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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Living Wage


How much do you think you should tip the carpenter who builds your house, or the nurse who cares for you through a serious illness, the shoe sales man, the sales lady who drags in mounds of clothes for you to try on? 

Oh there are others I could name but by now you are saying, "what are you nuts, they get paid a good wage to do what they do."

Why do they get paid a good wage or decent wage or a better wage then a, say for instance, waiter or waitress?  these people do a lot for us many of them more then any waiter or waitress in some cases. Like a nurse, or the poor shoe salesperson that brings out mounds and mounds of boxes of shoes for you to try on. 

It does not enter our mind to tip them because we know that, hopefully they are getting better pay then the person who serves us our food.

Today on NPR's Talk of the nation, the topic was, "tipping when money is tight." The host, Neal Conan and his guest, Kimberly Palmer were taking calls from people who depend on tips during this downturn in the economy and asking them how were they managing. 

Many of them said they were loosing as much as half of their income due to people cutting back on what they normally leave. A few of the callers who were in the food service industry commented that they felt that if you can not afford to leave a tip, then either you should stay home or not have extras like dessert so that you will have enough for a tip. And by the way Palmer said that the proper tip now is 20 to 25 %.

Hum, I thought, leave up to one fourth of the cost of the service? Not only do I pay a higher price for the food I am now responsible for the employees raise in his wages. Why is it my responsibility to make sure that this restaurant pays their employees a living wage? 

I thought of the tip jars that are out at the coffee shop where I stand in line for 10 minutes to get a cup of coffee then stand in another line and wait again for it to be made. Mean time I am watching all the seats in the coffee shop fill up so that when I do get my coffee I have no place to sit. And yet, and yet, I'm expected to leave them a tip for the privilege of waiting. I've done all the work, I should get the tip. 

Now, don't think I am a cheap skate. I always leave a tip when I go out to eat, when the waiter or waitress is bringing me my food and gives me decent service. I understand this system and how poorly they are paid. But I think that this system has to be updated. 

The comment, you should not go to a fine dinning restaurant without leaving a tip was what made me think. Especially fine dinning. When a restaurant can charge as much a $1000 a head to dine there, why can't they pay their employees a living wage? Why must their customers do this for the owners? What other employer can pay his people below standard wages and expect his customers to make up the difference?

And these guys are in a culinary union! At least I was when I worked in the industry. I had no choice, and they did jack rabbit for us. 

When in Holland years back, visiting my brother we were out at one of the many wonderful pubs drinking that great trappist beer. I wanted to pay the tab and when doing so my brother said to me, don't leave a tip. I was flabbergasted as the service was great.

He leaned over to me and whispered, they get paid good wages and don't depend on tips like they have to back home, (Meaning America) their not archaic here. 

And that, I believe is the bottom line. Too many business have made themselves successful off the backs of their employees. I would turn that suggestion of. if you can't afford to tip then don't eat out, into, if you can't afford to pay your employees a living in wage, then you should not be in business. I don't believe that any restauranteur would want his patrons staying home because they can't afford to tip. That would just not be good business. 

So maybe it is time for the owners to start putting money into the cookie jar and divvy up.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

When They Call You Must Go



The sun was out, and the whole Koolau range was in view. Sun and blue skies equal no people at the museum. As I stood in the main entrance a few people passed into the Kahili room. Maybe a couple viewed the art in the vestibule. 

In the quiet I heard someone singing. Now you have to remember that lots of people have had ghostly experiences in this hall and I was not sure what I heard. But the sound was definitly there. Then it became muffled. I didn't want to tredge up the two flights of stairs to check what was going on. The only people who had ventured to the upper exhibit area was a very pleasent Hawaiian couple. 

But I still heard the singing and it was coming from above. I called over to security and told them to look into their cameras to see if someone was singing in the photo gallery. 

"Yeah, someone is, let me get one of the secuirty over there." 

Now I could hear the singing clearer and it sounded like chanting. The young guard came through the main doors and headed up the stairs. Soon the chanting became louder and I was curious. So I ascended the stairs also. 

The doors to the exhibit hall had been closed and now one was ajar. I knew that they were supposed to be opened. I entered and saw the guard talking to the male of the Hawaiian Couple. The woman was in a corner, arms raised in suplication, moving gracefyly,chanting. I approached the guard who was now in a mildly heated conversation. 

The Hawaiian man was being told that he could not be chanting or singing or doing anything in the museum without permission and that they had to leave. 

In the past there have been demonstrations and even artifacts have disappeared and the guard was worried that this could be some kind of demonstration. The gentleman was stating that the things of the museum were part of his ancestry and he gestured around the room. 

The woman was still chanting as the discussion went on and then the security received a call from the office asking what was status of the situation. He stated that a woman and man were singing and he was trying to get them to leave. 

