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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Moodiness.


I'm sulking.

As in my teenage-self sulk, which was playing my guitar all Sunday afternoon, singing Flowers on the Wall, Elusive Butterfly, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and other angst songs, in the living room.

I did do that. One time, during a pause, the Mama called out from the kitchen, "Are you done now?"

hahahahaha.

The poor Mama. She was a saint to endure two or more hours of my off-key singing and probably out-of-tune guitar.

Okay. Focus. Back to the subject I began.

I'm sulking.

I don't want to do this not-a-hysterical operation even though I know it's a preventative measure that may let me live the full life that I'm meant to have.

Don't worry. It will happen. In three weeks, I'll no longer have a reproductive system. I'm way beyond baby-producing time so my fist-size of a womb with attaching tubes and ovaries will be no more.

I've never given birth. I wanted five kids. Maybe I have them in parallel universes. One can dream. 

I wonder if I'll be a bit depressed after the surgery. When I had all four wisdom teeth pulled, I was blue for a couple of days over my missing four needless teeth. I felt like something was taken from me.

A long time ago, the thumb of my Auntie Dee (not her real name) got infected. She didn't want to go to the doctor because she was afraid he might amputate it and then she would die without all her body parts. The pain eventually got unbearable so Auntie Dee saw the doctor. She didn't lose her thumb.

I admit that thought about wanting to die with all my parts crossed my mind. If there is such a thing as reincarnation would I come back as a male in my next life because I don't have my xx parts?

Jibber jabbering like this has talked me out of a sulky mood. There you go. I'm done now.



Friday, April 7, 2017

The Mama's Roses in Bloom


A year ago, this day, we buried the Mama.

"I already have a place," the Mama said. "With your father. They saved me a space on top of him."

Always a forward thinker, as well as practical-minded, the Mama bought a dual burial grave site when arrangements were made for the Daddy in 1982. He was buried in the Veterans section in the cemetery a few miles away from the house. The section was new, so the Daddy scored a front row seat, beneath a big old shade tree that was planted in the same year as the Daddy. I'm sure the Mama was pleased with where her bones are resting. In life, the Mama liked to watch people go by.

When I had to arrange all the funeral stuff last year, I was very thankful that the Mama took care of the burial site. I was also grateful that after 34 years the mortuary had a pristine paid-in-full record of that transaction.

I hope the Mama's spirit is having loads of fun and laughter soaring through the Universe at beyond warp speed.  I have no doubt that she skims by us.

Today, I'm sure, the Mama is smiling at her roses.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Mama


Today marks the anniversary of the first year of the Mama's spirit roaming through the universe.

This photo was taken a week before the Mama's final adventure of life begun. I'm glad that the Husband, Molly the Cat, and I got to go through that last amazing trip with the Mama. One of these days I'll tell the tale.

Sweet cheers to the Mama!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Keeping Out the Birdies and Kitties

Click here if you'd like to see how the former lawn has progressed.
From last Thursday to Monday morning, I've been playing in the front yard, changing more of the looks of the former lawn. You see, the weather predictors said that rain is a coming. (And it has!) So, of course, I needed to take advantage of the rain. I dug, hoed, and pulled patched of turf and sowed wildflower seeds. The Husband also got in the fun and dug holes for the Mama's roses that were getting nowhere anymore in their pots.


One of the dilemmas of creating flower plots in the front yard is trying to keep the birdies from eating the seeds and the kitties (not Molly the Cat) from turning the plots into their personal latrines.

No problem. The Mama taught me a good enough solution.

We took the branches that we pruned from the fruit trees last winter and criss-crossed them across the flower plots. Voici, voilå!


With sun, rain, and good fortune, all will be in bloom by the end of April.

It's ABC Wednesday time. Click here to check out what other participants are posting about the letter K. Thank you, ABCW team!



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Uh-toot!


"We can't store the persimmons in the garage," I said to the Mama and the Husband at the lunch table one day. "There's an uh-toot."

The Mama laughed.

"What's that?" the Husband asked.

