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Mama and the Leaves

My strategy used to be: Wait until all the leaves have fallen off the trees and then gather them up. Sure, it would be one murder of a day, raking and bagging literally tons of leaves....I say literally because obviously tons of leaves do not fall from less than a dozen trees. Maybe, thousands of leaves, but then I would just say that and not "literally thousands of leaves" because there are thousands of leaves on the ground. Yes, I think people overuse the word literally.

Okay, back to leaf-gathering strategies. The Mama's strategy: Pick up leaves every morning. Depending on the season, it may take her less than 30 minutes to several hours before she is satisfied that her garden is neat. The Mama dislikes the sight of leaves on the ground. She actually grumbles and shudders when she passes people's yards that are full of leaves. "If that was mine," she always says. "I wouldn't stand it." The husband or I usually respond, "Look away.&quo…

What If I Just Kept Driving?

I'm doing something completely different today. I'm linking up with Just Write, a weekly writing prompt hosted by authors Rebecca T. Dickson and Laura Howard. Want to try it yourself, click here.

This week's prompt is "What if I just kept driving?"

Sheila drove into tomorrow.

It was much easier than she thought it would be.

Her present was purgatory. Maybe if it was just hell, she would've stayed. Hell was bearable. It had borders. It had form. It had shadows in which she could find relief. But, purgatory. Damn. Purgatory. Such wishy-washiness. Such enabling. Such obscenity of humanity. There she said it. She lit a match to it all.

Sheila looked over the desert floor, warming with each second of the rising sun bursting itself into the new day.

A Pause to Give Thanks

Holidays. Here they are. Again.

In a few hours, I will get up to make the dressing to stuff the turkey that will roast for several hours so it is ready for our regular mid-afternoon meal. As it roasts, I'll put together a few side dishes—mashed parsnips and potatoes, plain Romano beans, and sauteed red cabbage and persimmons—while the Mama makes the gravy and maybe a pot of rice. I hope she cooks rice. I like the taste of her gravy on rice. I could just eat that. 

The annual turkey feast will be for the three of us. No, the four of us. I can't forget Molly The Kitty (T.K.) Cat. She doesn't like turkey though. Spam is more her style. I'm not kidding. I found that out last night.  Holding on to the kitchen counter, Molly stood on her hind legs and gazed intently at me as I sliced the canned delicacy (every now and then, we have a yen for spam with eggs). She'd just eaten her expensive raw food so it wasn't like she was famished. But, she was insistent that she wa…

A Pause for Positivity

I can't believe it is November. How many times have you heard that lately? 

And just like that the Presidential election is over. May President Obama and Congress finally work together for the good of our country. May people stop with the scare tactics and may people stop being scared that our country has gone somewhere that it "must be taken back".

Like everywhere else, we've been experiencing strange weather in our neck of the woods. Sometimes 30 to 40 degree difference between day and night. Not complaining. No, not at all. I cannot begin to imagine the bewilderedness of going through such a fright as Sandy on the East Coast. May everything work out well for every one there.

Hmmm, I had planned to do a post about the Mama's garden. Another day. But, I shall give you a look at the banana that has bloomed in her small circle of a banana grove. She is amazed that it's growing on a "baby" stalk rather than on one of the mature ones. May this blosso…

What's the Word?

What's the word I'm thinking of?

Damn. What's the word?

That's my life these days. And, that's not good when you make your livelihood as a writer.

The word I'm trying to think of is usually a simple word, too. Forget about asking for an example, because I can't remember any one of my 500 million+ instances at the moment.

All I know is that the word I'm trying to think of just dangles ghost-like in my mind. I really dislike the way a word plays hide-and-seek with me.

If the Husband happens to be nearby, I'll ask him for help. "What's the word that means  blah blah blah." Most often, thank goodness, he knows the word I'm seeking. Some times, he throws out a bunch of words. None of which fit what I'm wanting to write. Other times, well, let's just say that I just type in blab blab blab and move on to my next thought, choosing to believe that the word will show itself. Eventually, it does. So far. Thank goodness.

