In my mind, I'm five years old having a high old time wandering and wondering. In reality, I'm now approaching my late 60s, wowza! I tell you a lot of creativity is still to be found in this old young self. In you, too, whatever your age. Welcome to my barefoot world!
While looking for a photo in my digital archives, I found the above picture of Mama that I took in March 2014. Mama was 92 years old. I wonder what she was looking at that she reacted so. Two mornings ago I was clearing out the stuff under Mama's once-upon-a-time bathroom sink and found a crisp newspaper sheet neatly folded into a rectangle the size of my hand. Unfolding it got me weepy but I didn't cry. Not until today, this moment. At first, I thought the folded paper probably held snippets of Mama's hair (she cut her own hair, and very well, too.) that she had fancifully wrapped in newspaper and forgot to throw away. There was no hair. Okay, then most likely she saved the newspaper because of an article that quoted the Brother who had been a vice principal at the high school. Nope, the newspaper was dated two or three years after his once-upon-a-time there. The four pages were full of advertisements and one long article about President Obama. Had she kept it for the
Bibingka is a special treat Filipino mamas, aunties, and daughters make for parties and Christmas time, but I had no idea it existed until I was 16 or 17. Mama made suman, a baked dessert made of sweet rice kernels, fresh coconut milk, butter, and oodles of brown sugar. I can feel my teeth melt remembering the taste of Mama's oh so yummily drooling sweet suman. I've made suman a couple of times. Like chunks of cement. As for bibingka, I've winged making it a few times. Four years ago, I wrote about pumpkin bibingka . Yesterday, I made Kahlua-laced bibingka. Mama's bibingka recipe was in her head. She modified and adapted her recipe each time she made the cake. No coconut milk, use regular milk, for instance. And when Mama made bibingka, she didn't make one pan. Uh-uh. More like three or four long glass baking pans and 1 square glass pan. We'd eat the square pan of bibingka and freeze the rest. Me, I bake one pan. Perhaps one day I'll bake and freeze bibin
It was the sweet hour of the sun heading home. I stood in L Studio, my back to the window, taking advantage of the still bright natural light. La, la, la. I snipped away at a strip of red card stock to fit in a discarded book's hanging-for-dear-life spine. I wanted to fortify the spine before sewing in my own page signatures to make an art journal. Fun. La, la, la. . . . Bzzz. What the heck? Bzzzzzz. Louder. Bzzzzzzzzzzzz. And louder. BzzzZZZZZZZZZ. Over my head and around to my back. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I turned and stepped to the window. Striding around the corner of the house and towards the window was our neighbor to the north, his leafblower strapped to his belly like a weapon. I recognized him instantly. What was he doing here? How did he get in the backyard? Our neighbor is a law enforcement officer. Was something wrong? We locked eyes immediately. Neither of us seemed that much surprised to see each other. "Your husband said a lot of dust blew over to your side when
1. In December is when I was born. "The doctor said you will be born on this day. And you were." The Mama told me, now and then, not necessarily on my birthday. 2. I was born on the Roman Catholic Church's feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, also known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The mother of Jesus was said to appear to a peasant named Juan Diego four times at Tepeyac, Mexico in the 16th century. 3. The same day Catholics were honoring Mary, Major Charles Yeager flew the fastest speed ever back then—about 1,650 miles per hour, a mere Mach 2.44. Shazam! 4. I was born nearly three years after Older Sister died on the same day that she was born. 5. Mama was 32 years old when she gave birth to me. Daddy was 48 years old, and Older Brother was five years old. 6. On the day I was born, Frank Sinatra and Edward G. Robinson celebrated their birthday. So did Bob Barker, Connie Francis, and Dionne Warwick. Bill Nighy turned four on the day I came out of the womb.
