Mardi Gras Fun (Run)

As expected, after my much-needed rest, I was quite willing and able to greet the freezing cold day today. We added on a little extra time to our sleeping, because we were getting to bed so late, and we showed up at the run just before it was supposed to start – only two minutes before packet pick up was scheduled to end, and 17 minutes before the run was to start.

And it was a blast. There were not very many people there – perhaps around 50, and just as many people who did not show up, probably because of the cold. However, that added significantly to the charm of the event and the experience. It made it feel even more like a close-knit family fun event, even though we didn’t know anybody else there. (Although, as it turned out, we did know one of the photographers! I told him that I would love to do volunteer work with him on photography… We shall see what happens there. Fingers crossed!)

For what I believe was the first – and will quite possibly will be the only – Time in my life, I won first place in my age group. That was really exciting. My mom got second place in her age group. I had told her that I had intended to run the whole thing, and not do it with her, mostly walking and running some. However, she somehow thought that I had changed my mind, and was going to stay with her the whole time. So, when it was my turn to start, and I took off running, she called out to me, with obvious slight annoyance at having been left behind. She wasn’t mad, but she was surprised, and it was actually rather funny. After I finished my 5K, though, as my cooldown, I went and joined her on the course, and I finished her 5K with her. So, we got to spend extra time together on the 5K after all.

After the little awards ceremony, we went back to our little motel and took extremely hot and awesome showers, bundled all up again in clean clothes, and headed out to attend the local Mardi Gras parade. It, too, was a total blast, with close-knit family vibes. I also believe that we each got more beads than we have ever gotten at any Mardi Gras event we have ever attended. We were at the very beginning of the parade, all on our own except for one woman and the emergency workers who were waiting for the end of the parade. We were the first attendees that anybody on a float was getting to see after pulling out onto the road, so just about everyone, with extreme excitement, threw an unnecessary number of beads our way. And it was only a 30-minute parade… from the very first vehicle to the very last, it was only 29 minutes. Then, because we had gone all the way to the start, we were able to leave immediately, and not wait for the parade to reach its end destination. So, we headed to the ferry to go across to Galveston Island, and had breakfast at a spot that we like. (We had a bit of a double-take upon arrival to the restaurant, because there was a whole slew of Mardi-Gras-decorated jeeps, just like had been in the parade on Bolivar. Turns out it was a group doing a Mardi Gras pub-crawl-type-thing with all of their decorated jeeps.)

Then we headed home, I did some preparation for our intense freeze that is coming tomorrow night onward, I went to work, I got to go home early from work, I did a little more preparation for the freeze, and now I am about to pass out hard core. It was a wonderful day, I reached my ideal step goal for a day, I had a great time with my mom, and I am super grateful that my bedroom is warm enough for me to sleep in it tonight. We shall see what happens tomorrow, though. Fingers super crossed that all goes well around that.

Post-a-day 2021

^ It wasn’t too bad this time. I mostly remembered.

What are you doin’ New Year’s Eve?

First off, I love the little video (from almost ten years ago!) and version of this from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It is adorable and beautiful, and they are both adorable and beautiful in it. Anyway, to answer the question, I will be staying with my mother in a little beach-front-ish hotel on the main little island about an hour southeast of Houston: Galveston. Many people complain about it being dirty or something of the sort, but it is merely the clay soil we have that makes the water not-clear and brown most of the time. The sand is also brown, but it is much softer than any white sand I have ever crossed. All-in-all, I really like Galveston. It is a wonderful connection to the ocean for us here in Houston, and my mother and I tend to remember it and visit it and appreciate it greatly often. New Year’s Eve will be yet another of those many occasions.

The reason we are going is that 1) I like to watch the first sunrise of the year, as is customary in Japanese culture, and 2) my mom wanted to go do something adventure-y somewhere not-at-home recently, and wasn’t able to go do that. So, I offered for us to combine the two things, and handle both our goals, and together. I booked the hotel room this morning, and I even got a little extra discount, because I had signed up for a rewards program thing back when I lived in Japan, and I was getting a hotel in Korea for the weekend I attended a dance even there. (Fun fact: I had to change the currency from Korean ₩ won to US $ dollars when I logged into it. [Double fun fact: The $ is technically the Mexican peso symbol. The US dollar symbol has two vertical lines through the S.])

So, that’s what I’ll be doing. I also may or may not be going to bed around 8pm… like I am right now… 😛

Post-a-day 2020

Story-time

Staring at the ceiling, slumped backward over the sofa cushion that had been knocked onto the floor at some unknown time in the evening, Ch—- inhales sharply, and releases in a heavy sigh…, “Man…, I wanna do something!” he declares.

“Like what?” responds C—, only half interested in his little brother’s response.

“I don’ know…. just something….”

M—- chuckles from his spot in a chair across the room, resuming his tossing of a Hacky Sack into the air over and over again with the same hand, having abandoned actually standing and kicking it around in the air half an hour earlier… Ch—- always says this.

