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A Simple, Low-Key Mama Helper

A cane is a very useful tool. It helps you steady yourself as you stand up. It offers you support as you make your way down your path. It's also something you can point with and you can use it to hit a car (or person) that comes too close for comfort.

Yep, a cane is a useful tool.

The Mama, however, will have nothing to do with one. She says (not these exact words, but this idea), "The more you use a cane, the more you won't be able to walk on your own." I suppose, in her mind, a cane is proof that you've given up to old age.

Fortunately, when she works in her gardens, she turns her rake or broom upside down and uses it kind of like a cane. But, she's not really using a cane, you see, because she's just transporting the rake or broom.

All in all, the Mama is very strong for a frail-looking woman in her 90s. (Don't let that fragility fool you. The woman is pretty much all muscle.) By using a cane, the Husband and I would have false confidence that …

Yes, Yeah, Yep.

"Yes!"
". . .We have no bananas. We have no bananas today. . . ."

I like that song a lot. It was written for a Broadway revue in 1922 and became a hit the following year for Eddie Cantor, according to Wikipedia. I first heard it in an old-time cartoon that I saw on TV when I was a kid. I love those cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s. They introduced me to old ditties such as "Yes! We have no bananas." and "Mairzy Doats and Dozey Doats" as well as classical and jazz music. Today, cartoons will flash through my mind when I suddenly hear certain classical or jazz songs.

Yeah.
So, here we are—the letter "Y". Tomorrow, Zeee. The next day, zzzzzzzz! on the blog. Just kidding. Maybe.

As I'm writing this post, I hear in the near distance the sound of seals barking.  Yawp, yawp, yawp! But, here's the thing. I live about 25 miles from the ocean, if I was a crow.

Yep.
Halfway through the A to Z Blogging Challenge, Rhonda at Dizzy Stir nominate…

Prepping for April

It's time for a pretty picture. Just because I feel like it.

Last Saturday, the Husband and I ran away to the beach for the day. We all need to do that now and then. To forget wearies and woes, figures and foes, as well as everyday routines. When was the last time you did that?

A few weeks ago, I decided to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place in the month of April. Participants blog through the alphabet, Monday through Saturday. This is another Doing 60 thing for me. You're welcome to drop by one day, some days, or all days in April.  To learn more about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, please click here.

Seeing "Hyde Park on Hudson"

Our local movie house offers a Wednesday series of independent films. They are the type of movies that if you live in a small city out in the boondocks you have to schlep over the hills or up the far-away freeway to a large nearby city. Yesterday was the first time the Husband and I took advantage of the series. Unfortunately, it was the theater's last offering. Who knows if, and when, it will offer another series.

The movie was Hyde Park on Hudson, which was about the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Daisy Suckley, a distant cousin. It was a good-size audience for the late afternoon screening—about 24 and 30—especially when you consider where we live.  We were all  uhem in the grey-haired age group. The Husband and I were probably among the youngest there. I whispered my observation to the Husband.
 "I still think of myself as being in my 20s," he said.
"I do, too. But, we're not."
"I thought we were middle-age."
"We&…

A First: Painting in Oils

I got out of bed singing "one toke over the line", but I was not channeling the guys who originally sang it. Rather, I was singing while thinking of the singers who sang it on the Lawrence Welk Show.  Mr. Welk described the song as a "modern spiritual".  Uh-huh. Yep.

With that lively verse going over—and over—in my head, I decided that the agenda today is to put one foot in front of the other.  I speak metaphorically. Perhaps, though, I may just take a step out the door and go around the block. The Husband and I are going on a hike with some friends at the end of the month, so it would be a good idea to be a bit in shape for it. I'm counting the hike as one of my Doing 60 things.

Doing 60?  That's what I've called the challenge that my dear friend Jenn gave me as I approach 60 years old at the end of 2013.  I've already done a few. Just haven't written about any of the them, until now.

Last week, Jenn and several other young old fogey friends …

Who me? Very Inspiring?

Uh-hem. Back in October of 2012, a fellow blogger bestowed on me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Today, I shall complete the task for having accepted the reward. What can I say, I thought it was just yesterday. Well, at least I let my blogger friend—Widdershins—know pronto that I appreciated the honor.

About the Award
Blogger awards that we bestow upon fellow bloggers come with rules. Those rules often get modified as they make the rounds around the world, and that I shall do.
These are the acceptance rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. Thanks again, Widdershins Worlds.
2. Place the award on your site. Done
3. Share 7 random things about you. You can read them below below.
4. Nominate 15 blogs. Let them know they've been nominated and how to accept the award. 
There are many blogs that I read frequently, sporadically, or just once or twice. They all inspire me to write, to sew, to cook, to eat, to read, to exercise, to dream, and do many other things. Yes, that means,…

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…

A Pause to Give Thanks

Holidays. Here they are. Again.

