…looking back…

Life is really like a jigsaw puzzle. Except that we don’t get all the pieces at the beginning. We start with a few and as we age we pick up another piece here and there. Unlike puzzles that come in a box of 500 or 1,000 pieces, we don’t know what number we’ll end up with…until our lives come to an end. The really cool thing is we can have as few or as many as we choose. Pieces, that is.

Free will. Remember what the Bible tells us about Adam and Eve. God allowed them to make their way in the world once they’d eaten of the forbidden fruit. Because of their sin, humankind must make our way back to God of our own choosing.

I’ve probably selected many, many more puzzle pieces to form my life than say, my husband. He’s held fewer jobs, making his way up the corporate ladder one rung at a time. As for me? I’ve kind of hopscotched up and down life’s ladder unable to decide what it was I could ace. Only when my daughter was born did I settle into my very own “jigsaw puzzle.”

IMG_4309When we’re young, most of us are totally without focus. We’re drawn in so many different directions, like dandelion flowers floating about on the wind. Certain milestones serve to anchor us to reality…school, loved ones, jobs and old age. It’s the final one that weighs in most heavily.

While options are more limited by the quality of our lives in older age, we’re not as saddled by too many puzzle pieces from which to choose. We can be more selective. We can linger over the appeal of some and not others. We can choose a second piece, if the first piece doesn’t quite fit.

Who cares if my jigsaw puzzle’s a little lopsided? Does it matter if I’ve chosen to fill the entire puzzle with a beautiful blue sky? In fact, I might decide to leave holes in the puzzle. There might be a few heavenly pieces I’d want to fill in when I’m done down here.

Unlike real puzzles over which I agonize as I hunt down the exact pieces that fit together, I look at my life now as unfolding day by day.

Since I began helping my daughter plan her wedding almost a year ago, my house has wallowed in dust and grime…and I’ve not given it much thought. Even as I undertake to get my butt going in that direction, I’ve stopped to write some…watch a little TV…nosh a little…and cuddle my cats. The house’ll get done. Meanwhile, I’m just enjoying figuring out…

…what puzzle piece comes next.

………hugmamma.

 

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…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.

cee’s fun photo challenge: houses

The dollhouse built for our daughter by her dad…and lovingly furnished with her mom’s help. Loving reminders of…a time that lives on in our memories…and our hearts. 

...preparing for halloween...

…preparing for halloween…

...expecting company...

…expecting company…

...the family room's a mess...

…the family room’s a mess…

...where dreams are made...

…where dreams are made…

...time to watch "hgtv"...

…time to watch “hgtv”…

...bathroom break...when ya gotta go...ya gotta go!...

…bathroom break…when ya gotta go…ya gotta go!…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…where has the time gone?…

………hugmamma.

 

 

for always being there…

…A GREAT BIG THANK YOU!!! Yes, yes…I mean you!

Whether or not I’m all present and accounted for, you seem always to be there…hovering…waiting…poised to pounce…when finally my fingers hit the keyboard once again, and my postings fly fast and furious.

I’m only one of millions of bloggers who thrive on having our voices echo throughout cyberspace. Without visitors like you, storytellers like me would cease to exist.

So please…take a bow…pat yourselves on the back…lift a glass of vintage bubbly, or chug-a-lug that amber draft…admire your magnificent reflection in the bathroom mirror…nibble on that sinful, chocolate-covered strawberry, or savor the delicate flavor of Russian caviar. Whatever makes you happiest…please…indulge.

It’s my turn to…honor you…for your…

…staying power…god bless!!!…

………hugmamma

English: Convenience food Why bend the neck to...

wordpress…i’m impressed!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve done a little retooling of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. The look may appear the same but subtle changes, and some not so subtle, have been made in the placement of items.

You must think I’m a genie…a magician…a technological wizard! Truth be told…I’m no such thing.

I’m a fraud! And those who know me well know I’m the least savvy when it comes to gizmos and gadgets.

Everything you see before you is due to the genius that is Word Press. Their consistent  behind-the-scenes tweaking continues to enhance my blogging experience.

“Go big or go home!” seems to describe Word Press best.  Recently, my daughter said the same of me…

NASA Watching Atlantic Tropics: Katia, Tropica...

NASA Watching Atlantic Tropics: Katia, Tropical Storm Lee and System 94L [detail view] (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

…go big…or go home!!!…

………hugmamma. 

changing things up…2013

Now that a dusting of snow has settled upon us like a wintry blanket, and holiday memories fade into the background, the time has come to think of new beginnings.

