take my advice…

…give ’em the money and let ’em elope!

At this juncture, even my daughter agrees. She should have taken her fiancé up on his offer to marry in a civil ceremony eons ago, and forget about all this hoo-ha.

Of course we wouldn’t have done it that way. After all, she is our only child. There was no way we weren’t going to celebrate such a momentous occasion…the final severing of the umbilical cord between my daughter and me. Not even the 2,000 miles that separated us this last decade or so did the trick. It took a great, future son-in-law and Medicare to finally clinch it.

Long distance planning is a killer when it comes to a wedding. You’re at the mercy of the internet and a working wi-fi connection. You’re also stuck with whatever vendor you can find online. And good luck trying to find images of their previous work, and enough reviews to help with your decision.

My daughter agrees she is blessed with a mom who researches everything to death. I’m like a Jack Russell Terrier…once I sink my teeth into something, I never let go until I’ve chewed my way to the bone.

At the outset I had tried to get my husband to buy into a one-price-buys-all wedding. When he balked at the price and “put his foot down,” I set about purchasing the wedding piece meal…the venue, the food, the drinks, the music, the flowers. Who knew I’d have to rent the tables, chairs, and linens? Fortunately, the caterer provided the plates and utensils…paper and plastic, of course! And since we weren’t using an everything-included venue, I became the presumptive event planner.

Since last June when my daughter accepted her boyfriend’s proposal, I’ve been like a mole burrowing my way through all the details, leaving nothing to chance. I was on the job, day and night. My husband agrees, no one could afford my services. Not that I could give my all to anyone but my daughter. And she and I both agree…this is the last wedding either of us are planning.

505As it turns out, what we’re ending up paying even surpasses the original quote I got from the one-stop for one-price venue. Because I dealt with individual businesses, there was no way to integrate their services into one cohesive unit. And while the budget dictated the parameters, the details always pushed the boundaries. At some point, I had to back off or I would’ve pulled all my hairs out by their white roots.

When it comes down to it, we’re blessed to have one child and be able to give her the wedding of her dreams. Thank goodness her dreams are small town…and not Big Apple, big city-sized ones.

If you’ve a wedding in your future, unless you’re anal about details and don’t mind shopping around as I do, I’d suggest you…plunk your money down in one place, and let them do the work for you. Better yet…

…send the couple on their way…with four fistfuls of $$$.

………hugmamma.

 

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nurturing thursdays: she’s getting married…

…my daughter…my only sunshine.

How did my little girl go from shadowing me one minute…to standing apart, aglow in a life all her own?

I can remember hearing folks in my mom’s generation saying of children…”Enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.” I too say that to young parents now, more out of habit than something to which I truly subscribe.

I think my husband would have preferred carrying his little “pumpkin pie” about on his shoulders…just a little longer. And building igloos together with her in the icy snow that covered our front lawn…just a little longer. And reading bedtime stories in the soft glow of the lamplight, her little head against his chest…just a little longer.

As for me? I wanted tomorrow to come…and the one after that…and the one after that…and all the tomorrows to follow . I wanted time to pass, knowing that with each passing year my only child was still here, beside me. Not until my husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage did we become parents. Because of that I always felt she could be gone…in the blink of an eye.

Still do.

Like other parents, I hoped I’d live to see my daughter grow into adulthood…and settle into a marriage with someone who would cherish her for the wonderful person she is. Whether or not she bears us a grandchild is unimportant. She, and the son we gain through marriage, are gift enough for us. Of course we would celebrate a little addition to the family…if that is God’s wish.

And so with my daughter’s marriage, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, passing the torch of all-consuming love along to her husband-to-be. Although the love I bear my daughter will always glimmer and burn so that she will never, ever...be afraid of the dark.

I’m certain my precious little girl will always remember what I told her long, long ago.

When I’m gone from your side, I’ll still be with you…like a blankie wrapped around your heart…warming you always.

………hugmamma.

Check out more inspirational writings at… 

https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/nurt-thurs-biggest-step-2/

nurturing thursdays: loving is…living

You might wonder why my limited writings of late have been as entries on blogger Becca Given’sNurturing Thursdays.

Two reasons.

Thursdays suit me well. Having run errands and done chores earlier in the week, I reward myself with a short stint at my laptop doing what I do for sheer pleasure…writing.

More importantly, however, is Becca’s invitation to share words that help us feel good about ourselves. God bless her for giving contributors a platform which encourages us to have compassion for ourselves and others.

