balancing…life

An advertisement for a pneumatic vacuum cleaner

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Readers of hurmamma’s mind, body, and soul have probably noticed that my keyboard’s been silent for awhile. I’d chores that needed doing which I’d put aside for far too long. So I pushed back from my laptop, and “switched hats.” I donned my housekeeper’s apron and wrapped my fingers around the vacuum cleaner handle instead.

Transitioning from one task, blogging, to another, which includes everything else, isn’t easy for me. As mentioned in task, reward…task, reward, https://hugmamma.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/task-reward-task-reward/blogging is addictive. I’d rather be writing than doing almost anything else. Once I’m in the groove, I find it difficult to extricate myself from the routine. I’m pretty certain most writers feel the same way.

However when papers accumulate on table tops and in drawers, and items for return remain on the dining room chair for weeks, and dusting has been put off for months, and toilets beckon to be scrubbed, I concluded the writer in me needed to go on hiatus. Getting my physical environment in order is essential to maintaining my mental equilibirum. That’s how I’ve always been. My daughter’s inherited that trait from me, which I think is fortunate. She agrees.

Balancing the various aspects of one’s life is good for optimum de-stressing. Having too many pile-ups, both physical and mental, can challenge anybody’s sanity.  Prioritizing tasks and accomplishing them without playing the blame game with oneself, is probably the healthiest way to proceed. Even if only a few are completed, that’s more than were done yesterday.

Cover of "I'd Rather Be Writing"

Cover of I'd Rather Be Writing

It may be that I wrote this post to myself as a kind of a rationale as to why I’d stopped writing. But perhaps I also sought to learn if I still had a passion for it. It seems I do. But with other “pots still simmering,” I may not return to blogging as voraciously as I once had. Only time will tell. However it isn’t just a matter of time, and effort, it’s also a question of reality vs. the Internet. I’ll write more of my concerns in that respect in a followup post. All I’ll say for now is that it has to do in part with…

abc’s 20/20 “the sixth sense”…and its revelations several nights ago that were hair raising…to say the least………hugmamma.

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armageddon…according to bain

Just discovered a new blog through one of my favorities, murphysrun.Photo Bain waves is the product of an award-winning writer/humorist from Raleigh, N.C. I’ve only read one of his posts thus far, but as I commented to him, he said everything about the financial/political mess this country is in…that I’ve been thinking. I don’t think I could’ve mouthed the words better myself…or the witty sarcasm. As far as I’m concerned, Bain “hit the nail on the head.” See if you agree or not…and by all means leave him a comment. I’m certain he’ll be able to come up with a retort, whichever way you respond to his opinion. So click on http://bainwaves.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/armageddon-sick-of-this/  …

and good reading to you………hugmamma.

freshly pressed…i nominate

I’ve made peace with never making “Freshly Pressed.” There are hundreds of thousands of blogs from which to choose, and WordPress has its guidelines. It’s likely that my blog doesn’t meet their expectations of the best. And I’m certain readers have a say in what topics appeal. Nonetheless, I will continue to blog as long as my passion for it persists…and my words make sense to the readers who frequent hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. So heartfelt thanks to those of you who still find value in my stories.

PhotoHowever, if I were able to nominate a blog for WordPress’s highest award “Freshly Pressed,” I would select murphysrun. Relatively new to our community of bloggers, its writer brings, what I consider, a unique twist to storytelling. A professional photographer, with representation in an art gallery, he is taking a turn at raising his 3 young children. A considerable asset to his wife in that respect, my new friend brings poignant insight into child-rearing from a man’s vantage point. And what a perspective it is. A witty writer who is not afraid of inserting sentimentality wherever appropriate, he is a good person, doting father and loving partner.

Equal Parenting Alliance

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Murphysrun is crisp, engaging, fun, happy, introspective. He writes for everyman…who is a husband…and a father. But I must admit…he even writes for everywoman…who is a partner…and a parent. We have formed a bond, he at one end of the age spectrum, me at the other. He is facing the challenges of raising children; I’m an empty-nester. His life experiences are different from mine because of our gender, our geographical and cultural backgrounds, and our professional career paths.

What hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul and murphysrun have in common are the telling of stories, life stories, about loved ones and the values instilled in us, and which we hope to instill in our offspring, and which we also share with others in support of their own lives. My blogging friend and I speak with passion and compassion, fervor and hope, and positive voices that might be heard above the din of negative ones.

i highly recommend you visit http://murphysrun.wordpress.com/ …stories of everyday life…which might also be entitled…life with father…or is that too vintage?…more my time?…hugmamma.

weekly photo challenge: mountains

Tiger Mountain is totally covered in a blanket of majestic evergreen trees. At the summit is “Poo Poo Point,” where hang gliders begin their flight out into the wild blue yonder. Eventually they float down to the landing field at the base of the mountain. On clear, sunny days many take to the skies…hang gliders can be seen from several miles away…as we head toward home…or are out and about running errands. They look like colorful gondolas, turned upside down.

not my cup of tea, for sure…i like having my two feet planted on…tierra firma………hugmamma.

daily post challenge #205: what food entices me…yet i’m afraid to try

At the Big Pineapple

Image by yewenyi via Flickr

When I was in high school, a friend started pushing insects and frogs legs. Not like she was pushing dope or anything. Though I wouldn’t know the difference, since I’ve never been in the latter situation. But my girlfriend seemed an expert on the latest trend. Living on Maui in the 50s and 60s, who knew what the fad-of-the-day was anywhere else in the world. In those days I longed to get off the “rock.” Even moving to Honolulu was something I longed to do…the excitement of the big city, and all that went along. And it was nothing, nothing like it is today. But compared to life on Maui, Honolulu represented the “Big Pineapple.”

My girlfriend may have gotten the delicacies from family in the Orient. She was an only child of first generation Japanese parents. I know they ate very traditional dishes, prepared by her mom. I never ate with her family, and I’m sure if I did I wouldn’t have been overly appreciative. My taste buds were nowhere as developed then, as they are now.

My mom use to trawl the muddy, water habitats where taro leaves grew, taro being the root from which the Hawaiian staple, poi, is made. What she was looking for were large snails, called “pupus.” They might’ve been related to the French escargot. Upon getting her catch home, my mom would boil the snails in salted water, probably a couple of times to rid them of the grit and grime in which they crawled. 

As the shelled slugs boiled, the whole house stunk, the smell making me sick to my stomach. I’m not sure if my siblings relished eating them as my mom did. Watching her stick the sharp end of a safety pin into the opening of the snail’s shell and drag its dead body out, popping it into her mouth, would make me cringe backwards in revulsion. But now anytime there’s escargot on the menu, I’m up for the tasty treat. Who’d a thunk?   

frogs' legs

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But I must say I was most definitely intrigued by my school friend’s offerings of chocolate-covered ants and grasshoppers. After all to a kid, chocolate is chocolate, insects or no. And frogs legs, fried to a crisp, which my friend kept wrapped like the delicacies that they were…in white tissue paper, looked irresistible. My friend said they tasted just like chicken. My mom once told me that about eating rabbit. She lied. To me, eating a bunny was gross, and the taste to me was weird, not the least like chicken. 

Others tried the edibles on a dare. You’d think I’d have tried them since they’d be a change from the canned food I usually ate. But no thank you. The thought of eating ants which I was inclined to squish with bare feet, and grasshoppers that I’d watch sitting on a leaf for what seemed ages, and frogs that I’d hunt down in cane fields and nearby murky ponds for biology class experiments, was repulsive to say the least. In my childish way of thinking, I imagined these critters would merely resume life as they knew it…in my innards. And as far as I was concerned there was definitely “no room in the inn…period!”

Chocolate Covered Ant Cupcakes

Image by Photos o' Randomness via Flickr

In college I again encountered chocolate covered insects. A friend with whom I worked at the University of Hawaii Bookstore, brought in a box she’d purchased at a fancy department store. I was sorely tempted to sample what I thought I might have missed as an inexperienced, young teen. But my second encounter with cooked bugs was no different from my first. In truth…I knew I was still a chicken when it came to swallowing things i don’t even want crawling around inside my house…

let alone have them making themselves comfy cozy…inside my body…pawk, pawk…ribbet, ribbet………hugmamma. 

grasshopper-1

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sharing a laugh…with my daughter

talking animal festival flyer
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Received a great birthday gift from my 25-year-old daughter. In their spare time, she and other dancers she worked with these last 3 weeks in California, spent some of their down time searching the internet for talking animals. Not interested in the subtle humor of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul, my daughter, like young folk her age, prefer the absurd it seems. But hey! Whatever makes their world turn. And I’ve got to admittalking animalswhen spot on…are hard to compete against. So when you can’t beat ’em…

why not let your funny bone have a good tickle…i did…hugmamma.

daily post challenge #204: does your mind go blank…when you close your eyes?

