weekly writing challenge: my funny valentine

IMG_4789Mocha delights our family so much. We all agree she’s “our funny valentine.”  We’re certain she doesn’t intend to make us laugh with her comedic antics, but she does.  We never know what to expect from her, although she has her own idiosyncrasies which we find adorable.

For starters, Mocha’s ears have teeny minds of their own. One stands straight up; the other folds in half. It perks up only if Mocha needs both ears to hear something unusual. Otherwise it prefers lying down on the job.

The beagle in Mocha gives her that gleam in her eyes. When she thinks she’s done something wrong, she’ll look up with the whites of her eyes showing slightly under her brown pupils. It’s a sad, worrisome look as if to say “How can you scold me, when I’m so sad-looking?” Or sometimes that same look can seem defiant. It’s as if Mocha is thinking “I’m not so sure about you. Sometimes I think you lie.” Or “I don’t trust you. What are you up to now?”IMG_0762

Our Mocha is camera shy, especially if a flash goes off. She’s gotten use to having her picture taken with a cell phone. However any time I whip out my point and shoot, Mocha runs for cover.

 

Mocha grumbling is like music to our ears. She grumbles when we hug one another without including her. So we have to make sure to give her lots of hugs and attention too. She grumbles when we’re too slow getting our act together to take her outdoors. She grumbles when one of her feline siblings gets in her way. It doesn’t happen with regularity, but when Mocha grumbles we have a good belly laugh.IMG_2005

Barking is Mocha’s neighborhood trademark. She’s gotten better about it as she’s gotten older. However she still lets two-legged and four-legged critters know that they’re taking their lives into their hands and paws when they trespass upon her land. And she makes sure she marks every blade of grass when she’s out surveying her acreage.

 

Ever since she was a puppy, Mocha has kept us on our toes as regards what she will and will not, eat. We’ve tried every kibble and canned food known to man. I jest, of course. But it’s been a trick getting her to where she’s at 12 years later.

Mocha’s taste resembles that of a human, so we feed her dog food that we could eat were a catastrophic event to occur. I’d still probably have to hold my nose, and perhaps even close my eyes.

The temperature of the food has to be just right. So when we nuke leftover food, we have to check on it every half-minute or so. Adding kibble is also a guessing game. Sometimes we mix it into the wet food; sometimes it sits on top. Most times Mocha doesn’t care which it is. Other times, she’ll shove all the kibble to the edge and leave it there. Once-in-awhile, she’ll attempt to bury her food by using her nose to nudge the place mat over the plate. We’ve taken that to mean she’s not hungry at the moment, but it’s off-limits to the cats. And though she may walk away, Mocha’s back grumbling as soon as any of them happen to wander by her dinner.

Recently we learned that our beloved Mocha’s heart has a leaky valve. As a result, there’s fluid buildup. To counteract this, she gets a diuretic twice a day. And upon the recommendation of a cardiologist, she gets a “horse pill” twice a day. It’s not actually for horses, but I swear only a horse could get that sucker down its throat! Mocha needs half a pill two times a day, 12 hours apart. Getting her to take one dose can take up to 12 hours!

Most animals won’t be duped into taking their meds no matter how creative we get. Forget Mary Poppins’ supercalifragilistic mumbo-jumbo. Hiding Mocha’s pill in cheese no longer works, even when she gets an extra chunk. Now I’m crushing the horsey heart pill with my beautiful Portmeiron pestle in its matching mortar bowl. Its probably getting more use than it’s ever seen. An upside in this otherwise laughable predicament.

Where before things were a little touch-and-go with our beloved Mocha, now she seems a fraction of her former self. And that’s enough for our family. We’re not about to give up on our Mocha any time soon. After all…

…mocha’s  still our funny valentine…and we love her…to the moon and back!!!

………hugmamma.IMG_2080

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daily prompt: perspective (and…happiness)

I can’t think of anything that drives me absolutely crazy at the moment.

Age and experience seem to temper craziness.

You think?

I hope. 


Of course there are a whole host of things that drive me up the wall now and then…like


dishes in the sink that could just as easily find their way into the dishwasher…pronto!

being told “I can’t find it”…when it’s right in front of (ahem) his nose

not removing (ahem) his dark-colored work socks before walking around in a house layered in pet hair…and then jumping into bed with said socks still intact

when papers, papers, and more papers lay on the home office floor…for days and sometimes weeks

putting the kettle on to boil water for tea…and then leaving to walk the dog


But then when I think of the things that make me love (ahem) him…like


when he says…”because you’re my precious”

when he calls to ask if he can stop to get anything on his way home from work…every day, rain or shine

when he tells me to stay in bed, rather than get up to fix him breakfast…at 5:30 a.m.

when he lets me sleep in on the weekend…as long as I like

when the dog begs him to walk her…and he does


Perspective?


