…slow as molasses…

That’s how I feel as I set about decorating for the holidays. What use to take me a week and a half, may take me until Christmas morning this year. I kid you not. In the past I’d decorate 7 or 8 trees, 3 big ones and the rest smaller, potted types. All pre-lit, artificial. I’ll be lucky if I get the 3 big ones done. I feel like my get-up-and-go…got up and left.

Even hubby’s taking a nap.

We can’t seem to push ourselves the way we use to when we were in our mid-60’s. Now that we’re in our late 60’s, our energy level is kaput. Takes me a long time to decide how to rearrange the living room to accommodate the giant tree. In fact, I decided…in the midst of moving stuff around…to have the slipcovers on the sofa and club chair dry-cleaned. Thank goodness they’ll be back on Wednesday, all nice and clean…after years and years of accumulated dirt has been laundered away. Not surprisingly I found a partially eaten Dorito chip hiding beneath one of the seat cushions.

Another thing that’s slowing me down is the desire to get rid of some of my furnishings, specifically my vintage things of which there’s a lot. I’m an antiques dealer who loves to collect, in addition to selling, of course. Most of us in the business are passionate collectors. I discovered my passion after moving to Long Island, New York in 1977. I got bitten by the “bug” during the first antiques auction I’d ever attended. I left with a massive oak roll top desk which I recently donated to charity since no one was interested in buying it. Folks didn’t find it too practical in this day and age.

Thing is, the holidays are no time to think about downsizing. It’s a busy enough time without doing major overhauling. And definitely not for a couple of seniors whose adrenalin levels have seen better days.

We normally have three or more groups of friends and family in to celebrate during Christmas and New Year. We’ll be lucky if the house is up and running when our daughter returns home…AFTER Christmas.

What drives me to make Christmas great every year is that my husband and daughter are like wide-eyed children when everything is in place. They absolutely love Christmas and all its trappings. It’s the best present I can give them.

So I’d better get back to work…

…wrapping my christmas gift with love.

………hugmamma.

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what i did this summer…

Remember those essays we had to write the first day back to school?

How I spent my summer vacation.

I probably wrote that I played with friends and helped my mom around the house. Apart from that I went to an occasional movie with my best friend, gratis her awesome dad who’d pay the price of my admission…a quarter. Yep. A quarter. Back then…the 50’s and early 60’s…we could see a news reel, a cartoon, and a feature film for twenty-five pennies. On Maui, at least. Not sure what mainland theaters were charging.

Our family wasn’t rolling in dough so there were no trips to California, New York, or Europe. Those places weren’t even on my radar. The most I could hope for was a short trip to nearby Honolulu on a propeller plane. That’s if my older sister paid for my round trip ticket, inviting me to visit for the summer.

It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out that my world view was pretty narrow…that of an island girl out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, that all changed when I got married.

My husband’s first job was with Pan American World Airways, so we honeymooned in Tahiti. His second job was with American Express, with whom he got a promotion which moved us to New York. A short couple of years later he joined Norwegian American Cruises…and the rest is travel history.

Our first trip to Europe was in the 80’s. This time it was on me, since I was working with TWA in New York. It included a quick 2-day glimpse of Paris. Years later when our daughter was a teen, I dreamed of returning to that glamorous city with her in tow. I knew she’d never be able to afford it on her dancer’s salary.

This summer my dream trip to Paris came true. Except that my daughter had to work. No whisking her off to Europe. So instead it became…a second honeymoon for hubby and me.

While not the romantic scenario acted out in movies by the likes of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, hubby and I managed just fine for a middle-aged couple. We held hands. We looked lovingly into one another’s eyes. We teased and bantered, sharing intimate jokes at which only the two of us could smile and chuckle.

And yes, there were moments of frustration. When we got on each other’s last nerve.

Like when we went in search of Rodin’s Museum and Napoleon’s Tomb, and instead found ourselves wandering the streets in an isolated industrial neighborhood, while my poor aching feet screamed…”Get off of me! You’re killing me!” And when we had to go in search of the nearest “toilette,” so I could pee for the hundredth time.

Dead tired from scouring every corner of Paris we would fall into bed early. No evening soirees for us. No moonlit boat rides on the Seine . No gazing into each others’ eyes while dining on squab and chocolate souffles. We were content with a simple meal, an I Love Lucy video we’d brought from home, and finally snuggling side by side, snoring contentedly beneath a fluffy, white duvet…the nearby Eiffel Tower keeping watch over all, and lighting the skies above.

Funny what rocks your world when you’re old.

My favorite tour was wandering amidst miles and miles of tombstones at the Pere La Chaise Cemetery.

