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Showing posts with the label the mama

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 …

Adjusting to Weather

Two nights ago the Husband and I felt chilled so we turned on the heater.  Is this the beginning of getting older for us? Older bodies feel the cold more, I've been told. In the Mama's last weeks of being able to haul herself out of bed and tumble towards the wall thermostat, she cranked it up as far as it could go. She still didn't find sufficient warmth. Sigh.

I swerved in thought, oh well. Today is h-o-t! It's supposed to get into the 90s for the next two days. I feel a breeze kicking up right now, hurrah.

Watering the yard is the Husband's job, which he likes to do it in the early evening. Fearing for the front yard plants, I let the Husband snore away and did some watering early this morning.  No big deal. Watering gives me a chance to look at how all the plants are faring, and I discovered that some roses have dried on their stems. See the white edges on the roses in the photo. Those roses are dry. Isn't it amazing how they held their color?

If I cut the…

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: Ssssssh, We're in a Hospital

Hi ya! Hey ya! Hope all's well with ya. All is well with us. I'm reaching into my archives for a couple more 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 August 30, 2012. It was originally titled "Quiet. Hospital." ============
The Mama may be coming home from the hospital today. The ambulance took her there on Monday afternoon. All of a sudden the Mama could not move her legs or arms, no matter how hard she tried. She caught the nasty bug from the Husband who has had it for a few days. On her, it turned into pneumonia. What made it worse was that she was dehydrated. Stay hydrated, folks!

Hydration, however, is not what today's post is about. Nope.

After two nights alone in her hospital room, the Mama got a "roommate" with a loving extended family to visit her. The Mama, in cont…

The Mama's Roses are in Bloom

Spring is nature's way of saying "Let's party!". ~ Robin Williams





El Camino Paraiso

In Fall 1962, the family moved into a brand new house on a brand new street a couple miles east of town. Lucky 711 was the street number; El Camino Paraiso, the street name. Translation: Paradise Road. Myself, I prefer "The Road to Heaven" because the cemetery, run by the Catholic Church, sat next door.

I thought a ghost lived in my bedroom closet. Every now and then, until I left for college, just as I was falling asleep, I experienced old hag syndrome, a kind of sleep paralysis. The only way I felt safe was to sleep in a fetal position on my left side, facing away from the closet.

Cute yellow house, don't you think? It had a huge back yard, enough space for the Daddy to grow a good-size vegetable garden, as well as plant fruit trees and raise chickens, pigeons, goats, and pigs. Fortunately for us we lived in the county. With all that, the Parents still were able to put in a patio, some lawn, and a flower garden. 

The Mama sold the yellow house in 1987, a year aft…

Sweeping Thoughts of the Mama

I need a broom to sweep the dirt off the sidewalk in the front yard, which means a slow walk around the house to the shed in the backyard. I push apart the rusty sliding shed door and immediately spy the broom in the filled, and so far neat, interior.

The broom, mind you, is not pristine. It looks a little frayed. Still, I find myself say, "I can't use you."

Oh no! That's the Mama in me speaking. A broom lasted literally forever for her because she let it sit for many months before using it, and when she did, it was sparingly.

I shook off the Mama's voice.  The broom in the shed is solely for outdoor purposes, including sweeping dirt from the cement. So what that we bought the broom within the past year or so. So what that the broom will get more bent out of shape because I really need to sweep with extra muscle. It's not going to put us in the poorhouse if we need to buy a new broom. (At least, not yet. Maybe not ever if the current GOP tax bill loses in Con…

Gardening is Part of Me

Do I garden because I love it? Is gardening something that's simply in my genes?

In her last years, the Mama would sit in her garden or at the kitchen table and ask, "Who will take care of the garden when I die?"

"Don't worry," I would tell her.

That's what I liked about the Mama. She didn't ever ask me to tend to her garden when she was gone. She didn't want me to feel obligated.


Moodiness.

I'm sulking.

As in my teenage-self sulk, which was playing my guitar all Sunday afternoon, singing Flowers on the Wall, Elusive Butterfly, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and other angst songs, in the living room.

I did do that. One time, during a pause, the Mama called out from the kitchen, "Are you done now?"

hahahahaha.

The poor Mama. She was a saint to endure two or more hours of my off-key singing and probably out-of-tune guitar.

Okay. Focus. Back to the subject I began.

I'm sulking.

I don't want to do this not-a-hysterical operation even though I know it's a preventative measure that may let me live the full life that I'm meant to have.

