nurturing thursdays: did you talk to your child today?

My daughter and I spoke at some length this evening, after she got home from teaching dance classes and rehearsing students for an upcoming competition. We’re indeed blest to share such closeness all these years, talking on the phone for hours…like best girlfriends.

It wasn’t always that way.

Until she was 16 when I accompanied her to Georgia to train with Atlanta Ballet, I was mom. I set the rules and she followed them. It wasn’t like I had to punish her, it’s just that she knew the boundaries within which to operate to keep everything on an even keel. Because my husband’s job kept him on the road and at the office from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I functioned like a single parent. Even more so when my daughter and I lived in Atlanta while he remained  in Washington, working to pay the bills.

The boundaries were stretched when she dated her first boyfriend. Their relationship lasted 3 years or so, during which time there were the usual highs and lows accompanying first love. Hers. He’d already been in and out of several relationships. On my own to figure things out, I did my best. There were conflicts for sure, but my daughter knew I always had her back. Early on I tried to send the guy packing because I thought he was pretty selfish. I relented when she ran after him. Eventually he drew me in with his charm. I was still under his spell when my daughter finally broke up with him. Thank goodness she did. He really was a selfish opportunist.

My daughter fared no better with the next few romances. She kept dating losers. Eventually these failed relationships coupled with a profession that requires so much emotional and physical stamina, caused her to spiral downwards into depression. She eventually reached out to us. Thankfully! Bursting into tears on the phone, she immediately agreed to come home so we could help her. 

I flew east to help her pack and see to last minute arrangements. The ballet company kindly offered to hold her job until she returned. For 2 months, our daughter was under psychiatric care. It was determined that a concussion she’d had as a child probably altered her brain chemistry. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the accident skewed her perception of reality. Dance probably helped divert her attention from negative thoughts. There’s just so much choreography to memorize.

Only when she encountered the usual mind games that come with a job and a boyfriend, did our daughter start to overthink everything. On the cusp of adulthood, she tried to tackle her problems on her own. Dance friends her age were little help, since they were burdened with their own problems. Years passed; things worsened. A psychologist she engaged only made our daughter’s task more daunting. She could not figure out how to put her life back together again after those raw, gut-wrenching, one-on-one sessions. Her safety net, my husband and I, lived 2,000 miles away.

With the help of a few close friends to whom she finally opened up, our daughter started to find her way out of the black hole that engulfed her. Thank God for them. Thank God she reached out for help. Thank God my husband didn’t think twice about bringing her home so we could help her heal. Six years later, she’s excited to be marrying a young man who cherishes her for who she is. Her happiness is priceless.

Today my daughter told me of a 12-year-old dancer in one of her classes who lost her brother this week…to suicide. He text his friends, thanking them for trying to help. He told them they did all they could, and asked that they help his parents. Rumor has it that he had been distraught over a failed relationship. Although it’s not certain.

My daughter cried on and off the day she heard of the young man’s death. And the following day, she thought “He was only 16. A baby. And he didn’t live to see today.” She still registered disbelief when telling me about it.

Talking to our children is a lifetime blessing. We wield so much influence over them, whether we know it or not. We can never take for granted that…

…our loving words…can save their lives.

…i know.

………hugmamma.img_5209.jpg

(View more inspirational thoughts at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/nurt-thurs-would-you-glow/

Advertisements

dreams…nightmares

Do you dream? Or have nightmares? I often have both, and at the same time. How’s that possible? I have no idea. While I’m more or less in control of what I do during the day, I have absolutely none when it comes to sleepy time. I’m at the mercy of the fairies or gargoyles, depending upon who decides to mess with my head on any given night.

In the morning my husband chuckles when I explain how I spent the night wrestling imaginary characters…some familiar, some not. He takes no credit for often showing up, usually as a bystander or the root cause of my struggles with the unknown. The man has no clue what goes on inside my head, even though we’ve known each other almost half-a-century. Men.

My mom always attributed fitful sleeping to having eaten too close to bedtime. More so if I ate something spicy. That made sense when I was young. Most things she said made sense then, given the deck was stacked in her favor as THE authority in my life. Now that I’m the authoritarian in my own life, I figure my dreams and nightmares have more to do with psychology.

