no place like home…

Another submission as guest columnist for my local newspaper…

No place like home

Location! Location! Location! Not only is it good for resale value, it’s also great when you’re returning home after enjoying dream vacations in Paris, Hawaii or California. Of course, we never set out looking for homes with that in mind, but lucky for us it just worked out that way.

When we left Hawaii in our mid-twenties to seek fame and fortune in the Big Apple, it was always exciting to return to its hustle and bustle after some down time with family back home. The same was true when we moved to Garden City, Long Island and then Redding, Connecticut. Each had its own charm to match what we’d left behind in the islands. It was always easier to reacclimate since on the mainland where we lived, the flora and fauna was equally breathtaking, and the four seasons were an exciting change from Hawaii’s never-ending summer.

Here in Issaquah, we continue to count ourselves fortunate, knowing others would trade places with us in a heartbeat. Dwelling at the foot of the mountains, surrounded by majestic evergreens, wildlife roaming nearby is Mother Nature at her finest. Washington is so different from Hawaii, and yet they share the same attraction for visitors who are sometimes swayed to make these destinations their homes.

Good friends of ours have traveled the world over, sometimes visiting countries off-the-beaten-track. In fact, they’re the only ones we know who have been to Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Mongolia, Vietnam and Cuba. Of course, they’ve journeyed to the more popular spots as well…Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, among others. They’ve even been to a few more than once, like India and Australia. France is a special favorite, as Paris was where they honeymooned more than 50 years ago.

I so admire these friends for their youthful energy and love of adventure. In fact, my husband and I often marvel at their many forays to foreign lands. It’s not unusual for them to do two or three trips abroad annually. God bless them for their get-up-and-go.

Having worked in the travel industry our entire careers, my husband and I lost our get-up-and-go when airport security measures took on a life of their own, and airlines started packing us in like sardines without the benefit of oil for lubrication.

I know for a fact that our world traveling friends love returning home to Issaquah. They’ve been long-time residents and ongoing contributors to the community, having served in public office and continually volunteering.

These days it takes me a bit longer to warm up to flying. Anywhere. However, since that’s the only way I’ll see my daughter in the east and extended family in Hawaii, I’ll take my place right alongside all the other “sardines” and squirm my way to and from.

Like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” I’m always glad to get home after a whirlwind vacation. I’m sure you’ll agree, there is no place comfier. There really is…NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

…wherever home is.

………hugmamma.

 

 

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…the beautiful…

…America.

Image result for cascades mt range images

Wanting to share the best of the Pacific Northwest with a dear friend, I decided we’d tour Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen’s. This was Laurie’s first visit, and airfares from the east coast being what they are, I was pretty sure she’d not be returning anytime soon.

I’ve no idea why I’d never thought to travel out that way before, except to say that neither my husband nor I are overly keen about venturing forth into the great outdoors. Simply put, we like to leave it to the critters that call it home.

One day, while out walking in Banff, Canada, I almost came face to face with a giant black bear. From then on, I decided to enjoy the outdoors…from the safety of the indoors.

Since I was born in Hawaii where volcanoes loom large around every bend in the road, it could also be that I had no inclination to see two more.

Was I ever wrong.

The drive towards Mount Rainier felt desolate. The two-way road was pretty isolated, except for the occasional car driving in the opposite direction. Acres and acres of evergreens lent an eeriness to the quiet hanging heavy all around us. If it weren’t for the intermittent chatter between Laurie and me, we might have been three souls traveling alone toward a destination as yet unrevealed to us.

A little spooky, I thought.

Thankfully the sun shone bright as we made our way along, what was for us, uncharted territory. More than once I proclaimed “How majestic!” as the Cascades Mountain Range unfolded before our eyes. If there ever was a place God designated as his, this was it.

While we didn’t see the summit of Mount Rainier because it was hidden by a heavy blanket of clouds, we hiked a winding trail up a nearby mountain in the hopes we’d catch even a glimpse. Breathing heavily because of the elevation, we climbed uphill gingerly so as not to lose our footing and tumble backwards over bumpy terrain.

Image result for Mount Rainier

Stretching out all around us were fields and fields of wildflowers. Seeing them made our questionable decision to continue the ascent worthwhile.

The following day we drove in the direction of Mount St. Helen’s.

