Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday Foto: Book Meme

Mama Dawg over at Two Dogs Running tagged me for a book meme. I like this one as it deals not just with the reading of books, but books as physical objects. Something one can hold and leaf through, connect not just with the aspect of its contents, but with its physical essense. This book meme also allows me to double up with the Friday Foto Finish Fiesta. And yes, I know it is Saturday. But after work yesterday I went with my two closest colleague friends for margaritas, where we discussed the politcal posturing and back stabbing that I have alluded to here recently. Nothing like getting things off one's chest with a little tequila thrown in. Yes?

And here we go...

Books That Have Been on Your Shelves the Longest
These two books of poems were my grandfather's and my mom passed them on to me sometime in my early twenties. I have other books that I have had longer, but they are in storage containers under the stairs. Those books would include my beloved horse books from childhood. I read them all. My Friend Flicka. The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague Island. Black Beauty. Man O' War.

A Book That's Been With You to the Most Places
I'm going to fudge and keep the same titles and stories for this category.
A Book that Reminds You of Something Specific.
These two books by Joan Dideon remind me of my sister and of California. Joan Dideon is a favorite author of ours and my sister gave me these books for my birthday last November. They are on my "to read" stack. My favorite Joan Dideon book is Where I was From, a wonderful book that combines memoir with California history.
A Book You Acquired in an Interesting Way
Every spring at the University of Hawaii there is a Saturday event called "Celebrate Reading." Mostly local authors, with one or two guest authors from the Mainland. When I taught 9th grade (five years) the literature focus was Local and Asian authors. I would acquire the reading list for the festival as soon as it came out. One year I even wrote a grant and was able to get seven of the books in multiple copies and run literature circles. I took the students each year and prepared them to discuss the books with the authors.


Lois Ann Yamanaka is a local writer who used to be a teacher and she is the funniest and most engaging author to hear speak. I would always encourage my students to see her in one of the two break out sessions. I still remember a student asking her how much of what she wrote was made up and how much was pulled from her life. She drew a cornstalk on the board. She started with a dot and said "This is a kernal of corn." After she completed the entire cornstalk, she continued, "Sometimes a story starts with a kernal of the truth. Sometimes it has the stalk, maybe a leaf. Other times a story might even have one or two ears of corn, the stalk, and a lot of the leaves. But you will never know how much is true and I will never tell you."

One year, two of my students came running up to me between break-out sessions. They had this book and they were flushed and excited. "We won a book for you Miss!!!! We won!! Lois Ann Yamanaka said we asked the best questions at the session and for us to give it to you."

Inside the book, Ms Yamanaka wrote this, "To Ms Pseudo - From your bright stars of students. Extra Credit! Lois Ann Yamanaka" It is also signed by the two students.


The Most Recent Addition to Your Shelves
My sister gave me these two books for Christmas. My sister and I are working on a dual memoir of our years living in a mobile home park in Malibu. From 1967 to 1970. She is four years older and we think juxtaposing the two perspectives might be interesting. I have not started the Davenport book yet.
A Bonus Book That You Want to Talk About but Doesn't Fit Into the Other Questions
I read Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama before he announced his candidacy. For Bookclub. I really enjoyed it and one day we were going to our favorite Thai food restaurant and next door the little bookstore had this in the window. Since we had to wait for a table, I went in and checked it out. And bought it. It is a first edition.
Some of my Bookshelves
My books are all over the place. A little bit organized, but not a lot. This is a shelf in the office that has mostly books for work, but other stuff too.
Another office bookshelf. Mostly paperbacks that are on my "to read" list, but also books I've loaned out and have not taken back upstairs yet.
My nightstand. I'm usually reading two to four books at a time. This is my "to read soon" pile.
The bookshelf in my bedroom. Some of the books Iv'e read several times, others are still waiting in the wings. If you click on the photo it enlarges and you can check out the titles if you feel like it.
Here's the rules to this meme.
1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva, the originator, can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a BookMooch Point, if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.
I'm going to let you tag yourselves if you want to play along....
For more Friday Fotos, head on over to Candid Carrie's.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Then, Lucky Me, I'm off to the Opera

Some readers could not tell if I really felt lucky or was being sarcastic yesterday. Blogging inarticulately, or ambiguously, apparently is a byproduct of insomnia and an overstuffed agenda.
Not sarcastic. I was not planning on going as the tickets were expensive and my daughter’s part was a tiny one. Things worked out that she knew someone that had an extra ticket for “Opera for Everyone” night. Perfect crowd for me, yes? She even said I could wear my jeans. And only six dollars.

The slight slippage of sarcasm, subconsciously of course, could only have been linked to work. Where things have been especially difficult lately. Not the students, although they can be difficult, they ARE teenagers after all. But the students are what they are and I love them on good days or bad. No, more the politics, the sometimes ineptness of the system. The fact that I spent the entire weekend at home trying to catch up and still feel overwhelmed.

HOWEVER….once I got to the opera it was amazing and wonderful. And I realized I had never been to the opera. Sure, I have seen it on the television. I have listened to it on NPR. One of my best friends over here was a voice major at UH (her voice teacher’s daughter is now my daughter’s voice teacher). I went to my friend’s graduation recital in 1984 and heard her sing opera in three different languages. But I had never EXPERIENCED opera before.

