Showing posts with label the mama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the mama. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New in the Mama's Garden

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
Those white blossoms may one day produce Asian pears for us. The tree had quite a lot of blossoms this year, but then we had a couple days of rain. The rain was wonderful for us, since we're in a drought, but not so much for the blossoms. So we shall see.

Look in the background and you can see some clusters of buds of the avocado tree. If they all wake and do their thing, we're going to have a huge crop this year.

What else is new in the Mama's garden?

This past week, she planted long beans and some other kinds of beans, which I can't recall. She says that sometime soon she'll plant green beans. Yup. We like our fresh beans.

Seeds that the mama dropped into the soil a few weeks ago have popped up. These are parda plants. I have no idea what the English word is for parda. Not even sure if I'm spelling the Ilocano word correctly. It's a kind of bean that looks like a huge, slightly hair pea. The young ones taste good mixed in with sliced tomatoes and red onions. Yum.

Irises are such unassuming creatures. I've been watering them for weeks, wondering when they were going to start sprouting. Then, Pow! Without noticing them going through their in-between stages, these gals greeted me in full glory. They hang out with the pink rose bush, so I wonder if that may be why their color is slowly turning into soft pastel hues. Or, maybe the Mama planted a mix of white and purple irises.

The Mama's garden is springing right along.

Today is ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now headed by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter N. 

If you've come from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, my M post is over here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Sending Her Love Home with Me

Whenever I visited the parents, and then later only the Mama, I was sent home with a care package. Lots of fresh vegetables and fruit from the garden, as well as freezer bags full of cooked rice, lumpia, pork adobo, fried chicken, and bibingka.

Whether I was single or married, living alone or with roommates, food always came home with me. Much of the vegetables and fruits were given away to neighbors and friends. The cooked food went into the freezer and eventually most were eaten by friends, spouse, and myself.

In my 20s, I said to the Mama, "No, no, that's too much." 

In my 30s, I sighed and just accepted the food.

In my 40s, I appreciated everything that she picked in her garden and cooked in her kitchen.

In my 50s, the Husband and I were living with the Mama. If we had not, I'm very sure that when we visited the Mama, she would've given us lots of food to take home.

And, now that I'm in my 60s, I realize that the Mama was sending her love home with me through her food.

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Just for Me

Knock, knock.

Someone was at the kitchen door, which was the back door at our house on 44 Shore Road.  The Mama opened the door. I was sitting at the kitchen table, keeping her company as she prepared dinner.

It was Uncle Frank, the Daddy's younger brother. He carried a tree stump in his arms. 

"I cut down a tree in my back yard," said Uncle Frank, putting it down on the floor, next to the kitchen counter. "I thought it was the right size for Susie."

I was four. I don't recall much of what happened other than being helped up on the stump and being able to see over the kitchen sink.

I don't remember much of those very early years. But, I must've been in the kitchen a lot with the Mama. Enough so that Uncle Frank thought I should have something just for me to stand on when I was there.

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Miracle Tree

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
This crazy looking tree is the Miracle Tree. That's not its real name.  The Mama calls it the passion tree, but it's not. I looked it up and the tree doesn't resemble the passion tree from Australia.  Once-upon-a-time I knew the name of this tree.  Doesn't matter if I don't ever know it again. I like calling it the Miracle Tree.

I may have told this story before, so if you heard it, that's okay, you can wander over to another post.

About 25 or so years ago, the First Husband gave the Mama a packet of seeds that he got in the mail from a Native American tribe. He nor I had any idea what kind of plant the seeds were. The Mama, being the Mama,  planted them in the backyard to see what they may become.

It was shortly after the First Husband died that I noticed the tree. "What kind of tree is that?" I asked.

"I don't know," said the Mama.

"Where did you get it?"

"Frank gave me the seeds. He said they came from Indians. I call it a miracle tree," said the Mama. "There were only four seeds in the envelope."

So, the Miracle Tree is what I call it. Every fall, we prune it back, and every spring, its branches start spreading out so that by summer, it's full again, providing shade over the Mama's favorite resting spot.

It's ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and headed today by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter M. 

If you've come from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, my G post is over here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Foul, Fowl!

The Daddy bought several live chickens at a time from a local chicken farmer, and he and the Mama would slaughter them in the backyard.  I was 11 or 12 when the parents decided it was time for me to help with the slaughtering. Like I really wanted the experience. I suppose they figured a day would come when I would need to slaughter a chicken for survival. Yes, it would definitely be an asset if I were to be chosen for Survivor, the reality show. But, that's if I didn't get kicked off before my team won a challenge that rewarded us with chickens. I digress.

