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Making My First Filipino Dish

The parents liked fresh meat and they believed it was cheaper to purchase a pig (or cow or chicken), slaughter and butcher the animal,  and freeze the parts for when you wanted to cook. Because the cost of purchasing a pig was high, the parents often bought it with one or more friends. They didn't bring the pig to the butcher though, as part of the pig-buying event was the camaraderie among the men as they slaughtered and butchered the pig in our backyard. A bottle, or two, of whiskey also figured into the festivity.

Every part of the pig was used. Everything. For instance, the blood was directly drained from the pig into a pot. The right amount of vinegar was added to the blood and it was beat with a hand mixer until it coagulated into a thick pudding. The blood was used for a pork dish known as dinardaraan, which the Filipinos would call Chocolate Meat as they served it to children or non-Filipinos.

Along with the whiskey, Daddy always  served his compadres a meal of the freshly…

Closing Up

Update: May 20, 2013
Today, I decided to merge the old and new blogs. There are just too many posts from "This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then" that I want to keep alive.  ~Su-sieee! Mac 

It has been over two months since my last post. I have mumbled several times to the husband, "I'm going to stop blogging This and That. Each time, he replied, "I thought you already have."

Yeah. Well. I finally am.

This is it. My last post.

For this blog, that is.

I've decided to start another blog. The husband  will be surprised.

The new blog is called Don't Be a Hippie. . . Now and Then. Its focus is more selfish. I shall be revealing as much as I dare about myself through my memories, stories of my elders, and everyday experiences. At least that's what I think.

Thank you Dear Readers and fellow Bloggers for your kindly visits and generous support. I hope you'll stop by my new blog.

~ Su-sieee! Mac




Hippie, I'm Not.

This was originally published in November, 2010 at my experimental "Don't Be a Hippie" at Wordpress.com. The one and only post. Today's version has been slightly revised. I don't know why you need to know.

About 40 years ago, on a particular day, I was getting myself ready to go hang out at school. Not high school. But, community college.

I was 18 or 19 and living at home. The daddy was retired. He happened to be home on this certain day. He may have been getting ready to go out to hang out with his retired buddies.

I was in my bedroom doing whatever, when the daddy stopped at my door.  I looked over at him, and he said, "Don't be a hippie."

Before I could respond, he walked away.

I had no idea he knew there were such things as hippies.

Most of all, I didn't think I had it in me to be a hippie.  I was not very good at being part of a group that had a moniker to it.

Still.  I wonder what may have caused my dad to reach the conclusion that I coul…

He Put Me Under His Spell. Kind Of.

This is what happens when you grow older: You volunteer to get on stage at the county fair and agree to be put under and possibly do some silly things in front of a crowd of people of whom most you don't know. It also helps that you are with a friend who has also temporarily forgotten to put her brakes on her sense of decorum.

Yeah.

It starts with said friend, aka the Evil2win  saying "I want to see the hypnotist perform." And, then saying "I'd like to be hypnotized."  And, me saying, "Me, too."

So, slowly, we and our companions‚ all six young old fogeys, mosey over to the main stage just in time for Steve the Hypnotist to introduce himself. He proceeds to test the audience's potential to see who is easily gullible. Our friend, Davey Hogg, who says he can't be hypnotized easily did what was suggested. Ha! Not me. But, I went up anyway. I've done hypnotherapy so know that I can follow the swinging gold watch.

As I went up, I called to th…

The Mama-isms at the Kitchen Table

I heard these three Mama-isms quite often when I was a small child sitting at the kitchen table:

"Don't lean on your hand. God will get mad."

"Don't sing at the table. God will get mad."

"Don't play with your food. God will get mad."

The husband told me he was told similar things as a kid. Just not the part about "God will get mad." His parents usually said something like: "Don't lean on the table. That's not polite."

Since the Mama had to remind me more than once about not doing certain things at meal time, I must've figure God wasn't mad at me at all. And, look, I still sometimes play with my food.


A Day Out With The Mama

"I like to pick tomatoes," the mama said, looking up as she continued picking cherry tomatoes from the depth of the green vines. "They should hire me."

Yesterday morning, the mama, the husband, and I picked tomatoes at a local organic farm. It was having one of its few U-pick days for the season. We discovered this opportunity a couple of years ago. We don't pick a lot of tomatoes. Just enough to freeze to last us until the next growing season. For us, that's about 25 to 30 pounds, which is about equivalent to what the Mama used to get from her tomato plants. With each year, the yield has gotten less, so finding a place to get a deal for organic tomatoes is really perfect.

