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Showing posts with the label the mama

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…

Flight

On the afternoon that the Mama died, the Husband, Long-time Friend Kathy, Molly the Cat, and I sat on the patio and ate our lunch. The Mama's apple tree and her butterfly bush gave us shade from the warm Spring sun. The sky was blue. The Mama's roses, daisies, and other flowers were in bloom. The birds serenaded us. The Mama's bedroom window faced the backyard. I like to think that she could see, smell, and hear the day as we did and that she enjoyed listening to our relaxed cadences and tones.

At one point I leaned back in my chair and gazed at the sky. A crow was lazily flying back and forth. It was like a photo, the crow framed by the foliage of the Mama's trees and bushes. As I watched the bird, I felt like I could see the Mama's spirit flying up towards the crow and dancing alongside it.

When I finally looked away, I saw a white butterfly fly out of the Mama's garden by the  rose bushes. That was the first white butterfly I saw that day, which, ever since…

Crybaby Me.

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 keeping …

Five Things Today

I thought today is Friday.
I'm a few chapters into The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert.  I'm enjoying it and it's so easy to read because the writing is seamless.
The surgeon removed the week-old bandage covering the incision that marks the spot where the Husband's pacemaker was inserted last week. "You're good to go," said the surgeon. Hurrah!
Why are some people okay about their neighbors being able to hear their music, conversation, and screaming grandkids clear as a bell from their backyard?
I found three bags full of the brother's children's clothes in the Mama's closet. They've been there for at least 25 years, when the brother's wife put them in the bags to throw out. Somehow the Mama got her hands on them before she could.

Various Varieties

This is what I've been doing with some of the Mama's various varieties of cups. 


This is what I've been doing with some of the Mama's various varieties of plants that need to be put into pots or repotted.

I'm having a lot of fun.



It's the letter V at ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out the other participants or to link up with the weekly meme started by Denise Nesbitt and continued today by the ABCW team headed by Roger Green.

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The View from the Mama's Seat

The Mama had the best view of the outside world from her seat at the kitchen table.

She could watch the cars drive by, as well as people walk by, from the north or the south. She could see the butterflies kiss across the pink roses. She could gaze at the tiny brown birds take turns eating at the four-perched bird feeder. And, she could spy on the goings on of the neighbors.

"What is that man's name?" the Mama asked, waiting for lunch to be served.

"What man?" I asked, frantically getting lunch together, late as usual.

"The man in the grey house." (The house which is now blue.)

"Steve."

"He's cutting his lawn," she said.

"That's good."

"He's not wearing any shirt."

I never knew whether the Mama thought that was a good thing or not.


Sorting Through the Mama's Stuff

The Mama was 94 years old when she slipped into eternity. So, of course she left lots and lots and LOTS of stuff behind. Lucky me. I get to go through it all and decide what to keep, throw away, reuse, recycle, give away, or possibly sell. 

I was about to say that it's easy to figure out what to do with some things. It's not.

The other day I found an envelope on which the Mama printed Susie One Year Old. Inside the envelope was a bunch of my one-year-old self's hair.

What am I going to do with that?


It's time for ABC Wednesday, hosted by Roger Green and the ABCW team, which was started by Mrs. Nesbitt nine years ago. To join in and/or check out other participants, please click here.


Giddy.

The Husband and I are listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, while I'm clicking on the keyboard. It was a fun morning. We drank freshly-brewed coffee and ate olive bread with butter and cheese, as well as finished the leftover berry strudel and custard tart that a friend brought over for dessert last night. The food and drink put me in a giddy mood. Still am.  I think the coffee was made from drunken beans. Yes, I do.

As we got breakfast together, we wondered what to do today. We knew what we didn't want to do. And, so far I haven't done the laundry and the Husband hasn't cut the lawn. We thought of what we could do—maybe hike at the Pinnacles National Park, or drive over to Monterey, or go see a movie. We haven't done any of that either. I doubt we shall.

We did some stuff this morning. The Husband brought in the garbage cans and cleaned Molly the Cat's litter box. I collected all of the Mama's artificial flowers around the house and washed them, whic…

The Rosary Snapping Mama

"Does Manang have a rosary?" asked Helen, a friend of the Mama's. (Manang is a term of endearment for a woman older than you. It means sister.) We were standing before the Mama's casket on her funeral day, waiting for it to be closed and taken to the church.

"I can give you one," said Helen.

"It's in her purse," I said, pointing to the blue cloth clutch embroidered with bright red and white flowers next to the Mama's body. It also held the Mama's favorite compact, which the Only and Older Brother gave her when he was 12 or 13, reddish-pink lipstick, two large scarves, and one or two other things that I no longer recall. I like to think the Mama's spirit might enjoy having them.

"Did you break the rosary?" asked Helen.

"Am I supposed to?" I asked, feeling a panic coming on. "Mama only told me not to put it in her hands."

When I had researched about what Ilocanos do with rosary beads for the dead, I fo…

Forty Days Has Passed

Religious rituals throw me off guard. Do I adhere to them? Shall I disregard them? What would the Mama want?

Today marks 40 days since the Mama scampered out of her body. I like to think she gave a big sigh of relief and smiled grandly at the Daddy who took her hand and they danced into eternity.

The Mama did not have to sit around in some holding space just beyond reality for enough people to say the right amount of prayers to move her forward into heaven. It's not like how that guy who recited prayers at an auntie's rosary said, "Now we know that Sister's going to heaven, but we need to pray for her so that she can get a better seat next to Jesus."  Really! I made sure he did not recite the rosary for the Mama.

When I was planning the Mama's funeral, one of her friends reminded me to get in touch with the church to request a nine-day novina for the Mama, which is nine straight days of praying for the Mama's soul after she has been buried. Yes, right. T…

Four Weeks Ago

"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 Husband a…

The Mama's Motley Crew of Pallbearers

Except for a few instructions from the Mama, I had carte blanche to plan her funeral services. Would I follow the traditional way, which I regard as much too somber, tight-lipped, not a crack of a smile, and full of smelly moth balls? Or, would I follow my heart and let loose with the joy that is life, living, and, most of all, the deep essence of the Mama who denied it so often while she lived?

Was there any doubt that I would do the latter?

At times. Especially after freaking out when I read the what should be's when it comes to funerals, in particular, Ilocano funerals. One superstition, or tradition, is that no family members shall be pallbearers. Bad luck would be theirs otherwise. Before I read that, I had decided to be one of the Mama's pallbearers. I wanted to go the whole nine yards with the Mama. But, maybe I ought to pay attention to the superstition. Then I recalled I was a pallbearer for Uncle Frank several decades back. Did bad things happen afterwards? Sure. G…

Over, But Not Out

Hello Dear Readers and Blogging Friends,

Thank you for your notes full of concern and love during my absence. Molly the Cat, the Husband, and I appreciate each and every one of you. I believe the Mama's spirit does, too.

Yes, it's true. I'm sorry to say that the Mama is no longer with us. She left her aged, tired body behind on April 1, 2016 and is now soaring freely and, I verily hope, peacefully and happily through eternity.

So for today's post I give you the Mama's obituary, which I'm linking with the letter O at ABC Wednesday. Please be sure to check out this weekly meme begun by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team. 

Frances Domingo Echaore lived to the grand old age of 94. Hollister was her first and only home in the United States, having immigrated from the Philippines nearly 67 years ago with her one-year-old son to reunite with her husband, the late Santiago Echaore.

Born Francisca DeGuzman Domingo, this nonagena…