family…

I’m sure we’d all agree how important family is to ensuring harmony within our everyday lives. The same, it would seem, applies to the Trumps.

Having said that, family harmony is never a given. No matter our good intentions, it can be an ongoing struggle to maintain  a simmering boil among conflicting personalities. For some, it’s a welcome challenge; for others, like me, it can be toxic, even corrosive.

For many years now, I’ve enjoyed reading about the lives of others. Biographies allow me to step inside another’s journey in an effort to make sense of my own. Knowing the back story has also enhanced my understanding of the person whose life is under the microscope. Oftentimes, I come away feeling some measure of compassion.

Prior to the presidential election I read books written about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I learned details about them which impacted my vote. As with other biographies, I was particularly interested in their familial relationships. What effect did their parents have on their evolution as adults? What values, if any, were instilled in them at a young age? And how did they impact who they are today?

In some ways, Hillary’s middle-class life was something with which I could identify. Education and hard work were just as important in my life, even though the death of my father when I was one meant our family lived from meager paycheck to meager paycheck. With the help of Catholic nuns at the orphanage where my mom worked, we survived…just.

Hillary’s mom was farmed out to relatives at a young age. Through grit and determination she survived. The kindness of a teacher who, for a year, shared her lunch with the poverty-stricken youngster had a lasting impression. One that Hillary made a point to “pay forward.” During college she began the journey which would become her life long passion…helping others in need.

Hillary’s dad was a task master. Where her mom shrank from his bullying tactics, Hillary thrived. A talent that served her well as she wend her way through hostile territory…a world that catered to white men.

Trump learned that the world was a “dog eat dog” world from his father. But for the fact that Trump admired her for being a happy housewife, there’s little reference to his mother. While his dad taught him the value of a buck, Trump learned his hardcore values from others…the military school to which his father sent him to be disciplined, and Harry Cohn, the tough lawyer who ran legal interference for the mob. Trump likened Cohn to a surrogate father.

Although I was able to understand the trajectory of both their lives, I could more readily accept the unfolding of Hillary’s, including the flaws.

On the other hand Trump’s life remains an enigma, despite my knowing the facts. I can only surmise that his narrow purview of the world beyond Trump Tower is owing to his isolation, both physically and mentally.

Education, whether formal or informal, is the hallmark of smart decision-making.

Hillary is a product of all she gleaned from Wellesley. More than that, however, her college degree was a starting point from which she launched her broader education into the world at large. She never stopped learning and changing, without sacrificing her core principles based upon uplifting the downtrodden.

It’s obvious that Trump thinks little of educating himself, instead preferring to rely upon others for his “alternative facts.” Because of this he wallows in conspiracy theories. Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon gained valuable access to Trump because of this. Together, they are conspiring to reinvigorate the white man’s standard “make America great again.”

By example, we learn the act of living from our families. We needn’t adopt everything without question. Our lives are clean slates upon which we can write our own stories. The decision is ours.

In observing Trump’s family, it’s apparent they defer to him. Melania is Trump’s ideal woman…a happy housewife. According to him, his first wife Ivana’s growing business involvement contributed to his divorcing her.

It’s common knowledge that Trump had no hand in raising his children until they were of an age to learn about the family business. One has to wonder about the values they absorbed over the course of their lives. With the acquisition of wealth being their father’s singular focus, not to mention their having been raised by a single mother whose well being, and theirs, depended upon the beneficence of her husband, money must have been of major concern. Especially given the life style to which they’d become accustomed.

The Trump children have access to all the material pleasures their father’s empire, and now his presidential power, can afford them. Unfortunately, because of their public deference to him in all things, they, and Melania, will suffer the same pushback Trump receives from a less than adoring public. Those who will be affected the most because of their daily interaction with schoolmates are…son Baron and Trump’s grandchildren.

Does Trump care?

Will Melania, Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric confront Trump’s bullying to ensure that their own children do not inherit his destructive propensities and are, instead, instilled with indestructible moral compasses? Or will the Trump legacy continue to be one of self-aggrandizement, immorality and bald-faced lies?

…family toxicity at the presidential level.

………hugmamma.

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remembering…

She was like a second mother, my sister Ruby. While it’s difficult to remember all the details of that time, I can distinctly recollect her being warm and understanding where my own mother was sometimes gruff and exacting.

Misc July 2010 00069The event that remains permanently etched in my memory was when Ruby allowed me to help run the wet clothes through the wringing rollers in her old-fashioned washing machine. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and very conscientious it seems. Wanting to do it correctly, I hung onto the piece of clothing a tad longer than I should have as it made its way through the wringer. In seconds my hand was being dragged along, all the way up my forearm. Screaming bloody murder, I was rescued by my sister who came running to unplug the machine. I’m sure I steered clear of that fandangled contraption after that.

As a youngster I spent a good deal of time with Ruby and her cowboy husband, Steve Autry. I’ve no idea what brought him to Maui back in the ’50s. Perhaps he was lured by the image of roping horses and riding Brahma bulls in the annual rodeo held at the base of Haleakala, the island’s dormant volcano. Or maybe he thought he’d work at what he knew best…being a cowboy and whatever that entailed.

