Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adventuring We'll Go!

To the Makapu'u tide pools. This photo was supposed to be at the end of the post as it was the end of the trail. Oops. Consider it a preview.

Public school teachers went back to work here in Hawaii on Tuesday. So on Monday, my daughter and her friend took me hiking to a place I've been aching to go ever since a friend posted photos of their family hiking there on Father's Day.

When you live on an island for 27 years, it's not often you find out there is a really cool place you have never been to before. I enjoy a new discovery.

If you ever visit, I'm not recommending this hike to any and all. There are cliffs and tiny trails. There are rocks/ boulders you walk over for a long, long trek. Some of them wobble and you have to be careful.

But you can go there virtually right now with me

We're hiking the outside of Makapu'u. You park at the Makapu'u Lighthouse trail. There are two ways to go. Hike up the trail and deviate at the whale sign. Go down the steep drop to the ocean, heading towards the tide pools and follow the mountain goat of a trail. And remember, it's scary.

Or. Deviate earlier from the trail and head to the ocean along the dirt road to Allen Davis Cove. Turn left and start climbing rocks and watch out for the cliff that drops into the ocean with huge surging waves and major spray action. And remember, it's scary.

We went in by Allen Davis, and out by the whale sign.

Here we go; don't forget you can click on a photo to see it enlarged.

Heading left just past Allen Davis.

Scooching around at the start. We could have walked through the cove, but it was deeper than it looks and we had cameras and keys and stuff.

One of many cool rock formations.

Little cave, there was a much bigger one later but we didn't take a photo.

People make these rock piles.

Cool, yes?

About midway, there are these huge rock formations.

A shot of yours truly. On the outside of this cliff, straight down from me, I was watching huge swells crash against the cliff.

Crashing like this.

This tide pool is not like the others. It's not from huge spray and splash; it sits back from the cliff. The water is clear and cold. We think an underwater cave feeds into it.
It's hidden about midway and most don't find this tide pool.

Past the tide pool, it got very spooky. The trail was narrower and closer to the cliff.

The ghost skeleton of this puffer fish was freaky.

That morning I asked my daughter if I should were slippers or shoes.
She said slippers.....
Should have worn shoes.

That line along the cliff in the background is where we came from....

Right here would go the photo from the top.

Climbing up at the end, you can look down and see the same thin trail, and also the huge rock that was in the earlier photo.

Come on, link on up and show us someplace you have been this summer! Grab the badge in the sidebar if you are inclined.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Or Are We Dancers?

Border Collie went to the vet yesterday for his annual. Somewhere in my archives is a post detailing last year's fiasco. The frenzied, white ringed eyes. The being held by three vet techs. The dog so scared he peed all over the table; and the grand finale, when he made a mad scramble that sent his shishi flying like a cartwheel all over the room. Oh, and the inevitable releasing of the anal glands.

All fun stuff.

We tried a new vet in our new corner of the island yesterday. She was the grand highness of all that is worth spending $180 of hard earned mula on a pet. She offered to sit on the floor so he would not be freaked out about being put on the table. She gave him treats between each shot and step of the exam. When he freaked out anyway and tried to crawl behind me (there was a wall there), she simply asked "Where does he think he is going?"

He peered at her and blinked while he tried to pose as a boa around my neck.

People keep telling me how smart Border Collies are, but I think ours might be at the low end of the curve.

* * * * *

I spent the summer procrastinating on a blog uplift because I could not decide on a new blog name. Pseudonymous High School Teacher was only meant to be an experiment and I had planned another blog if I found out I liked blogging.

It's been two years....

Now, I am moving to middle school and the name makes no sense. Plus, I wanted teacher out of the title altogether. I do write about teaching sometimes, but it is not the totality and not even the focus.

Anyways, I thought if I let it percolate, eventually the perfect name/title would pop to the top.

Didn't happen. At this point I am not sure if the new title is a transition title or will stick.

The bigger problemo is I am used to using Pseudo as my sign in name for commenting. Not sure if I want to change that. But a new title with Pseudo in it was mostly vetoed on the basis that Pseudo also means false. I aim to write as honestly as possible.

Conundrum. Grey area. Ambiguous metamorphose....

