Monday, March 19, 2018

El Camino Paraiso

In Fall 1962, the family moved into a brand new house on a brand new street a couple miles east of town. Lucky 711 was the street number; El Camino Paraiso, the street name. Translation: Paradise Road. Myself, I prefer "The Road to Heaven" because the cemetery, run by the Catholic Church, sat next door.

I thought a ghost lived in my bedroom closet. Every now and then, until I left for college, just as I was falling asleep, I experienced old hag syndrome, a kind of sleep paralysis. The only way I felt safe was to sleep in a fetal position on my left side, facing away from the closet.

Cute yellow house, don't you think? It had a huge back yard, enough space for the Daddy to grow a good-size vegetable garden, as well as plant fruit trees and raise chickens, pigeons, goats, and pigs. Fortunately for us we lived in the county. With all that, the Parents still were able to put in a patio, some lawn, and a flower garden. 

The Mama sold the yellow house in 1987, a year after her retirement and several years after the Daddy died. I wonder if ghosts still live in that closet.

The Mama in 1970.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Tuna Fish Surprise

The last time I made Tuna Fish Surprise was in home economics class in seventh grade, which was...hmmmm....over 50 years ago. That was the first time I ever made the dish—a can of tuna fish, a can of cream of mushroom soup, crumbled potato chips, and, I don't know what else. I have a vague feeling we baked the tuna fish on sliced bread. It was after all public school, the 1960s, and the objective to teach us, girls, how to prepare delicious fare cheaply and quickly within 30 minutes or less.

The home ec teacher let us give our dish away to other teachers, which meant being able to roam the hallways during class hours. So, yeah, you bet I went that way. I chose Mr. Anthony, the gruff old science teacher. Why should all the favorite teachers get all the good stuff?

Yesterday was the second time I made a version of the dish. After consulting the cookbooks and the Internet, I figured anything could be put together for this dish. Thus, it's name. Uh-huh. Got it.

To two cans of sustainable tuna fish, I added leftover brown rice, leftover homemade mushroom soup, one rye crisp, a cup of frozen green peas, two stalks of green garlic, and about a cup or so of crumbled potato chips. I also mixed in creamed horseradish and juice from one lemon. The mixture was dumped into a buttered casserole dish, then topped with a thin layer of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Result: The Husband thought it was tasty. Me, okay. Molly the Cat sniffed it and turned away.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Picture for My Thoughts

I'm taking apart the first album of the Mama's. Not her first one ever, but the first in a long line of albums. Sigh.

What's with the so-called "acid-free/archival" pages in this album? The cellophane breaks apart when I take out the photos. So much for trying to use my hands with delicateness and refinement.

For some reason-yet-to-be-identified, I'm saving the 3x5 pieces of paper (with a single punched hole) that were used as dividers between photos. The how-can-I-repurpose-this part of me has prevailed.

I don't know what to do with the photos after I've scanned them. For that matter, what am I going to do with the scanned photos. May be why there are long intervals between scanning sessions. And, for a session to happen, I need to play my era of Rock & Roll and Latin music so I can wiggle and waggle in my chair, as I do this rather sad and joyful exercise of remembering stuff in photos.  For instance: the rainy wedding day of a cousin; our yellow house with the lucky (kind of) 711 address; the Daddy's 71st birthday party; the Mama's afternoon of modeling for the camera; and the Older Brother, high school football and track athlete. Sigh.

Here I go, back down the rabbit hole.

Friday, March 16, 2018


My eyes, even with the glasses on, are still seeing blurry images. The ophthalmologist dilated them about four hours ago so she could see clearly into them. And, what did she see?

Sufficient level of cataracts to merit surgery for which the health insurance company would be willing to pay. The cataracts are worse in my left eye.  On my arbitrary scale of 1-10, the doctor says 5 or 6. My right is 4, but a 5 when she factors in the glare of lights I see when I drive at night (which is the reason I don't like to drive at night). I've known for seven years or so that cataracts have been developing, but I thought I would be in my 70s, maybe 80s, before I had to start considering cataract surgery. Booo. Hisssss. Bummer.

