Aging · culture · Daughters · Family · Fathers · Grandchildren · Grandparents · Joy · Teasing · Uncategorized

Daddy Blue

My friend Faith sent me an email with a sweet story about a man who returned home for a neighbors funeral. The neighbor had greatly influenced the young man’s life in the absence of his father. Towards the end of the story was the statement: “every night someone thinks of you before they go so sleep.”

That brought immediate tears to my eyes and made me think of my dad. I call him Daddy Blue.

It all started with him calling my son James “Soldier Blue” based on a costume he was wearing. So James turned around and called him “Guka Blue, boooya!” (Guka is Kikuyu for grandpa.)

“James!” I chided him sharply for his disrespect.

Guka grabbed James by the wrists, turned around and said to me, “Mummy Blue arrest Soldier Blue.”

I said to him, “Daddy Blue, you started it.” James had the last laugh.

_______________

That was 5 years ago. We call each other across the world every couple of weeks.  As soon as he answers the phone, I say, in a singsong tone, “Daddy Blue.” He chuckles and says, “Aaaaaw, Mummy Blue.”

We chat about events and his health. “Have you been to therapy Dad?” I ask, knowing the answer.

“Not yet, Mummy Blue. I will.” It’s his lame attempt to placate me. I call him a naughty amputee and he says it’s no wonder Soldier Blue is so naughty. “His mother has no respect.”

He asks after my family and tells me how he thinks of me every day. How proud of and happy he is for me. We have a twelve hour time zone difference so when I’m getting up, he’s heading to bed and vice versa. He says, “Well, I’m getting off the day bus and getting on the night bus now. You enjoy the day bus. I’ll sleep happy because you called.”

_SJD1041 We sign off. “I love you Daddy Blue, over.”

“I love you Mummy Blue, over and out.”

Happy Father’s Day dad.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-little-things/

Humor · Poetry · Uncategorized · We've All Done It

Ten Second Lag

Careful now!

I cautiously stick my big toe into the shower

to test the temperature.

Too cold.

I jerk my faithful harbinger out and

turn the knob counterclockwise

ever so slightly.

The second testing proves only tepid.

I turn it up again and inch my way into the stall,

I unwittingly touch the cold wall

and breathe in sharply.

How long is the lag

between adjusting and results?

The seconds, how they drag

in this temperature precipice.

One would think that

One wrong move will be the death of me.

I step in confidently to embrace the warmth,

“Aaaaarrgghh, turn it down! Turn it down!”

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/precipice/

culture · Humor · language · Uncategorized

Clazy Making

I belong to the Kikuyu tribe which is notorious for many things. Among it’s highlights is what Kenyans used to call shrubbing. Shrubbing is taking English words and Kikuyunizing them (or converting them so they contain distinct traits of a tribal language.) It is no fault of mine that I frequently say “clazy”. It’s one of my favolite shrubs.

Kikuyus swap most of their “r’s” for “l’s” and vice versa, hence, “the rion is at the liver,” doesn’t mean that the king of the jungle is now eating the organ but that he’s slaking his thirst.  The trouble for outsiders trying to decipher our speech is that some Kikuyus swap the  letters 100% of the time while others are part-timers. There are also words or parts of words that remain unchanged, for example, “I leally enjoy brogging.” It’s always “leally”. Never “learry.” That would be lidicurous.

Of course one can never tell exactly what the admonition “Ret us play” is. If the minister says “Prease play,” you watch to see if he brings his hands together before you jump up, whooping and horrering; whereas if the teacher says, “Ret us take a blake and pray,” she’ll probabry open the door and ret the students out for lecess.

The most faburous thing, of course, is that we are notolious for doing this with full confidence and autholity. We are tluly an amazing tlibe. We lerish the aduration and adolation of the world and they are tickled pink at our verbal plowess.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pink/

 

 

Family · mothers · sad · sons · Uncategorized

Even Ever!

My sweet Paul was very articulate at a young age. When he was three, Nana took him to her house for a weekend. He loved her cabin in the woods and came home full of stories of his imaginary friend, Ima McGack. He also had frequent encounters with his pet zebra and the zebra’s dolphin friend who lived in the woods by Nana’s house.

He was smitten with Thomas the Tank Engine and we had inherited a fabulous wooden set with many of the trains. Every day, he spent hours with Thomas and friends in our sun-room constructing intricate railroad designs. He chatted happily with the various engines and laughed at their funny responses; he’d raise his pitch when he talked to Emily and growl deeply at Diesel #10. His tracks went up and over, in and under, round and round. He had been working on the current elaborate design for several days before he left for Nana’s.