Illustration depicting thought.

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Heck no!!! My mind has never been blank. At least not that I can recall. I remember very vividly asking my husband of only a few months what he was thinking as we lay in the dark, after going to bed. “Nothing,” He replied. “Nothing?” I asked, incredulous. “That’s impossible. You must be thinking about something.” “Nope.” Came the retort. I think I tried to convince him that he must be thinking something, but to no avail.

Imagine that ? A mind free of clutter. Free of yesterdays, todays, and tomorrow’s stuff. No lint to pick off one’s brain. Totally clear and unemcumbered. Like an “in” tray on a secretary’s desk, cleared out and ready for the next day’s tasks.

Regal Cinemas 24

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Meanwhile my brain is like a Regal Cinema with several theatres running the latest films concurrently. The difference is I often run the same movie over and over again. It could be an event that makes me feel warm and fuzzy, or one that has me pondering the “what ifs.” Only in recent years, with my husband’s patient reminder that I shouldn’t worry about something over which I have no control, and Dr. Daniel Amen’s advice that negative thoughts are at the heart of our mental undoing, have I opted to shut down the movie reels when I finally lay me down to sleep.

Regal Cinemas

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Of course that doesn’t prevent dreams, sometimes even discombobulated nightmares, from awaking me in the middle of the night, or early morning, making it difficult for me to fall back to sleep. And then the reruns begin. But I try to pick and choose. If my mind has to run flicks nonstop, then they’ll have to pass the “G” rating…only family attractions allowed and, of course, always in technicolor. No blood, no gore, no violence…only happy endings…and happy-in-betweens.

if i can’t beat ’em…and i have to join ’em…then it’s going to be…on my terms…hugmamma.

don’t talk…to strangers

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ..........

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A stranger, seated next to a young girl on an airplane, turned to her and said, “Let’s talk. I’ve heard that flights go faster if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passengers.”

The young girl, an avid reader who had just opened her book, Too Much Stuff, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, “What would you like to talk about?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the stranger.  “How about nuclear power?”

“OK,” she said. “That could be an interesting topic.  But first let me ask you a question.  A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass – yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?”

The stranger, visibly surprised by the young girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmm, I have no idea.”

To which the future Op-Ed contributor replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don’t know shit?”

Source:  e-mail from an unknown author, edited

…a good chuckle now and then…this one from blogging friend http://nrhatch.wordpress.com ………hugmamma.

each with a story to tell…

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a favorite jazz station, the music playing in the background. I remember nothing else the deejay said except that each of us is looking to tell our own story. Those words have stayed with me, coming to the forefront when I listen to other people speak, whether in person, on TV, on the radio, or read what they’ve written, or what’s written about them.

It’s as though I’m watching a larger-than-life screening of “This is your life!”, a TV reality show from the 50’s, hosted by Ralph Edwards. Using a scrapbook with photos from the person’s life throughout the years, Edwards surprised the person whose life was featured, with people from his or her past. While not exactly the same, I tend to listen to someone’s story as though I’m looking through a View Master…one slide at a time…click, click…click, click.

I think perhaps we’re all looking for legitimacy. We want to make sure we’ve made our mark, before exiting this life. We want someone to remember that we were here. So we tell our own story…every day. The trick is getting others to listen. And the only way we know for sure is if they engage in conversation…telling us their story. And so it goes…back and forth…round and round.

The main characters of the show. (Background, ...

