Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spin Cycle: Change

On Getting Older

The other day I posted a dream where I was taking a picture. My awareness was behind the camera looking through the lens. A volcano was in the background and I think it was Haleakala, but it could have been Kilauea. The person in front of the camera was a younger me.


Two nights before I had been at my friend’s house (“P”) for an Oscar party. While we were watching the Oscars, she busted out a photo album from 1983 (P and I were roommates) and was showing my daughter pictures. She wanted to show my daughter pictures of an event we worked once. Another friend of ours is a dancer (she was also at the Oscar party). Our dancer friend (“T”) led an exciting life back in the 80’s, traveled the world dancing, and even now works events as a ballroom dancer. Did you know that wealthy people hire ballroom dancers to start the dancing at their events? I guess the professional dancers make the rest of them feel like they are dancing better just by being on the same dance floor with them. Anyhoos, T and her troupe were working a huge convention event once in 1983, and they needed a couple of extra dancers to dance in the go-go booths. Yes, while T and her group were doing jazz numbers on the stage, P and I were put in go-go booths. The theme was under the sea and we had these humongous head pieces on that I think were supposed to be seaweed. Our dance costumes were beige leotards with green sequins spiraling around us.

You could tell in the pictures that we were having the time of our lives. We went through the rest of the album, and it reminded me how much carefree fun we had back then. We started off living in Waikiki and made friends with several of the beach boys that worked the sailboats. We would sail for free at sunset with them when they took the boats back to the harbor. There were pictures of us on the sailboat. We were in swim suits I had forgotten and in bodies that left us long ago. Or at least are trying to leave us by heading in sags towards the ground.

The movie Flashdance came out that year and P had pictures of us lined up in the apartment before going out clubbing. We were dressed in miniskirts, pumps and little white anklets. Our T’s were ripped to fall off the shoulder like Jennifer Beals. My daughter looked at these pictures and asked if we had worked another show that night and that she like our “costumes.”

There were pictures from a birthday party we had in our apartment when my dad was visiting and staying with us. If I was 25, he was 58. Only a few years older than I am now. He was sitting there surrounded by my Bobby McGee’s friends. While everyone else was hamming it up and posing for the camera, he sat in the midst with a beer in his hand. I remember he went to bed early while the rest of us drank late into the night and then he woke me up first thing in the morning and wanted his tourist day. We rented mopeds and went for hours on them, winding up at the harbor where he wanted to take a cruise on the glass bottomed boat. He got pissed off that I wanted to take a nap on the deck in the sun when he had paid good money for me to be below deck, looking through the glass. It was stuffy and gross down there and made me want to throw up. I was hung over after all.

So in this midst of a chaotic week where life piles up around me faster than dirty laundry, my dreams are pointing me toward reflection. My readers left some wonderful insights in the comment thread that also point me in that direction.

When I look at the photos of all the younger me’s, I see myself living life, not getting beaten up by it. Next month I will make my three year mark as a cancer survivor. No matter how much busy each day hands me, I want to remember to stay centered and focused on what is important. I want to live life, not just get through each day. I want to acknowledge all the different selves I have evolved through over the years. Here is a quote from a favorite story. Sandra Cisneros says it so well, I’ll let her say it for me.

What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you've eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don't. You open your eyes and everything's just like yesterday, only it's today. And you are--underneath the year that makes you eleven.

Like some days you might say something stupid, and that's the part of you that's still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama's lap because you're scared, and that's the part of you that's five. And maybe one day when you're all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you're three, and that's okay. That's what I tell Mama when she's sad and needs to cry. Maybe she's feeling three.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree truck or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one.

Sandra Cisneros, Eleven



Your sound is fine. The music comes in a t 20 seconds. I know you are busy, but relax and enjoy the video. This is one of my favorite Hawaiian songs. It always reminds me of change and growing older and wanting to go back to our childhood selves. In 1987 this song was played at the funeral of a friend of mine. She was married to a bartender at my work and they had three young children. She was killed in a car accident and at the funeral, when the musicians were playing this song, and I had to sit there and watch those three kids in the front row, I really lost it. I "cried like my three year old self."