My sister and her husband made an unusual couple in those days…a lanky, 6 footer whose mischievous, blue eyes peered out from beneath strands of blonde hair streaked by the island sun. His tanned face, deeply lined and freckled. Standing alongside him, Ruby was inches shorter. Hair cut short in the natural ebony color of the island women. A jaunty smile compared to her husband’s. A crooked one that partially hid his tobacco-stained teeth.

Watching my brother-in-law roll cigarettes was always captivating. First came the crisp, creamy-hued slip of rectangular paper, followed by the tobacco pouch. With deft agility he’d tug at the strings of the pouch so that a slim rivulet of tobacco dribbled onto the paper. Taking the strings between his front teeth, Steve would draw the pouch’s opening to a close. Returning it to the shirt pocket over his heart, he’d take the nearly finished cigarette between his thumbs and index fingers. Using his pointy, long tongue he’d spread just enough saliva along the length of one side of the paper allowing him to fasten it to the other side. Slipping the newly-minted cigarette between his lips, my brother-in-law would light it with the strike of a match along the underside of his boot.

To a clueless kid like me, it was pretty cool stuff.

A few years younger than me, my niece and I would often accompany her dad, as he scoured landfills and roadsides for stuff to resell, especially scrap metal. Growing up poor meant not having many toys like friends who did. So climbing over piles of junk in search of hidden treasures was fun. It was kind of exciting to see what I’d find under the rubble. One discovery turned out to be more than I bargained for. Watch for that story in a future post.

They might have made it as a country singing duet. With Steve on the guitar and Ruby singing harmony, they sounded like the real thing. Not that I’d had much opportunity to hear country music, but I knew what I liked and I liked what I heard. My favorite was a haunting lullaby which included some yodeling. My sister yodeled beautifully. Imagine that! An island gal yodeling as naturally as though she’d been born on the range. I’m certain my love of singing blossomed during these impromptu song fests right there on the front steps of their house. 

 Sadly for Ruby and her daughter, the cowboy didn’t remain a permanent fixture. He and my sister divorced when I was a preteen. Since they’d moved to Honolulu, the islands’ designated “big city,” I would spend part of my summers with them. And much later when I returned to attend the University of Hawaii, my sister Ruby’s apartment was where I went the first couple of summers after I vacated the college dorms.

My sister didn’t have an easy life, raising a child on her own. In fact, my young niece lived with my mom and me for a couple of years on Maui while Ruby sought to earn a living. I’m not certain, but it may be that she continued to struggle until the end which came on July 27. She died of lung cancer, a result of decades of cigarette smoking.

I will remember Ruby as a soft-spoken mediator, a comforting presence, humble, self-sacrificing and perhaps easily overcome by stronger personalities, like my mom. I truly believe she would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it more than she. I’m sorry we’d not been in touch later in life, but she seemed content with where she’d finally landed…living with her daughter and her family. Secreted away from the turmoil she’d known, it felt right to let her be, to let her live in peace and quiet, no longer saddled by the burdens of others. At least I’m hoping that’s how it was.

…blessed are the peacemakers…

…for they shall be called children of God.

………hugmamma.Miscellaneous Pictures July 2010 124

 

 

 

 

 

 

…forever friends…forever love…

Of all the testimonies given by countless Americans, prominent figures and everyday citizens, something that comes to mind as I sit watching all of them speak about their memorable relationships with Hillary Clinton, is what no one dares mention…Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

The only one chomping at the bit is The Donald . And I’m certain he’s saving it as his Trump card.

The image that remains with me of that tawdry period in President Clinton’s Administration is Chelsea strolling  between her parents, an arm around each of their shoulders, as they cross the White House lawn on their way to the helicopter. It’s a compelling glimpse of their beloved daughter holding her family together. With heads bowed toward hers, they look like broken people, especially Hillary.

Today there’s no evidence of that Hillary.

Whether it was their unbreakable family connection, their devotion to an only child, their enduring friendship, or their unwavering faith in God’s power to heal, or all of these combined…the Clintons have remain together for 38 years.

The “fighter” Hillary, the “change-maker” Hillary, the “stronger together” Hillary, and Hillary the wife, the mother and grandmother, “made lemonade out of lemons.” She stuck by her husband and faced down their critics; she didn’t turn her back on life. Instead, she returned to public service and became New York’s senator.

Observing Bill Clinton as speaker after speaker heaps accolades upon his wife, there’s no mistaking his pride at being the man who is lucky enough to be by her side as she makes history. However I’m sure Hillary would be the first to say, that she too is privileged to still be married to her soul mate. The man who encouraged her to be the best he knew she could be.

