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

Horror!

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.


"Meeeooow!" 

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.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Mama's Dreams


The other night, around 3 a.m., I noticed a light was on downstairs as I stumbled to the bathroom. It was too bright to be coming from the Mama's bedroom when she leaves her door open. I went downstairs to find the corner lamp in the living room shining on Molly the Cat. She was in sleeping pose on the Mama's reading chair. As I went by Molly, she opened her eyes and gave me a turn-off-that-light-now! look. No doubt, the Mama had a dream about Molly.

In the morning, Mama told me about her dream. Molly had disappeared into a field far, far away from the house. The Mama couldn't see her because the grass was taller than Molly. She finally found her when she heard Molly calling out. The Mama woke up from her dream and immediately went to the living room to make sure that Molly was in the house.

The Mama has always had vivid dreams that cause her to wake up worrying. When I was a young thing living on my own in a big city far, far away, she would call me early in the morning after having a dream about me. One dream, I recall, was of two men hiding beneath my stairs to get into my apartment. When I assured her all was fine with me, she asked me why was I still in bed. Uhm, because it was just after 6 a.m.

The Mama used to dream frequently about men trying to get into her house. I can usually tell when she is having one of these violent dreams because she starts moving around and mumbling in her sleep. The nightmare ends when she screams herself awake. The dreams have decreased over the years that we have been living with her, thank goodness. I think these nightmares have to do with her living through World War II in the Philippines when the country was occupied by Japanese soldiers. Women, especially young women, had to be careful not to be seen.

A few weeks ago, she had another of these dreams, but this time, for once, it ended on a strong note. In her dream, she stood up to the harasser and told him to go away. And, when he came at her in attack mode, she hit him with a large, heavy stick. The Mama was very satisfied when she recounted her dream to me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cut the Stems, Then Plant Them

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

That's what the Mama has been doing among her geraniums lately. Pruning off old and decaying branches so that new growth will take place by spring. Just doing her magic among the geraniums, both in the front and back yards. 


Always the recycler, the Mama doesn't throw out all of the pruned branches. No, sir-eeee, Bob. She snips off the geranium stems to plant in bare spots in the yard, front and back. They take root, then several weeks later. . .Voila! Flowers!

Which stems have a chance of rooting, you may ask? Because, I surely do. Shrugging is her answer. So, I watch her choose the stems to plant. Her selection is based partly from her many years of gardening and horticulture experience. Part is from a feeling, an instinct. And, part is from the geraniums telling her.  At least, that's what I like to think.

The Mama is humble. She is surprised as everyone else when plants under her guidance burst forth with abundant flowers and fruits. Just because she plants something, she realizes they may not grow.  She does her best to help them along, as well as hopes and prays.


I'm hooking up with ABC Wednesday today. It's the letter C. Click here to read other C posts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bag It for Next Week

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

The Mama saves the empty plastic bags in which potting mix, garden soil, and wild bird seed come. I'm not talking about small plastic bags. They are bags that once held 1.5 or 2 cubic feet of dirt or 40 pounds of bird seed.  Once upon a time, I threw the bags away only to learn that the Mama fished the bags out of the garbage can and hid them in the garden shed. "I can use them for something," she said,  when I found the bags.

Yup. The tiny, 90+, always-resourceful lady did find a use for the bags for her garden work. When she's in cleaning mode, which is pretty much every day, she carries a bag in which to throw leaves, twigs, weeds, and other green waste. When the bag gets too heavy, she leaves it for me to pick up and empty into the green waste recycling can. 

Some weeks, the green recycling can gets filled within two days because we've been pruning trees or pulling out vines or such. Then, the Mama tells us to bag any green remains to put into the recycle can next week.

Today, these huge plastic bags are stored in their own container next to the recycle cans. We have about 20 empty bags. Yesterday, the Mama wanted the Husband to rake the leaves off the front lawn, but he couldn't because there were no more bags. She sighed.

Ah, but this morning, she found a bag behind the shed. "Here," she said, throwing the bag at me. "Go rake the leaves."


I'm hooking up with ABC Wednesday today. It's the letter B. Click here to read other posts.




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers


The sun had set but the Mama continued to bury the dried leaves from the miracle tree into the soil in preparation for spring planting. She was nearly finished and she would accomplish her task. It did not matter to her that night was falling and getting colder. And with luck, her daughter would not come along and bully her to stop and go inside the house already.

