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Day 45 with Tilda-Hilda

A few weeks ago, a young boy was run over by a bus a couple blocks away from our street. He was riding his bicycle. I don't know what the particulars were. I can only think that both the boy and the driver did not pay attention at the same moment. It was unfortunate. Now, at that spot is a memorial for the boy.

I thought of that event this morning as I rode in the bicycle lane on a main road. As I approached intersections, drivers moved into the bicycle lane so that they could turn right. One driver didn't even signal her intent. She abruptly jumped in front of me. I rang my bell and called out, "You asshole." A walker on the sidewalk said, "You need a bullhorn." Her companion said, "Be careful."

Indeed. It takes two not paying attention at the same moment to have an accident. I don't plan on having one. Nor do I plan on giving up my morning rides.

Today, Tilda-Hilda and I rode for 53 minutes, pedaling about nine-and-a-half miles.


Memorial Day

Memorial Day by Helen Leah Reed (From Memorial Day and Other Verse, 1917)
        No warrior he, a village lad,
                needing nor words nor other prod
        To point his duty; he was glad
                to tread the path his fathers trod.
        Week days he worked in wood and field;
                with homely joys he decked his life;
        The sword of hate he would not wield,
                nor take a part in cankering strife.
        On Sunday in the little choir
                he sang of Peace and brotherly love,
        And as his thoughts soared higher and higher,
                they reached unmeasured heights above.

        A cry for Freedom rent the Land -
                "Our Country calls, come, come, 'tis War;
        Together let us firmly stand;"
                he answered, though his heart beat sore
        At leaving home, and kin, and one
                in whose fond eyes too late he read
        That life for her had but begun
       …

Random Scenes: Don't Slam the Door!

Don't Slam the Door! by Su-sieee! Mac S-L-A-M !!

“ALESSA!”

“I’m sorry, Ma,” said the tiny young girl. “I forgot.”

“One of these days, Alessa, something terribly awful will happen when you slam that door,” said her mom.

“Yes, Mom,” Alessa said, thinking that was just too silly of an idea. Still, it did frighten Alessa a little and she stopped slamming the door. 

Then, one day she forgot.

S-L-A-M !!

The building shook.

Things tumbled off the shelves and walls.

The trees and the houses rocked and rolled.

The bridges collapsed.

The roads crumbled.

The cities fell apart.

The water in the bay shook.

The mountain tops blew off.

All over the world, the crusts moved and shook and sunk and rose.

The earth spun off its wobble.

It bumped into the moon, next into Mars, and then into Jupiter.

Earth bounced back towards the sun, sucking up all the other planets of the solar system.

The sun and all the planets exploded and swirled into a swirl, swirling, swirling, swirling and collapsing into a black hole.

Everythi…

Another Rambling Saturday

The greatest thing that happened this past week was Rainy Thursday. It rained throughout the day and night. And, at one point, it came down in buckets. Of course, I had to go outside and take photos. I got totally drenched, and loved every huge raindrop that my tee-shirt absorbed.

The Mama loved the rain, too. She was outside when the rain started, and decided to go hang out in the shed as the sky kept crying. On this coming Wednesday's post, I'll share what she did during the rain.

Writing Travel Bits
Lately, I've been writing descriptions about local places for Mapquest. Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to be a travel writer, but other things came along to drop that thought in the wish bucket. Writing these occasional short pieces is fulfilling that dream. Here are a few of the places I've written about so far: Pinnacles National Park, National Steinbeck Center, San Benito County Historical Park, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph.


Vanna White
On most we…

M-a-n-i-p-u-l-a-t-i-n-g. Manipulating

I would like to think that the only good manipulating I do these days is what I do with my photos in Photoshop. Not that I think I manipulate people to my way of thinking or doing. Although, there are time when I wish people would stop thinking the ways of the dark force.

Once upon a time, I had a very good girlfriend. We had wonderful adventures together. Did a lot of crazy stuff. Supported each other through our poor days of college studies. And, so forth and so on. Then one day we had a falling out. I had a rough work day, so was not at my best of listening to her troubles and was quite short with her. Ha! Wrong thing to do. No matter how much I apologized and tried to make amends, she chose to sever our friendship. Her final words depressed and angered me the most. I don't recall them precisely anymore, which is good. They were something like this: "I got all that I wanted out of you."

It took me a long while, but I finally saw the light. Who says things like that?…

Molly the Don't-Mess-with-Me Cat!

"You want a picture, Su-sieee! Mac?" asked Molly the Cat. "Okay, I'll give you a sweet picture!"

Did she ever!

Today, Molly the Cat and I are linking up at Sweet Shot Tuesday, hosted by Kent Weakley. Click here to check out sweet shots by other bloggers.