(Photo courtesy of…ohbythewayblog.blogspot.com)

Morbid? Just the opposite! It was other-worldly. Seeing row upon row of oft-times centuries-old graves. It was as though, those poor, deceased souls were sneaking glimpses of us…as we were having a peek in on them. With my cell phone I snapped photos of such notables’ tombs as Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt, Chopin, and Gertrude Stein. Even Jim Morrison of the rock group, The Doors, was interned there. I was especially delighted to see the simple graves of actors Yves Montand and wife Simone Signoret. They had been larger than life on the big screen. Now they lay like common folk beneath the hard earth.

Especially sobering were the graves of those who had suffered under Hitler’s demonic regime. I could still feel their wretched agony, pulsating beneath the stone.

 

(Photo courtesy of…cemetery explorers. blogspot.com)

I could hear my mom lecturing from her grave…”Don’t be taking pictures of the dead. They’ll haunt you. Wait and see.” Dismissing such thoughts, as best I could, I’d remark to myself…and yet loud enough so the dead could hear…”You’re a good person. I’m just honoring you, your memory.” Of course I didn’t wait for a response as I quickened my pace.

One particular tombstone stopped me dead…pardon the pun…in my tracks.

The image of a young man from the Victorian era…captured in bronze, dressed as though he’d been out and about, leather gloves and all…lay full length across his grave. He looked to be 6 feet tall. I kept staring in disbelief at the gorgeous hunk of cast stone. My eyes scoured every inch of him, hesitating where his crotch bulged…the only part not green from oxidation. Curious…

(Photo courtesy of…canvasoflight.com)

I was certain mine weren’t the only eyes bewildered by what lay before me. I’d had to wait my turn while a couple of men gazed down at what seemed a very unexpected and highly unusual tombstone. I admit I was afraid of taking a photo of the dead man’s likeness. Looking at him through the lens, I thought he’d wink…or frown…or sit up and smack me. I admit, I was a tiny bit scared. Calming my fears, I turned to the inscription and quickly snapped a shot.

That night in the comfort of our rented apartment, I looked through the photos I’d taken. I paused at the image of the young man made of bronze. He continued to fascinate me. When I moved on to the snapshot of the inscription, I held my breath. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? How could the inscription be upside down? I was positive I’d not turned my cell phone around to take the picture. That would’ve been awkward. There must have been a good explanation, although neither my husband nor I could come up with one.

I was spooked. I could not look at the picture of the inscription again, without feeling as though a ghostly urchin was having fun at my expense. I almost believed my mom’s scolding that I would pay for disrespecting the dead. Almost. I finally convinced myself that whoever had commissioned the sculpture deliberately requested that the inscription…in French…be written upside down. After all, it seemed in keeping with the provocative tomb. Perhaps it was done so the deceased could read what it said without too much effort on his part. He could just…sit up.

Aaahhh, Paris…all of its sights and smells, large and small, grandiose and humble…captures the essence of European culture. Refined and earthy all at once. Grounded in centuries of history, yet comfortable in its modernity..

I left with a deep respect for people different from me. Folks at ease in their daily lives. In fact, I marveled at how easily Parisians worked and relaxed throughout the day. They don’t seem to subscribe to our American need to work 60-hour weeks, playing only on weekends, if even that. As we toured the city, we saw, and heard, many a Parisian bicycling, and lunching, along the Seine. They sat at nearby cafe tables, sipping wine and conversing as tour buses and motorcycles whizzed by.

Yet I was glad to be home, settling back into our normal life…resuming our normal routines…comforted by our cozy, familiar surroundings.

We’re no different from Dorothy, who preferred Kansas to Oz…

…there really is…no place like home.

………hugmamma.

(Note: I will post my own photos of Paris…as soon as I figure out how to upload them from my cell phone. I couldn’t wait until then to write about it. Something I already know how to do.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: filed under entertaining angels

Gosh! I’m sure someone is already thinking of me this way…”that chatty, old woman.” Let’s hope I complete the picture…”she made me feel good about myself.”
………hugmamma.

another cup of coffee

angel

This lovely lady represents so much that’s good about humanity: unconditional love, joy, compassion.

I ran into to her at the post office. Well. Let me rephrase that; she annoyed her way into my heart while I was standing impatiently in line at the post office.

She kept engaging the postal clerk in a prolonged conversation, asking after everybody in the clerk’s family, her co-workers, and some other mundane and totally-uninteresting-to-me details. In short, she was holding me up. I didn’t even have anywhere to be at the time, but I can say that my day had been fairly ruined with some bad news, and that wasn’t helping my mood.

