Accountability, even when freezing

Today took a lot in the tidying work. For one thing, it was ridiculously cold out – seriously, it was -2°C most of the day today, and we even had snow on the ground, and some of it never melted!!! – and that meant it was also cold in the house. So, my body was struggling to find balance in warmth almost all day. That took effort. For another, a creature broke into the walls somehow last night, and CHOMPed away from around 2:00am to just after 7:00am. Vibrating wood reverberations and teeth scratching on wood and all that jazz. And yes, it was right near my bed (a wall or two away, of course, but close enough). It woke me up at about 2:00; kept me up as I looked for a solution for maybe twenty minutes; kept me up another half hour because it was so loud and stress-inducing (because imagine having a wild, potentially-rabid animal break through a wall in the inside of your house – do you really want to wake up to that in the morning?); and then left me in a stress-y half-sleep for the same reasons. I woke up just after 6:00am, totally not rested. But I went outside and played for a bit, and that was fun.

Photos here:

I particularly enjoyed the idea of wearing the unicorn onesie while playing out on the snow. Because that is pure magic right there: a rainbow unicorn playing in the snow in Houston. Nothing about that idea is less than spectacularly magical. And no, I think nobody even saw me, because the world was closed up for the day, and so no one was up yet, let alone going outside yet.

After that, I ate some yummy food – leftovers from my valentine onigiri that I turned into a warm, absurdly satisfying salad – and then went upstairs to get to work. Just after seven, the chomping finally stopped, and I could focus. I got a bit done, but was so sleepy, I ended up getting on my bed for a nap around nine, and slept for just over two hours. Hard. And gratefully so.

Then I tutored and ate, and then got back to work with tidying.

I temporarily put away the DVDs I am keeping, which was super satisfying, and then I made it through all my hair accessories, all my money- and identification-related documents/cards, all my electronics (and cables and all that even-remotely-electrical stuff), and all my cameras and camera-related stuff. I was rather surprised at how much foreign currency I had sitting with my money-related stuff. I kept the individual ones I wanted to keep – because I’ve always loved having actual currency from other nations on hand – and added the rest of the excess to the pile of US money that was ridiculous for me to be keeping sitting around, and the cottage cheese container (previously cleaned out, obviously) filled with about $50 or so of coins, in preparation of a trip to the bank (when the world opens up here again) and a direct deposit into my savings account that I’m not allowed to touch.

I was surprised at how long the first parts of those took me today. I got really weighed down after the important money stuff one. I was standing with my head against the angled ceiling, warming my hands over the oil heater, having an imaginary conversation with… actually, no… I was having a real conversation with an imaginary person, about how I didn’t want to do it anymore – I wanted to curl up with a movie, and maybe even fall asleep for a while and have to watch it again, whenever I woke up. That’s what I felt like doing. That and crying. But I wanted to keep myself accountable to my higher goals and wishes – and so I made myself reach out to my accountability partner.

‘I just want to call someone, and say how much I want to watch a movie and sleep; take a rest from all of this, instead of trekking through any more today,’ I thought to myself, imagining how easy it would be to have the other person agree with me that I deserved a break.

Pause.

‘Well, you do have an accountability partner. Tell her that, and see what she says,’ I thought.

“Ha!”

And so, I had the conversation with myself, taking turns being the one working and the accountability partner, as I had to do so much at the start of all of this. And it was spectacular. She – meaning I – reminded me of why I care about all of this in the first place; of how it’s okay to be scared and terrified; and of how I want to keep my word to myself, especially on this birthday gift to myself. And I still felt heard. She agreed with everything I presented, and understood them and got them completely – like, seriously more than anyone has ever gotten me on something, right? It was very cool. And she also was present to my true intentions, and helped me stick with them. And it took only a few minutes for the whole thing… we just are that much in sync with one another! 😂

Anyway, that bit was the whole point of this today. I went really tangential today. Oh, well… that’s kind of how this whole weekend has felt. Even Monday has been a tangent of the weekend, instead of the start of its own week. 😛

P.S. Did I share this lovely photo of my valentine onigiri skills? They are even pink from beet powder, and 100% Paleo.

Post-a-day 2021

^Only slightly had to think about it

Happy Winter Day!

Do you ever have those days where, after having had a wonderful time doing something, instead of basking in the joyful bliss that typically follows such an event, you find yourself somewhat depressed, as though it ended up being more a reminder of somewhere you are failing at something, instead of a victory in and of itself?

Those really are the odd days, are they not?