The Daddy had cataract surgery in his left eye when he was. . .gee. . .about my age. He hated wearing the contact on his other eye, which either the Mama or I had to insert. That was always an ordeal. Blink, blink. Eventually, he went back to the comfort of wearing glasses, but the left lens was tinted so he looked like a pirate. Arggghh.

Technology is better, the doctor said. She would only make a two millimeter incision, barely one-tenth of an inch. Out pops my cloudy lens, in slips an artificial one.

The doctor said it was up to me. My prescription can no longer be improved. Cataracts are progressive, although mine may stay at this level for a while. But, there may (she said "will") come a day when I won't be able to pass the eye exam for my driver's license. Booo. Hissss. Bummer.

By the way, that's the Daddy in 1974 when he and I took a month-long vacation in the Philippines. The parents wanted me to learn about my heritage and where they lived. I look at this photo with new eyes (maybe blurry vision is good). The Daddy looks very happy posing with the carabao, holding the animal's rope just so. I wonder if he was thinking back to his younger days before he ventured out into the world beyond his island, with 20-20 vision.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Pelican in the Front Yard

Cool pelican, don't you think?

His head? I have no idea what happened to it.

He's requesting a sparkle-sparkle body. The better to show off his plumage, so he says. Only then will he reveal his name.  Giggle. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Judge Jennifer the Jack Rabbit

Knock, knock.

"Please enter," said Judge Jennifer, hanging up her judicial gown.

"That was quite a jaded case," Agathe the Aardvark said from the doorway. "You must be exhausted. We can do our jaunt another day."

"The walk will do me good," the jack rabbit said. "Just let me get my camera and phone and I shall be ready to go. Will Filemon be joining us?"

"He'll meet us at the meadow. He said he'll jet about and try to locate the tree before we get there."

"That jocular flying squirrel," jested Jennifer. Agathe giggled, then said, "Filemon does have a way of forgetting a job once he's in flight."

The walk from the courthouse to the meadow took longer than usual, but neither friend minded the slow pace at all. Agathe snacked on ants or termites that she found while Jennifer snapped photos of jackals drilling the street with jackhammers, juvenile jaguars jumping into a jeep, a Jesuit jogging up the jailhouse steps, two jabirus juggling jet skis, and rusty jambeau lying among jonquils.

"Tell me dear, would you rather be a judge or a photographer?"

"The latter, of course," replied Jennifer, clicking away at a joyful, jabbering jaybird. "I'm so happy that Winnie and Thomas asked me to be their wedding photographer. If this goes well, I might consider early retirement and become a jungle photographer."

"Her Honor, Judge Jennifer, the Jungle Photographer," Agathe said. "That has a jolly ring to it."

"I hope we can find their tree," said Jennifer as she waved joyfully at Filemon who sat on a junky jukebox that marked the entrance to the meadow.

"Winnie says it's off the path. She says jasmine or some kind of flowery vine grows up the tree."

Jennifer nodded. "Did she tell you that Thomas carved two hearts with their initials at the base of the tree?"

"Oh, he's the perfect joey for her!" exclaimed Agathe.

"It's about time you jills got here," joked Filemon. "I found the tree! Jenn, it's just the perfect spot to take Thomas' and Winnie's wedding portrait."

"Let's go then!" Agathe and Judge Jennifer, the soon to be Jungle Photographer, took off jogging down the meadow path with Filemon flying beside them.

J is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check out the meme here and the list of this week's participants here. Thank you much, ABCW team!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Misbehaving Trees?

I saw a bunch of naughty trees the other morning.

Okay, knotty, to be precise.

It's time for Our World Tuesday. Here's the link for you to check out participants from around the world, and maybe to join up yourself. Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Snoozy Molly

I love it when Missy Molly by Golly chooses to cuddle next to me on the couch. The thing is she can fidget, but I'm not allowed, according to her majesty. When she no longer can take my movements, she sits up, shakes her head, as if to sigh, and walks over to the Husband, nestling beside him.