I discovered I loved it. I was like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. It grabbed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Goose bumps on goose bumps. And yes, I realize this takes some of the juice out of my California Jam post.

Monon, a young and beautiful French girl on her way to the convent attracts the attention of two men. One is young, handsome, and, of course, poor. The other is old and rich. Her vacillating between the two causes her arrest and exile to America with a group of prostitutes. My daughter’s ten minute role was as one of the prostitutes getting sent to America on the ship with Monon. I could not have been prouder.

This scene is when her young lover finds her in the rich old man’s house and they reconcile.


My daughter says she can get me a cheap ticket to Carmen next month. I just have to go with her music class.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some Things Happen That Surprise Me

This is a whirling dervish of a week. Work has been kicking my ass. Lots of stuff going on in the homestead that needs to get done. My daughter is in Hawaii Opera, and tonight I am going, despite my lack of time. My blog addiction is a bit on the back burner. Even with my insomniac habits - waking up at 3 or 4 AM and unable to sleep - I still cannot keep up with the blog world.

Wasn't I surprised and delighted that two bloggers shined some blogging love on me by way of bloggy awards. I humbly accept the lovely awards and I'd like to pass them on to everyone I read, but they come with rules that I will adhere to (I try but sometimes I am not a rule follower).

The first one came a few days ago from The Scholastic Scribe. She is a high school journalism teacher in D.C.

I'd like to pass this on to:

Don't Worry it's Only a Movie
Mile 17
Of thistles and maple leaves
Two Dogs Running
What Kate Did Next

The Scribble Award has rules you can find here.

The Butterfly Award came from Joanie over at Joanie's Random Ramblings. Thank-you Joanie!


I'd like to pass this award on to:

Lost and Found in India
McEwens
My Life Interrupted
What I Should Have Said
Words of Wisdom From a Smart Mouthed Broad

The Coolest Blog Butterfly only came with the directions to pass it on to five other bloggers. Easy enough for me to write myself.

Now, I need to go get ready to get my ass kicked by work again. Then, lucky me, I'm off to the opera.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Want To Be a Part of It......

Daughter
Mr Pseudo
Some poor stranger whose picture I could not help but take.

I was tagged by the fourth picture in the fourth folder meme by three different bloggers. First by Liz at Inventing My Life. Then over at Mile 17. Finally, Snow White tagged the first four commenters, so there you go. I just kept counting by fours in this folder but had to skip one since it had my face big as life and I don't go there.


This folder contains the fourth day of our family's trip to NYC. The day started with a trip to The Met. It was an amazing day in the middle of an awesome week, which was the first week of the vacation of a lifetime. Our beautiful (don't you think) and thoughtful daughter graduated from high school in June of 2007. I was just eight months out of cancer treatments and our finances were not the greatest. Daughter opted for no graduation gift, no graduation party, and chose the University of Hawaii and staying home for college. All she wanted was a family vacation to New York City and seeing a couple of plays on Broadway. Living in Hawaii is like living in paradise, except it is so expensive it makes it difficult to travel. My kids had only been to the Mainland three times before this trip, always to California to see family (one a wedding, another a funeral and one just for fun). Everyone enjoyed my daughter's graduation vacation. She's generous like that.
We spent a week in New York, took the train to Boston, took another train to D.C., then rented a car and drove to Florida to stay with my sister and her family.


Best time ever.


Here's the rules:
1. Go to the the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the photo.
4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join in the fun!


Do I tag 4 bloggers? Twelve bloggers? It's too confusing and I hate rules...if you want to play along, consider yourself tagged.


Weekend Shout-Outs:


Jan over at Jan's Sushi Bar has a great blog and posts wonderful recipes. Last night I made her lasagna and it came out delicious. Thank-you Jan.


Braja over at Lost and Found In India is on a vacation in Puri and posting amazing pictures. If you haven't been to India via Braja check out this post or this one to get you started.




Laters.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spin Cycle: Songs

It’s the the early morning hours of April 6, 1974. Although it is still dark outside, the anticipation of morning hangs in the air like an unsung promise. The stillness outside my bedroom window, and the desire to leave the house without my parents waking up, cause my friend and I to dress without talking. Our hands tremble with excitement as we button up our well worn Levis 501 jeans. We want to chatter incessantly but we hold back. It is something of a miracle that we have permission to attend the concert, the festival of festivals, the California Jam. At 16 (my friend was still 15) my parents did not want me driving the near 100 miles from the Conejo Valley to the Ontario Motor Speedway. With the hope that I wouldn’t find a ride, they said I could go, I just could not drive. What they did not bargain for was the rapidity with which my friend and I were able to find two male classmates who were more than willing to give us a lift.

Within a minute of hitting the freeway, one of our two stony boys lit up a doobie. Yeah mom and dad. This is so much safer. But good call.

We thought we would get there when the gates opened, however, being young and naïve, we had not anticipated the effect of such a crowd descending. The freeway as we neared the event became a gridlock. Young people on both shoulders of the freeway were parking their cars. A stream of pedestrians flowed through the lanes of cars towards a common destination, like pilgrims headed towards the Mecca of all that is holy in the halls of rock and roll.