Perhaps it would be best to drink more water (than I did today, that is), get more sleep (same as previous), and keep intending and getting the work done.  Life often feels like it is falling to pieces, just before the pieces fall into place.  🙂

P.S. It is truly winter in Houston today and tonight.  We had a high of 2º Celsius – for real – and it is currently -2º Celsius, with sleet and snow and intense wind gusts off and on.  We have a 70-100% chance of snow in the morning before sunrise, with a high of -3º and a low of -8º (also the low tonight), and the entire town closed down earlier this evening, and will remain so at least until Tuesday, when the forecasted high is back up to 3º.  I’m not sure I have ever experienced temperatures in Houston so far below freezing in my whole life.  Elsewhere, sure, of course, but not in Houston.  I do hope it snows a lot tomorrow, and that I get to enjoy it a lot.  🙂

P.P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day, folks!  I made themed paleo onigiri today, and had a paleo matcha latte.  Both were delicious and satisfying. Photo of the first shown here:

Post-a-day 2021

^Bam!

I’ve never landed on snow…*

Well, here we go!

Ich freue mich so sehr.

Ich habe aber doch ein bisschen Angst.

Ich gehe trotzdem, und vielleicht weil ich diesen Angst habe.

I guess I’m still reasonably tired right now – German was all I had to express myself right there…

It has been fun visiting Montréal these past hours.

It seems like a lovely place – not by the sights so much as by the lifestyle and the people I have crossed and noticed.

I’ve used almost no English while here, had not even considered that it was French-speaking Canada – mostly because my friend who lives here is from Houston and is not someone I would consider “French-speaking”, so it didn’t even occur to me that it would be in this part of Canada, wherever he happened to live – and have loved every bit.

I always wonder when I go to the Mexican parts of our Houston culture – the tamale places, the panaderías, Fiesta – how the workers know which language to use, Spanish or English.

Do they judge people by their covers, as we were always told not to do?

And yet, I think they must.

And I think that is exactly what is great about a successful business like that (cross-cultural business, I mean): their being able to identify appropriately the customers’ culture, and then interact accordingly with the customers.

When I entered the plane yesterday, to go from Houston to Montréal on Air Canada, I knew they would be operating in bother French and in English.

I also considered briefly how any American airline likely would not do such a thing, and would use exclusively English, just about always, no matter the destination…

(When I interviewed with an airline once as a multilingual flight attendant, they made it sound terrible: the multilingual flight attendants are only ever one individual on any given plane, used to act as translator, and only when needed… it wasn’t about greeting people’s home cultures at all, or serving… it was just about putting out fires, essentially…)

And I wondered how the airline workers would judge.

At baggage check-in, the man greeted me easily and mid-conversation style in English, and I thought nothing of it.

But, at boarding time, as I was surrounded by passengers speaking a mix of French and English, I wondered how the flight attendants would handle it.

Sure enough, as we were stepping into the plane, the greeting post was using one language or the other, depending on how she judged each individual.

And she always had a happy passenger, so she was judging correctly.

My mother and I have discussed how I am rather European, at least for an American – I have many contrasting aspects of the two cultures that kind of go back and forth for me (I’ll give an example in a moment.).

As I took my own steps onto the plane, the greeter gave me the direct-look evaluation, considered, and then said, “Bonjour.”

I automatically respond in kind.

And I was elated.

I was taken for a French speaker, likely due to the European style of my outfit for the day – fitted half-collar long-sleeved black shirt, scarf, snug – but not tight – jeans, and fashionable winter boots.

People from Texas just don’t dress like that. 😛

Today, in contrast, I am very American in my dress: oversized purple long-sleeved t-shirt, same boots and jeans and scarf, and a beret… an odd combination of the two cultures.

But I don’t have to worry about what language people will use with me today – everyone uses both automatically at the airport.

‘Bonjour, Hello,’ they always say.

And the response determines the language used.

But they always say the French first…, and so I automatically am responding before they are finished with the English greeting…, and so they end up using French with me…, which I like very much.

I don’t often have such an opportunity, and I am grateful that I am embracing it.

Anywho… Montréal is nice, is really, really cold, and is beautiful with the snow everywhere (and gives a new experience for me with everyone acting like the snow is normal and nothing big deal [because it is normal here]).

Snow:

*This first was the airport last night, when we had landed on a boatload of snow… snow was everywhere, including where the planes were driving…(!!!)

Including when I picked up my bags at baggage claim:

Now I am off to Japan.

See you on the other side (literally)!

P.S. This flight is to Japan, now, so they will be using all three languages, and I am delighted. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

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