Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday: Hale’iwa Arts Festival

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Welcome to Travel Tip Thursday. Want to play along? Grab the code for the badge in the sidebar, and link up your travel or staycation inspired post! This post will remain up through Friday if you'd like join in on some virtual travel fun.

Tip #1
If you are coming to Oahu in the summer, you may want to check out when the Hale’iwa Arts Festival is taking place and plan your trip to accommodate your being there.

Hawaii is ripe with all types of artists. There are art galleries galore. If you’ve stayed in Waikiki or Lahaina, you probably have been lured by the stunning beauty of many an art gallery, not to mention the air conditioning.

However, original art by an artist who is already well known is a pretty penny. I’ve coveted paintings and artwork with price tags in the thousands of dollars, sometimes in the tens of thousands.

The Hale’iwa Arts Festival is an event on Oahu’s North Shore. Most (all?) of the booths are manned by the artists themselves. It’s fun to talk with them, take in the creative beauty, and sometimes pick yourself up a little something special.

The event is held in a park next to the ocean, has live entertainment, food, beverages, and picnic tables.

And here we go…

I did not pick up business cards for every photo I took, but where I did, I’ll share the info.

Click on the photos if you would like to see them enlarged.

Tip #2 Wear sunscreen and a hat. It's next to the beach.

Kismets Creations Fine Art Jewelry

This is the bracelet I would have bought.

There was an entire tent dedicated to sustainability. I was able to pick up a few brochures and info for a unit my team will be teaching this year under the theme of sustainability.

Tip #3 Have the shave ice (kind of like a snow cone but a million times better)

If you are joining in, please add your blog to Mr. Linky

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friendship Challenged by Parenting, a Spin Cycle

WARNING (Vodla Mom) Long Post

For all my trepidation about returning to work, it was one of the best first day backs ever. The presentations were succinct, to the point, and delivered with more personality and sincerity than I can remember. We laughed. A lot. So, as much as I long to stay home, blog, garden, cook, and write a book; it’s not so bad being a Teacher. A Colleague.

Ice breaking warm ups this year were based on personality tests. We teachers take a lot of these. We’re expected to know ourselves awfully well in order to relate to the diverse personalities and learning styles (not to mention hormone challenges) of our students.

Today’s personality tests got me to thinking a lot about the Spin Cycle writing topic this week – friendship.

There’s something that just keeps coming up in a couple of my friendships and maybe if I write about it I can put it to bed. Figure out which part of my personality needs to deal with it.

The spin I’m taking on this isn’t the easy road. The Coast Highway with a view - balmy weather in a convertible. The weekend retreat with your best friends while you enjoy each other’s company.

Nor is this spin the hard road taken together, the long highway in rainy weather. The year your best friends rally around you while you battle breast cancer, chemo, radiation, baldness, and depression. The year they bring you get well gifts, cards with cheery notes, and meals for your family.

This spin is the lonely and sometimes scary dirt biking back trail with rocks and cracks and a slippery slope of mud. The trail you take off on your own to distance yourself from your friends when the road they are on, you don’t want anything to do with. When the road they are on feels more like a racetrack, going around in circles. Each car pitted against the other in a competition.

Throughout my life, I mostly stayed away from the popular girls. The competitive, back-stabbing type. It took until my twenties, but I ended up with a group of women friends who were like a part of my own soul. They are wonderful, intelligent, and generous of heart. Not to mention independent and loads of fun. I felt very blessed. I feel very blessed. I’m lucky and I know it. That’s what makes this so difficult.

All of us did not get married or start having children until our late twenties or early thirties.

Then something changed.

There’s no other way to say it, but a couple of my friends are entirely different people when it comes to our kids. Things come up that I don’t like so much. They are overly confident in their parenting skills and overly judgmental and critical of others’. Especially mine. Or so it seems.

It has fucked with me for a long time and I still have not found the best way to deal with it.

It started when the kids were little. My daughter, she was the first by three years. Then, when my son was born, there was a litter of them in our circle of friends. Mostly boys.

One of the first times it became awkward we had taken the kids and rented a karaoke room. The boys were around four through six. A couple of my friends were of the philosophy that wrestling and grappling were taboo. This had already come up. Now, it is not like I thought it was OK for my son (or any kid) to grab a buddy and jackhammer his head into the pavement in a WWF move. But a bit of wrestling and grappling, well, I’m sorry if this offends anyone out there… but for a lot of little boys that’s just what they do. What they like. Our son’s favorite thing at that age was wrestling his dad.