My friend and I thought this was the coolest thing. EVER.

Park the car. Let’s walk. We were ready to join our brethren.

Despite his long blond hair, despite all the buds he had inhaled on the long drive, our driver was destined to be a practical man.

No way. They’ll tow my car.

There are hundreds of cars parked on the freeway. They can’t tow them all.

I’m not parking on the freeway.

Our practical young man patiently took the extra hour to inch through the gridlock, exit the freeway, and drive AWAY from the concert to find parking.

After walking what must have been two to three miles, we finally hit the destination. The gates had been open for awhile and thousands were already inside.

Although the bands were not scheduled onstage for another couple of hours, music was being pumped through the speaker system. Clear, loud, reverberating through my body and syncing my organic rhythm with that of everyone and everything else. As we walked through the gates and onto the grounds The Who was being blasted.

Don’t cry.
Don’t raise your eyes.
It’s Only Teenage Wasteland

Sally, take my hand
Travel south crossland
Put out the fire
And don't look past my shoulder

The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let's get together
Before we get much older

Teenage wasteland
It's only teenage wasteland
Teenage wasteland,
oh yeahTeenage wasteland
They're all wasted

The four of us just stood there taking it all in while the song played. It was perfect.

The two boys who brought us there wanted to set up camp at the back of the crowd. Practical boy “didn’t want to fight the crowds.” He wanted to “chill” where he was. He also had the buds, which I think he thought was enough of a draw to get us to hang in one place all day.

We would have none of it. We wanted to be in the center of this living, breathing, blood pumping organism of a rock crowd.

We were on the move the whole time, two teenage girls with long golden hair parted down the middle. Jeans and tanks. The day blazed with heat and passed out bodies were lifted and passed overhead to the medics. But we slipped through the crowds and saw every band from a different, usually better vantage point.

The line-up was Rare Wind; Earth, Wind, and Fire; The Eagles; Seals and Croft; Black Oak Arkansas; Black Sabbath; Deep Purple; and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Interesting now, don’t you think.


The Intro


BLACK OAK ARKANSAS: JIM DANDY
If you only watch one video, this is must see.


BLACK SABBATH: CHILDREN OF THE GRAVE
Ozzy looks so young. We were fairly, relatively, close to the stage for this one.


DEEP PURPLE: YOU FOOL NO ONE
Of the three headliners, at that time, this was the band I was most excited to see in concert.


EMERSON, LAKE, AND PALMER: KEITH EMERSON'S FLYING PIANO
I'd like to say I saw this, but my friend and I were working our way back to find our ride.

I now think it was a miracle of miracles that we found our ride boys after the concert. But they were just where we had left them, ten or twelve hours before.

As we pulled onto the freeway, hundreds of others were discovering that their cars had, indeed, been towed.

Despite the plethora of music that we heard played live that day, it is the song Teenage Wasteland that reminds me of the event. Whenever I hear it, I transcend to my 16 year old self, looking across the expanse of the Ontario Motor Speedway and thinking, Perfect. This song must have been written just for this moment.

And even though The Who wasn't at The California Jam, I'm thowing this into the mix, well, just because I can. Close your eyes. Imagine early morning Southerm California. An entire racetrack milling with teens and young adults. The pungent aroma of buds wafting through the air along with the last of the early morning dew. Your heart and every cell of your body beating along with the rhythm of it all.

For more Song Spins, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Foto Plus

I won something! In Irish Gumbo's photo caption contest, I won the "Best New Vocabulary Award – For most interesting new word." In case anyone is thinking, well, English teacher.... the word that got Gumbo's attention was sodomator. Not your run of the mill, straight-laced, prim and proper expectation from the educator. If you want to see the picture that inspired it is here. The comment thread has a lot of fun captions to keep you chuckling over the weekend.

If you haven't visited Irish Gumbo, you should check out his blog. His writing is amazing. Start off with one of my two favorite posts. This one is about the birth of his daughter. This one is about a lost first love.

On a side note, if you read this post where I related the colorful language of high school students on a frigidly cold (62 degrees) day. Yesterday, it was 61 degrees and had quite the wind going. As I walked to the office the comments in the air were similar, but a boy walking with his friends behind me had this gem:

SHIT! It's cold. I'm glad I wore my fucking boxers today.

For more Friday Foto's, head on over to Candid Carrie's.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Meme Me Interview

I had a lot of fun reading Thistle’s responses to some interview questions that are a type of meme going around the internet. Since Thistle is one of the first bloggers I met, and she reads and comments on every post I put up, I figured she would have some fun and make me think questions. And she did. A couple tough ones (my actual response was holy fucking shit) but here we go…………..

1. At what age did you start surfing and what would be your ultimate surf destination (other than Hawaii)? Why?

Well, first of all, I don’t “surf” per say, I body board. Over here a lot of people lump that into “surfing.” I can long board, but I’m not any good at all at that. Several of my girlfriends took up long boarding about ten years ago, when they approached their forties and when their sons started learning to surf. I started to learn along with them, but I didn’t get far. I hated the board hitting me when I fell off, I pearled nearly every time. Plus, my friends mostly live in town and surf in Waikiki, long boarders haven. I live on the west side of Oahu with bigger waves that can do more damage.