This year, the Mama wanted to tag along for the picking. She doesn't like to go out much so it made the adventure an extra treat.  She was really enjoying herself out there amongst the rows of tomatoes, plunked in the warm sun on her green plastic bench from home. The Mama had worked …

2011 Cozy Book Challenge

How many book challenges did I sign up for at the beginning of the year?  Whatever was I thinking? Oh, yeah, that I could and would read books for pleasure, at the same time as I'm doing research crazily about 500,000 different professions. hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Yeah, I'm hysterical. No, serious, I am hysterical.

I started off fine. If you were to look at my book list,  you'd see I've read a dozen so far. C'est la vie.
Just the fact that I piled up all the books that I want to read, rather than scattered throughout our space is a win for me. And, for the husband. Poor guy. Once upon a time he organized and managed a very large warehouse of paper and office supplies for a California state agency. It was very clean and orderly. It in fact rivaled the cleanliness of the Mama's garden. (The woman picks up leaves and sweeps the ground every day that it's not raining. )

What was I talking about? Book challenges, yeah. There is one I did complete: The Cozy Book Cha…

Perfume for the Mama, Parte Dos

Yes, finally. Thank you, dear friends, for waiting patiently. Here's Part One to my  quest  to find perfume for the Mama.

Because I was buying perfume online, I purchased a bunch of samples so the Mama could decide which one or two she likes. My decision of which samples was based on the descriptions.

The Retailer: I went with DSH Perfumes.com, based in Colorado, because they had the best descriptions and prices for my budget. 

Roll-on Perfumes
DSH had some perfumes on sale because they were being discontinued or were made on a temporary basis. I chose two perfumes in roll-on format. It turns out that the roll-on formats are easier for the Mama to handle.

en Fleur: "...A necklace of island flowers that stirs the soul: the one and only Plumeria."  No brainer there. I love the smell of plumeria, and I wanted to share the happy scent of that one with the Mama. The mama's reaction: Okay.

butterfly: "...it is fresh and clear...It is vibrant, colorful and alive! butter…

Day One

No, I haven't forgotten to write Part 2 about buying birthday perfume for the Mama. Yesterday afternoon while looking for a bookmark I found the envelope containing all the tags and bits of information about the perfume samples that I got her. So, part 2 is a coming. One day.

These days, it just takes me a long while to get around to doing the fun writing. Something called writing deadlines get in my way, as does making meals for the crew and doing the minimum housecleaning that I can get away with, which generally means when we're all sneezing. Not to say trying to stay half a step ahead of the Mama and remember to go water the flowers and chayote vines before they wilt. Oh, and other stuff, whatever they are. By the way, is anyone out there flinching with my grammatical errors yet. I'm sure they're there. "They" referring to errors.

I ought to be sleeping. I've got only 15 minutes left of the sleep cycle for my liver to regenerate itself. I read somewher…

Perfume for the Mama, Parte Una

"I want perfume for my birthday."
That's what the mama said to me yesterday in the middle of the drugstore.
It was the first time she ever requested something special for her birthday. Usually, when asked, she'll say, "Nothing. Don't get me anything."
The moment after she said she wanted perfume, I got scared. Did she want to buy perfume right then, right there?
Thankfully, not! The only perfumes you can get in a drugstore stink as bad (or worse) as the odor you smile while driving by a compost factory, or a field freshly laid with manure, or plain old skunk spray. Yuck.  I'm not even talking about the minutes after the eau has dissipated and you're now sniffing the burn of alcohol and who-knows-what chemicals. Sigh.
Most perfumes give me a headache. Some make my nose get stuffy. Worse yet, others make my face start itching.
Still. The mama doesn't ask for much.
So, this afternoon I jumped through the hoop, and spent hours on the Internet resea…

The Wearing of Red

I do feel sspassazzy about wearing something red now that I'm a young "old" fogey. Nope, not a red hat. Though I did learn I could've joined the Red Hat Society several years ago.

Yesterday, I bought myself a red lacy brassiere. Ooh la-la, indeed.

First time, I've ever owned a red one. Wonder why I never got one before. I liked the way I felt free, invincible, and joyful when I tried it on, similar to how I feel after having cut my hair very short.

Do I feel this same way when I wear a red frock, red shoes, or red earrings? Not that I can recall, but then I rarely wear red because it is such a visible color. Hello, stop sign. When I was in eighth grade, the mama made me a lovely red dress. She was disappointed that I didn't like to wear it. Ah, kids. I would definitely wear it today.

How about you? How does wearing red make you feel?

