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/

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in the blink of an eye…

That’s all it takes to lose what you love most…the blink of an eye.

As we flew 3,000 miles to be by our daughter’s side as she recovered from a second surgery to repair her bowel wall pierced during a surgery to remove a couple of fibroids from her uterine wall, I prepared myself for the worse case scenario.

Death.

I thought how fortunate I was to have mothered such a lovely, loving, young woman. A gift from God for which I have always been grateful these last 29 years. I would mourn her loss, but I would try to focus upon the years I was so blest to have her in my life. I would not give in to anger. I would honor her memory that way because she rarely, if ever, showed anger towards anyone. She forgave much quicker than I ever could.

So much I have learned and continue to learn from my dear, sweet daughter. Fortunately, I will continue to learn from her.

Our daughter is recovering. The incision is finally shrinking; the wound not so red and gnarly. She just returned to driving again. The need to earn a living as a dance teacher, a strong incentive. There are still bills to be paid, after all. Including the hospital’s $50,000 charge for the 6 days stay. It’s almost certain the surgeons’ bills will amount to as much, if not more.

If not for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, our daughter might have been another liability for the taxpayers. Instead, she’s been able to afford the $89 monthly premium, instead of the $200+ our daughter would have had to pay without the government’s tax credit.

Money matters. It helps pay the bills. It affords us respite from life’s daily challenges. And yet…

Without those we cherish the most, life would hold little meaning. Not that we should end our existence. Only that we should love deeply, remembering that nothing lasts forever. That, however, doesn’t mean our lives can’t end happily.

Quite the contrary. Abandoning ourselves to love will guarantee us…

…a very, very…happily ever after.

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: happiness…a matter of choice

I very often use my daughter’s professional career path as a means to understanding my life, and life in general. I guess it’s because I can step back more easily and reflect upon its course with twenty-twenty hindsight.

Now that she’s headed in a different direction, away from ballet toward contemporary movement, my daughter is happier. For sure there have been potholes along the way, but is anyone’s life ever without them?

Choices. We’re always confronted with them. Never a day goes by when we don’t have to make decisions. A dancer’s life is no different and yet, whatever is decided alters her career path without it being obvious at the time.

The first ballet company with whom my daughter trained at the age of 16 had no qualms about her going elsewhere to dance when they were on hiatus during the summer months. At least that’s what the company’s dance school director said. She felt my daughter was a smart dancer who could easily transition between time with the company and time away with others.

It was during the summer that my daughter began honing her ability as a contemporary dancer. She felt combining year-round ballet with several weeks dancing a different movement would make her a more versatile performer. And it did. Yet it seems to have come with a price that was not made clear until the die had been cast, so to speak.

Rather than inform her directly that it would have been preferable for my daughter to spend summers with the company, very subtle hints were made by staff. Nothing definite, just little questions like “Do you want to be here?” Of course the answer was always an emphatic “Yes!” How was she to know they meant…”Well then you shouldn’t be seen by other directors who might want to steal you away?”

Ballet companies have the upper hand in deciding who among their many trainees and apprentices might eventually be offered a position. There are no guarantees. All of them are made to feel they have potential, but none of them can claim professional status until they have a signed contract.

So then the decision for the “wannabee” career ballet dancer is “Does she commit herself to a company who is still undecided about her? Or does she explore the larger dance community not only to enhance her skills but also to begin networking with fellow artists…dancers, choreographers, and yes, even directors?”

My daughter chose to broaden her dance horizons. She never did it with the intent to leave the company with which she was training. In fact she was always excited to return to the fold after time away. With renewed energy and confidence she incorporated what she’d learned during the summer into her performances.

Of course there are always different perspectives to any situation. So while my daughter saw her summers as enhancing her dance, the ballet company’s director perceived them as a sign that she wasn’t fully committed to him. When he let her go after 5 years he said “I decided to let you go instead of others because you’ll have an easier time finding a job then them.” At that point, my daughter was glad to finally be out from under a shadow that had been looming ever since she returned after the summer. She hugged her boss and thanked him for the opportunities she had been given while there. And with that she left the studio, breathing in the great outdoors and the promise of better days ahead.

Others who trained alongside my daughter never ventured off during the summers. They faithfully remained with the company. Of those, a few have gone on to become principal dancers. Sadly though they have never seen the broader dance world firsthand. And then there are all the others who were not even offered positions.