I on the other hand saw that they were chanting as I had seen many times before in the museum. I did not feel that they were protesters but that they were paying their respects. Although other chanters always requested permission before doing so. 

After a time the woman finished and came over to us and started speaking Hawaiian. I only understood a word here and there but, really, had no idea what she was saying. When all was said and done it was explained that she had come to say a prayer or a pule. At least that is what I think she said. 

They were from the island of Hawaii. The woman said that she had been called by the spirits of her Kupuna or ancestors. They had been appealing to her to please come to the museum as they were being neglected and hid away. She said that she came to reassure them and to honor them and help them to be at peace. Now she is telling me this in half English and half Hawaiian so I am not sure that I got it all correct. I just knew that maybe my boss, Kealoha, would arrive soon as he would know how to interact. 

Really the chanting was beautiful and she was graceful and kind. And I guess when it comes to the Hawaiian culture my heart goes out to that community for all the suffering that has taken place in the past. I knew that once Kealoha arrived  he would make it all well. 

I mentioned that though nothing was wrong with chanting and that what she was doing was fine they just needed to make arrangements and then I explained to her why the room that she was in was so changed. She was upset at seeing all of the artifacts, that were once in the room, were gone and it was now just paintings. She felt that was why she was being called. I told her that the room had been restored to it's original condition like it was when the Museum opened in 1898.

I told her that many things were going to be different once all restoration was finished and that much more of the Hawaiian artifacts were going to be brought out that weren't displayed before. She was very happy to hear that and asked if she could go on to the other exhibit areas. I said it was fine as long as she didn't chant and that Kealoha would be in soon and she could talk to him. 

As I got  back to the main floor many people had arrived and so I announced that I would be doing a tour and people began to gather. As I started to talk, Kealoha and the Hawaiian couple entered into the Kahili room. Soon sounds of chanting could be heard. All the heads turned. I explained what it was and let them listen for awhile which they did with much appreciation. 

As I was into the middle of my tour the coupled left and nodded as they headed out the door. I felt good, I believe the kupuna, also, felt good, and certainly the visitors enjoyed witnessing a bit of the Hawaiian culture. I love it when that happens. 

The ancestors had called, they were heard and she answered. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ANNELIES

Yes you have reached me. I am hoping that you will read this as you did not leave an email for me to get ahold of you at. Leave another comment and put your email in it and I will get it at my email account and then I can contact you. I'm excited to get a hold of you. 

Karen

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why Bother

Sometimes I wonder, why do I bother getting up when it seems the only one that is truly happy your there is the dog? No matter what mood I am in he bows to me and wags his tail and steps lively as he follows me through the house.

Sometimes I wonder why do I bother to try to communicate when the only one to listen to me is an inanimate object. Telling twitter where I am going. It listens. Talking to Pages, it takes in all my thought, helps to sort out the story going on in my head. It corrects me trying to make sure I don't look stupid. Stupid for whom? Or is it who? what does it matter, no one wants to read it anyway. 

Sometimes I wonder if I am going crazy? I'm communicating all the time. I belong to all kinds of communication groups. But who am I communicating with? My ramblings travel all across the globe and return to me in lightning speed, uninterrupted by humans. My voice bounces from one cloud to another, echoing in space and only I answer.

Sometimes I wonder when I am out doing an errand, why do I want to go home? A house full of empty people to paraphrase  the movie.  Am I intruding, should I bother relating what went on while I was gone. Who's interested. Who am I? The baby sitter, an old lady that rambles to much, someone who changes the cat box and worries that Sammy does not get fed because my granddaughter is to busy. I'm the one that worries to much for nothing. Because I've been told, don't worry it's not your problem. And I rush home to this. 

Sometimes I wonder if this is the rest of my life, why bother?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Help, Max is holding my computer hostage!

Doing nothing about the weather


Isn't it funny how the weather is always better on the other side of the fence. I would love to be bundled up and be sipping something warm. I'd be cooking a soup with the smell filling the house. My sweaters would all be airing out and I would take nice brisk walks to warm up and when I came home my face would be all rosy. 

Instead I sit in the house because the sun burns when you walk anywhere and it is so bright you need to walk with your head down and a hat covering half your face. The hat also is uncomfortable as it keeps the heat in and your hair becomes all wet and sticks to your face.

If you want to walk anywhere you must get out of the house by 5:30 am so that the sun doesn't rise before you get back home. Once you are home the house is so hot that you have to open all the windows and put on all the fans. The warmth makes you feel like a slug so you just sit because moving around causes you to perspire so heavily that you want to stay in a cold bath. On and on. Oh and no beach because the gas is at $4.17 a gallon so you don't go anywhere that is not necessary. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

A sugar day


The sky is gray, hanging low and keeping the heat and humidity floating throughout the house. I'm hoping for a storm. Thunder claps that rattle the house and ring in your ears. I'd love to see flashes of lightning that would light up a dark closet and splits the sky. Then after that show is over let it rain, pour, soak the whole island. 

