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Back in My 20s

That's me standing in the back on the far left side in the photo. I was editing the photo this morning when I noticed the dress and thought it sure looked like the one I used to wear back when I was in my 20s. And, what do you know that was me. haha

I cannot remember what the celebration was all about. It could've been the end of the summer youth program for which I was coordinator, which would've been 1980. Then again it could've been the last day of the literacy/job skills program I taught the following summer.

Both programs were administered by the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Corporation (West Bay), a community-based organization in San Francisco that served Filipino immigrants in the City, most of whom lived in the South of Market. I was totally out of my element: I did not speak nor understand Tagalog, and I was American born who grew up in a small agricultural town 100 miles south of San Francisco. Even though others assured me it didn't matter, insecuri…

From the Archives: FInding Order in Chaos

At the moment, I'm working on my photo entries for the county fair (due tomorrow). As usual, I let the days go by like three years ago, the last time I participated in the fair. My post from September 28, 2015.
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Yesterday afternoon, procrastinating me started thinking about my flower arrangement entries for the fair, which are due on Wednesday afternoon.

I opened one of the kitchen cupboards and staring boldly at me, obviously begging to be in the fair, was an Eiffel Tower martini glass.  "I'm for the A Touch of Glass dry floral arrangement," it proclaimed. 

"Okay," I said. "Let's go." We went to the office where I set the Eiffel Tower martini glass on the drawing board, into which the poor Husband keeps bumping as he goes in and out of the office.

Before I knew it, the dried green moss called out from its basket on the floor, "Hey! Hey!"

Bammm! A handful of moss planted itself in the glass, draping itself wha…

Rambling Away #65,123,982

This morning at the end of breakfast my fingers locked into a Vulcan salute, and I wasn't even trying to make one.  "Look," I said to the Husband who was intently bent over his iPad.

"Wait, I'm watching this video." I constantly interrupt the Husband while he's in the middle of reading or watching a video online. Sorry, Dude.

My fingers weren't moving. Now what? Gah. That got me thinking about what kind of Medicare Advantage plan to get. I think I'm in good health for being a life-time fatty. Poor Mama, the doctor pulled out 21-inches long and over eight pounds me, cesarean style. That must've been awfully scary for her.

Baby Sister (who lived two years) and I were cesareans. Older Brother was a natural birth in a jungle in the Philippines. Just kidding about the jungle, though I would love to claim being born in a jungle. I don't know whether Oldest Girl was a cesarean, too. Valentina, the sister who died on the day she was born, Feb…

Evening Into Night

Once upon a time, on a beautiful, warm Fall evening, I sat in a university extension classroom of like-minded adults who wanted to improve their writing skills.

I spent much of the first hour glancing out the window.  I wanted to see the moment of nightfall.

I missed it.


Buttons & Tobacco Tins

There ought to be a song about that combination—buttons and tobacco tins, la la la lah.

Remember the song "Buttons and Bows"? I think Dick Dale on Lawrence Welk sang that song, while dressed in cowboy clothes or dapper 1890s suit. Or, was that Larry Hooper? The Lennon Sisters in prairie dresses and bonnets?

Yup, I watched Lawrence Welk when I was a kid, developing what I thought was sarcasm and wit. Watching it with The Daddy was a treat. I never tired listening to his assessment on the tenor Joe Feeney after he trilled "Danny Boy" or another break-your-heart song, holding the last note to kingdom come and back. When Feeney was done, The Daddy remarked, "He earned his two-bits." I never knew if The Daddy liked Feeney's singing. Should I meet up with The Daddy in the after life, that's one question I shall ask of him.

The tobacco tins in the photo belonged to The Daddy, which meant Older & Only Bro and I bought The Daddy a new pipe for The D…

A Lazy Sunday Looking Back

Here's a treat for you and me: Back in 1970, 16-year-old me wrote a piece about summer for the school newspaper.



Today I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!


From the Archives: Rooty Toot Toot

Hi ya! Hey ya! Hope all's well with ya. All is well with us. I'm still playing catch up so I'm back to reaching into my archives for a while more. Have fun out there.

Today's post (edited) was first published on November 22, 2015. =============
A warning for delicate ears: Bodily toots are being mentioned on today's post. (Giggle.)

I'm one of those people whose body systems get all relaxed when she wanders around a bookstore. The moment I enter the door, total zen. Unfortunately for those around me, I'm one of those book browsers who not only gives the occasional loud ah! when she sees an interesting book cover, but also an occasional silent toot, leaving a lingering aroma. I try not to, but, hey, better out than in.

Sorry for the TMI, but it's to set you up for this next paragraph. (Snort)

The future-Husband and my first adventure included a visit to a used bookstore in his neighborhood. I have no idea if the shop still exists. I hope it's…

From the Archives: Just for Me

Hi ya! Hey ya! Hope all's well with ya. All is well with us. I'm still playing catch up so I'm back to reaching into my archives for a while more. Have fun out there.

