Tuesdays of Texture | Week 46 of 2016

Tuesdays of Texture is a really awesome weekly feature.  You can read about it over here; but the short version is I want to see a bit of your world so link up your post in the comments!

The texture of my steering wheel, the one I’ll be driving to my voting station.  My hands will probably be sweaty all the way to the voting booth. 

What an important day huh?

Edited to Add:

View this post on Instagram

Yeah. #Voting #election2016

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I’mma be voting and I hope you and your family will do your part too, if you haven’t already.  The rest of the day I’ll be playing.  I won’t check on the news until after five PM, when results are more final.  And then?  It’ll be an evening like every other evening in my house.

And I hope in the rest of the island goes to sleep at peace with the collective decision.  I hope everyone wakes up with a fresh hopeful feeling.  And then we’ll all work our butts off to get this country UP.

Check out last week’s awesome participations and THANKS to everyone who shared!

Have a bright day and remember to share a bit of it with me!

Tuesdays of Texture | Week 38 of 2016

Tuesdays of Texture is a really awesome weekly feature.  You can read about it over here; but the short version is I want to see a bit of your world so link up your post in the comments!

wedding table cloth texture

wedding table cloth texture

Macros of the table cloth of the wedding of a couple of friends a few months back.  I Instragrammed  the cake. 

I finally was able to empty some SD cards and, well, there were some photos that were supposed to be sent to friends and family but I think after months go by is not etiquette to share them anymore?   Plus, with the move, it feels weird.   Meh.

Anyway, this week I used black & white because I thought it would be fitting to the images and I like the result!  Also, look, images that are not mobile made!

I also like this image of some flowers.

wedding flowers

It was a flower palooza in that reception because the groom worked with a party decorator for most his life and it was his wedding present.  Upside of working with a party decorator.

Do check out the very special participations from last week by clicking the links:

Have a happy, white day.  Go smell a flower.  And remember to share a bit of it with me.

Thank You Monica And Culson; two valuable lessons from two very different performances

This Olympics have been pretty historic for Puerto Rico.

Our Monica Puig won the first Olympic Gold Medal for our island ever (we do have other gold medals won by Puerto Ricans representing the United States) – and a few other of our athletes qualified for finals, the one that impressed me the most was Rafael Quintero on men’s diving.  He did such a great job I was proud of him even before the finals!

You might have heard about this incident though:

Yeap.  That happened.

If I want to explain what that meant for us I have to start by saying that, of all the athletes we sent to the Olympics, the one that we felt more “confident”? (is that even a proper term to refer to an athlete?  I don’t know anything about sports so this is new for me) about was Javier Culson.  Puig for example, is an amazing athlete and we know she performs strongly at all times, but her qualification into finals was something we hadn’t seen in her.  In the big tournaments she has been getting disqualified in the third round.  She matured and now we know she’s ready for the Grand Slams, but we hadn’t seen that yet.

Culson on the hand, has put us many times in the first place in International events.  He’s got the experience, he’s got the condition, he is consistent.  If I was into betting and had the money to do so, I would’ve bet on him to bring us a medal.

He got into the finals, and we were thrilled because he was doing 48:26.  Ideally, if he went bellow forty eight, we were pretty much in the podium.  That’s twenty six centesimals.  That IS NOTHING.

I was in the car about a minute from my home thinking I’m going to get to see the repetition if I hurry up enough.  I was listening on the radio and the commentator said he was standing up to watch the race because he couldn’t watch it sitting down.  They lined up, race starts, and someone had a foul.  A false start, and I was thinking that sucks for the concentration factor, who could it be.  And someone told the commentator that it was Culson.  And he started this negation party and I was raving with my glow sticks right in it with him because NO, IT WASN’T CULSON.  Why were they even mentioning his name, BE SILENT.

But it was him.  He said he had never been fouled for a false start before.  In his career.  EVER.

First question on pretty much everyone’s head?  Oh my God, WHY?!

On that moment, after that question, there was a silence.  Today, having read and seen how this island has been pouring out love, respect and understanding towards this man, I can say that;  while Puig’s medal still feels glorious, what Culson gave us if far more important.

