Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts

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

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Eden Hills' First Friday's Hunt

I'm participating in a new meme called Friday's Hunt, which is hosted by Teresa of Eden Hills. You can link up until Sunday, in case you're wondering if I know what day it is. If you'd like to join in and/or check out other participants, click here (after you read my post, I hope.)

A is for Artichokes



I'm used to seeing fields of artichokes near the coast. So, it's very strange to see them growing in our area, which is about 40 mile from the coast. I wonder if the artichokes taste any different.


Week's Favorite



Yesterday, the Husband, the Mama, Molly the Cat, and I received a trés cool gift from Cousin Kuting (which means tiny and cute in Ilocano). It's a large sturdy canvas bag perfect for everything that needs being carried. Molly the Cat sniffed it, which I take to mean that perhaps if need be she would jump into it and be smuggled into somewhere that we need to be secretive about. But, that's not the neatest part about the bag. Cousin Kuting printed a photo of the Husband and me dancing on one side of the bag. That's pretty sweet!

Celebrate



For the past two months, the Mama has been getting shots to build up her red blood cells because her anemia got dangerously low. It was very tough going the first six weeks. The medication took a lot out of her. She lost her appetite. She could barely walk and everything—joints and muscle pain, hearing loss, and so forth—that was physically wrong with her seemed worse. She mostly slept.

This past week was one of the best weeks for the Mama and that's cause for celebration. She looks great. Her appetite is back. She sleeps less during the day. She has more energy and is looking around for things to do. She hasn't gone outside yet—the first winter that she hasn't played in her garden every day—but that's okay. It's very cold and when it isn't, it's raining. And, she's being her normal complaining self.

Cheers for the Mama!


Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Carleen Original


I love handcrafted gifts. This Christmas I received one of the most amazing, beautiful handcrafted gifts ever—a quilt by Sister-in-Law Carleen. Isn't it gorgeous?! The pattern is trés cool.

The photograph doesn't do justice to the the bright and contrasting colors of yellow, green, purple, turquoise, and bits of bright blue. Carleen used a tropical theme because, she said, I was a tropical gal. I totally like that.

Needless to say, but I shall anyway, this Carleen original warms my heart big time and many times over!


I'm sharing this post with Warm Heart Wednesday, a new weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jenny Matlock. Yes, yes, I know it's Saturday. :-)


Monday, October 19, 2015

Painting Olive Branches


Friends Jenn and Moose and the Husband and I took part in a paint party at the San Benito Olive Festival last Saturday. Altogether, there were 18 participants. Hmmm, I think the Husband and Moose were the only guys. What's up with that? Is getting guys to paint the same as getting them out on the dance floor? The Husband and Moose have no problem shaking their booties.  We did a lot of that at the festival, too.

Our teacher-host was Artist/Sculptor Paul Loughridge. His robot and metal sculptures are especially trés cool. Check some of them out at his website.  Okay, back to the paint party. Being that it was at an olive festival, Paul guided us through a painting of olive branches.

Having not painted since grammar school, I was hesitant about whether I could recreate his painting. Several other participants articulated how I felt. He reassured us. We were not to worry. We would be creating our own original paintings. And, so we began. He told us which brush to use, what colors to blend, and so forth and so on.

We were the afternoon session and I'm happy to say we were a handful. We gave him a hard time in a delightful way. We vied for his attention. "Teacher! Teacher!" We glowed when he gave us positive feedback.  And, yes, when it was all done, we each had a unique painting. 


By the way, my olives are in the shape of hearts.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Up in the Sky

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been

Look up in the sky. Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No. It's Su-sieee! Mac.

Nine years ago, I fell through the sky with my fellow Jumping Beans Jeanette, Jennifer, and Charlie. That was our big thing to mark being in our 50s.

Yes, yes, I know. I've mentioned my jump before in other posts.  But, I haven't ever described being up in the sky, free-falling, and then floating downward. It only took nine years to write about it.

Jennifer, Jeanette, Su-sieee! Mac, and Charlie
photo courtesy of Lisa Q.


We, jumping beans, waited four hours one Sunday afternoon to board a small plane, get attached to a professional skydiver, be dropped off at a certain point in the sky, and fall, then float, within minutes to the drop zone. Interestingly, none of our significant others wanted to experience it all with us.

Charlie and I opted to fall from the highest altitude—18,000 feet.  Gulp. I just came back from figuring how high that is—about 3.4 miles. Wowza (said in a little voice).


What do I still remember about being up there?

I was grinning like a crazy person on the plane ride. We reached a certain altitude and out came the oxygen masks. I felt fine without it, but still put it on. The view of the top of the Diablo Range was spectacular. I wondered if I was looking into a caldera at one point.

I sat on my instructor's (aka the professional skydiver) lap in order for him to attach him to me. I outweighed him by at least 30 pounds. I felt bad that I may have been crushing him. When it was time to jump, he and I inched our way to the door, me in front of him. The videographer jumped first. I hesitated at the door. The instructor pushed me, and voila I was yelling and "flying" away from the plane.

