Friday, August 26, 2011

Flying Cats and Fines

I have been on a leave of absence from the U. Yesterday I had an advising meeting to see if I could come back this semester.



Knowing it would be a bear to find parking near the school, and being that my leg is still weak, Mom dropped me off at campus. I had about an hour to the appointment so I dropped off some [late] books to the library.



Then I went to wait the rest of the time at this inner courtyard of the building next to the SoA.



Out of the building doors came 5 Japanese students- 4 ladies and a guy. They had a box with them. In the box was some kind of game called “Cat-a-pult.” I’ve been trying to find this game online somewhere to find out what it is and maybe consider why Japanese students would be given it as an assignment, because this wasn’t the first time I have seen a group of Japanese students come out of that building with a Cat-a-pult box.



Anyways, I found a lot of links about catapults, that monster arm-like assistant to castle-storming and other age old fun pastimes. This is the only link I found to the specific game I am talking about; it’s a NY Times patent review of the game written in 2003, mentioning how difficult it is to describe this game.



Well, allow me to try.



From what I could tell, there are five catapult-like launching apparatuses. Instead of a bowl in which to place the ammunition, there is a… pedestal onto which fits a rubber cat figure. The front side of the catapult has a platform.



Nevermind, I found a video! Isn’t YouTube fantastic?







“Yay…” “Incredible!” “Slooooww motion.”



Laugh out loud!



Well, one of the Japanese girls caught me watching them try to figure out the game. She alerted the rest of the group to the surveillance and they waved at me! Please don’t tell my ninja group, they might disown me. All of a sudden I felt like a creeper amateur spy trying to use a book to hide the observing.



I waved back. I think they gestured an invite but I declined. It was enough to watch the cats flying through the air.

____________________________



I went to the advising appointment. It went well I think. I am a week behind everyone and still have to find a course that I can jump into and have it go towards the thesis. Easy piece, right? Sigh.



The SoA has a great Graduate Advisor at the moment. I mentioned having to pay off a library fine before I will be allowed to register and she had good info about how the fine should be reduced since I’ve returned the books.



So after the advising, I went to take care of that fine at the library. The lady at the office was very helpful and friendly through the matter as I had her check that the returned books were logged in, asked questions about how this might affect the fines, and apologized for all the hassle of helping me with my problem. The fine was reduced greatly and I had enough on hand to pay for the remaining total- thank God! It was a great load off of my nerves to be able to take care of that right away.



[Aside: if I find a book in the store that I want AND I can afford to buy it then, I buy it. I figure in my case, it’s cheaper than buying a wing of the library that will never be named after me.]



Next I went to another building where I thought the physical IT help desk was located. It wasn’t. So I stopped in at another office where the student worker helped me figure out where I needed to go. Turns out, I needed to go back to the library where I had just been! I went back and got that part taken care of also, which was that of having trouble accessing my U tools online. The student worker at the computer lab was able to help me out. It took no more than five minutes- thank God again!

____________________________



Later on, I headed on to the bus towards home.



Across the aisle sat one man, another man was seated in front of me facing the center. A woman sat next to the man across. The bus wasn’t crowded. After a couple stops, the woman moved to sit next to me. I thought maybe she’s like me, more comfortable sitting with another female and maybe she hadn’t seen me earlier when she first sat down.



As the bus approached a station, the guy across started… giggling (?) to himself. The man in front looked at him, then looked at us. I thought I might be hearing wrong as I had my iPod on, which I never have the volume very loud either. I turned it down and yup, the guy was laughing with himself.



He got off the bus at the station. The guy in front turned to us and motioned his hand towards his mouth, saying, “Smoking.” I’m thinking he meant that the giggler was probably on ice. Well, at least he kept to himself…?



Sigh.



Anyways, the bus ride was uncomfortable for my leg. If I sit up, my foot doesn’t reach the floor flat. If I make my foot flat on the floor, the slouching makes my back ache. I figure it’s better to keep my back okay- sorry leg.

____________________________



When I got home, I was physically exhausted. It felt good! Well, except for my leg. I think it went to sleep before the rest of me did. Getting closer to getting back into the gym!



Thank you for reading.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Sidekick

My favorite kitty is SEVEN years old!



Okay, well her birthday is actually sometime in June… I think… I know, I’m terrible with dates.



So, on a Sunday in 2004, Mom and I went to the Hawaiian Humane Society after church. Bad decision.



We went to the cathouse, my favorite area. Second bad decision.



