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 $$$.



living her best life: #50…more girl talk

On 7/11, Pat texted…Hi [hugmamma]how exciting to be planning [a] wedding. We are looking forward to visiting Nashville next year.

Right now I am lying in bed getting the infusion of chemo…almost done. The bad side effects (IF ANY!) will start after a few days. Just gotta get through the next … Sorry…nurse came in and we are done. Heading back to the house…will text or email later.

Hi[hugmamma]got back to the house and took a nap…ready for some food now…always ready to eat. Have to make the most of the good days…thank God havent’ had any bad ones yet. 

So what is [your daughter’s] color scheme? Will the maid of honor and bridesmaids wear different dresses in the same color palette? I like that trend. So as the bride’s parents are you planning everything or are [the groom]s mom and sister helping? Just don’t get too stressed…did they set a date? I doubt you will get back to Hawaii between now and then so at some point I will get all the aunties and cousins together for a bridal shower…Hawaiian style…we’ll videotape and send it to you.

To which I replied…That is sooo beautiful. Made me cry. Been crying off and on…hormone therapy…oye vay! Also watching Hallmark Xmas tear jerkers…besides which I’m realizing that I’m losing my daughta. No more inside family jokes among the three of us. Have to mind my p’s and q’s…at least til I get really comfortable with [SIL.] He’s very nice…but we’ve only been with him twice now…in close quarters, for sure. Anyway, thank goodness I’ve you to confide in. You know [your brother]…don’t worry, be happy. Thank God, you [and your siblings] are so laid back.

Because [SIL and PIL] plan a trip to Hawaii, with our help, I am sure they’d really appreciate you’re all…whoever wants, of course…to contribute to their honeymoon fund. As you might guess, they have all the household goods they need…and clothes…since [PIL] has lived on her own for 11 years. Again, only a suggestion. 

Continue to pray you stay under the radar as far as the effects of chemo goes. How’s Brad doing with being the “hausfrau”??? hugs…

To which Pat replied…That’s a great idea…we can do a “bring them home” theme. 

Brad says the mistress of the mansion has not yelled at him yet…we do pretty good together…must be that “don’t worry, be happy” thing. For now when I watch movies, they are all comedies…I’m thinking of streaming the old Carol Burnett Show…

Then me…You and Brad haven’t had to put your feet in a kiddie pool yet? [hugmamma here: I had kidded Pat a while ago about visiting with her in Minnesota and the two of us dangling our feet in a plastic kiddie pool to cool off in Minnesota’s hot, humid summer heat.]

Then Pat…No…to pretend we’re on a relaxing vacation or because of the weather? It’s comfortably warm here…cooler when it’s overcast.

Me…Just got that..so there’s a mistress of the mansion? Someone who takes charge??? Hmmm…interesting.

[No reply from Pat.]

Today is the first day it’s not sweltering. TG we had our AC serviced. It was starting to poop out.

Pat…It’s really hot in Hawaii too with several tropical storms back to back blocking the trade winds. Luckily, so far they’ve tracked away from the islands.

People see Brad making dinner and serving me…a few have commented to get used to it and make sure he continues to do it at home!

Me…Too many distractions in Hawaii…like fishing and work, of course.

On 7/13, I texted…Love you both…the flowers are lovely, especially since they’re from two of God’s best people on His earth…armfuls of hugs and smooshies!

On 7/17, I texted…How are you doing? Hope you’re okay. Let me know. Love you two…lots!

…and i do.




My friend Claudia nailed this one! Comparing a wedding cake to the folks who fill our lives. There are those at the top…beginning with “moi”…and then there are those at the bottom…whom we might want to just…take a hike. Enjoy reading…and mulling it over.


Humoring the Goddess

I believe our lives are divided into tiers. Think of a wedding cake. The more layers, the larger the base has to be.  Not too complicated, eh?  Well, what I’m finding is that the older I get the more tiers there are on my cake and the chubbier ~I~ get.

Let’s go through this extra-spacey theory.

First is the top layer. Small, spectacular. Room for only one statue. You. It has to be you and you alone – after all, you are the only one in your head and heart, your thoughts and….well, you get it.

The next tier is only a quarter of an inch lower than the head tier. That’s the one you stand on. That isthe one for the people closest to your heart. I know – you love everybody. But just run with this one. This second tier contains your life partner, children, parents, and…

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vrbo…savings…and room to breathe

Alarm clock

Image via Wikipedia

My daughter headed to Colorado early this morning…6:05 a.m. This meant she was up at 2:30 a.m. getting ready to be chauffered to the airport by my husband who wanted to leave no later than 4:15 a.m. While they both caught a few hours sleep, I got none. Blogging past midnight meant I was tossing and turning in bed after getting under the covers. Among the thoughts that kept me company in the wee hours of the morning, was one which kept me wondering if my daughter would wake up on time, since she’d gone to bed just minutes before me. So I became her self-appointed alarm clock. Tic-toc. Tic-toc. Tic-toc.

