after decades…relinquishing control…

We wives and moms metamorphose all our lives.Butterfly-Header

Sometimes we’re butterflies. Wowee!!! Look at me flutter…

MothsO18Most times, however…we’re just plain, ole moths. Hardworking, for sure. No time to flit around looking beautiful all day long. We save that for special occasions, which get fewer and farther along once the children start coming.

I can’t remember when I last felt like a butterfly. Come to think of it, I can’t remember what it was like to be twenty-something. Those days of short-shorts and string bikinis are all but forgotten. And yes! I did wear both. You’ll barf if you’re trying to imagine it, given what I look like now. So don’t try!

Over the last 29 years I’ve worn my moth-eaten wife and mother’s gray garb with happy determination. When I was younger I could do it all. At least I thought I could.

Multi-tasking was a given. Getting hubby off to work after a nourishing breakfast…seeing my daughter onto the bus headed for school…household chores…grocery shopping and other errands…yard work…classroom volunteering…chauffeuring my budding ballerina to dance classes…meals to make…laundry to do…bedtime stories with which to settle in.

Thank goodness hubby loved to play so he and our daughter could do their thing every chance they could. I never got over my childhood habit of…work before play. With 7 sisters to do most of the work around their house, my husband and his 4 brothers were “boys of leisure.” From what I saw when we were dating, they didn’t even make their beds…at least not my husband.

That’s not to minimize playtime, however. I was extremely glad my hubby liked playing with our daughter. Otherwise, that would’ve been one more thing on my “to do list.” And if that were the case, I’m sure it wouldn’t have felt like fun to my toddler if I clocked how much time I had to sit around playing games.

I even explained to the school counselor during kindergarten orientation how I would prefer my child have a teacher more akin to my husband than me. Would you believe I even teared up about it? I was adamant about not wanting someone geared toward the three R’s…reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic….and nothing else. My daughter would get enough of that kind of discipline at home…from me.

So over the years as a stay-at-home mom, I assumed control over an empire…my empire. Even when the “king” returned home to his “castle,” I was still in charge…on the quiet, of course. I feigned homage to my lord and liege.

We moms know who manipulates the strings behind this real life puppet show. Don’t we ladies?

For 45 years, even after we became empty-nesters…almost 11 years now, I ruled the roost. Although as this monarch aged the job was no longer a cinch. Not that it ever was. It’s just that I’m not as adept at  keeping all the balls in the air anymore. It’s more like I’m rolling the balls along a gravely path. And it’s getting gravelier every year. Trust me. One of these days it’s going to seem as though I’m rolling those balls straight uphill.

The last several years I rationalized my loss of get-up-and-go to doing quality work. Doing one or two tasks a day was just fine. At least that’s what I told myself. Meanwhile dust collected. I could no longer see my reflection in the wood floors. Not that I ever could. But they were better than they are now, that’s for sure. A few more days went by before I did the laundry. I bought more underwear to tide us over.

I could chalk it up to my having an under-active thyroid, which I learned about during a visit to a naturopath. Thankfully, that’s been resolved.

Working thyroid or not, getting old slowed me down. I can’t do half of what I use to do, more like a third, on my best days. And I sure as heck can’t move between the house and the yard without breaking a sweat. Don’t get me wrong, it was never a breeze. Just more doable. These days the weeds live in harmony with the flowers. That way, the jack rabbits…yeah, they’re no longer cute, little bunnies…can graze on something other than my prized plants, lovingly hand-picked and bought with hard-earned dinero.

So what’s my point?

Yesterday I decided to skip out on an appointment with the designer who was stopping by to discuss window coverings for our newly remodeled, downstairs master bedroom suite. After almost 3 months as project manager and all that entails…on top of my normal routine…on top of nursing our beloved dog who eventually passed, and a loving cat who almost died from some mystery ailment…and on top of 3 weeks in Nashville literally helping my daughter get back on her feet after back-to-back surgeries…my vintage locomotive of a body finally went kaput! My brain gave in and decided we should all take a mini vacation. So I did. I drove to Home Goods, a subsidiary of the retailer Marshalls, and left my house in the very capable hands of my recently semi-retired husband.

