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…

 

 

 

Advertisements

…above and beyond…

‘Tis the season to be…the best mom I can possibly be.

If there’s one thing in my life I’m particularly proud of it’s that I’m a good mom. No. I’m a great mom!

Forgive me for tooting my own horn, or as is more appropriate nowadays…taking my own selfie and sharing it with all of you.

But even I have to admit that I might have gone a bit over the top in my latest venture as a great mom.

A few weeks ago my daughter was home for a long weekend. Misty Copeland, the first African-American ballerina recently promoted to the level of principal dancer with NYC’s American Ballet Theatre had asked my daughter to be part of a question-and-answer panel following the Seattle premiere of “A Ballerina’s Tale.” While only a short 3-day stay, my husband and I were thrilled to have our daughter with us. Unfortunately not many attended, but those who did enjoyed a lively discussion about women of color and muscular physique struggling to make a career in the elite world of ballet.

While she was here, I offered to help my daughter shop for Christmas gifts for her fiancé as well as her friends. Knowing how busy she is dancing, teaching and choreographing, I felt I could help relieve some of her stress during the days leading up to Christmas. Besides which we always have such a grand time shopping together. We laugh lots. We commiserate. We eat. We gossip. Our common adrenalin keeps us pumped and going strong. Although when it comes to shopping, I’ve more stamina than my daughter. She’s a wuss by comparison. And she’d be the first to agree.

So after my daughter returned home to her hectic life, I got busy wrapping, boxing and shipping packages. A few packages found their way to Las Vegas, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. These were to close friends of my daughter’s. The bulk, however, were postmarked to my daughter and her fiancé…gifts from her to him…and from us to both of them. There were a couple of items earmarked for the mother-daughter team who own the competition dance studio where my daughter teaches. In all there were exactly 7 boxes, mostly 12/12’s, but a couple 18/18’s. I hate to tell you what the costs were in wrapping paper, gift tags, ribbon, tissue AND airmail postage.

I told my husband…and my daughter…we’d send them on a cruise next year. She and …her husband of 6 months. (They wed next summer.) Of course I was being facetious.

Or was I? Hmmm…

Thankfully her dad weighed in by hauling the boxes to our local post office and paying for the shipping. I wouldn’t have had the energy, nor would I have been able to withstand the unwelcome stares by other customers, or the humorous comments by the postal workers. My husband has the skin of a rhinoceros when it comes to other folks and what they think. He could care less. Me? I’m still in training.

Mind you my daughter never asks for my help in such matters. She’ll always get around to doing what she can, when she can. She doesn’t stress like me that way. There’s just something about her that makes me want to be her mom…always. Helping her however and whenever I can. 

My 6 decades+ old body is telling me…very vehemently…that I cannot keep this up. I cannot burn the midnight oil doing extra work on top of what I already pile on top of myself in my own life, which includes my own antiques business.

Don’t feel overly sorry for me though. I do reward myself with little pleasures now and then…like dining out on Thanksgiving Day. A treat hubby and I will repeat when we partake of another sumptuous buffet at the same restaurant on Christmas Day. No cooking. No cleaning.

…just smiles and happy vibes all around.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

living her best life…#36

In response to Pat’s email in the previous postclose friend Lei, a college counselor, wrote back…

Hi Pat,

Am I the worst Catholic ever if I don’t know who Mary Helen is? She sounds like an important nun and I’m embarrassed if I’m the only one who isn’t familiar with her work. I’ll have to google her.

Glad to see your sense of humor is intact. LOL. That’s a good sign.

I gather the poi (a traditional Hawaiian food) I dropped off didn’t do it for you, huh?

Keep your chin up, Pat.

You know I’ve become sort of an expert in this field, and you’re doing a fabulous job!!!

I love you tons and you’re always in my prayers. I’ll call later to get some nourishment into that body of yours.

HUGS AND SQUEEZES…Lei.

living her best life…#32: second cycle of treatment

More from Pat as we continue to follow her journey through the everyday challenges of living with…multiple myeloma and amyloidosis.

Received the following last thursday.

