Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Vodka Mom

The Spin Cycle this week is all about birthdays and anniversaries.

This morning I read over at Vodka Mom's that she will be turning 50 this week.

Vodka Mom is beloved by multitudes and deservedly so.

She is an awesome kindergarten teacher who shares stories from her classroom with her readers.

She is a generous blogger with a big heart. When I emailed her last year and asked if if I could steal her idea of a blog post where she was a fly on the kindergarten wall- just changing the parameters to my own class - she encouraged me with gusto.

And let's face it. She is hilarious and she makes me laugh, often when I am hanging by a thread.

My spin on birthdays is to encourage everyone to drink a martini and toast to Vodka's 50th.

Like a big blogger block party.

Happy 50th Vodka Mom!! It's not so bad on this side of 50; so nice of you to join us.
For more spins on birthdays and anniversaries, head on over to Sprite's Keeper's.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rant Fall Out

So. I googled teacher salaries by state and found this interesting website. OK. If you are not a teacher it might not be all that interesting. But it is to me and it is my blog so I'm going with it.

Anywhos, the first salary listed is starting salary. The second one listed is average salary. But the really interesting number is the third one, where the salaries are indexed by calculating the salaries along with the cost of living in the state. Go on and look where Hawaii is...

If you go to the site where this list comes from, make sure you read the first comment. The commenter sums up the situation for Hawaii teachers really well.

Illinois
$37,500
$58,686
1
Delaware
$35,854
$54,264
2
Georgia
$34,442
$48,300
3
Michigan
$35,557
$54,739
4
Pennsylvania
$34,976
$54,027
5
Ohio
$33,671
$50,314
6
Texas
$33,775
$41,744
7
Indiana
$30,844
$47,255
8
Tennessee
$32,369
$42,537
9
Minnesota
$31,532
$48,489
10
Arkansas
$28,784
$42,768
11
Colorado
$35,086
$44,439
12
Alabama
$31,368
$40,347
13
Oregon
$33,699
$50,044
14
Kentucky
$30,619
$42,592
15
Missouri
$29,281
$40,462
16
Nebraska
$29,303
$40,382
17
Oklahoma
$29,174
$38,772
18
Mississippi
$28,200
$40,576
19
Louisiana
$31,298
$40,029
20
Kansas
$27,840
$41,467
21
Connecticut
$39,259
$59,304
22
North Carolina
$27,944
$43,922
23
South Carolina
$28,568
$43,011
24
Virginia
$33,200
$43,823
25
Florida
$33,427
$43,302
26
Wyoming
$31,481
$43,255
27
Wisconsin
$25,222
$46,390
28
New Mexico
$33,730
$41,637
29
Alaska
$38,657
$53,553
30
Iowa
$27,284
$41,083
31
Washington
$30,974
$46,326
32
Idaho
$27,500
$41,150
33
Massachusetts
$35,421
$56,369
34
Arizona
$30,404
$44,672
35
New Jersey
$38,408
$58,156
36
Maryland
$37,125
$54,333
37
New York
$37,321
$57,354
38
Utah
$26,521
$40,007
39
West Virginia
$26,704
$38,284
40
South Dakota
$26,111
$34,709
41
Rhode Island
$33,815
$54,730
42
North Dakota
$24,872
$37,764
43
California
$35,760
$59,825
44
Nevada
$27,957
$44,426
45
Montana
$25,318
$39,832
46
Maine
$26,643
$40,737
47
New Hampshire
$28,279
$45,263
48
Vermont
$26,461
$46,622
49
Hawaii
$35,816
$49,292
50

Although underappreciated by my governor, I still spent most of the weekend holed up inside my house grading and prepping. Mid-term progress reports go out this week.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

Dear So and So...



Dear Asurion,

In all my 51 years on this planet, you are the biggest piece of crap company I have run across. A more detailed letter will be forthcoming, copies of which I plan to send to anyone and everyone who can take you down. Suffice it to say I am on to you. In a nutshell, you have got a lot of fucking nerve to take my money every month for insuring our cell phones and then give me the runaround and bullshit blow off for the last two weeks. My time is precious and when I am through with you, I hope to make an example of companies having to pay customers back for time wasted.