Of course there is Max. That would mean that someone would have to walk him in the rain. Well it aint me babe. They bought the doggy in the window and I'm not going to feel guilty anymore. I don't care how much he loves me and follows me through the house and settles at my feet. 

I wanted the little fox terrier my sister in law wanted to give me. I would not have to worry about walking it for miles to get him to do his business. I could even use a little piddle pad. It would then sit on my lap like a peacocks feather so soft and light.

Instead Max lands on me and sinks me into the chair unable to move, licking me with his sloppy tongue, and breathing his fish breath all over me. 

The little terrier would sleep on my bed hardly taking up an inch. Instead Max jumps up on the bed trying to sleep on it with his head on my pillow and his back smashed up against me daring me to move. He then bounces off like Tigger bouncing from a tree leaving a hair shirt behind. 

Oh, so what's with the sugar day? I'm still in a mood so the sugar? Ah, it's coffee Haagen-Dazs. While the stew cooks I will stew with my ice cream and watch the debates. And when Nico finely finishes his sandwich I will let Max in and it will start all over again. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Blog Therefor I am

I'm thinking. A lot of people interact with perfect strangers on the web because, if the truth be known, who else will listen? I'm not even sure if anyone reads what I write but sometimes I need to speak. 

I'm getting into the years when what I say means absolutely nothing to my family. In fact the less they hear me speak the more they like me. 

A few of my unwanted words; 

I think we should not bail out the big cats. And I don't mean Todd, our fat cat. We will suffer either way so I would rather that those @#$%%^& suffer right along with us instead of hard earned money from "Main Street," as they are calling us now days, be given to them so they can further run us into the ground. 

I want to see the debate between Obama and McCain. Why do I feel like McCain has run off into a cave to put a paper bag to his mouth so that he does not hyperventilate during the parley.

I really enjoy "The New Adventures of Old Christine." I think she brings into her show some very touchy subjects with such wonderful humor. Best of all she does it by making a fool of herself but you have to love her. And her side kick Brenda is wonderful with her dead pan humor. Of course I think that they will not stay married because it will be shown that her brothers ability to marry them will prove to not be legal. This marriage though will give opportunity for so many funny episodes. 

I've not been writing so much because sometimes I just feel to stressed and I don't feel I have a place to sit and concentrate nor do I even have a place where I can look at a book and use the computer at the same time. Of course that is my fault. I'm not Main Street, I'm on he other side of the tracks. With that kind of an economy I'll never have "a room of my own."

Well, thanks for listening, or not. I will now zip my fingers back up and keep my opinions quietly to myself.

Monday, September 8, 2008

So why have a kid at all?

NPR asked this question on todays show. Can a woman be a mother while holding down a high powered job? Well I thought what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If men can be fathers and hold down these powerful positions, Why can't a woman? 

The real question should be; what kind of quality parenting can be given while holding down a high powered position? Lets see. How can you parent and still be powerful? Let me count the ways.

Let's say your child is in school. That will give you some time on your own. Oh, but you leave the house at 6 AM? Well, you can have a live in care giver. She can get them dressed and fed, and she can get them to school. Anyway, having breakfast with your children isn't really quality time as they are grumpy having to get up for school so, you really couldn't have a nice conversation.

So you've had a good 10 hours to be powerful and it's time for the kids to get out of school. Super care giver to the rescue. Of course you don't want your children to be bored after school while waiting for you to come home you can put them into, dance, music, sports are art classes. That should occupy them so they won't notice your aren't around.

After school programs and then home to do school work. And what better help could there be with homework then tutors? After all being powerful has not given you the time to know what they are learning in school so how can you be helpful. Hire the best. After all you can affford it. 

Well it's time for dinner. Hum, maybe you can make it home in time. But the problem may be that you have to entertain clients, finish up on a meeting to save the company, world, or just your job. But you have a lot of extra minutes to give them a call and say you love them, they are the most important thing in your life and to remember to do what the super care giver says to do. 

But lets say you do have time to come home for dinner? You sit down at the table after hasseling with problems all day, people talking into your ear, your cell, your email and your head is buzzing after dealing with the cares of the world. You sit down to the table and the kids start in, I need help with my new toy, game, bike, etc. Can you take me to the store I need this and that for school? 

Why can't I do this or that? How come you didn't go to my class play, PTA meeting, soccer game? You get the picture. 

You finely tell the kids to please be quiet as your head hurts. You look at your partner who also is high powered and he, she is no help. His, her, stomach is killing he, she and they need to do more work or go  back to the office etc. 