My part in the slaughter was simple.  I only needed to hold a chicken firmly down on a block of wood while the Daddy slit its neck. On the day of my rite of passage, I watched the parents do the process a couple of times. Then it was my turn. I kneeled behind the wood, and the Daddy put a chicken beneath my hands, face towards him. He did not let go of the chicken until he was sure the bird could not get away from me.

"Ready," said the Daddy.

"Okay," I said, leaning forward a little more to maintain a better grip on the bird.

The Daddy did his thing quickly. The chicken squawked and fidgeted madly under my hands, but I kept it steady so its blood drained into the pot beneath it. Then, it happened.


The chicken performed it last (to put it politely) bathroom act.  All over my face, arms, and body!  Yeah, go Eeewwwwwww because I'm sure I did.

I was good helper though. I held that chicken until its spirit completely left it. The Mama took the chicken and I ran into the house to clean up.  The parents were good. They waited until I was in the house before they broke into laughter.

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Experimenting

I used to think that the Mama was a rigid, but, awesome, cook. Everything she cooked was perfect. Her cutting of meats and vegetables always came out precisely small and neat. Her dishes always tasted consistently the same—yummily delicious.

When it came to Filipino cuisine, nobody, including Filipino restaurant chefs, came close to her food. The Daddy came very close. The one dish of his that surpassed hers by a tiny bit was his fried chicken. His was a subtle melt-in-your-mouth delicious, while the Mama's was more a pow! wow! in-your-face delicious.

My perception of the Mama-the-cook changed when I was in my late 30s. Suddenly the food she put on the table when I came to visit was different. Her pork adobo no longer was the consistently same delicious taste. It was still delicious, but the taste slightly differed each time she cooked it. At first, I thought she was being forgetful when she cooked. And, perhaps, there was a bit of that.

During one visit, the Mama served fried chicken with thick deep-fried lemon slices and deep-fried chayotes. I had no idea lemons and chayotes could be deep fried and taste so good that way. When I told her that I liked them, she said, "It's good to experiment. You don't know if something tastes good until you make it."

I was totally floored, to say the least. Something else I had inherited from the Mama.

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Dude, The Husband -- A Very Thoughtful Being

My Alphabe Thursday theme -- The Dude, The Husband

The Husband is the reason that he and I, the Mama, and Molly the Cat are living together today.

About 12 years ago, it became very clear to me that the Mama's health was failing. Her nutrition was poor. Her body was tiring out. Worse of all, living alone, she was lonely.  The Mama moving into a nursing home or a residential care facility was out of the question. She had a horrible time living in a skilled nursing facility for six weeks after she broke her hip. A permanent move to a residential care facility would've killed her spirit, straight and simple.

At the time, the Husband and I lived about a two-and-a-half hour drive away in an urban environment. City living was not for the Mama. We were tiring of the mayhem, so we were open to moving to the rural area where I was born and raised.  The tough question was this: Could the Mama and us live in the same house? The Mama is a unique character who can be difficult to live with, as are the Husband and me.

But, here we are, nearly 12 years later— the eccentric, the hermit, the free spirit, and the pussy cat—still going strong, making a go at living together, sometimes contentiously, but mostly harmoniously.

The Husband is a very thoughtful human being. He could have said "No!"

It's Alphabe Thursday, hosted by the sweet Jenny Matlock. Today is the letter T. To check other participants, please click here.  By the way, if you're coming from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, my B post is over here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lovely and So Lively

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
A note to the participants of the Blogging A-to-Z April Challenge. You can find my "A" entry (A is for Adobo, Pork Adobo) here.

"The roses almost reach to your roof," said a friend of the Mama's, as the two were walking up to the house. "You need to prune them back."

The Mama smiled at the lovely and so lively roses. Some were taller than her.

"I already cut mine," said the friend.

"That's good."

"It's better that the roses are short."

"I like them tall. As tall as the roof. Taller," said the lovely and so lively Mama, shuffling to the front door.

It's ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and headed today by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter L.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Knocking Our Heads

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
Last week I was transplanting iris under the lemon tree for the Mama, and I kept knocking my head on the same lemon branch. You'd think I would remember after the first collision. Or, the second time. Or, even the third time. . . . Once I harvest the lemon off this particular branch, it's getting pruned.

