Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mama and the Leaves

My strategy used to be: Wait until all the leaves have fallen off the trees and then gather them up. Sure, it would be one murder of a day, raking and bagging literally tons of leaves....I say literally because obviously tons of leaves do not fall from less than a dozen trees. Maybe, thousands of leaves, but then I would just say that and not "literally thousands of leaves" because there are thousands of leaves on the ground. Yes, I think people overuse the word literally.

Okay, back to leaf-gathering strategies. The Mama's strategy: Pick up leaves every morning. Depending on the season, it may take her less than 30 minutes to several hours before she is satisfied that her garden is neat. The Mama dislikes the sight of leaves on the ground. She actually grumbles and shudders when she passes people's yards that are full of leaves. "If that was mine," she always says. "I wouldn't stand it." The husband or I usually respond, "Look away."

The Mama is a neat freak when it comes to her gardens. She also sweeps out there. The Mama has pretty much swept the top soil away between her rows. I gave up years ago trying to convince her that she wants to use the "mess" she sweeps as mulch. "See, look, it's already making soil," I'd say, letting the dirt fall through my fingers. "Hmmph," she'd say, pushing her broom.

People are impressed with how smooth and clean the garden pathways are. You can eat off the ground in the Mama's garden. Literally.  Or, would that be figuratively?

When the Mama was in the hospital this summer, I went out and raked leaves every day. That way she wouldn't shudder when she first looked out the window. More importantly, she wouldn't feel compelled to go out there and start raking. And, she would.

Twenty-some years ago, the Mama was in a horrible car crash. So terrible that the first responders used the Jaws of Life to pry her out of her car. Then she was flown by helicopter to the emergency department at the Stanford Hospital, which was 60 miles or so away. The first responders were concerned by all the blood that they saw around the car, but it turned out that the blood was from the butchered pig in the trunk, which the Mama and her brother had  slaughtered at a nearby ranch. Fortunately, both of them just had the wind knocked out of them.

While the Mama stayed overnight in the hospital, I made arrangements for her cousin to stay with her until she got better. Ha! Instead of her cousin taking care of her, the Mama was taking care of her cousin because, after all, her cousin was a guest in her home.  So, I learned. Even sick or injured, the Mama will do what the Mama wants to do or believes she must do.

It has been raining lately. The backyard is too muddy to get to the leaves to rake. Not that the Mama hasn't tried. I have found footprints in the mud. At first, I thought the neighbor's son had climbed over the back fence again. Nope, it was the Mama's footprints. That goodness the Mama can't stand walking in mud. For her, that's worse than seeing leaves all over the place.

But, you know, I'm itching to rake the mess of leaves, too.  I've come around to the Mama's strategy. That's right, I enjoy the time raking leaves in the morning before breakfast. It's zen. It's instant gratification of accomplishment. It's more bonding with the Mama.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What If I Just Kept Driving?

I'm doing something completely different today. I'm linking up with Just Write, a weekly writing prompt hosted by authors Rebecca T. Dickson and Laura Howard. Want to try it yourself, click here.

This week's prompt is "What if I just kept driving?"

Sheila drove into tomorrow.

It was much easier than she thought it would be.

Her present was purgatory. Maybe if it was just hell, she would've stayed. Hell was bearable. It had borders. It had form. It had shadows in which she could find relief. But, purgatory. Damn. Purgatory. Such wishy-washiness. Such enabling. Such obscenity of humanity. There she said it. She lit a match to it all.

Sheila looked over the desert floor, warming with each second of the rising sun bursting itself into the new day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Pause to Give Thanks

Holidays. Here they are. Again.

In a few hours, I will get up to make the dressing to stuff the turkey that will roast for several hours so it is ready for our regular mid-afternoon meal. As it roasts, I'll put together a few side dishes—mashed parsnips and potatoes, plain Romano beans, and sauteed red cabbage and persimmons—while the Mama makes the gravy and maybe a pot of rice. I hope she cooks rice. I like the taste of her gravy on rice. I could just eat that. 

The annual turkey feast will be for the three of us. No, the four of us. I can't forget Molly The Kitty (T.K.) Cat. She doesn't like turkey though. Spam is more her style. I'm not kidding. I found that out last night.  Holding on to the kitchen counter, Molly stood on her hind legs and gazed intently at me as I sliced the canned delicacy (every now and then, we have a yen for spam with eggs). She'd just eaten her expensive raw food so it wasn't like she was famished. But, she was insistent that she wanted something that smelled tasty up on the counter. I gave her a tiny bit of Spam in a splash of water. Whaddaya know? She's a spam-loving cat. All right, Molly, you Aloha cat. A couple weeks ago, I found out that she likes a bit of Black Forest Ham. Maybe mouse tastes like ham, though I doubt she has tasted mouse yet. So far, her wild fare has been spiders, bees, and other bugs roaming in the Mama's gardens.

Ah, I have rambled off from whatever path I'd started down. What was I going to talk about? Thanksgiving feast? The holidays? Having not worked for someone for 26 years, I've lost any sense of holidays being anything special. In my days as an employee, I enjoyed holidays because they meant not going into work. I looked forward to the free days of nothingness. Today, without knowing that put-out-the-garbage day is Wednesday, Big Bang Theory is on Thursday, and there is no mail delivery on Sunday, I'd be unable to distinguish the days of the week. It doesn't help that the Mama and the Husband have also lost sense of the days. Once the Husband said that almost every day feels like a Saturday. The Mama glances at the calendar to rest her eye on the waterfall photo or to note the day that the water softener is "changing water".

Long ramble short, the bottom line for me is this. Every day is the spirit of Thanksgiving (and all those other holidays). And, each and every day, I am thankful that I am sharing life and love with the Husband, the Mama, and Molly T.K. Cat.

Thank you, dear readers, for dropping by.  Peace, Joy, Love, and Happiness to you all.
~ Su-sieee! Mac

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Pause for Positivity

I can't believe it is November. How many times have you heard that lately? 

And just like that the Presidential election is over. May President Obama and Congress finally work together for the good of our country. May people stop with the scare tactics and may people stop being scared that our country has gone somewhere that it "must be taken back".

Like everywhere else, we've been experiencing strange weather in our neck of the woods. Sometimes 30 to 40 degree difference between day and night. Not complaining. No, not at all. I cannot begin to imagine the bewilderedness of going through such a fright as Sandy on the East Coast. May everything work out well for every one there.

