Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Having Fun with Photoshop


I like my Canon PhotoShot A1200, a gift from the Husband a couple of birthdays ago. It doesn't take images as sharp as I'd like, but then it could be just me. My ability to maintain steadiness as I click isn't what it used to be. Still, I wonder what results could I get if I had a digital SLR. Until then, I shall have fun with Photoshop. Below is the original shot of Mr.  Robin.

Today, I'm linking up with Wordless Wednesday. Click here to check out the works of other participants.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shadow Sparring


I'm not much into walking, but walking I must if I want to stay up with the Husband and the Mama. Those two plan on not ever dying.  Fortunately, the walks go down easier with the camera in my hand and the occasional shadow sparring with the Husband.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Impulse Buying

I don't know what got into me.

The Husband and I went to the supermarket yesterday afternoon to purchase fixings for split-pea soup for dinner. That meant grab a slice of ham from the meat department and fill a bag with about 2 pounds of split peas from the bin in the produce section.

But, then we walked by the fish display. Wild, but previously frozen, Rex sole was on sale for $4.99 per pound. Neither of us ever had it before. Its name intrigued me. About a pound, please, sweet butcher lady.

Then I saw the squid. Ooooh. And, the octopus. Double ooooooh. The squid would be a treat for the Mama and for me. The octopus, too, if cooked correctly so it wasn't all rubbery. The Husband doesn't care for either, but he can have 2 pieces of the Rex sole. So, I asked for about a half pound of the squid and a quarter pound of the octopus.

As the butcher lady wrapped the items, I spied the locally made sausages. I turned to the Husband. "Shall we get some sausage?"

"I like those sausages," he replied. I asked for two calabrese sausages, which to my surprise was just over half a pound.

Rex sole, squid, octopus, and calabrese sausage. So many possibilities to create!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Efficiency Notebook

I have a blue notebook that's entitled Efficiency Notebook. It was something I found in one the Father-in-Law's boxes labeled Office. The notebook's cover states that inside are 80 medium ruled and margin line sheets. After the Husband and I tore out the pages with the Father-in-Law's notes, fewer than 40 blank pages were left.

Why didn't we just throw out the notebook? I don't know anymore. Maybe the kuripot in me wouldn't let it go. Kuripot, for those curious, means cheap, thrifty, penny-pinching, or frugal in Ilocano. Some people characterize the Ilocanos, which is my ancestry, as being kuripot. But, then I could just be individually that way. When I hold my palm up, fingers naturally resting against each other, I can't see any light between the fingers. That, according to the Mama, means I'm pretty good about not spending a lot of money. Yes, that's the reason I think insurance of any kind is a scam.

Anyway, the Efficiency Notebook. I found it several months ago stashed among other half-used notebooks, and decided to make it my To-Do notebook. When I open it, I mean business. It's where I plan things I want to accomplish, whether it's for work, home, personal stuff, or volunteering. I list things I need to do and check off items as I complete them. I note websites, phone numbers, people's names, dates, and things I need to remember. The notebook actually helps me Do!

I have been glancing at my notebook for about two weeks now. I am almost ready to open it.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Molly the Huntress


Molly the Cat grew up today. She is now a full-fledged huntress. I wish though that she wouldn't bring her prey into the house to finish it off.

When Molly the Cat came to us, she was an indoor kitty with no experience of being outdoors other than the time her first adopted parents threw her and her brother outside because they couldn't handle the brother's constant vomiting. Poor babies.

Today, Molly the Cat roams the backyard freely and unsupervised. The Mama opens the sliding door after breakfast and Molly pops out. No looking back. Several hours later, Molly saunters through the door. "What's for lunch?" she asks, as she prods me for her meal. 

The Husband's goal from the start for Molly was for her to catch her own food so that should anything  happen to her humans, she would be able to fend for herself. So we have waved strings in front of her face to pounce on and thrown balls for her to tackle. The last few months, the Husband and Molly have been playing chase-the-string on the front lawn, sometimes at dusk. That, I think, contributed to Molly's ability to catch the poor tiny yellow finch this morning.

Molly the Cat still doesn't know that she can eat what she catches. Unless what she wanted to do was eat it indoors, which I would not allow her to do today. I ended up burying the little bird next to the baby bird that fell from its nest and Molly quickly fetched and brought inside. The Husband thinks that next time we should put Molly's prey in her dish bowl so that she understands it is edible.  As long as it's not a mouse, I will do that.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Priorities


"Su-sieee!" the Mama called from the bottom of the stairs.

"Su-sieeeeeeee!" She shouted two seconds later. I had only begun to get my head out of whatever I was writing.

"Su-sieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" She yelled louder.

