Happy Birthday

“Happy Birthday….

“Happy Birthday, baby, oh… I love you so!

“Siiix-tyyy candles….”

That’s what I sang to my mom as I played the ukulele tonight… it’s her sixtieth birthday today, and, just after I had sung her our usual birthday song (“On this day”), I suddenly had the beginning of “Sixteen Candles” in my head…

And it hit me: sixty sounds a lot like sixteen… I can do this!

So, I did a quick chord check, and then called her back.

As soon as I hit the third line, she was laughing… ‘sixty candles make a lovely light’… they do, indeed. 😛

And then, she apparently had her phone sitting open in front of her, with me on speakerphone, because she had just been sending my brother a message while I figured out one last detail before singing to her, and so, as I sang, the Animoji I had sent via her phone to my brother this morning was playing (silently) on repeat… as my mom said afterward, it was like one of those translated Kung-fu films, where the lips are nowhere near lining up with the dubbed speech, but, in our case, it was a tiny digital monkey serenading my mom with my voice. 😛

When she told me that, we both cracked up at the stupidity of it (including the fact that she kept watching the monkey babbling the whole time in the first place!). 😀

I love my mom… thank you for my mom, God… really great work there. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

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Swimstress

(Pronounced much like seamstress, but just a different first set of letters.)

I attended a swim meet today for little kids.

On the way over, I was discussing on the phone with my aunt my own swim team days, and how stressful they always were for me – a fact which I had rather forgotten entirely until the discussion today.

I wasn’t concerned in any way, of course, but instead excited to be attending the meet and finally not being one swimming in it.

While watching the little kids swim, however, I found myself rubbing genuine tears from the sides of my eyes (at first, I’d thought it was just sweat, or something in my eye, but quickly discovered that they were actual tears), and not from joy or excitement.

I wished my little family members fun and luck – I hoped their swim each time went well and that they enjoyed doing it.

The parents all around me had other thoughts and ideas for their children… speed, winning, beating the other kids, going as hard and fast as they could… this is what they told the kids constantly before each heat began…

‘Go as fast as you can, okay?…, as fast as you can!’

One parent, upon hearing a coach say to a child to make sure she has fun, casually added to her just-completed long declarations of necessary speed, with a pathetic fervor, ‘Disfruta.’ (Spanish for ‘Have fun,’ or ‘Enjoy.’)

She didn’t seem too convinced that having fun was a priority, though. :/

The whole thing ended up carrying a whole sense of stress for me, and had me wondering how many children were going to struggle because of this pressure from these parents…. they aren’t even over six years old yet, and they are crying their eyes out after swimming a fabulous 25 metres, just because they didn’t win…

Now, not all the kids were like this, of course…, but there were enough to make me rather uneasy.

If it had just been the parents cheering on the kids to do their best, that would have been fabulous.

But it wasn’t that, was it?

Very few adults seemed to be cheering that way at all…., and it made me want to ask them to consider what their priorities are regarding their children and the happiness of their children.

Perhaps I’m not doing a very good job at portraying the parental cheering and commentary… it just seemed like no one encouraged the kids to do their best, even – all that mattered was going fast, according to all the parents were saying.

And odd topic for a regular Monday night swim meet, I dare say(!).

Anyway, I was able to see why on Earth I was so stressed out at swim meets as a child – there is an immense amount of rather intense pressure, most of which is literally being screamed at you as a swimmer… no wonder I totally disliked it and always felt like I was letting everyone down and failing.

Plus, compared to my older brothers, who swam first heat in their ages groups, and who often got top places in their heats, I really sucked, being in second or third (or even last heat, sometimes), and not even getting a top placement there… I had a real ball-fest whenever I received that all-too-common purple ribbon after my swim: DQ (disqualification)…

So, yeah… that was an interesting experience this evening…

Surprisingly enough, it caused a resurgence, even stronger this time, of my wanting to be a swim team coach… I don’t know why specifically, but I really want to do that somehow.

Also, if I’m ever looking to hire young people, I am so looking for kids who have been swim team coaches – boy do they handle a lot, and effectively, too… totally reliable as good hires, I say.

Anyway, I’m glad I got into swimming in college… I learned that I really love swimming laps – I can literally do it for hours and still enjoy it… I think it was just all the pressure I felt at swim meets that had me practically hate them and, by association, swimming laps itself… even though I totally admired the people who could swim lots and well.