By the time my turn came up and I was finished and on the way out, she was still moving at her elderly pace to get to the door. I gave in to the moment. I just wasn’t going to…

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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

“A Correction, From Carlton to Carleton”

…an inspiration for those of us who hope to write forever…
………hugmamma.

98 Years Old and Still Writing: Okie's Poems

~

An experience Okie had, while in her 80’s.
(Okie is now 96 years old)
Okie prefers that her writing be shown and read in her own handwriting
(a typed up copy is far below, for those with smaller computer screens)

~

~

Okie, changing road sign from Carlton to Carleon

Okie changing the road sign

~

Note added by Kathy: the post on that road sign was unusually high, probably so that the snow plow drivers could see over larger snow banks that get very high at that intersection. The sign post was much higher than normal road signs!….all the more remarkable to even have a tall enough ladder  and THEN to actually climb that high on it…particularly for a person in her 80’s.

~

Carleton Road Sanbornton NH

~

 here’s a computer created graphic, superimposed on a photo of CARLETON Rd.

Okie Carleton Road sign 4

~

A typed up copy of Okie’s writing, in case people are viewing on smaller computer monitors

Carleton Road, Meredith NH, changing the road sign

~

!wow!
Has anyone noticed…

View original post 34 more words

classical…taylor swift???

I happened upon this video when I visited… Ese’s Voice at http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com

I’m a fan of music…any kind, actually. I just have to feel good listening to it. And on some level, it needs to connect with who I am.

What captivated me about this particular music video was that it was a pop song performed by classical musicians. It’s been done before, but to a Taylor Swift tune?

I’m not a huge fan of Swift’s, although she is a phenomenon in that she writes her own music as if she were merely journaling. She’s a great storyteller for millions of broken-hearted teenage girls…having been there herself. Let’s see…how many times was that? I’m sure no one’s counting…except maybe the media and…Taylor Swift.

Hearing this classical version of Swift’s pop tune…Love Story…

You Belong with Me

seems to somehow legitimize the iconic singer with the middle-aged set. This is not meant to be uppity. In fact, Swift’s fans would most likely tune out my generation’s music.

The Piano Guys do a fine job of bridging the gap between the younger set…and those of us who have aged like fine wine.

…i’m more of a martini myself…make mine blue, please…

………hugmamma.

And now for the listening and viewing pleasure of my peers… 

…take a walk on the wild side…

When you think life has turned you on your head…take a walk on the wild side…

My daughter’s relocation home has naturally influenced our household busy-ness. To say my house has been upended is putting it mildly. There are boxes in the hallway, in the kitchen and dining room, and in my husband’s home office. There’s extra furniture in the lower level family room and bedroom. There’s a surplus of beauty products and food items waiting to be stored somewhere. And I don’t think my significant other would assent to up-sizing our house just to accommodate more stuff. Not when he’s planning to retire in a couple of years.IMG_4995

So my daughter and I have soldiered on, determined to win the war on all the stuff. They’ll either fit in…or get donated or heaven forbid…tossed. I have difficulty throwing away anything. After all, somebody made them…they’re still usable…somebody somewhere can still find a use for them…and we need to cut the landfills some slack. They can’t take all the crap we throw them.IMG_4990

It’s for sure my own dog and cats, 2 of them, weren’t thrilled when their home was invaded by my daughter’s cat who likes to think he’s king of the roost. Putting up with his antics has been a lesson in tolerance on their part. Thankfully, they’ve all survived…and seem to be getting along…finally.

Our problem was minisculized (my own word)…big time…when I visited finding strength to stand again at http://www.findingstrengthtostandagain.wordpress.com

Yes, I’m a senior with normal aging issues. But that’s the point…I’ve a normal life. I can walk, even run…when the body cooperates, that is. I can garden, even bending down to weed. I can go to concerts…like my recent sojourn to Paul McCartney’s which was a blast!. I can drive…even if it takes me longer to get out of Seattle than most  because detours throw me for a loop. If it weren’t for my daughter sitting beside me yesterday calmly talking me through alternatives, I would’ve been in a dither. I’m sure I’d have figured out where I was going…eventually…to the chagrin of other drivers trying to get around me as I come to a dead stop…which I did do, in fact. The honk from a horn brought me back from la la land…where I often drift without warning.

I encourage you to visit with Tara Hall. Walk in her shoes…

…maybe then you’ll be glad…you’re walking in your own…

…hugmamma. 

stepping outside…

…my comfort zone.

Fred Astaire and a chorus of Fred Astaires per...

Fred Astaire and a chorus of Fred Astaires performing “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in Blue Skies (1946) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems in 2013 I’m steppin’ out and…”puttin’ on the ritz.” Since top hat and coat tails won’t ward off the chill, I’m doing it in…wool hat, scarf and mittens.

