Church, bras, and tangled hair

I was discussing with a co-worker this evening a church that my family attended when I was a baby, and it brought to mind the last time I attended Mass there.  We had moved elsewhere for church when I was still quite little, but occasionally still went to Mass there for a while.  Eventually, though, we had stopped altogether going there, and always went to one of two other nearby churches.  Therefore, it is easy for me to remember the last time I attended Mass at this particular church, because it was a singular event, with no other occurrences within years of its happening.

My youngest brother and I were tasked with going to church together on our own.  He was probably 16 or so, making me 12 at the time.  I remember how we were hanging out at home, and how he was playing games on the still-new PS2.  And I eventually finished getting dressed at the last minute, and we rushed off to Mass.

We ended up having the Mass time incorrect, so we weren’t just a little bit late to Mass.  But we stayed, anyway, and attended what little was left of it once we arrived.  When we arrived back home, a very unique experience happened, and one which I feel shows how loving we are, my brothers and I.  I had worn this top that went on like a tube top – yes, there were sleeves of some sort, or else a sweater that I wore over it, but it went on like a tube top.  However, it wasn’t the usual stretchy material of tube tops, but rather a somewhat set-size material with elastic around the top piece to help it stay in place.  (I’m almost certain that it had wide-ish straps, but nothing like actual sleeves to it.  I remember specifically that I had to wear a strapless bra with it, because of the strap situation, but that is all of which I am certain about the straps – strapless bra required.)

When I went to remove my top, changing out of the nicer clothes and into comfy, regular clothes, I got myself stuck.  You know the feeling… pulling it upward first, and, at the pivotal point, feeling the fabric stop sliding and suddenly hold tightly to the width of your currently-expanded shoulder blades… and being incapable of pulling the top back down, because your arms are now stuck up in the air, because the fabric really just doesn’t give almost at all.

So, what could I do but get help?  I remember having the slight concern of going to my brother for help, because he would see my bra! my thoughts shouted in whispered tones.  It took almost no time to accept the social standard as just that, and then to let it go.  I was beginning to panic at being stuck, when I was walking back out into the living room for help from my brother.  He easily stopped immediately what he was doing, and came to the rescue.  I think it might have actually taken us a good bit of effort to free me, but we eventually succeeded, and I was grateful for his help.

And, what is amazing about this, really, is that neither of us was uncomfortable with the situation.  Sure, it was an odd situation – I was already at the point of having been able to dress myself alone successfully for years.  But it was still easy for us both, because of our love and care for one another.

 

As another brief anecdote, I remember a time my oldest brother was babysitting me, and I went to use my mom’s rounded brush, typically used for curling hair while blowdrying, to brush my hair.  I did it in a sort of hurry, and somehow twisted the brush while it still had my hair running through it (I had long hair at the time), and began brushing a new spot on my head… ultimately knotting a big chunk of my hair into the brush.

My brother was able to reach my mom on the phone, and she said to check with the neighbors, because the mother there might be able to help unknot my hair.  A good, long while later, the neighbor was convinced that my hair had to be cut, in order to remove the brush.  I remember my mom’s voice on the phone declaring, “Do not cut her hair,” to my brother.  I think it took over an hour, possibly longer, and I don’t remember who finally did it (though my brother, the neighbor, and I all worked on it at times, and my mom might even have had to finish it up when she got home later), but my hair eventually was freed.  And I was concerned about ever using that kind of brush in my hair again.

Obviously.

You know, I think those were the worst that ever really happened when my brothers were in charge of babysitting… not bad, I think.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

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Asian-English teatime with the bff sister

This evening, by a wonderful unfolding of events, I ended up having tea with my best friend’s little sister.  As my best friend’s little sister, she holds a sweet spot in my heart.  What’s more, the fact that she’s the first person I’ve seen go from little kid, singing nursery-rhyme-type songs, to a mature young adult (and soon full-blown adult), makes that spot even sweeter.

As we sat in the tapioca teahouse, drinking our warm (Taiwanese style, I think – at least, that’s what a friend of mine saw constantly while in Taiwan, and which we haven’t seen much elsewhere) bubble tea, our attention somehow turned to the menu on the wall.  Naturally, we hadn’t thought anything special of it when we actually were looking at the menu to order earlier on, but it was suddenly relevant to our conversation, so our attention turned to it.  She is studying Mandarin this year (since August), and I’ve just moved here from Japan.  So, we have some common ground on understanding Chinese characters.  (For those who don’t know, Japanese kind of stole the characters from Chinese, and adapted them a bit, so loads of them look exactly or almost exactly the same and have the same or very similar meanings.)

