Turkey Day, run away

Today, we ran the Turkey Trot, my mom, folks from my gym, and I. A handful of them ran the 10k, and another handful and my mom and I ran the 5k. I surprised myself.

Of course, it was pouring rain off and on for the start of both runs, but cleared up fully just as the 5k started (at least, until an hour and a half later, when it wasn’t too relevant anymore). I had my running rain jacket on until the start of our run, at which point, as the skies looked clear and the rain had stopped, I tied it around my waist. An annoying appendage for a whole 5k, but it was worth it for keeping my body and hair and clothes mostly dry before the run.

My shoes ended up soaked, but not until about a third of the way into the run.

I pushed myself, and very much so. I have not trained with running, of course, so I had no idea how fast I could go. My ankle bone was out of place only five weeks ago, and has felt still a bit wonky this past month, so I haven’t really been running even in the workouts at the gym lately, and those are just 200-800m runs. And yet, here I was, prepared to walk, if at any point my foot/ankle needed it, running a 5k and giving it my best.

At just about halfway, one of the girls from my gym popped up next to me, calling me a smokes something or other. I, too, had expected her to be far ahead of me, and I had been keeping an eye out ahead for her, just in case I might be able to catch up to her. But she had been behind me for the first mile and a half. From then onward, though, we ran together. Apparently, my presence alone pushed her. Her pace thereby challenged me. And I, even aloud, gave a, “F***ing S—-,” in regards to our gym owner and programmer. He makes some amazing get amazingly challenging programming, and he is always challenging us to push ourselves. Always safely, but truly. And this morning, he was stuck in my head. I felt like a little kid who wanted to make his teacher proud, planning to tell him just how much I had stayed on top of myself to keep it up, lift up my legs more, take longer strides, breathe deeply, and crush it.

And, in multiple ways, I did. He always says that, it we’re throwing up, we’re doing it wrong. So, I limited myself there this morning – I was getting very close to my body’s demanding a vomit, and so shared that with the girl, just to let her know that I might not be able to stay with her. I only got a few meters behind her on the final quarter-mile stretch, finishing only a couple seconds after she finished (which, oddly, was finishing my race a few seconds faster than she had hers, as I began behind her at the start). Regarding results, I looked it up. Had I done the timed race, I would have been ninth in my gender-age category. And that is really cool. What’s most important to me about it all is that, by pushing myself and keeping on top of it and letting go over and over and over again if my mental strains, I ended up getting, without any running practice in the recent past, my fastest 5k time ever. And my EVEN 8:20 splits (8:21, 8:29, and 8:23 to be exact) we’re not only the fastest I’ve gone on a 5k, but the second fastest mile time I’ve had period.

Basically, it was really cool.

After the run, I grabbed some cookies and bananas, and rushed to the kids’ 1k run to see my nephew and nieces finish their run (if they were even there, which they turned out to be, since the rain had cleared up). I didn’t see them run, but I did see them all just after they crossed the finish line, and the point was for them to feel supported, which they did. So, when, upon surprising them with my presence, I congratulated them and offered them cookies and then a banana, too, I think their days were made.

Anyway, the whole affair certainly made my day. And running into two of my old students made it extra-special. My legs are sore, especially my lower thighs. They can really feel my lack of running, I suppose, though they were clearly able to take it, thanks to all the programming at our gym. Hopefully, they’ll feel okay tomorrow!

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, folks. I grateful for all, and I send out my love to you, whoever you are, whenever and wherever you are. May God continue to bless us all. Amen.

P.S. On the dating app, sometimes guys say that their personal hell is families who do 5ks on holidays. I suppose one for me would be families who don’t. I am grateful for my blood family and my gym family. We were a dream team this morning, k-ing on a holiday, even in the pouring rain. Thank you, God, for these families of mine.

Post-a-day 2021

Missing… nothing

I had dinner with my dad tonight for the first time in quite a while, and it was just wonderful. In a way, I have missed having breakfast with him every week, and the occasional dinner these past few months. However, I have been so bizarrely and utterly fulfilled by my work that I haven’t really missed him. We have still chatted on the phone to check in, and we’ve had breakfast or lunch a few times since August, as well as plenty of texting. But that had been enough – I haven’t needed more lately. And I only just noticed that.

