Yearbooks

***Update on the ant bite: My bicep still rocks, but the bite swelled and split open this morning, only to close up, turn green in the middle again, and start swelling again… we’ll see how it looks in the morning, now! (And the coach’s bites did not turn green, he said, but one was hurting a lot.)***

We now return to regular programming.

There is a guy working with me who graduated high school with my youngest brother.

I pulled out the yearbook from their senior year today, and had a brief look through the senior photos.

I enjoyed how much hair this guy and my brother both had in their photos, and how they both have almost none now, and both keep their heads shaved (though my brother uses a razor, and the other guy only seems to buzz it as short as possible).

One thing I noted was that their service work locations seemed almost stereotypical for each of them…. interesting, perhaps.

Something bigger, however, was the other people I found in the yearbook.

I crossed names of people whose faces I knew not, but whose names I knew well from my brother – how fun to put faces to the names, even almost two decades after the fact.

And then I realized that I finally had the opportunity to look up and remember my brother’s best friend’s full name – I forgot his middle name a few years back, and haven’t recalled it since…. I just always thought it was fascinating, because he was the fourth with the name, so he had a “, IV” at the end of his legal name.

And I use the past tense here, because he died at the start of their sophomore year of college.

It was drinking and a bit of drugs at a party, and everyone thought he’d simply fallen asleep, but, of course, he hadn’t… I’ve always remembered most that my brother was invited to that same party, but chose to work on his absurd amount of homework, instead (thank you, UT Architecture program [not for the first time]).

And so J—– died at the party, and my brother spoke at the funeral, at the request of J—-‘s family, and he did a wonderful job.

My mom and I also attended the funeral, along with a lot of people.

After the funeral, since J—- had always said that he wanted to go out with pinwheels and fireworks, we (a handful of select people that happened to include my mom and me) went to an open land area across from a movie theatre, and set off a bunch of little rockets and a few big shebang fireworks (the pinwheels had decorated the casket) – it was a true party and celebration to send off J—- and to say goodbye together.

When I came across his name today, I was delighted – I finally have it(!).

And then I gave his photo a good look.

And it was almost terrifying as an experience, though terrifying just is not quite the right word…

It suddenly occurred to me that this was the first time I’d seen a photo of J— since around the time of the funeral – I’d only had mental visions of him since then.

It was weird to think that, u like my brother and that other guy, J— had not aged from this photo… maybe two years’ worth of aging, but that was little different from the boy who sat in the frame that is in front of me now.

These were posed senior portraits for the yearbook, and so they each are looking directly at the camera…, directly at the viewer of the photograph… J—- was no exception…

And it was spooky, knowing that those eyes, so true and almost penetrating in this photo, were no longer here, no longer existed.

And then, it had me wonder how many people in this book, this yearbook are no longer around?

And that was perhaps even spookier…

I had to move on to other things then, both in terms of productivity and in terms of an emotional desire to step away from the increasing discomfort and potential sadness of what sat before me, visually and mentally, at that moment, and so I closed the book, put it back in its place, and walked away.

I soon had tears in my eyes, and the feeling of hollowness just behind the bottom of my ribs was growing.

Now, hours later and many tasks and conversations later, I feel less afraid, and more aware of the fleeting aspect of life, the circumstances that allow us a promise of a chance at everything, and at a chance of it all going away at any moment, in a moment’s time…

On my way up to the house where I am housesitting tonight, I passed their church, where J—-‘s funeral had been… I think of him every time I pass it (though that doesn’t happen too often), because it’s the only thing I’ve ever attended there…

……

I don’t have anything insightful about this… I just wanted to share…

Post-a-day 2019

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Eyes

Do you know that experience of when you can’t seem to stop yourself watching someone, looking at him/her?

There are many versions of this, but I am referencing a particular happy yet unidentifiable one…

You don’t necessarily know what exactly it is that has you looking, but you can’t seem to stop checking up on the person, making sure he’s still around… you purposely make yourself not do anything differently in terms of seating arrangements or activities – you pursue your same goals and intentions, free from whatever this influence happens to be – but you keep an eye always knowledgeable about his whereabouts within the room…

And then you notice that his eyes are on you roughly half the times you look over at him… and you wonder if he even knows that he is doing it, or if he is only responding to the feeling of being watched…, or if he can’t seem to keep his eyes from tracking you either…

It doesn’t happen often in my life, so I a no expert at the situation, I dare say…, but I’m not opposed to it at present.

I also have no romantic intentions here, so it is extra unique to be having this drawing feeling… perhaps it is God, merely making it clear that this person is to be in my life, albeit not in a romantic capacity…

Yes… perhaps…

Post-a-day 2019

Dorks

My brother asked me if I was doing a carry-on bag for our trip.

I told him that I was, and he said that he was hoping/planning to do the same for the whole trip (with an exclamation point at the end!).