I played with the kittens. Guess what? Third strike.



Charis came home with us.



We already had a cat, whom we had taken in when the owner, a friend of a friend, moved and couldn’t take Sweet Pea with her. I wasn’t supposed to bring any more four-legged animals home [I can always bring home fish- I’m partial to fighting fish].



Dad gave us the silent treatment for a day or so. Sorry Mom. It was completely my fault.



But Dad’s a softee so he warmed up to Charis quickly.



Charis has a very pungent scent when she gasses, which she used to do more often when she was new and thank goodness, not so much these days! [Because I’m sure you all wanted to know that part]. She paws the food bowl until something drops out and then eats it off the floor. She paws the water bowl also, as if she’s not sure there really is water there. When I have food to share, I ask her to “sit nicely, please” and she will sit down and wait for her little bit; otherwise she will beg and stare and try to get to the food herself.



The other year, Charis watched Eight Below with me. It was the first time seeing it for me. When the dogs chased the birds for food, Charis jumped onto my desk and followed the birds closely!



Anyways, what made me think of writing this are two pictures taken exactly 7 years apart.



This is Charis two days after we brought her home.







She fit in one hand and the mouse pad became a kitten pad. Look how her ears and paws are waiting for the rest of her to catch up!



Here she is 7 years later.







Doesn’t fit the mouse pad anymore but very often wants to be by my side. If she can’t get on my lap or on the chair with me, she will sit on the stool next to me. Sometimes, when the desk has a clear space, she will lie down there, still watching what I’m doing.



I had picked her out from among the other kitties at the Humane Society because of how the black markings of her face looks like a pulse indicator between her eyes- do you see it? It bottom part of the black goes across her cheek, then dips down and drives up high on her nose, then dips down above her left eye.... I thought it was an interesting look. And when I was very young I thought calicos looked pretty.



If she wasn’t such a scaredy-cat, I’d take her everywhere with me!



And I still love going to the HHS Cathouse, though it will be a long while before any kitties may come home with me again. If you are able to, please volunteer some time, adopt a pet, or make a donation to the Hawaiian Humane Society or the HS in your area so that these little ones and big ones can find care and a good home?



Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Now Cooking: String Beans

Is that one of my most boring titles ever? I think it might be. A post on string beans?! Yes.





I was at Daiei- oops, I meant to say Don Quixote the other day with Dad. While he picked up some treats for the doggie, I picked up some mushrooms. Next to the mushrooms were string beans. *Shrugged shoulders* why not? So I picked up a bag.



I’ve been looking to add more good stuff to my diet and my cooking “endeavors.” I thought of the string beans because I liked the Spring Bean Tempura from Genki Sushi.



Q1: Are “string beans” and “spring beans” the same thing?



Anyways, umm…. I don’t make sushi.



Neither do I know what to do with string beans.



But so what?



I looked up string bean recipes on the internet. I tend to think that searching recipes online is scary. What if I don’t have all the other ingredients? Should I go out and get the specified ingredients so that I can follow the recipe exactly? What if I don’t have the right cooking pots/ pans/ utensils? What if there’s a term or technique I don’t understand?



I don’t balk easily in the face of fear. Well, at least not when it comes to food.



On the first search page, I found a “Fail Proof String Bean Recipe.” As I read it, I felt more relieved. I didn’t have all the ingredients. I don’t care for diced tomatoes, for which the recipe specifies.



Yet many of the ingredients were the same as the spinach mushroom salad I already make quite frequently and it sounded easy to cook the beans.



I prepped the mushrooms and beans, then sautéed them together with garlic and a little bit of butter. Next came a little olive oil and tossing in the spinach. Once the spinach cooked down, it was ready [if you’d like more detailed steps, let me know- got it from a health show].



The s.b. recipe called for a squeeze of lime. I have no lime. I do have lemon juice that works well in the healthy fried chicken that I make so I splashed just a little over the spinach and stirred it in.







Verdict: the string beans were a great addition to the salad. They added a little complimenting flavor as well as provided something to pierce my fork into and pick up more salad with each bite- the mushrooms alone don’t really do the job for getting cooked spinach on the fork.



The lemon juice- skip it. Maybe it does need to be a lime. Or maybe it’s supposed to compliment the cooked wine that I didn’t use this time.



Here are the pics. Bon appétit.

















Thank you for reading.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In My Dreams, I Am a Fish

Okay, not an actual fish with gills, bubble eyes and a tail, but fish as in swimmer.



