January 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
The tears are rolling down my face as I write this.
I’m not quite sure how to deal with the news.
‘I’ve never had the feeling come so strong before and I know I must do this,’ Mother said to me over a cup of tea, several days ago. We had just returned from our trip back to Japan and Obachan’s health (although vastly improved when we visited her) had deteriorated. ‘Ever since Uncle Shintaro passed away… Obachan has had no one to care for her. Paying for a full-time nurse is different. There’s no personal touch. I am her only daughter and I must do this. I want to do this.’
I thought she meant some time in the future.
But today, she handed in her resignation at work.
Because sometime in April, Mother is moving to Japan for an indefinite period of time to care for Obachan.
I have never in my whole life been apart from Mother.
Every time I encountered a problem, had some good news or wanted an honest opinion, Mother was there. And when I had to leave for a trip urgently and the household was in shambles, Mother picked up the pieces after me.
I know she’s doing the right thing.
I know Obachan needs her and that Mother is a mere phone call away.
I know these things… but who else knows me inside out like her?
‘I’m being selfish, aren’t I… wanting Mother to stay back just for me…’ I sniffled in the Dream Maker’s arms tonight. ‘But I can’t help it. I suddenly feel so lost.’
He just hugged me tighter, enveloping me with His arms of love.
‘What am I going to do when she’s gone? Who will I run to? Will I get used to her empty room?’ I wailed.
‘Look, when the time comes, you’ll be fine.’ He wiped my tears away. ‘You’ll handle everything spectacularly.’
‘How do you know? I’ve had to be an adult, yes… I’ve had to do my share of adult things… but I’ve always had the time away to be a child again when she was around. I’m not sure I can be an adult without her.’
‘Hey…’ the Dream Maker said, ‘Her blood runs in your veins. Everything you see in her – her resilience, her wisdom, her strength – it’s all inside you. And when the time comes for you to rise up, you will. It’s in your very person to shine.’
I shook my head. It wasn’t just about me and whether I could cope.
Mother was my comforter, a blanket of assurance I wrapped myself in every time life dealt me a cold blow. I wanted to be mothered.
‘It’s her season to be mothered, and to care for her mother in return. Let her go. And love her while she’s still around… for you to freely express your heart to. Don’t let the loss consume the life that remains. It will be good…’ He whispered into my ear.
I sighed. Then wiping my tears, I stood a little straighter and managed a smile.
I will determine to show her an expression of my love every single day with something new. I want her to go knowing she’s loved deeply… that she’ll be missed greatly…
And that somehow, she needn’t worry about what she leaves behind because like her, I will be independent and take care of everything in this household while she’s away. I can.
And for my mother, I will.
I’ll miss you mummy.
[Footnote: For those who work with her, please don’t disclose her decision till she herself makes the announcement. I think she’ll like it that way.]
January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
‘I did it! I learnt how to rip my dvds and change their formats… and damn, it feels good.’ I leaned back on my chair with great satisfaction.
‘Is it easy to do?’ Jap Girl looked up from her work.
‘Yep, all I needed was to download Handbrake and follow the steps… now all I have to do next is figure out how I’m going to transfer all my cassette tapes into mp3 tracks… and I’ll be king!’ I laughed.
‘I noticed that about you… you like learning things,’ she said.
‘Do I? I mean, is it that obvious?’ I asked.
‘Oh yeah, you seem to get a thrill out of reading manuals, forums and seeking out solutions for little problems.’
She was right of course, I really do get excited when I find out how to do something new. It’s almost exhilarating.
‘But doesn’t everyone like learning? I mean, when you figure out some technical shit, or manage to solve issues with a little research, don’t you feel good?’
‘Not really, no.’ Jap Girl smiled, ‘I’d rather get someone to figure out the stuff for me, and then do it for me. Or at most, teach me. I think you like to set yourself little mountains to conquer… you are competitive that way.’
‘What? Me? Competitive?!’ I looked at her with feigned horror. ‘I am so NOT competitive!’
‘Oooh yes, you are!’ Jap Girl laughed loudly. ‘That you cannot deny.’
But I shall. I really never figured myself out to be someone with a competitive edge. But learning? Yes, that gets to me. I am so hungry for more, to learn more… and every single night, I want to go to bed satisfied having known, tasted or experienced something new. I think it just keeps me young.
After all… weren’t we all sponges when we were little? The world was fresher, its colours crisper, the sounds more resonant. It was as though life was all new, every single morning. And that is how I want to greet each day, with that sense of awe at how little I know… and how small and finite I am in it.
‘I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.’
– Henry David Thoreau
I’ve finally begun the tedious process of transferring all my Japanese language tapes (from the 80s, mind you) into Garageband, and thereafter, into my iPod.
Because my dear friends… I am finally doing what I wanted to do in 2010. I am going to learn to speak in my mother tongue. Imagine the world that will open up to me, the stories I’ll hear… and of course, the wonderful secret language that Jap Girl and I will finally have.
It’s divinely schoolgirl-ish.
