nurturing thursdays: compassion…

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more aware of others senior to me. In particular, women who are alone without that special somebody with whom to share their lives.

Recently, one lovely friend told me that as she sits alone in her home she sometimes wishes her life would simply cease. Having lost her beloved 91 year-old mother several years ago, and a younger sister to cancer last year, my dear friend professes weariness. 

In her late seventies, Annette has health issues that are of some concern. 

Having broken her hand a couple of years ago when she fell down her front steps because of ice, Annette continues to suffer the effects.  She’s also still dealing with the aftermath of cataract surgery. Both impact her job as a part-time sales rep/bookkeeper at the local antiques mall where I’m a vendor. 

How my friend drives the 20 minutes to and from her job, regardless of the weather or the time of day, is beyond comprehension. I’m further blown away when Annette drives an hour to a doctor’s appointment.

Underlying her physical ailments is her ongoing struggle with depression. You’d never know it though, for she rarely complains and always greets folks with a smile.

The woman is a tower of strength in a seemingly, frail body. She must weary of my saying…”You’re my role model.”

Perhaps if I were in Annette’s shoes (were I able to fill them)…a survivor of two divorces, the second one decades ago…family and friends left behind in Canada as a result of her first marriage…and was once the sole bread-winner with a couple of young children…I’d be a real Wonder Woman too.

Isn’t it a wonder how women manage what life dishes out…no matter our age?

It helps that Annette’s son lives with her, making his home in the large, finished basement. Her daughter, a school bus driver lives nearby as well. More recently, her 31-year-old grandson has moved in while he decides what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

So in spite of her weariness, Annette still has a lot of living to do. We all want her in our lives still…her children…her co-workers…and her friends…

…especially me…


friday fictioneers: barbara cartland

Copyright - Ted Strutz

With heart pounding, Annalise watched for the dock where handsome Schuyler would be waiting.

How long had it been since they last locked lips? Too long, it seemed.

Would they drive at break-neck speed to Thistle Inn and make mad, passionate love? Or would they prolong the inevitable, lingering over  drinks at the cafe?

His cologne. Obsession. His eyes. Glassy pools of aquamarine. His hair. Corn silk. His body. Hugh Jackman. His mouth. Succulent.

“If he doesn’t propose, I will!” conspired Annalise. “Ha, ha. I’ll sweep him off his size 11 feet!”

“Another best seller for my sex-starved housewives!” exclaimed Barbara.

thanksgivings past…

As the holidays approach…among the many feel-good stories are one or two that tell of human angst. You know, where a parent can’t forgive his child some youthful transgression. Or best girlfriends are still not speaking because one stole the other’s boyfriend years before. Or siblings who never got along still can’t sit down together for a Thanksgiving meal.

So much is expected of the holidays…cheer, merriment, good will toward all. Any negative vibes should be dismissed, or at least temporarily “swept under the rug.”

Have you looked under that rug lately? Pretty dusty, I’ll bet.

Thanksgiving Day is a mixed bag of feelings for me.

IMG_4944On the one hand, I’m happy to have my loved ones close at hand. Hubby home from work and relaxing. Our daughter home from wherever she’s been dancing. 

We’re always blest to sit down to a bounteous meal, whether of our own doing or that of some clever chef at a restaurant.

I count my blessings, every one, including our furry family of critters.

We’ve a comfortable home in which we dwell, and wonderful memories to keep us company the rest of our lives.

Family and friends are there when we need them. And even when we don’t.

Despite all the joys with which I’ve been blest, one memory of Thanksgiving past continues to haunt my thoughts.

It was my first Thanksgiving as a young, married 20-year-old.

Amid family and friends, I became increasingly saddened despite all the revelry happening around me. I felt I didn’t fit in. Perhaps it was because I wanted my brand new husband to fit in. His shyness seemed a hindrance, although I don’t think he felt it. Nonetheless, I felt for him, and in turn for myself.

Deciding to halt the charade that I wasn’t able to continue, I approached the hostess to say I wasn’t feeling well and that we would be leaving.

It was as though I’d removed my finger from the hole in a dam and let loose a tsunami of seismic proportions.

As everyone gathered around, I was given a thorough dressing down like I’d never experienced before, or since. As tears ran uncontrollably down my cheeks, I was told my husband and I were immature for playing with the youngsters, and not drinking with the adults.

The remaining tirade is now a fog, but at the time every word was like an arrow that found its mark. I was devastated. Some of the men tried to run interference, but the tongue lashing continued until I was mush.

The final blow that took me down was being told that if I left early, I would never be able to step foot in the house again. To appease others, I sat through dinner, head bent, self esteem shattered.

We never returned for Thanksgiving Dinner.

As is always the case, forgiving occurs…long before you forget.

There have been get-togethers, far and few between. None have ever bridged the gap that grew ever-wider because of distance and time. 

