forever…

…friends.

Laurie and I have known each other since our daughters were toddlers. She initiated the first ever playgroup in our small town of Redding, Connecticut. For that I will be forever grateful. It was my lifeline to the outside world since I’d decided to forgo a career in NYC to be a stay-at-home mom.

I’d worked since I was 16, so being in a twosome with a child for the next umpteen years was a thousand scary thoughts all rolled into one. I’d no idea how I’d make it from one day to the next without adult companionship.

Thank God for that ad in the local paper inviting new moms to gather with babes in arms. Laurie and I have been lifelong friends ever since.

There were a number of women with whom I’d been close, but Laurie was the only one with whom I’d been so totally in sync. There were never, ever any issues over which we’d have a falling out. Never. Our daughters, only children, were our common cause. It was always about their well being. Our worlds revolved around doing our best for them. We always commiserated over that common goal. Our egos never got ahead of us that way. Amazing! Truly amazing.

It’s been 18 years since our family moved to the Pacific Northwest. During that time, Laurie and I have managed to meet up…in Redding,  NYC, Chautauqua (New York), Atlanta, Martha’s Vineyard and just last week, here in Washington State. (We’re already looking forward to where we’ll next meet.) As with long time friends the world over, we spent every waking moment catching up on…our lives…our daughters’ lives…the lives of friends and acquaintances we’d both known…and Redding, past and present.

As an unexpected bonus, Laurie and I discovered we both dreaded the thought of a Trump presidency. And so from the outset, politics wove their way in and out of all of our conversations. Empowered by our discussions, she vowed that she would help register voters upon returning to her home town in Pennsylvania. And, of course, I plan to continue trouncing Trump with the written word.

One of the first compliments I paid Laurie on this visit was that she was everybody’s enabler…her daughter’s…her ex-husband’s…her two sisters…her niece and nephew…her friends…her coworkers. It’s in Laurie’s very DNA to quietly support those with whom she’s in contact. She never pushes her opinions; instead she listens carefully, building upon what the speaker has said. To her great credit, many have remained loyal to her. And to her very great credit, her daughter is thriving in a gay marriage and enjoying an awesome career as a veterinarian.

I count myself very lucky to still be among Laurie’s closest friends. No matter the distance, no matter the passing of time, we will always be kindred spirits…

…friends…forever.

………hugmamma.787

 

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…forever friends…forever love…

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

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

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

Today there’s no evidence of that Hillary.

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

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

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

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

Weathering the worst together makes for enduring marriages, and…

…truly best friends and soul mates.

……….hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

living her best life #42: an outpouring of love

When I offered to chronicle her life as a cancer patient, I did so wanting to give Pat an outlet to vent, to get her feelings onto “paper” and out of her head. Blogging these last 5 years has been cathartic for me; I thought it might be the same for my sister-in-law. Writing her story was also a way for me to do something more tangible than just praying.

Don’t get me wrong. Prayer is powerful. I just wanted to do something more, and writing was right up my alley.

Pat’s reason for doing this journal was two-fold. She wanted to provide readers with insight into how individuals with cancer live from day to day. Her desire was to help other cancer patients and their caregivers. She wanted them to know…they were not alone.

Equally important to Pat, was to have her journey with cancer chronicled so that she could remember the good moments and the not-so-good ones. She wanted to look back and thumb her nose at the Big C, once she’d beaten it into remission.

It goes without saying that the loving support of family, friends, even strangers, is hugely important to Pat. She’d be the first to say…her strength to endure has come from her community of caregivers. I couldn’t agree more.

In response to an email sent to update those closest to her about her first day at The Mayo Clinic, Pat received the following outpouring of well wishes.

Steph…I’m glad everything is working out…hope you win plenty at the casino!…safe trip home…sending you prayers and warm hugs!
Lei…You’re numbers may be unremarkable, but you my friend are remarkable!…you know I’d be taking you to the Mall of America…nothing beats chemotherapy like retail therapy!…tell Brad to keep you happy, “happy wife…”…love you tons and big nalo hugs!
Richard…Your positive outlook and sense of humor in the face of adversity are such an inspiration…our prayers and positive thoughts are with you and the boys…love you all!!
Bozo…Pat and Brad, just wanted to add the newest member to our family, Lauren, sends her love too…let us know if u need anything…love u.
Mary L….Pat and Brad, you and the boys are always in our thoughts and prayers…we love you!