Issues that remain unresolved in my mind probably find their way into my consciousness as I sleep. There where I have little or no control, I react as best I can to the images I come across. Because I’m a strong person, I find I usually struggle to maintain that strength…even as I lay motionless. That’s probably when my dreams become nightmares. I’m fighting for self-preservation.

It’s been a very long time since I experienced something even more disturbing as I lay sleeping. It would even occur when I napped. Day or night, if I was being threatened in my dreams I would not be able to move or even make a sound. I could feel myself struggling to wake up, or to scream for help from my husband who lay fast asleep alongside me. I imagine that’s what it would be like if I awoke from a coma, and found myself locked in a coffin, buried 6 feet underground.

Scary, right? Thank goodness I’ve outgrown that particular idiosyncrasy. Unfortunately, my daughter may have inherited it. She told me she experienced the exact same feeling. So now she tries to hold her fiancé’s hand before she falls asleep, something she could not do no matter how hard she tried to reach for it while in the throes of a subliminal struggle. I know that feeling. No matter how close my husband lay to me, I could not move an inch to scream for help.

I’m certain my daughter and I aren’t the only ones beset with such goings on inside our heads, as our bodies surrender to deep slumber. We couldn’t be that unique.

…are you…one of us?

………hugmamma.

...zzzzzzzzz...

…zzzzzzzzz…

 

 

 

do you still…???

Clean your house? Or is that chore relegated to some unlucky soul? Well, in my house…I’m IT!

Fortunately for me my husband isn’t picky about dust collecting, even though he suffers from the occasional asthma attack. Don’t worry, though. Modern science has lessened that concern over time. He’s on meds. And actually the daily intake of local honey has also diminished both our symptoms to seasonal allergens.

As long as my home is straightened and vacuumed, we’re both okay with my procrastination. Luckily there does come a time, however, when the grit and grime makes me want to scream. It might also very well be that when I’m awaken at night with noises that go bump in the night…I’m finally moved to clean every inch of my house. You see we’re occasionally unwilling hosts to a field mouse or two.

So today I got out the Windex and bottle of furniture polish and went at it. Still am…at it…and I’ve only tackled the kitchen so far. I’m no hare when it comes to this race; I’m definitely the turtle…wax in hand…scrubbing, polishing, scrubbing, polishing. Then I’ll get down on hands and knees and polish the floor…by hand. This ensures my getting into every nook and cranny. My husband chuckles at my inefficient methods. However he knows better than to intercede. He’s learned to let me wear myself out, rather than try to convince me to do it his way, the more expedient way.

I may not do this often, but no one can accuse me of being a total slob when it comes to housekeeping. I’ve just learned to set my priorities and tackle one project at a time. And planning my daughter’s wedding was worth letting my house go to pot.

My goal in life now is not to stress…

...but to stop and smell the roses…

…and often!

………hugmamma. (…even in paris, where i took this photo last august.)787

 

…don’t go there.

That’s my advice to Mr. Trump if he tries to fuel his campaign by bringing up Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. Trump will be playing The Man Card. You know. The one that says what’s good for the goose, ain’t in no way applicable to the gander. Men like Trump can philander and have their cake and eat it too. But women who survive a philandering husband have to keep on keeping on…paying for the mistake foisted upon them.

None of us liked what happened, but the Clintons paid dearly…and publicly…for a sin which for me is the worst committed against women. Taking a woman’s sexuality and throwing it back in her face. I’ve crossed many a celebrity off my “favorites list” because of that…Brad Pitt, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson among them.

Of all the dirt the Republicans have attempted to dig up about the Clintons over their decades long, high-profile, very much public life…Trump’s proposed pilloring of Hillary as an enabler…will call into question all women who have found themselves in the same situation. It would be yet another bar set by a white man who talks out of both sides of his mouth. A man who has no qualms about establishing different sets of rules…for men and women, old immigrants and new immigrants, and the bullying tactics of his supporters and those with opposing views.

It’s a credit to Mrs. Clinton that she didn’t bury herself in self pity after the devastating clobbering she took at the time of the president’s affair. Instead, she went on to do what she has done since graduating from law school. Hillary Clinton continued to serve the public, and not in a small, obscure way. She served two terms as New York’s senator AND she fought hard to be president. When she didn’t win, she still didn’t turn her back on America. She went on to serve as Obama’s Secretary of State.