Zzzzzzzzzz. . .zzzzzzzzzzzz. . .

Last night I happened to have my camera in my pocket. With much slyness and swiftness on my part, I clicked, clicked, clicked away at the Girl.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Once Upon a Time


This was in 1996 (or 1997) in our backyard at our first home together. We had an awesome view of San Francisco Bay and, behind the Husband and all that greenery, of San Francisco.

It had been about 20 years since either of us lived in a house. What a luxury that was. No flights of stairs to carry groceries, packages, or laundry. Open the front door and sit on an actual porch. Until sound walls were built by the freeway a few miles below us, we heard no traffic. And, we had a huge backyard with nothing in it so we could transform it into anything we wanted. Yes, definitely a wonderful first home for us to get used to each other.

Doesn't the Husband look cute? In college, he was given the nickname "Farmer Dick" by his friends. Not because he was a farmer, but because he wore overalls a lot.  (That's another thing the Husband and I had in common when we were young.)  He makes a handsome farmer, the Husband does, so I say.

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, March 10, 2018

Transplanting Roses

I'm tired. Satisfyingly, though.

My left knee is growing stiffer by the second, as are my shoulders and hands. I'm fine with that. I accomplished my goal today before it started raining. For about four hours I've been digging holes by the back fence for roses which I transplanted from pots  (the orange roses, for instance) and from the middle of the banana plants. I've always wondered what the Mama had planted first, the banana plants or the roses.

All the transplanted roses began as cuttings that the Mama stuck in the dirt. Whenever she trimmed her roses, she'd propagate a few branches, so who knows what generation the roses are that I stuck into the ground today. If you're interested, here's an old post about the Mama's roses.

I also have a bucket of rose cuttings, which, if my body doesn't protest and it's not raining too awfully much, I'll put them into the ground tomorrow. Rose cuttings don't grow for me in pots. Mostly because I forget they're there. Unlike the Mama, flowers have a better chance of living if they're in the ground. We shall see if that includes roses. Now, it's time for me to ice my knee and think about making Cream of Mushroom soup for dinner.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Hulk

Anyone else think the cloud looks like the top half of a puffy Hulk?

Hanging out at Skywatch Friday. Come join me by clicking here. Thanks, Skywatch Friday hosts!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Oh-nay Lah-nay Bridge

"Here comes another oh-nay lah-nay bridge," said the Husband. We were driving on a windy road somewhere on the island of Hawaii a long time ago.

"Oh-nay lah-nay?"

"See, oh-nay lah-nay," the Husband said, gesturing towards the yellow sign we were passing.

"Oh." That's one of the infinite reasons I'm with the Husband.

A few hours ago, we drove over two, maybe three oh-nay lah-nay bridges while we meandered the country roads a few miles from home.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Iago the Iguana and the Invitation

We invite you
to jump for joy with us
on our wedding day,
Wednesday, June 27, 2018,
at the Honalee Bay Aquarium!
Winnie & Thomas

"Hey, Iago! I see you got your invitation," called Guy A. Gator to the iridescent iguana basking in the sun on the immense igneous boulder.

Iago opened one eye to watch his alligator friend indolently swagger towards him, clutching the heart-shaped invitation in his mouth.

"Going, are you?"

"Indubitably," Iago answered somewhat indifferently.

The iguana half-listened to Guy's incessant chatter. Iago yawned, idly gazing at the horizon. His eyes widened. He sat up straighter. Edwina the Egret, his imagined love, soared in the near distance.

Iago's heart beat faster as he watched the ingenious creature glide to a stop beside Guy.

"I figure since Thomas and Winnie are vegetarians, I'd grill their favorite veggies and cook them into my famous gumbo for the reception," said Guy in a tizzy.

"Oh, Guy," interrupted Edwina. "Their wedding is over three months away.

"Time flies by in an instant," said Guy. "Isn't that so, Iago?"

Iago nodded. He dared not talk. His voice might crack. Being near Edwina made him insanely nervous. And, incredibly giddy. To Iago, the irresistible egret would be his ideal companion. He thought her so intelligent, so imaginative, so intriguing, so . . . .

