Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Summer Randoms

Random Tuesday...........

Happy Birthday Daughter! CANNOT believe you are 21. You are such a better person than I was at that age. Love you so much.
Although you are a better person than I was, not sure if you are any smarter. Wasn't I surprised two days ago to come out and see you digging into the toaster for your mini croissant...with a knife... and the toaster plugged in.

After admonishing you about electrocution, I later found myself in the same predicament. Damn effing mini croissants that get stuck in the bowels of electronics. I almost forged ahead without unplugging the toaster; and then realized I did not want my eulogy to be how I died a symbol of irony.

* * * * *

Some of you know how we moved a few months ago. We rented the house we own and rented a house in town, closer to "stuff."

The house we rented. Well, there is no delicate way to put this. But the master bedroom closet, which I took because it is bigger - IT SMELLS LIKE BO. Man's BO at that. Quite strong. It comes out when the closet is shut and it has been warm all day. It's disgusting.

At first I thought it was me. Had I, in my frugality, foregone washing a shirt or dress after one wear? When I should not have. Even my husband, walking by the open closet, mentioned the smell.

After sticking my nose in every single article of clothing, I came to the conclusion that the smell was already in there. So this week , it became a three day project. I took EVERYTHING out.

Washed all the clothes.

Scrubbed the walls.

Put two bowls of vinegar and two boxes of baking soda in there. Put on a fan and let the closet air out for two days while my clothes were hung over the backs of the couches n the living room.

It's all put back together, with an air freshener. I'm on alert though.

* * * * *

My son showed me this.

If you are not pressed for time, this one's fun too.

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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Surviving Drama

The Spin Cycle topic this week is drama.

I’ve got drama.

I have Daughter, who will be turning 21 next week, who is a drama kid. In the literal sense. Plays, musicals. All that jazz. In her high school drama program they had fundraising T-shirts that had "Got Drama?" on the front. Perhaps I should not have made fun of the shirts...

I’ve got unbloggable dramas. You folks who have been around for more than 10 months might remember the old Pseudo, before the unbloggable.

I teach teenagers. So I am around drama on a daily basis.

Currently, I have an 83 year old mother who has mental health problems, who needs (for over two years) to go into assisted living. Who is causing all kinds of dramas with her children and grandchildren as she tries to pit them against each other. My mother thrives on drama.

Me? Not so much.

It makes me want to buy a one way ticket on a train and do a Jack Kerouac cross country all by my lonesome skedaddle.

But the theme in my life of late appears to be how to pick up the broken pieces and have faith they will be put back together in a mosaic stronger than that which came before.

So, while I take one day at a time, remembering to breathe deeply and notice the beauty that still surrounds me, I find myself gardening. Kind of sort of. It’s a new hobby.

The house we moved to has a HUGE yard. There is a cemented in creek behind the house that used to be a real one, evidenced by the rocky yard. There is an embankment. Try and plant something in this area and you will be cursing at the 235 rocks you come across.

So, while hubs and I are at the beach one day I ask about the shrubbery thriving in the sand. Along the rocky shoreline.

He tells me it is called Naupaka. I figure if it can grow in the rocks and the sand along the coast, perhaps it can grow in my yard. So I bring back some cuttings.

Then, as happens, I start to notice it everywhere. It’s a common hedge shrub in this neighborhood.

I’m very excited about my Naupaka embankment. As I water it and cheer for it to root, it symbolizes the beauty that can emerge even from the toughest predicaments.

When I researched Naupaka, I came upon its legend.

The Legend of Naupaka

It is said that two lovers, greatly devoted to each other, came to the attention of the Goddess Pele. Pele found the young man desirable and appeared before him as a beautiful stranger. But no matter what Pele did, the lovers remained devoted to each other.

Angered, Pele chased the young man into the mountains, throwing molten lava at him. Pele's sisters witnessed this and to save the young man from a certain death they changed him into the mountain Naupaka.

Pele immediately went after the young woman and chased her towards the sea - but again Pele's sisters stepped in and changed the young lover into beach Naupaka.

