Showing posts with label home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home. Show all posts

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Villa Mia

I'm reading Under the Tuscan Sun right now. This is my third start (maybe fourth) in the last 10 years or so. I enjoyed the movie so I bought the book when I saw it on the "buy 3, get one free" table at a bookstore. 

I finally got to a point that I don't recall having read. This morning I learned that the fig flower resides inside the fruit and a certain kind of wasp burrows itself inside the fig to lay its eggs. If it doesn't succeed, that's okay, it has at least pollinated the flower. If larvae has been deposited, ooh-la-la! According to Wikipedia (yup, I had to learn more), a mature male mates with a female then proceeds to peck its way out of the fig so that all the females can escape. The male, now wingless and, no doubt, quite spent promptly dies. May he forever rest in joyful peace knowing that he did his job well.

Frances Mayes is the author of Under the Tuscan Sun. For those who never read the book or saw the movie, Mayes wrote about her experiences restoring a villa in Tuscany during her summer months off from teaching in San Francisco. So far, she has romanticized creating a vision from abandoned chaos; eating simple, but elegant, Italian fare outdoors; respecting old and abandoned trees still bearing delicious fruit; removing thick, gnarly tree roots from under stone walls; discovering old-time wells; and, yes, even hiding in bed as a thunderstorm lingers over her villa. I'm not even a third way through the book.

While I was reading about the figs and Mayes' discovery that some of the trees on her property produce the oh so expensive pine nuts, I glanced up now and then to the view of the backyard. Bright blue sky . . . new cedar (or is it redwood?) fence . . . the branches and leaves of the apple trees, lemon tree, avocado trees, and pink geraniums dancing with the light wind . . . the swaying of the chimes, Slinky, and other things hanging from the apple tree by the patio. . . . I'm living my own version of recreating a villa in Tuscany.  Magnifico!

P.S. That's not my view from this morning. It's what I would see if I looked sideways as I stood in the view that I saw through the sliding door window this morning.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Start of an Indoor Jungle

A long time ago when I was a young single thing living in the City, one of the things I enjoyed was creating a jungle in my apartment. On Sunday mornings, my church was the house plant section of Cost Plus down by Fisherman's Wharf. Wandering around philodendrons, umbrella trees, and ficus plants, oh my. Pothos, rubber plants, and ivies, such oxygen heaven. I didn't always go home with plants, but when I did it was with the small ones that cost less than two bucks each. With houseplants you can get a lot with a very slim pocketbook.

Now and then the Mama gave me a houseplant to take home after a weekend visit. I don't know how many times she sent me home with a ti plant. "They're good luck," she said. The ti plants never made it, which I realize now is because I lived in very cold apartments. I wore a heavy sweater or snuggled under blankets and pillows rather than turn on inefficient wall heaters.

Once, sometimes twice, a year, I would repot and propagate those plants that needed them. Over time, my indoor jungle grew and grew.

When I met the Husband, I was happy to see that his apartment was a jungle, too. Yes, indeed, our first home together was a wonderland full of houseplants and books.

About 21 years later, we still have a few descendants of our joint jungle. In the last 14 years, many of the houseplants got destroyed by ants, and some by me forgetting to water them. 

The last few months, my desire to have an indoor jungle has awakened again. I'm remembering that Tuesday is the water day. As for the ants, I'm hoping upon hope they don't find their way indoors ever again. The other day, while at the hardware store, I purchased two small houseplants that already had offshoots which means we now have five new ones. Hurrah!

I'm sharing at All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh of Artworks from Jesh StG. Check out the other bloggers by clicking here.

It's day 11 of my quest to complete 365 days of Talking Story, my personal challenge. Yaaay!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Green Acres

It was so gooooood to get home this afternoon. We spent over an hour stuck on a barely moving rural road, which normally would've taken 10 minutes to drive. I feel sorry for the commuters. They have to deal with this every work day.

We three—the Husband, Molly the Cat, and I—live in an agricultural area in which the only way in and out of town are two-lane highways and back roads. It was not a big deal until maybe five or so years ago when construction of proposed developments approved 20 or so years ago finally went into full force. The building moratorium was dropped, which was imposed because the City had to fix its screwy sewage system.  Bam! Bam! Bam!