"Hold on. Hold on." I called as I stumbled down the hallway to the stairs. "What is it?"

Silence.

Halfway down the stairs, the Mama held up a bottle and asked, "Do we have Windex?"

"Windex?"  I immediately envisioned her standing on the highest step of the tall ladder to clean the windows from outside. I peered at the label over my computer glasses. "This is Windex."

"It's not blue."

Oh, God, I thought. Will she ask me to go to the store now? Can I get her to use vinegar instead?

"Windex comes in different colors now," I said. "This has lemon in it."

"Okay," she said, taking the bottle from me.

"What are you going to do?"

"Too many spots (which she pronounces a-spots a-spots)," she mumbled. "I can't stand looking at them anymore."

"Here, let me do it," I said, reaching for the bottle.

"No, no, you go do your work," she said, not letting go of the bottle.

"I can do it," I said. Surprisingly, she didn't continue arguing.

For the next half hour, I did my best wiping away a-spots a-spots on the windows that she gazes through every morning as she peacefully eats her breakfast.

It was quite satisfying to do, I tell you what.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Writer's Block

This year I decided to enter a couple of flower arrangements in our county fair. Never done it before. Entered the flower arrangement division, that is. Nor, for that matter, made a flower arrangement. So, why do it?

Well, it's because I'm turning 60 soon and this year has been all about doing new stuff. My friend Jennifer challenged me on my last birthday when she thought it was my 60th birthday.  That still cracks me up. I'm glad she got it wrong. I may not have even thought about doing some of the things I already have.

So, anyway, here is one of my fair entries. It's called -- appropriately -- Writer's Block.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Another Year of Picking Tomatoes with the Mama


Sixty-nine pounds of organic tomatoes.

That's how many pounds of tomatoes the Husband, the Mama, and I picked at the Live Earth Farm in Watsonville yesterday.  The farm was having its last u-pick day for tomatoes, and, we were quite fortunate to learn about it just in time.

I have gotten spoiled. Maybe the Husband and the Mama have, too. For the last four years, we have picked enough organic tomatoes to freeze and use until the next tomato season. Frozen organic tomatoes taste almost as if they were just picked. That's reason one for me saying I am spoiled.

Reason number two is that I like seeing Mama enjoy herself as she picks tomatoes. I think it brings her back to the days of working in vegetable seed research. We bring her little green bench so that she can sit as she pick tomatoes in solitude under the warm sun. "Don't go too far," she always tells me, as I go to find my own row of solitude nearby, while the Husband walks toward the far end of the field.

I didn't think we would be picking tomatoes this year. The farm that we usually go to wasn't planning any public U-pick days. The Mama was very disappointed when I told her. So, I searched the Internet for organic farms in nearby counties and came across Live Earth Farm. She thought it was too far to go for tomatoes. "Just buy them at the store," she said. "It's the same price."

"$1.00 a pound. You can't get a better price for organic tomatoes," I said, already deciding to go whether or not the Mama accompanied us.

At the last second, the Mama decided to go with us. She doesn't like to travel much anymore, and she was quite a grumpy traveler, especially when we got lost finding the place. But, all was well after she plopped herself on her little green bench and plucked the first tomato off the vine.

When we hauled our boxes to the scales, she said, "Ask the farmer if he needs workers. We can come work for him. How much do you think he pays?" Before I could answer, she said sadly, "He won't hire me. I move too slow."

I don't know about that. She picked 24 pounds of tomatoes on her own. That's pretty darn good for a tiny 90+ year-old-woman.


Friday, September 20, 2013

One Dime. . .Two. . .Three. . .

"I think I have 86¢," I said, when the fish lady told us the lovely looking rockfish was $5.86.

Pulling out a handful of change from my purse, the fish lady said, "Yes, I think you do."

I plucked out two quarters, two dimes, a nickel, and a penny from the coins in my hand and put them on the counter. My mind when blank. "How much was it again?"

"86¢," said the Husband.

I fished out more coins. My mind went blank again. "What was it?"

"86¢," he said.

I looked down at the change. Total blankness. "What?"

"86¢!"

I gave up. "Okay, that ought to do it."

The fish lady picked up the change, laughing with the Husband and me as we chattered on. "And, to think he has to deal with me everyday," I said while the Husband rolled his eyes and threw up his hands.

I noticed the fish lady counting the change. "Did I give you enough?"

"More than enough," she said, handing me back two dimes.

"I used to be so good at counting change," I said.

"We should get you a change maker," said the Husband.

"Like a train conductor. Yeah. I could go for that."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Never Too Old to Uncover a Talent


Today I discovered a talent -- and a natural skill -- that I have.