My mantra for the New Year? “Go big or go home!”

And so yesterday…

I drove 45 minutes to the next town to attend a Level One yoga class!

Yeayyy for me! I’m still patting myself on the back. 

A yoga class.

A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having pondered the idea of taking yoga for some time now, my body decided it was…now or never. “Shut up…or put up!” It seemed to say.

When I undertake a project, I research it to the nth degree. I never do anything half-way.

There were a couple of in-town sites which were ideally located. However I opted to venture farther from home  for a variety of reasons, not least of which was to learn from someone who would be a nurturing guide. I didn’t want to risk injury hurrying to keep up.

English: Bikram Yoga

English: Bikram Yoga (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Classes at one local operation are held in 95-100 degree temperatures. The practice is called “hot yoga.”

I’m positive I would have passed out before drawing my first breath. And the rule is…once the door closes and class begins…everyone stays put. Those who can’t stand the heat are required to sit on the sidelines and watch…the entire time.

Another yoga venue seemed too small…spatially…and politically. “How’s that?” you ask. Yoga political?

I’ve learned over time that politics is part of everyday life. The smaller the community, the harder felt the politics. Negative vibes are difficult to overlook. You either do. Or you don’t…and move on.

The logo of Red Flag Linux

The logo of Red Flag Linux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A third business never responded to an email I sent, even though their website ensured me they would. That stood out like a “red flag” signalling a lack of organization or worse…promises not kept.

My research efforts always include reading reviews. ALWAYS!!! They tell me more than all the flowery words written on websites.

One review indicated the yoga owner/teacher of the business cancelled class, deciding to breakfast with a friend, even after one student showed.

A review for a second, claimed that a promised refund never materialized.

 Unlike the others, Discover Yoga  was exactly as depicted on its website.main studio

The manager/instructor was knowledgeable, patient and helpful. In its understatement, the facility, had a calming effect. No bells and whistles here! Just yoga. It suited me to a tee.

After learning that my first class was free, I got more good news.

I’m still a young chickadee at 63! Were I a couple of years older, I’d get a senior discount on future classes.

There’s always a silver lining. We just have to…

…look for them…

English: This is, in fact, why I quit my yoga ...

English: This is, in fact, why I quit my yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

………hugmamma.

let your spirits…soar

Storytellers abound. All we need do is pause, breathe deeply…and listen.

Sometimes it also helps…to open our eyes.

As with the story of an 80 year-old, deaf Canadian whose canvas is the sky and whose paint brushes are…kites.

His “artwork” draws applause…in the form of hands held high…so he can see and know…that an appreciative audience is thrilled by his artistry.

One kite in each of his hands…and one tied to his waist…the “artist,” skin leathery from hundreds of hours in the sun…”paints” like the great master he is.

The accompanying music combines to create…a beautiful ballet, whose movement…even my daughter would relish applying to dance.

…simply…breathtaking…

………hugmamma.

what i now know…the divine m…

I came across the following interview with Bette Midler recently.

International edition

International edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s an understatement to say that Midler has evolved. My first memory of her was prancing around a Broadway stage in a mermaid costume. At least I think it was Broadway. And I think the show was called The Divine Miss M. 

Wish I could have seen Midler on stage, camping it up. Instead I caught a part of her act on some TV variety show…maybe The Ed Sullivan Show. I’m not certain.

The last time I saw Midler was in The First Wives Club, with Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn.

Regardless where she plays, on stage, on TV, or in film, Midler is a unique talent. There’s not another like her. The same can be said about the following advice she seems very happy to share.

The Divine Miss M dishes about dreams, destiny and deciding what matters
(AARP The Magazine, October/November-Reported by Bill Newcott)

  • Life is Not Your Personal Express Lane
    You’ve got to figure, “Well, there are 7 billion other people in the world. It doesn’t all have to be about me!” It took me about 66 years to come to this conclusion.
  • Songs Tell Untold Truths
    Twenty-seven people sang Wind Beneath My Wings before I got around to it. A lot of people saw the movie that I sang it in, Beaches, and what they came away with was that song. They turned to their loved ones and said, “You know, you are the wind beneath my wings!” The song expressed how they felt in a way a simple “I love you” would not have.
  • The Big World is Better Than Your Little One
    When you have had your head down doing something–even something you love, love, love–and you finally pick your head up and see the world around you, it’s just so beautiful. It’s just…oh, my God, I’m so glad I lived! That’s when you realize you need balance. I seek that now all the time.
  • You Can’t Always Be “On,” No Matter What People Expect
    For a while it was exhausting, and now I don’t really care.
  • It’s OK to Let Go of a Dream
    That’s exactly it: They’re dreams. A lot of the time they’re fantasies, and you become enslaved to them. Sometimes they’re hormonal. When the hormones fade, then the dream no longer means the same thing. That’s when you need to get yourself a new dream.
  • Beauty Ain’t Pretty
    You should be very careful about who does your manipedi, because you can really screw your toes up. You should stop beating your hair into submission, even if you don’t like it. Everyone should exfoliate, every day, even guys. More than two drinks a day will ruin your skin. And if you don’t have a full-length mirror, you’re going to get fat. Period.

