Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The End Zone


It was cold and foggy on the day of the club picnic. What better way to get warm than to play touch football.  That day, nearly 40 years ago, was the first time (and the only time ) I've ever played the game. We didn't even play it in girls PE in high school, which now when I look back, I wonder why. We had field hockey (loved those sticks), archery, swimming (my favorite), soccer (hated all that running), folk dancing, tumbling (aw, gee, again!), bowling, and an assortment of other sports, but no touch football. Not even flag football. Again, I wonder why since football was a big deal in my high school.

Anyway, I digress. In case, you've forgotten, or are confused, this tale of my rare athleticism happened when I was still a not-so-petite, petite young woman in college. Everyone had traveled an hour or so to a park south of the city. I have no idea anymore where it was, but I do remember the large meadow where we played touch football. Always willing to try almost anything once, I joined in the game. It couldn't be worse than being stuck way out in left field in a softball game.

This having taken place nearly 40 years ago, only one football play sticks in my memory. The one that counts. Our team was in a huddle, listening to our captain explain the play. Blah, blah, blah was what I heard until he said, "Sue, you run down to the goal line. If you're clear, I'll throw it to you. Then you run into the end zone."

Huh?

"Okay?" the captain said.

I probably gulped as I nodded. Why me? But, there was no time to ask for his rationale. If I were to guess, it would be the element of surprise. Who in his right mind would throw a football at one of the most out-of-shape persons there.

The goal line was far, far away to one—meaning me—who does not care to run. But, hustle I would to save face.  Once the play was in motion, I lumbered as fast as my fat legs could go. No one followed me. Ha!

Near the goal line, I caught my breath as I watched the action near the middle of the field. If anything, I was safe from being run over. I focused on the captain, who was searching for a receiver. He stopped, then threw the ball way up into the air, aimed directly at me. I followed the football across the sky, losing it at one point. I held my arms up as the ball came sailing down. Plop! The ball landed between my hands. I pulled it towards my body, turned, and quickly ran the few feet into the end zone.

Yup. I'm still amazed, nearly 40 years later.
I've been participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. And, today is the last day. To check out other participants, click here.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Five YEAR Plan


The other week, the Husband and I decided on a five year plan. First five year plan we've ever made about anything, too. The best part about it: We're already in year three. (By the way, did I use that colon punctuation properly?)

What is this five year plan? And, how is that related to the photos of our hair?

I'm glad you asked. This tale starts in 2010 when the Husband and I decided to go bald. The Husband also chose to shave off his mustache and beard. You can read that story here, if you're interested. In 2011, we shaved off our hair again. In 2012, we wondered how long our hair would get after two years. When 2013 came along, we got used to our messy look and thought about trimming it all once the temperatures got very hot. They never did.

So, here we are again at our anniversary of shorn locks. The last time my hair has been this long was in my youth, albeit (oooh, love that transitional word) my hair back then was much, much thicker. The Husband says the same thing. About the length of his hair, that is. He's still got a thick mane on him.

Having no goals or objectives these days about anything, we thought why not? Let's make this hair growing thing a five year plan. We shall see.

Here we are in 2011.


I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.    

Monday, April 28, 2014

X-Factor


"Husband, what is my X-factor?" I asked, standing behind the Husband, who was at the kitchen sink. He was carefully prepping the dishes to wash.

"X-factor?" the Husband asked. "What do you mean?"

"I dunno," I said, trying to balance on one foot. "What is X-factor?"

"It was a TV show** about aliens."

"Cool! I've got my "X" post."

"What?"

"The letter X. You'll be featured tomorrow on the blog. Thank you very much."

The Husband laughed.


* Later, when I returned from taking out the garbage, the Husband said, "X-Files was the alien show. X Factor was a talent show."

"Even better," I said, though I don't know why.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.    

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Wager


I knew the pet store was to the left, so I turned left. 

"I think it's to the right," said the Husband, sitting in the passenger seat.

"No, it's this way," I said, firm in my belief.

"I think it's back that way," the Husband said, firm in his belief.

