Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spin Cycle: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes....


If wishes were horses,

beggars would ride....

The Spin Cycle this week is "wishes."

I believe in dreams, in hopes, in prayer...

But, sometimes bad shit just happens. Perhaps, in the bigger picture we will understand why.

So far in this life, I have had to work exhaustively and still never seem to get ahead.

However, I can also be content for the little moments of grace, of beauty, of joy, and of love.

I can be thankful for my health, my family, my home, my freedom, the fact that I live in paradise.

But Jen asked us to make a wish so here we go......

If I could wish for something I would wish that the teaching profession stopped being a punching bag for negative commentary in this country.

That parents talked about the good teachers that their children have had as much as the shitty ones.

That those who send their children to private school would realize that the state of public education and those kids in it will still effect their lives and their children's lives.

I would wish that along with this, the colleges of education would make it more difficult to become an educator.

That it would be less difficult to get rid of shitty teachers (however, I have had my share of shitty doctors, so it is NOT just the teaching profession where it is difficult to get rid of the riff raff).

I would wish that teachers were paid enough so we could stop defending our choice to be a teacher (even to our families) and not have to work second jobs just to make ends meet.

I would wish that the educational political pendulum would stop swinging back and forth and find the middle ground.

I would wish that some parents would see the benefit in parenting their children instead of fighting to be enablers of their kids' worst habits.

That those same parents were old school and understood that sometimes the hard lessons are the best.

I would wish that friends knew it is not cool to say things like,

OMG Pseudo! Don't ever tally up how many hours you work and divide it by your salary. You'll get too depressed.


Well, YOU are an exception, you have to admit, MOST teachers don't work that hard...

I will end this by saying that most teachers work very, very hard. That for every hour we spend in front of our students we spend at least another hour prepping that lesson and another hour assessing that lesson. We go to endless meetings and make endless phone calls. We read to keep up with our profession.

I work an average of 55-70 hours during the school year. During the breaks I catch up on my grading and prepping.

During the summer I take classes and workshops. I read young adult literature and I prepare lessons for the next SY.

K. I'll get off the soapbox now. Don't blame me, Jen said we could make a wish.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TTT: Love, Aloha, and Weddings....

Today's travel tip? If you are planning a wedding, think about getting married in Hawaii.

You can play this in the background for mood music. Hawaiian Wedding Song is played at many of the weddings I have gone to over here. This video is from Youtube, not the wedding this post is about, but you get the idea. Right?

I went to a wedding last week at the Hau Terrace at the Halekulani Hotel. It is a gorgeous venue; the room looks right out at the ocean and Diamond Head.

There is a patio outside and this is where the couple was married, then we had cocktails and pupus while we watched the sunset and beach goers. Meanwhile, the wedding party had their photos taken.

Pretty awesome.

Standing by our little cocktail table, this was our view.....

Around sunset, the sailboats come back. Just imagine a slight breeze, Hawaiian music playing, the smell of flowers and ocean in the air... And the Mai Tai's at the Halekulani are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Looking back at the Hau Terrace, you can not only see the patio, but two of my favorite people in the world. I've known these ladies since 1982.

That's the bride with her mama and her aunties. We all worked with her mom at Bobby McGees in the 1980's. This is what cocktail waitresses grow into. Except for the bride of course. She is a Harvard grad and her mom and dad are rightfully proud of her.

The wedding was the most magical wedding I have ever been to. A beautiful ceremony outside, followed by cocktails and pupus. As we were ushered inside to our tables, the room was lit with the rose colored lens of the sunset. The tables and flowers were elegant, the food at the buffet was to die for.... Everything was perfect. I wish I had a video of the bride dancing hula for her new husband. Then you would know what I mean.

You see those first two women to the right of the bride? That's Pam and Susan and they are event managers and were responsible for helping mom, dad, and the bride pull off this amazing wedding. Susan is the owner of Aloha Wedding Planners and Pam has worked for her a long time. If you want the best event managers for your Hawaii wedding, give them a call and tell them Psuedo sent you.

The bride and groom were adorable. Such wonderful young people. They both made me cry when they hit the podium and gave their thankful speeches.

Mama and Bride

The happy wedding party

Got a travel post? A wedding post? Best place to go in your part of the world? Mr. Linky, take us away!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spin Cycle: Summer Reads

Jen asked us to spin book recommendations this week. I so have this one, which is nice as I failed last week's alien assignment.

I LOVE reading, especially during the summer.

For book club two months ago, we read Under the Banner of Heaven, A Story of Violent Faith.
Fascinating nonfiction book by the author who wrote Into the Wild, which I also enjoyed. Under the Banner of Heaven weaves together the history of the Mormon religion and the fundamentalist Mormon movement, as well as showing why these two groups have problems with each other, despite their shared history. Incorporated into this is the story of the murder of a young woman and her 15 month old baby girl who were killed by the woman's brother-in-laws, Ron and Dan Lafferty. Although disturbing, it is well written, extremely well researched, and I'd highly recommend this book.

