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!
Yesterday I fried chicken for the Husband's and my main meal, which some may consider a very late lunch or a rather early dinner. I've been wanting to taste fried chicken for the last several days. Fried chicken is one of my comfort foods. Nibble, nibble. The best fried chicken I've ever eaten was cooked by the Daddy, perfectly crisp on the outside and moist inside. It has been over 35 years since I ate the Daddy's fried chicken. Recently I decided it's not worth buying already-made fried chicken from any of the options in our town. It's too disappointing. Too greasy. Too dry. Too salty. And so forth and so on. So, this Missus Lady (as Molly the Cat calls me) cut chicken thighs into bite-size chunks; shook them in a bag of flour, paprika, turmeric, mustard power, garlic powder, black powder, and salt; and fried them in olive oil. Sizzle, sizzle. The result was quite tasty. Nibble, nibble . The best part about eating fried chicken yesterday was r
Today is the anniversary of the day that we celebrated the Daddy's birthday. He would've been 112 this year. The Daddy was born on July 15, 1905, but most of his formal papers show July 25. This is my theory for the discrepancy: His baptismal document, the only legal paper he had about his birth, was in Spanish, the primary language of the Philippines back then. Spanish was not the Daddy's family's first language. And, I suppose nobody cared when the Daddy signed a contract in 1928 to go to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations, nor when he joined the Army during WWII or he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. When the Daddy was born, the Philippines was in transition from being a Spanish colony to a United States territory. The Daddy said that when he was a baby his parents ran him up into the mountains to hide during the war. The Daddy was surprised when I told him that it wasn't Spain the Filipinos were fighting, but the United States. I'm not sure if ev
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.
The Mama used to tell me a story about the time that the Daddy carried me on his back while they picked tomatoes one summer day. I was maybe two years old. "You cried and cried," the Mama said. "You kept saying, 'Go home, Daddy. Go home.'" The poor Daddy! And, all those other poor workers around us who were forced to listen to a tiny, fat crybaby of a girl piggy-backing on her poor Daddy's back. The poor Daddy! How did the Parents ever get me to stop crying? Did the Daddy take the Mama and me home and go back to work? Did I eventually calm down, get off the Daddy's back, and find a way to entertain myself so the Parents could work in peace? I don't know. The Mama never told me what happened. She simply laughed after telling me. Why am I telling you the story? I don't know. I find myself tearful all of a sudden lately. C is for crybaby me. Not pitiful me though. C is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday , a weekly meme that is keep
"Mama's gone." Four Fridays ago, in the early evening, I walked into the kitchen to let the Husband and Molly the Cat know that Mama's spirit had slipped into the ever after. I had started making dinner. As I put the frying pan on the stove, I had a feeling and I didn't want to know. The Husband and I had been sitting at the kitchen table, talking about the house. How we needed to replace faucets in the kitchen and in the Mama's bathroom. That one day we would need to replace the linoleum and maybe it would be better to take out the carpet and put in a wooden floor. House stuff that neither of us had ever done or been interested in doing. But, at that moment, it all seemed natural for us to do. With the frying pan on low, I went to check on the Mama. She was warm, but she no longer breathed. She looked quite content. I like to think that the Mama heard us talking in the kitchen and she felt assured that her house would be in good hands and that the Hu
“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Anonymous, Greek proverb I read that Greek proverb this morning on Facebook. It reminded me of the Daddy when he planted peach, pear, apple, persimmon, cherry and fig saplings around the backyard of his and Mama's house. "These trees are for the grandchildren," he said. I recall thinking how lucky those kids would be to climb the trees. The Mama moved before the Only and Older Brothers' kids were old enough to try them out. I like to think that other kids did. The proverb also had me thinking of the Mama and her wonder of planting the apricot and avocado seeds from the fruit that we've harvested from her trees. This year two of the second generation apricot trees bore fruit. I have no doubt that all the other apricot and avocado trees will do the same one day. It'll be one crazy fruit forest out in the backyard when the trees grow up. I love that my par
Yesterday, Georgy, of Jubilee Street and Remember Freedom , wrote a post on her former blog that sparked a memory bubble. (Thanks, Georgy. ) That's watching "Bonanza" with the Daddy on Sunday evenings. It came on after "The Wonderful World of Disney." I can't recall if the Daddy watched that with me. If he did, that was nice of him to let me watch it. We watched TV nearly every evening together in our favorite spots. The Daddy sat on his recliner while I laid on the floor with my legs on the couch. I had a good excuse for being near the TV. I was the Daddy's channel changer and fixer of the horizontal line on the TV screen. P.S. I'm linking up with Art Every Day Month Day at Creative Every Day. P.P.S. Monica, hostess of the NatureFootstep Digital Art Meme , invited me to link up. So, I shall. Thanks, Monica.