Forty three years married to the same guy…through sunny skies and turbulent storms…through job moves and house sales/purchases…through ballerina aspirations and dreams come true…through youthful, glowing selves and deteriorating has-beens.

When I survey all that our lives have been together from a perspective of happiness, what “drives me up the wall”…

…doesn’t amount to a hill of beans…

………hugmamma. IMG_4247

Other Daily Prompts on Perspective at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/daily-prompt-perspective-3/

what i love most…

…about my husband.

 There are many things for which I’m grateful. Since they are too numerous to mention, I’ll choose one.

He lets me talk…for as long as I like. Ad nauseum…if I’m so inclined. 

With nary a peep…or a hiccough…or a boo! He merely…smiles…nods…or agrees.

Oftentimes, I’ve felt this was a shortcoming. 

In conversations by myself…monologues, if you will…I’ve wished…and pleaded…for more input.

Two-way communication.

Less silence…while dining out…in the car, on long drives…in a heated discussion.

I should’ve known when I heard his college, Valedictorian speech…3 wordsSilence is Golden. 

With that he walked off the stage…and into my lifefor better or worse.

Forty-five years later…3 dating, 42 married…my husband is still theStrong, Silent Type.

You’d think I’d have gotten the message…long, long ago.

Blame youthful immaturity…for having my head…in the clouds.

And so decades later…having failed to mold Adam…according to Eve…

I’m content to sit under the apple tree…

…eating of the fruit…

…which promises…

…eternal love.

Even if it has to be…in silence.

………hugmamma.   😆  

Love ± Zero

Love ± Zero (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the new year…60s,70s,80s way

Russian Rainbow Gathering. Nezhitino, August 2005

Image via Wikipedia

You might think I’m referring to the psychedelic era when the flower children came into their own….and I’m not referring to “keikis”… Hawaiian for offspring. You remember the young men and women donned in breezy shirts, slacks and skirts, fresh flowers stuck behind their ears…eyes glazed over from smoking joints of “pot, ” better known as marijuana. Or some even strung out on LSD.

No, no, no. Think…hearing aids, dentures, heart surgery, spandex, grandchildren, “snowbirds.” Okay, now you’re getting the picture. Seniors and baby boomers are those to whom I’m referring…in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

Rather than spend the entire New Year‘s eve comfortably vegetating, my husband and I decided to accept a neighbor’s invitation for hors d’oeuvres, and dinner at a local restaurant afterwards. While they’d been to our home…to celebrate last Christmas…we’d never been to theirs. I was eager to join them because they’d just married in the spring. They are a wonderful couple, so deserving of a second chance at happiness…he’d lost his wife a few years ago and she’d been divorced for some time. I found it so easy to love them both.

We had a merry time, noshing  and visiting with old friends and new acquaintances. My husband and I were given a tour of a remodeled bathroom so that we could decide whether or not to use the carpenter who’d done the job. And we probably will, if he’s not overly-booked.

italian food

Image via Wikipedia

Dinner at an Italian restaurant was the perfect ending to an already festive New Year’s Eve celebration. Seated on my right side was a new acquaintance who informed me that her family regularly vacations at Napili on Maui. Owning a timeshare, they’ve loved the sun, sand, and casual life I’d known having been born and raised on that island paradise. However I was unprepared for the news the woman imparted as we continued to talk.

Within the last couple of months she’d had her purse stolen while vacationing on Maui. Having forgotten it in the shopping cart at a grocery store, the purse was gone when she returned to fetch it. She spent several hours with the police sorting out the details. Upon returning home, another crime…more cynical…awaited her.

Playing bridge on the internet was something my new friend enjoyed doing. In the midst of a game she got a phone call. As she talked…a hacker broke into her computer and made off with…everything…credit card info, bank info, email addresses. Needless to say it took paid technicians to right the wrong, after her son’s attempts at doing so proved futile.

On top of her own problems, this warm-hearted lady is also dealing with her 93-year-old mom’s health issues as well.

 Embracing when we said our goodbyes, we were like 2 islanders who’d shared delicious food, savory wine, and a good time…”talking story”…pigeon english for “telling stories.”

…new year’s…new friends…new routine…not bad…

Signs welcoming visitor the Paia, Maui. Under ...

Image via Wikipedia

Hippie bug!

Image via Wikipedia

………hugmamma.  🙂

fireworks!!!…2012!…so what’s new?