When I was very young, I loved going to the beach with my family. With my arms around his neck, Dad would go out to where he could stand with the water up to his chest. Next, he would hold my hands and pull me up to stand on his shoulders. Still holding Dad’s hands, I would bend my knees and… JUMP! However far I landed in the water with a splash, I would turn around and swim back to him. We did this over and over. It was my favorite game!



Later in life, when I got to Second College, I decided to mix in a little physical education with the required courses. Swim class was at 7:45 AM but it was the most appealing to me. I was a decent swimmer yet through this course, I learned more and better techniques and to challenge myself.



Ever since the swim course in college, I have often been swimming in my dreams.

____________________________



Today, I turned on the TV [I hardly watch the TV- I tend to watch shows over the internet nowadays]. Browsing through the programming schedule, I saw that some swimming thing was to show; it was the 2011 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships. Great! It was almost the top of the hour.



So I watched [it was a re-airing; the Nationals were from Aug. 2nd to the 6th]. The first meet I saw was the Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle event. The commentators featured a young Missy Franklin. If I remember correctly, they said she was 16 years old and had just gotten her driver’s license.



The interviewer asked something like, “Were you born to be an Olympian?” Franklin responded, with a little laugh from a huge smile, “I think I was born to do what I love to do… and that’s what I’m doing” [May not be an exact word-for-word quote, but you get the picture]. I thought that was a great answer from a 16 year old National contender.



Franklin came in first in the event with a time of 53.63 seconds.



My fastest 50 M was around the minute-20 seconds mark. I mean, that was my FASTEST. We had timed trials and our instructor kept a record, pushing/training us towards shaving off another 10 seconds off our time.



In comparison, Franklin can do a 50 M in under 27 seconds.



That’s why Franklin’s a National Champion and I’m not? Don’t I know it!

____________________________



Before taking the college swim course, I don’t know if I dreamed about being in the water so much if at all. If I did, I’m sure my swimming has changed.



If I’m not in the water yet, I can’t wait to be. When I’m in the water, I warm up a little. Then I’m swimming- stroke, stroke, stroke… take a timely breath… get into rhythm… stroke, stroke, stroke, breath… stroke, stroke, stroke, breath…



Pool or ocean. Stroke, stroke, breath…



Keep my head down. Stroke, stroke, breath… Even out the rotation. Stroke, stroke, breath… Reach my arm out to stroke, stroke, breath… Extend my toes out and kick while I stroke, stroke, breath…



Ahhhh….


You get the idea.



In one swim dream, I waited for a practice to be over and for people to leave. Then I was in the pool and stroke, stroke, breath… Someone was standing on the deck, watching me. My friend and fellow swimmer commented to another person, saying, “See how she favors her right side? She’s not fully rotating on her left.” Stroke, stroke, breath…
Oh how he knows me so well… *warm fuzzy*… okay, back to business… even out the rotation… Stroke, stroke, breath…

____________________________



That’s exactly what my swim instructor told me, that I don’t rotate all the way on the left side. And that’s the rhythm I chose as most comfortable to me. Some people like breathing only on one side but I like to even it out and breathe on both sides so I’m actually breathing while on every third stroke. Did I just confuse you?



It’s getting late. In the style of Edward Bloom in Big Fish, I’m drying out. Where’s my bed…?



Thank you for reading and please learn to swim safely!







P.S. By the way, those are guys in the photo, so no, I am not topless when I swim-sleep. Also, I enjoy swimming in real life as well- help me find a swim partner?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Postscript to a Post

First, the way that my entries post is that the newest one posted is on top. So if I post two entries on the same day, the one I post secondly that day will appear first on the homepage.

Second, I ought to have posted two entries today, this one and the one below. So I wrote this entry after another one and to be paired with that one, but I posted the two in the order in which I wrote them [are you totally confused yet?]. I was wondering if I should post them so that they will be read in the order in which I wrote them. I decided to purposely post them on the same day and in the order in which I wrote them so that they will read out of order if you have just clicked to the homepage and not to individual post links like one might get by RSS feed.



So, here is the Postscript.
____________________________

To anyone whom might read this,

If you have read the previous entry and are now reading this one, thank you.

If you have not read the previous entry and are now reading this one, it might be better if you continue reading this one first.

I don’t know what your reaction might be to the previous entry. If I had come across something like it- and I think I have, just in differing situations- I would think…

No, allow me be more direct.