While other writers contribute more regularly, I’m grateful that my entries are accepted when I am able to snatch a few moments here and there. Perhaps if I limited myself to a few inspirational words, I’d do better. And yet, I can only think to share a little slice of my own life. If it inspires then I am blest. Mostly though, it’s just me trying to figure out…life.

The passing of my beloved Mocha recently coincided with my husband’s casual announcement that he was retiring sooner than expected. Instead of 2016, his last workday will be January…2015!

After the dust settled in my brain, gone musty as an empty-nester these last 12 years, I listened as hubby revealed the whys, hows, and wherefores of what had transpired. Suffice it to say, he’s come out on top. Although retired, he’ll continue as a consultant for another year.

All I’ve ever wanted of my marriage since day one…was my husband.

IMG_4079I’ve waited 44 years to spend more than a few hours a week with my best friend in the whole, wide world. I’ve only had a taste of what his coworkers have always shared with me when we’ve met at office functions.

Among the many compliments were my husband’s fairness…his calm in the midst of turmoil…his patience…his generosity in sharing the limelight…his integrity…his humility…his willingness to mentor others…his loyalty and dedication…his work ethic…his tireless efforts in always seeking the truth…and his willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of others.

Yes. My husband’s a saint. I called him that once when we were first married. His retort was that it was an unkind remark. Only my husband would take offense at being held up on a pedestal.

My husband loved our little Mocha as much as I did. He wasn’t as demonstrative toward her as I was, not given to hugging and smooshing ad nauseum like me. Nonetheless, Mocha always knew she could depend upon him for a walk anytime of the day or night. With me, there could be resistance depending upon the weather and what hour of the night it was. My arthritis doesn’t do well in the wet and cold, and I’m deathly afraid of encountering a bear or cougar in the dark.

IMG_2145When Mocha left us I couldn’t help but feel she did so knowing my husband and I would have more time for one another…one less family member who needed our care and attention. Especially with all she required the last months of her life. Feline siblings, Sitka and Juneau, are now happy to get more cuddle time with me. Although I think they miss their little pal as well.IMG_4810

In reflecting upon Mocha’s life and my husband’s retirement, I couldn’t help but think that those we love the most live on through us who remain. We are their legacy. We continue to tell their story long after their physical presence is gone. We attest to their having been here.

Sad then, those who die unloved.

Who will speak of them? Who will testify to what they did…their dreams…their passions…their accomplishments…their failures? Who will say “We played softball together on the weekends.” Or “She loved doing things with her children.”

Perhaps when we care for others we, in some small way, acknowledge their reality. They live because we think about them…even if only for a moment. All those with whom we engage as we go about our daily lives…the waiter…the supermarket cashier…the dry cleaning clerk…the pet groomer…the landscape worker…our furry family members.

We matter to others. Probably more than we know.

Mocha’s still with me as I go about my day. Reminding me that as long as we’re here, she’ll be with hubby and me…

…enjoying our retirement years.

………hugmamma. 

(Enjoy other inspirational writers at  https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/nurturing-thurs-next-time/                                                                                                                                            

 

Imported Photos 00137

friday fictioneers: history rewritten…

Copyright - Janet Webb

For her, I’d give up everything. If I could  magically wish away my reality, I would.

When I’m holding her, we’re like a smoldering flame melting into one another.

Her laughter, like a child’s. She makes me feel like a boy again. A naughty boy.

She’s unlike any woman I’ve ever known. I know my parents wouldn’t approve, although dad would love a roll in the hay with Marilyn.

God! How I hate that man! I’d walk out on him and everybody else if I could.

Dear Caroline and John,

Forgive me. I can’t help myself.

All my love,

Daddy

mars and venus…aligned

As in the film Back To The Future where caveman-like shennanigans brought out the knight-in-shining armor, this video share by pyschotherapist and marriage counselor, Linda Hoff-Hagensick, at  http:www.marriagetherapy101@blogspot.com takes us back to the basics of a great relationship.

Venus, fragile and other-worldly, borne upon the strength and cunning of Mars, crosses over the hellish landscape below, untainted and intact.

With regard for one another, each content with the stations to which they were birthed, they grow in harmony and love forever-after.

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.)

 

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 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

 

a look back…at new beginnings…

We spent a few hours with our nephew and his wife last evening. They’d invited us over to their newly purchased home for dinner.