If, and that’s a BIG IF, Hillary doesn’t win this election, she can hold her head up high knowing she’s served her country well. Exceedingly well! It would be our loss not to give this highly-credentialed, principled woman…the first ever…the opportunity to lead us away from a democracy dominated by men. Hillary can tell her grandchildren, she spent her life in service to her country. She held her own against those who would try to bring her down at every turn.

Maybe someday those of us who are accused of enabling our loved ones to do and be all that they can will get our chance in the sun. Out from under…

…the crushing weight of those holding the keys to power.

………hugmamma.

 

my story…

I’m never without a book when I crawl under the covers at night. And it’s usually a biography of someone famous. There’ve been a few infamous folks as well. Mrs. Wallace Simpson comes to mind.

Folks living in the glare of the spotlight captivate me. I wonder if what we see or hear or read about them is real. Or is much of it fabricated for public consumption? I grew up under the spell of Ingrid Bergman and Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Cary Grant. Theirs was a Hollywood where movie stars were celluloid creations. What we saw wasn’t always who they were off-screen.

Historical figures also interest me. I’ve read the life stories of several presidents, including FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon and Obama. What propels these men to choose the extraordinary instead of the ordinary path is a lesson in advanced psychology.

The common denominator in all of these biographies is parental influence. Most often it’s the lack of, or overabundance of…parental involvement. As a young boy, Cary Grant suffered the loss of his mother when his father had her committed to an institution. Grant didn’t learn of her existence until he was well on his way to becoming a Hollywood icon. Forever after, he sought her approval which he felt he never got.

Rose Kennedy left much of the parenting duties to nannies and staff. John was a sickly child who never received the doting care and concern of his mother. As an adult, he was not overly affectionate toward her. In fact, it was his father whose approval the son desperately wanted, and whose loyalty and love meant the most to the president.

Nixon’s Quaker mother instilled in him the ambition to always do well…no matter the odds. And Sarah Roosevelt made it impossible for Eleanor to follow in her mother-in-law’s footsteps. She whose very life revolved solely around her beloved Franklin.

So what’s different between these lives…and mine? Mostly the trappings. Articles about their comings and goings are devoured by millions of adoring fans; I have a few loyal readers following hugmamma.com. They dine at 21 in NYC; I’ve been there a handful of times as the guest of one of my husband’s clients. They fly hither and yon in first class accommodations; I’ve been fortunate to ride up front a time or two. The world is their oyster; I’ve traveled enough to know contentment…sitting on my deck, watching the world go by.

More importantly the death of my father, which left my siblings and me in the care of an uneducated, impoverished 30-year-old mother, left invisible scars that no amount of time will ever erase.

When we delve beneath the surface of our lives, what we find is a commonality to our human story. No matter what we go on to make of ourselves, we are the product of how we were raised…by whom…and how they were affected by their own life stories.

The only difference between one story and another is what we each bring to it. Do we improve upon what came before? Or do we let the story play out according to script. I prefer to think we can tweak a line here and there, maybe even rewriting a chapter or two. The ending can resemble a happily-ever-after, even if it’s not the one in An Affair to Remember, or Sleepless in Seattle.

Life is not a done deal…until it’s done. There’s time…minutes, hours, days, months, years…to do some rewriting. All it takes is a bit of imagination…

…and a whole lot of guts.

………hugmamma.

 

 

take my advice…

…give ’em the money and let ’em elope!

At this juncture, even my daughter agrees. She should have taken her fiancé up on his offer to marry in a civil ceremony eons ago, and forget about all this hoo-ha.

Of course we wouldn’t have done it that way. After all, she is our only child. There was no way we weren’t going to celebrate such a momentous occasion…the final severing of the umbilical cord between my daughter and me. Not even the 2,000 miles that separated us this last decade or so did the trick. It took a great, future son-in-law and Medicare to finally clinch it.

Long distance planning is a killer when it comes to a wedding. You’re at the mercy of the internet and a working wi-fi connection. You’re also stuck with whatever vendor you can find online. And good luck trying to find images of their previous work, and enough reviews to help with your decision.

My daughter agrees she is blessed with a mom who researches everything to death. I’m like a Jack Russell Terrier…once I sink my teeth into something, I never let go until I’ve chewed my way to the bone.