In May 1980, it famously exploded in an eruption that sent a landslide of uprooted trees, bridges, houses and other debris 50 miles downstream. Sadly, lives were also lost. According to Wikipedia…

Fifty-seven people were killed during the eruption.[52] Had the eruption occurred one day later, when loggers would have been at work, rather than on a Sunday, the death toll would almost certainly have been much higher.[8]

83-year-old Harry R. Truman, who had lived near the mountain for 54 years, became famous when he decided not to evacuate before the impending eruption, despite repeated pleas by local authorities. His body was never found after the eruption.

Another victim of the eruption was 30-year-old volcanologist David A. Johnston, who was stationed on the nearby Coldwater Ridge. Moments before his position was hit by the pyroclastic flow, Johnston radioed his famous last words: “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!”[53] Johnston’s body was never found.

A young geologist lectured small groups of visitors on the science behind volcanic eruptions, and more specifically the one that occurred at that site. Of particular interest to me was her explanation that Hawaiian volcanoes aren’t destructive to human life unless, of course, a person is in the path of its lava flow. The difference, she said, was that the nearby ocean salt causes Hawaiian volcanoes to be fluid, not explosive.

My relatives living on the islands should be able to rest easy. You think?

Another volcanic dome is growing within the crater of Mount St. Helen’s. Earthquakes continue to occur regularly. When I asked the geologist about the next eruption occurring while folks were in the area, she seemed to take the question in stride. She said the experts would call in time to alert everyone to leave.

Hmmm…

I think I’ll start reading the earthquake reports myself. I’m no Olympic runner.

…not by a long shot.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

flawless…doesn’t exist (except maybe…in diamonds)

My last post, daily prompt: perspective (and happiness) https://hugmamma.com/2013/11/20/daily-prompt-perspective-and-happiness/  garnered a number of touching comments. In particular, two on Facebook that were from nieces recently married. Erica…a couple of years, if memory serves me correctly, and Carol…earlier this year. Absolutely lovely women, both.

carol on the left...just months prior to wedded bliss

carol on the left…just months prior to wedded bliss

Because my husband and I have lived on the mainland, away from family in Hawaii, since 1976, the younger relatives know little about aunty and uncle except for what their parents have told them. And from the warm, loving reception we receive whenever we return home to visit, it’s safe to say my sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law still think highly of their oldest brother and his pupule  (Hawaiian for “crazy”) wife.

I’m a fun-loving, compassionate person most of the time. Partly because I’m a happy-go-lucky native island girl like my mom was, except when her demons got the best of her. And partly because of my Catholic upbringing. The part to do with…turning the other cheek, and being humble. The latter an Asian asset, or burden, depending upon what I’m up against.

For the benefit of my nieces, and other young kin, who might think their aunty is flawless (although I’m sure that’s not the case), I wanted to share some of my so-called “skeletons.”

I want to assure them that there are no perfect marriages.

None. Nada. No how. No way. Never will be…unless two robots get married.

Furthermore, with faults of my own, I try hard not to judge others.

Sometimes I fail. I admit…I’m human.

So here goes…

in our first year of marriage, in a fit of jealous rage…I hurled a fan at my husband…it broke; he didn’t (thank God! I’d have served time)

during that same period I served him “spam a la baked ham”…for months (he said he loved it)

 again as a newlywed, when I smashed in the back fender of our  beetle as I was rounding the underground parking lot pillar…I blamed my husband for my rushing  to pick him up from work…you see, he was late getting off and kept me waiting (I got all dolled up…false eyelashes, pixie wig and all…which made me “drive like a bat out of hell” in the first place)

while we dated, my husband enjoyed volleyball dates with friends but eventually gave them up…perhaps because I sucked at it (when I served the ball it didn’t even clear the net)

for one week during the first year of dating I kept breaking up with my husband…I wasn’t sure we would last (I wasn’t even thinking marriage at the time…just “going steady”)

I don’t know if young married couples these days experience the same kinds of broohaha that us baby boomers did. We didn’t have Facebook and Twitter and iPhones to compound an already precarious time in the life of two, unrelated individuals trying to…tie the knot and become one.

Marriage is like a pretzel.

Pretzels/pretzel rolls

It’s funky-looking and tasty.

But you don’t want to just sit there looking at it. You want to savor every mouthful…

…so go ahead…there’s more where that came from…

………hugmamma.

(And by the way…our marriage is still…a diamond in the rough.)

