Where is home?

I have been thinking lately more and more frequently about my upcoming trip to Japan.

It is now only two weeks away (not even, actually), and I am nervous but excited, and somewhat stressed.

But the stress isn’t about typical things, so much… not typical for most people, anyway.

It is about feeling a need to make plans for my trip.

Have you ever been busy and away from home for so long, that all you want to do is just go home and do nothing in particular other than be home?

Well, this is kind of how I am feeling about this trip to Japan.

I don’t really want to have to plan anything, because I feel like I am just going home and want to be home for a while before I start making any plans… plus, when we are home, we have time to figure out when to do things, because we live there…’we aren’t going anyway anytime soon.

But I am only visiting for a couple weeks…, about three weeks all together, I suppose… I don’t have all the time to schedule later.

Or do I?

I think I might just…

Anyway, I find it odd that going back to Japan feels like going home… like I’ve been off at college for the semester, and am finally returning home for the winter break…

But my semester has been two and a half years this time.

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that this was the first place where I was entirely on my own, as an adult.

I couldn’t go have lunch or tea with my mom, or ask her to help me do something or other, or go to her house for dinner and a movie… or anyone else who had become part of my staple people in life… I was on my own in my day-to-day.

And I built a home for myself, even though it became all too clear that the culture was not one in which I wanted to stay living and working long-term… I had said that I wouldn’t have to be paid a lot of money to go back to working in and living in Japan…, and that still stands.

However, a visit to Japan, as I always said, is a great idea.

And I am delighted.

I will test this idea of not scheduling anymore for now… I think it might help significantly for me… mhmm…

Post-a-day 2019

Why so blissful…?

Last night, I even slept quite blissfully – I didn’t wake up until well after seven this morning… not even to use the bathroom.

That’s kind of a big deal.

Anyway, so why was I so blissful and confident last night, going to bed?

Well, because of our lovely time at RenFest yesterday.

I told my mom a few months back that I wanted finally to take advantage of my age, and to wear an outfit for RenFest that showed a little (meaning a lot) more skin than I had always been accustomed to showing.

In essence, I wanted to share the beauty of my body with the world, I told her.

And so we strategized a bit, and planned out an outfit for me.

And then, due to her lack of making time for it, our plane changed entirely, I ended up buying some leather skins from a leather place – she did help me find them and pick them out – and then I made the outfit myself.

However, I very clearly told her that she needed to handle the cloak part, and so, very begrudgingly at first, she did.

And the outfit turned out great.

I even messed up entirely by using the top piece for the skirt, and so had to recreate the top out of a totally different piece of leather than originally intended (and planned out).

But, when I saw myself at RenFest, in one of their glorious massive bathroom mirrors, I discovered that I actually looked really cool.

I wanted people to see me and to think, “…Wow…”

As for myself, anyway, that’s exactly how I felt, seeing myself in the mirror in my outfit.

And so I smiled a lot, and was proud of myself for being comfortable in such an outfit, and delighted by my confidence.

Also, I took pictures with people and was in photos for people…, and was happy about it.

I overheard one girl saying quietly but fervently to her boyfriend, “I want that outfit,” indicating subtly me.

At one point, one of the workers thought I was a worker/actor, my outfit was so well done and worn… and that is cool (to me, anyway).

So, that was one part of the day.

Outfit shown here:

The second of the three main parts of my blissful confidence is connected to my outfit, though a different approach to the outfit: It is my gratitude for and acknowledgement of how far I have improved and developed mentally, emotionally, and even psychologically regarding my body in the past year.

When I had that conversation with my best friend just over a year ago, the one in which I let go (finally) the rest of what had been holding me back regarding some rough and tough and rather terrible past events in my life, I knew that, at long last, things were going to transform for me in terms of my relationship with my body, and my body’s relationship with the world.

Yesterday, I saw – actually, it was mostly last night, when I was reflecting on the day that I noticed the whole of it, including the part where I had been so comfortable during the day, I had hardly noticed that this was a new and formerly-terrifying-and-impossible scenario for me – how huge this was, how these two relationships had truly transformed over this past year.

And it brings me practically to tears every time I become present to that fact again… I finally am getting to be the woman I have wanted to be, body, confidence, love, and all.

