…looking back…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…what puzzle piece comes next.

………hugmamma.

 

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nurturing thursdays: compassion…

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more aware of others senior to me. In particular, women who are alone without that special somebody with whom to share their lives.

Recently, one lovely friend told me that as she sits alone in her home she sometimes wishes her life would simply cease. Having lost her beloved 91 year-old mother several years ago, and a younger sister to cancer last year, my dear friend professes weariness. 

In her late seventies, Annette has health issues that are of some concern. 

Having broken her hand a couple of years ago when she fell down her front steps because of ice, Annette continues to suffer the effects.  She’s also still dealing with the aftermath of cataract surgery. Both impact her job as a part-time sales rep/bookkeeper at the local antiques mall where I’m a vendor. 

How my friend drives the 20 minutes to and from her job, regardless of the weather or the time of day, is beyond comprehension. I’m further blown away when Annette drives an hour to a doctor’s appointment.

Underlying her physical ailments is her ongoing struggle with depression. You’d never know it though, for she rarely complains and always greets folks with a smile.

The woman is a tower of strength in a seemingly, frail body. She must weary of my saying…”You’re my role model.”

Perhaps if I were in Annette’s shoes (were I able to fill them)…a survivor of two divorces, the second one decades ago…family and friends left behind in Canada as a result of her first marriage…and was once the sole bread-winner with a couple of young children…I’d be a real Wonder Woman too.

Isn’t it a wonder how women manage what life dishes out…no matter our age?

It helps that Annette’s son lives with her, making his home in the large, finished basement. Her daughter, a school bus driver lives nearby as well. More recently, her 31-year-old grandson has moved in while he decides what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

So in spite of her weariness, Annette still has a lot of living to do. We all want her in our lives still…her children…her co-workers…and her friends…

…especially me…

………hugmamma.IMG_4127

…take a walk on the wild side…

When you think life has turned you on your head…take a walk on the wild side…

My daughter’s relocation home has naturally influenced our household busy-ness. To say my house has been upended is putting it mildly. There are boxes in the hallway, in the kitchen and dining room, and in my husband’s home office. There’s extra furniture in the lower level family room and bedroom. There’s a surplus of beauty products and food items waiting to be stored somewhere. And I don’t think my significant other would assent to up-sizing our house just to accommodate more stuff. Not when he’s planning to retire in a couple of years.IMG_4995

So my daughter and I have soldiered on, determined to win the war on all the stuff. They’ll either fit in…or get donated or heaven forbid…tossed. I have difficulty throwing away anything. After all, somebody made them…they’re still usable…somebody somewhere can still find a use for them…and we need to cut the landfills some slack. They can’t take all the crap we throw them.IMG_4990

It’s for sure my own dog and cats, 2 of them, weren’t thrilled when their home was invaded by my daughter’s cat who likes to think he’s king of the roost. Putting up with his antics has been a lesson in tolerance on their part. Thankfully, they’ve all survived…and seem to be getting along…finally.

Our problem was minisculized (my own word)…big time…when I visited finding strength to stand again at http://www.findingstrengthtostandagain.wordpress.com

Yes, I’m a senior with normal aging issues. But that’s the point…I’ve a normal life. I can walk, even run…when the body cooperates, that is. I can garden, even bending down to weed. I can go to concerts…like my recent sojourn to Paul McCartney’s which was a blast!. I can drive…even if it takes me longer to get out of Seattle than most  because detours throw me for a loop. If it weren’t for my daughter sitting beside me yesterday calmly talking me through alternatives, I would’ve been in a dither. I’m sure I’d have figured out where I was going…eventually…to the chagrin of other drivers trying to get around me as I come to a dead stop…which I did do, in fact. The honk from a horn brought me back from la la land…where I often drift without warning.

I encourage you to visit with Tara Hall. Walk in her shoes…

…maybe then you’ll be glad…you’re walking in your own…

…hugmamma. 

stepping outside…

…my comfort zone.

Fred Astaire and a chorus of Fred Astaires per...

Fred Astaire and a chorus of Fred Astaires performing “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in Blue Skies (1946) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems in 2013 I’m steppin’ out and…”puttin’ on the ritz.” Since top hat and coat tails won’t ward off the chill, I’m doing it in…wool hat, scarf and mittens.

My mantra for the New Year? “Go big or go home!”

And so yesterday…

I drove 45 minutes to the next town to attend a Level One yoga class!