At 2:33 a.m., I leapt out of bed, and bursting through her bedroom door, I found my daughter with legs extended into the air…stretching. Dancers do that. She and Mocha, my dog, have that in common…stretching, stretching, stretching…before starting their daily routines. Something we should all imitate, warming up our muscles. I do a stretch routine every now and then which, I must admit, limbers me up and gets me going.

When I sent my family on their way, I blogged a tad longer, fed my cats, took Mocha for a short walk, and climbed back into bed…the sun already climbing to its perch in the sky. Being an empty-nester, I can keep crazy hours. Up all night. Sleeping in the next morning. I’m either awaken by an annoying marketing call, which is identified on my caller ID so I don’t have to answer it, or by my guilt at being in bed when the sun’s up. What if someone came to the door? As they have…the UPS man, and people soliciting goods or services. My trusty Mocha greets them with full on barking…woof!…woof!…woof! That does it! I’m up and into the bathroom…to start the day.

My sleep habits are not the topic of this blog, but I couldn’t resist. Maybe I wanted to give you some insight into my life as an empty-nester. Or it’s more likely I just got carried away…blah, blah, blah…which is often the case. 

Ritz Carlton

Image by nickdinatale via Flickr

Anyway…my daughter and 3 other friends, two who, like my daughter, are bridesmaids at a mutual friend’s wedding had sought to find accommodations months ago in Colorado. They naturally looked into the hotel where the wedding party is staying, and where the ceremony and reception will be held. The Ritz Carlton offered a room at a discount, generous in the hotel’s estimation, I’m sure. Instead of the $400+ a night usually charged, they could pay $265.


Image via Wikipedia

Ballet dancers are not rich people, and so they strive for cheap…or go without. And besides their hotel room, these young folk needed to pay for airfare, car rental to drive the 2 hours from Denver Airport to their destination, meals, not to mention their bridesmaids dresses. The curmudgeon in me sprang into action. I sought to help my daughter and her friends by trolling the internet for a better deal than $265 a night plus taxes, for a 3 night stay.

Image representing VRBO as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

As I proceeded to hunt for a bargain it dawned on me that a better alternative might be a condo. Lo and behold, there were literally hundreds available for rent in the area. And the site where I found affordable lodging for my daughter and her friends was VRBO – vacation rentals by owners.

Instead of one bedroom and one bathroom, the 4 have the use of 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, with the added bonus of a kitchen, living/dining room and free parking. All this for $178 a night, taxes included! Almost $100 less than the Ritz Carlton…with elbow room to breathe…and get dressed for the wedding ceremony…and have a bowl of cereal…and rest weary feet on a coffee table…and pull one’s car into a stall without paying for a valet. All this comfort at the more attractive, lower rate of $534 all-inclusive for 3 nights…instead of $795 + taxes for tighter quarters which lack the extra amenities.

The condo is managed by a reputable corporation which eliminates the concern that might occur with private owners. While I’d initially contracted another, charming condo, the owner’s request for up-front payment of the entire amount was a discomforting hitch. I explained that, and was allowed out of the reservation with no repercussion. On the other hand, the condo I ultimately reserved did not need to be paid for until 24 hours prior to arrival. The managing company was efficient in emailing my daughter a few necessary details, driving directions, and a request for the group’s arrival time so that it could be accommodated if it was before the usual check-in time. The rep also invited my daughter to email him with any questions, which she did.

Last year I rented a vacation home in Eastern Washington through VRBO. The home was an amazing deal…more room than our family of 3 needed. But we enjoyed returning to its comfort after a day of wine-tasting, antiquing, or driving around the countryside. Preparing some meals, like a simple spaghetti dinner or a pancake breakfast, was such a pleasure. Having so much room to spread out, playing games, dozing on the couch, repairing to the bedrooms for a good night’s sleep while the others watched late night TV…was such a treat. We felt we were at home…away from home. And the cost was less than we would’ve paid for two hotel rooms…or even one, large suite. And 3 adults in one hotel room, two being women is not my idea of a relaxing vacation.

In this instance, I dealt directly with the owners, a lovely, retired couple who lived elsewhere. A payment plan was scheduled whereby they would charge our credit card in incremental amounts until the full payment was made just prior to our arrival at the home. The key and all applicable information was mailed to us beforehand. The entire transaction went extremely smoothely.  

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If you’ve not familiarized yourself with VRBO, I suggest you do so…

you may never want to stay in another hotel room again………hugmamma. 

(Note: Be certain to check for customer reviews before booking…at a hotel or VRBO rental.  😉 )  

“real” reality tv


flooding “down under”

Super Bowl Sunday

egyptian citizens protesting economic deprivation

Angelina Jolie, “Cleopatra”

mother nature reeks winter havoc


mubarak thugs descend upon unsuspecting protestors

Oprah celebrates birthday

initiative to continue funding educational programs

Justin Bieber, “Never Say Never”

monroe prison guard killed

Crystal Mountain Ski Lodge, gondola, weddings, Summit restaurant

revolution spreading as i type

that’s how it is on “real” reality tv

are you getting the picture?…hugmamma.