Friday, December 25, 2009

Adult Kids

Ain't it funny how your kids are always your kids...youths, young'uns, even though they are above the age of consent? When they are babies, they are so adorable and sweet. When they are teens, they are like the panini fruit...rosy red but prickly. There are times then their antics make you feel like stringing them up by their chinny chin chins.

But Patience and Tolerance!

It is best to let them grow out of their prickly stages because they become wonderful adults. Our enegetic boy who was always busy playing in the forest around our home has become the most thoughtful and protective fellow. He calls and checks up on his parents and his sisters. His calls on birthdays mornings are always early and the first. The shy poet is now a teacher of teachers, a presenter, and an organizer...who'd a thunk it? Our girl who didn't learn English until the fifth grade is now reading things (medical terms) we couldn't even pronounce and doing a great job at it. Our baby, the one on tiptoes, continues to tiptoe through the tulips with the tarmac straight ahead. Who knows what path she will follow?

So parents of unruly kids and rebellious teens, never string up your kids by their chinny chin chins. Wait until they grow up...they will surprise you pleasantly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bad is Good

When I first found out I was pregnant,
My world crashed down around me.
Tearfully I broke the news to my mom
I expected mad eyes, loud yelling
But no, there was only a deep sigh
"So what you going to do now?"
I would have felt better if she
Sent a couple good cracks my way
But no, there was only a deep sigh.

When I found out my husband was fooling around,
My world crashed down around me again.
A bottomless fountain of tears flowed
Till my eyes replenished the Pacific.
I was the screaming banshee with mad eyes and loud yelling
But what good would it do? The ties were broken.
"So what am I going to do now?"
Christmas decorations and carols did not cheer
I put his clothes in garbage bags on our stoop
But what good would it do? The ties were broken.

We escaped the daily stress of living
Sold our car and went to Japan
My daughter was now seven, with long hair
Plunked into a school of foreign speakers
All with short haircuts
I thought I left my troubles but they followed me
To the Land of the Setting Sun
Ex-husband sends my daughter his wedding pictures for Christmas
Our little evergreen tree in a vase with paper cranes
Made it a very dismal Christmas for us.
But new landscape, new language, and new adventures,
What could I do but survive
We did our best to enjoy the land of our forefathers
Families on both sides of the Pacific helped.
But what could I do but survive.

Bad is good
Medicine to build strong minds and bodies.
I have an independent daughter thriving who
Does not blame her parents too much for their stupidities.
I have a good husband now who loves me more than I am worth
We have built a family with kids who love each other.
I have learned about sacrifice and family ties
Bad is good, given time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Christmas Blues

Ain't it funny how the Christmas season is like a race to be run. In the beginning, the slow start means making lists, checking them twice, and figuring out where best to shop. Then the pace picks up as the gifts are checked off of the list. At the peak is the traditional Christmas letter writing and the visualization of the people who will be getting the letters. Double check the Christmas letter to make sure that all of the family members are mentioned and provided an equal number of inches of attention. Dash of to Office Max and print out the Christmas letter, then write the addresses on the envelopes, get the stamps, sort out the letters by address, get to the post office. Then wait in line for your turn.

Lugging home the mail from the post office, invariably someone's post card reminds you that you forgot to send them a Christmas letter. Then you get on the computer and email the rest of the folks their electronic Christmas letter. Add in a special message on the email and attach the Christmas letter making sure that you attached the correct year's edition. Bing...the letters are sent.

Christmas dinner is on the horizon...making a list, checking it twice, checking out what market to visit for the best deals. Then the fight is on for a parking space, a shopping cart, the very last delectable tidbit, paying for the food through the eyeballs, pushing the mountain of groceries to the car, loading the groceries only to find that there were 100s reusuable shopping bags in the trunk after all. Fight travel 20 miles home to the ranch. Unloading the groceries, making sure there is enough space in the refrigerator for all of the delectable tidbits purchased.

Clean the house!!

Christmas morning, wake up and find an excited adult-baby has cooked breakfast and sorted the gifts into piles. Unwrap gifts. Throw away the trash. Put away the gifts. Eat more breakfast...then get ready for the marathon.

