Advent

Today marked the beginning of my Advent and Advent calendar for this year, complete with presents and my mom falling face forward up the stairs to my room. Trust me, despite the fright in the moment of that final piece happening, it was all extremely delightful and quite festively fun (even the fall, while my mom was lying there, laughing on top of the pile of presents she had been carrying).

You see, firstly, I didn’t know my mom was coming over, and my phone signal was still off. So, when I heard a knock behind me, I genuinely thought it was a raccoon or possum doing some construction work in the attic (or the likes). But then, my bedroom door was opening – by the way, the door to my room is down a flight of halfback stairs, because my room is a converted attic – and I started to freak. out…..

“Hello?” I asked in both annoyance and trepidation. It was my mom. And yes, I had locked the door, as I always do – my fear was that I hadn’t locked it, and I was now about to be attacked. I heard her voice, relaxed, reminded her that I was tutoring, and I went back up the stairs. Just as I was finishing telling the student to log off and back on again to see about resetting her computer’s connection and sound, I looked back down the stairs to see my mother falling forward as she turned the corner to head up the second half of the stairs. She has similar stairs in her house, but there is no step on the turn at the midpoint. Hers are just half and half. Mine are four, then one on the half turn, then another ten in the last part. The light in my stairwell is minimal in the first place, and the baskets of presents she was carrying certainly didn’t give her much help in seeing that single turn step. But they did help her land more safely, fortunately. I rushed down carefully and, basically, lifted her up off the ground on my own, as she had almost no leverage to get herself back up, her arms still wrapped around the presents now beneath her chest.

Even as I lifted her up, we were both laughing. She had determined already that all was well and whole within her body still, and so we could not hold back. It was ridiculous and hilarious to the both of us.

Anyway, the whole unexpected arrival of my mother was due to a request I made of her weeks ago. Would she print out my Advent calendar for me to use this year? I had made one for my cousin years ago, and loved it. I wanted to use it again this year, but I didn’t want to risk seeing the days ahead of time by printing it all out for myself. I had wanted them to be a surprise as much as possible, but I wanted to be able to write down my responses, instead of just look at it on my phone, as I did last year. (Each day has a question/prompt of sorts to which I am requested to respond, you see.) So, here we are on the first day of December, which lines up with how I had created the calendar initially, as a 25-day Advent calendar. My mom has gone above and beyond, as is regularly her style when it comes to fun, creativity-related things – the exact reason I had asked her to do this for me in the first place – and come up with presents for each day, wrapped in Charlie Brown Christmas wrapping paper – the Advent calendar I made is based on A Charlie Brown Christmas – to go with each day’s paper prompt.

Today, I got a box of tea, from which I can have a cup every morning when I open the day’s card and present – again, the original calendars we made are referenced, as they were tea Advent calendars, with a different tea for each day – as well as a Christmas lights necklace and green and red jingle bell bracelets to give me extra festivity this month. Then, my mom proceeded to open up the box of tea and make us each some tea. She actually hung out with me in my room while we snuggled up to our cups in the cold morning air, and just hung out together. Oddly enough, those were two of the things on my list for the first day’s prompt, checked off unexpectedly just about as quickly as I had gotten them written down.

Then she went off to work, and I snuggled in my bed another few hours before going to work myself.

All-in-all, it was a beautiful start to my Advent and my Advent calendar for this year. I am extremely grateful, and feel a strong sense of love and care for me today (for which I also feel extremely grateful). Yesterday was an odd sort of reminder for Advent’s ideas for me, just perfectly timed. And I have a feeling that there is much value to be found for me in and through Advent this year. I look forward to it all with cautious and grateful optimism.

Grazie, World and God. Here we are. 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Wow – impactful interactions

Today at the clothing store, I had an amazing exchange with a mother and daughter that lasted close to an hour. I helped others on and off throughout that time, but most of my time and efforts were spent either folding clothing or interacting with the two of them. While part of me wants to go into extreme detail with the whole event, for right now, a greater part of me wants simply to acknowledge that the interaction happened, and then dwell in the delight of it here in my own space, without sharing anything else about it at present.

