Thursday, December 29, 2011

Making My First Filipino Dish

The parents liked fresh meat and they believed it was cheaper to purchase a pig (or cow or chicken), slaughter and butcher the animal,  and freeze the parts for when you wanted to cook. Because the cost of purchasing a pig was high, the parents often bought it with one or more friends. They didn't bring the pig to the butcher though, as part of the pig-buying event was the camaraderie among the men as they slaughtered and butchered the pig in our backyard. A bottle, or two, of whiskey also figured into the festivity.

Every part of the pig was used. Everything. For instance, the blood was directly drained from the pig into a pot. The right amount of vinegar was added to the blood and it was beat with a hand mixer until it coagulated into a thick pudding. The blood was used for a pork dish known as dinardaraan, which the Filipinos would call Chocolate Meat as they served it to children or non-Filipinos.

Along with the whiskey, Daddy always  served his compadres a meal of the freshly butchered pig. The rice would be made. Some pieces of pork would go on the makeshift grill in the back yard. And, some chopped pork would be brought into the kitchen for Mama to saute with garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, and pimento (in a jar), and frozen peas (if she had some).

This is one my favorite comfort dishes. Don't ask me what the name is of the dish. I don't know. Even Mama doesn't know the formal name of the dish. At least, not anymore.

It was at one of these butcherings that I made this favorite dish for the first time. Mama was not home, so Daddy called me to the kitchen. He pointed to the meat on the counter,  told me to cook it, and went back outside. There were no if's, and's, but's, or I-don't know-how's with Daddy. So, of course, I prepared it, visualizing how Mama made the dish.

I have no idea how Daddy and his friends liked my first try, whether they actually ate it or chewed it and politely spit it out. Both the parents believed in practice makes perfect. So, Daddy continued to ask me to prepare the dish during these butchering events whenever Mama was not home or she was busy cleaning the pig's guts.

Today, I make this pork and garbanzo bean dish whenever I have a craving for it or when I think Mama would enjoy eating some Filipino food. I know I've done well when she eats all of her meal.

© 2011 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Closing Up

Update: May 20, 2013
Today, I decided to merge the old and new blogs. There are just too many posts from "This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then" that I want to keep alive.  ~Su-sieee! Mac 

It has been over two months since my last post. I have mumbled several times to the husband, "I'm going to stop blogging This and That. Each time, he replied, "I thought you already have."

Yeah. Well. I finally am.

This is it. My last post.

For this blog, that is.

I've decided to start another blog. The husband  will be surprised.

The new blog is called Don't Be a Hippie. . . Now and Then. Its focus is more selfish. I shall be revealing as much as I dare about myself through my memories, stories of my elders, and everyday experiences. At least that's what I think.

Thank you Dear Readers and fellow Bloggers for your kindly visits and generous support. I hope you'll stop by my new blog.

~ Su-sieee! Mac





Monday, December 26, 2011

Hippie, I'm Not.

This was originally published in November, 2010 at my experimental "Don't Be a Hippie" at Wordpress.com. The one and only post. Today's version has been slightly revised. I don't know why you need to know.

About 40 years ago, on a particular day, I was getting myself ready to go hang out at school. Not high school. But, community college.

I was 18 or 19 and living at home. The daddy was retired. He happened to be home on this certain day. He may have been getting ready to go out to hang out with his retired buddies.

I was in my bedroom doing whatever, when the daddy stopped at my door.  I looked over at him, and he said, "Don't be a hippie."

Before I could respond, he walked away.

I had no idea he knew there were such things as hippies.

Most of all, I didn't think I had it in me to be a hippie.  I was not very good at being part of a group that had a moniker to it.

Still.  I wonder what may have caused my dad to reach the conclusion that I could possibly become a hippie.

That said, welcome to this blog: Don't Be a Hippie. . .Then and Now.


© 2011 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

He Put Me Under His Spell. Kind Of.

Steve the Hypnotist
This is what happens when you grow older: You volunteer to get on stage at the county fair and agree to be put under and possibly do some silly things in front of a crowd of people of whom most you don't know. It also helps that you are with a friend who has also temporarily forgotten to put her brakes on her sense of decorum.

Yeah.

It starts with said friend, aka the Evil2win  saying "I want to see the hypnotist perform." And, then saying "I'd like to be hypnotized."  And, me saying, "Me, too."

So, slowly, we and our companions‚ all six young old fogeys, mosey over to the main stage just in time for Steve the Hypnotist to introduce himself. He proceeds to test the audience's potential to see who is easily gullible. Our friend, Davey Hogg, who says he can't be hypnotized easily did what was suggested. Ha! Not me. But, I went up anyway. I've done hypnotherapy so know that I can follow the swinging gold watch.

As I went up, I called to the Evil2win who gave no second thought to going up  to the stage. We obviously were not thinking that day.

Steve the Hypnotist proceeded to put 12 volunteers under his "spell", which was mostly focusing on his voice and listening to what he was suggesting. It was then a matter for me to really, really relax and to be willing to go along with his suggestions while I was very relaxed. As Steve the Hypnotist said in the beginning, anything he suggested that we would not want to do, we won't do. Even in a state of hypnosis, we are still aware of our surroundings and what we are doing.

In the 30 or so minutes we were up on stage, Steve the Hypnotist,weeded out those who were unable to relax into a state of hypnotic suggestions. By the end of the performance there were five or six of us, including Evil2win.

So, what hypnotic suggestions were given to us.
  • It was very cold. Do whatever you need to do to stay warm. The person next to me was so hot, I never felt cold.
  • It was very, very hot. Get cool. I found myself talking off my over shirt and my purse, and sprawling open-legged on my chair. It's a good thing I was wearing jeans.
  • Steve the Hypnotist would say a certain word and each time he said it, we would see him partly naked. I didn't see anything like that, but I also didn't want to open my eyes.
  • Hold out your hand for a shot of 150 proof alcohol and drink it all up. I drank mine and gladly held my arm out for a couple more shots. I was loose as a goose and felt good. When told to put our glass aside, I threw mine over my shoulder. When told to get up, I found that I could not do so. 
All throughout, I knew I was not totally relaxed. I made sure of that. Steve the Hypnotist was right when he described me as someone who could be easily suggested. There was a reason after all why my hypnotherapy sessions worked for me. If anything, I came away from the stage feeling rather relaxed, almost the way I felt after my sessions.