Of course some things never change. We can only hope to manage them better. Such as the arthritis in my lower back and at the base of my right thumb.

Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarenc...

Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarence Odbody in It’s a Wonderful Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s about aging gracefully…until “a bell rings”…and this broad’s wonderful life becomes…heavenly. I’m thinking of George’s guardian angel, Clarence, of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Having saved George from committing suicide, Clarence is finally awarded his wings.

I’ve so much more of life to sample. Older age is not…a death knell.

However doing nothing to revitalize ourselves can deprive us of sunshine and passion. And I’m not referring to citrus fruits. Although I’m hell-bent on downing more of them each week.

Promises! Promises!

With the advent of the New Year, however, I have kept one long-standing resolution.

I’ve gone back to college! Who’d have thought?!?

Yesterday was my first Creative Writing class.

I must admit to being slightly intimidated, uncertain as to the level of writers I’d encounter. Fortunately I met a fellow classmate in the hallway prior to entering the room. She calmed my nerves considerably.

A fixture in the class for 15 years, 74 year-old Gail assured me that I would be nurtured, not judged, by our instructor Doris and the other students.

Two hours flew by, unlike my younger years in a classroom. I can remember watching the clock in those days, willing its hands to pick up speed.

Interesting how age reverses our perception of things.

Listening to others read what they’d written, was akin to feeling the rush of cold, fresh air bursting through unlatched windows.

Yanna, a musician, wrote the most soulful piece about her beloved dog, the surrogate child unto whom she pours all her pent-up, maternal feelings.

Helen, who recently returned from visiting her native South Africa, shared intimate memories of a 95 year-old friend who died. Through Helen’s writing, we came to know a woman whose life had resembled a precious gem…preserved in its natural beauty, not having yet been mined.

I have deep admiration for an 88 year-old who has been Doris’ student for the last 5 years.

Pat is writing her memoirs, hoping to publish them in a book. Her story promises to reveal her family’s hardships and heartaches in the aftermath of their mother’s death, and the subsequent inability of their father to parent.

To write is to tell one’s story. We are all storytellers. We are all writers.

…resolve to write your story…make it your new year’s resolution

………hugmamma.   🙂

Alzheimer‘s robbed my mom of her memories…and her life. This artist’s visual depiction of the disease is uniquely poignant.

………hugmamma.

artful intuition

Our memory is like a shop in the window  of which is exposed now one,  now another photograph of the same person.  And as a rule the most recent exhibit remains for some time the only one to be seen.  ~Marcel Proust

Vanishing Point, completed as a limited handmade edition in 2009, explores the mutable, and sometimes unreliable, nature of the human memory.  The images are drawn from several decades of family photos of my maternal grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s in the last years of her life.  The tunnel book format was an ideal one to express the passage of time.  Photographic images are the remembered experiences filed away by the mind.  Insect channelling, like that seen rare books and manuscripts, represents the disease eating away at one’s recollections of times past.  These lacunae grow larger and larger as one moves forward in time.  And contrary to Proust’s description, the most recent experience, and point at which the…

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not for everyone…

Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul is where I share opinions, thoughts, feelings, helpful hints, recipes, life experiences…all meant to uplift, to give hope, to empathize, and above all, to entertain.

 Mine is not a political blog. Although I am oft-times moved by current affairs to write what I feel about something of particular concern to me. I don’t propose that others should subscribe to my way of thinking. We are, after all, a society of free thinkers with free will, are we not?

I respect that others can voice their own opinions. And I invite them to establish their own means of doing so.

 Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul is not the appropriate platform for others’ rants and raves, political or otherwise. So this is to advise that any such comments will not be read or published.

I appreciate your readership, but do not welcome conversations of a harsh nature. I will not engage in them for they only serve to stress and demoralize.

Argument for the sake of argument is definitely not my “cup of tea.” Life is too short…and too full of hope to dwell on negativity.

The internet overflows with sites that thrive upon doing verbal battle, until someone cries “uncle.” I heartily encourage those desirous of locking horns to search out others of the same ilk.

…in fact…i insist…

………hugmamma.

weekly photo challenge: create

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

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

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

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

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

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

…her father…and great uncle…

………hugmamma.   🙂

…not for the faint of heart…

My previous post on ad trickery has given rise to this one.

