Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Day with the Daffodils


"There are the Daffodils!" Bingo and Bubba darted above the dolphins. How the Byrd siblings love to visit with the triplets—Davey and her brothers Dicky and Danny—who dwell near the docks in the delta in December. 

"Yi-haw!"  

"Whooo-hooo!"

Dicky and Danny dived out of the water in dizzy delight, nearly bumping into Bingo and Bubba.

"Watch it, guys," drawled Davey. "You don't want to dump those Byrds into the drink."

"We're practicing our disco moves," declared Dicky.

Danny divulged how they were pretending to be John Travolta.

"Delightful," said Bingo, dipping her wing in the air. "We'll join you."

The Daffodils and the Byrds danced, danced, and danced some more. When they were done, they decompressed by the docks, sipping daiquiris and discussing the Byrd siblings' updates on Charlie the Camel and Agathe the Aardvark.

As the Byrds departed home, the Daffodils called out, "Bye-bye! Thanks for a divinely dillydally of a day!"


D is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Front Yard Progression

May 2016
It's been awhile since I've updated the progress of the front yard, which some of you know was a once-upon-a-time lawn. The Husband and I didn't like the lawn because of the upkeep (on his part) and its need for too much water, especially during droughts. But, because the Mama liked having a well-manicured lawn, well, there you have it. When the Mama soared into the universe, thus began the undoing of the lawn.

September 2016
January 2017
July 2017
Today, January 30, 2018
Hopefully, come late Spring, sunflowers will be growing in that empty patch on the left, as well as here and there in the foreground. Can't get enough sunflowers. I'll also be sowing wildflowers in that empty patch to see if it was simply a fluke that they didn't so well last year. Last fall, I transplanted some canna lilies nearby. If they like the area, they'll take over like a wildfire, which is okay with me.

Onward and upward.


I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. Check out this long-time meme here.  Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!


Monday, January 29, 2018

What Do You Want?


Mwrrrrr.

"It's nap time," says Molly the Cat, "Go bother Hero Man."



 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Finding Zen With Muddy Hands

"How are you doing?" asked the mailman, as he stuck a bunch of letters and magazines in our mailbox.

"Happy now that I'm playing out here," I said sitting on my green stool in the middle of the yard, my hands muddy from pulling weeds and sticking plants into the damp soil.

Who would've thunk that gardening has become one way for me to find zen? Definitely not me.

 

 



I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!



Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Bottle Border


The Husband and I like to drink a beer now and then. As for wine, until our anniversary party last September, we rarely popped open a bottle. But, after the party was over, we were left with a bunch of bottles of red, white, and sparkling bubbly. Thank you very much, friends!

A few months ago I saw a video on how to use wine bottles to create a garden border. Now you know why there's a line of bottles growing in our front yard. Giggle.

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Free Show


As our side of the Earth begins to rotate away from the sun, I like to watch the late afternoon sun's rays glimmer and glow on the tree branches above our neighbor's rooftop.

Ever heard the song I Got Plenty of Nothing? Barbra Streisand sang it in the 1960s. If I had a theme song, I'd definitely consider that song. Part of the lyrics are:  
. . .I got no lock on the door, that's the way to be
They can steal the rug from the floor
That's okay with me, 'cause the things that I prize
Like the stars in the skies they're all free
Oh, I got plenty of nothin', and nothin's plenty for me. . .

Today's share is with Skywatch Friday. It's been awhile. Here's the link


Thursday, January 25, 2018

A New Point of View


Let's see:

A view from up high. I don't know why it took me so long to get a bird's eye view of the front yard. As you can see, all those pretty daisies I showed you the other day only fills up half the yard.

Gardening in the rain. Last year I watched a video of a professional gardener saying rain doesn't stop her from working and rain doesn't bother the plants that she's putting into the ground at the moment. I immediately felt bad that I got on the Mama's case for not coming in from the garden when it rained. Her spirit probably smiled when she saw me ignoring the few raindrops as I pruned roses on Monday and pulled up weeds this morning.



Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Charlie the Cable Car Bell-Ringing Camel


"Caramba! The cable car bell ringing contest has already begun," called Bingo to Bubba.

"It looks like Charlie's turn!" Bubba clamored.

The Byrd siblings circled to the right, luckily finding an air current to coast quickly to Union Square.

Clang! Clang-clang-clang! Clang-ity, clang clang, clang clang! Clllllaaaaangggg! Clang!

The crowd roared their approval.

Charlie the Camel blushed a crimson red, as he clip-clopped down the cemented sidewalk to the contestants' corner.

"That was brilliantly cacophonous, Charlie!" exclaimed Bingo as she landed on his right shoulder.

"Awesome, Dude!" said Bubba. "That was mighty crisp and clear. We could hear it from above the Courtyard Hotel."

"Thank you, thank you," said Charlie, coyly covering his face with the charming beret that Agathe the Aardvark sent him from France. Bonne chance, mon ami, she wrote.

Minutes later the winners of the annual San Francisco Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest were announced. Charlie was not crowned the champ. He was, however, given a special award for being the first Camelus Bactrianus to enter the competition.

Three cheers for Charlie!


C is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Imagining the Poppies


This morning as the Husband and I walked home, I got to see what others may see as they come to our yard. Ooooh, right?

Last year those bushes of pink daisies were a third to a half in size of what they are now. Until last month,  the bush on the right and the one beside the green pot (which is an olive tree) had no flowers at all. Amazing, huh?

The white alyssum flowers in the foreground are all volunteers. I love volunteers.

Next month, we ought to be seeing other volunteers blooming in the yard. Much of that green stuff you see are California poppy sprouts. Imagine them all in bloom. All that orange. Wowza!


I'm linking up with Our World Tuesday. Click here to check out the meme. Thank you, Our World Tuesday team.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Sunday Photo Session


Yesterday afternoon, while picking up pillow cushions and doing this and that to prepare the backyard for rain this week, I came across some cool things that seemed to shout, "Look at me! Look at me!"

So, of course, I went to get the camera. Click. Click. Click.




I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!



Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Reminder


Ding-dong!

This morning Molly the Cat and I were traipsing about in the backyard when the doorbell rang. Molly inspected the perimeter of the yard, making sure all was well, while I checked how much the garlic had grown in its pot. I'd spied a bit of green yesterday morning just before I stepped inside, thinking I'd look for sure when I went back outside. But I didn't go back outdoors. I let melancholy rob the rest of my day.

This morning I woke up still not wanting to make an effort. What good is that? I told myself. There are roses that need pruning. I visualized myself getting the pruning shears and small saw out from the shed, as well as the rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide from the bathroom to sterilize the equipment. Okay, up and at 'em.

Downstairs, opening the drapes, I noticed the layer of ice on the rooftop next door.  That settled that. I fed Molly her breakfast and made coleslaw. I've found that preparing part or all of our afternoon/ evening meals in the morning, preferably before breakfast, makes life easier when figuring meals is a downright chore.

The coleslaw done, I decided to get some morning sun. Chilled air welcomed Molly and me when I slid open the patio door. Molly blocked the door, hesitant, as if saying, "I don't know about this." I opened the door wider. "I'm going out, Molly."

I checked the pot of garlic. Yippeeee. Green garlic shoots. I heard a man clearing his voice. The next door neighbor was out early, I thought.

Ding-dong!

Annoyed, I wondered who was visiting so early in the morning. Nine o'clock for surprise visitors is early. I heard the clearing of a male's voice again. What could the neighbor want? As I stepped inside, I saw through the kitchen windows a dark truck parked in front of the house. Oh no! It was our former neighbor, who over the years due to family and health issues had become snarly and negative about everything.

The Husband was upstairs in the bathroom and couldn't hear the doorbell over the bathroom fan. Thank goodness. But if the Husband had, he would've been able to handle our former neighbor with a pleasant "hello, how are you?" and a "thank you for dropping by" while standing at the door.
I stepped back outside.

Ding-dong!