I want to get back into that, actually… hmm…

Post-a-day 2019

Easter, again

To finish up the Easter, I share what my mom shared with me this morning.
‘Kay, go for your Easter Egg Hunt.  There’s one egg.  It’s hidden already.’
‘…Wha..?’ I frown at her.
She wiggles like a puppy that can’t sit still, and I know for sure that something is up, and that she’s about to break.
She laughs, and I know I’m getting it, whatever it is, now.  ‘That’s what R- said.  Because it’s April Fools, tell the kids, ‘Okay, kids.  Go look for your Easter Eggs now!’ but don’t actually have any hidden.’
‘That’s terrible,’ I say as I join her laughter, shaking my head.

Happy Easter, and Happy April First!
P.S. Did you see John Legend and that gloriously surprising cast tonight?  More importantly, did you HEAR them?!  Check it out. It was fab.  Jesus Christ Superstar Live 🙂

The world turned upside down

The internet went out for a little while tonight…, and I find it somewhat hilarious that it was sort of a huge deal for the others in the house, and I almost couldn’t have cared less.  I did, after all, live several months wihout internet at home, both in the US and in Japan, and I even spent some months without cell service or phone service of any kind either…  I kind if enjoyed the certainty of quiet that it allowed.
  Knowing that no call or text or e-mail would arrive on any device whenever I was at home, was like breathing freely in a whole new way.  And all the important people knew my situation, so they knew to show up at my door if they wanted anything immediate, or to plan enough ahead to tell me to go check something at a certain time, using the WiFi down the road.

I almost miss that.  I certainly miss the reliability of work and income I’d had at the time.  😛  But that’s not really the point here, now, is it?

Post-a-day 2018

::Sigh…

Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t just be better to get a high-paying job in an office, and start saving up.  Then, after a couple or few years, start the process for adoption.  The only work so far that I have loved doing, without almost any question ever, is doing things with other people’s kids (nannying).  Maybe having a somewhat terrible corporate job in suits is worth it for having a kid…

I just don’t see myself happy each morning and each bedtime in a job like that, and that means bad sleep each night and a tough start to the day each morning.

I don’t know… sometimes I get depressive, and then desperate, and start calculating what ‘makes sense’ for life, as opposed to ‘listening to my heart’.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve even asked my heart what I/it want/wants to do with my life and time…

Now is as good a time as ever, I suppose.  🙂

 

P.S.  I’ve noticed that, whenever I get upset in the depressed, my life is going nowhere experience, I have an almost panicked desire to move to Europe, and it is most often France.  It’s not like I have any idea whatsoever what I would do there, or how that would solve any of my current issues.  Plus, it would create the issue of being away from almost everyone I know and love and who loves me, since most of them are in the US.  However, there’s just this feeling that arises that living in Europe somehow would just make everything okay, and in a good way (not just tolerable okay, but good okay).  Anyway, just something I noticed tonight.

Post-a-day 2018

Christmas Music and Photos at the Beach

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This afternoon, I headed down to Galveston to visit my cousin.  We had discussed meeting at Dickens on the Strand, but I didn’t have a costume, and I was too far behind schedule for that really to work.  However, we could still hang out when she finished at the little festival.  Plus, I felt that I could really use some time in Galveston, and preferably some time on the beach.

I arrived about two hours before sunset, and as much time before my cousin would be finishing, so I headed straight for the beach.  We made these advent calendars for one another, with a tea for each day, as well as a quote/bible verse and a sort of task for the day.  My tea yesterday was spectacular, but today’s flavor was not to my liking.  However, the task for today was fabulous.  It read, “Learn a Christmas song on a string instrument”.  And so, seeing as I had a phone for the research and a ukulele in my trunk, instead of reading my book, I headed down to the sunny sand to play some ukulele.

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While playing, people passed by, going about their business.  Some just walking in light jackets, others exercising with the dog, and one family had three little boys sprinting into the edge of the water, playing.  After a while, it started getting quite cool, thanks to the wind and the setting sun.  My fingers began to struggle against stiffness.  As I paused to warm them (I think that’s what it was, anyway), I glanced out to my left.  The rising moon was spectacular.  I had noticed it big and sneaky a while before, hiding behind the haze so close to Earth’s surface, but now it was beginning to glow.

And what was just under the now-glowing moon, but the three frolicking boys, looking quite adorable.  The scene was set, and I had to take a photo.

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Unfortunately, they were just far enough away that I needed to zoom, if I wanted to have the photo focus on what I was naturally focusing…, and the zoom is not so great on a phone.

So, I made another essay, and went for a different perspective.  To get it to be perfectly straight, I would have had to get down on my belly and align it, and that just felt a little too conspicuous.

Nonetheless, after I took the photos, I really enjoyed them.  I knew that I would have loved for someone to take an awesome shot of me and then actually give it to me.  So, I checked out the parents to see if they seemed at all of similar minds to mine.