It is said that if the mountain Naupaka and beach Naupaka flowers are reunited, the two young lovers will be together again.

The half flower representing the separated lovers...

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lavender Fields Forever...

We're going to travel to Maui today. Click on the video for some music if you are in the mood for experiential enhancement.

My daughter has been in Hana Maui for the last four weeks and has just returned to the nest. Daughter was at a workshop with Hana Performing Arts and she will be playing Meg in Little Women, which is tentatively set to show at the end of December.

While she was gone she had my camera. However, she came back with hundreds of shots and plenty of ammo for Travel Tip Thursdays. Today's tip? If you find yourself in Maui one day, think about a visit to the Lavender Farm.

Road trip adventures? Summer fun ideas? How about a photo from your favorite local place? Link on up and join the virtual travel fun. Mr Linky was working when I went to bed... ACK. If you have a travel post, leave the URL in the comments and I will add them throughout the day.
Jan's Sushi Bar Travel Post
Kristan on Colorado

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day a day late

Yesterday was not only Father's Day around here, but Son's 18th birthday. With two boys to celebrate, Father's Spin is a day late....

but here we go.

We lost my Dad on December 28th, 2003.

Here are some highlights of his life and fatherhood.

Things I remember...

I was the Tomboy of three daughters. Dad went quail hunting every year and when I was old enough he took me with him. I was the Labrador he never had and he would have me run through the brush to scare up the birds. At the end of the day, he would set up tin cans for me to shoot at for target practice. I loved it and that little 410 rifle he brought for me to use, but I never wanted to shoot at any living creature. The rifle used to belong to my grandmother and she told me when they lived in Texas, before they moved to LA, my grandfather bought her that to shoot the chickens with because she did not have it in her to wring their necks.

When we lived at the mobile home park in Malibu in the late 1960's, dad and I were early risers and would go fishing on the pier on weekend mornings and bring back perch to fry up for breakfast. He taught me how to bait my hook and clean my own fish. Later, when he would want to sleep in, I would head on down by myself and fish in the early mornings.

Skip ahead 20 years and you would find my dad coming to visit me in Hawaii. Once he went out to the nightclubs with me and my friend and sat at the bar drinking while we ran around and danced. My friend and I would come back to the bar to have a drink with him and he would always buy our drinks. One night, a man sitting by him on the bar told him to not let young women use him that way. Dad shook his head and said, "that's my daughter mister. You've got the wrong idea."

My grandparents moved from Texas to LA before my dad was born. He grew up in LA and joined the military during his senior year of high school in 1942 to support the war effort. When he came back, he went to work in the studios as a negative editor and worked his way up to film editor. He claimed to hate the film business and all its pretentiousness. He always thought he wanted a country life and longed to move to central California. Which he finally did when he retired.

Turned out he was more of a city boy than he realized and he was never satisfied with his retired life. I imagine it's like that for a lot of people. You do not appreciate the normal until it is too late.

Remember, you can click on a photo to see it bigger.






19... 84....

1983 Hawaii

Happy Father's Day Dad. Rest in Peace. Love you.

For more Father's Day Spin, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

If it Smells like a Shaman, it is a Shaman

You know I'm on break when I have time to find and watch silly videos.

For all of us who deal with teens, this one's for you.

Do Glass Pipes, Incense Prove Teens Are Practicing Shamanism?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Travel Tip Thursday Tunes

First of all, I am technologically challenged this month for Traveling Thursdays. My daughter is in Hana for the month and I let her take my camera. She has promised to bring me back photo amo for several travel posts.

Meanwhile, I have to rely on other means.

Like YouTube.

Today's travel tip is simple. Check out the local music scene where ever you go. Often all you have to do is go to the right bar.

Monday night hubs and I had a date. We went to Tiki's Bar and Grill. Think hotel top poolside with an ocean view. Sunset. Followed by crescent moon.

First band is an amazing local blues band called Friends of Adam.

Followed by a great local Hawaiian band, Kapena.