He gave us the opportunity to show how amazing we truly are.  Yes, we can celebrate better than any other place on earth, but we can also pick up the ones who have fallen down.  One of our most precious qualities is to be empathic and embrace those who need to be strengthen.

Through him we can show our kids that, look, sometimes mistakes happen.  You might study your butt off for that test and still get the most valuable answer wrong.  You might work your butt off to get that presentation right and then get wrong the one number your boss wants.  It sucks.  You cry.  Men and women, you ugly cry because you wanted it so badly.  But then you have to remember that as soon as you tell someone, you’ll get a hug, a pat in the back.  Someone will tell you that it’s ok, next time you’ll kill it.  Most importantly:  there will be a next time.  Because you will get the eff up and keep going.  When it is what you want, it’s worth it.

So, Culson made it possible that I read letters of kids telling him to get up and keep on going, letters of people asking him to please don’t apologise, that we beg him to forgive us instead;  when all we do is stand in front of the TV waiting for him to bring us glory while he sacrifices his body, his time with his family, his entire life to brings us those moments.  I’ve seen so many people telling him we are proud of him because his heart is gold for us.  Hundreds of photos of him visiting fans at the hospital, signing autographs for kids who want to be just like him have come up everywhere.  He was devastated and everyone on social media was telling him to come home because we just wanted to hug him and tell him we’ve got his back.

He didn’t bring us a medal, he was the medal.  Which only means, that we all are.   When we work hard, when we are humble, when we help someone else, when we say ‘you can do it!’;  we are the gold.

And now we remember that too.

Dancing Mondays: La Borinqueña Edition 

The song that made a Nation cry and sing together in a much needed moment of empowerment:

That is La Borinqueña, our anthem.
Because this is the land of Borinquen, where Monica was born and where I was born.
And it is a flowery garden of magic beauty.
A beautiful clear sky always leads her way and the waves gently rock her feet.
When Cristobal Columbus arrived he exclaimed “oh, this is the land I’ve been looking for!” (And then exterminated all our natives) “this is Borinquen, the daughter of the sea and the sun!”

(That’s  a rough translation of our anthem’s lyrics.)

And so are we.

My God it sounded amazing in Rio! But this is how Monica’s family sounded singing it that day:

Isn’t that happy? 

And yes, I’m going to let it go after this. 

Go have a Monday where you think of yourself as part as a much bigger community, go be a positive part of the community of this world! 

Working backstage; updates!

I have been working on a couple of updates backstage that I want to share.

– the about me page has been updated.  It was overdue!  I could tweak it a bit later, but for now I’m pretty satisfied that it’s a bit more fluid than the last version.   Mainly, I just wanted to include pointers to some posts from deserving moments.   I hope it reads well 🙂

new google + profile.  The google + button has been added to the sharing options and of course, you can add me to your circles, if you so wish.  I also might be participating in a couple (literally, two right now) communities over at google plus (Weekly Photo Challenge and a blogging community) sometimes.

– last and actually not really important, you might have noticed the background changed about a month ago.  I was trying to find something more a la me, and this one felt much better than the last one.

So there you go.  Even the tagline has been updated!  I feel it’s a bit fresher over here, hope you like the little tweaks.  And have a great week!

Voting: Checked!

This has been a long, exhausting day.

 

I had vote. I had to work. I had to re-route on my way back home because the police was incapable of preventing idiots (participating in a political party) from blocking a principal road, though they had enough people and vehicles to block said road, mind you.

But I fulfilled my duty as a citizen of this island. I did my part. Now it’s all in the hands of whoever gets elected. And God.

 

I’ve read about some bad voting experiences in the U.S. so I hope if you went out to vote you had a good day.

10 very tiresome ks

Sunday was an early morning, but the sun was already illuminating outside so, there was a higher possibility of my smiling than biting.

I loaded up my car (or my SUV. I’ve been corrected this week about 400 times for referring to Sandy as a car. I think I can call her whatever I want because I pay her)  with people and food and we drove forever to get to the Teodoro Moscoso bridge where the World’s Best 10k was held.

I love to watch races live and I had never been to a marathon so I thought it was pretty neat when weeks before someone offered us (aikido students) a gig as security staff in the event.   I would see the thing and get paid.  Cool.

