Monday, September 28, 2009

Angels

Those of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time know I have been on a semi blog break this last month. I miss reading blog posts and have been an infrequent visitor. My own posting has been sporadic at best.

The unbloggable has reared its head like a dark phantom and this darkness has permeated nearly each thread in the fabric of our family.

A lot of the time I have not been blogging I have been spending in meditation and prayer. I often pray for angels to watch over and help my family through this difficult period. The angels in my mind’s eye are heavenly angels, guardian angels, mystical and beyond this earthly world.

In order to not get sick while I negotiate one day at a time (because yes, the worrying has caused a dramatic weight loss and lack of sleep) I try to get out and take my walk. Yesterday, instead of walking in the morning, my walk was put off while I graded student work and made sure everything was stable in the home. So, instead of walking at my normal early A.M. hour, I set out a little after 11.

Walking in the heat of the day felt invigorating and cleansing in a different sort of way. About ¾ of the way down the bike path, I noticed a man a few feet off to the side, somewhat hidden in the bushes, leaning against a tree. I became a bit wary, as a woman walking alone (Border Collie is a true unknown variable when it comes to protection). I veered to give myself room to bolt, but as I passed I noticed the man was leaning against a tree, eyes closed, and looking like he was meditating himself. He looked to be in his fifties, only about 5’5”, and perhaps missing a few teeth from the way his mouth hung slightly open. He looked like he was taking a break in the shade.

I passed him and went on.

On the way back, a good 15 minutes later, he was in the exact same position. I began to wonder if he might be OK. I almost walked on by as he still looked like he was asleep, and since that part of the trail is somewhat isolated, was also still unsure how much I wanted to encounter a strange man while I myself was alone.

But I stopped and said, “Hello…. Are you OK?”

“No. I ran away from my care home,” the man replied. He kept his eyes closed as he addressed me and his palate was handicapped in a way that made his speech difficult to understand.

“Can you open your eyes?”

“No. I lost my eyes as a child. I cannot see.”

“Can I help you somehow?”

“Yes. Please. Call my case manager and take me to the hospital. I do not want to go back to that home. They are mean there. I do not want to go back.”

I used my cell phone to call for an ambulance. He had run, barefoot, quite a ways. We were about 100 or more yards from the park parking lot and the neighborhood from which he had run.

“Do you want me to meet the medics and bring them to you or can you walk out?”

“I want to come with you.”

The man held out his hand and I guided him from the bushes. He took my arm. His hand was soft and pudgy, but he held my arm like I was a guiding force of light for him. He shuffled slowly and talked the entire way back to the road.

His name is Roy and he has been in care homes for a long time.

As he was placed on a gurney and hoisted into the ambulance he was smiling a little closed mouth smile. And he thanked me for helping him. I had a hard time not climbing into that ambulance and riding with him, but the medics seemed very caring and I was pretty sure they would not like me bringing BC.

As I walked home the enormity of gratitude that I felt for a chance to be Roy’s angel gave me a buoyancy of spirit. Thankful that I was given an opportunity to act as an angel for Roy gave me hope that there are angels walking amongst us. I said a prayer that those who can help my loved ones will recognize the need when and if the time comes.

I took this experience as a hopeful sign.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday: Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

I’m going to take you all on an easy hike today on the south shore of Oahu. The Makapu’u lighthouse trail is short and paved and has stunning views.

Come along now, I said it’s an easy trail.


Looking towards Koko Head and Hawaii Kai



Makapu'u Lighthouse

Looking towards Makapu'u Beach, Sea Life Park, and Waimanalo


Rabbit Island


BC and Friend leading the way
I’m double dipping today and going to risk arrogance here and say my Thursday Travels are my favorite meme for this week’s Spin Cycle over at Sprite’s Keeper. My favorite part is the posts other people are linking up. Living on an island is a slice of paradise, but the down side is rock fever. I miss road trips and traveling and the cost of living over here while raising a family prohibits most travel. So I love traveling virtually and vicariously through your posts. From Ohio to Maine, Texas to Michigan, and everywhere in between, I love learning of the places everyone else calls home.

Head on over to Sprite's Keeper for more spins on memes.

