Showing posts with label the first husband. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the first husband. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Ilocano Tribe

Su-sieee! Mac, 1985.
It's the letter I at ABC Wednesday. My contribution is an edited post that I originally published on April 10, 2013. To check out ABCW posts from bloggers around the world, please click here. Thanks ABCW Team!
In 1985, I spent several days camping in Havasu Canyon with the First Husband-to-be. Havasu Canyon, known for its gorgeous waterfalls that run down to the Colorado River, lies just outside of the western border of the Grand Canyon National Park. We stayed at the Havasu campground on the Havasupai Indian Reservation run by the Havasupai Tribe. (I have no idea if that's how it is today.)

Havasupai means people of the green blue water. And, yes, the pools of water were a spectacular green blue color when we were there.

To get to the campground back then, you either flew in on a helicopter or hiked the winding 10-mile trail down to the canyon floor.

I was (and still am) a slow walker, so the First Husband-to-be got to the campground office before me. The reservation was under my name so he and the office manager patiently waited for me to get there. The two men were talking when I entered the office. I immediately recognized the manager's voice. I had spoken to him over the phone a month earlier.

"Can you tell me if it will rain in April there?" I had asked.

"It's hard to say," the office manager had answered.

"Does it usually rain in April?" I had rephrased my question, thinking he didn't understand that I wanted a general idea of what the weather was like that time of year.

"Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it doesn't rain."

I had hung up from our conversation rather flustered. Years later, I realized how silly it was to ask about weather that has yet to happen.

"Hello," I said to the office manager, noticing that he looked at me oddly. I thought maybe I had something on my face.

Not much of a small talker, I got to the point. Pulling out my wallet, I asked, "How much do we pay?"

"Nothing," he said.

"Huh?"

"Nothing."

"You don't have a camping fee anymore?"

"For you, it's free."

"Free? Okay. Thank you."

"What tribe are you from?"

"Tribe?" I hesitated. The First Husband-to-be said later that he hoped I'd say 'The Ilocano tribe'.

"Uhm, I don't belong to any tribe. My parents are from the Philippines. They're Ilocanos."

The office manager looked disappointed.

"I don't mind paying," I said.

"That's okay," he said, shrugging. "We're all the same."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's Elementary, My Dear.

"Make an effort."

This morning I read that line in Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith). I felt like the character, and the author, was talking to me.  

Please make an effort, Susie. 

The Mama said it another way about herself when she felt tired, which was every day for her last several years. Plain and simple, she used to say, "I push myself."

After we buried the Mama this past April, the Only and Older Brother said to me, "Keep on living."

I scoffed at what the Only and Older Brother said. Of course, I'd keep on living. Why would I not? Lately, though, honesty keeps trying to surface. Drat that honesty. For that matter, dang to introspection, rumination, and heart-searching that show up in my dreams.

Sigh.

So, this is my effort today for the letter E for this week's ABC Wednesday: a story that I shared three years ago (April 5, 2013) about an amazing thing that reminded me of the wonderful effortlessness of life.

Flying with the Eagles

The Loneliest Road in America truly sums up the stretch of U.S. Route 50 through central Nevada. I had no idea Nevada had so many desert valleys until I drove this national highway.  You get over one mountain range and voila! It's deja vu—another endless valley floor with a mountain range staring from afar.

In the late 1980s, the First Husband and I decided to drive cross-country, from San Francisco to New York. However, the first day of our adventure began with a dental emergency and a pain that would eventually make itself known as cancer for the First Husband. After several days of checking with doctors, we got in our red Mazda pick-up truck and headed east, with an open mind that we would turn back at Denver if the First Husband did not feel well.