It was pretty obvious when we arrived there that the part about seeing the thing and getting paid to do something specific was maybe not going to be that easy.  The company that hired us was not very organized and some people were going to be placed far away from the race.  We arrived before 9am and were going to finish when the last runner got to the finish line.   It was going to be a long day.

So some of us were placed under the sun all day, some people ate at decent hours, others ate after starving.  I was placed in one of the race’s lanes, like right where the runners were going to run through and there was a big truck that gave me shadow to rest from the sun, I ate twice and had plenty of water.

There was no place to sit on so, of course after a few hours I was sitting on the road and I avoid the sun like a vampire so at one point I was sitting UNDER the truck, and later on the people in charge forgot about us (we were working in pairs) and we ate late, but of all people in our group I had the best view of the race and I didn’t had to physically confront people often so for the most part, I was ok.

I only had to hear one guy using the repertoire of bad words he had when I told him he could go pass a certain area and since every other person was decently nice I have decided to ignore his existence and forget he even happened.

Watching the marathon was a great experience.

People of all ages pushing themselves like that, it made me stop complaining about my feet hurting (which they did,  A LOT, I mean after 10 hours mostly standing), in fact it made me want to never complain.  At one point I was sitting in the road (because I literally couldn’t stand anymore) just clapping and cheering at the runners.

Around 13,000 runners and walkers registered and among them we saw people dressed as Superman, El Chapulín Colorado, a sort of gansta in a white suit, a neon green freak, there was a guy running with his dog (I was worried about the dog), a guy in a unicycle, too many moms with their babies in sport carriages, families with little kids, groups of teens (a couple of whom decided to have a puppy love moment in front of me with the longest hug in the history of a race ever and for once I thought in aww terms intead of eww), a group of boys walked the 10k with a portable radio playing regaetton, old people… and they were all amazing in their own way.

I loved to see their faces, the determination, the will.

By the end of the day we were thoroughly exhausted but at least me, I was very glad I was there.

[I am now sporting a face tan.  Just the face. >__<]

Heaven is closer than it appears up there

So I was here yesterday;

Glory

Glory

The view

The view

(very angry with WordPress and/or Flickr right now, the media gadget didn’t wanted to link to my pictures grrrrr)

Honestly, I think I left a piece of my spirit under a lemon tree up there.  I was there just yesterday, and I feel such a deep longing to feel that grass under my feet it can make me cry if I think to much about it!   I felt a connection with nature so strong, jeez I’m tearing up RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, THE company’s get-together of New Year was there and I saw almost EVERY ex-coworker there.  My goal was to spend the day without having to answer questions that make me uncomfortable and although that had no completion (the famous “so, what are you doing now?” came up about 23823408975 times) I didn’t care a lot because I was feeling so cozy in  the mountain.  Not to be confused with cheerful, on the way to this wonderful place I had to drive through a road behind “the boy that gets mentioned without getting mentioned here often”‘s house.  I could almost see it, that combined with the fact that I had to drive for two solid hours (actually more because going out of my house I had to turn around twice, I kept forgetting something) and that also I had no idea where I was 97% of the time and you had a very cranky Narami when I finally got there.

Then through the day I had access to all kinds of good alcohol content which seem to resolve the driving nightmare incident… except that after a couple of drinks (it was sangria with 151 at the beginning. At least that’s what a friend kept saying “that has 151, drink it slowly.” And I kept telling him that he was lying because I didn’t felt a thing, other than a persistent warmth that was inexplicable given that it was breezy and perfectly lovely up in the mountain.) I started feeling that everyone was annoyingly happy around me. To fix that I figured more drinking was in order and well, at some point I looked like an alcoholic depressed spinster.  Ask me if I care.

I played in the hills full of lemon trees and ran and basically was a three year old for a couple of hours.  Do you have any idea how cute is a four feet lemon tree multiplied by thousands?  It’s the cutest thing EVER. And the smell will make you want to lay in the ground and just sniff into eternity.

Did I mentioned that this beautiful heavenly place happens to be my ex-trainer’s, one of my bestest friends, backyard?  The get-together was basically in his house, but not really, it was in the mountain that is in his backyard. You should be reading buckets full of (good) envy right now.   His lemon tree farm has been recognized by the agriculture division on his region, it is THAT beautiful and amazingly perfect.