Dear T-Mobile,

Although I realize (as you have explained it to me numerous times) that you are not responsible for the asshatery of Asurion, and that all the other cell phones companies use Asurion too, I don’t give a flying fuck. That is akin to my children telling me that they cannot help the micro scratches on the car as all the car washes scratch the cars while running them through (hello?? Wash the fucking car at home like mom and dad). Or my students telling me they don’t do homework because no one else does homework. YOU T-MOBILE YOU have been taking quite a chunk of my money for a family plan on cell phones. I may be old fashioned in my thinking, but perhaps you could spend less on advertising (Ms Zeta Jones I assume lives quite well already) and spend more on research/development and customer service. And since you cannot deliver on service, nor make me a happy customer, have the decency to let me out of my contract. You cannot tell me on the one hand that I have a very legitimate complaint and you don’t blame me for being pissed and sorry you cannot do anything more than to take the Asurion (aka DEVIL COMPANY) payments off my bill, THEN TURN AROUND AND TELL ME THAT YOU WILL CHARGE ME $200 FOR EACH PHONE ($600 TOTAL) TO GET OUT OF MY CONTRACT. Do not tie your customers into two year contracts because you sold them piece of crap phones that were not built to last more than a year.


Governor Lingle,

I cannot even bring myself to write the word “dear” in front of your name.

I really enjoyed hearing how you want to cut my pay by 14%. Because, as everyone knows, we make so much as teachers.

Please keep in mind that we are an educated bunch. Your bullshit agenda and rationale does not fly with me nor my colleagues.

Please do not use my livelihood, nor the educational future of the public schoolchildren of Hawaii, to ascend to a platform in national politics. I would prefer (and so would many others) you resign and go join your crazy friend in Alaska.

And yeah. I voted for you. Every time you ran. Fuck me.

I will not take a second job to make ends meet for our family. I worked two jobs the first eight years of teaching due to the poor salary - I am too old to go there again. I might, however, move to a state with a lower cost of living and a higher teacher salary. Or go back into the private sector where I could make quite a bit more money.

Fuck you and your high horse too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday: Roy’s Restaurant

It's virtual travel day (tomorrow). I put the post up early as this afternoon I will be home late from work and there is a good chance a Teen Boy will be using the computer until after I am asleep. Plus, this gives you all plenty of time to get your own travel post or staycation post up (and to enter the contest).

And here we go...

If you are visiting Oahu, there are many excellent restaurants. From fancy to eclectic to hole in the wall to local drive in, there is something for every mood and budget. Due to Hawaii’s location in the Pacific and local demographics, Asian and Local cuisine rocks here. Since the late ‘80’s, so does Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

Roy’s Restaurant opened in Hawaii Kai in 1988, at a time when most of the better restaurants were outdated steak and fish houses. Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine is where “European techniques and Asian cuisine meet Hawaiian hospitality to create a fine dining experience unlike any other. Where the aloha style of service comes straight from the heart, and where any occasion becomes an unforgettable evening.”

Roy’s comes Pseudo recommended and not just because the food is fantastic or that the service is always great (not to mention the views). It come Pseudo recommended because Pseudo worked for Roy for nine years. I went back to waitressing when Daughter was barely a year old because the money doing anything else was not worth leaving my daughter with a sitter. I continued there even after I started teaching, during my entire pregnancy with Son (picture huge bellied Pseudo), and for six years after Son was born. For many years I taught school during the day and worked several nights a week at Roy’s Restaurant.

Roy is a cool guy and the best boss I ever worked for. Back then the Hawaii Kai restaurant was his first and only and he would be back behind the line cooking every night. After work, Roy and the managers would sit with the wait staff and we would have wine tastings and talk story. When my best friend left for a singing gig (she is the one who talked me into going back to waiting tables and into working at Roy’s) we all went out to a Japanese restaurant/karoke bar and Roy picked up the entire tab. I was sitting next to him and remember watching him order sake and beer and fill people’s glasses quietly.

Many of the original staff are now managing restaurants or are regional mangers. Roy helped a lot of people into careers. I have to admit there are times when I wonder if I made the right decision to leave Roy's to teach full time.... love my students....hate working for the State...

So, if you come to Oahu, head on out to the first and original Roy’s in Hawaii Kai. If you go early you will have gorgeous views of the ocean and Diamond Head. Or, head on out to the West Side to the Ko’olina Roy’s. It is a beautiful restaurant in a gorgeous setting. I like to sit outside at the wooden deck of a bar that is smack dab on the golf course.


These days (meaning low budget) we usually eat dinner at home then go sit at the outside bar for the chocolate soufflé. Must have for chocolate lovers.

For you foodies out there – now for a little something extra. Travel Thursday is giving away a signed cookbook from Roy’s. Leave a comment for an entry for the cookbook. Those of you who link a travel post will get five entries. If you are not that interested in winning a signed cookbook (rather go out than cook yourself), you can leave that comment too and I won’t put you in the running.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

RTT Say you Know Me

Hey hey hey it's Random Tuesday...

We have a new microwave. It's in a box on the kitchen counter. The old one finally fizzled and flipped out. The little half pint microwave lasted twenty years. For the last three years (since the cancer debacle) I wouldn't even be in the same room as it when it was on. I'm just saying.