That was yesterday evening. Her daughter -- me! -- did come along. I don't think I bullied her, but I did make a silly exasperating remark about it being cold and dark, as I put her garden bench away for the night. She did finish her gardening task, by the way.

The lovely dedicated crew at ABC Wednesday (begun by Mrs. Nesbitt) is starting a new weekly round of the alphabet today. So, I've decided to do a theme for this round -- The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers. Among this avid, assiduous agriculturist's feats are taking the stink out of broccoli, growing three awesome producing apple trees from seeds, and coaxing hundreds of tomatoes from volunteer plants.


And, how can I not mention that this amazing nonagenarian still wields a mean set of pruning sheers. Sometimes doing so while balancing about five feet off the ground on a ladder. That is, when no one is looking!

Click here to read
other A posts.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mama Was Up the Ladder. Again.


Sawing. Clipping. Raking. Sweeping. Pushing dried limbs, branches, vines, leaves, and seed pods into plastic bags. That's how I spent most of my afternoon.

It wasn't what I had planned. When the Husband and I left this morning to do the errands, the Mama was reading the newspaper in the living room. Ninety minutes later, I looked out the back door to see a high limb on the miracle tree precariously hanging above the Mama, who sat beside the tall ladder, stripping dried leaves from skinny branches into her bucket.

I was furious. One, the Mama had been up the ladder. And, two, I had asked her the other day, after cutting back her banana trees, if she'd like me to prune the rest of the miracle tree. "No," she said. "The green (recycle) can is already full." Good, I thought, I'd prune the tree next Thursday.  Ha!

"You know we don't like you on the ladder," I growled, throwing my purse on the ground, and hurriedly climbing the ladder to saw off the limb. I proceeded to cut away at whatever else I could reach. Knowing that I was annoyed, the Mama toddled into the house when I asked her to take her medicine. Peace finally reached my head and I went into the house to put some groceries away and change my clothes.

About ten minutes after I was back on the ladder, the Husband came out to help. He took over pruning the tree, while I stripped the branches of seed pods and cut them into pieces that would eventually fit the green can.

"Why did you do this?" I asked the Mama, after reminding her that she didn't want me to finish pruning the tree yet.

"I didn't want you to work so hard," the 93-year-old woman said.

Sigh.



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Quick and Easy Fix


I forgot to buy a 2015 calendar for the Mama. I had planned to make her one again, but I thought about it too late to have it be delivered by the new year. I figured I'd print out the dates and attach the page to last year's calendar. On Sunday, I did that.

The Mama thought it was a new calendar.  Hmmmmm.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Don't Take My Picture!


Lately, I've been helping the Mama pick up the leaves in the backyard. Even when it's about to rain or when the wind is being blustery. Why? Because the Mama is out there. And, she'll stay out there until she is a) satisfied that she has picked up as many leaves as she could before more fall from the trees,  or b) tired and has begun ranting about the next door neighbor's dirty tree that sheds lots and lots of clusters of red berries and skinny hard leaves, which are quite difficult to pick up.

After years of calling out the back window, "Come in, Mama, it's too cold!" Or,  "It's windy! Just wait until the wind stops." Or, "It's raining!" I now step outside, followed happily by Molly the Cat who has been cooped inside because the Mama decided it's too cold, windy, and/or rainy for her to be outdoors.   I usually head to the other side of the yard  with my favorite rake. The sooner the leaves are picked up, the sooner the Mama -- and Molly the Cat -- will come indoors.


Some days I bring my camera with me. Between building piles, I click away. Both the Mama and Molly the Cat dislike my taking photos of them. Today was no different. "Don't take my picture," the Mama said, bending to pick up another stray leaf.  Molly didn't say anything. She merely walked away or turned her back to me.

So, fine. I took a photo of my shadow. It reminded me of Peter Pan. By the way, notice Molly the Cat's tail in the picture?



Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Am the Mama's Daughter


"How do other people clean their refrigerator coils?" I asked the Husband as he walked through the kitchen. I was laying on my side, looking at thick globs of dust clinging on the coils.

"They don't," he said.

"The vacuum cleaner can only reach so far."

"Use a yardstick." Sigh.

Earlier yesterday morning, the Mama asked me, "When are you going to vacuum the refrigerator coils?" Sigh. I thought I'd done it six months or a year ago, but the way time flies, it was probably two years ago.  I need to wash the kitchen floor soon, so I figured I might as well deal with the coils first. It would only take 10 minutes.

