In my mind, I'm five years old having a high old time wandering and wondering. In reality, I'm now in 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!
Mama visited the ophthalmologist twice a year. She begrudgingly went with the hope that the doctor would miraculously get her to see well enough to pass the DMV eye test. That was not meant to be. Her doctor was a charmer. He liked to engage with his patients, to put them at ease. He never failed to ask Mama for her secret of looking young. Sometimes, Mama would answer, giggling and smiling, “I eat rice.” Other times, “I like to eat fish.” Whatever she answered, he’d follow up with other questions, such as “How often do you eat rice?”or “”What kind of fish?” He sincerely was interested, so I observed. Another thing he never failed to do after the initial look at Mama’s eyes was to turn to me and say, “Thank your mom for your good genes.” I appreciate that I have Mama’s genes. Mama was a super ager. She lived to a resounding 94 years old before her body hit the wall. That’s how her doctor described it. Mama fell a lot that last year. A lesson for me to build up my balancing skill
I am grateful for being able to open the door and walk out into our backyard at any time of the day and night. I am grateful for being able to pluck a persimmon off our tree, wipe it on my sweater, and munch on it as I wander around the backyard looking for forgotten things that put together will become something else. I am grateful for the Husband being the main dishwasher and coffee maker. I am grateful that we are able to afford the utility bill so we can turn on the heater during the chilly season. I am grateful that Daddy took the risk to sign a work contract with the Hawaiian sugar plantations and then decided to stay in Hawaii for a bit more (about 18 years) after his contract was over. I am grateful that Daddy chose to become a U.S. citizen when the government offered it to him and many other Filipinos who were serving in the U.S. military during WWII. I am grateful that Mama said “yes” to Daddy’s proposal of marriage and said “yes” to moving to the United States wh
It would take a lifetime for me to count the things for which I’m thankful, so I’m grateful that Thursday 13 falls on Thanksgiving Day. What a sweet cop-out. 🙃 So, here I go with 13 wonderful things that I appreciate about my parents. (1) Daddy fell in love with Mama at first sight. (2) Mama said yes when he proposed. (3) They willingly left their homeland for America where they believed they had a chance for a better life for themselves and their children. (4) They gave my brother and me a safe and comfortable life when we were growing up, in spite of their low paying jobs. (5) They showed me, not just tell me, how to be an honest, hardworking, fair-minded, mindful, kind, and helpful person. (6) Mama taught me my numbers and ABCs before I started school. (6) Daddy taught me how to check the oil in my car and fix a flat tire. (7) Daddy breathed calmness with a delightful sense of humor. (8) Mama steadfastly continued onward and forward with much fortitude and hardheadedness despi
Being that July is Daddy’s month, many of my posts this month will be about him. Today’s post is the first, about his early life. I wish I knew a lot more. We both were born in the lunar year of the Snake, Daddy, 48 years before me. Daddy’s baptismal document, his only formal proof of birth, was written in Spanish. It states that the infant being baptized on July 25, 1905 had been born ten days earlier. Daddy was baptized on the feast day of St. James, aka Santiago. I speculate that Daddy’s parents may have named him such because of the day. It is possible that my grandparents also chose Santiago because that’s the name of their town. Santiago, Ilocos Sur, along the western coast on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. In my whole life with Daddy, we celebrated his birthday on July 25. Did he know his real birthdate? I can’t recall. He did enjoy celebrating his birthday with a big traditional Filipino party, that always included a roasted pig, which he turned on a spit for hours
1. This morning I went all the way down the stairs on my feet, without a gasp or flinch from my knee. Yay! I had been making my way down on my butt. Thump. Thump. Thump. 2. The first morning I bumped down the stairs, Missy Molly the pinky-nosed (wilde) Cat tried to help me at one point. She actually got behind me and pushed on my back. Such a sweetie! 3. The Husband has been carrying and fetching stuff for me. He also reminds me to stop doing things I ought not to be doing. I'm still not used to be taken care of. You'd think after three surgeries in the last four years, I would be. 4. Between the Husband and me, we have had six surgeries since Mama died in 2016. The Husband got a pacemaker, I had my reproductive system removed, and we both had cataract surgeries for our eyes. 5. Molly says don't forget me. "I was the first one to have surgery, miao, miao." Poor baby. She had dental surgery, a month after Mama's Spirit moved onward and upward. Molly sp
1. It's a gorgeous day. What mischief can I do today? 2. The lower end of the front yard is looking like a meadow. The first poppy showed itself yesterday. 3. The tree is an ornamental pear. About 20 years old, more or less, it is. It sheds leaves like crazy throughout the year. The last two weeks it has been snowing white blossoms. 4. I'm 10 days into a detox diet for eczema. The regiment is not so bad. No dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no caffeine, no no Nanette. I look forward to adding foods back. 5. A few days ago I decided to stop using the immunosuppressant ointment a dermatologist prescribed couple years ago. I had used it sparingly so hopefully the withdrawal symptoms won't be terrible. You should've seen how horrible my face looked when I stopped topical steroids. 6. Molly the pinky-nosed (wilde) Cat came home to live with us nine years ago. The girl loves to stop and smell the flowers. 7. A load of laundry is in the dryer. The Husband just came back from
While traipsing through the backyard early one morning last week I came across first-time visitors. Mushrooms! Mama would've harvested them. She would've thrown a quarter into the stewing mushroom pot, and if the quarter didn't turn black, then she would've eaten them. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a scientific basis behind the coin changing color to signify mushrooms are poisonous. When I was a kid, I ate the mushrooms my parents gathered on the oaks and sycamores along a certain creek in the hills right after good winter rain. They were tasty but kind of slimy, what the Husband might say in jest, "Awful mouthfeel." Daddy taught me which mushrooms to look for and where to find them, but I could never trust my judgment so I mostly held empty buckets and carried full ones back to the car. I love those times.
