friday fictioneers: moral dilemma

Copyright-Dawn Q. Landau

“I’ve heard of foreclosures, but this is going a bit far, don’t you think?” I asked my banker.

“Well, since your home was ‘under water,’ that is since your home was worth less than you owed, we thought we’d blast it to smithereens and collect on the insurance. That way you get 50 and we get 50…and we all make out handsomely.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. My upstanding mortgage company was going belly up as far as morality was concerned.

The ball was in my court.

What to do?

Play ball? Or go home?

Click.

“You’re watching House Hunters International.”IMG_2336

 

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nurturing thursdays: believe in yourself

My daughter’s decided that her 2014 New Year’s resolution includes…ferocity.

As she moves forward in her quest to become a contemporary dancer, my daughter’s inner voice is at the helm.

In ballet, dancers are taught to fit within a standard. Rigorous training reinforces discipline which, in turn, often engenders a relationship similar to that of a parent and a child. On the one hand it is highly effective in perfecting a ballerina’s technique; on the other, it may be difficult for the ballerina to grow comfortably into her own skin.

Along with everything else, a ballerina must find a balance between what is expected of her and what she wants for herself. Unlike puzzle pieces, the two sides don’t always fit together neatly. In fact, finding the balance between the expectations of others and her own are most likely an ongoing effort. At some point, she either acquiesces and dances on auto-pilot…or moves on.

Every ballet dancer at each stage of her career, from student through professional, must decide whether or not the journey is worth the sacrifices and commitment. No one is holding her feet to the fire unless, of course, she’s the product of a stage mom. God help her if she is.

Change is not easy no matter the profession. A ballerina, however, once enamored of the classics…Romeo and Juliette…Sleeping Beauty…Swan Lake…finds it very difficult to sever the ties that bind her to the beauty she can spin as part of an ensemble.

And as any ballerina will tell you, it ain’t easy getting hired by a company in the first place. It’s true what they say. For every one there’s probably twelve more nipping at her heels, eager to have their go at it.

My daughter’s experience, while not perfect, was promising. Had she waited around another few years, she might have been challenged to do more solo roles. But with the passing of years, 11 to be exact, she finally decided it was time to sever the “parent-child” relationship. It had outgrown its purpose.

Moving into contemporary dance has been freeing. There are no father figures; there are no children. All are artists. The difference lies only in their abilities, their experiences, and their passion for dance.

My daughter feels she can get to the top of her game, no longer hindered by the trappings of the environment in which she dances. Rather than be told “when” and “how,” she’s been asked…”show us what ya got!” And she’s only too eager to comply.

Believing in herself and her passion for her art, my daughter is excited to be auditioning. This week it’s Los Angeles, next month it’s Germany, and in March it’s Chicago.

Fierce is my daughter’s new mantra. Nothing’s impossible since…

…she believes in herself!

………hugmamma.

friday fictioneers: first love…forever love

Copyright- Jean L. Hays

A tiny hand tucked securely into a larger one.

Adoring eyes glancing upwards at the love of her life.

Smiling at him as he gazes down at her, eyes wrinkling at the corners.

Fun times together, whether raking autumn leaves or gliding down snowy slopes.

Favorite outings were always visits to aquariums. 

Barking seals. Playful penguins. Floating jellyfish. Jumping dolphins. 

Dancing seahorses, mini ones clinging to giant kelp in underwater forests.

Hot dogs and cotton candy for two hungry landlubbers.

Weary arms hugging his head as her little body lay draped about his neck.

Pops…and Pumpkin Pie…then, now, and always.

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nurturing thursdays: “you’re a sweetheart!”

Reading that phrase, didn’t you get a warm fuzzy feeling in your navel?

I know I get a lift when someone compliments me. Not so much with how I’m dressed. I’ve gotten beyond outer appearances since becoming a senior. After all, clothes don’t make a person. Thank goodness! 

And yet, I must confess to still getting a boost when someone notices that I’ve been to my hairdresser. I look perkier after a henna rinse and a haircut. After all, a woman’s hair is her crowning glory, and if she needs a little outside help now and then, I say “What the hey! Go for it!”

However, such vain glory is nothing in comparison to being warmly acknowledged for something I’ve done for someone else.

Think of it.

A compliment is so easily spoken. If it’s on the tip of your tongue..don’t hold back. What’s the worse that could happen? You get a strange look?

In all my years of handing out compliments left, right, and in-between…I’ve never ever had the recipient look at me as if to say “Are you nuts?”

Quite the contrary! My words of praise or empathy have always been met with surprised happiness. It’s as though I’ve lit a rocket under the person’s feet, lifting him skywards into the clouds.

My husband and daughter are so use to my telling complete strangers…”You’re beautiful!”…or “You’re  such a sweetheart!”…or “Thank you so much! You just made my day!”