Is it coincidence that there are dates in both the Husband's and my family that are common? Or, is it synchronicity? I prefer thinking it's the latter. I also prefer not figuring out how it's so. That said, November 15, for example, is special for both the Husband and me. November 15 is the Husband's Dad's birthday. Jim would've been 97 years old today. Happy Birthday, Jim! November 15 is the Mama's and the Daddy's wedding anniversary. They would've celebrated 68 years together. Happy Anniversary to the Mama and the Daddy!
Several photos in our family albums show baby or toddler me perched on a big log or rock at the beach as the Daddy held me securely up there. But, you can only see the Daddy's legs and a bit of his torso in those photos. One of my favorite photos is of him crouched behind a three-year-old me on the shore, with his feet and hands visible. In that photo, he seemed to be keeping fidgety me still for the camera. It's not until I'm 21 years old that you can find a photo of the Daddy and me together. And, that, too is one of my favorite photos. I have wonderful memories of the Daddy. Playing out in the tomato fields while he irrigated them. . . being taken to my first day of school. . .riding in the back of his pick-up. . .seeing him in the back of the room at all my important presentations. . .watching TV with him. . .holding poles and boards as he hammered them in place. . .being taught how to drive a stick shift. . .traveling to the Philippines with him. . .going mushroom
Today's archived post is from my second b log, This and That, Here and There, Now, Sometimes Then. What Daddy Told Me (originally published May 7, 2010) My dad didn't advise me much when I was growing up. When he did, they were humdingers, and usually they were one-liners. For instance, on the day of my senior prom, he told me rather placidly, and unexpectedly, "Don't go f***ing around." The idea hadn't even entered my mind. And, when I was attending community college, Daddy pronounced suddenly in his usual unruffled way to me, "Don't be a hippie." Nothing more. Probably the most profound guidance Daddy gave me was when, as a teenager, I decided to check out different churches. Not because I was looking for a church to join but because I was curious about how different churches worshiped. I didn't know that Daddy had noticed what I was doing. Even if he had, I didn't think he would've cared since we we
My earliest memory of the Daddy's vegetable garden was floating a pea pod in the water rushing down one of the narrow vegetable ditches. I was about four years old. I remember the garden being tall, green, and wild-like. Every year, the Daddy put up a vegetable garden for the family, growing many Filipino vegetables that we couldn't buy in the grocery store. We ate a lot of long beans, bitter melon, Japanese eggplants, tabongaw (a type of gourd), Kabocha squash, saloyat (okra leaves), parda (a hairy, bigger, and thicker pea), and kabatiti (a kind of squash with ridges) during the summers. Also into the winters, after the parents bought a big freezer. When the Daddy came home from a long day of irrigating vegetable fields, he went straight to the garden to see what needed tending. The Mama went into the garden to harvest vegetables for the evening's meal. The Daddy was always getting after the Mama for picking the bitter melon leaves from the top rather than the bott
"Let's have a snack," said the Daddy. He sat in his Lazy-boy recliner, while my teenage self stretched out on the couch beside him. It was a summer night, with the doors and windows still wide open for the breeze. A rerun show played on the TV, at which I looked up now and then from the book I read. Without doubt, that scene took place around nine o'clock, the usual time the Daddy called for a snack when he was in the mood. The Daddy's favorite nighttime snack were the doughnuts without the hole that I made from canned biscuits. They were quick and easy to make, about 10 minutes, if I recall correctly. As the oil heated in the iron skillet, I opened the cardboard can of biscuits, the best part of making the doughnuts. Pow! A satisfying blow against the edge of the corner. Pop! The eight (or was it 10) small, soft, slices of dough smiled between the cardboard. Carefully, I dropped the round slices into the heated oil in the skillet. Sizzle. Sizzle. Sizzl
The Daddy bought several live chickens at a time from a local chicken farmer, and he and the Mama would slaughter them in the backyard. I was 11 or 12 when the parents decided it was time for me to help with the slaughtering. Like I really wanted the experience. I suppose they figured a day would come when I would need to slaughter a chicken for survival. Yes, it would definitely be an asset if I were to be chosen for Survivor , the reality show. But, that's if I didn't get kicked off before my team won a challenge that rewarded us with chickens. I digress. My part in the slaughter was simple. I only needed to hold a chicken firmly down on a block of wood while the Daddy slit its neck. On the day of my rite of passage, I watched the parents do the process a couple of times. Then it was my turn. I kneeled behind the wood, and the Daddy put a chicken beneath my hands, face towards him. He did not let go of the chicken until he was sure the bird could not get away from
I bet that title caught your attention. Maybe you shivered and thought I must be a vampire. Of course not! Or, maybe you went, " Ewwwwwwww! " Well, turning blood, pork blood, to be precise, into pudding is definitely not for the squeamish. I was ten years old when the Daddy gave me the task of turning pork blood into pudding. (If I could, I'd put in a sound effect like Dum da da dummmm! ) Okay, let me give you some context. Back then, every now and then, the Daddy and his friends would purchase a pig from a local pig farmer, bring it back to our house, and slaughter it in the backyard. We lived in a small neighborhood two miles out of city limits so that was okay, and, as far as I know, the neighbors did not care.We lived in a rural area after all. This usually happened on a Saturday morning. The men would be out in the backyard partying it up with a bottle of whiskey as they butchered the meat. The pig's blood would be brought into the house to turn into a th