Maybe you have nice conversations at the table but it may only be an hours time. Then super care giver takes over with bath, entertainment and bed time. And so it goes day after day. And don't forget the fighting about who doesn't stay home enough to help with the kids and who is always getting stuck on weekends taking care of them. Well that's if your not working on weekends. 

So Let me see, you spend maybe 5 hours a week with the kids. And maybe one day on the weekend if the kids are lucky, so the kids are yours for 21 hours a week. The other 147 hours are taken care of by the Super Care Giver. 

I think that the real question here is; Why have kids at all? Oh I forgot you are both powerful people trying to save the world and by having children you can hire a caregiver and pay them thus your contributing to the economy. Wow, I'll vote for you.

Unless your children are just for show, they need parents. They need attention and the love that can only come from them. That is where the child gains his self worth. If you need to be taking on the world then someone else should be taking on having a family. It definitely should not be someone who is a parent in name only. 

I do believe that either a male or a female can be powerful and even rule a nation. But someone needs to be a parent. And if it can't be the father or mother and then both on weekends then leave the job to someone else. And I don't mean the Super Care Giver.

Friday, September 5, 2008

AS IF I HAD A CHOICE

As I was leaving Starbucks today, I noticed the sign that stated, "Thank You For Choosing Starbucks!" Well aren't they appreciative I thought. Yeah, right! Thanks for choosing? Did I have a choice? Well I guess in a sense I did. I could have chosen to sit in my car and write while I waited for three hours for Nico to finish school or I could have chosen them. Not much of a choice I would say. 

It would have been a bigger choice if more coffee shops were allowed to open within so many miles radius of Starbucks. But they aren't. There were some nice little kiosks that used to sell coffee around here until starbucks stepped in and demanded that these little places had to be closed or they would not open in any of the shopping centers. Of course these malls wanted their rent so the little places were shut down. So much for freedom of choice.

As I walked to my car I then thought about the wonderful little book stores that once existed. The ones that knew you and could say, "Hey, we got in a wonderful book  just recently that made me think of you. I know you'll like it." Remember those days? If you don't then your a young kids who doesn't know what community is. You only know Borders and Barnes and Noble. The big guys who moved in and closed down those little stores. 

Lots of places have been shut down by those big conglomerates. Grocery stores, fabric shops, hobby shops, and five and dimes to name a few. Sometimes it made things better but not much. My daughter is looking for a camera for Rachel as she needs it for one of her classes. She has been looking at one of those big office stores. Not one of the sales people can help her as they haven't a clue as to what an f stop is. And neither does my daughter. 

That is the choice we are left with. No interaction, anonymity, and last but not least  no customer service. And if you don't believe me, try walking a half a mile in one of the Home Depot's to find a sales person. 

In a way the price of gas going up was starting to give me hope. People have been staying closer to home. What would that mean for these big stores that are "conveniently" placed miles from your house? Well, I thought that would eventually mean that little stores would start popping up again like in the past. You would be able to walk to your little strip mall but this time it would not be so stripped. a little book store, drug store, hardware etc. might open for your convince and save you gas. We would once again have choice. And the biggest benefit of all would be we would once again become communities. Hum. Maybe we would get to know our neighbor again. What an old fashioned thought. And if I had a choice, that is what I would choose.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another Day Older

As I woke this morning, Thursday was upon me. Man it was just Monday. The week was moving so fast I felt the swoosh of the steamroller as time flew by me. At first I thought, great the weekend is almost here. Then I thought, It's September, we can start decorating for the holidays soon. Then I thought, oh my god the year is almost gone. And then I realized I'm going to be 64 in no time at all. It was amazing how fast I went from elated to depressed before I could stretch my arms.

Who wants another birthday? It's funny the one I remember the best is when I was turning nine.  Nine to me is like turning 29 to some women. I am always stuck in that year even if I wasn't nine I will pick that age because for some reason I feel every thing happened in that year. 

Well anyway, Mom was giving me a birthday party and I was so excited because, she had made me a birthday cake with little plastic circus animals all around it. I was more excited about having those animals then I was about the birthday presents I would be getting. It might have been all of the different pastel colors that they were painted or just the fact that they were all little animals but I just couldn't wait to get my hands on them. 

All the kids crowded into the house.  We ate cake and ice cream,  played Pin the Tail on the Donkey,  ran all over the house with balloons, and  I opened my presents. Then it was time for everyone to leave. I went into the kitchen to take the plastic animals off of the cake that remained. 

My mother was putting them on the side and little peggy from across the street was standing there watching my mom. I went to pick up the little animals when my mother stopped me. "Those are not for you, Peggy has asked for them."

"But Mom it's my birthday cake." I argued in a tearful voice. 

