A Retirement for the Day

We had a lovely retirement party for my uncle this evening… 35 years working for the same company, doing, essentially, the same work, day after day… completed.

Of course, we are not exactly permitted to be together for a party, so we did a Zoom video conference party – which, actually, allowed even more people to come than would have been able to make it even if we had been allowed to have the party in person, and saved All of us loads of time in driving, and even allowed for last-minute (literally) guests to join the party – and made it a total surprise for my uncle.

I ended up organizing the call, since I was the most apt to figure such computer-y things out, as well to manage a group of people and make things happen the way we want them to happen, and so I arranged with everyone (via a liaison I enlisted – aka my cousin who was originally put in charge of organizing things, but who quickly handed them to me, when we discovered his lack of and my having experience in such a thing) when to meet and how, explained the goal of the quick conference and how it would run, offered up and accepted my mother’s ridiculous idea of our all singing, “For he’s a jolly good fellow”, after the initial surprise – yes, we had discussed how we would be all out of synch, but that that merely would add to the enjoyment of my aunt and uncle, who would be the recipients of our group singing – and informed my aunt that we were all ready.

The surprise was lovely, the singing hilarious; the photo I was asked to share was a hit; the ‘quick five, max ten minutes’ for the call turned into 45 minutes; as arranged, my aunt went through and had each of us say something individually, and lots of tears happened, even from those who avoid tears, especially for such occasions as this public one; and we all had a lovely time from all across the country, and even down to El Salvador.

Also, fun fact: the grandparents (my grand, that is) couldn’t quite get the technology to work for video conferencing, due to their having older phones, and so they each were Skyped or telephoned in and held up to the computer screens of others, so that they, too could be part of the celebration, despite their lack of technology or technological skills. 😛

It was adorable.

In short, it was a spectacular 21st century retirement party, in more ways than one.

Our family is no stranger to long-distance and cross-country calling and video calling (and jut working with what we’ve got and making it work wonderfully) – we have had our fair share of people living here or there around the country and world – but this was the first entirely digital event we have had…

And it was actually really quite cool.

Technology is quite spectacular, when we allow it to do its best and we use it well.

I express tonight extreme gratitude to all those who have played a role in the development in technology connected to what our family used today – thank you, all.

Post-a-day 2020

Friday night sucks…

Let’s talk for a minute about how we live into the future…

You know, on any given weekend, Sunday is kind of the sucky day of the weekend, because we are acutely aware of having to go back to business Monday morning… and then, if we have a vacation coming up, we’re overjoyed and excited all the time, all throughout the day, even if it is Monday morning, and we have work to do…, because our vacation is soon(!)… The boring meeting right now has no power over our cruise that starts Saturday morning…

In that sense, we live into our future, right?

Right.

So, for me, I need to be around people – I need to have my solo time, but I also need to be with people, really be with them… a friend(?) recently mentioned the term “ambivert” to me, and I like it… it very well describes my situation with all of this being extroverted and introverted…, which people almost never seem to understand, by the way…

Anyway, I need people in my life.

For the past two weeks, I have been living with very few people in my daily life… it was enough to get me by last week and the start of this week, but then the working from home this week has crushed all interactions with people in my daily life now…

However, I had work to get me through the week, e-mails to exchange, interactions (though cyber) guaranteed to be had throughout the day…

But tomorrow is Saturday… I have no work, no e-mails, no semblance of human interaction…

And I am miserable… I almost – scratch the almost, I feel like weeping, I am filled with such an experience of stress and of being unloved…

There is that beautiful quote of, “I have called you by name; you are mine,” and, though it is used initially as defining a part of the relationship between God and humanity, I feel it applies to how we interact with all things and beings in our life… when I have called you by name, given you a name of my own, I have given you a place in my heart, and you are dear to me – in some way or other, you are mine.

When people interact with me, call me by name, I often am filled with the love that is present in our relationship, whatever that relationship may be… essentially, when people interact so directly with me, I feel and experience their love for me.