His dad feels that boys wrestling and grappling with their friends helps them learn to handle themselves should they ever be in a bad situation.

But I knew how my friends felt, so when I did stuff with them and our boys I kept an eye out.

Told my son it was not allowed.

The problem, well, the problem was that my friends’ sons not only wanted to wrestle, they were sneaky about it because they were not allowed. And they knew my son and his friends by our house wrestled it up from time to time. So, of course they wanted to try their shit with him.

I was sitting in a booth by myself at the back of the room keeping an eye on my son because the other boys kept coming up from behind and locking onto him to see if he could grapple them off (after about an hour of karaoke they were looking for other forms of entertainment). I would put a stop to it. This happened about 478 times. I’d lost my enthusiasm and was letting them go a minute or so before I broke them up. I mean, shit. How hurt could they get wringing their little arms around each other shoulders when I was all of two feet away?

The boys decided on a tactic of two taking on my son. I have to say, I was a bit curious myself if he could get both the little buggers off. Meanwhile, the moms and little girls were in the middle of Grease’s Summer Days. Son had one boy off and was squeezing the other’s arm up and over his head when one of my bossy friends came up behind them.

She did not see me in the booth.

She grabbed MY son’s arm, twisted him around, and with a pinched mouth and a hiss like voice called him what I would consider mean names and made threats if he “picked on” her son or the other boy again.

Then she poked her finger into the middle of his forehead and said, “I’m watching you, you little brat.”

I never told her what I saw.

I’ve got a laundry list of stuff like this from over the years, from what TV and movies we let our kids watch to who started what and who is more at fault when the boys fight or disagree. But the incidents are not the point.

I’m not really sure what the point is…

Because it is a big blob of icky.

OK. I think this is the point. Over the years a couple of my friends have put me on the spot time and time again. Questioning or judging the parenting choices our family makes. Pointing out when things go south and giving unasked for opinions on the why and what next.

And this is why it is difficult.

  1. I have no intention of going tit for tat. I know what their kids are up to and they are no saints. Sometimes I wonder if they focus on my kids to avoid their own kids’ problems. But I don't retaliate by pointing out what is "wrong" with their kids or how they deal with it.

  2. I haven’t defended my son from a lot of the criticism because it’s just silly. He’s tenacious and stubborn and a smart ass. He does not think before he opens his mouth a lot of the time. We are working on his challenges. All. The. Time.

  3. The way I look at it, we are all doing the best we can according to our own morals and inner guidelines. They were little people. They are now teenagers. They will never be perfect. They just need to try to be the best people they can be. We need to do our best to help them. When they fall from grace, they need to learn from their mistakes.

I try my best not to let my son hang out with the couple of friends’ sons whose moms behave this way. I love my friends dearly; they are wonderful in every other way and after these boys go off to their own lives I want these women to be a part of my life.

Daughter has been mad at me for years over this and thinks that I should speak my mind.

Hubs fluctuates. Part of him thinks it is a competitive thing. Like who can be the best parent. I don’t remember signing up for that contest. Other times Hubs gets paranoid, feeling like we are under a microscope and says it used to be a lot easier to socialize before we all had kids.

The personality test we took at work today looked at whether our personality styles are dominance, influence, steadiness, or conscientiousness. According to the test, I’m a mix of them all.

If Daughter is right, I need to OWN my D-style a bit more.

For more spins on friendship, head on over to our wonderful host, Sprite's Keeper.

Random Tuesday: TODAY, also known as Black Tuesday

I have to be to work at 7:45. The first day back is called admin day. I went to bed early and set my alarm for 4 AM; I planned on having two hours in the morning to myself before I had to get ready for work.

I woke up at 2 and could not go back to sleep. Figured I’d give in to the insomnia and show up for my first day of work out of sorts with a large cup of coffee. Thanks Michele for reminding me how important it is to have a large cup of coffee before endlessly long hours of sitting on my arse listening to PowerPoint presentations.

My last day of summer break was spent quietly. Teen Son stayed home to “spend the day with me.” At 17, he had fully come into the whole hanging out with peers thing this summer. He had even missed family summer movie and Cheesecake Factory day. And he loves cheesecake. But yesterday he actually said, “I kept telling myself we’d have a mom and son day later, but I guess since you have to go back to work tomorrow there is no later.”

