wind chimes

I love wind chimes.  I almost never get to hear them, though.  I don’t do much sitting outside in Houston, because there are so often bugs and/or extreme heat.  And we really don’t have much wind in the first place.  I’m currently thinking over an idea I have to set up my wind chimes (for the rest of my life) in front of the air vents.  That would have them tinkling and bonging their beautiful music often enough, I think.

Every year, we go to the Texas Renaissance Festival, and one of my favorite spots to pause is the wind chime shop.  Just going through slowly, ringing all of the large wind chimes, I find myself fully content and at ease.  And the humongous on there, when I ring it, I can feel it all over and within, and I never really want to stop ringing it.  Mmm… I can hardly wait for next month.

I love wind chimes.

Post-a-day 2017

Advertisements

My real voice

In college, I spent a summer studying in Germany.  It was a language school setup, filled with foreigners, but in such a small town that everyone knew that we were studying German, and so everyone always spoke to us all in German.  I had already studied abroad a few times before this adventure, and I had learned firsthand about what works and what doesn’t work, in terms of language immersion.  I was dedicated to learning German, and so I made sure that I only spoke in German with others, even if they spoke to me in English.  This made friendships hard among the people in my program’s group, since they all used English together; I came across a bit snobby, but I was just really committed to learning German.

I made friends with other foreigners rather easily, though, and especially ones in higher levels of German, which was even better for me.  My German was improving immensely.  But this led to a unique situation one day.

One day, near the end of either my time at the school or my friend Paul’s time there (he’s British), I found myself faced with a desperate Paul, actually begging me to speak English.  Why?! was my repeated question to his pleas.

“Because I want to hear what you sound like!”

I don’t know if he was pleased or not by how I sound in English, but I spoke a little for him.  And it was way weird, using English with him, despite the fact that I’d heard him speak English loads, and that it’s our common native language.  I had just never used it with him.

And then this brought up a unique and interesting sentiment.  He wanted to hear me, and that meant speaking English.  I can guess that my native tongue was the one in which Paul believed my identity to lie.  I know that it felt like I was setting aside a sort of mask when I switched to English with him.  I even felt a little called-out… as though I had been hiding somehow, and it had been behind German.  The real me (I) lay in English, in the English part of me.

Yet, years later, here I am, missing the parts of me that belong to these different languages in which I have lived.  A part of me, true me (I), exists only on German, and others in French, in Spanish, and in Japanese. So much so that the real me (I) is this whole combination of languages – I feel a huge emptiness and feel not myself when I am using only English in my daily life.  I listen to Spanish-speaking radio when I’m in Houston, mostly because I don’t get to use Spanish often enough.  I read every night in French, and trade off an English book for a German one at times for my evening reading, too.  I regularly pull out a Spanish book to read, or my German audiobooks.  And I have noticed that I have been searching for a tolerably satisfying way to have Japanese in my near-daily life, too.  (For now, it has just been the occasional music, and a perpetual repeat of a certain song being stuck in my head.)  When I don’t have them all, it is as though a part of me is missing, and suddenly getting to speak with someone in them, almost reminds me of that mask I was setting aside in Germany with Paul… like I am again setting aside some mask I have been wearing.

Perhaps it is now a mask of monolingualism, pretending that I only speak English, while I long for the world to talk to me in several languages, all the time.

Anyway… I’m exhausted.  And I miss Paul.  He was studying opera, and was a really great guy.  I wonder if he’s been really successful with opera these past several years.  Maybe I can go see him perform one day.  That would be awesome.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

There is and there aren’t…

My pet peeve lately has been the incorrect use of the phrase “There is…”.  I don’t know what it is about this particular phrase, but it currently feels as though the whole of the English-speaking USA got together and decided to stop using the phrase “There are…”, as though they wanted to drive me even more insane right now.

I usually am not so picky on any particular phrase or wording with people’s speech.  Usually, I correct it automatically in my head, and I’m okay with everything.  Certainly, I always wish the grammar were better than it is, however, I typically am able to accept the grammar as it comes from any given individual.  I guess that this one is just really getting to me, because no one seems to be able to use the correct words, but I have spent most of my life experiencing people using the correct words regularly.  It’s as though everyone suddenly forgot while I was gone for a year.

Weird.

