balancing…life

An advertisement for a pneumatic vacuum cleaner

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Readers of hurmamma’s mind, body, and soul have probably noticed that my keyboard’s been silent for awhile. I’d chores that needed doing which I’d put aside for far too long. So I pushed back from my laptop, and “switched hats.” I donned my housekeeper’s apron and wrapped my fingers around the vacuum cleaner handle instead.

Transitioning from one task, blogging, to another, which includes everything else, isn’t easy for me. As mentioned in task, reward…task, reward, https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/task-reward-task-reward/blogging is addictive. I’d rather be writing than doing almost anything else. Once I’m in the groove, I find it difficult to extricate myself from the routine. I’m pretty certain most writers feel the same way.

However when papers accumulate on table tops and in drawers, and items for return remain on the dining room chair for weeks, and dusting has been put off for months, and toilets beckon to be scrubbed, I concluded the writer in me needed to go on hiatus. Getting my physical environment in order is essential to maintaining my mental equilibirum. That’s how I’ve always been. My daughter’s inherited that trait from me, which I think is fortunate. She agrees.

Balancing the various aspects of one’s life is good for optimum de-stressing. Having too many pile-ups, both physical and mental, can challenge anybody’s sanity.  Prioritizing tasks and accomplishing them without playing the blame game with oneself, is probably the healthiest way to proceed. Even if only a few are completed, that’s more than were done yesterday.

Cover of "I'd Rather Be Writing"

Cover of I'd Rather Be Writing

It may be that I wrote this post to myself as a kind of a rationale as to why I’d stopped writing. But perhaps I also sought to learn if I still had a passion for it. It seems I do. But with other “pots still simmering,” I may not return to blogging as voraciously as I once had. Only time will tell. However it isn’t just a matter of time, and effort, it’s also a question of reality vs. the Internet. I’ll write more of my concerns in that respect in a followup post. All I’ll say for now is that it has to do in part with…

abc’s 20/20 “the sixth sense”…and its revelations several nights ago that were hair raising…to say the least………hugmamma.

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365 photo challenge: wizard

 

Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright...

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I don’t often get to sit and watch Dr. Oz on weekday afternoons. Too busy blogging, running errands, handling antique business, or doing household chores. Am not complaining, far from it. Just wishing there were more hours in the day…many more. But when the TV’s on and I hear mention of tips that are relevant to you and me, I pause and take note. Today’s show was rife with helpful hints. Hope you agree…

  • Don’t pry wax from the ear with a Q-tip or anythingelse. The problem might become aggravated with the wax being shoved further into the ear, where it may be in too close proximity to the inner ear membrane. Instead, use a couple of drops of mineral oil.
  • Belly buttons may develop problems with chronic coughing or obesity. The pressure associated with either can cause a puncture, which can erupt into a hernia. A good solution to strengthening the area is to do the plank exercise. With the body stretched out on the floor, push up onto elbows and toes, keep head lifted at the top of the spine, and hold the position for 10, 20 seconds or as long as 5 minutes. It’s something I’ve done in exercise class at least once a week. Now that I know it’s beneficial, though I’d already assumed it was, I’ll push through the desire to give in, and cave.
  • To help clear away brain “fog,” which I’m certain we all suffer from time to time, three aromatherapy oils are recommended. 1) Peppermint helps improve alertness. 2) Rosemary or Rose clears the mind, and enhances the memory.  3)Orange oil improves the mood, and helps relieve stress.
  • Foods that help fight fatigue: goji berries – 1/3 cup a week, amaranth – full of protein and fiber, and rainbow trout – full of B12.
  • 

if you’re like me, i need dr. oz’s wizardry…every now and then…hugmamma.

DR OZ + PATIENT = HAPPYTIMES

Image by nayrb7 via Flickr

“growing lawns,” cruise ships?

I’ve been on my fair share of cruise ships, not a ton mind you like friends of mine, but enough to know that I love cruising. As mentioned in my post of 9/9/10, “european getaway, holland america line,”

Cruising is like taking your hotel everywhere you travel. There’s no need to pack , unpack and repack. You needn’t fret about transporting yourself from city to city. All meals are included, selections ranging from Asian to Italian to American to Continental to everything-in-between. And contrary to popular belief, you needn’t stuff yourself to overflowing. But if you do, exercise opportunities abound. There are spin classes, elliptical machines, decks to walk, and pools to swim. I can attest to the fabulous shopping, especially in the jewelry shops. Some of my favorite pieces, real and costume, were shipboard “gems.”  Nightly entertainment rivals Las Vegas and Broadway. Then there’s the casino for gamblers, the lounges for dancers, and the amusement arcade for the younger set. A theatre features current films, special cooking classes satisfy the gourmands among us, non-denominational services gathers the religious together. Finally, the ports-of-call are yours for exploring, if you so desire. Our family chose walking tours, so we killed the proverbial “two birds with one stone.” We could eat very well onboard ship, and rid ourselves of excess calories on the shore excursions.