Yeayyy for me! I’m still patting myself on the back. 

A yoga class.

A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having pondered the idea of taking yoga for some time now, my body decided it was…now or never. “Shut up…or put up!” It seemed to say.

When I undertake a project, I research it to the nth degree. I never do anything half-way.

There were a couple of in-town sites which were ideally located. However I opted to venture farther from home  for a variety of reasons, not least of which was to learn from someone who would be a nurturing guide. I didn’t want to risk injury hurrying to keep up.

English: Bikram Yoga

English: Bikram Yoga (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Classes at one local operation are held in 95-100 degree temperatures. The practice is called “hot yoga.”

I’m positive I would have passed out before drawing my first breath. And the rule is…once the door closes and class begins…everyone stays put. Those who can’t stand the heat are required to sit on the sidelines and watch…the entire time.

Another yoga venue seemed too small…spatially…and politically. “How’s that?” you ask. Yoga political?

I’ve learned over time that politics is part of everyday life. The smaller the community, the harder felt the politics. Negative vibes are difficult to overlook. You either do. Or you don’t…and move on.

The logo of Red Flag Linux

The logo of Red Flag Linux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A third business never responded to an email I sent, even though their website ensured me they would. That stood out like a “red flag” signalling a lack of organization or worse…promises not kept.

My research efforts always include reading reviews. ALWAYS!!! They tell me more than all the flowery words written on websites.

One review indicated the yoga owner/teacher of the business cancelled class, deciding to breakfast with a friend, even after one student showed.

A review for a second, claimed that a promised refund never materialized.

 Unlike the others, Discover Yoga  was exactly as depicted on its website.main studio

The manager/instructor was knowledgeable, patient and helpful. In its understatement, the facility, had a calming effect. No bells and whistles here! Just yoga. It suited me to a tee.

After learning that my first class was free, I got more good news.

I’m still a young chickadee at 63! Were I a couple of years older, I’d get a senior discount on future classes.

There’s always a silver lining. We just have to…

…look for them…

English: This is, in fact, why I quit my yoga ...

English: This is, in fact, why I quit my yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

………hugmamma.

please…take care…

Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits

Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Saturday morning!

What got me out of bed so bright and early?

Another post…what else!

Before I go there however, I’d like to explain why my flaws are often the jumping off point for my writing.

It’s because I’d really like to help you learn from my mistakes or inaction…if possible.

So back to the story at hand.

My previous piece…“Wellness”…got me thinking about my mom.

Raising a large family as a widow meant we lived from paycheck to paycheck. As a result my mom’s needs came last.

I never remember her visiting the doctor. She could barely afford to take us. We were lucky to have a kind physician minister to our health problems. Dr. Fleming never pressed my mom for payment, allowing her to pay what she could…when she could.

My mom suffered greatly from arthritis, especially in her knees.

Her sorrowful groans would awaken me in the early morning hours. The floor boards creaked as she paced back and forth. Until the pain subsided, she could not sleep.

I’d lay quietly, praying for God’s help, tears streaming down my cheeks.

Not even her arthritis could keep my mom from going to work, an hour’s drive from home.

She was the laundress for a Catholic orphanage…The Children’s Home. She often helped in the kitchen, and sometimes chaperoned the older kids, driving them to school functions on the weekends.

It’s difficult to understand how my mom dealt with her health issues, including high blood pressure and diabetes, without the help of doctors. As sole breadwinner, she had no time for self-pity. My mom took care of herself, and us, as best she could.

Comparing our lives would be like comparing apples and oranges.

I’m extremely fortunate to have my husband of 42 years by my side. His generosity has been a blessing for my daughter and me. We are truly grateful for his loving care and support.

Whenever I think of my mom it is with deep regret that she could not have enjoyed a better life. One that included a lifelong companion.

Someone of her own to love…and love her.

Someone who would have helped shoulder the burdens…and kiss away her tears.

Someone with whom she might have shared secrets…and belly laughs.

My mom might have been spared much of the physical and mental anguish she suffered throughout her life…had she someone to help pay for her medical care.

Alzheimer’s stole whatever remained of my mom’s indomitable spirit…when she died at 86.IMG_4143

It’s never too late…

…to look to your own well-being…and that of a loved one…whatever their age…

………hugmamma.

wellness…

It might seem to some of you that I’m forever making reference to certain failings of mine.

Why is that you ask?

Some time ago I read a small, thin paperback on how to write well. One piece of advice stood out from the rest.