Hi [hugmamma]…

It’s now after 1 a.m.. The steroids make it hard to sleep. It’s not like I’m bouncing off the walls. I feel tired, but I just can’t fall asleep. Brad’s snoring doesn’t help. Since Aiden left for college, I can use his bed if I get desperate.

Yesterday was the first day of my second 4-week treatment cycle. Fortunately, it went just fine…like the previous cycle of treatments.

There were a lot of patients again today. I’m getting use to it.

I took the last available seat when my name was called. Sitting next to me was the woman I saw during a previous appointment who was just beginning her treatment. Her daughter was with her again. They both smiled at me. I didn’t recognize them at the time, but now that I think about it…that’s who they were.

Unlike previously, I did not feel guilty about doing better than others. I realized we all cope in our own way.

Those with seemingly lengthy treatments have family popping in now and then to ensure all is well. Some are talking on their cell phones. Some are preoccupied with their IPads or laptops. And some are enjoying their snacks…as if they were at home in their favorite recliner. I had to smile at one guy who was out like a light…”sawing some serious wood.” As for me, I was able to write some overdue thank you notes. Now I just have to remember to mail them tomorrow. [hugmamma here: Pat remembered. Her thank-you note to my husband and me read…

Thank you for the Valentine’s Day gifts.

I really enjoyed the movie MALEFICENT! And Ethan hasn’t found the chocolates yet.

Thank you also for your continued love and support. Those quick text messages are a great comfort. And the emails and blog keep me in the right frame of mine.

I miss you guys and can’t wait until we can visit in person.

Love always…Pat.

[hugmamma here:These words brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Lucky for me, I married her brother…and gained…a loving…lovely…younger sister.]

I was with three other patients towards a back corner of the room. We were all facing one another and it seemed as though we were in our own separate sitting area. I thought “Wouldn’t it be fun if we were all chatting gaily while having mani-pedis???” Hmmm…I wonder if the Oncology Department has a suggestion box?

Before going in for my treatment, Brad and I went to visit his parents. I think it helped for them to see me looking like my old self. When they offered lunch, I was so hungry I said “YES, PLEASE!!!”

Evidently I’d not had enough, because after my treatment I went to Costco’s food court while Brad was in Home Depot. I felt no guilt as I enjoyed a mocha freeze. I need the calories!

Took my home meds. Much easier with regular pills that dissolve more readily than the gel-coated capsules. Still tastes yucky though!

Over the weekend I had started a food journal as the dietitian I’m seeing had suggested. It made me aware of what I was eating which is something I want to continue. Journaling also ensured I ate…AND made smarter choices. At least I think I did. What I’m not certain about is if I ate enough. I emailed the information to the dietitian, so I’ll see what she says.

Browsed through my cancer-fighting cookbook and made a shopping list. Looking forward to trying the recipes.They sound pretty good and I think my family would enjoy them as well. Most of them contain ingredients which I already have or which I readily recognize. I’m sure I can find what I need at Whole Foods or in the organics/health foods sections of our local grocery stores. I must confess to only recently discovering these aisles. Imagine how shocked my shopping cart was…as it rolled warily through uncharted territory!

Looking forward to the weekend. Have a Reiki session with Mica on Sunday morning. And the State Soccer Tournament is also this weekend. Aiden’s high school team, MPI, is the number one seed for Division II.

That’s it for another “new normal” day. I’m going to try and get some sleep so I’m not dragging tomorrow. I’ve got a lot of healthy shopping to do!

Love you always…[and your family].

…and hugs to all who continue to offer…love and support.

…pat………and hugmamma.

living her best life…#31

A belated HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! 

Was just reminded I missed sending out hugs to one and all. And yet it’s never too late for…

HUGS…ALL…AROUND!!! February 2011 00053Pat reminded me of my oversight when she emailed the following.

To update you on our Valentine Day’s weekend…

The power surge during the storm killed our TV. So in the afternoon, under sunny skies…you know our Hawaiian weather, bad one minute, glorious the next…we went to Best Buy to get a new one. Stopped by W&M Burger in Kaimuki on the way home. It took me a while but I managed to eat a Royal Burger. Do you remember that place? [Hugmamma here: No, I don’t, but you’re making me “ono” for one…with all the fixins’!]