Change is a strange thing it cannot be denied

It can help you find yourself or make you lose your pride

Move with it slowly as on the road we go

Please do not hold on to me we all must go alone



Now this song always brings a lump to my throat and reminds me of my own mortality. So, no matter how busy things seem, the yield sign starts flashing and I leave busy for a few minutes and do something that will make memories instead of just making a living.

I have no idea who the dancer is in the video, but I thought her interpretive dance was kind of cool. It is not traditional hula, and the YouTube site says it is a combination of several dance styles.

For more spins on change, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fa, fa, fa faaabulous daarling!

Bobby McGee’s circa mid ’80’s. I’ve had many jobs and have probably worked with thousands of people over the course of my 51 years. But I sometimes wonder how my life would be different if I had landed a different job upon my arrival in the islands… Five of the women in my close circle of friends come from this slice of my life. I met my husband there. The place and time and events from this hub at the early center of my life are a gold mine for writing that I have yet to chisel and hone.

But the reason my mind is wandering down the hallowed hallways of my own ‘80s movie, complete with a wait staff in costume, a nightclub where cigarette smoke was still the norm, and bouncers (door hosts) in suits, is because Laura over at Under the Sheets passed on an award to little ol’ me.

Isn’t it fabulous? It reminds me of Holly Golightly. I’m not feeling very fabulous right now. I’m behind on everything that has to do with work and life. My blog writing and reading is taking a back seat and I have more half written posts than I care to think about. My non-blog writing projects are on the back burner until I finish some lesson planning for a novel that I am teaching for the first time. My reader has at least two posts from every blog I follow that I haven’t read yet.

Getting back to McGee’s (see, I don’t even have time to edit this and get the back story all together). There was a door host (bouncer) who decided he liked the word fabulous. He was this huge guy, like 6’4” and, as my mother used to say, big as a brick shit house. But he would say “Faabulous” and “Maarvelous” with a bad British accent all the time.

Hey big guy, I’ve got a table on the dance floor open for those VIP’s.

Faabulous, darling. I’ll bring that party right away.

Hey, big guy, there’s a jerk in my station giving me a hard time.

Well, that’s not faaabulous; we’ll just get him out of there.

I never saw him irked, even when he had to kick out obnoxious drunks who acted up.

Thank-you very much Laura. Very unexpected and with me being a shorts, jeans, T-shirts, and slippers (flip-flops Mainlanders) kind of gal, fabulous is not something I have personally ever thought of myself as being. Awarding the fab button to my blog is so cool. I humbly accept. I love the graphic and the thought behind it.

My preference is to say here that if you are in my blog roll or I follow you, then you’re pretty effing fabulous because life is busier than all fucking hell and if I read (or suggest to others to read) your blog, than you are so awesome that you beat out the books waiting on my nightstand. That also goes for newly discovered blogs that I read but have not yet updated onto my own site (this is on my to do list).

But I figure most of you wouldn’t bother taking the absolutely fabulous award under those circumstances. And it’s so pretty. So here are the ten blogs I’d like to pass it on to. I figure with the exponential factor, all my fabulous blogger friends who don’t have this will yet will get caught in the web eventually.

What Kate Did Next


The Claw


Goodfather


Jan’s Sushi Bar


Life Keeps Getting Weirder


Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit…


The McEwen’s


Mile 17


Of thistle and maple leaves


My Space...My blog...My life...

So, there are a few things you need to do after accepting this award:
1) Post the logo on your blog.
2) Pass it on to 10 of your blogger friends.
3) Please link the person who awarded your blog in your post.
4) Link the awardees as well.
5) Let your awardees know you have passed this on to them by going to their blog and leaving a comment.

To all of you who commented on yesterday’s post, thank-you. I really enjoyed reading that comment thread. It’s given me a lot to think about during this chaotic week.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I can't believe it is only Tuesday

I'm buried in work. Behind on lesson planning and behind on grading.

I've got more half written posts than Border Collie has toys.

But I need a dream interpreted. Last night I dreamt I was at the Volcano on a trip. I was taking pictures. But the person smiling in front of the camera was me. I was taking a picture of myself. The me posing for the camera was a young me, I'd say early twenties, and I was wearing a red shirt and jeans. I can't remember the other people in the dream. There were a bunch of others I was taking pictures of with other me.

Which one was the real me?

What does it mean?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Conversation with my daughter last night…

Me (trying to catch up on blog reading).

Daughter comes into the office.

Mom, one of your former students is in my Woman’s Studies class.