Ha! Maybe it would've, if I had not gone and fetched the big yellow flashlight and shined it on the coils. Sigh. I had to make some kind of effort to get at those globs of dust. Not that the Mama would get down on the floor and inspect my job. That's something she can no longer do. Getting herself down on the floor, that is. I want to go on record here that I'm no spry chicken myself.

Half an hour later, I was still laying on my side on the kitchen floor. Behind me laid a useless broom and the vacuum cleaner, while the yardstick that the Husband got for me laid ready by my side.  I finally found a good tool for scraping, pulling, and picking out the dust. Chopsticks!  I'll have you know that I used my left hand, and I'm right-handed.

Every time I thought I was done, I made the mistake of shining the flashlight on the coils. After the second time, I realized my persistence and stubbornness were like the Mama's. I only quit when I hit something that I shouldn't have.  That's okay. The coils are clean enough for another year. Or two.

By the way, the opening to the refrigerator coils is narrower than it looks in the above drawing. A lot more!


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Mama's Day


"Do you think it would depress the Mama if she saw photos of herself from her younger years?" I asked the Husband yesterday morning.

"I don't know," he said.

"Would you like it?"

"Sure. But that's me."

I would, too. But, I wasn't sure how the Mama would feel. So, I decided not to make a mosaic photo to give her for her ninety (cough third) some birthday.

You'd never guess what happened yesterday evening. The Mama asked me to find the photos of her wearing her Maria Clara dress and make big prints of them.

So, I did. She'll be surprised when she sees them because it takes forever for me to do things. She had asked me to hem her jeans on the sewing machine.  I finally did yesterday. But, the pants had sat so long on the chair that Molly the Cat took to sleeping on them.

This photo was taken in November, 1962, a few weeks after we moved into the house that she and the Daddy purchased.  She was standing in the barren backyard, which over the next 24 years became happily planted with roses, lawn, a huge vegetable garden, and fruit trees.

Happy Birthday to the Mama!


P.S. I'm hooking up with Gemma Wiseman's Monday Mellow Yellows. Please click here to go to that site.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Socks, Lovely Socks


I drew socks the other day because I bought some socks for the Mama and me. They are just as colorful as the ones in the picture. The Husband bought socks, too. He was the instigator, which meant he needed socks and the Mama must have forgotten to give him socks for Christmas. Actually, it was more like she forgot to tell me that she wanted to buy his annual Christmas bunch of socks. I should've remembered, but I haven't been good in that department either.

A couple weeks ago, I forgot about the Mama's doctor appointment. At least, I remembered the following day and called the doctor's office. We went on Friday for his five-minute examination to make sure she is still ticking. Yup, she is indeed. Her blood count actually went up,  and her blood pressure is that of a spring chicken. The Mama also gained a pound. She'd been losing a pound every four months for the past two years so I was very happy to hear the nurse say she was 110. The Mama's reaction. "I'm eating too much." Yeah, right. What she is doing is eating regular servings of food more than usual. And, now that it's summer, she's snacking on fresh fruit more. Yay, fresh fruit!

Every day, the Mama comes in with a couple of apricots that have dropped from up high. As she hands them to me, I make a mental note to go with the Husband to look up high into the tree to see where the apricots are hiding. Of course I forget. As I'm writing this I now remember that I planned to prune the butterfly bush yesterday afternoon. All I can say is that last night I finally cooked the eggplants, okra, and leftover roasted chicken into a stew for dinner.

Let me get back to the subject of socks. I can't remember the last time I bought an article of clothing for myself, unless the Mama's Christmas clothing gift for me counts. She gave me a cute pleated denim blouse that we both agreed look nice on me. Our tastes in clothes are quite different. She likes structured, tailored clothes while I like mine free and flowing. This bunch of socks amazingly had styles and colors that match our tastes.

The Mama told me to pick my socks first, but I said nope to that. Making choices is difficult for her, even picking socks. But, she did it, with Molly the Cat watching intently. The Mama gave me the socks I like, which were the orange and blue colored socks. I knew she would like the red and black colored ones.

Molly the Cat? She only wear socks in my imagination. Though, maybe she wouldn't mind wearing socks upon her dainty paws, especially when she's traipsing around the Mama's boxes of sprouting vegetables. Maybe then she wouldn't leave evidence of having been where she is not supposed to be. The other day, the Mama asked Molly, "Was that you who pulled the flowers off the eggplants?"  Molly the Cat merely walked away, without saying a mew. I wonder if she'd like to wear a sock on her swishy tail.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's Garbage Day, Again.