"A mouse," I said. Most likely I shuddered. Rodents give me the creeps.  "Uh-toot in Ilocano means mouse. Right, Mama?"

"Uh-taut," said Mama. "You have a funny pronunciation."

"Uh-toot," I said.

"Uh-taut."

"Uh-toot," said the Husband. "She's saying the same thing."

The Mama smiled.

"Uh-toot," I said. "Be careful. If you say Ah-toot, you're talking about a fart."

That conversation happened a few years back. Recently, I learned that the Ilocano word for mouse is bau, which I never heard the Mama or the Daddy use. I also found out that the spelling for fart is o-t-o-t. 

The Mama considered mice as farts. Giggle.


Today is the letter U at ABC Wednesday. Click here to join in and/or check out what other participants are sharing.  Thank you, ABCW team!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Vivacious Mama

 
This is the last photo I took of the ever vibrant Mama gazing directly at me. This was back in March when the Asian pear tree behind her was beginning to bloom. I discovered the photo this morning when I was looking for something to share at  Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa of Eden Hills.

The photo fulfills the prompts for this week: 1) Starts with V  2) Week's Favorite  3) Thankful

I'm thankful that I have a photo of the oh-so-vital Mama. A couple weeks after this photo was taken, her body, as her doctor put it, finally hit the wall. It no longer was able to compensate after her 94 years of living. There's much for me to be thankful when it comes to the Mama. Most of all, I am thankful that the Mama was my mama.  

Click here to visit Eden Hills and the other participants of this week's Friday's Hunt.


 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Little by Little


That's how I do things these days—little by little.

Little by little, I'm clearing out the Mama's belongings, moving furniture around, changing things, and so on and so forth. I work at a task until the sadness surfaces. Some tasks, I'm not ready to do.

The front yard has been easier to tackle. Somewhat. I committed myself in August when I dug out a bit of the lawn and planted some of the Mama's jade plants that outgrew their pots. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the post, to see how the change looked in September.

Progress has been little by little.


A couple weeks ago, I created a geranium corner in the upper part of the yard. At first, I planned to transplant some of the Mama's geraniums into the ground, but then I decided to have the Mama's reading chair grace that corner. (The chair is too flimsy for anyone heavier than the Mama to sit on.) I want to eventually paint the chair yellow and blue, or maybe just blue or just yellow. Maybe later, when the geraniums outgrow their pots, I'll put them in the ground. We shall see.

I still have quite a few geraniums that I need to repot. Also, geraniums to trim and to decide whether to propagate some of their stems. And, then there are the roses and everything else that needs attention. My head spins thinking about it.

Take a deep breath.

Little by little.

Blogger friend Jesh hosts a weekly meme called All Seasons, which is open from Sunday to Wednesday for anyone to link her post.  Click here to join in or to read what other participants are writing about.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Harvest Time — Not So Easy Work


Harvesting crops is hard back-breaking work. Every time I pass by a field of workers, I'm very grateful to them. How can anyone not want to give them a living wage?

It wasn't until 1978 that farmworkers on large farms were finally included under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which required their employers to pay them minimum wage. Still, in some states today, farmers can choose to give their workers a piece-rate wage rather than a minimum hourly rate. It's not a high piece rate either.  For instance, if a worker receives 50 cents for every bucket of tomatoes she picks, she would need to pick about 2.5 tons of tomatoes to earn an equivalent minimum hourly wage for a 10-hour day. I think all states ought to mandate hourly wages for farmworkers.

I've got a Mama story for you. She always laughed when she told me about her first year working in the fields of America. It was either the first or second year that she was living here, so that was 1950 or 1951. She decided to pick tomatoes to help bring in money for the family. She was paid something like 25 cents a box. When she picked a bucket of tomatoes, she carried it to the end of the row and put it in the box.

"That was so hard,' the Mama said. "I didn't know what I was doing. It took hours to fill a box."

By the time she had two boxes, the farmer had come around. "He was a nice man," the Mama said. "He felt sorry for me. He started picking tomatoes and putting them in my boxes."

He was the same man that later taught the Mama how to drive an old Model T. But, that's another story.