Mmm. That’s nice. (Meanwhile I was reading this post of Motherhood in NYC. It you don’t read Marinka you should check her out. She is so, so funny. Great last blog to read before retiring if you need an uplift).

It’s weird running into your old students. Actually, this one is weird.

Yeah, well, at 150 students a year, over the course of many years, there’s bound to be all types.

No, this one is really weird. Kind of irritating.

I’m still only half listening. Daughter continues.

So, I’m sitting with my friend Brian, a few minutes before class starts, and this guy in front of us turns around and says, “Are you Ms Pseudo’s daughter?” And I say, ahh yeah. My friend Brian was in the middle of telling me a story, so we both just sit there awkwardly and your student keeps going.

Your mom was my teacher.

That’s nice.

I was in her class my senior year.

Ah, that’s nice.

She had cancer that year.

Mom, I swear to God, Brian had to cover his mouth and put his head down to keep from laughing. What am I supposed to say to that, “uh, yeah, I think I remember the year my mom had cancer??”

He probably just wanted to know if I was doing alright.

Yeah, well, maybe. But the next thing he says was “Did your mom’s hair grow back? She was bald when she was my teacher.” Brian’s head is down on the desk and his shoulders are shaking he is laughing so hard.

OK. I turn from the glare of the computer monitor. She has my attention and my mirth as well at this point.

Well did you laugh? Cause it is kind of funny when you put it like that.

She IS laughing, finally. Although, I'm pretty sure it is the first time she has laughed at this story.

I might be laughing right now while I’m telling you this. It is funny when I think about it. But I was actually kind of pissed off. I gritted my teeth and told him your hair had grown back and you were doing fine.

Is that it sweetie? Can I go back to reading?

MOM! Brian and I have switched where we sit. But your student keeps following us around and sitting right in front of us!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Foto: Waikiki

Sometimes family togetherness is not all it’s cracked up to be. Especially when resources are low. Not enough money, not enough time. Not nearly enough patience. Never enough compromising in the world when it is one of those days where everyone wants something different. Eventually, it leads to moments when a more or less sane person can be led to the edge, look over the cliff, and wonder how bad the fall might be to get the fuck to that quiet place way down yonder.

So far though, every time I hang on and get through one of these moments – actually week(s) – I am rewarded for my perseverance. The teens get along, the husband stops being edgy and bullish, the bills somehow get paid.

Or a friend visits. Spending the week with my friend I do believe magically made my family far more appreciative of my time, since they were getting none of it.

So on Monday, after taking my friend to the airport and returning home, I had plans with my family. We had a gift certificate from Christmas to The Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki and we were going to have a family day out. However, daughter needed us to be home by six, son had not gotten home by two in the afternoon.

Hubs and I ditched them. We turned it into a belated Valentine’s date. We had a lovely late afternoon meal and then took a sunset stroll down Waikiki Beach. It was so beautiful, so romantic, I decided to invite the internet.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.


The Royal Hawaiian just reopened after seven months of renovations.
Love me a long, spooky hallway.
The Royal Hawaiian was the first hotel in Waikiki. It is my favorite. You can feel the old times, you can almost see the ghosts of a time gone by in the hallways. I was afraid they might ruin this with the renovation, but the old style is still there. This is a window box along one of the corridors.
Coming through the hotel out to the beach.
Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai Bar. One of our family's favorite summer sunset treat places to go.
Diamond Head while walking down the beach.
Sunset
Sheraton's Rum Fire Bar. We stopped for a sunset drink before heading home.
We used a gift certificate at the Cheesecake Factory, and since we ate there they validated our parking. The Rum Fire Bar was having happy hour and our bill was $9.98 plus tip. Since I was such a cheap date for Valentine's, my Friday Foto is doubling as next week's Money in the Bank. Join the fun in handing out tips on ways to save money over at Smart Mouthed Broad.
For more Friday Fotos, head on over to Candid Carrie's.
If you are blog reading this weekend, I just found this terrific blog. It came recommended by Ryan over at the Panic Room.
Have a great weekend internet!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Money in the Bank: Numero Uno

My good friend Smart Mouthed Broad started a weekly themed blog post. She was inspired by a spin topic from Sprite’s Keeper about being sensible with money during these economic times.
I appreciate Smart Mouth including me in her initial group of askees. But I have to admit, I feel a bit unworthy. I’ve never had a lot of money in the bank. My parents were both horrible with money and did not teach me a thing. Now THERE’S a post or two. On just how bad they were with money.