Wish I had my own videos and photos for you all. Next time. Take my word, it was a pretty night in paradise.

Bloggers, take us away and link on up your own favorite spot.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Randoms

I've got a new pet/charge/responsibility. Sunday, while I was watering the backyard, a baby myna bird fell out of its nest. Smack dab in front of the spray on my hose. Got blasted and tried valiantly to wobble away.

Now it is living in a bowl in our laundry room. I've tried nursing two baby birds in the past. They died. My hopes were not high for this little guy. However, this one is different. From the first time I tried to hand feed it the little mouth opened wide like the plant in the photo. It nestles in my palm. I think it has a chance. Now I need to figure out how to know when to let it go so I don't wake up one morning to a teen bird flying around my house and breaking it's neck on one of the windows. Anyone out there been here?

* * * * *

How about those kiosks in the middle of the mall with the more than slightly pushy sales people? I met a friend for lunch yesterday at Ala Moana (Cafe at Nortstrom's - highly recommend the place). My friend was a bit late and had an entertaining tale of being accosted by the woman in the hair straightener booth. The woman had half my friend's hair straightened when my friend was all like, "dude - I GOTTA GO. I'm late for a lunch date. And BTW, I cannot afford a $300 hair straightener." (Not to mention we were meeting because she was flying out last night for a three week vacation that includes an Alaska cruise - so she needs all her cash for spending on the trip). The woman told her to SKIP lunch and use the money for the hair straightener instead. A LAAAAAAAAAAAAA (local saying) or HELLLLLLLOOOO (little more haole for you all). Then saleswoman dropped the price to $200. My friend did not buy it, however, she did come to lunch with half straight hair.

For the record. When I was at the mall buying Son's graduation clothes a couple of weeks ago, Daughter spent a little too much time in Victoria Secret's. So I was cruising outside when I was convinced to sit in the hair straightening booth. In my defense I warned the woman all my money that week had to go to a graduation dinner. I let her do ALL my hair. It really was pretty. I almost even bought the dang thing. MY price was $100.....

* * * * *

A little about blog commenting. Some bloggers have this newer type of blog where you have to post as a guest if you do not subscribe. For the record, this is not my favorite. Old habits die hard, but I like using my follower gadget. I don't like the fact that as a guest the contraption does not use Pseudo, but uses the email to create phhhst as my guest name. Ugh.

* * * * *

For more random,head on over to The Unmom's.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Son, My Heart

Jen's having a little free-for-all fun this week. "Mystery Spin." As in you let her know you are playing and she emails you your topic.

I got a "free spin."

With so much latitude, it took me a couple of days to decide which way to go. That was a great thing, as it helped me think of topics I am interested in writing about now that summer is here and I have some free time.

But this post needed to be written. So, here it is.

Our Son graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago. We have two children and he is our youngest. A wonderful, yet bittersweet moment.

So, this post is for him. A bit of his past played out on the internets.
From the instant you were born, you brought a sense of humor to our world. So full of life and grabbing each moment by the horns and riding it for all it was worth. I look at this photo of you during that first year and wish I could hold you as a baby one more time. But the memory is tactile and lives in my heart. All I have to do is close my eyes and it is there.

Your first word was b-ball. You would lean out from your stroller when we passed a basketball hoop or boys playing, and with wiggly, grabby fingers go, "b-ball, b-ball, b-ball."

We have a lot of stories about your forthrightness of speech. Some might say a lack of filter.

Like when you were in kindergarten and (admittedly) had the world's worst teacher (not a great start to your education). You did not hold back on letting her know how she could improve her skills and get that classroom up to par per your preschool experiences. Some of the phone calls I received from your teacher were for these kinds of remarks by you:

Why do you make us write five sentences when you haven't taught us what a sentence is?

When you make me correct all my mistakes, it makes me hate writing.

You know Ms B, you should try calling what we do activities instead of work. At least then we might at least have some hope it will be fun.
You have always had a big heart for your family. You might come off like a toughie from time to time, but underneath, your love for family always prevails. You love animals, especially dogs. Look out anyone who is abusive to an animal if you are around. You always protect the weak.

