My phone, your phone, iPhone

I actually had to research spelling of iPhone…because I don’t have one. Hopelessly out of touch. But that’s so negative. How about, I am not a sheep. I never follow the crowd.

My hair does not follow the trend in favor of straight. Curls for me since I was little. I have never found the appeal in looking like everyone else. When I was a teenager in high school I sewed my clothes. I was not a seamstress of the premium level so my clothes may have spoken to that, but I didn’t care. I stood out. No other girl had my outfit on. Mission accomplished.

Now, phones. Mine is a Great Call flip phone. Meant for senior citizens. Big numbers. Not until last night did I ever feel hopelessly out of touch. But then we went bowling. I took the Groupon with me that I had dutifully printed out at home with great expectations. My expectations were dashed. There in the bowling alley the woman announced that my print out was null and void. My copy did not show a bar code, AND, fine print explained I was to use my smart phone. Smart? So, I suppose that means I am in possession of a dumb phone.

I use my cell phone for making outgoing calls, taking incoming calls, and not much else. There is, somewhere, a method by which I can actually text. What if I don’t want to text? Features like texting are remarkably useless to me. My cell only goes off with an incoming call when I’m driving or in class running a lesson. That’s it. The height at which my lifeline operates. I do have a school director in charge of quite a number of students and teaching staff. I will give her credit for that. Every so often she feels she needs to call me and her conversation to me is punctuated with, “Cyndi can…(kids talking to her) you bri…(bad connection)…no the res…(parents talking to her)…see yo…okay?” What?

I took on ownership of my cell in ’05 after a scare on the highway. My family insisted. I relented. And here I am with a dumb phone. I hate, hate, hate (enough loathing?) hearing phones going off in the workplace. You’re at work, hello! But perhaps even more than my aversion for phones going off, is the visual of folks walking around holding their blessed phone at the horizontal. So cute. People walking side-by-side presumably friends or family, but they are not in conversation with one another, too busy admiring their phone…and looking down. Ugh.

To Languish

I may be premature. I have been in the past.

There is a distinct possibility that my son Lance, his wife Yume, and their children will return to Japan. Permanently.

They have been living in Sacramento, three years, and by all accounts they have taken up residence with contentment. Yume has even been known to remark how much she enjoys California. Three years and the commentary is now all about the extent to which my daughter-in-law is very homesick. I am aware that she has been there before. Each wave of homesickness met with a more calm and quiet resolve to enjoy her present circumstances and ride it out. Maybe this wave will be the last. Maybe this wave will prove to firm up her mindset to return to Japan.

Who should know better than I what it is to possess resolve? What it is to be homesick. What it is to collapse from languish. I lived for nine years in a foreign country. The country called Oklahoma. Brutal weather and accents so thick that at times I couldn’t make out what the conversation was all about. Painful. They don’t even have an ocean in Oklahoma. Wha? My 20+ years of keeping time with the tide while I frequented my favorite sandy spots along the coast was the joy of a beach girl. A transplanted beach girl not coping well.

It isn’t necessary that I go into all the details. All the minutiae. Keep in mind my favorite movie is The Wizard Of Oz. There’s no place like home.

I don’t wish that brand of languish on Lance’s wife. When their second baby is born next June, I will be at their place once Yume is discharged from the hospital. I will lend a hand with all the cleaning, laundry, and errands while she breastfeeds, and tries for a post-maternity nap.

This gesture on my part may serve to alleviate some of her homesickness. Or not. And if they go through with their plans to move to Japan, so be it. I know what it is to languish in a foreign country.

Plane tickets at $2,000, round trip, are looking like reality to us. All of my vacations centered on designating when I can work around my jobs. I have never met Yume’s mom. Her folks were not at the wedding. No. If Lance and co. do make the move, my change jar will have to grow exponentially to support visits…and meet her family. And rid the atmosphere of any vestige of languish.



Raising Arizona

There is a hilarious movie our entire family enjoys. Raising Arizona starring Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter. Too damn funny!

Work’s what’s kept us happy.” Is the line coming from a recent prison escapee. It’s funny and simultaneously accurate to the “T” for me.

Work is a gift. Jobs are a boon. For more than just monetary reasons.  I hold 3 jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area…for monetary reasons…and sanity. Everything I involve myself in carries a great deal of meaning. I can not stay home exclusively anymore. Did that with two small children for eleven years. My “kids” are fully grown and entirely on their own. They do not call us for money because they have more than we have. Ha!