…bette…will always be…divine…

Bette Midler at the 2010 HRC Annual Dinner

Bette Midler at the 2010 HRC Annual Dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

………hugmamma. 🙂

hi-kicking grandma…

This woman is 10+ years my senior, but outpaces me…BIG TIME!!! Gotta love Betty with the baton!

Time Marches On, With a Baton, For 79-year-old Betty Lambert- Long-Lived Majorette Is a Minor Celebrity In Harmony, Pa.,; Twirls and Splits
by Clare Ansberry 

   Harmony, Pa.–Majorette Betty Lambert leads the Resurrection Band, twirling batons between her legs and above her head, and stopping several times along the route to perform the splits. The 79-year-old recently gave up cartwheels but still twirls knives, and fire-batons when it isn’t windy.

Ms. Lambert, who threw a baton when she was in high school, then married and had children, took the sport up again in her 40s after seeing a small classified ad in the newspaper looking for people who wanted to start a marching band. The group called itself the Resurrection Band because members resurrected their instruments from attics. Ms. Lambert didn’t play an instrument but offered majorette services. Cartwheels and baton twirling are like riding a bike, she found. “You don’t forget.” Since Ms. Lambert is naturally limber, the splits require only regular stretching and some exercises in the weeks before a performance.

The Resurrection Band performs mainly at parades in western Pennsylvania, the latest being the Fourth of July in Zelienople, although the musicians no longer march but ride on a float. “We’re getting older,” says Marlene Domhoff, a 74-year-old flutist for the band but not the oldest member; that title belongs to an 80-year-old snare drummer.

Ms. Lambert, though, marched the whole route as she has done for 32 years, then came around again on a float, where she was dressed as the Statue of Liberty. It is one of her 41 costumes, which include cats for Halloween parades, a Rudolph for Christmas and a Native American for the Horse Trading Days festival. For that she wears a feather headdress her late husband, Pete, found at a truck stop. Many of the costumes are homemade. Her husband, who died seven years ago, made a Statue of Liberty torch out of a table leg and Tiki lamp. The crown is a plastic milk crate that they heated and bent into shape. After 9/11, she appeared as Miss Liberty eight times in two weeks.

   Most majorettes retire their batons after high school or college, says Bonnie Kupp, who is with Drum Majorettes of America, which holds clinics and competitions around the country for various age groups. The oldest active majorette she knows is a 37-year-old woman from Tennessee who competes internationally. Another national twirling group, the US Twirling Association, says twirling is a great sport for all ages, adding that some retirement communities offer twirling classes. “It’s a great aerobic activity,” says Anna Osborn Dolan, of the twirling association, which has played host to world championships.

Ms. Lambert has never twirled competitively, although she did enter a Classic Beauty USA competition in the 1980s, for women 39 and older, and won a trophy in the talent category for twirling. She prefers performing on her own, too, rather than in a group. “If I make a mistake and go left instead of right, no one knows,” says Ms. Lambert, who improvises her choreography as she marches. “I go with the beat of the music”–which typically consists of patriotic songs, big-band pieces and the “Pennsylvania Polka.”

Her four children grew up watching their mother march. “I thought this would be a phase she would go through,” says her youngest daughter, Kim Marburger, who never twirled but did master the unicycle. Ms. Marburger and her daughters walk along on the sidewalks during parades, carrying water bottles, a variety of batons and tiki fluid to light the fire batons. They help with costume changes. It was so hot Independence Day that the green Statue of Liberty makeup was running down Ms. Lambert’s face.

Ms. Marburger tells her mother to take it easy. “I say, ‘Mom, please keep it to two or three splits.’ ” says Ms. Marburger. Invariably, though, the crowd, four deep along the sidewalk and having seen Ms. Lambert every year for the past three decades, calls for more. Ms. Lambert obliges. This year, she did about nine or 10 splits. People stop her in stores and tell her she looks familiar. “I’m the old lady who does the splits,” she tells them.