Your sense of adventure is immense. It tests the limits of my own ability to calm my fears as a mother. You love big waves and jumping off of things. Your zest for life and living it to the fullest is remarkable.

Life has thrown you a curve ball or two. Watching you learn to navigate this rough terrain and learn how to surmount obstacles has set me on a spiritual path of my own. As I learn how to let go and when, while learning also how to be there for you when you need me.

As you move from childhood to adulthood, I wish for you many things.

That you always appreciate the good times and know when to take a moment to swing through the trees with a smile.
That you have many, many more proud moments where you can celebrate your accomplishments.

That whatever obstacles life throws in your path, you work through to reach your goals.

That you are happy.

That you are always surrounded by people who love you.

Congratulations on your high school graduation Son. We love you. We are so proud. May each year of your life take you exactly where you need to be.

We will always support you, where ever your life takes you.

Mom and Dad

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

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I went to book club last night. I've been in my book club for about ten years, more or less. The book we read last month was Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos.

I liked this book a lot. A debut novel, there were places where it was difficult to keep my suspension of disbelief. Sometimes things tied up too conveniently. There were required stretches. However, despite this, it was a book that grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and had my full attention.

I liked the old lady who recognized the life in the objects of her home.

I loved the parts that dealt with the zen moment when creation takes over and the mind's chatter surceases.

But I mostly related to the theme of picking up the pieces of broken lives; of putting them back together in ways that would hardly have been imagined before the rents and tears and smashing of all that was.

It reminded me of one of my favorite posts of all time.

Here are a few excerpts from the book...

The more she worked, the more she became familiar with a kind of magic which only happened when she let go. For years her mind had looked like a legal pad, lined and occupied carefully with written numbers, to do lists.....this was the kind of inner noise she struggled to eliminate...only when she was quiet inside, when her mind was a large empty room instead of many cluttered ones, only then did the magic happen.

The broken are not always gathered together of course, and not all mysteries of the flesh are solved. We speak of senseless tragedies, but really: is there really any other kind? Mothers and wives disappear without a trace. Children are killed. Madmen ravage the world, leaving wounds immeasurably deep and endlessly mourned. Loved ones whose presence once filled us move into the distance; our eyes follow them as long as possible as they recede from view.

Look now. Look at what you value, what you hold dear....Look then at the faces and bodies of the people you love. The explicit beauty that comes not from smoothness of skin or neutrality of expression, but from the web of experience that has left its mark...You need not be told that these records are what render your beloved beautiful. If God exists, He is there, in the small, cast-off pieces; rough, and random and no two alike.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Travel Tip Thursday: Favorite Beach Rerun

I spent yesterday at one of our favorite beaches. We go there when we need quiet and isolation. When we need the sun to melt time into mercury, leaving its shimmer as it penetrates ocean, sand, and reef. A place where a turn of the head can change the view from wind whipped kite surfers to a kaleidoscope of parachutes twirling and dropping through the sky scape. A little more turn towards the mountains and you can watch twin engine planes towing gliders and letting them loose to swing back and forth across the horizon, a graceful pendulum dance back to earth.

Yesterday on our walk out to the point, we passed 10 Hawaiian sea turtles feeding on the reef right on shore.

Where is this beach that rarely a tourist ventures to? Follow this link back to a previous travel tip if you are new or don't remember.

Play along and linkup your own travel tip, favorite staycation spot, or whatever makes you feel like it's your day off.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Random Tuesday: Random Guide to Some Local Humor

So last week's random came in on Wednesday, today it is on Monday. But you are ahead of me over there so it is closer to Tuesday where you live. And I need to get something up to make up for the depressing nature of the last post. Hope you all have an easy sense of humor. I've provided vocab guides for local language. Have fun.