Becoming a professional dancer, especially in ballet, is just as much luck as it is talent and hard work. My daughter was fortunate to make it with the second ballet company she joined.

However the journey is never without its bumps. If one’s career stalls or back slides, then a dancer must decide her next move.

My daughter could have remained another 6 years to see where her career as a ballet dancer would take her. Instead she made the decision to change directions, helped in large part by all that she’d gained during her months off from the companies.

Over the course of her summers, my daughter has met hundreds of dancers on their way to somewhere. She’s also met her fair share of choreographers and directors. And then there are the stars with whom she’s paled around…Ethan Steiffel…Misty Copeland. Of them all, however, the most notable person she has met has been…herself.

Finding oneself in life is something for which we all strive. The choices we make, difficult as they might be in the moment, bring us to our own conclusion.

I’ve often told my daughter when she was a dance student, as well as on her way to becoming a professional…”Enjoy the process. As long as you do that, you’ll never be disappointed in the outcome. Happiness lies in the journey, not in the promise of the ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.’ ”

Did I already mention…

…my daughter is happy…very happy.

………hugmamma.

(Enjoy more inspirational words at
http://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/nurturing-thurs-you-are/

 

 

 

dance…like nobody’s watching…

Ever since my daughter first stepped onto a stage at age 8, she had a presence that drew one’s eyes to her. Complete strangers, including a dad, told me they singled my daughter out as the one they watched throughout the recital. Of course, I wholeheartedly agreed that she was indeed the star of the show, even though she wasn’t. Surely, I’m no different from other moms.

As she has worked her way toward becoming a professional, my daughter has experienced a plethora of situations and people  in the dance world. Some good, some bad, some so-so.

There are directors who manage like mini-Napoleons; others who remember what it was like to be a dancer. There are dancers who lord it over others, and dancers who work as a team. There’s stress over roles, in part because dancers are clueless as to what the director and his staff are thinking. And then, of course, there’s always the audience to please.

Appearance is important, especially in ballet. Ever since Balanchine introduced spaghetti-thin ballerinas to the art form, directors have adopted the look as standard. Heaven help the dancer with shapely arms and legs and an ample bosom. Although a little wiggle room is beginning to loom on the horizon. Thanks to the efforts of American Ballet Theatre’s stunning soloist, Misty Copeland.

My daughter’s life as a ballet dancer was the best it could be, given what she brought to the table and the opportunities afforded her as a result. Her decision to switch to contemporary dance seemed a natural evolution, since that’s where she was featured the most.

In her current job, dance is the focus for my daughter and her coworkers. Not appearance. Not roles. Not the director. Learning the new movement is exhausting, painful, and enervating. At day’s end, she literally collapses on the sofa applying frozen vegetable bags to both knees. Later, as she crawls under the covers, her lips form a small smile. She can’t wait to be at it again…

…dancing…for the pure joy of…dancing…

………hugmamma.

 

 

unique is…as unique lives…

( Move your mouse over each photo, to read its caption.) 

To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour

-SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL –

I would like to credit the assembling of this post to another blogger from whom I borrowed SWC’s words. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to relocate the blog from whence it came. If you recognize this quote, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. Without it, I would not have thought to post this homage to my UNIQUE AND BELOVED…DAUGHTER.

………HUGMAMMA.

nurturing thursdays: the eaglette has landed…

IMG_0493You might wonder why I write of my daughter’s comings and goings under the heading of nurturing thursdays.  It’s because health and wellness also includes…peace of mind. And knowing that my child is happy in her life…comforts me like nothing else can.

Having left Nashville Ballet a year ago in search of a better fit, my daughter traveled far and wide from Atlanta to Chicago to Germany to Toronto. She even poked around here in the Seattle area. Wanting to expand upon her contemporary dance experience to improve her resume, she opted to return to her mentor and coach who started her own company in the Music City, as Nashville is most famously known.

My daughter’s dance career has been 95% training, 5% performing. Opting to always hone her craft, she has trained elsewhere in the summers when ballet companies are usually on hiatus. In the early years she would have to pay for the training, but as she grew in her profession she was paid, and handsomely I might add.

In the end however, all things considered, the majority of dancers fall under the category of…”starving artists.”

I would compare a dancer’s life to a roller coaster ride. If she hangs on long enough, she’ll adjust to the twists and turns. And if she’s truly passionate, she’ll love the adrenalin rush in spite of being tossed about.