At the outset I had tried to get my husband to buy into a one-price-buys-all wedding. When he balked at the price and “put his foot down,” I set about purchasing the wedding piece meal…the venue, the food, the drinks, the music, the flowers. Who knew I’d have to rent the tables, chairs, and linens? Fortunately, the caterer provided the plates and utensils…paper and plastic, of course! And since we weren’t using an everything-included venue, I became the presumptive event planner.

Since last June when my daughter accepted her boyfriend’s proposal, I’ve been like a mole burrowing my way through all the details, leaving nothing to chance. I was on the job, day and night. My husband agrees, no one could afford my services. Not that I could give my all to anyone but my daughter. And she and I both agree…this is the last wedding either of us are planning.

505As it turns out, what we’re ending up paying even surpasses the original quote I got from the one-stop for one-price venue. Because I dealt with individual businesses, there was no way to integrate their services into one cohesive unit. And while the budget dictated the parameters, the details always pushed the boundaries. At some point, I had to back off or I would’ve pulled all my hairs out by their white roots.

When it comes down to it, we’re blessed to have one child and be able to give her the wedding of her dreams. Thank goodness her dreams are small town…and not Big Apple, big city-sized ones.

If you’ve a wedding in your future, unless you’re anal about details and don’t mind shopping around as I do, I’d suggest you…plunk your money down in one place, and let them do the work for you. Better yet…

…send the couple on their way…with four fistfuls of $$$.

………hugmamma.

 

nurturing Thursdays: …a star is born…

Thirty years ago I gave birth to a rising star. Today she is just that.

My daughter was featured in the recent music video of singer and former American Idol contestant, Danny Gokey. In it he sings the hauntingly beautiful melody…”Tell your heart to beat again.”

In all the madness that is today’s world, a little touch of sanity in the form of music and choreography reminds us that life is really about loving one another.

We exist…

…to love…and be loved in return.

………hugmamma.

(More inspirational posts are waiting for you at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/nurt-thurs-environment/

nurturing thursdays: the dancer…

…my daughter.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen my daughter perform…probably 4 to 5 years. Memory-wrapped images are all that remain, and they get fuzzier as time passes. So I’m very grateful for Youtube.  It’s captured the following contemporary piece in which my daughter was the featured soloist. She danced with Nashville Ballet at the time. I only wish it had shown the actual performance, in which she wore a white, romantic tutu which made her look like an angel. Although I’m not complaining; I’ll take what I can get.

This piece was choreographed by Sarah Slipper, founder and artistic director of Northwest Dance Project in Oregon. My daughter had danced with the company for a couple of summers. It’s performances are cutting-edge, thanks to the amazing talent of Sarah and other choreographers she hand picks to join her in producing a show.

Artists…dancers among them…reflect the beauty of the human spirit. If only we would allow…

…more of that inner beauty…to shine through.

………hugmamma.

(Find more wonderful inspiration at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/nurt-thurs-our-example/

she was loved…

I just learned that one of my sisters has passed away. Praying that she would not succumb, it wasn’t a complete surprise that she did. She’d had cancer.

A few years older than me, I grew up idolizing Lucy. She was pretty, had a smile that lit up her entire face…with a personality to match. She was a songleader…a softer, more lyrical version of a cheerleader. And she was smart. Why guys weren’t knocking down our door to date her, I’ll never understand. Maybe it was our strict Catholic upbringing, or mean looks from our mom, or maybe it’s because my sister had really high standards. I’ll bet she’s looking down, nodding her head in agreement with the last reason.

My sister and I were quite a few years apart, separated by a brother. They were closer in age. As a result they were best buddies. I kind of tagged along, orders from my mom. I was probably a real drag to have around.

I remember once when I went with them in search of something we referred to as “rabbit grass,” to feed our rabbits. We climbed over a fence onto private property. As we poked through the overgrown vegetation, I heard my sister yell “A bull!!!” She and my brother lit out of there as if it had started chasing them. I ran to the fence only to find that they were already hightailing it down the road back to our house. When they realized I’d been left behind, I think Lucy said they’d better return to get me or “mama will kill us!” They returned, hiked me up over the fence, set me on my feet, and we all got the heck out of there. I think I was crying, but I don’t remember the bull making a move toward us. I’m not sure.