Don't worry. It will happen. In three weeks, I'll no longer have a reproductive system. I'm way beyond baby-producing time so my fist-size of a womb with attaching tubes and ovaries will be no more.

I've never given birth. I wanted five kids. Maybe I have them in parallel universes. One can dream. 

I w…

The Mama's Roses in Bloom

A year ago, this day, we buried the Mama.

"I already have a place," the Mama said. "With your father. They saved me a space on top of him."

Always a forward thinker, as well as practical-minded, the Mama bought a dual burial grave site when arrangements were made for the Daddy in 1982. He was buried in the Veterans section in the cemetery a few miles away from the house. The section was new, so the Daddy scored a front row seat, beneath a big old shade tree that was planted in the same year as the Daddy. I'm sure the Mama was pleased with where her bones are resting. In life, the Mama liked to watch people go by.

When I had to arrange all the funeral stuff last year, I was very thankful that the Mama took care of the burial site. I was also grateful that after 34 years the mortuary had a pristine paid-in-full record of that transaction.

I hope the Mama's spirit is having loads of fun and laughter soaring through the Universe at beyond warp speed.  I have no…

The Mama

Today marks the anniversary of the first year of the Mama's spirit roaming through the universe.

This photo was taken a week before the Mama's final adventure of life begun. I'm glad that the Husband, Molly the Cat, and I got to go through that last amazing trip with the Mama. One of these days I'll tell the tale.

Sweet cheers to the Mama!

Keeping Out the Birdies and Kitties

From last Thursday to Monday morning, I've been playing in the front yard, changing more of the looks of the former lawn. You see, the weather predictors said that rain is a coming. (And it has!) So, of course, I needed to take advantage of the rain. I dug, hoed, and pulled patched of turf and sowed wildflower seeds. The Husband also got in the fun and dug holes for the Mama's roses that were getting nowhere anymore in their pots.


One of the dilemmas of creating flower plots in the front yard is trying to keep the birdies from eating the seeds and the kitties (not Molly the Cat) from turning the plots into their personal latrines.

No problem. The Mama taught me a good enough solution.

We took the branches that we pruned from the fruit trees last winter and criss-crossed them across the flower plots. Voici, voilå!


With sun, rain, and good fortune, all will be in bloom by the end of April.

It's ABC Wednesday time. Click here to check out what other participants are postin…

Uh-toot!

"We can't store the persimmons in the garage," I said to the Mama and the Husband at the lunch table one day. "There's an uh-toot."

The Mama laughed.

"What's that?" the Husband asked.

"A mouse," I said. Most likely I shuddered. Rodents give me the creeps.  "Uh-toot in Ilocano means mouse. Right, Mama?"

"Uh-taut," said Mama. "You have a funny pronunciation."

"Uh-toot," I said.

"Uh-taut."

"Uh-toot," said the Husband. "She's saying the same thing."

The Mama smiled.

"Uh-toot," I said. "Be careful. If you say Ah-toot, you're talking about a fart."

That conversation happened a few years back. Recently, I learned that the Ilocano word for mouse is bau, which I never heard the Mama or the Daddy use. I also found out that the spelling for fart is o-t-o-t. 

The Mama considered mice as farts. Giggle.


Today is the letter U at ABC Wednesday. Click h…

The Vivacious Mama

This is the last photo I took of the ever vibrant Mama gazing directly at me. This was back in March when the Asian pear tree behind her was beginning to bloom. I discovered the photo this morning when I was looking for something to share at  Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa of Eden Hills.

The photo fulfills the prompts for this week: 1) Starts with V  2) Week's Favorite  3) Thankful

I'm thankful that I have a photo of the oh-so-vital Mama. A couple weeks after this photo was taken, her body, as her doctor put it, finally hit the wall. It no longer was able to compensate after her 94 years of living. There's much for me to be thankful when it comes to the Mama. Most of all, I am thankful that the Mama was my mama.  

Click here to visit Eden Hills and the other participants of this week's Friday's Hunt.


Little by Little

That's how I do things these days—little by little.

Little by little, I'm clearing out the Mama's belongings, moving furniture around, changing things, and so on and so forth. I work at a task until the sadness surfaces. Some tasks, I'm not ready to do.

The front yard has been easier to tackle. Somewhat. I committed myself in August when I dug out a bit of the lawn and planted some of the Mama's jade plants that outgrew their pots. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the post, to see how the change looked in September.

Progress has been little by little.