Social dancing was more my speed. Were I in my daughter’s pointe shoes, I’d have “caved” the first time I was critiqued in front of other dancers. Just as I would lose my meal the first time the roller coaster spun me upside down.

Enjoying the company of hardworking dancers once again, my daughter is elated to be back in the studio.

While fledgling, NEW DIALECT promises to thrive as a much-needed alternative dance platform in a city dominated by country music. That it might gain the financial backing of some of that genre’s most influential singers is powerful stuff. It’s not surprising though, since the director, Banning Boudoin is as much a woman with heart as an artist with talent to burn. Both extremely attractive to those wanting to bask in the aura of one poised to do great things.

Like hanging onto a shooting star, my daughter will thrill to the ride of her life as she and Banning soar the universe, exciting others with their passion.

Dancing…

…for the sheer joy…and love of it!

………hugmamma. img_5200.jpg

 

 

nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 1

IMG_1711I continue to learn from my 28-year-old daughter, the dancer.

As I write…she’s off living life…her best life.

This last year away from the sheltered environs of a ballet company, my daughter discovered, much to her delight and mine, that the dance world is bigger and more exciting than she ever imagined.

Auditioning for a few companies known for their contemporary repertoire, she met dancers from around the world as well as the United States. While competing for single digit job openings, there was not the subtle and not-so-subtle rivalry that can often accompany “cattle call” auditions for ballet companies. Yes, there were 95 auditioning for one or two jobs with a German company, but my daughter spoke highly of the amazing three dancers who were asked to remain, while she and the others were thanked and let go. Having made it to the last group of 12 was enough of an ego boost for her.

Earlier in the spring, my daughter again broadened her dance experience when she returned to Houston to work with the Grand Opera’s CARMEN. The director and a seasoned cast of NYC dancers were brought in for the production. For the first time my daughter was in the company of dancers whose careers ran the gamut from Broadway shows, to TV dance competitions and commercials,  to feature films, to videos, to award shows. She felt giddy knowing she was among an elite group of professionals, but she loved them even more for how down-to-earth they were off stage.  And they loved her as much it seems, for they encouraged my daughter to move to New York to join their ranks. 

Already committed to train with a former mentor and coach, my daughter returned to Nashville several weeks ago. Working with the woman’s small, fledgling contemporary dance company my daughter will decide whether or not she will remain after the summer. Meanwhile she is having the time of her life.

My daughter thrives when challenged. She yearns to learn continually; she never wants to settle…to plateau. During these last few weeks, she’s taken…pointe-counterpointe and aerial classes.

Isn’t it interesting how opportunity knocks when you least expect it? A couple of folks who have seen my daughter in these classes have asked her to work with their companies as well, should she return to Nashville on a more permanent basis. One offer in particular caught her attention…to learn a Balinese-type dance. Currently, only one woman knows the solo and the director of the modern dance company feels certain my daughter would learn the piece in no time, and to perfection. 

Talk about coming into her own. 

Ballet companies tend to be hierarchical. Only a select few are designated the leads or the soloists. Dancers can wait years for their break-through moment. For some the opportunity never comes. 

Happy to work where talent and hard work are the only criteria for being noticed, my daughter is loving the directors and dancers she has had the pleasure of being with as she grows ever more comfortable in her new skin as a contemporary dancer. 

It’s true what someone recently told me…

…i’m only as happy as my least happiest child…

………hugmamma.

(Stay tune for “nurturing thursdays: choices…changes…part 2)

 

…the person…not the label…

IMG_5221While my daughter’s away auditioning for a job with a contemporary dance company, I’m keeping busy putting Christmas away. Yes. Shame on me. It’s March and the ornaments, trees, tinsel, and holiday vintage collections are only now finding their way back into our garage. It usually takes a week or so to get them all up in the first place, so I’m in no hurry to reverse the whole process. And thankfully, my family is fine with the holidays lasting until spring. Then again…they’ve got no choice.

So as I’m organizing my house for the new season, I’ve a lot of time to think about my daughter’s work status which, for the moment, is in a holding pattern. Although not really since she’s a busy, little bee looking to join a new hive, so to speak.

What continually springs to mind is my daughter’s beautiful face, and with that, her great personality. They shine through despite the fact that she’s not yet landed her dream job with a contemporary dance company.