I'm trying (not to successfully) to catch up on my blog reading. Work and life have me running in circles.

Mango Girl gifted me with the Honest Scrap award. Her blog is a somewhat recent discovery for me. I have her featured under the sunset in the sidebar. She has a series going on over at her place about a period in her life where she took a job bartending on a remote private island in the Bahamas. I caught up with the posts this weekend and am convinced I was meant to be her work buddy and not the prissy girl who did not last a week. Anywhos check Mango Girl out - it is an amazing story.

Somewhere in my archives I have a post that goes with the Honest Scrap award. Or if you are new here, click on a favorite post in the sidebar, especially the survivor or teaching posts. That's about as honest as I get...

Amy over at Keeping Up with the Schultz Family passed on this Splash award. You all know how much I love anything ocean related so of course I think this is as pretty as they come. Amy is about the sweetest blogger out there so go check her out too.


I'd like to invite anyone who stops by and leaves a comment to help themselves to either or both of these awards. Stop by Mango Girl's or Amy's for the particulars.
For more Randomness, hop on over to Keely at the Unmom's.
I leave you with a random music video.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The World We Each Create


The Spin Cycle this week is “motto.” As in what mottos do you live by?


I have an eclectic mix of mottos this morning that I will throw out there like several splashes of paint upon the canvas. If you find any of them at odds with each other, well then. You have a glimpse of what it is like for me on a daily basis.


We learn more from our mistakes and failures than we do from our successes. The growth we experience as we work through our trials takes us to a better, more aware state.


If we deny we made a mistake, or try to blame others for them, we are bound to find ourselves in situations over and over again until we work through whatever it is we are meant to work through.


Laugh and and see the humor in things as much as possible.


Be mindful. Although we do learn through our mistakes, some missteps are life altering.


Be generous.


Love before all else.


I leave you with a quote from Martha Graham.


We hold the power to create whatever we desire. Our ability to manifest the changes we desire depends on the depth and passion of our beliefs and on the focus of our attention.


With this understanding, we, as individuals and as society, can design a whole new future for ourselves. Our challenge is to break free of society’s world view, to truly empower our imaginations to create brand new realities. It brings a whole new meaning to ‘vision.’


What do you passionately desire for your own life? For the planet?


The gesture is the thing truly expressive of the individual – as we think so will we act.


From more motto spinning, head on over to Sprite’s Keeper.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Sensuality of Books

The Spin Cycle this week is books. Holy Crapola. How to narrow THAT down into a single post?

I love books and have since I was a little girl. I remember reading thick paperbacks in elementary school that were discarded by my mom or older sister when they were finished with them. Of getting so lost in other worlds that I felt completely transported and of being able to tune out the low roar of a noisy family of five to the point that I furthered my reputation as a loopy child.

I love nothing better than a book that can take me away. Of words strung together so well that I want to read passages out loud and hear the symphony of their sound.

I know a lot of people are loving their Kindles, but me, I’m not interested yet. As much as I have come to love blogging, there is only so much free time in a day and blogging (which means sitting in front of a computer with its migraine inducing hum of light) already has taken a lion share of the time I used to spend reading books.

I love the feel of a book. Of curling up with a good book in a favorite chair, or in bed, or under a tree, or in a beach chair.

I love libraries and bookstores; they are spiritual places for me. While attending the University, I remember walking through the stacks of books on a less trafficked floor, of stopping and selecting something that looked and felt ancient and sitting down on the cold floor and reading it. Carefully turning the pages, caressing the hard cover, and wondering who else had held that same book and where were they now…

While in Boston on a family vacation in the summer of 2007, my daughter and I found a bookstore that specialized in rare and old books. We spent a few hours in the narrow confines and steep stairways reading passages from books that had once been used by students at Boston University, Harvard, and MIT. Sharing the names and dates we found inscribed inside the covers of the books.

I keep my favorite books. There is the idea that I will get back to the book again someday. Sometimes I don’t, or at least haven’t yet. Often when I reread a book years later I am a different person and therefore the book seems different too. I enjoy being a living example of Rosenblatt’s theory of Reader Response.

This summer I bought the book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I decided to reread her book Prodigal Summer first – a kind of warm up. I first read Prodigal Summer years ago in my book club. I had remembered loving it (I also loved Poisonwood Bible). After 10 years in book club, reading a book a month, and getting together with a group of women friends for wine and food and friendly discussion, I don’t remember all the books. So I know that one that stands out after years and 100’s of other books read must have been a gem.