 

now’s the time…

...proud mother of 12...

…proud mother of 12…

In celebration of life…my mother-in-law died September of last year…Poet Walt Whitman says it best…

Happiness…

not in another place, but this place,

not for another hour, but this hour.

IMG_0672

…her laughter…was infectious…

…make the hours count…before the hour glass runs out of sand…

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…our beloved dad…and grandpa john…who went before…

...grandsome james is now in his 30s...and a father himself...

…grandson james is now in his 30s…and a father himself…

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

lose 45 pounds!!!

Last night I went to a company function with my husband. Among the usual attendees was Paul, someone I consider a good friend even though we seldom see one another. It’s just that the sight of him and his wife puts me completely at ease.

I think Paul likes when I remark on his weight loss. To date it’s an astonishing 45 pounds! How did he do it?

Juice Machine with Fruit

Juicing!

When I see Paul I’m convinced hubby and I should take to juicing. However when we’re back in the comfort of our home, reality sets in.

A diet consisting mostly of juice? Not my idea of a square meal…long term.

I’ve done Weight Watchers (3 times)…as well as the Perricone Diet…and more recently, the Zone Diet. All make good on their claims. It’s the thought of sticking to them for the rest of my life, where I go my own way.

The upside for me is that I retain a lot of good information from all these diets.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers (Photo credit: petit zozio)

Weight Watchers got me to drink 8 glasses of water…more or less. It also made me realize that exercise alone does not guarantee weight loss. Dieting has to be part of the equation.

The Perricone Diet, conceived by NYC dermatologist Dr. Perricone, confirmed the long-held belief…garbage in…garbage out. What we eat is reflected in how we look. While my appearance benefited from the diet, I really did it to “cure” arthritic inflammation. It worked! But I didn’t much care for eating rabbit food all the time.

My husband and I shed pounds slowly, but steadily, while on the Zone Diet for several weeks. We felt more energized. My health issues faded into the background. I literally jumped…well maybe not jumped, more like leaped…out of bed at a normal hour. I remarked on how my husband seemed longer, as if he’d spent some time on a rack, being stretched to his full 5’11”. We felt younger; we looked younger.

And then Hawaii happened. We flew back for my mother-in-law’s funeral,Hawaii Pictures Kelly's Wedding 011 and to spend time with family.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in ...

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in the upper 40s, 1979. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always thought that were I still living in the land of my birth, I’d have ballooned to the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. That’s how much I love the island food.

Loco moco, Hawaii's well-known food, at Nico's...

Loco moco, Hawaii’s well-known food, at Nico’s Restuarant at Pier 38 in Honolulu: two fried eggs over two exquisite hamburger patties, two scoops rice, gravy, macaroni salad and boiled soba noodles (with cinnamon and nutmeg). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plate lunches are commonplace in the islands. And they’re not just for lunch. They can be had any time of day…24 hours a day…7 days a week. They consist of meat…1 type or several…2 scoops of white rice…and a scoop or two of macaroni salad.

I’m salivating as I write this.

I would find it difficult to refrain from eating a plate lunch at least once a day. The scale would more than likely reflect the number of days I’d eaten plate lunches…365. I kid you not!

Perhaps over time I’d realize that my beloved island food wasn’t going to go anywhere. That I’d be able to have more of the same the next day…and the next…and the next. By then, the damage might be done. I’d become a blimp. And letting the air out would be way more difficult than…letting it in.

At the moment I’m on a hodge podge diet of sorts. The driving force behind it is the recent discovery of my sensitivity to certain foods.

If you ever tried eliminating gluten and eggs from your diet, you know the quandry I’m in.

My solution? Sometimes I pay heed; sometimes I throw caution to the wind. I’m sure the Naturopath won’t want to hear this.

I try to follow the basics of the diets I’ve attempted.

Drink plenty of water…I try.

Drink green tea daily…no problem.

Refrain from sugar in all its forms…I try.

Eat more fruits and veggies…especially the orange and green kinds…I try.

Take the supplements prescribed by my Naturopath…I try.

Keep my body moving…no problem except when it comes to a regimen of exercising…I try.

weight watchers

weight watchers (Photo credit: antjeverena)

Thankfully I’ve been able to keep off the last 10 pounds I’ve lost, despite having “fallen off the wagon”…multiple times.

