Happy Birthday

“Happy Birthday….

“Happy Birthday, baby, oh… I love you so!

“Siiix-tyyy candles….”

That’s what I sang to my mom as I played the ukulele tonight… it’s her sixtieth birthday today, and, just after I had sung her our usual birthday song (“On this day”), I suddenly had the beginning of “Sixteen Candles” in my head…

And it hit me: sixty sounds a lot like sixteen… I can do this!

So, I did a quick chord check, and then called her back.

As soon as I hit the third line, she was laughing… ‘sixty candles make a lovely light’… they do, indeed. πŸ˜›

And then, she apparently had her phone sitting open in front of her, with me on speakerphone, because she had just been sending my brother a message while I figured out one last detail before singing to her, and so, as I sang, the Animoji I had sent via her phone to my brother this morning was playing (silently) on repeat… as my mom said afterward, it was like one of those translated Kung-fu films, where the lips are nowhere near lining up with the dubbed speech, but, in our case, it was a tiny digital monkey serenading my mom with my voice. πŸ˜›

When she told me that, we both cracked up at the stupidity of it (including the fact that she kept watching the monkey babbling the whole time in the first place!). πŸ˜€

I love my mom… thank you for my mom, God… really great work there. πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

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Karate

Whenever I do this teeth whitening thing, I have to keep his little blue-light mouthpiece in my mouth, gripped between my teeth, for five minutes.

Afterward, I spit out the excess gel in my mouth and I wash off the mouthpiece.

Whenever I’m in the cleanup stage, I’m always adjusting my jaw, stretching its muscles, and feeling around my teeth a bit with my tongue.

As I do this, I find myself remembering strongly my days of American karate in my youth.

For sparring, we had to have a rubber mouth guard to protect our teeth… I remember how, every time I got a new mouth guard, my mom and I would be in the kitchen, trimming edges, boiling the rubber, and mashing my teeth into it to make it mold perfectly to my bite and teeth.

It was always so exciting to me, for some reason I cannot yet understand… perhaps it was the specialness of the whole process, like we were doing a whole (and real) science lab experiment, tongs and boiling water and all… and it was for me… so it was something unique and special and process-filled, specifically being done for me…

Perhaps that was a large part of it…

Whatever the case, I always enjoyed it, forming my mouth guards.

Especially the bit of biting down on my mouth guard, squeezing my teeth tightly, and wedging them each into the rubber, claiming specific territory to be forever theirs in that particular mouth guard…

Whenever we did spar, and I got to wear my mouth guard, I rather enjoyed sucking and chewing slightly on my mouth guard, tasting the rubber, feeling the tiny rebound it provided when I clenched my jaw and released, hearing the squishy sounds of saliva being pushed around and in and out of the mouth guard’s coverage area as I clicked my teeth (with the rubber between them, of course) together several times in quick succession… and then tasting again, as I held my jaw snug and sucked everything out of the mouth guard.

It all seems odd to me now, considering it and sharing it, but also still quite familiar… I don’t see myself doing half these same things nowadays, yet I remember them fondly nonetheless.

And, every time I whiten my teeth, I am filled with a few drops of that excitement and delight brought it me for years by karate…, making it a unique and somewhat special experience so far as teeth whitening goes. πŸ˜›

P.S. I love finding words that I’ve known for years, but whose language of origin I didn’t initially speak, but now speak, and, therefore, as I cross the word anew, I suddenly see it from the eyes of this language I now speak, instead of as a foreign word with meaning I must struggle to remember… karate is one of those words… from my American eyes and ears and mind, it is pronounced the American way and means merely a form of martial arts… from my Japanese eyes et cetera, it is pronounced with a Japanese pronunciation, it means 空手 (からて), which literally means “empty hand”, and it is a form of martial arts… and, somehow, the two are simultaneously the same thing and two totally different ones… so it goes… πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

Another step forward

Can you guess what this is?

I went to a sort of dentist… orthodontist?… today.

For thousands cheaper than I was offered way back in the day, it looks like I might be able to start a series of 3-D-printed clear retainers that will straighten up my teeth, at last.