And it is. I’m loving it even more this second reading and taking my time enjoying beyond the story, the brilliance of her writing. I especially love the way she works the cycles of nature into the sensuality and sexuality of the characters.

I leave you with a few passages…

She learned to tell time with her skin, as morning turned to afternoon and the mountain’s breath began to bear gently on the back of her neck. By early evening it was insistent as a lover’s sigh, sweetened by the damp woods, cooling her nape and shoulders whenever she paused her work in the kitchen to lift her sweat damp curls off her neck. She had come to think of Zebulon Mountain as another man in her life, larger and steadier than any other companion she had ever known.

But here and now spring heaved its randy moment. Everywhere you looked something was fighting for time, for light, the kiss of pollen, a connection of sperm and egg and another chance.

It was the body’s decision, a body with no more choice of its natural history than an orchid has, or the bee its needs, and so they would both get lost here, she would let him in, anywhere he wanted to go. In the last full hour of daylight, while lacewings sought solace for their brief lives in the forest’s bright upper air, and the husk of her empty nylon parka lay tangled with his in the mud, their two soft-skinned bodies completed their introductions on the floor of her porch.

For more spins on books, head on over to Jen at Sprite’s Keeper.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Batten Down the Hatches: But Seriously, It’s Travel Tip Thursday


Today’s travel tip is:

Know when to stay home.

Huddle up.

Get your chicks into the nest and sit on them.

I went image searching in google for a photo to fit this post and found this one on a blogger's site. Farmgirl generously gave me permission to use it here.

From the comfort of your home, click on the links to go virtual traveling. And please, add your vacation or staycation post to Mr. Linky.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

RTT: Welcome to Crap Week

Portmanteau word is on the first vocabulary list.

Definition: a word composed of parts of two words, combining both the sounds and meanings of the two words, such as chortle from chuckle and snort and motel from motor and hotel. The term was first used by Lewis Carroll to describe many of the unusual words in his Through the Looking-Glass (1871), particularly in the poem "Jabberwocky."

The students’ extension activity is to create their own portmanteau word. My rules are that 1) it can’t be made up already. I don’t want a repetition of last year where I got 12 ligers. And 2) the two words their portmanteau words are derived from can’t mean the same thing. No more prettifuls.

I’m walking around the room and a student (same one who thanked me the first day of school) says “Miss, can I am make up the word ‘maby’ (pronounced maybe).”

“Maybe is already a word.”

“No. Maby. Like. Have you ever mabied?”

Kids are laughing.

“OK. I’ll bite. What two words does it come from?”

“Make and baby.”

Rule #3 was made up on the spot. I did not think it needed saying.

Honeymoon first week is over.

**********************

I’ve gotten about four hours sleep a night lately.

It’s not because I have been blogging. I have sorely been neglecting my bloggie friends and I do apologize.

My reader is backed up.

But not as much as my life.

*********************

Mercury goes into retrograde next week.

Apparently my astrological clock is early….

***********************

Two followers dropped me. I think they both are public poopers who took my last post personally.

For more Random Tuesday, head on over to the Unmom’s.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Poop Lady

Daughter had read my post with poop involved and this somehow wormed its way into a conversation we were having about tipping.

I was mentioning my dilemma at tipping people who work counters. Considering all the years I waitressed my way through college and then some, tipping for counter service seems a bit of a stretch.

Daughter works at a coffee house and of course appreciates the tip jar.

However.

She mentions that it is nice to get the tips, but she really only expects it from the people she serves. People who order food usually go and get a table and the baristas take the customers’ food out to them. Plus clean up the dishes and wipe down the table afterwards. For this... she thinks a tip is nice and proper.

There is one regular who Daughter goes into a rant about. The woman is VERY PICKY about her latte – she does NOT like it the way most people do and makes a big show of explaining how to make it every day when she comes in.

She also orders food. She usually eats breakfast at the coffee house, sometimes coming back for lunch.

Instead of paying at the counter when she orders her food, she makes the workers come get her credit card from the table, take her credit card, go and ring it up, and bring it back to the table, where she will sign the voucher.

As she signs it, she puts a line through the tip section, looks Daughter (or whomever is serving her) in the eye, and says, “You don’t get a tip, this isn’t a real restaurant and you really didn’t do anything.”

Then, after expecting to get waited on, not tipping, and being a bit mean and condescending about not tipping, she tries to make conversation with the workers. The WHOLE TIME SHE IS THERE. Shouting to them while they serve customers at the counter.

Daughter did not like the smirk on my face.

“That’s not the worst of it Mom,” she says to my smirk. “EVERYTIME she eats, within ten minutes she has to take a poop.”

Quick aside. The restroom is a big single restroom that opens up to the dining area.