Cubed Tofu

Did you know that you can buy tofu already cubed? 
Seriously. I must quote the Mama now. "These businessmen are very smart. They know how to make money."
The other night I opened what I thought was a container of a block of extra-firm tofu. As I was about to drain the now opened container, I noticed loose pieces of tofu. What the heck? Then, I saw that the container was full of small pieces of tofu. I looked at the wrapper. Extra-firm CUBED tofu!  Again: What the heck?  
So much for having fried slices of tofu with roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. It was time to get creative.  As the Brussels sprouts roasted in the toaster oven, I diced a fragment of orange bell pepper, a handful of browning chives, cilantro, and a bunch of garlic cloves. I also chopped salami slices, which I found in the freezer. 
I heated a big glob of bacon fat. Yes, bacon fat. The bell pepper was thrown in first. Two minutes later, the cubed tofu. Stir. Stir. Stir. In went the rest of the ingredient…

Knowing the Language

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

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

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

As I was growing up the parents mostly spoke Ilocano to me while I spoke English to them. I still do that with the Mama, and the Husband finds it very strange. It's really not unusual with immigrant parent…

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 h…

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.

War!

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.

Quitting Time

Come August I shall be celebrating my 27th anniversary at my job. I doubt the Boss will give me a gift of money or even a lousy pen to show her appreciation. The Boss is cheap. Yeah, I said it. C-h-e-a-p. Cheap. But, then, you see, the Boss is me. 

Like everyone else, I've had quite a few jobs during my life. Some jobs were temporary. I liked those. I knew when the ending would be. No fuss, no muss.  As for the jobs from which I resigned, okay, quit, I had gone as far I wanted and needed to go with them.

Cutting apricots was my first paying job. It was also the first job I quit. I was nine years old.

The job entailed cutting apricots in half, pulling out the pits, and laying them on a wooden tray bigger than a kitchen table. When the tray was filled neatly with halved apricots, it was placed out in the sun for the fruit to dry. I think I got 75 cents a tray.  Yeah, I know, a pittance. This was the early 1960s.

I don't remember how many trays I was able to fill in a day, or…

The "F" in Filipino

The Mama and the Daddy immigrated to the United States from the Philippines, a country that is composed of more than 7,000 islands. So, it goes without saying (but I am anyway) that the archipelago has many distinct cultures that have their own languages.  Because of the islands position next to China and Southeast Asia, the islands were a stopping ground for traders, adventurers, and religious evangelists as they traveled east or west.

Until the Spanish arrived in the archipelago in the 16th century, the indigenous peoples did not have the consonant F in their languages. When the Spanish began colonizing the islands in 1565, they introduced the Latin script as way of converting the native people to Catholicism. Yep, the good old sword and the cross shtick.

One of the early Spanish explorers decided to name  Leyte and Samar Felipinas or Las islas Filipinas after their king,  Phillip II. Eventually, the Spanish people applied the name to the whole archipelago.

The Husband thinks the …

Digging

A few months after the Daddy died, the Mama needed me to uncover the septic tanks in the back yard so that the service guys could come and clear them out. So, one weekend I drove down from San Francisco, where I lived at the time, to do her bidding. The Older and Only Brother lived a few minutes away from her, but she rarely bothered him with such tasks. "He's busy. He has to work on Saturdays. He has a family." 

The day of digging was the same day that the Mama went to Reno with the local Filipino club. Her friends had convinced her to go. It would be a good change for her, they told her. I was very relieved that she would not be home. Back then we were always on tense terms. And, if I was doing physical work, it was best to leave me alone.

There were two septic tanks in the Mama's backyard. I had no idea. I thought there was only one and I knew where it was. I dug out the tank just like that. 

The Mama had a hazy idea of where the second tank was. "Someplace b…

A Love Story that (Thank Goodness!) was Not to Be

I am very fortunate that I have met not one, but two gentle men, both of whom I married. Of course, not at the same time. When I met the current husband,  I told him that I didn't date. I went on adventures, but not dates. I rarely dated before the first husband, so why begin then.

But, today is not a story of either husband. Instead, my ramble is about the man who would not be my husband. He was the first—and last—man that the Mama and the Daddy dared try to match me with. Yes, I know. So old country. At least, they did not attempt to do an arranged marriage for me. 

I was in my late 20s, an old age to still be unmarried, according to the old ways. I lived alone in San Francisco, over 100 miles from the parents, which were two other no-no's for young women.

The man in question had a name that some women would think romantic. I thought it was just sappy. Other women would've described him as very dreamy. I saw him as looking superficially slick. One who would have noth…

Leaks!

Warning: It's graphic today.

Leaking things.
Under the car.
Around the base of the toilet.
Under the water heater.

Leaking bodies.
From the gut.
Norovirus.
Postmenopausal bleeding.

Aaaaaaaaaaaack.


This will all stop.
Eventually.
Hopefully,
sooner.
Not later.

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 …

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 n…