Lucy taught me to dance. I was always a willing partner when she was trying to learn new steps, like the cha-cha-cha or the be-bop. We would laugh as I stumbled, trying not to step on her feet. I can’t remember my brother joining in. Maybe he did, but thanks to my sister my passion for dance grew. When I was a teenager, I was known as the dancing queen around school. Classmates would ask me to teach them how to do…the twist, the jerk, and the “mashed potatoes.” I continued the tradition and passed my love of dance along to my daughter, who went on to make it a career. Thanks sis!

The thing I admired most about my sister is the wonderful brood of children she raised. She cherished them, 3 girls and 2 boys. And I have no doubt they were as devoted to her as she was to them. They, and their children, are a credit to my sister, and her husband Jim. Both role models, living their lives with compassion for others.

While my sister and I weren’t as close we probably would have liked…our lives taking us in different directions…in our hearts we had only the best wishes for one another’s well-being. So I’m at peace with her now being in Heaven, relieved of her suffering. Nonetheless, I am sad for those closest to her heart who are left behind. It will be awhile before their sorrow is lessened. I’ll continue to pray for them, that God keep watch over all…

…my sister by His side.

………hugmamma.012

 

 

 

what feels right…

I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, although I have liberal tendencies born of a childhood bordering on poverty. I know what it’s like to wear Salvation Army hand-me-downs, and share meals with orphans at a home run by Maryknoll nuns. I’ve been fortunate, however, to have “pulled myself up by the bootstraps” and married a man who has done the same. For us the stars were all aligned, shining good fortune down upon us. Not so with millions of others in America…and around the world. As one of my brothers liked to say of me, and perhaps it’s true…I’m a bleeding-heart liberal. And he didn’t mean it kindly. He’s hard-core conservative.

While I have voted for Republican presidents, like George W. Bush, I’ve never felt in sync with the party. I get that its members are about preserving the status quo and each and everyone earning his own keep. What I don’t get is how dogmatic Republicans are about their principles. It’s as though all poor people are guilty of abusing the system and must therefore prove themselves innocent. Why they can’t do just that seems beyond comprehension to dyed-in-the-wool conservatives. If folks find themselves in unfortunate circumstances, then they should get themselves out however they can and not look to society to do it for them.

Democrats aren’t without their own prejudices and faults. However what I can align with is their concern for the welfare of all people, including the less fortunate. There isn’t an automatic assumption that they are slovenly people living off the fat of the land, without first paying their dues. Yes, there are those who take advantage of welfare, but those who don’t shouldn’t be condemned alongside those who do.

My mom, a widow with 9 children, was never on welfare. She worked hard and took help whenever it was offered. If she was ashamed, she never showed it. What I did witness, however, was her compassion for others who shared her plight. She shared what little she had. A lesson that has remained with me to this day. Whether or not it comes more easily for folks who are themselves outcasts from society, I don’t know. I only know that having been there, I could never turn my back on those still stuck in the muck of poverty.

Life is complicated. There are no easy solutions to its complexities. All we can do is the best we can do, given our individual circumstances. And the only compass we have to guide us through life is a moral one. And at the risk of sounding like a “bleeding heart liberal,”…whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together. There’s no escaping to another planet, anytime soon that is. So rather than run from one another, we’ve got to figure out how to make this place where we all live…work for the good of all. Sooner or later the have-nots are going to overtake the haves, and help themselves to what they’ve long been denied.

…we are our brothers’…and sisters’…keepers.

…whether we like it…or not.

………hugmamma.

 

stream of consciousness saturday: “store”

Store as in “put away.”  Something at which I’m an expert. I have so much stuff…mostly cherished vintage collectibles…it’s scary. While I continually vow to downsize, I find it difficult to actually do so.

Partner in crime with my talent to store things efficiently is my gift to do so beautifully. Decorating, in fact, is the culprit behind my inability to rid my life of stuff. I can stylize everything down to the minutest of details. My motto, whether I’m speaking of home décor or of life in general…”it’s all in the details”.