Hmmm, I had planned to do a post about the Mama's garden. Another day. But, I shall give you a look at the banana that has bloomed in her small circle of a banana grove. She is amazed that it's growing on a "baby" stalk rather than on one of the mature ones. May this blossom grow to a size that we can eat.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What's the Word?

What's the word I'm thinking of?

Damn. What's the word?

That's my life these days. And, that's not good when you make your livelihood as a writer.

The word I'm trying to think of is usually a simple word, too. Forget about asking for an example, because I can't remember any one of my 500 million+ instances at the moment.

All I know is that the word I'm trying to think of just dangles ghost-like in my mind. I really dislike the way a word plays hide-and-seek with me.

If the Husband happens to be nearby, I'll ask him for help. "What's the word that means  blah blah blah." Most often, thank goodness, he knows the word I'm seeking. Some times, he throws out a bunch of words. None of which fit what I'm wanting to write. Other times, well, let's just say that I just type in blab blab blab and move on to my next thought, choosing to believe that the word will show itself. Eventually, it does. So far. Thank goodness.

This trouble of finding the right word snuck up on me all of a sudden. But, then, it could've been gradual. I don't know.  If I were to believe the psychobabble I was taught in my 12th grade psychology class, my mental capacity started going downhill right after I graduated high school. Ha! Seriously, I was taught that. I hope they don't still feed that kind of rot to kids. I mean, come on, what a way to discourage the adventure of starting off being a post high school kid. (Well, there's an example for you. Instead of a cool, smart precise word, I give you"post high school kid".)

What was I talking about? As usual, I find myself thinking about something way in the past. That's another thing. How did I suddenly become one of the oldest elephants in the room? One thing about being an oldest one, sometimes the very young ones applaud you for doing something you normally do—such as catch a fly ball (not that I do that) or walk up a mountain (that I still do).

I know I'm rambling now.  Before I go down another wordy path, I shall say this: I think part of my problem was/is due to menopause/postmenopause.  Not all. Maybe 30 percent. I didn't get the hot flashes, which I suppose was a good thing. At least my memory lapses weren't/aren't so bad that I forgot that I did agree to skip exchanging Christmas presents. But, then, I can't recall.

Here, word. Come here, word.

By the way, if I've already written about this. Well, uhm, Merry Christmas!

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Summer of Pizza

One of my favorite birthdays was the year I asked for a pizza, five movie rentals, and to be left alone. And, I got what I asked.

Pizza is one of those treat foods for me.

The first few years that the husband and I were married, we ate a lot of extra-large pizza from this one particular pizzeria. We loved that they delivered. We gained a lot of weight. What kept us from gaining more than a lot was that we moved to a nearby city outside of the pizzeria's delivery radius.

Since living with the Mama, pizza has been a now and then food to enjoy. The pizzas sold around here tend to be heavy. I didn't think I'd ever say it, but yeah, too much salt, too much sauce, too much cheese, and too much grease. And, then there's the cost.  Oh, sure, it's cheap if we just wanted pepperoni and cheese. But, that's not the pizza experience for us. We like a pizza loaded with veggies, with the meat as an extra. 

Then, in late spring,  our favorite cafe  built an outdoor oven and started selling  pizza. Their crust is light and buttery, chewy yet crisp. And the toppings are things we like such as grilled chicken, artichoke, and cheeses others than mozzarella.   Fortunately, there were obstacles to keep us from getting addicted to their pizza: The cafe was in the next town and we're on a tight budget again.

Not having their pizza motivated me to make pizza from scratch. So, this past summer I was on a quest to find that right combination of yeast, sugar, liquids, and flour to form the almost perfect crust. I got close enough.

It's fun making pizza. I enjoy pounding and kneading the dough. It's also fun experimenting with toppings.  They're never the same because I use whatever veggies and meats happen to be in the fridge and pantry. It can get rather creative. The Husband and the Mama don't seem to mind. The last pizza turned out to be a very delicious experiment: First, a layer of roasted tomatoes in olive oil; next, a mixture of sauteed onions, garlic, sweet pepper, and portabello mushrooms; then a handful or two of thin slices of farmer's cheese and garlic cheddar cheese; and then a layer of minced salami, slices of elephant garlic, and chopped parda (a Filipino vegetable)  Finally, it was all topped with several slices of provolone cheese.

My recipe
There's really nothing difficult about making pizza. You can be as precise as you want or be all intuitive about it. The latter is me. Here's what I do to give you an idea of the process of making pizza. (You can easily find a basic pizza recipe with measurements online.)
  1. Warm 1 to 1.5 cup of water in the microwave. Add a teaspoon of yeast and a pinch of sugar. Stir and set the solution aside.
  2. Dump about 2 to 3 cups of flour in a large bowl. Make a crater in the flour with your fist. Add the yeast solution and a small amount of olive oil (maybe 1/8 cup).
  3. Combine and knead the mixture, adding a bit of flour at a time as needed. Knead until the dough bounces back a bit when you press on it.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball. Lightly coat it with olive oil and put it back into the bowl. Cover with something (I use a cloth napkin), set it in a warm spot, and walk away. 
  5. An hour or so later, punch the dough down and knead, knead, knead until you think it doesn't need it anymore. Put it back in the bowl, cover it, and walk away again.
  6. Assemble the pizza. Come back about an hour before you're ready to eat to do this last step. Less, if you've already prepared your ingredients. More, if you haven't and you tend to be slow about preparing things. Baking the pizza takes between 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven's idiosyncrasies, how thick your dough is, and what ingredients you're using.
© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Jump Start that Never Got Started

The Republican candidate for President—whose name shall not be invoked—thinks I'm a victim. Ha! Talk about projecting and being judgmental. No, no, come back. I'm not going to muse about politics today. Bleah. Today, I give you a look into this writer's belfry, as in bats in.

The other day I found a file on my desktop with the title 88888...8887.doc. Of course curiosity got me and I opened it. Ha ha! on me. The Word file was my writing journal, the one I had started a few months ago with good intentions.
Uh-huh. I was fishing around in my head for a story to latch onto. It had (and has) been a long while since I tried.
The narrator a woman in her late 50s. A lot of ways I could go with that. A lot of ways. Did I? No. Will I? I don't know.

 See. This became a post. Ha! Sorry for the blurriness of the photos of the scribbles. Hmmm, maybe that's a projection of my imagination right now.
What you read is actually less than 855 words. I left out a couple of passages—my thinking about Molly and Dakota, in the event that I do something with it—and edited a bit as I turned my scribbling into jpgs. 