We watched Maleficent later that night and I loved it! I especially liked the idea that “true love” exists between a child and a parent. I realize Maleficent wasn’t Aurora’s mother…but she acted as though she was because of how she doted on Aurora.

Didn’t do anything special for Valentine’s Day. Just had take out from Zippy’s. Ate something from the fridge instead.

Sunday afternoon friends from our son’s soccer team stopped by with dinner. They visited for a while which was really nice. After they left we heated up the food they brought for us…squash soup…chicken/eggplant stir fry…Chinese style veggies and long rice. All yummy!

That night we packed up a futon and blankets and went to Sandy Beach. 

Sat in the back of Brad’s truck.

I drank hot chocolate; he had coffee.

We looked up at the heavens…and watched the stars.

Lots of shore fishermen were out that night.

After the storm the previous day, Sunday was calm and clear.

On Monday we met Brad’s friends for a picnic and some shore line fishing. 

Brad caught one Oio. That was about it. He gave it to a family fishing a little ways down from where we were.

His friends brought tons of food. The aromas coming from food cooking on the hibachi smelled so good! I made sure to bring something I could eat…including leftover squash soup.

Later when we arrived home…WOW!!!…we found a cooler full of food in our garage. Thanks to Brad’s sister.

Today, Tuesday, I was back at work. Boy! Was my in-tray full!

Didn’t have to cook dinner tonight since we still had a bunch of leftovers.

Checked my blood test results. Everything still looks good. And if I’m reading my numbers right, some of them may have gone up.

Tomorrow is the first day of the second cycle of my chemotherapy treatment.

Oh! And they changed my meds from capsules to tablets which melt more easily in water. No more trying to swallow the gummy, outer coating of the capsules. Yuck! Should be lots quicker to take. Won’t taste better, but at least I won’t be in the bathroom for half-an-hour.

That’s it for now. Until next time…

…love to you, your family…

…and all my well-wishers!

………pat…and hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: life in a…fortune cookie?

Never know what you’ll find when you break open a fortune cookie. 

Since I’m not usually a fan of this Chinese take-out dessert, I’m not likely to rush over to the bag to crack one open and see what it says about my past…present…or future.

Unlike me, however, my husband and daughter like the taste of fortune cookies and are always curious about their predictions.

When my daughter came across the following in a cookie she opened for me, well…it did seem appropriate for what I was going through at the time.

Avoid agreeing with people merely to keep peace.

In fact, that tiny slip of paper is still in the clutches of my pet tyrannosaurus rex…a little, rubber one which came as a prize in some food product…sitting at the top of my laptop.

Trying to rid my life of unwanted and unnecessary stress these last several years has meant adopting the message in these words. There’s no retracting the time lost worrying over other people’s agendas. Instead, I’ve made a concerted effort to find peace in my own life, ensuring that I can live as happily as is feasible.

I don’t insist others agree with me…just because.

…i do wish them peace, however.

………hugmamma.

my pet T-REX...

my pet T-REX…

(Find more inspiration at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/nurturing-thursday-fly/

living her best life…#28

Pat sent the following in an email last Thursday. Life got ahead of me so I didn’t post it. Although a little late, it’s still poignant because of the insight it gives into her frame of mind on any given day.

I’m staying home today and tomorrow. Brad and I decided, if I feel well, I’ll go to work on Mondays and Tuesdays. I’ll do my blood tests on Monday and use that to determine if I should go in or not on Tuesday. I usually receive the results midday Monday.

On Wednesdays, I’ll go in for my treatments. I’ll then rest on Thursdays and Fridays.

I feel well again today, so I thought I might also work on Fridays. However I don’t want to overdo it. So I’ll see what I do.

Yesterday, I actually felt a little tired before and after going in for my treatment. After a nap, I felt slightly foggy…kinda like the meds are the kryptonite to my wannabe super power of clarity. It wasn’t so bad though that I couldn’t make dinner.

Having recently gone to Costco for more ginger juice, I had picked up a few things. So I cooked some steaks on the stove top grill, and made a salad for Brad and Ethan. Of course, I couldn’t eat the steak. Catching a few whiffs of its aroma was all I could do to satisfy my cravings for it. It worked. Mind over matter, I guess.

At least the smell of food, even when I’m cooking, doesn’t “turn my stomach.”