Learning how to manage money has been like a cultural anthropological experiment for me (kind of like raising kids). I knew what NOT to do, but I had to use my observation powers to figure out some things TO DO.

So here’s my tip for my first roll with this theme. It helps when one does not give a flying fuck what others think of the car one drives. This, I did not have to learn. I’ve always been this way, albeit, a lone freak during my early adult days.

I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. Land of image equals everything. If you live in Southern California, please do not get offended. But…true story. Just before I moved to Hawaii, I was hanging in a club one night, making time with a decent looking chap who was talking me up. Within three minutes he had worked into the conversation (without my asking) that he drove a Porsche and that a few nights before he had been at some famous actor’s house for a party (rubbing elbows with famous people is as important as one’s car, clothes, and accessories – I guess the celebrities fit into the necessary accessories category).

I was young and my 20 year old VW bug was alright by me. When I got to Hawaii, I soon sold my car for a moped. Paying my own way through college, I decided the insurance and what not unnecessary expenses. Besides, I could wake up at the very last minute and ride that moped right up to wherever my class was, a real perk when one is cocktailing one’s way through college.
After marriage, my husband rode my moped to work and I (who worked farther away) took his…guess what Mr. Right drove…you got it, a VW bug.

When we had daughter we needed a car with seat belts to strap in her car seat. Hubs’ grandma knew an old man at church who was selling his 15 year old Ford Fairmount with low mileage for $700 and we snapped it up. My friends made endless fun of this clunker car, but having no car payment enabled us to save up money for our down payment on a house. It is not easy buying a house over here, but we did. We’ve done nothing much else since, but we are homeowners.

I now own a hatchback hybrid – first car I ever bought brand new. I share it with my daughter, who drives it to UH everyday as this is cheaper than her dorming. I either catch rides from hubs or take the bus to work since I only live a few miles from the school where I teach.

So there it is. My advice for saving money is to drive a car one can afford and to not let a car be a money drain,nor an accesory, nor an extension of one's ego. Head on over to Words of Wisdom From a Smart Mouthed Broad to see what other money tips are circulating.

Ours was white....


Sunday, February 15, 2009

STAWTTN: Rewind

Sprite's Keeper's spin this week is laughter. I'm not a funny on demand kind of gal. My writer's voice wanders at will and if I forced it into comedy when I tend to wax poignant who knows how bad the post might turn out. Sometimes I'm funny, or at least I'd like to think so. But I'm not sure if I have a funny story for this week.

I have a house guest staying with us for the week. She is a friend and a colleague and she moved in a bit of a rush at the end of last school year. She is here for a court date for a divorce from hell. 'Nuf said. Except I'm giving Mr. Pseudo bonus points for sharing Valentine's weekend with the kind of commiserating going on around here.

Last night the conversation drifted to the changes that occur during difficult times. The old "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" adage. My dear friend is a different person than the woman I met eight years ago. She is still in the middle of a lot of crapola, but already a much happier person. We were only imagining how much better it will be when the divorce is final and she can move on.

She then asked me how I thought going through cancer had changed me in ways for the better. I said the biggest bonus was that it gave me the ability to let the little things go and not let myself get caught up in stressful crap that does not really matter (at least more of the time). And that I thought it gave me a better sense of humor about myself - not to take myself too seriously.

She mentioned a post I wrote when I was first blogging that she thought captured this. So, I am cheating a bit and for the first time since I began this blog am rerunning a post. If you have been around since last summer you might have read it already.



SOMETIMES THERE ARE WORSE THINGS THAN NIPPLAGE

I’ve got some battle scars. My right breast has a one inch mark from a lumpectomy that was benign. There’s a leftover trench, a hidden valley of sorts from that surgery. My left breast has a larger disfigurement from the removal of a malignant lump; the lymph nodes were taken as well – sacrificial innocents. There’s a thickening of tissue between my left breast and my underarm. Thirty-seven radiation treatments have made a rough-hewn road between these two camps. And above my right breast, there’s a pot-holed scar. Where the chemotherapy port resided. I had to go in for surgery when this soldier was inserted; but when it was taken out, the surgeon ripped it from its combat zone with just a local in an office exam room, an intern looking on.