I didn't write the second day. I remembered about it after midnight. The third day was my last day. That entry was a hoot. I talked about how miserable my body was feeling. The following several days, I remained in misery and never got back to trying to find a groove. At least, in that Word file. 

So, there you go. A peek into the mind of a writer who doesn't write fiction for a living. For now.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seven Random Thoughts

We take painkillers for the pain. My question is this: Is the pain still there even though we no longer feel it because we're on the painkiller? Okay, another question. How does the painkiller know which particular spot to de-pain? Or, is it just our whole body has become numb? What, still another question?

Molly the Cat. She's a bed hogger. Sometimes, by the time I go to bed, Molly is  sleeping in the middle of my side of the bed. She likes to sleep on my side because I drape an extra blanket over me. It's  a fleece blanket. Ah. Just got it. The softness and warmth of fleece must remind her of her Mommy-Cat. Molly likes to knead it into that perfect now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep spot. Doesn't matter if I happen to be under the blankets.

The Mama. Two weeks ago, the Mama was in the hospital for dehydration and pneumonia. The bacterial infection had jut begun, but because her body was dehydrated, it couldn't tackle the infection. The Mama had gotten the bug from the Husband who was in the beginning stage. I have a feeling that even if Mama was not dehydrated, she would have had a tough time with the virus. She would probably still be in bed fending it off. So, on one hand, you could say that her being dehydrated worked out for the best. Her all-of-a-sudden uncontrollable shaking and inability to move her legs and arms, which was due to the dehydration, set everything in motion to get her to the hospital pronto.

It was very scary. It'll take me awhile to stop re-living it. She is, after all, on her feet doing many of her regular activities.

The whole "moment" from first hearing a thud from the living room to finding her, calling the doctor, trying to get her to stand up to go to the doctor, calling 911, and the ambulance arriving was less than 10 minutes.  Through it all, she had one goal in mind: To get up and go to the bathroom. The Mama said later that she doesn't remember the ambulance ride. The Mama is one very small, tough broad. I hope I have not screwed up the genes I've inherited from her.

The Husband. The nasty bug hit him big-time the day before the Mama's birthday. He felt bad that we couldn't go out for her day. And when she went down with the bug the day after her birthday, he felt extra bad for giving it to her. "It's not your fault you're sick," I said. "The person to blame is the one who had the virus and went out in public and spread the germs where you somehow got them." 

The Husband was a trooper going through his own mending and healing. I gave him minimal attention, or nagging, depending on how you want to look at it.  Fortunately, he is the kind of person who sees the bigger issues and understands the needs of others (Me, in this case) to prioritize their energies. I am married to a wonderful guy.

Taking Forever. This morning, after cleaning up for the day,  he said, "That took forever. Did it seem like it to you?"

"I don't know," I said, as I glanced at the clock. It had only been 20 minutes. I had just come back upstairs after prepping something for lunch, which seemed to take a long while to do. "Everything seems to take forever."

"It seems forever until it's done," said the Husband, sitting down at his computer. "Then it seems like it went by too quickly."

I think that every Wednesday evening when I realize it's time to put out the garbage cans.

10, 5, 3. Have you ever noticed that most articles or blog posts featuring lists usually have 10, five, or three items? To be contrary, I am writing about seven things. When I was thinking about this post, several random thoughts were pushing each other to be first in my thoughts. Alas, by the time I sat down to write, I couldn't remember them all. So, this is my sixth item.

Lemons. The Mama's lemon tree now and then produces weird shaped lemons such as the ones in the photo above. The lemons are actually Buddha's Hands or citrons.   They're supposedly the best type of fruit for lemon zest. These days, picking the fallen citrons—and the regular lemons—from the ground is one of my daily exercises. 

Picking up lemons is what the Mama did every day until she got sick. And, I mean every day. Most of the fruit is way up high where I, nor the Husband, can reach even while standing on our tallest ladder. The Mama still could do the daily bend down, pick up, and walk over to the basket full of other lemons. But, there are other gardening joys for her to spend her limited energy on. I'm just glad that so far, I have been able to get to that end of the garden before she does.

And, yeah, the Mama has already gotten up on her short ladder to do some pruning when I wasn't looking. She's like Molly the Cat. We turn around and within seconds she's up on the fence. It's a matter of time before she, Molly the Cat, climbs the lemon tree. For that matter, the Mama, too. Not climb the tree, but climb her ladder to cut off another branch.  And, just like Molly the Cat, the Mama will have a smile on her face.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quiet. Hospital.

The Mama may be coming home from the hospital today. The ambulance took her there on Monday afternoon. All of a sudden she could not move her legs or arms, no matter how hard she tried. She had caught the nasty bug that the Husband had been fighting for a few days. On her, it turned into pneumonia. What made it worse was that she was dehydrated. Stay hydrated, folks!

Hydration, however, is not what today's post is about. Nope.

After two nights alone in her hospital room, the Mama got a "roommate" who has a loving extended family to visit her. The Mama, in contrast, has loving me. The husband is sick so obviously cannot visit and Molly the Cat is not allowed in the hospital. The Mama had forbidden me from telling her friends where she was.

Before I go any further, let me say this: I have nothing against visitors in hospital rooms. But, I also expect visitors to act appropriately—such as talk quietly, be considerate of other patients, and recognize that a hospital is not a place to party hearty. 

I continue. Yesterday, when I left the Mama after lunch, her "roommate" had four relatives visiting her. When I returned just before dinner, she had three different relatives around her. The hospital room is small, so without even trying you can overhear each side's conversation. The "roommate" and her relatives  were very chatty. Because my mom has poor hearing, I sat on her bed as close as possible so I wouldn't TALK LOUDLY or even at my normal pitch.

 The Mama did not look rested at all. "Did you sleep today?" I asked. She shook her head. "How come?" I asked. "I don't know," she replied. I had a feeling the "roommate" had chatty visitors all afternoon.

The Mama is very good about "sucking it up." Not me. Hello. We're in a hospital. There's a sign in the hallway that says "QUIET." I did my best to not pay attention to those TALKING LOUDLY on the other side of the thin curtain that separated the beds from each other. I also did my best not to get annoyed when those TALKING LOUDLY made me shudder like the sound of chalk squeaking on a chalkboard. The Mama drifted in and out of sleep. I did my best to not pay attention and not to be annoyed for 45 minutes. That's when I heard a fifth voice at the door.