[Hugmamma here: In response to what I wrote…

You’re such a trooper, Pat. Keeping up your positive spirits in trying circumstances.

You inspire me to stop complaining and get on with it. Guess it only goes to show…everything is still normal.

Your life is a new normal now. And I’m here for you without question.

Love you…just as you are. Sending hugs…

………hugmamma.

Pat had this to say by way of reply…

I was thinking the same thing as far as this is just a new normal for me. So with that said, I’m going to take a shower, get dressed, have some breakfast and get started on laundry. Never thought doing laundry would be cause to celebrate, but there you go…

…normal at its best!

…talk again soon…love you always…

………pat.

living her best life…#27

As we all know we can make the hiccups pass with a nice, long, cool drink of water. That usually works.

In Pat’s case it came in the form of a…nephew’s weekend wedding.

Wanted to let you know it was a pretty good weekend.

Although Dennis is still in the hospital [due to his having had a stroke]…he’ll likely be released tomorrow (Monday). …Brad and I stopped to visit on Saturday afternoon before heading to Ramsey’s wedding.

Yes, despite all the trials and tribulations thrown our way, life goes on.

Dennis must be feeling better because he told Brad he’ll probably have a few days off so he’s going  to call him to go fishing. When Brad asked if he could hold a fishing pole, Dennis replied…not yet but he’s working on it.

[Hugmamma here: That’s Dennis! Nothing will keep him from the fish he loves to catch and eat.]

It’s a good sign that Dennis remembers everything. I think he needs to rest to regain his strength.

Having Jen [his daughter, a nurse] hovering over Dennis was reassuring. One of the nurses attending him was a family friend. She comes from a big family just like ours. Because of that, we all went to school with one of the siblings. Malia was a year or two younger than me. An older sister of hers is one of Julie’s [Pat’s sister} closest friends.

After visiting with Dennis, we drove out to the west side of the island for Ramsey’s wedding. 

It was a beautiful ceremony in a gorgeous setting. 

Just the thing I…maybe we all…needed.

It was good to reconnect with everyone. I hadn’t seen most of them since our family meeting where I told them about my diagnosis. So it was nice to be able to talk with them in person, and let them know that I’m doing okay.

Everything was held outdoors. A spectacular sunset was the perfect backdrop.

Of course the Hawaiian food was ono…Hawaiian for “yummy delicious!” There were additional choices, however, since the bride’s family had flown in from Montana.

Uncle Dennis usually makes the poke…a Hawaiian delicacy of raw tuna fish, seaweed, and seasonings. However Cousin Eric and his wife, Nicole, provided it for the wedding.

I actually managed to eat enough kalua [roasted] pig, poi [a Hawaiian starch made from taro root], and sweet potato to fill me up. 

Hawaiian music was playing, while hula girls danced.

Bride Lauren gave her unique, Bird-of-Paradise, floral bouquet away in pieces, which was pretty cool. She gave one piece to her grandmother, the only grandparent who made it to the wedding. Another piece was given to her mother for being so supportive throughout. The remaining two pieces were given to both Ramsey’s mom and step-mom for welcoming Lauren into their families. They were her “moms” since her own lived so far away.

Back to reality…I went shopping at Whole Foods today. Bought some unfamiliar ingredients to make almond muffins. I’ll let you know how they turn out. It’s from a book given to me by a friend. The Cancer Fighting Kitchen has a lot of recipes that look pretty good.

I plan on going in to work tomorrow after my blood test…the start of another week. 

Just taking it one step at a time.

Talk again soon.

…love always, pat.

…and we love you too.

………hugmamma.

 

living her best life…#22

Received the following from Pat on Saturday, 1/31/15.

Hi hugmamma…

Just checking in.

Today was nice and sunny with just enough trades to keep the house cool.

I had an appointment with Dr. Burke [the naturopath] today. I updated him on the meds I’m taking, and how my first two [chemotherapy] treatments went. He says we’re on the right path regarding the homeopathic supplements he’s given me.

As always, I felt better afterwards.