In contrast, when people do not interact with me directly…, I sometimes lose sight of that love…, I sometimes begin to convince myself that the love has faded, and that I am left to myself, to be loved by no one else…

And the experience of that always sucks.

Just saying, it does.

And I know that my love is enough, and I know that the pieces of God that reside within me are enough to sustain me and fill me in every way…

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck to feel unloved by the rest of the world.

I know I will be okay… I will be far more than okay…

I’m just letting myself experience this overwhelming feeling of sick right now, so that, in acknowledging it, in allowing the intense, hiding yet ebbing emotions to express, I am able to let it all go, to release it all in a cathartic convulsing of body and searing tears…

It is already late tonight, but I know that I will go to bed in an intentionally much improved state…, and I will get out of bed in the morning and take care of myself – I will play music and make art and work my body as hard as it needs to release anything else that might remain in the morning… if I cannot focus my love on others, perhaps there is something missing in my love for myself, something on which I would do well to improve… I am worth loving, and I know that and experience that with my whole being… even when I stray to wonder at its being true…

Nonetheless, I will take care of myself… I will do what I wish others would do to show their love for me, because I love me, and I am worth being loved (and even lavished), and being all alone for so long and for so much foreseeable future is scary right now…

But perhaps it is this problem exactly that has me in this situation… perhaps I need to grow more comfortable with providing all the love on my own, so that I become fully clear and comfortable in the fact that I do not need the others’ love – I merely want it.

As I was thinking in a dreamed conversation just today, do you really want to be with someone who needs you?… Would you really choose that over being with someone who wants to be with you?

I have said it before, and it still holds true entirely, I want to be with someone – in all my relationships, really – who doesn’t need me, but who wants to be with me nonetheless… who wants not to be without me, and so chooses to be with me.

It is in times of these feelings of isolation that I wonder where the people in my life stand on this spectrum, to what degrees they want me in their lives…

I have yet to find the far edge of the spectrum of wanting me…, but perhaps it will come some day… soon…

Anyway, I’m off to clean up and get ready for bed, now that I’ve finished this whole cry fest… who would have thought that Friday night and an entirely open weekend ahead could be so upsetting??

Haha

Anyway, this was how I spent my evening: eating fancy stew straight from the pot, while watching the first half of one of my favorite films, which was just recently gifted to me for my birthday, all while detachedly wondering about something that won’t seem to leave me alone lately… (I mean, what are you gonna do, right?… it’s like when a song gets stuck in my head… just let it ride, and it eventually will be replaced by something [hopefully] better, you know?)

Post-a-day 2020

Stop, in the name of love

When I was around eight years old, a group of neighborhood kids and I were wandering around the streets – because that was the norm back then – and we came across a garage sale at a house across the creek.

It was not often that I was allowed to venture across the creek, so this was already an especially exciting day for me.

But then, this garage sale made it even more exciting… and something in the garage sale just set me on fire(!)…

It was… a gigantic stop sign…

A true and genuine, very large stop sign…

And I wanted it so badly..

We all looked around a bit, one person, I believe, buying something on the spot, due to his or her having a dollar in her pocket, but the rest of us had no money on us – that just wasn’t the thing to carry around then…

And so, we all calculated the amount of money we would need to gather from our respective moneys, and headed back across the creek together, dispersing to the various houses.

Now, I didn’t actually live on this street, due to a somewhat complicated scenario, so I didn’t have any money waiting in a house for me per se…, but my brothers and their dad lived there, and I was spending time at their house, as was usual for me, and they had money at home.

I raced to the house, and I went to my oldest brother as fast as I could… I asked him if I could have some money… I think it was ten or fifteen dollars (not a lot, but not nothing either for the time)… he asked me why, and I quickly explained everything to him, practically begging for the money at this point…

He said we would have to go check it out, and so grabbed about twenty dollars, and we were about to head out, when it was suddenly time for me to leave – my mother was there to pick me up.

My brother said he might still go check it out, but my mom said she and I could drive over to see it, because she likes things like garage sales, anyway, just to look at things.

When she and I arrived, everyone was already back, my brother among them this time, and some of the kids were already heading back home, new treasures in hand.

