Nerd-ing

I am years into having a smartphone, and my most visited webpages remain almost exactly the same as when I started using one.  They are translation websites and dictionary websites.  Originally, it was wordreference.com and dictionary.com.  Wordreference.com was an easy one, because I had already done the research for my preferred translator for French, Spanish, and German.  But, after some research into different dictionary websites, I found that I preferred merriam-webster.com over dictionary.com.  So, today, my most visited webpages are wordreference.com and merriam-webster.com. (I would add in Google Translate, because of my constant use with Japanese on it for kanji translations and photo translations, but I had to download the app almost immediately, when I moved to Japan, so that I could use it almost constantly to understand things around me.  Therefore, it isn’t a website I’m visiting, but an application I am using.)

I’m just a word and language nerd.  It’s like that day at work, earlier this year, when I spent an hour looking up information on certain punctuation marks – I am a word nerd, and there is ample evidence to support the claim.

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Post-a-day 2017

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the body

Do you ever feel betrayed by your own body?  Where you believe in something intensely, and then clarity suddenly sets in, bringing reality along with it, and you see easily and perfectly that things are not as they had seemed… perhaps this betrayal is the worst of all betrayal, because the body has no conscience nor malice, nor does it have an ability to love or to hate you… it just betrays you.

 

Post-a-day 2017

Tying up dirty boys with grammar

Changing laundry from the washing machine to the dryer (It’s a machine, I know!!!!!!!*), I saw a towel on the floor between the two machines.  It was originally intended for the load of red shades earlier today, but the load was too large for comfort, so I pulled out the towel.  I left it on the floor, because a towel load needed to be done today or tomorrow anyway, so why bother bringing it back upstairs just to bring it back down only hours later?  But that isn’t the point.

The point is (sort of) that I saw the towel sitting there, and I had an almost-urge to pick it up and put it in the dryer with the laundry I was transferring.  Not that I wanted to put it in with the clean laundry, but that, usually, whenever something is on the floor there, it is because it has fallen in the transfer between the two machines.  So, I simultaneously wanted not to touch the towel, to put it in the dryer, and to move it to the dirty towels upstairs (since I wasn’t doing the final two loads tonight, but doing them tomorrow).  And, for a good moment, I was worried that I would pursue the final of the three, and accidentally fulfill the second in my tiredness and in the middle of routine muscle movements, and then wish for the first.

I managed to let go of having to deal with the towel now, and I left it on the floor, for fear of the second result.

As I thought about that possible second result, I was practically distraught at how it would ruin the fact that I had already put the load of clothes on to wash.  By putting one single towel in the dryer, I thought, an entire load of laundry would be considered dirty.  Now, why doesn’t that work the other way around?  Why does one piece of clean laundry not make a load of dirty laundry clean, when mixed together?  The dirty still win out.  And how come a whole load of clean laundry can’t overpower the one dirty article?  The clean just can’t overcome.

And then – now, this is the point of this all – I wondered about what is life is like this, if anything.  Almost immediately, I thought about gender pronouns (and particularly in Spanish and French, because I learned those first).  It’s just like guys and girls.  A group full of guys, the dirty clothes, is (let’s use French) ils.  Add one girl, the clean clothing, and it stays ils.  A group full of girls is elles.  Add one boy, and it becomes ils.

So, no matter what, if there are any boys, it is ils, dirty.  The only way to keep it elles is to have only girls – no boys allowed.

And how odd that the boys are the dirty laundry and the girls are the clean… so like life, and I hadn’t even intended it to be so.**

Anyway, isn’t all of that fun?!  Towels to grammar to life comparisons – I do lead an extraordinarily interesting life, huh?  😛

 

 

*Japan doesn’t exactly do dryers.  People are expected to hang clothes outside, because every has a stay-at-home wife, you see… not.  Everyone used to have a stay-at-home wife, but the lifestyle hasn’t changed.  It just takes days and days to do laundry as a solo-liver, because weather can decide to soak your clean clothes while you’re off at work, or hide the sun from them, or be too humid for them to dry at all until they start to smell of mildew…  I just hung mine all indoors, because I’d heard too many stories from my brother’s issues.  Plus, supposedly people steal women’s underwear from the drying clothes in Japan.  I didn’t need to deal with any of that nonsense.  So, I set my air conditioner to a daytime setting to keep the apartment mildew-free, which also helped dry my clothes!