I don't remember how we decided to take U.S. 50 rather than the more direct U.S. 80 through Nevada to Utah. Most likely it was the romantic notion of driving the Pony Express Route. Those poor fellows. Miles of dust behind them and miles of dust before them. Still, if I had lived during that era, I would've wanted to have been a Pony Express rider. As it was, I did imagine myself a modern one as I drove us through eastern central Nevada. Instead of the U.S. mail, I was delivering the First Husband to several places in the United States where we could research the life of his father, a first generation Korean American who had dedicated himself to Korean independence from Japanese rule, as well as to spreading the Christian word. But, that's a tale for another day.

As we approached the Utah border in the Great Basin desert, the First Husband was napping in the passenger seat. Not too long after passing the sign welcoming us to  Utah, I saw two huge birds standing in the lane up ahead. As we got closer, I saw that they were nipping at a carcass on the ground. One bird glanced up at our advancing truck.

"Husband! Husband!" I slowed down, but continued driving forward. They were bold and handsome eagles. Young ones, I think. I was almost upon them as they positioned themselves for take off.

One eagle opened its wingspan. It seemed to be as long as the width of the front of the truck.

"Husband!"

The First Husband woke up in time to see us driving between two gliding eagles before they soared upwards into the sky. 



Please click here to check out the other participants and/or link up in this week's ABC Wednesday.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Getting Back the Meaning of Christmas


Back in 1990 (or 1991), when I was in my mid-30s, I decided to reclaim Christmas. To celebrate it. To enjoy it. Without commercialism. But, with meaning. With joy. With fun.

For years, until that moment, Christmas was something I went through. Ho, ho, humbug, ho, ho. Not totally. I enjoyed singing Christmas carols and I liked the sparkle-sparkle of the Christmas lights. And, I loved giving presents. So, you see, I wasn't a complete loss into grumpiness or miserableness around Christmas-time. I simply thought the spirit of Christmas was lost beneath all the excessive Buy! Buy! Buy!

I don't recall exactly when the light bulb went over my head, but it did, thank goodness. I didn't have to be depressed about Christmas being commercial. Bingo!

The first thing I did was make a fireplace to hang up Christmas socks and pin Christmas cards around. See the white sock? A yellow pterodactyl sat on top of the  sock. I put the space heater in front of the fireplace, so the First and Late Great Husband and I could imagine it was giving off heat.  Giggle.

I just remembered that we strung lights around our ficus tree. LOL

Birgit of BB Creations wrote that she's hooking up with the Christmas Joy Blog Hop, which ends today. After reading Birgit's cool Christmas memory, I was inspired to join in. To check out other Christmas posts, click here.




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Vegas

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been

Vegas as in Las Vegas. The fertile lowlands of a city that's in southern Nevada. Yes, fertile lowlands is the English translation of the Spanish plural las vegas. Hmmm, could that be why you can find quite a lot of golf courses is Vegas?

Some might say that the fertile lowlands refer to something other than terrain. But, I'm not going there.


I've been to Vegas four times. The first time was in 1975 when I went cross-country with a college friend. The Strip wasn't a big deal yet and Downtown Vegas was so-so, but then I was still 20 so what was the use of being there. The second time was another quick stop as the first, late dear Husband and I were driving back from our first big camping trip together. Again, yawwwwn. We had after all spent a week down in a canyon by the Colorado River.


In the late 1990s, the Husband and I spent a few days in Vegas and by then the Strip was a very big surreal deal. The photos are from that trip. We gambled our nickels away at the various casinos and shook our heads at the unbelievable sights, such as the Venice gondolas, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The best stuff was off the Strip—the older part of Vegas, the Boulder Dam, and Mt. Charleston. My favorite souvenir was the library card from the Las Vegas Library.



About 8 years ago,  the Husband and I stopped overnight on our way to New Mexico. Nothing much to talk about other than we stayed at a hotel that catered to locals. I liked it because it was low-key and not so flashy. The hotel casino gobbled up my nickels just as well as the ones on the Strip had.


Next time, if there's a next time, I'll have to choose whether to play the slot machines or try out the fancy restaurants with my saved up nickles. All in all, I think it's fun to, as Elvis Presley sings, Viva, Viva, Las Vegas.


