Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Travels

BC is hoping. He's a hoping and a drooling.

But heck, that's what dogs do.

We did not do any travels today. We stayed home and had Thanksgiving dinner just the four of us. It was nice. We have a lot to be thankful for and we know it.

For the last few years we celebrated Thanksgiving with several other families on the North Shore camping. Amazing times that you can read about here or here (mostly photos but a little bit of reading in the posts).

This year it was not in the cards for us to go and although I miss the camaraderie and fun (not to mention having a surf spot all to ourselves and long beach walks twice a day); we felt it was more important to stay together as a family than to have the one or two of us off work go and leave the others alone.

I've been thinking a lot this year on what I am grateful for; remembering to notice the little bits of grace scattered about, even among what can seem like a world collapsing on itself.

Because when I notice those little bits, they build on each other, and slowly but surely, lives get rebuilt.

I'm thankful for being blessed with the courage and strength that I prayed for often this last year.

I'm thankful that my mom is safe and happy and that my sisters, our families, and me all survived the mom crisis intact.

I'm thankful that we pulled off a move to the opposite side of the island and that it seems to have been the right choice. That I found a job closer to where we moved and that I like it even better than my last job, which I liked just fine.

I'm thankful for all my friends, especially those who supported me during the difficult times. That means you....

The blogging community is amazingly supportive and I am grateful for this support and friendship...

I'd like to give a shout out to Jen over at Sprite's Keeper. She has run the Spin Cycle the last couple of years and is going to take a break. I can't lie - I'm sure going to miss it. Even if I haven't been the most dependable Spinner the last few months.

While the turkey was doing its thing in the oven, BC and I (plus my new camera) went for a hike not to far from our house. This is the view from the top of the trail.

I'm saving the rest of the hike for next week's Travel Tip.

Feel free to link on up with your travel tips, travel posts, Thanksgiving posts....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Love is...

A busy life is marked by moments suspended in time with pure joy.

I love going to Daughter's Musical Theatre's class recital night.

* * * * *

There's a lot more to this girl than stage performances.

She's a funny girl in a dead pan kind of way.

Two days ago she tells me, "Mom, can we get your name off my bank account."

"I didn't know my name was on it."

"I started the account when I was 16 and you had to sign in as a joint account holder."

"Oh. Sure, but what difference does it make? It's not like I'm going to take your money."

"Yeah. But I finally went through my first box of checks. The ones with only my name on them. Apparently when I ordered a new box of checks five years later your name came up."

She waves the box in my face and increases the volume of her voice.

"Look, just what I need. Now I have a whole box of lesbian couple checks."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Flowers and Travel

Traveling Thursday today is a trip to Koko Crater Botanical Gardens.


Got Travel? Link on up...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creativity and Public Education

I've been at a workshop the last couple of days. It was a good one. Not all of them are, but the last two days really held my interest. Lots of stuff on brain studies and how to use this information to help teach. I am a dork when it comes to learning how the brain works; I am totally fascinated.

We watched this video clip today and I'm posting it. If you have children, are involved in education, or have any interest or stake in public education - grab of cup of joe and watch the whole thing. One of the best anecdotal stories is at the end so I encourage you to watch the whole thing.

See you on Thursday for traveling posts.....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Travel Tip Thursday: Happy Veterans Day

First of all I'd like to say thank-you to all the veterans out there; those who have served and those who are serving.

My dad, my uncles, the men I grew up with all served in WWII.

May we never forget their service to our country.

* * * * *

Today I was planning on staying home. Grading quizzes, reading drafts of student papers.

Catching up on laundry and chores....

Then my 18 year old son woke up at 6am - not a usual thing.

Next he asked me If I wanted to go to the North Shore with him and practice with my new camera by taking surf shots of him.

WTF, yes? Everything else can wait (we know it will be there when we get back).

Here's some photos with my new camera taken today on the North Shore.

That's my boy.
Remember, you can click on any of the photos to see them enlarged.

This was my view between surf shots. Nice, yes?

Today's tip is twofold.

One. If you visit Oahu and stay in Waikiki, get a car and head to the North Shore. Bring your camera. Sit back and watch the surfers.

Two. Once in awhile, set the tasks aside and spend the day with a loved one. Especially if the loved one is a teenager.

Link on up with your own post and take us to your favorite place! Even if it is your own backyard.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Random Winners and Schtuff

Random photos from my new camera that hubs got me for my birthday. Fun times ahead...


Well, let's get the ball rolling with the Random Number Generator and the winners from the birthday giveaway...

Winner Number One is
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 44 Result: 22 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Winner Number Two is
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 44 Result: 32 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Winner Number Three is
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 44 Result: 14 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Captain Dumbass!

Congratulations to the winners. Please send me a mailing address to my email,

I wish I could send each and every one of you a goodie box. Thank-you all for playing along and helping to make my birthday special and fun.

* * * * *

I did not know Andy Irons personally. He was winning world titles when my boy (top photo) was learning to surf. My son has been spending a lot of time watching videos in memory of Andy. May Andy rest in peace and may his loved ones be held in our prayers.

For more Randomness, head on over to Keely at the Unmom's.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Travel Contest

Travels will begin again....

The hubs and kids were all off yesterday and even though my birthday isn't until next week, they let me open my presents last night. In a busy working family, nights with all of us off are few and far between.

Woooooooot!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!

They got me a new camera. My photo travel blogs will begin again.

