living her best life…#31

A belated HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! 

Was just reminded I missed sending out hugs to one and all. And yet it’s never too late for…

HUGS…ALL…AROUND!!! February 2011 00053Pat reminded me of my oversight when she emailed the following.

To update you on our Valentine Day’s weekend…

The power surge during the storm killed our TV. So in the afternoon, under sunny skies…you know our Hawaiian weather, bad one minute, glorious the next…we went to Best Buy to get a new one. Stopped by W&M Burger in Kaimuki on the way home. It took me a while but I managed to eat a Royal Burger. Do you remember that place? [Hugmamma here: No, I don’t, but you’re making me “ono” for one…with all the fixins’!]

We watched Maleficent later that night and I loved it! I especially liked the idea that “true love” exists between a child and a parent. I realize Maleficent wasn’t Aurora’s mother…but she acted as though she was because of how she doted on Aurora.

Didn’t do anything special for Valentine’s Day. Just had take out from Zippy’s. Ate something from the fridge instead.

Sunday afternoon friends from our son’s soccer team stopped by with dinner. They visited for a while which was really nice. After they left we heated up the food they brought for us…squash soup…chicken/eggplant stir fry…Chinese style veggies and long rice. All yummy!

That night we packed up a futon and blankets and went to Sandy Beach. 

Sat in the back of Brad’s truck.

I drank hot chocolate; he had coffee.

We looked up at the heavens…and watched the stars.

Lots of shore fishermen were out that night.

After the storm the previous day, Sunday was calm and clear.

On Monday we met Brad’s friends for a picnic and some shore line fishing. 

Brad caught one Oio. That was about it. He gave it to a family fishing a little ways down from where we were.

His friends brought tons of food. The aromas coming from food cooking on the hibachi smelled so good! I made sure to bring something I could eat…including leftover squash soup.

Later when we arrived home…WOW!!!…we found a cooler full of food in our garage. Thanks to Brad’s sister.

Today, Tuesday, I was back at work. Boy! Was my in-tray full!

Didn’t have to cook dinner tonight since we still had a bunch of leftovers.

Checked my blood test results. Everything still looks good. And if I’m reading my numbers right, some of them may have gone up.

Tomorrow is the first day of the second cycle of my chemotherapy treatment.

Oh! And they changed my meds from capsules to tablets which melt more easily in water. No more trying to swallow the gummy, outer coating of the capsules. Yuck! Should be lots quicker to take. Won’t taste better, but at least I won’t be in the bathroom for half-an-hour.

That’s it for now. Until next time…

…love to you, your family…

…and all my well-wishers!

………pat…and hugmamma.

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living her best life…#29

Just thought I’d give a little update re Pat’s status from a phone chat we had last week Thursday.

Pat’s a wonderful listener, so I got a lot said.

Not my intention when I made the call.

Of course she asked a lot of questions.

And laughed a lot.

So I figured..Okay. She’s laughing, so I guess she’s feeling fine.

I love it when she laughs.

Her whole face lights up…eyes crinkling at the corners…pearly whites showing from ear to ear.

Pat’s being treated wonderfully by friends and family who feed her and her men.

In addition to a meal of fresh, cooked salmon with a couple of sides, her sister Kathi had brought by homemade chicken noodle soup.

A friend had called asking which of 2 options Pat preferred.

Talk about Chinese take-out.

She chose butternut squash soup and a stir-fried dish.

When speaking of husband Brad, Pat got really animated.

I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Not that I needed to…get a word in edgewise, that is.

According to his gushing, eternally grateful wife…BRAD IS SMART!!!

I mean really, really smart.

And believe me…I don’t doubt it.

Pat’s lucky to have her hubby in her corner as she beats the c–p out of c—-r!

Brad researches Pat’s diseases to within an inch of their silly existences.

Armed to the nines, he queries the doctors about the medical hooha he doesn’t quite get as a lay person.

Not only that but Brad can actually remember what he’s learned.

Me?

I can regurgitate what I’ve read or heard…to a point.

After that it’s…duh???…memory hiccup.

Then lo and behold.

While we were speaking, Pat’s doorbell rang.

Our Valentine’s Day gift had arrived.

Candy, cards…and MALEFICENT!

We both agreed we’d not been fans of Angelina Jolie since she enticed Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston.

Now…how long ago was that?

Thankfully, Aniston’s garnered well-deserved happiness with fiancee Justin Theroux. 

And the Jolie-Pitts have settled in nicely together with a lovely brood of children, and are to be congratulated for their awesome charitable work.

My daughter turned my husband and me on to Maleficent, starring Jolie with a cameo by daughter Vivian as toddler Aurora.

Haven’t heard how Pat liked the DVD, although she was viewing it when a thunderstorm took out the power in her area.

She text me that she could hardly wait til the electricity returned.

Can’t wait to hear how she liked this very unique remake of…SLEEPING BEAUTY.

Pat did say our brother-in-law Dennis was doing well after the stroke he suffered. 