Iago inwardly shook himself to attention as Edwina spoke.

Fluffing her feathers with great pride, Edwina said, "Winnie has asked me to be her maid of honor."

Iago fainted. He will be Thomas' best man.

Oh, happy days! The ABC Wednesday creatures are excited to be part of Thomas and Winnie's wedding celebration. Stay tuned.

I is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check out the meme here and the list of this week's participants here. Thank you much, ABCW team!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Life is Grand

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life 
which are the real ones after all."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

It's time for Our World Tuesday. Here's the link for you to check out participants from around the world, and maybe to join up yourself. Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sailing Away

"Sailing, sailing over the bounding main. . . ."

In this case, the bounding main is a dinner plate standing tall in the front yard.  It didn't seem to mind the rain. Happy Monday to you!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Molly the Cat's Satisfying and Satisfactory Sunday Morning

Molly has asked that I tell you about her satisfying and satisfactory Sunday morning, and before breakfast, too.

Molly and I were deadheading daisies in the front yard. Molly is the supervisor, in case you're wondering. About 20 minutes into clipping soggy dried daisy heads (we had rain—yay!) I glanced up to see Molly sitting with her body tensely taut and intently watching the flamingo. From my angle, Molly and the faded artificial bird seemed to be in a stare down.

Five minutes later, I noticed that Molly had moved halfway closer to Albert. That's the flamingo's name I've decided.

Three minutes ticked by: Molly was in stealth hunter's mode. She quickly and quietly tiptoed around me and crept into the bushes to (no doubt) ambush Albert from behind.

I wonder who was surprised more—Albert or Molly.

That was not the end to Molly satisfactory morning adventure. No m'ams and sirs.

Ten minutes later, I was planting tiny daisy branches (in hopes they'll grow) beneath the tree when a yowl broke through my zen. Racing down the side cement path was a fat orange tabby with Molly a couple feet behind her. Whooooooooooosh! 

Just as Molly rounded the corner, off the property, I shouted in what I hoped was a better-listen-to-me voice, "MOLLY!" With my knees which the doctors say no longer have cartilage, I wouldn't have been able to. . .you get the picture.

I couldn't believe it: The girl stopped in mid-flight. She literally screeched to a halt with sound effects, eeeeeeeeeerrk. She locked eyes with me, then peered down the sidewalk. It's almost like she shrugged and muttered, "Not worth it."

She walked up the cement path like a triumphant little lion, stopping a few feet where she turned and stared at the corner, making sure that four-footed prowler dared not return. Once she was content, she sauntered back to Albert where she sniffed the daisies next to him.

Yup, our Molly the Lion had a rather satisfying and satisfactory morning.

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, March 3, 2018

A Flowery Welcome

The Mama loved her flowers. Every time she trimmed her flowers, she planted many of the trimmings directly into the soil elsewhere. And, they grew. I'm hoping that will happen for me, too.  Here's what her daisies, geraniums, and rosemary in the front of the house looked like this afternoon. Oh, Happy Spring!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Passing Through

I believe cats to be spirits come to earth.
A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud
without coming through.

~ Jules Verne 

Hanging out at Skywatch Friday. Come join me by clicking here. Thanks, Skywatch Friday hosts!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Singing in the Rain

Finally! The winter rain has come to our part of the world. It began last night. A steady pitter patter, pitter patter on the roof and a swoosh and splash in the streets.

Molly the Cat and I celebrated this morning by wandering around the front yard. Actually, it was more like Molly doing her best to shepherd me back into the house. At one point, Molly sat on the doorstep looking like she was sighing at my silliness of deadheading wet daisies. If she could, I'm sure she would've folded her "arms" over her chest and tapped one paw in a "come on, come inside, get out of the rain" staccato beat.

Excuse me now as I imagine Molly's tappingness turning into her tapdancing and splashing in the rain like Gene Kelly. Hmmm, Molly has a voice quite like Debbie Reynolds, "I'm singing in the rain. . . ."