I’m now doing battle with the next 10 pounds…and they’re not going down without a fight.

Fortunately, or not so fortunately, old age is on my side. My metabolism ain’t what it use to be, and things just don’t work the way they used to. So it’s adjust, or be prepared for a good pummeling.

My advice? Subscribe to whatever works for you. If juicing jingles your bells…go for it.

English: Tanioka's Seafoods and Catering Image...

English: Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering Image was taken by webmaster of Taniokas.com http://taniokas.com/lightplate.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…as for me…give me food i can chew…

………hugmamma.

…my son…

I’m certain I speak collectively for many Hawaiian mothers, especially those like me without sons of our own.

President Barack Obama addresses the House Dem...

President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barack Obama makes me proud.

He may not have the blood of my Hawaiian ancestors coursing through his veins. What he does have…is the aloha spirit… which envelopes all…as ohana…family.

I don’t profess to speak for all islanders of my native land. I can only speak what’s in my own heart.

Barack Obama loves his family…his country…and all those who share in his passion for both.

Barack Obama goes about his work without the fanfare of his powerful Office.

Barack Obama does not gladhand…or backslap…or coo sweet nothings in the ears of his challengers.

Barack Obama invites all to sit down at the table, knowing that is the way of a good host. Remembering all the while that he is…the host under whose roof all sit. As such, it is his duty to uphold the…law of the land in justice…and concern for those who are the least among us.

Barack Obama took up that for which he was destined…the Presidency of the United States. He did not flinch in his duty to his fellow Americans. No obstacle was too great that he could not overcome.

Barack Obama is a son of Hawaii. No piece of paper can substitute for the acceptance of a woman born and raised on Maui.

Barack Obama is Hawaii’s son…and therefore…my son.

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetor...

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro and Barack Obama, mid 1970s (l to r) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…what mother…wouldn’t be proud…………hugmamma.

i have my memories…

It’d been several years since I was home to visit family in Hawaii. With my mother in-law’s passing, my husband, daughter and I made the trip to Honolulu with a mixture of sadness and joy.

We were fortunate to rent a condo near the hub of tourist activities, Waikiki Beach, without being in the midst of all the traffic…pedestrian and automotive.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To say I felt rejuvenated as the days unfolded, is an understatement. The sheer pleasure of walking out the front door, hand-in-hand with my hubby, and having the warm, tropical breezes softly brush both cheeks was simply…heaven on earth.

Our walks rarely varied. We’d stop to breakfast at a small cafe in a nearby hotel, before leisurely strolling along the beach.

Thinking healthy, we’d order scrambled egg whites, oatmeal, and island must-haves…a few pieces of Portuguese sausage and a couple of macadamia nut pancakes. To the surprise of the young waitress, hubby and I would share our bountiful meal. Explaining our desire to live long, happy lives…she’d smile, nodding her approval.

Sitting among planters brimming with colorful varieties of orchids, and gentle trees whose limbs directed our eyes toward the sand and sea…we felt at peace with our surroundings…and life in general.

This was the Hawaii of my childhood, only better. Carefree…bellies full…dreams realized.

Wandering the length of the beach, we were amazed at the expanded shore line. It literally took my breath away.

The last time I saw this section of Waikiki Beach, much of the ocean was walled off by a long, winding stonewall. What water was free of obstruction was literally lapping at my feet.

View of Waikiki Beach area hotels. Halekulani ...

View of Waikiki Beach area hotels. Halekulani is in the center, to the left of the large curved building (Hotel Sheraton). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I liked what I was seeing this go round.

Sand as far as my eyes could see. The beach front of my childhood. Nothing between me and the Pacific, blue waters…but glistening, white sand.

One day when my daughter and I sought to spend several hours basking in the sun, we made our way down to the beach. I opted for laying our towels in the immediate vicinity of a manmade lagoon which sat between a hotel and the ocean.

Dropping myself onto the towel, my bottom literally went…kerplunk! The sand felt as hard as a wood floor. Wasn’t it suppose to be cushiony?

My daughter laughed, her eyes twinkling in the sunlight.

She reminded me that my brother-in-law, her uncle, had told us the beach front had been a creation of man’s ingenuity.

All of the sand we beheld had been brought there, tons and tons of it. The shoreline had literally been swallowed up by the ocean. As a result, the city and affected businesses had to pay for its reconstruction. Otherwise, where would the tourists go? Elsewhere, obviously.