I’ve been catching waves in some way since I was a child. Our family vacations when I was little were at Carpintaria Beach, where we rode canvas rafts and caught waves all day long. Then we moved to Malibu where we body surfed and continued to ride rafts. I played on body boards with my kids over here when they were little. When my son started surfing seriously, about eight years ago, my husband bought me a body board that is the real thing and not from a toy store. I loved going out, great exercise and you don’t even feel like you are exercising. I haven’t been going out much since the cancer incident. I was too weak from chemo for awhile and worried about my breath. Then, by the time I was stronger, son had become fairly good and goes mostly to the North Shore and out in waves that are too big for me. I hope to buy a helmet camera like this (the video) and strap it on, go out, and post videos of me in waves for my blog.
I have little desire to take a surf vacation. I’d love to go to Bali, but other than that I crave vacations that offer different experiences than here. New York. Road trips across the desert. Snow and ski trips. Europe, India, Africa, Asia.

2. When you were a little girl, what did you imagine would be your 'career'? If you were able to magically change careers now and be transformed into a wildly successful and fully trained anything-other-than-a-teacher...What would you be?

When I was a young girl, I thought I’d grow up to be a horse trainer. I lived for getting to the stables where we kept our two horses.

If I could “magically change careers now and be transformed into a wildly successful and fully trained anything-other-than-a-teacher” I would be a writer, screenwriter, and movie director.

3. Who is the one person (alive or dead) you would like to have 3 hours to have coffee and chat with, and what are the most important things you would want to talk about?

At THIS moment I would say Barack Obama. I would like to discuss public education, Hawaii connections, his writing processes, and where ever else the conversation went. Oh, and I would mention that when he works on the economy, to make sure credit card companies stop offering my nineteen year old lives at home goes to college full time and works 10 hours a week daughter a platinum credit card.

4. What is the one thing, either personal or global, that you would like to have the 'finger of God' ability to fix right this minute?

This is the question that made me curse Thistle through the internets. ONE THING? That is SO hard for me that I am going to cheat, a little, and pick out one personal and one global. For personal, I would like an opportunity to live in a better location on the island. Like be able to afford to rent a house and rent out ours. Where we live is a bit rough, my kids have never liked it, my friends don’t live close by…. I’d like to live somewhere that my kids did not have to drive so far everyday and I could hang with my friends without having to make elaborate plans.

Global…I’m going to go with an immediate shift to clean energy usage and non-dependence on oil. I’m not savvy enough to understand the full effect of this, but I would hope this would positively influence a lot of the other problems that Thistle didn’t give me the finger for.

5. How did you meet Mr. Psuedo and was it love at first site? And tell us about the wedding, was it a low-key beach affair or were you a Bridezilla?

I met Mr. Pseudo at a restaurant job at a place called Bobby McGee’s. It was the wildest place in the world to work in Waikiki back in the eighties. Most of our close friends today come from this place and time of employment. The servers all dressed in costumes and did a lot of schtick at the tables. Mr. Pseudo was “Joe Paniolo” and wore a cowboy costume. I’ve always had a thing for cowboys (my dad’s family was from Texas/ plus the horse thing in my younger days). Mr. Pseudo is a handsome guy and really looked good in that costume. I was a cocktail waitress in the adjoining nightclub and wore the French maid costume. Mr. Psuedo says it was love at first sight. For me, I’d say it was lust. I think we had noticed each other, but the night we first felt the zing and the zap was a night we both had gotten off work and were hanging out in the club. My two college roommates (who also worked there) and I had entered the “tight jeans dance off contest.” We were pretty sassy back then and figured one of us would win the prize, a gift certificate to another restaurant and we would all go out to eat (none of us really cooked back then). Weren’t we surprised when Mr. Pseudo swept the crowd into a frenzy (yes, it was male and female contest). Mr Pseudo is an excellent dancer, has the best butt ever, and worked those jeans like nobody’s business. He took first place, I took second, we danced and hung out together the rest of the night, and had our first official date a few days later.

I had no intention of ever getting married due to a horrible view of marriage caused by a childhood with parents who tortured each other in both marriage and divorce court. I was an undergrad at UH when I started dating Mr. Pseudo and had vague plans of taking off and traveling after I graduated, then going to grad school, then obscure plans of either writing for a magazine like Time or Newsweek ( I was a Poly Sci major/English minor with grandiose ideas) or applying to work in foreign embassies . By the time I was a senior at UH, Mr. Pseudo and I were happily living together and things were going well. I was applying for a scholarship to Sophia University in Japan in my last semester and I almost got it, I was one of three finalists. Mr. Psuedo drove me to the interview. Later he told me he spent the whole time while he was waiting praying that I would not get it. And I didn’t. Long story short. Eventually he sold me on the idea of marriage and staying in Hawaii.

