I’m here

I came to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for my son’s wedding. It’s been worth it. I listened to my Wings lose to the Rangers, with ice cream flavored oreos in a nice hotel room instead of at home with plain oreos.

Traveling was rough, no matter how well planned when there’s a 13 hr nonstop flight in the mix. I have a flat Indian butt, like the Princess in Princess and the Pea, I can feel it no matter what. I squirmed and shifted in my seat over several countries and the International date line. It took me nearly 2 days to adjust to the time difference, climate and the idea my child was going to be somebody’s husband. 

There was a lot going on, manoeuvring not just me but his 3 friends from OK. 2 of them have never traveled outside the US and none of us speak Vietnamese. When he took us out for bun bo hue (like pho) we recreated the cover of the Abbey Road album, all in line following Bear across the streets. He looked like a mama duck with 4 confused and slightly terrified baby ducks behind.

Tokyo Narita airport 

Saigon jewelry store, took this before security told me I couldn’t take pictures 

Indoor market stalls. 

Oanh told me Bear got his hair cut here, blue sign with gold scissors.

The church Nha Tho Nguyen Duy Kang

Some of Bear’s friends, including the Oklahoma Three

On the road to the bride’s village 

Food was good 

Karaoke list. 

Views from rooftop cafe and from my balcony 

Getting ready 

I’m flying to Saigon in 2 days. I’ve planned for this, had those plans changed, thwarted and planned again. 

I’ve learned how much can be stuffed into a suitcase and been amazed. I learned that suitcase is heavy as heck and might need to be emptied a little so I can move it. The wheel really is the greatest human invention, especially those tiny ones. It’s up there with spandex. 

I’m going to see my son and attend his wedding. There’s a lot of emotion in that sentence. I know his dad would be proud and thrilled and anxious. Bear admitted he can hear his dad’s voice in his head sometimes, and remembers little things he used to say. He also admitted he doesn’t think about his dad every day like he used to, but he misses him especially now.

I’m bringing stuff from home, things Bear can’t find in Vietnam. Most of the stuff he asked for is American food like grits and my suitcase has a substantial grocery section. 

Family members are sending gifts, small ones fortunately. I’m also taking a few presents for my future in-laws. I was able to tuck most of them into the suitcase and make it fit somehow; it looks like Tetris.

My clothes and personal stuff are in the 2 carryons. It’s interesting how a pair of jeans can fold down to a tight little cube. Also how that cube can explode and nearly hit you in the eye when you open that bag to stuff in a pair of socks.

Since most of this stuff is staying there I’ll have room for souvenirs. A couple of co-workers collect shot glasses and I promised to bring some back. But the main space is going to be full of strawberry, blueberry and coconut oreos. 

There are a few things to do before I leave. I still have a load of laundry, a trip to the bank to let them know any charges coming from Vietnam will be legit and to let them go through. I also need to have at least one more diet cherry limeade from Sonic. My sister is going to look after Porkchop and the house, because Porkchop can’t open cans. Yet. 

Another thing I’m taking with me is family pictures, old ones I’ve found in photo albums and saved on my phone and a USB. 

Yoga

I have done The Yoga for a few years, off and on. There is still a lot I don’t know or understand. There are a few things I have learned.

What I think of when I say  “The Yoga.” But this isn’t yoga, sorry.

Nearly anyone can do yoga, if they really want to try. There’s seated or chair yoga, yoga for senior citizens, pregnant women and kids. I started when I was over 200 pounds, clumsy and terribly self conscious. I was fortunate enough to have a gentle and wonderful teacher who knew what she was doing, allowed us to modify or even skip poses and offered encouragement to everyone. She also told us stories about her cats. 

Nobody cares how deep you can bend, how high you can lift your leg or even what you look like during class.  No, that’s not absolutely true; some people are judgemental but they are the minority. Most aren’t there to compare themselves to others and those who are will not last very long unless they change their mindset. That’s usually those chicks up front who come to class in $100 yoga pants and makeup

Yoga is physical but it’s mostly mental. Consciously thinking about your breathing is more important than pushing your body harder. There is something incredible that happens when you finish the final pose. Your head is clear and your mind is charged and refreshed. It’s probably the extra oxygen. I’ve felt better after a walk but it doesn’t compare to the combination of calm and energy after yoga. 