(Okay, so I don’t have the partner yet, but I am being the person I want to be, even without him, and that’s a darn good start!) πŸ˜‰

Now, the third thing is something that branches off of the first two: because of my transformation and because of my awesome outfit, I was ready and able to admit my goal and to embrace it when it presented itself to me.

I have always wanted a kiss card, ever since I first learned of them at RenFest.

It is a simple paper business-card-like card that reads, “One free kids from any willing man, woman, or beast”.

I have remembered that ever since I first read one of the cards.

Yesterday, near the morning, I admitted to myself, “I really would like to get one of those cards today,” meaning the kiss card, of course.

And I left it in the air around me, and offered the World to present an opportunity to me, if it saw fit to do so.

I then forgot about the kiss card for the majority of the day.

That is until, just after sunset, my mom and I were heading up one row on the far side of the property, aiming to check out that set of shops before heading home.

Just as my mom is beginning to turn her gait to a shop we were already passing but that had suddenly caught her eye, I heard up ahead, someone coming towards us, announcing rather loudly, “Free kiss to any willing man, woman, or beast!”

With almost no hesitation whatsoever, I told my mom that I’d be right back, and I headed toward the voice of this yet to be seen individual.

As he came finally into view – remember that it is dark, since the sun has set, and so only a few feet ahead are visible at any time, thanks to the lights coming from the insides of shops – I asked, “Are you offering or asking?”

(Meaning, is he offering a card for someone simply to take, or is he wanting to cash in his card and receive a kiss?)

We both came to a halt, facing one another.

“Either,” he says, after a few moments of consideration.

I consider.

A man across the way announces to the guy and me that he thinks they have a taker (of the kiss offer, that is).

We turn back to one another.

“Either way, I accept,” I say, nervous with excitement, but calm and at ease as a whole, smiling calmly.

“Okay…, So?” he says in response, and raises his eyebrows and lifts his hands to the side, asking clearly which one I would like to select – he is allowing me to choose if I simply want the card, or if I want to accept the request of a kiss, and we both know this.

“The kiss, then,” I say, after full consideration and acknowledgment of the fact that this is what I genuinely want – to kiss this stranger.

He smiles, “On the cheek or on the lips,” he half says half questions.

Momentary pause… I shrug to my left shoulder, “Lips is good… on the lips,” I declare.

“Okay,” and he steps toward me, as I step toward him.

He is taller than I.

He also is younger than I.

But neither is a concern – just something I have noticed.

He leans down slightly and places his right hand behind my head – and unexpected gesture of intimacy – and we kiss.

As I felt the pressure of his lips and teeth against my own, I felt the same sort of feeling of positivity running through my body as I feel with hugs – I wondered in that moment if the brain reacted similarly to this lip pressure as it does to our chest pressure from hugs… happy hormones releasing and spreading in the body, taking care of the body in their own unique way.

As we comfortably step away again from one another, he hands me the card in ‘payment’, I thank him, and we both smile, before heading on our ways.

I Got my card – and I Earned it!

I find my mom in the shop that had grabbed her attention – an amazing shop with handmade instruments of many sorts, and feel my delight increasing…

That kiss was exactly what I had wanted… this was yet another of my life dreams-turned-goals come true.

It was only a dream at first – I longed to be a woman who would kiss a stranger like this, in a friendly and fun way…, but I didn’t really expect I ever could be that kind of person.

Yet, as I have developed over this past year, I have grown to be so comfortable with my body and my womanhood that I not only could accept such an offer, but that I was willing and able to seek it out.

Sure, he was offering the kiss, but I was the one who went out of my way to go ask him about it and accept it and embrace it.

And I could have just taken the card for myself, with no kiss – he allowed the option for me.

And I could have accepted giving a kiss on the cheek, if I’d wanted to be fair for the card, while still keeping myself safe (I think that’s what the concern had been in the past: safety in preservation and avoidance).

But I looked at it fully, honestly, and openly, and I saw very clearly that I wanted to kiss this stranger, and that I wanted to have the card for having earned it, not for having played one of the games and been given the card as my consolation prize (which is how people typically obtain them in the first place).

I wanted both parts of that, and the former much more than the latter.