** I once wrote a poem about how boys are dirty.  I didn’t exactly believe any of it, but I knew that people thought boys were dirty and smelly, and I rolled with the idea.

Post-a-day 2017

Clothing

We went to the Oscar de la Renta exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts today.  Inside the exhibit, a display said that Oscar de la Renta deigned his clothes so that they would inspire women.  I certainly was inspired looking at the outfits alone – I was filled with some kind of hope, delight.  And now, afterward, I want, more than ever, to make my own clothes.  And I want to have a cape on at least one dress.  If he did it, then I definitely am allowed to do it, right?  I want capes and cloaks.

Post-a-day 2017

Ninja Gym: Round Two

I tried out the ninja gym again today.  My brother is again in town, and one of our stepbrothers came with us to the gym to check it out.  Apparently, my brother hadn’t even really considered going while he was in town this time, because of his trip being about family time and all, but he was glad that I came up with the idea, and that we turned it into family time after all.

Really, though, I didn’t just come up with the idea.  I’ve been exercising specifically to help myself be able to go to the ninja gym with him the next time he was in town.  I’ve slipped off the goal exercise dramatically the past two-ish weeks, but I still have done way more exercise than I was doing the first time we went together.

Now, since my brother wasn’t planning to go, he didn’t have his special shoes with him.  They’re these special parkour shoes that were apparently ranked as the parkour shoe to have, but that aren’t made anymore.  The soles of the shoes look like they have a car tire pasted onto them.  I call them his cheater shoes (lightheartedly, of course).  So, he had to be with us mere mortals today without his special shoes.  (We both were laughing about it throughout the gym time.)

Our stepbrother got to nerd out with my brother in a way that made me just want to watch the two of them.  They had a good time trying the different obstacles together, and they were a good matchup for it.  Whatever one could do well, the other only mediocrely, and vice versa.  So they got to help one another figure out things, and work through it all.

As for me, I brought my gloves, muscles, and endurance, and went for it.  I didn’t attempt everything they did, for sure, but I gave a lot of things a good go.  I watched for a bit to start, and then went and ran on a treadmill for a quarter mile to warm myself (it was cold today, even inside the gym).  I tested obstacles I’d failed doing before, as well as loads of new ones for me, and made it through almost none.  I had a really good time doing it all.  My goal was not to succeed in the specific obstacles, but to attempt them, to have the ability to do something with them.  I was still terrified of various things, and so still haven’t done any lâchés, but I actually got up on a bar, swung around a bit, and even considered going for the jump.  I even tried a swing and jump on a ring-style lâché.  I almost got it, too, but my fear got the better of me.  (I actually was worried that I’d flung the ring across the room when I missed, because I was so immediately focused on landing safely, but it had only flown and landed about two feet in front of me.

So, I still had tons of fear present, and I worked through some of it anyway, and I had a great time.  I can tell that this kind of thing is really a process with me, for various reasons, and I accept that.  It doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on it, not at all.  It is just that I have to keep making new efforts and new goals, always with the plan of going to the gym again with likely very little notice.  I definitely have a goal for myself with this kind of gym.  No, it is not to be like the other guys doing all the obstacles in it.  Not in the least.  But there are certain specific motions, movements, and obstacles I can envision myself doing… that is where I want to be with my fitness and my confidence and this gym.  That’s what guides me forward in this endeavor.  (Even when I have other stigmas that hold me back from my goal fitness.)

All-in-all, I had a great go my second time at the ninja gym today, and my family is still awesome – notice how we so easily turned fun exercise into family time.

Post-a-day 2017

Table Troubles

We spent a good chunk of today at or around the international airport, but it was actually a really good day.  One of the best parts was the delightful misunderstanding at lunchtime.