My daughter would’ve loved dancing with Staatstheatre Nurenberg Ballet in Germany. She found the movement quality and the director equally amazing. It seems Goyo Montero would himself demonstrate the choreography if he felt it would help the dancers. At an age when most directors would have stopped dancing, evidently he could still master the moves. That’ll get my daughter’s automatic respect every time.

Although she didn’t get the job, out of 94 from around the world who were invited to audition, my daughter survived the first cut as one of 12 who went on to the final round. Of those only 2 were kept. Since the director was looking for soloists, he was obviously scrutinizing every little detail with regard to their appearance, technique, and performance. That my daughter got as far as she did is a testament to her talent. The competition for jobs in Europe is even stiffer than here in America. 

Last summer my daughter auditioned in NYC for a premier Chicago contemporary dance company. Of the 300 dancers, she was one of 2 remaining. Because auditions had taken place elsewhere in the country, there were a few others being considered for the job as well. A couple of weeks later the director called to say my daughter had not gotten the spot, but that she should try again in the future. And so she’s currently in Chicago taking classes at the company’s studio, gearing up for the audition on Saturday with a call-back on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a job with a Canadian company is also on the back-burner. Its director promised to notify those in whom she expressed an interest at the Toronto audition last week. My daughter’s “holding her breath” for that one, even as she’s moving on to the next possibility. 

Of course as her parent, I would give anything for my daughter to achieve her heart’s desire. That’s every parent’s wish. And yet what I’ve learned from this whole process is that I will love her no matter the outcome. 

It’s difficult, I think, to separate the person from whatever labels we’ve assigned them throughout the course of their lives. My daughter was a ballerina, but chose to leave that position for another more personally satisfying dance job. Yet whatever it is she does, she will remain exactly who she is. And I really like who she is.

Ours is a society which labels people. We’re either upper, middle, or lower class. We’re either rich or poor. We’re either educated or illiterate. We’re either Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. We’re either Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or middle-eastern. We’re either northerners or southerners. We believe in God or we’re atheists. We’re either “in” or we’re “out.” We’re either employed or unemployed. Even housewives like me insist upon the fact that we’re earning our keep.

Parents can get caught up in society’s labeling game so that if our children don’t “make the grade,” somehow that’s a bad reflection upon us. Against our better judgment we tend to turn against our own, siding with society’s expectations. Until we come to our senses, our offspring are emotionally set adrift to figure life out for themselves. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t.

Some children who can’t make it on their own for whatever reason, decide to avenge themselves against the society that labeled them as outcasts. I’m certain I needn’t remind you about all the recent shootings.

Accepting our children for who they are and not what they achieve or don’t achieve in life is often difficult. But it surely makes no sense to turn against them because others do. Who are these other people that come between you and your own? Complete strangers when you come right down to it. And if they’re so-called friends, then it’s best to get new friends. With friends like that, who needs enemies? And even if they’re family…

…i’d do what i feel is best for my own child…

………hugmamma.

i hope you dance…

Early this morning, 4:30 a.m. to be exact, my husband drove our daughter to the airport for her flight to Toronto at 6:55 a.m. She’s off on a whirlwind tour of job auditions. After a couple of days in Canada, she heads to Chicago for a week of dance classes at a prominent studio where she will also audition for a position with the resident company. From there she heads to Atlanta where she’ll take classes with a company with whom she might want to work.

There’s a sign hanging in our dining room which reads I Hope You Dance. It’s occupied the same space for quite some time. Regardless of the changing decor to suit the seasons, that sign stays put. It reminds me, and my daughter, that as long as she has a passion for her art my husband and I will do everything we can to support her. 

It takes a lot on all our parts for my daughter to realize all she desires with respect to her profession. She must continually hone her talent and skills; and we, her parents, must be willing to pick up the slack financially. As long as she continues to draw the attention of people at the top in dance, we feel she has a shot at doing what she wants, where she wants, for as long as she wants. Because of our faith in her, we’re willing to forgo luxuries for ourselves in order to sustain our daughter’s dream of dancing until her body gives out or her passion for performing wanes.

What greater gift can we give ourselves than to have our daughter push past obstacles time and again to occupy the place God meant her to have on His earth?

Since neither of us was born into the lap of luxury, my being the youngest of 9 and my husband being the eldest of 12, we want for very little as adults. The fact that our daughter blest our marriage after 16 years is a miracle for which we have never ceased being grateful. That we can celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a gift that keeps on giving.

