Friday, May 27, 2016

T'wasn't Me.


"Those shoes were tough to tap dance in," said the resting Molly the Cat. "The lady won't know who took them."


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Tidbit from the Past


Today I found a note I wrote to the Mama in 1968 or 1969 from the look of the psychedelic colored stationery.

On the envelope, I wrote
To Mama
To Brighten your day with a bit of May

On the neon green paper, I wrote

Mama,

You're the greatest,
I say you are!

So sorry I have nothing
to give you but this.

But, then maybe soon I'll give you
some thing other than a jar

And both you and me can be
in true bliss.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY. . .

though you still have to
do some work!

Love
Susie
or Me, the Lazy One

I wonder if the jar had anything in it.


It's the letter T at ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out other T posts. 

  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Pleasure of Mess


Sunflowers from the grocery store. I sprinkled a jar full of seeds throughout the backyard a month ago. As the Mama said about things she planted, "If they grow, they grow."

Tiny roses from the roses that the Mama planted in the box I built many years ago and which I demolished on Friday. I should've either reinforced the box or removed the plants and potted them elsewhere for the Mama. Something I thought every time I watered the box the last few years.

Bougainvillea and jasmine from the out-of-control vines in the front yard. The Mama would've been pleased to see the jasmine in full bloom, but also would've sighed that the vines had taken over. And, now, it's up to me to figure what to do.

"What are you writing?" asked the Husband, looking up from the newspaper. The remains of our lunch sprawled on the kitchen table.

"Nothing."

A few minutes later, I looked across the flowers on the table at the Husband and said, "I want to make a table runner."

"What's a table runner?" the Husband asked.

"I'll have to take out the sewing machine. But first I'll need to fine a place where I can set it up permanently, but every space in this house is taken."

"What's a table runner?"

"A piece of cloth that runs down the center of the table," I said, sweeping my arm down the center of the table.

"What's its purpose? To put things on?"

"Something like that." I really don't know.

Maybe I don't really want to make one.

The trio of vases full of sunflowers, roses, bougainvillea, and jasmine sit in a row down the center of the kitchen table.



Friday, May 20, 2016

The View from the Mama's Seat


The Mama had the best view of the outside world from her seat at the kitchen table.

She could watch the cars drive by, as well as people walk by, from the north or the south. She could see the butterflies kiss across the pink roses. She could gaze at the tiny brown birds take turns eating at the four-perched bird feeder. And, she could spy on the goings on of the neighbors.

"What is that man's name?" the Mama asked, waiting for lunch to be served.

"What man?" I asked, frantically getting lunch together, late as usual.

"The man in the grey house." (The house which is now blue.)

"Steve."

"He's cutting his lawn," she said.

"That's good."

"He's not wearing any shirt."

I never knew whether the Mama thought that was a good thing or not.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sorting Through the Mama's Stuff

The Mama and Two-month-old Me at Our Favorite Picnic Spot in Monterey

The Mama was 94 years old when she slipped into eternity. So, of course she left lots and lots and LOTS of stuff behind. Lucky me. I get to go through it all and decide what to keep, throw away, reuse, recycle, give away, or possibly sell. 

I was about to say that it's easy to figure out what to do with some things. It's not.

The other day I found an envelope on which the Mama printed Susie One Year Old. Inside the envelope was a bunch of my one-year-old self's hair.

What am I going to do with that?


It's time for ABC Wednesday, hosted by Roger Green and the ABCW team, which was started by Mrs. Nesbitt nine years ago. To join in and/or check out other participants, please click here.


Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Pedaling Season


Riding Tilda-Hilda gives me the opportunity to think. Riding her also lets me not think, if that's what I need at the moment. Thank goodness that I have Tilda-Hilda. She has been with me for almost 13 years. By golly,  gee, she's the oldest bicycle I've ever owned.

As some of you know, I signed up for the National Bike Challenge to keep me motivated to take Tilda-Hilda out of the garage. The challenge runs from May to September. Its goal is to sign up 100,000 riders who all together will pedal 75 million miles by the end of the challenge. As of the 15th day, 32,181 riders have signed up and we have pedaled 2,322,172 miles. Tilda-Hilda and I have gone out six of the 15 days thus far, pedaling 48.3 miles. Whooo-hooo!

The past two weeks, the mornings have started in fog so Tilda-Hilda and I haven't gone out as much. The fog lifted by mid-morning today, so, weather may be changing. We shall see.