Hi, Hello, How are you?

Really?

It's been almost a month since I posted a post.

Wish I could say I was traveling or wandering in wonder lust.

Nope. Just getting on with life.

Dusting and vacuuming a bit more often to keep my facial eczema from flaring so awfully awful that my eyes become swollen. How swollen? The recessive epicanthic folds of my eyelids show themselves. An advantage for me. Nobody thinks anything is wrong with my eyes.

Celebrating the husband's 60th anniversary of being born. Every 60-year-old child should have a birthday party complete with bubble wands, darts, and other games. And lots of his favorite food.

Finishing a deadline and starting another one. Sigh. I'm boxed in until 12/12/12. So, by golly, the world better not end on 12/21/12!

Working on my 40th high school class reunion. The husband doesn't believe me when I say this is the last time I work on a reunion. "Absolutely," I say. "Uh-huh," he says.

So, that what has kept me me away from writing on the …

Earlier, this evening. . .

I don't remember the last time I was outside. Just sitting. Just doing nothing. Well, okay, except for doodling words with a pen on a piece of paper. About, of course, nothing.

I'm sitting on a beach chair on the front stoop. The mama is sitting in the back yard deadheading her pink daisies. The husband is standing in the front yard hand-watering the lawn. Uhmmm, that spray feels good.

Me. I should be making dinner. And, I shall in a while.

For now, I just want to enjoy a pause. I've been cooped inside spinning words and sentences into short, but clear and comprehensible paragraphs about stuff I have already forgotten. It's best to do that when you work on reference books. If I had retained everything I've written about in the last 13 years, my gosh... Ka-poosh! The sound of my brains exploding. Splattt. Splutt. Spposh. The sounds of my brains splashing on the walls and ceiling.

Ah, yes. Imagination is good to have at any age.

Now, I must go make dinner for the crew.

Th…

Guess What It Is

Uh-hmm. Is that how you spell the sound of clearing one's voice?  Ah-hemmmm.

This morning I was making the husband's side of the bed. Nah, I'm not the bedmaker. The husband was making up my side of the bed. That's how it was today. Tomorrow may be different.

Anyway, I didn't see it right away. The white strand of something that was floating above the husband's side of the bed. When I did finally saw it, I climbed up on the bed and laid down beneath it.

"Look, look," I said, then pretended to snore the husband's snore so the white strand floated upwardly. I did it a few times before he caught on.

So, what did we do?

We laughed for a long time.

Wouldn't you?

We decided that white strand wasn't there when he got up. He would've sheared it right off, as it was hanging quite, quite low over his side of the bed. Whatever made it had at least an hour to spin that thick strand of cobweb from the lamp to the top of the 2009 calendar that hangs on th…

Three Things I Should Learn; Or, Maybe Non Sequitur Rambling

One: Slice a mango. 

The other day, the mama bought a box of mangoes from a guy, who might not have a license for selling boxes of such beautiful fruit on the street corner. The mangoes are huge and delicious.  It's a pity, I mangle them when I slice them.

Two: Uh, I forgot.

Three: I forgot that, too.

Slicing the mango? Definitely, should learn to cut one. But will I?

Maybe if I say "Ought to learn to cut one." The way I phrase things makes a difference.  I may actually learn to slice it. This old dog can still learn new tricks.

I learned for instance that if I had said this instead: "I might actually learn to slice it." I would not learn to do it at all. I'm not kidding.

The husband gave me this link the other day so that I would understand the difference in usage of may and might. It's rather interesting. Did you know that might is the past tense of may? I may have known that at one time. Yes, I just might have.

Now, I should go look up how to slice a man…

Hmmm. A Poem.

Endless, So it Seems

I've just only settled into a writing groove when it's time to go to the kitchen again.

About eight years ago, the Mama's health was failing because of poor nutrition. All she wanted to eat was cereal or frozen waffles and 2% lactose-free milk. Thank goodness for milk. Maybe if she didn't work so hard and long in her flower and vegetable gardens, she could've made do. But, the Mama can't stand still. And, as we all know, when we live alone, we pretty much eat what we want to eat and when we want to eat it.

So, about eight years ago, it was quite obvious that her high-carbo, minuscule protein diet had taken its toll on her body. The decision wasn't easy for everyone involved, but it was made. The mama, the husband, and I became roomies.

Today, the husband and I seem to spend a lot of time in the kitchen every day. Me cooking; him washing dishes; and me, him, and the mama eating. Most days, three times a day.

The mama does her own breakfast because she gets u…

Standing On One Foot

Warning: This post is really about nothing.