But as the years pass, I’ll always wonder what initiated the vendetta. And why was it aimed at me?

An apology was never extended. I figured because I was probably culpable in the perpetrator’s mind. That it was ever open to discussion never occurred to me. With her, it was…what it was. Case closed.

So if I’m gun-shy around Thanksgiving celebrations…it is…what it is.

Some have told me that I’m too sensitive. I’ve recently read it can be the result of having fibromyalgia.

Whether it’s because of an incident long ago or an illness that’s currently got me in its grips, my holiday story is one of reflection.

…thanksgiving is not a one-size-fits-all celebration… 


English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


the voice…WOW!!!

I don’ have to tell those of you who are avid followers of NBC’s The Voice… that this season’s competitors are amazing! 

All of them should have careers, whether it’s on TV, Broadway, Videos, Movies, Clubs, CDs, or Las Vegas. It would be sad if they went back to working a 9 to 5 job behind a desk, or the midnight shift at a restaurant.

Talented folks should realize their dreams when they work so hard to make them come true. This, of course, from a mom with a daughter still searching for her own, special niche in the dance world.

I guess I’m biased. I’m a “left-brain” person. You know, more creative than rational.

Whether or not you tune into The VoiceI’m sure your spirit will be moved.

Here are two of my favorite performances from last night. BTW…the girl is only 16. One of the judges, CeeLo Green said she mustive swallowed an old soul. See if you agree. 
…have a listen…


an early thanksgiving…

(Written yesterday…)

I’m celebrating a couple of days before everyone else, as my daughter makes her way home from Pittsburgh, and before that Houston.

Hubby and I finished off decorating her bedroom after having it recently remodeled…stripped the 70s “popcorn” from the ceiling…replaced that yucky white-turned-dirty-beige carpet

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…relocated  the closet across the room, and enlarged it. Before, the side of it greeted you as you entered the room. It was difficult getting large furniture in and out.

Now I’m in the kitchen cooking up a pot of stew. Portuguese bean soup to be exact. 

My daughter’s looking forward to returning to hearth and home after a couple of months of…eating on the run in Houston…and bunking on an air mattress in Pittsburgh. Mind you, she loved it since she got to do what she loves best…dance!

However, my daughter’s no shrinking violet when it comes to mom’s good-old-fashioned, home cooked meals. She gobbles them right up. (Holiday pun.)

The other thing she’ll be doing is catching up on some much needed shut-eye. Rehearsing and performing for shows, not to mention the daily dance classes to warm up, are wearing on the body. 

Eat. Sleep. Watch old movies on TV with mom. And play Bananagrams with her old fogey parents, will fill my daughter’s calendar…at least for a few days. After that, back to exercise and keeping in tip top shape in order to dance.IMG_4296

And who knows where the wind will blow her next. My daughter plans to audition for contemporary dance companies here and abroad. 

So as long as we’re blest to have her in our midst, her dad and I will make the most of the time we have with the daughter who is…

…our sunshine…and our moon...


PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP…yummy in your tummy! (ham hocks, short ribs, smoked sausage, kidney beans, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, watercress, onions, and papaya)

what levels the playing field…between generations?


No doubt about it. When young or old get sick, real sick, all bets are off.

Fibromyalgia Eye

Recently I’ve posted about my debilitating bout with fibromyalgia. The best way to describe what I was feeling was escalating chronic pain, and fatigue that accompanied me from my first sip of green tea…until I laid me down to sleep.

With lots of rest and minimal exertion…with which I’m still wrangling (give me an ounce of energy and I’m going 24/7)…I’m on the mend.

Yesterday I read a 16-year-old blogger’s rambling thoughts about dealing with fibromyalgia. My heart went out to her.

Imagine being a high-schooler facing the normal teenage dilemmas…peer pressure…boys…exams…parents’ expectations. Add to that an ailment that demands most of your attention from the minute you walk through the classroom door, until you’ve written the last sentence on that essay due tomorrow.

In this case, the young blogger had to pull back from the brink of a total breakdown, because she expected to fare better on her math exam than the she did previously. She was trying to beat a 93. Instead she got an 88.

An A-type personality is already difficult to manage, without adding an “elephant” into the room…fibromyalgia.

I’ve had the time and opportunity to reset my body. As a housewife, I can make my own schedule. There’s no external pressures making demands of me. Hubby leaves me to my own devices, knowing I’ll do what needs to be done in the moment.

No such luck for the suffering school girl attending classes, doing homework, answering to teachers and parents, struggling with failed efforts to make friends, no prospects of a boyfriend in sight.  And just dealing with normal teenage angst due to hormones running rampant.

Sometimes it even sucks to be young!