The bummer about this is that many people who work in Hollister live other places because they can't afford the homes. As for the people moving into the new homes, they drive the two-lane highways and back roads to Hwy 101, the main highway to the cities where they work. Our roads are essentially impacted teeth.

The Husband and I are not used to sitting in traffic anymore. I didn't even mention the big rig toting two huge trailers that got stuck turning left onto the road. Fortunately for us we were at the beginning of this incident so we managed to scoot around the obstruction before the traffic went kaput. The experience reminded me of inching through the San Francisco city streets to get onto the Bay Bridge exit during commute hours. Triple-packed in a sardine can.

C'est la vie. Yeah.

On a calmer, and happier, note, here's the Husband this evening finding zen with the iPad. He was sitting where the once-upon-a-time shed stood. Can you find Molly the Cat?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Taking a Break for Writing

Note: I wrote this post yesterday from the iPad, then sent it to my computer by email. Perhaps one day I'll learn to cope and paste on iPad. Anyway, by evening, I was too pooped to get on the computer and publish this post. In the end, does it really matter if I had? :-)

I'm taking a short writer's break from being a domestic goddess. Brief no doubt because I have been thinking about writing that first sentence for the last 10 minutes. Every so often that sentence repeated itself in my brain when I wasn't distracted by The Solid Gold Oldies music station on TV playing in the background and by the ambitious things I want to complete before dinner begging for mental attention.


I forgot. What was the intent of this post?

Probably to brag about the things I have finally got to and then some. Should that be one word: then some, thensome?

To my great surprise the Blenheim apricot tree gifted us—and the birdies—with many branches full of fruit. We can't eat the apricots faster than they ripen on the tree. For every apricot we pick, one smashes on the ground. Not a bad ratio, considering we thought the tree wasn't interested in producing anymore.

This afternoon I finally turned off the computer and took care of the apricots. I froze a bunch of fruit, baked an apricot pie, made apricot pouches with the leftover filling and pie crust, and created a spicy sesame apricot salsa. Olé!

Cleanup took longer. That's what I'm resting from, which is about to be over.

Next on my agenda is to pare lemon rind and soak them in vodka for my first ever attempt at making limoncello. I've been wanting to try that for the past 13 years. 

Until later.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Loving the Leaves

I love the way the leaves cover our front yard this year. This may be the first year the yellow-and-red blanket is is thick.  The photos show how it looked today.  The Husband raked the leaves the day before yesterday. 

While the Husband raked, I put up a few Christmas decorations around the yard to cheer up the Mama as she looked out the window as she ate her breakfast.  This time I did more than add red bows to the tree. See the green bough on the fence? That's new, thanks to the Godmother. She was downsizing her Christmas stuff, so she gave me the bough and a bunch of cool ornaments.

The Autumn leaves and the holiday decorations in the front yard are a few of the things that perked me up this week. How about you?

I'm linking up with the lovely Jenny Matlock's Warm Heart Wednesday. Click here to join the meme and/or read more warming posts.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Santa Ana Valley

We use the term Xanadu to refer to "an idealized place of great or idyllic magnificence and beauty".  So, today, I'm posting photos of the real paradise where the Husband, the Mama, Molly the Cat, and I live—Hollister, California, our Xanadu.

Nearby Southside Road

Fairview Road

Enterprise Road

Garden at the San Benito County Historical Park

Monterey Street

Sixth Street

nearby Versailles Drive

Today is the letter X on Alphabe Thursday, which is hosted by the awesome Jenny Matlock. Thanks, Jenny! To participate in the meme or to read what other bloggers have written about the letter X, please click here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Native of Hollister, California

Check out other A to Z Challenge
participants by clicking here.

No, I'm not talking about the store. Nor am I talking about the fake beach town that the company that owns the store imagined.

Yes, folks, Hollister, California does exist. It is a small city in the middle of farmlands and nature.

I was born and raised here. I graduated from the local high school, which has as a mascot a Haybaler, the farmer who bales hay, not the hay baling machine. While in high school, I wrote a newspaper column called...are you ready?...The Baling Wire.

After a couple of years at the local community college, I transferred to San Francisco State University and lived in the City for many years. When the Husband and I got together, we lived in cities across the Bay until we move to Hollister. This summer will mark our 10th year living here and with the Mama. She is the reason we moved down.