We went and saw Harry Potter together. Got his school supplies. Ate haupia and chocolate cream pie….

During this last week of break, I spent nearly three days fighting a migraine, whilst fighting to get the right migraine medicine. It’s a long story and the details shout BORING, but suffice it to say my doctor’s nurse blamed the pharmacy and the pharmacy blamed my doctor’s office for me getting the wrong meds. It took two days to straighten the mess out so I could get the right meds without having to pay $200, since our insurance will only refill my migraine meds once a month.

Imagine frustrating phone calls with long periods of being put on hold while you have barely the edge taken off a migraine headache.

What the fuck were they thinking? Migraine Pseudo is about as bitchy a Pseudo as there is, just one step below Pseudo pissed off at Teen Son. Of course, there is the occasional horrible scenario of Migraine Pseudo pissed off at Teen Son. But she is way past bitchy, we call her Psycho Pseudo. Not pretty.

My on and off migraine lasted from Thursday night to Sunday morning. Nice. Friday night my girlfriends got together to celebrate a birthday. My friend whose birthday it was has a sailboat. The girls all brought pupus and wine and sat on the boat in the harbor slip starting at sunset.

They didn’t even take the boat out, since birthday girl is the sailor and she could not be expected to work her own birthday party.

Between Saturday and Sunday, three of my friends called to check on me and see if I was feeling better. They all said the get together was lovely and relaxing. A perfect summer evening one might say.

One might. Just not this One.

For more Random Thoughts this Tuesday, head on over to The Unmom.

New feature in the on the won't be sorry. A blogpost that will make you laugh, or cry, or maybe just take your breath away. Will be updated regularly. Also...join us this Thursday for virtual traveling Or check out last week's debut of Travel Tip Thursday.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Ends and School Fucking July in Hawaii

New feature in the on the won't be sorry. A blogpost that will make you laugh, or cry, or maybe just take your breath away. Will be updated regularly.

Also...join us this Thursday for virtual traveling. Or check out last week's debut of Travel Tip Thursday.

and now for our regular feature...

I’m fortunate. I love my job. Once I get to work I enjoy what I do and the time flies. It’s just that I like staying home more. I’ve been working since I was sixteen and the only break I took was the year after our daughter was born. (If you call taking care of a baby a year off, which is a pretty loose translation).

For many years I worked a job and half; for some of those job and a half years I was also taking graduate classes. I know. Call the whambulance cause I’m being a whiner.

I guess you could say I’m a little burnt out.

Or not.

It’s just that I loved this summer so much and it feels like I’ve only started on a routine that I want to stick with. I really don’t know what I’m going to take out when I put regular working hours back in.

I’m going to let the Beatles finish up my thoughts on this…

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spinning on the Panhandle

I'm guest posting over at Sprite's Keeper today. Please hop on over!

New feature in PseudoLand. In the sidebar is a photo of a pretty sunset. If you click on it it will take you to a blogpost that I find amazing. I've been meaning to do something like this, to share the blog love.... I always have the intention of doing a weekly wrap up with links, but that hasn't been happening lately.

Today's feature touched my heart and made me cry.

BTW Thank-you Braja for your diamond link. Because it inspired my sunset link...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday: A Midsummer's Night Gleam

Yes, I do realize it is Wednesday. I’m time zoned challenged.

I’ll bet everyone thought we’d be going to the beach today. No worries. That post is lurking out there in the not so distant future.

The first Travel Tip Thursday is brought to you by “Check Out the Free Festivals.”

Last Saturday I was looking forward to having the house to myself in the afternoon, since everyone else was working. My daughter, who works as an assistant for a magician as one of her two jobs, was trying to talk me into going to the function she was working.

I probably wasn’t listening as well as I should have, because I had just assumed it was a magic show at some children’s function. Which it usually is. But she wore me down with enough information coming at me to peak my curiosity.

She, the magician, and some of his magic students, were volunteering their time as ballonatics at a summer festival.

I let her talk me into going and am very thankful she pushed and got me out of the house.

We went to Foster Botanical Gardens in downtown Honolulu. In the 27 years I have lived here, I have never been inside these gardens. I really need to do stuff like this more often.