Here’s to more virtual traveling while we hunker down economically.
Link on up with your own travel, staycation, or favorite place post.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Peeking Out from the Funk for Random Tuesday


You know how they say things come in three’s? Or, how once you are aware of something it suddenly is ubiquitous? Sometimes it is like that with me for a new expression.


My new favorite expression is “Hot Mess.” The first time I heard it in a conversation with a friend going through hot flashes.


But my favorite was a story my daughter told me recently. Daughter is a music major and very involved in community theatre. She missed a meeting somewhere and was telling me how she asked two friends (male/gay – don’t mean to be stereotyping here but she has a lot of gay friends in theatre)…where was I? Oh. She asked her friends if she missed anything important at the meeting.


“Oh girl, you didn’t miss anything. Plus the air conditioning was out and it was horrid in there.”

“Well, she did miss a bit of a show.”


“What show?”


“Mary – where were you? This show. TRANI TRANI TRANI, HOT MESS, HOT MESS, HOT MESS.”


Not sure how well this translated, but it was a lot of fun to see daughter act out. In case you did not get it, the trani/hot mess the boys were referring to is the man who directed the meeting.


* * *


Yesterday in class my students were given a bit of time to update and organize their binders. They are not happy with my three hole punch. One of the screws is loose and each student has to make sure it doesn’t slide and punch the third hole in the wrong place.

Cheerful student looks at me and she says, “Ms Pseudo, I’m buying you a new three hole punch for Christmas.”


“That would be like my husband buying me a frying pan for Mother’s Day. I prefer dark chocolate.”


“Huh???”


“You’ll get it in about ten years…”

* * *


Our Governor has worked out a contract to save the state money by furloughing teachers 17 days this school year. The students will get 17 Fridays off. Teachers will get the pay docked, which comes out to a 7 ½ % pay decrease. So, when I get that second job I will have to assign a lot less writing since I will not have my weekends free for grading anymore.

Remember this post? Seriously thinking of moving to Georgia. Hi Beth ; -)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Walking with a Wet Blanket

I’ve been in a funkity funk funk funk.

In two and a half weeks I’ve lost ten pounds.

I have a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach nearly all the time.

I just got through reading this inspiring post at Vodka Mom’s.

Logically, I see the perspective and how what is devastating me right now, in the grand scheme of things, and in light of all that can go wrong in the world, my problems, my family’s problems, could be worse.

Still.

As grateful that I am for all I have and as hopeful as I am trying to be…

I feel a rip, a tear in the fabric that holds me together.

Not ever having been a person who cries or wells up, I find myself fighting back tears out of nowhere.

One foot in front of the other.

One moment at a time.

A constant vigil to hope and trust that we are making decisions that will bring us closer to better and not worse.

This too shall pass…



I've updated the sunrise in the sidebar (finally). Head on over for a post much more uplifting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday: Take time for Your (Girl) Friends


My girlfriends and I have a tradition that started on Labor Day Weekend 2006. We rent a beach house on the North Shore and spend the whole weekend together. We call it Laborless Labor day weekend.

To explain how it got started, I’m borrowing an excerpt from a keynote talk I gave for a cancer event called “Courage Night.”


On Labor Day weekend (2006) I was about halfway through my radiation treatments when my friends planned a ladies only weekend retreat at a beach house on the North Shore. “D” told me we had been talking about doing this for too many years and my bout with breast cancer was a wake-up call that we needed to start doing those things that we talk about doing but don’t get around to. Our husbands and kids would just have to get by without us for three days. Those three days of hanging out on the lanai, relaxing and yakking, of swimming in the ocean, long walks on the beach collecting shells, and yes, especially the evening when “J” put on the pump it up playlist on her I-pod and all the women danced their hearts out in the living room, those three days were amazing. And if I helped inspire through my illness a spark amongst my friends to live life this fully, than I am grateful and fortunate and can see the silver lining.


Due to unbloggable events, I did not make it up to the North Shore this year. But I do look forward to next year.


And for those of you thinking about starting a three day weekend vacation/getaway with your friends, I highly recommend it.


Come along for a glimpse of Laborless Labor Day 2008...