In a few hours, I will get up to make the dressing to stuff the turkey that will roast for several hours so it is ready for our regular mid-afternoon meal. As it roasts, I'll put together a few side dishes—mashed parsnips and potatoes, plain Romano beans, and sauteed red cabbage and persimmons—while the Mama makes the gravy and maybe a pot of rice. I hope she cooks rice. I like the taste of her gravy on rice. I could just eat that. 

The annual turkey feast will be for the three of us. No, the four of us. I can't forget Molly The Kitty (T.K.) Cat. She doesn't like turkey though. Spam is more her style. I'm not kidding. I found that out last night.  Holding on to the kitchen counter, Molly stood on her hind legs and gazed intently at me as I sliced the canned delicacy (every now and then, we have a yen for spam with eggs). She'd just eaten her expensive raw food so it wasn't like she was famished. But, she was insistent that she wa…

How Do You Get Companies to Create Jobs?

Warning: There's not a thing about doughnuts, unicorns,  butterflies, and other sweet joys in today's post. Maybe next time. 

Here's an issue that no politician wants to address, I betcha: How does government encourage  private companies, small and large, to create new jobs, as well as to keep current jobs, when part of the basic business model to succeed is to employ "cheap labor"?

Ah, what's that some say: Get rid of the minimum hourly wage rate.

Hoo, boy. The federal minimum wage, since 2009, is $7.25 per hour. If you work full-time at 40 hours per week, you earn a gross weekly pay of $290.  Now, let's take at least 30 percent from that for taxes (FICA, federal, state, and disability). Wowza! A whopping $203 to spend for fun and essentials for the week. Bear in mind that some people  receive more net pay according to the number of dependents they claim. Too bad we can't claim our pets. Oh, and let's not forget some workers may also be contribut…

Such Failures

Warning: If you're not in the mood for political musing, come back next week. I may be in a better mood and write about my usual nothingness. Maybe.

The other evening, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at a fundraising dinner at which donors paid several thousands of dollars to be there. Some as much as $50,000. Some, possibly more. Romney, dear heart that he is, acknowledged that he and they, his donors, in the room are doing golly-gee well in this horrid economy. (That's my paraphrasing of his words) But, continues Romney, lover-boy of cheap labor . . . of course, he is. What true-blooded rich man doesn't like cheap labor. It (meaning cheap labor) is a necessary element for becoming true-blooded rich. It's basic Economics 101 . . . .

As I was saying, Romney told his donor that they are in the money while the waiters and waitresses who were serving them their dishes of delectable food and drink are not. Gasp. I know, it's amazing how Romney knew …

A Personal Holiday

The other day I was doing research about Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry.  Interesting fellow that Dr. Goddard. Quite a visionary. A lot of people thought he was a crackpot. That all changed when the space program began. Ah, then the adulation and the awards came left and right for the man. Unfortunately, Dr. Goddard was dead by then. I hadn't planned on telling you that, but there it is.

What I did want to mention was that Dr. Goddard had a personal holiday that he called his anniversary day.  He celebrated the day he was a kid sitting in a tree and looked up into the sky and had an epiphany about rockets and space. Yes, I know. Pretty cool. Not to worry though. I'm not going to go into the technical stuff about rockets and space. Not like I could. The important part here is that I decided that I need a personal holiday.

When I was in my early 20s, I was influenced by the unbirthday idea and did that for a year or so. I chose July 15 because that was m…

When the Red, Red Robin. . .

As the lemon snapped off, the robin flew from the slightly bouncing bough bowing heavy with lemons. (How's that for purple prose?) The red-breasted bird landed on the fence and scolded me.

"Excuse me," I said, and continued gathering lemons for lemonade.

Several days later, Molly the Cat and I were wandering near the lemon tree. Two robins swooped by and landed on the neighbor's roof. The bigger bird stared at me, as if saying, "Out! Now! Please."

I understood immediately. "Come on Molly, let's go inside. These guys have a nest in the lemon tree."


As you can tell from the photos, the robins hid their nest quite nicely. At first, I thought it was precariously situated on the limb, but, hey, if nobody picks the lemons, it's safe. And, that is what has happened, which is too bad since there are some nice-looking lemons on that branch.

The mama and papa robins have been taking turns sitting on their babies. I wonder if they like the scent of …

Take 25 to Hollister

Nothing.

Today, I have nothing to say.

Well, I do have a lot of ideas, but I've just run out of steam.

So, I invite you to go to my other blog and check out my hometown, Hollister, California. No, not the store. The actual place that is no where near the coast.

I was born and raised in this still kind of rural small city. It's a nice place to have come back to live. When we used to live up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the husband often said, "I want to go far, far away." Hollister turned out to be it. For now.

So, on to my other blog you go: Take 25 to Hollister.

What I Would Do

If I were more ambitious, I would nudge myself to actually take the time do the following ten...five...three! things within the next...uhm...let's say five weeks.