The gardens are incredible. They are not up in a tropical, rainforesty valley; these gardens are surrounded by apartments and busy streets. You could not guess at what is inside until you actually get through the gate.

The event at the Foster Botanical Gardens was an annual fundraiser called A Midsummer’s Night Gleam. Loosely based on the frivolity of the play, the festival offered a variety of activities and performances. From medieval jousting to tons of art and craft activities for kids, there was a ton of stuff going on.

But let’s show rather than tell here, shall we? Don't forget you can always click on a photo to enlage it.

I feel a little explanation is in order on this one. This activity was a "wishing tree." There were strips of construction paper and one could write down one's wish and tie it onto the tree. Don't know how protocol this was, but me, I read some of the wishes. Lots of admirable wishes for the greater good. There were some stand outs. One little scrawler wished for a little sister. Another one wished for a pet monkey. But my favorite? In beautiful adult cursive one wish read, "I wish my daughter would behave herself." I'm thinking this kid might be the same one who wished for a monkey.

This puzzled me to no end. All five of these people with their kick ass cameras taking photos of the tiki torches.

All these white paper bags had candles in them, which were lit at dusk. It was beautiful.

My daughter and I had our hands painted with henna. It had actually been on our wish list for the summer.

And now for a little slice....

The travel tip? Find out what is going on at your vacation destination and get in on some of the free action. If you are coming to Oahu, you can start with The Honolulu Advertiser’s TGIF section.

The staycation tip? Take advantage of the seasonal festivals and activities going on in your own area. Break out of your routine every once in awhile.

What's your tip? Grab the badge over in the sidebar and play along...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bits from the North Shore: RTT

I’ve been enjoying reading Tuesdays’ Random Posts around the internets. So, finally, today I am giving it go…


I went up to our favorite beach on the North Shore yesterday with Hubs, Daughter, and Border Collie. The Boy opted for hanging out with his friends. Big surprise.

First thing I did was take my beach walk with BC. While walking down the pristine, near empty stretches of white sand,
BC decided to both surprise and embarrass me when he raced ahead, paused two feet in front of two women lying on the beach, and pooped right there and then. Granted, I clean up after him, but still…

On the way back, he did the same thing a foot away from a young couple.

The couple was nicer about it.

I really need to work on BC’s manners.

After snorkeling, I’m getting all comfy in my beach chair and getting ready to read my book. Hubs asked me where I packed his I-shuffle. I informed him it was in the front zip pouch of the beach bag. Since he was getting his (and mine was right there next to it) I extended my hand, palm up, for him to pass me my I-shuffle.

Hubs looked at my hand and said, “What?”

“Hello… I-shuffle please.”

To which he surprised me with this response, “Follow the man rules and ask out loud for what you want. We men don’t read minds, as much as you women think we should.”

What the fuck has he been watching?

Man rules???

We almost lost BC to the horizon. He likes to swim in and check on me when I’m snorkeling. But he wasn’t keeping tab so good. He swam out to a lady on a boogey board, and when he realized it wasn’t me, he just kept going, on and out towards the horizon. Hubs had to call him back.

I happened to look up from where I was to see my dog swimming about 20 yards out. Later, on the beach, Hubs told me my dog almost swam to my homeland – California.

Daughter rolled her eyes and informed her dad that since we were on the North Shore, BC was heading toward Alaska.

We stopped in Hali’ewa for Mexican food at Cholo’s where you can sit outside with the dog. Our table faced some shrubbery and a crew of kamikaze sparrows were focused on our chips sans salsa.

Twice they tried to dive onto the table and steal a chip.
I was more worried about the cocktails.

Birds really freak out Daughter and so she asked her father to get rid of them.

Instead, he did this.

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

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Break Final Countdown

I go back to work next week Tuesday. If you want to see how I feel about this, here are a couple of posts from a year ago, when I was a silent tree falling in the forest.

This summer, I spent the first five weeks of summer break mostly staying home. Decluttering, computer projects, house and yard projects. Lots of reading, writing, and quiet time. Long walks with Border Collie.

I’ve hardly been home the last few days.

Last Hoo Rahs.

The other day I had a Town day with Daughter. Lunch. Movie. Mall. Daughter also had a dentist appointment.

While she was at the dentist, I cruised the Mall.

I was walking past a women’s dress shop. Beautiful dresses here. They specialize in evening gowns and this store is the scene of my daughter’s senior prom dress purchase.

