Thursday, July 26, 2012

Digging Canals for the Mama


Several days ago, the Mama fell twice as she was watering her vegetables. I didn't see either fall, but fortunately she told me about each one just after it happened.

I had gone out to give her a juice drink. It was a hot day and my mission was to keep her hydrated whether she liked it or not.  As I waited for her to gulp her drink (Sipping? No such thing when she's on a task), she mentioned that she was wet because she slipped and fell on top of the beans. If she hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have noticed she was wet. When I looked at the beans, I couldn't tell that anything was wrong. The woman is that light.

"Here, let me finish watering," I said, reaching for the hose.

"No, I can do it," she said, swerving away from me.

After three times of going back and forth, I let it go. After nine years of living with her, I have finally learned to choose my battles. Assured that she hadn't hurt herself, I went back inside to work.

About 45 minutes later, I was back outside with a cup of water and her medicine. (She knows that she has to take it at noon, but when she's outside working on something, she won't stop to come inside for medicine. See, this is the advantage of working at home for me.) Mama was now sitting down as she watered her flowers.

"I do that when I water this section," I said, handing the cup of water to her. Out of her whole backyard of vegetable and flower gardens, she lets me water a small part of the yard.

"I'm almost finished," she said, as she wiped a hand on her pants and held it out for her pill.

"I'll water the chayote this afternoon," I said. "When it's cooler."

She nodded. Then she said, "I fell on the onions. That's why they're flat."

"What? You fell again."

She nodded.

I put my hand on the hose. "Let me finish watering."

"No. No. This is it. This is the end."

"Why are you falling so much?" I asked.

She shrugged. I walked around her garden, noticing the muddy patches around the rows. Something had to be done. She waters her garden by hand, which means she drags the hose behind her as she walks on the uneven soil between the rows. She's fine when she's not impatient or tired. Sigh.
 
I don't want to take over watering her garden until it's absolutely necessary. I don't think that time is here yet.  Her garden is her domain. Her sense of peace. Her last sense of independence. I saw how depressed and angry she got when her brothers took over her garden many years ago. The Mama will be nine years shy of 100 soon. Gardening makes her happy and keeps her strong and healthy. I want her to to do it as long as she is able. 

"I'm going to dig the canals deeper," I said.

"No,"she said. "I'm okay."

"I don't want you to fall."

"I fall, I fall."

"You can break your leg or something. You know you don't want to go to the hospital."

Silence. I took that as a good sign.

"With deeper canals, you can make the water go slower. The vegetables will get more water that way. You know, the way Daddy did it. Remember."

Still silence. I proceeded to dig the first canal. I am my Daddy's daughter. I not only went with him to the fields that he irrigated, but I also helped him put up his garden every year when he got older. I enjoyed digging those canals for the Mama, even though it was a hot day. I liked getting my hands dirty as I dug and molded the canals, and then later getting them muddy as I guided the water through the canals. I quite understand the Mama's love of working and being outside.

So, now, if the Mama is willing to be patient, she can sit on her stool and watch the water go down each vegetable row, helping it along as needed. It may not stop her from falling in the backyard completely, but maybe it will be fewer times.  I can only hope.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Such Failures

How much is that designer bag in the window?

Warning: If you're not in the mood for political musing, come back next week. I may be in a better mood and write about my usual nothingness. Maybe.

The other evening, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at a fundraising dinner at which donors paid several thousands of dollars to be there. Some as much as $50,000. Some, possibly more. Romney, dear heart that he is, acknowledged that he and they, his donors, in the room are doing golly-gee well in this horrid economy. (That's my paraphrasing of his words) But, continues Romney, lover-boy of cheap labor . . . of course, he is. What true-blooded rich man doesn't like cheap labor. It (meaning cheap labor) is a necessary element for becoming true-blooded rich. It's basic Economics 101 . . . .

As I was saying, Romney told his donor that they are in the money while the waiters and waitresses who were serving them their dishes of delectable food and drink are not. Gasp. I know, it's amazing how Romney knew every one of those waiters and waitresses and each of their particular incomes. Romney told his donors that the waiters and waitresses in that room are struggling financially because President Obama has not done right by them. They are still waiting for that hope and change that President Obama promised them when they voted for him . . . . Again, just amazing how Romney is. He knew how each of those waiters and waitresses voted in 2008.

I am sure that Romney's donors all clapped. Maybe some even cheered. Whoot whoot. Seriously, do you think the donors would have been happy for the waiters and waitresses if President Obama—that young, naive candidate of 2008—had managed to miraculously change things? Think about it. I'll bet Romney's $10,000 that Romney and his supporters think constantly about assuring their rich positions. My rationale—well, how about all that lobbying for tax breaks, corporate subsidies, and getting rid of regulations that may be good for the public, but it doesn't allow for making loads of money).

Perhaps President Obama could have succeeded if he had not had to deal with all the economic distress that he began working on before he was elected. Maybe then more workers in the private sector would be receiving an honest-to-goodness living wage that matches their honest-to-goodness hard work for . . . okay, I'm gonna say it . . . the man, who essentially are many of the men and women who paid the beaucoup thousands of dollars to eat dinner with Romney. That aside,  I am  amazed (yet again) at how much Romney cares that President Obama is unable to help the waiters and waitresses who served him, Romney, and them, his donors, their dinners.