"No."

"Yes."

"I'll bet you it's this way," I said.

"I don't want to bet money," he said.

"Jumping jacks," I said. "When you lose, you do 10 jumping jacks."

"Okay," he said. Here, dear readers, you should note that the Husband does not bet unless he's 100 percent sure he's right.

"And, if I lose. . .," I said. "What do you want me to do?"

"Ten jumping jacks," he answered. Dear readers, you should also note that I do not do jumping jacks.

"Fine. If I lose, I do 10 jumping jacks. But, I'm not losing."

Half an hour later, the Husband stood next to the car, watching me do 10 jumping jacks. He counted them out with me.

After I finished the last one, I said, "I bet you didn't think I'd do them."

"No." The Husband paused. "I didn't think you could jump."

Ha! I should've bet him.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Friday, April 25, 2014

Verily, Verily I say Unto Her


Verily, verily, I say unto her,  "I shall leave that spider web alone."

It's outdoors. It is in no one's way. It does no one harm.

The Mama thinks otherwise about spider webs.  And, if she had seen this one, she would've given me grief. Verily, she would have. 
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Uprooted


The last of the remaining orchard in our area was pulled out last month. That's why we've been seeing and hearing a lot more crows in the neighborhood. Also, doves, pigeons, and other birds. Squirrels, too.  Fortunately, no rats or snakes. I hope all the creatures that once lived in the orchard have found good places to call home.

FYI: The watermark on the photo refers to the other blog I write.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Television


I admit it. I've watched a lot of TV in my life, ever since the Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s. But, not enough to call myself a tvholic. Oh, sure there are days or nights when I sit in front of the TV and jump from channel to channel during commercials. That's so I don't think about stuff, including writing projects.

These days, I usually fall asleep after an hour of TV, if even that, including on programs that I like. For instance, I rarely make it through Elementary, the show about Holmes and Watson in modern day New York. It could be a genetic trait. The Mama falls asleep in front of the TV after dinner.  Molly the Cat snuggles alongside her and they both snore in front of the TV. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. 

I suppose I could stay awake if I wasn't lying down. "Sit up," says the Husband, waving his hand in front of my face. "I'm awake," I mumble. Barely, of course, but I'm not going to say so. And, maybe I shouldn't close my eyes during a commercial. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

This year, I especially enjoy watching Bob's Burgers (love that Louise with her bunny ears), The Big Bang Theory, The Mindy Project, and The Neighbors. Reality shows? Yup, I continue to watch Survivor and The Amazing Race. Lately, I care more about seeing the surroundings as the people do their competitions. What TV shows do you like to watch?

Yawwwwn. Writing about television is putting me to sleep. Time to go make some Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Perhaps without the television on.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Seize the Moment


When I was a youth—did I really write that?—the battle cry was Seize the Day! Today it's more like, uh, seize the moment.

In just a snap of a moment, I might finally do a load of laundry. . . vacuum the living room. . . make that darn appointment with the doctor. . . re-order supplements. . . read a chapter. . . prune the lemon tree. . . sew the Christmas gift for the Husband. . .  draft the working outline for a book idea. . . or. . . .

You could say I procrastinate. A lot.  At least, I make no excuses. Walden Pond taught me that. So, did the Daddy. I realize and accept the consequences for every action that I do. Or don't. Though I wonder if that is an excuse in itself.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reunited


If you were physically separated from your significant other, for whatever reason, would you still want to get back with him or her after a year? Five years? Thirty?

About a month after the Only and Older Bionic Brother was born, the Daddy, a naturalized U.S. citizen, returned to the United States. He realized that there would be more and better opportunities for his children in America than in the Philippines. This was in the late 1940s. He worked hard and within a year, he made enough money to book ship passage for the Mama and their son. The Mama did not want to leave her home and family. The Mama's mother told her that once she married, her life was with her husband's. She, the Mama, no longer belonged to the Grandmother. Thirteen months after the Daddy left, he and the Mama were reunited in their new home in California.