The store also has flowing, breezy, fancy, schmancy dresses. The type I could picture wealthy women wearing at pool parties.

Personally, I have never bought a dress for myself at this store.

As I walk past this store, a man stands outside, his back to the store window, watching his toddler daughter.

She is performing gymnastic type maneuvers in front of him. As I pass her she begins to add in a slightly loud song/chant to her antics.

I smile. I guess since I am not the one accountable for her, I think she’s pretty darn cute.

After I pass I hear her father tell her, “We never should have let Mommy go in this store.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

Introducing Travel Tip Thursdays

You don’t have to travel to feel like you are on vacation.

Sometimes travel is a mindset. I mentioned at the beginning of the summer that I could not get off the rock this break. I longed to. ROAD TRIP has been a siren song serenading me 24/7.

Since I could not travel, I have made it a goal to take a “staycation” day at least once a week.

Whenever I host a vacationing family member or friend in my home, I noticed we take advantage of the perks of living in Hawaii much more so than I do myself on a regular basis.

However, when I do live outside the four walls of my home and the comfort of the normal routine, it always ends up being the kind of day that will stick in my memory and not get swallowed up by the amorphous blob of normal.

Those days are also excellent blog fodder. With that in mind, I am introducing Travel Tip Thursdays.

Isn’t the badge cuter than all hell and back? A friend made it for me. Ah, that I should have skills like this.

Every Thursday will feature something about living life like a person on vacation. For now, from me, that means featuring the best days of life on Oahu and occasionally the outer islands.
Hopefully, these posts will offer ideas not only for those who are planning a visit here, but also plant the seeds of ideas for similar activities wherever one may live. Or just make someone feel like they came here for a few minutes through their computer.

I invite anyone inclined to do so, to join in the virtual travel fun. Between now and next Thursday, I will figure out how to put up Mr. Linky. On Thursday, if you post a Travel Tips post, grab the Thursday Travel Tips badge’s code in the sidebar, put the badge in your post, come back here and add your name to Mr. Linky. And let the virtual travel extravaganza begin.

May it inspire our weekends.

Ideas for posts…

What you do close to home to feel like you are on vacation? Like this post of Jan’s where she takes us to Ohio’s Amish area. Or Movie’s trip to the mountains only a few hours from her home. If you live someplace exotic to the rest of us, like Braja in India, or Michel in Sudan, just about any post could become a Travel Tip post.

Actual travel too! Smart Mouth Broad’s biker trip stories (look in her sidebar – amazing photos accompany a narrative that makes you feel like you are on the back of the Harley with her) or Mama Dawg’s day by day virtual tour of Disneyworld.

Anything and everything that makes us feel like we were there.

Hope to see you next Thursday!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spin Cycle: Routines

My Summer Routine:

1. Wake up early

2. Yoga stretches

3. Meditation and prayer

4. Water the plants

5. Coffee and writing (blog post plus minimum 2,000 words per day on book)

6. Blog reading

7. Exercise walk with border collie

8. Shower, then various activities, which could be

a. Reading

b. More writing

c. House project

d. Prepping for next school year

e. Watching TV or DVDs

f. Beach Day

g. Errand day

h. Something fun and out of the ordinary

HA!!!!! That WAS the plan…

Most days it looks a lot more like this….

1. Wake up kind of early.

2. Coffee and blog reading (sometimes, but not always writing a blog post first thing in the morning).

3. More coffee and more blog reading

4. Telling myself I will work on the book later

5. Water the plants and walk the dog

6. Shower, then various activities, which could be...

a. Reading

b. More writing

c. House project

d. Prepping for next school year

e. Watching TV or DVDs

f. Beach Day

g. Something fun and out of the ordinary

But am often waylaid by...


Helping SOMEONE ELSE with something on his or her list.

A whole bunch of crap and basic home decluttering that is somewhat a blur but seems to have taken up a lot of my summer.

And since I have the questionable ability to connect most life moments with a scene from Friends, I give you THE ROUTINE, a la Ross and Monica.

If I don't get to writing more of the book, who's going to be the loser then?
Ah. Well. At least I am having fun.