Ms. Lambert updates her routine to keep it fresh. Several years ago, she took classes to learn how to throw fire batons and, later, at the age of 76, took up knives. She had only one mishap when the yarn tassel on her boot caught fire. “She’s an inspiration,” said Jennifer Dimit Baldacci of Jen’s Academy of Rhythm & Moves, who said Ms. Lambert attended her classes in 2009 and performed with all her other students in the recital that year. The theme was “TVLand” and Ms. Lambert twirled hoop batons and knives to the “Andy Griffith Show” theme song. “People went crazy,” says Ms. Baldacci. “She stole the show.”

Twirling isn’t easy. It requires good hand-eye coordination, especially with multiple batons, and upper-body strength to propel heavy knife batons, which are often hooked together, high in the air. Ms. Lambert credits her longevity to good nutrition and keeping active.

A beautician and graduate of the Victoria Mannequin Modeling School in Pittsburgh, she continues to cut hair and give permanents to longtime customers of Betty’s Beauty Salon, located in a small building next to her house, and makes house calls to her customers who no longer drive. Her other business, Betty Lambert’s Picnic Shelter, which has a swimming pool and well-kept shelter pavilion, is a favorite for graduation parties and wedding receptions.

Tim Sapienza, who retired after 32 years as chief of the Harmony Volunteer Fire company, was just a boy when he first saw Ms. Lambert, then in high school, twirling for the Harmony Harmonettes in 1949. That band and others, including the Butler Flame, were sponsored by local fire departments, which have since stopped organizing marching bands. “They quit, but Betty is still at it,” says Mr. Sapienza who was particularly impressed to see her perform splits and twirl the baton for one length of the parade and then return as Miss Liberty. “She held that torch up the entire length of the parade,” he said.

Ms. Lambert said she hopes to do it again next summer.

(Wall Street Journal)

…who says old folks…have to…act old?

………hugmamma.

wake up!…the clock’s ticking…

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus (Photo credit: anaxolotl)

That’s the news I received from my family doctor. I’m pre-diabetic.

According to the news, I’ve something in common with millions of Americans. Small comfort since statistics don’t help in battling the disease. We’ve each got to help ourselves regain and maintain good health. It’s not impossible…just lots of hard work. And the older I get, I’ve less energy and will power for using more elbow grease. Especially when my elbow’s arthritic.

Learning that I’m pre-diabetic wasn’t a surprise. My mom had it, a brother has it, and I’m sure most of my other siblings do as well. It’s in our genes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. We have a say in the path our health takes. And it always comes back to…exercise and diet.

Rather than assign me to some implausible regimen, my doctor agrees that my best resolve is to ramp up my exercise and stay clear of anything white…foods, that is. No white breads. No white rice.

I’ve done it before; I can do it again. The difference being…time’s running out on my ability to hit the reset button. Older age has a way of dealing with procrastination…it doesn’t. At a certain point the door closes on our options.

Only one option remains for me now…a lifestyle change with no going back. I’ve gotta do…what I’ve gotta do…

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus (Photo credit: rosmary)

…the alternative…is not an option…

………hugmamma.     😦

the flexibility of…youth

Apart from the age difference, there’s a mental and physical fluidity that separates the generations. My daughter and I are living proof of that chasm.

Today she’s enroute to a new life, or at least a modification of her normal one. At the invitation of a friend who created her own contemporary company, my daughter will be dancing with them for the next month. The pay is small, not even minimum wage. That she’s even being paid is amazing since the company is fledgling, at best just a year old. Donations and grants are sustaining the venture; passion and hard work are growing it by leaps and bounds.

My daughter made out better financially dancing with California’s University of Irvine’s program, the National Choreographer’s Initiative. For 3 weeks work, she was paid $2,000 plus partial airfare and pointe shoe costs. She was invited to return for a 4th summer, but had promised her friend she’d help with the effort to grow the newbie company. A promise is a promise, after all. And there’s always something new to be learned from unexplored turf.

English: Modern pointe shoes. The edge of the ...

English: Modern pointe shoes. The edge of the toe pad, which is inserted between the foot and toe box for cushioning, can be seen on the right foot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite glitches in my daughter’s flight with Delta due to mechanical problems, she was not deterred from the adventure that lay ahead. Even if it meant she had to return home, and begin the trip anew tomorrow. Her luggage might’ve made the trip ahead of her, but after all it only contained stuff. Thankfully, however, she’d stashed her pointe shoes in her carry-on bag. They are not easily replaced as they are hand made, and at a hefty price, with a lengthy ship date.

My husband and I were pleased to finally hear that our daughter and her luggage made a later flight, and is headed for some kick-butt fun.  She might’ve expressed it a tad differently, but after all I’m still a product of my generation and Catholic upbringing. I must admit though…there’s always been a little bit of the devil in me. Isn’t that an Irish trait? Well then they have something in common with us Hawaiians.