I'm not going to talk about garbage, other than to say that tonight we put the garbage cans out on the curb.  It seems like I just brought them in, which is my way of saying that lately the days go by much too quickly. I had planned to write a post on Monday, then yesterday, and then before lunch this morning. Now, I want to post this before I start making dinner in um 20 minutes.

It's going to be a good dinner, too. We went to the Farmers Market this afternoon. All three of us—the Mama, the Husband, and me. It was a rare outing for the Mama and even rarer because she initiated the adventure. She was able to walk a block, back and forth, before she tired out. Hurrah for the 90+ Mama! Although, afterwards, when she plopped into the car, she said, "I don't think I will come anymore." And, when we reached home, she said, "I don't think I can go anywhere anymore. I want to sit down all the time."

We could get her a walker with a chair so that she could sit whenever she wanted, but she won't push a walker. She won't use a cane for that matter because she feels that using a cane makes you get older quicker. Maybe she's right. I don't know. I like using a walking stick when we go on hikes. It gives me false confidence when I'm going downhill. Anyway, I'd like to find something that we can subtly carry and open for her to sit whenever she needs to rest. Any ideas?

Okay, time for me to go make dinner, which will be fresh basil and garlic pasta, Italian basil mozzarella sausage, with steamed sugar peas and asparagus. Dessert will be a slice of cinnamon roll and fruit salad composed of apple, peach, strawberries, and nectarines. Except for the apple, everything was purchased at the Farmers Market. I love going to Farmers Markets. How about you?

By the way (I know, I'm being non-sequitur today), the happy broccolis was on the side of an Albertson's truck. I took the photo as we were driving down the freeway to San Diego for the 60th wedding anniversary of the Husband's Uncle and Aunt. I was planning on writing about our weekend adventure and maybe I will one day.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Things to Do Today


The first, okay, maybe it was the fourth, thing I did this morning before breakfast was write that To Do list.

I did finish the mystery I've been reading at breakfast. I diligently stuck with the story although I didn't care for the protagonist who was too much of an insecure whiner. But once I learned who the suspect was, I skimmed through the final scenes. I closed the book and purposely went to complete something else.

For about the next two hours, I topped off the Mama's outdoor potted plants with potting soil. It was something I had been thinking about doing for the last two summers. The other week, while the Mama was watering her plants, she mentioned that they needed more soil.

"Uh-huh," I said, glancing at them and thinking I need to do that before she got to it. Fortunately, for me, a few days ago, the Husband and I bought three huge bags of potting soil. The Mama requested one, but I bought two extra bags. Not because I was going to add soil to the potted plants but because I have plans on building a planter box to replace the broken-down one full of roses. And, I would need those bags for the new planter box.

Yup. You got it. I used up those two extra bags topping off the Mama's potted plants, and I didn't even get to all the pots. They will have to wait for another day and maybe it won't be in the distant future. 

The items on today's written To Do list? We shall see.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reunited


If you were physically separated from your significant other, for whatever reason, would you still want to get back with him or her after a year? Five years? Thirty?

About a month after the Only and Older Bionic Brother was born, the Daddy, a naturalized U.S. citizen, returned to the United States. He realized that there would be more and better opportunities for his children in America than in the Philippines. This was in the late 1940s. He worked hard and within a year, he made enough money to book ship passage for the Mama and their son. The Mama did not want to leave her home and family. The Mama's mother told her that once she married, her life was with her husband's. She, the Mama, no longer belonged to the Grandmother. Thirteen months after the Daddy left, he and the Mama were reunited in their new home in California.

The stories of my two ninangs (godmothers) were different from the Mama.  They waited much, much longer to reunite with their spouses. The story of the ninongs (godfathers) and the Daddy, were similar, and to put the godparents' separation in context, I'll tell you a bit of that history. In the 1920s, the Philippines was a U.S. territory, which probably made it easier for Filipinos to travel as U.S. nationals. Throughout that decade, many of the young Filipino men, from all over the country, decided to go to Hawaii and the United States for the many jobs and good pay they were promised by agricultural recruiters and bragged about by friends and relatives who were already abroad. Most of the young men planned to work for a few years then return home with plenty of money to marry and start a family, if they had not one already. The Great Depression foiled their plans.

Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano

She was 21 years old and he was nearly 24 when they married in 1924.  A son was born two years later. In 1928, Ninong Mariano and his brother sailed for the United States where they worked the farms for meager wages. Said Ninong Mariano, "The first time I came here, the wages were 35 cents an hour. During Depression, fifteen cents an hour. That was the best I could get. Some places it was twelve-and-a-half cents an hour."