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #19: Dawn

Inspired by this post of Braja's at Lost and Found in India. Click on over to hear the birds of Mayapur India outside Braja's and tell her hello.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Teenage Avoidance Tactics 101

It was a good day. The old truck, the vehicle we let the 17 year old Boy use, was in the mechanic’s shop.

Oh? You might ask. How is that a good thing?

Well, for one, the work that was being done was under warranty, so there would be no bill when we picked it up. Two, it meant that son was hanging out with us for two days straight. That’s a lot of Son time. AND. It had been going more or less swimmingly. He was fun, sweet even.

So, we’re in the car together and I’m driving him somewhere and he’s telling me a few highlights from these great escapade months of his last summer as a non-adult. (Thanks Maureen for this post that helped me to see the positive side of my chauffeur years).

I decide, he’s not got that defensive wall up and seems in a generous mood, perhaps I can give some serious mom advice.

I proceed to tell him about treating girls with respect, you get the picture, right?

The Boy seems to be listening and does not interrupt. When I am finished he turns to me and says, “You and Dad sure give opposite advice.”

“Why, what did your dad tell you?”

“Dad told me I should get with as many girls as possible before I settle down. Enjoy my youth and my freedom.”

“Dad WOULD NOT tell you that!”

Yet, why inside do I feel the need to transport myself across the island and get in my husband’s face and ask him? Perhaps slap him?

The Boy shrugs. “Ask him yourself.”

When I see my husband the next morning and ask him, his eyebrow arches and he stops what he is doing to stare at me.

“I DID NOT say that. The kid was just messing with you, probably because he wanted you to change the subject.”

I stare into this man’s eyes, because, albeit Son is a smartass and loves to mess with people, I don’t trust that most men wouldn’t love to see their sons score all the chickadees they wished they had when they were young.

A few days later and the truck comes out of the shop (if your vehicle is not finished by Saturday morning, it gets to have a two day sleepover partay with the other cars until Monday).

As the boy readies to leave (packing a backpack in the house) and his father piddles with the truck in the garage (checking on the engine and the handiwork of the mechanic) I proceed to try and talk to my son about peer pressure. How, even though HE may not do drugs or drink alcohol, he needs to make sure no one he gives a ride to is packing anything illicit or else, should he get pulled over, as the driver he may get penalized for his passengers’ indiscretions.

The Boy looks up at me and says, “That’s not the advice Dad gave me.”

“I’m not falling for that again.”

The Boy shrugs.

It’s like a disease. I can’t help myself.

“OK Mister. What are you going to tell me your dad said?”

“He said never to drink or smoke weed when I’m driving, never to do them together, and other than that, it’s OK, as long as I don’t get caught.”

Husband comes in while I’m yelling at the kid about his asshattery.

Husband smiles because he likes it when it is me yelling at The Boy instead of him.

Husband hears the phrase “quit throwing your dad under the bus to distract me every time I try to have a serious talk with you.”

Husband interrupts with, “Hey?! What?”

I tell him, “The Boy said you told him it is OK to drink or smoke weed as long as he is not driving and as long as he does not get caught.”

Husband shakes his head, turns away so I don’t see him cracking up, and says, “Quit yanking your mom’s chain dude.”

Ten minutes later I am sitting on the couch, watching the news, and letting my angry fumes slowly smolder around me.

Son, somewhat contrite, sits down next to me and pretends to watch the news. He puts his arm around my shoulder, pats my head, and says, “Love you mom.”

I decide this is as good as time as any to cast the MOTHER’S CURSE on him.

“I hope you have a kid that turns out exactly like you when you grow up.”

The frickken kid looks me in the eye, breaks into a ginormous grin, and says, “That’d be awesome.”
Yeah, we'll see.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Hubs and I were at the beach on Friday. While he was swimming, I thought I'd mosey on down to the water and try and get a video of him body surfing the cute little waves on the shore break. So I sat my not so little butt on the shoreline and attempted some small-kind action video.

The clouds were amazing on Friday. BC wanted me to play with him. With so many distractions and such long time periods between the small sets, it wasn't long until I found other ways to amuse myself. I couldn't pick up BC's ball and throw it, because I would get sand on my hands. The sand on my hands would get on the camera. And last thing I needed was another person telling me my warranty did not extend to getting sand in the inner workings of a camera.

So I attempted to get a video of the cute way BC cocks his head to the side when he hears the words "play" or "ball." ("Walk" works too, but more when he wants to get out of the house)

Yeah, who needs to worry about sand when the ocean comes up to play splash-a-doodle.