I showed my mom the other small something I had wanted, as well as the stop sign… she was not convinced on the stop sign…

I was sad, but not surprised – I had known my true chance of getting it lay in my brother’s letting me get it… kind of the whole, ‘Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission,’ idea, where my mom would have accepted a done deal, but wouldn’t make the deal herself.

And so, I believe we went home, my having a small treasure in hand, and grateful for it, but sad the opportunity that likely was never to present itself again had passed, un-seized…

Sigh……

The next time I was at my brothers’ dad’s house, upon entering my oldest brother’s room, I was struck: there against the wall, behind his speaker system, was a huge and red stop sign… very much like the one I had recently told him about…

Seriously?! I wondered and asked… he openly admitted that he knew I had wanted it, but that that was because it was cool…, and so he got it for himself…, because it really was cool.

….

So unfair, brother… so unfair.

😛

It was actually rather comical for me, as opposed to heartbreaking…, and my brother, I think, knew it would be.

For me, it was just something really cool that suddenly was available to me – it was not something that I had always wanted…, so I would be okay not having it… and I was.

Plus, as he mentioned, I still got to see it all the time, but I didn’t have to figure out how to rearrange my room to put it on the wall somewhere that looked right – for his rather bare walls, it was an easy task.

So, it was totally a cheater move…, but we both were very okay with it and found it quite funny in its irony.

I still do, decades+ later..

Haha

Ridiculous, right?

Ridiculous.

Post-a-day 2020

I said I’m sorry, Momma…

I never meant to hurt you-ou-ou…. I never meant to make you cry, but tonight, I’m cleanin’ out my closet.

So, as usual, when with my mother today, though we agreed that we always get into a struggle whenever I have to cook in her kitchen, and that it was best that my mom do the cooking (she was already planning to do) alone, and that I wanted to leave by 7pm…, she did not even finish cooking until after 7pm, and she fussed at me briefly for not helping her cook.

::face palm

Instead of struggling in the kitchen, however, I ventured to the attic.

It is a tiny space for storage, for whatever reason, but I had verified a few years back with my mom that it was okay for me to leave just a few boxes-o-stuff until further notice, and without it being any kind of struggle or strain on her in any way, so I had a few things up there.

Of course, creatures had wandered through the cardboard boxes, and humidity or rain(?) had touched one of them, but the contents were all still okay.

(All except that one doll, that is, whose long, curly hair had started to disintegrate, first falling off in chucks, and then all eventually falling out when I went ahead and rubbed it just to see what the result would be…)

I went through two of the boxes, threw away unwanted, unusable stuff, washed some clothes and towels that had been keeping things safe, put various items into the donation box, and saved the handful of items I intend to bring to my house next week (assuming I am allowed by society, of course), placing the box itself, folded up, into the recycling bin.

Knowing what is in the final box and a half, I have a feeling I will be taking a few quick photos and then tossing most of the remaining contents… I have simply reached an entirely new place regarding having things – having so much actually stresses me out… it felt so good to go through those guys today, and to handle them already… they have been a pressure on me ever since I stuck them up there, years ago… I can hardly wait to finish them up, and to move forward comfortably and confidently with what I own.

By the time we were ready to eat, I had not only gone through most of the boxes and handled the contents, but I had vacuumed the hall (for what had fallen from the attic upon opening it), and I had raided my favorites of my mom’s old cocktail dresses, tried them on, and requested to take one of them and to have another re-made for me, both due to my desire to have it fit a bit more comfortably (especially considering that my legs are a lot longer than hers) and to have it not be falling apart (sad, I know).

I also had raided my mom’s record albums, and taken the majority of them off her hands… I originally was just checking to see if she had had one of my own albums that I can’t seem to find, post-Japan, but it turned into, ‘Hey, you aren’t using these… can I take them potentially indefinitely?’… and she has no record player anymore, so she agreed easily.

So, basically, I went to hang out with my mom, pick up something important from her that I need for work Monday, – I know, kind of crazy that we even have work Monday, but we still do, as of this moment(!) – and to eat food together.