Touring the house, my husband, daughter and I “oohed” and “aahed” at all the details of their modest, yet spacious, first major expense. I say modest because it was definitely not over-the-top. Rather it was a typical, late 60s, split-level…living, dining, kitchen, bedrooms and bath on the top floor…family room on the lower level. The piece-de-resistance was the enormous back yard with a fire pit.

IMG_5001What made the home special was our nephew and niece. Watching them throughout the course of the evening, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another couple, back when they first started their lives together some 42 years ago.

My husband and I connected in much the same way…deferring to one another…finishing each other’s sentences…sharing glances that spoke volumes…respecting each other’s contributions to the meal and to their lives together.

For a few hours I felt blest to be reliving those wondrous, youthful years when my husband and I began “playing house.” The excitement of planning the use of rooms, buying new furniture, deciding what to plant outdoors, meeting the neighbors…making our mark as a newly minted twosome…living as one.

It’s nice that our nephew and niece chose to live nearby, perhaps a 20 minute drive from us, if that. We’ve lived so long on the mainland, away from family, that having relatives in the area is a welcome change. Not that we’ll be on their doorstep every weekend. That’s just not our style. We respect that young folks have their lives to forge, while my husband and I have grown accustomed to our way of doing things…and not doing things.

If there’s one thing I learned growing up with a mom who seemed to always want to be the center of my life, even when I became a wife and mother, is that love shouldn’t smother.

Love should be given freely…with no strings attached, ever.  Only then is love returned freely, and in such abundance that one’s heart is near bursting.

I may not be an expert on many things, but I am when it comes to…

…loving someone with my whole heart…IMG_0594

………hugmamma.

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)

tv genie…real life mom

Have just finished reading Barbara Eden‘s autobiography. Remember her as the genie in the bottle in “I Dream of Jeannie?” A favorite sitcom of mine at the time it aired in the mid-60s, I’m sure she was the fantasy of every young girl who wanted to be like Jeannie, and every man, young and old, who wanted to be her master, aka Captain Tony Nelson. Because I looked nothing like Barbara Eden, blonde, blue-eyed, I don’t think I was as fixated on her as I was on her cute leading man, Larry Hagman. I probably tuned in as often as I could to drool over his good looks. I thought the show was funny, although I liked it a lot better when Tony finally stopped running away from Jeannie’s advances. They made a cute, TV couple; I thought they’d make a great pair in real life too. But I guess I was wrong.

It’s obvious that Eden admired Hagman’s acting, and shared a lasting friendship with him, but according to her, he was like the Tasmanian devil…hell on wheels!

On one unforgettable occasion, when Larry didn’t like a particular script, his answer was to throw up all over the set. Nerves? Method acting? I didn’t stick around long enough to find out, but took refuge in the sanctuary of my dressing room instead.

In many ways, Larry was like a very talented, troubled child whose tantrums sometimes got the better of his self-control. The crew, however, quickly lost patience with him and vented their frustration by cutting him dead as often as possible and tormenting him however and whenever they could. Once when Larry demanded a cup of tea (as opposed to his habitual champagne), the crew, exasperated by his high-handedness and demands that a scene be reshot because he didn’t like that particular segment of the script, put salt in his tea instead of sugar.

When the unsuspecting Larry took a sip and spat the tea out in disgust, the entire set rocked with suppressed laughter from the delighted crew, who probably would have applauded if they could have, they so enjoyed humiliating poor Larry.

In real life, Eden was happily married to fellow actor Michael Ansara. Of Lebanese descent, he was two when his parents moved the family to America. She raved of him…

As far as I–and thousands of fans and love-struck female fans throughout the world–was concerned, Michael Ansara was a magnificent specimen of alpha-male masculinity. Six foot four and darkly handsome, with blazing brown eyes, a deep, resonant voice, and a powerful aura of strength and dependability, Michael was a Hollywood heart-throb with sex appeal to burn.

I think we get the picture. If Ansara had portrayed a genie competing with Tony Nelson for Jeannie’s hand on the TV sitcom, I wonder if Eden could’ve refrained from revealing to the audience which of her two suitors really had her in the palm of his hands?

I’m sure you’ve surmised that Eden and Ansara tied the knot. Seven-and-a-half years after marrying they were delighted to welcome son Matthew, a month before the premiere of “I Dream of Jeannie.”  ... with husband Michael Ansara and son Matthew - i-dream-of-jeannie photoBecause her career climbed while her husband’s nose-dived, Eden became the family breadwinner. For the most part the arrangement seemed to work just fine, for as she explained at the conclusion of her book…

The wonderful thing about my business and about my life is that I never know what’s around the corner. I’m very lucky to like what I do and to be able to work at it so happily and for so long. I’ve always considered my career to be a great joy and a great gift. I love it, and long may it continue.