Then it is cook, cook, wash the dishes in the sink, cook, cook, wash more dishes in the sink. Set the table. Put out a mountain of food. Eat. Clean up. Eat desset.
Clean up. Wave goodbye to all who came to Christmas dinner. Then, crash!

The sun jerks your eyelids open whether you like it or not. Christmas is over.
Now what am I going to do with myself until February 14th?

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Korean Drama Lifestyle

Since our kids are all out of the house, living their own lives, my hubby and I can now live our lives as we desire. Of course, the dreams of sleeping in late are destroyed by bladders that insist on being emptied at about 5:00 am or the horses and cats that neigh and meow like a living alarm clock reminding us that the sun is up already and breakfast should be served.

We do get to luxuriate in afternoon naps as the traffic rages past out house, hurrying to Hilo to buy groceries or what ever the errand or hurrying back to Volcano to put the ice cream and the rest of the groceries away.

One thing that has been a gas is our menu of Korean dramas in the evenings. Unlike American soap operas which should use the soap in their genre name to cleanse the nasty attitudes and actions, Korean dramas center on home life, the trials and tribulations of parents and children, love and loyalty, ethics and greed. It is amazing to see adult children obeying their parents!! I always get incensed to see so many drama mamas who are real witches with a capital B while the fathers in the family command respect with their logical remedies to even the worst problems...divorce and adultery. My husband always smiles smugly knowing that finally men are portrayed in the way that requires cherished adoration.

With our new found freedom, we can go to water aerobics in the evening, go out to dinner, see a movie, go to a long as we are back home by 7:45 to begin the series of Hangu entertainment. Ain't life grand?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Korean Feast the Easy Way

I had a meeting at our house and in order to entice people to attend the meeting, I baited them with yummy food. I was going to make Hawaiian food but I'm often doing that so I figured I'd take a different tact. I decided to make a Korean lunch with lots and lots of garlic!!

On the menu: Beef kimchee stew, tofu-okara cakes with kochujang sauce, homemade cucumber kimchee, sutchul namul(various vegetable side dishes, rice, and sherbert for dessert. Did my practice tofu-okara cakes and found out that you need to use extra firm tofu and squeeze out the water.

Since I had classes on Wednesday, I really had to go into high gear to purchase the ingredients after class. Then I had a touch of ach-phenomenon. Why should I make the side dishes when I could go to the Korean restaurant? I priced a small container at $4.63. When I went to pick up the veggies...the countergirl suggested I purchase the veggie plate and I could get five sides for about $6...Eureka!!! There was my answer!! I ended up getting double orders of bean sprouts, and kombu (seaweed), and mustard cabbage. Uiha!! what a time saver!!

Come 11:00 on Thursday, all the food was done. My kimchee stew was made with homegrown beef, sour kimchee, bamboo shoots, turnips, carrots, potatoes, green onions, kimchee base, red pepper flakes, red pepper powder, and kochujung. The meat was a tender as butter and with hot rice...a winner!! I left the food inside the house as we had our meeting in the garage. I didn't want the smells of garlic to interrupt our thoughts.

At noon, I busted out the food. There was silence so I think the food was good.

For dinner, we copied what we've seen on Korean dramas...put a bunch of rice in a large bowl, throw in the left over side dishes, slice up some leftover chicken from the night before and add a heaping tablespoon of kochujang and stir the mixture.
Impromptu bibinpap!! What a way to end the day...we turned on to KBFD and we were in Korean Heaven.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Forgotten Things

I don't know about you but when I am stressed, I seem to add more stress by misplacing things. An envelope with $500 cash, my glasses, my keys, my wallet, an important letter...the list goes on and on. Then I go crazy looking around for it.

The latest adventure was the loss of a Walmart bag with a bottle of Bioastin, a lauhala journal, and a roll of glue. I searched all over the house, even checking the garbage bag if in case I threw the bag away. I secretly thought that my husband put the bag away in such places as the high kitchen cabinet above the refrigerator or some weird location like that. I stomped around, shaking the walls of my house with my thunder footsteps...grumbling under my breath, certain that my husband put the package away some place and feigned ignorance about its whereabouts.