Supposedly I arched my back, and my legs bent back between the instructor's legs. He stretched my arms out in, I guess, a standard position. He motioned for me to yell, which I still don't understand why. The videographer flew up to us and motioned for me to look up at him and the camera.  I was more interested in looking around. I could see all the way to the Monterey Bay.


Think of all the superlatives you can and that's what it was like to be up in the sky.

It was very noisy up there. I suppose it was the sound of our bodies, clothing, and skin flapping about. I can almost approximate the sound when I lean my head out the car window when the Husband is driving at a good clip.

The deployment of the parachute was kind of jarring. It opened and we jerked up in the air. Then, we began a smooth, quiet descent. The instructor zig-zagged us downward over the golden hills of San Benito County. I became a chatterbox. The Husband said he could hear me from way below.


The drop zone was the field across from the small church where I was baptized as a baby. As we approached the drop zone, I held my legs straight out. Bump! I was down on the ground. And, then came the hardest part—getting up.

Soon after that day, I fantasized about being a very old lady shuffling to the plane every morning for my daily jump.

You never know.


It's the letter U (as in Up) at Alphabe Thursday, hosted by the delightful Jenny Matlock. To participate or check out other U posts, please click here.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Good. The Random. The Fun.

Hello. I'm participating in a new weekly meme today.


The Good. The Random. The Fun.  It's a Monday meme hosted by Random-osity. You blog about a good, random, and fun thing that happened in the past week. Yes, I know today is Tuesday. What can I say.

THE GOOD 


My high school graduating class—San Benito High School (aka Hollister High School) Class of 1971—established a scholarship about nine years ago. We have the distinction of being the only alumni class at the local high school to sponsor a scholarship, thanks to Rudy, Debbie, and Debbie who had the vision, heart, and diligence to make it happen. In the last eight years, we've given $14,000 in scholarships to 10 Baler graduates. (Baler, or Haybaler, is the high school mascot.) Whooo-hooo!

On Saturday we held our annual Class of 1971 Scholarship fundraiser in town. It was another successful luncheon, silent auction, and raffle. Each year, we get a bigger turnout with newer faces showing up. It felt great seeing old and new friends. I like to think that everyone had a wonderful time.

THE RANDOM


The sun's light reflecting on trees as it was saying good-night.

THE FUN
 

"You have a different idea," said the Mama.

"About what?" I asked.

"My birthday."

This year for the Mama's birthday, the Husband, Molly the Cat, and I decided to give the Mama a present a day. Sometimes the gift is funny (a package of gum), pretty (a bracelet), or useful (boxes of tissue). It may be food, a handcrafted item, a photo, a piece of clothing, and whatever I think floats the Mama's boat.  The Husband and Molly the Cat have given me carte blanche, within reason, to purchase or make the presents.  And, that's a lot of fun for me.

Each morning at breakfast the Mama opens her present, looks at it, and then rewraps it. She says that she will unwrap them again on her actual birthday. I love the Mama.

Head over to Random-osity's blog, to check out other posts about The Good. The Random. The Fun. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Between Lovers Point and Cannery Row

My Alphabe Thursday theme—Places I've Been

Lovers Point in Pacific Grove is about 1.25 miles to the west from Cannery Row in Monterey via the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. It's a fun, lovely trail to take however way you choose to travel it—walking, jogging, or pedaling a two-wheeler or a four-wheel surrey bike.


Lovers Point is a popular city park and beach to both locals and tourists. It's a great place to picnic, stroll, swim, or simply sit and enjoy the amazing Monterey Bay views. When you're there, don't be surprised if you happen upon a wedding ceremony.

The Husband and I walked the trail between Lovers Point and Cannery Row with friends on New Year's Day 2014. We started from Lovers Point, where we had a picnic and remembered our friend Charlie who had passed away the previous year.

The walk back from Cannery Row was tough. My knee protested every step back. Thank goodness for the camera, which distracted me as I clicked away.

Looking east towards Cannery Row.

One year, the Husband and I rented one of these surrey bikes and pedaled from Fisherman's Wharf to Lovers Point. The Husband did most of the work since I had a hard time reaching the pedals.

This is part of a long mural that depicts the history of Pacific Grove. In the late 1870s, Pacific Grove was established as a Methodist seaside retreat. By 1910, it was incorporated as a city. Pacific Grove is also known for being one of the places on the California Central Coast where Monarch butterflies return every Fall.

Odd-shaped rocks on the beach, you say. They're resting sea lions.

Look at that rock's profile. Does it remind you of a cat?

Cannery Row. Yup, the same place that John Steinbeck wrote about when it was full of sardine canneries. Today, it's home to many, many shops and restaurants as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Heading back to Lovers Point, which is just beyond that point on the horizon.

