Still Missing Someone

There are so many words spinning around in my head and emotions flowing through my heart, yet I don’t know where to begin.  Apologies in advanced if this becomes a lot of rambling on.

Today is my dad’s birthday.  If he were alive today, he’d be 77.  Almost eight and a half years have gone by since he passed.  It’s interesting how there are days when I can’t remember what I had for lunch the day before, but I can still remember exactly how everything was the very moment I heard the news.  Why is that?

I still miss my dad extremely.  Maybe that won’t ever change and that’s okay.  There are still messages on my answering machine from him… just can’t bring myself to erase them and, at the same time, it’s tough to actually listen to them because when I do, I end up crying so hard, it makes my heart hurt.

Three episodes of the new season of “Glee” were shown on Japanese cable this evening, including the special “farewell” episode for Cory Monteith.  (Yes, everything is a bit delayed over here because of having to overdub and add subtitles and such.)  Needless to say, my eyes are all swollen from the tears.

And what does “Glee” have to do with my dad?  He LOVED to sing!  And though he never saw the show, I think he would’ve enjoyed watching it.  He was in Glee Club when he was in school and music was a part of his every day.  I used to love listening to my parents, my mother sitting down at the piano and my dad standing next to her, the two of them harmonizing beautifully!

Have you lost someone you love?  If you haven’t experienced it, please hug those loved ones around you a little bit closer today.  If you have gone through it, you have my empathy and I send a warm, heartfelt virtual hug to you.

P.S.  It’s nice to be back and writing again.  Guess I have to thank my dad for that.  (Arigato, Otou-san!)

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When I Grow Up…

This morning, I had to drive across town to one of the kindergartens where I teach.  English classes are held there for the oldest kids (5 and 6-year-olds) and we see each other once a week.

March is graduation season in Japan and the kids will be starting a new chapter of their lives when they begin 1st grade at the local elementary school.  There were only two more times left for English classes (today and next week) and I had told the kids that for the last class, they could have a “Game Request Day”.

Today, I told the kids to go and get their sketchbooks and crayons.  While they were all settling back into their places, some on their seats and others on the floor, I wrote, “My Dream” up on the blackboard.  When I asked what they thought it said, most of the kids were trying to sound the words out and a few could actually read it with no problems at all.  (Yes, I was happy!)  The task was to write those words at the top of the paper and then draw a picture of what they want to become when they grow up.

Most of the little girls wanted to be models or idols or cake shop and flower shop owners.  Most of the little boys wanted to be soccer players, baseball players and train conductors.  There was the occasional Kamen Rider (an action hero over here) or a Pokemon Master, but most of the dreams were very realistic.

When I was their age, I wanted to be a singer.  As my friends and I got older, their dreams changed and mine didn’t.  All through elementary school, middle and high school, becoming a singer was the only dream I had because singing was like breathing to me.  I was always a part of the school choir, I sang in the choir at church, I sang in my bedroom, while I was in the bathtub, in front of the mirror… music was (and still is) my passion.

But I didn’t necessarily care about being in the spotlight.  If I was singing harmonies while someone else was taking the lead, that was fine by me!  I simply wanted to be singing!  (And that feeling hasn’t changed… and I still want to be a singer when I grow up!  🙂 )

A lot of the kids today asked me what my dream was when I was little and after telling them, I also said that they should never give up on their dreams.  One little boy said, “But, Sensei (teacher), you’re an English teacher, so your wish didn’t come true.”  But I explained that I also sing songs for commercials on TV and radio and have done back-up vocals for local artists.  I told him that anything is possible.

After hearing this, the little boy went to draw his picture.  When he came to show me his completed drawing, there were two separate pictures:  one of a soccer player and one of a baseball player.

“I want to be both!” he said with a grin on his face.  “Anything is possible, right, Sensei?”

Wanted to give him a big hug and cry, but instead, I held his soft face in my hands, nodded and said, “You’re absolutely right!”  (Precious, precious kids…)

So… what do you want to be when you grow up?  🙂

I Love a Rainy Night…

Do you ever find that a song will pop into your head and it may be that you haven’t heard this song for years and years, but it’s there… all of a sudden… and you can sing all the words to the song without any problems at all?

It just started to rain a few minutes ago and this song popped into my mind…

This is NOT a song you’d ever hear on the radio stations here in the city where I live, trust me!  And I cannot remember the last time I heard it, yet I can remember the lyrics, the harmony parts, the guitar solo.  Funny how the brain can store all of this information!  (In my case, there are rows and rows of file cabinets with songs, lyrics, movie titles, musician names… and maybe a very small drawer with stored math equations.)  🙂

Has a song popped into your head today, out of the blue?  🙂

P.S.  Mr. Rabbit may be playing this tune from up in the heavens somewhere… he was such a great singer/songwriter.

The Heavens have gained another beautiful voice…

Facebook hasn’t been accessed yet, but one can only imagine that it’s filled with posts about the passing of Whitney Houston.  When I saw the Internet news on AOL about her, my heart sank.  And, you know, it was shocking to see that she was only 48 years old.

Just days before the Grammy Awards… people must be scrambling to change the flow of the show, celebrations might be quieter, lights might be dimmer…

(Sorry… I feel like I’m just rambling.  So many feelings dashing around in my heart.)

Reading one article, there was a video of her last performance… according to the article anyway.  Whitney was singing “Amazing Grace” with someone else.  A part of me was startled hearing her raspy, gravelly, almost unrecognizable voice… yet another part of me was comforted hearing that oh-so-familiar warmth and tenderness as she sang.

The first time I ever heard her voice was the duet she sang with Jermaine Jackson, “Take Good Care of My Heart”.  (Way back in 1984.)  Had bought the record and fell in love with that song AND her voice.  Then she came out with her own album the next year.

No matter how she lead her life, no matter what choices she made, we are all blessed that she shared her amazing voice and talent with us.

Ms. Houston, may you rest in peace…