“It’s not like we can actually go anywhere, anyway, Ch—,” M— reminds him, “seeing as how it’s already nine o’clock and all, and your parents have gone to bed.”

Ch—- is silent for a moment, reflecting, ignoring M—‘s comment.

“I wanna go swimming,” Ch—- says, “That’s what I wanna do: go swimming.

Let’s go swimming, you guys!”

“In which pool exactly?… None are open and, in case you forgot, we don’t have a pool,” C— calmly reminds him.

Silence.

M— speaks up, “Swimming actually would be pretty nice right now.. zI could totally go for a swim.”

Baffled, C— regards him, eyebrows scrunched together, raised.

What?” asks M—, defensively, “I’m just saying I’m not against the idea.”

“Again, where would we be doing this swimming? Nowhere is open.”

“Too bad we don’t live near the ocean – the beach is always open!” Ch— chimes in, somewhat passively.

Silence…

C— turns to look at M—, then slowly tilts his head to one side, eyebrows raised…

M— regards C—, questioning at first, and then raises his eyebrows in recognition, drops the sides of his lips, and raises a shoulder, as if to say, ‘Why not?’

“Whadda you say?” asks C— to M—.

Ch— sits up suddenly, looking back and forth between the two older boys, jaw dropping in disbelief.

M—- smiles.

“Let’s do this,” declares C—-.

The three jump up, and each rushes to grab a few items, including the keys, use a bathroom, eat a quick snack before moving silently and stealthily toward the minivan that is parked in the driveway – their mother’s minivan and the only vehicle C— has started driving since getting his license recently.

An hour later, the trio find themselves on the Galveston beach, Ch— frolicking gaily in the sand at the water’s edge, while the other two take another hit on their unsophisticated and uncaring palates.

Ch— and M— share a drink or two, but they forbid C— from drinking – he is still driving them home later, and even the stupidity of the youth has its limits when dealing with genuinely smart and somewhat self-aware teenage boys.

By three a.m., they are careening back toward Houston, searching for a gas station with a vacuum to clean out C— and Ch—‘s mom’s minivan – it is filled with sand, though no one quite remembers when or how it all got in there – the haze of the fun was kind of in the way for them.

Eventually, they find it, and somehow manage to clean the minivan up really well, returning it to its nighttime place in the driveway.

Finally back home, the boys head silently into the back of the house, and lapse into total unconsciousness in the form of sleep.

It is five a.m.

At seven, their mom wakes up, and heads off to work, leaving the boys to their usual sleeping in routine, unconcerned.

When, after a week, no parent has mentioned anything, the boys begin to believe fully that they actually away with it.

And, somehow, they did

Post-a-day 2019

beach day

Today, my first full day back in the USA, we went to the beach.  I had planned to spend some time by and in the pool in my mom’s backyard, so as to acclimate myself to this time zone, using the sunlight on my skin as the main helper.  But, when I went downstairs to find food to heal my headache, my mom suggested the beach.  Obviously, the answer was yes.

My cousin, who lives in Galveston, walked down to meet us at the beach with her pup.  I had a wonderful time just hanging out with her and my mom and the dog.  We walked, we swam, we boogie boarded, we tossed a stick for the dog, and we, above all, chatted.  We didn’t talk about much, which is something that I noticed much earlier on today, but we did talk.  It were as though we were all really close, and we saw one another all the time, that we didn’t have much anything important to discuss.  It was like we were just hanging out for our regular hangout time… which  we don’t actually have, but hopefully you get the point.

We had a wonderful lunch afterward, and then my mom and I headed home to grab the rest of my stuff, and to head out to check my new bicycle’s height, before going to my friend’s house (where I’ll be staying for about six weeks).  My friend and her husband were super stellar when we arrived this afternoon, and they have been just wonderful so far since then.  I think I’m gonna like it here.

IMG_0259

Post-a-day 2017

Mardi Gras

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras and my birthday.  This is the second time in my life that the two events have coincided.  It just so happens that people haven’t even heard of Mardi Gras here in Japan, so we can let alone the idea of their celebrating it.  I am throwing an impromptu dinner tomorrow night (decided it this afternoon), and am only certain of two guests (a Canadian and a Japanese friend).  Not my favorite kind of Mardi Gras bash, but it’ll still be nice, I think.  Nonetheless, this will be one of my most simple and uncelebrated birthdays yet.

The last time my birthday coincided with Mardi Gras, I was in ninth grade, and we had arranged with a friend of my mom’s to go stay at his place on one of the main parade roads in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  Unfortunately, that was 2006, and Hurricane Katrina cancelled those plans for us.  

We instead grabbed my childhood best friend, and went down to Galveston for some all-you-can-eat pancakes and a good ole parade.  It was nothing like New Orleans would have been, but it was still wonderful, and it started a tradition.  Almost every year since (we must exclude the year I was studying in France), my mom and I have gone to Gaveston for Mardi Gras.

Which makes it totally weird that there is literally nothing around here for any Mardi Gras merriment… happy birthday to me?  (There’s got to something good for me to get out of all of this.) 😛
Post-a-day 2017