What to do with my life…

Nope, no idea.  I really haven’t any idea.  I mean, sure, I have loads of ideas all day long.  But I open up the page – that dreadful, white, blank page – and it all just seems to melt away.  It almost feels as though none of it ever existed in the first place.  It isn’t that I have a block.  It is that I have an empty slate.  And being able to create anything for this nothing is not only amazing, but mind-blowing.  I always look for direction, instruction, guidance…, and yet, does that direction, instruction, guidance, even if ever so slightly, take away from the me of it?  Does that not remove the me from the creation, and put at least a part of the result under the specifications of another, when it could have been all generated from me?  It could have been purely me, but I wanted outside direction.  But I want me and I want the blank slate… sort of.  I want the slate however it may be, but perhaps I would like to paint it first, and then begin to work (although the painting would be beginning already), because blank and solid and white is just not me.  Yes, yes… perhaps I just need to paint, and then create further and further from that initial coat.

Post-a-day 2018

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Tasty Ice and Salt

Do you know what a salt lamp is?  Well, I just realized that I have one.  And it’s in my room.  And I’m quite excited about it all of a sudden.  And, naturally, feel a silliness rising, too.  You see, with salt lamps, just like with ice sculptures, I have an urge to lick them whenever I see them illuminated.  Okay, the illuminated part isn’t exactly the same with ice sculptures, but the licking desire is.

I remember my brothers’ dad’s wedding over a decade ago (I think that was the occasion, anyway), and how there was an ice sculpture there at the reception.  My cousin commented how she wanted to lick it – perhaps it was a swan, if I remember correctly? – when we were standing in front of it.  ‘So, lick it,’ was approximately my response.

Sure enough, she licked it.  We both did, actually, because her desire rubbed off onto me somehow.  (It actually started a trend for me, for whenever parties have ice sculptures.  I remember shocking a few classmates, when I casually passed by and licked a huge ice sculpture at a school event.)  We were still kids, but we knew well enough that it was not a normal behavior, and so were stealthy about it.  But we totally licked the ice sculpture.

Now, I have a similar situation with salt lamps.  Though, since they aren’t something that will melt away in a matter of hours, and they’ll stick around for quite some time afterward, and have been around for a while, I don’t lick them.  Usually, though, I just touch it gently with a finger or two, and then smoothly lick the salt off my fingers.

Of course, now you know about my sneaky – and somewhat weird, really – habits at parties and salt-lamp-containing spaces.  Just don’t give me away, okay?  If anything, give the ice sculpture thing a go yourself.  It’s surprisingly rewarding, the whole affair.  ;D

Post-a-day 2018

Pastries

It wasn’t until I had lived in France for a few months that I found out about the secret bags of pastries.

You see, normally, I would have one to three pastries a week.  That was all that I could afford reasonably, really.  And fresh pastries in France are kind of the bomb dot com.  Period.  Sometimes, during the morning break in class, my classmates and I would walk to the bakery the next street over, and all have a pastry and coffee together.  It was fun and always delicious.  And, compared to the US, the prices were fabulous.  However, there was still a limit – we couldn’t really do it every day on our college student budgets.

But, my life was somewhat transformed when one of the girls in my program told me how she always got her pastries.  D- found a way to try them all on a budget.  She said, ‘Yeah, you just look for these bags up on top of the counter, in a basket, and they’re filled with whatever didn’t sell yesterday.  So, it’s different every day.’

After several days, if not even a couple weeks, of psyching myself up, I finally went to the bakery she’d mentioned, to find these secret bags.  And there they were, crammed full of various pastries, and they were only a few euros.  I think it was that very first time that, even though I totally knew what the bag up on top of the pastry case was, I asked casually to the pastry chef what it was.  He explained it all to me, and how they didn’t want to waste anything, so they bagged it up and sold it cheap the next morning.  I semi-feigned surprise at what he told me, but I was also genuinely surprised that D- had been right and it really wasreal thing.  For the price of one or two fresh pastries, I could get a whole bag of ones made only yesterday, and of all different types.  No, if you grow up on fresh French pastries, they aren’t nearly too delicious.  However, we didn’t grow up on fresh French pastries – we delighted in even the day-old pastries like it was some of the best stuff we’d ever eaten.  (And it totally was.)

Plus, if someone had given me a bag of pastries anyway, I probably wouldn’t have eaten them all at once.  It would have taken me most of the day to get through them comfortably, and I’d probably even save something for breakfast the next day.  So, for a huge fraction of the price, we got to do just that.

Usually, I’d share a bag with others, so we all got to try the different pastries.  But I got my own a few times, for sure.