First, let me put it all in context. I decided to enter the Country Roads Dry Flower Arrangement category at this year's County Fair. It'll be my first time. The requirement: I must make a dried flower display using a receptacle that I have found alongside the road.

So, this afternoon, the Husband and I decided to walk on the street that's next to the last small open field in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, a chicken-wire-type cyclone fence blocked us from wandering in the field. Still, I lucked out. Just on the other side of the fence was a broken toy rocket and a small kinda flat rubber ball. Bingo!

I was able to pull the rocket through the fence without busting it. Whoo-hooo! Now to get the ball that was further away from the fence. The Husband and I found a stronger and larger stick, but that, too, was on the other side of the fence.  That's when I learned about my talent.

I was able to put part of my hand (which I now consider small) through the fence and grab the stick. Now, here comes the neat part: I patiently moved the stick up the fence until it got to the point where I could pull it over the fence and handed it to the Husband.

He channeled his talented elementary schoolboy self and swiftly rolled the ball to the fence. He stepped back and I worked my magic retrieving that ball with my new found talent. Ha! Goes to show, we're never too old to uncover a talent.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sweet, Sunny, and Sour


This has been a great summer for the Mama's backyard jungle. Trees, vines, and plants are producing like crazy. This is just a bit of the Mama's bounty—Sweet Asian pears, sunny sunflowers, and sour, but yummy lemons.

Today, I'm participating in the photo meme, Monday Mellow Yellows, hosted by Gemma Wiseman. To check out other participants, please click here

P.S. 'Tis the month of the Mama and Molly the Cat.




Friday, August 2, 2013

The Mama's Cement Pond


Okay. It is a puddle of water on the patio cement floor. Water collects there when it rains or when the Mama waters her potted plants. Makes me wonder if the natural dip there may actually be over a spring. 'Tis the month of the Mama.

P.S. I'm participating in Weekend Reflections. Click here to see the photos of other participants.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Millionaire Cat

August is the month of the Mama. Meaning? I plan to share some Mama love and Mama-isms with you over the next 31 days. (Not every day, of course.) Here's the first Mama-ism.


"Again," the Mama sighed.

"What?" I asked in alarm, as I stopped nearly halfway up the stairs. I tried to peek over the balustrade (yes, the balustrade), but couldn't see anything. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, nothing," she said from the living room. "It's Molly."

"What's wrong with Molly?"

"She's asleep. Again."

The Husband and I have explained many times that cats sleep a lot. They sleep after they've eaten. They sleep after they've played long and hard. They sleep when it's hot. They sleep when it's cold. They sleep when they darn well feel like it.

The Mama, however, does not accept it. Yet.

As I continued climbing the stairs, I heard Mama say, "Are you a millionaire, Molly? Are you a millionaire cat?"

P.S. I'm participating in this week's Camera Critters Meme. Click here to see other cute critters. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Brickload of Fun


Rattle, rattle, rattle. 

This afternoon, I pulled a little red wagon down our driveway to the end of the street, around the corner, and over to the next block. The Husband walked ahead of me, looking for the house in front of which 20+ red bricks, three 18-inch scalloped bricks, and one half-circle of scalloped brick laid waiting for us. All free, courtesy of a recycle-friendly lady who we've never met.

Yesterday, an email popped into my box from the local freecycle group to which I subscribe. Usually, there's nothing that I want. Well, actually sometimes I do, but then I hear the Husband's voice in my head say, "What are we going to do with it? We still have a storage room full of stuff that we need to deal with." I heard him say that in my head as I read about the free bricks, but my inner voice overrode it. Bricks! These bricks can come in handy.

I quickly wrote a response and asked if the bricks were still available. Yep, they were. I wrote that I would take them, sent off my email, then said to the Husband, "I'm picking up some free bricks tomorrow."

"Where?"

"I don't know yet."

Pshew. He did not say what I heard in my head. What a guy I married.

It turned out the brick-giver lived one street over from us. "Do you think the little red wagon could carry those bricks?" I asked the Husband at breakfast.

"Sure," he said. "I was thinking the same thing." 

The Husband is so adorable.


I could hardly wait to go pick up the bricks. Not because I wanted to bring them home, but because of the means by which it would happen—pulling a little red wagon with the Husband.

As I hopped around the house trying not to be impatient about going already, the Husband finally asked, "What are you going to do with the bricks?"

"I don't know yet. Maybe make a pizza oven."

"You need more than 20 bricks."

"Well, they're a start. Right now, I'm just building an arsenal for us."

"An arsenal?" he asked. "Are you thinking that we will need to be ready to throw bricks someday?"

"You know what I mean."

At noon, we were on our way. I pulled the loud rattling, little red wagon all the way there. I hoped I wasn't waking up babies or the elderly from their naps.

