I dislike it when someone says it outloud. I dislike this stitch of a sentence with intensity of the white hot sun. You see, I have brothers from another mother and we are loosely connected through few social networks. As of late there have been pictures posted of my real father who died 4 years ago yesterday. First glance was awkward then twinge of jealousy disguise as envy then downright sadness with what I call “Well at least you had assemblance of a family” as this pics portrayed. I often felt my relationship with his parents would suffice. Family have stated “Well you had your grandparents” the best default outcome I guess. This is where it hurts, as a young child that is picked last to be on a team so is this feeling. The ebb of time has flowed inadvertently in direction that has reached deeply to elicit melancholy without effort. And to have chest heaving sadness for the those who have gone. To my brother Aaron who I pretty sure if he was alive he’d say this very thing. I get it and yes may I one day get over it.
How did I get so lucky. Like a third round pick for the NBA, I received a call from a good friend and because my name starts with an A I thought it was a butt dial…again. She asks “what are you doing mamas?” Oh boy here it comes “nothing why? “Do you want to go to Finland?” Without hesitation I said “Does a fat baby fart?” And I hung up the phone and realized again that my gal C. K. Is my sensei. Although she was not born before another, she has given me opportunities to experience such wonderful places and this time to a place where the temperature is zero to minus 30 degrees, where it will be dark in the daytime and where a hotel is made of ice. This gal has told me “fragrant beef” is cooked dog. She has snowboarded down a volcano mountain and had smartly schedule a tour so early by 11am we were done since the temperature there in the jungle rose to 112 degrees with 89%humidity. She speaks Spanish and Mandarin fluently, has a beautiful face and rock star body. And she is my friend ( thanks God). So here’s to celebrating her Birthday and me answering the phone to say yes.
One of the passes between southern California and central California is called the grapevine. Recent rain caused a mudslide and I didn’t have a clue. I described the pictures I saw at other passings. ” Imagine cake batter in a pan then placing your Matchbox race cars in the batter and baking it”. The cars and trucks completely envelope in dirt cookie madness. I knew a guy who told me about a flood he experienced. He had the wherewithal to jump on the hood of his truck and said he saw snakes and deers swimming right pass him. Truck dried out and worked another 9 years. Yea Ford. I feel so fortunate that people out there remedy the situation so promptly that I and others get down that mountain. May I never take anything for granted. Weather is life affirming for sure.
I’m halfway thru my nursing assignment and I am grateful for this never ending learning curve, lots to take in (mentally) and I mean not just working in a busy hospital on a busy surgery floor. I have been given a subtle lesson in both livestock, agriculture and people (my most favorite subject) Saanen and Alpine are breeds of goat and a hectare is 4.27 acres. I learned if your kid (lol) has milk allergies goat milk products may be an alternative. There are seasons for pistachios and oranges and everyone here knows the calendar of fruits nuts berries and cherries just like I know the alphabet. People here in Porterville live two lives. They drive home to their hectares to farm, feed and tend to the flocks, herds and stables. At the end of my shift I am completely exhausted but these hearty souls have spouses they speak fondly of and together they are farmers of all types of industries. A wonderful nurse shared a story that translates nicely. One of her goats who had essentially been isolated by the others because of her beauty, is now keeping company of one of the new billy goats brought to procreate. She was often seen alone and isolated and now she is on a pedestal. Not sure of the metaphor or lesson behind this but it just sounds nice doesn’t it?
This is a picture of my maternal grandfather who came to this country from the Philippines, he dyed his hair and changed his age. He lived with us for a short time when I was a little girl. My recollection of how he came to live with us goes something like this. My mom had been searching for him and found him living in downtown Los Angeles. The reacquainted efforts lasted for awhile and while he lived with my brother and I, he was a wonderful cook and babysitter. The status of my parents marriage was sketchy at best and I remember my dad’s presence was fading which probably causes action on my mom’s part. The proverbial “writing on the wall” was looming over like a gray cloud, the situation was not clear and it felt cold. I saw my grandfather more as entertainment than anything else. He permed his hair, made most of a polyester ensemble and hit on my mom’s friend’s. He also made himself 10 to 15 years younger which benefitted him in the short term then punished him in the long end. I heard he had to work well into his 80’s as a cook. He died several years before my mom found him again. And the items in his tiny unit in downtown LA were held for 90 days then dismissed somehow. I feel terribly sad now because he didn’t want to necessarily be involved with us and his desire to slip back into anonymity had to be respected. As I see it he was especially fond of my brother who I felt got much needed attention then sadly shortchanged in this whole scenario. My brother was without a father in the home during the years where it counted the most. So when people ask me my nationality I tell them I am Mexican with a little Flip…from Cebu.
Porterville laundromat and I beat the crowd. I was in a micro dilemma having to be out of the house by noon before my house sitting expired. I left behind my Woolite detergent behind so I decide to use an Avon bathing product to substitute. Agriculture and livestock reminders are everywhere. Signage says “no horse blankets or picking bags ” I’ve done laundry by hand, in a river and on a boat, so what a little creamy body wash gonna do? Beautiful rain made its much needed debut and I finally got the bigger picture of the drought situation here in Porterville. People who live in certain parts of town state their wells have dried up completely and those least likely to afford it have to purchase water. “Why?” I ask. The locals say companies here sell it to southern California.