I stood up, walked over to the curtain, pulled it aside, and looked around. They all looked at me. I didn't say a thing. One woman asked, "Are we too loud?"

"Yes. You are."

"Sorry. We'll try to be quiet."

"Thank you," I said, "This is a small room."

The not TALKING LOUDLY lasted 10 minutes. Maybe. But, I wasn't concerned about that anymore. Mama was feeling cold even with 5 blankets on her. The air conditioning was on and it seemed to be directed at her  head. I pressed the red call button and told the nurse who answered that the Mama was feeling cold and could she please put the heat on her side of the room. Within a few seconds, the nurse was there, saying, "There's no way to regulate the room so that one side gets heat."

"My mom is cold," I replied. "She already has five blankets on her."

The nurse closed the curtain, talked with the other side, and came back. "The other patient feels hot," she said.  "My mom is cold," I repeated.  "Right," said the nurse.

The woman who asked me if they were too loud, called from the other side of the curtain, "My aunt is hot."

"My mom is cold," I said.

"You've told us we're too loud. You've got to give us something. You've got to work with us."

"I'm trying," I said when I really wanted to say: You knew you were loud without me even saying so. You weren't even trying to be considerate to the other patient in the room, just because she is quiet. And, I don't have to give you anything. This is a hospital. My mom is mending from pneumonia. She is cold. Why should she feel miserable? And why was your aunt put in this room anyway. Hers is a physical problem. She could catch whatever my mom has.

Fortunately, the nurse came up with a solution. I heard her ask, "Would you mind moving to another room? We have a few empty rooms."

"Fine," said the woman who asked me if they were too loud.

For the next 10 minutes, a lot of movement took place on the other side of the curtain. They TALKED LOUDLY. They called me names in their language, which obviously they didn't think I understood. I felt like responding, but like the Mama, I, too, can "suck it up" when it's better to do so.

"Is she going home?" asked the Mama groggily.

"No, she's being moved to another room."


"Because you feel cold and she feels hot."

"I don't have to have the heater."

"Yes, you do. You're cold."

I went over and tapped the shoulder of the woman who asked me if they were too loud. "I'm sorry," I said.

"It's fine," she said, huffily. "Now you can have your privacy."

"As you can, too," I said. Not adding what I felt like saying, Now you can TALK LOUDLY as much as you want and have as many people as you want in the room.

The nurse came back in. "Do you still want the room warmer?"

"Yes," I said. "My mom is cold."

"I've put it up to 80 degrees."

"That's great. I do that at home when she's feeling cold. Thank you." Then, I asked, "By the way, how many visitors can a patient have?"

"Three," the nurse mumbled. She turned to another nurse who was at the door. "Isn't it?"

"Two," that nurse said, almost under her breath.

It wasn't my intention to get the other patient and her clan moved to another room. But, I am glad it happened.

When I left the Mama sleeping an hour later, the hospital room was quiet and warm, as it ought to be.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Fine Day

"In the Philippines," the Mama said the other day, looking up at the patchy white clouds, "clouds like that meant there are lots of fish in the ocean. That's what the old people said."

In other words, those old people were saying, it's a good time to go fishing. I bet they were right, too. 

After 90 years, the Mama still recalls some of the things the "old people" used to tell her when she was a child. As she tells me, I can tell she doesn't think of herself as possibly being as old as they were—or even older—when they told her such things. I like that. A lot.

Maybe the other day was a fine day for fishing here, too. It was definitely a fine day for the Mama to sit in her garden and pot her birthday flowers. . .

. . .while Molly the Cat took a snooze nearby.

 © 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Molly the Two-Year-Old Cat

Molly the Cat is turning two years old. Maybe she already has. We have no idea. We only know that she was born in August. So, I've taken to  singing Happy Birthday to her every now and then. Not too often since I don't always keep in the right key. Hmmm, could be why she way trying to avoid me the other morning. I figured she had done something she knew she wasn't supposed to do on her jaunt through the Mama's jungle of a garden.

Yes, Molly the Cat, spends time every day wandering, sitting, sleeping, and stalking bugs in the backyard. The indoor cat loves the outdoors.  Sometimes we hang outside with her.  (I like that we're outside more these days. If I had a laptop, I would just work out there.) Other times, we slide open the screen door for Molly and say, "See you soon."

She's amazing. She comes back in when we tell her to. Most times. And, without needing to bribe or tempt her with a food. Just, "Good Girl. You're such a good girl."

A few weeks ago, she learned to jump up on the fence. The first time that happened, we went nuts trying to find her in the backyard. We didn't even think to look on the fence, but suddenly there she was walking delicately into view.

We thought we would just let her out under supervision. But, that didn't work. Besides, she's so quick. Look away and voila she is up on the fence again.

So, we stalked her to figure how and where she gets up on the fence. Thank goodness, there was only one possibility. As you can see from the photo, we found a solution that has kept her off the fence.

I always thought I'd turn those old software CDs into coasters.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How Do You Get Companies to Create Jobs?

Warning: There's not a thing about doughnuts, unicorns,  butterflies, and other sweet joys in today's post. Maybe next time. 

Here's an issue that no politician wants to address, I betcha: How does government encourage  private companies, small and large, to create new jobs, as well as to keep current jobs, when part of the basic business model to succeed is to employ "cheap labor"?

Ah, what's that some say: Get rid of the minimum hourly wage rate.

Hoo, boy. The federal minimum wage, since 2009, is $7.25 per hour. If you work full-time at 40 hours per week, you earn a gross weekly pay of $290.  Now, let's take at least 30 percent from that for taxes (FICA, federal, state, and disability). Wowza! A whopping $203 to spend for fun and essentials for the week. Bear in mind that some people  receive more net pay according to the number of dependents they claim. Too bad we can't claim our pets. Oh, and let's not forget some workers may also be contributing a portion of their check to their employee health plan and, possibly, retirement plan.

Ah, but my question is not: How are people able to live on minimum wage?

Some states are kind and require employers to pay a higher minimum wage, from a few cents more to almost a couple of dollars. In 2012, the state of Washington has the highest basic rate at $9.04 per hour. Arkansas ($6.25), Georgia ($5.15), and Puerto Rico ($4.10) have minimum rates that are lower than the national one. Does that mean employers don't have to pay the federal wage? And, how can they get away it? And, if they can, why don't the other states do the same thing? Questions, questions, questions. I don't know.