And I am going to go with that part within me, because it feels true to what I want for myself right now.

Perhaps I will share more about it later, and perhaps not. Either way, you can know that it was a spectacular interaction for me, and it has me slowly thinking more and more about what might be next (or, even, later at some point) for me in my life. It was that amazing for me. : )

Post-a-day 2020

Home (base) is where the heart rests

I think it is kind of funny at times how life can seem so utterly insignificant, un-lived, boring, mundane at times, despite amazing adventures we have at other times in that same life. If we adventured far and wide all the time, would we not grow tired of such repetition in life, as we do worthy he repetitive everydays we cross during our stationary, non-big-adventure periods? But did the great adventurers of yonder and yore not take time to rest and relax and consider life in a very different and very calm way after a grand adventure. Did they not prepare themselves on all levels with great rest and reliability of surroundings and daily expectations, before heading out on their next grand adventure?

Even if they didn’t, I think it is important that I do. There’s a reason we use the term “home base” so often in life. A home base is a valuable place to have: it is a place to process; a place to feel accepted, no matter what; a place to feel loved; a place to feel home; a place that is always reliable and there for us; a place where we are always welcome. Returning to home base for some rest and restitution is a beautiful, valuable move.

I guess that is why I have done it so many times now. Hello, Houston and Texas. Thank you for being my home base all these years. Even though I start to feel insignificant with life when here at times, I know it isn’t about you two – it is about the wonderful challenges that life is offering to me while I am here with you. It is by working through those challenges that I prepare myself for my next grand adventure, wherever that may be on this amazing globe. Thank you for being here for me, no matter what, and for always welcoming me home, no matter how much you or I have changed.

❤ Houston, ❤ Texas

Post-a-day 2020

Turning insignificant into loved

I started working at a clothing store as a part-time job recently. And kind of ‘just because I wanted to do it’. I had never worked in retail before this, and I had often felt that I might be well-suited to being paid to organize and fold stuff (something I already do when I go into stores as a customer, anyway, but, of course, not for pay). So, I am giving it a go.

Walking to the store today to work, I had geared up for the pouring rain: Waterproof boots, a long raincoat, backpack waterproof cover, and an umbrella. The only thing not covered directly by waterproof material was my sweatpants – odd how that is singular yet not…. a single item of clothing, yet referenced as a plural for its two legs… yet we do not reference a shirt as plural for its two arms/sleeves…

Anyway, so, I am being very careful as I walk on the sidewalk. It is placed directly beside the road, with no buffer – genius, I know (meaning What idiotic brain fart planned this sidewalk?). Whenever I come up to a spot where there is a puddle in the road, I quickly run a large arc away from it, before joining back with the sidewalk, doing my best to avoid any possibility of being splashed by passing cars.

Just after I cross the train tracks, when there is nowhere to arc , and I am just running in a straight line to pass a puddle, a single car comes speeding up from behind me. There are no other cars around, and the car easily can move into the left lane and avoid hitting the massive puddle on the right lane… and the bright yellow individual who cannot be considered invisible right now.

The car does not move over. I notice just in time to jump forward and pull up my legs as best I can in front of me.

Almost my entire left pant leg, and some of my right, is suddenly soaked, completely through to my skin. My leg is actually dripping wet on the left.

I curse in an outraged yell, as I continue on my way, somehow embarrassed.

After setting everything down in the back at work, I change into my regular shoes, and head out to check in, eyes already beginning to burn. The moment she asks me how I’m doing – the standard check-in – I starts to cry. I cannot help myself.

I’m okay, but I’m not okay right now, I manage to say a couple times. I explain briefly what happened and that my pants are currently soaked through, and that, as I am now seeing with clarity, I am not only physically uncomfortable, but I am living in the experience of having been unworthy of being noticed. Insignificant out on the street, thus completely missed by the driver. That was my experience, no matter what logic told me, and I was still processing that experience and all the emotions that went with it.

She got it completely. Do I want to go change? she offers. I don’t have anything to change into, I reply, still in active tears.

“Okay, do you want to go pick out some pants?” I hesitate, considering how it doesn’t work for me to go buy something for myself right now.

