Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Yummy Pumpkin Bibingka


"I'm going to make bibingka," I said on Christmas morning.

"Do you know how to make bibingka?" asked the Husband. 

The Husband forgot that I've baked this Filipino dessert a few times before. Of course it was easy for him to forget since the Mama liked to make this cake treat nearly every Christmas and for any day she deemed special.  I don't know if I'll carry on the Mama's annual holiday tradition. It simply felt good to have some kind of warm sweetness enveloping the house on Christmas morning.

The tradition I will carry on is the Mama's like to experiment with recipes. I read a recipe for pumpkin mochi which I thought would translate quite well into pumpkin bibingka. Both recipes use sweet rice flour rather than wheat flour. Instead of condensed milk, I used a combination of coconut milk and lactose-free whole milk. I'd give you the recipe but I modified it as I was going and you know how that goes.

The result turned out pretty yummy. Not too sweet since I cut the sugar by a third.  I was surprised that the pudding-texture of the cake came out almost like the Mama's, which means I may have approximated the secret ratio of liquid to dry ingredients that the Mama used. Nearly every Filipino woman has her own unique take on bibingka once she has mastered the basic recipe.

"It's like pumpkin pie without the crust," said the Husband.

I think the Mama would've liked it, too.


Y is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme that has been around for 10 years. Thank you, ABCW team!  Want to join or check out the participants? Then click here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

There's an X!


Do you ever see faces in rocks? The alphabet in landscapes? Spaces that look like they could be portals into another dimension?

Me too.

Merry Xmas! Happy Holidays!

Be Happy!


I'm happily linking up with ABC Wednesday. Please click here to check out the other participants and/or to join in.  Thank you, ABCW Team!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Cat in a Flower Pot


By golly! Miss Molly, whatever are you doing?

As always, Molly the Cat ignored my question.

I watched her jump into the pot, sniff as she turned 360 degrees inside it, then climbed so daintily out of it.


Molly the cat and I were doing our morning round of the front yard. I was curious to see how well the plants fared in this morning's frost. A few plants in the shade sported soft ice similar to what's in a shaved-ice cone.

What was Molly curious about?

I saw two dove feathers near the tree, which means that a neighborhood cat successfully caught himself a bird that morning. Molly may have picked up his scent. She looked to have lost it a few feet from the flower pots.

Life is good that I can start my day like this.


I'm linking up today with All Seasons, a meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jeshstg. Click here to join or  to check out other participants.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Narcissuses


I like the ss-sss sound that comes by saying narcissuses.

If only you could smell the fragrance of these narcissuses.  Mmmmmmmmm.

The Husband bought them for me at the farmers market in Santa Cruz yesterday. Yes, it was sweet of him. 

What was most sweet of the Husband was that he held my hand as he helped me hobble across the street to the parking lot.


 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stained Glass Windows


The Husband and I wandered about the country roads yesterday afternoon for my birthday treat. Our first stop was at the small old church in Tres Pinos, California, population nearly 500. (These links will lead you to my posts about the church and town, if you're interested in know about them.)

We happened to be in luck. The church doors were open.  I'm not a churchgoer, but I find comfort sitting inside this church every so often. Maybe it's because I was baptized there.

As always, I enjoyed contemplating over the stained glass windows. They are eloquent in their simplicity. They are poetry.


It's the letter W at ABC Wednesday. Click here to join in, or to check out other participants. Thank you, ABCW team!


Monday, December 12, 2016

A New Trip


So begins a new adventure around the sun for me.

Here I gooooooooooooooooooooooooo. . .




Sunday, December 11, 2016

Knee Deep


Can knees cry?

That's what I feel my right knee is doing right now. Plain out bawling its tears.

If there is no longer any padding within our kneecap, does that mean the bones are grating against each other?

I know the answer. It's what the doctors have been telling me lately,"You're rubbing bone against bone." Grate, grate, grate.

Shudder.