The stories of my two ninangs (godmothers) were different from the Mama.  They waited much, much longer to reunite with their spouses. The story of the ninongs (godfathers) and the Daddy, were similar, and to put the godparents' separation in context, I'll tell you a bit of that history. In the 1920s, the Philippines was a U.S. territory, which probably made it easier for Filipinos to travel as U.S. nationals. Throughout that decade, many of the young Filipino men, from all over the country, decided to go to Hawaii and the United States for the many jobs and good pay they were promised by agricultural recruiters and bragged about by friends and relatives who were already abroad. Most of the young men planned to work for a few years then return home with plenty of money to marry and start a family, if they had not one already. The Great Depression foiled their plans.

Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano

She was 21 years old and he was nearly 24 when they married in 1924.  A son was born two years later. In 1928, Ninong Mariano and his brother sailed for the United States where they worked the farms for meager wages. Said Ninong Mariano, "The first time I came here, the wages were 35 cents an hour. During Depression, fifteen cents an hour. That was the best I could get. Some places it was twelve-and-a-half cents an hour."

He sent money home when he could. Ninang Deling made money for the family by taking vegetables from the province where she lived and selling them in Manila, then before returning home, purchased products to sell back home. She also made a living for her and son by sewing clothes. She said, "I was a seamstress. I sold clothes when I could. Sometimes I make five dresses for someone to buy. They used to pay me three pesos."

Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano reunited in 1950. She was 47 years old. She had no conflict about leaving her home when her husband told her to come. Her son and her brothers were already in the United States. Ninang Deling said, "This is where my family was, so I come here. . . I (have) a good feeling."

Ninang Maxima and Ninong Vicente

They married in 1925 when she was 19 years old and he was 27. They had two children before he took off for America in 1929.  Over the years, he found jobs as a farm laborer and house boy. For 10 years, he worked in a Navy yard in California. Ninong Vicente said, "I liked to go back to Philippines, but no money. So I stay here. If you go there, you need lots of money to spend for the plane."

With the money her husband sent and the earnings she made from her sari-sari store, Ninang Maxima  managed to make a living for her family and send her son and daughter to school. Ninang Maxima said, "I am homesick to see my husband. When wartime, about five years, he didn’t write us. (There was) no mail to the Philippines."

Ninang Maxima finally reunited with her husband in 1959. "I didn’t recognize him when I came here. I didn’t know his face because it’s different. When he came here, he was young yet. When we got together, he’s old. I (was) 53. He was 60."

I'll do the math for you: Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano were separated for about 22 years, while Ninang Maxima and Ninong Vicente were apart for 30 years. Amazing, isn't it?
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Charlie Quaid


 

"Charlie, tell me the story, again, about that day we put away the benches at Sunnyslope School."

"Remember how we used to move the benches back to the side of the building after we ate lunch in fourth grade. Maybe it was fifth grade. There were only a few guys who could carry a bench all the way by themselves. I felt so good that first day I carried one by myself. Then I turned around and I saw you carrying two benches, one under each arm. I was impressed."

I don't remember any of it. If there was an exaggeration on Charlie's part, it would be that I was carrying the benches rather than dragging them.

Charlie Quaid and I had known each other since fourth grade. He was very cute in his blue cub scout uniform. He had the sweetest smile and, when I look back, the kindest regard for people, which perhaps he didn't know he had.  That, I think, contributed to why he was well-liked by both sexes throughout his life.

Charlie was one of the smartest kids in our class, and, I think, one of the most liked. He was the kid that got some teachers frustrated because he couldn't be appeased with the rote answers. He had to know "how come?" I recall sitting behind Charlie in sixth grade and Charlie asking the teacher one too many "How come?" The teacher, eyes wild and furious, strode down our aisle, grabbed a fistful of Charlie's shirt, literally pulling him out of his seat, and growled at him to shut up.  I was impressed how Charlie kept his cool. Charlie didn't remember this incident at all.

I lost track of Charlie after high school. I saw him at our 10th reunion, which was the first time he told me the bench story.  Fifteen years later, I ran into Charlie at our 25th class reunion.