As usual, things didn’t quite go as intended… however, I cleaned out the attic, and gained a bunch of record albums… thus my quick reference to one of my beloved childhood crushes at the top of this… it was an attic, not a closet, but oh, well… 😛

Post-a-day 2020

The Music

What would I be without music?

So many vocabulary words, concepts, and emotional states were learned through Disney songs in my childhood… that free, full, and flying experience I feel in so much of John Denver’s music… the inner pain of Jim Croce’s “Operator”… the joyful youth found through Backstreet Boys and N’Sync… the easy, fun anger of Avril Lavigne… the empowering, flowing connection with the divine found in so many religious and spiritual songs… the calm, determination I find in Enya… the uplifting tears of “Claire de lune” (on piano, not orchestra)… the fears felt in Fantasia 2000… the hoppy joy of Steve Martin on the banjo… the expression of my own anguish, released in Superchick’s “Beauty from Pain”… the community through loss in The Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier”… the rush of delight up my spine from “Rhapsody in Blue”… and every emotion I have ever known, each found in this song or another, somewhere perfectly expressed…, if even in my own music… dancing allowed and encouraged by music… connecting with others through music, through making music together, through sharing music… spoken languages learned through music… things memorized, facts and stories learned through music… not to mention the constant whistling…

I don’t know where or what I would be without music, but I cannot imagine it would be much of a place worth being…, and I cannot see myself anywhere in it – so much of who I am is from and found in music…

It is, in a way, my life… music…

That and gelato… 😛

Nah, that’s just a joke, but it reminded me of the lovely stracciatella I discovered in Rome, which is something I would like to bring back into my life. 😛

Joking aside, though, much of my life has been formed by music… so many memories of listening to and eventually singing along to musicals in the car with my mom when I was little, playing music with my extended family at gatherings, listening to music with my tape player or walkman or CD player during car rides, dancing – especially dancing – all the time… these are all precious memories for me, and they all are, though it may seem unlikely, moments that impacted who I was and who I became out of the situation… and strongly so…

Music is everywhere for me; around me, within me… it is a huge part of who I am.

And I am extremely grateful for it.

There is so much more I would like to say on this specific topic, but, after a three and a half hour distraction that started at 22:58 tonight, I really just need to go to sleep, instead… so, I finish for now with the following:

And I say thank you for the music

The songs we’re singin’

Thanks for all the joy we’re bringin’

Who can live without it,

I ask in all honesty

What would life be

Without a song or a dance

What are we

So, I say thank you for the music

For giving it to me

-ABBA

Post-a-day 2020

Shower time(!!!)

Showers.

There are two things that have been on my mind regarding showers tonight.

Naturally, as is the case with all amazing ideas that arise in the shower, I’ve forgotten one or the other at least five times since they first came to me while I was showering half an hour ago…

Fortunately, though, I got them both back safely into my consciousness, and wrote them down before I could forget again.

The first: Shower buddies.

Whenever the idea of showering with someone is portrayed in film or television, in books, or even in conversation, it is almost exclusively approached as an erotic experience.

The same is true with physically exploring another’s body – it is never never anything but an arousing, erotic experience for both (or all) parties involved.

But why must they be so?

There is a photo – simultaneously dreadful and adorable – of me as a baby, climbing carefully into the shower to join my dad, my bum covered in you-know-what (Obviously, my mom had a sense of humor about it.)… we got to be shower buddies, sharing the space and showering simultaneously, my dad and I.

When I was older, but still a child, I had minimal space in the house that was ever granted to me entirely – that is to say, nowhere was guaranteed to be my own space for long.

This, of course, included the toilet and the shower. (Yes, I have this one terrible memory of sitting on the toilet while my sister showered, and my brother walked in and told me to scoot forward, because he needed to pee… I am proud of 7-year-old me for refusing…. but I digress…)

Whenever my sisters needed to shower, they got to shower.

If I was already preparing to shower, it was no matter, they just hopped on in with me and adjusted the water to their preferred temperature (quite hotter than I liked it, actually).