 

Post-a-day 2017

Sometimes…

Sometimes, things fall apart, free from control or attempts to do anything else with them.

Sometimes, things come together, free from control or attempts to do anything else with them.

And sometimes, the difference between the former and the latter is that action was desperate and limited in the former, but honest and free in the latter.

Life sure is beautiful, ain’t it? 😉

Post-a-day 2017

an old fashioned telephone and a strawberry?

A strawberry and a telephone – what do they have in common?  They have both low-grade injured me in odd ways.

The strawberry – oh, that dear strawberry – actually drew blood instantly in its incident.  You see, I was simply pulling off the green tops of my strawberries, and then eating each strawberry.  On this particular one, when I grabbed the green leaves atop it, pushing the end of my thumb nail underneath the little green stem that sat in the middle of them for nowhere near the first time in my life, I suddenly felt an extreme, sharp pain in my thumb.  Somehow, the strawberry had launched itself into the depths that appeared at the underside of my thumbnail, ripping apart the nail and the skin.  I yanked away immediately from the strawberry, and watched the blood overflow from underneath my thumb nail.  Despite the pain, I found the occasion a happy and hilarious one. I mean, who gets injured by a strawberry?  Since when do strawberries draw blood?  I’m not even clumsy, but they apparently do it to me. 😛

The telephone was what reminded me of the strawberry incident today.  I was looking at the last bit of a splinter – or what looks like it might be the last bit of a splinter – in my hand just now, and thought of the insanity of what my splinter was: a piece of a telephone.  You know the old black, rotary dial telephones, with the receiver that rested across the top?  That kind of telephone.  Something had fallen on one Saturday night, sending out shards of black telephone onto the black floor.  I did not realize that the phone had even been injured until after I took my shot – this was in a photo area – on the floor, playing my ukulele.  Hours later, it took some consideration before I discovered what the source of my chunk of black plastic-type material splinter was.  When I removed the splinter, the spot bled a little, and then began to hurt.  I mean, really, what kind of injury is that?  Blood drawn by telephone, and no throwing of any kind was involved, nor were any other people.  Silly.

So, an old telephone and a strawberry have a big something in common, see?

Post-a-day 2017

Ouch!

I bruised my pinkie toe today, it seems.  It might actually be fractured, due to the style of pain, however, the impact didn’t seem to have enough force behind it to have caused a fracture, which is fortunate.  Sitting here on my bed at my mom’s house, thinking about how that happen today, has me recall the last time something similar happened while I was living here.

I was on my way to Worlds, as we call it in the community.  “Worlds” is short for United Country Western Dance Council World Championships.   (See? “Worlds” is easier.)  And it is relevant that I tell you the full name of the event.  I promise.  I had participated in and scored high enough in other events throughout the year in order to qualify for Worlds, and I was incredibly excited.  It isn’t every day that one competes for a world title, and it isn’t even in every life, either – this was an honor and a privilege, and I was ready for it.

Therefore, when I managed to hook my toe underneath me on a stair as I rushed back downstairs after having run upstairs one last time to grab something small that I’d forgotten, my mind was reeling with concern.  I was in extreme pain, and I curled up to the floor, crying, holding my foot, barely even able to make contact with the toe.  I almost couldn’t think straight, or even at all, such was the disturbance.  “If I just broke my toe, I can’t dance,” was about what I said to myself, asI was  curled up around my toe.  I prayed in a way that I didn’t know how to make selfless, and I also prayed that that would be okay for this occasion.

I realized, as my brain power began to return to me, that my fear and concern was compounding the intensity of my crying, and that the physical pain wasn’t quite so bad as I’d been thinking.  Yes, it absolutely hurt, but a large part of any impact’s pain is the initial set-in, going from comfort and ease to pain.  That is, it hurts really badly at first, but then calms after the initial shock, and then the pain begins to subside exponentially.

And such was the case.  The extreme pain was real, but was not the full cause of my tears – I was dreadfully worried that I wouldn’t be able to dance, and all for that pair of socks, or whatever it was I ran up the stairs to grab.  My toe continued to hurt for a while, – maybe even the rest of the day – but it was doing well by the time my day to compete came around.  I have been forever grateful that my toe was spared and my dancing was blessed.