But her career took its toll on her marriage, her son, and another baby boy as yet unborn. It was this chain of events that convinced me to share Eden’s story with you, which I’d intended to do yesterday, Mother’s Day. What she endured is a tragic example of a wife and mother who tries to do everything, to be everything to all people.

… Ten years into our marriage, I gave an achingly honest interview to a newspaper journalist about the problems Michael and I encountered in our marriage.

“My husband, Michael,” I said, “is becoming more and more annoyed watching me go to work every day while he sits home. He hates the thought of it. I don’t blame him. There isn’t a man around who enjoys the feeling that his wife is the breadwinner and brings home the bacon. I know it’s uncomfortable for Michael. What are we going to do about it? I wish I knew…All I’m sure of is that Michael would give anything to see our positions reversed.” …

Difficult or not, Michael and I had no plans to end our marriage, and we still loved each other as much as we ever had. Then in 1971, to our delight, I became pregnant with our second child.

Even their son Matthew was excited at the prospect of a baby brother. Good fortune seemed to bless her with more good news when she was offered the opportunity to tour America for 10 weeks in not one, but two musicals, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and “The Sound of Music.” She signed on against her better judgment, for she was in her late thirties and was already feeling the effects of already having acted, sung, and danced “nonstop all over the country for so many years.” For once in her life she was “overcome by a burning desire to refuse not just one job but two.”

But Michael was not working, and if I didn’t take this opportunity, our family would go hungry. Although I knew in my heart that this wasn’t the case, against my better judgment, I agreed to star in both musicals and tour the country right up until I was eight months pregnant.

She took precautions, checking in with doctors wherever she toured, who were recommended by her L.A. physician. But upon finally returning home and being examined by her own doctor, she learned what no mother wants to hear.

My baby was dead. His umbilical cord had been crushed, and there was nothing anyone could do to save him. I say him, because the doctor told me that my unborn baby was a boy. The doctor also told me that in all his many years of practice, he had never encountered a case like mine.

Worse yet, Eden says…

I only knew that I had to carry my dead baby inside of me for six more weeks, because were the doctors to deliver his lifeless body before then, my own life could be endangered. In hindsight, this is a barbaric, outmoded medical practice, and thankfully it is no longer done.

Upon reading this, I recollected overhearing adults whisper of such instances when I was growing up. I didn’t know what it all meant, except that a woman had to carry the dead fetus the entire nine months. There’d be no shortcuts. Needless to say the ordeal took its toll on Eden, who unknowingly succumbed to postpartum depression. After 15 years of marriage she divorced Ansara who was bewildered by her decision. And in retrospect, she regrets not having sought counseling to save her marriage. For the consequences took its toll on their son. “But I still regret our divorce, because the repercussions it would one day have on Matthew would turn out to be cataclysmic. Had I been able to look into a crystal ball at that time, I would have stayed in the marriage until Matthew was an adult. but I didn’t.”

In 1974, Michael, Matthew, and I were living in our ranch-style home in the San Fernando Valley, a prosperous community of well-heeled, well-educated people. Little did we know that someone who lived close by, a wealthy hippie, a man with children of his own, was growing pot in his garden and smoking it with the neighborhood kids. I guess that particular person thought that what he was doing was fun, cool, harmless. If I ever came face-to-face with him, I’d happily kill him.

Fate is so strange, and I often ask myself this question: if Michael and I had lived in another neighborhood, not one where our neighbor was growing pot and handing it out to kids like some kind of candy, would Matthew have avoided becoming a drug addict?

But the reality may well be different. Marijuana can be an extremely addictive drug, and the addiction is intensified if a child not only starts smoking when he is extremely young but also has a marked genetic predisposition to addiction. Sadly, Matthew fell into both categories. Michael and I both had alcoholism in our respective families. Michael’s grandfather was an alcoholic, as were both my mother’s older sister and her brother. Matthew’s early addiction to marijuana easily led to an addiction to harder drugs later on.

Another factor, one for which I will blame myself to my dying day, is that Matthew was only nine when I asked Michael for a divorce, and he never really recovered from having his hitherto happy home broken up. …

…on the morning of June 26, (2001) all my worst fears came true. Matthew was dead. …He was just thirty-five years old.