So I’m not supposed to wear underwire bras anymore. And I mostly don’t want to because with three scars and road track, they’re uncomfortable. I like to wear sports bras now, or those camisole tank tops with the support bra built in. OK. Not exactly a bra, but a stretchy hammock slung inside for the gals to relax in.

I’m not big breasted, and I’d say with as much humility as possible, that for 50, my boobs are not bad. Plus I have never been super modest in the upstairs arena. Back in the 70’s, my friends and I used to drive up to “Oil Piers” beach (north of Ventura on one’s way to Santa Barbara), the north end of it, and lay out topless. Not because we were showing off our stuff. On the contrary, this beach was deserted. We just didn’t want strap marks. One time, we noticed a guy had worked his way along the boulders shouldering the beach and was checking us out, half hidden. Which we ignored, until we realized that the half of him that was hidden was doing something disgusting while he starred down our way. I really think he thought we’d be so freaked out we’d scream, cover up maybe. Give him some more thrills. But we started laughing, and then the feistiest of us, a 5’2” petite little thing, got up and started calling him out for being such a disgusting loser. Walking toward him with her finger wagging accusingly. He ended up being the one who looked freaked out. I’m pretty sure he never finished what he started as he ambled back down the beach trying to act like he’d been looking for something lost in the rocks. Perhaps he thought he’d find his pride ground up and spread across the sand and if he stepped in it he could carry it back along the bottoms of his feet.

Anywhos, awhile ago my daughter’s performing arts group was having a dinner show to fundraise. My husband and I decided to make it a date night, since we hadn’t been out for months while we paid off my medical bills. Our first date since my hair had grown back enough to not look like a recovering chemo patient. On the night of the event, I was in my bathroom, almost ready. I had on a camisole tank for a bra, a long ribbed tank layered over the cami, a decent pair of jeans and low-slung heels. My short, spiky hair was gelled back and had come out really Euro-chic. I’d just finished my make-up (thrilled that I once again had eyebrows) and was adding the finishing touch – a pair of silver earrings, when my daughter walked in, took one look at me, and said, “Mom. I can see your nipples.”

“There are three layers of material over my nipples. The tank, the camisole tank, and the built in bra.”

“That’s NOT a bra. No one wears a spaghetti-strap tank without a bra unless they’re an A-cup and twelve years old. Can you PLEASE put on a bra and not show up at the fundraiser with your nipples showing.”

Well, I did not have a strapless bra as it had been an underwire bra and I had gotten rid of all of those. But… I did have a pair of silicon enhancers I had bought recently to wear to a wedding. When I went to the wedding I was in the middle of chemo and wanted desperately to not look too forlorn. I had worn a beautiful scarf around my head, topped with a summer straw hat, and a summer dress that was deep pink with wide straps. I had needed something to smooth out the uneven terrain of the battle scars and a friend who is a wedding planner had suggested the free floating implants to fill out the bottom of my bra. I had to go to Neman Marcus to get them and at $50 they were quite the investment. But they were so worth it. Instead of rough seas, there were smooth swells.

Remembering how pretty I had felt that day, I slipped the jelly pads into the camisole’s hammock. I figured that after all those months of doctors, nurses, radiation techs, not to mention their interns, best friends, and publicity agents feeling up my boobs and then leaving me topless while they discussed my boobs in front of me I had become a little too cavalier and perhaps my daughter was right. So, for my daughter’s piece of mind, I smoothed out the nipplage with silicone pads.

The dinner before the show was a buffet and after claiming our seats my husband and I made our way over to get our dinner. As I leaned over to ladle something onto my plate, there was a slight feeling of slippage in the old hammock area. One of the gals was separating from her false friend. I eyed out the “waiters” (theater teens) on the other side of the buffet to see where they were looking. I was hoping I could just stick my hand down my top, grab hold of the jelly half-boob, and slap it back into place. No such luck. The kid was standing there with a pair of tongs and waiting to see if he could offer me some chicken. Hmm. As I moved down the line, I held my plate with both hands and lined up the inside of my right bicep with the renegade and gave a squeeze and a push. Nope. I tried to use non-obvious muscle movements to force the errant falsie back into place all the way down the buffet line. My right boob must have looked something like a confused and insane puffer fish.