Sew the "bridle" for Molly the Cat.
It's not really called a "bridle". I just can't remember the correct term right now. But, it's the thing to which you attach a leash. Yes, the Husband and I have visions of walking with Molly the Cat. So does the Mama. I've already bought the "ingredients" (again, I can't remember the correct term) for the project. If you're curious about my vague description, check this link. Okay, the bridle is a harness. Bridle sounds so much nicer.

Pedal my bicycle to and from Tres Pinos. Every morning before breakfast, too.
Tres Pinos is a cool, tiny village about five to seven miles away from the house, depending on what route I take. This would be a very huge commitment as well as a complete overhaul of my schedule. It would mean that I no …

Priorities

Yesterday, I was going to do our taxes.

Instead, I took the Mama to the annual Easter BBQ fundraiser sponsored by the local Filipino American  club. Purchasing the chicken lunch is the Mama's way of "making" the Easter meal since she no longer has the stamina to do it herself. It's also her unspoken way of giving me a break from cooking. Well, that's what I like to think.

Yesterday was a beautiful afternoon for a picnic. As the Mama likes to say, "Lot of people there." The lunch line was long, about 45 minutes long. I didn't mind standing in it at all, especially when I ended up talking with the guy behind me who turned out to be the nephew of Alice, a friend of my mom's from long, long time ago. What did he and I remember so well about Alice: Her cookies!  I also recall that it could be hot, hot, HOT outside, but so cool, cool, COOL inside her house. Dark, too. But, then that's what made it so cool.

While I stood in line yakking away, the…

A New Daydream

This morning, I read that a local farm needs a driver to deliver CSA boxes to its distribution points in several cities. Only twice a week. Only 15 to 20 hours a week. $12 to $14/hour, depending on experience.

I would love that job.

Yes, I would.

Those are not long hours at all. The pay is definitely a living wage and it would be a nice monetary supplement for this nonstarving writer.  The lifting and hauling? I may not be in the best of shape, but I can manage the up to 40 pounds per item. I truly believe that within a few weeks my strength and stamina would be greatly improved. I would be hauling boxes with the not-quite nonchalance I used to do when I was quite younger. (Hey, it's my daydream.) Besides, the Husband says he would do it with me. Just think, the farmer would get two for the cost of one.

If only I didn't have this writing project right now. And, those other responsibilities that I can't walk away from for two days a week.

I know my limits—and my priori…

Remembering. . .What?

Some days are better than others when it comes to my memory.

Who am I kidding? It's really down to moments.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I was 17, I memorized all of Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss for a public-speaking competition. I recall stumbling once or twice. Maybe trice. Ah, I had a strong memory back then.

My long-term memory is still rather good. I just related a tale from over 40 years ago, didn't I?

It's the short-term memory. Sigh. The other day, I was telling the Husband how many states allow employers to pay their workers who receive tips far less than minimum wage, as long as the combination of their tips and hourly rate (let's say $2.13/hour) totals up to either the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is the higher amount in the state. Yes, I know. The Husband could not believe it either. I'm glad to say that California does not have that law. I told the Husband that I learned all this from research I had done the day before for th…

Staying the Course

I've been dragging my fingers across the keyboard right now, and pressing the delete button a lot. I just don't feel like writing.

So, why try, you may ask. It's not like my boss will scold me if I don't offer something up to the blog today.

Well, yes, the boss will scold me.

The boss is me.

When I started Don't be a Hippie, I committed myself to publishing a post every Tuesday and Thursday. A job commitment is a commitment, regardless of whether it's to myself or to someone else for a fee. Blogging wasn't always like that for me. It was mostly comme çi, comme ça.  But, a few years ago, I went through a rather bad bout of what I shall just call writer's block. I used the delete button and stared at a blank computer screen more than quite a lot, and that's saying it mildly. The only way to keep that from happening again is for me to meet my self-imposed deadlines. It truly helped that I made myself do a daily post for one year on my Take 25 to Holl…

Any Day Can Be Christmas

Yesterday was like Christmas.

After eight-and-a-half years, I finally opened some boxes marked KITCHEN that belong to the Husband and me. There was stuff I forgot we had. When we moved in with the Mama, most of our belongings stayed in storage. Last month, we consolidated two lockers into one and I decided to bring home some of the KITCHEN boxes. Until late yesterday afternoon, they'd been sitting in the garage. They would probably still be there if we didn't move boxes around to try to find a mouse carcass. Shudder.

We did not find any mouse remains, but we did discover that something ate through the cat carrier—which we had bought to eventually take Mr. L. Gatto Cat to the veterinarian (and it's a good thing we didn't)—to get at the bag of cat litter that we'd stored in the carrier. Was the mouse disappointed when he finally reached the sand?

"Do mice hibernate?" the Husband asked.

"I don't know," I replied, watching him poke a stick in …