I remember an older sister telling me long ago, that the beaches were disappearing inch by inch.

A teen, too young to care, I didn’t put much stock in what she said. But after thinking about this situation recently, I can remember how surprised I was when I visited Kihei on the island of Maui over 20 years ago. My favorite beach bore no resemblance to the one I loved, growing up.

Kalama Beach Park was a regular weekend destination for my family. As soon as my mom pulled into the parking lot and stopped the car, my brother, sister and I flung open the doors and raced one another to the beach.

Digging our toes into the hot sand, we’d plop our bodies down…reveling in the openness and the breathtaking beauty that surrounded us.

Never could I have imagined that sweet memories of childhood days frolicking on the wide open beaches of my birthplace…would be all that remained.

When I hear and see, as I did last night when watching the PBS FRONTLINE documentary, of the effects of global warming, I’m saddened to know what has happened in Hawaii has occurred elsewhere, and is continuing to take place…now…in areas of our country such as North Carolina.

I believe we have tampered with Mother Nature.

Anyone who contemplates all the changes that have occurred within recent decades to the weather and to the earth itself, cannot explain away our impact upon these events.

We are not invisible.

We have used all available natural resources to indulge ourselves. Meanwhile, we have put very little effort into ensuring that these resources will be available long term…for our children, grand-children, great-grand-children…and their children, grand-children, great-grand-children.

I have my memories. You probably have yours. What kind of memories will our loved ones have?

Unless we invest in our environment, our beaches…may altogether…disappear. …and so it begins………hugmamma.

 

Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

 

through others eyes…

A number of my posts have referenced my cultural heritage…I’m Hawaiian.

I’m also half-Chinese, although I know very little about the culture since my father died when I was one, and my mom was never accepted by her in-laws because she wasn’t Chinese. What I do know was gained from having lived among the Chinese, whose numbers figured large in  Hawaii‘s “melting pot.”

You’ll agree, I’m sure, that who we become is influenced by the environment in which we have been raised. By osmosis, we absorb the good, the bad, and the nuances…of our surroundings.

Born in 1949, I was a Hawaiian on the verge of becoming an American. Once a monarchy, Hawaii became a state of the union on August 21, 1959. I turned 10 that same month.

English: President Sanford B. Dole of the Repu...

English: President Sanford B. Dole of the Republic of Hawaii, his cabinet, and officers of the United States Army, reviewing from the steps of the former royal palace the first American troops to arrive in Honolulu, in 1898, on their way to Manila to capture the city, which Commodore Dewey held at bay with the guns of his fleets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the lead up to becoming an American, I was not allowed to speak my native tongue nor learn about the history of my island home. Instead, I was formally educated in the English language and in American history.

My mom, widowed with 9 children, supported us with her meager earnings as laundress for a Catholic orphanage run by Maryknoll nuns from Boston, Massachusetts. She inferred from them that she should only speak English, and she should abandon her superstitious, island traditions.

As a result of my family’s experience with having to adapt to become  Americans, I am sensitive to others who view America as wanting to usurp their uniqueness as a people…with their own cultural beliefs and traditions.

Despite the Birthers who refuse to acknowledge President Obama’s American citizenship, he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 at 7:24 p.m. at Kapiolani & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu. His father, 25 at the time; his mother, 18.  You can view the long form of his birth certificate at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf

President Obama and I share a commonality…we were born in Hawaii. Me, 10 years before it became a state; the President, 2 years after.

I think most will agree that the first years of a child’s life are the formative ones. They were for me.

English: President Barack Obama signs H.R. 847...

I don’t profess to know all about President Obama, but I sincerely feel he is imbued with the Aloha Spirit so closely identified with the islands we both call home. In fact, he has said as much.

Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: “The opportunity that Hawaii offered—to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect—became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.”[38]

President Obama’s approach to foreign policy is reflective of his upbringing.

He stands tall for American values, all the while recognizing that others have the same right to take pride in who they are and in what they believe. In attempting to bring them around to a more democratic outlook in how they govern, the President does not see the need to annihilate the essence of who they are as a people.

Respecting other nations and supporting them as they take the lead in pursuing their own democracies, President Obama acknowledges that America can no longer act  as the imperialist nation it once was.

America remains the most powerful nation on earth. We still “speak softly and carry a big stick.” It’s just that others are more inclined to call our bluff…namely the terrorists…and China.