At first, they had me shower with them in order to make sure I was showering and to show me how to shower properly (I didn’t exactly love showering or bathing as a younger child).

Eventually, though, I turned into more of a coincidental affair that no one really minded, and that I actually found fun.

In one sense, I enjoyed learning how my older sisters showered and how their bodies were – though, to be fair, they already walked around in towels or half-naked or naked for an hour or so after every shower anyway – and, in another, I enjoyed the fun of sharing an event with someone and in such an intimate, one-on-one way.

It might sound a bit absurd, but it really was a fun event for me as a child.

At my mom’s house, it was only ever an exchange of space – she would finish and step out of the shower, and I would step directly into it, without turning anything off.

But, at my dad’s house, it was all too common that I would end up showering alongside at least one of my sisters… and I loved it.

Fast-forward to grown-up days.

I really would love to be able to have a shower buddy again.

Bathing at all the onsen in Japan, I learned to appreciate the human body even more than I had before, and especially to appreciate nudity not as something wrong or weird, but as something that is natural and that merely has a certain time and place in society.

I also learned to be comfortable with my own naked body… and to be comfortable with my own naked body around other people… and to be comfortable with my own body around my friends and their own naked bodies…

I guess, now that I’m really thinking about it, I actually did have showering/bathing buddies in Japan… it was silly at first, but it became rather fun for me.

‘Hey, what do you want to go do this weekend when we get together?’ a friend asks… ‘Onsen!’ was my delighted reply.

And it wasn’t so that we could go be naked together – that was always a way-after thought – but because I love having out in all the lovely baths in onsen… it’s one of my favorite pieces of Japanese culture, onsen.

I just became very comfortable with the whole showering and being naked with others – including friends – situation.

(Fun fact: I met my ukulele teacher in a bath at an onsen while on a snowboarding trip in Japan… we started lessons together a few months afterward.)

And so, I want to bring that back into my life, I guess.

Why would I love to have someone in my life?

Right now, because I want a shower buddy… 😛 (I am totally cracking up right now, but I really do mean it!)

It definitely teaches cooperation (and agility), it inspires a sense of childlike silliness, and it is just a little bit crazy…, all of which I think are wonderful things to have in our lives. 🙂

Also, in terms of exploring bodies physically, can we not learn to touch another’s body – say someone’s ripped abs or arms or legs, or beautifully shaped back, or even someone’s buttocks (Can you tell this one has happened to me??? Several times, actually…) – either clothed or not, with fascination and appreciation, and not have to make it an erotic affair?

Think of how a blind person might explore another’s face… it is not for erotic reasons but for getting to know the person.

Sure, a sighted person can see the other’s body, but how much do we really see?

I would love to explore my partner’s body, every bit of it, in a non-erotic sense… just as we get to know and to spend time with someone’s personality, I think it is important that we get to know someone’s bossy and spend time with it in its natural state (i.e. not aroused).

That isn’t to say that arousal need be denied always and forever – just that it has its own time and place, and isn’t always what’s called for (or best) at certain times.

So often, I hear people talk about wanting the lights to be dimmed or out when they are going to be naked in any way, even and especially around their partners, because they are ashamed or embarrassed about some or many parts of their bodies…

Would it not be better for everyone, if partners took the time to visit and explore and get to know one another’s bodies fully, in the light of day, so that they can be that much closer, more intimate and loving and accepting and appreciative of one another, more wholly so, after dark (and at all times)?

My opinion, of course, but I think it would be totally fabulous for both the individual relationships and for society at large.

……….

Okay, moving onward…

Second thing: Clothes.

One of my favorite things to do when showering is to enter the shower with clothes still on me.

It’s not something I do all the time – not by any means… it’s just something that I love, whenever I have the opportunity to do it.

When I was little/younger, I always had to do it because I had somehow gotten myself and my clothes absurdly dirty, such that the clothes could Not be put in the hamper in their present state – they needed to be rinsed off first.