Going over what we’d decided to install on the windows, I opted out deciding I’d live with whatever technicalities the designer and my other half finalized. It felt really, really good to relinquish control. My husband could grill the designer on her credentials as far as the installation went. After all she doesn’t work for the manufacturer, so her information is second-hand. More than that, she had to prove to my husband that what she was selling was worth every penny of his money. She knew my aesthetics; she’d never dealt with his budgetary consciousness…first hand. I did. Convincing him to spend the money was a job in itself. Of course, I knew the right buttons to press. Like “It’ll only increase the resale value of our house.” That’s always a good one. Fastest way to get him to open up his checkbook. Not that he’s ever “fast on the draw,” just not “slow like molasses.”

butterfly-garden-4For a couple of hours I felt as though I was floating along on a cloud…free as a…butterfly. No worries. No cares other than looking at what was in front of me…a wall rack for the laundry room doubling as a gift-wrapping station…decorative waste baskets…a piece of art for the bedroom. When hubby joined me later I showed him what I had in my shopping cart. He pointed out things I’d not thought about which made me change my mind, returning some of the items to their shelves. Made me feel good too, having someone else make decisions, however small.

I felt so calm and refreshed that hubby and I wound up having a date night. We walked to nearby AJE restaurant, dining on Japanese food, a favorite of ours. Not having been to the movies in a while, we decided to stop at a nearby Regal Theatre to see The Avengers Age of Ultron. We both dozed off, unbeknownst to one another, near the beginning of the film. Hubby said he awoke and saw me asleep. We didn’t miss much, however, since most action films are primarily about the actors annihilating one another, or trying to at least. It was good not having to think about anything…except the good guys smashing the bad guys to smithereens.

Today I was back on the job. MothsO125As project manager I oversaw last minute details…where to hang mirrors, artwork, vintage pieces and chandeliers.

I never know how purchased items are going to look once in place. I have some idea, based upon pictures and customer reviews. However it isn’t until I see a piece in place will I know if it works as I imagined, or not. Take the massive metal chandelier I bought online to hang over the end of our king-sized bed. I thought it would hang 24″ low. Not until the electrician was up on a ladder, fixture in hand, did I learn that my gorgeous chandelier would block most of our view of the newly minted porcelain tile fireplace with gas insert, as we lay in bed. It was me and my woman’s intuition going up against the practical mindset of 3 men, including my husband and our contractor.

I’m delighted to admit…the men won! What got me over to their side? The electrician saying “If the chandelier isn’t hung as a flush mount, then the only other option is that it hangs 34″ from the ceiling. In that case, what you’ll be looking at while sitting in bed is the light glaring out at you from the chandelier.” That made total sense, so I relinquished control of that debate.

I think I’m going to like having the men in my life take back control…

…as long as i agree. 

………hugmamma. butterfly-world

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nurturing thursdays…push back!

A visit to The Lady in the House at http://ladyinthehouse.net had me thinking about…nurturing thursdays.

English: Pumpkin spider, Araneus trifolium and...

In a piece entitled The Brilliance Behind Passive Agression, the writer expounds at length on the relationship between….in her imagery…the spider and the fly. The fly who is unwittingly caught in the web spun by the insidious spider.

Have you ever suffered the fate of the fly? Or have you been the one who masterfully lured it into your spidery world?

Neither image solicits a willingness to admit to being one or the other, or worse…both. Who wants to be seen as a dolt unable of detecting a death trap? And what woman would be the first to admit that she is a conniving arachnid?

It may be that The Lady in the House finds herself in just such a predicament. Having been an unsuspecting fly myself…more than once,…I can detect another victim in the offing.