Write what you know. That’s just what I’ve tried to do.

For some time now I’ve had health concerns…from chronic inflammation…to digestive issues.

A firm believer in alternative medicine, I see a massage therapist monthly and a chiropractor as needed.

Within the last year or so, things have gone haywire.

naturopath

naturopath (Photo credit: mugley)

I chalked it up to old age and moved forward as best I could.

I sought help from everyone in my bag of medical practitioners….family doctor…hand orthopedist…gastroenterologist…chiropractor…massage therapist…physical therapist…and most recently, a naturopath.

I credit all of them for bringing me along physically, mentally, and even emotionally.

What I’ve learned from all of them…and from my daughter, a professional dancer…is that life makes perfect health...impossible!

The experts do their best to get my body functioning again. However a resumption of my normal activities eventually erodes the progress made.

That’s life…in a nutshell!

Every now and then, however, there are “aha” moments.

Today I had a followup appointment with my naturopath. I left her office with a lot of good, useful information.

I discovered I’m sensitive to certain foods…almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sesame, wheat, eggs and egg yolks (from chickens…I can eat the ones ducks lay), pineapple, green beans and lima beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, both baker’s and brewer’s yeast, cheddar cheese, and yogurt.

How will I ever forgo…peanut butter slathered on a slice of bread? Asian food cooked in sesame oil? The occasional glass of wine or fruity martini?

Only time will tell, I guess.

Then there’s the fact that the level of the good bacteria in my stomach is too low to offset the effects of my bad bacteria. As a result, sugar intake increases the growth of the bad bacteria.

Oy vay!

These lips will never taste sugar again. It’s a good thing I got my fill of holiday candies and cookies when I did.

My thyroid is slightly elevated. “Why the concern?” I asked. “It affects your metabolism.” I was told. No doctor had ever…in my 63 years…mentioned my thyroid. Let alone test it.

Now for a little good news. The ratio of my good cholesterol to my bad cholesterol…HDL to LDL…is 1.8. Well within the acceptable range of 0.0-3.2.

As a result of what we learned from my blood tests, we discussed the diet I should follow over the next several weeks. After that I’ll check back to discuss how it affected my overall health.

If the news is positive, I’ll  reintroduce some of the questionable foods to see how well I tolerate them. Eggs being the first challenge, according to my naturopath.

Following that eye-opening appointment, I had another one with the chiropractor.

Since my favorite practitioner had the day off, I was treated by a doctor who had recently joined the staff.

After an adjustment that took roughly 20 minutes, I left the office talking to myself.

“WOW!!! Oh, my God! I feel great! My back feels great! My hand feels great! My hips don’t ache! I feel taller! I can stand up straight! I don’t feel so fatigued! My head isn’t fuzzy!”

On and on I mumbled, unable to fathom that all my symptoms could be completely cured in such a short time.

Upon “returning to earth,” I knew it’d take a day or two for my body to settle into the adjustment. Another visit with the chiropractor on Monday will ascertain whether or not he needs to do any tweaking.

Chiropractor

My faith in alternative health practitioners has grown steadily over the years. They have helped me understand my body. From them I have learned to take precautionary measures to ensure…quality of life…as I continue to age.

…i write about…what i know…

………hugmamma.

changing things up…2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promises! Promises!

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

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

Yesterday was my first Creative Writing class.

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

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

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

Interesting how age reverses our perception of things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………hugmamma.   🙂

what i now know…the divine m…

I came across the following interview with Bette Midler recently.

International edition

International edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s an understatement to say that Midler has evolved. My first memory of her was prancing around a Broadway stage in a mermaid costume. At least I think it was Broadway. And I think the show was called The Divine Miss M. 

Wish I could have seen Midler on stage, camping it up. Instead I caught a part of her act on some TV variety show…maybe The Ed Sullivan Show. I’m not certain.

The last time I saw Midler was in The First Wives Club, with Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn.

Regardless where she plays, on stage, on TV, or in film, Midler is a unique talent. There’s not another like her. The same can be said about the following advice she seems very happy to share.