Saturday night, sick with the flu, I decided to make my "clean the refrigerator" vegetable soup made with a conglomeration of little bits of leftovers. And lo and behold...there was the sucking Walmart bag in the refrigerator. Could it be possible that the culprit of stupidity was me? What a super knucklehead after all the energy I spent blaming my husband. This is indeed the time to re-air my poem on Forgotten Things.

Forgotten Things
Muriel Mililani Hughes

Me no mai mono, mie nai koto.
Things in front of your eyes are the subjects of blindness.
I just made up this ancient Japanese saying
But ain't it the truth?
Don't it just piss you off when you can't find
Some monumental crap you've been looking for?
These trivial things are so damn important at the time.
When you finally get your hands on them,
You see what a sorry excuse for treasure they are.

Okay, some people say we lose things because
Of stress or some Freudian reason
Linked to parts of the body that have nothing to do
With where we last left the crap.
Others say that we lose things because
We are so damned sloppy.
So...I love sloppy. Don't be accusing me of being
An anal retentive neatnick. Ah....See? Freud gets in his digs again.

I think we lose things because they have their own karma
And travel to Forgotten Things Nirvana
Where they exist to laugh at us as we chase our tails,
Looking under beds and piles of paper,
Sweating and elevating our own blood pressure.
Some cosmic creator of Forgotten Things has a monumental
Plan to see us squirm, suffer, and promise to repent if only
We could find the damn crap!

Beside the ancient Japanese saying that I just made up
I have come to an earth-shattering realization.

Sometimes, we are just idiots, plain and simple
And deserve to suffer.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Volcano Moonlit Evenings

E Mahina
Rising from the warm sea
Travels up the mountain
Peeks through the lacework of 'Ohi'a leaves

Dark patterns of limbs and leaves
Backlit by the moon

Serenity at its most beautiful

Monday, September 28, 2009

Furlough Fridays Turn into Frantic Fridays

While I do agree that the various departments need to cut their budgets to meet what is in the State coffers, I think that the scheduling of the Furlough Fridays cut into the student learning cycles with shorter weeks on an inconsistent basis.

It would appear to me that it would be better to consider attaching the furlough days to intersession and vacation periods. Parents can plan for extended days off rather than sporatic days here and there. As a teacher, I could plan for student work during the longer vacations so that students can do independent or directed studies activities at home...for high school students - research papers, papers requiring interviews of people in the community, art projects, the reading of tandem novels, poetry chapbooks. Many, many things could be planned to put the extended days off into real use for the students to explore, spend more time thinking and working on projects.

But what is common sense does not always seems to be the choice plan of action. It is noble of some schools to continue to run school with the teachers working for free. Despite all the public thrashing of teachers, this is really a noble act. People who are not in the field don't see the daily sacrifices teachers make for their students. But of one caution to these teachers who are willing to work for free, it would behoove them to check if they will be covered by State insurance should something happen while working outside of the State contract.

Let's hope that the financial straits we are in are a temporary measure. Rather than grumbling, we need to take action to resolve the situation beginning with the individual homes...more careful consumption, more conservative spending, better use of our resources, more consideration of our less financially able neighbors and friends. We cannot do everything but each of us can do something.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Anticipation, Expectation, Dejection, Revelation

It is kind of funny how we might scheme to do something, plan for it, look forward to it, consider all the positive outcomes and when the event occurs we fall flat on our faces...things did not turn out as they were planned.

That is what happened to me this weekend. I had a whole bunch of things I had sewed or embroidered and the leftovers were taking too much space in my two closets. I had to get rid of the extra inventory. So I wrote up a classified ad and had it submitted to the local newspaper. We were going to have a garage sale with discounts of 20-50% off!! What a deal? Only thing, people would have to drive waaaaay out of their way to Glenwood...a whole 20 miles out of Hilo, a whole 20 minutes of their time to get to our ranch. We posted our company sign on the front fence of our yard.

