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Showing posts with the label random memory

Not a Boy

In Ilocano (the parents' primary language), balasang is the word for a young woman who has reached the marriageable age, which in my parents' day would've been 15 or 16. A balasang presents herself to the world well-groomed, well-dressed, and well-mannered. Graceful and radiant, with no sassy mouth nor a defiant bone in her. Alas, that was not me. 

Mama did her best to polish me up with the stylish, stiff, and sophisticated outfits that she bought for me. I felt uncomfortable, awkward, and fake in them, preferring, and still do, the bohemian style.

In my early 20s, when I worked in the San Francisco Financial District as a clerk typist, I wore a Mama outfit when everything else was in the laundry hamper. To break the monotony of the outfit, I'd wear something silly with it. Once I wore wool knee-high socks and clogs with a pink polyester dress that had an attached two-toned bolero-type jacket.  I looked as atrocious as it sounds. Still, in the early evening, while wa…

Apo Dios

I don't recall whether Apo Dios refers to God or to the sun. Maybe I didn't ever know.

Ilocano was the parents primary language. I understood Ilocano but couldn't wrap my Americanized tongue around Ilocano words to speak it. So, yeah, we were one of those families in which immigrant parents talked to their American-born children in their native language and the children responded in English. Think of interpreters translating in real time.

The term Apo Dios is a combination of two languages. Apo in Ilocano means father or grandfather. So, I've always thought. An online Ilocano-English dictionary says otherwise. It says Apo means God. Dios is a Spanish word that means God. Spain colonized the Philippines for over 300 years so of course Spanish is going to seep into the native languages there. That same Ilocano-English dictionary defines Apo Dios as God.

Usually, my parents addressed Dios when life was going fine, such as "Hi, God, how are you doing? We're doin…

Bwak, bwak, bwak

The Daddy and The Mama raised chickens in our backyard, as well as a cow, several goats, a couple of pigs, and a whole bunch of pigeons. All for food. We lived in a house on a decent size lot with a big field behind us, about two miles outside of city limits, so they could. The neighbors on either side of us didn't complain. Not that I knew of.

During the summer, my job was to feed the chickens, which lived in a structure with two small rooms that The Daddy built. There was enough for the chickens to roam free. And wild, so I thought. When I opened the door, it seemed like they were waiting to attack me. Cackle, cackle, cackle. Flutter, flutter of wings. Bwak, bwak, bwak.  It freaked me out. I imagined them pecking me to death.

My method of feeding them was to throw a handful of feed into a far away corner, step in, quickly fill their trough with feed, and get out the door as fast as possible. Shudder.

The other evening we were over at the ranch of our good friends Missus and Miste…

Getting a Job

I don't recall what got me thinking this morning about jobs that I sought for which I was underqualified. Not having a necessary skill or two or sufficient work experience didn't stop me from trying. You never know was my motto back then. Someone may be willing to give me a chance. After all, back then, the first few weeks or months on a job was as a probationary employee. 

In the late 1970s, I applied for a secretarial position for which I had the work experience and all the skills but one. Shorthand. I thought I could get by with my ability to take notes quickly, along with having a strong memory. Cocky young me. I had no idea I needed to take a shorthand test. Did I give up and walk away? Of course not. I'd driven all that way to apply for the job. If anything I would experience what a shorthand test entailed, and that's what I got.

About five years later, after having earned a teaching credential in secondary education and a few years working with at-risk youth in…

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!


Pollinating the Squash

I hand pollinated two budding squash fruits last week because I was worried the male and female flowers would not pop open at the same time. You can't count on the bees or other insects to pollinate, especially these days when there aren't a lot of natural pollinators around.

Hand pollinating squash is easy to do. Carefully strip the petals of the female blossom, doing your best not to touch her stigma. Then strip the petals off a male flower, taking care not to spill any of his pollen. Now, dab the pollen onto the stigma. If you don't feel confident that the male had sufficient pollen, then pick another male flower and repeat.

The summer that I was 17 I worked as a hand pollinator for a seed research company. I got the job purely through nepotism. The Mama was in charge of hiring summer help who were usually teenage girls. She waited until I graduated high school before she hired me. She also hired my friend Kathy, who let the Mama know on her last day on Earth how much …

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…

From the Archives: The Solicitation

Hi ya! Hey ya! Hope all's well with ya. All is well with us. I'm reaching into my archives for the next several days so I can play catch up around the house. "I'll do it tomorrow." has finally reared itself into today.  Such is retirement. :-) Have fun out there.

Today's post (edited) was first published on May 13, 2010.  Yes,  this really did happen. ============ Ding dong.

"Who can that be?" asked the husband, not getting up from his desk.

I scrambled up from mine and down the stairs.  Not another salesperson from the carpet cleaning or bug zapping service, I hoped. I also didn't want to find someone clutching slick campaign material. Most likely no religious people; they rarely show up around dinner time. Aw, gee. What if it was a friend? The husband and I bought hot dogs at the Farmers Market for dinner, only enough for the Mama and us.

Our front door was open, but the security door was locked. "Hello," I called from the botto…

Celebrating with Children in a Parallel Universe

I wanted five children. It didn't matter if they were all girls, all boys, or some kind of combination. I like to think that's happening in a parallel universe. I wonder what their names are. Even today, I'll come across a name that I think is a nice candidate for one of my would've been kids. Maeve, Emmie, Sophia, Emerson, Benjamin James. . . . I like strong, happy names.

So, here I am, seven months shy of receiving Medicare, childless. Every time I thought I was pregnant, several days later, hello menses. I had an irregular cycle, so I tried fertility drugs as well as acupuncture to help get my reproductive system going. The acupuncture was a trip. When all the needles were inserted, I instantly felt like my spirit sprung out of my body and tap danced on the ceiling.

In the early 1990s, during the first week of vacation in Washington, I took a home pregnancy test. Yes, by golly! The First Husband and I went immediately into let's-take-care-of-me-and-the-fetus m…

Random Memory #1: Heading Home

I spied with my little eye a wife trimming hairs out of her husband's nostrils in front of the Hotel that once was on the corner of Sutter and Powell Streets in San Francisco. I was sitting on the #2 Sutter bus heading westerly home on a sunny day.

Hahahaha! This 30+ year mental image still gets me laughing.

The couple was probably in their late 50s and early 60s. I pegged them for tourists, but they could've been native-born San Franciscans. I simply loved how they were comfortable with each other.

I like to think the Husband and I are comfortable old farts like that couple was.

And, yes. I've trimmed the Husband's nose hairs. But only in the privacy of our home and only when I cut his curly locks and bristly (not grizzly) beard. So far.