If you win at Worlds, you get a specific jacket, and your name is embroidered on it.  I still have mine.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

An Evening of Moon River, and more

Moon River, wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style some day. 
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker, 
wherever you’re going I’m going your way. 
Two drifters off to see the world. 
There’s such a lot of world to see. 
We’re after the same rainbow’s end– 
waiting ’round the bend, 
my huckleberry friend, 
Moon River and me.

© 1961 Paramount Music Corporation, ASCAP

So go the lyrics to the beautiful song that is sung by Audrey Hepburn in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, and which was written for the occasion.  They have been in my mind all night tonight.  I likely still will be singing them and humming the song tomorrow, and possibly the next several days or weeks, too, imagining Miss Holly Golightly sitting on her windowsill in jeans and a gray sweatshirt, strumming her small guitar, singing the song while her hair dries in a towel on her head.  That was her one genuine moment, where there were no airs put on and no facades blocking the view; dreamy longing and total honesty were there, coming to life in her music.

Why, you ask, is all of this on my mind?  Well, because of just that.  My cousin makes jewelry from guitar strings.  (I do a little, too, but not to the same degree.)  Since that particular scene had Holly being simple and honest, showing her core, she loved the scene.  Since it included Holly’s playing the guitar, it became relevant to my cousin’s jewelry.  You see, this neat art gallery in Galveston decided to do an “All About Audrey” exhibition, in which all of the selected pieces were submitted by various individuals in the community.  The only requirements were that the art be vegan and be somehow about Audrey Hepburn.  So, my cousin used guitar strings and fake pearls to construct her own version of the famous “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” necklace (with the aforementioned information taking part in creating the idea).

Tonight, the art show had its opening, and my cousin’s piece was part of the show.  So, my mom and I attended the opening.  The opening happened to be a costume party, with the theme being ‘your favorite Audrey’.  I genuinely liked the honesty moment in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, and the fact that it directly related to the reason we were going – to support my cousin’s guitar string jewelry inspired by that scene – made it an easy preference for my attire for the event.

And so, I put together the clothes, had my mom help me with a white hand towel on my head (I had to take out the seams to make it long enough to tie correctly.), and looked up “Moon River” chords.  I only have a full-sized guitar with me, so I figured my ukulele would do well for the completion of the outfit.  Since I was going to be carrying around my uke, dressed as a character who sings an incredibly famous song, I figured it only fair that I make an effort to learn to play the song myself.

And it was a good thing I did!  Not only was I requested to play, but I was asked to play three times.  The third time was the coolest, because the second time had already been a sort of sing-a-long for a lot of the people at the gallery, but the third was everyone.  I was on my way out of the gallery, heading to dinner with my family who had been in attendance, when a lady at a table complimented my outfit and asked me to play.  The man at the table asked if I could play, because, of I could play, he could sing.  And so I started up playing, singing with him, only to be joined after only a few seconds by the entire gallery.  It was so beautiful, it was almost spooky.  People had all different reasons for being there tonight, but we all shared the experience of true bliss and community as we sang together tonight.  Reasonably fitting end to the week that included International Peace Day (Thursday), I think.

There are two other fun aspects to this.  The first is that we the went to dinner, all of us dressed in our various outfits.  Most everyone looked to be in normal-ish attire for our current life and times, and it was even somewhat high on the classy side, and all black and white.  My mother, however, was in a genuine formal 60s dress that is just about the color of Tiffany’s boxes, and is floor length, polyester, and very 60s.  I was in jeans and a sweatshirt, and had a towel on my head.  Just imagine seeing our party at a casual restaurant – what on Earth would you think?

The second fun aspect is that this isn’t the first time we’ve done something like this.  For the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, we attended a tea and luncheon that was tied to the Museum of Fine Arts’ temporary exhibit on the Titanic.  The idea was to experience tea like back in the day at an actual teahouse in town, and then gonover to the exhibit.  We did exactly that, but dressed in period-appropriate attire.  Aside from the servers at the teahouse, we were the only ones dressed up.  At the museum, someone asked to sketch me (and did), people took pictures of us, and we had several inquiries about whether we weren’t part of the exhibit.  It was a grand old time, and felt somehow totally normal to me.  I guess that’s just how we roll in my family.  Cool, huh?  🙂

Post-a-day 2017