That morning began at 5:15 am. We got up and started putting up the clothes. I would say we had over 100 pieces of clothing including bikini tops, bathing suits, cowboy hats, men's and women's shirts, mu'umu'u, and all of that. The day was beautiful. The sun was shining and the cool Glenwood breezes were so refreshing. By 10 minutes to 9:00, our sale start time, I had worked up a sweat. 9:00 came. 10:00 came. 11:00 came. 12:00 came. I went into the house for lunch and still, not even a rustle of cars even slowing down as the millions of cars passed our house either going to Volcano or going to Hilo.

Finally, at about 10 to 1:00 a car drove up. It was a parent I knew from Mountain View School. We chatted. She reminded me several times I needed to do something about our welcome goose that had fallen on the side of the road. Put a rock or brick to keep the goose stand steady, she advised. So she left without even walking near the clothes racks. I walked down the driveway and put a brick on the goose stand.

I walked into the house and told my husband about what a bust our plans to get rid of all of the old inventory were. His eyes were glued to the TV as he courteously nodded. He was watching his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and USC was marching down the field under the direction of a FRESHMAN quarterback. OSU was ahead but USC was march, march, marching down...84 yards in 12 plays under the direction of a FRESHMAN quarterback. Oh well, I muttered, we wasted $66.40 on our classified ad. He kept his eyes glued to the USC march downfield and made soft wimpering sounds as expressions of sympathy. But Damn...USC made a touchdown!! OSU lost its chance to be the first Big 10 team to beat USC in a million years!!

Defeated, I walked upstairs to my office and started doing some work. 2:00 came. 3:00 came. No other customers came. Am I going to be depressed that no one wanted to buy my clothes? Did anyone care that I spent $66.40 on advertising? I went back outside. The skies were blue. The Glenwood breezes gently blew between the clothes hanging. The clothes were glad to be in the sun and fresh air! I got my homework done. It was a beautiful day. Heck, even veteran apparel companies like Reyn Spooner had garage sales to get rid of old inventory...and they had 1000s of shirts and dresses for sale. I'm lucky I did not have 1000s of items to get rid of. Yeah...and turned out to be a beautiful day after all.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Computer Ghost Story

When you are Hawaiian-Chinese like me, you are very sensitive to the unseen in the environment. I was raised with stories of night marchers, mo'o, evil spirits waiting to get your fingernail clippings or hanging out with your laundry left on the clothesline after sunset. Perhaps the awareness is simply an understanding that there are forces in our lives that go beyond the concrete and tangible. This is healthy respect engendered to promote proper behavior and consideration.

But some things are just too weird. There are collections of occurrences that warn us that we are going down the wrong path. For example, after I finished my doctoral studies, I wanted to apply for a post-doctoral award so I spent a lot of time distilling my dissertation to meet the requirements of the award. When I checked my writeup, pieces were mysteriously missing and appeared in strange sequence. So I redid my writeup only to find out that the download was again all kapakahi (mixed up). I took my disc to the computing center to see if they could clean it up. They tried to do their best but suggested that I retype my writeup just in case. This is like the fifth or sixth time I am redoing this darn paper. I am no quitter and wanted to see the project through. The last straw occurred as the deadline neared. The neon sign of destiny had been turned on. One night, I was working late in the University of Southern Mississippi's library when a sudden thunder storm struck. Lightning hit the library, and the electricity was knocked out. We sat in the darkness for a few seconds. Everybody's computer came back on except for mine!! Whatever I had typed was lost. When I went to see the librarian the next day, she said that all the computers were operative except for the one I was working on. It was inoperative.

That was the last straw. In frustration, I went to my major professor for my dissertation committee and explained the string of events and told him that I was withdrawing because the lightning strike was a sign that I was barking up the wrong tree. Dr. Hamilton Williams was the best professor anyone could ask for and he agreed that perhaps I should not pursue it. He wished me well and told me that he would see me at the commencement exercise. Then he said that it would be his last commencement. I made light of his comments and reminded him about how he was so loved by his students and everyone was jockeying to see if he would serve on their committee.

