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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.





See the Strange Thing!

Come See the Strange Thing!

Posters called out to the Husband and me once upon a time at the county fair.

Only a Dollar!

How could we resist?

We walked up to the counter, plunked down our two bucks, and entered the tent.

Pictures and articles were plastered on the wall. I didn't want to read. I wanted instant gratification. Where is the Strange Thing!?

Then. . . . Eeeeeeeeeeeew!

On display was a shriveled up something that looked like a dried up armadillo. Yuck. The Strange Thing! was said to be a blood-sucking creature called a chupacabra.

Was it real? Qué sera, sera? The Internet mostly says the chupacabra is an urban legend, but that doesn't keep the curious from conducting field research.

Years later the Husband and I crack up whenever one of us brings up The Strange Thing! Have we learned our lesson? Will we plunk down hard-earned cash to see the next Strange Thing! at a county fair? Qué sera, sera?

By the way, we have our own little strange thing sitting on the kitch…

Always, the Daddy

I imagine it going this way:

"Susie. Susie, hold still."

"You can go play in the water after I take the picture."

"Susie! Stop moving."

The photographer, who was probably the Mama, sighed. She most likely turned to the Daddy who knew what to do.

He crouched behind me, holding me in place.

"Susie smile at the camera."

Click.

No doubt the Mama sighed when she saw the photo. Oh, well.

Throughout my life, the Daddy always had my back.


Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

I'm hooking up with Seasons, a meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG. Click here to check out other participants. Toodle-ooo.


Moodiness.

I'm sulking.

As in my teenage-self sulk, which was playing my guitar all Sunday afternoon, singing Flowers on the Wall, Elusive Butterfly, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and other angst songs, in the living room.

I did do that. One time, during a pause, the Mama called out from the kitchen, "Are you done now?"

hahahahaha.

The poor Mama. She was a saint to endure two or more hours of my off-key singing and probably out-of-tune guitar.

Okay. Focus. Back to the subject I began.

I'm sulking.

I don't want to do this not-a-hysterical operation even though I know it's a preventative measure that may let me live the full life that I'm meant to have.

Don't worry. It will happen. In three weeks, I'll no longer have a reproductive system. I'm way beyond baby-producing time so my fist-size of a womb with attaching tubes and ovaries will be no more.

I've never given birth. I wanted five kids. Maybe I have them in parallel universes. One can dream. 

I w…

The Ilocano Tribe

It's the letter I at ABC Wednesday. My contribution is an edited post that I originally published on April 10, 2013. To check out ABCW posts from bloggers around the world, please click here. Thanks ABCW Team! In 1985, I spent several days camping in Havasu Canyon with the First Husband-to-be. Havasu Canyon, known for its gorgeous waterfalls that run down to the Colorado River, lies just outside of the western border of the Grand Canyon National Park. We stayed at the Havasu campground on the Havasupai Indian Reservation run by the Havasupai Tribe. (I have no idea if that's how it is today.)

Havasupai means people of the green blue water. And, yes, the pools of water were a spectacular green blue color when we were there.

To get to the campground back then, you either flew in on a helicopter or hiked the winding 10-mile trail down to the canyon floor.

I was (and still am) a slow walker, so the First Husband-to-be got to the campground office before me. The reservation was und…

Jumping the Ditch

It's the letter D at ABC Wednesday. My share is a post that I originally published on April 11, 2014. To check out ABCW posts from bloggers around the world, please click here. Thanks ABCW Team!


Because I was born 10 days after the cut-off date for first graders, I was sent home on the third day of school. Fine. The Mama had her hands full caring for Baby Sister and figuring out the new house that we had moved into about a week before school started. That meant I got to go with the Daddy for part of the day. Great!

The Daddy irrigated the rows upon rows of crops on the valley floor. During his morning break, the Daddy came home to fetch me. I'd get in the car with my Golden Books, coloring books, and crayons and down the hill we would go. While the Daddy worked, I entertained myself with my books and when that became tiring, I'd wander and explore, but never too far from the car and always where the Daddy could see me. We'd go home for lunch and sometimes I'…

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?&quo…

The London Bridge

London Bridge is falling down,
falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down.
My Fair Lady. In first grade, we sang this Mother Goose rhyme as we marched under an arch formed by the joined hands of two kids. The hands came down on "My Fair Lady" and the two kids would then rock the captured kid between their locked hands, as we sang a verse about taking the key and locking the kid up. When that verse was over, either the captured kid chose a side and stood behind that kid or took that kid's place, after which, we marched and sang the rhyme again.

I don't remember what the point of the game was. For that matter, what the rhyme was all about. After three or four rounds, I would look longingly at the playground, even willing to climb up the jungle gym. And, that I disliked to do.

I didn't become curious about the London Bridge until 1975 when I learned that a rich American had bought the bridge and reconstructed it brick by brick on Lake Havasu in Arizona…