NASA

NASA (Photo credit: Luke Bryant)

After navigating the inroads of the internet, more specifically WordPress, for approximately 2 years I don’t feel as knowing as one might assume. I’m always behind the proverbial 8-ball. Metaphorically speaking, I’m like the astronaut gripping onto the tail of a rocket as it blasts off into space. Following the instructions to the letter, my companions hopped aboard while I was still finding my way through the maze that is NASA.

Just when I thought I’d mastered my little corner of the WordPress universe, I find it’s been remodeled. Tweaks and twinges here and there have streamlined the process, making it more convenient, more glitzy. God bless the staff who are always looking after our best interests. It’s like big government. We cotton to whatever it is they decide…regardless of party affiliation. Conservatives and liberals alike are always pushing and pulling us where they want us to go.

As in life, blogging requires a firm forcus on what it is I’m about. Regardless of the environment in which I write, I strive to hold fast to my values, my purpose. Accumulating an empire of readers looms large. It’s like winning the Powerball Lottery. Who wouldn’t want that?!

Establishing popularity as a goal…fails in life…and in blogging…with integrity. Better to have a few true believers…than a hoard of yes-men and women. 

I’ve visited a number of blogs that are gems waiting to be discovered. My compassion is always for the underdog, so I’ve gone out of my way to help bring them along by mentioning them in posts, hoping that others will turn their attention to the less popular…but just as deserving.

Blogging is not an easy undertaking, but fun can be had by all if we remember that it is fun. And that everyone has something worthwhile to contribute. So jump on in…

Jumping in the pool

Jumping in the pool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…to the shallow end…or the deep end…the water’s fine!

………hugmamma.     🙂

 

…a picture’s worth…

…a thousand words, as the saying goes. And I just happened upon a blog which offers photos with captions. Simplicity personified.  Colorspark at http://colorspark79.wordpress.com/about/.

Photography blogs seem the most popular. Images capture what words may not. And most folks these days have precious little time to spend more than a couple of seconds at each stop on the internet. I consider myself very lucky that hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul is one of those blips along the way. Especially since I tend to yak a lot.

From time to time I’ll recommend another “blip” for you to check out. But hey! It’s your couple of seconds…to spend any way you like. Your choice…

  

  

Hosts

Hosts (Photo credit: JanneM)

…only a suggestion… 

………hugmamma.   😉 

the oscars…not quite…but almost

I’m nonplussed at the various awards bestowed upon me by fellow bloggers, whom I consider to be good friends as well. “Nonplus…to render utterly perplexed.”

Ellen The Complete Fourth Season DVD Cover Art

Image via Wikipedia

To be recognized for something I’d rather do 24/7, than tasks I could easily chuck such as housecleaning…culling through stuff to keep or to donate…prepping for meals and cleaning up afterwards…driving hither and yon running errands…is like having Ellen phone me just to chat, see how I’m doing, ask what’s new.

So I’ll just pretend that all of my friends have given me a few moments of Ellen’s time. That’s how honored I am to accept their congratulations for a job well done in writing for “hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul.”

 

The Versatile Blogger Award has been given me by 3 special ladies, Judy Berman of http://earthriderdotcom.wordpress.com, Ma. Novie Godmalin of http://misexperienciaspersonales.wordpress.com, and Doris of http://truthwithdoris.wordpress.com.

The Lovely Blogger Award was given me by Kate Kresse of http://believeanyway.wordpress.com.

The HUG Award was bestowed me by Connie Wayne of http://ahopefortoday.com.

And today Marcia Clarke of http://mecwrites25.wordpress.com advised I was a recipient of the Awesome Blog Content Award.

So that they know of my appreciation before more time passes, I wanted to acknowledge their recognition posthaste. I will be visiting their blogs to properly accept the awards and fulfill the conditions of acceptance. Meanwhile, I recommend you peruse their blogs and enjoy their offerings…

…almost as much as i do…

73rd Academy Awards

Image via Wikipedia

 

…thank you…mahalo…muchas gracias… nice chatting with you, ellen…

………hugmamma.  🙂 

“believe anyway”…beautifully written

Conjoined twin sisters from the Nuremberg Chro...

Image via Wikipedia

Wanted to refer you to another blog, one I’ve recently visited with some regularity which I’ve found absolutely delightful, probably because its writer could be my Siamese twin in terms of beliefs, humor, anxieties, compassion and hope.

We’re both on a mission to inject optimism into an ever-growing environment of negativity. I wouldn’t say we play the role of society’s Pollyana, for we’ve both lived enough to know we can’t just wish away our problems, nor can others. That’s somewhat simplistic in today’s reality…maybe back in the day…like the 50’s. I don’t know.