So anyway, if you go to France for vacation or whatever, ask the bakeries in the morning if they have bags of yesterday’s leftovers.  I think there’s even a specific term for it, but my brain is not producing it right now, if there is one… I totally used it, whatever it was, though, word or phrase or whatever… I loved trying out all the different pastries.  However, despite trying so many different pastries, I still almost exclusively get a chocolatine (pain au chocolat everywhere but the southwest), a croissant, and/or a baguette (though those guys aren’t pastries, they are still one of my favorite foods ever).  But whatever.  I got to test out all the stuff and see that I enjoyed it all, as well as discover that I really just love the simple stuff best.  (It’s like a cliché about life or something, but it’s just how I feel about French pastries.)

Post-a-day 2018

 

Cultural Pants with Mom

Have you ever gotten creative with your clothing?  I certainly have.  Tonight was just an average ‘work with what you’ve got’ kind of night with clothes.  For tomorrow, I’d chosen to wear an Indian tunic – I think the actual name might be kurta, but I’m not sure.  However, I don’t have any pants or leggings that really go with the colors of it, and black is totally not an option, because its bright colors are just too happy for black.

So, I asked my mom if she had any leggings or pants I could wear with the top.  At first, she brought me Vietnamese yellow pants, which almost look Indian, but the color combined with the style was just not passable.  The tunic is a sort of reddish pink, with orange and green embroidery and stitching.  Bright yellow, baggy pants just weren’t the look I was going for.  I wanted the focus to be the top, not the bottoms.  I will wear said pants, however, on a different occasion, you can be sure.

After checking greens and purples, all to no avail, my mom brings in a skirt that is the exact color of the green embroidery and stitching of the tunic.  The fabric is different, but the color is darn near exact.  “But it’s a skirt,” I declared and repeated, somewhat laughing.  I tried it on.  My mom said it looked all right, but it totally was not the look I’d wanted.  ‘This is what we call “cultural confusion”…  I was going for “cultural fusion.”‘

We both laughed and stared at the perfect match of color and utter clash of styles.

And then I saw it.  “Aha!”  I bent over and grabbed the center of the skirt, both the front and back of it, through my legs.  As I stood up, my mom knew exactly what I was doing.

Five minutes later, we had it.  I eventually had to take it off and turn it inside out to make it all balance properly, but we knew it would work after the second knot I made while still wearing it.  We tied the skirt in a few places in the center to give the illusion of one type of traditional Indian pants (think Indian yoga pants), and it worked marvelously.  No, they don’t look exactly like the real thing, but they do look like what I’d wanted: cultural fusion and fabulous.

I wonder how it will go off tomorrow, in a world of latino heritage.  I look forward to the opportunity to respond to something like, ‘Cool pants!’ with a, ‘Oh, thanks.  I’m not wearing any.’  Or something silly like that.  We’ll see.  Whatever the case, though, I’ll be in an outfit that I love and that has been created with love from me and my mom.  I think that’s the best part, as usual, of course.

 

P.S.  I’ll see if I can get a photo of it all tomorrow at some point.

P.P.S.  Okay, so it turned out that I wore the yellow pants to bed, because it was so cold, and they were soft and comfortable.  Not what I’d had in mind when I considered wearing them soon, but oh, well…  😛

Post-a-day 2017

A foreigner at home?

Have you ever felt out of place within your own culture?  As time passes, it happens to me more and more often.  Last night, I attended an event with coworkers.  The noise volume took me by slight surprise when I first arrived.  How can people be this loud? I thought.  And then I remembered almost before I finished asking the question: They’re americans (from the USA).

But I’m american from the US, too.  Wouldn’t I be used to this, then?

I quickly compared it to a drinking party at an izakaya (like a bar) with nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) in Japan.  Yes, the Japanese can get quite loud there.  It was never to the point of wanting to cover my ears, though, I hear myself thinking.  So, I am very much accustomed to a much quieter environment for parties, then.  I’m not just being a bit dramatic and overly sensitive to normal behavior and a normal situation.

Even still… I felt so oddly out of place, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself.  I ended up semi-hiding in the coatroom (it wasn’t a closet, but an actual room, I promise) to take a breather from all the people and the noise from time to time.  I also took extra-long any time I went to the bathroom, because it was cozy and quiet in there on my own. Yes, I could have just gone home.  However, I rarely spend time even around people who aren’t high schoolers right now, so I felt it was somewhat necessary – even if just for social practice – to spend time around adults, especially happy ones in a good, safe environment.

I definitely adjusted after a bit, but I still felt quite out of place for most of the event.  I guess I’m just not so USA american anymore… which doesn’t surprise me, really.  It’s just odd, not belonging in a place everyone calls my “home”.

Post-a-day 2017

Snow in Houston, Texas (and t-rex Christmas cards)

Last night, it snowed here.  In Houston, Texas.  It happened yet again.  What miracles lie before us?  It began after I went to sleep, and didn’t begin to stick until after I woke up for a bathroom break in the middle of the night.  So, I woke up to snow covering everything that wasn’t concrete this morning.  Which, when you think about it, is kind of the best kind of snow – you don’t have to shovel or worry about tire chains or anything, but you get to have beautiful snow everywhere around you.