Yoga will change your body. You may be lucky enough to lose weight but you won’t get a yoga body like on Pinterest. Unless you are built that way. It’s not going to change your height, bone structure or body type. You will look and feel better, and be more toned over time but you won’t look like a ballerina if you have an Elmer Fudd body. I know this from bitter experience.

Speaking of body, yours may do something embarrassing.  You might, you will pass gas. It may happen in a crowded class that is silent except for the sound of breathing. Because your body is feeling loose and there’s movement in your breath your body will feel relaxed and comfortable enough to let go a little. If it happens in that crowded class keep going. No one will speak up, class will go on, you will live and if it is really crowded it is possible that no one will know it was you. I’ve been in classes where someone passed gas, it was no big deal and as for who dealt it, I’m going to plead the Fifth. If you feel you are going to fart it’s best to let it go instead of holding it in, you will feel better. Holding it in restricts your moving, is uncomfortable and you may cramp. Also it’s a good idea to go to the bathroom before class. You don’t want to have to run in between rows of people on your way out of the room just because your bladder can’t wait. I know this from bitter experience. 

You don’t have to become a Hindu or Buddhist to do yoga. There are different types of yoga and it does include philosophy and religion but it doesn’t demand you change your beliefs. Even atheists can do yoga. Most yoga classes and videos I’ve seen are about breath, movement and concentrating on how your body feels. 

Some people will throw around the Sanskrit names for poses (asanas, as you’ll hear). Some people know a lot about chakras and other aspects. A lot don’t, if they are honest. You don’t have to know this unless you really want to delve into it. I just follow the teacher. Most will give the English names such as chair pose, child’s pose and lizard. You will recognize them after awhile and not think much about it. 

One of my facebook friends posted a picture of a sign outside a yoga studio that said something along the lines of “we are our own heroes.” Much eye-rolling and snark followed. Getting up and going to yoga class when you really don’t feel it or would rather sleep in is not heroic. It is discipline. Ironically yoga humbles me rather than exalts me. I am aware of my strengths but of my limitations as well. If I start feeling smug I will lose my balance or feel my t-shirt slide up.

Dead mouse update

The mouse is still dead, that hasn’t changed.

The stench is still strong too. I sprayed air freshener and burned candles to cancel the smell but Dead Rodent defeated my best efforts. I decided I would wait it out, after a little while it would go away and I could forget I was sitting on a dead mouse somewhere in my couch. That was my plan.

What happened was I gave in, and the couch is now gone. The smell was the motivator but truly the couch needed to go before a spiteful mouse crawled inside and gave up the ghost. The back had broken pieces, the left back leg was coming loose and the middle section sagged almost to the floor when anyone but my 4 year old nephew sat there. A piece of wooden trim had come off.

It was in sad shape and I admit I pretended it wasn’t so bad. I was attached to that old couch. It was my bed for over a year after Jerry died, when I couldn’t sleep on the bed. I slept on it after I moved, out of necessity and it gave me some comfort too. Lying against the back felt normal, the support was almost like being next to Jerry lying on his side. I could fall asleep this way. I often woke up around 2am most nights and lay awake awhile before I could go back to sleep, this went on for a year, over a year. It’s only been about 3 months I’ve been able to sleep through the night but I still wake up sometimes.

Big Dump Day was coming up and decided I would put it out if the smell was still too strong Tuesday. It was. So I moved the few pieces of furniture I needed to clear a path to the door. I pushed the couch to the door, no problem. Then I got to the door and remembered the trouble the movers had getting it inside.

It was too wide. I managed to tip it on its side without it falling completely over. Fortunately it wasn’t too heavy and I carefully nudged it along from outside. It finally cleared the door and I felt a big relief. There was more pushing, this time from the back and I managed to get it across the lawn. I did this all before the sun was up and the only witnesses to this little spectacle were a few birds. Porkchop observed from a distance but soon returned to his breakfast. I got the couch to the edge of the lawn or what seemed the edge and flipped it back up. The cushions had fallen so I went back for those and the little trim piece. The whole enterprise took about 10 minutes. 10 rather long minutes that seemed a lot longer. But considering I was doing it by myself I thought “not too bad for an old broad.” I counted it as my cardio and weight training for the day.