Believe anyway says it all. And Kate Kressen writes wonderfully as well…

Heart

…genuinely…from the heart…

……….hugmamma.  🙂

daily post challenge: talker’s block? writer’s block?

Writer's Block (album)

Image via Wikipedia

As regular readers of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul can attest, I’ve never been stricken with writer’s block.” It’s not something I’d brag about though. I’m probably a prolific writer because I’m also a non-stop talker, when given the opportunity. Some might think I’m doubly gifted because I never experience “talker’s block” or “writer’s block.” The truth is…these so-called talents can be a royal pain in my behind, my touche, my backside, my rump, my hynie, my booty, my (Hawaiian) okole, my arse…and yes, my ass! 

Let me list some reasons why I sometimes wish I had “talker’s block.”
1. If allowed I babble endlessly, switching topics effortlessly, leaving listeners wondering what we were talking about in the first place.

Wonder Woman as she appeared in the 2009 anima...

Image via Wikipedia

2. As I’m speaking I begin to detach myself, listening to what it is I’m saying. Sometimes I cringe hearing the moronic stuff spilling forth from my mouth. Yikes! Is that me talking??? 

3. I hate pregnant pauses. You know, when no one speaks. And it feels like the minutes are ticking by as if loaded down with sandbags. Because of this, I’ve taken to being the Wonder Woman  of the talk show circuit. I break out with all the blah, blah, blah I can muster and keep the dribble going, only stopping if someone else feels the urge to break in. Otherwise…it’s me, me, me…and more me. Yuck! 

4. Believe it or not, when I’m speaking and all eyes are upon me, I feel as though I’m physically shrinking so as to avoid being the center of attention. I can feel myself on the verge of menopausal hot flashes, sweat beginning to bead under my armpits, hairs standing on end at the nape of my neck. I’d prefer substituting a speaker box  in my place so that I could be “heard, and not seen,” unlike childhood days when I was told to be “seen and not heard.”

Aiwa loudspeaker enclosure

Image via Wikipedia

5. Finally…yes, there is an end to this in case you were wondering…when I plunge headlong into a conversation, I’m inclined to spit out the words as fast as I can. My fear? That if I dally too long, eyes will begin to roll, butts will start to squirm, and then the final trump card… “I think it’s time I got going. I’ve got lots to do.” 

“Writer’s Block?” Why would I wish it? Read on…
1. I’ve an addiction to writing, or haven’t you noticed? I’ve even written about it in https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/task-reward-task-reward/ and https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/addicted-me-nahhh/. And we all know that addictions are taboo. I’ve not seen research studies denigrating writers’ needing to pen their thoughts 24/7…yet. But give the naysayers time. They’ll get around to us sooner or later. We needn’t fear being overlooked. Trust me! They’ll get around to ripping the pens from our fingers, and the keyboards out from under our frenetic grasps. Hey! I might start the ball rolling and have public pressure move me to have “writer’s block.” Hmmm…a thought…

2. Insomnia’s another reason I’d cozy up to “writer’s block.” At my age sleepless nights are usually guaranteed. So it’s a double whammy to be kept awake at night, ideas bouncing around inside my head, wanting out…now, now, now!!! I’ve posted of this in https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/daily-post-challenge-204-does-your-mind-go-blank-when-you-close-your-eyes/, and in  https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/cure-for-insomnia-blogging/.

3. Apart from loving to write, I love being a homeowner, a gardener, a pet owner, a friend, a wife, and, of course, a mom. But somehow all the rest take a backseat to writing. The fluidity and speed with which I can knock off post after post far surpasses my ability to dust, scrub and vacuum…weed, water and rake…pop pills and rotate feeding dishes for 3 special needs cats…socialize…pamper…and smother with love.

Work It Out (Beyoncé Knowles song)

4. Life is about balance. Tell that to “hugmamma.” She needs a megaphone secured to her ear through which Beyonce’s never-ending voice screams Balance! Balance! Balance!”

5. I’d like to take up another hobby. Not sure what it is yet; haven’t had the time to peruse the possibilities. Maybe I’ll figure it out in an upcoming post. At least writing things down puts them front and center, for my consideration. Now if I could only move my bones in a new direction afterwards.

…so don’t talk to me about “talker’s block”…or “writer’s block,”…be thankful you can “pull the plug”…

………hugmamma.