The specialist bone doctor, who I shall call Looking-Mighty-Tired, told me on Friday that knees like mine have four options for improvement. Medications, shots, physical therapy, and surgery.  Hahaha,

Guess what? I achieved without trying. I went straight to the top of the class. Bingo! Surgery!

Ouch.

Slowly by slowly, since Friday, my brain is understanding the impact of my (without trying) achievement. Half an hour after the appointment, I had said to the Husband, "I wonder if this is outpatient surgery. I forgot to ask."

Hahahahahaha.

Right, silly me.

To be continued.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A View of Something Pretty

This morning I thought today was the letter W on ABC Wednesday. What shall I do? I wondered.

Then it dawned on me that today is December 7 -- Pearl Harbor Day. I can repost the War! piece I wrote several years ago about my parents's experiences on that day in 1941. Yes, that's what I would do later when I had a chance.

An hour ago was my opportunity to do my post. Whoops. It's actually the letter V. I thought vice, viceroy, vicious, villain, vile and all kinds of v words that had me thinking of our new President-elect and his, shudder, proposed advisors and cabinet secretaries. Vleahhh.

I decided you would prefer to see something pretty. So, here you go—the Mama's flowers in the front of the house. They are in bloom this moment. I don't know how long they'll last. It's starting to get quite chilly.


To check out other participants in ABCW, please click here. Thank you, ABCW team!



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Uh-toot!


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

The Mama laughed.

"What's that?" the Husband asked.

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

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

"Uh-toot," I said.

"Uh-taut."

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

The Mama smiled.

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

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

The Mama considered mice as farts. Giggle.


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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Vivacious Mama

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

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

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

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


 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trieste


Trieste is the name of the street I live on. The Husband pronounces Trieste as Tree-est. The Mama used to say Trees-tay. I like to say Tree-es-tay. Molly the Cat simply says Mwrr.

Today, I found out that I was wrong about what trieste means. I thought it meant sad. In Italian, which is the word's origin, trieste means market place. (Italians pronouce the word as tree-es-tay.) According to Wiktionary.org, trieste is from the Latin word tergeste, which comes from Venetic, a once-upon-a-time language in the long-time-ago region of Veneto.

I love the idea that we live on Trieste, a market place. I shall now imagine myself selling, trading, and giving away the creations of my heart. They may be words, images, and things out of stuff. Hmmmm. When I was a young thing living in San Francisco I wanted to be a street artist when I grew up, but I had no idea what I could sell as I had no artistry of any kind. That's what I thought then.

Things are different now. I have the time to play with paint, ink, pencils, glitter, dyes, rocks, dirty, hammers, saws, needles, thread, paper, fabric, straw, flowers, paper, and so on and so forth, et cetera, et cetera. I can explore, discover, experiment, and simply try my hand at finding what kind of artistry is inside me. Who knows, if I want to, I might even make a small living out of it.

By the way, in Spanish, triste means sad or mournful. I'm glad to know that I don't live on a street called sadness. Maybe now melancholy and I can make a truce. 


It's the letter T at ABC Wednesday. Click here to join in on the fun and/or read posts by other bloggers around the world.  Thank you, ABCW team!


Monday, November 21, 2016

A Sunday Drive in November


Yesterday afternoon, the Husband and I safely exited the highway onto a road that led us briefly through a magical eucalyptus forest.

We zigged and zagged up hill and down dale along vaguely familiar roads to a small town where an artisan's holiday fair was happening. Shall we turn left or right? One way or the other we'd find our destination. We could've taken the direct route. But, where's the fun in that?

We wouldn't have come across two young deer quietly and delicately making their way up a hillside. It was almost like they were holding their breath as they walked. Were they afraid we would see them?

The Husband stopped the car and opened his window so I could quickly take a photo of the young deer. It wasn't until I was fiddling with this photo that I noticed a creature in the brush above him. At first I thought it was a bobcat or a coyote. Would the deer have gone so slowly if it was either creature?  It turned out it was another deer.


I'm glad the Husband and I went out into the world yesterday.

Today, I'm linking up with All Seasons and Our World Tuesday. I hope you check both memes out.  Peace and joy to you all.