“She stays in there, for like TEN MINUTES. Then, when she comes out, she doesn’t bother to shut the door and the stink is awful. It follows her out. We have sprays in there, but she doesn’t use them. So one of us has to go in there and spray the stink and shut the door so the customers don’t end up so grossed out they gag on their coffee.”

"For THAT," I say to Daughter, "for that, she should really have left a tip."

"If she would just go home to poop," says Daughter smiling, "I could live without the tip."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday: Oahu’s East Side Road Trip

Click on the sunset in the sidebar to link to an amazing post. Today's feature is a sad example of this community destoyer.



The highway on the East Side of Oahu, from Kaneohe to Kahuku, is the least traveled part of the island for many of us that live here. We usually head straight up through the center of the island and go directly to the North Shore. Or to the East Side to Kailua or Lanikai. Sometimes the South Shore for Waikiki town style fun.

However. Whenever we have visitors we drive around the picturesque east part of the island. We pack a picnic. We stop frequently for photo opportunities, as this is the lush and tropical paradise my Mainland family comes expecting to see (versus the dry California like hills on the West Side where we live).

If you are staying on Oahu, whether you stay in Waikiki or rent a beach house in a more remote location, take a day to explore this part of the island. You won’t be sorry.

As always, click on a photo to see it enlarged...
And here we go…

Just heading north from Kahalu'u


You will find little places like this sprinkled along the highway...


The highway along this stretch is right up against the water. I've always loved this coral house on the point.




Walking across the highway to the mountain side to take a photo, I was amazed to see this little valley, filled with grazing cattle. You could not see them from the road due to a little rise of a hill along the highway.



Kahana Bay. One of many places with parking and picnic tables. Make sure you give yourself a full day so you can stop and experience a beach or two. Even if it is just for a walk or a picnic. Don't just get out of your car for the photo and head on...


La'ie Point. La'ie has a penninsula and we always take the road out to this point. It is amazing. La'ie also has a huge Mormon temple, as well as the Polynesian Cultural Center.




And now for a little slice of the day Hubs and BC took me around to get these photos for all of you...




video


To join us in virtual travel fun, link your post up with Mr. Linky. It does not have to have a “tip” per se; just take us along to one of your favorite places.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mixed Plate AKA Random Tuesday


A couple of months ago we called a plumber to snake out the upstairs toilet. He said someone is using three times the necessary TP to wipe his bum after pooping. It wasn’t hard to figure out it was the 17 year old male who grew nearly eight inches in eighteen months, eats like a lion (no horse this one, pure carnivore), and doesn’t think a minute ahead of things. We sat him down and explained that he should flush a couple of times mid-poop so he does not clog up the toidy. Not to mention go a bit easier on the bum wiping, or else space out the TP flushing as well with more than one flush. Plumber also recommended the Boy use the downstairs toilet.

Upstairs toilet was plugged again the other day. I was so pissed off at Teen Boy that I came down and handed him the plunger in front of his friends, as they all were hanging in my living room playing X-Box. I thought calling him out for plugging the pipes in front of his peers might embarrass him enough that it would NEVER happen again.

With a prouder than papa grin he looked at his friends, held the plunger over his head like a trophy, and said, “yeah boys, whose your daddy?” They all gave him high fives.

The new school year is going well so far. My students seem to be a really nice bunch of kids. Granted, they haven’t settled into their true colors yet and still are on their first date type side of their personalities. But the other day as the class ended and they trailed off to their next classes, a boy stayed behind and looked at me expectantly over my desk.

“Yes? Did you have a question?”

“I just wanted to say thank-you.”

“Oh. What for exactly?”

“For making the first day of school fun. I really liked your class today.”

Daughter took me to a play the other day. Spelling Bee. It was closing night. She tried to take me opening night but I would have none of it. I really figured a musical based on a Spelling Bee, with grown adults playing young children, sounded about as awful as a musical can get.

I was wrong. It was delightful. Funny. Entertaining. Great sound. It was run like a dinner theatre and you could eat and drink while watching the show. They had lunch carts to make it like a cafeteria. I bought one of everything. At intermission Daughter went and got a Ginger Ale, she handed me a sip and asked how I liked it (I suppose she meant the play). When I replied (apparently a bit too loud for her comfort) that it could use some gin and all would be perfect, she shook her head at me. WHAT?! It could have been the icing on the cake. By the way. I actually prefer vodka, it just seemed like a gin moment.