The Divine Miss M dishes about dreams, destiny and deciding what matters
(AARP The Magazine, October/November-Reported by Bill Newcott)

  • Life is Not Your Personal Express Lane
    You’ve got to figure, “Well, there are 7 billion other people in the world. It doesn’t all have to be about me!” It took me about 66 years to come to this conclusion.
  • Songs Tell Untold Truths
    Twenty-seven people sang Wind Beneath My Wings before I got around to it. A lot of people saw the movie that I sang it in, Beaches, and what they came away with was that song. They turned to their loved ones and said, “You know, you are the wind beneath my wings!” The song expressed how they felt in a way a simple “I love you” would not have.
  • The Big World is Better Than Your Little One
    When you have had your head down doing something–even something you love, love, love–and you finally pick your head up and see the world around you, it’s just so beautiful. It’s just…oh, my God, I’m so glad I lived! That’s when you realize you need balance. I seek that now all the time.
  • You Can’t Always Be “On,” No Matter What People Expect
    For a while it was exhausting, and now I don’t really care.
  • It’s OK to Let Go of a Dream
    That’s exactly it: They’re dreams. A lot of the time they’re fantasies, and you become enslaved to them. Sometimes they’re hormonal. When the hormones fade, then the dream no longer means the same thing. That’s when you need to get yourself a new dream.
  • Beauty Ain’t Pretty
    You should be very careful about who does your manipedi, because you can really screw your toes up. You should stop beating your hair into submission, even if you don’t like it. Everyone should exfoliate, every day, even guys. More than two drinks a day will ruin your skin. And if you don’t have a full-length mirror, you’re going to get fat. Period.

…bette…will always be…divine…

Bette Midler at the 2010 HRC Annual Dinner

Bette Midler at the 2010 HRC Annual Dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

………hugmamma. 🙂

hi-kicking grandma…

This woman is 10+ years my senior, but outpaces me…BIG TIME!!! Gotta love Betty with the baton!

Time Marches On, With a Baton, For 79-year-old Betty Lambert- Long-Lived Majorette Is a Minor Celebrity In Harmony, Pa.,; Twirls and Splits
by Clare Ansberry 

   Harmony, Pa.–Majorette Betty Lambert leads the Resurrection Band, twirling batons between her legs and above her head, and stopping several times along the route to perform the splits. The 79-year-old recently gave up cartwheels but still twirls knives, and fire-batons when it isn’t windy.

Ms. Lambert, who threw a baton when she was in high school, then married and had children, took the sport up again in her 40s after seeing a small classified ad in the newspaper looking for people who wanted to start a marching band. The group called itself the Resurrection Band because members resurrected their instruments from attics. Ms. Lambert didn’t play an instrument but offered majorette services. Cartwheels and baton twirling are like riding a bike, she found. “You don’t forget.” Since Ms. Lambert is naturally limber, the splits require only regular stretching and some exercises in the weeks before a performance.

The Resurrection Band performs mainly at parades in western Pennsylvania, the latest being the Fourth of July in Zelienople, although the musicians no longer march but ride on a float. “We’re getting older,” says Marlene Domhoff, a 74-year-old flutist for the band but not the oldest member; that title belongs to an 80-year-old snare drummer.

Ms. Lambert, though, marched the whole route as she has done for 32 years, then came around again on a float, where she was dressed as the Statue of Liberty. It is one of her 41 costumes, which include cats for Halloween parades, a Rudolph for Christmas and a Native American for the Horse Trading Days festival. For that she wears a feather headdress her late husband, Pete, found at a truck stop. Many of the costumes are homemade. Her husband, who died seven years ago, made a Statue of Liberty torch out of a table leg and Tiki lamp. The crown is a plastic milk crate that they heated and bent into shape. After 9/11, she appeared as Miss Liberty eight times in two weeks.

   Most majorettes retire their batons after high school or college, says Bonnie Kupp, who is with Drum Majorettes of America, which holds clinics and competitions around the country for various age groups. The oldest active majorette she knows is a 37-year-old woman from Tennessee who competes internationally. Another national twirling group, the US Twirling Association, says twirling is a great sport for all ages, adding that some retirement communities offer twirling classes. “It’s a great aerobic activity,” says Anna Osborn Dolan, of the twirling association, which has played host to world championships.

Ms. Lambert has never twirled competitively, although she did enter a Classic Beauty USA competition in the 1980s, for women 39 and older, and won a trophy in the talent category for twirling. She prefers performing on her own, too, rather than in a group. “If I make a mistake and go left instead of right, no one knows,” says Ms. Lambert, who improvises her choreography as she marches. “I go with the beat of the music”–which typically consists of patriotic songs, big-band pieces and the “Pennsylvania Polka.”