So while my daughter is off somewhere living a jet-setter‘s life, albeit on the salary of a starving artist, I’m living vicariously through my writing, my blogging. Easier on my back, although it’s questionable since I’m hunched over a keyboard for long stretches at a time. Less stress since there’s no packing or security lines involved. Not to mention delayed flights. I can use the restroom anytime, a luxury compared to sucking it up when I squeeze into the plane’s port-a-potty. I can eat at will. Not an advantage, more like a sin committed every half-an-hour or so. And no amount of confessing gets me the absolution I need…weight loss.

Energy and will power diminish with age. That’s my excuse. I reckon I’m not the only one hiding behind that one. At least I hope not. Wish I could rev up my engine and let loose like a ball shot from a canon. I won’t stop trying, but I won’t complain either.

Life is change and change is good. Adjusting to change takes work, but the rewards are pretty satisfying. So I’ll do my thing…

…and i’ll happily watch my daughter…do hers…

………hugmamma.    🙂

…comfort zones…

…stepping away from them.

Nuts (film)

Nuts (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re like me, human, you’re a creature of habit. It’s so much easier to stick with something you’ve thought or done a gazillion times, than it is to risk it all to try something unfamiliar. Of course if we’ve no choice, as when something or someone dictates change, then we rise to the occasion. But deciding to take that leap on our own…are you nuts?!? And the older we get the harder it is to…jump off a cliff…even with a parachute! 

200

200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The oldsters magazine from AARP, spoke to this topic in an article by Ken Budd. “New Adventures, New Risks, New You!” encourages seniors to jump into life without pausing to ensure there’s a safety net. Budd writes

I was struggling to find my purpose. And then a friend gave me some advice: “You only know about yourself when you’re outside your comfort zone.” Without really planning on it, I started volunteering around the world and plunging myself into sometimes scary, always fulfilling experiences. 

Budd goes on to describe his various volunteer escapades, from cooking spaghetti for 42 hungry and eager children in Kenya to “building rock walls in the West Bank or working at a school in China.” Along the way he

was kicked by a horse, scratched by children…lost half a thumbnail after slipping on a slope in the Andes (which felt a bit like an interrogation technique used by secret police)…nearly stepped on a tarantula…forced to drop [his] pants by Israeli security…suffered stomach viruses in China and Kenya…slept on the floor for two weeks in an unfurnished apartment with 18 guys and one bathroom…had a spider bite…the size of a golf ball…

In spite of his trials and tribulations Budd says “And yet thinking about these incidents makes me smile.” The man must’ve lingered in the Kenyan sun too long.

Experts, in this case Susan Biali, a Canadian doctor, wellness expert and life coach, and Cornell University researchers, weighed in on the benefits of risk-taking. According to Biali ” ‘A lot of people see anxiety, fear, and nervousness as a warning that says, “Danger! Danger!” but it’s actually a sign you’re moving forward…’ ”  And the Cornell researchers theorized that of study participants “57 percent…were happier after spending money on an experience instead of on stuff, compared with 34 percent who chose material goods.” The reasoning? We tend to own our experiences whose memories are longer-lasting than an outdated iPhone. Evidently we even tend to appreciate the “lousy experiences.”

It’s no surprise that the experts confirm what we already know in our gut…

…happiness helps us live longer: A study published in 2011 found that happy people were 35 percent less likely to die a premature death than their less content counterparts.

We’ve also been hearing a lot about challenging our brains. The article likens them to gardens for which “new activities are mental manure: the fertilizer for new brain cells.” We’re encouraged to change it up. ” ‘Take a new route to work. Get out of bed on a different side. Brush your teeth with a different hand. It stimulates your brain.’ ”

The experts also assure us more fun if we attempt to break old habits, especially when it comes to long-term relationships.

…a study of married couples in Psychological Science…Spending time together helps, but falling into dreary, moldy-marriage traps–meeting with a tax attorney is not a date night–will not rekindle passion. Try something new!

Budd writes “When my wife and I taught English in Costa Rica, it was exciting to see us escape our usual roles: to watch her play dodgeball and bowl with kids using a tennis ball and soda bottles for pins.” Psychologist Pepper Schwartz explains ” ‘Boredom is the enemy, so creativity is the rejuvenator.’ ” She points to examples of seniors who took a new lease on life…a couple in their 60s who started swapping partners, better known as “swinging” (really?!?)…and another couple who learned aikido, the art of self-defense. Other options include touring exotic locales, or embarking in a joint enterprise, such as a small business or foundation. Schwartz says “try new things and gain new intimacy: ‘Change the mind…and the body follows.’ ”

Finally, Budd recommends we let go of our inhibitions. He strongly recommends we give into our goofball selves.