This trouble of …

The Summer of Pizza

One of my favorite birthdays was the year I asked for a pizza, five movie rentals, and to be left alone. And, I got what I asked.

Pizza is one of those treat foods for me.

The first few years that the husband and I were married, we ate a lot of extra-large pizza from this one particular pizzeria. We loved that they delivered. We gained a lot of weight. What kept us from gaining more than a lot was that we moved to a nearby city outside of the pizzeria's delivery radius.

Since living with the Mama, pizza has been a now and then food to enjoy. The pizzas sold around here tend to be heavy. I didn't think I'd ever say it, but yeah, too much salt, too much sauce, too much cheese, and too much grease. And, then there's the cost.  Oh, sure, it's cheap if we just wanted pepperoni and cheese. But, that's not the pizza experience for us. We like a pizza loaded with veggies, with the meat as an extra. 

Then, in late spring,  our favorite cafe  built an outdoor oven and…

A Jump Start that Never Got Started

The Republican candidate for President—whose name shall not be invoked—thinks I'm a victim. Ha! Talk about projecting and being judgmental. No, no, come back. I'm not going to muse about politics today. Bleah. Today, I give you a look into this writer's belfry, as in bats in.

The other day I found a file on my desktop with the title 88888...8887.doc. Of course curiosity got me and I opened it. Ha ha! on me. The Word file was my writing journal, the one I had started a few months ago with good intentions.
Uh-huh. I was fishing around in my head for a story to latch onto. It had (and has) been a long while since I tried.
The narrator a woman in her late 50s. A lot of ways I could go with that. A lot of ways. Did I? No. Will I? I don't know.

See. This became a post. Ha! Sorry for the blurriness of the photos of the scribbles. Hmmm, maybe that's a projection of my imagination right now. What you read is actually less than 855 words. I left out a couple of passages—my think…

Seven Random Thoughts

Pain. We take painkillers for the pain. My question is this: Is the pain still there even though we no longer feel it because we're on the painkiller? Okay, another question. How does the painkiller know which particular spot to de-pain? Or, is it just our whole body has become numb? What, still another question?

Molly the Cat. She's a bed hogger. Sometimes, by the time I go to bed, Molly is  sleeping in the middle of my side of the bed. She likes to sleep on my side because I drape an extra blanket over me. It's  a fleece blanket. Ah. Just got it. The softness and warmth of fleece must remind her of her Mommy-Cat. Molly likes to knead it into that perfect now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep spot. Doesn't matter if I happen to be under the blankets.

The Mama. Two weeks ago, the Mama was in the hospital for dehydration and pneumonia. The bacterial infection had jut begun, but because her body was dehydrated, it couldn't tackle the infection. The Mama had gotten the bug from …

Quiet. Hospital.

The Mama may be coming home from the hospital today. The ambulance took her there on Monday afternoon. All of a sudden she could not move her legs or arms, no matter how hard she tried. She had caught the nasty bug that the Husband had been fighting 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" who has a loving extended family to visit her. The Mama, in contrast, has loving me. The husband is sick so obviously cannot visit and Molly the Cat is not allowed in the hospital. The Mama had forbidden me from telling her friends where she was.

Before I go any further, let me say this: I have nothing against visitors in hospital rooms. But, I also expect visitors to act appropriately—such as talk quietly, be considerate of other patients, and recognize that a hospital is n…

A Fine Day

"In the Philippines," the Mama said the other day, looking up at the patchy white clouds, "clouds like that meant there are lots of fish in the ocean. That's what the old people said."

In other words, those old people were saying, it's a good time to go fishing. I bet they were right, too. 

After 90 years, the Mama still recalls some of the things the "old people" used to tell her when she was a child. As she tells me, I can tell she doesn't think of herself as possibly being as old as they were—or even older—when they told her such things. I like that. A lot.

Maybe the other day was a fine day for fishing here, too. It was definitely a fine day for the Mama to sit in her garden and pot her birthday flowers. . .


. . .while Molly the Cat took a snooze nearby.


