Story-time

Staring at the ceiling, slumped backward over the sofa cushion that had been knocked onto the floor at some unknown time in the evening, Ch—- inhales sharply, and releases in a heavy sigh…, “Man…, I wanna do something!” he declares.

“Like what?” responds C—, only half interested in his little brother’s response.

“I don’ know…. just something….”

M—- chuckles from his spot in a chair across the room, resuming his tossing of a Hacky Sack into the air over and over again with the same hand, having abandoned actually standing and kicking it around in the air half an hour earlier… Ch—- always says this.

“It’s not like we can actually go anywhere, anyway, Ch—,” M— reminds him, “seeing as how it’s already nine o’clock and all, and your parents have gone to bed.”

Ch—- is silent for a moment, reflecting, ignoring M—‘s comment.

“I wanna go swimming,” Ch—- says, “That’s what I wanna do: go swimming.

Let’s go swimming, you guys!”

“In which pool exactly?… None are open and, in case you forgot, we don’t have a pool,” C— calmly reminds him.

Silence.

M— speaks up, “Swimming actually would be pretty nice right now.. zI could totally go for a swim.”

Baffled, C— regards him, eyebrows scrunched together, raised.

What?” asks M—, defensively, “I’m just saying I’m not against the idea.”

“Again, where would we be doing this swimming? Nowhere is open.”

“Too bad we don’t live near the ocean – the beach is always open!” Ch— chimes in, somewhat passively.

Silence…

C— turns to look at M—, then slowly tilts his head to one side, eyebrows raised…

M— regards C—, questioning at first, and then raises his eyebrows in recognition, drops the sides of his lips, and raises a shoulder, as if to say, ‘Why not?’

“Whadda you say?” asks C— to M—.

Ch— sits up suddenly, looking back and forth between the two older boys, jaw dropping in disbelief.

M—- smiles.

“Let’s do this,” declares C—-.

The three jump up, and each rushes to grab a few items, including the keys, use a bathroom, eat a quick snack before moving silently and stealthily toward the minivan that is parked in the driveway – their mother’s minivan and the only vehicle C— has started driving since getting his license recently.

An hour later, the trio find themselves on the Galveston beach, Ch— frolicking gaily in the sand at the water’s edge, while the other two take another hit on their unsophisticated and uncaring palates.

Ch— and M— share a drink or two, but they forbid C— from drinking – he is still driving them home later, and even the stupidity of the youth has its limits when dealing with genuinely smart and somewhat self-aware teenage boys.

By three a.m., they are careening back toward Houston, searching for a gas station with a vacuum to clean out C— and Ch—‘s mom’s minivan – it is filled with sand, though no one quite remembers when or how it all got in there – the haze of the fun was kind of in the way for them.

Eventually, they find it, and somehow manage to clean the minivan up really well, returning it to its nighttime place in the driveway.

Finally back home, the boys head silently into the back of the house, and lapse into total unconsciousness in the form of sleep.

It is five a.m.

At seven, their mom wakes up, and heads off to work, leaving the boys to their usual sleeping in routine, unconcerned.

When, after a week, no parent has mentioned anything, the boys begin to believe fully that they actually away with it.

And, somehow, they did

Post-a-day 2019

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Wakey-Wakey

Some days, your body just takes over, and, if you’ve been taking really great care of it, it does this responsibly.

Today, I missed three alarms.

I still made it to school on time, but just barely.

You see, for the fifth day in a row, I was scheduled to get up just after 4am this morning.

At that time, I was scheduled to go downstairs and eat my first breakfast, then participate in the first part of the morning meditation that would be happening, starting at 4:30am, and then, with an extra backup alarm to make sure I leave in time, ride my bicycle down the road to the gym for a 5:30-6:30am workout.

I then would return home, shower, eat a second breakfast, now post-workout, and head off, with prompting from my third alarm, to school at about 7:05am.

This, of course, did not happen.

I awakened at 3:15am, in desperate need of a potty break.

I went downstairs and used the bathroom, then came back up to bed, grateful that I had another 45 minutes to sleep, and I passed out again.

I eventually opened my eyes to find some sunlight shining through my skylight curtain, and I panicked.

I jumped up and checked the time: 7:02am.

I threw on my clothes as fast as possible, and rushed downstairs.