Announcement: The Roy's Cookbook from this travel post was randomly drawn by none other than Darsden! Congrats Dar!

Add a link to your own travel or just plain good living at home post.... join the fun of Thrusday virtual travels...


Monday, September 14, 2009

I’m Back: More or Less… or is Less More?

First of all I’d like to thank the wonderful awesome bloggers who were pinch hitting for me last week over here in PseudoLand. Braja, Jen at Sprite’s Keeper, Captain Dumbass from Us and Them, Jan from the Sushi Bar, Mo “Mad Dog” Stoneskin, and Mama Dawg from Two Dogs Running. Your posts were amazing and I’m finding it a bit of a hard act to follow.

Life sometimes throws you a curve ball and let’s just say there are a lot of unbloggable events in my life right now. Hence, the time away from my blogger friends…

I’ll be getting around to visit everyone, but perhaps not as often as before.

I’ll be posting, but perhaps not as often as before.

Slightly worn out, but I’m back….


When I am not in the blogosphere, I'll be busy working on my ability to communicate and love people here in real time - family time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hawaii: The goods, the bads, and the bathrooms

Jen from Sprite's Keeper is guest blogging today. Jen hosts the Spin Cycle each week and is a great storyteller, not to mention one of the sweetest bloggers out there. Her post was penciled in for Sunday, but I think my SPAM detector ate her email. Here it is a bit belated - thanks Jen!

Aloha! Welcome to Pseudo's site! A hardy welcome to those who visit regularly and a big mahalo to those who followed me over from Sprite's Keeper. It's also Vodkamom's birthday (belated)! Time to break out the liquor, the baked goods, and raise a toast to life!

Okay, folks, gather round, Pseudo has introduced you to her Hawaii, the Native's Hawaii. Today, we're going to talk about the tourist's Hawaii and a time back in June of 2000 when a young engaged couple (Yes, it was John and me.) wanted some excitement in our lives. We wanted something different. Adventurous, and we wanted it to be somewhere near family so we could save on hotel costs..... OAHU!

We decided to leave the hot humid air of Fort Lauderdale and travel 9 hours by plane to the...hot, humid air of Hawaii... Hm.. hindsight's a bitch. Anyway, we had seven days to explore the island of Oahu and visit with my sister, whose husband was stationed there for the Army, and my nephew whowas only months old at the time. (Now, he's almost as tall as me.)

John absolutely loved cruising the perimeter of Oahu in our rented little Neon, stopping anywhere we felt good about, and just walking through thepalm trees down to the beach, or discovering the local flora of Waimea Falls. We saw giant sea turtles near the North Shore, whales breaking the ocean's surface just across from Aloha Tower, and climbed Diamond Head with all the other tourists. Diamond Head can be an easy or hard climb depending on how physically fit you are. My then brother-in-law scaled the entire thing in less than 20 minutes while we took our time looking out over the water, sipping our drinks, BREATHING. He took a lot of pictures of us from up above and we looked like tiny ants in those shots. (In fact, the only way I was able to discern myself from the other small forms was that I was the one flipping him off every time.)

While John and I enjoyed our time there, one thing we could not come to terms with was the expense. Back in 2000 when movies were about $7.50 foran evening show, the Waikiki multi-plex was ahead of the game with ten dollar prices. We were warned by my sister to stay away from the touristyspots like Don Ho's place on the main strip since we could expect to part with most of our budget by the time appetizers were ordered, but enjoyedourselves anyway, coming back with less cash and more Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts covered in chocolate and a pound of Kona coffee. (Best coffee I have ever had.)

I think our biggest adventure though was when we visited Dole Plantation. You see, the route we took to the North Shore from Schofield Barracks is a long long road cutting between two distant carved mountains (every time I see "Lost", I remember those mountains) and thousands of pineapples buried in their red dirt nests, just the fronds peaking through. A pineapple farm! In the middle of what seemed like nowhere!