I'm hooking up with Jeanette's Seasons, a weekly meme that closes tomorrow. Click here to check out her blog and other Seasons' participants.

Tomorrow is now today. That means it's time for ABC Wednesday, which is a meme in which I like to participate. It's the letter N this week. I figure with a little addition to this post's title and the fact that the Mama's boss was a nice guy, this post fills the bill. Click here to check out other ABCW participants.



Friday, October 7, 2016

Mopping

Scuff marks, cat tracks, and stains. I no longer could ignore it. The kitchen floor needed mopping.

Because I am hopping along on a cane, the Husband agreed to mop the floor. (My knees are alternating between being painful.) All I had to do was fetch the tools—the bucket and mop handle out of the shed and the mop head out of the closet.

Problem was we had no mop head. Sigh.

Snap! Light bulb.


I had the answer in my hand. The cane!

The Mama's cane, actually. She rarely used it to get around. What she did use the cane a lot for was shining the kitchen floor. She threw a rag on the floor and danced it around with her cane.

Yup. Like mother, like daughter.

I dipped a rag in a bucket of vinegar, threw it on the kitchen floor, and danced it around the worse parts with the cane. Ha!



I'm quite late this week for ABC Wednesday. As the saying goes, better late, than never. Which the latter I thought it would be for the letter M. Seeing the doctor about my knees this morning got me out of my funk. Thanks, Dr. B. Thanks, too, to the ABCW team. Want to read other M posts? Sure you do. Click here to go over to the ABCW site.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Changing Landscape

May 12, 2016

The Mama was quite proud of her lawn. Green. Manicured. Weedless.

When she no longer could take care of the lawn, she hired a lawn guy, which was a great luxury for the Mama. When that got too expensive, she sighed and accepted that the lawn would be cut during my monthly visit. Then, when the Husband and I moved in with the Mama, the lawn became the Husband's job.

As the drought became a real thing, watering the lawn was a luxury, as well as an ongoing skirmish between the Mama and me. The Husband continued watering it, but not as often or as much. The Mama took to watering it when we were gone, if she felt the lawn was fading.

I was very happy when the City finally decreed a water rationing and a $500 fine for using too much water. "You have to decide," I said to the Mama, "water for your vegetable garden or the lawn. You can't have both for now."

The lawn faded. The Mama sighed. The Mama complained. Fortunately, the lawn came back after the winter rains.

We had a steady rainy season this past winter. The lawn was thick with greenness. The Mama was very happy. "I wish the lawn would be green like this all the time," the Mama often said to us, as she looked out the window while we ate lunch.

I'm glad the lawn thrived for the Mama as her body was winding down.

Only nature has watered the lawn since the Mama has left us.

The Husband and I like a green lawn, too, but to have one when our water source is depleting is simply not a good idea. In May we planned to hire someone to pull out the lawn so that we could put in a drought-resistant landscape. This and that, and that and this, put that plan down on the list.

More than two weeks ago, on the Mama's birthday, I dug out a small portion of the lawn and planted three of the Mama's overgrown potted jade plants. Yesterday, I dug out a bit more of the lawn, which is how it will be, a little bit at a time. I've already heard other plants of the Mama's saying they'd like to hang out on her once-upon-a-time lawn.

While I was working yesterday, I saw and heard crows cawing and watching me from across the street. I like to think that the Mama's spirit was saying, "It's your lawn now. Do what you want. It looks good."

September 12, 2016



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Birthday to the Mama!


The ever loving, curious, generous, and unique Mama would've been 95 years old today. Shoot up the  fireworks! Bang on the walls! Pick some tomatoes! Dance up a storm! Sing, sing, sing!


I searched through my archives for a story to share about the Mama. This one is my favorite, which was published on June 18, 2010. Originally, it was entitled Talking about Sex with the Mama. The new title says it better.

Some Kind of Wonderful
 
Yesterday the mama asked me to explain something she was reading in an AARP flyer. It was a short article about what a woman can do about vaginal dryness so that intercourse isn't so painful.

Uh.