So, with mutual agreement and desire determined clearly, I kissed him.

And I am incredibly grateful to myself for having not only been able to do it, but also for having done it.

Go, you, banana!

It was great.

πŸ™‚

And many people probably would have had no issue with such a situation, but it was big for me, because I was never one for such things – I don’t kiss people who aren’t family almost ever… I have only had one boyfriend, and only a small handful of non-family people I’ve kissed… it just hasn’t been a thing in my life.

I love physical contact, I love holding hands (even with friends and little kids, not necessarily with a boyfriend), and I love hugs…, but always and only from people I love and trust.

Otherwise, it has kind of turned out that I need to be not touched at all by the rest of the world (a fact of which I was not entirely conscious until my aunt commented on it a few years back, “As long as nobody touches you, you’re fine,” at which point I began to give much consideration to the matter.).

So, for someone to be allowed to touch me is kind of a big deal.

And for me to be willing to allow someone to kiss me is even bigger.

Even if it is just a single kiss on the lips.

πŸ™‚

Going to bed last night, this third point was what mostly was on my mind.

However, it was in gratitude and in celebration that I considered it, knowing how my development this past year was what allowed me to grab such an opportunity, as well as for me to be open to and even desiring such an opportunity.

Thank you… I am so proud of you… you are beautiful and amazing…

πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Making clothes work

Well, I asked my mom to make me an outfit this year for RenFest.

She is a seamstress as one of her many roles, and so is very capable in the world of sewing and creating clothes.

She has made many outfits for me over the years, and they have all been great, if not always finished exactly…

I definitely have worn various outfits with safety pins all over their insides, holding together the parts that just didn’t get completed on the sewing machine or by the hand sewing.

And, usually, they keep the safety pins forever more, even after the initial use of the outfit.

Though, she always says that she’ll finish it for real afterward…

Tonight, I am going to bed well after midnight due to yet another of her ‘running out of time’ scenarios.

This outfit she agreed to make for me, when I asked her months ago, and for which we finally bought the fabric (read leather or skins) about a month or so ago, and for which I have asked her constantly about what she needs from me regarding measurements and/or fittings, has now been made by yours truly.

I am not a seamstress.

I can do basic hand sewing, and I know very little about what the best stitch for what is, or how to hide anything other than a straight seam.

Making outfits is not in my skill book at present.

But, she ended up not having the time (read my making the time or not arranging her schedule to be able) to make it, and instead told me “how” to do it.

Suffice it to say that I am not very pleased with the results at the present moment.

I was supposed to have an awesome, somewhat sexy but appropriate outfit that makes people go, “Wow…”

Instead, I have something that looks like I am a young girl practicing my hand for the first time at clothes making in the cave-people era… someone with a small hearth let me have his/her small extra skins, so I could begin to learn.

Hopefully, the cloak part that I told her I needed her to do will turn out well, and will make the piece come together beautifully.

I know the cloak can be great, but she pulled some nonsense about using wire threading to make loops to attach binder rings…. instead of finding a clasp…., so I’m not too sure… it could be another case of safety-pin-style nonsense that is utterly impractical…

I’m hoping dearly that it is beautiful and functional.

I will find out in the morning, and I, hopefully, will look awesome in my full outfit and even my partial outfit, without the cloak.

Well, we’ll see.

For now, let us pray I be blessed with beautifully fulfilling sleep tonight, so that I might be physically and mentally prepared for the long day that tomorrow will be.

If nothing else, my knees need the rest tonight to manage all the waking tomorrow.

Anyway…. bottoms up!

Or, as Aunt Sadie always said, Tally-Ho!

Post-a-day 2019

Packing like a kid

Every time I am preparing to go to my aunt’s house, I feel like a little kid all over again.

I end up with a practically overflowing suitcase, and at least one other bag, filled with something or other…

And why do I always pack so much stuff?

Because I want to bring everything awesome with me – I want to share all my best everythings with them all.

I love them and I love being with them, and I, therefore, love sharing all I have and can with them.

So, I want to bring my best, and to be able to share it with them all.

That’s why I practically want to pack up my whole room, plus my kitchen and pantry foods, and bring it all with me.