The Husband is a former warehouse manager ("I was a supervisor," he will correct me, and I will respond, "In title only. You did management work. Your idiot bosses were just stingy."), which meant the bricks were loaded onto the wagon professionally and nothing fell along the way. We took turns pulling the wagon and pushing it from behind. The two of us must've been a sight to behold.

We got a load of free bricks and we had loads of fun getting them. Best of all, today is the 23rd, our monthly date. Pushing and pulling a little red wagon full of bricks down the street was a great way to start us off.  As the Husband said, "It doesn't take much to make us happy."

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Amazing, But Unplanned, Stunt


The most amazing thing happened to me yesterday morning, as I was pedaling my pretty pink bicycle. Quite freaky, in fact. Totally insane. I wish I had one of those cameras strapped to my head so I could've recorded the whole thing, which lasted a few seconds but in slooooooooow motion seemed God, Almighty! long. In my mind, what I did is akin (almost) to attempting the circle-of death-biker stunt. Hey! Don't laugh. You gotta remember I'm a fat, young old fogey turning 60 in a few months, which I say in a very positive way.

Okay, okay. I think I've got your attention to the kinda, somewhat, yes, indeed risk I experienced yesterday morning.

It was about 8:17 a.m. For those of you who don't know my normal pattern, that hour is like sunrise for me. The Husband was still snoozing in bed, the Mama was eating her breakfast, and Molly the Cat was gazing out the back window probably thinking about climbing the fence. Me, I had a meeting to go to and by, golly, this time I had planned to not be the one straggling in behind everyone else.

The morning was overcast. By the end of the block, I realized I should've worn gloves. That's okay, I thought. I'll just pull the cuffs of my hoody over my hands.  Nothing to it. So, steadying the bike with my right hand, I reached with my left to tug on the right sleeve when. . .

What the heck! The bike became unsteady. It wobbled, leaned to the left, and suddenly I found myself coasting at a slant as the bike began arcing into a circle. Oh, my God! I'm going to fall!
I believe I was actually riding on the inner rim of the tires. If there's anything I fear, it's falling. Yes, yes. I jumped out of a plane at 18,000 feet, but that really is different. I did not want to fall sideways in the middle of the street, my body tangled with pink metal.
 

The bike headed towards the sidewalk. Oh, my God! I'm going to crash into the curb! An even worse place to land would be the gutter. But, inches away from the curb, the bike turned itself. And, Thank you, God! began righting itself. 

Before I knew it, the bike had done a complete circle. I was back at the same position where I had begun. Without blinking, I pedaled forward, as if nothing happened.

A few houses away, I passed a young woman getting into her truck. She looked at me, smiling broadly, and said, "Good morning."

"Good morning," I chirped, wondering if she saw the whole thing and thought look at that old lady doing a neat stunt. Pedaling onward to my meeting downtown, I tugged at my sleeves to cover my hands.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

www.su-sieeemac.com

I just love it when technical things come together. After all, I am a non-techie, regardless of what others may say.

Early this morning, or late last night (depending on your point of view), I received an e-mail saying that my domain names had expired and if I wanted to keep them, I need to renew pronto. So, that I did. I decided to forgo the URL for the old blog and purchase a domain name for Don't Be a Hippie.

Purchasing su-sieeemac.com was quite a cheap thrill, I tell you what. 

su-sieeemac.com? Yep. I figure I can always use the URL for something else down the line, should I ever cease writing Don't Be a Hippie. For once, I'm looking ahead.

Anyway, a few minutes ago, I keyed in the right combination of words and numbers to have Don't Be a Hippie appear in the browser when I plug su-sieeemac.com into the appropriate bar. Whooo-hooo! Another cheap thrill.

I think I will count this feat as a Doing 60. The little things count, too, in my book.

So, as not to totally bore you with today's nothingness: How about these sunflowers in the Mama's garden?


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Paying No Mind to Conventions


This is dedicated to the Husband's and my friends—the Young Old Fogeys.
We Do It!
We're too old to do this.
We're too old to do that.
We're too old so some think.
But, we do it.

I'm not a young man.
I'm not a young miss.
Ah. But, we have much bliss
For we do it.

We hike up the hills.
We zip through the trees.
We pedal against the breeze.
We like to do it.

We're too old to do this.
We're too old to do that.
We're too old so some think.
Ha! We do it.
© Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Y-A-W-W-W-N


Seriously, Lady. Have you nothing else to do, but take my photo?

That's what I imagine Molly the by-golly Cat said to me after I snapped this shot.

What can I say? The friends have children and grandchildren to brag about. Me? Why, I'm pretty proud about the Husband, the Mama, and Molly the Cat.