Did anybody out there say anything when the stupid fucking cell phone companies switched from one year to two year contracts?????!!!!! The phones they sold me at the contract signing price are all pieces of shit that break after one year. On the other hand, every other commercial on TV is for mobile phones or service. I am thinking that they should put a little more energy into customer service, and less into advertising. If I’m not blogging much this week it is because I am spending all my spare time researching which carrier I want to switch to if the one I’m using doesn’t buck up. I’m paying for a family plan and only one of three phones is working.
For more Random Fun, head on over to The Unmom.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rainman and Hurricanes: A Spin Cycle Production


The Spin Cycle this week is to post your WORST post. Hmm.

I’m sure I have worse than the one I am going to post, but the thought of going through my own archives more thoroughly in an effort to find my worst writing is not exactly making me want to do it.

This one caught my eye because it might be the worst in terms of being non PC.

Especially considering what I do for a living.

Anyways, here we go…

True Story, I don't even NEED to exaggerate. From September 2008

I rented the movie Mozart and the Whale while my sister was here. The movie is about a couple who both have Asperger’s Syndrome and is loosely based on a true story. I was especially interested as I have had several students with either Asperger’s or autism in my classes over the years. This year I have two.

So I watch the movie with my sister and my 19 year old daughter. We really enjoyed it, and afterwards we’re talking along the lines of topics loosely connected with the movie. I’m sharing about the two students I have this year, and how although they don’t socialize a lot with the other students, they totally connect with each other. After class, they have lunch in my room. They talk like crazy and actually look each other in the eye, something they do not do when they talk to me. They like to hang out in my room because kids can be assholes and my student was getting teased and his mom asked if he could get a pass from me to eat inside my classroom.

My daughter (who works at a coffee house by the University) has been politely listening and chimes in.

Daughter: We have a lot of half-way houses for mental health by my work.

Me: Oh. ?

Daughter: Yeah. There’s this one guy who comes in three times a day for diet coke. I think he has autism.

Sister: Oh…. Really….

Daughter: Yeah. Like after he orders his diet coke. While I’m getting it. He stands there at the register the whole time and goes, “Can I have a diet COKE please? Can I have a diet COKE please?” He says it the entire time I make his soda.

Sister: That does sound like Rainman. Remember that movie with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise?

Daughter (not done with story): Yeah. That customer. Yesterday he was saying his “Can I have a diet COKE please. Can I have a diet COKE please?” And then when I gave him his soda, he was, like, looking down, he kinda always looks down, and says, “I like your shoes.”

Me: Well, that’s nice.

Daughter: Yeah. Then he looks up at me and says, “I have a woman’s SHOE fetish.”

A nicer than-usual-for-a-weekday-cab sprays out of mine and my sister's noses and we choke on what is left in our throats.

WHAT??? OMG!

Daughter: Yeah. I know it’s probably not his fault, but it made me really uncomfortable, so I turned bright red and walked into the kitchen and asked the baker to take his money. The whole time, he was like, “I’m SORry, I’m SORry, I’m SORry. He stays about an hour, drinking his soda. About every fifteen minutes, he’d shout, “I’m SORry.”

Me (trying to stem my un-PC laughter): The poor guy.

Daughter raises eyebrow.

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

In other news, Hurricane Felicia is still heading this way. She is supposed to hit cooler waters and tradewinds that will bring her down to a tropical storm by the time she arrives. We have been busy getting all our hurricane supplies ready just in case. All that is left to do is make sure Teen Boy does not go out surfing... Meanwhile yesterday and today have been beautiful, one would never guess that a hurricane is bearing down on us.

Blog Business...
Click on the sunset in the sidebar for a treat of a post.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Foto: Slice of Morning

Click on the sunset in the sidebar and travel to an amazing post...

During my summer break, I would sip coffee and blog until 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning. Then I'd take BC to the park for a run. By 8 it was already sunny and warming up.

Since I have gone back to work, I take him at 5:45. Yesterday we had a treat. On one side of the field was the moon setting.
On the other side of the field the sunrise was coming up.
Not a bad start to the day. As always, you can click on the pictures for a larger (better) view.

If you listen carefully, you can hear the early morning song of the birds.

video

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows: Travel Tip Thursday #3

Today is Travel Tip Thursday! OK, I realize this is being posted on Wednesday, but like I said before I have a couple of challenges. One is the time zone. I am six hours behind you bloggers on the East Coast. Ideally I would post on Wednesday evening over here, but tonight Hubs is off and may whisk me off someplace after work… Could happen. Or just complain if I go on the computer…

So let’s do some virtual traveling via blogland. Link up your posts with Mr. Linky. It can be an actual vacation or a staycation. A must see or a secret spot near where you live. Grab the badge code over in the sidebar and come along with us. Check out last week’s links too.

My Travel Tip today is the big reveal. Throughout the last year, many commenters have asked where the beach is we go most often. The beach that is always showing up in photos on posts like this or this or this.