Do I miss living in a metropolis?  Only when I want to eat out, see a movie, or browse in a bookstore.

How does the husband feel about living here? Ever since I've known him, he has said, "I want to go far, far away." Hollister is exactly that, even though it's an hour away from the city lights of San Jose.

If you'd like to see what my native town is all about, check out my other blog: Take 25 to Hollister, California. If you're interested in instantly learning a few facts about the city, check out Hollister versus Hollister.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Still Not at the End

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

That is one of my favorite lines in the  movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. After doing a Google search to find out the correct wording, I learned that the phrase has been around for quite a while. Who said it initially? Someone named "Unknown" comes up a lot. Who ever you are, thank you!

A lot of not-so-cool stuff has happened this past week. And, that phrase has been my mantra. It is keeping me insanely sane. So is having immediate access to the Internet.  

There is the work.
As some of you know I make my living as a writer. The project I'm currently working on requires me to write on many different topics, of which I'm no expert. Too many topics to research, understand, and write about that I've taken to whimpering just before giving in to sleep that I'll never ever see the glimmer of light on the other side of this tunnel. 

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

There was the LOUD! party next door last Friday.
How loud? We shut all our windows on the side of the house facing the partying neighbors and their Yip,yip,yip, yip cheering, yapping, and  music were still heard, as if the the windows were all open. Grrr. The neighbors like to entertain in their backyard. A lot. Unfortunately, their backyard borders the side of our front yard. So all chatter and music  float annoyingly over the fence and into our yard and house.

Fortunately, they don't have too many parties. Fortunately, last Friday  was a cool evening so we didn't need to have our windows open. Fortunately, the neighbors are of a mature age and so their parties shut down early. They must have celebrated something very wonderful or had a very tough work day because they partied like there was no tomorrow. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good party. It's just that the jollier they got, the louder they talked, and the higher the volume of the music went up. It was the kind of LOUD! that made me go search online for the local noise ordinance. And, by golly, I found it. After reading it, I will have no problem telling the neighbors to turn down their music should it ever get that LOUD! again. Hopefully, not.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

There were the unauthorized charges on my credit card.
Someone had been using my credit card number since the beginning of June in another part of the state, hundreds of miles away. On the plus side, the credit card company didn't approve the majority of those charges as they were being made.  All in all, I talked with three fraud agents, of which two were very helpful, personable, and professional. That was a huge plus to me since I am quite a nervous Su-sieee! Mac until I am reassured which then allows my clarity and calmness to kick in.

When I closed the account on Monday, I thought that's that. But then yesterday, I woke up wondering what else could be done to get that person who took my credit card. So, I researched online about what to do when someone steals your credit card.

One: File a crime report with the local police department. Check. I was surprised to find a police officer knocking at my door within 15 minutes of calling the department.

Two: Notify the 3 major credit card bureaus. Check. I was able to do that online. I put a request at one bureau to place a fraud alert on my account. It, in turn, will notify the other two credit card bureaus. But, if I don't receive an email from those two bureaus within a week or so, I should notify each one.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

There was the Mama falling down in the backyard.

The 90-year old woman tripped as she pushed a huge garbage can alongside the house. Maybe now she'll listen to the Husband and me about leaving the garbage cans for us to handle. Right.

She has a very ugly bruise on her knee where she landed on the concrete. It doesn't seem like she twisted, sprained, or broke any thing, though it's hard to say with the Mama. She has a very high threshold for pain. What is an arbitrary 7 on the pain scale for me is more like a 2 or 3 for her. At least she didn't say "No" when I said that we'll go see the doctor if her knee still hurts on Tuesday. Of course I'll take her sooner, if necessary, but the "threat" of going to the doctor next week may keep her off her feet for at least a day or so. Right.

Normally, the Mama doesn't tell me about her injuries or strange pains until a day or two later. This time, thankfully, she told me within the hour of her fall so that I was able to begin applying voo-doo magic on that very ugly bruise sooner rather than later. Sure, she grumbled, but she allowed me to tell her to keep her knee elevated, gently rub witch hazel on the bruise, place an ice pack on the knee, and give her an ibuprofen capsule after dinner. That may be why she was able to hobble to her bedroom a few hours later.