 © 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Molly the Two-Year-Old Cat

Molly the Cat is turning two years old. Maybe she already has. We have no idea. We only know that she was born in August. So, I've taken to  singing Happy Birthday to her every now and then. Not too often since I don't always keep in the right key. Hmmm, could be why she way trying to avoid me the other morning. I figured she had done something she knew she wasn't supposed to do on her jaunt through the Mama's jungle of a garden.

Yes, Molly the Cat, spends time every day wandering, sitting, sleeping, and stalking bugs in the backyard. The indoor cat loves the outdoors.  Sometimes we hang outside with her.  (I like that we're outside more these days. If I had a laptop, I would just work out there.) Other times, we slide open the screen door for Molly and say, "See you soon."

She's amazing. She comes back in when we tell her to. Most times. And, without needing to bribe or tempt her with a food. Just, "Good Girl. You're such a good girl."…

How Do You Get Companies to Create Jobs?

Warning: There's not a thing about doughnuts, unicorns,  butterflies, and other sweet joys in today's post. Maybe next time. 

Here's an issue that no politician wants to address, I betcha: How does government encourage  private companies, small and large, to create new jobs, as well as to keep current jobs, when part of the basic business model to succeed is to employ "cheap labor"?

Ah, what's that some say: Get rid of the minimum hourly wage rate.

Hoo, boy. The federal minimum wage, since 2009, is $7.25 per hour. If you work full-time at 40 hours per week, you earn a gross weekly pay of $290.  Now, let's take at least 30 percent from that for taxes (FICA, federal, state, and disability). Wowza! A whopping $203 to spend for fun and essentials for the week. Bear in mind that some people  receive more net pay according to the number of dependents they claim. Too bad we can't claim our pets. Oh, and let's not forget some workers may also be contribut…

What If We Had to Live on Food Stamps?

Last week I decided to experiment with our food budget. Not that I—or we—keep one. Formally, that is. I just figured that since we are being conservative about the flow of money out of our pockets these days,  why not pretend how it would be if we had to suddenly depend on food stamps. This is be a good time to try it, too, since our staples in both the pantry and freezer are running low.

Did you know that the monthly average benefit for a household in California is $200? Are you shocked too?

By the way, it isn't easy to qualify for food stamps. Plus, you need to have the proper documents to prove that you are eligible. And, anyone who receives food stamps, only gets them for a limited time and must meet specific conditions during that period. That said, I really don't understand why some people go insanely rabid about others who finally give in and jump through hoops with hopes of qualifying for some financial help to keep from starving. Seriously.

You can only use food stamp…

Digging Canals for the Mama

Several days ago, the Mama fell twice as she was watering her vegetables. I didn't see either fall, but fortunately she told me about each one just after it happened.

I had gone out to give her a juice drink. It was a hot day and my mission was to keep her hydrated whether she liked it or not.  As I waited for her to gulp her drink (Sipping? No such thing when she's on a task), she mentioned that she was wet because she slipped and fell on top of the beans. If she hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have noticed she was wet. When I looked at the beans, I couldn't tell that anything was wrong. The woman is that light.

"Here, let me finish watering," I said, reaching for the hose.

"No, I can do it," she said, swerving away from me.

After three times of going back and forth, I let it go. After nine years of living with her, I have finally learned to choose my battles. Assured that she hadn't hurt herself, I went back inside to work.

About 45 mi…

Such Failures

Warning: If you're not in the mood for political musing, come back next week. I may be in a better mood and write about my usual nothingness. Maybe.

The other evening, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at a fundraising dinner at which donors paid several thousands of dollars to be there. Some as much as $50,000. Some, possibly more. Romney, dear heart that he is, acknowledged that he and they, his donors, in the room are doing golly-gee well in this horrid economy. (That's my paraphrasing of his words) But, continues Romney, lover-boy of cheap labor . . . of course, he is. What true-blooded rich man doesn't like cheap labor. It (meaning cheap labor) is a necessary element for becoming true-blooded rich. It's basic Economics 101 . . . .