In the appointment, they gave me a set to whiten my teeth, and so I am sitting here, plugged into the power strip with my teeth whitening mouthpiece for five minutes of super-powered (though electricity is really doing the powering, to be literal here) teeth whitening.

I hope it works… my family all have slightly yellowed teeth, and we always have, so it isn’t about staining from food and drink for us, but I hope it works, nonetheless.

Whatever the case, I look forward to the teeth-straightening thing working out beautifully… I hope that one works.

Here’s to happy teeth! πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2019

Duhβ€”β€”-nun!

I have found myself thoroughly enjoying my latest hard copy book, Jaws, much to my surprise (although also kind of not to my surprise – it is actually highly acclaimed by reliable sources, and it made one of my favorite films [we can get into the irony of that another time]).

I started reading it two nights before going sailing… and I strongly considered picking another book, due to the timing, but I really wanted to start reading Jaws, and I was determined that reading it would be no different from having seen the title and thought about it already…

And I was right… with both the concern and the thoughts.

It would have been very good for me not to think about sharks right before going out sailing, during which time I, at some point, would want to get into our cloudy, sand-filled water, and I would have had the idea of sharks in my mind just from having seen the book – whether I read it or not was of little consequence, because the damage was already done when I crossed it on my bookshelf.

And so, I struggled to get into the water while out sailing…, but I asked for company and we made it work… I didn’t stay in for long, but I still enjoyed being in the water for a brief bit, and it ended up starting a whole chain of people jumping in and enjoying the water, which was actually quite fun.

Anyway…, I’m liking the book a lot so far.

I love that 1) Peter Benchley has found a way to pursue and share his passion (sharks) with the world through his fiction and non-fiction books, and 2) he has a good humor in the introduction regarding the changes he made for the book to become a film.

And I am thoroughly enjoying the humor and style with which he writes (well, wrote, technically)… I’m actually laughing at terrible situations, because he addresses them so well as to bring out a sense of comic relief… and I, somehow, find it to be quite lovely, in its way.

(And I mean that… I actually laughed aloud at a scene where a body is found, it was so comically written, but incredibly tastefully so.)

I’m hardly more than a couple chapters into it (of around 15), but I highly recommended at least those first two and a half chapters. πŸ™‚

We’ll see how the rest pans out, now, shall we?

P.S. We did have a good time on the boat, at least.

Post-a-day 2019

Friends

Tonight, we had a dinner: three moms and three daughters.

The mom’s could have talked all night, if we had let them.

We daughters could have talked all night, if one of us hadn’t had to get to bed for an early morning and long day tomorrow.

When we switched to any combination of us talking to one another, the conversation hit a new seemingly infinite possibilities for continuing all night.

In short, it was a dinner of friends.

I have felt for a while now that there is always something that can be said with friends… yes, silence is comfortable, but it is only there when wanted…, otherwise, there is always something new and exciting to be discussed – friends often can hardly wait to share about this or that, and they love listening to the this or thats of one another, and they always inspire new this and thats for one another to share…

With non-friends, we run out of things to say, and then sit in odd silence (which is in great contrast to the comfortable silence that can occur among friends).

And tonight was a night of friends, despite the fact that I’d only met the one mother-daughter once, and my mom hadn’t met them before tonight.

There’s something about friends that doesn’t necessarily have to do with time… more a matter of connection, I guess it is…

I’m not sure we three daughters could have been much different from one another on paper…, but we connected so comfortably, that we might as well have been friends for years.

πŸ™‚

Yes, it was a very good night.

I love true friends.

Post-a-day 2019

What’s the point?

Aimlessly I pace, pause, glance…, repeat… until I realize that it is not aimlessly after all… merely fruitlessly…

“What is my aim?” I ask, originally expecting an answer about what topic to use for writing…

“To provide beautiful inspiration through new perspectives,” is the reply, clearly referencing more than just tonight’s aim of finding a topic about which to write…

So, we’ll roll with this idea…

“Did I know this already?”

“Yes, I believe so… perhaps you just set it aside with all the off-and-on panic you temporarily embraced, and forgot its depth for a while…, but you knew it already, yes.”