To look at him, she said, you’d never know anything extraordinary had happened.

So as far as I could tell…

…it was good news all around.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

weekly writing challenge: my funny valentine

IMG_4789Mocha delights our family so much. We all agree she’s “our funny valentine.”  We’re certain she doesn’t intend to make us laugh with her comedic antics, but she does.  We never know what to expect from her, although she has her own idiosyncrasies which we find adorable.

For starters, Mocha’s ears have teeny minds of their own. One stands straight up; the other folds in half. It perks up only if Mocha needs both ears to hear something unusual. Otherwise it prefers lying down on the job.

The beagle in Mocha gives her that gleam in her eyes. When she thinks she’s done something wrong, she’ll look up with the whites of her eyes showing slightly under her brown pupils. It’s a sad, worrisome look as if to say “How can you scold me, when I’m so sad-looking?” Or sometimes that same look can seem defiant. It’s as if Mocha is thinking “I’m not so sure about you. Sometimes I think you lie.” Or “I don’t trust you. What are you up to now?”IMG_0762

Our Mocha is camera shy, especially if a flash goes off. She’s gotten use to having her picture taken with a cell phone. However any time I whip out my point and shoot, Mocha runs for cover.

 

Mocha grumbling is like music to our ears. She grumbles when we hug one another without including her. So we have to make sure to give her lots of hugs and attention too. She grumbles when we’re too slow getting our act together to take her outdoors. She grumbles when one of her feline siblings gets in her way. It doesn’t happen with regularity, but when Mocha grumbles we have a good belly laugh.IMG_2005

Barking is Mocha’s neighborhood trademark. She’s gotten better about it as she’s gotten older. However she still lets two-legged and four-legged critters know that they’re taking their lives into their hands and paws when they trespass upon her land. And she makes sure she marks every blade of grass when she’s out surveying her acreage.

 

Ever since she was a puppy, Mocha has kept us on our toes as regards what she will and will not, eat. We’ve tried every kibble and canned food known to man. I jest, of course. But it’s been a trick getting her to where she’s at 12 years later.

Mocha’s taste resembles that of a human, so we feed her dog food that we could eat were a catastrophic event to occur. I’d still probably have to hold my nose, and perhaps even close my eyes.

The temperature of the food has to be just right. So when we nuke leftover food, we have to check on it every half-minute or so. Adding kibble is also a guessing game. Sometimes we mix it into the wet food; sometimes it sits on top. Most times Mocha doesn’t care which it is. Other times, she’ll shove all the kibble to the edge and leave it there. Once-in-awhile, she’ll attempt to bury her food by using her nose to nudge the place mat over the plate. We’ve taken that to mean she’s not hungry at the moment, but it’s off-limits to the cats. And though she may walk away, Mocha’s back grumbling as soon as any of them happen to wander by her dinner.

Recently we learned that our beloved Mocha’s heart has a leaky valve. As a result, there’s fluid buildup. To counteract this, she gets a diuretic twice a day. And upon the recommendation of a cardiologist, she gets a “horse pill” twice a day. It’s not actually for horses, but I swear only a horse could get that sucker down its throat! Mocha needs half a pill two times a day, 12 hours apart. Getting her to take one dose can take up to 12 hours!

Most animals won’t be duped into taking their meds no matter how creative we get. Forget Mary Poppins’ supercalifragilistic mumbo-jumbo. Hiding Mocha’s pill in cheese no longer works, even when she gets an extra chunk. Now I’m crushing the horsey heart pill with my beautiful Portmeiron pestle in its matching mortar bowl. Its probably getting more use than it’s ever seen. An upside in this otherwise laughable predicament.

Where before things were a little touch-and-go with our beloved Mocha, now she seems a fraction of her former self. And that’s enough for our family. We’re not about to give up on our Mocha any time soon. After all…

…mocha’s  still our funny valentine…and we love her…to the moon and back!!!

………hugmamma.IMG_2080

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 ...

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Image via Wikipedia

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

Image via Wikipedia

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

Image via Wikipedia

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)

Image via Wikipedia

 

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. 😉

valentine sentiments, a lifelong romance

After nearly 41 years of marriage, what can my husband do that still “makes my heart sing?” The quick answer is “give me a musical greeting card that plays ‘WILD THING, you make my heart sing, you make everything…groovy!’ “ Normally conservative, he’s a man of few words. As college valedictorian my husband’s speech consisted of 3 words, “Silence is golden.” As you can see, my husband has a “funny bone.” His humor can be sweet as well. Oh he can tease me endlessly, after all he’s the eldest of 12 and I’m the youngest of 9. But in unexpected moments, he surprises me with the smallest gesture that melts my heart and makes me giggle, like the young woman I was when we first met 44 years ago.

A lifetime of shared memories, of valleys and peaks, of maturing from 17-year-olds with “butterflies in our stomachs,” to seniors purchasing discount tickets and munching popcorn from a shared bag at Regal Cinema. How did we continue holding tight to one another’s hands, so certain we were a good match? I don’t think we knew for sure. Who does? 