There are U.S. cities that are kinder than the states when it comes to the minimum wage.  The highest rate is decreed in Santa Cruz, California. As of July 2012, any contractor doing business with the city of Santa Cruz is required to pay its employees at least $14.26 per hour (if they receive benefits) or $15.55 per hour (if no benefits are given). Wowza! I bet Romney's $10,000 that churns the stomachs of a lot of anti-minimum wage people.   Other cities with generous minimum hourly wages are  Santa Fe ($10.29) and San Francisco ($10.24).

Hmmm, after writing all this, I have to ask: How does getting rid of the minimum wage contribute to the creation of jobs?

So, politicians, what say ye? What are your concrete plans to get companies, such as Hewlett Packard (which announced in May 2012 that it must cut 27,000 jobs)  to create new ones?  Forget about saying, "Trust me. I will do it." In my book, that just means you haven't a clue.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What If We Had to Live on Food Stamps?

Last week I decided to experiment with our food budget. Not that I—or we—keep one. Formally, that is. I just figured that since we are being conservative about the flow of money out of our pockets these days,  why not pretend how it would be if we had to suddenly depend on food stamps. This is be a good time to try it, too, since our staples in both the pantry and freezer are running low.

Did you know that the monthly average benefit for a household in California is $200? Are you shocked too?

By the way, it isn't easy to qualify for food stamps. Plus, you need to have the proper documents to prove that you are eligible. And, anyone who receives food stamps, only gets them for a limited time and must meet specific conditions during that period. That said, I really don't understand why some people go insanely rabid about others who finally give in and jump through hoops with hopes of qualifying for some financial help to keep from starving. Seriously.

You can only use food stamps to purchase food and vegetable seeds and plants that will be grown for food. You cannot use food stamps to purchase liquor, tobacco, non-food items (such as toothpaste), or pet food. You also can't use them to purchase any prepared food that must be heated at the grocery store or is meant to be eaten in the grocery store.

Did you know it was only in recent years that some farmers markets started accepting food stamps? I think that is a very big deal.

The only ground rule that I've established for is that we continue as much as possible to purchase local organic produce, local eggs, wild-caught fish, and organic poultry and beef.  I plan on doing this experiment for one month, as of July 27. Fortunately, the husband is up for the experiment. He thinks that if we were to do this for real, the foods we buy would be different. I don't know. We'll see.

After nearly a week into this experiment, our food budget is already down to $73.95. I know. My head is spinning, too. August is a very long month.

To be continued. . . .

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Digging Canals for the Mama

Several days ago, the Mama fell twice as she was watering her vegetables. I didn't see either fall, but fortunately she told me about each one just after it happened.

I had gone out to give her a juice drink. It was a hot day and my mission was to keep her hydrated whether she liked it or not.  As I waited for her to gulp her drink (Sipping? No such thing when she's on a task), she mentioned that she was wet because she slipped and fell on top of the beans. If she hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have noticed she was wet. When I looked at the beans, I couldn't tell that anything was wrong. The woman is that light.

"Here, let me finish watering," I said, reaching for the hose.

"No, I can do it," she said, swerving away from me.

After three times of going back and forth, I let it go. After nine years of living with her, I have finally learned to choose my battles. Assured that she hadn't hurt herself, I went back inside to work.

About 45 minutes later, I was back outside with a cup of water and her medicine. (She knows that she has to take it at noon, but when she's outside working on something, she won't stop to come inside for medicine. See, this is the advantage of working at home for me.) Mama was now sitting down as she watered her flowers.

"I do that when I water this section," I said, handing the cup of water to her. Out of her whole backyard of vegetable and flower gardens, she lets me water a small part of the yard.

"I'm almost finished," she said, as she wiped a hand on her pants and held it out for her pill.

"I'll water the chayote this afternoon," I said. "When it's cooler."

She nodded. Then she said, "I fell on the onions. That's why they're flat."

"What? You fell again."

She nodded.

I put my hand on the hose. "Let me finish watering."

"No. No. This is it. This is the end."

"Why are you falling so much?" I asked.

She shrugged. I walked around her garden, noticing the muddy patches around the rows. Something had to be done. She waters her garden by hand, which means she drags the hose behind her as she walks on the uneven soil between the rows. She's fine when she's not impatient or tired. Sigh.
I don't want to take over watering her garden until it's absolutely necessary. I don't think that time is here yet.  Her garden is her domain. Her sense of peace. Her last sense of independence. I saw how depressed and angry she got when her brothers took over her garden many years ago. The Mama will be nine years shy of 100 soon. Gardening makes her happy and keeps her strong and healthy. I want her to to do it as long as she is able. 

"I'm going to dig the canals deeper," I said.

"No,"she said. "I'm okay."

"I don't want you to fall."

"I fall, I fall."

"You can break your leg or something. You know you don't want to go to the hospital."

Silence. I took that as a good sign.

"With deeper canals, you can make the water go slower. The vegetables will get more water that way. You know, the way Daddy did it. Remember."

Still silence. I proceeded to dig the first canal. I am my Daddy's daughter. I not only went with him to the fields that he irrigated, but I also helped him put up his garden every year when he got older. I enjoyed digging those canals for the Mama, even though it was a hot day. I liked getting my hands dirty as I dug and molded the canals, and then later getting them muddy as I guided the water through the canals. I quite understand the Mama's love of working and being outside.

So, now, if the Mama is willing to be patient, she can sit on her stool and watch the water go down each vegetable row, helping it along as needed. It may not stop her from falling in the backyard completely, but maybe it will be fewer times.  I can only hope.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Such Failures

How much is that designer bag in the window?

Warning: If you're not in the mood for political musing, come back next week. I may be in a better mood and write about my usual nothingness. Maybe.

The other evening, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at a fundraising dinner at which donors paid several thousands of dollars to be there. Some as much as $50,000. Some, possibly more. Romney, dear heart that he is, acknowledged that he and they, his donors, in the room are doing golly-gee well in this horrid economy. (That's my paraphrasing of his words) But, continues Romney, lover-boy of cheap labor . . . of course, he is. What true-blooded rich man doesn't like cheap labor. It (meaning cheap labor) is a necessary element for becoming true-blooded rich. It's basic Economics 101 . . . .

As I was saying, Romney told his donor that they are in the money while the waiters and waitresses who were serving them their dishes of delectable food and drink are not. Gasp. I know, it's amazing how Romney knew every one of those waiters and waitresses and each of their particular incomes. Romney told his donors that the waiters and waitresses in that room are struggling financially because President Obama has not done right by them. They are still waiting for that hope and change that President Obama promised them when they voted for him . . . . Again, just amazing how Romney is. He knew how each of those waiters and waitresses voted in 2008.