Her four children grew up watching their mother march. “I thought this would be a phase she would go through,” says her youngest daughter, Kim Marburger, who never twirled but did master the unicycle. Ms. Marburger and her daughters walk along on the sidewalks during parades, carrying water bottles, a variety of batons and tiki fluid to light the fire batons. They help with costume changes. It was so hot Independence Day that the green Statue of Liberty makeup was running down Ms. Lambert’s face.

Ms. Marburger tells her mother to take it easy. “I say, ‘Mom, please keep it to two or three splits.’ ” says Ms. Marburger. Invariably, though, the crowd, four deep along the sidewalk and having seen Ms. Lambert every year for the past three decades, calls for more. Ms. Lambert obliges. This year, she did about nine or 10 splits. People stop her in stores and tell her she looks familiar. “I’m the old lady who does the splits,” she tells them.

Ms. Lambert updates her routine to keep it fresh. Several years ago, she took classes to learn how to throw fire batons and, later, at the age of 76, took up knives. She had only one mishap when the yarn tassel on her boot caught fire. “She’s an inspiration,” said Jennifer Dimit Baldacci of Jen’s Academy of Rhythm & Moves, who said Ms. Lambert attended her classes in 2009 and performed with all her other students in the recital that year. The theme was “TVLand” and Ms. Lambert twirled hoop batons and knives to the “Andy Griffith Show” theme song. “People went crazy,” says Ms. Baldacci. “She stole the show.”

Twirling isn’t easy. It requires good hand-eye coordination, especially with multiple batons, and upper-body strength to propel heavy knife batons, which are often hooked together, high in the air. Ms. Lambert credits her longevity to good nutrition and keeping active.

A beautician and graduate of the Victoria Mannequin Modeling School in Pittsburgh, she continues to cut hair and give permanents to longtime customers of Betty’s Beauty Salon, located in a small building next to her house, and makes house calls to her customers who no longer drive. Her other business, Betty Lambert’s Picnic Shelter, which has a swimming pool and well-kept shelter pavilion, is a favorite for graduation parties and wedding receptions.

Tim Sapienza, who retired after 32 years as chief of the Harmony Volunteer Fire company, was just a boy when he first saw Ms. Lambert, then in high school, twirling for the Harmony Harmonettes in 1949. That band and others, including the Butler Flame, were sponsored by local fire departments, which have since stopped organizing marching bands. “They quit, but Betty is still at it,” says Mr. Sapienza who was particularly impressed to see her perform splits and twirl the baton for one length of the parade and then return as Miss Liberty. “She held that torch up the entire length of the parade,” he said.

Ms. Lambert said she hopes to do it again next summer.

(Wall Street Journal)

…who says old folks…have to…act old?

………hugmamma.

housekeeping…don’t put off til tomorrow…

While I’m in the neighborhood of stuff to do with my laptop, the internet, and specifically Word Press, I thought I’d mention a couple of things.

Until just yesterday I’d been having blogging withdrawal, partially owing to the fact that my site, hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, looked somehow different. I don’t mean what you the reader can see, but what I see while writing my posts. Or rather, what I wasn’t seeing anymore.

Having established in my previous post that I’m an “old dog learning new tricks,” or at least trying, when something, however subtle, changes…I’m flummoxed.

I’ll continue doing what I always do, for some time in fact, all the while feeling like there’s a mosquito buzzing around which I tend not to silence. Too busy. Can’t take the time. Maybe it’ll revert back…on its own.

Perhaps all the faldarall with not being able to download pictures from my camera finally got me thinking about the subtle, but disturbing, difference in the writing of my posts.

I’d asked Word Press Support about my concerns earlier. In fact I inquired a few times. Responses came quickly, always asking me to take some kind of picture so that they’d know exactly what I meant.

You must know me by now. I hadn’t a clue as to what they were asking me to do. So I gave up…and moved on.

What was no longer visible to me were the statistics to do with visitors to my blog, the list of my subscribers, or the pictures offered for my use by Zemanta. While none were essential to my blogging, they definitely enhanced the environment in which I did my writing. Like having “all my ducks in a row” before I started the process.

Some of you may already be smiling, knowing what I’m about to say. And you’re correct if you guessed that I’d not heeded the warning from Word Press to update my search engine status.

Of course I’d asked my husband every time the message blinked across my laptop screen. Since he has no clue about Word Press, he told me to ignore the icon. So like the dutiful wife that I am, I did.

Well, Word Press knew what they were saying.