Charlie was the kind of person who most people liked instantly. Elderly women, such as the Mama, "adopted" him into their family. Charlie was intelligent and street-smart, charming and respectful, curious and resourceful, fun and dependable. He ingrained the cub scout message. He worked hard and played hard, knowing when it was time to do both.

Charlie and my friendship began as adults, soon after our 25th high school reunion. It was around the same time that the Husband and I were young in our relationship, so the Husband  had the fortune to become friends with Charlie, too.

The ultimate adventure that Charlie and I shared was dropping out of a plane at 18,000 feet in our hometown. We waited for more than four hours for our turn  to board a plane, hook ourselves up to instructors, then jump (or be pushed) out of the plane and free fall for about 90 seconds, after which we slowly descended to the ground. When it was all over, Charlie, sporting a big grin, said, "Thank you, Susie. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had."

There are so many things I liked about Charlie, for instance, how he brought his mitt to baseball games, ready to catch that fly ball. And, every time I saw him, I learned something new about him. At one our first hikes, I learned about the tiny notebook in his pocket that he whipped out every time he wanted to remember something to look up.


I loved how he loved his Lisa. Both the Husband and I noticed at the same time how Lisa's and Charlie's eyes met when they passed each other at the first party they hosted. It was a kind of wonderful. Later, Charlie said to me, "If I were ever to marry, I would marry Lisa." He did, several months later.

A few years ago, Charlie was telling the Husband and me that he doubt he'd see his 60th birthday. He'd done the actuarial numbers on himself, he said, basing them on his many years of substance abuse and poor lifestyle choices, as well as a recent heart attack. Charlie was matter-of-fact about it all. "You're healthier than you've ever been," we said. He shook his head. "Too late," he said.

I don't know if Charlie truly believed the numerical prediction. As far as I know, Charlie continued being Charlie. Nothing extreme, just living life with gusto. . .going to a job he enjoyed. . . riding his mountain bike. . .being curious about the world. . .getting ticked off at inhumanity. . . .hanging out with his friends and family. . .and adventuring through life with his Lisa and their dog Clive Alive.

On January 1, 2013, Charlie and his Lisa and their Clive Alive were walking on their favorite beach when Lisa and Clive Alive got caught in an ocean wave. Charlie ran in and saved them. Then, just like that, Charlie was hit by a wave and swept away. Witnesses said they saw him bobbing for 15 minutes before they lost sight of him. Charlie's body was eventually recovered. He was a few months shy of turning 60.

I miss Charlie.


I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   
 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peeling Oranges


As the Daddy started the car, the Mama pulled an orange from the paper bag. She dug into the orange with her thumbnail, pulled away a bit of the peel, and handed it to her teenage son in the back seat. The Daddy eased onto the two-lane highway when the Mama took out another orange. This one she peeled completely, then gave the juicy fruit to her seven-year old daughter who peeked over the front seat.   In her mind, the Mama already forgave the children their mess.

The Mama reached for a third orange. The Daddy kept his eye on the road, maintaining a safe distance from the car in front of him. The Mama slowly peeled the orange, glancing now and then at the passing scenery. The teenager swallowed his last slice of orange and burped. His sister giggled.

The Mama reached over to the Daddy and touched his right hand with a piece of orange. His eyes still on the road, the Daddy took the orange and ate it in one bite. When he swallowed, the Mama gave him another piece. She looked at the back seat. "Junior, do you want another orange?" she asked.

The teenager turned a page of his comic book.

"Junior, another orange?"

"No."

"Susie, want more orange?" She held up a piece to the little girl, who happily took it with her sticky fingers.

The Mama handed the Daddy several more pieces before she finally ate a piece.

I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Ocean


One of my favorite places to go to is the ocean. Notice I didn't say beach. I like the beach, but I don't necessarily have to be walking or laying on one. I'm happy to be standing on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. And, when I can swim in ocean that's warm as bath water, whoooo-weeee! That to me is heaven.