I didn't want to invite the former neighbor's negativity into the house. I didn't want to hear him repeat his distaste and hate recycled from Fox News, nor have him go on and on about how far our town, state, and country have fallen into hell. Maybe if he inquired about our lives and attempted to carry on a cheerful conversation, or, more importantly, to take steps to get out of his blue funk, then maybe I could put on a happy face and open the door.

Maybe it wasn't the former neighbor. I sighed. I went back inside and walked slowly to the kitchen, looking out the windows. It was him! He was heading back to his truck. He looked towards the house. I quickly went out to the back. Sitting on the bench, I heard him start his truck, take off, turn right at the corner, and drive down the street.

If anything today, he, this former neighbor, was a reminder that I could not, would not, and will not slide into darkness.

Green shoots of garlic popping up through the soil is something amazingly beautiful. That, too, is a reminder.





Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Sky is Not Falling


Although there are moments when it seems like the sky is falling, especially when it comes to our federal government, which seems more so lately with the lack of leadership in our executive and legislative branches. Those currently in power seem hell-bent on funding the Haves and getting rid of the Have-Nots; hence, the folks clinging on to the sinking middle may feel they must choose between siding with the sanctimonious greedy and mighty insecure lackeys or being true to the Good Samaritan messages that our society preaches.

Either/or.

Frustration abounds.

Pitchforks and torches come out.

Usually the meek, the kind, the underdog are mobbed first and continually until the growling breaks out among those in power. Or, until enough of the mob breaks lose of the spell of curses it is under and defy the powerful that cast the spell.

I suspect that people who hate are scared. But, of what? A loss of property? A world of peace and love? Death? Is it as simple as fearing they will be put to death by the "other side" which says its objective to help the Have-Nots? It doesn't make sense.

This, too, will pass. "Always look on the bright side of life."



Friday, January 19, 2018

Book Review: The Kitchen God's Wife

Today I share the review I wrote at Goodreads.com this afternoon about The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan.  See you tomorrow.

 The Kitchen God's WifeThe Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's true what people say about Amy Tan: She's one grand storyteller! This is the second novel that I've read of hers. I admit it has been sitting on my shelf for several years. When I first bought it, I read several pages and put it down because the conflicting relationship between the daughter and mother was so relatable. I didn't think I could handle the story.

So years later, nearly 2 years after my mom's spirit soared into the universe, I picked up the novel. When I finally went beyond the first few chapters, I was surprised to see that the main story was about Winnie's (the mother) life in China during WWII. She is telling her story of heartbreaking secrets to her daughter because Winnie's best friend, Helen, who lived through much of the past with Winnie, has stated that she, Helen, is dying and can no longer keep Winnie's secrets. If Winnie does not tell her daughter, she Helen will.

The story of Winnie is as I said heartbreaking, but it is also one of strength, perseverance, hope, and being brave to take opportunities when they come. She reminded me of my mom.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Mug of Chocolate Cake

 

Delicious baked sweets are my downfall. Nothing like the right combination of butter, sugar, and flour. Throw in chocolate, oooh-la-la! Call the concoction a doughnut, faaaaan-tas-tic!

It's a good thing a doughnut costs 75 cents or more in this town and nobody makes a good one enough for me to want to buy one anymore. If I want the taste of a delicious doughnut, I'll drive about 10 miles to the next town and pay the extravagant cost of 50 cents for a raised sugar doughnut hole or 75 cents for a cinnamon doughnut hole, a chocolate dipped doughnut hole, an apple fritter doughnut hole, or a cream-filled doughnut hole.

I digress. Back to my topic. You've no doubt come across recipes for microwaving a cake recipe in a cup. Maybe you've even tried one. If you haven't, a microwaved "cup cake" does the trick when you want a sweet taste of something "baked" and don't want the hassle of making it or going to the store. I like that my recipe is quick, easy, and very adaptable. I use a mug instead of a cup because mugs are what we have.

Here's my basic recipe (I use a regular spoon that's about equivalent to a tablespoon measurement):
Mix 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and a quarter teaspoon of baking powder in a mug. Then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of milk. Combine well. Optional: Add a few chocolate chips. Microwave for one minute. If it doesn't look done, microwave for 10 more seconds. The finished product fills about half of the mug.