Whatever’s appropriate to the occasion, I never hesitate to put my feelings out there. 

The reaction to my compliments are so worth any effort. Although there’s really no effort to letting folks know how swell they are. 

Their smiles and sparkling eyes let me know I’ve made their day, whether it’s a waiter…a receptionist…a customer service rep…a salesperson…a store manager…a bank teller.  

Think of it as gift-giving year round. 

We needn’t wait until a special occasion to give the gift of ourselves. It’s more precious than a store bought one, no matter how beautifully wrapped.

Santa really does reside in each and every one of us.

A gift of fellowship is at our fingertips…to give away as often as we wish.

So, go ahead…compliment someone!

…make their day…and yours!

………hugmamma.

 

 

You’ll Know Why

This verse captures exactly how I love our daughter…TO THE MOON AND BACK. Helen’s verse brings the phrase to full bloom…so beautifully. I bow to her poetic talent…
………hugmamma.

helen midgley

 

I would walk for a hundred mile,

Just to hear your voice, to see your smile,

I’d scale a mountain way up high,

Just to see you soar, to watch you fly.

*

I’d swim the length of an ocean wide,

To watch you float on a moonlit tide,

I’d catch the stars that light the sky,

And gather diamonds passing by.

*

I’d steer the moon that claims the night,

To swathe you in its resplendent light,

I’d weave a path through constellations,

Trailing dreams and declarations.

*

I’d keep the sun from slumbers wake,

To catch your dreams before they break,

And I’d hold them in my palms up high,

So you’d know love and you’d know why.

 

 

I had a recommendation from the very talented http://polysyllabicprofundities.com/ to check out  ‘Romantic Monday’.  Such a great way to spend a Monday, so I wrote this…

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friday fictioneers: seeing is believing…or is it?

Copyright - Adam Ickes

I was 7 when I learned Uncle Noah’s secret.

I’d come down to the dock to be alone. Time to myself during a family reunion that could suffocate.

Uncle Noah and I were loners. Perhaps that’s why he never married.

Although he fathered no children, they were always drawn to my uncle, myself included.

That fateful day I wandered off, hoping to catch some fish about which I could later boast.

Rounding the hedge of giant spruces, I gasped at what my eyes beheld.

Uncle Noah’s boots stood empty.

A sleigh drawn by reindeer was pirating him away.

Ho, ho, ho!!!

weekly photo challenge: grand

Hubby and I were very fortunate to cruise the British Isles a couple of years ago on the Grande Dame of vessels…the Queen Mary 2. Getting lost was always a definite possibility.

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…but discovering all the nooks and crannies…was well worth the adventure…

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: partnering for success

When my daughter broke off with her first beau, a brother-in-law with whom I’m very close told me …”She’ll be fine. They’ll both meet someone for whom they’re better suited.”Nashville 09-2010 00132

Those words have resonated with me ever since. 

Not only is the advice romance appropriate, I find it applicable to any relationship.

For some folks, like my husband, self confidence is a by-product of having been nurtured by great parents. Individuals whose love for one another was undeniable. And a love which blanketed their offspring, and all future generations…forever after.

On the other hand, the majority of people probably struggle with low self-esteem

I would suggest it better that these folks surround themselves with supporters, rather than detractors. Positive, not negative, personalities whose energy will help sustain and grow an otherwise wilting confidence.

However, just as my very wise and very beloved brother-in-law advised, everyone is suitable for someone. We just need to find the right one…

…be it a friend…or a lover…

………hugmamma.

"If you don't see your worth, you'll alwa...

 

nurturing thursdays: compassion…

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more aware of others senior to me. In particular, women who are alone without that special somebody with whom to share their lives.

Recently, one lovely friend told me that as she sits alone in her home she sometimes wishes her life would simply cease. Having lost her beloved 91 year-old mother several years ago, and a younger sister to cancer last year, my dear friend professes weariness. 

In her late seventies, Annette has health issues that are of some concern. 

Having broken her hand a couple of years ago when she fell down her front steps because of ice, Annette continues to suffer the effects.  She’s also still dealing with the aftermath of cataract surgery. Both impact her job as a part-time sales rep/bookkeeper at the local antiques mall where I’m a vendor. 

How my friend drives the 20 minutes to and from her job, regardless of the weather or the time of day, is beyond comprehension. I’m further blown away when Annette drives an hour to a doctor’s appointment.

Underlying her physical ailments is her ongoing struggle with depression. You’d never know it though, for she rarely complains and always greets folks with a smile.

The woman is a tower of strength in a seemingly, frail body. She must weary of my saying…”You’re my role model.”

Perhaps if I were in Annette’s shoes (were I able to fill them)…a survivor of two divorces, the second one decades ago…family and friends left behind in Canada as a result of her first marriage…and was once the sole bread-winner with a couple of young children…I’d be a real Wonder Woman too.