We discovered our favorite beach when Hubs and I were dating. He would pack up a hibachi and a picnic and take me up to the North Shore, where we would drive around until we found a nice spot. Once we discovered Ke Iki Beach we kept going back. At first we nicknamed it “Perfect Beach,” because every time we went we had a perfect day.

When I graduated with my B.A. from UH, we rented a house on the beach to celebrate and my mom and younger sister came out and we stayed there along with a couple of my friends for a week. A couple years later, my dad rented the beach house a few months after Daughter was born and both my sisters came out and we all stayed there for two weeks.

For the last three years, my girlfriends and I have rented a beach house here every Labor Day for our mom’s weekend off. It’s the best.

Ke Iki Beach is located between Waimea Bay and Pipeline. You could walk to either if you wanted. My beach walks are from Ke Iki to sunset Beach. During the winter the waves are too big and treacherous to go swimming most of the time, but it is beautiful and amazing to witness. During the summer it is usually flat and clear and turquoise. Great for snorkeling.

Renting a beach house or cabin is an alternative for those who want to stay on Oahu but not in Waikiki and not in a hotel. You can buy your groceries and cook or BBQ.

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows is managed by Greg Gerstenberger and his contact information is available on the website. He also manages the beach house two doors down where I stay with my girlfriends on Labor Day weekends.

And here we go…

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows...



Sunset from the beach house balcony

Sunset on the beach

Early morning rainbow

Early morning walk...

Morning walk finds sunning, napping monk seal

View to the right

View to the left

View from the beach house balcony

The beach house life

Link your vacation, staycation, or vacation mindset post with Mr. Linky.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gangstas and Rockers: AKA Random Tuesday

Part of my bad day last Friday had to do with a few poor choices 17 year old Son had made. That evening I was car pooling to book club with a friend and neighbor. She has a son the same age as mine; our boys went to elementary school together. When I told her about my stress, she proceeded to tell me how her boys (she also has a 19 year old) had been stressing her out too. She went on an eight day vacation to the Mainland this summer, leaving her two boys to care for the house, and they got in a fight. A cupboard was broken and an entire wall had ants on it from one son throwing a full fountain root beer at the other’s head. The boys had also fought over who should clean it up. The dried on root beer and ant fiesta was waiting for her when she got home.

I am a horrible person because this story actually cheered me up and I laughed until tears were rolling down my face.

First day of school last week I had a boy come to class 30 minutes late because he went to the wrong lunch. He was wearing a T-shirt that had a very realistic, life-size picture of the back of a gangsta with a red gang scarf tied around his head and both arms up giving middle finger. MOB in graffiti style letters crossed the middle of his chest. And in case we did not get it, underneath it said

Money
Over
Bitches

Someone forgot to tell the kid the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Saturday night my husband took me on a lovely date. A fundraiser that wasn’t cheap, but he felt obliged to buy tickets from his very good friend. For $65 each, we were able to hit a wine bar, then go from food booth to food booth and get little mini plates from Oahu’s top restaurants.

While eating, we sat at tables outdoors draped in white tablecloths and under big white tents. Jazz music was playing. It was delightful and I made sure I tried every single booth’s offerings.

We were on our way home at 9:30 and all I could l think was how full I was and how much I was looking forward to PJ’s and wallowing in my fancy food induced bliss.

Hubs begged me to stop at a club that was having a concert with two cover bands. Buddhist Priest and Fan Halen. Apparently Van Halen was not only one of his favorite bands in his younger days, he had also seen the original band in concert and the memory is a dear one.

Despite my disinclination, he wanted to go so much I gave in and we finished lovely date night with a surreal trip into the 80’s, surrounded by aging rockers. Hubs was very excited that the crowd looked “our age” and not the usual 20-somethings that frequent this venue. However, not all of our contemporaries were representing as well as I would have liked.

Ass grabbing...

The devil horns had blinking red lights inside of them.

For more Random Tuesdays, head on over to The Unmom.



Monday, August 3, 2009

Kindergartners, Just Ten Years Later: A Spin Cycle Rerun

The Spin Cycle this week is to repost your favorite post.

Now, my actual favorite post is Sometimes There are Worse Things Than Nipplage. But I have reposted it before, plus it ran on Mid-Life Bloggers. So I think a lot of you have read it. It's my favorite because I think it is probably one of my best written pieces. It is one of the few that went through a revision. I kept at it a couple of days and tweaked it to get it where I liked, other than writing and posting on the same day, which is what I usually do. Also, it reminds me not to take myself too seriously - a lesson taught to me during my breast cancer days.