I managed a basic breakfast smoothie, did my teeth-cleaning routine and used the bathroom, all in a borderline frenzy that was somehow calm, too – I kept my head about me, but I moved as quickly as I could manage effectively and safely.

Fortunately, the weather was expected to be rainy in the afternoon, so I was already planning to drive my car to work, which is significantly faster than taking my non-highway route with the scooter.

Phew!

I somehow arrived to school, used the bathroom, let the kids into class, swapped out what I’d brought to school with what I’d needed for class from my office, and greeted students before the bell rang for class to begin…

By the grace if God, I suppose… by my name.. 😛 🙂

And… it was a wonderful day.

Surprise Photo Op!

“Do you happen to have your camera with you?…”

“Actually, I do… I was just saying I’m about to go get it out of the car, because I didn’t mean to leave it out there, with the heat.”

God sent the camera with me, though I’d brought it on accident, and God delivered a wonderful photo opportunity to me.

They were extremely grateful, I had loads of fun taking the pictures – turns out I really do like photographing events, as I’d always suspected (they just need to be interesting and fun events, is all).

And then… the photo turned out great already, and, with a little touching up, they now look spec-tac-ular(!).

And that is objectively so, not merely my opinion – fact-based statement, that is and was… the photos are amazing. 😛

So, I am truly beginning to feel like a genuine and good photographer, worth people’s hiring and even paying loads of money to me to produce photos for them… I’m not the best, but that’s just a yet. 😉

For now, however, I can feel and see objectively improvement in my photography as a whole and in specific areas every photo shoot.

And it feels amazing.

Thank you, God, for the steps forward on this beautiful path I now explore.

🤗🙏🐪

Post-a-day 2019

10,000 Steps

Some days, you rent a red 2013 beetle and, after spending four hours straight tutoring, drive two hours out of town to visit your cousin, who is in from… somewhere, anyway…, and you find yourself walking the neighborhood in the middle of the night together (even though you have to leave before seven the next morning), because you only reached 5,000 steps (of your required daily 10,000) in all of your tutoring and driving, and you find yourself, as you listen to Norah Jones to compare it with the Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys similar songs your cousin was playing on the piano, chuckling silently and inwardly at the silliness of the whole situation (including the part where you technically have two other vehicles sitting back at home right now), also wondering how that morning wake-up is going to go…

Oh, no… that, again, is just my some days… in particular, my today… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Get a handle

I broke my new (to me) car today.  Okay, well, a part of it.  The car was parked on a street whose sides really sloped downward – and I mean a lot.  When I went to open the driver door, after unlocking it, the door opened just slightly, before my hand flew towards me, and the door slammed back shut.  The handle had broken.

And so, at least until I find a bonding agent – aka glue – that will hold well enough to stick the broken underside of the driver handle into place – hey, I wonder if that’s the issue with the other door – , I’ll have to do what I did this afternoon and tonight, and enter my vehicle from the passenger front door, because now both doors on the driver side won’t open from the outside (but the back seat door came that way when I received the car, so that wasn’t my doing).

Add that to the duct tape, and I am an image in blue 2002.

I mean, talk about ghetto – I’m getting there faster than ever anticipated (which was never!).  Haha.

Post-a-day 2018

Where are you?

Today, I met with my mom, aunt, and cousins in Galveston.  I was driving there from my aunt’s house, which is east of Houston (toward Louisiana), and so was scheduled to ride the Bolivar Ferry across to the island (not normally the case, because there’s a bridge to Galveston Island from Houston).  My mom and I usually ride the ferry whenever we go to Galveston, so she scheduled herself to ride the ferry over to meet me as I was first arriving to it.  That way, we could ride it together, if only the one direction.

And so, we kept in touch via phone, so that my mom knew about when to get over to the ferry.  When I was not too close yet, we spoke.  When I was getting somewhat close, we spoke, and my mom headed to the ferry.  But, there was no parking, so we spoke again, so that she could tell me that she was not on foot but in a vehicle.  Okay.

And then I sent her a message (via the handy dandy Siri) to let her know that I was two miles from the ferry landing.  She then called me to tell me that she was about to disembark from the ferry.  Okay.

She calls me a minute later, asking, “Are you about to pass me right now?”