In Kenya, I tried to say the Swahili word for shared taxi–matatu–instead said matiti, which means…boobs. As in, “Wow, the boobs are nicer here in the city…”

But I came to cherish my stupidity. Every time I felt dumb, I learned something. As Alina Tugend writes in Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong, “the fear of making mistakes is a cudgel that hangs over so many of us,” preventing us from taking risks. So here’s my risk-taking, rut-breaking advice to you: Don’t be bludgeoned by fear. Embrace every opportunity to be a bai chi. [Chinese for “idiot.”]

I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to traipse around the world getting myself into situations that would require all of my 9 lives…were I a cat…and a newborn at that…to survive and live happily-ever-after…let alone to live and tell about my adventures.

I think I’ll take baby steps outside my comfort zone.

  • When I’d prefer to ignore the sunlight peeking from beneath the drawn window shade, I’ll throw back the bed covers and eagerly dive into the day. I’ll will myself to make it to 8:15 exercise class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 
  • When I’d prefer to take our sweet dog for a short walk, I’ll will myself to go the extra mile…literally!
  • When I’d prefer a ginger ale, I’ll will myself to fill up my “tank” with no-calorie…water.
  • When I’d prefer to blog, I’ll will myself to get up off my b–t and do some housekeeping.
  • When I’d prefer to procrastinate with a doctor’s appointment, I’ll will myself to “buck up…and take it like…a man.”
  • When I’d like to sample a savory sweet…a bowl of white rice…handfuls of roasted peanuts…and second helpings of comfort food, I’ll will myself to…zip my lips!
  • And when I’m tempted to let time get away so that the night-owl in me gets the better of the early bird, I’ll will myself to slide under the bedcovers…by 10 p.m. 

Won’t you join me and throw caution to the wind. After all you only live once. So what the heck…go for it!!! Before you know it…

McNinja in mid leap

McNinja in mid leap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…baby steps soon become…tyrannosauras steps…

………hugmamma.   😆

  

not everyone’s cup o’ tea…

I’m sure WordPress has invited many of you to participate in WordAds. For those not familiar with this, blogs approved for participation are potentially paid for ads that run on their sites.

Reality Television

Reality Television (Photo credit: badjonni)

Receiving the invitation is indeed an ego-booster, especially for a senior hobbit like myself use to toiling away in my cave incognito, more or less. Once the adrenalin rush has passed however, my own form of reality TV sets in.

One of the requirements for participation in WordAds is handing over my social security number. As a mom who has discouraged my daughter from revealing too much on Facebook, and as one who can’t wrap my brain around identity theft victims sorting out the mess their lives have become, why would I then relinquish my unique piece of identification to a company that is neither my health care provider, my banker or my loan provider? 

WordPress is as good a social network site as one can get. I’m particularly grateful for their attention to security. That doesn’t mean they’re impervious to hacking however. A year or so ago I was up close and personal with just how badly WordPress can be attacked. 

My blog was caught in the crossfire when WordPress pulled out their ‘big guns” to do battle with a global invasion of their systems. As a result of their hypersensitivity to intruders, I was spammed out of leaving comments on other WordPress blogs. I seriously contemplated leaving WordPress when it decided to pull the plug instead. My husband intervened with a few kind words on my behalf which finally got WordPress to review my situation. Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul was reinstated after they decided I wasn’t a bad egg after all. Their apology helped me recover from the bad experience. But I’ll admit…it was a long week.

I couldn’t imagine dealing with identity theft and picking up the threads of my life thereafter. At 63, would I really want the stress? It’s for sure the dollars earned from participating in WordAds would never compensate for the money I’d spend while waging the battle of my life.

Need a social security #?

Need a social security #? (Photo credit: Matt Blaze)

I’ve since learned that my social security number would be encrypted, a good thing. Unfortunately there are as many brainiacs trying to do evil as there are trying to do good. Where mega bucks is concerned, those on the “dark side” never give up until they can get their greedy hands on someonelse’s hard-earned cash.

I don’t fault anyone who opts to participate in WordAds. Why not make some money doing what you’re already doing, writing and blogging. Everyone buys and sells on the internet. Private information flows…in abundance. What’s the big deal?

For me, stress is a big deal. It consumes one’s life, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Research indicates that too much stress can lead to Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart ailments, diabetes and a whole host of other diseases.

Staving off illness is an uphill climb, moreso for those of lesser means. We all do what we must…to live. I choose to do so…with as little stress as I’m able. 

 

Scanned image of author's US Social Security card.

Scanned image of author’s US Social Security card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…your thoughts?…i’m open to some new age enlightenment…

………hugmamma.  😉