Today's post (edited) was first published on April 11, 2015. = = = = = = = = = = = = = Knock, knock.

The Mama opened the kitchen door, which was the back door at our house on 44 Shore Road.  I sat at the kitchen table, keeping her company as she prepared dinner.

Uncle Frank! The Daddy's younger brother. He carried a tree stump in his arms. 

"I cut down a tree in my back yard," said Uncle Frank, putting it down next to the kitchen counter. "I thought it was the right size for Susie."

I was four. Either Uncle Frank or the Mama held my hand as I climbed onto the stump. Yaaay! I had a wonderful view of the counter.

I don't remember much of those very early years. But, I must've been in the kitchen a lot with the Mama. Enough so that Uncle Frank thought I ought to  have so…

El Camino Paraiso

In Fall 1962, the family moved into a brand new house on a brand new street a couple miles east of town. Lucky 711 was the street number; El Camino Paraiso, the street name. Translation: Paradise Road. Myself, I prefer "The Road to Heaven" because the cemetery, run by the Catholic Church, sat next door.

I thought a ghost lived in my bedroom closet. Every now and then, until I left for college, just as I was falling asleep, I experienced old hag syndrome, a kind of sleep paralysis. The only way I felt safe was to sleep in a fetal position on my left side, facing away from the closet.

Cute yellow house, don't you think? It had a huge back yard, enough space for the Daddy to grow a good-size vegetable garden, as well as plant fruit trees and raise chickens, pigeons, goats, and pigs. Fortunately for us we lived in the county. With all that, the Parents still were able to put in a patio, some lawn, and a flower garden. 

The Mama sold the yellow house in 1987, a year aft…

Tuna Fish Surprise

The last time I made Tuna Fish Surprise was in home economics class in seventh grade, which was...hmmmm....over 50 years ago. That was the first time I ever made the dish—a can of tuna fish, a can of cream of mushroom soup, crumbled potato chips, and, I don't know what else. I have a vague feeling we baked the tuna fish on sliced bread. It was after all public school, the 1960s, and the objective to teach us, girls, how to prepare delicious fare cheaply and quickly within 30 minutes or less.

The home ec teacher let us give our dish away to other teachers, which meant being able to roam the hallways during class hours. So, yeah, you bet I went that way. I chose Mr. Anthony, the gruff old science teacher. Why should all the favorite teachers get all the good stuff?

Yesterday was the second time I made a version of the dish. After consulting the cookbooks and the Internet, I figured anything could be put together for this dish. Thus, it's name. Uh-huh. Got it.

To two cans of sust…

A Picture for My Thoughts

I'm taking apart the first album of the Mama's. Not her first one ever, but the first in a long line of albums. Sigh.

What's with the so-called "acid-free/archival" pages in this album? The cellophane breaks apart when I take out the photos. So much for trying to use my hands with delicateness and refinement.

For some reason-yet-to-be-identified, I'm saving the 3x5 pieces of paper (with a single punched hole) that were used as dividers between photos. The how-can-I-repurpose-this part of me has prevailed.

I don't know what to do with the photos after I've scanned them. For that matter, what am I going to do with the scanned photos. May be why there are long intervals between scanning sessions. And, for a session to happen, I need to play my era of Rock & Roll and Latin music so I can wiggle and waggle in my chair, as I do this rather sad and joyful exercise of remembering stuff in photos.  For instance: the rainy wedding day of a cousin; our yel…

Once Upon a Time

This was in 1996 (or 1997) in our backyard at our first home together. We had an awesome view of San Francisco Bay and, behind the Husband and all that greenery, of San Francisco.

It had been about 20 years since either of us lived in a house. What a luxury that was. No flights of stairs to carry groceries, packages, or laundry. Open the front door and sit on an actual porch. Until sound walls were built by the freeway a few miles below us, we heard no traffic. And, we had a huge backyard with nothing in it so we could transform it into anything we wanted. Yes, definitely a wonderful first home for us to get used to each other.

Doesn't the Husband look cute? In college, he was given the nickname "Farmer Dick" by his friends. Not because he was a farmer, but because he wore overalls a lot.  (That's another thing the Husband and I had in common when we were young.)  He makes a handsome farmer, the Husband does, so I say.



I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly …

Purple!

When the Daddy and the Mama bought their house a long time ago, it wasn't completely finished so the builders let us choose the colors for the rooms. I chose purple for my bedroom, my own four walls with a door. No more more sharing with the Only and Older Brother. That was a pretty good luxury for an almost 10-year-old and for the parents, too. So I think.

In the end, the painters mixed up the Parents' and my choices. They got a muted purple bedroom, while I got a bright yellow one.  Both the Mama and I were bummed, but we sucked it up. C'est la vie.

It was just as well that I didn't get my choice. The color yellow, color experts say, is great for nurturing joyfulness and stimulating intelligence and mental somersaults (perfect for growing minds), while the color purple is good for promoting deep thoughts and spirituality. Once I moved into puberty, I became a rather surly, mopey girl too serious for her own good. Thank goodness for yellow walls (and books).