Do you suppose the waiters and waitresses at that event could feel how horrible Romney and his donors felt that they were unsuccessful as well? After all, most, if not all, of them needed President Obama to extend President G.W. Bush's tax breaks in order for them to generate more jobs (either as employers or investors). Poor filthy rich people. They must feel so awful that they have been failing so outrageously over these past ten years or so.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Personal Holiday

The other day I was doing research about Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry.  Interesting fellow that Dr. Goddard. Quite a visionary. A lot of people thought he was a crackpot. That all changed when the space program began. Ah, then the adulation and the awards came left and right for the man. Unfortunately, Dr. Goddard was dead by then. I hadn't planned on telling you that, but there it is.

What I did want to mention was that Dr. Goddard had a personal holiday that he called his anniversary day.  He celebrated the day he was a kid sitting in a tree and looked up into the sky and had an epiphany about rockets and space. Yes, I know. Pretty cool. Not to worry though. I'm not going to go into the technical stuff about rockets and space. Not like I could. The important part here is that I decided that I need a personal holiday.

When I was in my early 20s, I was influenced by the unbirthday idea and did that for a year or so. I chose July 15 because that was my dad's birthday. But, we always celebrated his birthday on the 25th. He even used July 25 as his official birth date. The reason was very simple.

As far as I know, Daddy had only one formal document to "prove" he was ever born and that was his baptismal record which was written in Spanish. Daddy—and probably many in his family—did not read Spanish. I can only speculate that Spanish was still the official language of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines when he was born in 1905. Anyway, his baptism was on July 25 which was the same day as the celebration of  Santiago Apostol (St. James), the patron saint of his hometown Santiago, Ilocos Sur. I have no idea if his parents decided to name him after the patron saint because that was the day of his baptism or if they waited for the feast day to baptize him. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if they were hedging their bets for good fortune for their baby boy.

According to the Spanish baptismal record, the baby boy being baptized that day--July 25--was born 10 days ago. So, there you go. July 15. Daddy's birth date. My unbirthday. Now, my personal holiday.

Back to Dr. Goddard, please. On his Anniversary Day in 1913, he wrote in his diary a list of things he needed to do. Some of them were complete patent applications for his inventions, research meteors, study Darwin's theory about lunar motion, and "try a jet".  Thank goodness for Dr. Goddard.

I doubt that I will be as ambitious as Dr. G. on my personal holiday, which shall be this Sunday. Maybe I'll go read a book under a tree in the backyard. And, maybe I'll bring a notebook and pen in the event I get a revelation about something grand.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What's Wrong with Me!

We are on a strict budget right now. Not that I'm complaining. The flow of income can get very tight when you choose to be an independent writer. So,  all of you readers out there who want to be professional self-employed writers, bear that in mind. If you want the independence, you just keep plugging along. If you can't stand the financial insecurity, then you need to shore up on the writing, editing, researching, and computing skills to get a decent paying communications, technical writing, or editing staff job. And, for gosh sakes, please don't underbid your professional worth, which is essentially all professional writers' worth.

But, I've wandered. Being financially insecure at the moment isn't my tale. Nor is being a professional writer, which I finally get is what I am. Talk about sometimes not getting it. Do you know the yellow gas station Shell Oil? I don't know how many times I've seen the Shell stations by the time I reached a certain day in my late 30s.  I was driving south from San Francisco on Highway 101, a familiar route for me back then. I went around this  particular bend near South San Francisco when I saw for the nth time the Shell station logo broadcasting itself high over the freeway on my left. Bingo! At that moment I realized the logo symbol is a shell. You know, as in Shell Oil. Duh!

Again, I've wandered. What was I going to talk about? Strict budget. . . .yeah, right. Strict budget means don't look at tempting things to buy. These days that means fabric. Not that I'm sewing a lot. Nor even a little. But, my little makeshift sewing nook is still set up in the living room. Both the Mama and the Husband don't seem to care that I haven't been near it since I sewed the apron, a birthday gift for one of my gal pals. They—the Mama and the Husband—tolerate my madness so well. So do my gal pals, for that matter.

But fabric. Ahhhhhhhh. I love going up and down fabric aisles, pulling out bolts of color and of weird design. I also like looking at fabric online. I only allow myself to do that at Sew, Mama, Sew. (I just discovered its sewing tutorials. Oh-oh.)   

When I look at a piece of fabric that attracts, me, I sometimes can see what to make right away. For instance, I bought a couple yards of a muted green print with ukuleles here and there, and thought about making a birthday tunic for the Husband. Other times I just get a vague feeling that translates to I really must buy this fabric. An example of that is the one yard of a white and black chrysanthemum-type flower print. When I showed it to the Mama, she immediately said, "Hmmm, a blouse." So, of course, I immediately thought, A birthday blouse for the Mama

There. Two sewing projects to complete before the summer is up. But first that means I need to find—and buy—patterns. Ooooh, patterns.  Where's my piggy bank?