I am sure that Romney's donors all clapped. Maybe some even cheered. Whoot whoot. Seriously, do you think the donors would have been happy for the waiters and waitresses if President Obama—that young, naive candidate of 2008—had managed to miraculously change things? Think about it. I'll bet Romney's $10,000 that Romney and his supporters think constantly about assuring their rich positions. My rationale—well, how about all that lobbying for tax breaks, corporate subsidies, and getting rid of regulations that may be good for the public, but it doesn't allow for making loads of money).

Perhaps President Obama could have succeeded if he had not had to deal with all the economic distress that he began working on before he was elected. Maybe then more workers in the private sector would be receiving an honest-to-goodness living wage that matches their honest-to-goodness hard work for . . . okay, I'm gonna say it . . . the man, who essentially are many of the men and women who paid the beaucoup thousands of dollars to eat dinner with Romney. That aside,  I am  amazed (yet again) at how much Romney cares that President Obama is unable to help the waiters and waitresses who served him, Romney, and them, his donors, their dinners.

Do you suppose the waiters and waitresses at that event could feel how horrible Romney and his donors felt that they were unsuccessful as well? After all, most, if not all, of them needed President Obama to extend President G.W. Bush's tax breaks in order for them to generate more jobs (either as employers or investors). Poor filthy rich people. They must feel so awful that they have been failing so outrageously over these past ten years or so.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Personal Holiday

The other day I was doing research about Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry.  Interesting fellow that Dr. Goddard. Quite a visionary. A lot of people thought he was a crackpot. That all changed when the space program began. Ah, then the adulation and the awards came left and right for the man. Unfortunately, Dr. Goddard was dead by then. I hadn't planned on telling you that, but there it is.

What I did want to mention was that Dr. Goddard had a personal holiday that he called his anniversary day.  He celebrated the day he was a kid sitting in a tree and looked up into the sky and had an epiphany about rockets and space. Yes, I know. Pretty cool. Not to worry though. I'm not going to go into the technical stuff about rockets and space. Not like I could. The important part here is that I decided that I need a personal holiday.

When I was in my early 20s, I was influenced by the unbirthday idea and did that for a year or so. I chose July 15 because that was my dad's birthday. But, we always celebrated his birthday on the 25th. He even used July 25 as his official birth date. The reason was very simple.

As far as I know, Daddy had only one formal document to "prove" he was ever born and that was his baptismal record which was written in Spanish. Daddy—and probably many in his family—did not read Spanish. I can only speculate that Spanish was still the official language of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines when he was born in 1905. Anyway, his baptism was on July 25 which was the same day as the celebration of  Santiago Apostol (St. James), the patron saint of his hometown Santiago, Ilocos Sur. I have no idea if his parents decided to name him after the patron saint because that was the day of his baptism or if they waited for the feast day to baptize him. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if they were hedging their bets for good fortune for their baby boy.

According to the Spanish baptismal record, the baby boy being baptized that day--July 25--was born 10 days ago. So, there you go. July 15. Daddy's birth date. My unbirthday. Now, my personal holiday.

Back to Dr. Goddard, please. On his Anniversary Day in 1913, he wrote in his diary a list of things he needed to do. Some of them were complete patent applications for his inventions, research meteors, study Darwin's theory about lunar motion, and "try a jet".  Thank goodness for Dr. Goddard.

I doubt that I will be as ambitious as Dr. G. on my personal holiday, which shall be this Sunday. Maybe I'll go read a book under a tree in the backyard. And, maybe I'll bring a notebook and pen in the event I get a revelation about something grand.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What's Wrong with Me!

We are on a strict budget right now. Not that I'm complaining. The flow of income can get very tight when you choose to be an independent writer. So,  all of you readers out there who want to be professional self-employed writers, bear that in mind. If you want the independence, you just keep plugging along. If you can't stand the financial insecurity, then you need to shore up on the writing, editing, researching, and computing skills to get a decent paying communications, technical writing, or editing staff job. And, for gosh sakes, please don't underbid your professional worth, which is essentially all professional writers' worth.

But, I've wandered. Being financially insecure at the moment isn't my tale. Nor is being a professional writer, which I finally get is what I am. Talk about sometimes not getting it. Do you know the yellow gas station Shell Oil? I don't know how many times I've seen the Shell stations by the time I reached a certain day in my late 30s.  I was driving south from San Francisco on Highway 101, a familiar route for me back then. I went around this  particular bend near South San Francisco when I saw for the nth time the Shell station logo broadcasting itself high over the freeway on my left. Bingo! At that moment I realized the logo symbol is a shell. You know, as in Shell Oil. Duh!

Again, I've wandered. What was I going to talk about? Strict budget. . . .yeah, right. Strict budget means don't look at tempting things to buy. These days that means fabric. Not that I'm sewing a lot. Nor even a little. But, my little makeshift sewing nook is still set up in the living room. Both the Mama and the Husband don't seem to care that I haven't been near it since I sewed the apron, a birthday gift for one of my gal pals. They—the Mama and the Husband—tolerate my madness so well. So do my gal pals, for that matter.

But fabric. Ahhhhhhhh. I love going up and down fabric aisles, pulling out bolts of color and of weird design. I also like looking at fabric online. I only allow myself to do that at Sew, Mama, Sew. (I just discovered its sewing tutorials. Oh-oh.)   

When I look at a piece of fabric that attracts, me, I sometimes can see what to make right away. For instance, I bought a couple yards of a muted green print with ukuleles here and there, and thought about making a birthday tunic for the Husband. Other times I just get a vague feeling that translates to I really must buy this fabric. An example of that is the one yard of a white and black chrysanthemum-type flower print. When I showed it to the Mama, she immediately said, "Hmmm, a blouse." So, of course, I immediately thought, A birthday blouse for the Mama

There. Two sewing projects to complete before the summer is up. But first that means I need to find—and buy—patterns. Ooooh, patterns.  Where's my piggy bank?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Still Not at the End

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

That is one of my favorite lines in the  movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. After doing a Google search to find out the correct wording, I learned that the phrase has been around for quite a while. Who said it initially? Someone named "Unknown" comes up a lot. Who ever you are, thank you!

A lot of not-so-cool stuff has happened this past week. And, that phrase has been my mantra. It is keeping me insanely sane. So is having immediate access to the Internet.  