My first try was 9 seconds. My second try was 20-something seconds. My third try? Ah, a full minute.

Pretty good for a heavy-set old lady balancing on one foot. My left foot, too. And, that isn't even my dominant side.

"What are you doing over there?" asked the husband as he was washing the lunch dishes.

"I'm seeing how long I can stand on one foot," I said, setting the timer on the refrigerator door.

"Why?" he asked, not turning around.

"Because you never know when our survival depends on me being able to balance on one foot."

He laughed. Of course. I did, too. "When could that happen?"

"Say a crook holds us hostage in a bank. He'll only let us go if an old lady can stand on one foot for five minutes."

"Like that could happen," the husband said, rinsing the dishes.

"You never know," I said. "I want to be ready for any event. There could be a Survivor…

Deeper into the Raging Aging Category

I believe that the husband and I have slipped into another level of the old rooty-toot fogeys.

Friday, no Saturday, was food shopping day. I pulled into a space in the parking lot, opened the door, and saw what looked like sand-over-dried-crud on the ground. Sighing, I carefully placed my feet so as not to touch it and hauled my heavy self out of the car.

"Yuck, dried vomit," I said.

"Spilled drink," countered the husband. "It's all over here, too."

I thought about moving the car, but let the moment past. I took out the grocery bags from the back seat and as I slammed the door I saw another one behind the passenger's seat.

"Can you get that bag on your side, please?"

The husband did, which meant first opening the front door, next unlocking the back door, and then fetching the bag with his bum arm. 

Now flash forward about 25 minutes. After loading our bags into the trunk, the husband and I noticed the front passenger side door wide open.

&qu…

A Casual Outing

On the husband's and my last 23rd date, we got in our car and drove east over the mountain to finally do the wander we started a few months ago. The fog was too thick then so we had turned back. Not so a few weeks ago. It was a gorgeous day for being carefree and fancy-free.

Back in January, a waitress had told us if we wanted to see some great views, we should go to the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Gustine and drive up to the flagpole. She was right.  The husband thought that the Veterans buried at the cemetery were probably happy to finally be in a peaceful place.


We had one goal that day—to hike in the Great Valley Grasslands State  Park. It is truly an undeveloped park. It's a good thing we did our homework. Otherwise, we wouldn't have known by which unmarked gate to park.






After getting back in the car, we decided to just wander. The husband and I took turns saying which way to turn. Left. Right. Straight ahead. Through the farmlands of Merced County we drove…

A Saturday Ramble in the Kitchen

I'm supposed to be downstairs finishing up what I started over a couple hours ago:
. . .washing the fresh veggies we bought at the local farmstand 
. . .turning the cut unripe mango into a sauce or something
. . .combining the ripe avocado and quarter-cube of tofu into mashed avocado and tofu with garlic, green onion, tomato, cilantro, and (shhhh!) kimchee juice
. . .creating some kind of casserole with the leftover BBQ chicken from last Sunday's Filipino Community BBQ fundraiser.Oh, and don't forget, self,  wash the lunch dishes. 

The husband is normally the dishwasher but because I needed to hog the kitchen sink and counter I said I'd wash them. That is, I will after I'm done with everything else I need to complete.

Maybe I shouldn't have let the husband off the hook. Lunch was a concoction of mashed banana, tofu, peanut butter, and fig jam on toasted blueberry bagel. When the husband took a bite, he asked, "What the heck is this?"

"What? You don'…

Finding the Funny in B for Bleeding

Bleeding.

Definitely not to be taken lightly.

Postmenopausal bleeding, in particular, for us mature ladies.

Still, there's some humor to be found. Hold that thought.

Serious stuff first: The medical experts say that postmenopausal bleeding refers to any bleeding (light or heavy) occurring after one full year of no flow. There could be various reasons that a post-menopausal woman may suddenly start bleeding, from benign cervical polyps to yuck! cancer. So, dear ladies, you know who you are, do not hesitate, do not pass Go. Make an appointment to see your gynecologist tout de suite.

Okay, back to that held thought. Humor.

Let me take you back to 2006. Then was my first bout with postmenopausal bleeding. Lady-Doc (and my gynecologist is a she) found a rather huge, very ugly hot potato of a polyp. She twisted that baby off and sent it to the lab. Ladies, the things our gynecologists must see and do. They're well worth the money. Fortunately, Lab-Doc decreed the polyp as benign. Howeve…

Aging, Sometimes Awkwardly

Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Jenny Matlock at Off on My Tangent, is staring a new round of the alphabet. Whoo-hoo!  To read more A posts, click on over to here. Of course, that's after reading my A post. ~ Su-sieee! Mac

Getting older is a learning experience.