Cruising is my idea of a REAL vacation, no making up the beds, no straightening and vacuuming, no cleaning the bathroom, no cooking and serving, no clearing away the table and stacking the dishwasher. I can rise early or late, eat whenever, nap if I like, finish a book I’ve only read for 5 minutes before falling asleep at night. Time to myself with no chores to do before I’m allowed to play, is my favorite part of being on a ship away from land, hearth and home, at least for a week-and-a-half or two. That’s enough to get me back into the swing of living the life I love.

An article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, “Cruises Where the Grass Is Greener,” takes cruising to a whole other level. Ships are being equipped with ALL the amenities of home, leading you to think you’re still there. On the other hand the article’s opening line, Cruise lines are trying to solve a peculiar dilemma: How to make it actually feel like you’re on water,” seems to imply the opposite. Reading on, I understood their unique problem.

Built like fortresses these days, or at least like floating hotels or Malls of America, passengers might forget the unique experience of being on water. To remind them that they are indeed away at sea, “cruise lines are increasing the amount of outdoor space on both small, luxury ships and large, mass-market ships.” The Silver Spirit, Silver Seas newest vessel, with a passenger capacity of 540, “has 60% more outdoor deck space than previous ships, including larger guest-room verandas and the company’s first restaurant serving dinner outdoors. (Guests can cook their own meat and fish over hot volcanic rocks.)”

Celebrity Cruises’ Silhouette, which sets sail in July, will have two new restaurants with outdoor seating, an open-air art studio where guests can take painting lessons and VIP sea-view cabanas for rent. All will be located on the top of the ship surrounding a 12,000 square-foot lawn of growing grass.

Some suites on Oceania Cruisesnew 1,250-passenger ship, the Marina, have balconies outfitted with Jacuzzis and 42-inch flat-screen TVs specially made to withstand wind and salt water.

In an effort to lure younger customers to cruising, other lines are following suit. Carnival Cruises, however, has already secured its place as the premier party cruise company. I’ve never sailed with Carnival, but friends who have, were not disappointed. They wanted fun; they got fun. Sailing in May the lines’ newest ship,”Magic,” will “feature a 9,300-square foot water park, an outdoor video game area and an open-air sports facility with exercise bikes and rowing machines.”

In an attempt to compete with lavish sea-side resorts, cruise companies have incorporated spas, gourmet restaurants, rock-climbing walls, and Broadway shows like “Chicago” and “Hairspray” into their shipboard offerings. But increasing these to include grander outdoor spaces comes with a price, “ships face challenges that land resorts usually don’t.”

Nippon Yusen Kaisha’s Crystal Cruises sometimes ropes off the jogging track that wraps around its Symphony ship…in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, regulations require…(removing) paper coasters and napkins from all outdoor restaurants and bars. Alfresco activities are curtailed, too. “You can’t play ping-pong for fear the ball may go over,” says Mimi Weisband, vice president, public relations.

The grass growing in the Lawn Club atop Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships, had to be “hardy enough to withstand salt water and wind–and light enough so the roof wouldn’t cave in. The grass grows in a thin layer of sand, clay and volcanic pumice.”

On a recent afternoon onboard the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Eclipse, employee Eugene Creencia was ripping up areas of dried, brown grass and setting down wooden platforms in their place. …deck furniture and high-heels are banned…”It rips up part of the grass and we don’t have any to spare”…

Taking advantage of the shipboard lawn, when the ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, “several guests stayed onboard   and played bocce and croquet–and remarked on the incongruity of lounging in a park on a ship.”

Later that evening, a jazz trio played on the Lawn Club. Couples sat on wool blankets laid out on the grass while crew members passed around glasses of wine and plates of cheese and fruit. The lights of San Juan blinked on shore.

Not only are cruise companies expanding and enhancing the outdoor spaces, they’re seeking to bring the outdoor experience indoors as well.

Everything from gyms to manicure stations are getting floor-to-ceiling windows to enhance sea views. Carnival will place desiccated palm trees and agave plants on its new Breeze ship launching in spring 2012. “They don’t require soil or water. …You feel outside even if you’re in a climate-controlled,” space.

Cruise lines have not been exempt from the economic downturn, but have been making a steady comeback within the last year. “Carnival Corp.‘s earnings, for example, rose 22% last summer.”

If I were you I’d pack my bags and head for the open ocean.

just make sure you board a ship first…hugmamma.