The mama is a voracious reader. She likes to learn. Both things I didn't know until the husband and I became her roommates several years ago. English is not her primary language, and I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, her English reading comprehension is about a 4, more or less. She doesn't let complicated or unfamiliar words get her down. If she's interested in a story, she plows through it. If she's really interested in what words mean precisely, she asks me.

So, she asked me. 

Hoo boy.

The mama hadn't even taught me about sex when I a kid. The only instruction I received that came closest to the topic was the afternoon of getting ready for my senior class prom.  She showed me a gigantic safety pin, then put it in my purse, saying something like "In case you need it." She walked away before I could ask "For what?" I figured that out years later. She didn't have to worry. My prom date came out of the closet years later.  If I'm recalling that eventful afternoon correctly, the mama gave me the safety pin after the daddy advised me, "Don't go f***ing around."

The parents. Do I love them!

But, back to the curious mama of today.

"Kiki," I said, somehow recalling the Ilocano slang word for vagina, pointing to hers, then mine.

"It's about what to do when it's dry. . . ." She looked at me with surprise.

"And you want to have sex." I quickly walked away, but not before noticing that she went back to the article. 

In the kitchen where I thought he hadn't heard, the husband asked, "What was that about?" 

I think maybe something kind of wonderful.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Sloth Who Likes to Read


"Stop reading," ordered the Mama. "Go outside."

I'd probably been lying on the bed reading for three or four hours that sunny summer weekend afternoon. I was probably 12 years old.

That's what the Mama got for buying me a bed with a bookcase headboard. It was packed full with paperback books that I purchased from the monthly Scholastic book catalog during the school year. Three or four dollars bought me a lot of books back then. I shall always be grateful the Mama and the Daddy let me buy so many, and for leaving me alone to read the books over and over most of the time.

Reading was my favorite thing to do in summer, followed by riding bicycles, watching movies, and eating. Except for the bicycle riding, I seem to have slipped back into my once-upon-a-time summer routine. I'm not getting much done, I admit. And, yes, my clothes are feeling snug. Again.

I really do need to urge me to step outside and do something. There's still time today to water the flowers in the backyard, or pick up all the apples and lemons that have dropped off the trees, or rake the leaves, or put everything back in the shed, or . . . .

Maybe I'll take my book outside with me as incentive. After each thing I finish, I can read a chapter.

Yeah, right.

I'm a grown-up. First things, first. But, that could be reading.

Silly me, thinking I can bribe or shame myself into doing things.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Flight


On the afternoon that the Mama died, the Husband, Long-time Friend Kathy, Molly the Cat, and I sat on the patio and ate our lunch. The Mama's apple tree and her butterfly bush gave us shade from the warm Spring sun. The sky was blue. The Mama's roses, daisies, and other flowers were in bloom. The birds serenaded us. The Mama's bedroom window faced the backyard. I like to think that she could see, smell, and hear the day as we did and that she enjoyed listening to our relaxed cadences and tones.

At one point I leaned back in my chair and gazed at the sky. A crow was lazily flying back and forth. It was like a photo, the crow framed by the foliage of the Mama's trees and bushes. As I watched the bird, I felt like I could see the Mama's spirit flying up towards the crow and dancing alongside it.

When I finally looked away, I saw a white butterfly fly out of the Mama's garden by the  rose bushes. That was the first white butterfly I saw that day, which, ever since the Daddy died 34 years ago, represented the Daddy saying to me, "Hello. All is well."


At the Mama's rosary service, I read this short tale that I wrote three years ago. I had posted it on June 5, 2013.

The Girl That Did Fly

Once upon a time, in a far away place, a little girl wished upon a star, "I wish I could fly."

Unlike other fairy tales, Midge's wish did not come true. So, she thought.

One morning, Midge woke up, thinking, "Ah, today is the day I shall fly."


She flung off her blankets and jumped to her feet.

Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

With each bounce, Midge hung in the air higher and longer. Nearly three-quarters to the ceiling, she turned somersaults and back flips, cartwheels and spins.

She bounced and she bounced until her grandmother opened her door.