Steve the Hypnotist gave us posthypnotic suggestions for when we were sitting back in the audience.  I was to bark when I heard him say "Fido".  I did feel like barking when he said it a few times,  but I didn't. Throughout the afternoon, the husband would suddenly say "Fido" in hopes that I would. I guess I could've, just to make him happy. Rffff! Rffff!

If you'd like to see a bit more of our county fair, click here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Mama-isms at the Kitchen Table

I heard these three Mama-isms quite often when I was a small child sitting at the kitchen table:

"Don't lean on your hand. God will get mad."

"Don't sing at the table. God will get mad."

"Don't play with your food. God will get mad."

The husband told me he was told similar things as a kid. Just not the part about "God will get mad." His parents usually said something like: "Don't lean on the table. That's not polite."

Since the Mama had to remind me more than once about not doing certain things at meal time, I must've figure God wasn't mad at me at all. And, look, I still sometimes play with my food.


Friday, September 23, 2011

A Day Out With The Mama

 "I like to pick tomatoes," the mama said, looking up as she continued picking cherry tomatoes from the depth of the green vines. "They should hire me."

Yesterday morning, the mama, the husband, and I picked tomatoes at a local organic farm. It was having one of its few U-pick days for the season. We discovered this opportunity a couple of years ago. We don't pick a lot of tomatoes. Just enough to freeze to last us until the next growing season. For us, that's about 25 to 30 pounds, which is about equivalent to what the Mama used to get from her tomato plants. With each year, the yield has gotten less, so finding a place to get a deal for organic tomatoes is really perfect.

This year, the Mama wanted to tag along for the picking. She doesn't like to go out much so it made the adventure an extra treat.  She was really enjoying herself out there amongst the rows of tomatoes, plunked in the warm sun on her green plastic bench from home. The Mama had worked her whole life in agriculture—first on her family's farm in the Philippines and then on other people's farms and with seed companies here. Now, she gardens. Nurturing vegetables and fruits for everyone else to eat is in her blood.

The mama, the husband, and I worked different parts of the tomato field. Funny, how that happened. Also, good. We each were in our own zone of quietness and comfort, enjoying some solitude knowing each other was only several long rows away.

It was a wonderful day. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Cozy Book Challenge

How many book challenges did I sign up for at the beginning of the year?  Whatever was I thinking? Oh, yeah, that I could and would read books for pleasure, at the same time as I'm doing research crazily about 500,000 different professions. hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Yeah, I'm hysterical. No, serious, I am hysterical.

I started off fine. If you were to look at my book list,  you'd see I've read a dozen so far. C'est la vie.
Just the fact that I piled up all the books that I want to read, rather than scattered throughout our space is a win for me. And, for the husband. Poor guy. Once upon a time he organized and managed a very large warehouse of paper and office supplies for a California state agency. It was very clean and orderly. It in fact rivaled the cleanliness of the Mama's garden. (The woman picks up leaves and sweeps the ground every day that it's not raining. )

What was I talking about? Book challenges, yeah. There is one I did complete: The Cozy Book Challenge.   I said I would read seven to 10 mysteries before the end of September. Every time I finished a mystery, I set it at the top of the stairs, thinking I'd write a brief review about it. hahahahahahahahaha.

But, look, that's what I'm going to do right now. Yep. Maybe I'll get another bookmark for completing it. I wouldn't mind. I actually use the one I got last year. Hey, that's another win for me, since it hasn't yet fallen into some crack never to be seen again.

Okay, so enough distraction already. . . . Uhm, okay, so some (cough) most of these books weren't on my 2011 Reading List.

The Clovis Incident by Pari Noskin Taichert
I bought this book in Albuquerque four years ago because she was a local Albuquerque author. The book is now with a  friend with a request that it eventually come back to me.  I want to read it again. The protagonist is self-employed public relations specialist and she's trying to keep herself from being extra-sensitive to the spiritual world. A visiting Chinese man was killed, but his soul is stuck until the main character can solve the crime. She's in a dilemma of having to solve it because her close friend is accused of murdering him.

The Clue of the Broken Locket
by Carolyn Keene. It's your usual Nancy Drew story. She's all confident about what's what, while her two girlfriends, George and Bess, are not. For some reason, Nancy and her friends have driven up to a far away lodge. They keep running into a woman who seems to have a split personality and  who eventually becomes the mystery they need to solve. Nancy's boyfriend, Ned, and his two friends show up to help the girls figure it out.  They're also nincompoops compared to Nancy.

Farewell, Miss Zukas by Jo Dereske. The Miss Zukas series is one of my favorite series. This, alas, is the last tale in the series. Helma Zukas is a public librarian in a town near Seattle. Her sidekick is Ruth, a rabid artist. They are like night and day to each other. It works. The author ties everything up nicely, exactly how I hoped the main characters would end up. In this final adventure, the mystery evolves around Helma's elderly great-aunt and the keepsake in her box that had been stolen. The secondary stress line for Helma is the fact that she finally said "Yes" to the Police Chief's proposal.