And then there was the buzz of caring concern and love via text messages to one another…

Wow thank you! I emailed her too and was waiting for a response. Great news! … Thank you Jen for the update. Aunty Pat sounds upbeat…have good feelings. … Thanks Jen. I’m happy to hear the consultation was good! I was praying so hard for her today. Even though this i a type of aggressive cancer – I’m begging God to heal our sister and Aunty. He tells us to pray interceding for others. Join me in prayer and intercede in Pats behalf for God to perform a miracle in her body!! Love you all!! … Thank you Jen. To all – let’s keep one another updated with whatever info we hear. I know we are all concerned for Pat, and hope for the best for her and her family. Love to all. Lil. … Thank you Jen and to all the family for the continued prayers. Miracles happen through the power of prayer! Love you all. Louise. … Thanks, Jen. Also texted aunt Pat to see how she’s doing. So many responses to her email. Everyone is pulling for her. Love, Kathi.

It takes a village sending an abundance of healing sentiments to ensure that Pat’s in a good place. 

…and she’s deserving of all the love being showered upon her.

………hugmamma.

living her best life…#36

In response to Pat’s email in the previous postclose friend Lei, a college counselor, wrote back…

Hi Pat,

Am I the worst Catholic ever if I don’t know who Mary Helen is? She sounds like an important nun and I’m embarrassed if I’m the only one who isn’t familiar with her work. I’ll have to google her.

Glad to see your sense of humor is intact. LOL. That’s a good sign.

I gather the poi (a traditional Hawaiian food) I dropped off didn’t do it for you, huh?

Keep your chin up, Pat.

You know I’ve become sort of an expert in this field, and you’re doing a fabulous job!!!

I love you tons and you’re always in my prayers. I’ll call later to get some nourishment into that body of yours.

HUGS AND SQUEEZES…Lei.

living her best life…#34

Been a while since we’ve traveled life’s path…with Pat. We’ve both been busy with other happenings. She spent a lovely week catching up with her eldest son, Aiden, home on spring break. I’m sure it was a little sad for both of them when he returned to college on the mainland. 

My husband and I are in the throes of another remodel. Our last, thankfully. Almost as big a one as when we had our kitchen/dining/living area done nearly a decade ago. So that our late 70’s split level continues to work for us empty-nesters, we decided to turn the downstairs into our master bedroom retreat. Thoughts of cozy nights in front of a gas fireplace and an extra bedroom turned into a walk-in closet conjured up the good life…finally realized. However, as with all great things…there’s a price to pay.

As anyone who’s been through a remodel will tell you “It ain’t easy.” Spending months tripping over stuff stored everywhere but in our bed is no fun. Managing the project is also mind-boggling at times. Not to mention trying to keep us on a diet which means cooking tasty AND healthy…all the time. Of course that’s been haphazard now that we’re totally caught up in moving the renovations along as smoothly and quickly as is coherently possible. There have been glitches here and there, especially in the selection of light fixtures. It’s been my first and only experience with online shopping. If choosing from a myriad of fixtures is this difficult…I can’t imagine how single folks ever decide on dating partners from online images. By far a more important selection than if a flush mount fixture gives off enough light.

Decided to set these mundane things aside…truly unimportant by comparison…for a little while anyway, to remind us of what’s really important. Enjoying life with those we love for as long as we are able. Following is Pat’s unvarnished reflections on just that.

More Birthdays…and then some.

I already told you how my friends and I celebrated our 50th birthdays last year. I have another group of friends with whom I celebrate birthdays.

Our friendships came about because our boys were in kindergarten/elementary school together. Our boys have played sports together, our families have gone skiing together and we’ve been celebrating our birthdays for over 10 years. The boys have gone their own ways, but the moms have remained friends to this day.

These birthday celebrations aren’t fancy and don’t take months of planning. More like “It’s your turn next. What do you want to do?” Today was Maria’s turn. We celebrated at her house with take-out Chinese, wine instead of tea, and a fruit tart with ice cream instead of fortune cookies. (This is Hawaii where anything goes when it comes to food. hugmamma here: Ain’t that the truth!!!)

These are the women I met later in life, who have become lifelong friends. Besides our boys, the ties that bind us are the trials and tribulations both good and bad, that come with age…stress from our kids (a given), infidelity (a bad thing), divorce (mostly a good thing), and serious illness (a new topic).

Sharon was the first of this group that I told about my diagnosis. I knew it was going to be the hardest phone call to make and I waited until the very last moment…the night before my very first chemo treatment. It was hard and I know she was holding back tears. I asked her if she could let everyone else know what was going on. I didn’t think I could make six more phone calls. So she did.