Graduation came, with the post-doctoral award forgotten, we shared orchid leis with our friends. That was the last time I saw Dr. Hamilton who suddenly passed away a few weeks after graduation. Were the weird string of events a harbinger of things to come? Was the computer trying to tell me something? I don't know but am certain that our energies have a direct relationship to how well or how poorly technological hardware operations. There are signs in our lives. We need to be open to them to understand the path we should be taking. Don't let the neon sign of destiny might be too late for corrective action.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Even Old Farts Can Have Hot Adventures

Now that we are in our 60s, we are settling into a quiet country life filled with routines, simple pleasures, and a lot less rushing around. We have our evenings categorized by what TV shows we will watch.

Everything changed when we went to Honolulu last weekend. Right off the plane, we went to a fab clearance sale of Reyn Spooner clothing. There were thousands of shirts for sale running from $15, $25, and $40. Bargain-mania. After seeing so many shirts, had to start getting sassy and became more choosy about what we would buy. Christmas shopping is least for the kanes in our family.

We had several eating adventures in mind. First was to go to Mr. Mandoo on Pi'ikoi Street for their spicy mandoo which are like manapua which got lost in Korea. Spicy pockets of yummy washed down with iced coffee.

Second on our list was our favorite Korean restaurant. While we had diligently researched the best Korean restaurants, we ended walking to a restaurant right near to the Ala Moana Hotel. The restaurant is right next to the strip joint, Femme Nu Club. I don't know who was more or the young men waiting to get into the strip joint. Beyond this though, we know it is a good restaurant because we were the only Haole - Kanaka couple in the whole joint. Most of the customers were Honolulu Koreans. We had 12 kinds of side dishes, chupchae, pulkogi, fried mandoo (the authentic kind), and korean style miso soup. We nibbled until our pikos were turned inside out. Waddling back to the hotel helped to settle the food in our opus. Luckily we both enjoyed the food because the cloud of garlic settled in our hotel room.

In our research, we found a restaurant called The Counter in Kahala Mall. A customer can build his/her own burger starting with 1/3 pound patties. (There were bigger burgers available.) One could choose a beef, turkey, pork, or grilled chicken protein choice with 4 kinds of toppings, cheese of various types, sauce, and choice of bun. Don't choose a bun...the burger came and it was a tower of food. I had a 1/3 pound beef burger with mixed greens, grilled onions, tomato, mushrooms, with garlic aioli on a whole wheat bun. Could not wrap my mouth around the burger. Had to break it up into bite-able increments. Choose a burger in a bowl. Don't waste your opu space on bread. They also had sweet potato fries, french fries, and onion rings. The restaurant was packed with people. Considering the lines that kept queueing outside the restaurant, the service was pretty fast.

Of course, we had to go to Shirokiya for their breads and Hokkaido specialty foods, the Cookie Corner, Aloha Salads for mixed salads of all kids. The most amazing thing is that when we got home, I lost 3 pounds. Now how did that happen? Perhaps I lost weight spending far too much money on Christmas gifts, shoes, and jewelry. Ahh least it was a change of pace from our quiet pastoral life. Even old farts can have a hot adventure...of course it may be a lukewarm adventure by comparison to other folks. But it was good enough for us!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's a Number Game

It's funny how we get attached to or repulsed by certain numbers. For example, if you go out on a date, it's not cool to go as a threesome as one person ends up having to hold "chochin" the proverbial third wheel lantern.

In Japan, people don't like the number four (shi) as the character is part of the phrase "shinuru" which means to die so to live on the fourth floor or in apartment four does not bode good fortune. Just as we skip the 13th floor, they do the same for the 4th floor.

In America, people don't like the number 13 as it is the number of misfortune. Examine the level of tension when Friday, the 13th rolls around and it has nothing to do with the movie of the same name. People just get freaked by it and it seems as though the anxiety attracts negative energy.

The Chinese like the number 8 "fat" which means good luck. Our favorite restaurant in Hilo, the Sky Garden Restaurant, does not have their name in the phone book. But now we can remember the phone number which is filled with fat 8s...935-8888!

When we moved from Oahu to the wild rainforest of Volcano, everything was put right when our box number was the same number as my favorite sister's house number in Hawaii Kai. Coincidence? Perhaps but the move has been a good one since 1981 and we have kept the same box number.