Dust bunnies had accumulated around the set and I took the opportunity to clean up while he was away. As I tore up the set and put it in the clear plastic bin, I felt a tinge of guilt knowing how much time he’d spend putting it together. I justified it with the fact that we had agreed he would clean up all the tracks and trains every night before he went to bed.

First forward to Sunday afternoon. He came home and gave me a cursory halo.  I was standing at the kitchen counter prepping dinner. My eyes widened and I bit my lip nervously anticipating his reaction as he walked past me and bee-lined for the sun-room. He walked into the room and I peeked around the corner. He’d stopped short in his tracks and was inspecting the room, aghast. He turned around and marched back towards the kitchen, huge-eyed. I jerked my head back and pretended to keep chopping vegetables.

“Mum,” he swallowed hard and gasped, “Did you put Thomas away?”

“I did,” I said nonchalantly, staring wide-eyed at the cabbage.

“Mum.” He was quiet. His little heart was breaking.

“Don’t-ever-do-dat-again.” His bottom lip was quivering as he thrust his chubby index finger at the floor, accentuating each word. His little chest was rising and falling pathetically.

He turned on his heels and approached the sun-room as a lone survivor approaches a killing field. Shaking his head like his father, he threw his hands up in the air in frustration and defeat. The tears wouldn’t come.

I was devastated and my heart sank. I heard his little feet heading back for the kitchen and hastened back to my vehement chopping.

“Never ever!” He stated as he strode towards the TV room, the tears finally coming. “Even ever!”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fast-forward/

Photography · Poetry · Uncategorized

Look Again

So yellow the yellowness

So black the polka dots

So green the  mowed lawn

One beetle per blossom

Each six bright spots.

I was struck by the sunny dandelions in the lawn and stooped to admire their  delicate unfurling petals. Nestled in the first one was a pretty ladybug. I looked at another, and another, and each one had a pretty beetle in it. I looked up the unusual form for the ladybug and learned that it’s actually a cucumber beetle, and unlike a ladybug, it’s a pest. It’s still marvelous…

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/measure/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/surprise-2/butterbug

Family · Humor · mothers · Uncategorized

The Unravelling

My mother raised five girls, God love her.

Towards the end of her life, all five of us snollygosters were regularly cracking up at her fashion sense. An ounce of wisdom shared among us would have warned that things were falling apart and that our lives were about to unravel with the ending of hers. But no, there wasn’t an ounce of wisdom to be found among us, we were too busy trying to catch our collective breath and recover from a new round of side-splitting laughter. Sometimes we laughed till we cried.

I could count on the others to burst at the seams, convulsing on the floor when I wore her clothes, in mockery, in the most clashing combinations possible and imitated her walk and mannerisms.  It was all I could do to remain upright. Ours was uncontrolled buffoonery beyond compare. Did she dress in the dark or was she just feeding this foolishness frenzy?

She’d chuckle quietly and call us idiots. She’d shake her head and watch us carry on, incredulous that she had allowed any of us to live to adulthood instead of eating us as babies, like many other species do. She’d look down at her attire and smile. We knew what was coming next: she’d pat and straighten the outfit  with her pretty hands. This was a gesture of approval and a sure statement that she had no inclination to go back upstairs to change. This led to a fresh wave of howling and hawing among the idiots, slapping at the table in disbelief.

It was only made worse by the fact that she was extremely fashion-forward in her hey-day. She was famous for stunning outfits worn with grace and elegance. So really, she brought this upon herself. Sure we felt sorry, but for crying out loud, where on earth does one go to buy a skirt like that? Har, har, har! Oh, that was good.

I am filled with guilt and a desire to make atonement as I write this. To mock one’s own mother, God rest her soul, is truly unforgivable. My eyes start to tear and I feel a surging deep within me. I bite my trembling lip, and shake my head pensively as I try to compose myself. But this heaving is not remorse! It’s a memory of the time she wore the black and yellow striped sweater with the…

Here we go.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unravel/

Uncategorized

Santiam Plash

IMG_4252

 

Let’s cut the scut,

Say goodbye hoi polloi

And head for a favorite spot out south

Where I gambol on weekends

With some folks I love.

 

It is quite a schlep but it’s worth every mile.