Webster’s Dictionary defines passive as…2. submitting without resistance, and aggressive as…1. tending toward aggression. The latter being defined as…1. an unprovoked attack.

In other words, a passive-aggressive person cleverly adopts a laid-back stance so as to draw the unsuspecting object of her attention ever closer.

It may be that the spider, or the passive-aggressor, would defend her actions as a natural instinct to take a lesser creature…the fly…into her lair…for safekeeping. You know, sort of as a protector. There’s an assumption here that the fly needs protecting. Perhaps from herself.

I’ve fallen prey to folks who have seemingly had my best interests at heart…or so it seemed at first. I did notice the eye-rolling and the exasperated sighs and the words tinged with sarcasm, but I chalked them up to my imagination. After all, I was trying not to “take it personally.” 

Fully invested, like the fly glued to the web, I became aware of more “red flags.” Until finally a zinger let loose, like “I care about you…BUT…” 

When a so-called loved one tells you on one hand that they approve of you, BUT on the other hand you could use some improvement…RUN FOR THE HILLS…spider web or not. You’ll never, ever measure up. There’ll always be a teensy-weensy something that needs adjusting to bring you up to their standards.

And before you realize it, there goes your self-esteem…out the window!

Whether you learn to stand your ground or take your leave when it comes to folks who are passive agressive, just break the ties that bind…

…and push back!…push back hard!!!…

………hugmamma.

Passive-Aggressive

you are what you eat…

My good friend at http://www.chittlechattle.com shared the following, which reminded me…of, well…me.

I can be pretty nonsensical…without breaking a sweat.

Growing up, my own brothers, sisters, and even my mom didn’t know what a goofball I was. Correction. They were definitely irked by my antics, but not in a good way. Friends, on the other hand, enjoyed my clowning around. Maybe because we were clowns of a feather, flocking together.

Only with my own family, my husband and daughter, and with my extended family of in-laws am I totally myself…funny, goofy…and totally, totally…happy!

So until the day I die, I will be…

…the little old lady…who swallowed a fly…

………hugmamma. 

…stuff, stuff, and more stuff…

Or as we Hawaiians like to say…OPALA, OPALA, and more OPALA…

Imported Photos 00519

…my daughter’s “opala”…

We may fool ourselves into thinking we have just the right amount of stuff, until we try to cram in more. Of course with our daughter moving back home, I’m not talking about a few boxes. I’m talking about a lot of boxes, a couple of dressers, a sofa, a small dining set, a wingback chair, a bookcase, a huge cabinet, a corner cabinet, a computer desk with chair, lamps, pictures…and all the accompanying knick-knacks. And then there’s her clothes…don’t ask!

...more of her stuff...

…more of her stuff…btw, that weird, penguin-looking thing in the chair is a massager…just in case you were wondering…

None of this is really our daughter’s fault, however. I take most of the blame. Having her live 3,000 miles from us since she was 16, I wanted her to feel as though she was still ensconced in the loving spirit of our home. She grew up with vintage furnishings which lend themselves to a feeling of coziness, and that’s what I wanted to recreate for her.

My decorating plan worked wonderfully. Our daughter flourished during the 11 years she’s been on her own. I like to think it was due, in part, to her loving her personal surroundings. She assures me it was. I don’t doubt her…since she’s not donating the lot of it to Goodwill. Although she did part with a good bit of tchotchkas when she moved from an apartment suspected of having bed bugs, even though only one larva was discovered in the seam of the bed’s boxspring.

...my "opala"...

…my “opala”…

Because I’m a nut for antiques, our daughter couldn’t help but have some of it rub off on her. Like mother, like daughter. Thankfully, she’s like her father too. He’s got attributes I wish I had…like ignoring people and things that can bug the heck out of me. With his guidance, I’m learning…I’m learning.

So if I’ve spent the last few weeks rearranging my house in preparation for my daughter’s homecoming, I’ve only got myself to thank. Of course the overriding sentiment is that it’ll all be worth it to have her with us…for as long as she’s with us.