"Very good, my dear," said Lola Sue smiling so proudly. "You're getting to be quite good with the triple flips. I do believe you take after your grandma."


Lola Sue jumped onto the bed, and together they bounced.

Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

Holding hands, they bounced even higher and higher.

"I think it is time," Lola Sue said."Are you ready?"

"Yes! Yes!" exclaimed Midge, although she knew not what it might be.


"Then let us go!"


Midge and her Lola Sue bounced once more, hung a second, then flew around the room. 


"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," said Midge. "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee."

"Hold on tight," said Lola Sue, as she lead the little girl out the door, through the house, and out a window into the Lola's garden. From there, they soared up through the banana plants and into the big, blue sky. 



Today is the letter F at ABC Wednesday, a wonderful meme with awesome bloggers from around the world. Click here to check out these other bloggers, and maybe to join in yourself.  Thanks to Roger, Di, Melody, and all of the ABCW team for giving us a place to share ourselves.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Crybaby Me.


The Mama used to tell me a story about the time that the Daddy carried me on his back while they picked tomatoes one summer day. I was maybe two years old. "You cried and cried," the Mama said. "You kept saying, 'Go home, Daddy. Go home.'"

The poor Daddy! And, all those other poor workers around us who were forced to listen to a tiny, fat crybaby of a girl piggy-backing on her poor Daddy's back. The poor Daddy!

How did the Parents ever get me to stop crying? Did the Daddy take the Mama and me home and go back to work? Did I eventually calm down, get off the Daddy's back, and find a way to entertain myself so the Parents could work in peace? I don't know. The Mama never told me what happened. She simply laughed after telling me.

Why am I telling you the story? I don't know. I find myself tearful all of a sudden lately.

C is for crybaby me. Not pitiful me though.

C is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme that is keeping me centered. I thank the ABCW team, lead by Roger Green, and started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt, for giving me a place to share my words. To keep me going. Maybe next week, I'll be more cheerful.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Five Things Today

  1. I thought today is Friday.
  2. I'm a few chapters into The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert.  I'm enjoying it and it's so easy to read because the writing is seamless.
  3. The surgeon removed the week-old bandage covering the incision that marks the spot where the Husband's pacemaker was inserted last week. "You're good to go," said the surgeon. Hurrah!
  4. Why are some people okay about their neighbors being able to hear their music, conversation, and screaming grandkids clear as a bell from their backyard?
  5. I found three bags full of the brother's children's clothes in the Mama's closet. They've been there for at least 25 years, when the brother's wife put them in the bags to throw out. Somehow the Mama got her hands on them before she could. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Various Varieties


This is what I've been doing with some of the Mama's various varieties of cups. 


This is what I've been doing with some of the Mama's various varieties of plants that need to be put into pots or repotted.

I'm having a lot of fun.



It's the letter V at ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out the other participants or to link up with the weekly meme started by Denise Nesbitt and continued today by the ABCW team headed by Roger Green.
 
.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The View from the Mama's Seat


The Mama had the best view of the outside world from her seat at the kitchen table.

She could watch the cars drive by, as well as people walk by, from the north or the south. She could see the butterflies kiss across the pink roses. She could gaze at the tiny brown birds take turns eating at the four-perched bird feeder. And, she could spy on the goings on of the neighbors.

"What is that man's name?" the Mama asked, waiting for lunch to be served.

"What man?" I asked, frantically getting lunch together, late as usual.

"The man in the grey house." (The house which is now blue.)

"Steve."

"He's cutting his lawn," she said.

"That's good."

"He's not wearing any shirt."

I never knew whether the Mama thought that was a good thing or not.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sorting Through the Mama's Stuff

The Mama and Two-month-old Me at Our Favorite Picnic Spot in Monterey

The Mama was 94 years old when she slipped into eternity. So, of course she left lots and lots and LOTS of stuff behind. Lucky me. I get to go through it all and decide what to keep, throw away, reuse, recycle, give away, or possibly sell. 

I was about to say that it's easy to figure out what to do with some things. It's not.

The other day I found an envelope on which the Mama printed Susie One Year Old. Inside the envelope was a bunch of my one-year-old self's hair.

