Grandparenting

We’re staying at my aunt and uncle’s house tonight (though they are out of town), and I found myself noticing how baby-oriented everything here seems to be now.

No daughters living in their individual rooms, no young nieces and nephews and adult siblings and parents coming to visit all the time anymore… just their daughters visiting occasionally with their babies and tiny children.

And then I realized that a lot of their traveling is either to visit the out-of-town grandchildren or to go on vacation with the daughters and grandchildren.

And so, essentially, their lives focus greatly around their grandchildren (they’re retired, you see…. my aunt and uncle…, so they don’t do other work.)… they do house edits on their various (three) houses, and rotate between them all reasonably regularly, and then they vacation (aka grandchildren).

How interesting that must be.

How wonderful that must be… to be able to focus as much time and effort as you want on the grandchildren, and to help your children with them all you want…

Perhaps that is one of the goals people have in life – live well enough and work well enough to be free and available for your children and their children, once the grandchildren come around.

And they do it while living quite well, too… not bad at all…

Yes… perhaps this can be a sort of goal for me, too… work hard, so the kids can have everything beneficial and lovely in their lives, and so they end up pursuing the same for their children, and then be super active and available in the lives of their children while they do the hard work like you did…

It somehow seems unbalanced or unfair or, at least, like it could be done way better… but I haven’t a better solution at the moment, so I’ll keep it in mind and think on it a while in the coming day and weeks and, possibly, years…

Hmm…

Post-a-day 2019

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Clean seats

When I arrived at the hotel this morning (the hotel in which we stayed two nights ago, but not last night), I headed first for the bathroom – 1)I was there early for the event I was photographing, and 2)I have to pee just about every hour, anyway, and sometimes even more often.

I walked into the first stall, and discovered that I was the first person to be using that stall and toilet for the day – the seat was up.

It filled me with a bit of nostalgic excitement, as I recalled my elementary school days of being the first to use a freshly cleaned toilet at school (you know, the little ones with stalls that only go a few feet high, so the teachers can help out if needed).

I always loved it, and I found myself wanting to give someone else the joy of discovering that she was the first to use the toilet since it was cleaned, so I started actually putting the toilet seat back up after I used it (and yes, I was always very careful to be clean when using the toilet, so it was practically still perfectly clean anyway [and yes, I know it is totally absurd at the same time as sweet]).

That way, whoever came in next could be as delighted as I had been upon discovering a freshly cleaned toilet.

I never allowed that someone might do the same thing I was doing, because, well, I frankly knew it was a little crazy… I didn’t mind, though – I just wanted people to be pleased, and this was one little way in which I could offer that.

I briefly considered that it wasn’t actually still perfectly clean anymore, since I had used it, but that also wasn’t the point… I hadn’t actually dirtied the toilet, and so I found no reason not to allow someone to be delighted at a fresh toilet nonetheless.

Also, I think I secretly thought no one consciously cared about the toilet being freshly cleaned, but more that they cared in a fun away about being the first to do something, even if that something were using a toilet on a given day… so the cleanliness wasn’t exactly relevant in the first place with what I was doing.

You know what I mean?

Anyway, this morning, I had a sudden curiosity as to whether someone had done what I had done in elementary school, but I quickly – immediately, actually – dismissed it as just about impossible, because, again, frankly, people aren’t really weird like that… that’s a Hannah thing, mostly.

Also, I don’t even do it anymore, as an adult, so I really don’t see any other adults being that weird in their behaviors…. you know?

So, anyway, I got to use a fresh and clean toilet this morning, even though it was way late morning (close to noon!) and I thoroughly enjoyed the fun of it.

I also enjoyed how, upon leaving my stall, I saw that the first stall on the other side of the row was also unused so far for the day.

Fun, fun, fun, I mentally thought.

And then, of course, Dork…haha…

A good morning, I dare say. 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

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

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

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

Stressed irony

Jump– jump– jump– jump

—-jump-jump

Aaaaaaahh!

Fleas are just darn terrible, especially without a pet… at least, with a pet, they stay on the pet… without the pet, they spread everywhere, and attack every warm body that passes through (which happens to be my warm body, my being the only one who actually lives here and isn’t a big of some sort)…

Ugh…

Help me, Lord… I have a struggle beyond this, and the fleas are just making everything worse and somewhat terrible.

……..

You see, have you ever heard the song “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette?

This section has lived in my head off and on ever since I first learned the song, way back when:

A traffic jam when you’re already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think
A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think

It is all too ironic, I dare say, that this line about the man and his wife always stuck with me as a child, and now it has resurfaced in the face of reality hitting the mark of a reasonable validity in the statement.

That is, in more sensical wording, that line has come true for me.

I met this “man of my dreams” several months ago – and he even became the actual man of my daydreams over time.

Every time we are together, I am filled with light and love, and I am inspired to be the best version I can be of myself… and I want him to enjoy himself and have a wonderful time, and I take care to help along his enjoyment in the interaction.

We inevitably have a wonderful time.

And I drink up his smile.

And his eyes… those eyes that keep contact… they are that kind of eyes.

Every new thing I learn about him and every new experience I have with him increases his perfection as this “man of my dreams”.

Everything except the seemingly inevitable, that is…

I finally paid attention enough to his hands this last time I saw him – something I never seem to check on people, and so it had to be a conscious effort this time – and discovered a wedding band.

…::face palm::…

He had on another ring, too, so there was a chance it was just a ring and not a wedding band…, but then I learned of his beautiful and wonderful wife, and their beautiful darlings of children.

It was confirmed…

When I considered it all, I discovered that I truly was unsurprised by the information… just bummed.

All the good ones really are taken…(!!!)

A somewhat jokingly thought thought, but it seems to strike rather truly these days. :/

I never really expected him to be single, available… he’s too great, too comfortable in himself and with me and others… he has confidence in his place with his partner and family.

But there’s always a chance that a great guy won’t be unavailable, I tell myself, because I’m not with anyone, you know, and I’m great…

Anyway…, moving onward…

It stresses me sad to know that this guy, for sure, is not a potential partner in my life.

And… surprisingly,… yet not surprisingly,… I find hope in it all.

Firstly, that this guy exists suggests that it is possible someone else like he is could exist, someone so wonderful.

Secondly, that this guy is such a good guy that he can have a wonderful, non romantic time with me, even though he is married, makes him an even better guy than thought….

Which, then, makes the first point an even bigger and better deal…

Thirdly, there were two tiny, unchangeable aspects to him that I don’t particularly love (but that I found myself to be okay with reasonably quickly as I spent more time with the guy), and perhaps this is a piece of why he is not the one for me nor I the one for him… and perhaps the one for me will share many qualities with this guy, and yet those tiny disliked aspects will be gone in the one for me…

So, ultimately, it’s a good thing… all of it.

And… I’m even relieved a bit… no offense, but I didn’t and don’t want to have those tiny drawback aspects if I don’t have to have them, you know?

I mean, I definitely am still not quite over it all… it is still a blow to know for sure something like this, even when you had somewhat suspected it all along…, but I also can see that I will be over it, and likely rather soon.

I don’t recall at present which character where said it, but pain demands to be felt… I agree with that… when we ignore pain, it changes, but ultimately worsens.

So, I talked with my cousin, just to communicate my frustration and sadness today, because I realized it was time to let this all go… we discovered that I think I need to have a final cry to get the last dregs out and gone in the matter, so that then I can resume a wonderful friendship with a wonderful, inspiring guy.

Post-a-day 2019