Storing what I own becomes synonymous then with…arranging everything into vignettes. Picturesque stories. If it weren’t for my dual capabilities of storing and displaying, I would definitely be considered……a hoarder. Big time!!! Instead, visitors to our home oohh and aahh over all they see. They comment…”Your home should be in a magazine!”…”You’re an artist!”…”You should do this professionally!”Imported Photos 00168

My head swells at such exclamations, but in my heart I know that I’m just storing things with which I’ve formed a strong bond. They represent 40+ years of my life as a wife and mother. If I rid my life of more than a few pieces at a time, I’d be excising chunks of who I am today. So I whittle away at the edges…a primitive, blue bookcase here…an old carnival game wheel there. The core remains intact…an oversized, red cupboard purchased in Pennsylvania which holds antique quilts. A large, blue immigrant’s chest found in upstate New York which holds a variety of board games. Games our family played long ago, when our daughter was a youngster.

Now 29, soon to be wed, our only child will one day inherit all that we own. Attempting to spare her the task of relinquishing all this stuff when we die, I am trying very hard to erase more and more of my physical presence while I’m still here. No easy task, but one which I must assume so that she, my precious daughter, won’t have to choose which memories of us she’ll want to…

…store in her heart.

………hugmamma.

Xmas 2010 00055
(Note: To read more SoCS creations, visit…
http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/18/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-1915/

 

 

friday fictioneers: dulls-ville

Kitchen Window

Some days I’m so bored I feel like running off with the first guy who shows up at the door. And yet that mightn’t get me any further if he’s the milkman, since he lives a couple of streets away.

The same boring routine, day in, day out. Get up. Get the coffee going. Yell up the stairs to wake everyone up. Fry up some bacon and eggs. Slather up some PB and J sandwiches to go. Chug-a-lug breakfast. Hurry everyone out the door.

Watch some TV. Read a little. Eat a lot. Nap.

OMG! Half-an-hour ’til they’re home!

Hurry!!!

(Note: Enjoy more 100-word stories  based on the photo prompt at…
https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/18-december-2015/

 

 

nurturing thursdays: those who serve…

Two news pieces reported on MSNBC today, made me pause to reflect upon the sacrifices made by those who keep the rest of us safe.

The first was about firemen who helped in the aftermath of 9/11. As usual, they did not consider the risks to their own safety and well-being. Only years later did that horrific day return to haunt them, many suffering the effects of cancer. Mounting medical bills in addition to an emotional and physical roller coaster ride puts the victims and their loved ones at high risk for depression and serious loss to their quality of life.

Following that report was a piece about a military family whose husband/father has been deployed to the Middle East multiple times. Of the 19 years they’ve been married, the couple have been separated 9 years. Their two sons, now teenagers, have missed their dad tremendously. While the family understands their sacrifice as a career choice, it doesn’t lessen the impact of losing a member for years on end. Especially knowing that each deployment could mean the death of their loved one.

It’s easy to shed a tear or two for the plight of these folks whose lives are spent protecting us. Having compassion, however, also includes giving back…not “sitting back.”

Rather than pay for “pork belly” projects put forth by representatives in Congress, our tax dollars should be spent accommodating the financial needs of those who risk their lives to save ours.

I think that’s what’s so frustrating about many members of the Republican Party. They want “boots on the ground,” but they ignore the fact that these folks have needs. They’re not wind-up robots. They feel. They break. They bleed. They die…and leave behind loved ones of their own.

President Obama is walking a tightrope between keeping our country safe during these perilous times…and showing compassion for the men and women who must answer the call to lay down their lives for their country. Not an easy decision, although the president’s critics rant and rave that it’s a no-brainer. Scary to think what Obama’s successor would do if he or she is a Republican intent upon spilling blood.

…when did we become a dispassionate people?

………hugmamma.

(Note: For more inspirational writing, visit…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/nurt-thurs-you-are-2/

…faux fur…

…and arthritis.

I can see that quizzical look as you read the title and first line of this post. What the heck does one have to do with the other? On the surface? Not a lot. However when you knead down into the folds of a faux fur coverlet you’ll see what I mean. No doubt!

Rainy, cold, gray days like we’re having here in the Pacific Northwest make me want to fly away to the balmy, mostly sun-filled days in my native Hawaii. Every winter without fail I half-jokingly insist to my husband that we should return home. I am definitely like a fish out of water when it comes to the weather here. Every bone in my body throbs like a drum beat, as if chanting…”Give me heat. I need heat.”

