Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who me? Very Inspiring?


Uh-hem. Back in October of 2012, a fellow blogger bestowed on me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Today, I shall complete the task for having accepted the reward. What can I say, I thought it was just yesterday. Well, at least I let my blogger friend—Widdershins—know pronto that I appreciated the honor.

About the Award
Blogger awards that we bestow upon fellow bloggers come with rules. Those rules often get modified as they make the rounds around the world, and that I shall do.
These are the acceptance rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. Thanks again, Widdershins Worlds.
2. Place the award on your site. Done
3. Share 7 random things about you. You can read them below below.
4. Nominate 15 blogs. Let them know they've been nominated and how to accept the award. 
There are many blogs that I read frequently, sporadically, or just once or twice. They all inspire me to write, to sew, to cook, to eat, to read, to exercise, to dream, and do many other things. Yes, that means, I'm not gonna choose. Instead, I welcome all bloggers who read this post to take the award and put it up on your blog. You truly deserve it.

Seven Random Things About Me, Su-sieee! Mac 
I've often thought of dying my hair the bronze color of a lion's mane.

During the 20+ years I lived in San Francisco, I resided in 12, yes, 12 rentals—apartments, flats, houses, and even once a hotel room. 

When I was 10, I leaned how to play my brother's trumpet, with the guidance of the Uncle, the Saxophonist. I was able to play a simple version of America the Beautiful. My "fans" were the Uncle and Chipper the dog.

I can't watch or read anything that has ghosts in it. Scaredy cat, that's me!

Have I mentioned that I jumped out of a plane? But, it was more like the instructor, to whom I was attached, pushed me out. That was from 18,000 feet, too.

I wouldn't mind living in Hawaii. The best thing about that is the Husband wouldn't mind living there with me.

If the Husband and I were to take all our books out of their boxes and put them up around the house, we'd pretty much be living in a small library or a used bookstore.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Lively Spirit—The Daddy Was


The Daddy and I were both born in the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac. Sssssssssss. 2013 is the year of the Snake. May it be a great run around the sun for us all!

Today, I'm sharing an edited post that I published on February 25, 2011 on my former blog This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then. The post is about the day the Daddy died.  (That blog is still up if you're interested in reading other posts later.  Here's the link.)

The Daddy died from a heart attack. He was 76 years old.

Maybe he didn't pick how or where he died, but I think he was happy it wasn't at home where the Mama would've come home to find him after a long, tiring day at work. He was always protective of her.

That day the Daddy decided to go to lunch at the senior center with his good friend Danny, one of the godfathers of mine. The Daddy hadn't been there for quite a long while. He hadn't been feeling well, but those last three days, I was told, he'd been going strong, visiting, babysitting, doing so many of the things he liked to do.

So, there he was sitting at the lunch table. He was bending down for a spoon on the floor, I was told. He was there longer than he should have been.  "Hey, 'Pare (short for compadre), what you doing down there?" called a friend. Then, a scramble to get help for the Daddy. That was it.

While the Daddy was dying, I was sitting in a restaurant over 100 miles away with my new colleagues. It was a lunch to greet the new editors, another woman and myself. All of a sudden, I felt a shiver and a flush go through my body. A feeling of sadness, then relief, then joy. I figured at the time it was just the emotion of having finally been hired to my dream job. Nothing more. 


Back at the office, I was told by the company president that the Daddy had died. Later, when I thought back at that moment, I knew it was the Daddy floating by to say good-bye one last time.

Today, the husband and I bought a pot of gardenias for the Mama. She has been a widow for too many years. Flowers are nice for graves. They are so much nicer for the living. 


The spirit of Daddy, I am sure, is having himself a ball right now.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Molly the Cat, One Year Later


Molly the Cat aka Molly the Kitty Cat aka Miss Molly by Golly. These days, she's also known as Molly Girl. Last week was her first anniversary with the crew. We, humans, had no idea it would be such a pleasure to have a cat that lives indoors. We hope the sweetie pie is just as happy as we are about living together.