Right away Priscilla offered to help Sharon with the phone calls. Priscilla also promised to keep me laughing and always send funny things she finds on the Internet. Erin, ever the librarian and teacher did some research online and had suggestions on what books to read. Sharon brought me those books, along with a blanket to use during treatment. She also brought food over. The others emailed me words of encouragement, prayers and offers to help in any way.

All except one.

I didn’t know if she was still in Hawaii. We’d heard she might be moving. I know she’s going through a tough time herself, but I don’t really know…none of us do…what’s going on. The last time we were all together, she didn’t want to talk about it and she’s been kinda AWOL ever since. Although she couldn’t make it to Maria’s birthday get-together at least she responded to the emails going around. I thought “great!” maybe things are okay, but still she didn’t email me directly. I wondered why. I wasn’t upset, just a little surprised, but didn’t worry too much about it. I’ve been in the position of not knowing what to do or say to someone and ended up doing nothing at all.

And then today it hit me! WHY AREN’T I REACHING OUT TO HER? OMG! NEWS FLASH! A cancer diagnosis DOES NOT mean the world now revolves around me. Someone…anyone…slap me! Sheesh! I feel like such an idiot. (hugmamma here: Been there…done that! Pretty sure we all have…)

Turns out she’s going through a really rough time. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t need to know either. I do know she doesn’t want to talk about it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about other stuff. I’m not doing nothing this time around.

I finished reading a really good book a couple of weeks ago, and this friend was the first person I thought about. Although she is a published author and knows way more about the world of authors and publishing, I’d always let her know when I came across an awesome read. I don’t know why I hesitated this time…because she didn’t email me first?…or because she’s hiding out? Either way it doesn’t matter. I will email her. I hope she responds, but if she doesn’t that’s okay. At least she’ll know I’m here if she wants to talk books…or anything else.

And FYI, if you like memoirs the book is Maude by Donna Mabry.

…good to remember…that we’re all trying to live our best lives.

…thanks, pat.

………hugmamma.

living her best life…#33

Last week Pat wasn’t feeling so great. Not because of her chemotherapy treatment, but as a result of the side effects of homeopathic supplements prescribed by her naturopath intended to boost her immune system. It’s always trial and error attempting to learn what works and what doesn’t. 

Since then Pat’s had an awesome experience which I’m certain gave her spirit the boost she needed. No doubt about it.

Just won the Division II State Championship Soccer title!!!

Brad and I are not at the stadium. We watched the game on TV. The team won handily, beating Kamehameha Hawaii from the big Island by 7 to 1. 

It was so cool to see all the boys on TV as well as the parents whenever the cameras panned the crowd. What touched me most was hearing the announcers mention that the white arm bands worn by the boys were for “Aunty Pat.” There was also a colorful poster hanging in the stands which read…Get well Aunty Pat…from da Boys. Seeing that brought a lump to my throat.

Not only did we get to watch the game, but we were also provided dinner by one of the soccer families. Lynn and her son Justin had dropped the meal off earlier in the day. This is the fourth week our soccer friends have provided us with prepared food.

I’m still in awe at the level of support we continue to receive.

The team, along with their families and friends, are celebrating tonight’s win with a big potluck just outside the stadium. Another family took candy leis we’d provided to give to the boys from us. They will be up to their eyeballs in leis…literally! They will probably be bursting with pride as each of them has his picture taken with the trophy. 

Finally, the parents can let out a big sigh of relief. The season is nearing an end. All that’s left is the end-of-the-year banquet which is always tons of fun. It’s what we did last year…and previous ones as well. Can you tell we kinda miss it?

Anyway, just wanted to share this moment as it was quite special and meaningful for both Brad and me.

Chat again soon…

…love you always…

…and all my supporters.

………pat…and hugmamma.

living her best life…#31

A belated HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! 

Was just reminded I missed sending out hugs to one and all. And yet it’s never too late for…

HUGS…ALL…AROUND!!! February 2011 00053Pat reminded me of my oversight when she emailed the following.

To update you on our Valentine Day’s weekend…

The power surge during the storm killed our TV. So in the afternoon, under sunny skies…you know our Hawaiian weather, bad one minute, glorious the next…we went to Best Buy to get a new one. Stopped by W&M Burger in Kaimuki on the way home. It took me a while but I managed to eat a Royal Burger. Do you remember that place? [Hugmamma here: No, I don’t, but you’re making me “ono” for one…with all the fixins’!]