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The hit of the morning was arriving to school.  My mom drove me in, because we were going to a Christkindlmarkt (German Christmas market) together after school, and the market was too far away for me to drive home first and then go, and it didn’t make sense for us to drive two cars out there.  She was staying for a bit, because we had Mass at school for the Immaculate Conception, and this was a chance for her to see the school a little bit.  Pulling into the parking lot (vacant of teachers, because we were so early), we discovered a sort of snowball fight happening in the picnic table area next to the lot.  We didn’t have much snow on the ground, but the kids were making some snowballs out of it, and throwing them around at one another.  It was adorable.

Naturally, my mom declared that I had to make a snowball, as we were leaving the car.  I grabbed an already-made snowball from the ground, which had lost only a bit after originally falling there, and showed it to her.  As she eyed me up while she finished off her own snowball, I realized that she intended to throw hers at me.

And so the fight began.

My mom and I, shuffling around a parking lot and a small grassy area with snow about it, picking up and throwing odd snowballs at one another, practically screeching with delight.  When I was turned away, a snowball hit her square in the back of the head.  No one was too near us, though, so it had come a long way.  And these were a little tough for regular snowballs, so it definitely hurt her a bit in the moment (stung, perhaps, is the appropriate word here).  It didn’t ruin out fun, of course, but merely added to the silliness of the whole affair – one of my students had attacked my mother with a snowball*.  No part of that declaration makes sense for living here, in Houston, Texas.  😛

In class, before Mass, kids lined up at the windows to stare at the snow in the courtyard below and on the roofs within view.  This was only the second time in their lives that it has snowed here, so their fascination with it was completely understandable, and utterly adorable.

Today had some magic, that’s for sure.

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*I found out later that the student who hit my mom actually was a student of mine.  He asked me ‘who that teacher was, walking with me earlier,’ and, when I asked for clarification, he described the morning snowball affair.  “That was my mom.”  In shock, he declared that he thought it was a teacher and asked me to tell my mom that he was sorry for what he did to her.  (My mom and I laughed at the thought that he apologized for having hit my mom, but that is seems to be the case that he willingly would hit a teacher in the head with a hard snowball, without question.)

P.S.  My task today was to “[d]raw a Christmas card”.  So, I drew one on the roof of my mom’s car tonight as we were leaving the Christkindlmarkt.  Frost had begun to reappear all over the place.

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Post-a-day 2017

Writing, math in life…

I’ve been on the phone with my college flatmate tonight, talking about writing.  Apparently, I actually do have some fun and crazy ideas that would be really interesting for people to read – she didn’t even understand how I got to the sorts of ideas that regularly come to mind, simply as the normal order of thinking in my head.  So, I guess that’s not so normal as I’d thought it to be, having such ideas so casually and regularly.

The thing is, I haven’t set up sitting down to do it.  Not yet, anyway, and not for long enough.  I’ve noticed that writing at night is not the way to go for me.  For other things, sure – I can do loads of physical movement at night.  For writing, however, I’m next to hopeless, it feels.  I don’t feel much like writing anything in the first place at night, and so I struggle to find something to write, and then I make loads of errors in what I do finally write.  It just isn’t a good combination.

Speaking of combinations, I was talking with students in my geometry class today about how math can be useful in life in cool ways.  One example was from a show my stepdad watches about the TV show “The Walking Dead”.  It’s sort of a behind-the-scenes sort of show, and this particular bit that I saw was talking about everything they had to do in order to set up a car crash.  It was really cool, seeing everything broken down, all of the things they had to organize to make it work.  The best part, perhaps, was seeing how it was pure geometry and physics that made the crash work flawlessly.

The other example was in a little photo shoot I was witnessing (and had to abandon for distress), in which the photographer said that they were supposed to be sitting in a Christmas tree formation.  But she didn’t do anything to make this happen.  She didn’t even seem to know what needed to be done for this shape to happen.  (The people in charge definitely seemed to be lacking in general crowd control and effective instructions arenas, too.)  It occurred to me that she never considered just getting the number of people – I’d have done it ahead of time, but on the sport would have worked just finely, too – expected in the photo, and dividing them up into the necessary number of people per row, based on the exact shape desired and the number of rows available.  I was about to begin the calculations as I watched, but then realized that no one was going to listen to me anyway, so it was better if I just left the stressful situation, since that was the only thing I actually could do in the situation.  So, I left.  But it proved to be a good example to the kids in class at how math is present in life in ways that people don’t even consider.  Had the photographer thought about math, – and it is likely that she didn’t, because she wasn’t very confident in or in love with math while in school – the whole photo shoot could have gone loads better than it did.  And they could have had the Christmas tree, and even decorated with “lights” or an outline, using the different shirt and jacket colors present and available.  But she didn’t, so none of that happened.

 

Post-a-day 2017