“I’ll get you some pants,” she clarifies at my hesitation to respond. “Go pick something out from the sales rack, and come check back in with me, and I’ll get them for you. And then you can go change.”

And so I did. And she did. And I changed into dry, fancy, brand new pants. And the world was suddenly a lot easier to take in when I was no longer soaking wet and mentally preparing how to survive the next five hours as such, and somehow be in a good mood and help people and walk around with ease.

I checked back in with her once I was changed, expressed clear and direct gratitude for handling the situation so well – so immediately and so effectively – and for creating a space for me to clear things up for myself by removing the strong physical discomfort aspect of the situation. (Think how we are miserable and can’t function properly when we are super hungry, and then our brains suddenly work again after we’ve gotten the needed nutrition. Better yet, think about how a bull or horse will buck and buck like crazy, even after the cowboy is off its back, until that miserably tight burr strap is loosed off its hindquarters.) It has been a no-brainer for her, and she was glad to have been able to help clear it all up for me. After all – and she didn’t say this, but we both know it – I can serve the store and its customers best when I am at my best… and wet and miserable is certainly not my best. So, it was beneficial to the store for me to have the new pants, more so than just the cost of the pants, but for the cost of all the customers with whom I would come in contact the rest of the day.

I don’t know if she bought them herself, or if there is a budget for the store to be used for such odd, here-and-there occasions. And I’m okay with it either way. I am nonetheless grateful that this person considered such a solution, whatever the details of it, and made it happen. And immediately. It made a world of a difference for me, and I was and still am extremely grateful.

Plus, I actually really like the pants. They were comfy to wear, and they are a really pretty color. Thank you, K. You turned a terrible experience into a lovely and loving one. And I am grateful.

Post-a-day 2020

Cold season

I think we have officially reached the time of year where I must be extremely careful and proactive with my hands. As it grows cooler and dryer outdoors, my hands, too, grow cooler and dryer… and begin to crack and bleed from that dryness.

So far, they are only really dry, and white in certain areas of extreme dryness, but they are not cracking and bleeding. So, that is good. I just found some new restorative lotion to use, and it just might be what my hands need this season. We shall see. A lot of it relies on my remembering to use it often and actually putting it on whenever I remember to use it, as well as my drinking lots of water. Fingers crossed that I succeed this year in keeping my hands warm and moist. I supposed this is just one of the odd side effects of living in such a humid climate. 😛

Post-a-day 2020

Online shopping and Christmas Trees

It is absurdly late – 3:20 AM – and I am exhausted, but I have been online shopping discounts after having discovered my sizes in the store today. The discounts are amazing and so worth it. And that’s exactly why I wanted to do them tonight, instead of waiting until tomorrow, at which time they genuinely might be sold out of stock. It was also exciting to get myself some fun “presents”. But the pricing was amazing. Just amazing. I am extremely grateful.

Now, I shall rush to sleep for the brief period of time that remains to me before my alarms will sound in the morning (slash later this morning).

Super fun fact, though: I set up my “Christmas Tree” tonight!

Shown here:

I always have the white lights up, as they are like my lamps for my room. But I’m thinking of moving the white entirely, so it doesn’t clash with the tree. I wove it in a bit, instead of just having it cut straight through the tree, like it did in its original “lamp” position, but I’m thinking that isn’t enough.

I’ll contemplate it tonight and tomorrow, and see how I feel tomorrow night.

At that, I bid you a lovely and restful night! 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Bedtime, for sure

You know, I had something that I felt was really good to share today… yet, I am so tired, at this point, I have no idea what it was.

And it was only a couple hours ago (if that) that I was thinking about it.

