Productive in the storm

I went to 5:15am workout class.

I impressed a coach with my stretchiness (which has been a recent acquirement due to my routined stretching each night the past few months), and then worked really hard, almost to the actual point of hurling… 😛

Then I went to 6:45am lacrosse practice (morning weightlifting practice + conditioning), and I even helped make the kids do the weightlifting properly and fully.

I felt super knowledgable in the weight room, and thereby discovered that I had never expected in my life for that to be such an easy and comfortable terrain for me – and was through that pleased.

I then helped care for a kid who hurt himself.

Then I taught class at 8am.

Then I hosted a secret meeting with a few students who are now collaborating with me on an awesome project for our class (partly as my goodbye party and present for them all, and partly as something I have wanted to do for years, but for which I have always lacked the desired collaborators).

Then I taught more class.

Then the rain was so bad that more than half of my next class could not come to class, and so they played a bit of ball in the classroom while listening to two French songs, and then we talked French culture and fun facts, before heading outside to observe (from a safe location) the storm and the flooding all over our campus.

We listened to Prince Royce and talked about how I really want them all to come to the dance club I am helping teach for partner dancing, and several totally agreed and with genuine enthusiasm (‘I’ll come… it’s senior year – why not?’).

Then I talked with students, as they waited for class and I ate lunch.

Then we were told that surrounding roads were flooded, and no one could get in or out.

Then I graded a bunch, because no one was allowed to change buildings anymore due to lighting all over the place, and so my last class was canceled.

Then we were told that the roads were clear enough to get in and out, but with caution, and not all of them were…, but we could go ahead and leave on time.

Then I came home, did my necessary laundry, fixed a toilet – a first for me, and a task that truly impressed me – and then visited with a neighbor for an hour or so, and then came back home and found some desired photos to help with the secret project, showered, and, for the third night in a row, listened to music while getting ready for bed (including right now)… (and it is lovely)…

Then I remembered an art opening that was forgotten in the rain…

Now, I write this, and prepare to sleep and do more wonders tomorrow. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

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Say, What?!

Today, my mom and I went around to help out in various places nearby.  We still haven’t hit the highest bit of water for our area as a result of the storm (although the rain has stopped completely), but we have another day or two before then, and the roads were really quite passable in many places already today.  So, we decided to get out and be active, since we’ve been so sedentary throughout the storm, and we’re likely to be stuck in our neighborhood another handful of days if the upcoming flooding goes as predicted (Fortunately, it keeps lowering its levels in the forecast every 12-ish hours or so, but we prefer to err on the safe side and be prepared for more days of being home.).

All of this is not the main point for this writing, however, so I move onward to my purpose.

As we were driving from our third helping location to our fourth, my mom was responding to a text message using voice recognition.  I pointed out the direction we needed to go, accepted my mom’s correction of our very first turn, and then continued in reminding her of the safe way to get out of the flooded neighborhood.  As I pointed out a stop sign that was hidden behind a whole line of cars, we herd a beep emit from her phone.  We both instantly knew that the voice recognition had just ended.

And that, naturally, it had been doing its best to write up whatever it had been hearing of our conversation.  I instantly told my mom to send it as-is to our friend.  Why?  Because he does that sort of thing to us all of the time.  He regularly sends a message using voice recognition without even checking what ended up in the text of the message.  He claimed that it is always close enough, so we can always figure it out.  So, he knows that he sends nonsense messages a good amount of the time, and he doesn’t mind it.

Therefore, as I read it aloud to my mother, and could barely speak for the intensity of my laughter, I knew we had to send it to him as it was.  I gave it to my mom, and told her just to try to read it, go on… She could barely do it herself, she began crying with laughter along with me.  It wasn’t just that we were ‘getting back at’ our friend that we were laughing, but the fact that what had been put into the text of the message was hardly even close to what we had actually said.  In the whole double sentence that seemed to have developed in the message, we had only actually said the words “No, left,” and “…turn right.”  None of the others were words that we had even said.

Having thoroughly read the message, then, my mom sent it on to our friend.  Actually, she had me read it a second time aloud, after the first time had been such a total struggle, and decided then to send it.  So, I sent the message then, and then I gave it to her to read herself while at a stoplight.  It was a wonderful and welcome comic and laughter-filled relief for the craziness of the day.  Try it some time, and you’ll see what I mean by the joy we found in the text of the message.  Turn on your voice recognition for a message to someone, and then begin conversation with a nearby person.  You’re likely in for a real treat of words.  🙂

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Post-a-day 2017

A compliment to remember

About a year or two ago (though, I think it was two years ago), I received one of the most memorable compliments I have ever been given.  I was reminded of it today, as my mom and I drove around in the sunny daylight that was following our storm so nicely.  With all of the rain and flooding, many people have pulled out their trucks and boats, and gone to the rescue of those in need of water transportation in areas that formerly were roads (and which, I suppose, likely still are, just beneath all that water now).  For this reason, I was reminded of a particular friend of mine who has a boat.  (Or, at least, he did have a boat when we last were in touch.  Currently, I’m not so sure, because we simply haven’t been much in touch since I moved to Japan.)

This particular friend was a childhood friend.  In fact, he was one of the neighborhood kids. I secretly – or so I thought – had crushes on him and his brothers when we were all little, and we all would play together all along the street, the whole lot of kids.  Anyway, as everyone moved off to college and parents moved off the street, a lot of us rather lost touch.  Here in there, though, we each would see others briefly in life.  About two years ago, this happened for me with this particular friend and his brothers.