I love the Mama's backyard. So does the Husband. The one problem we have is that when all the trees and vegetables have completely bursted forth with their leaves and fruit, we can't walk around the yard without knocking our heads on the low branches, bumping into bushes and vines, and stubbing our toes along the narrow pathways. It's not too bad for me since I'm short, but the Husband, uh-uh. There are a couple places he can walk around at full height and without him grumbling, "This place is too small!"

It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that everything about the yard is perfect for the Mama. (And Molly the Cat, who wants you to know that she is in the second photo in case you don't see her.) But, then the Mama created the backyard of a vegetable garden and mini fruit orchard. She charmed the trees to be at the perfect height for her to harvest many of the fruits.

Mischievous her though has been allowing the chayote vines to climb up a couple of the trees, which means that we often have to wait until the wind blows them down. So far, none of them have knocked anyone's head off.

Here's the Mama shuffling gracefully in her backyard of a jungle in the Summer of 2012:

It's ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and headed today by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter K.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just a Jumble of Joy!

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers

It's Spring! Quite a lot of joyful things are going on in a happy organized higgledy-piggledy manner in the Mama's backyard. And, it's all the work of the Mama.

Colorful flowers greet the Mama each morning.

The Mama nods at the rosebuds that say hello
to banana leaves as they unfurl around the roses.

An abundant of tomato seedlings surprised the Mama, who
is now transplanting them all over the yard.

The persimmon and other fruit trees dance in their new dress
of leaves, giving the Mama shade as she happily works beneath. 

It's time for ABC Wednesday, a meme began Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and headed today by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter J.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Inang Mo. . .Emeteria

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and
Her Authentic Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
In the Mama's language of Ilocano, the word inang means mother. This photo is the Inang of the Mama when she was 70 years old or so. The last time the Mama saw her Inang was in October 1949, just before she sailed with the one-year old Only and Older Bionic Brother from the Philippines for the United States. The two were heading onward to their new lives with the Daddy, who was already living in their new home. 

I think it's fascinating that the Inang of the Mama signed that photo in 1971 to her daughter not as Inang Mo (your mother) but by her first name Emeteria. That to me is very forward thinking for a woman of the Filipino culture of her generation, which makes me very proud. Having never met the Inang of the Mama, I do not think of her as lola (the Ilocano word for grandmother), but as the bright, beautiful, and bold woman Emeteria.  

To know a little something about Emeteria, is know a bit more about the Mama and her authentic green thumbs. . .and fingers.

Emeteria married at the age of 14 to Cipriano who was 13. Her family was unhappy with the marriage. Not because both were young but because he was poor and a "pure" Filipino. (Emeteria's father was from Spain.) By the time, Emeteria was 28, she had given birth to five sons and one daughter. About two years later, Emeteria was a widow and the sole supporter of her family.

From the Mama's stories, I think of Emeteria as a Renaissance Woman. Better yet, a Wonder Woman.  Emeteria worked and managed their farm, as well as made money by sewing clothes, making and selling bottles of salted fish called bagoong, and doing other things. 

To help Emeteria, the Mama, at nine-years-old, was taken out of school to care for her younger brothers and the house. As the Mama grew, she learned how to raise crops, grow vegetables, tailor clothes, and do the various jobs that Emeteria did.  All of which made the Mama, herself, become a Renaissance Woman—a Wonder Woman!

The Mama in 1975

I'm participating in ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and managed today by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger. Today is the letter IClick here to read other posts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Communication Between the Mama and Me

Bilingual, I am not.

A bilingual person is someone who is fluent in two languages. I'm one of those second generation kids (in any immigrant group) who can understand their parents' language but cannot speak it. Oh, sure, I can say some phrases in Ilocano, the Mama's language,  such as, uh, Awan ti nakkem mo which means "There's nothing in your head." Something the Mama said to me often when I was a kid.

The Husband tells me it's strange to listen to the Mama's and my conversations. She says something in Ilocano and I respond in English. I say something to her in English and she responds in Ilocano. Most times, I don't even realize she's talking to me in Ilocano.  I suppose you could say we are having a bilingual conversation, just that neither of us are bilingual.

There are times when I can't figure out what the Mama wants. It's not because of the language difference, but because of the Mama's unique thinking process. She assumes that I am thinking the same way. For instance:

"Get me some onions," The Mama orders me in Ilocano.