When my daughter saw that book lying around she stole it out from under me for several days and then recommended I read a book she bought, The 19th Wife. This book also incorporates the history of the Mormon religion but does so through fiction. I fell in love with Ann Eliza, the actual 19th wife of Brigham Young, who escaped the confines of early Salt Lake City and polygamy and spoke out against polygamy in lectures and in her memoirs. Her story is intertwined with a 21st century murder in a fundamentalist compound.

These books are a whole lot better than watching Sister Wives on TLC.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TTT: Rock'n the Sushi

As you may imagine, there is a plethora of excellent Asian and Asian-inspired cuisines here in Hawaii. Japanese and sushi restaurants abound, from expensive high-end establishments to a local sushi chain which runs its fare on a mini convey-belt around the restaurant and by the tables and bar.

There is one sushi bar, which I know only by reputation, not being able to afford the high-end prices ( I have heard it will run one about $100 per person for dinner there). The reputation is not about the prices, but experiencing the "Nazi-sushi Chef." Word on the street is you will get yelled at and possibly even asked to leave if you drown his sushi in shoyu or commit other crimes of sushi.

I've always wanted to go and get absolutely screamed at, just for the fun of it. But not enough to pay $100 for the experience.

Today's TTT is featuring our family's favorite place for everything sushi.

California Beach Rock'n Sushi

We had heard about it for years, and finally dropped in one day last year.

We had an excellent experience and have been back several times since, most recently (today) to celebrate Son's 19th birthday.

Come along for the birthday lunch!

You can click on any photo to enlarge
The sushi chefs are amazing. The first trip we had a chef not pictured above, who wasn't here today. The chefs are all wonderfully talented and we have never been disappointed.

We prefer to sit at the bar, but there are also tables in the restaurant.

Couldn't be ROCKN without artwork of rockers, yes?

The last two times we have had Jesse as our sushi chef. He's amazing and we love to watch him create the dishes. Last trip we watched him make these cool shots of something totally intriguing and asked him what it was.

"Not on the menu, just something I made up"

Of course we had to try it.
We had two today. Just hubs and I. The grown children are not as adventurous. I asked Jesse what was in it.

"Everything good," was his reply.
That's a quail egg. There is also an oyster. Not sure what else. Very tasty.

We have this EVERY TIME. It is hamachi, thinly sliced, in a light ponzu sauce, with chilies and cherry tomatoes. So awesome.

This is the best misoyaki butterfish I have ever had. And I order misoyaki butterfish at every Japanese restaurant we go to. The spinach underneath is to die for and I don't even usually even like cooked spinach.

Lobster roll with dynamite sauce

Tamanaha roll. So good. California roll, panko-crusted, topped with ahi, and the signature hot lava sauce. Son ordered this one and I could hardly snap a photo before he dove in.

The Principal Roll. Fried onions on top.

Today's travel took you to our favorite sushi restaurant for Son's 19th birthday lunch.

Got travel? Tips on living like it's vacation at home? Link on up!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

TTT: Save Laborless Labor Day Retreat

My favorite travel posts that I’ve put up here are probably about my favorite beach on this island. Not only is it a picture-perfect pristine beach, but it is filled with memories from the last twenty-five years.

Remember, you can click on any photo to enlarge...

My husband and I discovered it while dating and it became a favorite spot right away. Our day off ritual during the summers, when the giant waves receded and the ocean became our own private salt-water, snorkeling wonderland, were most often spent on this beach.

When I graduated from UH with my BA, we rented a beach house and stayed for two weeks with friends and family to celebrate. I love the photos from this trip (but not enough to go digging through boxes). That was 1988 and my friends and I all still had youth on our sides. We’d actually pose in our swim suits. My sister was working as a bartender in Florida at the time, and at the beach house she’d use her mad skills to make us the yummiest Pina Colodas in the tropics. She’d blend them like ice cream shakes, garnish them with fresh pineapple, and bring them down to us on the beach at sunset. We’d stretch out on our lounges like a string of Ban de Solie sun worshipers and sip our drinks through straws; then, with a nice little buzz, we’d all dive in for one last swim before we retreated to the deck for dinner.

Two years later my dad rented that same beach house for a family gathering to celebrate the birth of my daughter. I remember the first evening was surreal in its serendipitous and mystical magic. A few nights earlier I had dreamed that I was visiting with my Uncle (who had passed away several years before). I was flying through the clouds, just floating along and I ran into him. We sat cross legged on a cloud and he told me he was so glad we were all going to get to spend time together and for “us girls” to take care of our dad (his younger brother). During this dream in the clouds it was sunset and the colors were so magnificent that when I woke up it had stayed with me for hours. Crimson, mauve, purple, gold, and dusky blue in long sweeping strokes and swirls. It was like being inside an impressionist painting, but instead of Mary Poppin’s London version, I was immersed in the soul of the Universe.