The post I'm spinning is my favorite post about the fun of working with teenagers. Since I just got started with a new class of sophomores, I thought it apropos to repost something about teaching. This post was inspired by Vodka Mom, who always posts the cute things her kindergartners say in class. One day while reading her blog, I thought to myself, "To think my students were that cute and innocent only 10 years ago..."

And here we go...

The following is a cross section of the first five minutes of four different classes, plus walking onto campus. The names have been changed to protect the little darlings.

Walking onto campus 45 minutes before school starts. I come through the back stairwell and a male student has a female student plastered against the wall. I'm grateful that at least they have their clothes on, know what I mean?

Hey! Knock it off.

No separation, but dirty looks in my direction.

Seriously. You two need to get out of here.

No separation. Dirtier looks in my direction.

I have a digital camera in my purse and I’m not afraid to use it. Do I need to show your mothers a picture of what you are doing?

Girl looks freaked out (finally), but boy looks like he would gladly slice my throat.

Between first bell and tardy bell:(Jan) Do you know how much the health room charges for a pad? (Me) Sorry, no. But do you need a pass to the health room to go get one? (Jan) What if I don’t have enough money? (Me) I guess you have to work that out with the health room aid. (Sadie)Hi Miss. Are we going to work on our poems today? (Bill) Why do we have to write poems? It’s not my thing. (Bob)I’m going to put a shriek bat in my poem. Miss, do you know what a shriek bat is? Do you play blah blah video game? (James) Why would you put a shriek bat in your poem? You’re supposed to write a poem about yourself. (Bob) EXCUSE ME. Maybe some of us are using similes and metaphors like we are supposed to. (James) Oh, my bad, you are so like a shriek bat. (Tom) Your mother's like a shriek bat. (Lily) Miss, can you sign my permission form? I’m going to be a tour guide for the students who are visiting from Japan next week. (Marie, Tilly, Helen, Fred, Kent – all digging into their backpacks or binders) OH! Me too. Me too. My form too. (Darlene) Hi Miss. I just got back from our family reunion. Do you have my work from last week? (Me) Darlene, review the make-up policy and come to see me in tutoring after school. Class, the tardy bell will ring in about 30 seconds. You need to be seated at that time. (Donald) Can I get a drink of water? (Me) Do I ever give you permission to be late to my class? (Ronald) Can I use the bathroom? (Me) Do I ever give you permission to be late to my class? Class. That IS the tardy bell. You can use the ten minutes of SST to study for your quiz. (Susie, Bobbie, and Chad)What Quiz?? (Me) The one that has been posted on the board and on my website for the last week. I’d like to remind you all that if you don’t know what is going on in class, you shouldn’t announce it. (Sadie) Miss. Lynn is crying in the hall. (Me, outside in hall) Lynn – are you OK? (Lynn, balling her eyes out) Miss, can I go to the health room? (Me) Of course. But are you OK? Do I need to call for a security cart to drive you? (Lynn) No. Snuffle. My boyfriend broke up with me just now. I can’t go to class like this. I need to lie down.

For more spins, head on over to Sprite's Keeper. She links all the posts on Friday.

New feature in the sidebar. Click on the sunset to find a great post.

Also, I haven't begged in awhile, but I'm tied for first with Dooce for Lord's sake in the blogger's choice awards. If you didn't cast a vote and are so inclined, I have to admit, it would be awesome to win. You can click on the badge to get there.My site was nominated for The Blogitzer!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Signs

For all that we put on our blogs, there is so much that we don’t. At least for me. I might rub my back up against some boundaries and occasionally foray into dangerous territories. Still. There’s a lot left unsaid.

Things have been difficult lately. A bad week. The kind where I wonder if I really have what it takes to deal with one more mess to clean up, one more broken thing to be fixed, one more bill that needs to be paid, one more emotional emergency of a loved one that taxes me too.

Murphy’s Law not only in action, but attached to a stealth bomb.

So yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed enough, when I choose the wrong route home and got stuck in a traffic jam.

Just what I didn’t need. To be stuck in traffic, late to someplace I needed to be, stuck idle with my fears and anxieties.

I decided the only way to stop worrying over a couple of situations that had the potential to get worse, was to meditate on the positive.

And while I was taking my deep breaths and centering my thoughts I asked for a sign that everything was going to be OK. That it would all work out.

Something to hold onto during this whirlwind of mini crises.

Please Universe. Give me a sign that everything is going to be alright.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

A sign.

A silver Jaguar passed me on the left, pulling up to the next red light just ahead of me.

Its license plate read

BE-LEEV

Click on the sunset in the sidebar for wonderful treat...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Virtual Travels

I'm guest blogging for Amy over at Keeping Up with the Schultz Family while she and her family take a trip. Hope you can hop on over and see me there.