Random conversation heard going up the Koko Head trail on the weekend…

Mainlanders’ vocab guide:

Hapa = half haole, half Asian or Polynesian. The term “half” can be used loosely

Haole = Caucasian

A group of college students:

Filipino Male: What do you call a Filipino who has 10 black dogs?

Hapa local female: Full?

Filipino Male: He’s GOT the dogs.

Hapa female: I don’t know.

Filipino male: Vegetarian.

Hapa female: Oh, that’s bad.

Haole female: I don’t get it.

Filipino Male: The dogs are alive, so he didn’t eat them.

Haole female: I still don’t get it.

* * * * *

And now for a favorite local comedian shtick

Vocab guide:

Tita = a tough local girl

Poi dog = mixed breed mutt

Okole = ass /butt

Trow blows = fist fight

Blahla = big fat belly-hanging beer drinking bully of local descent

Mahalo = thank-you

For more Random, head on over to The Unmom's.... on Tuesday.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spin Cycle: Bondage....I mean Bonds

The Spin Cycle this week is bonds. As in family bonds, the bonds that link members of family together.

Holy canolli.

So much of my life has been unbloggable these last 9 months, but I suppose one aspect is semi-bloggable. My mom. Mostly because she has never even learned to turn on a computer.

Circa 1960’s

My mom is the funniest mom on the block. Friends love to come to our house because my mom is a hoot. She can burp the ABC’s and talk like Donald Duck. She spends three hours every afternoon in the kitchen and makes scrumptious dinners. She is bigger than life and sings and dances around the house in her apron.

She has a dark side that appears now and then. We can see it coming. Her eyes flash, her upper lip hardens. We learn that no amount of ass kissing will prevent the storms, so my sisters and I learn to weather them as best we can. Usually that means watching television and pretending we don’t hear the escalation of emotions.

Circa early 1970’s

Three daughters hitting adolescence triggers my mom’s mood swings more often, or perhaps it is just her own hormonal changes. My father comes home later and later. My mom’s drinking increases. So does her depression. Her doctor gives her Valium and she combines these with vodka and beer.

Her journeys into nightly hell storms often evolve into suicide threats. At first it gets the reaction she is looking for, but eventually she and all of us realize nothing we say or do will really make her happy. She threatens suicide so often that when she finally downs an entire bottle of Valium one night, no one believes her until it is almost too late. My older sister and my dad rush her up the coast to the nearest hospital and leave my little sister and me alone. We were 9 and 12.

My older sister leaves home at 17, which seems to makes things even worse. At 12, I am suddenly thrust into the role of talking my mom down. I take this role seriously and believe for years that if I find the right sentence, the right combination of words, an epiphany will occur and my mom will see the light. I am the one takes the gun from her when she comes into the living room twirling it around her index finger and explaining her plan to “blow her brains out all over the pier.” When she sits naked on the stairs with a pack of my dad’s double edged razor blades, scratching one half-heartedly along the smooth, pale and innocent inner surface of her arm, I am the one to get off the couch and take the razor blades away from her, despite her throwing them at me while I ascend the stairs. When she stands at the open front window naked for all the neighbors to see, smoking a cigarette, I am the one that wraps a robe around her and leads her away, while she curses her worst at me.


My dad finally leaves my mom and is awarded custody of my sister and me.

My mom drinks and dials when her moods hit her, but she gets lost in a world of divorcee partying.


My mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. In the fight of her life she gives up drinking. It becomes apparent that it wasn’t just the booze and pills; she still has mood swings, but her recovery time is much better and the arc of the swings much less.


My grandmother dies. My mom inherits her parents’ home and savings, and also has the home my grandmother bought her after the divorce.

She quits her job and lives off the money. She sells her home and lives off that. She refinances her parents’ home and lives off that. This process takes four years and all the while I try and talk some financial sense into her. It is the proverbial train wreck. I am still too young and idealistic to accept that I cannot help her. But there it is.


I move to Hawaii.

My mom loses her home and is penniless.

She goes back to school and gets her CNA.

She works for 25 years.