Acceptable Loss
by Anne Perry. The Monk and Hester series is another favorite series of mine. Monk is a London inspector who strongly believes in justice. He's one of the best detectives on the force even though he lost his memory several years before. Hester, his wife, served as a nurse in the Crimean war and a year or so ago started a safe house for prostitutes and destitute women and children in a bad part of London. It was Hester who helped Monk gradually gain confidence in himself and his abilities again. Through that all, he thought of her as a pain in the neck and so unwomanly, but yet Hester was who he would seek out to sort through his cases. It took several books before Monk realized he loved Hester. In this book, Monk and Hester want to find and arrest the owner of the boat on which orphaned boys were kept and used as play toys for the rich and famous men. Yes, Anne Perry does not shy away from disgusting criminal elements of  Victorian London. Perry also is scared to throw in complications. It is possible that the owner may be the father-in-law of Monk's and Hester's friend.


Fatally Frosted by Jessica Beck. The protagonist is a doughnut store owner and baker. This is the second story in the series, and the third is sitting in the pile. It's not so much that I like the characters as I like the doughnut recipes. I also like that sometimes Beck describes in context how to make doughnuts. Yes, I crave for doughnuts when I read this book. No, I didn't eat any. The mystery to this tale: A hated woman in town was poisoned by one of the baker's doughnuts.

Mr. Monk on the Road
by Lee Goldberg. Another protagonist named Monk. This is the same Mr. Monk of the TV series. Mr. Monk and his assistant Natalie are exactly how they were in the TV series. The book series is written in first person from the point of  Natalie. This is  the fourth or fifth book I've read in the series. It's the funniest yet. Mr. Monk, if you don't know him, has many quirks like he has to wipe his hands immediately after shaking a person's hand and that everything must be symmetrical. Natalie keeps him from going over the top. Mr. Monk was a former police detective for the San Francisco Police Department. Because of his quirks, he can't get his job back. But, because he is a dynamite detective, he is hired as a consultant. In this tale, Mr. Monk puts a sleeping pill in his brother's drink and then puts Ambrose in an RV so that the brother can see something of the world. Ambrose, you see, is an agoraphobic. This "kidnapping" is Mr. Monk's birthday present to his brother. Poor Natalie. She has to deal with two crazy brothers and the deaths that keep happening where ever they spend the night.

The Merry Wives of Maggody
by Joan Hess. I used to read this series a lot. It stars Chief Arly Hanks of the tiny town of Maggody, Arkansas. The characters are hilarious. Almost everyone in the town are Buchanans and many of them are married to each other. In this tale, the women of Maggody in all their righteous glory have decided to put on a golf tournament to help the poor golf widows. The prize is a very expensive, high powered boat. Of course, all the men of Maggody want the boat, so they've entered the tournament even though they've never played golf. Their wives are furious, so they've signed up for the tournament too. They're also unskilled in the game. Throw in the professional and almost-professional golfers, each with issues, and what do you get. A murder. I confess, I got bored halfway through, so went to the end and read backwards. I guessed right about the events.

Summer of the Big Bachi by Naomi Hirahara. This is a beautifully written tale. It's a voice and style I rarely come across. Hirahara weaves fact and fiction quite well. The main character is Mas, a second generation Japanese American who spent his childhood in Hiroshima, Japan. He was there when the bombs were dropped. The mystery centers around Mas and his two friends who were together at the moment. In present day, someone is trying to find one of those friends, but it turns out that he was the one who died the day of the bombings. So, who is the one impersonating the dead man? Mas must sort it all out though he would rather not.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Perfume for the Mama, Parte Dos


Yes, finally. Thank you, dear friends, for waiting patiently. Here's Part One to my  quest  to find perfume for the Mama.

Because I was buying perfume online, I purchased a bunch of samples so the Mama could decide which one or two she likes. My decision of which samples was based on the descriptions.

The Retailer: I went with DSH Perfumes.com, based in Colorado, because they had the best descriptions and prices for my budget. 

Roll-on Perfumes
DSH had some perfumes on sale because they were being discontinued or were made on a temporary basis. I chose two perfumes in roll-on format. It turns out that the roll-on formats are easier for the Mama to handle.

en Fleur: "...A necklace of island flowers that stirs the soul: the one and only Plumeria."  No brainer there. I love the smell of plumeria, and I wanted to share the happy scent of that one with the Mama. The mama's reaction: Okay.

butterfly: "...it is fresh and clear...It is vibrant, colorful and alive! butterfly's flirtatious juice is a blending of sexy summer florals, succulent fruits, and meditative tea and incense notes." The description made me imagine Mama as a young woman and the vibrant colors and smells of the tropical flowers that surrounded her. Until she came to the United States, the Mama lived in middle of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. I hoped that this perfume would be a scent that reminded her of then. The mama's reaction: She chose that one to put on when she went to see her eye doctor.

Samples
Parfum de Grasse: "Grasse is the legendary 'City of Perfumes,' the magical birthplace of superb flower essences and the world's greatest fragrance." I don't know if that's fact or fiction, but the description had me wondering if this perfume might be like Chanel No. 5. When I was small child, the daddy bought her a good-size bottle of the perfume and that is what the scent Mama wore for many years when she went out.

Parfum de LUXE: "Inspired by the Art Deco movement of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, Parfum de LUXE is Rich, Confident and Pure. . . Ladies in fashionable clothes and their perfume was a statement." The Mama definitely has style that is her own. Sophisticated. Simple. Elegant. But that's not why I chose this perfume. I wanted something that had ylang ylang, a flower that grows in the Philippines. And this was it.

Rose Vert: "In a dream I am lost in fields of roses. . . ." The mama, the gardener, grows roses in the front and the back yards. She prunes her roses,  sticks the branches in the dirt, and they bloom for her. I don't think any perfume could be better than home-grown roses. But, why not give this a try.

Cafe Noir: "It is a Paris Night. Dark and Sophisticated. . .It is an oriental fragrance, fusing classical sensibilities with the flair of the artist. It harmonizes spice, floral, resin and wood notes with the beloved aroma of coffee. It is a sensual and captivating perfume." The description is so not the Mama, at first reading. But I don't know. It may describe the woman that the Mama may have dreamt about being when she was young. . .before she had children. . .before she married. . .before the war disrupted her world.