He sent money home when he could. Ninang Deling made money for the family by taking vegetables from the province where she lived and selling them in Manila, then before returning home, purchased products to sell back home. She also made a living for her and son by sewing clothes. She said, "I was a seamstress. I sold clothes when I could. Sometimes I make five dresses for someone to buy. They used to pay me three pesos."

Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano reunited in 1950. She was 47 years old. She had no conflict about leaving her home when her husband told her to come. Her son and her brothers were already in the United States. Ninang Deling said, "This is where my family was, so I come here. . . I (have) a good feeling."

Ninang Maxima and Ninong Vicente

They married in 1925 when she was 19 years old and he was 27. They had two children before he took off for America in 1929.  Over the years, he found jobs as a farm laborer and house boy. For 10 years, he worked in a Navy yard in California. Ninong Vicente said, "I liked to go back to Philippines, but no money. So I stay here. If you go there, you need lots of money to spend for the plane."

With the money her husband sent and the earnings she made from her sari-sari store, Ninang Maxima  managed to make a living for her family and send her son and daughter to school. Ninang Maxima said, "I am homesick to see my husband. When wartime, about five years, he didn’t write us. (There was) no mail to the Philippines."

Ninang Maxima finally reunited with her husband in 1959. "I didn’t recognize him when I came here. I didn’t know his face because it’s different. When he came here, he was young yet. When we got together, he’s old. I (was) 53. He was 60."

I'll do the math for you: Ninang Deling and Ninong Mariano were separated for about 22 years, while Ninang Maxima and Ninong Vicente were apart for 30 years. Amazing, isn't it?
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.   

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How's the Mama?


The Mama, as some of you dear readers know, is in her nineties. The tiny, fragile, slow-stepping Mama is doing well, thank you very much for asking. She's as fit and magnificent as the flowers and vegetables that she grows. The only medication she takes is for her thyroid. I can only hope that I haven't screwed up the genes she gave me too awful much.

This morning, I found a poem that I wrote about the Mama two years ago when she was rushed to the hospital. The Mama is amazing.


The Sleeping Mama
Slipped into her ER room.
She was fast asleep,
Hooked up to the IV, heart monitor, and oxygen.

In one moment,
she could not move
no matter how hard she tried.
And, she tried, and kept trying, to stand up.

"Walking pneumonia," the doctor said.
"Dehydration."

What did she say? 
"This is going to cost me a lot."
© 2014 Su-sieee! Mac


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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Knowing the Language


Nearly 35 years ago, a college professor, who hailed from Australia, told me if it weren't for the awkwardness of my writing, I would've got a higher score on my paper. She forgave me for some of my usage and grammar because, according to her, "English is your second language."

For once, I kept my mouth closed rather than enlighten her on how wrong she was.

English is the only language I can read, write, speak, and understand fluently. Proficiently, too, except for the lapses in awkward writing and the proper use of grammar, word choice, and cliches. I'm especially good at forgetting articles (the, a, an, and so on) and getting prepositions mixed up, which, I think is because the Ilocano language has no articles and, as far as I can tell, one preposition.

As I was growing up the parents mostly spoke Ilocano to me while I spoke English to them. I still do that with the Mama, and the Husband finds it very strange. It's really not unusual with immigrant parents and their American-born children. Once, I tried talking to the parents in Ilocano, but they couldn't figure out what I was saying. "Your accent is funny," said the Mama, after she and the Daddy stopped laughing.

When I was a kid, many Filipinos who just immigrated to the U.S. thought I couldn't understand Ilocano. After all, I greeted them in English when they came to visit the Mama and the Daddy. It was inevitable when the parents weren't around that a visitor would say in front of me, but in Ilocano, "My, the daughter is fat!" Another visitor would respond, "She probably can eat a whole pig by herself." And, they would all snicker.

I pretended that I didn't understand, although when I became a teenager, it was very difficult not to put them in their place. But that was okay. I just waited for the moment when the Mama would ask me to serve refreshments. In Ilocano. Then, one of the visitors would ask awkwardly, "She can understand the language."

"Yes," the Mama would say. "She was born in the United States. Even though we speak to her in our language, she can only speak English."

The visitors always cringed and fidgeted.

As I write this I wonder if the Mama may have also overhead the visitors say rude things about me, and that was her way of getting back at them. After all, I rarely saw any visitors who talked "behind" my back come to the house again.
I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month. To check out other participants, click here. See you tomorrow.