Mica [my niece] came over this afternoon for a Reiki session with me. It was wonderful. She set up her table outside on the back patio, in the shade. I was looking up at the sky. It’s difficult to explain how it felt…but I was comfortable and relaxed the entire time. Mica said my body was “humming” with life…not in a Frankenstein-ish way…but in a good way!!! LOL!!!

Family friends Tami and Steve also stopped by to drop off some Chinese soup, which I’m enjoying as I write. 

Tami and I were team parents for MPI, [my son] Aiden’s high school soccer team. Her son is a year younger so she’s still a team parent this year. 

Generously, Tami explained that she’s organizing other parents to provide meals for my family once a week. I said I didn’t want folks going to a lot of trouble, but she explained that it would be completely voluntary. No one would be pressured to participate. I thanked her, knowing Ethan and Brad will definitely be appreciative.

I enjoyed the post about Alzheimer’s, and will follow Greg O’Brien’s story. 

It’s amazing how many “stories” are out there, and the resilience and strength demonstrated by the storytellers.

Soup’s gone! I’m going to heat up more. “Talk” again soon.

…love to you and yours…always.

………pat

journeying towards her best life…#19: hello…goodbye…and stuff in-between

Had a nice, long chat with Pat this evening.

Nice and long for me.

Probably tolerable for Pat. 

I’m guessing she was fine with it.

She laughed the entire time.

Never disagreeable.

Pat finds everything I say funny.

Actually, so do I.

Hilarious, really.

Like a screwball…bouncing from topic to topic.

It’s the new diet book I just bought.

To wishing I were there…eating Hawaiian plate lunches. 

It’s about available housing near The Mayo Clinic for her recovery stay.

To my scouring the internet for light fixtures for our upcoming remodel.

It’s asking if her son has a new girlfriend.

To how long before homeopathic supplements kick in.

It’s agreeing that Brad is one savvy guy.

To Pat’s knowing one of her good friends since 6th grade.

It’s her having lost about 30 pounds.

To Filipinos thinking I’m Filipino.

It’s learning that Julie was celebrating her birthday with family on The Big Island.

To Pat’s son texting and calling her regularly.

It’s her wishing she could just yank out her shaky back teeth.

To Jennifer’s Super Bowl Party…minus kids.

It’s Pat’s great conversations with her sons, as she drove them hither and yon.

To my daughter laughing at how I jump from topic to topic…making it difficult for her to keep up.

It’s recipes high in calories to help Pat build up her immune system.

To my husband’s being a little “under the weather.”

It’s how dad…my father-in-law…probably only spoke when he had something to say.

To me me saying I chatter…to fill the silence.

It’s how helpful sister-in-law Bev’s therapeutic massage is for Pat.

To how my legs ached the day after carrying…my darling, almost 1-month-old, great-nephew…up and down his parents’ steps so he’d fall back to sleep.

It’s how much Mel, a co-worker and great friend, misses Pat.

To not being able to postpone her colonoscopy…and tolerating the stuff she has to drink the day before.

It’s Pat’s continuing to feel good.

And to her living in the moment.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat.

Then talking her ears off for another half-hour.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat again.

Then talking her ears off…again…for another half-hour.

It’s Pat saying…”Okay. Goodbye, Millie.”

Then hanging up the phone.

My hubby, Pat’s brother, did get a word in…

…edgewise…and sideways…in under 8 minutes.

………hugmamma.

journeying towards her best life…#10: to dominate the impossible in your life…

Lyrics from Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints seem more than appropriate in describing Pat’s…Journey towards her best life.

To overcome an obstacle or an enemy
To glide away from the razor or a knife
To overcome an obstacle or an enemy
To dominate the impossible in your life
Reach in the darkness
A reach in the dark
Reach in the darkness
A reach in the dark

To dominate the impossible in your life…Reach in the darkness…A reach in the dark.

Overcoming multiple myeloma AND amyloidosis is a tall order for a petite, gentle, Hawaiian…with a huge heart. Someone who doesn’t go looking for trouble but will oblige an opponent if nudged too far.

I must admit…most islanders will remove their Aloha Spirit if the situation demands it.

Well, MM and AL have picked a battle with the wrong woman and the wrong family. We, Pat’s OHANA…family are in this with our beloved sister…for the long haul.

Not as an obligation, but as a gift, lovingly given…unconditionally…no strings attached. 