The couch is still out there. No one has hauled it away and I’m glad, that it won’t stink up someone else’s house. Tomorrow is the official Big Dump Day, the couch will probably be gone by the time I come home. I am a little sorry to see it outside but its time to go had come, perhaps not the way I would have expected but in an unavoidable way.

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The Mouse Assassin

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Couch dragging site

 

Thrift score and dead mouse

I had 2 surprises today, one good and one smelly. First the good one then the other one.

This morning I took my car in for a winter checkup and when I got there found 2 sales guys, no techs. They apologized and promised to reschedule me for next Friday. So while on my way home I somehow found myself at a thrift store.

My favorite thrift, they have discounts on tags, and today yellow tags were half off. I’ve been looking for another hoodie for work, a pullover with pockets. I haven’t really found any I like or that are cheap enough. I found cheap but cheap is lightweight and feels rough.

So I  wandered around the store, looking for gloves but nope. Then while looking at sweaters this bright green catches my eye. The name sounds familiar and after a quick Wikipedia search I am convinced this was put here for me. The half off yellow tag confirmed it.

According to Wikipedia,  the Minnesota North Stars hockey team relocated to Dallas in 1993. So this hoodie has probably been in somebody’s closet a long time. I am a fickle Stars fan, I watched them play back in the days we had cable. Mostly I liked the hoodie,  it’s warm, just big enough and it was 2.50. It looks almost new too.

 

Surprise #2 was a peculiar and familiar smell in the living room. Dead rodent, I recognized it from the years I had hamsters and when they met tragic ends behind the refrigerator. Stuff was scattered on the floor and Porkchop looked smug.

I ignored it as long as I could but finally psyched myself up to move the couch. The smell was the strongest there. I moved furniture, took off the pillows and had a trash can standing nearby. I managed to flip the couch over and looked. Nothing. An old kleenex but no dead animal.  The smell was strong and I poked the bottom of the couch with my foot.  There was a small hole in the fabric but nothing fell out. Apparently the darn mouse used the last of his strength to crawl into my couch and die.

I was partly relieved I didn’t have to deal with the tiny corpse but the smell was getting worse. I had the option of tearing the bottom lining of my couch to look for the dead mouse, and discover who knew what else or flip the couch back and spray a lot of air freshener. I chose option 2 and preserved the couch. That’s my solution, for now.Since there was nothing to see but some old kleenex there’s no picture. 

Snow

It’s a big deal here, huge. We get snow every year, usually after Christmas, and we lose our collective minds. We as a people forget how to drive on packed down snow and ice. We think we’re going to be snowbound for weeks and stock up on groceries and toilet paper. We close schools, cancel church and social events but there are still plenty of people out there sliding around on the roads creating havoc. 

I’m determined to not be a part of it. I am at home, with food, electricity, heat, running water and internet. There’s no reason to go out. As the news people say, as they are standing on an icy bridge or in the cold, if you don’t need to get out don’t. 

The snow here is about an inch, maybe two. Two at most. In other parts of the country or the world that’s nothing, laughable even.  I will survive, as long as I have Internet service and cat food.  

I have no plans to grill either.

Accomplishments

I accomplished a few things today. I know they won’t change the world but it’s a small start.

I managed an hour and half walk at the river today. I saw very few people, which was nice. Weather was good, and though my feet were a little sore I felt better after. 

I put out some stuff for Big Dump Day. A wooden bar belonging to my sister, a round clothes rack, 2 portable toilet chairs and a bath chair,  from the garage. They were all gone by late afternoon. I hope they will be happy in their new homes.

I dug out the DVD player and after an embarrasingly long time managed to hook it up to the TV. I  just watched Love  Actually and each time I watch it there’s something new. This time I sympathized more with Carl and despised Alan Rickman even more for what he did to poor Emma Thompson. He could have stepped back anytime, knew he was being a prat but noooo, went ahead anyway. I still feel lousy for Laura Linney. However I am glad I’m no longer dependant on having to use my crap laptop to watch DVDs. I  can start doing yoga again now too.

That’s a VCR player on the left, DVD on the right. Ancient electronics rock.