Of course, we always think that we are getting a bargain when we need to pay only $29.99 for a product instead of the devilish higher price which is only a penny more. Have you stood in the aisle in a supermarket trying to figure out the real price per unit for an item? Which one is really cheaper per unit? This is where math skills are really important. From the newspaper, we read about how manufacturers are leading us astray with 20% more per package, cases of beer with only 20 containers. Numbers, numbers, numbers! Things are achanging but are we smart enough to figure it out?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Love of Food, Food of Love

Life is unfair! Why is eating so pleasurable and satisfying? Why is losing weight so torturous, lonely, and depressing? It is easy to intake calories with sweet or savory tidbits. It is difficult to ignore commercials displaying pictures of pizzas, fried chicken, and burgers dripping with fat when trying not to eat. It is so unfair.

In Hawaii, food is often the expression of love. A mother cooking for her family enjoys watching her kids eat with gusto as they laugh, talk, tease each other around the dining room table. Food is the expression of her love. It doesn't matter if it took a couple of hours to prepare the food that might be demolished in 40 minutes. It is the social interaction that is part of the eating of the food.

In celebrating my 60th birthday, I asked my kids if they would help me to put on a party to gather friends and family. They agreed so we proceeded. Our park reservation form listed about 40 people attending. Our RSVP list had about a hundred people. Over 100 people showed up and that does not include the 20 or so people who said they were coming and didn't show up. Needless to say, we had a packed house. We did all the food ourselves. Grilled steaks with garlic and lemon, pineapple teriyaki chicken, bean penne casserole for the vegetarians, bean salads, deviled egg salad, sweet potato salad, smoked octopus, rice. Our appetizers included a kimchee medley - tofu, cabbage, seaweed, and cucumber kim chee plates, seared blackened fish, ono cerviche, warabi salad, guacamole and chips. My kids worked hard to grill the steaks. People we hadn't seen in years came and talked to new friends. A loner came and found friendly smiles and listening ears for the evening. We ended the meal with cake, a homemade carrot cake, and platters of gourmet cookies. Wow. Love was flowing. From the hands that made the food, the people who brought the food, the people who ate the food with great appreciation...

For all the enjoyment, we pay the price of having to lose the weight for the eating of the poi. But life is short. Enjoy, enjoy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tribulation and Triumph

Murder in our community, a most heinous event. It rocks us to our very souls. When we know the people affected by the murder, we take it personally. Perhaps we did not really know the victim but we know her mother, her grandfather, her aunt, her cousin, and we really feel for them. The loss, the tragedy, the waste of it all, the devastation, the violation. We cry tears that sneak down our cheeks and we try not to sob or sniff loudly and have others spy on our show of sorrow.

Yet in the wake of the murder...the death, the mother smiles and thanks the people who have come to the funeral. Heartfelt embraces, tears, whispered words of love and encouragement. In the midst of such a loss, love emerges from the ashes of devastation and fills us with hope that there is indeed a God.

In the Hawaiian tradition, we eat together after the funeral. Cooking, eating, and talking are all forms of love. We sit together and talk, perhaps of other things, and yet, we secretly stash the thought that as soon as we leave the funeral, we will go home and tell our kids, our loved ones, "I love you." Sometimes if we are lucky, someone starts strumming on the ukulele, is joined by someone on the guitar and the music washes away our tears. As the sweet music echoes, someone's aunty stands up to do an impromptu hula. All acts of love in the stream of things. Ending off the event by having dessert washes away the bitterness with dark chocolate and luscious cherries, flavor-packed carrot cake topped off with cream cheese frosting, butter mochi - chewy and creamy.

Going to a Chinese funeral is an adventure. With the Buddhist priests' cymbals and bells clanging, the monotone chanting, the clouds of incense smoke are new experiences for the country jacks from Lahaina. We go outside to burn fake money, paper clothing, a paper car, a paper boat, all things needed by the deceased in the underworld. Chinese like to be prepared. After the funeral, we eat dim sum, luscious pockets of pork, shrimp, and crab with hot mustard sauce, and fragrant hot tea. We eat coconut candy before we leave, the sweetness to combat sorrow.

