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His story. My story.

Gaijin — The Japanese word for "foreigner". Literally translated it means "outside person". I've always used this as the working title for the story I want to tell. I have had bits and pieces of it floating around in my head forever. I've always envisioned writing a very Michner-esque novel about the dynasty that spawned me. The complete serendipity of two families a world away, so completely different, and yet surprisingly just the same, that come together. What are the odds?  I think it's time to get it all out.

I lost my dad this year and it is to date probably the single most devastating event in my life. I don't know that anyone is ever ready or can be, but I wasn't the least bit prepared. This possibility was not one I had seriously considered and refused to accept. My father's passing has defined what profound loss means for me and for my family. I'm not sure I will ever recover, there is no new normal for us, but this has reminded me that I wish I would have told his story when he was still here to read it. This is a regret I have to carry and  I cannot fix. 

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She's Baaa-aaacckkk!

5 years later. Wow. So much has happened since then...

I've moved 2 times.

I worked on a team to Save The Islands (our island homes on the river) — outcome still pending.

I'm at the same job, different roles.

My children are both legal adults. One will reach drinking age this June, the other acts older than him.

My dad almost died, survived a sextuple bypass and lung cancer....lived almost 5 more years, and died in August. I'm never going to recover.

I need to blog again. I have a story to tell now. His story. My story. 

hey there

Last night I had the strangest dream...

Did that title start an earworm for you? It did for me.

Anyway - I was selected to be an advocate to secure funding for a group of "tunnelers" - against my will. I was in some post-apocalyptic society that wasn't based on countries, but by living space. There were "tunnelers" - those that lived in communities deep under the ground or underwater. "Fliers" were those that lived in communities aloft - suspended in the air somewhere near the clouds. "Earthlies" were those that lived in the old traditional models on land. I was raised as an Earthly, and it was my preferred life choice, but something to do with some aptitude tests I had to take indicated I was needed in this tunnel community - to help them secure some funding from the "higher order" (I'm guessing this was the Big Brother type of governing body)to do some R&D on why the newly built tunnel communities were collapsing.

And this was one of my fears about having to be a "tunneler" to start with - this being buried alive business - this collapse business - this no more air business.

I want to explore this dream some more. Since the "higher order" was located in the "fliers" community - were these levels like heaven and hell?
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Just tired - feeling SAD..

So in my head, I know these doom and gloom feelings are related to the shorter days and the normal self-reflection state I go into toward the year's end.

What have I accomplished this year? Why am I still floundering and not closer to any of my goals? I start dreading the end of the year like it's more than just a calendar position. It takes on a whole new being of it's own. Once January arrives, even though we're still in the middle of winter, I already sense the coming of fresh and new, of spring and brighter, longer days.

Ironic that the holidays fall in the middle of the worst part of the cycle for me, since I love the holidays and all the family related gatherings and celebrations. Maybe this is universal and always has been, thus the placement of the celebrations in the middle of the worst part of the cycle - to force gaiety and happiness when it's needed the most?

And maybe some of it is self-inflicted. I feel taken advantage of by people I love. I find myself feeling as if I am nothing more to them than a provider of things. It makes me feel distanced. I recognize this as my feelings and maybe not how things necessarily are...but a good friend of mine recently said "feelings are just feelings....they aren't right or wrong". I can't help that I feel this way...but it really colors my reactions to everyday situations.

I feel like I lack stability. I've always loved change and flexibility, but always as long as I feel grounded. I don't feel grounded lately, I don't seem to have much to hold onto - nothing is permanent - I rent my house, I am a contractor vs. regular employee...so on and so forth. I don't have much that grounds me.

I'm sure of nothing else at the moment except that tomorrow I will feel better. I always feel better tomorrow. It's the dark that gets me. Every. Single. Stinkin. Time.
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AFTER I agree to a year long contract with DirecTV and the installation guy showed up yesterday - TODAY the Verizon folks come a-knockin' to tell me FiOS (my long awaited DREAM) is available in my area now.