The more we passed those fields, the more I craved pineapple. We finally made a pit stop one day halfway through our vacation and toured Dole Plantation where we got to pick our own pineapple (my theory on ripeness was the stabbier the sweeter) (and it totally worked too!) and watch them cut it up for our immediate consumption. But once it was cut, it didn't look like enough. So, we bought one more, sure to have enough to share with my sister. Back in our car, we drove some more, enjoying thescenery, me feeding John pieces of juicy pineapple, and of course, biting into it myself.

By the time we made it back to Schofield, the fruits of our labor was down to only rinds. We had wolfed our way through TWO large pineapples. Our lips stung with redness from the citric acid. Our blood pressures pulsed from the flush of sugar. Our bellies ached with the overload of tartness. We finally realized our mistake after the first two trips to the loo. And were punished through the subsequent twenty trips over the next day until the sugar finally worked through our systems. Insulin shock may have been a factor at some point, but we made it out alive. (Although we wouldn't buy pineapple canned or fresh for years after.)

Since coming home, we still talk about Hawaii as being one of the best weeks of our lives and if money wasn't an object, Sprite wasn't so prone to trying to injure herself and others, and I wasn't so afraid of flying and that death thing, we would be back at least twice a year. (More than that would be greedy.) I think that's why Pseudo's tales of the island appeal so much to me. She reminds me of the Hawaii I've seen and tempts me with the Hawaii I haven't. (She's good like that.)

Okay, everyone, time to clean up. Let's leave things a little nicer than the way we found it. Could someone please wipe the cake icing off the walls? The food fight was fun, but Captain Dumbass will be here tomorrow and any mess should really be on his head, not mine.

Aloha!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mississippi Mama



Mama Dawg was one of my first blog friends. It was back in the beginning where I spent most of my blog time meandering and looking around - checking out blog rolls and never remembering how I got where. Mama had posted a video of her enchanting daughter Light of My Life (LOML). It was their accents and the sweetness of their voices that hooked me. And they were having so much fun together this mother and daughter. I was thrilled when she agreed to take us to Mississippi for Travel Thursday.

Most of y’all don’t know me, but I’m Mama Dawg from over at Two Dogs Running.

When Pseudo asked me to guest post, I was flabbergasted. I mean, she’s an incredible writer and I’m, well…….I’m one of those people that writes the way I talk. Just imagine reading this with a slight Mississippi accent. So, it’s a honor to guest blog over here in sunny, gorgeous, exotic Hawaii. Thanks again Pseudo for this chance.

When I asked what she wanted me to write about, she offered up two choices. Disney or Mississippi.

I was soooooooo tempted to go with the obvious and talk about Disney World. However, I chose to go the other route and give y’all a little taste of my home state.

I grew up in south Jackson and moved away when I was 11. I just moved back a couple of years ago when I was 30. I had lived in Florida and New Orleans prior to moving back.

Having lived in the suburbs all my life, I decided to switch things up and move out to a very tiny town in northeast Mississippi. We have family here, so it’s not like I was moving to a strange place.

However, it was a drastic change. A positive change, but drastic nevertheless.

My daughter was 7 when we moved here. She is truly an amazing kid and adapted quickly to the changes in her life. She’s actually thriving on the small town sense of community. We can never go ANYWHERE without someone stopping and saying hello to her.

I had reservations moving back to Mississippi knowing all of its history. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to raise my daughter in one of the poorest states or one that still has a lingering air of racism connected to it. It was a tough choice, but the positives ended up outweighing the negatives.

I mean, we live in a tiny town where people are named Epsya, Spooky and Birdie.

We live in a place where we can fish at our own creek.






We live in a place where we drag race our dogs.




We live in a place where I can cut sunflowers AND blackberries during the summer.




We live in a place where we have plums that grow on trees right outside of our windows.






We live in a place where it’s normal to have a squirrel as a pet.







We live in a place where you can take all your baby doll furniture outside and play house with your best friend in the front yard. You can even leave all the stuff out overnight and it will still be there the next day!




We live in a place where you can be the queen of the hay bales.




We live in a place where we get just enough snow to make it magical and not a headache.




We live in a place where you can climb really old magnolia trees just for the heck of it.





We live in a place where dogs at a pond make us laugh like fools.



We live in a place where you can live and laugh and love.