We got married in Lake Tahoe. Small wedding, only about twenty close friends and family. Neither of our parents were going to help us out financially (neither are also the babysitting type – we’ve always been on our own). But Mr. Pseudo has a huge extended family here and we have a lot of friends. We could not afford to throw a wedding for all these people and we love traveling. So instead of a big wedding, we married in Tahoe and took a month long road trip through northern California all the way to Mexico. It wasn’t quite an elopement, we told people we were going to get married, and it turned out my family, his grandma and sister, and some of our friends wanted to come. It was a blast. We all stayed in the same hotel. Lots of people went skiing the day before and the day after. We had a small reception in our hotel suite, then the entire party went downstairs and gambled Our wedding was very lucky and most everyone won money that night. My older sister, who was married and had two children, her husband won enough money at the craps table to pay for their whole trip plus spending money.

And there you go.

And now the rules for this little meme…which is a challenging one by the way cos you just don’t know what’s coming your way….

If you want to participate…

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hope and Change

Sprite’s Keeper Spin this week is poetry. Either share a poem you love or write a poem. I had planned on either writing a poem or sharing an old one. I used to love writing poetry. One of my two publishing claims is a poem I wrote as an undergrad that was selected for the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Review (my other published piece is an educational research article in an educational periodical – yeah even writing that phrase bored the blog world). But my old poetry tended to be dark. And I wanted a poem this week about hope or change or hope and change. And there is a favorite poem of mine that I’ve loved since high school days. So, I’m sharing that instead.

HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS
Emily Dickenson (1830-1886)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.


Well, my hope did ask for some crumbs last Fall. I was very hopeful, but felt the need to put effort into my hope. I spent a few Sundays volunteering my time by making phone calls. The butterflies that come to life in my stomach, the goose bumps I get, the sense of a burden being lifted, all of this every time I hear Obama’s speeches. But that is the work of tomorrow. For today, we have this speech to honor.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekend Hodge Podge

We are having our version of weather over here in Hawaii. It is 62 degrees out.

Last week I had to walk from my classroom to the office during recess. I try not to do this. I usually walk to the office during my prep period or late after school when there are not a lot of students around. The buzz created when over 2,500 teenagers converge in the middle of campus for a fifteen minute break is like being submerged in a YouTube fuck me video. I rarely stop or admonish language use outside my classroom. I’d never get to the office to sign in. But here’s a sample of last Thursday’s recess, what with the temperature in the 60’s and a bit of a wind.

It’s fucking cold.

Fuck, it’s cold.

I wish I wore a fucking jacket. It’s fucking cold.

FUUUUUCK! It’s fucking cold.

That was pretty much repeated all the way to the office and back. However, as I approached my building, the recess bell rang and the throngs of teens started moving towards the buildings. As I walked through the doors, the girl two inches behind me said,

This fucking wind turned my hair into a mother fucking cunt.

Before thinking I turned around to see the young lady who had a more creative take on the cursing. When she realized a teacher was smack dap in front of her she blanched and apologized.

Sorry miss, I didn’t see you there.

I wonder what language these kids would come up with if they were shipped to one of the many parts of the country that is really having some weather...

On a side note, over my winter break I was able to spend more time with my still somewhat new blogging hobby. I was able to visit sites more regularly and read some new blogs as well. Check these bloggers out, if you haven't already.

Beth is an elementary school principal with some great stories from behind the scenes.

Mile 17 is a writer and a mother who I always feel a connection with when I visit.

Irish Gumbo is an inspiring and prolific writer who has come into the blogging scene in a big way.

Sarah’s Blogastic Adventures has a what if post that was creative, artful, and inspiring.

Suburb Sanity cracks me up every time I visit.

Mama Dawg has an amazng eight year old daughter, LOML, who is beading some beautiful earrings and has them for sale.

Now I need to go find a fucking jacket so I can walk my dogs in the frigid 62 degree weather.

Maybe a hair tie too so my hair doesn’t turn into a mother fucking cunt.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Foto: Dive On In

For today's Friday Foto Fiesta, thought we'd go inside the scenes. So, first a dive into the ocean that some of you have commented is such a pretty color. This is my view when I'm snorkling. BC keeps an eye on me. Sometimes, he plunges in to check on me when I'm not looking, swims up to me, and paddles his nails all over my back. If I come out screaming bloody murder, he knows all is well. That's Mr. Pseudo, son, and son's friend taking a little rest up on the beach.

That'a a school of little fish.
A shell hunting hole in the reef.

Dare devil son and dare devil pal.
They did not pay a lot of attention to the sign, yes? These two are more than just friends. They're kalabash cousins, meaning they have been raised like blood cousins even though they are not blood related. Son's pal is the son of one of my closest and dearest friends. She and I go back before the boys, before our husbands even. We were there for each other through the break ups of the ones that came before. My friend was my coach for the birth of both my children (yes, husband was there, but I knew I needed back up). I was there for the birth of her boy. These two boys, although nearly two years apart, have grown up together. Sometimes they fight like brothers, but they are very close.
Here's a video that my friend's son made of what they do for fun. My son is the silly one snorkling with the videographer. BC is featured on the ride up in the first few seconds of the video.



For more Friday Fotos, head on over to Candid Carrie's.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spin Cycle: What if?

What if I did not begin getting migraines as a child?
Brain bursting pain starting at twelve years of age,
doctors worried that I had a brain tumor,
brain scans back in the day when they stuck needles all over your head,
sleepovers where the slightest twinge of a migraine aura
caused gut clenching anxiety that I would embarrass myself.
Throwing up in my friend’s bathroom,
when I had been invited over to play.