Occasionally, it would be and still sometimes is because I have gotten myself caught in the cold, cold rain, and just want to get myself warm as quickly as possible… peeling the wet, gluey clothes off myself before entering the shower not only would have taken forever, but it would have frozen me even more, leaving my skin so exposed(!).

Most commonly, it was because I was in my swimsuit, and I needed to wash out the chlorine immediately, so as not to ruin they suit…, so I just got int he shower with the suit on, and then peeled it off and washed it quickly before washing myself.

These days, though, it is mostly just because I need to hand wash something that I am wearing (not necessarily a swimsuit)… a bra or underwear, sometimes socks or shorts, very occasionally a shirt or leggings or pants… and it’s sometimes because the items must be hand-washed, but most often because it is loads easier to do a quick hand wash in the shower than to do a whole load of laundry (that I may or may not have) just for the one item… also, if I need the one item soon or often, and I had only worn it just enough to be not fresh anymore, it really doesn’t need to go through such intense washing as the machine would do… a quick rinse and scrub is sufficient.

In fact, in winter, I have two of this particular shirt that I wear constantly, and so I always hand wash them in the shower.

Year-round, I wash almost all my sports bras in the shower… it started because I was required to hand wash my running bras, but continued because I have more work-out shirts than I do bras, and, as I have admitted before, I am not great with getting laundry done… I practically avoid it until I’ve been out of options for at least a few days*.

(I am getting loads better at it, actually, though I still have my moments of avoidance from time to time…)**

Anyway, I sometimes will hand wash something in the shower just because I want to experience the amazing feeling that is entering a warm shower, dressed.

If you haven’t ever tried it, naturally, I highly recommend it. 😉

Well, those are the two shower things that have been on my mind tonight…(!)

Happy bedtime, folks! 🙂

*In high school, we began “Swimsuit Day”, my best friend and I, because she loved wearing her swimsuit top better than a bra, and because I inevitably ran out of clean underwear, and didn’t necessarily notice until post-shower in the morning before school…, so I would grab a bikini bottom instead… and it became a thing that we did together for a day or two every time I needed to do laundry (obviously, I improved my awareness a bit, and so was able to give at least a day’s warning before “Swimsuit Day” was to take place… also, nobody ever really knew why we did it or how we determined when it would be, but plenty of people knew that it was “Swimsuit Day”, whenever it was… and some girlfriends actually started joining in, wearing swimsuits under their uniforms along with the two of us on “Swimsuit Day”…

**Did you lol at that unintended pun???… because I certainly did. 😛

Post-a-day 2020

We hiked!

Yay!

We hiked today, my mom and I (and a small group of dance people I don’t know very well, and my mom didn’t know at all).

It was faster than my mom and I wanted to be hiking, leaving us almost no time to look at anything other than the be-knotted ground at our feet (to keep from falling), so we didn’t exactly like that part.

But it was still a nice activity, and the few times that we did purposefully stop to look around were great.

We found the cave where Ayla must have stayed when she visited the continent…

(And a closer view… I didn’t want to get too close and bother the spirits guarding it…)

… and Rafiki’s tree(!)…

… and lots of other great bits of water and wild-life.

Totally great, right?

Right.

And then, to finish out the day, we all converged from our various activities – not everyone is up for hiking, as we all know, so there were other outdoor activities for the afternoon – to watch the sun set from a balcony at a fancy brewery that overlooks a lake.

It was beautiful.

It all was great, and it was especially lovely that this was part of a dance event – doing something outside of the dance hall / hotel / ballroom for once, and enjoying the fabulous weather together, and just being people who share a passion yet are not overtaken by it (that is, we can go do something else from time to time, and enjoy the something else together, too).

So, yeah… good day today… good weekend overall…

Despite that panicked anger that sprung up on me when I thought the beginner dancers were supposed to be considered to be of my level. 😛

(I admit that I grew very judgy and angry in those moments of misinformation…)

But, yeah, it was a good weekend, and the first time my mom tied in to a dance event’s events with me – and that was really cool. 🙂

P.S. Ayla is from the Earth’s Children books, and Rafiki is from “The Lion King”.

Post-a-day 2020