I sat for a long time on writing any response to the person’s message to me. I thought every so often about whether or not I cared enough to respond in any way or if I did respond, whether or not I would want the person to actually read it.

I also sat on it because I was very hurt by someone in mostly little actions that have piled up into one big… silence and non-presence on my part. So the person might not think so, but I believe that I’ve tried many times before to deal with the individual little hurts as soon as it became apparent that something needed attention. I haven’t been able to in this circumstance and so I found myself wanting to bring up every little thing until that person gives any kind of answer to any one of them because the person hasn’t.

I know that I intended calmness, even when I was angry going into a meeting with this person. I know that in such circumstances, I tend to move in a cold, business-like manner. Yet with this person, I found myself unable to maintain such a manner and so I was in a shouting match. As soon as I catch myself in a shouting match, I shut down. I try to hear everything another person is saying but if I sense that I am not being heard, I stop talking.

And like I have said in the response, I’m not advocating for rampant offensiveness. My initial gut response was most likely more offensive than the posted response.

Indeed, I did write a response, not right away to the message, but about a couple weeks before this posting. I often have difficulty sleeping and one night my wandering thoughts brought me to this person. I got so angry! So I got out of bed and started writing something. I wanted to list all the things I was still hurting over, all the things for which I feel the person has not adequately responded.

The thing is, many of those things I had thought I had given up to God and forgiven the person. I suppose part of the reason why those offenses still bother me is because I never told the person that I had forgiven. I had a chance to, I had the intention to, a specific moment when I could have… and backed down from doing so.

I’ve asked myself why I backed down. I heard somewhere that forgiveness is a gift one gives to oneself. Not forgiving is like drinking poison while expecting the other person to die.

Anyways, the response you did read, while I wrote it I began to soften, to allow the anger to melt into sadness for a botched friendship. I suppose it’s what people call “catharsis.” If nothing comes out of this, I know that I am going to be okay. If something comes out of this, like a renovated friendship, great. I’m not sure which outcome I should wish for more.

I also toyed with trying to write something like this but in a not-so-direct manner. I found it difficult to do so.

I dwell much on the quote shared in the response: Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. I see it in so many situations. I try to catch the word/action disconnect in myself whenever possible.

One example that I’ve been working on but struggling with is to love my parents better. I have come to believe that obedience is love. I’ve written earlier this year that I am a strong-willed child, so one can imagine how tough obedience is coming to someone who has practiced the opposite for decades. But I love my parents, I really do. I have two good parents and I know how blessed I am to have them. Yet I am constantly catching myself behaving as if I don’t love them.

Okay, I think I’m starting to ramble.

Short path: I was hurt by someone and angry with the person. I am trying to forgive the person. I think one could read the softening of my anger between the lines of the response as it went on. Main point- if you care about someone, do what you can to let them know that you do. How many times? As often as possible.

I think that main point is applicable to anyone, and so I went ahead and posted the response. I’ll probably come back to that point often in future posts. It’s a huge motivation for myself. It has motivated me more so in recent times to do more things that I don’t want to do if it might help someone sense my care of them.

Anyways, I’m just… shaking my head about a great many things, one of the reasons why I feel so displaced. What’s it all for, God? I used to have the vision but for the first time in my life the word “impossible” is starting to creep in….

Sigh. Well, thank you for reading.

A Note to Somebody

Dear “Friend,”

You recently sent a message and here is the reply: I wonder if we were ever truly friends in the first place and so it might be best that you and I part ways. Entirely.

You’d like more explanation? I will try.

You and I must have very different ideas about what it means to be a friend or to call someone “friend.”

It’s not so much that we’ve had good times and we’ve had tough times. It’s that you and I both handle such times differently in a way that doesn’t seem to keep you and me together. I don’t mean “together” like always together; I have some great friends that are elsewhere and we barely keep it touch yet we are still friends. I have some good friends whom I’ve never seen more than once a week at the most and yet we are still friends.

Plus, you and I have huge communication problems. Normally, I would not have posted this in such a semi-public place yet I’ve tried other ways. I don’t know what to do. And maybe someone else stumbling on this might learn something. I don’t know. I don’t seem to be able to get your attention adequately when we “talk” in-person. I don’t know that I want to be in-person with you.

Would you like me to point to something more specific? Something which might give you a better idea of a possible direction?