During the best of these years she visits us in Hawaii. She is a fun and funny grandma. She burps the ABC’s and talks like Donald Duck. My children bring all the neighborhood kids in to be entertained by Grandma. They love her and she loves them.


My mom is 79 and living in a two bedroom townhouse that she really cannot afford. Although she gets social security and a partial pension from her divorce, she works to stay where she is.

Despite failing health.

Despite having long term health care insurance and a doctor who wants to sign her into long term health care.

She says she needs help “going through her things.”

So I go for a week and I learn my mom has become a hoarder. She was never neat, but this is beyond that.

I clear out over 80 phone books, dating back to the 1980’s.

I go through hundreds of small plastic bags with receipts and remnants of packaging. Like the cardboard package from a light bulb. I cannot throw out anything without looking because she also has plastic bags with important papers and mementos.

I spend a week and a bit of money. I make 8 trips to the dump. 10 trips to the Salvation Army.

While I am going through her things in the garage, my daughter comes out and tells me to please rescue them from Grandma.

Apparently the purging has brought out her fidgety worse. I come in to hear her wreaking psychological havoc on my son, her grandson.

I ask my mom for a copy of her long term health care insurance so we can get on the same page and figure out how to get her moved.

But she refuses and I go home.


The bond continues. I’ll give her this. She has a lot of guzpah.

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

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Travel Tip Thursday: Cool Contest

We'll start touring Hawaii next week. The Travel Tip this week is to check out this contest at this hotel:
It's called the Surf and Sand Hotel and it is located in Laguna Beach California. I love the serendipity of the name. The mobile home park where I grew up in Malibu, the home I have been focusing on with the memoir writing.... The Surf and Sand.

Crazy cool name stuff. You can find more of that right here.

Link on up and play along.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Random Tuesday, Random (almost) Violence

I’m attending a workshop the first three days of June. Yesterday (first day) I had to go around the building, up the back stairs, through the main entrance on the 2nd floor, and take an elevator back down to the first floor. We were told the school where the workshop is being given was on “lock down.” The only lock downs I’ve been involved in had to do with riot like fights on campus involving over 100 students and car loads of young adults from a neighboring school, complete with pipes and chains. The school with the workshop is on summer break and quite empty except for admin offices. So, we ask. Apparently, an irate parent made a threat of some sort. Seriously, teaching is getting a bit surreal.

Took Border Collie to the North Shore for our first summer beach walk on Saturday. The North Shore had its last swell of the season and I stopped at one point to watch the surfers. Meanwhile, ghetto junk yard black dog sneaks up on us and attacks BC. He’s got BC pinned and is trying to grab BC around the throat. My bad ass self does not hesitate, but jumps in and starts whaling on the dog, slapping it in the face with the wonderful weapon I had in my hand. My rubber slipper (flip flops to you Mainlanders). Screaming in the dog’s face, slapping the dog’s face, he finally lets go of BC, who does not back me up but runs for the life guard stand when released. Ghetto dog stares at me for a second while I wield the deadly rubber weapon at him, then the dog turns and trots away. Meanwhile, I realize the lineup of surf watching peoples are all staring at me. What a sight I must have been. At least no one was laughing (I might have taken a slipper to them for not helping out).

* * *

Shopping for Son’s graduation required clothing (white shirt, black tie, black belt). I go into a surf /skate store for the black belt, figuring might as well get a belt he will wear more than once. The store has the soft Tees that son likes and I’m thinking maybe I’ll pick him up one as a little something extra for graduation. The sales guy is very cool and helping me out and asks me if my son likes the BJ Penn shirts (there are three stacks). I’m like, “BJ who??” He says, “The MMA fighter from Hawaii.” I reply, “yeah, that’s a great grad gift, a shirt that says ‘I like fight. Try me out.” The sales guys laughs and replies that he himself cannot figure out why so many young guys wear ‘Tap-Out’ and BJ Penn shirts when it is a walking advertisement for fighting.

I haven’t participated in Random Tuesday in weeks (months?), and not sure if coming in a day late counts. But go and head on over to Keely’s for more Randomness.