Of course, not a single bit on the language tapes makes much sense to me right now, but I have this idea that if I play the tapes while I sleep, osmosis will take place and I’ll wake up with a new language, ready for use, on the tip of my tongue.
Okay fine. I can dream, can’t I?
Many thanks to DigiBoy who lent me his cable. He’s always been awesome that way, being the techinical-god who had the patience to answer my technically naive questions. Then again, he was the one who asked me if there was only space for one person on the top of mountains…
‘Because mountains have peaks, right? And peaks end at a point… so does that mean only one person can stand there at a time? And if so, does the entire group have to take turns to summit?’
DigiBoy… you are such a spot of sunshine in a sometimes grey world.
‘Why are your eyes so red and puffy?’ I asked the Designer.
‘Oh… I slept late last night,’ he sheepishly grinned.
‘What were you doing?’
‘I got this new software and was teaching myself to draw feathers in 3-D, you know, stroke by stroke, that sort of thing. And then to animate the feathers to move as they would when the wind blows.’ He answered, turning his computer screen to face me. ‘Look!’
‘Why are you doing this?’ I asked. He was already swamped with work and I was curious about his latest project.
‘Oh… no real reason. I just wanted to figure out how to use the software,’ he shrugged. ‘You know… just in case.’
I smiled. So maybe I wasn’t the only one.
‘I have finally figured out how we can catalogue our entire props collection!’ Scooter Girl hollered. ‘I am so excited! It’s the same system I implemented in my new home. I think it can work… now I just need to go to the hardware store to get the drawers I need.’
‘Erm… you enjoy cataloging the stuff?’ I smirked.
‘Yes, of course! I can’t stand the mess. And I always want a system that I can manage in place…’ she continued, staring at her excel spreadsheet. ‘What I need to know now, is how to monitor the borrowing process… hmm…’
I retreated quietly to my corner of the office and began to chuckle.
‘You know what?’ I tapped Jap Girl on her shoulder. ‘I think you do like to learn…’
‘What do you mean?’ she asked.
‘You just don’t like to read manuals and stuff… but you are so curious about the world and what you see. You learn from observing life. Your learning isn’t quantified by knowledge alone. You do it every time you ask the questions that people only think, but never say. You however, just voice them out. And because of that, you learn. Just in a different way…’
‘Maybe…’ she smiled.
‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.’
– Albert Einstein
What about you?
Are you a knowledge-starved person too?
January 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
‘Hey, I’m gonna be late.’ I told the Manager. ‘I erm… got stuck in my jeans and it took me 20 minutes to get out of it.’
‘What in the… how?!’ Came her reply.
‘Well… I took out an old pair of jeans and tugged them up. They’re old… I wore them 13 years ago, and I didn’t know the zipper was gonna get busted! So after ten minutes of trying to fix it while I still had them on, it took us another ten minutes to erm… cut myself out of them.’
Not only did I want to die of embarrassment, I was mortified that I couldn’t slip into that lovely old pair anymore.
Sheesh. Who else gets stuck like that at eight in the morning?
‘It’s a deal then,’ I smiled at Jap Girl.
‘You’re on…’ she chuckled before leaving the office.
Yesterday, we’d planned on being ditsy the whole day, all through our meetings. It was the only way we could think of, to cope with the avalanche of work that’s been pouring down on us since the new year began.
Sadly, we forgot all about our deal. The busyness was more than we could keep up with and at the day’s end, we turned to each other.
‘Did you remember our pact?’ I asked.
‘Yes… I did. But everyone looked so serious, it just seemed… inappropriate.’ She replied.
And so, the new year has begun. With busted jeans and busted promises.
I just got to remember that this is MY year that’s dripping with abundance.
(or dripping with buttons, as I mis-heard Jap Girl say, during lunch).
January 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
Ever had the ‘chills’ when you listened to a song?
Well, it seems like music could quite possibly function as a drug for some people. In a recent study published by Nature Neuroscience, they found that music can increase the dopamine levels in your brain (like how you feel after having that delicious dessert you’d been craving for) and certain tracks – from classical to rock – actually causes you to feel that wonderful ‘shiver’ down your spine.
In the study conducted with 26 individuals, their emotional arousal (monitored via a brain thing-a-majig… not anything else!) was documented and their top 40 hits can be found here.
I’m not surprised that some of my all-time top bands were on the list. And at the same time, pleased that these scientists have a wonderfully diverse playlist.
Yes, I am a music junkie. And now we know why. Take a listen to some of my personal favourites.
1. Lamb – Angelica (electronic)
2. Explosions In The Sky – First Breath After Coma (post-rock)
3. Led Zeppelin – Moby Dick (rock)
4. Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake (classical)
5. Ennio Morricone (Film score for Kill Bill)
6. Steve Vai – Beethoven’s 5th (rock/metal)
7. Tiesto – Adagio For Strings (trance)
8. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond (rock)
9. Dave Matthews Band – #34 (rock)
10. John Williams – Across The Stars (film score for Star Wars)
When I think about how music has the power to cause such reactions in people… is a wonder then, that the importance of harnessing this power to create dreams becomes all the more important to me, and what I do?