Don’t know about you, but at 12:16 a.m. on 1/1/12 it was the same old, same old at my house. Hubby’s fast asleep on the couch, glasses perched on his nose, eyes shut tight, TV remote buried under the sofa pillows, and “zzzzzzzzz’s” lining up behind one another as they spill forth from a wide-open mouth.

And where am I? Typing away at my laptop, bleary-eyed, wanting to call it quits but unable to escape the words and thoughts that hold me captive…hour after hour after hour.

These fireworks were all photoed at a local fi...

Image via Wikipedia

I stopped blogging long enough to wake my husband, planting a loud kiss on his cheek while exclaiming, mostly to myself, “We’re missing the fireworks…New Year‘s! Wake up! Wake up!” Struggling to open his eyes, he asks for his robe, shivering as the programmed thermostat begins lowering the heat in our home. Of course I oblige after switching the channel to see the firework display re-broadcasted on the late news. As I fly down the hallway to the bedroom in search of my husband’s bathrobe, I stop midway to manually turn up the heat. You can take the girl off the island…but you can’t take the island out of the girl.

Returning to my writing nook…a desk in the corner of my daughter’s former bedroom…I hear the muffled sounds of singing, music, talking, clapping, and laughter wafting down the hallway from the TV in the living room. Faint snores can be heard drifting toward me as well.

Members of three generations of a lineage are ...

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What a pair we make…a middle-aged man who can’t keep his eyes open…and his middle-aged wife who can’t close her eyes…at 1:07 a.m. New Year’s Day. The Chinese have a saying “Whatever you’re doing when the New Year begins is what you’ll be doing the rest of the year.” Can’t disagree with my wise, old ancestors.

Throughout this next year it’s guaranteed my husband will fall asleep in front of the TV, snoring. And it’s just as certain that most nights my eyes will be blinking back sleep as my head begins to nod, while my fingers flit  across the keyboard, jiving to some silent beat…willing me to keep writing. There’s no doubt that we’re creatures of habit. Aren’t we all?

We did make one change to our New Year’s Eve routine however. But you’ll have to wait to learn what it is…

…for i’m putting my foot down…and crawling into bed…and pulling the plug on my brain…goodnight!!!

………hugmammma.  🙂  

2 peas…but different

 

Two Peas in a Pod

Image by plushoff via Flickr

As I stood at the sink rinsing out utensils I’d just used in preparing myself a quick bowl of oat bran, another of yogurt with a cup of blueberries, and  a cup of green tea to wash it all down, I thought how different my husband and I are, in small, inconsequential ways. He’s been up several hours already, a habit from 40+ years of playing with the “big rats” in that well known “race” most of us have run. While I wouldn’t say that he’s early to bed, and early to rise, because he’s usually just a few minutes ahead of me crawling under the covers, my hubby does catch a few winks here and there throughout the evening in front of the TV, or behind his e-book, or both. I almost never lay my head back down once it’s off the pillow, until the witching hour, or later.

Best buds, like two peas in a pod

Image by jimflix! via Flickr

When I’m puttering in the kitchen, prepping, cooking, I tend to wash what I use, pots, pans, dishes, spoons, knives. Clearing away the used, makes less cleanup at the end. Hubby prefers to leave everything piled all over the place until everything’s said and done. He’s also prone to leave used dishes in the sink, rather than putting them immediately into the dishwasher. There’s one particular wine glass that he uses every evening for his red wine. I know he’s never washed it since getting it as a gift, because I’ve always handwashed it rather than relegating it to the thrashing wash cycles of the dishwasher.

Two Peas in a Pod - Simba & Max

Years ago Carmela, a friend, told us that no matter the weather she always cracked the window in her bedroom while she slept at night. I’d heard that doing so was healthier, especially in the winter, when dry heat and germs circulating indoors could cause illnesses, like sinusitis and the flu. So I’ve taken to doing the same. It use to be that my husband would register the usual complaint, “You’re heating the whole neighborhood!” Well, he no longer utters a word. He just smirks as I slide the window open… a tad.

I could go on, but you get my drift. I’m sure anyone who’s got a partner, has similar stories of differences that are in evidence on a daily basis. But surely you’re just like my husband and I…

two peas in a pod…no matter what…hugmamma.

habits to “steal” from hubby

Dr. Öz at ServiceNation 2008

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Dr. Oz had a couple of audience members participate in a contest today. Both women had to guess the correct answers to 3 questions. The game’s theme was “Habits you should steal from your husband!” Of course I couldn’t switch the channel without hearing the results.