Man…

To be fair, it has been a long day. I woke up to use the bathroom just after 5:20 this morning (not seven hours of sleep), and did not go back to sleep. I went for a run and showered and made a smoothie, and I did loads of other stuff, too, all before 7:30, at which point I drove my mom and myself an hour and a half East to my aunt and uncle’s house for a known photo shoot and a surprise tea baby shower (complete with social distancing and a garage turned completely into an old style tea house, working chandelier included). (It really was an awesome event, and an even more awesome surprise for the mom-to-me.) I did photos in a field and from some tall grasses, then drove my cousin and myself to pick up our grandma for our tea time (which was all the two knew about, but which was only the beginning of a whole surprise event). Then I did photos and helped with serving for the party all day (it certainly takes a lot longer to do a party one family at a time, but those 15-25-minute visits are wonderful in their intimacy), and struggled to stay awake on the drive home (I wasn’t the one driving)… at 7pm. Now, as usual, I have taken ages to get ready for bed, and I am finally about to do it… at 11pm… only about 18 hours after I got up this morning…

Wowzer.

P.S. I remembered the thing, but I was already writing this. I’ll use it for tomorrow now.

Post-a-day 2020

Goodnight, goodnight

I am back home, and boy, does it feel good to be home.

Truly.

Thank you, God and World and Universe, for all of the love in my life, especially for the love in the form of my finding a home here, and especially tonight. Thank you all. 🙂

Now, to conch out and wake up super early for my (possibly) last test proctoring for the semester… to be followed by work training… for four plus hours on the computer… times two. Ugh… haha

Anyway, goodnight!

Post-a-day 2020

Cleanliness

It’s amazing how a clean (or not clean) space makes a world of a difference. I am staying st my aunt and uncle’s house for a few days right now, and so have been somewhat stressed because of the lack of cleanliness left by the last person who stayed here while they were gone. I have been wanting to leave since the day I got here, in a way… I want to be in my own, clean home setting, not here where almost every surface has something icky on it, floors included, and chairs, too… something I have to clean just to be able to use the surface… Of course, the necessary cleaning supplies are in short supply right now, so I had to use them with extreme discretion and rationing, not allowing me to clean all surfaces and floors… ugh…

The last time I stayed here a month without hesitation, and I only left because I had to leave for something back in Houston. Very different experiences here.

I feel like a Sophie Kinsella main character right now, wishing that cleanliness were part of the law. 😛

Anyway… so, there’s that, and it has been bugging me and I am ready to go home tomorrow as soon as I can (after my tutoring, which will go possibly all the way to 2pm).

Ugh… irony can be really annoying sometimes. Haha 😛

Post-a-day 2020

Barbie Who?

My mom sent me a photo the other day of a hippy-like Ken doll. I wasn’t entirely sure that it was actually Barbie, or, even, Mattel, but I could tell it was something different. It was different from the standard, anyway, and intentionally so.

Today, while checking out some fabrics and yarns for making dresses for these Barbies that I’m painting for Día de Muertos at the end of the month, my mom stopped at an aisle in the store to show me something. Low and behold, it was the Ken doll… surrounded by several other new and different Barbies. And yes, they are Mattel and Barbie. They are the real deal.

Turns out, there is this whole line of Barbies and Kens that I had never even heard mentioned, let alone seen myself. From hipster baristas with man buns to prosthetic legs to heavier everyday girls, Barbie has released a line of dolls called “You can be anything” Barbies.

And, at Walmart, anyway, they are only $8 plus tax (total of $9 exactly in Texas), and I am kind of in love. Something within me wants to own, to have and to hold a couple of these Barbies…, specifically, the man-bun barista Ken and the hypopigmentation black Barbie.

Here’s a closer look at the lot.

Note the size and shape of Park Ranger Barbie and the neighboring Fashionista Barbie #144 (that seems to be the generic term for the ones that haven’t been given specific names yet). Big fan over here of the human-shaped Barbies. 🙂

Check those prosthetics! Baller! I still remember the video of the little girl who got the first doll she had ever seen with a prosthetic, how she cried, declaring, “It’s got a leg like me!” (Info here, and original video here. Fun fact: That girl is actually from Houston.)

And that hunky man-bun barista Ken… there’s just something about the hipster that always gets me! ❤ 😛

I know this is only a single step in an ocean of stairwells, but it is a huge step and it is definitely is a very good direction, so far as I am concerned.

Thanks, Mattel, for taking this seriously and to heart. It is very much appreciated, and probably more so than you ever will know. 🙂

Post-a-day 2020