When Pat informed 9 of her siblings at a family meeting, Richard’s immediate response was offering that they all be tested to see if one or more might be compatible donors for the stem cell his sister might need for a transplant. As it turns out the risk of rejection is too high. Pat will have to act as her own donor, since her body would be more receptive to her own stem cells.

Since my husband, Pat’s eldest brother, and I live on the mainland we offered to stay with her during her stem cell transplant at The Mayo Clinic, should she need us.

And what is Pat doing on her own behalf? She is dominating the impossible in her life…reaching in the darkness…a reach in the dark. 

Pat is facing her formidable opponents with…a broad smile on her face! She is not allowing MM and AL to subjugate her sense of humor…her sense of fun.

Following is Pat’s List of…Favorite Things…Wishes…and other stuff:

Things I Love About Hawaii
     How the sun shines while it’s raining.

Sweater weather…70 degrees outside.

No matter where in the world you are, one of the first things you ask someone from Hawaii is “What school you went?” Then you figure out how you’re related to each other…’cause you are.

Makapu’u hike and the lighthouse on the cliff.

Everything about the ocean…the smell, the sight, the sound, the feel and its power.

Having to make room in the fridge for fresh-caught mahi or paka.

Hawaiian music. Most songs are about the natural beauty of the islands…family…food…or surfing. What’s not to like?

The trade winds that blow through our house when the doors are wide open.

As you get older, you are not addressed as ma’am or sir. It’s “aunty” and “uncle.” I was pissed the first time a guy in a surf shop came up to me and said “Aunty, you need help?” But it’s all good. I like it when my sons’ friends or a dude in a surf shop calls me aunty. It shows they’ve been raised right.

Packing up dinner at the last minute and eating it at the beach. It shall be a regular thing whenever you guys…hugmamma and family…are home in Hawaii. 

What I’d Be If I Weren’t Me
A seeing-eye dog or other service animal.

My Super Power, If I Had One
Clarity

My Last Meal Choice
Vinha d’alhos…Grandma V’s sweetbread…fried eggs and rice.
I had to look up how to spell vinha d’alhos…not in the dictionary but in a local MAUI cookbook. Visiting with Mike on Maui a few years ago, he said he never understood what being Portuguese really meant until he moved to Maui.

What Makes Me Special
Being the youngest of 12 in our clan. No one else can ever make that claim!

Hidden Talent
Still looking for it.

What I Want For My Kids
To be healthy, happy, and successful…by their own definition. My definition: they’re out of the house and on their own.

Parental Advice If Any One Should Ever Ask
The best thing you can do for your kids is to let them fend for themselves.
DITTO FOR THE SPOUSE.

 

…a knock out!…in favor of…pat!!!

………hugmamma.

journeying towards her best life…#2

Pat’s story, as told to hugmamma…

In the beginning I remained silent. Not knowing meant not saying anything…to anyone. Perhaps not even to myself.

About a year ago I had carpal tunnel surgery in my right wrist. I wondered why it was I’d gotten carpal tunnel in the first place since I wasn’t its typical candidate. I didn’t craft, and I wasn’t on the computer 24/7. Imagine my surprise when I was told I might need the same surgery on my left wrist.

Strange. Very strange.

Right on the heels of this phenomenon, another occurred. Even weirder.

My tongue swelled…like a balloon fish. One minute it’s flat, the next minute it’s all pouffy.

Not one to panic, I figured I would soon be my old self again. Although when eating became a hazard, I decided it was either me or my tongue. No way I was going to give up eating for the rest of my life. So I sought professional advice.

Figuring anything to do with my mouth involved my teeth, I went to the dentist. He found nothing wrong so I left and went merrily on my way.

Not so merry though, when I couldn’t eat all the usual “ono” food. (Hawaiian for ooh-la-la delicious!!!)

A good friend and co-worker, someone whose friendship I’ll treasure for life, shares my love of food and laughter. 

Mel would bring a cupcake or a brownie which we would split. Not just the common, everyday kind, but the ones that had us drooling because they were so cleverly decorated and scrumptiously flavorful…and terribly sinful. We agreed it was okay though since halving them meant we were each only eating half the calories. Made sense to us.