As any parent of an athlete intent upon making his or her sport a lifetime commitment will tell you…it ain’t easy. I talk to myself, a lot. I argue both sides of every issue. Of course I’m always prejudiced in favor of my daughter. What parent isn’t? Nevertheless I also look at the greater picture and I never, ever ignore reality. At the same time, I choose my words carefully so as not to snuff out the flame that burns within my daughter’s heart for what she loves. And I always remember that she’s an adult, almost 28. She must live her own life. If my husband and I support her endeavors it’s a choice we make freely…no strings attached. Ever.

The greatest lesson I learned as a result of both my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s parenting is to never expect anything in return for what I give my daughter freely and willingly.

My mom’s love came with an entire flotilla of spider webs; my mother-in-law’s love welcomed me back time and again like a sparkling, refreshing fountain from which I could drink whenever I thirsted.

My daughter probably saw both tutus (Hawaiian for “grandma”) a little more than a handful of times. Her fondest memories are of my mother-in-law. Of my own mom, my daughter retains sketchy remembrances of a depressed, frustrated old woman.

Because my mom was all I had growing up, my love for her cannot be severed. She and I shared one another’s lives the longest, most of my older brothers and sisters having left home while still young to make their own way in the world. So while I don’t condone how I was raised, I don’t fault my mom for doing what she needed to survive after my dad died. I only knew that my own daughter was going to go her own way with all the love and support I could muster.

And whatever she does with her own life……is for her to keep…or share as she sees fit. Knowing her as well as I do, I’m certain…

…she’ll always share her life and her God-given gifts…without reservation…

………hugmamma.

...one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter...by martin o'connor photography

…one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter…by martin o’connor photography

nurturing thursdays: believe in yourself

My daughter’s decided that her 2014 New Year’s resolution includes…ferocity.

As she moves forward in her quest to become a contemporary dancer, my daughter’s inner voice is at the helm.

In ballet, dancers are taught to fit within a standard. Rigorous training reinforces discipline which, in turn, often engenders a relationship similar to that of a parent and a child. On the one hand it is highly effective in perfecting a ballerina’s technique; on the other, it may be difficult for the ballerina to grow comfortably into her own skin.

Along with everything else, a ballerina must find a balance between what is expected of her and what she wants for herself. Unlike puzzle pieces, the two sides don’t always fit together neatly. In fact, finding the balance between the expectations of others and her own are most likely an ongoing effort. At some point, she either acquiesces and dances on auto-pilot…or moves on.

Every ballet dancer at each stage of her career, from student through professional, must decide whether or not the journey is worth the sacrifices and commitment. No one is holding her feet to the fire unless, of course, she’s the product of a stage mom. God help her if she is.

Change is not easy no matter the profession. A ballerina, however, once enamored of the classics…Romeo and Juliette…Sleeping Beauty…Swan Lake…finds it very difficult to sever the ties that bind her to the beauty she can spin as part of an ensemble.

And as any ballerina will tell you, it ain’t easy getting hired by a company in the first place. It’s true what they say. For every one there’s probably twelve more nipping at her heels, eager to have their go at it.

My daughter’s experience, while not perfect, was promising. Had she waited around another few years, she might have been challenged to do more solo roles. But with the passing of years, 11 to be exact, she finally decided it was time to sever the “parent-child” relationship. It had outgrown its purpose.

Moving into contemporary dance has been freeing. There are no father figures; there are no children. All are artists. The difference lies only in their abilities, their experiences, and their passion for dance.

My daughter feels she can get to the top of her game, no longer hindered by the trappings of the environment in which she dances. Rather than be told “when” and “how,” she’s been asked…”show us what ya got!” And she’s only too eager to comply.

Believing in herself and her passion for her art, my daughter is excited to be auditioning. This week it’s Los Angeles, next month it’s Germany, and in March it’s Chicago.

Fierce is my daughter’s new mantra. Nothing’s impossible since…

…she believes in herself!

………hugmamma.

twiddling my thumbs…

…and writing like it’s going out of style!!!

IMG_0007

…the apple of my eye…my daughter…

What my daughter knows that you don’t is that I’ve been sitting around twiddling my thumbs…when I’m not churning out posts one after another. My fellow bloggers will agree that this can be addictive, whether they’re avid photographers or passionate writers. I like to think I’m a little of both, leaning more towards the latter.

