…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.

 

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it’s raining cats and dogs…

The rain has come home to roost in the Seattle area. There was never a question as to its returning…it was just a matter of when. Thank goodness hubby and I are pretty near done spiffying up the front yard after a year of neglect. Now I’ve just got to get the slug bait down before those little buggers feast to their hearts’ content. Once they get going, there’s no stopping ’em. Meanwhile the bunny rabbits, cute as they are, continue hippity-hopping about as though they own the yard. Truth be told, they pretty much do.  

So while it drizzles outdoors, here’s a little something to warm your heart and  lift your spirits. 

…gotta love our furry little pets.

………hugmamma.

living her best life: #50…more girl talk

On 7/11, Pat texted…Hi [hugmamma]how exciting to be planning [a] wedding. We are looking forward to visiting Nashville next year.

Right now I am lying in bed getting the infusion of chemo…almost done. The bad side effects (IF ANY!) will start after a few days. Just gotta get through the next … Sorry…nurse came in and we are done. Heading back to the house…will text or email later.

Hi[hugmamma]got back to the house and took a nap…ready for some food now…always ready to eat. Have to make the most of the good days…thank God havent’ had any bad ones yet. 

So what is [your daughter’s] color scheme? Will the maid of honor and bridesmaids wear different dresses in the same color palette? I like that trend. So as the bride’s parents are you planning everything or are [the groom]s mom and sister helping? Just don’t get too stressed…did they set a date? I doubt you will get back to Hawaii between now and then so at some point I will get all the aunties and cousins together for a bridal shower…Hawaiian style…we’ll videotape and send it to you.

To which I replied…That is sooo beautiful. Made me cry. Been crying off and on…hormone therapy…oye vay! Also watching Hallmark Xmas tear jerkers…besides which I’m realizing that I’m losing my daughta. No more inside family jokes among the three of us. Have to mind my p’s and q’s…at least til I get really comfortable with [SIL.] He’s very nice…but we’ve only been with him twice now…in close quarters, for sure. Anyway, thank goodness I’ve you to confide in. You know [your brother]…don’t worry, be happy. Thank God, you [and your siblings] are so laid back.

Because [SIL and PIL] plan a trip to Hawaii, with our help, I am sure they’d really appreciate you’re all…whoever wants, of course…to contribute to their honeymoon fund. As you might guess, they have all the household goods they need…and clothes…since [PIL] has lived on her own for 11 years. Again, only a suggestion. 

Continue to pray you stay under the radar as far as the effects of chemo goes. How’s Brad doing with being the “hausfrau”??? hugs…

To which Pat replied…That’s a great idea…we can do a “bring them home” theme. 

Brad says the mistress of the mansion has not yelled at him yet…we do pretty good together…must be that “don’t worry, be happy” thing. For now when I watch movies, they are all comedies…I’m thinking of streaming the old Carol Burnett Show…

Then me…You and Brad haven’t had to put your feet in a kiddie pool yet? [hugmamma here: I had kidded Pat a while ago about visiting with her in Minnesota and the two of us dangling our feet in a plastic kiddie pool to cool off in Minnesota’s hot, humid summer heat.]

Then Pat…No…to pretend we’re on a relaxing vacation or because of the weather? It’s comfortably warm here…cooler when it’s overcast.

Me…Just got that..so there’s a mistress of the mansion? Someone who takes charge??? Hmmm…interesting.

[No reply from Pat.]

Today is the first day it’s not sweltering. TG we had our AC serviced. It was starting to poop out.

Pat…It’s really hot in Hawaii too with several tropical storms back to back blocking the trade winds. Luckily, so far they’ve tracked away from the islands.

People see Brad making dinner and serving me…a few have commented to get used to it and make sure he continues to do it at home!

Me…Too many distractions in Hawaii…like fishing and work, of course.

On 7/13, I texted…Love you both…the flowers are lovely, especially since they’re from two of God’s best people on His earth…armfuls of hugs and smooshies!

On 7/17, I texted…How are you doing? Hope you’re okay. Let me know. Love you two…lots!

…and i do.

………hugmamma.IMG_4128

 

we manage…mocha and me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah!!!

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

………hugmamma.

 

…a dream come true…???

I had been here before, a long time ago. 

Exactly where here was, I couldn’t say.

I only knew that I had been very happy. I had belonged. It had been home.

I had been here before, a long time ago.

Was it a memory…or just a dream?

Perhaps I was playing at make-believe.

I had been here before, a long time ago.

Others were with me. I was not alone.