My mind raced ahead to possible suggestions. Not easy, but several things came to mind. Topping the list was “snoring.” “Snoring,” I thought. Why would I want to rob my husband of that habit? Maybe so we can both lie awake all night?!? Not likely. Another thought was “procrastination.” The longer we’ve been married, I think that particular habit is wearing off on me. Think Christmas decor. It’s slowly coming down, still.

Well here are Dr. Oz expert answers to the question “What habits should wives steal from their husbands.”

  1. Like them, we should drink a beer a day. Liquor was a no-no.
    (Will definitely NOT tell my hubby this. He’ll definitely jump on this, adding it to the one glass of red wine a day he already enjoys to stave off heart attacks. And I have no liking for the taste of beer, so this suggestion is a no-brainer for me.)
  2. Like them, we should get things off our chests. In other words, we should be aggressive, not passive. Holding everything inside can cause a heart attack, according to Dr. Oz.
    (My hubby’s pretty good about letting most things “roll off his back.” But I’ll remind him.)
  3. Like them, and this one I’d never heard, we should be “slipshods,” not “straighteners.”  (The example given by Dr. Oz was news to me. According to him, I’m NOT suppose to fix the bed after waking up. The covers should be left off to allow the bed linens to dry out from the accumulation of bodily moisture, dust mites
    The house dust mite, its feces and chitin are ...

    Image via Wikipedia

    and their feces, and so on and so forth. Yuck! Now that’s definitely one change my husband would welcome. He laughs at me when I fix the bed right before we climb in at night. That’s if I’d not fixed it earlier. I have to straighten the covers so I can slide in beneath them. Makes sense to me.)

I definitely understand the last 2 habits, although I think being too much of a type “A” personality has its drawbacks as well. Clenching one’s jaws in adamant self-righteousness can also lead to heart disease it would seem. But I will definitely heed the lesson in #3. Who wants to aid and abet the proliferation of dust mites and all that other yucky stuff.

I definitely don’t get the health benefit of drinking a beer a day. Can someone enlighten me, preferably not a husband who already indulges? I think that would be a highly biased opinion.

now how about habits husbands can steal from wives?…any suggestions?…hugmamma.

“life’s flavor,” ethnicity

Father Edmunds, I’m almost certain that’s the name of the priest who regularly assists our pastor at saying a few Sunday Masses. Charismatic in a more soft-spoken manner, Father gave an interesting homily last weekend.

The Gospel’s message was that we, God‘s disciples, are the “salt of the earth,” and the “light of the world.” Father began his sermon telling of a book fest he’d attended where an acquaintance, a Muslim, was speaking to a predominantly Muslim audience. The man had authored many books based upon his life experiences.

Born in Egypt, the speaker was raised in Switzerland. Now living in the U.S., he’s very familiar with living in a society unlike his own. Initially he tried to fit in, setting aside his cultural idiosyncrasies. In time, with the advice of friends, he realized he should celebrate his Muslim heritage, sharing, rather than hiding it.

Father likened one’s ethnicity, to the salt used by Middle Easterners to heat their earth ovens. There, children set to work mixing together salt and the dung of camels and donkeys. The result is spread over the stones covering the bottom of the earth ovens. The salt acts as a catalyst in igniting the fire. As the flames burn, the catalytic quality in the salt is expended. The salt, its flavor intact, is then scattered on the ground outside the oven.

Just as salt flavors the food we eat, so too our individual differences bring a vibrancy to the world in which we live, explained Father Edmunds. He went on to say that God gifts us with our distinctive traits, as part of His greater plan to bring “light” to the world.

Moving to New York from Honolulu, where I’d graduated from the University of Hawaii, and gotten married, was like moving to a foreign country. Most New Yorkers I encountered didn’t look like me, nor did they share my mannerisms. Being of Chinese-Hawaiian descent qualifies me as a Pacific Islander with the census bureau, but my habits and attitudes are generally like those of the Asian population, and very unlike those of Caucasians. Living in the Big Apple compounded my dilemma, for its residents are unlike those in any of the other 50 states, or so I’m told.

It took me a while to develop a stiff upper lip, not to mention a spine. Orientals in Hawaii in the 50s and 60s, were “invisible.” We had no problem adhering to the golden rule, “children should be seen and not heard.” So finding myself among New Yorkers who were aggressive, ambitious, and often ill-mannered, left me feeling like a doormat. I tried to fit in, by setting aside my ill-equipped Asian mentality. I was like a scared chicken let out of its coop, left to flounder among long-time, cage-free residents.