“laughter,” always heart healthy

You might think my friend Sylvia sits at her computer all day, laughing. I can assure you she doesn’t. Her house is immaculately kept. She knits up creations that could make her wealthy if she didn’t give them away. She and Jim pet sit without hesitation. They’re also active participants in their retirement community, socializing, as well as helping others in need. Sylvia is the last of her generation, I’m sure, to hand write letters and Christmas cards, in beautiful calligraphy. And the lady has monumental health issues with which she deals daily, none of which stops her from living her best life. Needless to say, she’s a great role model, with her no-nonsense attitude.

Sylvia may not “get” the ins and outs of the internet, but she does relish its entertainment value. She shared the following with me, another gem from her British network. It took me a couple of reads to “get” it. My daughter, on the other hand, burst into laughs immediately. Go figure.

Should a Child Witness Childbirth? (Here’s your answer.)

Due to a power outtage, only one paramedic responded to the call. The house was very dark, so the paramedic asked Kathleen, a 3-year-old girl, to hold a flashlight high over her mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby.

Very diligently, Kathleen did as she was asked. Heidi pushed and pushed and after a little while, Connor was born. The paramedic lifted him by his little feet and patted him on his bottom. Connor began to cry.

The paramedic then thanked Kathleen for her help and asked the wide-eyed 3-year-old what she thought about what she had just witnessed. Kathleen quickly responded. “He shouldn’t have crawled in there in the first place…spank him again!”

If you don’t laugh at this one, there’s no hope for you.

guess there’s some hope for me…since i took a couple of seconds…hugmamma.

“hallelujah!,” for not “going white”

Am here to spread the word about a newfound “partner in crime,” Zoriana, my new hair stylist. Where has she been all my life? Obviously not where I was. But circumstances beyond my control finally caused me to seek her out. And I’m very happy I did!

Baby-boomers like me, and those slightly older, and perhaps some who were still toddling around when I was in high school, know that a woman’s “crowning glory” is literally on top of her head, her hair, her hair, her hair! So when our “crowns” start to tarnish, some of us “hit the bottle,” literally. The bottle of henna rinse, that is, or whatever they’re calling it these days. I’ve been guilty of “hitting the bottle” for quite a few years. How old was I when I started? Who knows. And at 61, who cares?

I think I began by doing the job myself, maybe in my 40’s. I couldn’t tell you exactly when. As with age, graying hair snuck up on me. Like all things novel, dyeing my own hair back to its original color, or almost, was okay, no big deal. In my 50’s, it was getting irksome, especially when I’d spatter color on the floor tile, the bathroom wall, my clothes. Then the task became a bigger project, cleaning up after myself. Of course, trying to find the right hair color product was a job in itself, trying to imagine me in the picture on the front of the box. It required a lot of imagination since the models are Caucasians, and African-Americans, never Asian.

When I moved with my daughter so she could train for a professional dance career, dyeing my hair in the bathroom of our rented apartment, convinced me I should have it done professionally. The space was small, and I feared permanent stains might jeopardize the return of our security deposit, when we moved out. At least that’s what I told myself. But I’ve never looked back on what’s become a habit. I consider it part of my housekeeping salary, and I’m sure my husband likes that I don’t look like his grandma, although she was a very lovely woman.

My friend Katy “kicked the habit” a number of years ago. She now has a gorgeous head of hair in shades of “salt and pepper” gray. Unfortunately my head would look like white cabbage. It’s not a bad look, if the body matched. My vision of that person is like Ellen de Generes, cute and perky. A month-and-a-half ago, I thought I had no choice but to “go white.”

The hairdresser I was seeing for several years developed an allergy toward dark hair color. To contend with the problem she washed my hair before applying the color, where previously she use to do the reverse. Perhaps that caused my scalp to react badly the last time I saw her. As she began applying the color, a burning sensation developed in one spot. I think she quickly smoothed on a lotion to counteract the burning. But for the remainder of the appointment, the stylist proceeded very gingerly. When my hair was done, we weren’t sure how we’d proceed in the future.

The burning sensation abated, but that area of my scalp was red and itched. The next day my scalp scabbed, and over the next few days returned to normal, except for some residual itching. But I was left in a quandary as how best to resolve the issue of going “au naturale,” or finding someone with whom I could discuss my dilemma. Having clipped an article about Zorianna from the local newspaper, I gave her a call. Best decision I’ve made in a while.

To our great relief, I experienced none of the scalp burning as in my last appointment. Hallelujah! I’m young again! At least my hair is. I know I’m delaying the inevitable. I definitely plan to “kick the habit,” sometime. But in this case it’ll be later, rather than sooner. We’ve all got our weaknesses. While I’m fine with the rest of me, I’m vain about my “crowning glory.” I know I’m not the only one.

for seniors trying to hang in against all odds, and Zoriana, huge hugs…hugmamma. (www.zorianasbeautique.com)