They were fussing and fawning, bowing and curtsying.

I had been here before, a long time ago.

Momentary lightness quickly turned to thundering darkness.

Lightning bolts ripped my cloud apart.

I had been here before, a long time ago.

Torrential rains shut out the sun.

Blackness. 

I had been here before, a long time ago.

I grew in light and beauty…the darkness retreated.

My life…the sun.

I had been here before, a long time ago.

My island paradise. My people. My Maui.

At last…I am home.

(Photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post.)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/build-your-own/

 

 

friday fictioneers: running from ourselves…

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright-Sandra Crook

With environmental catastrophes occurring the world over, it’s no wonder we’re running for the nearest exit.

Folks are finally getting wise to global warming. 

Will we succeed in turning back the clock? Probably not. Nature has a way of forging ahead, regardless of mankind’s agenda.

There’s no fixing the holes we’ve burned through the ozone layer. 

There’s no fixing the erosion we’ve caused by stripping the land of its trees.

There’s no bringing back the wildlife forced into extinction because of our greed.

We will pay for our sins…unless we come to our senses.

Question is…are we too late?

Maybe.

happy easter…happy spring…

Because the weather here in the Seattle area is so iffy…rain pouring down on us without any warning…hubby and I decided to forgo Easter Day celebrations in lieu of gardening. Praise God…the sun decided to spend the day.

Celebrating the holiday early, we treated our nephew and his lovely wife to lunch yesterday. Immersed in conversation and enjoying one another’s company, we barely noticed the raindrops pelting ferociously against the windows of the restaurant, as if pleading to to be let inside.

It’s not often my husband and I get to spend time with young folks. Our daughter’s the exception, of course. We’re lucky that she and our nieces and nephews get that we’re fun, sometimes weird…in a good way.

Hubby and I laugh a lot. We cajole one another. We make each other smile. We exchange silly remarks. We even call each other goofy names.

IMG_1709

…young uns ourselves back in the day…as kooky then…as we are now…

I’m pretty sure my husband’s business colleagues would be thoroughly surprised were they to see him bumming around in his “allo, allos,” as we Hawaiians like to say. Translation? “Raggedy clothes.” Not that they’re raggedy, they’re just not his usual corporate duds.

In fact, even his personality undergoes a transformation. He’s not so careful about minding his p’s and q’s around the house. He’s not the reticent, quiet guy he projects at work. It’s more like he goes from being Clark Kent and Superman to being George Burns, the comedienne and straight man to his wife and comic sidekick, Gracie Allen.

I’ve always been a self-proclaimed Lucy…as in “I Love Lucy.”IMG_1493 I probably started squirreling away all those crazy antics of hers, ever since I first laid eyes on that zany redhead back in the 50’s. Add to that a touch of Gracie Allen, and you get an idea of how kooky our household often is. My daughter threatens to follow me around with a camera so she can post a youtube video showing the world the real hugmamma. (Not going to happen. Trust me.)

So it’s nice to be loved by the likes of my rather normal daughter, and young relatives, who go out of their way to humor their elders whenever we’re together. 

Although an unconventional celebration at a small Japanese restaurant the day before, our Easter holiday was indeed happy and blest. 

Aloha and mahalo to Kanoa and Erica for making it so.

And I’m hoping yours was equally joyful as well!

………hugmamma.

 

 

it’s sunny where i am…not!

(Written yesterday. Today…the sun is smiling…its glorious teeth shining brightly. Hooray!)

It’s “raining cats and dogs” where I am…in Seattle. Duh. No surprise!IMG_5213

What I wasn’t prepared for is having to bail myself out of rain water every hour on the hour. Somebody didn’t want new gutters installed…back when hubby suggested it. I can remember the conversation as if it were yesterday.

Hubby: “I’m going to change out the old gutters for the ones that prevent pine needles from collecting.”

Me: “How much will it cost?”

Hubby: “$2,000.”

Me: “Are you crazy!!! Let me think about it and do a little more research.”

Twelve years later I’ve no one else to blame but myself for the puddle I’m in.

A portion of the gutter pulled away from the eave of the roof due to the constant pressure of pine needles that formed a dam every fall. Being low maintenance folks…meaning maintenance was low on the list of things we liked to do…sometimes the needles were cleaned out, sometimes they weren’t…until the rains came and forced us into action.

Smart hubby. He left on a business trip just as the rain began falling. And I’m positive he’ll be home AFTER the rain’s gone. That’s just how these things work out.