When I tu…

Yesterday & Today in the Front Yard

The other day I came across these photos of the Mama's front yard in 2010. Neat and proper, how the Mama loved her gardens and landscaping to be. A philosophy that differs from mine, which is essentially a higgledy-piggledy one, although you might say that there is order in chaos.


It has been almost two years since I've taken over the Mama's gardens and landscaping. Flowers have gotten out of hand. The canna lilies, for example, were winning in their plot to take over the front garden so I dug out most of the bulbs and transplanted many elsewhere last month. The Mama's rosemary bushes, on the other hand, are getting straggly in a way that I wonder if they may be on their last legs.

The Mama's roses got rather tall. Some nearly reached the roof. She deadheaded them, but after someone mentioned how tall the roses were, she was no longer interested in cutting them back. So I thought. Now I wonder if was because it was too difficult for her to prune them and she didn&…

Onward and Upward!

The Husband is down with a virus so it was not a good rest for us last night. Cough, cough. Toss, turn. You know the drill. He'll be fine, we think positively. Leftover garlicky ginger chicken soup was turned into a pot of garlicky ginger tomato soup this morning, which shall be good for a couple of days before he tires of that kind of soup. He's already on his way to losing weight for the 20-pound loss goal we each set on Christmas day (our present to ourselves) by the end of May.

So. Here we are, the end of the year.

An outrageous year for our nation, leaderless. Executive actions and congressional duplicity turning us down the path of darkness rather than so-called greatness. I want to think that we've reached the bottom and it's only up now. A lot of us have no problem standing up against harassment, intimidation, lies, misconceptions, ignorance, and down-right bullying.

The personal score: A hysterectomy took away the cancer no one was really sure was there. The …

Suman

Suman is my all-time favorite Filipino dessert that the Mama made during the Christmas season when I was a kid. It is a decadent sweet rice concoction made from sticky rice (aka glutinous rice and sweet rice), brown sugar, and coconut milk.

The delightfulness about suman is the memory of it being made, usually on a cold, rainy day. I'm anywhere from age four to seven. The Daddy cracks open two or three coconuts, pouring the juice into a waiting glass. I have yet to taste coconut water as good as what I drank way back when.

The Daddy scrapes the coconut meat from the shell carefully and precisely on a a flat, round serrated scraper that he attached to a thick chunk of wood that he straddled. "I want to do it," I say every so often, as I watch the coconut transform into tiny slips of whiteness as it falls from the scraper into a large white metal basin with red trim. Eventually the parents let me sit on the homemade coconut scraper and try for a short bit. It is not easy,…

The Beatles!

The Beatles!

Need I say more? I didn't think so.

"We are just a band that made it very big. That's all," said John Lennon on Disc 1 of The Beatles Anthology.

I'm glad The Beatles happened during my lifetime, in particular, my youth.

John and Ringo were born in 1940, Paul in 1942, and George in 1943. They had a child's memory of WWII. In spite of (or because of) all the harsh stuff they may have experienced as children, they gave us beautiful lyrics and music. Thank you, The Beatles!

By the way, have you heard their version of Besame Mucho from their younger years. Just put a pair of velvet pants on Paul. Gosh.







The Start of an Indoor Jungle

A long time ago when I was a young single thing living in the City, one of the things I enjoyed was creating a jungle in my apartment. On Sunday mornings, my church was the house plant section of Cost Plus down by Fisherman's Wharf. Wandering around philodendrons, umbrella trees, and ficus plants, oh my. Pothos, rubber plants, and ivies, such oxygen heaven. I didn't always go home with plants, but when I did it was with the small ones that cost less than two bucks each. With houseplants you can get a lot with a very slim pocketbook.

Now and then the Mama gave me a houseplant to take home after a weekend visit. I don't know how many times she sent me home with a ti plant. "They're good luck," she said. The ti plants never made it, which I realize now is because I lived in very cold apartments. I wore a heavy sweater or snuggled under blankets and pillows rather than turn on inefficient wall heaters.

Once, sometimes twice, a year, I would repot and propagate t…

Important Numbers

I wonder if a day will come when I no longer remember these numbers.

44 — The number of the first address I recall.

242 — Our family's P.O. box when we lived at #44.

711 — The number of the first house that the family owned. Not rented.

637-4735— The first phone number that I memorized. It went to a black phone. At first it was ME(rcury)7 4735.  That phone number went with us from #44 to #711.

What first important numbers do you remember?




My First Playgrounds

Swings and jungle gyms. Slides and teeter-totters. I came across a playground for the first time when I was five years old on my first day of first grade. I really took to the slides, especially the corkscrew one. When I got home that day, I looked forward to the next day of the slides just as much as the books and the pencils, and the desks and the blackboards. That experience lasted all of two-and-a-half days. I had to wait a full year to hang out in a playground again because the teacher said I was "too young" for school.

It was okay. I went back to my old playground of open fields.