What if I did not suffer with chronic migraine syndrome
through my entire adulthood?
Juggling school and jobs,
staying ahead in case I would lose days to a headache
lying in a room devoid of light and sound
sometimes for days at a time.
Hearing my husband hush the children crying for mama
pulling them away from the door.

What if I had not spent five or six days a month
lying in bed praying for the pain to stop,
sometimes wishing the top of my head would blow off
so the pressure could escape.
What if I added up the time migraines have taken over my life?
Six days a month before Imitrex and Maxalt were invented,
two days a month since the medications,
from age twelve to fifty-one.
That would total about 2,328 days,
6.37 years.
What would I have done with that 6.37 years?
What if?
For more "What if" spins, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

National Delurking Day

Want to come out and play?
I've been reading over blogland that today is delurking day and I admit to a bit of curiosity if there are more readers of my blog than I know about. I'm also apprenhensive that this post will have absolutely no comments. But, WTF. It's all good.
For a public service announcement, 24 at Heart is having an awesome contest. Sex toys and paninis. Check it out.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Billions for Boners

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

Now, I don’t know much about the adult entertainment industry. Admittedly, I‘ve never bought a Hustler magazine or watched a Girl’s Gone Wild video. So I would not go so far as to presume their motivation for this stunt. I know they are not serious. I assume they are mocking Secretary Paulson and the fact that the first bailout billions were handed over to the same people who let their companies go belly up while they themselves became multimillionaires.

With these types of results

Here’s a quote from Flynt:

With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It's time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly.

Although I got a perverse laugh out of the article, I’d have to disagree with these adult experts. When one is broke, sex is one of the free options available. Not enough money to see a movie? Go out to lunch? No gas money to take a drive? Well, sweetie, looks like a good day to hang out at home together.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday Foto: Winter Break, Oahu Style

Yeah, I know it's Saturday. So sue me.

Hawaii public school starts on Monday. As in January 12. If you want to know how I feel about the year round calendar, check out my posts in mid-July, here or here. But this post is not about my educational philosophy. It's about my zen.

My 16 year old boy has been hanging with his friends for most of the break. But last week he graced us with a day of his company at the beach. It was a great day, a near perfect day. So this Friday Foto Fiesta is a share of what a near perfect day is in Pseudo-Land.
It starts with a swim.
Then I get to take a short walk to the reef while husband and son play and swim with BC.
I sit and relax on the reef. Deep breaths.
Husband, BC, and I go for a long walk down the beach. BC gets exercised. Hubbie and I get our exercise. It's very centering and gets me out of my head. We go to the point in the far background. Son generously volunteers to watch our stuff and skip surfing so hubby and I can walk together. That's hubby and BC running ahead of me, eventually they get less ambitious and walk with me.
We came across these adorable groms enjoying their life on the North Shore.

video

These little guys had their surf boards behind them on the beach. They had been out surfing before playing on the rock.

For more Friday Foto, head on over to Candid Carrie's.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spin Cycle: Guilt Trippin

Sprite's Keeper's Spin Cycle this week is guilt.

This is a tough one for me. It does not help that I am feeling intimidated by succinct and thoughtful thistle’s spin, where she compares guilt to regret; and Jan’s strongly worded spin where she blew me away with her fuck you guilt attitude.

For me, I think the grey area lies with the mix of guilt and shame.

I used to be dogged by guilt. I would wake up in the middle of the night and worry about a detail left undone or a phrase that may have been taken the wrong way.

It wasn’t until my thirties that I realized others glided through life with much less worries. I studied this and tried to let things go. I have come to believe that what does not come naturally at first should still be practiced. Eventually it might stick.

It wasn’t until my trip through cancer territory that I was able to truly embrace and live the “let the little things go and stop beating yourself up over what’s already done.” Learn from it and move on.

I’ve probably done worse, but my most shameful memory is from my childhood days.

There were four of us. Sarah, Sophie, Katie, and Pseudo. Sarah and I lived at the park. Sophie and Katie were weekenders.

I was the weak link in the group. You know. The one that gets picked on. Sleepover? I was the one whose hand got put in warm water, ice cream melted into my hair, orange juice poured into my sleeping bag.

I wasn’t the youngest. That would have been Katie. But she was bigger and stronger. Plus her parents were the wealthiest. Her mom would give her a twenty to treat us all to candy at the bait store. That would be like giving a kid a hundred today I think. Who would pick on that?
Plus I was a sensitive child. I did not take some practical jokes well. Whenever I got picked on in a way that crossed the line, I went loner for awhile. My older sister would let me hang out with her. She was fearless and could have eaten my friends alive, one by one, if I had asked her. Her boyfriend was even more bad ass.

My friends would eventually apologize. Say it was a joke. Kiss my butt and off I’d go until the next time.

There was another weekender at the park who was our age and always tried to hang with us. Sheryl. We did not like her. Her parents were so rich that they made Katie’s look like they lived in the projects. Plus Sheryl was an only child and very spoiled. Self-indulged.