It may not be exotic Hawaii, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Later,



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Never Trust Anyone in a Hawaiian Shirt

Our guest blogger arrives today all the way from acoss the pond, over a continent, and then across another pond. Mo "Mad Dog" Stoneskin thank-you very much for pitch hitting for Pseudo Land today. If any of you don't read Mo, you really should. Wonderful posts featuring characters from pubs and trains are just some of the fun you will find at Mo's blog. I think I'll send him a Hawaiian shirt as a thank-you present...

He marched up the bus towards me. I hate that march, the one that inevitably results in them infringing on your space. The glare, the determined expression, the realisation that you don't stand a chance. His goofy teeth, splayed like a cog, and Hawaiian shirt – never trust anyone in a Hawaiian shirt (did Pseudo resist editing this out?) –filled me with dread.

Women are not a problem. They are perfectly able to think “oh, there are more free seats behind me, I'll turn back." Men are too stubborn. The bastards. They will storm past a million free seats and get to the point when they think “all the free seats are behind me, but it would be embarrassing to turn back, so I'll sit next to that chump instead."

Phew, I thought, the old man sat in a seat in front of me, across the aisle to my left. In one hand he was clutching a handful of coins, which he repeatedly counted, his other hand held a bus ticket. It hurts to imagine the pain of sitting next to a coin-counter.

The neighbouring seat (across the aisle) was free. Over he leant, looking for coins I think, his beady eyes ever alert. Tip of the day, never try and pick coins up when your hand is full of coins. Clink, clatter, fumble, clatter, clink. He fumbled, he rummaged, he scrambled. The passenger in front kept looking back, disturbed. The white-earphoned (ipod, I assume) bloke to my left was watching in awe. This was one determined old man, I'll tell you that. But a dissatisfied one too, his face told the tale of more coins dropped than found.

I didn't want to laugh, his life was probably the perpetual hell of picking coins up with a coin-filled hand. Maybe he was Sisyphus himself. When he got up to leave I saw he had a huge stretch of stitching across his bum, white thread on blue trousers. Bad choice of thread my coin-counting coin-clenching friend. The irony, and I kid you not, was this. At the exact stop he got off, a lady got on and sat in the seat he had been rummaging under. As she sat there, change spilled out her pockets all over the floor.

RTT: It’s a Sushi Bar Luau. Only With No Hula Dancers. Or Roasted Pigs.

I was delighted when Jan from Jan's Sushi Bar agreed to guest post on Random Tuesday. I always look forward to her Random posts. Well, actually, I look forward to all her posts. Jan has a wonderful sense of humor, is a wonderful writer, and posts recipes to die for (including martini recipes). Thank-you Jan!



Hello, there, all of Pseudo’s regular readers. As you probably all know, Pseudo is taking a bit of a break from her blog and has asked some of us to paddle out here to the mid-Pacific, come ashore on the aisle of Oahu, and sort of take care of the place for her.


Well, twist my arm. When asked which day she’d like me to come and blog-sit, she said, “Tuesday. I love your random thoughts.”


Did you read that, Ex-husband? SOMEONE likes the way I think. Nyah, nyah, nyah.


~~~~~~


Well, The Young One is now officially a man.


He watched Caddyshack for the first time Monday afternoon and loved it.
*sigh* Yes, I knew this day would come.


~~~~~~


How the blue blazes can I have 47 different popup blockers on my computer and STILL get 300 popup windows when I got to certain sites?


Texascooking.com, you are testing my patience – I don’t care HOW good your jalapeno cheesecake recipe is.


~~~~~~


I really, really wish I could remember how this conversation came about, or what we were talking about. But all I remember is how The Young One, with a completely earnest yet disgusted look on his face, asked me:


“But Moooooooooom, how can you look at Beloved naked???”


Well, son, it’s a lot easier than you’d think, but I won’t traumatize you further by telling you that.


~~~~~~


Jen at Sprite’s Keeper told a cute story for the Spin Cycle last week about how she and her husband both forgot their anniversary this year. Although Beloved and I have been “together” for over 10 years now, we haven’t been married long enough (2 1/2 years) to forget our anniversary.