Perhaps, after this Thanksgiving week ends, I will be needing more time with those who love me clearly, as I very likely will be missing all of those kids and that amazingly fulfilling work teaching and being at school every weekday. I don’t miss it yet, because school isn’t in session. I think it will hurt on Monday, though, especially after a whole week off.

Dear God and Universe, please help me to transition with ease into my next role in fulfilling your will in this world through me. Amen.

Post-a-day 2021

Tonight

My Opa died this summer. At least, I think it was this summer… this whole year and a half+ has been difficult for me to separate into time periods beyond the bulk term “recently”.

Tomorrow is his wedding anniversary with my grandma, and my grandma’s 91st birthday. So, my mom and I are staying at their house tonight – despite the 78° thermostat in here, which is a big youch! – in preparation for a small gathering of family members tomorrow. This time, instead of celebrating with Thanksgiving, as we usually do with a two-day celebration, it is a whole week before our Thanksgiving gathering, and it is without my Opa.

And I don’t know how I feel about that.

I also don’t know how I feel about my having such uncertainty…

I think I stayed away more and more as he got close to dying, potentially out of self-preservation. It was hard to be with someone who was so close to death, who so soon would be gone permanently. But also who, more and more, was less himself, as though he was ever so slowly departing from this life, until just the final bit exhaled one early morning, and finished the departure.

Perhaps life is like that. Perhaps it is only a passing-through kind of deal, where we are born, and, from that moment, we begin slowly to depart, slowly to rise to our highest selves, returning to our core and our maker, returning to our home. And maybe some people are more in touch with that home than most, already with one foot in the door, so to speak. Perhaps they never fully left, or perhaps they quickly leaped back. And perhaps the ghosts we have walking these grounds are the ones who have lost their way, or who are just not yet ready to return home. Perhaps they are the ones who forgot that, like college, life is only a stepping stone, not a destination.

Obviously, I’m rambling off in an unexpected direction here. I’m still not ready to deal with Opa not being here in person with me anymore. He was already not really here for a while before he fully left. So, while it feels quite different, his not being in this house right now, I’m also accustomed to it, and even relieved by it, considering the struggles of his body shutting down over the final year or so of his life here.

Anyway… I want to love people the way I felt and sill feel loved by him. With him, I always felt worth it, and I always felt good enough. I always felt loved, just as I was. I want to do that for those in my life.

God, help me to do so, please.

Amen.

Post-a-day 2021

Bread

When I correctly answered spontaneous trivia questions posed to the audience at a Taiwanese tea ceremony presentation this morning, my coworker turned to me – he’s white Anglo, but a Mandarin teacher – and asked, “How do you know all this stuff?” Yesterday had been a surprising exposure of my Día de Muertos knowledge and experience, and a few other things had come up in the past week to show how I had grown up participating in many cultures. And, while I sat in on his Mandarin I class last week and this week and blew him away with my random knowledge of Mandarin and of character radicals, I am certainly not part of the Mandarin department, and have never been to or studied about China or Taiwan.

I smiled and said to him, “My family is very not-white.”

To solidify such a statement, let me merely add that my hand is covered in mehndi right now, as I helped my mom for a presentation and event she was doing tonight for Diwali, and I wanted to play with some henna just for fun, since I’m wearing an Indian outfit tomorrow… As I said, we are very not-white… 😛

Happy Diwali, y’all!! 😉

Post-a-day 2021

Sunday in the skatepark

My mom and I went to a skatepark yesterday, as a sort of anniversary for when we had gone with my brother and his trick bicycle two years ago, just before the park opened officially. We had done sunrise photos, and they were awesome.

So, now my mom is preparing for a 20-mile ride we’ll do later this month, she rode her bike to the park, we took some fun sunrise photos in the skate park of her on her bike, and then, as I followed her home in the car, I blasted “Eye of the Tiger” with my windows down.

It was a spectacular start to our Sunday.

Check that drop-in! ;P

Post-a-day 2021

Happy Blue Bell and ice cream!

In the Spring of 2015, Blue Bell closed production and recalled all of its products from stores. The Southern staple remained entirely absent for the following few months, and many were concerned about the possible permanent shutdown of the Texas company. It had been around for just over 100 years (founded 1907, I believe), and was a prominent fixture in the lives of moth Southerners. We felt a personal hit by the closure – even those of us who rarely even ate the ice cream anymore – and we all felt the risk of losing a whole piece of ourselves, should the company shut down permanently.