As I was saying, Romney told his donor that they are in the money while the waiters and waitresses who were serving them their dishes of delectable food and drink are not. Gasp. I know, it's amazing how Romney knew …

A Personal Holiday

The other day I was doing research about Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry.  Interesting fellow that Dr. Goddard. Quite a visionary. A lot of people thought he was a crackpot. That all changed when the space program began. Ah, then the adulation and the awards came left and right for the man. Unfortunately, Dr. Goddard was dead by then. I hadn't planned on telling you that, but there it is.

What I did want to mention was that Dr. Goddard had a personal holiday that he called his anniversary day.  He celebrated the day he was a kid sitting in a tree and looked up into the sky and had an epiphany about rockets and space. Yes, I know. Pretty cool. Not to worry though. I'm not going to go into the technical stuff about rockets and space. Not like I could. The important part here is that I decided that I need a personal holiday.

When I was in my early 20s, I was influenced by the unbirthday idea and did that for a year or so. I chose July 15 because that was m…

What's Wrong with Me!

We are on a strict budget right now. Not that I'm complaining. The flow of income can get very tight when you choose to be an independent writer. So,  all of you readers out there who want to be professional self-employed writers, bear that in mind. If you want the independence, you just keep plugging along. If you can't stand the financial insecurity, then you need to shore up on the writing, editing, researching, and computing skills to get a decent paying communications, technical writing, or editing staff job. And, for gosh sakes, please don't underbid your professional worth, which is essentially all professional writers' worth.

But, I've wandered. Being financially insecure at the moment isn't my tale. Nor is being a professional writer, which I finally get is what I am. Talk about sometimes not getting it. Do you know the yellow gas station Shell Oil? I don't know how many times I've seen the Shell stations by the time I reached a certain day in m…

Still Not at the End

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right then it's not the end."

That is one of my favorite lines in the  movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. After doing a Google search to find out the correct wording, I learned that the phrase has been around for quite a while. Who said it initially? Someone named "Unknown" comes up a lot. Who ever you are, thank you!

A lot of not-so-cool stuff has happened this past week. And, that phrase has been my mantra. It is keeping me insanely sane. So is having immediate access to the Internet.  

There is the work.
As some of you know I make my living as a writer. The project I'm currently working on requires me to write on many different topics, of which I'm no expert. Too many topics to research, understand, and write about that I've taken to whimpering just before giving in to sleep that I'll never ever see the glimmer of light on the other side of this tunnel. 

"Everything wi…

Older

I'm old. Old. Old. Old. Old. Old.

Well, we're both hold. The Husband and me. Oh, he won't like me saying that. But, it is true. We are old.

Yet.

Yesterday, we pedaled our cruiser bicycles against that defiant wind for several miles to buy three pounds of freshly-picked locally grown, sun-kissed cherries.

Very yummy cherries indeed.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about getting older. As wise folks say, "What's the use of complaining?" I'm just stating the fact today to myself, and you happen to be in on it.

Still, no matter how old I am, the Mama is older.

As many of you know, nothing is going to stop her from doing what she wants to do.  Example: The back yard that is her jungle of a vegetable garden. The better description is the mad scientist's horticultural sandbox. Any day, I expect her to tell me that she tore out all the bean plants and sown new seeds. Why? Because she can't stand that the plants are producing two and thr…

I Sew Can!

I still can't sew straight lines, but what does it matter. The bigger point is to attempt and to accomplish. And you betcha big time, I so did!

I finished Molly's bridle this morning. Once Molly is used to having it on her, I'll post a photo of her sporting it. Whoo-hoo!

I also sewed a  reversible patchwork apron for a birthday gift, which the Husband is kindly holding up for me in the photos below.  Took me all of six hours, using my minimal sewing skills and following very basic instructions as well as my whim and fancy.   It's the second apron I made. The first patchwork one. I like to do patchwork. That takes center stage rather than the flaws. But, what's life without flaws, eh.





Two Sides to the Story

There are always two sides to a story, right? Here's one tale for you from the Mama's Garden. One Side: The Other Side:
I like both sides to the evolving summer garden story.