But don’t think I don’t have a story (don’t I always??).


Once, when I was facing an emergency room admitting nurse and was asked my birthday, I came up a complete blank. Beloved, sitting next to me, chirped up, “January 15, 1958.”
How sweet, you all think. Except that is his EX-WIFE’S birthday.


There was no permanent damage done, but I think they’ll be hosting the Winter Olympics in Guatemala before he makes that mistake again.


~~~~~~


A couple of months ago, I posted about a prank played by a friend of my brother’s. The prank consisted of the friend, Englebert, kidnapping lawn flamingos and ransoming them. If you care to read the post, you can do so here. And you really should, because it helps the following video make a little more sense.


And proves I wasn’t making it up, although I had NO idea that it had made national “news” until I told my brother I’d blogged about it. He then gave me the link.


The video is even funnier when you realize that the anchor of the tabloid news show it appeared on is Bill O’Reilly.



For more random thoughts, go visit Keely at The Un-Mom. She’ll take that $32,000 and a picture of Marlon Brando, no questions asked.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Duggars, Grilled Cheese, and Cannibalism

Welcome Captain Dumbass from Us and Them as guest blogger. I have been a fan of the Captain since my first days blogging. He writes great stories, does hilarious stuff with his boys holding signs, and is amazing with toys and grilled cheese as props posts. He's been nice enough to donate a grilled cheese post while I'm away. Thanks Captain. And look, not red circled items...

Writing a guest post for someone is always a bit daunting for me, especially if it's for someone like Pseudo who can not only write properly, but is a teacher as well. I think I can pen a funny story every once in awhile, but things like spelling, grammar, punctuation, and basic sentence structure aren't exactly my strong suits. Plus, I didn't want to get my post sent back to me with a bunch of red circles on it and homework.

With that in mind, I decided to fall back on something I am good at. Making pictures with grilled cheese. Once I'd decided on grilled cheese, I needed a subject. I've done movie scenes and crime scenes (ketchup and tomato soup) and gourmet food blog pics like when I added mac and cheese to a sandwich, but I wanted something different. Maybe something related to current events. And then I heard that Michelle Duggar of 18 Kids and Counting is expecting baby number 19 and knew I had my focus. Congratulations Jim Bob and Michelle! Oh ya, cannibals. video

Sure he's cute, but I have to sleep with one eye open. Ignore the girlish scream at the end, I'm not sure who that is. Mmm, tasty tasty Duggar's.
Captain Dumbass
Us & Them

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And Now a Word From Braja

I couldn't be more thrilled. Braja is guest blogging for you today. Braja lives in India, but then You all knew that, didn't you....

If you like pina coladas, and gettin' caught in .... intense peak hour traffic in Calcutta with a million horns honking and driving styles that would make a roundabout in Rome look like an old age home on Xanax, then this is the post for you. You see, Pseudo asked me to guest post. At first I was stumped. "India meets Hawaii???" Now *there's* a union that could give you some thought. So I trained my mind towards Hawaii. There's a few ways to get there from India.
Hey wait! This isn't Salem for cryin' out loud. There are FAR more civilized and advanced ways of travel. And living in India, I've learned some tricks...

And that's where we're at today: meditation. Hawaii is an ancient culture with advanced techniques for meditation that leave the world in awe of their depth and stunned at their ability to conquer intricate techniques, ancient rituals, and complicated processes like this:

India, however, possibly goes a little further, a tad deeper, a smidgen more complicated (damned show offs, what with Sanskrit and mantras and all), and has for many years led the world with time-proven methods of meditation like this:


In the end, it's all Greek to me and my conclusion is we should all just stand around and do more of this:


Works for me.

Come back soon Pseudo...xo

Travel Tip Thursday: I'm still at Home...

Travel Tip Thursday has been preempted by unbloggable life events.

I need to step away from the blog for a week. I will miss you all. I may be on the internet reading when I can...

I have asked some wonderful blogger friends to step in and guest post for me while I take a break.

Sometimes one just wants to curl up in bed until things get better.
If you came by with a Travel or Staycation post, please link on to Mr. Linky. I would love to virtually travel absolutely anywhere and everywhere this week.