There’s no escaping illnesses that get a stranglehold on one’s life…young or old. They balance the “playing field.” All we can do is make each inning count. And perhaps…

…have compassion for the other generation…


27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain (Photo credit: Samie Harding)

what separates the generations?

Old age. Pure and simple. Sometimes maybe not so simple.

It’s like one day I was the tasty olive served up on a toothpick in a James Bond classic cocktail…shaken, but not stirred. And then the lights blinked. And shazam!!! I’m a raisin sinking to the bottom of that martini.

Yeah! Yeah! I know hugmamma likes to crack wise about all kinds of things based upon decades of experience. But that’s just it. She’s talking about all the stuff she use to do; not living it like the young chick she use to be.

Old folks like to talk, talk, talk. That’s pretty much all we can do. 

Back in the day

Oh, I know there are those exceptions to the rule. Like President Bush, the elder statesman, who at a ripe old age jumped out of a plane on the end of a parachute. But you know what that was, don’t you? That was George H. saying…”I can do this…before I rendezvous with the Big Guy upstairs.”

On the other hand, look at the last of the Flying Walendas, the dude who’s walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The last time his grandpa tried to do that, walking a tightrope high above a city street…was his last. Unfortunately.

At some point, the body goes “Okay. Been there. Done that. I ain’t going out on a limb for you anymore, dude! Get that through your thick skull!”

A month or so ago, or maybe two or three, there was a James Bond marathon on TV.

Sean Connery as James Bond

 I got my fill of Sean Connery as the hunky spy. Images of the senior Bond kept flashing across my mind, trying to reconcile one with the other. I convinced myself that the old Connery still had it. Then I saw  Never Say Never Again, and the dream ended. Still good looking, still somewhat virile. But more of a caricature of what he once was as the cocky, gorgeous Welshman of years past.

Old age sucks! Don’t let any well-meaning, old-timer…like me…convince you differently.

Once your mailbox is flooded with Medicare supplement forms, there’s no turning back. It’s official. You’re on your way to la-la land…along with the other sheep put out to pasture.

What else can a wrinkled up raisin like me do but…blah, blah, blah about the good old days. Or give counsel about this ailment and that supplement. Or coo about the guy who lies all shriveled up beside me.

And then there’s the daughta! A reminder of what I was, and now I ain’t. As if I needed reminding.

Twenty-seven years old and rarin’ to go. Flittin’ from city to city dancing up a storm. Only my fingers come close to keeping up…churning out post after post on my trusty laptop.

So there’s the difference between her and me…old age. 

Youth does; oldsters don’t. That’s “how the cookie crumbles.”

…so enjoy those cookies…before your digestive system goes haywire!..and backfires on you…


Sean Connery at the private party after the pr...





weekly photo challenge: unexpected

Unexpected moments in our household…and beyond. Roll your mouse over each photo to view the accompanying caption.

still going…

Like the Energizer Bunny, I’m still going strong. My fibromyalgia still asleep on the job.

Thank goodness!

Just cooked up a delicious dinner in time for hubby to chow down. Made easy with the help of Trader Joe’s precooked roast beef.

In a large, nonstick skillet, I placed…sliced onions, thinly sliced carrots/zucchinis/yellow squash, and simmered all in beef broth (Trader Joe’s organic, gluten-free, low fat. More than 3/4 was left in the box, so I poured all that remained over the veggies.)

It didn’t take long for the veggies to soften while simmering on low heat.

Slicing the pot roast, probably one-and-a-half times the size of my fist, I layered the pieces over the veggies, scooping the broth to cover all. I then added seasoned salt to taste and put a lid on pan. 

It doesn’t take long for the meat to reheat, so after only a few minutes (maybe 12 – 15), I turned off the stove and let the covered pan sit until we ate.

Served over a scoop of savory mashed potatoes (Costco‘s Honest Earth All Natural Creamy Mash…without chemical additives, preservatives or gluten)…

…come and get it!


from the pan...

from the pan… the plate

…to the plate

Letter to Santa Claus

I know this is a month early. However, it touched me instantly. I hope it does you as well…and ushers in a holiday filled with peace among all mankind…believers and those who believe differently.


Maxim Sense

santa_gifSanta Claus is very much alive, and to think this way out from a Muslim’s perspective, is doubly amazing, I think. I can’t speak for the Christians and those who likewise celebrate Christmas with Santa as the other prominent figure in addition to the Nativity. But for our Christian neighbors here I have not seen any difficulty in the way they hold  the religious Christmas from the fantasy and celebrate them both, and in doing so they both give and receive.

I have my own bias for this post which was originally posted in my blog last year at about the same time as now.  Just as Santa Claus seems to be seen as more of an immortal being now, or at least in the eyes of the innocent children, so is his memory and the way we fantasize him still, bring a lot of wonderful experience every Christmas. I…

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friends affect us…

fibromyalgia awareness

Found an interesting post Nine Signs that Unhealthy Friendships are Fueling Your Fibromyalgia at

I’d go so far as to say that unhealthy relationships of any kind aren’t good for fibromyalgia sufferers. Then again, Asetha is correct in placing so-called friends, at the top of the list.

