Weird Dreams

I had a dream last night in which I attended an odd sort of reunion for my elementary school.

There were really only about ten people in attendance, and it took place at my elementary school.

However, I haven’t actually been inside my elementary school since it was torn down and rebuilt years and years ago, so, I was a little lost in finding the right room at the reunion… I even came across a room for another reunion first and said hi to a kid I knew from middle school and who didn’t go to my elementary school, but that didn’t stop my brain’s having him be attending his own reunion in that particular classroom at my elementary school…

My mom had dropped me off, and given me a kiss and wished me a good time, and I was slightly nervous but also oddly comfortable – I haven’t seen these people in almost fifteen years, but that didn’t seem to matter (or, perhaps, it helped)…

In the actual hangout, we were all sitting at some tables at one point, talking as a group, when the guy next to me makes an executive decision, and full-on kisses the guy next to him on the mouth.

Immediately following, he declares that ‘well, now he knows’ what that’s like, at which point I notice distinctly who the two of them are: tall Kevin W. kissed little Ryan S.

(Mind you, this is how they were as kids, and so my brain decided to mature them while maintaining the relative heights.)

And no one had a problem with it.

One guy made a comment jokingly, kind of in remembrance of something stupid he would have said back in the day, but, now that none of us cares about homosexuality, he wouldn’t have even thought of being uncomfortable or if making a stupid comment… actually, that was why Kevin kissed Ryan – because we were talking about how we and thins had changed and that homosexuality wasn’t something anyone teased about or was uncomfortable about… if a guy kissed a guy, gay or not, we wouldn’t care…

And so then Kevin kissed Ryan, even though neither of them is it was gay, and our point was proven that none of us minded, and Kevin and Ryan got to see what kissing one another was like.

And then it all shifted and there was somehow a pool and people and we were participating in a swimming party for our reunion gathering… my mom dropped something off to me at some point – perhaps it was a swimsuit…. – and I’m not remembering much else in enough detail to describe now, so I’ll leave it at that.

It was a fun gathering and idea, and an even more fun dream – I kind of wish we could do a real one (and I wouldn’t mind if Kevin decided to kiss Ryan at this one, too!)… it would be nice to see everyone again and to see how our lives led us forward… I think I would like that very much. πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

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Brushin’ my teeth…

I think it’s a bit funny that we never much talk about brushing our teeth.

It is something that, supposedly, anyway, we all do every day, multiple times a day…, it has a huge role in our life, when you consider that it is 1)here throughout almost our entire life, and 2)extremely beneficial to our oral health and, therefore, ability to eat and smile and feel good on the daily… it’s kind of a necessity that provides amazing benefits.

One might think that we would want to do it the best we possibly can…, right?

And yet, when was the last time you conferred with your family or friends (or anybody) about best teeth-brushing practices?… How often do you ask opinions on flossing versus brushing first?… When do you share back and forth about preferred tooth brushes and toothpastes (or tooth powders) with others?

The answer to all of these questions, though they might be “Once or twice ever,” are most likely to be “Never, really.”

Sure, I’ve talked about it all with a dental hygienist or the dentist when I’m having a cleaning, and they compliment how well I take care of my teeth…, but that isn’t exactly the same thing – it happens to be their job to talk to me about my oral health habits and practices.

I think it would be valuable for us to discuss all of this… different perspectives are part of how we can develop things to perfection.

I mean, most of us established our teeth-brushing habits and patterns as little kids… were we really that smart that we as adults are doing best to follow what that six-year-old determined was the best way to brush teeth?

Yeah… let’s not.

So, I’ll share a few basics here, and consider how to strike up regular discussions about all of this with friends in the near future:

I have a preferred dental floss for its thinness and the fact that its container is paper that can be easily recycled… I have a preferred toothbrush that is made out of recycled yogurt cups (my razor is, too) and is bent in a way that almost no toothbrushes are, and which makes it loads easier to reach all of my teeth from all sides… I dislike minty or fruity toothpastes… frankly, I like the Indian ones that tend to taste like they must have dirt in them, if not just a handful of herbs and spices… I don’t even like the candy peppermints, and I don’t want my toothpaste to be like them… minty fresh is not my fav… I switch around my toothpastes, somewhat based on which one or ones are on sale, usually at Whole Foods – I like the natural, hippy-like ones… especially clove and neem ones, but sometimes certain tea tree or cinnamon (natural and pure, not some fake flavouring) ones…, but I also like the tooth powders… I first discovered them at a health foods shop in France, and I stocked up, because I didn’t know that we had any in the US… since then, I’ve found ones I love so much better(!) (the dirt-like ones)… I change my toothbrush at the end of every tube or container of toothpaste or tooth powder…, and I usually switch to a new color of toothbrush, which I sometimes select at random from the store… I have a long and practiced and well thought-out method of brushing my teeth, and I end up brushing parts multiple times, just to be safe, if I somehow go out of order… I wet my toothbrush before brushing, and I turn the water off while brushing… If I can hear my toothbrush with my ears (instead of from inside my head), I apply less pressure – a dental somebody once told me that someone else in the room should not be able to hear me brushing my teeth, because that would mean that I am brushing too hard… In the US, we supposedly have so much fluoride added to our water that we don’t exactly need fluoride toothpaste… I haven’t used fluoride toothpaste since I was, maybe, seven, and the dentist still isn’t concerned for me (so, yay!)…, though I wonder sometimes about looking into this, I haven’t done it yet – that Erin Brockovich interview by Jonathan Van Ness (yes, from Queer Eye!!) shows almost exactly why I haven’t looked into this yet… I don’t use mouthwash, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem…, does it?