No matter what culture, a funeral brings together loved ones...ancient animosities are put aside, past injustices are forgotten, we focus on the beautiful memories, and live in the present. In the midst of sorrow and tribulation, love is showered down upon us, washing away the tears, and filling us with gratitude and hope for the future.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Mysterious Refrigerator Raider

Have you ever been plagued by a mysterious raider who steals delectable tidbits from your refrigerator during the dead of night? Remember the piece of chocolate dobash cake that you preciously wrapped and lovingly brought home to eat later after the party? You get your glass of ice cold milk ready and can just about taste the dark chocolate frosting being swirled around your mouth with the creamy swallow of milk. You step to the refrigerator door and yank it open. Where is the cake? You slam things around, looking behind bottles of who knows what, and plastic containers of dessicated treasures from weeks ago....

No cake! Perhaps you made a mistake! Another round of slamming things around here and there. Still no cake!! Disappointment, devastation, depression.

The question is: Who ate my cake?

You stare down all the members of your family. Your husband...he wouldn't dare! Your daughter...nah...she's on a diet! Your son...he hasn't come home from soccer practice, there is too much food still left in the refrigerator. Your, you hid it out of sight.

Hmmmm...the question remains, Who ate my cake?

Friend...accept the fact that there is a mysterious refrigerator raider in the neighborhood who reads our minds and selects the choicest tidbits to steal away in the dead of night.

This afternoon, we are going to dinner to my daughter's house. I had made a salad with corn, beans, sweet peppers, and feta cheese for a picnic yesterday and I made a separate container for our home for Sunday. I promised my daughter we would bring the corn salad. I checked my refrigerator and could not find the salad. I slammed things around. Still no salad.

"Eh Don, did you see the container of corn salad?" I shouted as my husband was going out the door.
"Oh...I ate it," he said matter of factly as if I should have known this fact.
"Did you eat the whole container of salad?" I asked incredulously figuring out that this was about three or four cups of salad in the container.
" Yeah...there wasn't much in the container...I thought it was a leftover," he replied, cocking his head like an inquisitive dog wondering why there was an edge of anger in my voice.

Now I knew who are the corn salad. I will have to scrounge around my cupboard and come up with another salad for Cathy's Sunday Night dinner.

But I still want to know who ate my cake!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

E Mililani Kakou

Did I tell you that I am conducting guerilla warfare against negativity? We are inundated by gloom and doom in the newspaper, on TV...the economy, lack of money and jobs, crime, drugs, people being nasty to each other. How can we even be hopeful when we are being crushed under negative, hope robbing information.

Therefore my campaign for positivity started with a public declaration. Now what I am doing is giving people I know a bumper sticker that says, "E mililani kakou....Let's all give thanks." I have a little saying posted near my desk that reminds me that "All sorrow disappears in the awareness of your blessings." For that, how can we not give thanks. From my office window, I can see the green pasture, the horses that come to graze, the leaves from the tall eucalyptus trees flitting down to earth like single winged butterflies, the gentle rains.

I am going to see how many people put the bumper sticker on their cars. I am going to see how many people take on the phrase or comment on it. "E mililani kakou" I am going to see how many people will join in by publicly declaring to battle negativity by the campaign to spread the attitude of gratitude. We cannot wait for others to begin change. Change begins with us. This very minute!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ain't it funny how things turn out?

If wishes could come true, would life be any different from how it is now? Some of the things in my life which I thought were the most devastating had really good endings such as a tragic divorce that lead to a second marriage that was better than the first.

Some times, the things we may wish for may not be what would be best for us in the end such as a chance to go to an exotic place and end up suffering from the trots the entire duration of the trip?

I guess what I am saying is to accept life as it happens. Look for the good in the seemingly sad or sorrowful events. Rejoice and be thankful when things go right knowing and accepting the fact that I had nothing to do with what went right. People who are always critical and grouchy probably have digestive problems so don't align with people who give you a stomache. Head up, face forward, head into the wind!!