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While most of us engage in modest storytelling, there are those who have taken it to a whole other level…on reality TV. The Kardashians have allowed us to move in with them, and as a result we’re privvy to their successes, and their foibles. In The Biggest Loser the challengers look to us for support and compassion as they wage a desperate fight against obesity. Even in the sitcom Everybody Loves RaymondRay Romano encourages us to laugh at his display of idiocy. I’ve heard much of it is reflective of his true self. Maybe he loves playing the fool. Nothing wrong with that. It’s his story, after all.

Blogging is a very good example of storytelling. We’re all telling our own life stories…in our own way…on our own terms…in our own good time. I don’t think we intentionally write to be validated; but we like it when we are. Storytelling is like reruns of our favorite TV show, mine being I Love Lucy. We never tire of telling our favorites. If you’ve read hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul from its inception, you’ve heard me relate some of my stories…

time………and time………again………hugmamma.     

weekly photo challenge: broken

I would hover…hoping that I’d get to gobble up the broken pieces.

Thanks to the wonderful baking skills of my husband and daughter, I now have a “spare tire”…around my middle…

…which i’m trying very hard……… to deflate………hugmamma.

no more…what if?

My friend Sylvia emailed me the following some time ago. It’s been simmering on the back burner. Other topics clamored to be heard. Now that most of those have gotten “on air” time, I decided now might be the time to share this.

My previous post about Rachel Beckwith, the 9-year-old who died in a devastating accident last week, made Sylvia’s contribution even more relevant. Rachel’s unexpected passing touched the hearts of so many because she was taken too soon, and because she demonstrated that even one so young can make a difference.

But to her parents, her younger sister, extended family and friends, Rachel is no longer present in their ordinary, every day lives. She won’t be sharing smiles with her dad, while eating a simple breakfast of cereal on a Saturday morning. She won’t be confiding in her mom about her crush on a boy in school. She won’t be there to hug her sister when she falls while learning to ride a bike. She won’t have the first cookie hot out of grandma’s oven.

What if there isn’t anymore?

One day a woman’s husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t “anymore.”

No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more “just one minute.” Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say “good-bye,” say “I love you.”

So while we have it, it’s best we love it, care for it, fix it when it’s broken and heal it when it’s sick.

This is true for marriage…and old cars…and children with bad report cards…and dogs with bad hips…and aging parents…and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it…

Some things we keep…like a best friend who moved away or a sister-in-law after divorce. There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what.

Life is precious. Keep those who are special…close. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so let them know you love them…

every chance you get………hugmamma. 

daily post challenge #200: what is it that i would like to have 200 more?

At first I thought this topic was frivolous…not for me. I don’t need more stuff; I’m trying to downsize. But it dawned on me that one thing I would love to have, I think, is more time. I’d divide 200 years amongst loved ones so that I’d have more time to be with them, and more time to experience life in my wizened, older age.

Like most young people, I probably blew through my early years not paying attention to what I was doing. I wasted precious time fretting over…what? I could’ve been taking full advantage of life’s offerings, learning French,Two Spot re-learning to swim so I could snorkel, studying voice so I might’ve become a singer, moving to NYC so I might’ve hoofed it on Broadway, been less fearful so I might’ve traveled Europe as a teen.

Now into my 60s, I’m at peace with what I haven’t done. I know and accept my physical, mental and emotional limitations. But if I had more time, I could squeeze a few more things in before my expiration date comes due. Just a few more, like playing the piano or the guitar, and reading all the books in my ever-growing collection. And, of course, more time with my husband by my side and our grandchildren settling into our laps for bedtime stories…or just a cuddle. But most of all, more time…

to see my daughter’s hair………go gray………hugmamma.

tears…in heaven

Conventional 18-wheeler Semi-Trailer Truck diagram

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Eric Clapton‘s song Tears in Heaven seems appropriate when speaking of the recent demise of Rachel Beckwith, now God’s little angel. She, along with her mother and 2-year-old sister were among those caught up in a horrific 15 car accident a week ago yesterday. It had been caused by the driver of a tractor-trailer who failed to notice that traffic on I-90 heading west toward Seattle had come to a crawl. Attempting to brake at the last minute the driver caused the tractor-trailer to jacknife. It then crashed into a logging truck.