Now, to understand the significance of part of it, you must first know what happened yesterday.  My mom, my stepdad, my stepsister and her boyfriend, and I went to lunch at a restaurant in The Galleria.  My mom and stepdad went in first, while we kids went to look at a Lamborghini just outside the doors.  When we filed into the restaurant, we saw them heading up the stairs, and followed.  They told us up top that the waitress downstairs had told them to pick a seat anywhere, and had specifically mentioned that whether upstairs or downstairs was of no importance – it was open seating.

However, a waitress was rather snotty with us when we mentioned this upstairs, after asking kindly if a certain table could be wiped down before we sat down at it.  She declared that we needed to check in with the hostess (but would not help us find the hostess, even when we asked kindly) and that there was a wait time, and we could not pick our own seats.

About two minutes after finding the hostess, we were seated at the table we had originally found (and then requested).  And the guy setting the table was unfathomably slow, leaving us all standing, watching, as he finished setting the flatware.  (Not sure why anyone was bringing us to a table that wasn’t ready yet, but it just made us laugh at how ridiculous it all was.)

We were quite nice to everyone, keeping always in mind the fact that it was a holiday and that we were grateful for their being there.  A good handful of the people at this place seemed just ready to throw things at people for the simple defiant act of existing.  Nonetheless, we got our table and, eventually, food and all, and it was a good time all-in-all.

Now, fast forward to today, lunchtime.  We found a Mexican place that was near the airport – and I mean Mexican, not Tex-Mex, and not non-Mexicans who claim to have Mexican food and whatnots – and was open.  My stepdad went in first, while we all parked the car.  My mom, my stepsister and her boyfriend, and I all walked in in a row as another family was leaving, excusing ourselves in Spanish as we bumped paths and all (I meant it, when I called it a Mexican place.).  As I walked in behind my mom, I saw my stepdad standing next to a table just two over from the door.  He said that the lady told him that we could sit there, but he was going to the bathroom now.

So, we all slide into the booth and begin discussing whether there might be bleach in the cleaner (because the table was still damp from being cleaned and smelled a bit of bleach, but my mom had on black long-sleeves, and so wanted to be cautious about touching the table, if there were bleach in the cleaner), when a lady comes to our table and, in English, apologizes, but this table is already for another family.  Could we please wait just a minute over here?

I turned to my mom, and asked her what their deal was with tables right now, and she could hardly fathom it herself, giving a genuine I have no idea.  So, we stand up, the boyfriend telling the lady in Spanish not to worry and that we were completely okay.  We wait to the side for perhaps 45 seconds.  Then, the lady tells us that, okay, you can sit in this booth (the one just next to where we had sat down, and that was almost exactly the same).  So, we sit, and comment how it is drier that the other table was.  I sniff the table, and my stepsister fusses at me not to do so, but I explain that I was merely smelling for bleach, and she laughs.

My stepdad eventually returns, someone comes and takes our drinks orders (in Spanish, of course), and then the original lady comes to take our drink orders.  I notice passively that no one ever sat at the table next to ours.  We tell her that someone already had done so, but we are ready to make our food orders, however (all in Spanish, of course).  Then, before taking our food order, as she looks at all of us, she says something surprising.

Apparently, since she spoke to my stepdad in Spanish originally, it was a non-compute that the rest of us would be the family with him.  Though the boyfriend is from Mexico, he has blue eyes.  I am dirty blonde and blue-eyed, and my mom is sort of a brown-haired, brown-eyed, older version of me.  My stepsister just kind of blended in with us, since we were the majority look of our little group.  So, we were the foreigners, so to speak, and clearly weren’t the family of the original guy who’d asked for the table a few minutes ago.  She didn’t explain all of that, of course.  We deduced that.  But she did say (in Spanish) that she had thought that we did not belong to the gentleman to whom she had given the table, and so she told us that the table was taken by someone else.  But, upon seeing that that same gentleman was at the new table, she realized her mistake.  So, she apologized for it a few times, and we all enjoyed a good laugh at the whole thing.

No one ever ended up sitting at the table behind us, until the last few minutes that we were there, when a single man sat down to wait for someone or something briefly (so it seemed).

So, those were our adventures with table miscommunications this week.