You see, I’ve got a couple of guys in the house with me. And before you go THERE,… they’ve been doing some remodeling in my daughter’s bedroom. They estimate it’ll take a mere week-and-a-half.

So if you can stand it…I’ll just keep pawing away at the keyboard, elaborating upon every thought that pops into my head. And as those who are near and dear to me know firsthand…there’s a never-ending deluge of words fighting to be let loose upon unsuspecting readers like you.

But as I said before…

…i promise to dry up…sooner rather than…later…

Watching and Blogging

…btw…that’s not me…just someone who looks a lot like me…

………hugmamma.

weekly writing challenge: dna analysis

I’m a comic.

No. Not the Sunday news kind or the Superman kind, but the stand up kind. My daughter threatens to follow me around with a video, recording me as I mouth one-liners. And, of course, you know what comes next? She wants to share me with the world by uploading the video to YouTube! Yeah, right! Like that’s ever going to happen.

Superman

It’s not what you’re thinking, that I’m shy or humble. Heck no! It’s because neither of us knows how to upload a video onto YouTube. We’ve got the brains…we just lack the motivation. 

Funny thing about being funny. It just comes naturally, for me at least. I can’t remember anyone else in my family being funny. With 9 kids to raise after my dad died, funny was probably the furthest thing from my mom’s mind. Most likely she was thinking…life sucks…those stupid kids…I gotta get me some…I need a drink.

My siblings can be funny, when they’re not reminding me that they’re older and smarter. My brother Ed never does that though. He knows I’m smarter. I’ve got a college degree to prove it. Even though I know diddly-squat about computers, something at which Ed’s been working for 40+ years, only retiring a couple of years ago. And when it comes to being funny, he just had to open his mouth and cackle, and I was on the ground laughing my head off while holding my pee. A couple of missing teeth in his wide grin was enough to set me off.

Adolf Hitler, head-and-shoulders portrait, fac...

Talking about toothless grins. My once exuberant smile is nearly nonexistent now, unless I’m with close friends and family. That’s about 4 people.  You see, I’m in the midst of a tooth implant. Since it’s a couple of teeth back from the front left side, my smile is the length of Hitler‘s mustache. Get the picture? I could wear the retainer which the dentist made for me. It’s got my old tooth where my new crown will be. I’d have my old smile back, but then I’d have to take the retainer off every time I ate. You can see my dilemma…smile or eat…smile or eat…smile or eat. My ingenious solution? I eat during the day…and I smile when I go to bed at night. My husband likes my smile, although he wishes I wouldn’t wake him up to look at me…smiling.

It could be said that I cornered the market on funny because my siblings beat me to everything else…beauty…brains…brawn…booze. Being the youngest, I had to settle for the leftovers. Except there were no leftovers. So I went outside my family and found…funny. 

I probably caught the bug when black-and-white TV was invented. I learned funny from the masters…Laurel and Hardy…The Three Stooges…I Love Lucy…The Honeymooners…Abbott and Costello…George Burns and Gracie Allen…Red Skelton, Jerry Lewis, Art Linkletter, Milton Berle, and Jack Benny

Lucy watches Little Ricky's birthday party fro...

Lucy watches Little Ricky’s birthday party from the window ledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or maybe I decided to be funny as an attention-getter. My friends and classmates thought I was hilarious when I fooled around, making goofy faces and spinning tales that were only half true. 

Once during elementary school I told a fib that back-fired. I did it to gain popularity among my classmates but wound up making enemies instead. I don’t remember what the lie was; I only remember crying and sweating…profusely. I forgot to mention one minor detail…I was in Catholic school where the nuns taught us…not to lie. I must’ve been MIA during those lectures. 

I was cured of fibbing, but I went on being funny. Like the time I pulled a papaya tree completely out of the ground. I didn’t plan to, of course. It just happened while my best friend and I were taking a breather from hunting down a litter of stray kittens in a neighbor’s backyard. I leaned against the skinny fruit tree, wrapping my arms around its trunk. When I moved to leave…the tree came with me. We had a hard time “replanting” it, especially since we were laughing so hard. We finally leaned the papaya tree against another one nearby, and ran like the dickens before the homeowners found us trespassing on their property. The hard-working Japanese couple might have beaten us with their shovels! Can you blame them? Of course I never did tell my mom. She would’ve beaten me for sure.

