it a face lift with bargains gleaned from a nearby TARGET. Thank God for TARGET! In no time the apartment looked more upbeat, cheerful, and cozy. The transformation brightened not only the apartment, but our spirits as well. 

With a little imagination such items as greeting cards, gift bags, colorful throws, bargain bowls, bag clips, rag rugs and towels, can turn any eye-sore into a warm and inviting space. Add to that a fresh set of linens complete with pillowcases, shams, sheets and comforter for $40, and a set of 2 table lamps and one standing lamp for $49…and our daughter was home…at last.

Returning home to the comfort of cozy surroundings has always been a priority in my life. It’s been a haven wherein my family and I can rest, recuperate, and re-energize for the next day’s adventures. And regardless of where my daughter’s career has taken her, I’ve always wanted the same for her…a home reminiscent of the one in which she’s grown up.

Memories are made no matter where we are…

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…child’s bed linen set at 30% off amps up this once spiritless bedroom…gift bags as wall art for under $5…bedside table lamp sets the right tone for winding down…

………hugmamma.

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…charming halloween cards and a pumpkin welcome our daughter home…and invites visitors to join her for conversation and comfort…

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…bowls add color while offering function…as do the magnet/hooks…

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happy daughter…happy, happy, happy…hugmamma…

what’s the difference?…

As events continue to unfold in Syria and the world looks on, wondering what to do, I too wonder…what would we do if the atrocities heaped upon the Jews by Hitler…were to play out in today’s society?

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia.

Would we vacillate about Hitler…as we are vacillating about Asad?

Would we allow German Jews to be killed by non-German Jews…as we sit by and watch pro-government Syrians murder those opposed to the government?

Would we complain of war weariness having fought one world war…as we are complaining of the several wars already fought in the Middle East?

Would we oppose President Roosevelt’s taking us to war…as we are now opposing President Obama’s efforts to level the playing field in the Syrian civil war?

Would we stand by as Jews are gassed to death…as we now watch as Syrians are poisoned by lethal chemicals?

Do we value Syrians less than we value Jews? Or do we value others’ lives…

…less than we value our own?…

………hugmamma.

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