DSH put two free samples into the package. One was called the Afternoon: "the scent of a warm day: sunny skies, soft kisses, laughter and happy memories."

The Mama's reaction to the samples: By the time we got to them, the smells ran together, so it was difficult to say which was okay, better than okay, or yes, that's the one. Checking out the fragrances again will be a fun thing to do. Probably on a rainy day when she can't go out to play in her garden.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day One

No, I haven't forgotten to write Part 2 about buying birthday perfume for the Mama. Yesterday afternoon while looking for a bookmark I found the envelope containing all the tags and bits of information about the perfume samples that I got her. So, part 2 is a coming. One day.

These days, it just takes me a long while to get around to doing the fun writing. Something called writing deadlines get in my way, as does making meals for the crew and doing the minimum housecleaning that I can get away with, which generally means when we're all sneezing. Not to say trying to stay half a step ahead of the Mama and remember to go water the flowers and chayote vines before they wilt. Oh, and other stuff, whatever they are. By the way, is anyone out there flinching with my grammatical errors yet. I'm sure they're there. "They" referring to errors.

I ought to be sleeping. I've got only 15 minutes left of the sleep cycle for my liver to regenerate itself. I read somewhere that our livers naturally do that between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. I've never thought of myself as a night owl, but that's who I seem to be lately.

So, who wants to know what "Day One" is all about?

In short: I did 30 minutes of one of those "The Biggest Loser" exercise video. And, I've been able to go almost 20 minutes without scratching the eczema on my face, which I achieved because I'm challenging myself with a timer.

It's starting all over again.

At least, I've finally started.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perfume for the Mama, Parte Una

"I want perfume for my birthday."
That's what the mama said to me yesterday in the middle of the drugstore.
It was the first time she ever requested something special for her birthday. Usually, when asked, she'll say, "Nothing. Don't get me anything."
The moment after she said she wanted perfume, I got scared. Did she want to buy perfume right then, right there?

Thankfully, not! The only perfumes you can get in a drugstore stink as bad (or worse) as the odor you smile while driving by a compost factory, or a field freshly laid with manure, or plain old skunk spray. Yuck.  I'm not even talking about the minutes after the eau has dissipated and you're now sniffing the burn of alcohol and who-knows-what chemicals. Sigh.
Most perfumes give me a headache. Some make my nose get stuffy. Worse yet, others make my face start itching.
Still. The mama doesn't ask for much.
So, this afternoon I jumped through the hoop, and spent hours on the Internet researching perfumes. No synthetics, please.
Finding perfumers that sell products with only natural ingredients—flowers, herbs, spices, etc.—was easy. Finding stores in my rural area that sell those products was not.
Finding online sellers was also easy. Finding sellers who don't  just take Paypal and who can deliver the items by her birthday was not.
The most difficult obstacle, as many of you are probably wondering, was this: How do I choose a perfume when I can't smell it?
Fortunately, the best Web sites had scintillating descriptions of perfumes that gave me a sense of what they may be like—a scent like rain in a fir forest, or a tropical jungle, or a Sunday afternoon with girlfriends, or a step back in time to Paris in the 30s or to Italy during the Renaissance era.
Wow! I never thought of perfume like that.
The descriptions were fun to read and the scenes were enjoyable to pretend in my head. Did you ever think of red or blue or orange having a particular scent? I also liked reading the ingredients that went into making a perfume and what you would be smelling like not just at the beginning but also at the end of the day.  For instance, a fragrance might first smell like the deep richness of a redwood forest, a couple hours later like the quiet of forest paths, and much later,  like spicy dried moss hanging on the north side of trees.
Perfume is soooo complex.
What perfume did I finally choose for the soon-to-be 90-year-old mama? And, how did I decide them? Stay tuned.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Wearing of Red

I do feel sspassazzy about wearing something red now that I'm a young "old" fogey. Nope, not a red hat. Though I did learn I could've joined the Red Hat Society several years ago.

Yesterday, I bought myself a red lacy brassiere. Ooh la-la, indeed.

First time, I've ever owned a red one. Wonder why I never got one before. I liked the way I felt free, invincible, and joyful when I tried it on, similar to how I feel after having cut my hair very short.

Do I feel this same way when I wear a red frock, red shoes, or red earrings? Not that I can recall, but then I rarely wear red because it is such a visible color. Hello, stop sign. When I was in eighth grade, the mama made me a lovely red dress. She was disappointed that I didn't like to wear it. Ah, kids. I would definitely wear it today.

How about you? How does wearing red make you feel? 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hi, Hello, How are you?

Really?

It's been almost a month since I posted a post.

Wish I could say I was traveling or wandering in wonder lust.

Nope. Just getting on with life.

Dusting and vacuuming a bit more often to keep my facial eczema from flaring so awfully awful that my eyes become swollen. How swollen? The recessive epicanthic folds of my eyelids show themselves. An advantage for me. Nobody thinks anything is wrong with my eyes.

Celebrating the husband's 60th anniversary of being born. Every 60-year-old child should have a birthday party complete with bubble wands, darts, and other games. And lots of his favorite food.

Finishing a deadline and starting another one. Sigh. I'm boxed in until 12/12/12. So, by golly, the world better not end on 12/21/12!

Working on my 40th high school class reunion. The husband doesn't believe me when I say this is the last time I work on a reunion. "Absolutely," I say. "Uh-huh," he says.

So, that what has kept me me away from writing on the blog for almost a month.

Actually, I probably will stay away until the reunion stuff is over. But, you can find me every day at Take 25 to Hollister. That's the blog I do about my hometown, not the store. I've given myself the challenge of posting a photo a day for a year. I'm now on Day 170.

So, if you don't find anything new here, head over to Take 25 to Hollister. Yep, that's what I would do.

Hope all's well with everyone!

A piu tarde,

Su-sieee! Mac

P.S. I let the husband cut my hair off. All of it. His first time at cutting hair. He did a very good job,  don't you agree?