It's Sunday. I'm not going to do anything," I said to the Husband, invoking the rule of Mama. Sometimes after Sunday breakfast, Mama talked herself into not feeling guilty about taking a day off from working in the garden. So, I think. Why did I even say that? Every day is a day off. And, most days feel like a Sunday. As it went, I chose to rake leaves in the South Room. Molly couldn't decide if she wanted to sit in the sun outside while I worked or sit in the sun indoors. She eventually settled for the latter. The Husband came out to help move, fetch, toss, and pick up in the yard. We also surveyed the best locations to grow our crops of a single this, a couple of that, and a few of these vegetable or herb plants. I'm looking forward to that. The last time the Husband and I took care of our own vegetable garden was in the late 1990s, and that was for only a couple of years. As some of you know, the backyard has naturally divided into four rooms
The other morning I went through the last of Mama's clothes hanging in the closet. Hanging at the back of the closet was a little girl's red coat with matching red bonnet. The outfit is in pristine shape, as if it had been bought yesterday. It was, about 64 years ago, at least. Most likely I wore the jacket a few times. I was a fast grower in my early years, both in height and girth. See how cute the hat is on the camel in this collage. Yes, that little girl being directed to look at the camera was me sporting the red hat. Mama must've just put it on me because in another photo with only Big Brother and me, the bonnet was perched limply on the top of my head, as if Mama said to Daddy, "Put the hat on Susie's head." Snap. I'm thinking about cutting the red coat apart, along with a few other things I found in Mama's closet: her wool black dress, a blue tweed jumper Mama made for me in 7th grade, and a blue wool skirt I bought during my early
A few weeks ago Saturday Night Live featured a video about two women talking about their hobbies. Oh my gosh, I recognized myself. When I was a young single thing living la dolce vita in San Francisco, a guy I met for coffee asked, "What are your hobbies?" "Hobbies?" "Interests. What do you like to do?" Totally stumped, I was. I liked to read and write, but I didn't consider those activities as hobbies. They were simply a part of what I did. Without trying, in the last three years, I've embraced hobbies. Sewing, drawing, painting, gardening, and crafting are what have showed up at my door, thus far. That guy at the cafe 40 years ago? I never saw him again. SO, MOLLY DID The other day I didn't feel like folding the pieces of fabric I laid out on the bed in L Studio. It wasn't going to bother me if Molly the Cat felt like lying on top of the fabric. I told her so, too, before I sat down to contemplate how much of the vari
This morning I had a wonderful time imagining and experimenting while soaking in autumnal sun bubbles. My intention was to make wreaths out of apple branches I pruned last week, but I couldn't find the green wire that I set aside for the wind chimes the Husband and I will make out of keys. I lost track of the wire on Friday. Yes, I know I should've put it away where I could find it, but that was where it was, until it wasn't. Just as well. The apple branches didn't look exciting, so I threw them in the compost bin. When I turned around, I saw a pot perfect for the pineapple sage plant (aka Pinya) we bought yesterday. Look at the photo above to see the painted result. The Husband said the combination of the colors reminded him of the Southwest. My inspiration for the blue was the blue in Sitting Bull's war shirt as portrayed in the movie Woman Walks Ahead . Have you seen it? It's about Catherine Weldon, the woman who painted Sitting Bull's portrait,
Today, Mama would've been 97 years old, three years shy from the 100 that she often told people she was. If I happened to be around, they would ask me, "Is that true? Is she really 100." "Is that what she said?" I'd reply. "Yes." Mama was probably in her mid-80s when people started wanting to know about her age. At first, I'd laugh, and say something like "She's pulling your leg." Only if they asked would I say how old Mama truly was. When Mama was in her 90s, I would simply reply, "That's what she said." Whatever I replied, they'd respond, "She's strong for her age." Or, "She looks good for her age." Of course. She spent nearly every day of her 29 years of retirement working in her yard, making it pretty with succulents, flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees. What better way for me to celebrate Mama's birthday than to take cuttings of her red geraniums and
A guy was yelling angrily in the parking lot at someone we couldn't see. We parked next to the building, a good distance away. Yet, we heard him yelling. So I changed my mind about waiting in the car while the Husband fetched his prescription from the pharmacy. "Good idea," said the Husband. "We're starting to be like Mama," I said. "She was scared to sit alone in the parking lot." "Remember that time I sat in the car with her." I can't remember where or why we stopped, only that it was towards the end of shopping in another town with the Mama who was too tired to get out of the car one more time. When the Husband offered to sit in the car with her, she gave no protest. Settled. Both looked quite content waiting in the car. What a guy, I married. Lucky me. Lucky Mama.