We watched Maleficent later that night and I loved it! I especially liked the idea that “true love” exists between a child and a parent. I realize Maleficent wasn’t Aurora’s mother…but she acted as though she was because of how she doted on Aurora.

Didn’t do anything special for Valentine’s Day. Just had take out from Zippy’s. Ate something from the fridge instead.

Sunday afternoon friends from our son’s soccer team stopped by with dinner. They visited for a while which was really nice. After they left we heated up the food they brought for us…squash soup…chicken/eggplant stir fry…Chinese style veggies and long rice. All yummy!

That night we packed up a futon and blankets and went to Sandy Beach. 

Sat in the back of Brad’s truck.

I drank hot chocolate; he had coffee.

We looked up at the heavens…and watched the stars.

Lots of shore fishermen were out that night.

After the storm the previous day, Sunday was calm and clear.

On Monday we met Brad’s friends for a picnic and some shore line fishing. 

Brad caught one Oio. That was about it. He gave it to a family fishing a little ways down from where we were.

His friends brought tons of food. The aromas coming from food cooking on the hibachi smelled so good! I made sure to bring something I could eat…including leftover squash soup.

Later when we arrived home…WOW!!!…we found a cooler full of food in our garage. Thanks to Brad’s sister.

Today, Tuesday, I was back at work. Boy! Was my in-tray full!

Didn’t have to cook dinner tonight since we still had a bunch of leftovers.

Checked my blood test results. Everything still looks good. And if I’m reading my numbers right, some of them may have gone up.

Tomorrow is the first day of the second cycle of my chemotherapy treatment.

Oh! And they changed my meds from capsules to tablets which melt more easily in water. No more trying to swallow the gummy, outer coating of the capsules. Yuck! Should be lots quicker to take. Won’t taste better, but at least I won’t be in the bathroom for half-an-hour.

That’s it for now. Until next time…

…love to you, your family…

…and all my well-wishers!

………pat…and hugmamma.

journeying towards her best life…#19: hello…goodbye…and stuff in-between

Had a nice, long chat with Pat this evening.

Nice and long for me.

Probably tolerable for Pat. 

I’m guessing she was fine with it.

She laughed the entire time.

Never disagreeable.

Pat finds everything I say funny.

Actually, so do I.

Hilarious, really.

Like a screwball…bouncing from topic to topic.

It’s the new diet book I just bought.

To wishing I were there…eating Hawaiian plate lunches. 

It’s about available housing near The Mayo Clinic for her recovery stay.

To my scouring the internet for light fixtures for our upcoming remodel.

It’s asking if her son has a new girlfriend.

To how long before homeopathic supplements kick in.

It’s agreeing that Brad is one savvy guy.

To Pat’s knowing one of her good friends since 6th grade.

It’s her having lost about 30 pounds.

To Filipinos thinking I’m Filipino.

It’s learning that Julie was celebrating her birthday with family on The Big Island.

To Pat’s son texting and calling her regularly.

It’s her wishing she could just yank out her shaky back teeth.

To Jennifer’s Super Bowl Party…minus kids.

It’s Pat’s great conversations with her sons, as she drove them hither and yon.

To my daughter laughing at how I jump from topic to topic…making it difficult for her to keep up.

It’s recipes high in calories to help Pat build up her immune system.

To my husband’s being a little “under the weather.”

It’s how dad…my father-in-law…probably only spoke when he had something to say.

To me me saying I chatter…to fill the silence.

It’s how helpful sister-in-law Bev’s therapeutic massage is for Pat.

To how my legs ached the day after carrying…my darling, almost 1-month-old, great-nephew…up and down his parents’ steps so he’d fall back to sleep.

It’s how much Mel, a co-worker and great friend, misses Pat.

To not being able to postpone her colonoscopy…and tolerating the stuff she has to drink the day before.

It’s Pat’s continuing to feel good.

And to her living in the moment.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat.

Then talking her ears off for another half-hour.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat again.

Then talking her ears off…again…for another half-hour.

It’s Pat saying…”Okay. Goodbye, Millie.”

Then hanging up the phone.

My hubby, Pat’s brother, did get a word in…

…edgewise…and sideways…in under 8 minutes.