I'm linking up with Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jeanette of St Germain's Blog. Click here to join along and/or check out the other participants.



Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Three Amigas


Photos for this week's Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills, include:
• Starts with T
• Week's favorite
• Evening 

My favorite photo is of the three different types of tomato plants that are now residing together in my first veggie garden in a long time.  Meet Jo, Led Zeppelin, and Valerie, from left to right.  Jo is already sporting a tiny tomato. Yaay! Led Zeppelin is quite a survivor, having almost dried up. And, Valerie is a volunteer and quite a fuzzy gal.

The three amigas are nightshade plants. Nightshade, evening. Close enough.  

To join in on the fun and/or see what photos other participants are sharing, please click here

Friday, May 13, 2016

Awake.


Until this past week, since April 8, the day after the Mama's funeral, all I wanted to do is sleep.

Sleep, to catch up with not having slept.

Sleep, to not think.

Sleep.

Tonight, sleeping takes a back seat to playing in Photoshop. The piece above is from the top left section of this photo.


I'm linking up with this week's Creative Every Day, hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas. Thanks, Leah.


Now, I'll go to sleep. Good morning, All.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Giddy.


The Husband and I are listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, while I'm clicking on the keyboard. It was a fun morning. We drank freshly-brewed coffee and ate olive bread with butter and cheese, as well as finished the leftover berry strudel and custard tart that a friend brought over for dessert last night. The food and drink put me in a giddy mood. Still am.  I think the coffee was made from drunken beans. Yes, I do.

As we got breakfast together, we wondered what to do today. We knew what we didn't want to do. And, so far I haven't done the laundry and the Husband hasn't cut the lawn. We thought of what we could do—maybe hike at the Pinnacles National Park, or drive over to Monterey, or go see a movie. We haven't done any of that either. I doubt we shall.

We did some stuff this morning. The Husband brought in the garbage cans and cleaned Molly the Cat's litter box. I collected all of the Mama's artificial flowers around the house and washed them, which I shall distribute among the sisters' and godparents' graves. The Husband washed the Mams's vases, containers, and a few other cute doo-dads, while I sorted through a couple more of the Mama's drawers and cabinets.

I'm finding a lot of interesting stuff that the Mama stashed away over the years. . .the gold watch her company gave her after 25 years of service. . .birthday and mother's Day cards. . .a recipe for a bittermelon and black bean dish from the Only and Older Brother. . .the porcelain dove that I bought for her in EnseƱada in 1974. . .the wishbone from either a duck or turkey.

This morning, it wasn't so hard going through the Mama's stuff. I guess it helps to be giddy from drunken coffee beans.



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Rosary Snapping Mama


"Does Manang have a rosary?" asked Helen, a friend of the Mama's. (Manang is a term of endearment for a woman older than you. It means sister.) We were standing before the Mama's casket on her funeral day, waiting for it to be closed and taken to the church.

"I can give you one," said Helen.

"It's in her purse," I said, pointing to the blue cloth clutch embroidered with bright red and white flowers next to the Mama's body. It also held the Mama's favorite compact, which the Only and Older Brother gave her when he was 12 or 13, reddish-pink lipstick, two large scarves, and one or two other things that I no longer recall. I like to think the Mama's spirit might enjoy having them.

"Did you break the rosary?" asked Helen.

"Am I supposed to?" I asked, feeling a panic coming on. "Mama only told me not to put it in her hands."

When I had researched about what Ilocanos do with rosary beads for the dead, I found articles stating to place a broken strand of rosary beads in the coffin, but no instructions on how to break the necklace. I admit I was nervous about breaking the Mama's rosary, and I didn't really want to because the rose petal rosary that I bought in Florence for the Mama was so pretty. After two ties at trying to break the beads with pliers, I gave up. After all, the Mama only said that it was bad luck for a dead person to hold a rosary.

The Mama had no shame at rosary services when she saw that a dead person's rosary was wrapped around his or hand. Either before or after the prayer service, the Mama would get right alongside the casket and patiently tug and pull at the rosary until it was free from the dead person's hand, then she'd carefully fold it and place it next to the body. After which, she'd go up to the decease's relatives and tell them what she did, scolding them a bit for their faux pas. 

That's the Mama. Go ahead and chuckle. I get a good laugh thinking about it. The funeral guys who toke care of the Mama's remains definitely got a good laugh out of the story.

"Manang always took the rosary out of the dead person's hand and broke it," Helen said, looking at me with very sad eyes.