We were at a country-western bar/dance club in Houston, and I recognized them.  Sure, they were all massive men compared to the last time I had seen them, when they were all possibly in college.  Big and strong, burly men was an easy way to describe the guys who stood before me in this bar.  I was amazed, though delighted – I guess scrawny little boys can grow up to be big, strong men, after all. 😛

It was as I was talking with one of them that the memorable compliment came.  He said to me simply, “You’re gorgeous.”  And he said it multiple times.  I’m not sure how many times exactly, but I know that it was more than once.  What really stood out about it was not so much the words (though they were amazing), as how he said them.  I can still hear it, even, it was so impactful.  He did not say them in any condescending way – ‘How unexpected that you would be gorgeous,’ – or as though he were hitting on me – ‘Hey, let’s go to my place, gorgeous.’  He was simply stating something he believed, and earnestly, with feeling.  It reminded me of how girlfriends (true ones, not the fake kind) might talk to the girlfriend who has just found the perfect dress for something, and is thrilled, or who is all dressed up for a big date or presentation or her wedding – there is no jealousy or dishonesty, but pure love and honesty in the declaration of her being gorgeous in that dress.  He wasn’t being sleazy, but truly gentleman-like, and it was amazing. It really was.

And that was it.

Because of this brief interaction I had with this friend, he has remained in my regular thoughts these past couple-ish years.  Every so often, I am reminded of him, and I am grateful for him, and I wonder how he is doing (and I usually get distracted by something or other before I am able to send him any kind of message to check in, but I occasionally manage it).  This weekend especially, I have wondered how he is doing, over and over again, and I finally managed, after however many days this storm has been, to check in with him.  It was brief, but I made contact and found out that he and his family are doing okay.  They all hold special places in my heart, because of their various roles in my childhood, but he has an especially dear one, thanks to his beautiful compliment, whenever that was.

Post-a-day 2017

The flood waters rise

Perhaps this is a temporary theme in my life right now.  Every year, right at this time, there is a sort of uncomfortable and somewhat scary experience with water.  Last year’s event had to do with the ocean and life, and this year’s is rain and houses.  Last year, I began a journey of self-discovery in the sense of never apologizing for who I am.  This is not to say that I shove things into people’s faces – by no means.  I must still be responsible for who and how I am, however, I need not change myself or my ways for fear of offense or even not fitting in.  In other words, I need not apologize via actual words (e.g. “I’m sorry.”) nor by altering my intended actions (e.g. Suddenly shaving my legs, because it is a cultural standard).  I have spent this past year truly learning how to live that in my daily life.  And the lesson is certainly not finished, as I continue in it every day.  I even fail sometimes, but it happens less and less often, and every instance empowers me, no matter the outcome.

This year, we have a hurricane-turned-tropical storm that has decided to cleanse the Greater Houston Area, and then some.  Hurricanes are typical around here at this time of year.  However, the amount of rain caused in five days by a particularly bad hurricane many years ago, has been dropped to the Earth in only two days this weekend.  And the rain clouds still have another three to five somewhat sedentary days of pouring before they are expected to move along.  We have breaks – there’s one right now – in the rain, so that helps with spirits considerably.  However, not all of the city is above the 100-year flood plane, as we are here.  My sister and her family live in a particularly terrible flooding area, and somehow hitched a ride on a canoe this afternoon, and ended up at a nearby church for safe shelter – her house had what looked like a foot of water inside it, despite its being several feet above the level of the road.  Supposedly, as they were all leaving (two other families were in their house, since they had still had power [the floor was still dry at the time], making it around, I’d guess, 13 people, five of them children aged five years and under), the water had reached the base of the stop sign at the corner by her house.

While my sister has done a good job of keeping spirits throughout the day, and even sent out an adorable photo of two of the kids in a super inflatable boat/raft that one might use for tubing, I have wondered what her thoughts are on all of her things in their house.  It is quite likely that they will lose a huge chunk of their possessions.  In the aforementioned photo, I saw family paintings on the walls, and wondered at them.  They have such a huge history with family arguments and disagreements and, I think, even some police involvement.  Not those particular paintings in her house necessarily, but paintings by that particular family member.  It just had me wonder about the point of it all.  Why did they all argue and share so much anger over things that now could disappear so easily from our lives?  And then I wonder, “Why do we do that with any material objects?”  Anything could be lost at any given moment for this or that reason.  Why do we care so much about these objects in the first place?

And so, I wonder if that is this year’s work.  It has already been on my mind off and one the past few weeks and couple or few months, and this past year’s topic was the same last year, being on my mind here and there already months before my water incident.  And, also like last year, I am granted the option to pursue the idea, to learn by will instead of by requirement or force of any kind.  My house and things are safe right now, and are likely to continue to be safe from this entire storm.  The question is simply one of how much I am willing to let go of the things that I own.  I am scared, but in a very good way.

Post-a-day 2017

The weather continues

Electricity was restored only a few handfuls of minutes after it was lost here in our house last night.  However, the rain has off-and-on taken up temporary residence around us throughout last night, today, and this evening, giving us more water than anyone might ever want in such a short amount of time.  And tornadoes decided to show up with the rain in certain areas throughout the past 22-ish hours.

If we were just talking about rain and wind and thunder and lightning, I’d be quite all right.  But that last little addition to the standing hurricane (now tropical storm) has me nervous about going upstairs to shower or sleep.

It is never a good feeling when this is how your town’s winds look.


Again and still, I pray that we all be happy, healthy, holy.

Post-a-day 2017