……

I seem to have done this much lately, letting fear and concerns get in the way of what I want to do in the world with my life, what I am almost committed to doing… perhaps it is because I’m not committed to doing it that I allow myself to push it aside(?)… yes, that would not surprise me…

Fear and concern show up, and, instead of allowing them to be expressed and then move onward, I have embraced them a bit here and there… fortunately, I always seem to let them go, however, I think I could use some work on letting them go much sooner than I have been doing.

Every time I release the fear involved in something, say photography, I end up doing something spectacular or having something spectacular happen to or for me…, so I think it is high time I spent a bit more attention on creating a commitment to providing beautiful inspiration through new perspectives in what I do, and to allowing fear and concern to express themselves and then be released immediately…

I can do this, I know, so let’s just do it already. πŸ™‚

Smiles away! πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Swimstress

(Pronounced much like seamstress, but just a different first set of letters.)

I attended a swim meet today for little kids.

On the way over, I was discussing on the phone with my aunt my own swim team days, and how stressful they always were for me – a fact which I had rather forgotten entirely until the discussion today.

I wasn’t concerned in any way, of course, but instead excited to be attending the meet and finally not being one swimming in it.

While watching the little kids swim, however, I found myself rubbing genuine tears from the sides of my eyes (at first, I’d thought it was just sweat, or something in my eye, but quickly discovered that they were actual tears), and not from joy or excitement.

I wished my little family members fun and luck – I hoped their swim each time went well and that they enjoyed doing it.

The parents all around me had other thoughts and ideas for their children… speed, winning, beating the other kids, going as hard and fast as they could… this is what they told the kids constantly before each heat began…

‘Go as fast as you can, okay?…, as fast as you can!’

One parent, upon hearing a coach say to a child to make sure she has fun, casually added to her just-completed long declarations of necessary speed, with a pathetic fervor, ‘Disfruta.’ (Spanish for ‘Have fun,’ or ‘Enjoy.’)

She didn’t seem too convinced that having fun was a priority, though. :/

The whole thing ended up carrying a whole sense of stress for me, and had me wondering how many children were going to struggle because of this pressure from these parents…. they aren’t even over six years old yet, and they are crying their eyes out after swimming a fabulous 25 metres, just because they didn’t win…

Now, not all the kids were like this, of course…, but there were enough to make me rather uneasy.

If it had just been the parents cheering on the kids to do their best, that would have been fabulous.

But it wasn’t that, was it?

Very few adults seemed to be cheering that way at all…., and it made me want to ask them to consider what their priorities are regarding their children and the happiness of their children.

Perhaps I’m not doing a very good job at portraying the parental cheering and commentary… it just seemed like no one encouraged the kids to do their best, even – all that mattered was going fast, according to all the parents were saying.

And odd topic for a regular Monday night swim meet, I dare say(!).

Anyway, I was able to see why on Earth I was so stressed out at swim meets as a child – there is an immense amount of rather intense pressure, most of which is literally being screamed at you as a swimmer… no wonder I totally disliked it and always felt like I was letting everyone down and failing.

Plus, compared to my older brothers, who swam first heat in their ages groups, and who often got top places in their heats, I really sucked, being in second or third (or even last heat, sometimes), and not even getting a top placement there… I had a real ball-fest whenever I received that all-too-common purple ribbon after my swim: DQ (disqualification)…

So, yeah… that was an interesting experience this evening…

Surprisingly enough, it caused a resurgence, even stronger this time, of my wanting to be a swim team coach… I don’t know why specifically, but I really want to do that somehow.

Also, if I’m ever looking to hire young people, I am so looking for kids who have been swim team coaches – boy do they handle a lot, and effectively, too… totally reliable as good hires, I say.

Anyway, I’m glad I got into swimming in college… I learned that I really love swimming laps – I can literally do it for hours and still enjoy it… I think it was just all the pressure I felt at swim meets that had me practically hate them and, by association, swimming laps itself… even though I totally admired the people who could swim lots and well.

I want to get back into that, actually… hmm…

Post-a-day 2019