Friday, November 18, 2016

Uplifting


Nature is uplifting. Full of grace. Unconditional love.

This photo (my favorite this week) is my contribution to Friday's Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.  Her weekly meme asks participants to share photos to three prompts.  The prompts this week are:  1) Starts with U  2) Week's Favorite  3) Nature

To join in (it's open until Sunday evening) and/or to check out other participants, click here.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Simply Stunning Surprise


Wowza!

I planned on writing something serious today about current events, but then I received wonderful news this morning that I want to share. It was the first email message I saw when I opened my mailbox.  Giggle, giggle.

First some background.  Are you familiar with the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King? This is one of the few series that I keep up with. In a nutshell, in case you're not, Mary, the wife of Sherlock, is the main character in the series. Mary goes from being Sherlock's apprentice to his equal partner in marriage and detection.  Together, they resolve situations for clients and Sherlock's brother who is in the deepest of deep English intelligence, as well as for themselves. The time frame for their adventures is the late 1910s and 1920s. For more about the series, click here.

So, what's my news? 

Last month I entered that drawing above of Mary and Sherlock on a hillside in Laurie R. King recent fan art contest. It's my interpretation of Sherlock and Mary in their first years together. Sherlock and Mary discuss a case while the apprentice practices her juggling, a skill that she shall use when she is in disguise as a gypsy or other vagabond. Sherlock smoking his pipe is a sign that he is focused on making sense out of the clues that have revealed themselves.

Yes, the news.  I won First Runner Up in the Contest! The announcement is here. Whooo-hooo!

It's the first time I ever placed in an art contest. Wowza!


We're up to the letter S in ABC Wednesday, thank you very much ABCW team. To join in and/or check out the participants, please click here.
 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Feeling Artsy-Fartsy Today


Bones Approaching DOOM

The Husband suggested that title for the photo. It has a nice ring, don't you think?

Back to the picture. Imagine that the bones are wearing cowboy spurs. Imagine, now, that the bones are walking towards the ribbon of red. Jhing. Jhing. Jhing. 

Doesn't it seem that the bones might also be wearing a poncho similar to the one Clint Eastwood's character wore in the Italian western movies once upon a time?

That photo above is my edited version of the photo below that I took yesterday at the Day of the Dead procession in our county. I took a lot of photos. As always. My thought was to clean some up in Photoshop and share them at my other blog. Well, I didn't get pass this photo. I blame it on the skeleton (on the left) for holding up its arm in such a way that I thought it would be fun to contrast the bones with the feathers on the headdresses. You know how that goes. The creative brain cell kicked in and dismissed the practical sense of what I had planned to do.  There's always tomorrow for that.



Friday, November 4, 2016

Simply Amazing!


The clouds last Saturday were simply amazing. I saw various shapes floating through the sky. This spectacular cloud reminded me of an animal. I just can't figure what kind.  See its little ears sticking up, its eye, and its snout. What do you think?

This photo (my favorite this week) is my contribution to Friday's Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.  Her weekly meme asks participants to share photos to three prompts.  The prompts this week are:  1) Starts with S  2) Week's Favorite  3) Amazing

To check out what others are sharing and/or to join in the fun, please here


 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Not Quite With It Sometimes


Once upon a time when I was young, I needed to have a car insurance adjuster give me an estimate on the damage done to the car I was driving at the time. I no longer recall what the damage was and how the car got damaged, which makes me think that some one thumped or scraped the car in a parking lot and drove away. Or, something similar that made a big enough of a dent for the Daddy to tell me to take it into an insurance office so that I can get it fixed. Immediately.

Got it. 

At the time I was a big girl working and living in San Francisco. Whoo-hooo!

Very responsible I was, this big girl that I was. I even knew where to take the car, without looking it up in the phone book. Remember that book?

Early one Saturday morning, a friend and I drove over to the State Farm Insurance Office near a mall south of the City. Easy peasy. I went into the office and told a guy what I needed. He picked up a clipboard, and, leading me back outside, asked, "Do you have your insurance card?"