She was a royal pain in the ass. Her way of fitting in was to let us all know we would be lucky to hang out with her because of all her stuff. She’d brag about all her stuff all the time. That did not go over too well. Then she tried to boss us around and lay claim to leadership because of her vision of herself as better than us all because she had more money. She wasn’t intuitive enough to realize Sarah was the leader by virtue of being the strongest minded. Sarah had the hardest life as well, she was tough from the inside out.

Sheryl was also a big baby. We were a bunch of dare-devils. Our secret name was the dare devil’s club. For fun, we would go into the State Park and climb trees or go down to the beach and climb rocks. Each of us would come up with a precarious stunt. Once we accomplished our stunt, everyone else would follow suit. Sheryl did not like this activity and would tell us we had to do something else. We’d tell her if she didn’t like it, not to come.

So she ratted us out. Told her mom who told our moms. Who told us we had to let Sheryl hang out with us. We were not allowed to do anything that scared her. We all got yelled at for being stupid enough to have a dare devil’s club.

After a couple of weekends of forced company with Sheryl, with Sheryl being bossy and a royal pain, we talked her into going into the State Park. Just for a walk. No tree climbing. Just a walk in the canyon. In my defense, I really did think that was all it would be.

We walked about a mile back into the canyon.

We stopped under some trees and ate the candy bars we’d brought with us.

We were about to walk back, when Sarah and Sophie asked Sheryl if she wanted to become a part of our group for real. She looked both eager and leery.

She said yes.

Then they told her to take off her clothes and run naked through the trees.

She looked petrified.

They talked smooth and sweet. Said we had all done it.

They winked at me conspiratorially.

Sheryl hesitated. She looked at me. The weak link. What was she thinking?

I now had to choose between telling Sheryl, “No. They are lying. We have NEVER taken our clothes off and run naked through the trees. Don’t do it. I wouldn’t trust them. They can be mean even when they do like you. And they so don’t like you.”

Or I could look at Sheryl. Nod yes. Let her trust me for a second and become the picked on one instead of me.

I nodded yes.

Sheryl slowly peeled off her clothes.

She stood there in her twelve year old nakedness. So much fear and trepidation in her eyes.
Sophie and Sarah smiled. “Go on. Run around. Be wild. You’ll like it. Really.”

She faintly smiled. And I realized that despite all her stuff and her spoiledness, what she really wanted was to fit in with us. I felt sick inside.

She raised her hands above her head. She ran around with a slight “whooohoo.”

As soon as she was past a tree or two Sarah grabbed her clothes and yelled to the rest of us “RUN!!”

In that split second, I met Sheryl’s eyes and they pleaded me to befriend her.

The four of us ran through the canyon, Sarah in the lead. Sheryl ran after us screaming and crying for us to stop and to give her back her clothes.

Once we were a good deal ahead of her Sarah turned around, holding Sheryl’s clothes above her head and laughing.

“Still think you’re better than us? Still want to hang out with us?”

Talk about a rhetorical question. I did not even want to hang out with us.

It did not end there. While she stood there, naked and crying, Sarah and Sophie listed her indiscretions and personality flaws. And although dead on, it was mean and cruel. But I did nothing to stop them. My thoughts fell more along the line of realizing that although they might pick on me, it was fluff compared to what they could do if they really did not like you.

Sheryl stood about twenty yards from us. Tears streaming down her face. One hand trying to cover her barely beginning breasts and the other trying to cover her nether regions. She begged for her clothes. She choked on the words.

Sarah left Sheryl’s clothes on the gate that separated the canyon from camping area.

Sheryl never tried to hang out with us again.

I clearly remember a day a few weeks later. I was sitting on the beach with my gang and Sheryl was sitting down the beach with her parents. As I glanced her way I caught her eye. She looked beaten and forlorn. Sarah had wanted to take her down a peg or two, but we had flattened her like a pancake.

I never approached her or apologized.

Guilt, shame. Lots of it over this one incident.

Every kid I notice that sits alone in school or eats alone on a field trip I now pay special attention to. I let my room be his or her safe haven for lunch. I try to befriend the ostracized kid. For me and for Sheryl.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Let's Go to the Movies

I love movies. All kinds of movies. I’ll even watch bad movies just to see how they are put together. But most of the movies I like the best are the ones my family won’t watch with me. Foreign movies and documentaries are my alone time movies.

My father was a film editor. Growing up, I was used to my father adlibbing through movies. Usually cracks about a bad cut. He always knew the plotline and if I asked what was going to happen, he would tell me. He always knew.

My first boyfriend once got really pissed off at me over my movie watching habits. We were at the drive-in (ah, remember drive-ins?) and actually watching the movie (which means we had been dating for awhile and weren’t there just to make out). I was saying, “OMG. What’s going to happen?? Where’s she going?? Why would she go there??”

He turned to me and basically told me to shut the fuck up and let him watch the movie and why the hell would I ask him what was going to happen when I knew he had not seen the movie before either???

First of all, this is not the person I married.

Second of all, a major epiphany. Up until this ripe age of 16, I had assumed that knowing what would happen next in a movie was a male thing. I was too stupid to realize it had more to do with the line of work my dad was in. Other epiphanies on how my dad did not symbolize all men would come later with my husband. Like men putting the lights on the Christmas tree and being handy with fixing things in a house. But I digress.