However, on August 31, the first phase of redistribution began, and Houston was graced once again with those beautiful tubs of ice cream on its grocery shelves. Once things calmed a bit, and it was again an accessible commodity – though the ice cream sandwiches took another few years to return to grocers (April of 2019!!) -, a friend of mine decided to throw a party. She especially was beside herself with joy at the return of Blue Bell. So, we all gathered somewhat spontaneously at her house one Saturday evening to revel in the delights of ice cream.

Of course, ice cream doesn’t exactly make for the greatest of meals. However, such forethought is not exactly one of this particular friend’s fortés. Therefore, amidst the indulgences of ice cream and happy conversations, it was determined that pizza would be the easiest solution, mid-party. So, we ordered some pizzas to go with our Blue Bell. Thus began our yearly celebrations of what we unintentionally called for years “Blue Bell and Ice Cream”, but technically had named “Blue Bell and Pizza”. (Now I remember what we named it, and know that we accidentally said it wrong for years without noticing. However, I prefer our Freudian initial naming, and so still use it most of the time.)

Alas, tonight was our yearly celebration, and so I, once again, had my yearly serving of Blue Bell Cookies ‘N’ Cream, and had some fancy schmancy pizza that was gluten-free yet delicious. (Naturally, I feel terrible compared to how I typically feel on any given day. However, it’s only once a year, so I don’t mind it too much. Especially when it means I get to dive into my historical regional identity for a bit, and also reminisce on some great parts of my childhood.)

So, Happy Blue Bell and Ice Cream, folks! Seven years strong, and we finally have real ice cream sandwiches again! (Seriously, if I’d gotten a box of those, I’d have eaten almost the whole thing myself. And I only say almost, because I know my mom would have demanded at least a couple for herself. Those things are spectacular, and slightly addicting. No joke, either.)

Post-a-day 2021

Malted milkpsych

We went to Galveston specifically to have a malt together. One of my favorite parts of having a malt, aside from the malt flavor itself, is having the cold, cold beverage served in the tall, frosted, metal mixing cup, and eating it with the long metal spoon. Usually, my mom eats what is served in the glass, and I have exclusively what is still in the metal cup. There’s just something about it that completes the experience for me.

We arrive at the shop today, and discover that the confectionary is only serving items in styrofoam cups at present…

Well, I’ve waited close to two and a half years at this point, so I suppose I can wait a while longer to have this malt experience.

In the meantime, my mom has determined to do her best effort of making a vanilla malt for me at her house on Sunday afternoon. She supposedly has all the necessary ingredients and tools, so we shall see what happens…

Post-a-day 2021

Alas

It seems my brother has finally made the official move back to the USA. I picked him up at the airport tonight, and dropped him off at his dad’s house (after a stop at Whataburger, that is), before heading back home myself. It was a lot of driving, to be sure, but who else would do it in the middle of the night (quite literally: midnight 03 was the scheduled flight arrival time)?

In a way, his expat days are over, yet, have re-begun.

I wonder how hard it will be for him. I spent a year in Japan, after having lived in various European countries for various amounts of time (though each less than my time in Japan), and it was tough for quite a while for me at first. He’s never lived in another country and come back home before this, and he was gone for eight years, almost exactly. (August would have been eight years precisely.)

Fingers crossed!

And I’m here for him.

Hopefully my sister-in-law will take advantage of my being here once she arrives. She has a whole ‘nother world coming to her, for sure.

Post-a-day 2021

The force was with me

This morning, while putting together my supplements for the month, I had a desire to watch a Star Wars film. So, I turned it on and enjoyed it while doing the supplements.

Then, I went to work out with a friend at midday. It was awesome, of course.

Afterward, I immediately rushed to meet my dad at an open house we both were excited to see. It’s a house I’ve seen for most of my life, always wondering how it looks on the inside. The outside, of course, does not look like a house. It looks like a space ship out of a Star Wars film. Oh, wait…, because it actually was designed after one! So, it’s a Star Wars-themed house. Truly.

Get ready.

This evening, I sit down to my coding training work for the day. What is the while theme for the first topic of the day? Star Wars villains! So, I got to do some coding regarding the Star Wars films and their respective villains!

How crazy and silly and fun is that??? Three appearances of Star Wars in a single day…, and I almost never watch films these days, so even that one was a surprise on its own!

Oh, and by the way, the house was ridiculous and awesome. It felt like a high end, lounge-y space ship from Star Wars would have been. Totally.

Post-a-day 2021