But Peggy picked them up and off she went. Mom said I was selfish.  I felt cheated. I believe that was the last birthday party I ever had. And maybe that is why I never grew older after that year. Till this day I ask myself, was I selfish? Should I have given away those things with a happy heart? 

I don't know. But if I really think about it I know what I was a victim of. My mothers mania for cleaning. To her those little plastic animals were just more garbage and she was more then happy to "throw" them out by giving them to peggy. And I am sure she thought I would forget all about them by the next day. 

Hum, wrong Mom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

C&C or (s)iting and counting


I took my recyclables to the center to cash them in. It is an  ongoing fight with them. They are typical city workers. They move at a snails pace, slow down even more when they don't like you, such as me, then they keep the scales in their truck so that you can't see how much your stuff weighs and then they pay you what ever. Boy I hate government. You can't say a damn thing to these guys or they will pull some other crap on you that only makes you more mad. It all started when I showed up 10 minutes before there lunch hour. They leaned out of their truck to say that they were going to lunch in ten minutes. In other words they wanted me to come back. Well I told them I would not take longer the 5 minutes if they worked properly. And you know what? it did only five minutes. But they made me lift up the large rubber trash can with my plastic in them up to their truck. Great for me with my messed up hands and back. But I did it because I had no option. 


This recycling program has gone the way of the TSI workers at the airport. If you say anything you aren't going to get to fly. Why is it when ever they put some person with no education and low self esteem into a position of little authority they feel they need to make you go through hell just because they can. 


Last time I was there I brought one bag of bottles and it came out to around $7 dollars. This time I brought two bags and got $8 dollars. I guess I really will have to count them next time I go. Maybe I should show up again 10 minutes before there lunch. Hum, wonder what they will do to me then? I think I'd better find out how close to their lunch I can show up? And I'd better make sure I'm the only one there or they will take their time with the person ahead of me and then shut me out. Man they make me mad!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fractions Don't Count

Today on Public Radio, the SISTER of Cindy McCain was being interviewed. It seems that Cindy has been telling everyone across the nation that she IS an only child and that her father, Cindy kidded wanted a boy so he treated her like one. Or something in that vain and then she laughingly said, oh he was such a cowboy.

Well needless to say, Cindy's sister was upset when she heard this as she was Cindy's fathers first daughter from his first marriage. When he remarried then Cindy came along. (I'm sorry I can't remember her name)

In my book they are related. I think you would call them Half sisters? Or maybe Cindy can't do fractions so she does not count her sister as being related?

Well her father obviously did as he bought his first daughter school supplies and I believe he even helped out with his grandchildren going to college. What ever it was he did recognize her even after the divorce.

So why doesn't Cindy, the pillar of the community, the activist who helps out children in need in other countries to the point of adopting one of them. But maybe she dosn't believe in Charity begins at home.

Her father who became a millionaire due to his beer business, seemed to favor Cindy too.

When he died being worth millions he left his entire estate to Cindy. To his first daughter $10,000.
Cindy's sister did not know that until she found out that her credit cards had been cut off. Hum, I wonder who did that?

What kind of a person would deny to the nation the existence of a sibling and be dumb enough to believe that no one would ever find out?

What I find unbelievable is that no where in the news does it even mention this. Can you imagine if Obama's wife were caught up in such a lie?

Cokie Roberts jumped all over Obama for taking a vacation in such an exotic place as Hawaii (as if it were not even part of the US let alone his home town) boy she would have a field day with Michelle trying to hide a relative.

When Public Radio tried to reach senator McCain for a response they did not return PRI's call. Hum, I wonder what kind of skeletons lie in Cindy's closet beside herself?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93708729

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Docking My Tail

Now I know I've mentioned that little terrier that I was supposed to get but didn't because, well, Max happened. Oh, and I know I said that though I could not have this little dog I would have max and he would be like mine, only I would not have to do any of the work to take care of him. 

Well fast forward 6 months and you are looking at the picture of my tail. My daughter was walking him 5 days a week then she got sick. So I stepped up from 2 days to 4 days and she walks him 3 days until she recovers. 

Truthfully, he is getting so much better at walking he has only pulled my back out once. He nows just whimpers when he sees other dogs and I'm able to contain him in a sit position as fellow travelers go by. 

I've slowly been introducing him to other dogs that seem to be sociable. Two people were very good about it one was not happy when Max bared his teeth to there little pup. I could not see it as I'm not able to bend my knees to get down and look but I was very apologetic. It seems that women are more apt to let me try this then men. I guess men think I'm trying to put the moves on them. 

Yeah, like I can barely move my legs let alone bother with making inane conversation with them. Max doesn't like men. Don't know why, maybe he thinks there to into themselves too but I want him to get over this fear. So I will continue to stop men on the street and ask if they can just stand there a moment while Max learns to sit comely in front of them. Eventually we will meet some men who are in rhyme with their minds and not get all coogleated. 

