Sunday, February 1, 2015

Getting into a Tizzy

     It seems that there are more and more occasions when people get into a buying tizzy incited by commercial promotions.  Valentines' Day displays out in January.  Pro Bowl, Super Bowl, Saint Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras and not to forget the biggest promotion...Christmas which begins in October.

     When the store displays go up, there is a reason to pay attention to the impending holiday or event and buy, buy, buy!!  The anticipation, the planning, the shopping list, the mad dash to shop in crowded stores are all part of the hype.  The event comes....and goes.  Then there is a quiet period of asking yourself, "Now what?"  A psychological letdown....until the next event.

     I find it ironically amusing that the biggest buyers are often the people who are flashing their food stamp cards throughout the year.  They buy fireworks, shrimp, lobster, and things I wouldn't buy because I am trying to save my money.
      I truly wonder who are the people with the smarts...those of us who are educated, working hard without taking sick leave, and generally busting their butts or those who are on the welfare program.  I can understand if a family has a tough time and needs some help to get their feet on the ground but multi-generational welfare families?  Some is wrong with that. Apparently, there are people who read all the governmental policies and regulations and can live a life without working.

     It must be a boring lifestyle not to be able to contribute to the good of the community.  But that is just me talking.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happiness is how you see things

     A recent tropical storm reminded me about how our happiness depends on our perspective on life.  The TV and radio stations went out of their way to warn people about the impending storm by focusing on the "Worst Case Scenario" which once again sent people crowding into the supermarkets to buy bottles of water, lining up for gasoline and propane, and barreling into the hardware stores for flashlights and plywood.

      Instead of promoting calm and reasonable preparation, the media whipped people into a frenzy.  On social media platforms, weather forecast images appeared and reappeared on a daily, hourly basis.

     The wonderful thing about living on Hawaii Island is that we have an effective Civil Defense team which involves county, state, and private entities.  We are exposed to so many things:  tsunami, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, torrential rains, flooding...and yet, most of the Hawaii islanders take it in stride.  We have been through it.  We have our supplies ready.  We can weather a storm, with a peace of mind.

     This past weekend, over 100 women gathered in historic Kailua for a Red Hat Convention.  Many people came from the mainland and Canada.  Many traveled from the outer islands.  All of this despite the frightful storm warnings.  Out of the number, only seven girls did not attend.  A couple because of flight cancellations.  Some were afraid to drive across the island. Yet the girls who kept a "cautionary optimism" per Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, arrived safely in Kailua and were greeted by intermittent shows and a whole bunch of fun, excitement, and blingitude!

     Succumbing to a negative view can keep people from enjoying life and having fun!  Don't be paralyzed by the worst case scenario.  Prepare and go out and live life!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blessings in Disguise

The recent encounter with Hurricane Iselle has left the East Side of Hawaii Island whirling.  Strong winds and heavy rains did much to batter the forests of this community.  Most hard hit were the families in the Puna District, especially those communities that were built under the canopy of the tall trees such as the fast growing Albizia.  Fallen trees cut travel, communication, and utility operations.  Some families are still without electricity.

Despite the heavy damage, there was no loss of life.  That alone is a miracle considering the falling trees, and fallen electrified poles.  What is equally amazing is how people have come together to help each other...neighbors, communities, businesses, nonprofit organizations.  People helping people.  I was much touched by a young adult who commented, "I don't have much money to share with others but I can make ice to share."  The Hawaii county administration and workers have been doing a phenomenal job.  The utility companies have been working around the clock to bring some sense of normality to people.  The response of the people without power has been equally gracious, people taking only what they needed.  Once their electricity was turned on, they offer others ice.

There have been instances of stupidity in the midst of the chaos:  The theft of the Red Cross truck, looting in the community, and the senseless vandalization of the Ali'i Ice Company during a time when ice was so needed by families.  But good has overcome evil in the formula.  The confounded moronic behavior of these criminals seems to be an anomaly when compared to the outpouring of love, concern, and assistance of thousands and thousands of people.

What becomes evident is that we were greatly inconvenienced by the storm.  Most of us can continue to go to work and to live.  We were without electricity.  We had to conserve our water.  We had to conserve our cellphone batteries to continue to have communication.  We got to sit at home during the evenings, watch the candle flicker, and talk to each other.  This was a very humbling circumstance.  We were back to the basics in life.

The thing to remember is that there are people who live like this in the world 365 days a year...water is a five mile journey from the house.  Food is gathered or hunted for the day.  We are so lucky to have conveniences of running water, electricity, telephone communication, and cars.  This experience has been an excellent reminder of how blessed we are.  That these adversities are blessings in disguise.  Let's learn from the experience.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

PHew with a capital PH

     In preparation for the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, I worked for days (and nights) sewing things for our booth at the Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair.  Many hours were spent checking the clothes over, cutting the threads, ironing, and then hanging the clothes up.  They filled the clothes rack and I was satisfied.