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Earlier, this evening. . .

I don't remember the last time I was outside. Just sitting. Just doing nothing. Well, okay, except for doodling words with a pen on a piece of paper. About, of course, nothing.

I'm sitting on a beach chair on the front stoop. The mama is sitting in the back yard deadheading her pink daisies. The husband is standing in the front yard hand-watering the lawn. Uhmmm, that spray feels good.

Me. I should be making dinner. And, I shall in a while.

For now, I just want to enjoy a pause. I've been cooped inside spinning words and sentences into short, but clear and comprehensible paragraphs about stuff I have already forgotten. It's best to do that when you work on reference books. If I had retained everything I've written about in the last 13 years, my gosh... Ka-poosh! The sound of my brains exploding. Splattt. Splutt. Spposh. The sounds of my brains splashing on the walls and ceiling.

Ah, yes. Imagination is good to have at any age.

Now, I must go make dinner for the crew.

This was a relaxing pause.  It was. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Guess What It Is


Uh-hmm. Is that how you spell the sound of clearing one's voice?  Ah-hemmmm.

This morning I was making the husband's side of the bed. Nah, I'm not the bedmaker. The husband was making up my side of the bed. That's how it was today. Tomorrow may be different.

Anyway, I didn't see it right away. The white strand of something that was floating above the husband's side of the bed. When I did finally saw it, I climbed up on the bed and laid down beneath it.

"Look, look," I said, then pretended to snore the husband's snore so the white strand floated upwardly. I did it a few times before he caught on.

So, what did we do?

We laughed for a long time.

Wouldn't you?

We decided that white strand wasn't there when he got up. He would've sheared it right off, as it was hanging quite, quite low over his side of the bed. Whatever made it had at least an hour to spin that thick strand of cobweb from the lamp to the top of the 2009 calendar that hangs on the wall above the bed. It could've been anywhere from 3 to 4 or more feet long. Really, that's an amazing feat.

I suppose it's time to get the broom and go cobweb hunting around the house. Maybe, I might.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Three Things I Should Learn; Or, Maybe Non Sequitur Rambling

One: Slice a mango. 

The other day, the mama bought a box of mangoes from a guy, who might not have a license for selling boxes of such beautiful fruit on the street corner. The mangoes are huge and delicious.  It's a pity, I mangle them when I slice them.

Two: Uh, I forgot.

Three: I forgot that, too.

Slicing the mango? Definitely, should learn to cut one. But will I?

Maybe if I say "Ought to learn to cut one." The way I phrase things makes a difference.  I may actually learn to slice it. This old dog can still learn new tricks.

I learned for instance that if I had said this instead: "I might actually learn to slice it." I would not learn to do it at all. I'm not kidding.

The husband gave me this link the other day so that I would understand the difference in usage of may and might. It's rather interesting. Did you know that might is the past tense of may? I may have known that at one time. Yes, I just might have.

Now, I should go look up how to slice a mango. Maybe, I just might.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Endless, So it Seems

Today's letter is E.
For more E posts,
please click
here.

I've just only settled into a writing groove when it's time to go to the kitchen again.

About eight years ago, the Mama's health was failing because of poor nutrition. All she wanted to eat was cereal or frozen waffles and 2% lactose-free milk. Thank goodness for milk. Maybe if she didn't work so hard and long in her flower and vegetable gardens, she could've made do. But, the Mama can't stand still. And, as we all know, when we live alone, we pretty much eat what we want to eat and when we want to eat it.

So, about eight years ago, it was quite obvious that her high-carbo, minuscule protein diet had taken its toll on her body. The decision wasn't easy for everyone involved, but it was made. The mama, the husband, and I became roomies.

Today, the husband and I seem to spend a lot of time in the kitchen every day. Me cooking; him washing dishes; and me, him, and the mama eating. Most days, three times a day.

The mama does her own breakfast because she gets up an hour or so earlier than us. She likes her cereal, and she likes a lot of it.  That's okay, because now she eats cereal only once a day, and she has taken to eating it with nuts and dried fruit. Tiny, big steps for her.

Lunch and dinner are when the three of us come together at the table. Thankfully, we don't have set hours for meals. I just keep tabs on the time and make sure we don't go over five hours between meals. The time between breakfast and lunch is longer for the mama than for us, so to make sure she doesn't get weaky-weaky (her term for being just that) when she's working in the garden, I give her a  glass of juice to tide her over. I only figured to do that a couple of months ago.

I used to pride myself in being able to put a homemade meal together in 20 to 30 minutes. This was before Rachel Ray ever did her thing on TV. Now, its seem to take me forever, which I guess is another aging thing. Lunch, maybe, I can get on the table in 15 minutes. It's usually sandwiches or leftovers.


Dinner is another story. Making dinner can take me almost 45 minutes or an hour, if there's a lot of chopping and dicing involved. I like it when the husband makes dinner. We get in the car and come home with take-out. It would be easier to go sit in a restaurant, but it's not so easy getting the mama to one.

It's a good thing I like to cook; the husband likes to wash dishes (really, he does); and the mama, him, and me like to eat. As for the mama's health? Like I said, she can't stand still. That's a very good thing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Standing On One Foot

Warning: This post is really about nothing.

My first try was 9 seconds. My second try was 20-something seconds. My third try? Ah, a full minute.

Pretty good for a heavy-set old lady balancing on one foot. My left foot, too. And, that isn't even my dominant side.

"What are you doing over there?" asked the husband as he was washing the lunch dishes.

"I'm seeing how long I can stand on one foot," I said, setting the timer on the refrigerator door.

"Why?" he asked, not turning around.

"Because you never know when our survival depends on me being able to balance on one foot."

He laughed. Of course. I did, too. "When could that happen?"

"Say a crook holds us hostage in a bank. He'll only let us go if an old lady can stand on one foot for five minutes."