"It's in the glove compartment."

"You get it while I take a look at the damage."

No problem, which was the motto of this big girl that I was.

I sat in the passenger's seat and opened the glove compartment. A whole bunch of stuff came tumbling out. And, sitting right on top of all that stuff were a couple of tampons.

Giggle. 


The friend didn't think it was funny at all. "Sue!" She was quite embarrassed when the insurance guy was suddenly behind her.

"Here it is," I said, stuffing everything back into the glove compartment and shutting the door. Snap.  I like to remember the snap as a nice devil-may-care snap. Snap.

"You know we're State Farm Insurance?" asked the insurance guy.

"Yes."

He handed me back the insurance card. "You're with Farmer's Insurance."

Giggle.


It's the letter Q at ABC Wednesday. Q-dedicated posts (or should I say dedicated Q posts?) are especially tough for me. For that matter, so are the other 25 letters of the alphabet.  Click here to check out other Q posts by ABCW participants. Join in, too, if you like.

Thanks, ABCW team!


Monday, October 31, 2016

Little by Little


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

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

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

Progress has been little by little.


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

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

Take a deep breath.

Little by little.

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday's Hunt v2.18


The cues: 1) Starts with R   2) Week's favorite   3) Black and/or orange

Raindrops grace a bare rose plant in the front yard. Leaves turn color on it, too.  Click.

That's my favorite shot to share in this week's Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills. Click here to see what other participants have posted. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Personality


"You're a sweet cat," the Husband said.

"I am not," said Molly the Cat.

"Yes, you are."

"I am not."

"A very sweet kitty cat."

"I am not! I'm a lion!"

  
"I'm a tiger!"


"I'm a panther!"

 
"M-m-m-o-w-w-w-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!"

"So there, Mister the Husband."


Missy Molly by Golly and I are performing the letter P for ABC Wednesday. Giggle. Purrrrrrr. 
Click here to visit more ABCW participants. Thank you, ABCW team!



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Oh, Gee. Oh, My. Oh, Gosh!


"Are you ready?"

"Me?"

"Susan?"

"Yup. That's me." I pushed myself off the bench and grabbed the Mama's cane.

"Take your time," the X-ray lady said. "No hurry."

"I finally think of myself as old," I said, trying not to grimace as I stiffly walked into the inner room of the X-ray laboratory.

"Is that why you gasped when I gave you the form to sign?" the office lady asked, as I walked behind her desk. "I wondered what it was on the form that made you hesitate."

"Seeing my age, yes," I said. "I don't think of myself as being that old. 62!"

"I don't think of myself as old either," said the office lady, who may have been a few years younger than me.

The X-ray lady, who looked to be in her late 40s  agreed as well.

 I felt like the three of us gave a invisible collective sigh.

Since the beginning of August I've been hobbling along most days because of the knees. At first it was my left knee that gave me trouble. Then at the beginning of October, it switched over to the right knee. Too much overcompensation, I figure, from too much lifting and carrying of heavy boxes. So forth and so on. Bleah. The X-rays show arthritis in both knees. Also, the misalignment of bones in my right knee. Fun stuff.

My knees have been an issue since I was a kid. On the bright side, it has taken 50 years for the knees to kick in and say, "It's time to see an orthopedist."

I'm missing my rides with Tilda-Hilda.  One day, soon!


It's ABC Wednesday time. (Thank you very much, ABCW team!)  Here we are at the letter O. Oh, boy; oh, girl! Click here to join in and/or to check out the other participants.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

First Rain of the Season!


Late Friday night, we had our first rain. I don't think it rained too long, but it was enough to give us that shiny wetness the next morning. As I'm writing, I hear the plunkity-plunk of the rain on some part of the roof,  the swissshhhh! of water as cars drive by, and the general gentle fall of the rain. 

This is our first rainfall since May.

Hurrah!

I'm linking up today with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by blogger friend Jeanette. Click here to check out her post and the link that leads other participants in the meme. You have until Wednesday, if you'd like to join in.