It’s like the little kid who first wants to wear all of his favorite clothes on one single day, with no concern for the fact that he is wearing two t-shirts, a jacket, a hat, shorts, shoes, and long socks… in the middle of summer…

Sigh…

And that really doesn’t work, when traveling by Vespa…

πŸ˜›

Fortunately, I had the forethought to have my mom bring my bag of clothes when she goes tomorrow to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday, so that I will have clothes once I arrive next week, a couple days ahead of my mom.

However, just about anything that doesn’t make it into her car tomorrow morning by 7am won’t be making the trip at all… fingers crossed that I have everything already in the suitcase! πŸ˜€

Post-a-day 2019

Picking up girls*

*Or one, anyway…

So, my mom and I were bringing home a woman from the workshop we had attended/catered in the yoga community, which had taken place last week and this past weekend.

And by “home”, I mean that we were bringing her back tot he hostel where she was staying, which was nearby.

I had heard of this hostel years ago, but learned little of it since first hearing about it – I had merely been glad back then that there was a hostel in Houston, and had left it at that.

So, when she offered for us to come inside and see her “humble abode”, as she called it, we gladly agreed wanting to learn more about the hostel.

While inside, we overheard a conversation about someone wanting to go to Rice University, and also that she was planning to walk the approximate 45 minutes each way.

My mom, of course, offered this nice-looking woman/girl who was clearly from somewhere in Europe, a ride to Rice in our car.

I helped by sharing that the girl was welcome to walk or take the bus home, and we could just drop her off and let her look around on her own, if she wanted, or that we even could show her around some ourselves.

At which point my mom added that we really could take her just about anywhere she liked, even if it wasn’t Rice – we were willing to help out.

After another handful of verbal exchanges, the girl says that, ‘Actually, I will accept your offer: I will take the ride to Rice.’

I get her name and tell her mine, and let her know that we’ll meet back downstairs in the entryway in just a little while, after we finish looking around.

Her name sounds almost French, and so we consider that as we finish looking around with the person who had brought us in in the first place – perhaps I will have someone with whom to reach out with French…

As we all leave together, my mom, this new girl, and I, we learn that she is German, and not of French-speaking origins.

But I still got to use a bit of German with her, which was nice (Germans around my generation’s age are notorious for being spectacular at English.).

As we arrive at Rice, it is decided that she would love to have us show her around campus.

My mom attended Rice, and so shared about various memories and events from the school, as we took the girl around to some of our favorite spots, and surprised her with the magic hidden amongst the older Rice campus buildings (they are serious cool).

(Aka science had us feeling silly, delighted, and also nerdy as we laughed over and over again at these spots.)

Eventually, she says that she would like to attend the concert with us later, that w head invited her to join us to attend.

We told her it was either a strong quartet or quintet.

When we arrive for the concert, which is to take place in an art museum on the UofH campus, we do a quick drive around that campus and are all just a bit underwhelmed after having just run around Rice campus, with all of its green and trees and live oaks overhead and gorgeous old buildings…

Finally in the art museum, we discover that we were incorrect about the string quartet or quintet.

The string quartet or quintet had played at the same performance as this group the very first time my mom saw/heard them both perform.

Since then, she struggles to keep their names straight from on another.

This group tends to be involved in slightly whacky performances and events, my mom shared as we sat in our front-row seats.

Sure enough, the concert turns out to be a bit of book readings, followed by six performance pieces, the focus and purpose being fluxus music, music from the genre of John Cage and his buddies who took music composition to a whole new dimension on many levels.

If you’ve ever heard John Cage’s piece “4’33″” performed – I suppose that’s the correct word, anyway – you can easily guess the kind of oddities and uniqueness found throughout the concert…. (View a performance of it here, along with a brief introduction on it.)

The pieces were great in their nuts-ness, and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

I also enjoyed that we had proffered a string quartet or quintet, and had then delivered John Cage and Fluxus

One of the greatest pieces of the evening was the violin solo piece by George Maciunas.

Check out the written piece here, what goes on the music stand, when the violinist performs.

Did you check it out???

If not, I’ll offer it again, because you need to read it before moving onward here: Solo for Violin by George Maciunas.

…..

Now, isn’t that nuts?!