We need more in our arsenal of weapons than just bullying postures and empty threats.

First and foremost the President is opting to sit around the table with our allies, and other nations important to the stability required in these very uncertain times. He has made every effort to effect what he has said. That he hasn’t done it to everyone’s expectations might be credited, in part, to the rapidity with which events unfold. And the need to remain flexible, feet grounded, but not immovable.

That America must assert its authority as it once did in previous eras, such as during the Cold War, is not seeing where we are today.

The Middle-East is comprised of such divisive factions. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution to the problems that exist there.

Governor Romney’s vision of American leadership in the world is a throwback to what prior Administrations have held. Perhaps appropriate to some degree then, less likely today.

President Obama’s’ visits to leaders of the Arab world had been viewed as currying favor with those leaders.

My view has always been that the President was reaching out to people who have always been demonized by us, just as we have always been demonized by them. He was trying to build a bridge. A conversation between perceived enemies, if you will.

The world is not black and white. It is colored…textured…multi-faceted.

We need to live outside of ourselves, in the real world where others are trying to do the same. Realizing that how we expect to be treated by others…is how they would like to be treated by us. Sound familiar?

…i invite you to step back…and see the world…through others eyes…

………hugmamma.

weekly photo challenge: solitary #2

Solitary…being the only one. Makapuu Lighthouse…Honolulu, HawaiiCanoe…Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, HawaiiOne-of-a-kind…Art Gallery, Waikiki, Honolulu, HawaiiMy Keiki Wahine (daughter)…Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki, Honolulu, HawaiiWaikiki Moon…Honolulu, Hawaii

…yours to enjoy…someday…when you visit…

………hugmamma.   🙂

weekly photo challenge: solitary

The Hawaii envisioned by most who dream of one day visiting the islands is most often one of basking …on sandy, white beaches…under sunny, blue skies…in warm, ocean waters.

What is rarely ever experienced is the barren, solitary flip-side of islands that have evolved over time…from molten lava…to hard rock. Beauty resides here as well, though not of the typical kind.

No fragrant plumerias…or showy hibiscus…or striking bird-of-paradise.

Rather…broken asphalt…barren trees…craggy rocks…lichen…edible cacti…native flora…the lone bird…distant vistas…and the solitary…Makapuu Lighthouse… the piece-de-resistance.

…beauty is in the eye of the beholder…it comes…in all forms.  

………hugmamma.

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weekly photo challenge: everyday life

I hate to rub it in, but this is what everyday life is like in Hawaii.

Islanders can put in a full day’s work…and still head to the beach. One brother-in-law surfs at 6 a.m. And it’s commonplace for workers to lunch at the beach, and for families to picnic there in the evening.

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Makes me homesick for the islands.

…but i’ve memories galore…

………hugmamma.

whatever works…who am i to judge

I reiterated to my husband again last night…”Don’t touch that stack of Wall Street Journal papers!” Never mind that it’s taking up space in his home office.

There are gems to be found in that mountain of treasure. Take for instance the article reprinted in my next post, “Letting Babies Cry a Bit is OK” by Andrea Petersen.

Of tremendous interest to “mwaaa”…me, that is, the information contained in Petersen’s writing reminded me of my husband’s least favorite bedtime story.

Our family had recently returned from visiting relatives in Hawaii. Our daughter, then a toddler, had difficulty returning to her routine of sleeping alone in her crib. Bunking with mom and dad while away from home was probably to blame. We had no choice in the matter since space was scarce in my mother-in-law’s already overcrowded home.

I’d read in a book that was my parenting bible at the time, that I shouldn’t remove my child from her crib when she cried, begging to sleep in mine. Rather, I should return to her side in 20-minute intervals to comfort her until she fell asleep. This had worked before our vacation; I was certain it would continue to work again.

My husband was not as convinced. In fact, he was adamant it wouldn’t.

That was one of the very few times I angered my husband.

In utter disgust and disbelief, he stormed off saying he’d rather sleep downstairs if I didn’t give in to our daughter’s pitiful cries. And they were pitiful. Trust me. They were.

However monstrous I might’ve seemed to my loved ones at the time, I knew the long-term result would benefit our child. And it has.