Molly Girl plays no favorites. She adores the Husband. He is the one who plays with her before giving her dinner. She likes me because I am the human who mostly takes her outside to wander and offer her a snack at lunch time. And, she cherishes the Mama because this human massages her and gives Molly food to break her fast every morning.

The Two Ladies
Molly the Cat and Mama are so cute together. After a year, I see similarities between the two ladies.

Both are picky eaters. Unless they feel ravenous or truly like the food in front of them, they'll leave just a little less than half on their plate. Will they eat the leftovers the next day? Ha!

They like to snuggle together on the couch in front of the TV. The Mama beneath the fleece blankets, Molly on top. Both eventually fall into a deep sleep, snoring away.

Their favorite spot to sit—when not watching TV—is by the sliding door where they can soak up the sun bubbles. Mama reads, while Molly spreads out by her feet.

Molly and the Mama get a bit discombobulated when the daily routine (meaning meals) is disrupted. This is usually when the Husband and I "run away" for the day.

"Outside please." The two ladies love being outdoors, even when it's chilly. The Mama likes to work the land and Molly the Cat likes to explore the land that the Mama has worked.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Today's Weather Report


Goooooooood Morning, Sunshine!

Yesterday was a wonderful dark day of rain, rain, and a bit more rain. Something we definitely needed. Today is a bright, cheery day of sunshine, although cold and colder in the shadows. And, a head full of snow is on the mountains to the east. As for tomorrow—and the couple days later—with grace, it shall be raining again.

Don't you just like how the Mama's pink daisies look with their shiny faces full of rain drops?


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Love Story that (Thank Goodness!) was Not to Be

I am very fortunate that I have met not one, but two gentle men, both of whom I married. Of course, not at the same time. When I met the current husband,  I told him that I didn't date. I went on adventures, but not dates. I rarely dated before the first husband, so why begin then.

But, today is not a story of either husband. Instead, my ramble is about the man who would not be my husband. He was the first—and last—man that the Mama and the Daddy dared try to match me with. Yes, I know. So old country. At least, they did not attempt to do an arranged marriage for me. 

I was in my late 20s, an old age to still be unmarried, according to the old ways. I lived alone in San Francisco, over 100 miles from the parents, which were two other no-no's for young women.

The man in question had a name that some women would think romantic. I thought it was just sappy. Other women would've described him as very dreamy. I saw him as looking superficially slick. One who would have nothing to do with me in the old country, unless I happened to be rich. Yes, he was a young man from the old country. To protect the sappy, superficially slick man, I shall use a fictitious name to talk about him. Let's see. Hmmm, I shall call him Jacques Ash. (No, the parents did not immigrate from France.)

I first met Jacques Ash when I visited the parents on the Thanksgiving weekend. The Daddy was butchering a pig in the back yard, and Jacques Ash was there helping him. "Hello. Glad to meet you." That was the extent of our conversation.

A few weeks later, the parents, the brother and his wife, and Jacques Ash came up to San Francisco for a birthday party that a friend was giving me. Let's just say, I was very surprised. About Jacques Ash, that is. I also figured out what was going on. Gotta love the parents.

Because the brother wanted to wander around the science museum in Golden Gate Park, we all wandered with him. Jacques Ash walked beside me, but we barely spoke. I pretty much ignored him. He could work for my hand, if he really wanted it. He had already wooed the parents by painting the outside of their house for free.

At my birthday party, Jacques Ash sat silently. He didn't talk to my friends, unless they spoke to him. Then, it was time to go home. The parents decided to ride back to my apartment in the brother's car. I have to say the parents were so damn cute together. As, I started the car, Jacques Ash suddenly spoke. "Where is Sheila from? How long has she been married? What kind of work does she do? How long have you known her?"

Jacques Ash wanted to know everything about the friend who threw the party for me. What a Jacques Ash!

A few days later, Jacques Ash called me up for a date. Are you fucking kidding me?  I didn't say that. But, I did say something like this, "No, thank you. You can go find someone else for a green card."

"What?" I could tell he was taken aback.

"I know you're only interested in me so you can marry me and get a green card."