     The impact dislodged the rear axle of the logging truck and sent the piece hurtling into traffic.
     “The log truck continued, because it can’t stop that fast, …All of the logs were still contained by the chains, but now they’re kind of fishtailing back and forth as the driver’s trying to get control of the rig. So he’s basically dragging this load of logs down the road.” …
     The logs, dragging on the roadway, struck other vehicles as the driver attempted to stop the rig. The tractor-trailer and the dislodged axle from the logging truck also struck other vehicles.

The most seriously injured was Rachel, who suffered from severe head and spinal injuries. She died after medical efforts failed to keep her alive.

A child of charity, Rachel’s organs were given to those in need. But even in life she was a giver. Recently for her 9th birthday, she asked that in lieu of presents people make donations to a church fundraiser Charity:Water, a nonprofit that helps bring water to people in developing nations. “The organization estimates each dollar invested in improved water access and sanitation yields, on average, $12 in economic returns.”

Falling short of the $300 goal by $80, Rachel pledged to donate to the cause again next year. In her memory, contributions have so far totaled more than $500,000. Former Seattle Hawk’s quarterback, Matt Hasselhoff, a member of Rachel’s church, “posted a message on Twitter about Rachel and the fundraising effort to more than 70,000 followers.”

How a little girl gets that she should help those less fortunate, when adults, more experienced and better-prepared for life’s challenges fight for ideology, allowing those in need to suffer and perhaps die under the burden of poverty, is incomprehensible. Rachel can look God directly in the eye, knowing her last act upon earth was selfless.

…let’s hope we can all do the same when our time comes…and like Rachel…we won’t know when that is………hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: easiest

Parenting isn’t the easiest job for sure…but it’s by far the most rewarding…and long term. Of the careers I’ve had, and there’ve been a few, being a stay-at-home mom has taught me the most about life…and about myself.

Caring for the well-being of another, a daughter who looked to me for comfort, guidance, and love, I had to venture outside my own comfort zone and do whatever needed doing. I wore many “hats” to suit the need. I grew in self-assurance and self-esteem. I found my voice and spoke up, and I learned to growl if my cub was threatened.

When I became a mom, I met the real me. Before then I was buried beneath others’ expectations, and my own insecurities. My daughter freed me…to be myself. To parent I needed to bring my talents and strengths to the task. To do so I had to gradually extricate myself from all the stuff with which I’d been saddled, whether of my own doing, or others.

And yet, parenting is still not the easiest of careers. But it’s the only one to which I’d dedicate my life…

…all over again………hugmamma.

rooting for…the underdog

America's Got Talent

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I’ve been catching glimpses of America’s Got Talent in between getting chores done, like ironing clothes that had been sitting on top of the dryer for ages. And I’ve been tidying up the kitchen, here and there as well. What brought me to my laptop was something Piers Morgan said to one of the contestants, a Black girl of 12, Monet who sang the song “Home.” She and her family are homeless, having lost everything in a hurricane. Morgan correctly, I thought, advised Monet that unlike a former contestant who finished as a runner-up a year or so ago, Jackie Evancho, Monet needed a few more years to grow into a more mature singer. To which she replied, that if she made it to the next level, she would show him that she was already there.

Earlier in the show, another singer, a Black man in his 30s, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., was acclaimed by the 3 judges, Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan, as being the real deal…a star. While I agree that Landau has all the makings of the next Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra, I kept thinking that someone needed to help groom the singer into the next biggest thing. A car washer in his hometown of West Virginia before garnering a spot on America’s Got Talent, it would be a great loss to music if Landau’s natural ability was not developed, and that he disappeared back from where he came… oblivion.

Nine-year-old Jackie Evancho deserves the fame she is now enjoying. She is a phenomenon. But what I couldn’t help thinking is that she lives a wonderful life with doting parents and loving siblings in middle-class suburbia. And she’s a trained singer, having had a coach, before she ventured onto the stage on Amerca’s Got Talent. Compare her background with those of Monet and Landau. Obviously the playing field is anything but level.

Life is what it is…but we have to cheer the underdog who has to make it to the finish line pretty much on his or her own. So I am rooting for Monet and Landau, that life gives them a handup as a result of their worldwide exposure on America’s Got Talent.

reality shows offer hope to some…and helps them…help themselves   …hugmamma.

Portrait of Nat King Cole, New York, N.Y.

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