* * * * *

I was a dancer yesterday. For my last summer break day my daughter and her friend took me hiking. Not your run of the mill, cruising along at 52 years old hike. I'm saving the rest for Traveling Thursdays post.

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thank-you Letter

Dear Readers,

I would like to thank so many of you for your advice in dealing with my mom and her current situation. Some of you have even been helping with emails and the wealth of information out here is amazing.

The kind thoughts and prayers have been helping more than you know. Even if my Mom's situation is still a crisis one, I am more centered and less anxious about it all.

A couple of you mentioned that you either are in a similar situation or fear you may be one day in the not so distant future. I will write some posts when I can to help pass on what I have learned.

At this point, we have done what we can and gotten the system to help, or should I say back us up.

Again. Much thanks and gratitude.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My First.....

While I was at the conference in Sacramento, I met my first blogger face to face. It was like a blind date (a good one) and girls' day out all in one. But how could it not be. I got to have lunch with Margaret from Nanny Goats in Panties.

We met at Pyramid Brewery, and since it was the last day of the conference, and the conference ended at noon, I enjoyed a pint of apricot ale on tap with lunch. Oh. Sigh. That was nice.

It was a great first for me and I had a blast having lunch with another blogger. She is even more fun in person than she is on her blog, and that is saying quite a bit. We got on like we had known each other for ages. Before I knew it my colleagues were calling me and asking why I was late....

Margaret was one of the bloggers I found in my beginnings, through the MidLife Bloggers website. She was already quite a popular blogger and I was a newbie. However, she did stop by my blog and left one of my earliest comments; it was a post where I was lamenting my lack of skills at prettying up my blog.

You really can lose a lot of precious time trying to make your blog look "pretty". But if you are a writer, then THAT will be the most important part of your blog. Spend time on that first, because that is what you have to offer the blogging world. Less is more anyway when it comes to all the crazy things people put on their blog's sidebars.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello! And thank you for the kind words.


Nanny Goats is a humor blog that will always make you laugh; but Margaret is also thinking of including tech advice on blogging. I'm hoping she will.

Today's travel tip? If you get a chance to meet up with another blogger while visiting a new place - go for it.

Got Travels? Link on up.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Serial Killer Priests and Overweight Bags

First of all, that last post with the cute Brit snarking on the end of the post I quoted his fucking Lauren and her blond hair. I realized later while I watched his YouTube videos for another round that the quote was from another clip, his reading of chapters 5 &6. Oops.

Also, my daughter was all like, "mom, why did you ask your readers if they thought he was creepy?"

And I was all like, "I DID NOT." Then I realized the quote she was referring to. Creepy, as in direct address to a fellow blogger who is a Camp Edward versus my Camp Wolf Boy. Blogger's actually blog name is Tulpen, but I started calling her Creepy awhile ago and it stuck for me.

Apparently three posts written on the fly and set up to post at later dates does not bode well for me in terms of clarity.

* * * * *

At the airport headed to Sacramento and waiting in line for the semi-self check in (and only really checking in your bags as you printed a boarding pass the night before). The line is moving slower than shit because the couple whose turn it is has bags over the weight limit. They take stuff out, pack it into their carry on. Weigh the bag again. Then the other bag. Both bags more than once.

Me with bitchfest, impatient inner dialogue going on.

Karma bit my ass six days later as I checked my bag in at Sacramento airport. After a shopping trip to Trader Joe's (not in Hawaii) and another shopping trip to Folsom Outlet extravaganza mall.... Yeah. My bag weighed 57 pounds. Luckily a colleague was packing light and let me unload some stuff from my bag to hers. In the front of the line. With impatient travelers giving me the eye roll I so deserved.

* * * * *

Another airport story. As I was making my way to the front of the line in Honolulu, behind me I had a somewhat creepy priest. (sorry, but he was) He was about 6'5" and built big and on the pudgy soft side. Longish, graying hair. Full-out black robe ensemble. In 90 degree humidity.

He did NOT understand personal space. The hair on the back of my neck stood at attention.

He kept asking me stupid questions.

"Is this the line for Hawaiian Airlines." Uhhh, yeah. That's why the sign says Hawaiian Airlines.