My daughter thinks I’m at my funniest now, when I’m on a rolling laugh. It only happens with her. One of us starts laughing, then the other. Then it’s as though we’re hitting a ping pong ball back and forth over the net. It’s even more hilarious when we’re on our cell phones. Using TANGO, we get glimpses up each other’s nostrils or deep inside our cavernous mouths. Jiggling our phones as we rock back and forth with uproarious laughter, we catch site of pimples…blackheads…”crow’s feet”…snot…drool…perspiration…smudged eyeliner. Not a pretty sight, I guarantee you. But one worth all the gold in Fort Knox

…a 27 year-old daughter cracking up at her 64 year-old mother’s…funniness.

………hugmamma. 

Papaya trees

Papaya trees (Photo credit: 4nitsirk)

then there’s the time i…

My husband, daughter and I had a good chuckle reminiscing about those times when I was…well…a little less pulled together than I would have liked. In fact my daughter offered up her memory of another time when I nearly burned the house down. Different house…a decade or so after my first fiasco with the stove in my Long Island home.

IMG_1482Seems I had begun prepping for dinner. I’d lit the burner under a frying pan in which I’d poured some oil. My daughter, in elementary school at the time, called from the nearby dining room. She had a question about her homework. Attentive mother that I was, I went to see how I could help.

Of course you know how the rest of the story goes…

Minutes later, I returned to find a fire had started in the frying pan. Its flames were reaching upwards toward the 9 foot ceiling. What was it they taught me in Girl Scouts? Whatever it was, I couldn’t get my befuddled brain to think straight.  My eyeballs, however, were working overtime…bulging out of their sockets. And my mouth, according to my daughter, could only say one thing…”Oh shoot! Oh shoot! Oh shoot!” She remembers that because when I recounted this story to Carol, a close friend, she was amazed that I only said “Oh shoot!” and not something more colorful. But as I told my daughter, I held myself in check when she was young. Now that she’s 27…well…let’s just say I’m a lot more liberal-mouthed. My vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds.

Not knowing what else to do, I did what I wasn’t suppose to…I took the frying pan to the sink. I don’t think I turned on the water, although I can’t be sure. The one thing my daughter and I both remember is that the curtains above the sink caught fire. Again, I don’t remember what I did about that. Except that whatever I did, the fire eventually petered out.

A residential smoke detector is the most famil...

 

What didn’t subside, however, was the confounded smoke alarm. It blared and blared and blared. The ringing drove me nuts! No matter what I did to the thing it wouldn’t shut off. Between trying to stop its incessant noise and running around throwing open windows to let out the smoke which was rapidly accumulating throughout the house, I was a crazed woman.

 

At my wits ends, and worried that passersby would wonder at the commotion, I ripped the smoke alarm off the ceiling and flung it out the front screen door onto the lawn.

Imported Photos 00332I have no idea what my poor child was doing while I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. All I can say is thank goodness she has a funny bone like her dad, and can laugh at my antics. I think it’s safe to say she doesn’t intend to trade me in for another, saner mom anytime soon.

I guess you’re wondering if I called my husband at his office in NYC? No. I didn’t. Things were happening too fast and I was 10 years older, though not necessarily wiser. Perhaps the fact that I had someone else to think of, my daughter, made me depend upon my own resources, limited as they were. And after all, we were then living in Connecticut. Then again, being in another state, or country for that matter, hasn’t precluded my calling my husband for help. But those are other stories.

When my husband arrived home later that evening, he was surprised to find the smoke alarm laying on the grass…in pieces. My daughter was only too eager to relate the sordid details of the day to her dad, whose eyes grew as large as saucers as he listened. After a full accounting of the ugly event, my husband knew better than to chide me about my foolishness. The gleam in my eye warned him not to go there. Instead, he gave me a hug, and from the twinkling glint in his eyes I knew…

…he’d amassed another one of his…”tales of my nutty wife”…IMG_1998

………hugmamma.

cee’s fun photo challenge: houses

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

...preparing for halloween...

…preparing for halloween…

...expecting company...

…expecting company…

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

…the family room’s a mess…

...where dreams are made...

…where dreams are made…

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

…time to watch “hgtv”…

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…where has the time gone?…

………hugmamma.

 

 

…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.