Now, those days of carefree eating are gone. Replaced by smoothies Mel concocts from fruits and veggies that are brimming with all kinds of good-for-me nutrients.

Because my tongue is swollen my teeth are not aligned. This, in turn, has negatively impacted my ability to chew food. The upside is yyyeeeaaayyy!!!…I’ve lost 20 pounds. The downside? I could eat an entire roasted pig in one sitting! Gumming it if I have to. In fact, if I’m desperate I’ll gum all the flavor out of a favorite food and spit out the remnants. Not very lady-like. But hey! I’m making the most of a bad situation.

One day Mel asked if I wanted to share…a brownie?…a cookie?…chips?…popcorn?…chocolate? Sadly, I declined each and every tempting offer. Her reaction was hilarious, and caught me totally off-guard.  

“I miss Fat Pat. Bring back Fatty Patty!” 

My eyes glistened with tears of happiness. I could laugh in spite of all that lay ahead. 

I’m blest to be supported and comforted by an extended, loving “ohana”…a community of family and good friends. And the Hawaiian music playing in the background reminds me that I’m indeed lucky to be living where the sun shines and the sea is blue and the feeling of Aloha still warms my spirit.

Until next time…Pat.

 

 

we manage…mocha and me

These last few months have been touch and go for my pal Mocha. Old age has been complicated by the debilitating effects of sciatica. Hobbling around, her right paw can bend backwards and send her tumbling forward onto bended knees. Not one to be dissuaded from what she is about, Mocha picks herself up, dusts herself off, and goes about her business.

Observing Mocha makes me sympathetic to the plight of older folks. It’s no fun when body parts don’t work anymore. Life seems consumed with just the basics…eating, peeing and pooping.

“Wwwhhhaaa happened? Where’d all the fun go?” That’s what Mocha’s eyes seem to say as she watches me move about the room. On medication for a heart murmur, sciatica, and now a urinary tract infection, what’s a dog to do? Not much, except lie around.

These last few days I’ve been outdoors prepping the garden for the hibernating months ahead. While back-breaking for me and my arthritic lumbar, Mocha’s been lazing about on the freshly mowed grass, drinking in the sunshine. I’m certain we’ve both felt like switching places.

Being half-beagle, Mocha would love to make like a mole and dig tunnels in the dirt. Me? I’d be content with stretching out on the warm, green lawn, staring up at the billowy, white clouds floating serenely across the baby blue sky.

And yet we make the best of it, Mocha and me. On good days, she’s a little sprightlier. We both are. On days when it takes a little more effort to get going, we take our time.

We don’t wallow in “what ifs,” we just tweak our plans a little. If I’m not up to weeding and pruning, then I’ll do some laundry and vacuum. As for Mocha, if she can’t wander about in search of a new place to lie, then she’ll stay put in her comfy bed all day.

Older age. It’s about doing what we can do, and not fretting about what we can’t do. Of course, doing what we can to keep our bodies humming along is imperative…stretching, exercising, and minimizing our intake of unhealthy carbs.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgo potato chips, candy, and soda. Although I have managed to limit them to…once-in-awhile.

Because of global warming we’re suppose to get a break from the cold, dank, dark weather that normally smothers the Pacific Northwest like an unwanted blanket. According to local forecasters, the lows should hover around the 50s. So far the prediction seems to be panning out. The sun is still with us.

Hallelujah!!!

…mocha and I don’t feel so old…when our bones are warm! Xmas 2010 2 00000

………hugmamma.

 

my summer vacation…

Remember that elementary school assignment?

I’m sure we’ve all written at length about our summer vacations once back in the classroom after Labor Day.

As youngsters our summer essays focused upon…us. Where we went and with whom. What fun things we did. Who our playmates were. What new purchases we made. And so on.

Young adults with money in their pockets would more than likely write with the same focus. Where they went for spring break. Florida or Mexico? How many shots of tequila did they down at one sitting? With whom did they spend the night?

Successful professionals continue the trend, promising themselves to go bigger…or go home.

It’s when we start footing the bills for those summer vacations that the focus is off our wants. The constant cha-ching of the cash register has a sobering effect. We find ourselves settling for Residence Inns with their all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts. Sharing a crowded beach or an overflowing pool is just fine. We make do with cheap souvenirs that eventually get tossed to the back of a drawer.