"Why does it say U.S. Mainland?" Because we are traveling to the Mainland and not outer island.

"Am I in the right line if I already printed my boarding pass?" Yep. That's why the sign also says for people checking bags only.

When it is my turn I hoist my bag onto the scale and turn around to check in on the computer screen and priest man is there slipping his card in and fussing with the screen.

"I think I need to check in while my bag is on the scale to get my luggage tags..."

"Oh. Oh. Sorry. I didn't realize."

The whole thing really weirded me out. My paranoid mind had him as a serial killer with some kind of card that he slipped in ahead of mine so he could come in after me and read all my info off my card. It freaked me out to the point that after I checked in I ran a bogus card through the slot to throw him off.

I'm thinking that perhaps watching marathons of Criminal Minds on Fridays this summer may not have been a great use of my time.

* * * * *

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

Stay tuned for Traveling Thursday and my first ever face to face meeting with another blogger!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I'll be back tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my daughter and I love this guy. He's a wonky British boy and a lot of fun. Creepy, what do you think?

Handsomer??? Is that a word? Doesn't she mean more handsome?

Yeah. Fucking Lauren and her blond hair...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Old Dogs, New Places

I'm traveling. I'm in Sacramento at a conference.
Although born and raised in California, I have never before stayed in Sacramento. Passed through. Flew into and departed. But never hung out or spent a night.

Hopefully next week Thursday I will have a few tips on this city.

My point and shoot little digital broke down, so not sure how I will take photos.

It's summer people! Where's the staycation posts? Favorite haunts? Well, if you have one, link on up.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Elderly Parent Issues

I leave tomorrow for a conference and since I have no laptop, I won't be around next week. Not a great time for me to go, but my new boss is sending me and I have no choice.

I'll be back July 18th....

Meanwhile, here's some not fun facts concerning the problems we are having with my mom.

Not a post for everyone, so don't feel obligated to read on. I am hoping for someone(s) in the fields of medicine, social services, elderly services, mental health services, or anything along any of these lines to point me in a direction. Perhaps someone has walked this path before me.

* * * * *

My mom needs to go into assisted living. She has several health problems and has fallen three times in the last couple of months. She has given herself a concussion, a broken hand, and a broken wrist. Her doctor has encouraged her to use her long term health insurance for two years and has been ready to sign off on the forms.

When I was in California last (2007) I stayed at her house to help her. She is a hoarder. It took me a week to clear the spare room, the garage, and the peripheries of the living areas. The only reason my mom allowed me to do this was so she could claim my sister who lives by her "never got off her ass to help." We all knew this was not true and that my sister had been trying to get my mom to allow her to clear out some stuff, but we rarely call mom out on her antics.

Situation of late:
  • Mom has not paid rent since May 1st. She had been working part time and the woman she worked for died. Mom claims she got an eviction notice last week, but won't let anyone see it and she keeps changing her story of the date of the eviction.
  • Mom has taken out several credit cards with big limits over the last several years. She has maxed them out, to what degree we have no idea. ( I have written letters to my elected officials about the WTF situation of non-regulation is in place when a woman in her late 70's, with a bankruptcy in her past, no assets, and only part time work can have access to large amounts of credit she will never be able to repay.)
  • Mom lives in a retirement community. One cannot get past the guarded gate without a pass. Mom took my sister and niece (who live close to her) off the gate pass list and has not allowed them in for a year. Not even lately in this crisis situation. Every time she tells them they can come and help her pack, they get there and there is no pass and she will not answer her phone.
  • Mom has mental health problems. Never diagnosed as she refuses to acknowledge any mental health problems. But..... believe me, it's a huge part of the larger picture.
  • Mom did not save up a single cent for retirement. She came from money and inherited from my grandparents, but blew it all. She made money when she worked, but she spent it all. Her long term health insurance does not kick in until the fourth month. Mom wants us all to pitch in and pay for the first four months, but it is way more than the cash we can come up with.
  • We have been told that these assisted living places will sometimes negotiate on the dollar amount for the time before the insurance kicks in, but since Mom will not give my sister POA, the assisted living home will not negotiate with my sister unless she has POA.
  • All of these issues have added up to Mom being a bit more crazy than usual, even for her, including using suicide threats as a manipulation tool.
So, we have a mom about to be evicted, with massive debts and no money. She won't let anyone in her house. She won't let us negotiate for her with the assisted living homes. She thinks she can keep her charge cards.