It’s always amazed me how complete strangers, foreign to each other in every way, including the blood coursing through their veins, can cleave to one another as is expected when they are pronounced man and wife. That has got to be the one overriding “APT,” or “automatic positive thought” they must fight to keep for the rest of their lives. I can only imagine the civil wars that are waged within marriages between that one “APT” and the overwhelming army of  “ANTS” or “automatic negative thoughts” that bombard married persons every day.

I can only answer for myself that 41 years together has made my husband and me believers in the same faith, if you will. Yes, we are both Catholics, but our faith in each other is more profound than religion. I’ve heard it said, where I don’t remember, those whom we love most and who favor us with the same, affirm who we are. They are the passports for our earthly existence, and we for theirs. In an episode of  “I Love Lucy,” the Ricardos and the Mertzes satisfied the Passport Bureau requirement when they all acknowledged knowing one another, thus enabling them to travel abroad. If not for those who testify to our existence in their lives, we might only be murky shadows, in others’ collective memories. Vague memories which might include “Oh yeah, I remember her. Wasn’t she in our graduating class?” or “He was such a loner. Did he ever date? Did he marry?”

Looking into my husband’s eyes all these years, I’ve seen a “diamond in the rough” looking back at me. His love and unwavering commitment has helped me slowly evolve into the brilliant gem I am today. Light may not bounce off gray hairs, as it once did when it shimmered against dark locks, long ago. But the heart that beats within, remains the same. It still skips a beat when my husband walks through the door, after a long day’s work. Just as it did when I saw the boyfriend who resembled a young Elvis, stride through the front doors of my college residence, coming to collect me for a date.

Maybe my husband heard my beating heart when we were young. These days I might have to amplify the sound slightly. We’re both growing older, together. A funny card and a box of old-fashion candy hearts inscribed with sayings, reminds me that our romance is ageless. While the inscriptions are not as endearing as they once were, I selected a few which held special meaning…”call me, hold hands, soul mate,” representative of our good “young” days. “Shake it, boogie, oxox” are my hope for our lives going forward. One very special candy heart is inscribed “angel.” Our daughter was a gift after 16 childless years. I’m sure God sent us one of his own… to complete our marriage.

treasuring reminders… of priceless sentiments…hugmamma.         

happy heart day! happy heart month!

…childhood expressions of caring…

     

…nature’s critters add their heartfelt wishes too…

…as do i …  wholeheartedly!!!…hugmamma.

“affection, good for you,” experts

No need to convince me. I’m a hugger, and a “masher.” But maybe these experts will persuade those of you who need convincing.

The moment we indulge our affections, the earth is metamorphosed…Emerson

Talk not of wasted affection. Affection never was wasted…Longfellow

“You’re the first man who has hugged me since my husband died seven years ago!”…elderly woman to author Leo Buscaglia

“It’s like going home again.”…a man who exchanged hugs with author Leo Buscaglia

…arrive at a state in which all contact seems repellent, where to touch or to be touched means to hurt or be hurt. This, in a sense, has become one of the greatest ailments of our time, a major social disease of modern society that we would be well to cure before it is too late. It the danger remains unheeded then–like poisonous chemicals in our food–it may increase from generation to generation until the damage has gone beyond repair…Desmond Morris in “Intimate Behavior”

A simple caress has the potential of changing a whole life. The warm embrace, withheld at the vital moment when it is most desperately needed, can easily be the act, or rather the non-act, that finally destroys a relationship, or even a nation!…Leo Buscaglia in “Loving Each Other”

Hugging can lift depression–enabling the body’s immune system to become tuned up. Hugging breathes fresh life into a tired body and makes you feel younger and more vibrant. In the home, daily hugging will strengthen relationships and significantly reduce friction…Dr. Harold Voth, psychiatrist at the Menninger Foundation in Kansas

…when a person is touched, the amount of hemoglobin in the blood increases significantly. Hemoglobin is a part of the blood that carries vital supplies of oxygen to all organs of the body–including the heart and brain. An increase in hemoglobin tones up the whole body, helps prevent disease and speeds recovery from illness…Helen Colton in “The Gift of Touch”

We can all benefit by learning to express and meet our physical needs in a loving, caressing way. Thus, I give many of my patients a homework assignment: During the upcoming weeks, they are to get and give four hugs a day. I even write out a formal prescription that says simply, “Four hugs a day–without fail.” Don’t ever underestimate how powerful this therapy can be, and the role it can play in the healing process. And it’s a safe prescription, too. To my knowledge, no one has ever died of an overdose of hugging. However, as one of my patients told me, “It is addicting. Once you start hugging, it’s a hard habit to break!”…Dr. David Bressler, while director of the Pain Control Unit at UCLA

I’m living proof that hugging is the greatest form of therapy for whatever ails me, and very much habit forming. I couldn’t give up hugging if I tried. Hugging and outward affection are who I am.

sending you early hugs for a happy valentine’s day!…hugmamma.