"I didn't know that."

"She said it was bad luck."

I took the rosary beads out of the Mama's purse. "How do I break it?"

"I don't know," said Helen.

Oh, gee.


At certain points of the rosary, the beads are separated by bits of chain. I looked for one of those parts. Holding the beads firmly in each hand, I pulled at each end of the chain.

SNAP!

Just like that.

It's as if the Mama made sure I didn't break the rosary until it was time to forever close the door on her coffin.


It's the letter R at the ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team.  To join in and/or check out other R posts, please click here.

 



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Forty Days Has Passed


Religious rituals throw me off guard. Do I adhere to them? Shall I disregard them? What would the Mama want?

Today marks 40 days since the Mama scampered out of her body. I like to think she gave a big sigh of relief and smiled grandly at the Daddy who took her hand and they danced into eternity.

The Mama did not have to sit around in some holding space just beyond reality for enough people to say the right amount of prayers to move her forward into heaven. It's not like how that guy who recited prayers at an auntie's rosary said, "Now we know that Sister's going to heaven, but we need to pray for her so that she can get a better seat next to Jesus."  Really! I made sure he did not recite the rosary for the Mama.

When I was planning the Mama's funeral, one of her friends reminded me to get in touch with the church to request a nine-day novina for the Mama, which is nine straight days of praying for the Mama's soul after she has been buried. Yes, right. The Mama told me to do that, and I did.

Then someone asked me about the 40-day novina. After I stopped freaking out about that, I researched what it was all about. I'm still not sure if it's a church thing or a Filipino thing. Maybe it's both. The gist of the 40-day novina is an informal mass (as in friends and relatives) prayer for the decease's soul to ensure that she has found her way into heaven. I guess it's like that last extra shove into a door of a crowded subway.

Do I measure 40 days from the day the Mama died or when she was buried? Actually I don't care to know what the rules, or guidelines, are, if they're any. Just like I do with recipes, I have adapted the 40-day novina to soothe my soul.

This morning, I lit a tea candle at the Mama's and Daddy's grave site, while I arranged the last of the Mama's roses from her garden and some sand dollars that I gave the Mama years ago.  And, I simply hung out for awhile.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Husband


I'm participating in this week's Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.  The photo depicts the letter S for sweetness, which is the Husband. It's my favorite photo this week. And, it shows a smile.  To join in on the fun and/or see what photos other participants are sharing, please click here

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Qualifying the statement.



"No more grandma," said an old woman who I've seen at Filipino parties but never met. The Husband said she greeted him the same way when he welcomed her into the house for the Mama's post funeral service reception.

I imagine the stone-faced woman thought her quip was quite comforting and witty. She reminded me of once-upon-a-time visitors to our home when I was a kid who talked about how fat I was in their language not knowing that I understood what they were saying.

We stood in the backyard. Smiling, I held up my arm and waved at the Mama's garden in full bloom throughout the yard. "Mama's here," I said. "Always."

The woman looked at me, queerly. No doubt she thought I was crazed. After all, I requested "I've got the joy, joy, joy joy down in my heart" for the procession song as we rolled the Mama out of the Catholic Church.


It's the letter Q at ABC Wednesday. Thank you, Roger, Di, Melody, and the rest of the ABCW team for this fun weekly meme. 



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pedaling Again


I signed up for the 2016 National Bike Challenge, which goal is "to unite 100,000 riders to pedal 75 million miles from May 1, 2016 until September 30, 2016," according to its web site. The challenge has competitions for prizes. It would be nice to get one, but that will only happen if my name is drawn randomly out of the hat. The reason I'm participating is to help maintain my motivation to pedal Tilda-Hilda on a regular basis.

Tilda-Hilda and I started out again the day after the Mama's funeral services. The short uphill ride to the cemetery was simply hard. Pufff, pufff, pufff. Over the next two weeks, we rode a little bit further every day, stopping by to see the Mama and the Daddy at either the beginning or end of the fun.

If I could've done it without hurting myself, I would've pedaled all day. There is comfort in mindless pedaling, as well as seeing the countryside. As it is, I came down with a cold so today is the first time Tilda-Hilda and I have been out in a week. We didn't have to start all over. Puff, puff. I threw in one hill for us to lumber up. On this first day of the challenge, we pedaled 6.4 miles. Hurrah!

By the way, here's the link for the National Bike Challenge. I think you can sign up any time, if you're interested.