"I am not," he protested.

"Oh, yes, you are. We have nothing in common. You didn't even try to talk to me. You thought because I'm not pretty I would just accept you. Ha! The joke is on you."

"Your parents want us to get together," Jacques Ash said, quite forcefully. "I painted their house for you."

"My parents know I do what I want to do. Be with someone I want to be with. So, go find someone else for a green card." Then I did a classic Mama, and slammed the phone receiver down.

A couple hours later, the Daddy called.

"Jacques Ash is going to call you," Daddy said. To warn me, I liked to think; but, most like the man cried to the Daddy and asked him to smooth things over with me.

"He already called," I said, and then I told the Daddy everything I said to him.

The Daddy laughed. When he could talk again, he said, "Just be nice."

"He's the one that's not nice."

Daddy chuckled. "Be good," he said, and hung up the phone.

I still like to think that the parents (with their newly painted house) were proud of me for turning down a so-called dreamy looking man with a romantic name. I may have been single, old, and living on my own, but far from desperate for love or marriage.

Happy Valentine's Day, dear gentle readers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Going to Church with the Daddy

 

One of the last times I went to church with the Daddy was to a Good Friday service. The Mama scored big that day as she not only got the Daddy to go with her, but me. I don't know how she did it. Maybe I didn't even sulk as I drove them to church. More than likely I did daydream through the service. That is, until the Daddy caught my attention.

It was a struggle for his old bones to do all the physical activity that takes place during a Catholic mass, especially at the longer Good Friday service. You stand, sit, and kneel a lot.  I don't think the Daddy realized he was protesting out loud. I still wonder if God and I were the only ones who heard him.

Stand.
Sit.
Kneel.
"Shit."

Sit.
Stand.
Kneel.
"Fuck."

Kneel.
Stand.
"God damn."
Sit.


Stand.
Sit.
Kneel.
"Shit. Fuck. God damn."

The Husband loves this story. After all, what's not to like: An old man swears in church.

How I miss the Daddy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jenn's Challenge: S-i-x-t-y Things!


My birthday was a couple months of ago. It was a delightful day, spent wandering with the Husband. One of the many highlights of the day was a package from Jenn, a dear long-time friend. Many years ago we worked together in a community-based nonprofit in San Francisco. She  developed on-the-job-training jobs for at-risk youth, while I counseled them about staying in school.

Jenn and I had a lot of fun moments within our serious ones. She could get me to do things I would not consider doing, such as buying a disco dress in all its femme fatal glory. Not just once, but twice. And, then there was that time we were walking back from some serious moment, talking about non-serious things as we passed by the panhandlers, street musicians, and the folks talking into objects before there were cellphones on Market Street. We stopped in front of a wig store and gazed at the display of gigantic Barbie doll heads sporting long and short hairdos.

"I wonder how I'd look in a long blond-haired wig," I said.

"Let's find out," Jenn said, with her delightful twinkle of challenge in her eye. "I'll try one, too."

I looked quite ridiculous, and quite enjoyed the frivolity of it all.

Back to the package that Jenn sent me on my birthday. I didn't open it until we were settled in at my favorite place to eat breakfast. All I saw were a bunch of envelopes. My first thought was that Jenn had given me invitations to send for something I knew not what.  I dreaded the idea.

I opened the first envelope: A birthday card. The next, another birthday card. And so on it went until I had 12 birthday cards before me. Why twelve? 12-12-12 was the date.

Very sweet.

All saying in some way or another Happy 60th Birthday!

Except I wasn't.

But, that's what made the birthday gift from Jenn so perfect. It was just so like Jenn to want to do something special for me on my birthday and to get my age wrong.

I'm glad she my age wrong. The idea of turning 60 is a startling idea, more than any other age.

I saw Jenn a few weeks after my birthday. She apologized profusely. I told her, "I'm glad you did. You're preparing me for turning 60."

Jenn said, with that twinkle of challenge in her eye. "Then, Sue, you should do 60 new things before your birthday. Things you've never done before."