Last year for my birthday, I did a contest and the recipients of my Hawaii goodie boxes seemed to enjoy; so I thought I'd continue the tradition.

Want a Hawaii Goodie box this holiday season? A bottle of coconut syrup for your pancakes? Exotic snacks for your munchies? Other miscellaneous treats?

Here's how it works. I use the random number generator. It's easy and objective.

Leave a comment for an entry.

If you are a follower leave another comment for another entry.

If you link the contest in a blog post, leave another comment.

If you post a travel post for my birthday week, leave 3 comments. Yep that 's right. I am trying to pump up Travel Tip Thursdays, plus I get the added perk of virtual traveling for my birthday weekend. You can just comment "I linked a travel post" 3 times.

I am giving away 3 goodie boxes, but you can only win one. If one of your numbers comes up twice I'll random generate another number.

The contest ends Monday, November 8th, 6PM Hawaii time.

Good Luck to all!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Perfuckity Part II

Follow up from the last post. Proper names have been changed and the italic text is an add on that I held back in the real letter. As true as it is, I figure best not to alienate the doctor...need to give her a chance to do the right thing and not put her on the defensive. Yet.

Dear Dr. Fucked it Up:

Attached you will find the letter that my sister wrote to appeal the denial of our mother’s long term health care insurance. We would appreciate you reading it and keeping it in our mother’s file. Hopefully the appeal will go through and her long term health care insurance will activate, alleviating a lot of the problems for our mother’s care.

I am very sad and frustrated that things could not have gone more smoothly. I tried reaching out to you in June and explaining how difficult things can get with our mother, but she has charmed and misled many people before and you are not the first. However, allowing our mom to talk you into changing her insurance application was not only possibly fraudulent, but also a gross mistake on your part. You might have saved her a few hundred dollars in assisted living fees, but now her insurance has been denied based on your revised and inaccurate account of our mother’s needs and health status. Our family is extremely frustrated that everything we feared is manifesting despite our best intentions and efforts.

Allow me to elaborate a bit for background and context.

Our mother has been mentally ill our entire lives. I’m not going to go into a detailed history, but suffice it to say that when my parents divorced in 1974, the courts granted custody of my younger sister and me to our father due to our mom’s documented mental instability.

In 2007, I spent a week at her house cleaning out the mess of her hoarding in preparation of her moving into assisted living. It took six trips to the dump and 10 to the Goodwill to make her place habitable again (60 phone books dating back to the 80’s being the tip of the iceberg). At the time she promised that she would continue to let us help her by sending us her insurance information and allowing us to help her straighten out her finances to get her ready for long term care. It never happened. Every time any of us would mention to her the steps she needed to take, she would become irrational and lash out verbally; or hang up on us and avoid us until she thought we would drop the subject.

During the months of her downward spiral this last year (the falls, the increased hoarding, complete lack of safe behaviors, and medical emergencies) we continued to try to help her. Despite her lying, her manipulations, her psychotic rants and phone calls, and her complete lack of cooperation. When we felt completely impotent, we called in adult protective services. We had no choice. Mom would not let any family in past the guarded gate of her adult community. She was completely irrational on the phone and had reached the point where she was saying she “wanted to die” when she could not manipulate us into doing things her way. Her way is what got her into this mess in the first place. Her way is not being responsible for herself or for us or for our families. We are no longer children cowed and frightened by her, but adults just trying to act in her own best interests. It takes an enormous amount of effort to not become an enabler to our mother.

One of the most problematic behaviors of Mom is her mismanagement of money. An example. In the late 1970’s she inherited from her mother, our grandmother, a paid for house and the balance of my grandparents’ savings. Mom was already living in a 100% paid for home that my grandmother had bought her after the divorce. Mom quit her job and sold the mobile home and lived off that for about a year. Then she began refinancing the house and living off that. I was in my early 20’s at the time and my sisters were both living far away. It was like beating my head against a wall trying to talk sense into my mom. I begged her to rein herself in before she ended up without anything, but that is exactly what happened.

We thought the years of working and living paycheck to paycheck might have turned her around, but that is not the case. When she found out she could again get credit, she took all the credit any card would give her. She is now in a lot of debt on her charge cards, but won’t tell us how much. We wanted to file bankruptcy for her and set up her finances so the portion of her rent at the assisted living home after insurance, as well as her insurance payments and prescriptions, would be doable. That is why my nephew insisted on her allowing my sister POA. However, Mom’s neurotic behavior and psychotic outbursts have exasperated my sister’s MS and made it impossible for her to help our mom.

We love our mom and have stuck with her for decades, but we cannot let our families or ourselves be taken down either financially or emotionally by her worst behaviors. My nephew has generously stepped up and paid the first three months of Mom’s rent while waiting for the insurance kick in. Had you and the assisted living home supported us in our efforts to curb Mom’s self-destructive behaviors everything would be in place and fine at this moment in time.

The POA hasn’t done any good as Mom is still free to sabotage our efforts. The professionals I have consulted with over here in Hawaii tell me that what she needs is a conservatorship as she is incapable of making sound and rational decisions about her finances or her care. The family thinks a third party conservator, perhaps appointed by the courts, would be a viable solution as Mom doesn’t trust her daughters. And, quite frankly, we don’t trust her. Also, she might be less inclined to go into manipulative and neurotic behaviors; hopefully she will settle down and enjoy that she is in a safe place and that everything is lined up for her best interests.

Thank-you for your time,