It's the letter V on Alphabe Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Jenny Matlock. To participate or to read other V posts, click here.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Moss Landing

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been

Moss Landing, California is a fishing village with over 200 residents. From the photo, it doesn't look like a quaint fishing village, but believe me it is. It has a few great antique shops and restaurants. This photo is of the harbor and the more commercial part of Moss Landing.

Moss Landing is located on Highway 1, about 15 miles to the north of Monterey. It stands at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough, which is a fun place for hiking, birding, and kayaking.

I have three wonderful memories of Moss Landing.
  1. Eight years ago, the Husband and I did a kayaking tour with friends on Elkhorn Slough. That was the first time we went kayaking. At one point, we paddled by a wall of pelicans. They were not fazed at all. They did not seem to move a muscle. "Yup, there go more humans."
  2. In the early 1990s, the First, Late Husband and I floated down the slough on a wildlife viewing tour. That was my introduction to Elkhorn Slough and the beauty of wetlands. It was also the beginning of the final adventures with the First, Late Husband.
  3. Long, long ago, the Only and Older Brother and I were sitting in the car, while the parents said their long goodbyes to friends. "Do you know what they do in that building?" the Brother asked, pointing at the monstrous plant with its amazingly tall towers. "That's where they make M&M candy."
Yes, I believed the PG&E plant produced M&Ms for a very long time. Whenever I pass the plant, I like to think the Only and Older Brother was telling the truth.


Today is Alphabe Thursday hosted by sweet Mrs. Jenny Matlock.  To join the weekly meme or to read other M posts, please click here.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Doughnuts


The morning the First Husband died, I had thought about doughnuts.

Frank was 21 days into hospice care, which we elected to do at home. On that 21st day, I woke up feeling strangely relaxed. Unlike the other 20 days, I wanted to sleep a bit longer.

Thump. Frank lightly tapped me on my head. Two times. I felt heartened. He had not been able to move any part of himself for days.  I opened my eyes. He looked at me intensely and clearly. I smiled. He hadn't been this alert since the first few days of Hospice.

"Okay, Frank, since you insist, I'm getting up," I said. I opened the blinds to the living room where we had been sleeping on the sofa bed for the last four months. "It's a beautiful day, Frank."

Our morning ritual began by turning Frank onto his side, then holding a glass of water mixed with a bit of morphine for him to sip from a straw. On day one of hospice, Frank decided to stop eating to bring death on quicker. He, as well as the hospice nurses, were surprised how long it was taking. Next came Frank's sponge bath and the changing of his colostomy bag, followed with a reading from A Course in Miracles. (Today, I think he may had me read from the book more for me than for him.)

As I shifted him onto his back I said, "Going to take a shower, Frank." He looked at me as if to say, "Don't go."

"I won't be long," I said, smoothing the blanket over him.

Before entering the bathroom, I glanced back into the living room. Frank looked peaceful lying in bed, with enough sun streaming into the room to bathe him with warmth and light.

While washing my hair, I suddenly had an urge for doughnuts. I imagined driving the few blocks to the shop on the scooter. Easy to find parking that way. I'd be back in no time. Fifteen minutes tops if there happened to be traffic or a long line at the shop. Frank wouldn't know I was gone, I thought. For the past two weeks, he didn't like being separated from me. At first, I thought it was just him being alone, but when I asked a friend to stay with him while I went to the laundromat, I learned differently. I also found out it was difficult for me to leave him. But, that morning, the 21st day of Hospice care, I felt okay about leaving Frank briefly.

"Frank," I said, combing my wet hair, as I walked into the living room. "I'm going to get doughnuts."

His eyes were closed.

"Frank!" I touched his hands. . .his shoulder. . .his face. They were cold.

He had finally given up life.