If you were physically separated from your significant other, for whatever reason, would you still want to get back with him or her after a year? Five years? Thirty? About a month after the Only and Older Bionic Brother was born, the Daddy, a naturalized U.S. citizen, returned to the United States. He realized that there would be more and better opportunities for his children in America than in the Philippines. This was in the late 1940s. He worked hard and within a year, he made enough money to book ship passage for the Mama and their son. The Mama did not want to leave her home and family. The Mama's mother told her that once she married, her life was with her husband's. She, the Mama, no longer belonged to the Grandmother. Thirteen months after the Daddy left, he and the Mama were reunited in their new home in California. The stories of my two ninangs (godmothers) were different from the Mama. They waited much, much longer to reunite with their spouses. The story of
Nearly 35 years ago, a college professor, who hailed from Australia, told me if it weren't for the awkwardness of my writing, I would've got a higher score on my paper. She forgave me for some of my usage and grammar because, according to her, "English is your second language." For once, I kept my mouth closed rather than enlighten her on how wrong she was. English is the only language I can read, write, speak, and understand fluently. Proficiently, too, except for the lapses in awkward writing and the proper use of grammar, word choice, and cliches. I'm especially good at forgetting articles (the, a, an, and so on) and getting prepositions mixed up, which, I think is because the Ilocano language has no articles and, as far as I can tell, one preposition. As I was growing up the parents mostly spoke Ilocano to me while I spoke English to them. I still do that with the Mama, and the Husband finds it very strange. It's really not unusual with immigrant
Check out other A to Z Challenge participants by clicking here . The Daddy lived in Honolulu, Hawaii when World War II began. He was getting his hair cut the morning that Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. ( I write about that here .) In April, 1942, he signed up for the U.S. Army. It was a Sunday afternoon. The Daddy was hanging out with a friend in Ala Moana Park. "Compadre, let's join the army," his friend said, seein g the ar my recruiting truck parked nearby . "I'm going now." “You go yourself,” the Dadd y answered, thinking about how good the wages had become. He was making a dollar an hour . "I'm working tonight." “I’m going” his friend said. “Go ahead.” His friend ran t o the truck and jumped on. The Daddy watched as more men jumped onto the truck. Soon, another truck stopped and parked. More men ran and jumped onto that truck. Before he realized it, the Daddy ran and jumped on the second truck, too. S
Check out other A to Z Challenge participants by clicking here . December 7, 1941 Honolulu, Hawaii Clip. Clip. Clip. The Daddy's cousin was cutting Daddy's hair in their kitchen. They talked about this and that when suddenly they heard in the near distance Boom! Boom! Boom! "Hurry up," said the Daddy. "Something is happening at the harbor. Let's go see what's wrong." December 8, 1941 Baguio, Philippines At the same moment, thousands of miles to the east, the Japanese Navy Air pilots were bombarding the U.S. bases in the Philippines, a U.S. territory. The Mama was staying in Baguio, a mountain town, where the John Hay Air Base was located. The town was immediately evacuated. The Mama said it took her and her family about a month to walk their way down the mountain to their home in Pangasinan, a province in Central Luzon.
Check out other A to Z Challenge participants by clicking here . I never heard the parents address each other by their names. They also didn't refer to each other by name when they talked about the other. The Mama would just say lakai which was old man in Ilocano, while the Daddy would say baket for old lady. For many years, I wondered if they even loved each other. When I became curious about how they met, they said they had an arranged marriage. The Daddy said, "Your grandmother said she liked the daughter who lived next door for me. 'Okay,' I told her." The Mama said, "My mother said to marry your daddy. 'He's a good man. You're old. This may be your last chance to marry.'" Both the Mama and the Daddy lost their fathers at a young age. So, it was their mothers who met and discussed the terms of the dowry. Several weeks later, the Mama and the Daddy were married. It was not until I went to the Philippines with the Dad
Check out other A to Z Challenge participants by clicking here . A few months after the Daddy died, the Mama needed me to uncover the septic tanks in the back yard so that the service guys could come and clear them out. So, one weekend I drove down from San Francisco, where I lived at the time, to do her bidding. The Older and Only Brother lived a few minutes away from her, but she rarely bothered him with such tasks. "He's busy. He has to work on Saturdays. He has a family." The day of digging was the same day that the Mama went to Reno with the local Filipino club. Her friends had convinced her to go. It would be a good change for her, they told her. I was very relieved that she would not be home. Back then we were always on tense terms. And, if I was doing physical work, it was best to leave me alone. There were two septic tanks in the Mama's backyard. I had no idea. I thought there was only one and I knew where it was. I dug out the tank just like that