Yep, I'm still here. I know. It has been nearly a month since I've written.  I've been busy being a writing hack. And, I say that in a good way. Hope you're all doing well out there, dear Readers, each and every one of you.

Molly yawns healthily  at night because of the prowling
she does during the day in the Mama's jungle.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Girl That Did Fly

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

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

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

She flung off her blankets and jumped to her feet.

Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

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

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

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

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

Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

Holding hands, they bounced even higher and higher.

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

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


"Then let us go!"


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


"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," said Midge. "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee."

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


© 2013, story and photo by Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Whole World on My Wall


The map of the world hangs on the wall above my cluttered desk and my more-than-often-than-should vacant mind. Above the map hang a few cobwebs. I'm sure Molly the Cat would be fascinated with the cobwebs if she would look up. Fortunately, the desk is too cluttered for her to find a spot to park while I work.

The map? Yes, the map. I like maps. Except for topo maps, I can read a map. Reading maps, even street maps, are fun. For me.

When I think of Africa, I see the number seven in a serif font. Australia makes me think of a terrier.

On this world map, Greenland is orange. As are Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Korea. I see no key for colors so maybe it means nothing more than that's what the creator of the map wished to color those nations.

You would think I'd gaze at that map a lot. Nope.

I put it up to inspire me. But, it only reminds me that I haven't traveled more than I would've thought I would by now. If I think long and hard of the why not's and how comes, well, let's just say I don't want to mentally go there. Still, I don't want to take the map down. I like to remind myself, now and then, how big of a world that we live on. So huge that quite a lot of people don't realize they share the same space in the infinite here with so many people who live in countries they have no idea exist.

Yeah.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Merged!

I did a lot of this and that on the computer over the weekend, rather than going here and there. My last task was merging my two blogs, the now—Don't Be a Hippie—with the then—This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then. Some of you dear readers may remember my older blog, and I thank you for following me to Don't be a Hippie.

My reason for combining the two? A sudden need for continuity. Let's face it, I stopped that other blog because I wanted a new blog title. If my first blog, Cu'Pie Baby Bird Says "Tweet, Tweet" was still up, I'd probably merge that one, too.

If you're on Blogger and interested in merging two or more of your blogs, check out this tutorial (How to Merge Blogs in Blogger?) at Blogger Tips and Tricks.

So, what's in my new archives? I hope you'll explore for yourselves. At your leisure and whim, of course. For now, here are a few of my favorite posts:

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Simple, Low-Key Mama Helper


A cane is a very useful tool. It helps you steady yourself as you stand up. It offers you support as you make your way down your path. It's also something you can point with and you can use it to hit a car (or person) that comes too close for comfort.

Yep, a cane is a useful tool.

The Mama, however, will have nothing to do with one. She says (not these exact words, but this idea), "The more you use a cane, the more you won't be able to walk on your own." I suppose, in her mind, a cane is proof that you've given up to old age.

Fortunately, when she works in her gardens, she turns her rake or broom upside down and uses it kind of like a cane. But, she's not really using a cane, you see, because she's just transporting the rake or broom.

All in all, the Mama is very strong for a frail-looking woman in her 90s. (Don't let that fragility fool you. The woman is pretty much all muscle.) By using a cane, the Husband and I would have false confidence that all would be all right as she moves about. But, that's not a battle worth fighting right now. Instead, we look for unobtrusive ways that may help her, and that brings me to the black pole, which you see in the above photo, thanks to our two amigos, Pal D. and Buddy M.

Pal has generously made it his mission to put up things, such as railings or grip bars, that will help Mama get in and out of the house with ease. And, again, the key point, is that those things be essentially unnoticeable as being helpers for the Mama. So, the first project was putting up something by the front step for the Mama to hold onto as she goes up and down it.

When  Pal told  Buddy about the project,  Buddy offered a heavy, metal black pole that was once attached to a weight scale for fat people. That's how the Buddy described it. A very big person holds onto the pole to steady himself (or herself) as he (or she) gets on the scale. The Buddy said that he had that pole for more than 30 years. He figured that one day, the pole would come in handy. So, it did.

Pal brought the pole over to see if it might work. We figured that by attaching a wooden base to it, the pole would be the perfect height for the Mama.  "Keep in mind," I said to the Pal, "It may take a couple of years before the Mama will actually use it." I didn't want him to be disappointed.

A few weeks later, the Pal gave me the final product. "If it doesn't work, or she doesn't like it, that's okay," he said. "We'll try something else."