Picture a middle-aged woman rocking back while the whitewash attempts to christen the camera. Holding the camera up high above her head with both hands.

Notice the irony of what I am saying while the poor dog tries, in his own way, to warn me.

BC's parting glance is a bit like, "I love you to bits, but you are one dense human."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Voices in My Head

Me: Oh crap. I forgot my I-shuffle for my walk. Ah. Well. I’ll just enjoy the silence.

Five minutes later.

Me: Did I forget to lock something? Turn off the stove? Are my kids alright?? Why did I suddenly get this gut wrenching nerve fest and adrenaline rush?

Anxiety: Hey you stupid bitch! I’m the wrench in your gut and don’t you forget it.

Intuition (softly): I’m the feeling at the center of your being. Your inner voice. Don’t confuse me with Anxiety. He’s just messing with you. Don’t listen to him.

Me: Excuse me? How can I tell the difference?

Intuition: Oh. You just KNOW. Listen to me, your inner voice. Take a deep breath, exhale, and blow Anxiety right out of there.

Me: Sometimes I am not so sure if I can tell the difference. What if dismiss malaise as Anxiety and it turns out it was my Intuition?

Anxiety: HA!! Hahahahahaha. Good luck with that. I kind of like it here. You are both pretty fucking amusing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #18

July 3, 2009

Click here for more Wordless Wednesdays.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spin Cycle: The Good, The Bad, and The Fugly of Driving in Hawaii

I learned to drive on Southern California freeways in the 1970’s. I have no idea what it is like nowadays, but back then, before California had money problems, Driver’s Ed was a class during the regular high school day. At my high school it was taught in a “portable classroom,” also known as a single wide trailer. It was like the Dave and Buster’s of its time, with simulated driving booths running in pairs up to a wide screen at the front. There was also the obligatory movie everyone had to watch. A bunch of video footage taken at the scene of accidents, so all us 15 and a half year olds could see the mangled body parts of those who had been in wrecks. Not so subliminal message.

My friend and I cut class the day they were showing the movie. Did we look stupid? Apparently we did. We had to come after school and watch it by our lonesome because they would not give us the written seal of approval to move on to the actual driver’s training until we saw the snuff auto flick.

My dad frosted the cake of my driver’s education. A native Californian himself, he had me drive from our outpost in the Conejo Valley, down through Los Angeles proper, negotiate several freeway interchanges, and back home another way entirely. All the while, making me merge on, merge across to the fast lane, merge back to the slow lane, get off the freeway, and begin again.

I can still distinctly remember his instructions for merging onto the freeway, explaining the engineering dynamics of the merge lane and how it was designed so that by the time you merged, you were going the speed of traffic.

From the age of 17 to 24 (when I moved to Hawaii) I spent a lot of time on those LA freeways. I thought myself an expert at checking my rear view mirror, finding that gap in cars, and slipping in at full speed.

When I first moved to Hawaii, I did not bring my car. I rode a bike, took a bus, and caught rides with others for a year.

It was not until my car was shipped that I experienced firsthand the cultural automotive gap between driving in LA and this tropical “paradise.” (You will understand the quotes in a bit).

The Good

The Aloha Spirit in Hawaii extends to driving habits. If one is waiting to come out onto a road in traffic, back out of a parking space, or anything along these lines, someone will “wave” you in. In other words, a driver that could blast by and make you wait, will actually pause, wave you in, and let you out. If this happens, one is expected to give the shaka back at the nice driver. If one is not accustomed to giving the shaka sign, one should at least wave in a friendly way.

In all of the eight years I spent in Southern California as a driver, this had never happened to me once. (Not the shaka.) The voluntarily letting someone in when it is not necessarily his or her turn.

The Bad

Merging. Seriously.

For one, the engineers who designed Hawaii’s “freeways” must have been smitten with the wacky weed whilst they were under contract in the islands. The onramps lack the length one needs to get up to speed in the first place. Also, just because you can get off the freeway, does not necessarily mean you will able to get back on from the same street. Hint to visitors: most of the onramps in Honolulu are hidden and somewhat secret. I think the engineers were playing some kind of stony game, like who could design the most random onramp. You need to drive here a few months before you discover the onramps, especially in Makiki.