All my life, I have lived within a 40-minute drive away from the Pacific Ocean. At one time, I was just 10 blocks away when I was living in San Francisco. Oh, and how can I forget the apartment where the ocean was just a short walk down the hill. Although, the Husband will say that was a bay and not the ocean. But, a bay is part of an ocean, right?

I had to search deep into my computer files to find a photo for today's post. You know what that means? The Mama would say, "Mapan tayo idiay baybay!" Let's go to the ocean!

What's one of your favorite places to go to?
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ninongs and Ninangs


The Mama and the Daddy asked six of their friends to be the ninongs and ninangs, or godparents, when I was baptized.  The Roman Catholic Church recognizes only two baptismal sponsors, and one ninang (female godparent) and one ninong (male godparent) did sign on the formal lines of the baptismal document a long time ago. The other four signed on the right hand top of the page. I have a feeling the godparents signed it all at once at the church, which makes me wonder if the priest panicked that the church rules were not being followed.

The parents taught me that the spouses of the godparents were also ninangs and ninongs, and I was to address them as such. Altogether, I had 10 godparents. I have many memories of these elegant people. Here are a few of them.

Ninang Deling taught me my numbers in Ilocano. She was quite patient with the four-year old me that bounced and danced around her as I repeated after her—maysa, dua, tallo, uppat, lima. . .

When I was six or seven, Ninong Cleto and I drove in his boat of a car to the store for candy. As I selected candy bars, he asked for the 3-foot tall doll sitting on the shelves up high. This doll had tits and wore heels and a fancy blue glittery gown. The Mama thought it too pretty to play with, but its hair still got shorn and its dress torn.

I think the late afternoon/early evening phone calls from Ninang Babe started when I was in middle school. Usually a bit tipsy, she called to tell me how much she loved me. She talked about other stuff, but I only understood that she loved me. Our family didn't say "I love you" to each other back then. It was a given. Yet, for a kid, it's nice to hear the words, even from a godmother who by then I had no idea what she looked like.

In 1975, a friend and I decided to drive cross country after the spring term was over. The parents did all they could to discourage me. The idea of two young women driving, unchaperoned, across the United States was a foreign concept for them. What if your car breaks down? What if you meet bad people? What if you run out of money? And so on and so forth. I started to get anxious and thought maybe I shouldn't take the trip. Then Ninong Pablo dropped by the parents' house for a visit. "I hear you're going to drive across America," he said. I nodded. The Daddy had probably called him to come over and advise me.  "You're going to have a great time,"Ninong Pablo said.

And, then, there was Ninong Frank. The last time I saw him was in a supermarket parking lot. He was heading towards his car, while I was heading into the market. As always, he gave me his version of a big smile and eventually asked how old am I now. When I told him that I was in my 40s, he was quite startled. "Oh, well," he said, pulling out a five-dollar bill from his pocket. "Here. Buy yourself a doughnut."
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How's the Mama?


The Mama, as some of you dear readers know, is in her nineties. The tiny, fragile, slow-stepping Mama is doing well, thank you very much for asking. She's as fit and magnificent as the flowers and vegetables that she grows. The only medication she takes is for her thyroid. I can only hope that I haven't screwed up the genes she gave me too awful much.

This morning, I found a poem that I wrote about the Mama two years ago when she was rushed to the hospital. The Mama is amazing.


The Sleeping Mama
Slipped into her ER room.
She was fast asleep,
Hooked up to the IV, heart monitor, and oxygen.

In one moment,
she could not move
no matter how hard she tried.
And, she tried, and kept trying, to stand up.

"Walking pneumonia," the doctor said.
"Dehydration."

What did she say? 
"This is going to cost me a lot."
© 2014 Su-sieee! Mac


I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Knowing the Language


Nearly 35 years ago, a college professor, who hailed from Australia, told me if it weren't for the awkwardness of my writing, I would've got a higher score on my paper. She forgave me for some of my usage and grammar because, according to her, "English is your second language."

For once, I kept my mouth closed rather than enlighten her on how wrong she was.