Isn’t it a wonder how women manage what life dishes out…no matter our age?

It helps that Annette’s son lives with her, making his home in the large, finished basement. Her daughter, a school bus driver lives nearby as well. More recently, her 31-year-old grandson has moved in while he decides what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

So in spite of her weariness, Annette still has a lot of living to do. We all want her in our lives still…her children…her co-workers…and her friends…

…especially me…

………hugmamma.IMG_4127

thanksgivings past…

As the holidays approach…among the many feel-good stories are one or two that tell of human angst. You know, where a parent can’t forgive his child some youthful transgression. Or best girlfriends are still not speaking because one stole the other’s boyfriend years before. Or siblings who never got along still can’t sit down together for a Thanksgiving meal.

So much is expected of the holidays…cheer, merriment, good will toward all. Any negative vibes should be dismissed, or at least temporarily “swept under the rug.”

Have you looked under that rug lately? Pretty dusty, I’ll bet.

Thanksgiving Day is a mixed bag of feelings for me.

IMG_4944On the one hand, I’m happy to have my loved ones close at hand. Hubby home from work and relaxing. Our daughter home from wherever she’s been dancing. 

We’re always blest to sit down to a bounteous meal, whether of our own doing or that of some clever chef at a restaurant.

I count my blessings, every one, including our furry family of critters.

We’ve a comfortable home in which we dwell, and wonderful memories to keep us company the rest of our lives.

Family and friends are there when we need them. And even when we don’t.

Despite all the joys with which I’ve been blest, one memory of Thanksgiving past continues to haunt my thoughts.

It was my first Thanksgiving as a young, married 20-year-old.

Amid family and friends, I became increasingly saddened despite all the revelry happening around me. I felt I didn’t fit in. Perhaps it was because I wanted my brand new husband to fit in. His shyness seemed a hindrance, although I don’t think he felt it. Nonetheless, I felt for him, and in turn for myself.

Deciding to halt the charade that I wasn’t able to continue, I approached the hostess to say I wasn’t feeling well and that we would be leaving.

It was as though I’d removed my finger from the hole in a dam and let loose a tsunami of seismic proportions.

As everyone gathered around, I was given a thorough dressing down like I’d never experienced before, or since. As tears ran uncontrollably down my cheeks, I was told my husband and I were immature for playing with the youngsters, and not drinking with the adults.

The remaining tirade is now a fog, but at the time every word was like an arrow that found its mark. I was devastated. Some of the men tried to run interference, but the tongue lashing continued until I was mush.

The final blow that took me down was being told that if I left early, I would never be able to step foot in the house again. To appease others, I sat through dinner, head bent, self esteem shattered.

We never returned for Thanksgiving Dinner.

As is always the case, forgiving occurs…long before you forget.

There have been get-togethers, far and few between. None have ever bridged the gap that grew ever-wider because of distance and time. 

But as the years pass, I’ll always wonder what initiated the vendetta. And why was it aimed at me?

An apology was never extended. I figured because I was probably culpable in the perpetrator’s mind. That it was ever open to discussion never occurred to me. With her, it was…what it was. Case closed.

So if I’m gun-shy around Thanksgiving celebrations…it is…what it is.

Some have told me that I’m too sensitive. I’ve recently read it can be the result of having fibromyalgia.

Whether it’s because of an incident long ago or an illness that’s currently got me in its grips, my holiday story is one of reflection.

…thanksgiving is not a one-size-fits-all celebration… 

………hugmamma.

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

   

an early thanksgiving…

(Written yesterday…)

I’m celebrating a couple of days before everyone else, as my daughter makes her way home from Pittsburgh, and before that Houston.

Hubby and I finished off decorating her bedroom after having it recently remodeled…stripped the 70s “popcorn” from the ceiling…replaced that yucky white-turned-dirty-beige carpet

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…relocated  the closet across the room, and enlarged it. Before, the side of it greeted you as you entered the room. It was difficult getting large furniture in and out.

Now I’m in the kitchen cooking up a pot of stew. Portuguese bean soup to be exact. 

My daughter’s looking forward to returning to hearth and home after a couple of months of…eating on the run in Houston…and bunking on an air mattress in Pittsburgh. Mind you, she loved it since she got to do what she loves best…dance!

However, my daughter’s no shrinking violet when it comes to mom’s good-old-fashioned, home cooked meals. She gobbles them right up. (Holiday pun.)

The other thing she’ll be doing is catching up on some much needed shut-eye. Rehearsing and performing for shows, not to mention the daily dance classes to warm up, are wearing on the body. 

Eat. Sleep. Watch old movies on TV with mom. And play Bananagrams with her old fogey parents, will fill my daughter’s calendar…at least for a few days. After that, back to exercise and keeping in tip top shape in order to dance.IMG_4296

And who knows where the wind will blow her next. My daughter plans to audition for contemporary dance companies here and abroad. 