When we were saying good bye (I was taken out of there against my will, moaning and crying actually happened, mostly because my lovely ex-trainer didn’t wanted us to go) the moon was coming out and I swear, I just wanted to sit there in front of it with the pitorro we were drinking and sing, with my friends close by, until dawn.

I hope he (my ex-trainer) is ready for hundreds of calls during next days of me just whining about how I just want to lay in that grass for a couple of hours and the tragedy of that grass being two and half hours away.

Aikido Seminar: I survived my first one!

I promise this WON’T be an aikido journal.  But, I went to a three day aikido seminar in which I almost passed out more than once and came back with about six marks and black spots in my body and how can not write about that?  Is not like I have anything else to write about anyway, so don’t fret.

Andrew Sato Sensei the president of the AWA comes to PR once a year for a three day seminar with all the dojos of the island, it’s one of the biggest aikido events here and we were not only going, we were highly expected because my Sensei is Sato’s friend and he wanted to meet all the new students.  No pressure!

So we were given the wrong schedule time for the first day and we were late.  It was the day most people practiced and we got there and everyone looked at us funny. Especially when Sato Sensei got out of class to hug my Sensei (he only does this with him), say hello to us and give us permission to step right in.  Like, right in the middle of a technique practice.

I thought I would be bold and start practicing right away since I knew what they were doing so I invited a classmate to the middle of the tatami with me. It was the only empty space and everyone else was practicing so I thought no one would notice us.  I was nervous but it was the kind of private nervousness I have when I have to do anything pertaining an audience, I thought I could contain it inside and all would be good.  My classmate was shaking, visibly shaking in front of  me and forgot how to move his body.  We decided I was going to begin the technique so he could see first and then follow.  Except when I started doing it I discovered that no matter how hard I tried to tell my body to move one way, it was moving the other.  I had no control what so ever of what I was doing.  My steps were wrong, my directions were wrong… it was like a short circuit going on in my brain.  So much for hiding the nerves.

Sooner than expected we attracted the attention of Sato Sensei himself who came to move us (and I mean actually move us like puppets) and direct us towards what we were suppose to do.  After he touched us my brain shut off and the rest of the night is an album of flashbacks poorly lighted in my memories.  I know that we started a projection technique and my arms were simply not falling with me. I slid repeatedly after hitting the tatami and soon I felt many tender spots in my arms, legs and even my ankles which I had never before injured during practice.

It turned out that doing decent ukemi in your dojo’s mat is not enough. You have to be some sort of magical aikidoka to be able to blend with any mat.  It was ironic because the mats we were using there were judo mats, they are softer and thicker than the ones in our dojo so I was really looking forward to fall in those. Only I didn’t think that those mats, without any material on top of them providing grip, were going to BURN every piece of skin that slid into them.  Both my ankles have circular scraps in them because I had never experienced sliding in a mat before.  Bless my ignorance.

And then I was VERY busy worrying about hitting or being hit by someone else.  I said this about 32457325 times while we were there; we are not used to practice with a mat full of people and 90% of aikido accidents don’t happen between partners doing a technique, they happen during projections and falls when someone hits someone else.  I know about broken mouths, noses, fingers, heads opened during unfortunate coalitions.  I was freaking out so much about some kid breaking my bones I started falling into full protection stance, raised fists and all.  It was ridiculous.

Later I was traumatized for the rest of my existence when I was asked by Sato Sensei to be his uke in demonstration of a technique and then the only part of my brain that had stayed ON until then collapse under the screams I made internally of “fuckingshitohshitfuckmothereffingshit”.  I can’t tell you how horrible I was because I don’t remember any of it. I’m convinced I was not there but my classmates tell me I kept doing the technique and not finishing it (with a damn floor retention) until finally I did and Sensei said “Thank you!” and “you are better than your Sempai”, which was the biggest joke ever.  I do remember people laughing hysterically and awfully loudly when Sensei spoke both times as if amplified by loudspeaker.