Since Max sleeps in my room so that I can prevent him from taking running leaps at me in the morning if he has not been with me all night, I've taken to bathing him also. He stinks! If it goes past one week it smell like a litter box in my room (and I know what that's like because of ending up taking care of blind cat) and if I wait for him to be bathed I will end up with Pepe le Pew.

But I've come to love this toe licking, big brown eyed adoring me, on my heels every minute dog.  So I guess I won't dock my tail or I just may be cutting off my nose to spite my heart.  


Thursday, August 14, 2008

So, What Are Grandmas For?

I've been wasting time on my computer all day. I tell you I try to learn something about a program like Twitter or blogging, I end up digging deeper and deeper and before I know it I've wasted the whole day. At 12:30 my grandson says to me, "Grandma when are we going to the library?" He is mindful of the fact that we are not going to go to the library to check out DVD's anymore because I am tired of him not wanting to look at books. After all what is a library for? Now I realize I've been sitting in my chair from 8 AM, well not continuously, I mopped, vacuumed and did several loads of laundry and fed Nico a couple of times, but as much as I could I was on the computer.  So the day will not be a complete loss, as the humidity is starting to make me cranky, I decide I will take photos of the Hawaiian Quilts at the library. I pack up the camera, my purse, Nico and his Bumble Bee transformer. I run across the street to get the library books from Nico's friend to take back with us and then realize I forgot our books. I run back into the house get the books pile everything into the car, make sure Nico is buckled in and were off. 

As we walk into the Library I am happy that I bothered to take my camera and try to decide where I want to photograph the quilts. Meanwhile Nico finds a life size stuffed Dinosaur that is so colorful I decide I must take a photo of them together. With my sore knees I carefully bend down to his hight and set the shot up. Nothing happens. My battery is dead. So here I am with the camera around my neck and out of luck. Well I had to get books for research anyway but I was disappointed. Oh well, At least Nico was happy because in the end he had managed to get 4 DVD's to check out. At least one of accomplished our goals 
  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Me, Myself and I

Working on my story of abuse. Though it will largely be non-fiction I try to recall some of the things that went on in my house. I always felt that I was the lucky one, the loved one, even the chosen one but the more I dig for something to add realism to the story the more in touch I get with my past.

As I was writing to my cousin I started to explain how we had such different concepts of each others life. Explaining a little tidbit that I had put into my story I realized how incensed I should have been as a little girl. 

I described a scene from my story to her how as  a young child the protagonist loved a particular pair of shoes  I wrote how the shoes got too small for her but she continued to wear them.  Her socks would be soaked with blood in the back where the heel would rub against the shoe. 

 Of course this was me when I was young.  I thought at the time how cool I was to be able to take the pain and I loved to pull away the soaked sock that was stuck to the back of my heel.  

Now I think how horrible that was! If my grandson came home with a sock like that I would be so upset and hurt that he had suffered so. I would have known immediately that there was something wrong with his shoes because,even if I had not taken off his shoes and socks, when I did the laundry I would see the blood as  the socks would tell the whole story. 

My mother never once said anything and so I never realized that what was happening to my foot was out of the ordinary. I wore the shoes time and time again, pulling the sock off of my foot countless times. As I continued to write this into my story I felt smaller and smaller. I felt helpless and depressed. That was not a miner thing it was neglect! 

Now I'm starting to understand my anger. Because I am now realizing that a child does not know when they are happy, sad, loved properly or improperly or not living a normal life. It is next to impossible to gain control of your adult life when you don't know up from down. 


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We're doing you a favor

How big do you have to be before you are considered a customer worth keeping? Where has customer relations gone? Is business so good that it does not matter if you keep a small customer? The following was my experience this past month with a company that has great coffee. Please, it's not Starbucks. 

I am lamenting the loss of community I guess. I remember a time when business owners didn't want to loose your business and would make amends to keep it. I'm not talking about giving you free orders but just a little gesture to say they were sorry things got messed up. 

We put in an order on July 20 for 4 pounds of Hazel nut coffee.  When it had not arrived by the 31st  we called to see what had happened. We were told that there had been a delay in the shipping and it was shipped out the 29th and that is should be arriving by the next day. When it did not arrive within the next two days I called again. They did not know what was happening but they felt sure that it should arrive soon and they would talk to someone to see if anything could be done because of the delay. I don't know how many calls I made in all to them as sometimes I would call and because of the time difference the computers would be down or there was no supervisor that could be contacted etc. So when the coffee had not arrived by yesterday the 5th, I decided to call this morning as now I am thinking maybe it was not shipped at all. Meanwhile I can't put a tracer on it as there is no tracking number and I'm thinking in the 8 years we have been ordering through them we've never once had a problem. 