Friends have quick access to our innermost thoughts and feelings.

We trust friends to offer us words of wisdom.

Aren’t friends the first to whom we turn for compassion…praise…support?

Friendships can, however, become the breeding ground for discontent. Remember the old adage “Familiarity breeds contempt?” It’s sad when that happens. When friends begin to envy our lives in one way or another. 

I don’t suppose even friends realize when they begin to cross the line. Ones who take a dig at you every now and then, thinking you won’t notice or that they’re only thinking of what’s good for you.

What’s good for me.

I believed my mom when she said that to me. However, even she could lead me on a merry chase that way. Nonetheless, she borne me so I knew she had my back. Most of the time, at least.

When others tell me, or imply, that they know what’s good for me. They go too far. Even I don’t always know what’s good for me, so how can someone looking at me on the outside know what’s going on inside?

Companionship with folks like myself who are tentatively making our way through life, humble about our strengths, forgiving of our weaknesses…that’s more my style when it comes to friendships.

Although I can probably count my good friends on one hand, I enjoy the moments we share…and relish seeing them again, whenever.

Not judging others because we don’t walk in their shoes seems the best advice any friend can give another.

…that’s what i offer you…dear friend…

………hugmamma.Nashville 09-2010 00058


A unique reminder of today…50 years ago.


John Mullinax's Blog

This is the car in which Jacquelyn Kennedy sat in the back seat fifty years ago today and tried to hold in her husband’s brains.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 20mm, F/6.3, 1/60 sec, ISO-1600.  Taken at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan.

The assassination of JFK was a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 moment for my parents’ generation, but had the uniquely terrible character of an attack from within.  Fifty years later the event is still painful — not just for what it was, but for what it means.

“The Nation mourns today for it’s gallant young Chief Executive.  It mourns for his lovely widow and orphaned children. 

“But it mourns also for a stricken ideal.  It mourns the thought that this society, born in the agony of tyranny, nurtured at the breast of liberty, seasoned by the struggle to create a good life for all men, can still spawn barbarism and the ultimate indignity of murder…

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Posses ‘n’ Hosses

On a lighter note today…an elephant who can do just about anything, it seems. At the top of the list…write the heck out of any situation. Maybe not so fast on the draw…but certainly quick with the pen…and some! Enjoy! I’m certain JFK would’ve chuckled at this pink dude in a Stetson and boots…



cowboy 1
AnElephantCant pretend he’s a cowboy
But he thinks he can act in a Western
He’s not smart like Butch
He can’t drive a Stagecoach
But he can earn a Fistful of Dollars like the best of ‘em

He thinks he looks cool in a Stetson
And macho with his boots in the stirrup
But he won’t go to Tombstone
Certainly not on his own
He prefers to stay behind Wyatt Earp

He is a cert for The Good The Bad and The Ugly
You decide which part he must play
He stands beside Shane
He Drifts the High Plains
And covers Paul Newman’s back in Hombre

He was always cute when he Wore a Yellow Ribbon
He Dances with Wolves and then needs a rest
He avoids a free for all
At the OK Corral
And lives peacefully Once Upon a Time in the West

One Eyed Jacks see Brando…

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words that resonate……

The Year of Living Nonjudgmentally at offered the following sentiment, which I now share with you.

          The pain of the loss is directly related to the importance of the connection. 

John F. Kennedy died fifty years ago today.

Where were you when the bullet cut short his life?

I was in school with my fellow classmates at St. Anthony Girl’s School in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii.

English: Posthumous official presidential port...

English: Posthumous official presidential portrait of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, painted by Aaron Shikler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously I knew nothing of the President except for what I saw of him on our black-and-white television set. His Hollywood-good-looks probably affected me the way it did every other red-blooded girl, American or not. He was hot!

Of course there was more to JFK than his rakish, matinee idol looks. 

With his words, sincerely spoken, the President touched our souls. All the outer trappings of his life melted away.

          Here  was a man, walking the beach. Head bowed, deep in thought.

          Here  was a father, scooping up 2 adoring children into his huge embrace.

          Here  was a husband, given to faults not unlike other husbands.

          Here  was a son, trying to measure up to standards set in stone.

          Here  was a brother, beloved by siblings and in-laws alike.

          Here  was an uncle, setting an example of public service for later generations to come.

          Here  was a friend, one who laughed, who cajoled, who pulled rank, who was loyal.

          Here  was a soldier who thought nothing about his own life in order to save others.

Here was my president, who dreamed of a country in which all served for the good of one another.

…the loss still resonates…