We joyfully pointed out that “ice” was on the end of each name in the ‘Snowy Drink’ category, and that “little” was next to one other character on the “Snacks” sections – likely ‘little meal’ or ‘little food’.  Something like that.  And then we discussed how we were scouring the menu, picking out little pieces that we understood.  It was like a fun little puzzle that we were putting together, piece by piece… one that we know will take months, even years, but the timing of which doesn’t seem to bother us in the slightest.  We’re just excited that we’re able to make the little sense of it all that we already can.  And we aren’t even using the same language to do it, technically, making it simultaneously that much sillier and that much more awesome.

So, we got to enjoy one another’s company and be nerdy language-lovers together, while sipping warm asian versions of English tea (Earl Grey) on a cold, cold night (for Houston, anyway).  Blessings abound when open our minds and schedules to them, it seems.  And I am grateful for this one in particular.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

Life goals(?)

I found myself tonight considering a conversation I had with my cousin several years ago.  People were talking about jobs and interviews and moving to work in different countries and kids, and all that jazz.  Reviewing it all in my head, as I prepared for bed just now, I wondered about giving things my all.  I feel that I never give my all for things.  I am certainly not certain of this as a fact – I just mean that I feels as though I never give my all on anything.  And I think that is tied in with passion; if I were passionate about something truly, then I would give my all.

But I couldn’t call to mind anywhere that I have given my all.  I give a great effort for different things and different times, and oftentimes a much greater effort than someone else has given or would give.  However, is it ever my best effort?  I think not.

Thinking about this, then, I began to wonder about where my passion lies, such that, when presented with it, I would give the situation my best effort, give it my all.

And then I remembered the conversation.

‘I want to make a difference for people in life.  I want to help people.

‘Why do you want to do that?’

I am halted.  I consider deeply.  Eventually, I have a response.  ‘I think it is because I feel valued, needed, when I help others.  And that makes me feel like I am worth it in life.’  If I am needed, then I am necessary and worth having around.

I’m not sure if I want to be upset by this or not.  (Obviously, I want to be content, not upset.  However, this is calling for some deep consideration, which I do respect.)  Does this still drive me in life?  It was years ago, and I consciously took action to free myself of the mentality, and then forgot about it until now.  It just lived as a picture on the wall of a room through which I pass so often, that I’ve forgotten what decorations are even in it.  And now, someone has asked me what I think of this picture on the wall….

I don’t know.

Post-a-day 2017

Free/Me Time…?

My cousin wants me to start work on this work-out plan, with a very unique tie into a specialty of mine.  The idea itself sounds like something totally awesome not only to create, but also to use once it is created.  The task, though, feels almost daunting right now, in the midst of my minimal free/me time.  I hardly get enough sleep to function decently right now, I have so little time to accomplish anything that has me feel accomplished, satisfied with my day, I have to do it all late at night before I pass out.  I hardly have the time to exercise the way I want (Actually, I don’t have the time and energy to do it the way I actually want to do it, but I am finally getting in some exercise (at last!), though it has me getting to bed even later, which doesn’t help on the muscle restore front after the exercise).

I love the work I am doing right now, and I am dearly grateful for it – it is a blessing in and of itself.  I am very much looking forward to what comes next, when this current job is finished.  I will miss this, and I will be grateful to have moved to the next thing.  It will be time.  (I think that is really the main thought behind all of this right now.)

Anyway, goodnight…

 

Post-a-day 2017

Moms and being young at heart

My mom came home late tonight, and walked into my room with a surprise for me.  Bop It Extreme (R) with newly replaced batteries.  I asked if she was teasing me, because it was actually just going to make some absurd sound after sitting for over a decade, but she declared that she had found it today and had put in new batteries specifically because she recalled that I had liked the game.

I showed her how I always held it, told her about the sounds for scoring, and convinced her to play the group version with me, passing it back and forth together.  We were both laughing like little kids.  It was fabulous.

Afterward, we began discussing family activities for our family open house the Saturday before Christmas, while we have family all in town.  The main topic of this discussion was cooked decorating.  As my mom listed off the number of dog houses, campers, trains, houses, sweaters, and ninjas she had, we couldn’t contain our growing smiles.  She ended with, “and a partridge in a pear tree,” and we both laughed while she figured out what she actually had not yet listed (there is no partridge and no pear tree).  I said that it sounded more like a “The dog, in the camper, with the nunchucks,” kind of scenario.  She argued that the dog goes in the doghouse, though, but then declared that that is why the dog is in the doghouse – because he was the one in the camper with the nunchucks…

Can you tell we are young at heart?  I sure love it.  😀

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Post-a-day 2017

A letter to Santa and a new perspective

I wrote a letter to Santa today.  Well, I typed it.  I 21st Century wrote a letter to Santa.  I felt a bit odd at first, realizing how long it had been since I had written him, as well as the fact that I always just asked for things from him, but never offered him much, and never really got to know him.  I realize that this is Santa, but it calls to mind how I might relate to others in my life.  Have I taken the time I normally would want to take to get to know someone, or have I learned just to ask for things, because of that someone’s understood role in my life?  How can I turn my unintentional and unnoticed selfish into selfless in my relationships with others?

 

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