Barbara Eden’s life continued in the same way that all our lives do…with its ups and downs. Although Michael Ansara remains the “love of her life,” she has found happiness with her third husband, Jon Eicholtz, a builder/developer.

a mom who tried to do it all…and in my estimation…remained a classy lady despite her tragic losses…hugmamma.

 

william and his kate…my wish for

Royal Wedding Will and Kates Story

Image by Pesky Library via Flickr

We are being inundated with coverage of the upcoming royal wedding between the future king of England and his queen, William and Kate. Ever since they announced their engagement to the world, they seem always to be smiling. They seem to wear their happiness well. Perhaps they have already learned what so many married couples take decades to figure out. If they have, then they may not need the advice of relationship expert, Leo Buscaglia. But it never hurts to heap on the well wishes for longevity in what already appears to be a solid friendship, and a grand love affair. Buscaglia writes in his book, Loving Each Other…

We cannot look for joy as we do a lost article of clothing. We make our own happiness. we define it for ourselves and experience it in our unique way. No one can be happy for us nor tell us what should make us happy, though people will always try. The sad fact is that we fall into Madison Avenue traps which convince us that happiness is the right drink, the flashy automobile, the scented deodorant, bursting-with-health cereal or the special snack food. Even the wisest among us are seduced by the exuberant TV ad or the seductive graphic into believing that we, too, can change our lives if we switch to a new mouthwash. We never stop to think that there is nothing in the world which can be given or denied us that will bring us happiness unless we decide it. In fact, the happiest people in the world would probably still be happy if stripped of everything except life.

Kate and Wills

Image by JeanM1 via Flickr

…Perhaps much happiness is lost in the pursuit of it. Hawthorne in his American Notebooks said that happiness always comes incidentally. “Make it the object of pursuit,” he added, “and it leads us on a wild goose chase and is never attained.” He suggests that we should lose our way and follow something totally unrelated. In that way we often happen on happiness without ever dreaming it would be there.

We are far too rational in our relationships, far too ordered, organized and predictable. We need to find a place, just this side of madness and irrationality, where we can, from time to time, leave the mundane and move into spontaneity and serendipity, a level that includes a greater sense of freedom and risk–an active environment full of surprises, which encourages a sense of wonder. Here, ideas and feelings which would otherwise be difficult to state can be expressed freely. A bond of love is easy to find in an environment of joy. When we laugh together we bypass reason and logic, as the clown does. We speak a universal language. We feel closer to one another.

Royal Wedding Flags Go Up On Regents Street, L...

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…Joy and happiness are simply states of mind. As such they can help us to find creative solutions. When we feel joyful, euphoric, happy, we are more open to life, more capable of seeing things clearly and handling daily tensions.

…”Joy comes into our lives,” Joseph Addison says, “when we have something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

Live fully and with abandon. Love totally and without fear. Hope splendidly and never relinquish the dream. These will help us but joy will only be ours when we choose it. As Abraham Lincoln reminded us, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

William and Kate Royal Wedding plates

Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

and may I add…

long life and…everlasting happiness…to sylvia’s king and queen…william and…his kate…hugmamma.

honeymoon alone?…why not?

Absolutely loved this Traveler’s Tale by Jennifer Belle which appeared some time ago in the Wall Street Journal. How many new brides would go for the gusto and forge ahead with her honeymoon plans…alone? I don’t know that I’d have had the courage 40 some odd years ago. But then that was a different time, and I was an island girl. That’s my excuse for everything. Truth be told, I’m just a scaredy cat, always have been, always will be. My daughter’s a little more adventurous, in fact a lot more adventurous. She drives on freeways in any state without white-knuckled fear. Me? I’m still meandering back-roads, even in my hometown of 14 years. Now you know why this young Mrs. had me chuckling…and envious of her unbelievable hutzpah!

My Perfect Honeymoon
(That I Spent Alone)

Children's Valentine in somewhat questionable ...

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My husband and I met at a Valentine’s party, got in an agitating fight the next day and then became inseparable–that is, until our honeymoon.

Walking out the door to go to the airport, my husband went to get his passport from his desk. It was missing. I called our housekeeper but she hadn’t seen it. We searched the apartment. I called the Terrorist Investigation Unit of the FBI to report it stolen by the carpet cleaner. “We can’t go,” my husband said.

But my passport wasn’t missing. I had wedding money and an airplane ticket. So while he stayed home and called his mother to see if she had his birth certificate and made desperate plans to join me as soon as possible, I flew to Venice.