God works in mysterious ways, so it’s best to…

…just go with the flow…

………hugmamma.

...two peas in a pod...

…two peas in a pod…bff’s forever…

karma…

“HATE HAS CONSEQUENCES.”

Something I heard on a news show today. Not a surprising statement about the topic of discussion…Rush Limbaugh…conservative radio personality.

Rush Limbaugh Cartoon by Ian D. Marsden of mar...

 

My aversion to the man is akin to my total disgust for bed bugs. He and they…one and the same…as far as I’m concerned.

Seems Limbaugh is losing significant financial support. Advertisers have bowed to the wishes of women and young folk who oppose Limbaugh’s attack against those with whom they identify. Remember college student Sandra Fluke who spoke out in support of contraceptive coverage by health insurers?

On February 29, 2012, Rush Limbaugh labeled Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” based on her speech before House Democrats. Fluke appeared to support mandating health insurers to cover contraceptive costs. Limbaugh stated:[30][31]

“[Fluke] essentially says that she must be paid to have sex—what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”

Political figures, including President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner, voiced disapproval of Limbaugh’s comments.[32] On March 3, Limbaugh apologized to Fluke for his comments, saying his “insulting word choices” were meant to be “humorous”, and that he never believed her to be a “slut” or a prostitute.[33][34] Fluke rejected the apology as dubious and inadequate.[35]

Karma may be a long time coming, but when it arrives…

 …how sweet it is…

ACLU/SC 19th Annual Law Luncheon

………hugmamma.

beneath…the lemon tree

English: lemon tree Italiano: limone

Image via Wikipedia

I promise this will be my final post regarding lemons and WordPress.org. At least I hope so. Depends upon the “powers that be” and their lemon tree.

Received welcome news from Yoav of WordPress support. Seems I’m not losing my mind. I didn’t switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Funny, or not so funny, is how one can be convinced of something one is pretty certain is incorrect.

In my mind’s wanderings…there’s a lot of that…I likened internet sites, including WordPress, to our democracy. We’re free people with rights. But in exercising our freedom, we must wend our way through a jungle of obstacles…some visible…some invisible. It’s the ones we don’t see that can keep us from moving forward.

How to proceed?

Sitting Bull (c. 1831-1890). Sitting Bull was ...

Image via Wikipedia

We can either shrug our shoulders, make a u-turn, and go back the way we came. Or we can very stealthily look to gain entrance through a back door…ssshhh!…someone might see us. Or like the proverbial bull in the china shop, we can see red and become bellicose!

On the other hand, there’s always diplomacy.

Talk, talk, talk…until someone deigns to listen. I think only one in a hundred take this route. With my gift for gab…I can’t help but be one of them. Having a thousand thoughts bombarding my mind like yellow jackets that sting unless I cooperate, when one argument fails I try another…and another…and another. My husband is understandably worn down after 41 years of being wedded to a woman with bees in her belfry. Poor, poor man.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Image via Wikipedia

Of the 4 or 5 queries I made to WordPress support, one finally got an answer. Admittedly, I would’ve been content with any reply just to know someone took notice; that I wasn’t doomed to remain in limbo forever.

It’s that feeling of talking and not hearing one’s own voice reverberate back. One begins to wonder if one’s vocal chords suddenly went mute. Like when I accidentally hit “mute” on the TV remote. Whaaa happened???

So I’m eternally grateful that Yoav plucked me out of my dilemma and set me back down on two feet…kerplunk!…in the wonderful, democracy that is WordPress.com.

Hi,

> John Burke of Word Ads informed me by email today that I wasn’t accepted for
> application because your records were not updated to show I had transitioned
to
> WordPress.org. I am truly surprised, for I never altered my WordPress status.
At
> 62, and a housewife with minimal technical skills, I have no aptitude for
> managing my own blog. I would really appreciate having my status with
> WordPress.com reconfirmed. The only change I agreed to was buying my domain
name
> “hugmamma” through WordPress in June of last year.
>
> Thank you and look forward to clarification of the matter.