Stay tuned, dear readers.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Bareness of Winter

Molly the kitty Cat and I never know what we're going to see in the Mama's backyard. The other day, I shared with you the roses. Today, uhm,  the apple trees in their naked splendor.






Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Leaks!

Unless otherwise stated, all words and images © by Su-sieee! Mac
Warning: It's graphic today.

Leaking things.
Under the car.
Around the base of the toilet.
Under the water heater.
 

Leaking bodies.
From the gut.
Norovirus.
Postmenopausal bleeding.


Aaaaaaaaaaaack.


This will all stop.
Eventually.
Hopefully,
sooner.
Not later.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How's the Mama?


When we meet up with friends, they eventually ask about the Mama. They've come to expect a doozy of a response about the tiny, not-so-frail 90ish gardener.  For example, one time I replied: 
We were gone 90 minutes to do errands. Only 90 minutes. Do you know what she did while we were away? She whacked off the tops of the banana plants. With her machete.
Ba-dum-bump. Tishhhhhh.

And then there was the time I got to tell our friends this story.
We were gone most of the day. We came home to find that the Mama had pruned the apple tree next to the small shed.

"Did you use the ladder?" I asked.

"Only my small one," she said. "You'll have to prune the top. I couldn't reach the branches."

I looked at the tree. I couldn't figure how she got the middle branches without climbing the taller ladder.

"How did you get those middle branches?"

"Oh," said the Mama. "I stood on the roof of the shed."
Ba-dum-bump. Tishhhhhh.



Monday, February 4, 2013

The Mama's Roses

The theme is still the inability to get started. That is, the brain of my mine.  

Plutter... Pletter... Splutttttt....The sounds that the brain of my mine has been making.

So, on Saturday, I tried to jump start the brain of mine by snatching up the camera and going outside.

Some of the Mama's roses are in bloom. Take that cold weather, they seem to say.

And, yes, the roses, the snapping of photos, the doing of something creative seems to have sparked something in the brain of my mine.

Of course, dear readers, I must share with you the Mama's roses.







© 2013 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Back in the Saddle. Maybe.

 

The words unfold themselves in my head. The hands though won't jot them down on paper or key them onto a blank document. That's not an excuse. I have no excuse.

The Daddy accepted no excuses from me when I was a kid. If I did something stupid, then I did something stupid. I suffered the consequences. I learned quite early what the consequences were so I did my best not to do stupid things—or, at least, not to get caught.

For a man with a gentle voice, the  Daddy gave very stern scoldings. So stern that it brought on the tears. And, should I cry, the Daddy said, "No crying." The longer the crying, the harsher the scolding.

The Daddy used his belt for the dumbest decision-making acts I did. One or two quick slaps on my legs. The sting of the leather brought on the tears, too. "No crying," the Daddy said. Sucking up the tears just gave me the hiccups.

I only recall two instances when I got the Daddy's belt. Both times I was no where to be found and came home later than I should have. Both innocent mistakes on my part. Both major scares on my parents' part.

Discipline was the name of the game. But, don't get me wrong. The parents also spoiled me. For one, they let me order as many  books as I wanted from the Scholastic paperback book sales even though the family had a limited budget. For another, the parents let me stumble into my future rather than demand I study something that would immediately get me a job, such as secretarial, bookkeeping, or nursing skills.

Ah, back then the Mama wanted me to be a nurse. That was the top-of-the-line job and career a woman in my family could be. At least on the Mama's side. The Daddy thought life would be good for me if I became a secretary. He considered that a non-traditional, high-tone job. The Mama agreed. One of her highlights while working in seed research was being sent to the main office in the next town to photocopy some documents for her work. Fortunately, the Mama believed in higher education  and if that was what I wanted to do, then by golly she was all for me going to college. The Daddy loved the Mama and me, so he just shrugged and went along.

Hmmm, now look at this. I've written several paragraphs. The words tumbled in my head, somehow got interpreted and translated by the currents running through my body, and found their way out through my fingertips which tap danced the words on this computer keyboard. Totally, damn amazing. A miracle, almost.