Last night, I modified my recipe by stirring in 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut to the dry mixture. I didn't have milk so I substituted 1 tablespoon of my homemade limoncello and 1 tablespoon of water. I topped the batter with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese before putting the mug in the microwave.  Yummmm.



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bingo & Bubba Byrd


"Bubba boy! Did you see me bear down over Broadway? I'm a natural barnstormer," boasted Bingo to her brother.

Bubba, big-eyed and off-balanced, burped. Thank goodness for the sidewalk, no matter how bumpy his landing. Maybe he should've gone hiking with Agathe the Aardvark instead of buzzing around with Bingo.



B is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Sweet Begonia


"I beg on ya to make sure I have a nice protected spot come summer," said the begonia, which has been doing quite well on its own.

Just when I think this begonia's no more, it shows itself to be a survivor out in the elements. Maybe it would like hanging out on the north side of the yard. We shall see.





Monday, January 15, 2018

Tulips


Tulips. Coveted, desired. Fancy-pants flowers.

For the longest time, I thought of tulips as extravagant, more money than they were worth. Fragile wings. Closed-mouthed. Cold-hearted.

Once upon a time I worked part-time in an office where one spring a co-worker kept a vase of tulips on her desk.  Boringness. Then one day I happened to see a petal drop and noticed how vibrant and rich-colored the inside of the petal was. So amazingly different from its bland outer coat. I became a fan instantly. Everyday I watched the tulips unfold their true exotic and exciting depth of beauty.

Tulip Fever (2017)

The other day, the Husband and I watched Tulip Fever, a movie set in the 1600s in Amsterdam during the maniacal period of selling and buying tulips as a commodity. With one much-sought after tulip, a poor man could suddenly become rich and marry the love of his life, or at least run away with her should she happen to be married. Being too greedy, pushing the value of that same much-sought tulip to an absurdly high value, the rich may crash into poverty.

This movie is about two love stories: a wealthy man's wife and the artist who painted their portrait and the couple's servant and a fishmonger.  As Molly the Cat would ask if she were reviewing the movie: How was the tulip mania of this time a metaphor for the love stories? Why was it important for the mistress and the servant to work together to deceive the master? Is it still possible to have a happy ending when the bottom falls out?

When the deception and greed in the story got too intense for me, I pulled out my art journal to distract myself as I watched. What else to draw, but tulips.





Sunday, January 14, 2018

Big Bang Daisies


When I looked up big bang theory on Google, most of the links on the first page went to articles about the TV show. After 11 years of the popular comedy, of course. I wonder how well-known is the theory of the universe starting from a huge KA-POW! of indescribable somethingness.

My picture of Big Bang Daisies began as the photo below, which was taken a few days ago in the backyard. Photoshop froze at one point as I manipulated the art filters and I grumbled a sort of ka-pow!


I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mike Yoon


Mike,
Complex man.
Rest in peace.

I met Mike in 1985 when I married his father. I got to know Mike as the son of his parents. Later after the First and Last Husband's death, I got to know Mike as a friend and peer. It was Mike who introduced me to the Husband. For that I shall forever be thankful. In the last two years or so, except for a couple of phone calls, there hadn't been any contact with Mike. Just call it a difference of opinions.  Mike is one of those people who has a way of lingering in your mind and conversation. And, he has been on my mind lately. Mike passed away recently.


Michael Jeffrey Yoon, son of Frank Yoon and Jean Wong Yoon, and brother of James Yoon, was born in the year of the Tiger on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. June 21, 1950, to be precise, in San Francisco, California. He passed away on December 22, 2017 in Livermore, California.

"My friends call me Mike," he said sometimes, after introducing himself to strangers. 

MIke (lower left hand corner) with his Yoon cousins in the 1960s.