The line from the movie was written for me. I am happiest in the workplace. I have recently emailed a family member explaining that I do best with strangers, acquaintances, students and coworkers. Family is, well, family. I was not able to pick my parents. I would have certainly picked a different pair. So, it stands. Work it is.

And ya know, I do not keep track of miles driven each day I am on my way to work. Likewise, I do not keep track of gallons pumped each time I pull into the gas station. Why would I? Neither type of tracking will determine if I continue working at such a distance from home. The end of my breathing will determine that.

Kept us happy…


Tompall Glaser

The artist responsible for singing the popular song about throwing logs on a fire and keeping company with your sister. Well, it’s not really popular with my husband, but what does he know of appreciation for the finer things? Though he did marry the Queen. Not sure why my husband deems it unfit to join in chorus. I did not know there was any such thing as a country artist not producing good music. By definition, I thought it was all good. Like mom and dad and apple pie.  (I prefer lemon meringue. Tart and sweet at  the same time…you can’t go wrong with a pie that boasts yellow)

This song shot to the public’s attention back in the 70s. It was a joke. Meant to be humorous. And I thought it was. Irreverence scores with me. Others objected to it, but what did they know of appreciation for the finer things?

Put another log on the fire… so goes the opening line. Not to be outdone by, Go out to the car, and lift it up and change the tire.

Keep in mind this isn’t a man speaking to his teenage son, rather, a man issuing instructions to his beleaguered wife.

Now don’t I let you wash the car on Sunday. Don’t I warn you when you’re gettin’ fat.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I have buy-three-get-a-fourth free car wash coupons with Six Flags Car Wash. So the crew at Six Flags is doing the work. I don’t mind putting a log on the fire, and I do so readily…if I want to be warm…hate winter. Definitely will not lift up the car to change a tire. I have never possessed upper body strength. And I can’t afford to mess up my manicure. OPI in “Lucky Lucky Lavender”.

And, getting fat! Ha!! There are just some things I don’t do. That’s one of them. Tap dancers look best doing time steps without excess weight.

I will teach a new session of tap classes beginning the 12th. I am leaning toward introducing the class to this piece of music. I think we can time step to it as we contemplate going  fishin’ and fillin’ his pipe.

Everything Is Sweet

So says my daughter-in-law, Yume.

She moved to the states from Japan four years ago, in time to marry my oldest son, Lance. They are quite the couple. They have added another member to the family in the form of their son, Ewan. Lots of people say this about their grandchildren, that they are so cute, and smart (ad nauseum) but my claim happens to be accurate. Ewan is the embodiment of cute factor and sharp brain function.

Yume and Lance decided to go for #2. Another baby is on the way for an appearance in late May/early June.

Discomfort. This is all Yume knows at this point. Giant waves of morning sickness. When they arrived for Christmas, I had arranged cookies in two plates where they sat on the dining table. Sweets make Yume sick. Okay, I blew that one. In fact, Lance shared with me that Yume is finished with the American diet. Sick of all the sweet food. Everything Americans eat is laden with sugar. So it seems to her. And I don’t argue with that. I have had a Taiwanese student and three Chinese students echo the sentiment.

Fortunately, I had the presence of mind (no small feat) to prepare (and I cook three dishes a year) my favorite. Tortilla soup. Yume enjoyed the departure from sweet.

Being that my foray into the kitchen to actually cook something is a monumental occurrence, I was happy to provide a dish Yume could savor without the requisite American component. Tortilla soup does not come sweet.


A Warning

Driving home from work. Going 80 on the freeway. The familiar lights on the car immediately behind me did not bode well. I pulled over and began to retrieve the insurance verification and the car registration from my glove box. The officer stepped up to the passenger side of my car and knocked on the window.

“Yes, officer?”

He asked, “Didn’t you see me driving beside you?” It was 8:00 in the evening and dark. I explained to him that I tend to drive facing straight ahead turning my head only while making lane changes. So, no, I didn’t notice him to my left.

“I drive beside motorists as a warning, usually the motorist slows down when they see me.” He said.

Okay, officer, but I have already explained the method with which I drive…and I was listening to Roy Orbison…really loud.

The admonition was clear. Slow down, Cyndi. Before I went on my way and he went on his, the officer left me with one more word of warning. He mentioned that had he been highway patrol (he represented City of Oakley police) I would have been slapped with a $865 fine. I was let go with a warning. Merry Christmas.