Several days later, the Husband and I installed the pole. It merely required digging a hole deep enough to firmly hold the pole in place. When I showed it to the Mama, I could see the annoyed look that says "I don't like that you are reminding me that my body is old." It quickly disappeared when I told her the history of the pole and how much Pal and Buddy wanted to give it to her so she could use it to help her whenever she wanted.
Many thanks to Pal and Buddy for the Mama helper.

"They did," she said.

"Yes."

I could see the Mama's body take on a smile. Then I left it at that. I did not nag her to use the pole as she went up and down the step, nor did I ever ask if she  used it. So unlike me.

About three weeks ago, I watched the Mama hold onto the pole as she stepped down and then later on reach for it to help her step up. A very natural act. I was amazed.




Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Giveaway Day Event at Sew, Mama, Sew!


I like to sew.

It was only recently that I realized I did. My passion to create via the sewing machine comes in spurts and usually 10 years apart. It is probably just my lazy nature that kept me from becoming skilled at the craft. Unlike the Mama. She is a talented seamstress. A very precise one, too. Though not anymore. She still has a pedal Singer sewing machine, but it's  too heavy for her to work, and the electric sewing machine confounds her. So she says. These days, she asks me if I'd mend something for her on the sewing machine. That makes me feel darn-tooting good. Fortunately for me, she has mellowed and doesn't care that my seams are still not perfectly straight and tend to be wiggle-waggle looking.

One of these days, I'll tell you, dear readers, the story about the time the Mama got a C (or was it a C minus) for my homemaking project in seventh grade.

Today, I want to mention the Giveaway Day event that Sew, Mama, Sew! is hosting at its blog. Quilters, crafters, sewing mavens, and others are giving away wonderful items they've sewn and crafted as well as extra fabric, patterns, and sewing and craft supplies that they have in their caches to their readers. Yes, that's right. Here's the opportunity to win a beautiful scarf, a necklace, a handbag, a yard of fabric, a vintage pattern, and much more.

Amazing, huh? One of these Giveaway Days, I'll have my act together and give away something that someone may think is cool to own. Yep, I shall.

 The Giveaway Day event is a one week event. It started on May 6 and will run until  May 10th. Sew, Mama, Sew! has divided the giveaways into five categories. Here are the links:
Buena Fortuna!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Danger: Crazy Writer at Work

Sometimes, it feels like this when I'm working: Herding sheep (which are the words) into a pen.

The sheep, however, are not being nice about going into the pen. Sheep there. Sheep over there. And more sheep way, waaaaay over there. Then, of course, I must not forget the sheep that are hidden from view. Or, those sheep that have made their way to a meadow I had no idea existed. Where's Little Bo Peep when you need her? But, wait, she lost her sheep.

I wonder though if sheep is the best animal to stand for the words.

How about a horse? Gallop. Trot.  Nostrils flaring, head tossing back, foot stamping. Such attitude. Neighhhhhhhhhh.

Maybe the words are more like cattle or milking cows. Mooooooooooo.

Definitely not cats.

Be nice if the words were more like dogs. Woof-woof. Here I am. How ya doing?  I'll hang out with you. Can I do anything? You need a nuzzle. Give it a rest. Let's go for a walk.

Yeah.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Zealous Army Volunteer

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The Daddy lived in Honolulu, Hawaii when World War II began. He was getting his hair cut the morning that Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. (I write about that here.) In April, 1942, he signed up for the U.S. Army.

It was a Sunday afternoon. The Daddy was hanging out with a friend in Ala Moana Park. 

"Compadre, let's join the army," his friend said, seeing the army recruiting truck parked nearby. "I'm going now."

“You go yourself,” the Daddy answered, thinking about how good the wages had become. He was making a dollar an hour. "I'm working tonight."


“I’m going” his friend said.
 

“Go ahead.” 

His friend ran to the truck and jumped on. The Daddy watched as more men jumped onto the truck. Soon, another truck stopped and parked. More men ran and jumped onto that truck. Before he realized it, the Daddy ran and jumped on the second truck, too. 

Said the Daddy:  
They took us to the camp. They gave us clothes. After they fed us, they had us exercise in the park.
Every morning, exercise. After a week of exercising, we went to the doctor. 
Then, there was an order from the mayor. All the men from the (sugar cane) plantations had to go back. They took us all to the headquarters. They said, “Everything that we had given you, all clothes and equipment, goes back to  Supply.” We returned everything.
As the Daddy and the other men filed out the door, an army official said, "Wait! Let me call and find out if everyone has to leave." The official soon came back and informed the men that only those living on the plantations had to leave. The residents of Honolulu were required to stay.

Pronounced the Daddy:
 I said to myself when it became hard, “I should’ve run.” The training was hard. Tiring.
The Daddy is sitting in the middle row. He's the third soldier from the left.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yes, Yeah, Yep.