It’s like the time he left on a business trip while we were living in Redding, Connecticut. It was the dead of winter. Snow piled high on the ground. The heavens opened up and dumped buckets of rain without letup. The field stone basement of our 100 year-old Victorian farmhouse flooded. The old sump pump installed by the previous owners was too small to drain all the water. Guess who was bailing water out in the middle of the night, while cursing out her young husband? You got it! Moi!

With my husband’s tall rubber boots just skirting the hem of my nightgown, I sloshed around in the water, bucket in hand. I had thrown back the wooden basement doors leading to the outside, and proceeded to fill bucket after bucket of accumulated water tossing it out the open doors. Of course it was a totally nonsensical solution to the problem since the water dribbled back down the steps as quickly as I was getting rid of it. Or trying to, anyway. To make matters worse, the water probably melted the snow just outside, adding more water to the knee deep reservoir in which I was wading. Thankfully, my toddler lay fast asleep in her cozy bed a couple of floors above . She never awoke to the mayhem beneath.

Since we’d not resided there very long, I had no one to call except our realtor. If I recall she sent her husband over. That was the good news. The bad news was that he couldn’t do anything. He suggested I call the fire department to have them come out with their long hose to suck out all the water. Their response was “no” because they didn’t want the hose to get damaged by any grit that would likely get sucked up as well. 

More than twenty years later, I have no recollection how I resolved the dilemma. It might be that my husband returned home in time to take charge. I do know that we updated our sump pump so that it would activate quickly and drain the water away from the house. When we purchased the house we were aware there might be flooding, but we had no idea we would need Noah’s Ark.

IMG_4438In my present situation, the water dripping from the broken gutter is saturating the ground in back of the house which, in turn, is soaking through the carpet in our downstairs family room. Luckily I’ve been able to vacuum out the water with our rug shampooer.

In order to capture as much of the overflow as possible, my husband had strategically placed a couple of barrels beneath the broken gutter. One of them is smaller and rolls on wheels. The other is larger and with water filling it to the brim, I would break my back trying to lug it to the edge of the deck where I then upend it to spill the contents along the path leading away from the house. So smart me…I use a pot to bail water from the large barrel into the smaller one. Once it’s filled, I drag it a few steps before carefully turning it on its side. It must sound like a tsunami every time the water splashes out over the garden with a thunderous CRASH!!! Especially at 11 p.m. when the neighborhood is beginning to slumber.

CRASH!!!

While I’m getting too old for this, I tell myself these ordeals make me a survivor. I can take care of myself when I’ve no man to come to this damsel in distress. A good legacy to leave to my daughter…

A woman CAN empower herself…

and

DON’T skimp on home maintenance.

…unless she wants to bail herself out of her own puddles…

………hugmamma.IMG_1545

 

nurturing thursdays: to everything there is a season…

…and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3)

 IMG_4102As winter succumbs to the warmth and charm of spring, I find myself reflecting upon life as I move into my sixty-fifth year.

I can’t help thinking…I’m so lucky to be alive…and living my life.

In our daily struggles it’s so easy to complain about everything that isn’t exactly right.

The house is always in need of cleaning and straightening. Especially if you’re a hoarder, albeit an organized one, like me. Is it my fault if I can’t get let go of yesterday’s nostalgia?

I’m constantly adjusting my diet to shrink my belly, and failing more often than I’m succeeding. Let’s see. When was the last time the tape measure read less than 34 inches?

And when did arthritis and fibromyalgia decide to move in permanently?

All my whining dissipates, however, when I glimpse what matters most to me…my husband, my daughter, and the four critters who make their home with us.

Blest I am to have shared my life with others who make me the center of their worlds. While it means juggling a lot of colorful balls in the air at the same time, I’ve had an exciting time of it. It’s as though I ran off to the circus as a youngster and decided that’s where I belonged. And so I stayed.

Life IS exciting. Every day is never quite the same. The smallest of details can tweak our experiences for the better, or leave us completely befuddled. Either way the decision rests in our own very capable hands.

If we’re positive about life, always looking for the silver lining, however slim it might be, our lives will always dwell in sunshine. And in rainy, dreary Seattle, I spend most days churning out my own brand of homegrown sunlight…with a little help from Edison’s invention.

I’m definitely no Pollyana living in a Disney World setting.  My house has remnants of dust leftover from the Great Dust Bowl of the 1930s. I might even have bats in my attic, as well as my belfry.