As if to satisfy the relentless request for warmth, I switch on all the lamps in the living room..a total of seven…as well as the space heater. I also turn on the one down the hall near the bedrooms, and the one in the kitchen. All the while the furnace in the lower level laundry room blasts heat throughout the entire house.

As for me, I’m covered from the neck down…a hoodie over my long-sleeved shirt, comfortable pants to my knees…AND compression socks from my knees to my toes! If I could work with gloved hands I would.

So after a full day puttering around the house…doing a little bit of this, that and the other…I usually call it quits at about midnight. I always aim to end the day earlier, but it never seems to work out that way. Don’t get me wrong. I take little…sometimes long…breaks here and there throughout the day. I’ll catch snippets of HGTV’s “Love it or List it,” “Flip or Flop,” “House Hunters,” or “Million Dollar Listings, Los Angeles.” Sometimes I’ll stop to play computer games on my Nook. And, of course, I can’t just play one game. I usually go until I successfully finish a level and can go on to the next one.

One of the last things I do before calling it a night involves water…hot, cold and somewhere in-between. There’s dishes to wash or load into the dishwasher, depending…how big, how fragile, how much cooked-on-grime. When I turn out the kitchen lights…and all the other lights upstairs, I head downstairs to our master bedroom suite to shower before diving under the bed covers. Of course I run the water as close to hot as I can stand. It soothes all the muscles, especially those in my lower back.

In recent weeks, as the weather has gotten colder and wetter, I’ve taken to pulling the faux fur coverlet, that usually lies at the foot of our bed, over all the other covers under which I bury myself…the sheet, the quilt, and the duvet. Sometimes I even wear socks to bed! In addition to all this, we’ve begun using our gas fireplace to bring the bedroom to a cozy temperature, before turning it off and going to sleep.  

While I never, ever feel hot enough to kick the covers off, my husband spends most of the night…partially outside the covers. I call him…my “hot-blooded Hawaiian!” ha, ha.

Last night, for the first time, I noticed as I pulled the faux fur up to my chin and lay my hands on its luxurious warmth…how soothing it was to my arthritic fingers. While I still couldn’t completely bend my stiff knuckles, I felt relief. Kneading my fingers into the folds of the “fur,” whatever stress remained from the day disappeared. My lips curled into a soft smile, as I lay, eyes closed in the dark…thankful for my…

…little piece of faux fur heaven.

………hugmamma.

 

…slow as molasses…

That’s how I feel as I set about decorating for the holidays. What use to take me a week and a half, may take me until Christmas morning this year. I kid you not. In the past I’d decorate 7 or 8 trees, 3 big ones and the rest smaller, potted types. All pre-lit, artificial. I’ll be lucky if I get the 3 big ones done. I feel like my get-up-and-go…got up and left.

Even hubby’s taking a nap.

We can’t seem to push ourselves the way we use to when we were in our mid-60’s. Now that we’re in our late 60’s, our energy level is kaput. Takes me a long time to decide how to rearrange the living room to accommodate the giant tree. In fact, I decided…in the midst of moving stuff around…to have the slipcovers on the sofa and club chair dry-cleaned. Thank goodness they’ll be back on Wednesday, all nice and clean…after years and years of accumulated dirt has been laundered away. Not surprisingly I found a partially eaten Dorito chip hiding beneath one of the seat cushions.

Another thing that’s slowing me down is the desire to get rid of some of my furnishings, specifically my vintage things of which there’s a lot. I’m an antiques dealer who loves to collect, in addition to selling, of course. Most of us in the business are passionate collectors. I discovered my passion after moving to Long Island, New York in 1977. I got bitten by the “bug” during the first antiques auction I’d ever attended. I left with a massive oak roll top desk which I recently donated to charity since no one was interested in buying it. Folks didn’t find it too practical in this day and age.

Thing is, the holidays are no time to think about downsizing. It’s a busy enough time without doing major overhauling. And definitely not for a couple of seniors whose adrenalin levels have seen better days.

We normally have three or more groups of friends and family in to celebrate during Christmas and New Year. We’ll be lucky if the house is up and running when our daughter returns home…AFTER Christmas.

What drives me to make Christmas great every year is that my husband and daughter are like wide-eyed children when everything is in place. They absolutely love Christmas and all its trappings. It’s the best present I can give them.

So I’d better get back to work…

…wrapping my christmas gift with love.

………hugmamma.