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"Yes!"
". . .We have no bananas. We have no bananas today. . . ."

I like that song a lot. It was written for a Broadway revue in 1922 and became a hit the following year for Eddie Cantor, according to Wikipedia. I first heard it in an old-time cartoon that I saw on TV when I was a kid. I love those cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s. They introduced me to old ditties such as "Yes! We have no bananas." and "Mairzy Doats and Dozey Doats" as well as classical and jazz music. Today, cartoons will flash through my mind when I suddenly hear certain classical or jazz songs.

Yeah.

So, here we are—the letter "Y". Tomorrow, Zeee. The next day, zzzzzzzz! on the blog. Just kidding. Maybe.

As I'm writing this post, I hear in the near distance the sound of seals barking.  Yawp, yawp, yawp! But, here's the thing. I live about 25 miles from the ocean, if I was a crow.
 

Yep.
Halfway through the A to Z Blogging Challenge, Rhonda at Dizzy Stir nominated me for the Liebster Award, which I happily accepted. Here's the link about the award and who I nominated in turn. One of the tasks for accepting the award was to think up 11 questions to ask my nominees. It's only fair that I answer my own questions. Yep, it is. So, now I shall.
  1. What was the fifth fun trip that you have taken?
    A cross-country trip during the summer of 1975. Once college finals were done, a girlfriend and I hopped into my lovely little yellow box of a car and drove from San Francisco to New York and back again. We were on the road for about two months. My only regret is that I didn't take photos. I was working with little more than $250 in cash. Thank goodness, the Daddy let me use his gas card.
  2. Name one children's book that you think all adults ought to read and take to heart.  
    "When We Were Very Young" by A. A. Milne
  3. What do you think is one of the worse movies or TV shows ever made?
    Brady Bunch, but, yet, I watched it.
  4. What fairy tale character do you identify with the most?
    Fiona, the wife of Shrek. 
  5. What actor would you want to portray you in a movie about your life?
    Kathy Bates
  6. Imagine you've just finished writing a book. What's the title? 
    So, You Think You Want to Have a Cat
  7. What do you like the most about blogging?
    Being able to write about anything I feel like writing.
  8. What has been the most delicious food or dish you've ever eaten?
    Fried chicken cooked by the Daddy.
  9. When you were a kid, what age did you think was really old?
    One hundred! What did I know.
  10. Which would you rather be: a dictator, a DMV clerk, or a miner?
    A miner who owns the mine. Once I've struck gold or whatever it is I'm mining, that's it for me. 
  11. When was the last time you stopped and smelled the roses?
    Saturday. I was carrying Molly the Cat and as we passed by some of the Mama's roses, Molly told me to stop. She put her nose up to the roses and took a whiff.
    I did, too.
Here, again, are my nominees for the Liebster Award. If you haven't checked them out yet, well, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Turn Right at the Xerox Machine

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This post was originally written on September 23, 2010 and published on my previous blog, This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then.

A Special 23rd Date

Fourteen years ago, about the same time as I'm writing this, I'm getting food ready for the next day's festivity. Getting married to the husband, it was.

Fourteen years ago, about an hour or so from now, I will have finally laid down beside a very anxious husband-to-be. He would be so anxious, he would not be able to sleep. And, that would mean I would not get to sleep.

"We can still call it off," I will have said.

"No, we can't," he will have replied.

"Yes, we can."

"No, we can't. People are coming."

"We can call them up first thing in the morning."

"No, we can't."

"Yes, we can."

"You've already made the food."

"I can put it in the freezer."

"We don't have to get married," I will have said.

"We already got the license," he will have replied.

"Do you want to marry me?"

"Yes, I do."

"What's the problem?"

"You'll write about this exact moment in a blog one day."

Okay, the husband didn't say that last thing. Of course, we didn't say what I wrote word for word, but as memory serves it's pretty close to what was.

Fourteen years ago, several hours from now, the husband-to-be and I will have lead our guests through some county offices, took a right at the Xerox machine, and stood before a court judge.

"I do," I will have said.

"I do," the husband will have said, too.

After which, we all will have headed back to our home and ate the lunch that I would not have had to freeze.


~The Beginning ~


P.S. Happy Anniversary, the Husband. I'm very glad you didn't get cold feet. How did 14 years go so quickly? I love you.

P.P.S. The Husband and I just moved into a new phase of wearing those ugly, but comfortable, Crocs. Whoo-hooo!


Friday, April 26, 2013

War!

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December 7, 1941
Honolulu, Hawaii

Clip. Clip. Clip.

The Daddy's cousin was cutting Daddy's hair in their kitchen. They talked about this and that when suddenly they heard  in the near distance Boom! Boom! Boom!