English is the only language I can read, write, speak, and understand fluently. Proficiently, too, except for the lapses in awkward writing and the proper use of grammar, word choice, and cliches. I'm especially good at forgetting articles (the, a, an, and so on) and getting prepositions mixed up, which, I think is because the Ilocano language has no articles and, as far as I can tell, one preposition.

As I was growing up the parents mostly spoke Ilocano to me while I spoke English to them. I still do that with the Mama, and the Husband finds it very strange. It's really not unusual with immigrant parents and their American-born children. Once, I tried talking to the parents in Ilocano, but they couldn't figure out what I was saying. "Your accent is funny," said the Mama, after she and the Daddy stopped laughing.

When I was a kid, many Filipinos who just immigrated to the U.S. thought I couldn't understand Ilocano. After all, I greeted them in English when they came to visit the Mama and the Daddy. It was inevitable when the parents weren't around that a visitor would say in front of me, but in Ilocano, "My, the daughter is fat!" Another visitor would respond, "She probably can eat a whole pig by herself." And, they would all snicker.

I pretended that I didn't understand, although when I became a teenager, it was very difficult not to put them in their place. But that was okay. I just waited for the moment when the Mama would ask me to serve refreshments. In Ilocano. Then, one of the visitors would ask awkwardly, "She can understand the language."

"Yes," the Mama would say. "She was born in the United States. Even though we speak to her in our language, she can only speak English."

The visitors always cringed and fidgeted.

As I write this I wonder if the Mama may have also overhead the visitors say rude things about me, and that was her way of getting back at them. After all, I rarely saw any visitors who talked "behind" my back come to the house again.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Kitty Cat


This is Molly the Kitty Cat. For short, we call her Molly the Cat. Prrrrrrrrrr.

I've told many a tale about our sweet Missy Molly by Golly. If you'd like to read one, please click here. Have a great weekend! Prrrrrrrrr.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jumping the Ditch


Because I was born 10 days after the cut-off date for first graders, I was sent home on the third day of school. Fine. The Mama had her hands full caring for Baby Sister and figuring out the new house that we had moved into about a week before school started. That meant I got to go with the Daddy for part of the day. Great!

The Daddy irrigated the rows upon rows of crops on the valley floor. During  his morning break, the Daddy came home to fetch me. I'd get in the car with my Golden Books, coloring books, and crayons and down the hill we would go. While the Daddy worked, I entertained myself with my books and when that became tiring, I'd wander and explore, but never too far from the car and always where the Daddy could see me. We'd go home for lunch and sometimes I'd get to go back with the Daddy.

A ditch stood between the fields and the car. It also separated me from the Daddy. Without help, I could not get over the ditch, especially when it was filled with water. One day, I decided to get over the ditch. Yup, that day it was full of water.

I jumped.  Wheeee! I landed safely on the other side.

I turned around and jumped back. Then I jumped again. Back and forth I went.

Splash!

Before I knew what happened, the Daddy pulled me out of the ditch. I was not hurt.

"Your mom is going to be mad," the Daddy said in his quiet-like voice.

I looked down at myself all wet and muddy. Oh-oh.

From that day on, until we moved again, I stayed home with the Mama and the Baby Sister.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Itty-Bitty Bananas


Itty-bitty bananas are growing in our backyard. It's quite amazing. Don't let that photo fool you. I took it close up. They are truly very small bananas.

Bananas have grown before, but normally they sprout at the end of summer, then before you know it, the weather is cool, and so much for the fruit. This year though, ooh la la, we may be eating bananas from our trees.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Home Improvement Project


The Husband and I stood in line at the big-box home improvement store. As we waited our turn, I watched the busy movement around us. All the lines were long, a given for a Saturday,  I suppose. Men and women pushed their carts forward in line, all heaped with lumber, sacks of soil, cans of paint, plumbing fixtures, and other large and bulky items for their DIY projects. 

Finally, it was our turn. The Husband placed his items on the counter—a tiny light bulb and two drawer knobs. The transaction was quick. As the cashier handed a tiny bag to the Husband, he said, "Enjoy your project."