Secondly. Some of the locals’ way of dealing with the shorter onramps is to drive to the end. Stop. And merge from a stop. Especially the older folks who bought their homes in town (Honolulu) back when the homes in town were affordable. I would especially advise visitors to avoid the onramps on University Avenue (UH). The first time I drove to UH and attempted to jump back on the freeway I almost died. Here I was, getting up to speed as quickly as possible on a hair pin turn of an onramp, eyes focused on my left hand rear view mirror, selecting the gap in cars for my car to enter, when I look in front of me….AND, to my surprise, A CAR WAS PARKED ON THE END OF THE MERGE LANE WITH ITS LEFT BLINKER ON.

The squeal and smell of brakes is still burned into my memory. By the time I stopped, I was on the right hand side of the parked car, ready to rain a tirade of cussing and middle finger at the driver. A little old man, probably in his seventies, was starring out at me with his mouth shaped into a little “O.”

So I sucked it up.

And when my daughter started going to UH, I took her to town, showed her the onramps, and advised her to NEVER enter the freeway heading west from the UH onramp.

The Fucking Ugly

The entire west side of the island these days. Oahu’s Second City.

In a nutshell, all the new homes are being built there, the population is going off the charts, traffic has quadrupled ten times over AND, there is still the same number of policemen and police beats as there were ten years ago.

Hawaii does not have a highway patrol. So, the policemen have to have a triage system for what they can do. Domestic violence and violent crimes come first. Car accidents next. Everything else after.

Homes were allowed to be built before roads.

Because of the new homes, the demographics of teen and twenty something year old drivers is higher than any place else in the islands. By a landslide

I have seen:

Young male drivers running red lights when they do not feel like waiting. And yes. Every time I have witnessed this occurring the driver was young and male. Sorry guys.

Drag racing on the freeways (it used to be at night, but now it happens even during the day).

Aggressive tailgating like you would not believe.

It’s the Wild West and then some.


If you come to Hawaii and rent a car, no matter how frustrated or pissed off you may get, NEVER, EVER, HONK YOUR HORN OR FLIP MIDDLE FINGER. They just don’t do that over here. The separation of driving and personal does not exist and it is quite possible that if you honk or flip, the car in front of you may stop. The driver may get out. And you may get punched in the face. Seriously. Especially don’t try that stuff on the Wild West Side of Oahu.

If you would like another story of driving, I wrote this last year. The woman driver was not from here; I could tell by her plates. I named her Ms DumbAss.

For more spins on driving, head on over to Sprite’s Keeper.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Seriously? Excuse me while I take 100 showers now.

The hubs cannot handle lizards or toads – they totally give him the willies. I’ve seen him crush a B52 cockroach with his bare hands, so the lizard thing does not mean he is a pansy in all things creature creepy.
Geckos are quite prolific in Hawaii. They have the reputation of being good luck – the opposite POV being that to kill a gecko in one’s home may be bad luck….

I believe the reason geckos acquired the reputation of being good luck is that they eat insects. Which means if you allow a gecko or two to live in your home, you don’t have to kill too many ants or spiders.

We have a gecko living downstairs and we let her be. However, when new ones come inside or the grand lady has….what does she have babies? Eggs? I’m not interested enough to look it up. At any rate, occasionally we find a youngster gecko out in the open and I am always called to catch it and put it outside.

I think the thing that really creeps my husband out is the whole tail dropping thing. Or that geckos are so squishy and delicate, and one really has to be careful not to squash the poor thing when one catches it.

The geckos living outdoors pickup some color. But the ones I’ve seen are all translucent.

Nothing like the fellow selling insurance.

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, I am almost there.

Yesterday was the annual cleaning out of the garage. Every summer we take all the shit out and hose down the garage, reorganize, and put the stuff back. We have a lot of crap along the sides of the garage.

I bought shelves five years ago. The shelves are among the crap lying along the sides of the garage. Mr. Pseudo is not the tool belt handyman that my dad made me think all the male version of our species grew up to be. Ah, well. One of the reasons they make you take vows…

Can we all just say gecko poop??? Crap? Shit? Along one side, where the garage cement slab meets the wall, was a combination gecko freeway and gecko outhouse. So disgusting that I did not even grab my camera, I could not hose that shit out fast enough.

We did not find one single gecko though.

Maybe all the neighbors have trained their geckos to come do their business in our garage.