I gave up hope of straightening incognito and took my plate back to my table, resigned to having to excuse myself to the restroom. Besides, it probably felt worse than it looked. I smiled over to my daughter who was working the soda bar across the room.

After I put my plate down and before I cut loose to the facilities, my daughter magically appeared in front of me. She hissed at me under her breath. “MOM! You need to go fix yourself. NOW. You look like you have two boobs on one side.”

Meanwhile my husband, who has been at my side the whole time and never noticed a thing, is already eating. I glare down at him and he looks up at me and asks me if I got some of the orange chicken because I really should have gotten some of the orange chicken, and by the way daughter, do you know where you guys ordered the orange chicken from, because THE ORANGE CHICKEN IS REALLY GOOD. He has NO IDEA how close he came to wearing his orange chicken.

So now I have to walk clear across the room to the exit by the bathroom and suddenly it feels like I AM THE ONE ONSTAGE.

“Daughter,” I whisper, “why don’t I wait until the show starts and the lights go down?”

“No mom. That’s rude and unacceptable in theater. You need to fix it now.”

So I walk across the room, the whole way pretending to scratch my chin so my arm can crook over my right side, which apparently is in possession of two boobs.

In the restroom I square myself off and look in the mirror.

OK. Not pretty. But not exactly TWO boobs on the right side. More like a double-up. You know, like those waves that have a wave on their backside.

Ah. Well.

Apparently I missed a flush. Or been too self-occupied to realize someone was using the facilities. But as I started to pry open my cami, the jelly boob free fell out and plopped onto the floor as a young woman of about 17 simultaneously walked out of the stall. For a second that stretched into eternity, we both stood there, the quivering mass of flesh-colored jello on the floor between us. Then the girl politely stepped over it, washed her hands, dried them, stepped over it again and exited. She was way cool.

My inner monologue was not so cool. It was SO HARD to just stand there. And though I lacked the fortitude to JUST PICK UP THE FUCKING THING AND STICK IT BACK IN, at least I did not blurt out the train wreck going on in my head. No. I am NOT some wanna be MILF. REALLY REALLY REALLY. I’m just a battle scared survivor who can’t wear most bras. TRYING TO NOT SHOW MY NIPPLES.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Foto: Beach Wedding



A wedding on the beach. These are the only photos I have without the wedding couple in them and since it is not my wedding...


For all my years of living here (27), this is one of the only weddings I have been to that was straight up on the beach. Most beach weddings the couple rents a beach house, but this one was set up on a windswept, beautiful beach where there are no houses. It was simple, barefooted, and lovely.


Happy Valentine's Weekend.


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

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Spin Cycle this week is LOVE.

Living with people you love isn’t always easy. But just when you wonder if it’s all worth it and maybe your life would be simpler and more peaceful if you did a nonalcoholic version of Kerouac and took off with that backpack and headed, say, to a train (and no, Captain, we do not have trains over here I’d have to take a plane first, which does change the whole running away mysticism). What was I saying? Oh yeah. Just when you wonder if all the anxiety and stress is something you can live with FOREVER, it stops. And you feel the love come pouring in, like a calm blanket, and it wraps you up and you know you would lie down in front of that train instead of getting on it if you needed to in order to make your loved ones life better somehow. And I guess that’s what we do metaphorically every time we stick around when it’s not pretty.

I woke up from a dream this morning. My dreams can get fairly bizarre, but this one was so simple, it was like dream interpretation for intuitive idiots. In my dream I was at the movies with my daughter. I was watching the movie, but I was holding a white teddy bear with a red ribbon tied around its neck. We were sitting in the side aisle. Along through the middle aisle, I feel before I see someone approaching. It’s my husband, and he’s making his way over to us. And guess what is in his arms? A bigger-than-mine, white teddy bear and a big cello wrapped bunch of long stemmed red roses. My daughter elbows me and we move down a seat and make room for the hubs. Without saying a word, we both acknowledge we are not angry any more, and shake our heads at the matching make up gifts.

I know it sounds as corny as a carnival dog, but that’s the dream. Very clich├ęd, yes. But in reality, we have NEVER given each other stuffed animals, so I guess my psyche was telling me we are both a couple of toddlers when it comes to holding a grudge and staying pissy.