The Husband still cracks up when he recalls that moment.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Grey Hair Stops Cars


It started happening last year. Well, I noticed it last year. A wonderful phenomenon that sometimes happens at intersections where there are no traffic lights or stop signs. The Husband and I stand at a corner, waiting to safely cross the street. We are in no hurry, usually. So, if there are several cars about to parade in front of us, no big deal. But, then, unexpectedly, a driver stops for us. We walk as quickly as we can across the street, waving our thanks to the driver. 

The first few times this occurred, I was amazed that there were still kind drivers in the world.

One day it occurred twice—drivers stopping their car to let us go by. The first time was in a parking lot, the second at a street intersection. As Yul Brynner in The King and I sang, "But is a puzzlement."

Then it dawned on me. The drivers who stopped saw two old people standing on a corner. Perhaps we looked forlorn or lost. Ha! I doubt it. Our normal stance is silly. They probably felt sorry for us being old and felt like paying something forward. Which is nice.

The Husband and I don't think of ourselves as old, except when another aspect of our health goes wrong, or, when we look in the mirror and see how grey our hair is. But, you know, if our grey hair will get us across the street sooner, that's okay by me.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Freeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Free!

That's how I feel when I pedal my clunky bright pink bicycle. Being short, I've got a lot of power in my stubby legs, so says the tall Husband, who sometimes huffs and puffs after me.

"That's okay," I tell him. "I can't keep up with you when we walk.

Since December 31, 2013, I've pedaled nearly 320 miles on my pretty cruiser.  I'm rather proud about that. Several days a week, I take off before breakfast and pedal up and down and through the flat and hilly neighborhoods or trace a perimeter around town. Because I'm alone, I generally follow the streets and roads. Now and then I forge quickly across a field or ford the dry riverbed.

The Mama is almost used to me going out on my own early in the morning. Just when I think it's not a big deal for her that I'm out roaming alone, she'll say something like, "Do you go far away?" "What takes you so long?" or "Aren't you afraid to ride by yourself?"

Yes, I'm afraid. That's why I don't go through remote areas that I would by myself. Of course, some may say that a couple of the routes I take are remote. Perhaps. But, I am careful. And wary.

Bicycling is my favorite form of exercise. Any stress or worries I may have disappear once I've pedaled a block. Wheeeeeeeeeee!
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Elephant in the Room


Lately I've been hearing this phrase a lot—the elephant in the room. For example, a character says, "We can't ignore the elephant in the room anymore."

That said, I shall address the elephant that has been showing itself the past few days on my blog. The drawings. Rather, the doodles.Those are mine, you betcha! Very rough and kid-like. You'd think I'd be embarrassed to show them. Nope.

This elephant -- my doodles -- is just another something new for me to attempt. Ever since my first grade teacher told me that my cows needed to stand on terra firma, I have been insecure about drawing, painting, sketching, and anything to do with art. Not anymore. The elephant in the room is now s-i-x-t-y and can do whatever she darn well pleases.

So, I may be posting a doodle every day of this A to Z challenge. Or not. Because I'm talking about the elephant, I may not be inclined to do any more. But, then, as I'm composing this post, I can't think of what to do with the other letters. Perhaps, I'll just post a doodle a day. Wouldn't that be cool? Maybe you'll see a doodle of a fish, a foot, or a fan on Monday. Stay tuned.

I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Doughnuts


The morning the First Husband died, I had thought about doughnuts.

Frank was 21 days into hospice care, which we elected to do at home. On that 21st day, I woke up feeling strangely relaxed. Unlike the other 20 days, I wanted to sleep a bit longer.

Thump. Frank lightly tapped me on my head. Two times. I felt heartened. He had not been able to move any part of himself for days.  I opened my eyes. He looked at me intensely and clearly. I smiled. He hadn't been this alert since the first few days of Hospice.

"Okay, Frank, since you insist, I'm getting up," I said. I opened the blinds to the living room where we had been sleeping on the sofa bed for the last four months. "It's a beautiful day, Frank."