What’s more nuts is that a guy actually performed it.

I was very stressy about it at first, then calmed down a bit, and eventually got a point of hilarity at it all – it is only a piece of wood, and we put a lot of importance into the piece of wood, and this is practically irreverent, but that this piece of wood is not actually anything to do with God…, and it was somehow hilarious… I could hardly contain my laughter by the time he started drilling holes.

Plus, he guy did a great job of acting with it all and really having fun with the whole piece – and it made it all that much better and well worth his efforts.

I share here a few photos from the performance, as well as what was slid and tossed at / handed to me near the end of said violin solo piece.

The fact that the lady had done a reading from her soon-to-be-released book (March, I believe) on Fluxus was really helpful, both in understanding and appreciating the pieces, as well as being mentally prepared for them all.

It was fabulous.

These were the pieces:

Afterward, I offered for us to go have leftovers from the amazing food my mom and I had made for the event the previous several days, and the German girl once again accepted our offer, though we made it clear yet again that she was 100% welcome to decline, if she so wanted.

We had a little picnic in my living room, and it was a lovely, hot soup (including the dessert: hot apple soup) dinner that we all enjoyed greatly.

Finally, my mom took the girl back to the hostel, and then headed home herself, while I started rushing to get myself to bed ASAP.

Unfortunately, I got to bed around 23:30, and had to be up around 6:30 at the latest the next morning… so, I was exhausted Monday… I even cried a little at the start of the gym time after work, I was just so tired and my emotions were out of whack from exhaustion.

(Fortunately, the girl with whom I was talking at the time totally got it… also, I had voluntarily asked her for a hug when I’d first arrived, and that was great [even if it did set off my crying spell].)

Then, the German girl/lady walked over to my place for dinner again Monday night, and my mom joined us a bit later, after she finished a meeting downtown.

We went to the Waterwall, to show one of my favorite spots in town, only to find that it had either closed early or closed temporarily for construction – we really weren’t and still aren’t sure which… super bummer… anyway…

Now, the German girl/lady has headed off to Georgia to visit her family from her days of au-pèreing, and life is back to usual for my mom and me.

But I have a new friend in Germany (who also wants me to come visit sometime) now, which is great, and I have a renewed sense that I am sharing lovingly with the world – she had an amazing and blessed time while visiting Houston, and in ways she never could have anticipated.

And I am grateful that my mom and I were able to offer that to someone, to share our love so distinctly and strongly with someone.

Gratitude πŸ™‚

…..

Be sure to check out Natilee Harren’s book on Fluxus in the Spring – I think it would be a valuable read for everyone to learn a bit about the whole process of creation involved in this whole movement of music composition and performance.

Also, find the music ensemble Loop 38 if you’re ever in the Houston area – they are sure to impress, though I couldn’t tell you in what way it will be, aside from music’s being somehow involved!

Post-a-day 2019

Repeat scenarios

Well, tonight, after work, kind of ended up being a happy reprise of our adventures with our spontaneously adopted friend yesterday.

It was a good time, and very enjoyable.

However, the fact that the Waterwall was off before its actual closing time was a Huge bummer… we took her all the way over there just to see it, because it is one of our favorite parts of Houston…, and then it was just super underwhelming in comparison to when the wall is on… hmm… just a big sigh to that all… :/

Anyway, I am exhausted to a whole new level tonight, and so just sleep now.

Therefore, I will share our Sunday adventures today’s tomorrow, instead of yesterday’s tomorrow. ;P

Goodnight. ❀

P.S. If you don’t know the Houston Hines Waterwall, go check it out – itnis well worth visiting, so you can stand in the center, and walk to the edge and gaze upward, head dropped back… it is spectacular… πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Bedtime, Satisfied

Today was a wonderful day, filled with wonderful happenings and lovely people.

I’m exhausted and need to sleep now, so I’ll share about it all tomorrow, but I’ll mention that it included procuring a German girl from a hostel – no, we didn’t even know of her existence until we kind of ran into her – and bringing her around town to do fun things with us, none of which would have been in her Houston guidebook, but all of which she seemed thoroughly to enjoy.

We had a blast, too, my mom and I.

That violin, however… I’m not too sure it had a good time… that was rough…

πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2019