So basically I was feeling like crap because I was making such a fool of myself until the second day when I had enough courage (and body coordination) to go around and start practicing with other people, black belts from other dojos and … well, they sucked more than me.  It’s something one has to see but all I can say is that there were many ‘honorary’ belts in that tatami.  All colors too.  Our Sensei had told us about this, in fact he insisted we went to the seminar so we could prove to ourselves that we ARE good because he was sure we would feel like we could, in other words, beat everyone’s ass, but I guess we didn’t believe him.  I mean, I had seen my Sensei testing for his last rank as well as other black belts testing, and I had seen that my Sensei is, in all honesty, just better.  He has many advantages, he practiced aikido all over South America with some of the best teachers of the decade.  But I was doubting that our talent was enough to take full advantage of what he could give.  Not anymore.  I’m going to point out that one black belt plainly announced to me (when I was going to attack him) that he had no idea what he was doing/going to do so he was going to wing it.

I ended up practicing in the line were my Sensei was.  I figured I never get to practice with him much anyway (during class time his ukes are black belts), so it was a cool chance.  There were about seven black belts and me (still wearing my white belt because I totally refuse to add my rank to it).   I greeted a Sensei that I had met before who was extremely nice (and my Sensei’s friend) and told him that I had come to give variety to the black belt line, “that’s the spirit!” he answered and I proceeded to get the rest of the marks I have with gusto because if I’m going to get marks? I want to get them from people that at least have higher degree than me.  Not necessarily deserved, but still.  Soon there were a couple of color belts in the line trying their luck too.

By Sunday (the third day) I was totally exhausted and could only stand by my stubborn will.  Ironically it was the day I felt more ‘normal’ regarding practice. Apparently it takes me three days to warm up to practice somewhere else and this day I could actually move and perform as if I knew what I was doing which was very cool.

We did a lot of weapon movements that day and I’m still feeling the consequences. About ten minutes before the seminar finished my blood sugar betrayed me and I had to sit out until the end.

I had been the ‘official translator’ appointed by Sato Sensei during the seminar so I translated his goodbye message (which was very inspiring and I had to fight back a knot in my throat) and finally we all toasted with Nihonshu (the correct name for sake, it was delicious but I was too cranky to fully enjoy it).

We were exhausted and the amount of pain killers we had to consume the consecutive days was impressive, I for one have smell like muscle rub right now (apparently I strained my left shoulder, oh joy) but we had an amazing experience.

The best thing is that after suffering together we now feel united, just like a true dojo should be.

De cada dia

El domingo el día estuvo precioso.
El mar estaba anticipando la lluvia de la semana, pero el cielo estaba claro azul, hizo brisa y la gente se ponía de buen humor estando afuera.
Hicimos la procesión de la Virgen del Carmelo, como todos los años, la preciosa se mecía peligrosamente en la popa de una embarcación en comparación diminuta. Tuvo una escolta de tres embarcaciones con globos amarillos y blancos y este año ninguno pudo llegar a la orilla, el oleaje mantuvo a los marítimos devotos y a la mama anclados.  Los que esperábamos en la orilla nos quedamos, precisamente esperando.  Después de muchos aplausos y gritos continuamos la procesión, teníamos otra imagen en tierra firme, al fin y al cabo eso de las imágenes que tanto a otros molesta es de lo más conveniente; puede sacar uno un Divino de la cartera en caso de emergencia emocional (los ojos del Divino curan de todo, desde nervios hasta el coraje más rabioso de la historia) y en este caso duplicar a la homenajeada para que no perder el itinerario.
El camino era largo, así que el paso fue lento desde el principio.  Los que transitaban las calles de una de las playas más concurridas de la isla, nos odiarían.  Pararon el tránsito en innumerables ocasiones para que pasáramos, con nuestra imagen de La del Carmelo al frente rodeada de claveles rojos y blancos.  Al menos desde ahí seguramente la Madre derramó incontables gracias a los que esperaban estancados en el tapón, dentro de sus carros… sin aire acondicionado.  Lo sé porque entre todas esas caras de personas desesperadas por llegar al mar o los bares costeros, (y a todos los vi a la cara, por cierto; me aseguré de mirarlos cuando pasaban justo a mi lado mientras yo recitaba con inusual ánimo los Padrenuestros y las Ave Marías, era mi forma de ministrar) pasó una señora en una de esas SUV’s del año, muy mona,  y cuando vio que estábamos rezando el rosario, bajó los cristales y empezó a rezar con nosotros  “…danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día”:  esa señora me hizo el día.