My daughter has confidently traveled the country and Canada since she was 14, pursuing the dance career she now enjoys. She slept in dorms with strangers as roommates. Since she was 18 she has lived on her own, 3,000 miles separating her from us.

She still dreams of living abroad some day.

And as for our relationship?

Our love for one another has grown exponentially over the years!!!

I don’t suggest it’s my way…or the highway. Parents need to do what feels instinctively right in their guts.

…and my instincts suit my guts…just fine…

………hugmamma.

warm and sunny…just like mama

It’s been awhile since I’ve bolted from bed, putting fingers to keyboard because  thoughts and words started assembling like soldiers in a military dress parade. But I was given my marching orders, so here I am, albeit a little bleary-eyed still.

All this to do about a holiday honoring women of the world, hell-bent on doing a great job. Whether charged with the care of one, 9, or however many, moms awake each day to the sounds of their offspring calling their generic name…mommy, ma, mama, mom, or mother. Can’t warm to that one myself; but to each her own.

Memories are unique, according to one’s own experiences and perceptions. Today I remember the warmth and sun…of my mom.

Mama wasn’t perfect…neither am I.

She gave away hugs…the same ones I now share…as “hugmamma.”

Though poor, she was always “dressed to the nines,” her hair coiffed in the style of the day. A habit I’ve acquired.

A quick smile, an infectious laugh, twinkling eyes as if to say…”Have your best day.” She left me that too…that which I give to you.

Sunday best required a hat. Mama bought me Easter ones…when she could. A new, store bought dress was included…if it didn’t “break the bank.”

A pot of soup for a sick friend or neighbor; a kindness returned when mama was “under the weather.” I helped transport the generous offering…both ways.

Mama left me her “green thumb” and passion for gardening. I love flowers, their colors, their fragrances, their attraction to birds, butterflies and bees. I can feel her beside me, when I’m pulling out weeds.

Each Christmas she handcrafted wreaths from evergreen branches we’d gathered, along with wire clothes hangers, newspaper strips and string. Mama’s strength and dexterity always amazed me. As did her gifting these homemade treasures to friends and relatives.

When I was sick she’d minister to my every need, lathering my chest and throat with Vicks to break up the congestion. Or massaging my upset tummy with warmed oil because she said I had “bush.” A Portuguese term for a “turned stomach,” according to mama. The onset of which probably occurred when I took a tumble.

She let me burn a small candle once when I was playing with my dolls. My brother complained, saying I’d start a fire. Mama defended my frivolity.

 Sundays at the beach, running its length, the warm Pacific waters our reward. Mama took time out of her busy week to ensure my siblings and I had fun.

TARO PATCHES ALONG HIGHWAY 36. TARO ROOT IS TH...

TARO PATCHES ALONG HIGHWAY 36. TARO ROOT IS THE BASIS OF POI, A TRADITIONAL HAWAIIAN DISH – NARA – 554077 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trudging through murky, muddy Taro patch waters, mama taught me to scour the bottom for “pupus.” Hawaiian relatives of the French escargot, the smell of pupus boiling on the stove was enough to send me running out to play.

Prying the meaty critter out of its shell with a safety pin and popping it into my mouth was not my fantasy snack. No amount of cajoling or pressure got me to down that nasty mollusk.

So how is it that I now relish the taste of escargot  bathed in garlic butter?

Mama cheered proudly when I stood before a basketball crowd as lead high-school cheerleader. 

She made my costumes for school plays.

Tänzerin beim Hula ʻauana im Wettbewerb

Tänzerin beim Hula ʻauana im Wettbewerb “Miss Aloha Hula”, Merrie Monarch Festival 2003, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, USA; Pentax Z 20, Tamron Zoom AF/MF 3,8-5,6/28-200 mm aspherical (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For Hawaiian dance recitals, she helped gather koa seeds for the leis we strung, and ti-leaves for the hula skirts she made.

All the small and big things mama did for me…I do for my daughter. Some days joyfully; others, like a zombie.

I wouldn’t trade my memories for someonelse’s…nor my job as mom…for another.

Great days or less than…my heart overflows.

…mama wasn’t perfect…and neither am i…

…hugs of aloha…on mother’s day…and all days…

………hugmamma.

Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..

