A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ticket to Ride...

...to Japan.

It's official.

I'm headed to Tokyo.

Got my passport.  Got my ticket.  I'll be there for a little over a week.

My purpose for this trip is to see my son and daughter-in-law and (honestly) to meet my grandson, who will be a delightfully smooshy three-months old when I'm there.  They are my focus.

But I'm thrilled that - if they had to relocate somewhere - they chose a land for which I have a long-held admiration.

My appreciation for all things Japan started when my uncle - career Air Force - brought me two dolls from his time in Japan.  One was similar to this one,

and at the age of eight I was fascinated by its face, hair, clothes and especially the blue hairline.  I don't know what happened to it.  I think it broke at some time, but as an adult I found another one at a doll club sale.  It lives in my doll cabinet with the other Uncle brought to me - a Geisha style with a lamp.

Later in life I studied O Chado - which we call the Japanese Tea Ceremony - for three years.  I wasn't good at it.  Too fat to be graceful, and there were many cultural aspects to the practice that had not been part of my Western lifestyle as they had been part of the other students' (from flower etiquette to food preparation).  But I loved my teacher and I loved the meditative quality of the study.  I had to stop taking lessons when I went to work full time and now, twenty years later, frequently refer to the habits of focus when faced with a task.  ("Zen it out" is a phrase I concocted to remind myself to stay in the moment and work through something that seems endless.  Cut wood, carry water.)


I leave November 17.

It seems - at the same time - like an endless wait and a frighteningly short time to prepare for the trip.  I'm hoping to take Christmas gifts, belongings they left behind, baby presents.  In addition, I want to make gifts for my DIL's family.

Very glad I have this weekend to start the process.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

My mother is doing great!  She had some worrisome weeks fighting dehydration following her knee replacement surgery, but has recovered wonderfully and gets stronger every day.  She's exceeded the standard for range-of-motion and has been released from physical therapy.  We went out to dinner tonight and she is clearly walking better (standing taller) than she has in several years.  We are both looking forward to her return to Disneyland later next month.

School is going well.  So far I have few behavior problems.  We are on SEVERE budget restrictions, including limited copies, which has forced me to be creative in lesson planning.  I think - all whining aside - this will turn out to be a better teaching year for me than I've had for a long time.  Less paper, more hands-on.

My son and I are in the process of purging belongings.  Ebay, Craig's List, garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores are among the targets for 39 years worth of collectibles, Civil War costumes and just plain junk.  It doesn't look good for the sales part of the project, but I tell myself that if I can clear enough to move out of our storage unit (at $130 a month), that will be my financial gain.

$1500 a year is a trip to Tokyo to see my family.

No contest.

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