Slowly, inevitably, I began owning my culture once again. I wore it like a badge of honor, telling everyone within earshot, “I’m from Hawaii, born and raised on the island of Maui.” As whites and blacks warmed up to me, I wore my pride and humility equally. I came to love The Big Apple. Visiting relatives commented that I was becoming a New Yorker, exhibiting more confidence and “hutzpah.” Working in New York City for 10 years, my personality underwent changes in order to survive. I even joked that the stork must have made an error, delivering me to Pacific Islanders. It seemed I should’ve been “dropped” on the island of Manhattan, alongside the Hudson River.

Of course I’d never relinquish my unique heritage. It embellished my experiences in the Big Apple, and being Hawaiian continues to flavor life’s journey wherever I go.

savor one’s heritage…life’s salt, life’s “flavor”…hugmamma.

creative passion, “fountain of youth”

I’m living proof of AARP’s recent article GENIUS! Not that I’m a genius, but I can vouch for the fact that “our creative horizons need not narrow with age” as the article states. Gay Hanna, head of the National Center for Creative Aging says “We never lose the potential to learn new things as we grow older…In fact, we can master new skills and be creative all our lives.” So the old adage IS true “You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.” Contributing to the discussion is David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us, “Genes impact our lives,…but our lives also impact our genes–the brain changes shape according to the experiences it has. …Most of us don’t understand that our true inner potential is quite extraordinary. Not just at age 20 or 40 but well into our elder years. The main reason people stagnate is that they limit themselves through their mind-set or habits. Or they simply set their sights too low.”

Sixty-five-year old Mack Orr had been a cotton picker in Mississippi in the 50’s, as well as a heavy-equipment operator when he moved to Memphis in 1965. Along the way he became a husband, father of 4, and the owner of Mack’s Auto Repair. At 45 he “…was listening to the radio in my auto-repair shop,…They were playing an Albert King song–‘Walkin’ the Back Streets and Cryin’–and it sounded real good. …I went down to the pawn shop, got me a guitar and amp, …And I carried that guitar everywhere I went. If I went to work, I carried it with me. If I went fishing, I carried it. I stayed on it day and night.” Within 3 years his hard work got him gigs as a blues guitarist around Memphis. Daddy Mack, as he is known to friends and fans, has since jammed with Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones, performed at festivals across America and Europe, and recorded 4 CDs–including Bluesfinger, his latest. Daddy Mack confesses “I never dreamed I’d go to the places I’ve been…”

In the 60’s and 70’s, Judithe Hernandez was known in Los Angeles for her murals. Resettling in Chicago in 1984, marriage, motherhood and a position as a university art instructor sidelined her artwork. Her creative passion took a back seat but she continued to draw, though infrequently, she “…had all these ideas stored away in file drawers–and in my head. And I never let go of the dream that someday I’d come back to it.” At 62, with the end of her marriage and her only child off to college, Hernandez returned to L.A. and resumed her artistic career with renderings of symbol-rich pastel drawings. Evidently she made the right move for in January 2011, Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art will feature her as a solo artist. Hernandez compares herself to an artist years younger “It’s the difference between a sauce you make in five minutes and one that you reduce and reduce and the flavor gets more intense and deeper. You’re left with a smaller amount, but the flavor is amazing.”

Painting literally saved 54-year-old, abstract painter Audrey Phillips. Losing her mother to a brutal murder traumatized Phillips so that in the years that followed she lost her job, her faith, her second marriage. In 2000, a friend with whom she was visiting in New Mexico urged Phillips to start drawing, since she’d been a student of graphic design. “Abruptly, the pictures tumbled forth. The subject: the killer’s face–one version after another in wild, furious, almost brutal renditions. ‘I had been thinking about it a long time,…And it came out with such energy–I probably had 30 pieces of art when I was done. I was like, ‘Thank God that’s out on the page and not inside me anymore!’ ” Phillips, an award-winning abstract artist, living in New Smyrna Beach, Florida confirms that “Painting catapulted me through my final phase of grieving and loss…It basically saved my life.”

According to the article “Of all the qualities that distinguish older artists, perseverance may be the most vital.” In her 9th decade, author Eugenia Lovett West had her first novel, Without Warning, published in 2007 and its sequel, Overkill, came out in 2009. Two more books are in the works. West hopes her story “…inspires older writers to persevere. It’s a blessing to wake up in the morning with the urge to create.”

So here I sit at 12:31 a.m. still typing away at the keyboard, husband snoring in his favorite recliner, with the TV “watching” him, and pets slumbering comfortably nearby. Will I too be allowed to rest, or am I doomed to give voice to the “genius” of my old age without let up?

 “fountain of youth,” may be the death of me yet…hugmamma.