What I know for sure is that if I’m fortunate enough to live another quarter century or more, I’d prefer to wake up every day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. And the only way I know to do that is by deciding that after all is said and done…things are what they are…

…and accepting life as it unfolds in the moment…with no regrets or self-recriminations…

………hugmamma.Venice 2010 00074So…RELAX…BE HAPPY!!!

what’s wrong with…this picture?

Did you see the one where the guys in a boat headed straight into the tornado’s water spout…with boyish glee? And when interviewed, the boat owner said…he’d do it again, given the chance?

Did you see the congressmen who, when interviewed, swore they’d shut down the government…rather than allow millions of Americans the opportunity to sign up for health care insurance tomorrow?

Did you see the video in which a black SUV is chased down by a pack of motorcyclists who travel the road as if…they own it?

As we all know, there are two sides to every story. Whatever the arguments, certain facts are indisputable.

Had the boat overturned going through the water spout, the coast guard would’ve been called into action to rescue those numb skulls. And who would have footed the bill…us, the taxpayers, of course!

If the government shuts down, thousands of middle class folks will be furloughed, military families will cease to be paid, and the health care law will go into effect. So what will those idiot Tea Party reps have gained? Why…attention on the world stage, of course…at no cost to themselves since their salaries remain intact, regardless.

The pack mentality screams out…”One for all and all for one!” So when a gang of motorcyclists takes over the highway, surrounding a car on all sides and traveling as though they’re “rubbernecking,” what’s a car driver to do? Get out and walk?

Some days it’s difficult to believe what I’m seeing…

…ever have one of those days?,,,

The Gadsden flag

 

………hugmamma. 

birds of a feather…flock together

A post written by Candice at http://wrygrass.com/2013/08/28/fire-frenzy-and-calmness-in-a-fur-coat/ had me laughing…and thinking I’d found a soul sister.

Could it be that there’s another woman out there who lacks common sense? I thought for sure I was the only one. I’ve never admitted it before, but reading about Candace’s behavior in the face of a crisis empowered me to speak up. Until now, only those nearest and dearest to me knew the truth. At least…I hope so.

“Common sense” according to Webster’s is “sound practical judgement; normal native intelligence.”Well, I’ve never been practical and at times I’ve jokingly told my daughter that I was “aby-normal.”

Cover of "Young Frankenstein [Blu-ray]"

If you’ve never seen “Young Frankenstein,” you should. When Gene Wilder asks his hunchback sidekick, Marty Feldman, whose brain he got for Frankenstein, Feldman replies “Aby someone.” Wilder asks “Aby who?” To which Felman says “Aby Normal.” I loved that line and have since borrowed it. 

Now where was I? Oh, yes. I was talking about Candice and I being…birds of a feather…or chickens with their heads cut off…or Chicken Little running around crying “The earth is falling! The earth is falling!”

Like Candice, I had a run-in with my oven.

When I was in my late 20s living on Long Island with my hubby, I decided to take a sick day from work to bake up a Christmas gift for some friends. At the time I was heavily into making, and eating, chex mix snacks. Still in my flannel nightgown, I put my first batch into the oven and wandered off. Not long after, the smoke alarm started going off. Hurrying back to my teeny-tiny kitchen I was alarmed at the sight of a fire in the oven. In a state of panic I reached for the phone and dialed my husband at his office…in NYC.  I stood out in the small, enclosed foyer talking to him as the fire continued to burn. Ever the practical one he told me to call 911 and get out of the house. I did as I was told, feeling slightly foolish standing in my snow-covered front yard with the phone cord stretched to the max as I dialed for help.

In no time the fire engines arrived…two, I think…with firefighters hanging off the sides and backs of the trucks. Of course the neighborhood was alerted by the sirens blasting, as if calling one and all to bear witness to my stupidity. I’m sure I wanted to find the closest mole hole and crawl inside with my heretofore sworn enemy…Mr. Mole himself.

The firemen stormed into the house, hatchets and fire hose in hand.  Soon one of them emerged flinging my baking pan onto the lawn. All that remained of the chex mix was a charred blob. Meanwhile, the windows and doors of the house were thrown open to allow the billowing smoke to escape. I don’t recall if any water was used. I don’t think so. But with the passing of time I can only recall what I did…and didn’t do.

While I know this wasn’t the first time I pulled a humdinger of a boo-boo, it was the first of many, many stories my husband has loved retelling. Thank goodness he has a funny bone that runs the length of his body. If not, my marriage might not have lasted as long as it has…42 years.

English: A chicken running Français : Un poule...

Have you a “Chicken Little” story of your own to tell? Or are you…

…the one with the common sense?…

………hugmamma.