That was in text messages.

Talking over the phone a little while later, after our tickets (one set of them, anyway) were booked, we discussed the bags again, and the matter of bringing only a carry-on bag plus a purse.

‘My biggest concern right now is really what watch I’m gonna bring,’ he says to me.

‘I know what watch I’m bringing!’ I counter, and my mom laughs behind me, knowing full well what my brother must have just said, and laughing at him for it (not at my comment alone).

I only currently wear the watch this same brother gave to me several months ago.

It is awesome, and I wear it lovingly and with pride at the company, at my brother for finding and supporting it, and a little at myself for wearing it.

eone Bradley Compass Graphite

My brother knows this, and so does my mother, so we all got my teasing joke of a comment, and, once I told my brother that Mom was laughing, we all laughed at his dilemma.

My brother has an entire collection of watches, each one different from the rest, and all of them stellar quality and style…, and I would guess that they add up to around a hundred thousand dollars altogether…

He typically travels with three watches as a minimum – a casual chic, a sport, and a work watch that doubles as formal.

Sometimes, I believe, he brings something like seven, when it’s a longer trip, and he’ll have varied activities in which to participate and events to attend.

I always bring my one watch, and simply remove it whenever I do sport.

(The moment this company comes out with a sports-safe version of their watches, however, I am totally likely to have two watches, and quite suddenly so…. until that time, however, I have just the one.)

We absolutely love my brother’s love of watches, and I laud him for and value his efforts in creating watches with an awesome private watch company that has begun to make watches for him and to use him and his sports to create advertising for their watches…. frankly, he has done what we all dream to do, by turning a dorky passion into something that not only allows him to pursue his passion but to be encouraged in it and to be paid through it, all while always having a wonderful time with it all.

I am proud to share blood with him, and I love having fun with him around his love of watches (and many other things, too, actually).

At the end of our call, I ask him how the boating went with his friends earlier.

He tells me that he took some pictures, and so he’ll send me something.

After a few moments of flipping through photos, he sends me a wrist shot of the watch his buddy temporarily swapped him for two of his watches…

Seriously, brother?… You went boating, and you took pictures, and the only photo that actually comes out of it all is one of your wrist and a watch, where you really can’t tell that you’re out on a boat in the first place?

But, for him, of course it is. πŸ˜›

And, to be fair, when I saw the photo, while my secondary comment and thought related to the aforementioned concept, my first thought and comment were immediate: “His Carbotech!”

I knew exactly what watch it was, and even I was excited that my brother was getting to wear this watch… πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

Lacrosse

It came up in a comfortable conversation today – a conversation I had wanted to have and was afraid to have, and which I began anyway – that I coached lacrosse and helped start the women’s program at a school where I previously worked.

The conversation ended with the other person informing me that he would get back in touch with me soon to follow up, and with my now talking with the head of the men’s lacrosse team.

Now, it seems, I might actually become an assistant coach for the men’s lacrosse team this year… how fun and crazy is that?

And all I did was ask about someone’s running these days.

Truly, though, I have faith proven in this case – I felt that it was perfect to go ahead and speak to him, and it turned out to be just that: perfect.

Thank you, God.

Post-a-day 2019

Family

………………….

Journal entry for August 2, 2019

Today, we learned that C— has no penis…

………………….

This evening was an extended family evening, and a rather wonderful time.

There was chatter, discussion, story-telling, and lots of laughter.

At one point, one of my cousins, G—, shared this delightful story with us, and I knew immediately that I just had to write about it, because it was well worth sharing with the world.

She and her husband have two little girls, approximately aged four years and two years, and then a baby boy aged almost ten weeks.

Her husband, C—, was changing the diaper of the baby boy, and A—, the eldest girl, was observing.

A: Daddy, what’s that?!

C: Uh, well, it’s a penis… it’s because he is a boy… he is a boy, so he has a penis… that’s what makes him a boy, instead of a girl…

A:……. But Daddy, you’re a boy and you don’t have a penis….

C:… Actually, yes, I do have a penis…

A:….. Really?????

Conclusion from my cousin telling the story: Emasculated by a four-year-old. πŸ˜‚

Afterward, my grandma commented that she thought it was such a shame that no one was documenting this sort of thing, – I had already determined that I was definitely writing about it tonight, but I didn’t mention anything about it – and my aunt said that the point was people telling one another stories…

My grandma was worried that the stories get lost, you see, and so my mom leaned over the counter, and starter scribbling with an imaginary pen into an imaginary book, saying aloud, “August 2, 2019: Today, we learned that C— has no penis.”

My uncle, whose son-in-law C— is, and who genuinely likes C—, nearly cried himself out of his chair, he laughed so hard at that – I mean, we all laughed rather hard, but he practically exploded with his laugher.