What am I going to do with that?


It's time for ABC Wednesday, hosted by Roger Green and the ABCW team, which was started by Mrs. Nesbitt nine years ago. To join in and/or check out other participants, please click here.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Giddy.


The Husband and I are listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, while I'm clicking on the keyboard. It was a fun morning. We drank freshly-brewed coffee and ate olive bread with butter and cheese, as well as finished the leftover berry strudel and custard tart that a friend brought over for dessert last night. The food and drink put me in a giddy mood. Still am.  I think the coffee was made from drunken beans. Yes, I do.

As we got breakfast together, we wondered what to do today. We knew what we didn't want to do. And, so far I haven't done the laundry and the Husband hasn't cut the lawn. We thought of what we could do—maybe hike at the Pinnacles National Park, or drive over to Monterey, or go see a movie. We haven't done any of that either. I doubt we shall.

We did some stuff this morning. The Husband brought in the garbage cans and cleaned Molly the Cat's litter box. I collected all of the Mama's artificial flowers around the house and washed them, which I shall distribute among the sisters' and godparents' graves. The Husband washed the Mams's vases, containers, and a few other cute doo-dads, while I sorted through a couple more of the Mama's drawers and cabinets.

I'm finding a lot of interesting stuff that the Mama stashed away over the years. . .the gold watch her company gave her after 25 years of service. . .birthday and mother's Day cards. . .a recipe for a bittermelon and black bean dish from the Only and Older Brother. . .the porcelain dove that I bought for her in Enseñada in 1974. . .the wishbone from either a duck or turkey.

This morning, it wasn't so hard going through the Mama's stuff. I guess it helps to be giddy from drunken coffee beans.



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Rosary Snapping Mama


"Does Manang have a rosary?" asked Helen, a friend of the Mama's. (Manang is a term of endearment for a woman older than you. It means sister.) We were standing before the Mama's casket on her funeral day, waiting for it to be closed and taken to the church.

"I can give you one," said Helen.

"It's in her purse," I said, pointing to the blue cloth clutch embroidered with bright red and white flowers next to the Mama's body. It also held the Mama's favorite compact, which the Only and Older Brother gave her when he was 12 or 13, reddish-pink lipstick, two large scarves, and one or two other things that I no longer recall. I like to think the Mama's spirit might enjoy having them.

"Did you break the rosary?" asked Helen.

"Am I supposed to?" I asked, feeling a panic coming on. "Mama only told me not to put it in her hands."

When I had researched about what Ilocanos do with rosary beads for the dead, I found articles stating to place a broken strand of rosary beads in the coffin, but no instructions on how to break the necklace. I admit I was nervous about breaking the Mama's rosary, and I didn't really want to because the rose petal rosary that I bought in Florence for the Mama was so pretty. After two ties at trying to break the beads with pliers, I gave up. After all, the Mama only said that it was bad luck for a dead person to hold a rosary.

The Mama had no shame at rosary services when she saw that a dead person's rosary was wrapped around his or hand. Either before or after the prayer service, the Mama would get right alongside the casket and patiently tug and pull at the rosary until it was free from the dead person's hand, then she'd carefully fold it and place it next to the body. After which, she'd go up to the decease's relatives and tell them what she did, scolding them a bit for their faux pas. 

That's the Mama. Go ahead and chuckle. I get a good laugh thinking about it. The funeral guys who toke care of the Mama's remains definitely got a good laugh out of the story.

"Manang always took the rosary out of the dead person's hand and broke it," Helen said, looking at me with very sad eyes.

"I didn't know that."

"She said it was bad luck."

I took the rosary beads out of the Mama's purse. "How do I break it?"

"I don't know," said Helen.

Oh, gee.


At certain points of the rosary, the beads are separated by bits of chain. I looked for one of those parts. Holding the beads firmly in each hand, I pulled at each end of the chain.

SNAP!

Just like that.

It's as if the Mama made sure I didn't break the rosary until it was time to forever close the door on her coffin.


It's the letter R at the ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team.  To join in and/or check out other R posts, please click here.