Monday, June 1, 2009

I Even Have a Column in EBONY Called “Musings”

The video for the Thailand post is obnoxious and unwilling to load. So I humbly refer you to the blog of my dear travel companion, Ms. Margaret Mann for a different perspective while I work out the kinks with my post. Again, if you wish to see pictures, visit my Facebook profile or send me your email address so that I can link you to it. I wrote an article about a small corn-flavored misadventure in Bangkok for the local JET newsletter, the Ganbatte Times. I am very lazy and do not want to write it twice, so if you’d like the article email me or leave a comment and I shall deliver. There are pictures attached, woohoo!

This morning was red letter for me. 

Sure, I look and feel like a reanimated corpse, but self-control is a Fruit of the Spirit. I had two helpings with my coffee, seeds and all. I woke up on time, ironed my linen pants (who ever thought linen anything was a good idea?), ate breakfast, was early for the bus, and forgot nothing. I disgusted myself with two chapters of Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer on the transit to Betsuin Junior High. I figured out exactly what material I want to use for the Glorious English newsletter I write for my junior high students. I am even wearing light makeup. Thankyuh Jayzuhs.

I was musing over my reluctance to ever leave the comfort of my futon when I was struck with a montage of childhood memories. When my siblings and I were young we enjoyed sleeping late like any good children. On more than one occasion my parents rushed into our bedrooms, telling us excitedly that it had snowed. Season mattered not; whether winter or summer we’d hop out of bed and dash to the bedroom window to peek out at the lawn. The morning sun would glint off the moisture clinging to the yellowed or green blades of grass, throwing a shimmer over the yard that certainly looked snowy. I’d often dash downstairs, pajama-clad, to make certain that the snow was as real as my parents had said. I’d sail out the door to find that the shimmer on the grass was dew, frost at best, and there would be no time off of my studies to go outside and play in frozen flakes. 

I don’t recall ever being truly upset with my parents for their falsehoods. Somehow I knew that I had been tricked fair and square. Once my bed had been left I could not use the heinous lie of snow to return to the land of counterpane.

Perhaps my parents will contest, claiming that my entire childhood was spent wailing and gnashing my teeth about that deception. I, unlike my siblings, have no cute little anecdotes of parading around in a tiny tuxedo or recounting The Music Man in its entirety on tape. No, friends, the stories of me in my infancy and childhood are all about how I cried and cried and screamed and never slept and was difficult and no one thought I’d straighten out. One would think that the smiles in my baby pictures had been Photshopped in place. According to eyewitnesses my expressions usually consisted of a thunderous brow and a pouting lip.

 The tales most often told about me are of events that I can remember on my own, like being teased by my grandfather for crying too much (it worked; I was not a cat, Grandpa). There's also kicking my mother in the stomach when she relieved me of my brand new baby brother. Thank you, Mom, for not murdering me over that one. Still, nothing compared to the adorableness of my sister wearing a blanket on her head for days (weeks?) after watching a Living Christmas Tree production. Certainly can’t compete with my brother composing songs in his crib while he waited for Mom to come get him. 

 I once asked my father for a story about me. I wanted to know something about myself other than how I never slept during the first year of my life, something sweet and endearing. My father responded by recalling my sweet tooth when I was two years old. I got mad about being limited to the consumption of two cookies, unable to argue with my father's logic that two-ear-old girls deserved only two cookies at a time. I, ever the ungrateful child, took the cookies and stalked out of the kitchen, and then proceeded to peek around the corner at my father and hold up three fingers in angry silence.

I suppose that can be cute in the same way that it’s cute how my rabbit thumps his foot in frustration after being pushed out of the closet yet again. Or it could be cute in the way one of my toddlers at the Day Center was; she would become quite literally hopping mad, bouncing on her toes while screaming at the top of her lungs. Cute, but draining. Stay out of the closet, Kuma. Calm down, Sadie. For the last time, only two cookies, little Laurel. These days I wonder if I brought anyone joy in my early years. My grandmother, too, will usually end stories with, “And oh, how you’d cry…” dragging out that last syllable with rising intonation which leads the audience to believe I did nothing else.

Of all the tales I have heard of my childhood (exclamations of “You and your siblings were such beautiful children!” discounted; we were in public and on our best behavior) there are two that do not end with misbehavior, anger or tears.  The first is my father’s attestation that I used to love being picked up by men, often lunging unexpectedly from my parents’ arms to be held by the closest source of testosterone.* I’ve never been sure how to interpret that, save for to make a joke about how nothing has changed. The second: I have one auntie who has told me that I sang Manhattan Transfer’s “Java Jive” to her while lying on the back of the living room couch. Thank you, Aunt Jan, for letting me know that sometimes my tears and anger paused long enough to croon, “A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup. Ah.”

Final notes: Liz put up videos of our taiko group performing, so watch those on the lizbdance YouTube channel. Also, Shara put some really cool video on her blog, so go and watch it! 

*Don’t get your knickers in a bunch, biology people. I know women produce some testosterone as well. Go with me on this.


  1. You had plenty of tape recordings and genius reporter ideas as a child. I can't give you any specific anecdotes as I was quite young at the time and don't have the memory you do. I will think and get back to you. Also, give me whatever links to whatever videos and newsletters you mentioned. I wanna read it! I wanna see it! I wanna ha cha cha cha cha!

  2. I don't get the title of this post. Meaning?

  3. Oooo, I remember you doing gymnastics. No one else did that! Booyah!!!

  4. Yeah, you also used to make me cry, in addition to your own crying. Oh, something positive, something positive… We used to do puppet shows together, and oh yes! You were great at make-believe! Late nights in your room playing with Legos—what great times.

    P.S. Uh Gillian, it's from 30 Rock. What, are you Ryan TV Show illiterate?