I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Ilocano Tribe

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

In 1985, I spent several days camping in Havasu Canyon with the First Husband-to-be. Havasu Canyon lies just outside of the western border of the Grand Canyon National Park.  The Havasu campground is on the Havasupai Indian Reservation and run by the Havasupai tribe. Havasupai means people of the green blue water.  

Havasu Canyon is known for its gorgeous waterfalls that run down to the Colorado River. And, yes, the pools of water were a spectacular green-blue color when we were there. I've seen photos on the Internet that show they still are.

To get to the campground back then, you either flew in on a helicopter or hiked the winding 10-mile trail down to the canyon floor.

I was (and still am) a slow walker, so the First Husband-to-be got to the campground office before me. The reservation was under my name so he and the office manager patiently waited for me to get there. The two men were talking when I entered the office. I immediately recognized the manager's voice. I had spoken to him over the phone a month earlier.

"Can you tell me if it will rain in April there?" I had asked.

"It's hard to say," the office manager had answered.

"Does it usually rain in April over there?" I had rephrased my question, thinking he didn't understand that I wanted a general idea of what the weather was like that time of year. I figured he'd tell me what the weather forecasters in his area said.

"Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it doesn't rain."

I had hung up from our conversation rather flustered. Years later, I realized how silly it was to ask about weather that had yet to happen.

"Hello," I said, noticing that he looked at me oddly. I thought maybe I had something on my face.

Not much of a small talker, I just got to the point. Pulling out my wallet, I asked, "How much do we pay?"

"Nothing," he said.

"Huh?"

"Nothing."

"You don't have a camping fee anymore?"

"For you, it's free."

"Free? Okay. Thank you."

"What tribe are you from?"

"Tribe?" I hesitated. The First Husband-to-be said later that he was hoping I'd say, the Ilocano tribe.

"Uhm, I don't belong to any tribe. My parents are from the Philippines. They're Ilocanos."

He looked disappointed. 

"I don't mind paying," I said.

"That's okay," he said, shrugging his shoulder. "We're all the same."

A much younger Su-sieee! Mac takes a break on the Havasu Canyon floor.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flying with the Eagles

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

The Loneliest Road in America truly sums up the stretch of U.S. Route 50 through central Nevada. I had no idea Nevada had so many desert valleys until I drove this national highway.  You get over one mountain range and voila! It's deja vu—another endless valley floor with a mountain range staring from afar.

In the late 1980s, the First Husband and I decided to drive cross-country, from San Francisco to New York. However, the first day of our adventure began with a dental emergency and a pain that would eventually make itself known as cancer for the First Husband. After several days of checking with doctors, we got in our red Mazda pick-up truck and headed east, with an open mind that we would turn back at Denver if the First Husband did not feel well.

I don't remember how we decided to take U.S. 50 rather than the more direct U.S. 80 through Nevada to Utah. Most likely it was the romantic notion of driving the Pony Express Route. Those poor fellows. Miles of dust behind them and miles of dust before them. Still, if I had lived during that era, I would've wanted to have been a Pony Express rider. As it was, I did imagine myself a modern one as I drove us through eastern central Nevada. Instead of the U.S. mail, I was delivering the First Husband to several places in the United States where we could research the life of his father, a first generation Korean American who had dedicated himself to Korean independence from Japanese rule, as well as to spreading the Christian word. But, that's a tale for another day.

As we approached the Utah border in the Great Basin desert, the First Husband was napping in the passenger seat. Not too long after passing the sign welcoming us to  Utah, I saw two huge birds standing in the lane up ahead. As we got closer, I saw that they were nipping at a carcass on the ground. One bird glanced up at our advancing truck.

"Husband! Husband!" I slowed down, but continued driving forward. They were bold and handsome eagles. Young ones, I think. I was almost upon them as they positioned themselves for take off.

One eagle opened its wingspan. It seemed to be as long as the width of the front of the truck.

"Husband!"

The First Husband woke up in time to see us driving between two gliding eagles before they soared upwards into the sky.