So I wake up from this dream and it’s, of course, 3:30 AM (because that is the usual insomniac moment of waking and not being able to go back to sleep for me) and I look over at my sleeping husband and it is like watching a terrible two year old. Remember those days? The wild child by day looks like an angel when sleeping? I see the peacefulness of his sleep rimmed with the worry of work being slow and bills not paid. Instead of wanting to hit him over the head with a blue pillar, I want to lay my hand over his forehead and somehow absorb the anxiety that haunts him.

I go into my son’s room and there is my 6’1” gangly sixteen year old sprawled as only a teenager can when knocked out for the night. He looks totally konked, but as I brush the hair off of his forehead, he smiles in his sleep, opens one eye, and mutters as he falls back to sleep, “love you mom.”

My heart melts and is refueled at the same time.


Punahou Carnival 1994. How's this for a Valentine's photo? The boy is a sweet 19 month old in the arms of his father. Grandma was still with us. She raised my husband and we made a home for her after we bought our house. Daughter is a precious 4 and a half year old looking like a poster girl for cotten candy. The giant balloon baseball bat is a bit of a scary foreshadowing of the bam bam nature of my men, but we are letting that go...

I don't remember my husband having pink shorts...I don't think he'd be able to pull that off these days, not quite sure if he pulled it off then...just saying.

Happy Valentine's week. For more love spins, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sitting Here in Limbo


What I want to know is this?? Has anyone ever died from living with teenagers? The angst? The mood swings? The drama?

What happens when you put a volatile teenage boy with horrible impulse control, a smart ass mouth, and a tenacity the likes of which should be harnessed and used to heat all homes in the Midwest in the same house with an edgy, quick tempered father who is worried about finances and having his hours cut at work?

There are days when I do believe the answer to the above question is this. What happens is you create a mother who has brief periods of thinking about becoming a hobo. Hopping a train with a backpack, a notepad, and a good book sounds like a peaceful life compared to the shit storm of living with boys and men.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Foto: Sacred Places

Before we get started, heads up to this contest. If you are not famliar with SITS (The Secret is in the Sauce - see sidebar for badge), it is a great blog run by the sweetest ladies in the blogoshere. Very supportive. Lots of contests. The latest is a really great one, so check it out.

Now, back to today's post...

My walks keep me healthy. My husband gave me an I-shuffle (which, according to my students is an embarrassingly ghetto version of the coveted contraption) and this addition has added an essential element to my walking that I had not realized was missing. The walks are, in part, to clear my head and center myself. Too much of my focus is in the mental processes. My Chi Kun therapist and my acupuncturist both have told me that my energy needs to be in my “furnace,” (center-just above the belly button). Not in my head. Which can lead to migraines. Stress. Stress can lead to illness. Want to stay in remission. Must. Clear. Head.

HOWEVER, there are times where I find myself mentally preoccupied with less than stellar thoughts while pacing down the trails. Or, some irritating song gets stuck in my head.

Presto bingo, enter the magic I-shuffle. Sets the mood. Blast the thoughts from my brain.

Off we go.

BC Says welcome to the bike path.
First stop, the “feral” kitty cats. Along this bike path, which is one of my walks, there are dozens of “wild” cats. I’m not sure why Hawaii has so many homeless kitties. I have heard that people move and leave their cats. I don’t know anyone who does that. But along this bike path there are a dozen or more places where a pride of cats has claimed their turf. There are ladies who walk with a wagon every evening and feed the kitties. They catch the ones they can, take them to the Humane Society, have them fixed, then bring them back. Most of the cats come out to see if you are going to feed them. One or two like attention and want to be pet.

One of my best friends gave me a book when I was going through chemo called The Ultimate Healing. It is based on Buddhism and has meditation techniques to promote healing through a grave illness. One chapter was about doing good deeds for animals and the tranquility and peace this creates. I got BC that year. And I feed the feral cats. I don’t have a wagon, so I bring a bag that I can carry and feed the little ones that look like they get bullied from the food.


The long and winding road, that leads.....
To the gazebo. A sometimes stretching spot.
Sunrise on the piers.
Deep breath in. Slow breath out. Deep breath in. Slow breath out. There is something about being surrounded by water, standing on the end of the pier, that cannot be duplicated with yoga and breathing exercises in my living room. This is my favorite yoga spot.
A second before you hear it. A second before you see it. You sense it. And there it is. The still surface of the water suddenly erupts as a school of fish changes directions and for a brief moment they simultaneously break through the water’s surface. The orchestra of a coordinated swoosh. A hundred little splashes. BC starts and trembles and for a second thinks about bolting.