So when I call this morning I talk to David, whom I always seem to talk to, a wonderful guy and  very personable. He said he was going to talk to the shipping department and call me right back. This is at 5:30 in the morning my time as I now need to make sure to call there when there is someone in the office. I've had to do this a couple of times. But it's great coffee and I like the people so I'm willing to work this out. 

The supervisor calls me back a half hour later and the first thing she says is, you will have to contact your post office and put a tracer on it because it was shipped out on the 25th. She tells me this in a Very matter of fact manner, like she is talking to one of her employees who has made a mistake. I told her I was told at least 3 times that it had been shipped out on the 29th. 

No she said that was a glitch in our system so you will have to trace it yourself. We never ship parcel post the day we receive the order as we wait for at least 3 packages to accumulate before we call the post office. 

 I said, why was I not told that in the first place? Why have I been waiting all this time? I've never had this problem it has always taken 3 days.  Couldn't someone have told me that in the first place? 

She said, You'll have to deal with it yourself. If you want we will ship you another order. I can't tell you when it will ship out because we have to once again wait for the packages to accumulate so maybe another 3 days before it will be shipped. All this time she is saying it in that voice of a supervisor who lords it over on her employees and she could care less if they stay or quit. I have dealt with people like that all of my working career and I've come to the conclusion that you must have that kind of a personality as a prerequisite to become a manager. She could care less about the customer she was giving me her spiel and to the point. 

I thought maybe because they had not given me accurate information in the first place and now I was having to be treated like a kid who had spilled his milk that maybe they would have taken it to the post office just as a goodwill gesture. But I knew it was no good to have said that to her because obviously my order of 4 pounds was a drop in the bucket and I now realize that bottom line my business will not be missed. 

Once again she asks me if I want it shipped and I told her well it's either that or have to drink coffee that has been sitting around who knows where getting stale and who knows when that will arrive, but this will be my last order. 

She said that's fine,as though this is one less idiot she has to deal with and it was a relief to loose my business. No "I'm sorry that this has happened and it's come to this" or any kind of gesture at all. Then she added just let me know when your first order arrives as it always happens after the fact. I was shaking by then and just hung up. As if I want to talk to her again. 

Now I must say in all fairness, I have just cut off my nose to spite my face. I will never have that wonderful coffee again and the Earl Gray is the best and I've not been able to buy anything to compare it too here in Hawaii. I will miss that store. But like my mother used to always tell me, where you are wanted little go none at all. 

So that is how I started my day this morning and it has been really depressing me. No one wins when you have these disputes least of all the customer.

Karen 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Birds in the Trees

As always, double click on the photos to get a closer look. Especially the one with the egret.
Hum, fat cat has that hungry look in his eyes. It must be at least 10 minutes since he last ate.  "Oh there's blind cat, he mews, maybe I can eat his food before he sniffs me out."

"Drat he has that guard boy, who thinks he's Bat Man, with him. He'll never let me eat the food.
Oh wait who's that outside my window? A babe in the woods."


"Ah, a baby mynah, how simple." But then fat cat remembers how he saw that group of Mynah's circling  one of their own, each in turn attacking the offending bird. "Hum, I think his mother is sitting up there in the tree watching him. Nope, wont go there. They'll pull all the whiskers off of my face."

"Ah who's the guy with the skinny legs hiding between the leaves? It's an egret." Hey there's no cows here, he must be lost. Now, if I could just walk a little lighter, uh, oh, there he goes."
"Hey, how did Bat Man get over here, a peacock would taste good right about now. Darned kid, go away boy you bother me. Oh well, who wants a mouth full of feathers?" 
"Oh, Geese! And Christmas right around the corner. I bet those kids would love to get those honkers out of the yard. Wait, what's that over there watching me?"
"What a pig! Ok, Ok, I'm leaving, who wants to eat a greasy goose anyway?"

 And so fat cat decides he will just sit at the top of the stairs and wait for Max.

 As poor Max tries to head up to his grandma's room, Fat Cat refuses to let him by. 

"You big furry hair ball. you may be able to take running leaps and knock grandma down but you won't get past me. Not even Bat Man gets past me." Fat cat is full of himself. Mostly because he can't get full on birds.

Fat Cat folds his legs under his fat body and closes his eyes. Poor Max. He sits and waits, and waits and waits, at the bottom of the stairs. "Grandma, grandma, can you hear me?" Max whines, "Fat Cat won't let me by."

Fat cat purrs to himself, ah, nothing gets by me.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

No Fun in the Sun


Double click photos for closer look

I promised Nico that I would take him to the beach. So we left Kunia and headed for Haleiwa on the North shore. The traffic was bad and I could not pull over to take photos so I just stuck my camera in the window as I drove along and snapped. This is us heading into Haleiwa town. 