Dream Maker… you know what makes people tick. Cause me to hear that heartbeat – yours and the people’s – and to create landscapes upon which they too, can paint their own visions for tomorrow.
January 10, 2011 § 1 Comment
We got re-wired today.
The internet connection now is faster than I’ve ever experienced (fibre-optics, anyone?) and I’m blissed out with the fact that I don’t ever have to wait for another youtube video to download again. Then, a niggling worry began at the backside of my brain…
‘Does that mean you’ll get used to never having to wait?’
In a world filled with queues… That is not good news. You see.. waiting taught me to slow down, to breathe, and most importantly, to limit the number of pages I wanted to load at one go. Now, I’m not hindered by anything other than my physical limitations. Ahhh… But that’s a worry for another day. In the meantime…
‘Give me something new…’ I snuggled up the Husband. It was time for a re-load. Music-wise, that is.
‘What do you want?’ He scrolled through his massive iTunes database. The house was finally quiet and we were in bed, his laptop glowing softly in the darkened room.
‘Oh… I don’t know. I’m in the mood for some good song-writing,’ I replied. ‘I don’t need to explore post-rock music for now, I think I have enough of those… but something that you know, grabs you. Makes you listen. Makes you feel. Makes you… identify with the singer…’
‘How about John Grant?’ He asked. ‘His album is a little sad but it made me feel…’
I raised my eyebrows with interest. It’s rare for The Husband to connect emotionally with a song and if something hit that heart-nerve, I was interested.
‘JC Hates Faggots? Queen of Denmark? Chicken Bones? Erm… he sounds angry.’ I said, scanning the album titles.
‘Well… he is gay. Maybe he’s been hurt before by the religious folks. Or his dad.’
I got that album and spent some time reading through his lyrics. The Husband was right… it was all dismally sad, angry and sarcastic. But more than that… it brought me in to the singer’s journey in this world. And I realised that there is no difference in one’s sexual makeup.
‘I wish that confidence was all you could see in my eyes, like those interviews in locker rooms with talented sport guys. I wish I had no self-awareness like the guys I know float right through their lives without a thought. And that I didn’t give a shit what anybody thought of me. That I was so relaxed you’d think I was bored. I’m sorry that they didn’t hand it to me on a silver platter, like they did to you. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to become the man you think I should aspire to.’
– John Grant
We, like Grant, are just looking for two things: acceptance in a world that divides itself with thick black lines, and… love.
When you have everything at your fingertips… what do you choose to listen to? What do you fill your eyes with? What do you want to taste? What do you want to feel?
Walking to the train station this morning, I was busy scrolling through my music when I realised I wasn’t alone.
‘Come away with me…’ the Dream Maker said.
‘Where to?’ I asked.
‘Does it matter? As long as we’re together…’
I smiled. And followed Him.
It was time for me to hide myself in His arms.
It was time for a spot of re-loving.
I don’t want to forget that language again, ever.
‘Every morning you wake up, He’s there, waiting to affirm you. To be the voice of affirmation. Because it doesn’t matter how many times you hear others compliment you… once you hear a negative remark, there’s something in our psychological makeup that causes us to hear that negative voice louder than anything else. And that is why we need to hear Him again, and again. We need to be reminded of how much we’re loved, every single day. We need to be reminded how much we’ve been made accepted…’
– The Big Boss, Jan 9, 2011
And within His book of love letters to me lies the greatest treasures – the story of His love for me, detailed page after page. Unabashed at His devotion, unashamed of His sacrifice for me, unhampered by what others might think… the Dream Maker seeks me out to tell me what I need to hear, again and again.
And oh, how I need reminding.
January 8, 2011 § 4 Comments
If you ever get one, spend the cash on a good artist. And dear god… do spend good time deliberating on what will soon become a permanent mark on your skin.
But… in celebration of the bad and ugly, I’ve compiled a few favourites off the internet… just for fun. Happy reading!
‘Got this rad tattoo after I got this hot chick’s number. Check it out.’ He says. ‘NOTE: numbers blurred for obvious reasons.’
I checked. I choked.
Die-hard Britney fan.
Bad lyrics and generic blonde who doesn’t look like Britney included.
Young boy comes home one day and says, ‘Look Mom! I got a free tattoo!’
And we wonder why it was free?
It’s a skull and flames… by the way. In case you couldn’t quite figure out what it was…
A man with an obvious love for mutant animals… Large-nosed tiger with dinosaur claws and something weird beneath it’s face… what in the world is that?
I hope he got a free Happy Meal for that.
Not a bad likeness.
Except… that’s Jimi Hendrix.
And is it supposed to be blood or jam?
Now… here’s something that I actually liked.
Taken from the Pixies classic track (that some days, really describes me at work).
Moral of the story?
Choose a design carefully, search for a good artist and pay him (or her) well.
It’ll be worth it.