I know a thing or two about being married. My husband and I celebrated our 46th anniversary in June, the day after our daughter’s wedding. Married at 20, three years after we began dating, we went through the usual ups and downs of newlyweds. It takes time and work for a husband and wife to finally fit like “hand in glove.” It doesn’t just happen with vows. Personal issues don’t disappear with a wedding ring. Choosing a mate doesn’t mean he or she is perfection itself. For marriages that last, perfection comes with time and a willingness to compromise.

Weathering the worst together makes for enduring marriages, and…

…truly best friends and soul mates.

……….hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

nurturing Thursdays: coloring…outside the box

My new son-in-law is a blonde, blue-eyed Texan. It’s obvious he adores and cherishes his new Mrs. …my brunette, brown-eyed, beautiful daughter. He’s already said he’d like their children to inherit only one of his traits, his blue eyes; otherwise, he’d prefer they inherit their looks from their mother.

Who could find fault with a man who loves my precious, only child as I do?

What in his DNA makes my son-in-law so unlike others who see people of color as unlovable? And what in my daughter’s DNA makes her color-blind to someone so opposite in appearance to her? I can only reason that they have both known the kind of love and support which looks to a person’s heart, and not to the circumstances in which he or she was born.

Hugging my daughter’s new mother-in-law when we first met, I could see how alike we were…so utterly and totally in love with our children. And so “over the moon” that they had found one another. Neither of us noticed that we too had nothing physically in common…not our skin color…not our hair color…not the color of our eyes…nor the drawl, or lack thereof, when we spoke. Enveloped in a comforting hug, our hearts beat in unison. Two moms whose precious children had found a safe haven in one another…and dropped anchor, creating a home of their own thousands of miles away from those who love them so much.

Love does conquer all…if we allow it.

Allowing ourselves to love others unlike ourselves is the task set before us by God. Many more have succeeded than have failed. It’s in the media’s best interests to focus upon the failures rather than the successes. They seem miniscule by comparison, and perhaps they are since most go undetected, flying under the general public’s radar. However in the grand scheme of things, it’s really the little moments that add up to the greatness of our lives.

For two families celebrating a momentous occasion, the marriage of our children, all is right with the world. Granted, it’s not a perfect one. There is no Heaven on earth, after all. And yet God has given us the tools with which to create one that comes close to approximating the real thing. Whether or not we take up the challenge is up to us as individuals. And as individuals, each of us will face God with our own stories on judgment day.

We are all storytellers, everyone of us. How good we are at it…

…god will decide.

………hugmamma.595

(For more inspirational words, click on the following…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/nurt-thurs-embrace-yourself/

 

nurturing Thursdays: early wishes for…

…a very blessed Father’s Day!

You must be checking your calendar to see when it is. Don’t worry. I’m a month early. Because my daughter’s wedding will be front and center soon, I wanted to give my husband his due before all the hoopla surrounding her day overshadows everything else.

As devoted as I am to my daughter, I continue to be amazed at my husband’s unconditional love and loyal support. He is selfless when it comes to providing for us. There has never been a time since our daughter was born when he put his needs before ours. I don’t even remember him asking for a single material thing. I’ve always made gift choices which I thought would please him; whether or not there was an occasion to celebrate.

I didn’t know my dad. He died when I was one. Without realizing it, I’m sure I sought surrogates as a child growing up. There were 2 men who resonated as father figures…my best friend’s dad and our family doctor. Their small gestures made me feel that an adult other than my mom cared about my well-being. I understood that they belonged to other children, but when these men spoke to me I basked in the warmth of their attention, however fleeting. How I wished I was their daughter. I would have been proud, and pleased.

My husband has turned out to be just such a dad. He is everything I would have wished for as a child. Thank God I grew up subconsciously knowing the kind of man with whom I wanted to share my life. He also happened to be…

…the perfect father…

…for our precious daughter.

………hugmamma.278


More inspirational thoughts at…
https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/nurt-thurs-move-on/

 

nurturing thursdays: did you talk to your child today?

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

It wasn’t always that way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…our loving words…can save their lives.

…i know.

………hugmamma.img_5209.jpg

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

dreams…nightmares

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…are you…one of us?

………hugmamma.

...zzzzzzzzz...

…zzzzzzzzz…

 

 

 

do you still…???

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

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

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

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

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

My goal in life now is not to stress…

...but to stop and smell the roses…

…and often!

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

 

…don’t go there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………hugmamma.

 

she was loved…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…my sister by His side.

………hugmamma.012

 

 

 

stream of consciousness saturday: “store”

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

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

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

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

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

…store in her heart.

………hugmamma.

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

 

 

friday fictioneers: dulls-ville

Kitchen Window

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

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

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

OMG! Half-an-hour ’til they’re home!

Hurry!!!

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

 

 

nurturing thursdays: those who serve…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…when did we become a dispassionate people?

………hugmamma.

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

…faux fur…

…and arthritis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…little piece of faux fur heaven.

………hugmamma.

 

…slow as molasses…

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

Even hubby’s taking a nap.

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

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

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

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

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

So I’d better get back to work…

…wrapping my christmas gift with love.

………hugmamma.