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The second half.

Friday started pretty slow - no plans - no where to go - quiet evening home with kids and movies.

Saturday up early for the weekend cleaning binge, which was a little more involved since the new satellite TV service will be installed....I've given up on Comcast...and still waiting for FiOS. Installers always mean poking around the corners we try to ignore - and the kids room has corners that become the habitat for everything-I-don't-know-where-it-goes-mom (aka I'm too lazy to put it away). George had to attend a funeral service for a friend of his youth who passed away a week or so ago, and while he was gone I get the call about another friend of ours who had a stroke. They don't have the numbers for this guy's kids - I do - so I have to make those calls. Luckily, I was able to reach all of his family and get them there...and while he is still numb on his left side, and he still has some bleeding in his brain...they feel like they're getting it under control and that he'll make it. A close call for sure...and a warning to all of us, his friends, about some of our lifestyle choices.

George said someone once said to him "You spend the first half of your life doing all sorts of stupid things trying to end it, and the second half doing everything you can to save it."

I think it's time I realized I'm in the second half.

Saturday evening we went to a friends' house for dinner. She made a Mexican clam dip and tacos with all the fixings. Every taco I have eaten in my life has come from a box or taco bell. She filled the raw shells with a meat/potato mixture and then fried them in a pan! I was shocked! It tasted ok, but it was hard to fill (with the extras, cheese, salsa, etc) since the shells were closed with a toothpick before she fried them. I loved the clam dip the best...then again...anything with sour cream, cilantro and green chillies works for me. The whole meal though, did not agree with me at all and we ended up leaving early. It's not the spices, it's the fried.

Damned second half.

It was an easy and pleasant Sunday. We finally made the roast we were going to make on Saturday, made some beef stock to freeze, did a trial run baking xmas cookies, continued cleaning, did our 'before the week starts' laundry...and headed out to another friends' house to watch the Cowboys BEAT the Eagles - ooh rah!

In the very exciting - SECOND HALF - no less. :)
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Instant Gratification

I avoided the urge to impulse buy the Motorola Droid today when it went on sale at the Verizon store at 6am.

It wasn't easy.

I woke up at 5:30 and thankfully, I was extremely tired. It may have been what saved me. By the time I was fully awake and coherent, I had to take a few conference calls.

Still, I plotted and strategized (ew! hate when work buzz words find their way into my regular vocabulary) on how I could get to the store, do all the necessary contract agreements, rearrange my plan structure, activate the phone and bring it home with me...before my next slew of calls.

There isn't a lot more to it. I want that phone.

But I have had a lifelong habit of not thinking things through when it comes to finances. I have been a slave to instant gratification, much to the chagrin of my parents. They dutifully raised me to be cautious, plan, save...gave me an entire skill set (damn, did it again) of how to do these things right.

Once I flew the nest, however, I left it all behind. I moved to the United States and did my duty as a citizen to boost the economy. OH BOY did I boost the economy. When I wanted it, I got it...and I wanted everything...and I wanted it all RIGHT NOW.

In my weak defense, it was just amazing to me, all the excess, all the choices! Where I grew up overseas, my choices were limited to a few local shops and the nearest PX or Commissary. The Sears and JC Penny catalogues were like Christmas. But then I moved here...and there was just so much to choose from - why choose?

And then...reality. I owed more on 50 kinds of shampoos and stupid things I threw away than a new car. I owed more than the deposit on a starter home. And I had little to show for it.

It took me over 15 years to pay off that debt.

I drug out the old skill set - it was a hard lesson.

I still fight that battle almost every day. Even though I am in a much better financial situation than I have ever been in the past, with a lucrative job and more than enough, today I won. I did not succumb.

But I won today only by consoling myself that I can still have it...I'm just going to have to wait for it and make sure it's really what I want. Force myself to read user reviews post launch and make sure it's everything I want it to be.