Yesterday my husband finally agreed to help me upgrade my search engine status after I read another blogger’s comment elsewhere in the Word Press community. I wasn’t the only one having issues.

Logo used from the start of the Chrome project...

Logo used from the start of the Chrome project until March 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon the excellent recommendation of that fellow blogger I am now using the Google Chrome internet search engine. As promised, the visuals are far superior to what I’d experienced with EI, Internet Explorer. 

And as the lyrics  to the song go…I can see clearly now… 

The end result of all this being…I can once again view the statistics of visitors to hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, as well as Zemanta’s pictorial offerings, and best of all…the subscribers for whom I am deeply grateful. I thought I’d never again know who you are.

Too many to list…

…heartfelt thanks…to each and every one of you…

………hugmamma.  (The only thing I still have to figure out is how to do “smiley faces” again. Any suggestions?)

growing older…together

Just celebrated my 63rd birthday…

Having my daughter with me to mark the passing of another year was by far the best present she and my husband could’ve given me. She for wanting to spend it with me; he for making her trip home possible.

Though 37 years her senior, my daughter and I relate to one another as if we were contemporaries. We chat, we gossip, we giggle, we laugh, we tease and joke, we toast and advise one another, we discuss men and relationships and friendships, we talk politics of which we’re in agreement.

Shopping together is like hunting for treasure. Finding clothes for my daughter is a breeze since youth and a dance career keep her marvelously fit. Past my prime, with my body in constant need of a tune-up, repairs or a major overhaul, clothes that fit is a hit-or-miss venture for me. Mostly it’s a dead-end street. Nonetheless, we have a blast whether or not we return home with anything to show for our to-ing and fro-ing.

My daughter keeps me young. While in Pittsburgh with her a few weeks ago where she danced with a friend’s contemporary company, I kept her theater hours. Finding somewhere to dine at 11 p.m. every night was a challenge, as was rising early the next morning to breakfast before she headed off to do run-throughs for that night’s performance.

We kept up the pace the following couple of weeks while she was home visiting.

Most nights my daughter and I would watch old movies together, while nearby my husband caught 40 winks, head back, jaw relaxed, snores streaming from his open mouth.

Sleeping in very long was never an option for my daughter and me. There was so much we wanted to do…8:15 a.m. exercise classes, chiropractic and doctor appointments, visits to favorite haunts as well as discovering new ones, errands, shopping, playing with our pets, family walks in the evening.

When did my child become my best friend?

It’s been less than a decade since I was parent and disciplinarian. Unlike some who preferred to be friends with their children, rather than mothers, I relished being guardian and teacher to my only child. I wanted to make the most of what seemed a miracle birth after 16 years of marriage.

I was no Blessed Mother, but I gave the job my all. Love and communication were my tools of choice. Still are. Something I took away from the oft times difficult relationship between my mom and me.

Today I reap the rewards of a foundation well laid.

Growing older and wiser…and more in love with one another as the years pass…

…my daughter and me…

………hugmamma. 

go julia!!!

Seventeen (magazine)

Seventeen (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NBC news  recently shone the spotlight on teen ballerina, Julia Bluhm. From Maine, a normal looking youngster…with a passion for activism. Her debut efforts at effecting change? Getting Seventeen Magazine to stop photoshopping its models’ pictures.

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Another benefit of aging, for there are some, is that vanity takes a permanent back seat. At some point we realize no matter what we try, short of comprehensive plastic surgery, we’re not going to alter our genetics.

A glance in the mirror confirms that I’m looking more like my mom with each passing day…especially without makeup. I’m fighting the battle of the bulge, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to regain the figure I enjoyed in my 20s, 30s, and even 40s.

Who decided that ordinary women with looks ranging from…dour…to homely…to lovely…to breathtakingly gorgeous…wanted to see only one end of the spectrum represented in advertising and in the media. Whoever it was, or whoever they were, must’ve thought we were gullible sheep who wouldn’t buy anything unless touted by foxy hotties.

These days I tend to look past the glam and listen for substantitive words instead. I’m not saying beautiful women have no place in the world. They just don’t represent ALL the women in the world.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see faces and bodies more akin to those reflected back from our mirrors?

Advertisers need to overhaul their perception of what women want. We can help them by boycotting their products.

I for one could easily see Victoria Secret Angels banished for good. Flaunting their scantily clad bodies, these women invite men to fantasize. Some acting out their fantasies with murderous results.  And young girls to imagine themselves as less than, if they don’t see themselves reflected in these sensual goddesses.