I look up, and see no cars parked to the side of the road.  I glance left, and see her driving in the opposite direction and I am driving, in the line of cars that has clearly just disembarked from the ferry.  Just as I say, “Yes,” I see her face in her vehicle and she seems to look right at me, too.  She gives something like an Okay, and hangs up.

I continue on the road toward the ferry.  Within a minute, I’m stopped in line behind a car, waiting for the ferry.  I see my mom’s vehicle driving up, and am somewhat surprised at how quickly she managed to turn around and get back to the ferry.  She pulls up right behind me and stops in the line of vehicles.

At this point, it it clear that we will not make it onto this ferry, and so will have to wait about twenty minutes for the next.  Since it is cold out, I grab my scarf and put it on.  As I am reaching for my sweater in the passenger seat, I answer my phone with a not-actually-annoyed-but-playing-at-it, “What?”  I look up at my mom in the rearview mirror as I answer the phone, and I see her calling me.

She responds, “Where are you?”

For a moment, I am stunned and cannot speak.  Then, I begin to laugh and I tell her, “Right in Front.  Of.  You.”

I see her looking more carefully at the truck (I’m in the truck), and then we both are laughing, barely able to speak.

I don’t even know what we said after that, but the call ended somewhat quickly, and I went and joined her in her vehicle to listen to Canadian French country western music together.

We joked about it throughout the day as a family, because that was just too good to let alone.

Moms.  Gotta love them.

 

Also, she bought me this stellar ring today.  It has diamonds and everything, and looks totally old fashioned (but clean!) and also totally like an engagement ring (but that wasn’t why I got it).  And it probably would have been an engagement ring if it hadn’t ended up in this particular shop (and I hadn’t gotten it).  I got it, because I just loved the ring, and it made my heart go doki-doki when I put it on after it was cleaned.  I was planning to buy it myself, but then my mom just bought it for me.  So we marveled at it in the sunlight together afterward, and laughed at how people were going to think me engaged now, because I just had to show it off to the world, it was that pretty.  Anyway… that’s all for now.  😛

IMG_3298

Post-a-day 2018

The Lingering Effects of Culture?

I have noticed two behaviors of mine that linger still (and consistently), despite my having been in the USA and out of Japan for almost four months.  They are 1) constantly looking right first before crossing the road, naturally walking to the left, and casually beginning on the left side of the road when riding my bike; and 2) silence.

The first has been improving significantly, and is almost never present when I am driving a car (though those two-lane, small town style, empty roads do make me think twice before I pull out onto them).  It is mostly just my bicycle riding and walking that is still in the habit of Japan’s side.  Seeing as how I am aware of the road-crossing issue every time I approach a road, I feel confident that things will be fine there – even if I must continue constantly checking both directions over and over again, because I don’t trust myself as to from which way the cars actually will be coming on which side.  The second is a bit different.

I wonder if the silence is something about which I need to worry.  I feel like it is no big deal, however, when I look at it from an outside, USA perspective, I seem almost oppressed in the action.  The silence comes in the regular everyday passing of people at work.  I often only smile and nod when we make eye contact, and I regularly say little-to-nothing in group conversations.  Partly, I have no interest in discussing the present topic with the present company most of the time.  However, I wonder if part of that is because I am not accustomed to discussing things with people like I once was.

My distress tied to living in Japan significantly affected my desire and will to learn Japanese.  Therefore, I really didn’t put forth almost any effort in the language beyond the absolute necessary, until I was on the rise from all of the depression, only a few months before my departure.  This means that I was not able to participate in most conversation around me.  Yes, I could understand a good amount of it, and often all of it (though, occasionally almost nothing), but I usually was unable to respond.  It was my first experience with what I previously had only heard other people say they did, and the development of which I couldn’t understand: understanding a language, but not speaking it.

So, I grew incredibly accustomed to speaking very little and to listening a lot.  And this was not a conscious decision, necessarily, though I had intended to observe for the sake of learning all about the culture and language.  My goal was to learn, not to separate and somewhat exclude myself.  Transferring the same behavior over here to the USA, my native country, has the behavior occur quite differently.  As mentioned, I seem somewhat oppressed, like something is preventing me from speaking.  All I notice is a lack of desire to say anything most of the time.  But I also don’t even consider whether I want to speak or not – I just don’t speak…  So, I am wondering about this, whether there is something more there, something in the way for me, preventing me from full self-expression.

 

Post-a-day 2017