Anyway, those are a small glimpse of things I want to discuss and share with people regarding teeth brushing and oral hygiene in my life… Also, I occasionally imagine (especially recently, with my current bedtime book being Jaws) how it might be to have to brush the teeth of a beloved pet shark who totally would not bite me or anything… I’d be brushing for hours, let alone figuring out flossing – could we use leather strips as floss, so it wouldn’t shred instantly???… Or some other material we could rinse and re-use?… (On that note, when are we getting reusable floss, hmmmm???) So many thoughts… πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

Cultural Villainy

This afternoon/evening, I found myself discussing various voice and talking style stereotypes in American English and in Japanese (from Japan, of course*).

It all started with seeing the film “Aladdin” in the cinema this afternoon, and then, over ice cream afterward, we veered onto Disney music and its composers a lyricists (and how amazing some of the greats are[!!!]).

Then we branched into the Japanese versions of this music, as the friend with me is Japanese, and she grew up only hearing the Japanese language versions of the songs.

We discussed differences I had found in the music, and why I thought each one was so… now that she has been living in the US for about a year, she saw exactly what I meant and genuinely understood.

“Colors of the Wind” sounds somewhat stressed and so compounded and busy in Japanese, yet the English sounds so open and contemplative, filled with deep breaths and space through the notes and the words… there are just too many syllables in the Japanese, and too many consonants in between all the vowels…

An American likely would be appalled at hearing the Japanese version of Scar’s voice, because the voice doesn’t match the type of villain that he is… it is not entitled and brooding and, almost like serial killer style, the voice of someone who is biding his time until his plot can unfurl perfectly to his advantage – until, at last, he is granted his dues, as Scar says.

To American ears, the Japanese Scar in pathetic and angry and holds no weight behind his short-man angry yelling of a voice, desperately hoping someone will listen to him and do what he wants others to do.

And yet, to Japanese ears, the Japanese Scar is exactly right: He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ voice and has that same ‘bad guy’ and ‘villain’ manner of speaking… the English version would sound just ‘American’, and have nothing special tied to it for Japanese ears.

And my friend was able to see and hear just these things, and mainly because she has become accustomed to hearing so many different ways of speaking that people have here in English (unlike Japanese English in Japan, which is pretty much always the same).

And, somehow, I found the whole situation to be fascinating and utterly fulfilling… I had never really thought quite so much and quite so pointedly about the translations and the voices of actors until today, though it certainly was not my first or, even, tenth time considering it all.

It had me feel an almost silly passion for Disney and, in particular, “The Lion King”, and yet I couldn’t find a reason not to care so much about it all – I love languages and music and seeing things in new ways, and these Disney movies had huge impacts on my childhood and, therefore, my life as a whole… they are a part of me… and I care about and love myself.

So, I guess I get to love those Disney films, too, silly little perfect details and all. πŸ™‚

By the way, I went into “Aladdin” with an attitude of its being a different film and perspective of the same story as the animated version…, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film – it was wonderful(!).

And it was filmed in Jordan(!)… how cool is that?!

I don’t often go to cinemas these days (in the US, anyway), but I am glad I went today – it was a lovely experience. πŸ™‚

*Does Japanese have a culture of native speakers anywhere else in the world?

Post-a-day 2019

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

Beer run?

‘Okay, I’m stopping at the grocer on my way out there.’

‘Oh, since you’re stopping at the grocer, will you pick up some (hard) cider for me?’

He then gives me the details of his preferences on cidre, and we settle a plan…

“Haha…,” he continues, a bit nerdily and excited, “I’ve never had my little sister buy me alcohol before.”

We both had a dorky chuckle at this idea, mostly because we knew how the rest of our family had been growing up, as well as how unlike them I had been, simply uninterested in alcohol, let alone getting someone to buy any for me.