This might be an error – sorry about that.
Please feel free to apply to Word Ads again.

Best,

Yoav

WordPress.com Support

In the future I’ll be laying low, keeping my head at ground level so as to stay out of the range of the overly abundant lemon tree. The two times WordPress has taken notice of me were not favorably memorable…spamming my comments and then obliterating my blog from the community a year ago, and now, banishing me to WordPress.org. I think it best “hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul” remain in the hinterlands…far from a system gone amok!

Wait a minute. Are we talking about WordPress…or…the mess our country is in?

English: flowers of the lemon tree in our garden

Image via Wikipedia

lemon tree very pretty…and the lemon flower is sweet…but the fruit of the poor lemon…is impossible to eat…

………hugmamma.  😉

 

daily post challenge #205: what food entices me…yet i’m afraid to try

At the Big Pineapple

Image by yewenyi via Flickr

When I was in high school, a friend started pushing insects and frogs legs. Not like she was pushing dope or anything. Though I wouldn’t know the difference, since I’ve never been in the latter situation. But my girlfriend seemed an expert on the latest trend. Living on Maui in the 50s and 60s, who knew what the fad-of-the-day was anywhere else in the world. In those days I longed to get off the “rock.” Even moving to Honolulu was something I longed to do…the excitement of the big city, and all that went along. And it was nothing, nothing like it is today. But compared to life on Maui, Honolulu represented the “Big Pineapple.”

My girlfriend may have gotten the delicacies from family in the Orient. She was an only child of first generation Japanese parents. I know they ate very traditional dishes, prepared by her mom. I never ate with her family, and I’m sure if I did I wouldn’t have been overly appreciative. My taste buds were nowhere as developed then, as they are now.

My mom use to trawl the muddy, water habitats where taro leaves grew, taro being the root from which the Hawaiian staple, poi, is made. What she was looking for were large snails, called “pupus.” They might’ve been related to the French escargot. Upon getting her catch home, my mom would boil the snails in salted water, probably a couple of times to rid them of the grit and grime in which they crawled. 

As the shelled slugs boiled, the whole house stunk, the smell making me sick to my stomach. I’m not sure if my siblings relished eating them as my mom did. Watching her stick the sharp end of a safety pin into the opening of the snail’s shell and drag its dead body out, popping it into her mouth, would make me cringe backwards in revulsion. But now anytime there’s escargot on the menu, I’m up for the tasty treat. Who’d a thunk?   

frogs' legs

Image via Wikipedia

But I must say I was most definitely intrigued by my school friend’s offerings of chocolate-covered ants and grasshoppers. After all to a kid, chocolate is chocolate, insects or no. And frogs legs, fried to a crisp, which my friend kept wrapped like the delicacies that they were…in white tissue paper, looked irresistible. My friend said they tasted just like chicken. My mom once told me that about eating rabbit. She lied. To me, eating a bunny was gross, and the taste to me was weird, not the least like chicken. 

Others tried the edibles on a dare. You’d think I’d have tried them since they’d be a change from the canned food I usually ate. But no thank you. The thought of eating ants which I was inclined to squish with bare feet, and grasshoppers that I’d watch sitting on a leaf for what seemed ages, and frogs that I’d hunt down in cane fields and nearby murky ponds for biology class experiments, was repulsive to say the least. In my childish way of thinking, I imagined these critters would merely resume life as they knew it…in my innards. And as far as I was concerned there was definitely “no room in the inn…period!”

Chocolate Covered Ant Cupcakes

Image by Photos o' Randomness via Flickr

In college I again encountered chocolate covered insects. A friend with whom I worked at the University of Hawaii Bookstore, brought in a box she’d purchased at a fancy department store. I was sorely tempted to sample what I thought I might have missed as an inexperienced, young teen. But my second encounter with cooked bugs was no different from my first. In truth…I knew I was still a chicken when it came to swallowing things i don’t even want crawling around inside my house…

let alone have them making themselves comfy cozy…inside my body…pawk, pawk…ribbet, ribbet………hugmamma. 

grasshopper-1

Image by musical photo man via Flickr

sun x 100 = happiness!