This week Sunday Stealing , hosted by Bev Sykes, has participants musing over questions taken from Upstream Life . 1. Name 5 people you admire and why. • Daddy. Family was important for him. He took his responsibilities seriously. He made sure his children got the opportunities for a good life. • Mama was resolute, stoical, full of love and cheeriness, but oh so sad. Also full of spirit, spit, and vinegar, Mama didn't let her misery keep her down. She had more than her share, including living through war and losing two children. • The Husband. My gosh. I'm not an easy person to live with. • Winifred, my mentor, my writing partner, my friend. She took a chance on me (#6). Winifred was an amazing, gifted, and giving person who taught me how to develop and create educational materials that respect and teach the learners. • Kathy, a friend from grammar school days. I love her humor, her wit, her intelligence. For years, she went back and forth, several times a year to visit her pa
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.
1. Next month the U.S. Post Office will be selling forever stamps that celebrate Hip Hop. According to the USPS website, the sheet of stamps features rapping, break dancing, DJing, and graffiti art. I don't know what floors me more -- Hip Hop commemorative stamps or that the first kids into hip hop are now in their 40s and 50s? 2. Our local library has been closed since early March due to the coronavirus pandemic. This month, the librarians decided that we, patrons, can check out books online for pick up. The pick-up process today was easy-peasy, even though I forgot to bring my library card. Nine new books to entertain me. Yippieeee! 3. A few weeks ago, the Husband painted this headboard, full of delight and whimsy, perfect for the Banana Room, once known as the Shady Room. The banana plants look to be coming back, and the bamboo, gardenia, and wongo-wongo plants seem to relish their move there. I also replanted a camelia shrub by the headboard. Does that all s
I've been digging. Here a little dig. There a big dig. All over the yard, both front and back. The last several days I've focused on finding shady spots for potted succulents in the backyard. Those parched guys looked so happy and relaxed after a few hours in the shade absorbing a long drink of water. I've also been digging beds for the extra bean, tomato, and pepper seedlings that sprouted. I can't bring myself to throw them out. They deserve a chance to produce fruit, too. The Husband built a trellis for the beans to climb. Pretty cool, huh. Mama would've given him a giggle, grin, and an extra nod of well done. This morning I dug the biggest bed for the tomato and pepper seedlings. Double dig, work in soil amendment, turn soil one more time, and let rest for tomorrow's planting. Daddy would've been proud, by golly, by gee that I paid attention to how he prepared the land for his vegetable garden. That's a story for another day. Digging, shov
1. My last name starts with the letter E . When I spell it to someone, I sometimes say "E as in Europe". I'm not trying to trick the person. That's simply what pops into my head. 2. I figure customer service people can spell Europe . Am I wrong to think that? 3. Mama pronounced the letter E as "A". That's how she learned it as a kid in the Philippines, a U.S. territory (then), which had been a Spanish colony in Mama's grandparents' time. "The old-timers spoke Spanish. They tried to teach me," said Mama. I wonder what Mama was interested in instead. 4. The silliness it was when Mama asked 12-year-old Susie to spell a word that has one or more letter E 's. Oh my gosh! Let's suppose, Mama asks, "How do you spell Elephant?" "E-," I start. "What kind of E?" she asks. "E." I say. "E as in A. or E as in E." "E!" 5. Before I understood th
Sewing machines, bicycles, and vehicles are the things that I like to push pedal to the metal. Here are 13 of my favorite ones from today to long ago. Kenmore portable sewing machine. About a decade ago, good friend BB gave me her 1970s portable sewing machine when I was having a sewing fix and she was in a down-sizing mood. After a thorough tune-up, the machine was good to go. Vrrrroom, vrrrooom. I'm going through another spurt (and probably last) of sewing. This morning I started sewing curtains for the upstairs hallway. Yup, that's them in "draft mode" in the above photo. Eliza Do-a-lot. Some of you know about dear 25-year old Eliza. She's a no-nonsense old lady's white sedan with hardly any blind spots. Eliza was Mama's last car. When Mama broke her hip in 1997, I started driving Eliza back and forth from El Cerrito where the Husband and I lived. By the time Mama felt confident to drive again, she needed to renew her license. She couldn'
Day's End. That was how it looked yesterday at sunset. Disaster Rose. What do you think of that for a protagonist's nickname? David. I've always liked that name. Solid, cheerful, thoughtful. Dave. Davey. The Husband's surname means son of David. Debonair. Cary Grant. George Clooney. The Husband. Humor is part of my definition of debonair. Dig it. Can you dig it? Hands, please, who said this once upon a time, with a straight face. I do like to dig in the yard, and I do a decent job of digging, I like to think. Meet John Doe. Recently the Husband and I watched Meet John Doe , a 1941 Frank Capra film starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck with Walter Brennan. Good trembles into arms of Evil so it may survive, but eventually Good realizes it is not Evil and scrambles back onto the path of light. The name John Doe doesn't make sense to me. I understand that it refers to a male with an unknown identity. Shouldn't it be John Bu