As I was doing all this first aid stuff, she asked me, "How do you know?" My own experience. The Husband's knowledge. Yep, I brought him into it. The more, the merrier. Even Molly the Cat came over to check out what was going on. And, of course there is looking up bruise + elderly on the Internet. Hopefully, today, the ugly bruise on the Mama's knee is just that.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

When the Red, Red Robin. . .

As the lemon snapped off, the robin flew from the slightly bouncing bough bowing heavy with lemons. (How's that for purple prose?) The red-breasted bird landed on the fence and scolded me.

"Excuse me," I said, and continued gathering lemons for lemonade.

Several days later, Molly the Cat and I were wandering near the lemon tree. Two robins swooped by and landed on the neighbor's roof. The bigger bird stared at me, as if saying, "Out! Now! Please."

I understood immediately. "Come on Molly, let's go inside. These guys have a nest in the lemon tree."

As you can tell from the photos, the robins hid their nest quite nicely. At first, I thought it was precariously situated on the limb, but, hey, if nobody picks the lemons, it's safe. And, that is what has happened, which is too bad since there are some nice-looking lemons on that branch.

The mama and papa robins have been taking turns sitting on their babies. I wonder if they like the scent of the lemon blossoms that surround them.

This morning, Molly the Cat found part of a robin eggshell on the ground. I showed it to the Mama who promptly stuck it in one of her rose pots. Just a matter of time before we can start seeing lemon robin babies trying out their wings.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Take 25 to Hollister


Today, I have nothing to say.

Well, I do have a lot of ideas, but I've just run out of steam.

So, I invite you to go to my other blog and check out my hometown, Hollister, California. No, not the store. The actual place that is no where near the coast.

I was born and raised in this still kind of rural small city. It's a nice place to have come back to live. When we used to live up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the husband often said, "I want to go far, far away." Hollister turned out to be it. For now.

So, on to my other blog you go: Take 25 to Hollister.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What I Would Do

If I were more ambitious, I would nudge myself to actually take the time do the following ten...five...three! things within the next...uhm...let's say five weeks.

Sew the "bridle" for Molly the Cat.
It's not really called a "bridle". I just can't remember the correct term right now. But, it's the thing to which you attach a leash. Yes, the Husband and I have visions of walking with Molly the Cat. So does the Mama. I've already bought the "ingredients" (again, I can't remember the correct term) for the project. If you're curious about my vague description, check this link. Okay, the bridle is a harness. Bridle sounds so much nicer.

Pedal my bicycle to and from Tres Pinos. Every morning before breakfast, too.
Tres Pinos is a cool, tiny village about five to seven miles away from the house, depending on what route I take. This would be a very huge commitment as well as a complete overhaul of my schedule. It would mean that I no longer stay up until the wee hours of the morning. But, then, if I started my day earlier, I could get up to work in the wee hours of the morning before hopping on the bicycle.

For this objective to happen, the crew members of this house would have to readjust their schedules, too. So, maybe I should just think about coming up with a more realistic goal such as: Pedal my bicycle to and from Tres Pinos once or twice a week, regardless of the time. If I throw in having a meal or snack at the Flapjack's Country Cafe, the Husband just might want to join me.

Plant some herbs and lettuce.
I don't know how many years I've had this package of lettuce seeds on my desk. Every so often, I uncover it when papers get moved around. There is probably a package of basil seeds around here, too. Yes, this daydream...goal...idea... is quite doable. And if I do it indoors, the plants may have a better chance of living. After all, I finally got a hang on caring for the mushrooms in the box. See how huge they are in the photo! That's the second crop. The first crop came out stunted and almost like petrified wood because I didn't mist it enough. Hmmm, I think there may be a trip to the nursery happening in...let's say in two weeks.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Pink Sky to End the Year

It's not that I don't have something in mind to write about. I do. Lots. But, work words must be written first. So, for today, I give you photos of a pink sky on the last evening of 2011.  Until Monday, dear readers.

The Husband and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. As we wandered we wondered
if we would come across Mr. L. Gatto Cat in one of his favorite hang outs. We were quite
surprised to see him hanging out on the fence when we got home. (This was two nights before
he left our lives forever.)

Such an amazing sky, don't you think? Hollister, California, that's where we live.
Nope. I'm not talking about that silly store.