Post-a-day 2017

A different kind of Christmas gift-giving, I suppose

I’m not sure when or exactly how I stopped the regular giving of Christmas presents, but it feels like it has been a long and slow progression from standard present-giving to no present-giving at all.  This is not to say that I do not give love to my loved ones – I certainly do.  It is just that I give my love in the form of concern, interest, and time.  I plan out things for us to do together, and I get us to go do them together.  I find a way to get myself halfway across the country to be with the family members who have been on their own in recent years, missing the family.  And I make things like this seem like they are only natural, and why would anyone not do such a thing.  Not as a way to show off or anything, of course, but because they are just so easy to me.  Kind of like the ends justifying the effort, and therefore making the effort almost no strain at all.

And so far as giving physical presents are concerned, I do still give those from time to time in life.  However, I give them, because there I something I want to give to someone, there is something I want to do for someone.  It usually is not tied to any particular holiday or day.  It is tied merely to the fact that I care about the person, and there is something I want to give to him/her.  I re-made an acquaintance a few years ago, and, after only two meet-ups and discussions, I left a present at the person’s front door in secret.  It was a book I felt sure this person would love, and that I wanted this person to be able to experience, after our discussions together.  (Turns out that it was a total hit.) I’m not sure we ever saw one another again, due to various circumstances, but that was okay.  That is life sometimes.  The point was that I gave the present freely and genuinely, and expected and wished for nothing in return.  My only hope was that the book be enjoyed, and it was.

For me, that kind of thing is normal.  I give, because I want to give, and there usually is a something specific that I want to give.  At Christmas, I used to feel a need to give to everyone I know.  And I would be almost frustrated at being unable to do such a thing.  I guess this is how that situation has evolved over recent years, with last year, alone in Japan and with very little income, being a rather large factor in how Christmas looks this year for me.  When I accepted that it really wouldn’t work to do most anything physical for people, I suddenly noticed how I didn’t really like the whole situation in the first place.

It’s like how I made strong efforts to figure out what kind of scarf a friend of mine would use, and made one for him for Christmas.  And he gave me some socks from home, that were socks for a type of shoe that I never even wear, and were a color that I definitely don’t even own (and on purpose).  We definitely discussed this all after the fact, and even laughed about it.  We just had totally different attitudes toward the gift-giving.  I had thought about giving him a good scarf a long time before Christmas.  Due to my laziness mostly, I believe, I didn’t end up making it until the week before Christmas, using Christmas as my back-up plan for giving him the scarf (kind of a no later than this date thing for giving him the scarf, because i might never do it otherwise).  But I had found out material and color and style and everything that would be appropriate and most helpful for his scarf.  He, on the other hand, had wanted to give me a Christmas present, and so looked for something that would be suitable for a Christmas present between new friends.  His gift was totally appropriate for such standards.  Quite frankly, though, spending time together would have been much more valuable to and appreciated by me than a pair of socks that have nothing to do with me.  Plus, it’s a better way of life, being less wasteful with our resources.  😛

Anyway, this all just has to do with the fact that I don’t like doing the mandatory or obligatory presents for holidays, and might even dislike it.  Yes, I like that it gives a specific opportunity to consider something special to give to another.  No, I don’t like how often we give/receive things no one seems to want or to find useful in life in our society right now.  And so I have let go of participating in it.  I think my dad’s side of the family will struggle for at least a few more years with the idea, still wondering why they should give to me, if I am not giving to them – hint: I have told them that I do not need anything given to me for Christmas or my birthday, but, if they desperately want to give me something, they can give me a pony.  I think a pony is the only thing for which I have asked for my birthday since I was around 13 or 14.  Not that I expect one, by any means, but it would be spectacular to have a pony given to me for my birthday.  Otherwise, there’s nothing that comes to mind without feeling wasteful in the world.

It kind of takes away a bit of the feeling of Christmas, not exchanging presents with everyone.  However, I currently am happy without the presents – all I ever really want is time together with the ones I love.  The presents are almost upsetting to me, considering my background with stuff and feeling incredibly wasteful if I ever get rid of anything.  I usually prefer receiving nothing, so I don’t have to feel bad at either not using it or at wanting to give it away or throw it away, when its time has really come to an end.

Post-a-day 2017