That first night at the beach house I had my four-month old baby girl on my hip and was whipping up something in the kitchen when everyone called me to come outside and see the sunset. It was like stepping into a rose tinted glass ball. It was, to a tee, the exact sunset from my dream. I had no doubt by Uncle was up there smiling down at us.

Fast forward sixteen years later and several of my friends decided to rent a beach house on the North Shore for Labor Day weekend. This was the summer of 2006, the year I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. That summer I had just finished chemotherapy and had begun radiation treatments. As one of my friends put it to me, “We’ve been talking about doing this for years and your getting sick made us realize we can’t put things like this off. We need to do it while we are all still alive to enjoy it.”

They selected a house with a lanai (deck) that was perched high with an amazing view, but was surrounded by palm trees and made you feel like you were in a tree house. This was especially important for me as I was not supposed to be in the sun during radiation treatments. They selected the house because the beach was to die for: sapphire blue sparkling water perfect for snorkeling, a wide sandy beach with an endless walk for exercise (if one was inclined) and shell collecting. They selected the house as it was affordable and the property manager was willing to rent it to us for the weekend versus many of the houses that wouldn’t rent for less than a week.

And yes. Coincidentally, they rented the exact same house I had rented with my family on two very special vacations all those years before. My friends had picked the exact beach and house that were my favorite on the entire island.

We called it Laborless Labor Day and have been returning without husbands, without children, and having a glorious time for three glorious days and nights these last five years.

Last year the woman who owned the house passed away.

Her adult children selected a new property manager.

The new property manager raised the price considerably and will not rent to us for the mere three days.

We are trying to save Laborless Labor Day weekend. Perhaps it is not meant to be and time is moving us toward other adventures.

But I am giving it a bit of a fight first and emailing a link to this post and all comments to the new property manager.

Leave a comment if you would like me to post from our special beach house this Labor Day!

Please link on up with your own travel tips, adventures; stories from the past, present or future. Daycations and staycations.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spin Cycle: Renovating and Redoing One's Life

When we bought our home in 1993, we had no fuckin’ idea what we were in for. Becoming homeowners in Hawaii was a huge, huge blessing; but blessings come with challenges. We worked in Honolulu, but the new homes, the “affordable homes,” were being built on the West Side, the Second City.

After ten years of commuting, of working two jobs, of working two jobs while going to grad school, of working two jobs while going to grad school and raising two children, of getting by on 5-6 hours of sleep a night for years – after ten years we were able to refinance and renovate.

The beige, track-house curtains which were frayed were replaced with blinds.

The beige carpet that our children and all the neighborhood kids had trampled for years was replaced – downstairs with a dark laminate flooring, kitchen and bathrooms with stone like tile, upstairs and stairs with carpet.

Our garage sale, mismatched living room furniture moved out and our first couch set was purchased.

We painted every single room and left the world of white behind.

We put in crown molding downstairs. So pretty.

We relandscaped our yard and put in automatic sprinklers, providing us with an extra hour a day we no longer had to hand water. The West Side is dry and hot and nothing like what most people imagine when they think of Hawaii.

It took months. Our marriage had not been given previous opportunities to explore our differences in tastes. It was vast, like a great desert separating two foreign lands.

We set out across that desert to find our oasis somewhere in the middle.

The kids started out thrilled and excited with visiting furniture stores, flooring stores, home depot stores; running through and laying claim to whole rooms at a time.

Hubs and I sat on couches by the hours. Comfortability, design, and a couch that we both approved of became the Holy Grail of quests.

The children started opting to stay home with rolling eyeballs when we went out on renovating excursions.


It happened.

We both loved the final outcome.

And then life throws one a curve ball.

One adjusts.

One rents out the renovated home, which looks like a track home on a zero lot line on the outside and looks like a custom – this is our house and yes we did put in crown molding – on the inside.

One moves to the other side of the island, where one rents a home because one cannot afford to buy over here.

A family takes a leap of faith.

The old home had a postage stamp size of a backyard.

The rental has a humongous yard.

This summer, I want to do some yard renovating.

But. Money is tight and it is not practical to spend money on a yard we do not own.

I’m taking suggestions….

This box was in the yard and I got rid of the piles of trash and leaves, put in some soil and started growing arugula. Planning to put other lettuces in those blank spots.

There is a river that runs behind the house that was made into a cement river decades ago. My daughter bought this plant (which I don't remember the name) and it is supposed to grow and climb all over the fence to provide some privacy from the neighbors yard behind us.

That big tall one in the middle is okra. There is also lavendar on the far right. Some of these plants need to get in the ground, put the ground is so hard and dense, with kiawe roots and rocks, that it takes two hours to dig one hole.

A baby papaya tree we planted last week. We still need to weed the ground around it.

The side yard is huge. The renters before us used it to keep a big boat. This planter is overgrown and a mess but on our to do list this summer.

BC loves having a yard. But when asked to help, he sticks tongue at me. Really.

For more Spins head on over to Sprite's Keeper. The list of Spins go up on Saturday, but checkout last week's spins as well, "Waiting."