"Like that could happen," the husband said, rinsing the dishes.

"You never know," I said. "I want to be ready for any event. There could be a Survivor for the older crowd. Now, I'm going to try to stand for one minute on my right foot."

The husband suddenly stood behind me. He said, "I want to see how long I can do it."

I set the timer for a minute. "Are you ready?"

"Wait. . . Okay."

"Go."

Three seconds later his foot went down.  "I'm trying again. Just keep going."

Almost 25 seconds.

Ding. One minute on my bum right ankle. Hurrah!

"It's not as easy as it looks," the husband mumbled, going back to the dishes.

"Not to worry," I said. "I shall save us."

Next time, I'll try to balance on one foot for two minutes. No, make that one minute, 15 seconds.  No need to go all out crazy about it.

Dear readers, thank you for reading to the end. Didn't I say the post was all about nothing? Next time I'll write about something with a bit more substance. 

Maybe.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Deeper into the Raging Aging Category

I believe that the husband and I have slipped into another level of the old rooty-toot fogeys.

Friday, no Saturday, was food shopping day. I pulled into a space in the parking lot, opened the door, and saw what looked like sand-over-dried-crud on the ground. Sighing, I carefully placed my feet so as not to touch it and hauled my heavy self out of the car.

"Yuck, dried vomit," I said.

"Spilled drink," countered the husband. "It's all over here, too."

I thought about moving the car, but let the moment past. I took out the grocery bags from the back seat and as I slammed the door I saw another one behind the passenger's seat.

"Can you get that bag on your side, please?"

The husband did, which meant first opening the front door, next unlocking the back door, and then fetching the bag with his bum arm. 

Now flash forward about 25 minutes. After loading our bags into the trunk, the husband and I noticed the front passenger side door wide open.

"Did I leave that open?"  he asked at the same time I asked "Did you leave it open?"

Nothing was taken. But, then, why would anyone want to even touch the mess in the back seat. Yeah, we're those kind of people.

As we started to get into the car, a woman in a red SUV leaned out her window. "Excuse me," she said. "Your door was open when we got here. We didn't want to touch it. So, we decided to wait here and watch your car until someone came."

Wow, huh?

We thanked them. I said, to my surprise, "That was very sweet of you." The woman gave me a look of surprise in return. An unexpected little-old-lady response of gratitude, I suppose.

So there you have it. The husband forgetting to close the car door in a parking lot and me saying little old lady things. Two a-little-bit-more old rooty-toot fogeys.

Heaven help us. Please.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Casual Outing

Today's letter is C.
For more C posts,
please click
HERE.

On the husband's and my last 23rd date, we got in our car and drove east over the mountain to finally do the wander we started a few months ago. The fog was too thick then so we had turned back. Not so a few weeks ago. It was a gorgeous day for being carefree and fancy-free.

Back in January, a waitress had told us if we wanted to see some great views, we should go to the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Gustine and drive up to the flagpole. She was right.  The husband thought that the Veterans buried at the cemetery were probably happy to finally be in a peaceful place.

San Joaquin National Cemetery in Merced County is one of the 131 national
cemeteries for U.S. Veterans
. To read personal comments about the cemetery at Yelp.com, click here.

We had one goal that day—to hike in the Great Valley Grasslands State  Park. It is truly an undeveloped park. It's a good thing we did our homework. Otherwise, we wouldn't have known by which unmarked gate to park.

I expected grass above my head and to be walking through it. Maybe it was
further up the path, but we only got a mile in because.  .  .


.  .  .this killdeer Mama stopped us in our tracks with her screeches. She was hatching
her four eggs. Rather than stressing her out with us walking by, we watched her for a bit,
then turned around and headed back to the car.


We definitely want to return to the Great Valley Grasslands State Park and complete our trek.

After getting back in the car, we decided to just wander. The husband and I took turns saying which way to turn. Left. Right. Straight ahead. Through the farmlands of Merced County we drove.

"Look at that!" "Did you see that?" "Wonder where we are." "Do we have a map?"

We drove through Livingston and wondered if a Stanley lived there.

"Are you hungry?"

When you're in the middle of ruralness, you won't find any convenient picnic tables. So we did what any of you, dear readers, would've done. We pulled off the road and into an orchard,  set our beach chairs under a shady peach tree, and made sandwiches out of the bagels, salami, and cheese that we brought from home. I can still remember how good those sandwiches tasted and how relaxed we felt just hanging out there in an orchard far away from responsibilities and duties.

The husband had waited several hours to read the comic strips.

After lunch, we continued taking turns saying Left. Right. Straight ahead. And, of course, Stop! I gotta take a picture. 

Water towers, my new fascination.

We eventually came to Merced, the county seat. Both of us had never been there. I'm ready to return if just to see more of the Merced County Courthouse Museum. That 1875 building is a beauty, both in and out. Because we got there half an hour before closing, we rushed through it with a docent following us all the way. Picture-taking is not allowed in the museum. I didn't know that.

It turned out to be a good thing, as the docent told us stories about the courthouse that we wouldn't have learned on our own.  For example: "See those scuff marks on the wall by the steps," the docent said, as we were walking up the stairs to the second floor. "They were made by the prisoners' ankle cuffs as they walked up the steps." I could just hear the sound of shuffling feet and metal scraping against the wood.

The statues that perch atop the old Merced County Courthouse.
At the tippy top of the cupola is Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
Below her is Lady Justice. She holds a sword and scales. Hmmm.

From Merced, we headed homeward.  Left. Right. Straight ahead. Jiggity jigg.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Saturday Ramble in the Kitchen

I'm supposed to be downstairs finishing up what I started over a couple hours ago:
. . .washing the fresh veggies we bought at the local farmstand 
. . .turning the cut unripe mango into a sauce or something
. . .combining the ripe avocado and quarter-cube of tofu into mashed avocado and tofu with garlic, green onion, tomato, cilantro, and (shhhh!) kimchee juice
. . .creating some kind of casserole with the leftover BBQ chicken from last Sunday's Filipino Community BBQ fundraiser.
Oh, and don't forget, self,  wash the lunch dishes. 