Am so excited to be heading outdoors into the garden to weed, plant and rake. The sun is shining down brilliantly! Hopefully the mosquitoes haven’t gotten a head-start. There are so many more of them this year. Probably because winter rains didn’t let up until just recently. Odd to be working on a holiday when the rest of the world is probably out playing. But we did that yesterday, knowing today’s weather would be better for yard work.

I’m hoping your Fourth of July is splendiferous! Spare me a moment’s thought as you do, knowing that I’ll be on hands and knees in God‘s good earth…giving thanks, in my own way. Lucky we live in America…where we can do whatever we please…whenever we please. Well almost.

God bless America! God bless us all!

Fireworks Over Lake Union

Image by sea turtle via Flickr

Fireworks Over Lake Union

Image by sea turtle via Flickr

…and keep us worthy of all we have…hugmamma.

twitter…hummingbird?…or nasty bug?

Ellen DeGeneres

Not sure how many of you tweet via twitter. My brother sold me on the idea eons ago. I took it as a compliment that an older, tech-wise sibling thought my writing was good enough to hit the air waves. Hesitant at first because of all the advice against “putting it out there,” I finally went for it. I get how it’s done, on the most elementary level. WordPress included an icon which, when clicked, sends my posts into the internet stratosphere. That’s the extent of my understanding. I’ve visited my twitter site which looks like Greek to me, except for the fact that Ellen de Generes is tweeting to it regularly. Can’t say I’ve been asked to return the favor. No matter. She’s like a hummingbird whose tweets I find musical. 

Recently, however, I’ve noticed that before I’ve even tweeted my posts, it’s already been done…twice. How’s that happen? I thought perhaps my brother lent a helping hand, and maybe WordPress. If I recall, it would happen most times, but not always. So I thought perhaps certain words in my post triggered the tweets. Happy not to have to bother doing it myself, I didn’t give it a second thought. Today, however, I decided I’d better tweet, because my posts might not be making it to my own twitter site. That the other tweets were posting to other sites. I can rationalize anything, even if it makes no sense.

Follow me on Twitter logo

Image via Wikipedia

When I clicked the twitter icon, I was asked to “sign on,” something I’d not been asked to do in sometime. Try as I might, the resulting prompt indicated my username and/or email did not match up with my password. So I proceeded to request help from Twitter Support. Indicating they could help me reset my password, I decided to do that. To my total surprise, shock actually, the message I received from them to my email address was to a “Helah Chester @helacobtendy.” “Who the heck is that?” I thought. 

I never did learn who the perpetrator was because my query to Twitter Support said their service was down, that I should try again later, or that my username and password didn’t match. Well about this time is when my cable service was shut off while the Comcast repair guy worked his magic. When it was up and running, I decided to click on the name and email address Twitter had sent in their message. Up popped their screen saying that that the account had been “unsuspended.” The screen was then replaced with my Twitter site which looked as it should. Thereafter when I proceeded to tweet my recent post, it worked. Go figure.

Alex Payne from Twitter at Bear Hug Camp.

Image via Wikipedia

When I first sought Twitter’s help in the matter, their site did indicate they’ve been having problems, beginning 3 days ago, and again an hour before my visit to their site. Makes me worry. Do these internet gurus know what the h–l they’re doing with our information? Makes me doubly worried.

So was Helah Chester a victim of their bungling, like I was? Or is there something more sinister at work here? Hummingbird? Or nasty bug? Depending upon what any of you might have to offer by way of explanation…

Nature at Its Best (2254321574)

Image via Wikipedia

…i may have tweeted my last note…although my hubby thinks i’m overly cynical…could i be?…hugmamma.