Gondolas in Venice

 

I took a water taxi to my hotel and the driver, a gorgeous man named Davide, insisted I take command of the boat, although I explained that I was from New York and didn’t even know how to drive a car. “I teach you,” he said and sort of slapped my butt and also touched my stomach while shifting gears. He gave me his number on a scrap of paper.

“I’m married,” I said for the first time. “I’m on my honeymoon.” He thought this was very charming and American and pretended to look overboard in the murky brown water for a groom. “Call me,” he said.

Harry's Bar interior. Venice Italy.

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At the Hotel La Fenice et des Artistes, beside the burned-down opera house, I checked into the honeymoon suite. I had cannelloni and bellinis at Harry’s Bar on Calle Vallaresso, and stopped to listen to, of all things, Hava Nagila, played by a band in San Marco. The next day I bought five hand-tooled leather journals from a bookbinder named Ustino and began writing in one of them at Locanda Cipriani, a restaurant in a quince orchard on a tiny island called Torcello. I ordered cannelloni again and wrote, “I’m eating cannelloni all aloni.” I wandered that night over bridges and bought a silk jacket with rats painted on it for $500.

Channel in Burano, Venice, Italy

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The next day I got my period on the island of Burano and found one drugstore among all the lace shops. There was so much lace everywhere, when I opened the new box of Tampax, I was surprised they weren’t lace too. I had dinner that night at Vino Vino on Calle de la Rotonda where you order from three dishes at the counter. It would have been perfect except for the waitress ignoring me during my lemon cake–and oh yeah, I remembered, my husband not being there.

Gondolas in a canal in Venice, Italy

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Waiting for him, I took gondola rides and drank wine with beautiful men. I soaked my feet in the bidet, listening on the phone to my husband complain about how he’d taken Metro-North to the county clerk’s office in White Plains to get his birth certificate. I went to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Accademia, lounged on my king-sized bed, got chocolate on my trousseau. “Your honeymoon, she is ruined!” the hotel clerk fretted. But she was perfect.

Honeymooning alone, I discovered what it was to be married. I experienced it more fully, had a chance to get used to it. Without him there to interfere, I could be my most romantic. We were star-crossed; he was struggling to get to me. Every bride should be alone after the stress of a wedding. I felt sorry for anyone with a groom to deal with. “Husband is my favorite word,” I wrote in my hand-bound diary. Believe me–I have never written anything like that since.

Four days after my arrival at Marco Polo airport I went back to pick up my husband. He turned out to be allergic to Venice and couldn’t stop sneezing, so we went on to Rome and then the Amalfi Coast.

Almalfi Coast (10/10/2007)

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When we got home our housekeeper brought me the slim Citibank check box from the desk and opened it proudly to reveal the safe place she’d hidden my husband’s passport. I’d moved that box a hundred times during my search, but hadn’t thought to look inside.

The scrap of paper with Davide’s phone number on it is still on my refrigerator. In case I ever want a second honeymoon.

(Ms. Belle’s novels include “High Maintenance” and “The Seven Year Bitch.” She remains happily married.)

my kind of woman…for sure…hugmamma. 😉

not for real people, not really… “the bachelor”

 

One reality show that I’ve watched, more or less, since its inception has been “The Bachelor.” Pure entertainment, my daughter and I agree that no one we know would dare bare their hearts, and everything else, in front of millions of people. But I guess it’s easy enough to forget about the “peeping toms” when the guy and his gal are physically in the company of only a dozen or so crew members. It’s probably even easier to forget the television audience when the bachelor is surrounded by a bevy of beauties, all vying for his attention.

How do the families of these TV men and women feel, I wonder, when they, along with the rest of the world, finally get to see their children romping around, telling all. And don’t they just wanna kick the guy’s butt when he breaks their little girl’s heart, the camera never cutting away as she sobs and sighs, over what might have been? I just couldn’t imagine my daughter subjecting herself to such humiliation. I think she’d opt to register with eharmony.com first. At least that’s all done in the privacy of one’s own home, with rejection on either side, being done quietly and without fanfare.

But as I said “The Bachelor” is sheer fun…for those of us watching, that is. So I wish the 3 women well in their venture to get Brad to the altar. And who am I rooting for? Widow Emily, the beautiful, sweet mother of a darling 5-year-old daughter. They both deserve a happily ever after…

from my mouth to the bachelor’s ears…hugmamma.  😉