How do I start this petition rolling?

 

Victoria's Secret Black Friday at Westfield Sa...

Victoria’s Secret Black Friday at Westfield San Francisco Centre 2009 (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

…or am i just a lone voice?…   😦

………hugmamma.   

out with the old, used…

…and I don’t mean me…or hubby, for that matter. Nope I’m referring to stuff. Lots and lots of stuff…tchotchkas, clothes, linens, baseball caps, framed pictures, curtain rods, picture frames, tossed pillows. Oy vay! So much history…of the junk kind.

So what am I doing on Independence day? Not celebrating my freedom, that’s for sure. More like trying to extricate myself from the things that bind. 

I’m prepping for a neighborhood, multi-family yard sale this weekend. You can believe I’m pricing everything to sell. For each item I relinquish, I regain a fraction of my freedom. Freedom from material things that have laid claim to me, mentally and physically.

Aging opens one’s eyes to the fact that…you really can’t take it with you. If you know what I mean.

So onwards and upwards. I’m throwing off the shackles that bind me to this earth…so I can enjoy what time I’ve left…before I fly heavenwards to meet my Maker. That’s my expectation…

…i sure hope it’s His…as well…  😦 

………hugmamma.    😆

p.s. hopefully you’re doing something more exciting…happy freedom day…celebrate your independence!!!

round and round we go…

Linguine dish

Linguine dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since my physician diagnosed me as being pre-diabetic, hubby and I have been exorcising “white” carbs from our diet…pastas, rice, breads. For the most part, that is. We did have linguine when we dined out the other night. I had asked if the restaurant served whole grain. As expected, the answer was a resounding…no. Well, I tried.

We are making progress at home, however. Neither white rice nor white bread passes our lips.

Tonight begins the third week we’ve been walking laps at the local community center. Within 30-40 minutes we’ve been able to walk 2 miles. Although I attend morning exercise class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I still accompany my husband in the evenings so that he gets a workout as well.

If we maintain our diet and exercise regimen for a month, according to experts, we’ll be on our way to changing our lifestyle permanently. I guess that’s the minimum amount of time needed to rewire our brains.

We’re determined to stick with the program in order to combat genetics and aging. It’s now or never…sooner rather than later…and doing nothing is not an option. 

Tonight there was a sweet moment in our sugar-free, kick-butt program…

…we held hands…as we walked 23 laps around the track…

………hugmamma.   😉

front and center…a golden nugget

English: Some gold nuggets from Alaska.

English: Some gold nuggets from Alaska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great lessons of older age is pausing  to reflect upon life while it continues to unfold. In our hurry to do it all and have it all before our mortality is eclipsed, we often let slip through our fingers small nuggets of gold. Worse yet when we set aside the biggest nugget of all, in the hopes of finding one even more humongous.

Living with someone is a compilation of habits, both good and not so good, accumulated through the days, weeks, months, and years we’re together. Romance and sexual palpitations give way to affection and sweet gestures, if we’re lucky. However butterflies in our stomach, whether thousands or simply a handful, are more often displaced by nibbling moths as we go about our daily grind.

It’s so easy to speak unkind words, raise an eyebrow in disdain, or lower the iron curtain of silence. In youth we pride ourselves upon our self importance, our independence, our ability to move on…alone, if necessary. Not so quick are we to dwell upon these things in older age.

Our significant other becomes like one with ourselves. No longer are the lines of demarcation so absolute. They’re fuzzier now. The distinctions almost a blur.

The same blood doesn’t course through our veins, having been born of different parents. But in a relationship that has weathered the tsunamis of life with steadfast resolve…water is thicker than blood.

While still requiring practice and firm resolution, acknowledging the value of those who have stood by our sides is imperative as life’s embers start to dim. As our insatiable appetite for things and glory wanes, what’s left are small golden nuggets. Always present, but often overlooked.

Bite your tongue when your loved one leaves a dish in the sink, rather than placing it in the diswasher. Give your loved one  that leftover, pulled-chicken sandwich you were hoping to devour for lunch. Allow your loved one to complete tasks when inclined, especially when relaxation is a luxury.

A less than sparkling home, an opportunity to lose weight, and keeping one’s blood pressure in check are a good tradeoff for keeping our loved ones happy and still over-the-moon with their choice for life-long mates.

…one golden nugget…is all i need…

………hugmamma.   🙂