      When we got to the fair site, we set up the frame for our "store."  Once the clothes were put up, it looked like such a small supply of clothing.  While the thought of "Oh, I should have sewn more," breezed through my mind...I had to take control and remark, "Nope, did the best I could with the time I had and couldn't have done more...and THAT is that!"

     Sometimes we are too greedy in trying to do more than is humanly possible.  The bottom line is time which sets the boundary for what is possible.  Rather than trying to fight against it, accept the limitations and be happy with what was accomplished.

Sample shirts for the Rocking H Ranch Wear booth.  Merrie Monarch Festival 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On cooking a corned beef meal: A Lesson in Living

     Timing is everything, whether you are cooking a corned beef meal or living a wonder-filled life.  Some things require patience and a gentle simmering.  Good corned beef is not to be rushed.  Put your corned beef in a pot, cover it with water, add some extra bay leaves and Italian seasoning and let it gently simmer 50 minutes per pound.  Know that the corned beef that you started off with will shrink but do not despair, it is part of the process.

     When the interminable period of simmering is over, remove your corned beef and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.  Sometimes, when you neglect to observe the rest period, things are torn asunder.  Patience has a purpose.

     While the corned beef is resting, add your cabbage wedges, chunks of potatoes and carrots, and a couple of Portuguese sausages in the water the corned beef was simmered in.  The resultant flavors will seep into the gently simmering vegetables.   The sausage will be bursting with flavors.  Give things a chance to meld and metamorphasize.  Just about the time the vegetables are tender, your corned beef is ready to be sliced.  Knowing the character of things will help to guide when things should be added to the mix.  If you put your vegetables in too early, you will end up with an overflowing pot with a pile of overcooked vegetables.  Everything has a point at which it will be at its best.  Know what you are dealing with and prioritize your actions.

     Arrange your corned beef, sausages, and vegetables attractively on platters.  Choose a variety of really tasty mustards to spice up the corned beef.  Sweet and hot, coarse brown mustard with mustard seeds, sweet honey mustard, yellow mustard...flavors for every palate.  Allow diversity to meet the needs of people.  Challenge people to try something new.  The more they grow, the more interesting they will become.

     Encourage your guests to serve themselves and pass the platters of food to their seat mates.  Cooperation and sharing are always important ingredients to healthy relationships.  Eat slowly...enjoy the food--its pungent smells, its visual arrangements, its flavors.  All these things make for a great experience for all.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We are such Media Suckers!

     For weeks, the newspapers, radio, and TV journalists were harping on the possible outcome of the Super Bowl 2014 game.  Add in the hundreds of people who commented on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.  It was obvious that people were hyped up about the game.

     Add in the excitement for the game peripherals such as the $million +  ads and the news that Hawaii native Bruno Mars was going to be on the half time show.  People were in a frenzy.  Closets were searched for football jerseys.  Face paint and outrageous hair dyes were sought.  The food industry made money by suggesting all the wonderful dishes to serve during the Super Bowl game.  Sorry but cannot go with the lady who was on the Walmart commercial talking about serving snickers candy bars and M and Ms.  That just does not meet the standards here in Hawaii...but oh...I digress.

      On the day of the game, sports commentators argue, retort, debate, reminisce, recollect, and slobber over what might be in the next few hours, the next few minutes, the next few seconds.   Then KaBoom!
Peyton Manning misses the terrible snap and it is all down hill for the Denver Broncos.

      Despite all the hype, the game was a disappointment.  Even the caliber of the commercials was lacking.  We were suckered in by the media vortex and ended up with nothing to show for it.  Happy that the Seahawks won the Super Bowl but still.  What can one do but go past the Super Bowl Buffet and wonder whether to have another delectable pork rib, a Spam-Kamaboko wonton, or a Redondo's hot dog smothered with spicy chili.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The After Frenzy Let-Down

Ain't it funny that we are often at a loss as to what to do after a frenzy of activities such as the meal prep for Thanksgiving, or the Christmas shopping, or preparation for a great party? After weeks of planning and research, work on various projects....BOOM! Everything comes to a standstill when the event is over. Dealing with the empty calendar, the quiet in the house, the blank to do list is an awesome prospect. Dealing with positive stress really has its benefits. Something to look forward to every morning. The satisfaction of getting something done during the day. The big black slash on the to do list of items which needed to be finished yesterday. There is a sense of a rush. While the measured tick-tocks of the clock cannot be stopped, forward movement is possible. There is a sense of self satisfaction. When thinking about the lack of direction, what is a person to do? Why plan a new project and get cracking! Admit it...we all live for positive stress!