 

christmas…lives on…

Had a wonderful post-holiday celebration Saturday night, with friends who happen to be neighbors. Two retired couples joined my husband and me for a Hawaiian smorgasborg. One couple married less than a year ago are heading to California shortly, for some relaxation in the warm desert sun. How we will envy them…especially since snow has been falling for a few days, making driving conditions somewhat sketchy. Icy roads…icy everything…icy me. Brrr…

English: Venus orbits the Sun at an average di...

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Food, wine, and laughter flowed easily. When close friends gather there’s apt to be much good-humored teasing about men being from Mars and women being from Venus. That night was no exception.

Friends married the longest couldn’t seem to agree as to who it was that hung the towel-warmer in their remodeled master bath. She was absolutely certain it was her husband; he swore that it had been the contractor who’d done the installation, even though he’d initially tried to talk them out of it. The humorous exchange continued throughout our after-dinner conversation on a variety of topics.

I was certain our newly married friends would have nothing to share on the subject of discord. Lo and behold, the wife finally spoke up after her husband talked at length about a military-tactic he used with his children when they were teenagers, holding them responsible for their own actions.

Lost Luggage (Decide Your Destiny)

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What ensued was a lively discussion about bed-fixing and luggage-packing. The husband had spent many years as a military man, so an attention to detail lingers to this day. The wife attested to being able to make up a nice-looking bed in 3 minutes. Her hubby, she explained, took that long to tuck in the corners.

When it came to packing for their warm-weather trip, the wife informed us that she got everything together beforehand, but didn’t actually assemble them neatly into the suitcase until the day prior. Hubby meanwhile began packing last week. His reasoning was that in the ensuing days he could winnow it all down to only what was absolutely necessary.

 
English: File name: 07_11_000366 Title: Woman ...

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Then both wives commisserated on needing much more in the way of vacation wear than the husbands deemed appropriate. Of course I agreed. There’s day-wear and evening-wear. Then there’s the accompanying accessories…sandals, casual shoes, evening shoes…day purse, evening purse. And then, of course, the jewelry, makeup, toiletries.

Deciding to serve our friends a “typical” islander meal wasn’t made until the morning of. People are always asking “So what do Hawaiians eat?” It’s as though we have exotic tastes 24/7. Truth be told, we eat meat and potatoes, like most Americans. Of course the seasonings make the difference.

Fried rice from Fried rice from Andy's Chinese...

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Instead of southern fried chicken, I made shoyu chicken. Instead of spaghetti and meatballs, I served sweet-and-sour meatballs with Chinese fried rice. Sides included potato salad-a-la-Hawaiian style, a platter of tomato and mozzarella slices over which I’d drizzled Paul Newman‘s balsamic vinaigrette, and julienned carrots sauteed in a little butter then sprinkled with dried tarragon to taste. Wanting to give our friends a small sampling of our local Chinese restaurant‘s menu, we also included their Honey Walnut Shrimp.

Everyone helped themselves to some of everything. And that’s how the Hawaiians do it…a little of this…a little of that…or a lot of this…and a lot of that. Whatever pleases. There are no formal rules except to make yourself at home…and eat, eat…no be shame! Eat! 

The piece de resistance it seems was my homemade pineapple upside down cake. The husband-newly remarried, according to his bride, never…ever…eats dessert. Well when I set the cake down in the middle of the table…his was the loudest exclamation of delight. The only dessert he’d ever eat, happened to be the pineapple upside down cake made by his aunt. In his mid-70s now, that was a long, long time ago. Needless to say I sent him home with a large piece…for the next day.

Venus reflected in the Pacific Ocean

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After our friends left, hubby and I had a lot of cleaning up to do. But we both agreed that the evening was well worth the effort. Easy camaraderie, conversation that flowed, nonstop laughter, appreciative eaters, and never-ending compliments for the hostess…well, of course, that’s anyone’s dream evening.

And as a gift for the guests? The husbands went away with a neat trick for next Christmas.

Unbeknownst to my husband and me, who thought everyone knew to install remotes to turn all the Christmas lights on and off at one’s fingertips, our friends were clueless about such gadgetry. My husband was only too thrilled to show them how the remotes worked, and how he’d plugged them into electrical outlets.

One of the husbands exclaimed he’d be off to Home Depot the following day to get himself the gizmo. No more unplugging the Christmas tree lights manually. In fact he was going to try it now, since their tree is still standing in their living room. The same was true for the other couple.

…looks like christmas lingers on…in our neighborhood…how about yours?

………hugmamma.  🙂