Our morning ritual began by turning Frank onto his side, then holding a glass of water mixed with a bit of morphine for him to sip from a straw. On day one of hospice, Frank decided to stop eating to bring death on quicker. He, as well as the hospice nurses, were surprised how long it was taking. Next came Frank's sponge bath and the changing of his colostomy bag, followed with a reading from A Course in Miracles. (Today, I think he may had me read from the book more for me than for him.)

As I shifted him onto his back I said, "Going to take a shower, Frank." He looked at me as if to say, "Don't go."

"I won't be long," I said, smoothing the blanket over him.

Before entering the bathroom, I glanced back into the living room. Frank looked peaceful lying in bed, with enough sun streaming into the room to bathe him with warmth and light.

While washing my hair, I suddenly had an urge for doughnuts. I imagined driving the few blocks to the shop on the scooter. Easy to find parking that way. I'd be back in no time. Fifteen minutes tops if there happened to be traffic or a long line at the shop. Frank wouldn't know I was gone, I thought. For the past two weeks, he didn't like being separated from me. At first, I thought it was just him being alone, but when I asked a friend to stay with him while I went to the laundromat, I learned differently. I also found out it was difficult for me to leave him. But, that morning, the 21st day of Hospice care, I felt okay about leaving Frank briefly.

"Frank," I said, combing my wet hair, as I walked into the living room. "I'm going to get doughnuts."

His eyes were closed.

"Frank!" I touched his hands. . .his shoulder. . .his face. They were cold.

He had finally given up life.

I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

To Play or Not to Play the Cello


I want to learn to play the cello. So I say right now.

In the past year, I have changed from wanting to play the bass guitar to the bass, accordion, trombone, drums, and violin. And, now it is the cello. The Husband says settle on one already. Easy for him to say. He can play the trombone. He can read music. He can sing on key.

Me? I can read the C-scale, specifically the first five notes C-D-E-F-G.

The first time I sang along with the Husband during our courting days, more than 18 years ago, he told me I was off-key. After another song or two, he said, "You're tone deaf."

Huh? What? That was news to me and I'd been singing 40 years by then. But, it did suddenly make sense why the elementary school chorus teacher didn't let me join the group and I couldn't for the life of me tune my guitar when I was an angsty teenager.

Fortunately for the Husband, I haven''t let that imperfection keep me from singing when I feel like it. He has even said my singing has improved over the years. I'm sure that wasn't in my dream when he said it.

So, should I learn to play the cello? Or, should I just be content eating jello as I listen to the amazing 2CELLOS?



 I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.  
 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bra Time


Names have been changed because I just don't remember them anymore.

"Need any help, Bea," a grey-haired woman said heartily, from the doorway of the Friends of the Library Bookstore.

"Laurie, good to see you, darling," said the elderly Bea, turning from the bookshelves. "You're not scheduled for today."

"I know," Laurie said, walking into the shop. "I had to come down town to pay bills and return books. Since I had to put on a bra, I thought I'd stop by and do a couple of hours if you could use me."

Both women laughed. I laughed, too, from the side of the room. Yup. I could hardly wait to get home and take my bra off.

I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Teaching the Alphabet


"Sometimes it's a good idea to teach A, B, D, C rather than the usual A, B, C, D."

That's what I said at a job interview for a youth counselor position in the late 1970s. I cannot recall what the interviewers had asked me, nor can I remember why I chose to give a "thinking out of the box" response.  This was my second interview for the position so perhaps I tried to sabotage myself. I was very good about things like that back then.

I did not get the job. No surprise there. But, I figured it was more so because I didn't have the desired skill of being bilingual in Spanish. A month later, the group offered me a temporary position as one of the eligibility officers for its summer youth employment program. That job turned out to be more compatible with my personality.

A few days on the job, I met the woman who was hired for the youth counselor position. Unlike me, she had a working relationship with the interviewers, having previously worked with them in temporary summer positions. Like me, she had recently returned to her home town. She also did not speak Spanish fluently.

Maybe the interviewers did consider my answer flaky.

I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.