"Hurry up," said the Daddy. "Something is happening at the harbor. Let's go see what's wrong."

December 8, 1941
Baguio, Philippines

At the same moment, thousands of miles to the east, the Japanese Navy Air pilots were bombarding the U.S. bases in the Philippines,  a U.S. territory. The Mama was staying in Baguio, a mountain town, where the John Hay Air Base was located. The town was immediately evacuated.

The Mama said it took her and her family about a month to walk their way down the mountain to their home in Pangasinan, a province in Central Luzon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Verily, Molly the Cat

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Yesterday afternoon, while the Husband and I worked in the Mama's garden, Molly the Cat walked along the fence. We didn't know what she had been up to until the Husband went looking for her. He found her heading down a connecting fence. Fortunately, she turned around when he called to her.  He took her off the fence, put her down on the ground, and followed her to the house all the while praising her for a job well done. After she went inside the house, the Husband shut the door.

Molly the Cat rested beside the screen door and watched  us hammer poles into the ground, untangle wire fencing, and attach the wire between poles for vegetables to climb up and up. She did not say a word unlike the neighborhood dogs when they want their way.

When the  Husband and I came to the screen door, Molly the Cat sat up.

First, she looked adoringly at the Husband.

"Verily, kind sir, please, will you open the door?"

 Then, she looked at me.


"Lady, put down the camera already, and open the door!"


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Upside-Down Cat


"Seriously. Another photo."

I think that's what Molly the Cat would say if she could speak.

"I suppose you're telling stories about me."

Yep. I surely have. If you'd like to read a post or two, click over to Missy Molly by Golly.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Never-too-Late Tunic


In April of last year, I stumbled upon a handsome batik-like print with ukuleles. Immediately, I thought, "An Hawaiian shirt for the Husband!" Without giving it another thought, I bought 2 yards of the fabric. I didn't care that I hadn't ever sewn a shirt before. When the Husband saw the print, he was just as excited as me about the idea of a Hawaiian shirt for him.

Throughout May, I looked at patterns online. The thought of sewing collars, yokes, and buttons made my hands sweat. I needed to turn this shirt into something fun to sew.

"What do you think about a tunic?" I asked the Husband.

The Husband went into a happy place as he described a Mexican tunic he once owned when he was a young man. How comfortable it was. How neat it looked. And so on, and so forth.

In June, for his birthday, I gave the Husband a written promise of a hand-sewn tunic in the ukulele print. Over the summer, I kept my eyes open for the perfect tunic pattern.

By September, or maybe it was October, I found an easy-to-sew tunic pattern. Fortunately, for me, the Husband isn't a nag. I wouldn't be surprised if he had forgotten about it.

Two days before Christmas, I sat myself at the sewing machine and made the Husband's tunic. I was great entertainment for the Mama and Molly the Cat that day. To my surprise, I completed the tunic all in one day. 


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The Husband wore the brand-new tunic to his brother's Christmas party. A couple times, I heard him saying that the Wife made it for him. 

The Husband looks quite hip in it, and, yep, very much a hippie. It's his going-out shirt. He says it's very comfortable. He feels cool when the weather is hot, and warm (with a sweater underneath) when it's cold.

Who knows? I just might sew him another for him. There is a lot of time until Christmas.




Monday, April 22, 2013

First Time Skating

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Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

"What is that noise?" I imagine the Pop of the mom-and-pop grocery store said.

The Mom walked over to the front window and laughed (so I conjecture).

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

"What is it?"


Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

"That darling little chubby girl is skating."

"On what? Cans?"

"Yes."

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

I was probably 6 or 7 years old when I skated for the first time. With each foot snugly encased in a crushed beer can, I slowly made my way around the bend of the gravel driveway to the road and along the shoulder.  I crossed in front of the mom-and-pop store with the goal of reaching the stop sign. There I rested for a long while.  Most likely I wished I had a nickel for a candy bar or maybe a dime for a bottle of Nehi soda. Skating was more work than I thought it would be.

Up, I stood, and took off again. It was just a few yards down the side of the store to the other end of the gravel driveway and back home. With luck, the Mama may not have noticed I was gone.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rock Faces & Figures

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Did you think I was going to talk about rock and roll stars? Hahaha. Nope.

I'm talking about actual rocks. Granite—or are they basalt?—rocks that edge the ocean shorelines, to be precise. But, my question can be about rock formations anywhere. That question: Do you ever see faces in rocks? How about figures?

Here's what I saw at the rocky shoreline in Monterey recently.

Mr. Big Nose

Fat Lips

Old Snorer—Zzzzzzzzzzz Zzzzzzzzzzz