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!
coffee. This morning the Husband and I shared a chocolate old-fashioned doughnut to enjoy with our cups of black coffee. Happy smiles all around. Cable. I want us to get rid of our cable subscription. The Husband agrees it's too expensive for the few channels we watch. Will we? you ask. We will, I'm sure we will. The bigger question: When will we? Procrastinators are us. ceramics. When I was 19, my big dream was to own a bookstore with a ceramics workshop in the back. Cute. The Husband says I'm cute. I tell him it's because he loves me. He says, "It's because you are cute." chicken. There are times when I think our representatives at the local, state, or national level of government are too chicken to make a stand one way or the other. Bwak, bwak cooking. I do that once a day, at least, most days. I like when it's a some day. Coast-co. "We're going to Costco," I would say to Mama. "Where?" she w
In Ilocano (the parents' primary language), balasang is the word for a young woman who has reached the marriageable age, which in my parents' day would've been 15 or 16. A balasang presents herself to the world well-groomed, well-dressed, and well-mannered. Graceful and radiant, with no sassy mouth nor a defiant bone in her. Alas, that was not me. Mama did her best to polish me up with the stylish, stiff, and sophisticated outfits that she bought for me. I felt uncomfortable, awkward, and fake in them, preferring, and still do, the bohemian style. In my early 20s, when I worked in the San Francisco Financial District as a clerk typist, I wore a Mama outfit when everything else was in the laundry hamper. To break the monotony of the outfit, I'd wear something silly with it. Once I wore wool knee-high socks and clogs with a pink polyester dress that had an attached two-toned bolero-type jacket. I looked as atrocious as it sounds. Still, in the early evening, whil
I don't recall whether Apo Dios refers to God or to the sun. Maybe I didn't ever know. Ilocano was the parents primary language. I understood Ilocano but couldn't wrap my Americanized tongue around Ilocano words to speak it. So, yeah, we were one of those families in which immigrant parents talked to their American-born children in their native language and the children responded in English. Think of interpreters translating in real time. The term Apo Dios is a combination of two languages. Apo in Ilocano means father or grandfather. So, I've always thought. An online Ilocano-English dictionary says otherwise. It says Apo means God. Dios is a Spanish word that means God. Spain colonized the Philippines for over 300 years so of course Spanish is going to seep into the native languages there. That same Ilocano-English dictionary defines Apo Dios as God. Usually, my parents addressed Dios when life was going fine, such as "Hi, God, how are you doing? We'
This morning at the end of breakfast my fingers locked into a Vulcan salute, and I wasn't even trying to make one. "Look," I said to the Husband who was intently bent over his iPad. "Wait, I'm watching this video." I constantly interrupt the Husband while he's in the middle of reading or watching a video online. Sorry, Dude. My fingers weren't moving. Now what? Gah. That got me thinking about what kind of Medicare Advantage plan to get. I think I'm in good health for being a life-time fatty. Poor Mama, the doctor pulled out 21-inches long and over eight pounds me, cesarean style. That must've been awfully scary for her. Baby Sister (who lived two years) and I were cesareans. Older Brother was a natural birth in a jungle in the Philippines. Just kidding about the jungle, though I would love to claim being born in a jungle. I don't know whether Oldest Girl was a cesarean, too. Valentina, the sister who died on the day she was born
That tall tree next to the side fence is an avocado tree. It started from a seed the Mama planted. Until last year, it was hidden by a red shed, which has me now thinking that Mama planted the seed after the shed was built in 1989, thereabouts. That makes the tree about 29 years old. Yesterday morning a branch grazed the top of my head, so I got the pruning shears to trim it as it would get in the Husband's way. Lo and behold! I saw an avocado, the size of my tiny finger, hanging from beneath leaves on that low branch. I looked and looked. Yup, avocados. A whole lot of tiny avocados growing! This is the first time that avocado tree is bearing fruit. Wowza! Although Mama is physically gone, the Spirit of Mama continues to whisper to her plants. Perspective: The avocado is the size of my tiny finger.
The Husband and I cannot recall the last time Eliza Doalot had her last bath. Pouring rain last winter didn't clean her. As of yesterday, Eliza is clean. Inside, too. Ha! As we were vacuuming and dusting the insides, I thought how Mama would've shown great pleasure to see Eliza sparkle sparkle on the driveway. Mama was always after us to wash the car. Our excuse for not washing the car was "It's a drought. We don't want to waste the water." Yesterday was Mama's birthday . A shiny Eliza Doalot was the perfect birthday present to honor the memory of Mama. Sunday means All Seasons , a weekly meme hosted by Jesh of The Jesh Studio , which is where I'm heading to share my post. Click here to check out Jesh. For the participants list, click here . Thanks, Jesh!
Today, Mama would've been 97 years old, three years shy from the 100 that she often told people she was. If I happened to be around, they would ask me, "Is that true? Is she really 100." "Is that what she said?" I'd reply. "Yes." Mama was probably in her mid-80s when people started wanting to know about her age. At first, I'd laugh, and say something like "She's pulling your leg." Only if they asked would I say how old Mama truly was. When Mama was in her 90s, I would simply reply, "That's what she said." Whatever I replied, they'd respond, "She's strong for her age." Or, "She looks good for her age." Of course. She spent nearly every day of her 29 years of retirement working in her yard, making it pretty with succulents, flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees. What better way for me to celebrate Mama's birthday than to take cuttings of her red geraniums and
There ought to be a song about that combination—buttons and tobacco tins, la la la lah. Remember the song "Buttons and Bows"? I think Dick Dale on Lawrence Welk sang that song, while dressed in cowboy clothes or dapper 1890s suit. Or, was that Larry Hooper? The Lennon Sisters in prairie dresses and bonnets? Yup, I watched Lawrence Welk when I was a kid, developing what I thought was sarcasm and wit. Watching it with The Daddy was a treat. I never tired listening to his assessment on the tenor Joe Feeney after he trilled "Danny Boy" or another break-your-heart song, holding the last note to kingdom come and back. When Feeney was done, The Daddy remarked, "He earned his two-bits." I never knew if The Daddy liked Feeney's singing. Should I meet up with The Daddy in the after life, that's one question I shall ask of him. The tobacco tins in the photo belonged to The Daddy, which meant Older & Only Bro and I bought The Daddy a new pipe for
Temperatures are climbing again. The weather dudes say it'll be in the high 90s our way today. As long as there's a breeze, it'll be fine. If not, well, we'll be fine. The Husband, Molly the Cat, and I, that is. I can't speak for anyone else. Molly Girl and I were out early this morning watering the newly planted flowers. They were only a few so I chose to use the watering can. Only six trips to the faucet, which was far enough away for me to work up a sweat. The exercise also made my knees pop. I like to think that they popped back into place. Dream on. Sometimes as I trudge about the yard spot watering, I'm reminded of The Mama telling me how her brothers used to carry buckets of water to the field to individually water the plants. I imagined her world of long ago being very hot and dry, and water being very precious. Not so different today, is it? Several days ago when it was cooler, I stuck two new daisy plants into the ground. The one in the photo
I'm imagining that's me sitting in the ocean right now. The temperature hovers around 94 degrees in our part of town. I'm very thankful that it's not hotter. Oooh, I just heard a bit of noisy wind outside. It reminds me of times when the Mama, the Husband, and I sat around the kitchen table and suddenly heard and saw wind whirl the tree and plants around furiously in the front yard. Mama always remarked, "That's Jesus Christ." The Husband and I didn't know whether she was kidding us or not.
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
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
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 o
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
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 y
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
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.
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
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