The husband is normally the dishwasher but because I needed to hog the kitchen sink and counter I said I'd wash them. That is, I will after I'm done with everything else I need to complete.

Maybe I shouldn't have let the husband off the hook. Lunch was a concoction of mashed banana, tofu, peanut butter, and fig jam on toasted blueberry bagel. When the husband took a bite, he asked, "What the heck is this?"

"What? You don't like it?" I responded.

"It tastes good," said the husband. "It just looks like barf. But, it tastes good."

Okay, then, that's all that counts. 

It didn't hurt my feelings that he described the look of my dish as such. It really didn't. He describes honey as bee barf. Besides, it was not the first time that someone has said to my dish tastes great, but looks horrible.

C'est le vie.

Back downstairs I go. 

P.S.  This is a couple hours or so later. I accomplished everything but washing the dishes. The husband is doing that now, along with the dinner dishes. No big deal, according to him. I am thankful for that. 

P.S.S. For dinner, I made another dish that looked horrible, but tasted wonderful. It's not like I'm trying. If you haven't experimented with sauteing not-so-sweet pineapple and mango with leftover BBQ chicken and/or BBQ pork, give it a try.  Even the mama ate up her portion. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Finding the Funny in B for Bleeding

Today's letter is B.
For more B posts,
please click here.
Bleeding.

Definitely not to be taken lightly.

Postmenopausal bleeding, in particular, for us mature ladies.

Still, there's some humor to be found. Hold that thought.

Serious stuff first: The medical experts say that postmenopausal bleeding refers to any bleeding (light or heavy) occurring after one full year of no flow. There could be various reasons that a post-menopausal woman may suddenly start bleeding, from benign cervical polyps to yuck! cancer. So, dear ladies, you know who you are, do not hesitate, do not pass Go. Make an appointment to see your gynecologist tout de suite.

Okay, back to that held thought. Humor.

Let me take you back to 2006. Then was my first bout with postmenopausal bleeding. Lady-Doc (and my gynecologist is a she) found a rather huge, very ugly hot potato of a polyp. She twisted that baby off and sent it to the lab. Ladies, the things our gynecologists must see and do. They're well worth the money. Fortunately, Lab-Doc decreed the polyp as benign. However, Lady-Doc told me that I may get more over the years because essentially I have the physical conditions to be at risk for them.  Lab-Doc also diagnosed that I had something called atypical hyperplasia, which also contributed to my case of postmenopausal bleeding.

Hey! you say. Where's the funny in that?

When that all happened, I was 52. I had never used birth control pills until then.

I hear you. What's birth control pills got to do with postmenopausal bleeding?

In my own words—don't quote me, please—birth control pills control estrogen. That was one, perhaps the only way other than a hysterectomy, to stop that hyperplasia from possibly developing into yuck! cancer.

So, anyway, the funny stuff: The pharmacy was very busy the day that I went to pick up my birth control pills. Four pharmacy aides worked the counter, including a young man who had started a few weeks before. I was hoping I'd get one of the women who were around my age. Of course not.

The young man took my name and went searching for my prescription. I watched him do the rounds at each station where they might be. The second time he went into the drawer where my prescription should've been and pulled out the same prescription I'd seen him pull out before, he asked me, "Is the prescription under someone else's name?"

"No. Whose do you have there?"

He called out the brother's name. Hmm, maybe. I asked, "What's the prescription for?"

Bingo. It was my prescription.

"That's it," I said. "He's my older brother. Someone must've confused our accounts."

The young man looked at me unsurely.

"Those are birth control pills," I said, "Why would my brother be prescribed birth control pills? If his wife needs them, she'd get her own prescription."

The young man still hesitated. It could've been the grey hair sprouting from my head that confused him. Why would an old lady need birth control pills? That was for me to know. So, I repeated my logic. Second time must've made sense to him. He took the pills and went back to talk to a pharmacist to sort it all out.

And that, dear readers, is how this postmenopausal woman got her first batch of birth control pills.

Funny, no?

P.S. I only had to use the birth control pills for several months. The hyperplasia condition went away. More than a year later, Lady-Doc twisted off another benign polyp. Fast forward to last week.  Bleeding. I figured it was a burst polyp. Knock on wood, that is all it is. I ought to know soon.

P.P.S. If you would like to read some easy-to-understand medical explanation about postmenopausal bleeding, in general, check out this link.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Aging, Sometimes Awkwardly

Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Jenny Matlock at Off on My Tangent, is staring a new round of the alphabet. Whoo-hoo!  To read more A posts, click on over to here. Of course, that's after reading my A post. ~ Su-sieee! Mac

Getting older is a learning experience.

Duh.

If someone gave me an operating manual for aging, I doubt that I would open it. That would be like finding out what date and time slot death has assigned me.

No, thank you.

I'm happy to grumble and gripe, cry and cringe, and mumble and moan through the aging process. The physical aspect, that is.

Seriously, I don't think I am at all that old until I happen to glance into a mirror. Fortunately, we still haven't put up another mirror in the bathroom since the old one broke last New Year's Eve.  So, what I don't see, well is what I don't see. Though a few weeks ago, someone asked me ever so sweetly and with much concern, "Are you sick?"

Huh?

Heck, no. Knock on wood. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hold that Thought

I've held many thoughts so long that I hope one day they'll pass through my mind again. Especially the funny ones.

One of my faults is suddenly interrupting the husband when he is reading or following something on TV to tell him something that bam! popped into my head. Let's just say he finds it annoying. Very. After blah-blah years together, I believe I've gotten better at holding my thoughts until he looks up or a commercial comes on. Alas, my brain has moved on to other thoughts.