There is the work.
As some of you know I make my living as a writer. The project I'm currently working on requires me to write on many different topics, of which I'm no expert. Too many topics to research, understand, and write about that I've taken to whimpering just before giving in to sleep that I'll never ever see the glimmer of light on the other side of this tunnel. 

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

There was the LOUD! party next door last Friday.
How loud? We shut all our windows on the side of the house facing the partying neighbors and their Yip,yip,yip, yip cheering, yapping, and  music were still heard, as if the the windows were all open. Grrr. The neighbors like to entertain in their backyard. A lot. Unfortunately, their backyard borders the side of our front yard. So all chatter and music  float annoyingly over the fence and into our yard and house.

Fortunately, they don't have too many parties. Fortunately, last Friday  was a cool evening so we didn't need to have our windows open. Fortunately, the neighbors are of a mature age and so their parties shut down early. They must have celebrated something very wonderful or had a very tough work day because they partied like there was no tomorrow. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good party. It's just that the jollier they got, the louder they talked, and the higher the volume of the music went up. It was the kind of LOUD! that made me go search online for the local noise ordinance. And, by golly, I found it. After reading it, I will have no problem telling the neighbors to turn down their music should it ever get that LOUD! again. Hopefully, not.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

There were the unauthorized charges on my credit card.
Someone had been using my credit card number since the beginning of June in another part of the state, hundreds of miles away. On the plus side, the credit card company didn't approve the majority of those charges as they were being made.  All in all, I talked with three fraud agents, of which two were very helpful, personable, and professional. That was a huge plus to me since I am quite a nervous Su-sieee! Mac until I am reassured which then allows my clarity and calmness to kick in.

When I closed the account on Monday, I thought that's that. But then yesterday, I woke up wondering what else could be done to get that person who took my credit card. So, I researched online about what to do when someone steals your credit card.

One: File a crime report with the local police department. Check. I was surprised to find a police officer knocking at my door within 15 minutes of calling the department.

Two: Notify the 3 major credit card bureaus. Check. I was able to do that online. I put a request at one bureau to place a fraud alert on my account. It, in turn, will notify the other two credit card bureaus. But, if I don't receive an email from those two bureaus within a week or so, I should notify each one.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

There was the Mama falling down in the backyard.

The 90-year old woman tripped as she pushed a huge garbage can alongside the house. Maybe now she'll listen to the Husband and me about leaving the garbage cans for us to handle. Right.

She has a very ugly bruise on her knee where she landed on the concrete. It doesn't seem like she twisted, sprained, or broke any thing, though it's hard to say with the Mama. She has a very high threshold for pain. What is an arbitrary 7 on the pain scale for me is more like a 2 or 3 for her. At least she didn't say "No" when I said that we'll go see the doctor if her knee still hurts on Tuesday. Of course I'll take her sooner, if necessary, but the "threat" of going to the doctor next week may keep her off her feet for at least a day or so. Right.

Normally, the Mama doesn't tell me about her injuries or strange pains until a day or two later. This time, thankfully, she told me within the hour of her fall so that I was able to begin applying voo-doo magic on that very ugly bruise sooner rather than later. Sure, she grumbled, but she allowed me to tell her to keep her knee elevated, gently rub witch hazel on the bruise, place an ice pack on the knee, and give her an ibuprofen capsule after dinner. That may be why she was able to hobble to her bedroom a few hours later.

As I was doing all this first aid stuff, she asked me, "How do you know?" My own experience. The Husband's knowledge. Yep, I brought him into it. The more, the merrier. Even Molly the Cat came over to check out what was going on. And, of course there is looking up bruise + elderly on the Internet. Hopefully, today, the ugly bruise on the Mama's knee is just that.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I'm old. Old. Old. Old. Old. Old.

Well, we're both hold. The Husband and me. Oh, he won't like me saying that. But, it is true. We are old.


Yesterday, we pedaled our cruiser bicycles against that defiant wind for several miles to buy three pounds of freshly-picked locally grown, sun-kissed cherries.

Very yummy cherries indeed.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about getting older. As wise folks say, "What's the use of complaining?" I'm just stating the fact today to myself, and you happen to be in on it.

Still, no matter how old I am, the Mama is older.

As many of you know, nothing is going to stop her from doing what she wants to do.  Example: The back yard that is her jungle of a vegetable garden. The better description is the mad scientist's horticultural sandbox. Any day, I expect her to tell me that she tore out all the bean plants and sown new seeds. Why? Because she can't stand that the plants are producing two and three inch beans, which the Husband and I are happily consuming one meal at a time.

Here's a look at her garden today.

Here's how it looked one month ago. Believe me when I say she does the garden by herself. She only lets me water the chayote vines (which aren't seen here) and that's after I whined I had to learn some day. Maybe next year, I'll get promoted to watering the bittermelon rows.

Here's a closer look of the Mama's garden today:

And, there she was at it one month ago!

I hope that I will be able to reach much older.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Sew Can!

I still can't sew straight lines, but what does it matter. The bigger point is to attempt and to accomplish. And you betcha big time, I so did!

I finished Molly's bridle this morning. Once Molly is used to having it on her, I'll post a photo of her sporting it. Whoo-hoo!

I also sewed a  reversible patchwork apron for a birthday gift, which the Husband is kindly holding up for me in the photos below.  Took me all of six hours, using my minimal sewing skills and following very basic instructions as well as my whim and fancy.   It's the second apron I made. The first patchwork one. I like to do patchwork. That takes center stage rather than the flaws. But, what's life without flaws, eh.

 I didn't realize the chicken panel was off until I was all done.
It adds to the perfection of its imperfection.

See, on the other side, you can't even tell the hem is crooked.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Two Sides to the Story

There are always two sides to a story, right? Here's one tale for you from the Mama's Garden.

One Side:


The Other Side:

I like both sides to the evolving summer garden story.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hanging with the Husband

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Molly the Cat, Explorer

"Outside, please," says Molly the Cat
When we adopted Molly the Cat a few months ago, we were told that she had always been an indoors cat. Only once in her life did she ever live outside. Molly's previous adoptive humans had taken in Molly and her brother who had special needs. The humans didn't understand what that meant because after a few weeks, they tired of cleaning up after the brother and dumped both Molly and him outside. Poor babies.

We were upfront with Molly's foster human. We wanted Molly to explore the outdoors when she was ready and if she wanted to do so. Within a lot of reason, of course. Never the front yard unless she was on a leash. And, only in the backyard if the Mama was agreeable to Molly wandering around her flower and vegetable plots. No problem there.