I could choose from a list of things from the past but let me start with your message. This is how I read it…

You said, “I know our relationship is strained.” Okay, you know. So what? You haven’t done anything about it so I don’t believe that you care. That’s fine. I know you have more important relationships to take care of. I can’t make anyone care about me. When you and I have been strained in the past, I didn’t know what to do but I made efforts. If this should occur between you and someone else and you don’t know what to do or what you’re doing isn’t working, get a clue. Ask someone. Best advice I can give, ask the very person with whom you are strained. Do something.

You said “I don’t want [our strained relationship] to come between you and [our friend].” Well, I’m sorry but it does. I’ve been trying not to let it either but relationships are messy. How would you like it if someone who hurt you started to date your best friend? And the thing is that I knew you could make a compatible couple a long time ago; if you had gotten together back then, things might have been better. Well, maybe and maybe not. Who knows? Add to that the way you handled it made me think that you don’t trust me and I guess you don’t. There are a lot of things I stopped trusting you with over time so I suppose we’re even.

And as nice as it was for you to pray for my leg, I have been to church once this year. Yes, that has to do with myself, but also if you were such a concerned friend, you should be praying for my spiritual healing. I could go to hell with a broken leg just as easily as I could go to heaven.

The other time when you said you were praying for my dad, my dad wasn’t concerning me as much as other things and so it’s nice that you prayed for him but it showed that you did not know for what I would’ve wanted prayed.

If you knew me as someone who used to be fervently seeking God’s will and striving to become ever more obedient to his will, it should make you sad/ concerned/ bewildered/ [something] that I no longer seem to be doing so.

You think that being polite and “respectful” is more important than the spiritual welfare of your friend? So you don’t say anything or do anything when that person doesn’t seem to want to talk about it? Well, your friend could drown spiritually.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “[9] Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. [10]For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”

It doesn’t really matter who you think is there for your friend. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. Maybe they’re helpful and maybe they’re not. If YOU care for someone, YOU show it. For all the negative things between your friends and I, for all the times I’ve said how on my own I feel or how far my friends are and the like, and that one time when you asked me if I had someone, a friend, and I had shrugged in answer because I had no answer…

With all the other times I felt like I was talking to no one while you sat next to me…


Love takes offense. Caring takes offense. True friendships take offense. Jesus was/is offensive to people. I’m not saying go around being intentionally offensive all the time. I’m not saying be a reputable jerk. I am advising to learn not to use offensiveness so sparingly. And learn to use offense wisely- something I am trying to learn.

I am certain that you are going to take offense to this note. Well, so what? Will it matter? I’ve tried in so many ways to tell you and show you that you mattered to me. If you didn’t understand that, if you didn’t receive it as that, well….

I admit, sometimes I’ve confused you in that caring. I was confused at times also so that tends to make me confusing. I am sorry and there’s nothing I can do to erase that. I don’t know if there is something to do to make up for the confusion I caused. Maybe it doesn’t matter anymore as you seem to have had a certain question answered for you. I still apologize because I should have known better than to be confused.

It’s not for lack of trying to receive your care. Years ago I’ve learned that I ought to look for signs of care in ways unconventional to my own or I might miss it entirely. And sometimes I ought to demonstrate my care for someone in the way in which they might best receive it, not in the way that I am best at giving it.

You have tried. I have tried. At this point, I don’t believe that you care. At this point, I’m tired of making a move. At this point, you might think that I don’t care.


And the saddest thing about all of this, I believe, is that a mutual love of God and his son Jesus alone should have been able to… I don’t exactly know what… help us sustain a friendship? If that mutual love had been true in you and I. You and/ or I got in the way.


And I’m not saying that it would be your fault if your friend drowned, but how much better would it be to be there for your friend either way, whether they do drown or not? There are too many things that none of us can control.


What this all comes down to at this point is… there is a quote that comes to my mind. I’m not sure who originated and I can’t find the source where I first came across it, but it goes, “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

You’ve said a lot of nice sounding things over the years that I don’t believe because of lack of action in this case. “We’re still friends…” “I’ll defer to your leadership…” “I apologize for gossiping about you…” I’m telling you directly now that your actions, from my point of view, have said otherwise.

A lot of these kinds of “lessons” are ones that I’ve picked up from others. I’m not saying anything that I haven’t learned myself or that I try to keep in my own mind. I’m not telling you anything that I am not echoing back to myself. I don’t think I am very wise.


You once asked me, “Where do we go from here?” My answer this time is, “Wherever you want to go, go.”


Signed,
“Friend”