Only one time it was not a school of fish. Right there in front of us a baby sting ray came flying out of the still surface of the water. It performed an acrobatic air bank and for a second looked like it was copying one of the planes that flies overhead on its way to the airport for a landing. A black shadow with a long black tail. Held in mid-air for a second not fifteen feet in front of BC and me. Take a picture with your mind, ain’t no time for cameras. A little gift from the sea.

It was gone in another second. We stood for a long time hoping for another show, but it was only meant to happen once. Sometimes, that’s just the way it is.
Then, it is time to turn around and head back.
Thanks for stopping by for a little slice of PseudoLand.
For more Friday Fotos, head on over to Candid Carrie's.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not Wordless Wednesday (Or, better known as Wal-Mart redux)

My work week is shaping up into a work month the likes of which make me wonder if I am able to keep up with my blogging habit. I truly wish I could have been around for my own comment thread yesterday. You people are the best. There was so much good stuff that I decided to post a couple of your comments.

Captain Dumbass had this link. Go check it out. I'll wait....

How was that for scary?

Jan shared this story, "Beloved won't shop there at all. He spent six months in Bentonville, employed by Informix, working on a Wal-Mart deal. He said the Wal-Mart culture is just amazing, and not in a good way - the Wal-Mart executives and management were forbidden to socialize with anyone outside of the company, and were all required to go through some sort of indoctrination when hired. He later worked for a company run by Scientologists that didn't have the "Big Brother" mentality Wal-Mart does."

Movie shared this story, "My ex did some work with a hospice once and he was super impressed because the local Walmart donated $1000 to the hospice house. Then we found out that the money came from the employees' donations, not corporate Walmart."

Movie's story brings up a point well made in the documentary. Wal-Mart has a program where employees can donate money from their paycheck to a fund to help employees who are in crisis. In 2004, the employees donated a combined total of 5 million dollars. That same year, the billionaire Walton family donated $6,000.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why I Try Not to Shop at Wal-Mart

The Spin Cycle this week from Sprite’s Keeper is “Turning Dollars into Sense.” Also known as Cost Cutting. Apropos with the economy floating around the top of the crapper, the hushed moment while everyone is watching the flusher. What’s going down the tubes at your house?

Not only is the cost of living in Hawaii exactly what you would expect (then double that) in a slice of paradise, but our number one industry is tourism. Which comes to a screeeeeching stall in economic downturns. My husband works at a high end resort. His hours have been cut in half since Christmas. Nuf’ said.

So, I’ve had this post floating around the perimeters of my addled, is thinking about taking a turn towards mid-life brain farts mind for awhile as well.

Ah, well. Here goes…

I highly recommend the documentary, Wal-Mart: The High Price of Low Cost. It is well made and has multiple sources for its information, including many high up managers. The documentary makes several cases against Wal-Mart business practices. Some of them are heartbreaking. The anecdotal stories. The bigger picture the film paints.

Highlights:

A systematic policy of not just paying low wages and offering little or no benefits, including health care; but of counseling their employees to go on public assistance. Wal-Mart employees cost tax payers over one billion dollars in 2004 (movie made in 2005). Managers interviewed tell how Wal-Mart, a multibillion dollar company trains their managers to tell the employees to use state assistance because that is what it is there for.

The sweat shops Wal-Mart is running in its factories overseas.

A systematic policy of discrimination against women and people of color when it comes to upper level management.

Crime in the parking lots and Wal-Mart’s lack of reaction or caring to this.

Changed landscape of small businesses and their ability to survive.

Yes, the prices are low. But at what cost?

This clip shows the unscrupulousness of their business practices and their greed. The Walton family is worth over 102 billion dollars, yet gives less than 1% to charity. The clip compares this to Bill Gates who gave 58% to charity the same year.


I’m not sure if I am more upset with Wal-Mart or Queen for this commercial.


Does anyone besides me remember the days where only the cheesiest and greediest of artists sold out their music for advertising?? Queen for Wal-Mart. Excuse me while I slip into depression over here.