Hanging with the Husband

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.

Molly the Cat, Explorer

When we adopted Molly the Cat a few months ago, we were told that she had always been an indoors cat. Only once in her life did she ever live outside. Molly's previous adoptive humans had taken in Molly and her brother who had special needs. The humans didn't understand what that meant because after a few weeks, they tired of cleaning up after the brother and dumped both Molly and him outside. Poor babies.

We were upfront with Molly's foster human. We wanted Molly to explore the outdoors when she was ready and if she wanted to do so. Within a lot of reason, of course. Never the front yard unless she was on a leash. And, only in the backyard if the Mama was agreeable to Molly wandering around her flower and vegetable plots. No problem there.



So, when Molly the Cat somehow got out of the front window a while back, we decided to give her the chance to wander around the backyard.

Supervised, that is.

"Micro-managed is more like it," says the Husband.

Molly doesn…

When the Red, Red Robin. . .

As the lemon snapped off, the robin flew from the slightly bouncing bough bowing heavy with lemons. (How's that for purple prose?) The red-breasted bird landed on the fence and scolded me.

"Excuse me," I said, and continued gathering lemons for lemonade.

Several days later, Molly the Cat and I were wandering near the lemon tree. Two robins swooped by and landed on the neighbor's roof. The bigger bird stared at me, as if saying, "Out! Now! Please."

I understood immediately. "Come on Molly, let's go inside. These guys have a nest in the lemon tree."


As you can tell from the photos, the robins hid their nest quite nicely. At first, I thought it was precariously situated on the limb, but, hey, if nobody picks the lemons, it's safe. And, that is what has happened, which is too bad since there are some nice-looking lemons on that branch.

The mama and papa robins have been taking turns sitting on their babies. I wonder if they like the scent of …

The Mama's Rose Bush

"Take a photo of the pink roses before I clip them," said the Mama, as I was cleaning Molly the Cat's litter box.

She—the Mama—rarely asks me to take a picture of anything, especially of her works of wonder.

"Take it so you can see the apple tree," the Mama said, showing with her hands the angle she wanted me to shoot the photo. She was sitting in the living room.

I love it when the Mama gets artistic on me. That, too, is rare these days. That is, except for her gardening. 

The Mama is one of those people with a green thumb. She can clip a rose branch, stick it in the ground, and most of the time it grows into yet another beautiful rose bush.

The rose bush in the photo was once upon a time a small pot of roses that was bought at a grocery store. I don't remember how long ago, but I do recall she didn't really care for that kind of rose at the time. But, the Mama being Mama, rarely throws a gift plant away.

By the way, that is not the apple tree behi…

Take 25 to Hollister

Nothing.

Today, I have nothing to say.

Well, I do have a lot of ideas, but I've just run out of steam.

So, I invite you to go to my other blog and check out my hometown, Hollister, California. No, not the store. The actual place that is no where near the coast.

I was born and raised in this still kind of rural small city. It's a nice place to have come back to live. When we used to live up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the husband often said, "I want to go far, far away." Hollister turned out to be it. For now.

So, on to my other blog you go: Take 25 to Hollister.

Molly's Great Adventure

"Hey, Kid, your people are looking for you," said Lickity Split, as he sped by me. I barely got onto the sidewalk when he turned the corner. There was no use following him. All afternoon I had been following him to no avail. Just as I caught up to him, he jumped onto a fence and climbed over it into the unknown.

I scooted back into my hiding place. Everything was fine and dandy when I first got outside. But it had gotten dark and cold. I had no idea where I lived. I should've marked my trail as I walked away.

If I was home right now I would be playing with the orange string that the tall hairy human likes to dangle in my face. Then after awhile the human who feeds us would put a bowl of food on my tray.  Sigh. Lickity Split said he would show me where to find food if I didn't go home tonight. Will he come back? I wondered.

"You've got it made, Kid," he said to me when we first met that afternoon. He was the reason I wanted to come out. I had to talk …