Duh.

If someone gave me an operating manual for aging, I doubt that I would open it. That would be like finding out what date and time slot death has assigned me.

No, thank you.

I'm happy to grumble and gripe, cry and cringe, and mumble and moan through the aging process. The physical aspect, that is.

Seriously, I don't think I am at all that old until I happen to glance into a mirror. Fortunately, we still haven't put up another mirror in the bathroom since the old one broke last New Year's Eve.  So, what I don't see, well is what I don't see. Though a few weeks ago, someone asked me ever so sweetly and with much concern, "Are you sick?"

Huh?

Heck, no. Knock on wood.

Hold that Thought

I've held many thoughts so long that I hope one day they'll pass through my mind again. Especially the funny ones.

One of my faults is suddenly interrupting the husband when he is reading or following something on TV to tell him something that bam! popped into my head. Let's just say he finds it annoying. Very. After blah-blah years together, I believe I've gotten better at holding my thoughts until he looks up or a commercial comes on. Alas, my brain has moved on to other thoughts.

I wonder if that's what the vagueness is I sometimes feel going on in my head. Random thoughts that didn't get shared by either saying them aloud (to the husband) or writing them down for  this blog. Yeah, I miss expounding about nothing and wasting virtual  space with my verbiage.

Do you think it's true that everything on the Internet is floating outwardly into the infinity of space? The waves must be pretty darn strong to break through the atmosphere and whatever else without fi…

Z is for Z's!

Zounds!

No longer a zitella am I.

What does it matter. I still have zip, zazz, and zizz.

Oh, yes, and zany.

I have zipped the lines and one day I shall zumba. 

Now, it's time for me to start making some zzzzzzzzzzzz's.

Until later, my sweet Zumbadors!

Another Reason "Y" I Love The Husband

We could be walking, riding our bicycles, or driving down the way.

"I need to take a picture," I announce.




Xenophile, Xenophobe

Xenophile: A person who likes foreign people and things.

Xenophobe: A person who is very afraid, for no sane reason, of anything foreign and, in particular, of people of foreign origin.

These two words are right next to each other in the dictionary, at least in mine it is. Anybody else see the irony in that? Xenophobe coming after xenophile, that is.

Seeing the two words together made me think of a few things:

My uncle and aunt lived in California but they couldn't get married there. I don't remember what year it was, but, it was before the state anti-miscegenation law was repealed in 1948. They had to travel to another state to tie the knot. I wonder if going back home was their honeymoon.

When I was in high school, 40 years ago, a friend told me that he didn't think he was going to like me because he had heard some ranchers talk about my brother and me. One of the ranchers had said something like: "Those kids sure know how to hold up their race." My friend thought …

What's Up With Me

Hello Dear Gentle Readers,

I haven't been on vacation.  I wish, though.

I'm not sick. Knock on wood.

The mama and the husband are doing well. Thanks for wondering.

I've been blogging less because I'm not very good anymore at writing for work and writing for fun at the same time. I'm working on revisions for some career books over the next two years. If only blogging could pay the bills. So, alas, I'm down to blogging at least once a week—on Thursdays.

Take 25 to Hollister
As some of you know, I also do a blog about my home town. Take 25 to Hollister, for those of you who haven't seen it. I've stopped writing posts for that blog, too. But, not photos. Not just yet. I've challenged myself to post a photo every day. I'm up to day 61. We'll see how long I can go.

Another Book Reading Challenge
Really?

Yes. Call me nuts. Many already have and do.

This one is the annual Cozy Mystery Challenge. This will be second year. I couldn't resist. Cozy mysterie…

Winter's End

There have been years where I've missed spring completely. I often started writing projects in late autumn or early winter that would have summer deadlines. I left the house mostly to go grocery shopping, run errands, and attend engagements. Not until May would I realize that I did it again. No spring. Sigh.

The month of March is one of my favorite months. To me, March is the essence of spring. Plants giggle "Hello" as they pop up through the ground. Trees sing with blossoms and new leaves. California poppies, blue larkspurs, and other crazily colorful wildflowers smile above expansive fields of grass. The yellow mustard laughs through the orchards. The hillsides shout green, green, green.

It was easy for me to forget when I lived in city settings with miles of concrete and canyons of buildings. And, as my freelance career took off, the rides and walks into nature became far and few.

It's much differently now since the husband and I have moved to the town where I grew …