I wonder if that's what the vagueness is I sometimes feel going on in my head. Random thoughts that didn't get shared by either saying them aloud (to the husband) or writing them down for  this blog. Yeah, I miss expounding about nothing and wasting virtual  space with my verbiage.

Do you think it's true that everything on the Internet is floating outwardly into the infinity of space? The waves must be pretty darn strong to break through the atmosphere and whatever else without fizzling before reaching space, the final frontier.

I really wonder if there is an end to the universe. Perhaps its perimeter is bound by some kind of fence put up by those who live on the other side. The only reason they would put it up is to keep us out. Of course, like Hadrian's Wall.

Oh, yes. I just remembered one of the thoughts I had on hold. Giving myself decrees for when and how often to post to my blog is plain redonkulous.

Catch as catch can. Can-can.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Z is for Z's!

Today's letter is Z.
For more Z posts,
please click here.
Zounds!

No longer a zitella am I.

What does it matter. I still have zip, zazz, and zizz.

Oh, yes, and zany.

I have zipped the lines and one day I shall zumba. 

Now, it's time for me to start making some zzzzzzzzzzzz's.

Until later, my sweet Zumbadors!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another Reason "Y" I Love The Husband

Today's letter is Y.
For more Y posts,
please click here.

We could be walking, riding our bicycles, or driving down the way.

"I need to take a picture," I announce.


He does not yelp.
Nor does he yawp.

He waits patiently. 
Yawn. He does now and then.
He says he is just relaxed.

I am so fortunate.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Xenophile, Xenophobe

Today's letter is X.
For more X posts,
please click here.

Xenophile: A person who likes foreign people and things.

Xenophobe: A person who is very afraid, for no sane reason, of anything foreign and, in particular, of people of foreign origin.

These two words are right next to each other in the dictionary, at least in mine it is. Anybody else see the irony in that? Xenophobe coming after xenophile, that is.

Seeing the two words together made me think of a few things:

My uncle and aunt lived in California but they couldn't get married there. I don't remember what year it was, but, it was before the state anti-miscegenation law was repealed in 1948. They had to travel to another state to tie the knot. I wonder if going back home was their honeymoon.

When I was in high school, 40 years ago, a friend told me that he didn't think he was going to like me because he had heard some ranchers talk about my brother and me. One of the ranchers had said something like: "Those kids sure know how to hold up their race." My friend thought I was trying to be "white".  That line still cracks me up, as I only raced in gym class.  I still would like to know who those guys were.

A college professor, originally from Australia, excused the grammar errors in my senior paper because English was my second language. For once, I kept my mouth shut and didn't tell her that I only spoke English. But, there was some truth in her assumption. For the first 19 years of my life, I was translating daily in real-time in my head my parents' language to English as they spoke to me so I could understand what they were saying. Too bad, the switch didn't work the other way.

These lines from Shylock's monologue in the Merchant of Venice when he was asked why he would take a pound of flesh from Antonio, the merchant, if he does not pay back a loan. Antonio, remember, hates the Jewish people.
"... If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction."
Unlike Shylock, revenge does not interest me. That is being just as crazy as the xenophobe. Yes, it is.

Yesterday, the husband and I, who fortunately were able to get married in California, saw a very funny movie. Paul. I think it was written by a couple of funny, fun-loving xenophiles. You could almost say they were having fun with xenophobes. Be forewarned: It really is a silly movie.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Up With Me

Hello Dear Gentle Readers,

I haven't been on vacation.  I wish, though.

I'm not sick. Knock on wood.

The mama and the husband are doing well. Thanks for wondering.

I've been blogging less because I'm not very good anymore at writing for work and writing for fun at the same time. I'm working on revisions for some career books over the next two years. If only blogging could pay the bills. So, alas, I'm down to blogging at least once a week—on Thursdays.

Take 25 to Hollister
As some of you know, I also do a blog about my home town. Take 25 to Hollister, for those of you who haven't seen it. I've stopped writing posts for that blog, too. But, not photos. Not just yet. I've challenged myself to post a photo every day. I'm up to day 61. We'll see how long I can go.

Another Book Reading Challenge
Really?

Yes. Call me nuts. Many already have and do.

This one is the annual Cozy Mystery Challenge. This will be second year. I couldn't resist. Cozy mysteries relax me after hours of dry research. So, why not throw in a challenge while I'm at it. This year, I'm aiming for the "I think I can do better" level, which means I shall read between 7 to 10 cozy mysteries. (Yes, I'll be cheating by reading some books that I'm doing for other challenges. It is allowed, however.)

Cozy Mystery Challenge 2011 is hosted by Kris at Not Enough Books. It runs from April 1 to December 31. If you'd like to sign up, click here.

So there you go. That's what has been up with me lately.

Until later, my lovely blogging friends,
Su-sieee! Mac

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Winter's End


There have been years where I've missed spring completely. I often started writing projects in late autumn or early winter that would have summer deadlines. I left the house mostly to go grocery shopping, run errands, and attend engagements. Not until May would I realize that I did it again. No spring. Sigh.

The month of March is one of my favorite months. To me, March is the essence of spring. Plants giggle "Hello" as they pop up through the ground. Trees sing with blossoms and new leaves. California poppies, blue larkspurs, and other crazily colorful wildflowers smile above expansive fields of grass. The yellow mustard laughs through the orchards. The hillsides shout green, green, green.

It was easy for me to forget when I lived in city settings with miles of concrete and canyons of buildings. And, as my freelance career took off, the rides and walks into nature became far and few.

It's much differently now since the husband and I have moved to the town where I grew up. Although it has developed over the years, there still is a lot of rural to it. So even though I may be hot and heavy into a project, such as now, whenever I go out, I am reminded instantly. Spring has come.

Yes, it has.

For more spring vistas of my area, please visit this page at my other blog, Take 25 to Hollister.

I am participating in Alphabe-Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by Jenny Matlock. Today is the letter W. You can check out other W posts by clicking here.