So, when Molly the Cat somehow got out of the front window a while back, we decided to give her the chance to wander around the backyard.

Supervised, that is.

"Micro-managed is more like it," says the Husband.

Molly doesn't seem to mind that either one of us is nearby. We each do our best to pretend we aren't watching her. I've taken to clicking photos of the Mama's garden. 

Every day Molly covers more of the backyard. We learned that she likes to eat spiders, bugs, and worms.

Quite a few birds hang out in and around the backyard. Molly gazes up at them with wonder. Mr. & Mrs. Robin have a nest in the lemon tree, so they've been keeping an eye on Molly. The cat is more interested in finding a spiderweb.

Today, Molly has already visited the backyard three times  with minimum supervision. The second time, I told her it would be only for 15 minutes. I did not follow. Twenty minutes later I came back to fetch her, but, what do you know, there she was rolling around on the carpet. She had obviously just come in.

She hopped out after me an hour or so later when I brought Mama her medicine. "Only a few minutes, Molly," I said, as I weaved over to where Mama was watering her beans. A couple minutes later, I called out to Molly who was heading towards the back fence. She stopped in her track and mewed at me. "Come on, Molly, time to come in." Without any cajoling, she traced her path back to the house and hopped into the house. Yes, I am amazed and impressed, too.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

When the Red, Red Robin. . .

As the lemon snapped off, the robin flew from the slightly bouncing bough bowing heavy with lemons. (How's that for purple prose?) The red-breasted bird landed on the fence and scolded me.

"Excuse me," I said, and continued gathering lemons for lemonade.

Several days later, Molly the Cat and I were wandering near the lemon tree. Two robins swooped by and landed on the neighbor's roof. The bigger bird stared at me, as if saying, "Out! Now! Please."

I understood immediately. "Come on Molly, let's go inside. These guys have a nest in the lemon tree."

As you can tell from the photos, the robins hid their nest quite nicely. At first, I thought it was precariously situated on the limb, but, hey, if nobody picks the lemons, it's safe. And, that is what has happened, which is too bad since there are some nice-looking lemons on that branch.

The mama and papa robins have been taking turns sitting on their babies. I wonder if they like the scent of the lemon blossoms that surround them.

This morning, Molly the Cat found part of a robin eggshell on the ground. I showed it to the Mama who promptly stuck it in one of her rose pots. Just a matter of time before we can start seeing lemon robin babies trying out their wings.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Mama's Rose Bush

"Take a photo of the pink roses before I clip them," said the Mama, as I was cleaning Molly the Cat's litter box.

She—the Mama—rarely asks me to take a picture of anything, especially of her works of wonder.

"Take it so you can see the apple tree," the Mama said, showing with her hands the angle she wanted me to shoot the photo. She was sitting in the living room.

I love it when the Mama gets artistic on me. That, too, is rare these days. That is, except for her gardening. 

The Mama is one of those people with a green thumb. She can clip a rose branch, stick it in the ground, and most of the time it grows into yet another beautiful rose bush.

The rose bush in the photo was once upon a time a small pot of roses that was bought at a grocery store. I don't remember how long ago, but I do recall she didn't really care for that kind of rose at the time. But, the Mama being Mama, rarely throws a gift plant away.

By the way, that is not the apple tree behind the rose bush. This was my best shot. That tree behind the rose bush is a mimosa tree. I call it a miracle tree. The Mama planted four seeds and that's the result. Don't let the bareness of that tree fool you. It'll be full in a few weeks. Every fall, we cut it back because it gets so huge.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Take 25 to Hollister


Today, I have nothing to say.

Well, I do have a lot of ideas, but I've just run out of steam.

So, I invite you to go to my other blog and check out my hometown, Hollister, California. No, not the store. The actual place that is no where near the coast.

I was born and raised in this still kind of rural small city. It's a nice place to have come back to live. When we used to live up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the husband often said, "I want to go far, far away." Hollister turned out to be it. For now.

So, on to my other blog you go: Take 25 to Hollister.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Molly's Great Adventure

"Hey, Kid, your people are looking for you," said Lickity Split, as he sped by me. I barely got onto the sidewalk when he turned the corner. There was no use following him. All afternoon I had been following him to no avail. Just as I caught up to him, he jumped onto a fence and climbed over it into the unknown.

I scooted back into my hiding place. Everything was fine and dandy when I first got outside. But it had gotten dark and cold. I had no idea where I lived. I should've marked my trail as I walked away.

If I was home right now I would be playing with the orange string that the tall hairy human likes to dangle in my face. Then after awhile the human who feeds us would put a bowl of food on my tray.  Sigh. Lickity Split said he would show me where to find food if I didn't go home tonight. Will he come back? I wondered.

"You've got it made, Kid," he said to me when we first met that afternoon. He was the reason I wanted to come out. I had to talk to him. To let him know I lived in the house. But, also to ask him what it was like to live outside. Except for that one time brother and I lived with that horrible couple, I've always lived indoors. And with other cats and dogs.

"I don't think you'd like my kind of life," Lickity Split said. Off he went. He didn't like to stay in one spot for long. He said, "You snooze, you lose." I had no idea what he meant.

It was nice living in a place where I'm the only beast. I liked being the center of those  humans' worlds. Those three humans were nice, even that tiny one who smells like cigarettes. They pet me. They played with me. They gave me delicious food and water. They let me sleep on their soft bed. Sigh.

I wished I was home. I wished Lickity Split hadn't come up the walk. I wished I hadn't pushed on that window screen. I wished I hadn't jumped out of the window. I wished I had thought to look back from where I came.

What was that? It sounded like the noise of the yellow box that holds my dry food.

"Molly! Molly!" That sounded like the human who feeds us.

"Molly is that you?" I looked up at a huge creature. It sounded like her, but I couldn't tell from behind the shrub.

"Come on, Molly. Let's go home." She put her hand on me. I resisted. She pulled me towards her, dragging part of my body on the ground. That hurt. She picked me up and carried me from my hiding spot. I tried to squirm out of her arms, but she held tighter. She walked quickly across grass, calling out to someone, "Hurry, hurry, open the door."

A door opened. I jumped out of her arms. I ran into a lit room where a television blared. The tiny human sat on the couch. The tall hairy human stood behind me. They both sounded happy when they said, "Molly! You're home!"

Honestly, I didn't think I would ever see them again. I was ever so grateful to be home, especially when I looked out the window this morning and saw that the world outside was wet.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.