………hugmamma.

journeying towards her best life…#1

A dear friend and relative, recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis, two rare, life-threatening diseases, has agreed to let me share her story as it unfolds. Allowing me to lend a literal hand provides me an opportunity to offer concrete support on a journey to live her best life under extraordinary circumstances.

Penning one’s thoughts can be extremely therapeutic. Rather than having them, especially the negative ones of which there’s always an abundance, make off with your life, it’s best to be rid of them once and for all. Only then are you able to live, truly live.

Blogging these last several years has done just that for me.

I am no longer constricted by what I think others think or want of me. I am comfortable within my own skin. I have managed to turn what might have been perceived as flaws into gifts. Among them, being overly-sensitive. From this grew my compassion for others struggling to accept themselves as they are.

Separating myself from negative thoughts was the first step in ridding my life of negativity in all its forms. While I could discern the obvious offenders, those which took the form of passive-aggressive continued to niggle away at the peace I sought.

No one’s life is perfect. And yet who wants perfection? On the contrary, being with fault pushes us to always strive for better. 

I hope I can help foster that passion in someone of whom I have always been fond. She is the younger sister I never had. Together we will…

…live her best life.IMG_4534

………hugmamma.

 

 

nurturing thursdays: a true friend likes who you are…and lets you know it

I’m certain my female readers can relate when I say…at the moment my “plate” is full to overflowing.

It may not seem that way to look at me, but keeping my mind from becoming unhinged is a daily exercise. At times it’s almost as strenuous as the weight resistance class I’ve begun doing 3 times a week. If I lost a few pounds I know it would lessen the load I have to push off the floor, just as I’m positive once my life is decluttered my mind will return to point balance once more.

Easier said than done…both…losing those last 10 pounds and ridding my brain of its overload. At least for the time being.

Enter…friends!

Just when you need to take the “edge off” the craziness in your life, a few good friends lend a hand…or an ear…or both.

I have three “go-to” girlfriends…Cindy, Mary, and Suzy.

We tend to weave in and out of one another’s lives with very little, if any, fanfare. We never apologize for lapsed time. We just pick up where we left off, even if many months have come and gone since we last got together.

Our friendships are casual. We’ll either email or text synopses of what’s going on at the moment, knowing we’ll expand further over coffee and a bagel, or salad and some pizza.

What I love best about these gals is their love of family, their upbeat attitude, their can-do resolve, and their easy laughter. And with each of them, I feel loved and valued for exactly who I am. 

There’s an unspoken acknowledgement with each of these ladies, that we’re good moms, hardworking wives, contributing citizens, and above all, compassionate people. 

What’s more we’re not inclined to pass judgment on one another. We don’t offer unsolicited advice. Instead, we compliment one another wholeheartedly and without hesitation. 

Good friends not only love one another…they truly like each other.

I like Cindy because she’s extremely humble, speaks thoughtfully, and exudes so little effort when she laughs with abandon.

Mary is a rock. I like that about her. Although the youngest of 7, you’d think she was the eldest the way she manages whatever dilemma befalls her extended family. I’m always amazed at her fortitude and no-nonsense demeanor. She gets things done…and moves on.

My friend Suzy use to be my neighbor before she moved out of the neighborhood. I’d see her mowing her lawn once-in-awhile, but she was up the hill so we never really spoke. And she worked full time, so I’m sure she had better things to do than while away her weekends in idle chatter. When she married a widowed neighbor whom I greatly admired, Suzy and I became fast friends. As retired “snowbirds,” the two go south to California for half the year, but when they’re here she and I fall back in sync so easily. She’s a friend who makes me feel very glad I’m alive.

I make friends easily because I genuinely like people. And I like letting them know how I feel. Most folks respond with grateful hearts. Only a few, like Cindy, Mary, and Suzy, know to cherish what I am offering…

…my heart on my sleeve.

………hugmamma.

 

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

what friends are for…

…especially best friends to whom you’re fortunate enough to be married.IMG_5146

A friend from the past, someone with whom I spent fun times when I lived in New York many, many moons ago, recently mailed me copies of photos she’d found while perusing her albums.

At the time hubby and I were probably in our late 20s, early 30s.

The memories of our early married years came flooding back as I gazed at those pictures.

I remembered the ups and downs which most young couples endure. That we made it to 43 years, and counting, is a testimonial to the love we’ve shared since we first laid eyes upon one another. Well, maybe it was lust which turned to loving and just as importantly…liking.

Appearances have a lot to do with individuals being attracted to one another. However, personalities that mesh, and having things in common, also figure prominently into the mix. As time passes, the latter two may even acquire equal status with good looks, if not surpass it altogether.