"Where are they?" I ask in English.

"Idiay," she says.

The word idiay means over there. But, where is over there? It may take several rounds of back and forth before she finally identifies idiay as being over there in the garage.

Now, if she were to respond in English, she would say, "Down below."

In our house, "down below" could mean the garage, a cupboard under the sink, or the vegetable bin in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Happy Hands

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers
Long ago, the Only and Older Bionic Brother and I talked about the Mama's future and what if she were to move into an apartment. It was a very short discussion.

"She'd go crazy," the Only and Older Bionic Brother said.

The Mama may be content staying home, but she needs and wants space to roam in the outdoors.  Her gardens are the perfect place and size for keeping her hands happy year-round.

I'm participating in ABC Wednesday, a meme began Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger. Today is the letter H. Click here to read other H posts.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being Inspired

Recently, Birgit of BB Creations honored me with the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you, Birgit, I appreciate it very much.

The award came with a request that I write about three things that have inspired me this past few weeks. As usual, I started by pulling out the dictionary.
Inspire -- To rouse/motivate/encourage/influence/incite someone to do or feel something. In particular, to do some kind of creative thing.

Highly incited to clean the bedroom

Being bit two nights in a row, and having those bug bites swell and itch to no end, inspired me to find the source and do something about it. Poor Molly the Cat was brushed and combed several times throughout the day. Then I decided to look under our bed since I was being bit on my feet.


Carpet beetles were feasting on a blanket that once belonged to the Husband's parents, which we had tucked under the bed last summer. Out came the vacuum cleaner again! I got down on my stomach and back to vacuum and ended up with a bunch of bug bites on my torso, which also swelled and itched that I thought I was going crazy. After more vacuuming, including the closet and the drawers, we checked through all our clothes in the closet and dresser, threw some clothing out, and did a lot of laundry. The positive spin to all this is that we now have an organized closet and dresser.

Roused to find out what's happening with the Ladies

The Husband and I take care of two ladies—Molly the Cat and the Mama. We don't tell them that. It's best to let them think they take care of us, which they do. Care taking, at least for me, involves a part of my mind constantly keeping tabs on where they are and taking note of sudden sounds and noises.

Scene: Late yesterday afternoon in the office.


I didn't wait to finish typing my sentence. Out the door I went. "What's wrong, Molly?"

"Meeeeeow!" Molly the Cat said, walking back and forth in the hallway, just above the stairway. She stopped and gave me first an accusing look of Where were you today? and then a demanding look of Pay attention to me. Now!  So, of course, I picked her up and cuddled her as I walked over to the Husband, who then took her in his lap and I went back to complete my sentence.

Scene: This morning in the office.

Bang! Bang! Clatter! Bang!

Another sentence went uncompleted. I bounced down the stairs and around the corner. Mama was bent over, reaching for something under a desk. "What are you doing?"

As Mama glanced up. I noticed the pot of rice beside her. "I opened the last container of rice," she said. Without saying anything to me, I knew that we would need to buy a sack of rice the next time we go to Costco.

Motivated to be creative

I gave this more than a cursory thought. Cursory, ha! That's a big word for me. It came out of somewhere, I just don't know where. That's where I think my creative inspiration comes from. That somewhere that holds the everything that moves me to be creative—to write, to draw, to take photos, to cook, to sew, or to organize chaos in my closet.

And, what are those every things? These are just a few examples:
  • The Husband's laugh.
  • The wag of Molly the Cat's tail.
  • Evidence of the Mama dragging the ladder across the yard to do something she knows we don't like to do.
  • The fine ornamental details on an old building.
  • Two white butterflies suddenly flying across my path.
  • Olive oil, flour, yeast, and sugar—which put together make pizza.
  • Mama's old pedal Singer sewing machine.
  • Abstracts of local newspaper articles from more than a 100 years ago.
  • Morning sun peeping through the bedroom window as I open my eyes.
  • Musings, photos, and art work of Birgit, Widdershin, Sue Elvis, Leovi, Lady Fi, Lori K, and many other bloggers I have met through the memes and blogs hops in which I participate.
Every day, new things that I see, smell, hear, touch, taste, and sense get stored in that somewhere from which my inspiration comes.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mellow Lemon Yellow

When the Mama bought her lemon tree, she lucked out big time. Not only does it bear Meyer lemons, but it also gives forth citrons. Someone had grafted a couple of citron branches to the lemon tree, unbeknownst to her and possibly the nursery from which she bought the tree. 