It was a very good little time tonight. πŸ™‚

Thank you, God, for this blessing.

Note: Yes, yes, I know gender stuff is all up and about right now, however, I am not letting it disturb the hilarity of this particular stupendous father-daughter exchange – the story is not meant to offend in any way; it is merely something that happened that I find wonderful and worth sharing.

P.S. It occurred to me that, while I still am not there with the solo dancing I want to teach in prisons, I am at the very edge of receiving my yoga teacher certification, – a type of yoga that uses lots of meditation and mantra and healing exercises – and I could look into teaching that in prisons… something also incredibly beautiful and powerful and potentially extremely beneficial to those living in prison, especially as part of their preparation to move back into the world outside of prison… So, yeah… I’m suddenly rather inspired to get that certification finished ASAP.

P.P.S. And then, that had me thinking that I might somehow get the opportunity to do portraits of people in prison…. and that could be a beautiful project, be it for their future work portraits or for a neat project of sharing about prisons with the world… yeah… that’s gonna stay on the side in my mind, ready for when the time is right to act on it… definitely… πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Discord in Dating (apps)

Tonight, I was told that a certain someone who is close to me and who, I think, is a handsome guy is “not attractive”.

We agreed on the facts that his personality is great and that he’s a great guy, but this girlfriend seemed to believe that he definitively is not attractive, not good-looking, not handsome…

And I heartily disagree.

Normally, I don’t mind disagreeing with people on this concept of attractiveness and all, but this one has really gotten to me.

When she first said it, I was actually a bit offended… I’d felt a shock like a slap to the face.

And I wasn’t sure if it was because I disagreed with her, or because it was about someone close and important to me…

Now, a while later, I am prone to think that it was mostly due to the fact that he is so important to me, and because I find him to be handsome, her comment seemed to be offensive, and also personal (to a degree).

It just reminded me that thoughts on handsomeness, attractiveness, even beauty are not necessarily universal or able to be defined, definitive… there is too much bias in every party involved…

And so, somehow, I feel better out of this…

A girlfriend of mine has signed me up on these dating apps (despite the fact that I actually dislike and distrust them), and nothing much has come of it, except for her constantly telling me that I need to be more open to more guys, so that I can find a guy to go on a date with me…

My feelings and thoughts on it, however, are merely stronger than they were before we started this app business: I will not settle for anything less than perfect for me…

It drives her nuts, but no, I will not go out with a guy to whom I am not attracted, despite how cute he may be; I will not date a guy with whom I can’t possible envision at least some bit of future together… – Yes, Michael Phelps is a great-looking guy, but I just don’t see it, so I wouldn’t seek out a date with him… If he asked me out, sure, I would consider it, but I’m not going to go after him myself…

(Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the other hand…. πŸ˜‚ [You know, if they weren’t married, that is…])

Anyway, so the apps are being deleted on Tuesday, she said, when she goes on her vacation with the bf, so she only has another day and a half to make something happen from them, if she wants something to happen.

Personally, while it could be fun, I think I would be much more comfortable and rather relieved once the apps are gone… just saying.

Anyway… yeah…

Post-a-day 2019

… Did I mention that we are about 98% sure that he has a child…., a daughter?

He is also very recently single (which I discovered before the daughter part, and which had me start adjusting to the fact that he doesn’t need and likely doesn’t want to date anyone new right now nor for a while yet to come), but that is somewhat beside the point here…

My friend didn’t know who he was when I mentioned him to her, so she did some brief stalking to find a photo of him to see if she recognized him (which she did not).

Upon doing so, she also discovered pictures of a cute little girl… upon further research, it seemed almost undeniably clear that she is his daughter, and has been for the past several years…

My friend asked me if that changes things… I said that I didn’t want it to change things for me, but that I was feeling like it did changes things for me, nonetheless…

I was down and bummed and sad the whole next 20-ish hours, despite our delving into these dating apps (per my friend’s requirement), until I had a conversation with my aunt about it.

She encouraged me, while it is harmless, to enjoy the little girl starstruck in love daydreaming I was having of him – I don’t have to make any decision one way or the other, so long as I remember that it is just a fun mind exercise I’m doing, and that I interact with the real person separate from whatever version of him I have in my head… if it gets to be a problem, and I will know, then I’ll need to make up my mind then to do something about it or to get over it all and let it go.

Until then, however, I get to enjoy the brainstorming version of dating and spending my life with this guy… and I’m happy with that.

Actually, based on how today went with the passive brainstorming, I’m extremely delighted with it.

And, I have much practice in remembering to interact with what and who are in front of me, and not the version I’ve made up in my head…, so I trust myself to interact with him in real life in the way in which I actually want to interact with him, without a doubt (as a friend).

So, that’s kind of where things stand on that front.

Post-a-day 2019