And they did.  They looked young and open to things.  They even were taking photos of the kids and of themselves on their own phones, so they were likely to understand the value of a good photo.  Or, a neat one, anyway.

I figured I might as well go for it, so I set my stuff carefully to the side, and stood on up.  I approached them comfortably and confidently and in my best ‘I am a sane person, please don’t freak out,’ manner.  They gave me odd looks when I mentioned how this might be a bit odd, – wouldn’t you, if a stranger walked up and started saying something like that? – but their brows cleared and they were all about it, when I showed them the photos I’d taken.  The mom asked me if I could send them to her, if she gave me her number.*  Of course, of course… And so, I sent them to her, and she was incredibly grateful.  They had been seeing about doing a Christmas card, using their beach photos they were taking then, so they completely understood fun and neat photos, and they were not at all weirded out.  phew

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And so, I went back to my ukulele for a little bit longer, until the sun was almost hidden, and the wind was too chilly, and I headed back to the car and over to my cousin’s house to wait for her there.

As I ast on the beach, and then again after I was back in my car, I contemplated the experience of being on a beach.  I hadn’t gone into the water, and I hadn’t even touched the sand, really – just to wipe off the bottom of my bag afterward.  What was beautiful and almost magical about it, though, was the wind and the air and salt, the feeling of it all on my skin, and the view.  I love the feeling of my hair after time at the beach (not to touch, but the feeling from within), that salty, windblown feeling.  I had that today, and it was truly refreshing.  And it had me wonder, if I didn’t want to give a brief time living there.  I at least need to go down there, just to hang around the wind and the ocean more often than I have done lately.  At least once a month, if not once a week or every two weeks… that would be brilliant…

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got to share for now.  Sweet dreams, world (and good afternoon and evening to the other side of it)!

 

*I chuckled inside at this when she asked.  Let’s be real, why else would I have been showing her the photos?  ‘No, you can’t have them.  I just wanted to show you these awesome photos I took of your children, and then leave you to wonder if there’s something wrong with me.’

 

Post-a-day 2017

Bring your parents to work?

Do you remember showing your parent(s) around your classroom when you were little?  Perhaps this is a little too American white bread, but I certainly remember it.

I was all too excited to show them my sleeping mat and cubby hole when I was in kindergarten, and then my desk and the hook for my backpack as I got older in elementary school.  In middle school, it became my locker, where I sat for lunch, and my favorite classrooms and teachers, but with just a little less enthusiasm each year.  By high school, I was not so animated as I had been as a little girl, but I still loved getting to show my parents or family members around my school.  Grandparents Day was one of the coolest things, because I got to do just that with my grandparents.  College was a little different, because it’s college.  However, I still totally loved showing my parents around my campus and dorms, and introducing them to all of my friends and acquaintances and teachers that I could find.  Even when I studied abroad, I reveled in showing them my stomping grounds.

And it was normal at each stage to be showing my parents around the areas.  But it is not normal now.  Why does that suddenly stop when we become “adults” and being “real jobs”?  I don’t know of anyone who shows his or her parents or family members around his/her office.

But now that I am an adult and I have a job (I’ve had many already, actually), my desire to show around my parents and family members hasn’t changed.  When my brother was visiting from Japan, I desperately wanted him to come see my classroom, see my apartment.  I giddily showed my mom around my first school (for my first full-time teaching job), when I convinced her to come to a dance performance there one evening.  My desire to have my parents be able to relate to my everyday has not lessened, not at all.  I still want them to see my everyday stomping grounds.  And, for the most part, I’ve been able to get them to see a decent amount of it these past few years.  Even in Japan, where guests aren’t typically allowed on campus, I got to bring my mom to both of my schools, and she helped teach a cooking class for the English Club at one school, and helped out with English classes at the other.

So, I guess my concern isn’t all too valid after all… I somehow manage to make it happen for me, anyway.  However, I do still wish that it were more of a cultural standard to bring one’s parents and/or family members to work, at least for a coffee or tea hour, or something like that, just so they can have a real glimpse of what it all is.  I just think it would be way awesome.  Kind of like how Open House used to be, where I’d go meet my teachers with my parent/s, and show my parent/s around my school.  Man… this would be neat.  It also would be very helpful in cross-(whatever the word is for work areas – I’m tired, okay?) interaction and understanding.  My dad works in computers and oil & gas.  He would be amazed to see my work, and I to see his.  They are just such different worlds that we have much to be learned from interacting with one another’s worlds.

I imagine loads of people would be utterly uninterested in this idea, but I hope that loads also would be in full support of it.

Post-a-day 2017