And the sight of the Santiam makes my soul smile.

There we doss, and we nosh,

And we prate funny tosh.

Building cairns between naps

taken floating downstream.

 

It’s a crack of a time

On this river sublime,

Stoking wet wood and ash

Tending poison oak rash

At my favorite, irenic

Santiam plash!

 

IMG_4230

I took these photos of amazing cairns that my husband stacked on the Santiam River. I was certain the second one could NOT be done and was transfixed and in awe of His Royal Highness when he did it!

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Trunking

I am notorious for making up words. I understand that there are more than enough words around but there are times when existing ones just don’t cut it. Take “terribility” for instance. That’s a spectacular word and it needs to be in circulation among smart people. It is a terribility that that word is not used more frequently.

Then there is trunking. (I hate how red underlines pop up when I use my favorite words. No thank you, Microsoft.) If you observe elephants for any period of time, you notice they are constantly touching each other with their trunks or bodies. Isn’t that wonderful? I think I’m part elephant. I call it trunking.

(photo courtesy of Sciencenews.com)

 

I hung out with some American friends in Africa this January. It wasn’t long before I noticed them being trunked by some locals. It couldn’t have been comfortable at first but I hope they miss it now that they are back home among non-trunkers.

When I went to my chicken coop to fetch eggs today, lo and behold, my chickens are part elephant too! There were 3 empty laying boxes and these three broody girls were trunking in one small box.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pattern/

Uncategorized

This was a Sex Intense Week

giraffe

Ten year old James and I have had ‘the talk’ in one capacity or another over the years. This week we’ve had it a lot. I aim to be candid and matter of fact with my boys when they ask sex-related questions. (Husband!! Don’t tell them the animals are wrestling.)

I’ve also learned to answer what they are asking. “Mom,” James once said, “where did I come from?” I told him he came from my body. I took a deep breath while I paused chopping vegetables and started to explain. He stopped me and said, “I mean which city?” Well, that’s an answer I didn’t have to stop chopping vegetables for!

This week he wanted to know how twins come about. What a great subject. We talked about ovaries and the uterus,  sperm and zygotes and placenta. Such fascinating things to geek out on. Then we went online and looked at pictures of multiple births. This amazes me to no end.

Did you know:

  • fraternal twins are the most common type of twins
  • females are informally called sororal twins
  • the Yoruba have the highest twinning rates in the world with about 50 twins for every 1,000 births (0.05%) compared to about 15 (0.015%) in the western world
  • about 10% of all pregnancies start off as twins. One dies early and is partially or completely absorbed by the other fetus (resorption). This is known as the Vanishing Twin Syndrome. Sometimes the dead fetus will be compressed by the growing one into flat remains called fetus papyraceus (like a papyrus parchment)
  • a chimera is a person who has some parts that came from a twin. There is a fascinating case of a woman who, mysteriously, was not the genetic mother of her children. Turns out they were concieved from eggs derived from cells of the mother’s twin!

Later we had a great laugh at the news as “giraffe mom” Erin Deitrich of South Carolina did a gorgeous-prego-belly dance in honor of April, a real giraffe at the New York Zoo’s greatly anticipated birth. Did you know that Swahili for giraffe is Twiga? Such a great name.

Incidentally, on the same day, my beloved forwarded me a news clip that claimed that orgasms make us happier and more productive the next day. Doesn’t that just make you want to wrestle? 😉

What is it, Spring or something?

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you becasue I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13, 14.

Uncategorized

When you Pass Through the Waters

A lot of people in my life right now are fighting through some pretty grueling life-stuff. I took these photos off my porch last night and was entranced by God’s bigness. I dedicate them and the song below to you all, and in particular, my friend Aimee whose sweet little girl is battling fiber dysplasia. You are a mighty warrior, you little woman, and a large Mightier Warrior stands behind you.moonrise         When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.moonsplash

STILL

“Hide me now

Under your wings

Cover me

Within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,

I will soar with you above the storm.

Father you are King over the flood,

I will be still, know you are God.

Find rest my soul in Christ alone,

know His power in quietness and strength.”

This is one of my favorite songs. It’s by Hillsong and I could listen to it all day, especially in tough times. I’m honored to do battle in the trenches with some pretty phenomenal people, and under a most able Commander. Press on mighty warriors. When you are weak, then He is strong.

“When you pass through the waters, I WILL BE with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they WILL NOT sweep over you. Isaiah 43:2a.