…..

Separately, when actually at the store, two girls who work there were telling me about the cidres sold, and kept suggesting I get a ‘sneaky’ one, so that I could ‘get him drunk’, and they kept chuckling at how their boyfriends are always surprised with sweet drinks that have high alcoholic content and leave them drunk, when they had thought they were totally fine… I didn’t entirely disapprove, since it’s people who matter to the girls, but I wasn’t exactly a proponent of the behavior in the first place…

When they remembered that I had said “for my brother”, their tunes changed and they gave me genuine flavor information on the different cidres, instead of just talking about getting something sweet. πŸ˜›

The irony of it all was how I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d purchased alcohol, let alone purchased any for my own consumption (not that these were for me, of course), and it felt extra-silly carrying out the cidres… I felt so totally out of place, not unlike an underaged kid sister trying to sneak alcohol for her brother’s party…

My extra consolation was in the fact that he really doesn’t drink much in the first place either, but wanted some drinks because he is on vacation (and even then only a few, because there’s an intense CrossFit class awaiting him in the morning). πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

Envy

She taught me to envy,

– or, rather, I learned to envy because of her –

and I still remember how to do it.

Seeing her tonight,

talking with her, missing being around her and being close friends with her

from more than a decade ago,

was both wonderfully amazing and delightful

and an intense reminder of how envy feels.

Her life is not for me, I know

– otherwise I would have been born into her life in the first place.

But it certainly has me question what I could be doing differently in my life, better,

if I so longingly envy her hers.

In other words, what is missing in my life, that I still desire, wish for, hers?

Post-a-day 2019

How far we’ve come

I saw the light
I’ve been baptized
By the fire in your touch
And the flame in your eyes
I’m born to love again
I’m a brand new man

As these words rang out across the stadium – quite clearly, surprisingly, seeing as where we were – my lips were already moving in synch, silently matching every word since the initial “I”… and tears welled in my eyes, beginning almost immediately to overflow.

I was attending the Brooks and Dunn concert at the rodeo tonight in Houston, kind of as a celebration of my life, for my birthday – something for me, on my own.

I’d asked my mom to stick around with me, but she was ready to head home, so I was okay hanging on my own for the musicians and their music.

When I was about eight years old, I attended the Brooks and Dunn performance at the Astrodome, also for the rodeo.

During their performance, when walking around on the dirt, they pulled two ladies out from the audience to dance with them.

I remember distinctly being upset and embarrassed as the one lady proved, after two quick but failed attempts, that she could not do any sort of partner dancing, let alone the by of two-stepping one of them wanted to do with her.

Rather than rejecting the lady, reading her out for a better model – that’s actually how my brain analyzed it at the time – he just grabbed her around her waist/hips area, and swung her around in a circle or few.

My frustration at this lady for having been unprepared for such a monumental opportunity – dancing with Brooks and Dunn – was not only projected blindly, but had me consider how I would have done, if I’d been the one pulled out onto the floor…

I was rather confident that I would have been able to manage it.

However, I fully acknowledged that I was not certain.

And so I made it my business immediately after this event to make certain that I knew how to two-step and could do it with just about anybody on demand.

Fast-forward a couple decades, and see me at the concert tonight… I found it almost ironic that, though I never anticipated to be pulled out to dance with Brooks and Dunn, here I was, two decades later, likely one of the best country western dancers in the entire stadium, knowledge, ability, and a world title to prove it.

Isn’t that at least a little bit totally crazy?(!!!)?

Anyway, so I can dance, and extremely well, but that’s only part of my mentioning all of this.

When the guys began playing and singing tonight, I was in instant and somewhat constant tears (even throughout the whole show!), right?

Right.

And it occurred quickly to me, This is the power of music.

I was somehow transported to my life when I listed probably daily to Brooks and Dunn music, as I simultaneously saw all that had happened between them and now, how what felt like a lifetime and ten different people ago had somehow led me to today, to who I am today.

There was a lot of good and a decent amount of bad in there, especially early on, and it was a very, very full time all throughout.

And, somehow, here I am, experiencing it all again, while feeling empowered by the open bliss and joy for life I felt back then, reminded of the sadness of what I went through off and on, and encouraged by the fact that I have made it to here so far, and I’ve plenty more wonderful expansion and beautiful growth yet to come for myself in my life.

All of this from music, specific songs and notes and voices and instruments all put together in a certain way, as though, almost, specifically and intentionally with me in mind.

It was of the best kind of medicine.

And this reminds me of how my high school band director always used to tell us that music is a language… tonight, their music spoke directly to me, throughout every place within me.

Post-a-day 2019