In his younger years I thought myself lucky to have my own Elvis Presley look-alike. Suffice it to say some girlfriends agreed with me, as did total strangers. Some even making a play for my husband. While on a business trip to Chicago, my husband said one woman told him if he ever returned he should look her up. Duh?!? Excuse me!?! 

June 2011 00010Even older women gasped at my husband’s good looks, one realtor asking me how it was that I came to marry him. Obviously she considered me a plain Jane by comparison. I didn’t hold it against her though, because we bought our house with her help. And I really did like her.

An executive with a company my husband had been employed by in NYC, hired him into a management position when she joined another organization. That was the beginning of the awesome career my husband has enjoyed these last 35+  years. And the woman, now in her 70s or 80s has remained a friend, in touch from time to time.

While my husband remains as attractive to me as when we first met, his caring ways are what I find most appealing now. I was reminded of them once again as he helped me through these last few days, as I strove to recover after fibromyalgia knocked me off of my feet.

We help each other, hubby and me…

…isn’t that what best friends do for one another?…

………hugmamma.Imported Photos 00151

 

you should…talk to strangers

Not something you often hear, especially from a mom who’s been very protective of her only child, even now that she’s 27.

While NOT talking to strangers is still a good idea for youngsters, doing just the opposite might be exactly what the doctor orders for our ailing adult society.March 2011A 00059

Remaining clueless about one another will prove to be humanity’s death knell. Wearing blinders isolates us from the possibilities. And without them, what kind of hope is there for our future? Life offers no guarantees EXCEPT that we’re all in it for the long haul…until death do us part. So why not let your guard down and reach out to someone…as often as you can.

March 2011A 00061Reaching out to others who reach right back…totally makes my day.

My insatiable curiosity, and gift for gab, make it impossible for me not to want to know… “Whaaas up?” So when an idea takes hold, I usually follow its lead.

Today, while enjoying a celebration of my native Hawaiian culture at a local retailer, I happened upon an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair. He reminded me of a famous entertainer my husband and I had taken our parents to see a few times when we were visiting the islands. Rather than drop the thought, I stopped to ask the woman sitting next to him if he was from Hawaii. It turned out that they were husband and wife and were originally from Honolulu. Until moving to Seattle recently, they had lived in Nevada for more than 20 years.

Mr. Cummings was from the same town as my husband, and his grandfather had been in law enforcement in my hometown…before my time, obviously, since Mr. Cummings looked to be in his 70s, or perhaps 80s. Small, small world…getting smaller every day.

It felt so natural to chat and laugh with total strangers who felt, if only for a few moments, like friends of the family.

I can’t recall ever being rebuffed when I’ve extended myself in a gesture of friendliness. I can only remember being repaid in kind. My experiences have encouraged me…

…to talk to strangers…

………hugmamma. March 2011A 00046

Tiers

My friend Claudia nailed this one! Comparing a wedding cake to the folks who fill our lives. There are those at the top…beginning with “moi”…and then there are those at the bottom…whom we might want to just…take a hike. Enjoy reading…and mulling it over.

………hugmamma.

Humoring the Goddess

TiersI believe our lives are divided into tiers. Think of a wedding cake. The more layers, the larger the base has to be.  Not too complicated, eh?  Well, what I’m finding is that the older I get the more tiers there are on my cake and the chubbier ~I~ get.

Let’s go through this extra-spacey theory.

First is the top layer. Small, spectacular. Room for only one statue. You. It has to be you and you alone – after all, you are the only one in your head and heart, your thoughts and….well, you get it.

The next tier is only a quarter of an inch lower than the head tier. That’s the one you stand on. That isthe one for the people closest to your heart. I know – you love everybody. But just run with this one. This second tier contains your life partner, children, parents, and…

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in the spotlight…stories

Regular readers to my blog will have noticed that I’ve recently been reblogging posts from around the Word Press community. These are from folks…friends, really…who have generously spent time visiting  hugmamma’s, mind, body, and soul. I’ve returned the favor, as often as possible, to read their stories.

Spotlight on The Shadows

Spotlight on The Shadows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been moved to spotlight some of them here. I’m sure you’ll agree…they’re worth reading…or watching. Hopefully they touch you in some way. Whether they inspire, tweak your funny bone, are thought-provoking, or just plain…entertain.

…my gift…to you…wonderful stories…worth retelling…

………hugmamma.   🙂