A couple weeks ago, I created a geranium corner in the upper part of the yard. At first, I planned to transplant some of the Mama's geraniums into the ground, but then I decided to have the Mama's reading chair grace that corner. (The chair is too flimsy for anyone heavier than the Mama to sit on.) I want to eventually paint the chair yellow and blue, or maybe just blue or just yellow. Maybe later, when…

Harvest Time — Not So Easy Work

Harvesting crops is hard back-breaking work. Every time I pass by a field of workers, I'm very grateful to them. How can anyone not want to give them a living wage?

It wasn't until 1978 that farmworkers on large farms were finally included under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which required their employers to pay them minimum wage. Still, in some states today, farmers can choose to give their workers a piece-rate wage rather than a minimum hourly rate. It's not a high piece rate either.  For instance, if a worker receives 50 cents for every bucket of tomatoes she picks, she would need to pick about 2.5 tons of tomatoes to earn an equivalent minimum hourly wage for a 10-hour day. I think all states ought to mandate hourly wages for farmworkers.

I've got a Mama story for you. She always laughed when she told me about her first year working in the fields of America. It was either the first or second year that she was living here, so that was 1950 or 1951. She decided to p…

Mopping

Scuff marks, cat tracks, and stains. I no longer could ignore it. The kitchen floor needed mopping.

Because I am hopping along on a cane, the Husband agreed to mop the floor. (My knees are alternating between being painful.) All I had to do was fetch the tools—the bucket and mop handle out of the shed and the mop head out of the closet.

Problem was we had no mop head. Sigh.

Snap! Light bulb.


I had the answer in my hand. The cane!

The Mama's cane, actually. She rarely used it to get around. What she did use the cane a lot for was shining the kitchen floor. She threw a rag on the floor and danced it around with her cane.

Yup. Like mother, like daughter.

I dipped a rag in a bucket of vinegar, threw it on the kitchen floor, and danced it around the worse parts with the cane. Ha!



I'm quite late this week for ABC Wednesday. As the saying goes, better late, than never. Which the latter I thought it would be for the letter M. Seeing the doctor about my knees this morning got me out of…

Changing Landscape

The Mama was quite proud of her lawn. Green. Manicured. Weedless.

When she no longer could take care of the lawn, she hired a lawn guy, which was a great luxury for the Mama. When that got too expensive, she sighed and accepted that the lawn would be cut during my monthly visit. Then, when the Husband and I moved in with the Mama, the lawn became the Husband's job.

As the drought became a real thing, watering the lawn was a luxury, as well as an ongoing skirmish between the Mama and me. The Husband continued watering it, but not as often or as much. The Mama took to watering it when we were gone, if she felt the lawn was fading.

I was very happy when the City finally decreed a water rationing and a $500 fine for using too much water. "You have to decide," I said to the Mama, "water for your vegetable garden or the lawn. You can't have both for now."

The lawn faded. The Mama sighed. The Mama complained. Fortunately, the lawn came back after the winter rains…

Happy Birthday to the Mama!

The ever loving, curious, generous, and unique Mama would've been 95 years old today. Shoot up the  fireworks! Bang on the walls! Pick some tomatoes! Dance up a storm! Sing, sing, sing!


I searched through my archives for a story to share about the Mama. This one is my favorite, which was published on June 18, 2010. Originally, it was entitled Talking about Sex with the Mama. The new title says it better.

Some Kind of Wonderful

Yesterday the mama asked me to explain something she was reading in an AARP flyer. It was a short article about what a woman can do about vaginal dryness so that intercourse isn't so painful.
Uh.

The mama is a voracious reader. She likes to learn. Both things I didn't know until the husband and I became her roommates several years ago. English is not her primary language, and I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, her English reading comprehension is about a 4, more or less. She doesn't let complicated or unfamiliar words get her down. If she&#…

A Sloth Who Likes to Read

"Stop reading," ordered the Mama. "Go outside."

I'd probably been lying on the bed reading for three or four hours that sunny summer weekend afternoon. I was probably 12 years old.

That's what the Mama got for buying me a bed with a bookcase headboard. It was packed full with paperback books that I purchased from the monthly Scholastic book catalog during the school year. Three or four dollars bought me a lot of books back then. I shall always be grateful the Mama and the Daddy let me buy so many, and for leaving me alone to read the books over and over most of the time.

Reading was my favorite thing to do in summer, followed by riding bicycles, watching movies, and eating. Except for the bicycle riding, I seem to have slipped back into my once-upon-a-time summer routine. I'm not getting much done, I admit. And, yes, my clothes are feeling snug. Again.

I really do need to urge me to step outside and do something. There's still time today to water t…