It's Alphabe Thursday with the lovely Jenny Matlock. Today's letter is L. Click here to read posts by other participants.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

M-a-n-i-p-u-l-a-t-i-n-g. Manipulating


I would like to think that the only good manipulating I do these days is what I do with my photos in Photoshop. Not that I think I manipulate people to my way of thinking or doing. Although, there are time when I wish people would stop thinking the ways of the dark force.

Once upon a time, I had a very good girlfriend. We had wonderful adventures together. Did a lot of crazy stuff. Supported each other through our poor days of college studies. And, so forth and so on. Then one day we had a falling out. I had a rough work day, so was not at my best of listening to her troubles and was quite short with her. Ha! Wrong thing to do. No matter how much I apologized and tried to make amends, she chose to sever our friendship. Her final words depressed and angered me the most. I don't recall them precisely anymore, which is good. They were something like this: "I got all that I wanted out of you."

It took me a long while, but I finally saw the light. Who says things like that? Patooie. 

Now, how did I get onto that topic. It does feel good writing it out loud though. Anyhow. Here's the original photo for the manipulated one above.  What do you think?

See ya tomorrow.



Monday, March 16, 2015

Meeting Blogging Friend Lisa


Lisa stopped to take a photo of a chair in the shape of the hand in front of the furniture store. She told me about an article on chairs she read on her flight. Now, she wants to take photos of chairs.

"I must take a photo of Lisa taking a photo of the chair," said Farel, brother of Lisa.

"I must take a photo of you taking a photo of Lisa taking a photo of the chair," I said.

That delightful silliness was last Thursday when the virtual blogging world suddenly became real and I met blogging friend Lisa from Malaysia in person. Wowza, indeed!

Lisa and I met on my other blog, Take 25 to Hollister, which is about my hometown and the place where the Husband and I currently live. The "25" refers to the two-lane state highway that leads into Hollister from the north. This bit of information will make sense a few paragraphs later.

On Wednesday night, I received a Facebook message from Lisa: "I'm heading to Hollister tonight!"

Huh! I read her message a couple of times to make sure I was reading all the words straight. Curiously, Lisa had floated into my mind that afternoon. Perhaps I was picking up her vibe. Lisa had been visiting friends on the California coast and the evening she wrote she was with her brother, Farel, who lives in San Jose. (Farel, please forgive me if I have spelled your name wrong.)

The next afternoon, the Husband and I headed over to their hotel and we met, wouldn't you know it, kindred spirits. We took them to lunch, then a tour around town. At one point, Lisa was taking a photo of the city streets and said to me, with a big smile, "I took 25 to Hollister." I don't think Lisa realized how honored I felt when she said that.

After the downtown sights, we drove around the countryside a bit and headed over to our house where Lisa and Farel hung out and had dinner with us. At one point, Lisa, Farel, and the Husband were sitting in the living room bent over tablets and laptops enjoying themselves, each other, and the magical Internet. Me? I was whipping egg whites which is always magical to me.

Lisa fell asleep over her computer. Jet lag had caught up to her. When she woke up, she smelled the aroma of frying fish and said, "It smells delicious. It feels like home."


See you again, Lisa and Farel!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Remembering Dawn


Yesterday, I found an unfinished draft that I wrote about four years ago. It was about Dawn who I had not seen since the mid-1980s. About four years ago, I learned that Dawn had died, and she had been dead for 12 years. Only in her 40s, she died from pneumonia in London.

Gorgeous Dawn was one of the most sophisticated, yet down to earth, individuals I have ever met. She had a style that I could only describe as the beauty of Italian art, music, film, and food.  And, she had a light that caused both men and women to turn around and smile in appreciation.

Dawn was the sister of my brother's friend who fell in love with my best friend at the time, back in the early 1980s. So, I ended up hanging out with Dawn now and then. If we hadn't had this connection, I doubt that Dawn and I would have ever met, as we did not move around in any other of the same circles. She was the artist living in the North Beach of San Francisco, while I lived in the Richmond District, working three part-time jobs as I completed my training for a teaching credential.

I am grateful for having known Dawn. She had a wonderful wit and sense of humor, and her creativity and sense of adventure were inspiring. I recall the afternoon we were decorating my best friend's and my flat for a Halloween party.  Dawn was helping me put together some detailed decor on the wall. At one point, she turned to me and said, "Sue, you are so anal-retentive." We laughed. Being anal-retentive was a good thing, and she would have known. She was a budding fashion designer. 

A few years later, my best friend and I had a falling out. She didn't want to patch up our friendship, so I never did see Dawn after that. Over the years, I would wonder where Dawn was and how she was doing. One day, about four years ago, I decided to find her online. At first, I tried Facebook. Nothing. Then Google, and voila, up popped a link to her Web site of her photography work. Her work was -- and is -- outstanding. They reminded me of her, Dawn, the person I knew a lifetime ago.

Then, I came to the part in her biography about her death in 1999.  It did not matter that I hadn't seen Dawn in 26 years, nor that she had been dead for 12 years. It was as if it just happened.

Here's to the light of Dawn!


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.