Having experienced most of these stages…spring breaks were never on my radar…I must admit to liking my most recent summer vacation best of all.

What I did during this my 65th summer vacation

Wanting to spend as much of my vacation outdoors as possible, I convinced family members to gather at a beach near where my husband, daughter, and I were staying. Because we live away from the rest of my husband’s siblings and their families, they very generously acquiesced to my wish.

The Sunday we arrived, eight of my husband’s brothers and sisters as well as nieces, nephews and their children gathered for a huge family potluck. The adults sat around talking as the children frolicked in the ocean nearby. The older ones looking after the youngest. Laughter hung in the air as soft island breezes deflected the heat from the afternoon sun.

As has always been the tradition, the women set about arranging the bountiful assortment of food…salads, meats, breads, fruits, desserts, and beverages. No one went hungry. Just the opposite. Bellies bulged and pant waists had somehow shrunk a few inches.

Lanterns lit the darkness as conversations dwindled. Appetites had been satisfied. Youthful energies expended.

After bidding ALOHA, everyone took their leave making plans to meet again. Same time. Same place.

And so it was that we sat about on two other occasions, enjoying each other’s company long after the sun set.

For the price of a few hearty meals, my life is richer for the memories of this…

…one of my best summer vacations…ever.

………hugmamma.IMG_4517

 

 

 

 

summertime…and the pickings are slim

Remember the first job you ever had? A paying job, I mean. Not some volunteer stint  in exchange for a pat on the back and a stellar recommendation to go along with it. Or as in my case, a couple of summers helping the nun in charge of the bookstore set up shop for students returning to school in the Fall. That got me a break in tuition and a discount on my books. My mom was forever indebted to the Marianist Sisters; I was grateful too…in a less religious way. I got to play “big shot” in front of my fellow school mates.

No. I’m talking about 8 hours work for 8 hours pay, and overtime when warranted.

On the Hawaiian Island of Maui where I grew up, the best most of us graduating from high school could get was a job at the Maui Pineapple Cannery. It had openings for hundreds on their assembly lines. We were literally…hired hands.

I was a pineapple packer making $1.25 an hour. That was a heap of money in 1966 for the youngest in a family of 9 who never got an allowance. Good luck trying to hire a teenager for that kind of money these days, unless you outsource to the Philippines or India.

Swelling like a proud peacock as I walked through the warehouse entrance those first several days, I embraced the scent of ripening fruit that surrounded me. How fortunate I felt to be part of the pineapple family. I was motivated to be the best employee ever hired to pack pineapple into cans.

There were female foremen who walked among us, correcting or praising as the situation warranted. Once-in-awhile they moved into position, demonstrating the proper way to do the job. 

I’m positive I got a little of both…complimented for doing good work, and lectured for wasting perfectly good fruit. When packing a pineapple, I had to decide whether or not all the slices were worthy of being sent along to the consumer. At 16, I had the power!!! Yeah, right.

Sometimes I substituted for a person cutting pineapples. I’m pretty sure I was petrified at the thought of slicing off a finger, or at the very least the tip of one. Developing lightning speed took time. I never occupied the position long enough to acquire that skill. I was always relieved when the regular cutter returned to her position. Phew! Talk about my relief…at being relieved.

It didn’t take long before I landed in the cannery’s infirmary. Nausea and the heat generated from the machinery made many of us sick to our stomachs. It didn’t help that the humidity outdoors made its way indoors. Thankfully, I eventually developed an armor-like constitution…along with an aversion…to pineapple.

To this day I welcome the occasional piece of pineapple-upside-down cake…or a piece of pineapple in my favorite recipe of island-style meatballs, or sweet-sour spareribs. But a bowlful of pineapple all by itself? I don’t think so. I’d sooner eat a serving of broccoli steamed with a sprinkling of lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

That’s saying a lot for someone who grew up eating canned veggies.

Without a doubt, working in the Maui Pineapple Cannery “grew hair on my chest.” I was ready to face the big, bad world as a college freshman in the big city, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu.

…no one dared mess with me!

………hugmamma.