Some of the citron are Buddah's hands. They're the ones that are oddly shaped, generally looking like fingers. Buddah's hands can get truly creepy looking.

Today I'm hooking up with Monday Mellow Yellows, hosted by Gemma Wiseman. Click here to see other yellow-colored interpretations of the world.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Prize-Winning Flowers at the County Fair

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers
For a bunch of years, a long time ago, the Mama raised flowers that won various prizes at the local county fair. However, she never received the praise, glory, or, for that matter, the prizes because the flowers were not hers. They belonged to a female relative of a co-worker of the Mama's. At the time, the Mama was the supervisor of the research technicians at a seed research company. Her authentic green thumbs and fingers made every plant she touched grow happily and abundantly in the fields and the greenhouses. Everyone, from the bosses to the laborers, who worked with her knew it. Of course.

The Mama told me this story about three years ago when I was putting together my first flower arrangement entries for the county fair. (I was amazed she had kept this secret for so many years.) Every spring, the female relative of her co-worker purchased a bunch of flower seedlings and gave them to the co-worker who brought them to the Mama. She placed the seedlings in one of the company greenhouses and tended to the plants' needs, making sure they grew happily and abundantly.  Several months later, the co-worker retrieved the plants and brought them to his female relative who snipped the best blossoms and entered them into the county fair.

The female relative won lots of prizes, according to the Mama. "I never saw any ribbons," said the Mama. "No prize money at all."

You'd think the female relative of the co-worker would have at least given the Mama something.

Maybe this year, the Husband and I can convince the Mama to enter her flowers into the fair. Or, maybe, I'll just do it for her. That way when she wins, it'll be a big surprise.

Every week, I participate at ABC Wednesday, a meme created by Denise Nesbitt 16 rounds ago. Currently, it is being administered by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger, with the help of his ABC Wednesday friends.  Today's featured letter is the letter F. Click here to read other F posts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Endless Energy

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers

In the late 1990s, when the Mama was in her mid 70s, her doctor prescribed her one and only medication -- a pill for low thyroid. The doctor started her with .05 mg, a very low dosage. But, in the Mama, woooo-weee! It made her run the marathon, jump over the moon, and lift several 100-pound bags of soil every day.

Essentially, taking the medicine made her tired. And, of course, after awhile she stopped taking it.

A few months went by before I discovered she was not taking her medication. While visiting her one weekend, I noticed she was looking very tired so I checked her bottle. She was very good at not refilling prescriptions.  The bottle was the one I had ordered months ago and it was still full. The Mama admitted that she stopped taking it. Sigh. 

"Why?" I asked. She shrugged. Her usual answer to questions to which she was not ever going to respond.

"That's why you're feeling tired," I said. "The doctor prescribed this medicine so you can have the energy to do your work."

After more nagging from me, the Mama reluctantly took it.

That day, I watched her run a marathon, jump over the moon, and lift several 100-pound bags of soil. I was tired keeping up with her. The following Monday, I called her doctor and told him what happened. He mumbled that he would cut the dosage in half. All was good. She was back to just running a 10K, jumping over the roof, and lifting 50 pound bags of soil.

Last year, the Mama's thyroid levels had decreased, so the doctor doubled the dosage to the original .05 mg. I worried that she would start running around like crazy and hurt herself. Nothing happened. Hurrah!

All is good, as you can tell. The Mama no longer runs, jumps, and lifts like she used to, but she slowly and surely moves around her gardens, front and back, happily tending to their needs.

Today is the letter E at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly meme created by Denise Nesbitt 16 rounds ago. Currently it is being administered by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger, with the help of his ABC Wednesday crew.  Please click here to read other ABC posts.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Mama's Daisies

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers

The Mama loves her daisies, but she complains that they're a pain to deadhead. She does it anyway so that they continue to bloom. And, bloom, they do throughout the year. I've taken to snapping off old and spent daisies off the plants in the front yard while Molly the Cat wanders about. When I started, it was to be a good assistant to the Mama. Now, I do it more for me. It helps me find zen.

One of these days, I'd like to get her some regular white daisies. Check out what colors and types she has now.

Today is the letter D at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly blog hop created by Denise Nesbitt 16 rounds ago. Currently it is being administered by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger, with the help of his ABC Wednesday friends.  Please click here to read other ABC posts.