So as long as we’re blest to have her in our midst, her dad and I will make the most of the time we have with the daughter who is…

…our sunshine…and our moon...

………hugmamma.IMG_5171

PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP…yummy in your tummy! (ham hocks, short ribs, smoked sausage, kidney beans, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, watercress, onions, and papaya)

what levels the playing field…between generations?

Illness!

No doubt about it. When young or old get sick, real sick, all bets are off.

Fibromyalgia Eye

Recently I’ve posted about my debilitating bout with fibromyalgia. The best way to describe what I was feeling was escalating chronic pain, and fatigue that accompanied me from my first sip of green tea…until I laid me down to sleep.

With lots of rest and minimal exertion…with which I’m still wrangling (give me an ounce of energy and I’m going 24/7)…I’m on the mend.

Yesterday I read a 16-year-old blogger’s rambling thoughts about dealing with fibromyalgia. My heart went out to her.

Imagine being a high-schooler facing the normal teenage dilemmas…peer pressure…boys…exams…parents’ expectations. Add to that an ailment that demands most of your attention from the minute you walk through the classroom door, until you’ve written the last sentence on that essay due tomorrow.

In this case, the young blogger had to pull back from the brink of a total breakdown, because she expected to fare better on her math exam than the she did previously. She was trying to beat a 93. Instead she got an 88.

An A-type personality is already difficult to manage, without adding an “elephant” into the room…fibromyalgia.

I’ve had the time and opportunity to reset my body. As a housewife, I can make my own schedule. There’s no external pressures making demands of me. Hubby leaves me to my own devices, knowing I’ll do what needs to be done in the moment.

No such luck for the suffering school girl attending classes, doing homework, answering to teachers and parents, struggling with failed efforts to make friends, no prospects of a boyfriend in sight.  And just dealing with normal teenage angst due to hormones running rampant.

Sometimes it even sucks to be young!

There’s no escaping illnesses that get a stranglehold on one’s life…young or old. They balance the “playing field.” All we can do is make each inning count. And perhaps…

…have compassion for the other generation…

………hugmamma.

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain (Photo credit: Samie Harding)

what separates the generations?

Old age. Pure and simple. Sometimes maybe not so simple.

It’s like one day I was the tasty olive served up on a toothpick in a James Bond classic cocktail…shaken, but not stirred. And then the lights blinked. And shazam!!! I’m a raisin sinking to the bottom of that martini.

Yeah! Yeah! I know hugmamma likes to crack wise about all kinds of things based upon decades of experience. But that’s just it. She’s talking about all the stuff she use to do; not living it like the young chick she use to be.

Old folks like to talk, talk, talk. That’s pretty much all we can do. 

Back in the day

Oh, I know there are those exceptions to the rule. Like President Bush, the elder statesman, who at a ripe old age jumped out of a plane on the end of a parachute. But you know what that was, don’t you? That was George H. saying…”I can do this…before I rendezvous with the Big Guy upstairs.”

On the other hand, look at the last of the Flying Walendas, the dude who’s walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The last time his grandpa tried to do that, walking a tightrope high above a city street…was his last. Unfortunately.

At some point, the body goes “Okay. Been there. Done that. I ain’t going out on a limb for you anymore, dude! Get that through your thick skull!”

A month or so ago, or maybe two or three, there was a James Bond marathon on TV.

Sean Connery as James Bond

 I got my fill of Sean Connery as the hunky spy. Images of the senior Bond kept flashing across my mind, trying to reconcile one with the other. I convinced myself that the old Connery still had it. Then I saw  Never Say Never Again, and the dream ended. Still good looking, still somewhat virile. But more of a caricature of what he once was as the cocky, gorgeous Welshman of years past.

Old age sucks! Don’t let any well-meaning, old-timer…like me…convince you differently.

Once your mailbox is flooded with Medicare supplement forms, there’s no turning back. It’s official. You’re on your way to la-la land…along with the other sheep put out to pasture.

What else can a wrinkled up raisin like me do but…blah, blah, blah about the good old days. Or give counsel about this ailment and that supplement. Or coo about the guy who lies all shriveled up beside me.

And then there’s the daughta! A reminder of what I was, and now I ain’t. As if I needed reminding.

Twenty-seven years old and rarin’ to go. Flittin’ from city to city dancing up a storm. Only my fingers come close to keeping up…churning out post after post on my trusty laptop.

So there’s the difference between her and me…old age. 

Youth does; oldsters don’t. That’s “how the cookie crumbles.”

…so enjoy those cookies…before your digestive system goes haywire!..and backfires on you…

……….hugmamma.

Sean Connery at the private party after the pr...

 

 

 

 

weekly photo challenge: unexpected

Unexpected moments in our household…and beyond. Roll your mouse over each photo to view the accompanying caption.