Her doctor and my sister both called elderly services, but so far the social worker has said my mom has rights. The social worker has not done much to help us.

My sisters and I have taken a stand and told mom that unless she signs a POA over to my sister that lives close by, we are not giving her any money. We need to figure out her finances and move her quickly and safely and with her daily fits and mood swings and mind games, time is a wasting.

So. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Moments Inbetween

Have you ever noticed that when you look at a photo album or a home video, the highlights of your life come blaring out like a foghorn of living life to its fullest? Yet, in the midst of any given day, the challenges, the heated tempers, the anxiety, the frustrations, and the nails thrown onto the road before you can sometimes make life seem like an obstacle course in plowing through?

OK. Maybe that's just my life of late. As the unbloggable from last year slowly ebbs, new quagmires surround me. I have spent the summer dealing long distance with my mom. I have one sister in Florida, I am here in Hawaii, and my sister who lives in Ventura (closest to my mom in Camarillo) has MS and needs to pace herself.

The medical community and social services were never able to help my mom nor protect my sisters and me from the worst of her mental illness while growing up. Now they are incapable of helping us help her. I'm debating a more detailed post because maybe someone who comes by to read may offer advice we have not thought of; but that post will have to come later.

Because today is traveling Thursday.

And my summer isn't all phone calls and emails to derail the train wreck that is my mother.

My daughter made this video of some of our summer highlights.
  • Son surfing
  • Trip to Target (and the girls having fun with the shaker thing)
  • Watching a hula class of Japanese tourists in Waikiki.
  • Drive around the island with Hubs, Daughter, BC...
  • And BC letting me make him dance in the car.

Today's Travel Tip? Enjoy those moments that are going on the video....

Editing note: The young woman in the video is not my daughter, but my daughter's friend. Scroll down a couple posts and you will see my daughter at her birthday dinner. The song in the video is by Regina Spector.

Make my day and link up a post!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Random Lit and Fashion

And yesterday's poem was inspired by... Frost indeed. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

* * * *

In Waikiki last week to take Daughter out to lunch for her birthday. After lunch Hubs says he wants to check out a store in the Sheraton that he heard has nice aloha shirts. Modern. One of a kind. As in you can go to a wedding and not worry about two or three guys having on the same shirt.

We get there and in the window are these trippy, paisley, odd combination color long sleeve shirts. Styled onto headless mannequins with, holy fucking, no shit, popped collars.

Daughter and I exchange a look. Blatant WTF.

Hubs turns to Daughter (official fashionista of the family)

Are these nice shirts? The newest style?

Are you saying they don't look like me?

I'm saying they don't look like anyone.

* * * *

A friend and fellow English teacher sent me this video. It's funnier if you know Shakespeare's Othello. But it's pretty fun either way.

* * * *

Anyone else using blogger having weirdness with the comment thread? The top of my comments for the last post vanished. Swoosh. Gone. Hmmm.

* * * *

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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weeding the Garden

Whose weeds these are lives far away;
but I will pull some out today.
She may not know quite what I do,
to halt the bitter, sad decay.

My restless pup is quite content;
forgoes his walk for time well spent.
Upon his back, a grassy rub,
belly up, and wiggle worm bent.

He shakes off the grass, finds a place,
to lie within the sun's embrace.
I'm left alone with wind and weeds,
to do my work with quiet grace.

The weeds are many, long and strong.
But I know here they don't belong,
And I uproot them with a song,
And I uproot them with a song.

This poem is an exercise I sometimes do with my students. Take a published poem and follow the pattern. Anyone recognize the poem I used?

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

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let's All Head to The Women's Colony

Travel Tip today was SUPPOSED to be the Hana Highway in Maui.

Supposed to. Technical problems with getting the photos from Daughter.

Instead I will direct you to The Women's Colony, which very sadly shut down recently. It is one of my favorite virtual retreats. It was where I planned to run off to during unbloggable and would have if I could have made myself virtual as well.

Come on, join in!