I used to be somewhat hip and up to date on all the movies coming up. For two years I taught an elective, “Film as Art,” and it gave me a reason to watch a lot of movies and read my Entertainment Weekly somewhat religiously. Since this is not a post on the sorry state of electives in the public school system, I won’t go into why I went back to teaching regular English.

Sooooooooooo, this break I was able to see two movies that I did not know about until recently, but surprised me in how good I thought they were and how much I enjoyed them.

I took a colleague friend to the movies one night and since it was her Christmas present, she got to pick it out. We saw Slumdog Millionaire. I highly recommend it.


On Netflix I rented Sex and Lucia. It’s Spanish with subtitles. It has a lot of sex in it. Don’t watch it when your kids are around. It’ really hot and sexy and I should probably get it again because my husband would probably like it because of the naked chicks and sex. But I also loved it because it is a writer’s story. It blends fiction with reality. The writer’s novel with what is really going on in his life. I also prefer foreign movies because they do not abide to American formulas and I love not being able to figure out what is going to happen.


Let’s get some recommendations going in the comment thread. Seen any good movies this break? What is your all time favorite? Hidden gems anyone?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009: Walking the High Wire

A common theme in my life, especially mid-life, is the desire to achieve balance.

Work and leisure.

Reflection and activity.

Being generous of my time to my family while not becoming a doormat.

I was looking at the little video clips my daughter and I took at the beach on New Year's Day. I noticed that Border Collie's video clips were like a little mini-demonstration on the principle of balance.

There's pure fun:

video

Fun with a little listening and discipline thrown in:

video

Notice on that last one how BC paused for a second with the stick? Asserting a touch of independence maybe?

Then there is the lesson of going out there, making friends, while at the same time being ready to let a new acquaintance know your boundaries:

video

This is one of my favorite Friends.

Ah. Salmon skin roll.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Spin Cycle: 2009 “Resolutions” and Positiviality

Sprite’s Keeper is having her weekly Spin Cycle and with New Year’s it’s about resolutions. I wasn’t going to post any since A) I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions in a long time; because B) I feel like a loser when I’m unable to keep my resolve. But the waters of better intentions always do look so inviting.

In Sprite’s post about the spin she mentions “Lay it out for the blogosphere, maybe it will help you stick to it, you know, witnesses...Maybe you're looking for a resolution to a problem that's been plaguing you. Ask for help here!"

I believe putting one’s intentions down in writing can be powerful. Making it public does add the peer pressure element. So, I swished my toes in and tested the water.

Movie mentioned the word intentions versus resolution. I think it was in a comment thread. But I liked it. I was willing to wade in up to my knees.

Thistle put up her spin and gave me the idea of taking things one goal and one month at a time (and she stole the idea from Brandy). Ah. OK. I was ready to walk up to that first wave and take a little dunk.

Then, my Mom (don’t get me wrong internet I love her dearly) decided to be especially difficult this holiday season and has been drinking and dialing me on a daily basis.

So I decided to get my fucking body board and head out into the deep blue ocean.

First up. Positiviality. Something I have been using to keep my head above water for two and a half years now. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through the six months of treatments, one of the silver linings was that it gave me the inner courage to speak my mind when necessary. A prime example is my mother. She cannot help but talk major nasty shit about people when the mood hits her. Usually it’s about people I love, like my sisters, or their spouses, or their children. I used to feel that I could just loan her an ear and let her get it out. However, when I was going through cancer treatments I figured I needed to be as positive and nurturing to myself as possible. Using my ear to funnel invective into my psyche seemed counterproductive. I started telling her I wasn’t up to listening to her be negative and judgemental. At first it really pissed her off. But truly, how brutal are you going to be to your daughter when she just had poison pumped through her veins?

Apparently she thinks I’m out of the woods enough to get me back on that horse. Uh. I don’t think so.

Despite the setbacks that have appeared recently, I am determined to stay calm, stay centered, and stay positive. I will only succumb to the temptation to pretend my cell phone signal is having difficulties, make static noises and yell, “Hello, hello, hello, mom I can’t hear you,” and then hang up on her when I am extremely desperate.

Not allowing myself to get sucked into others’ bad moods or destructive behavior patterns is probably one of the most uplifting things I have done for myself, ever. It even works when my husband is OCD/anal, whatever one wants to call it. I just straight up tell him he’s being a weenie and if he thinks the house needs to be vacuumed two days in a row, by all means, go for it. But to please do it without raining his anxiety attack all over the rest of it.

Other than not letting other people cast me in their negative nets, I have some general goals for the year.


  • Exercise regularly

  • Be greener.

  • Stick to eating healthy and my vitamin regimen.

  • Be creative.

  • Take time for myself.

  • Be better with money.

  • Practice and role model what I preach to my children a bit more and preach a bit less.


Obviously, I’d be overwhelmed to find doable goals for all of these intentions from the get go. So I’m going with thistle’s monthly idea.

January’s Goal…..

Do my morning yoga, breath exercises, and reflection before I have coffee and go on the internet.

PS thistle, I apologize for seemingly copying your January goal, but it really was something I had been meaning to get to.

PSS Question to the internet….. Anyone out there know how to get an 81 year old woman to stop picking at people?

Sunrise. It's a New Year.
Peace and Joy to all.