As a child and young man, Mike and his family lived in San Francisco, Sacramento, El Cerrito, San Francisco, and Berkeley. On his own path, Mike made his bed in San Diego, Cleveland, Benicia, Thousand Oaks, Fremont, and Livermore. For about four decades, Mike shared his life with his wife Debbie Wingerd Yoon. Together they had two sons, Jonathan and Andrew.

Mike graduated from University of Pacific in 1974 with a BS in biology and biochemistry. He was on the ground floor of biotechnology research in San Diego and at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. During the 1980s, he decided to change gears and got into human resources, graduating with an MBA in Human Resources and Labor Law from Case Western Reserve University in 1988. In 2000, Mike obtained an MS in Human Resources and Organization Development.


In the late 1980s, Mike moved back to California to begin an accomplished and successful career in human resources in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, working both in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Mike held various management HR positions in such companies as Bio-Rad, Amgen, Bayer, Abbott/TheraSense, and BioIntegra.

Mike's colleagues' recommendations at Mike's Linked-in profile described a highly respected professional. Repeatedly, Mike was cited as being intelligent, insightful, caring, honest, fair-minded, positive, diligent, methodical, and diplomatic. He was approachable, quick-witted, accessible, a team player, and a strong communicator. Many of his colleagues were impressed with Mike's ability to relay complex technical concepts into easy to understand terms. Definitely not an easy thing to do.


Family and friends were important to Mike. As sometimes happens with persons of high intelligence, and ambition, along with being strongly focused on work, he could be clueless to the feelings of those close to him. Most often, you let it go. Mike was friendly to a fault, and innocently charming at times. He was a know-it-all because he wanted to know it all. Nothing wrong with that. And, he had a great sense of humor when he wasn't so serious.

There's no greater testament to a person than the unconditional love of his parents. Frank and his mother Jean would've jumped to the moon and back for Mike.

During his last several years, Mike battled Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), leukemia, and other illnesses with resoluteness in the same fashion he tackled any problem. Mike may have moved into the business world of human resources, but he always had the mind and soul of a scientist. 

I like to think that when Mike's body hit the wall with his last breath, his spirit was welcomed into the universe of amazing love and light by Frank and Jean and his brother James.

Soar freely and joyfully, Mike.


I've created an album of Mike on Facebook. Here's the public link.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Keep the Flu at Bay!


The Husband is way up on the ladder of recuperation from that crazy virus that he came down with a couple days after Christmas. It seems this flu virus has been going on since October, but truly got worse in terms of spreading the past several weeks. In our county, health officials declared a "flu outbreak" during the last week in December, meaning a whole lot people in our area have it. The other day, the local news reported a second death in our county due to the flu. What's going on?

Simply, people get sick and don't stay home and take care of themselves, because they have to do what they need to get done. They go to work, go to school, go to stores, go to wherever. They cough. they sneeze, they blow their noses. They handle stuff and touch surfaces that others will handle and touch. Shudder.

The media has reported that the emergency department at our hospital has seen over two dozen people with the flu. No doubt they were miserable and probably thought they were on their last legs. I wonder how many got furious because they had to wait for a doctor to tell them to go home, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Antibiotics can't cure the flu.

Fortunately for the Husband and me, I didn't get sick, although he did experience a couple days of me being unreasonably bitchy, which probably was me combating slight symptoms of the flu—headache, muscle aches, chills, itchy throat, and a runny nose. To ensure I stayed healthy I consumed the same stuff that I gave the Husband: cups of straight lemon juice and honey, herbal tea concoctions for flu, soups (chicken, tomato, and hot & sour),  juices, extra doses of Vitamin C supplement, and lots and lots of glasses of water. No cheeses or any kind of milk product to keep the phlegm level at minimum. Until he no longer felt a fever, the Husband took the allowed dosage of extra-strength acetaminophen around the clock. 

Essentially, once the flu has been caught, all you can do is let it run its course. At home, if at all possible, especially during the worse of it. Please!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

One Stretch of a Yawn


This was a lucky catch of the girl. She'd just pulled herself up from her sleeping position and blinked at me. Then yaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwn. Giggle. 

Precious Molly the Cat.