Nico kept watch on the weather out his side of the window on the right of the car. “Grandma it’s not raining on my side, it’s only raining on yours” he said with hopes that it would be clear when we arrived at the beach.



We passed the Golden arches of McDonald’s which was arch-less due to the towns prohibiting them from putting it up so that the fast food joint would not look out of style with the town. That was the only way they would allow the restaurant to open. 



We passed the Market place where my favorite clothing store is, Silver Moon and Cholos a good place to have Mexican food. And the sun was still on Nico’s side of the car but just barely. 




Then we arrived at the beach. The sun was shining above so Nico and I made it down to the Sand. I did not take my camera down there so use your imagination. I did not want to take the chance that I would get sand in it. 


Now Nico was only to walk and collect shells on the beach so I did not bring him a change of cloths and towel. But he begged to just put his feet in the water. My reason for not wanting to take him into the water was, 10 years ago with my son;s boy, Alex we went to the beach when he was just a year old. The water was calm while we let the waves role up and lap around our feet. A rouge wave came up and I had no option but to life Alex up and while in my arms turn my back on the wave so as to not let it hit him in the face. It lifted us both up as I held on to him and just dropped us flat on my rear end. I’ve had a messed up back since then. 


I am so afraid of it happening to me with Nico I just won’t take him in. I have to go to a beach where there is no wave action. But this beach does have waves. Well anyway. Nico decide to just jump in the air while we are wading and lands flat into the water and is now all wet. 


So I had to let him play in the san in hopes that the sun would dry him off so we could go home. As luck would have it the cloud from my side of the car caught up with us and it rained. 


Trudging up the beach with a very unhappy Nico, we headed for the car.




I took one last photo of the boat harbor before the clouds burst and off we went




As you can see my cloud connected with Nico’s cloud and this was the result.  


I thought I would go down a road I had never gone down and It was quite nice in a country sort of way.


This was the view from the road.



And this was one of the houses on the raod. The only thing that would make Nico happy was to know that he was going to get a treat. I took him to Zippy' in Wahiawa, bought him a cream puff and lunch. Of course Lunch was to be eaten first . This was implemented after much arguing.  





And here is Nico in the restaurant happily waiting for his macaroni and Cheese while he colored. Thank goodness it rained on both sides of the car on the way home or I would have had him arguing to get back to the beach again. 




Don't go near the water



I decided to take a swim in the ocean even after the Nuclear spill. I was pretty wiped as you can see by the photo. 
Check out the site below if you want to read about the Montauk Monster.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2008/07/east_hampton_officials_deny_mo.html

Friday, July 11, 2008

Who Can Say What I Am Worth?




Do you value your life? To the tune of what amount? If someone were to ask you how much would you sell your child for, would you put a value on your offspring?   


Well it seems that one of those many government agencies has re-evaluated just what an American life is worth. It is down one million. The worth is now $6.9 million in todays standards. So what does that mean for us little folk?


Say your living next to a government  chemical plant and it's giving off toxins into the air that you breath. You are told  that there is a way to put a filter on the plant so that it would be safe for the environment. How would you react? Of course you would want that filter put on because you and your family breath in that air. 


But now this agency has  stepped in and said that the amount of money it would cost to put that filter in would cost more then the value of the lives it affects according to their statistics.  So the filter is not put in. Suck wind you sucker, no don't breath in that air, well, ha, what do you do? 


Hum, reminds me of the old war move, "They were Expendable." 


I believe that there is to much, one hand washes the other, going on in the government and we are just powerless to do anything about it. If you don't believe me, try taking a trip via the airlines. Be pulled out of line and put into one of those booths that can x-ray and expose your body shape to be viewed by an unseen stranger. Hey, I don't even like to undress when I'm at the doctors let alone some idiot TSA agent on a power trip. 


Just look at what happened to that poor woman who was tackled by two huge agents and thrown into a chair then handcuffed because she got to close to the TSA agent as he riffled through her carry on. I don't  care if she told him not to wrinkle her clothes. I've seen how they push their weight around. And to top it off? They don't even x-ray what goes into the belly of the plain. Can you say "suicide bomber?"


Bottom line. We have no say and we are loosing more and more of our rights. And now, it seems, we are Worthless. 



 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,380447,00.html  Value of an American life. 


To see video of woman being arrested at airport with excessive force: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e3d_1215742342


Don't Bug Me




I've added something to the park equation. Max!

As I was locking doors and windows, packing Nico's bag, Max's body started slumping closer to the floor. 

"Poor Max, you know were leaving, I'll be going to drop off Nico at pre-school and go and sit in the park while you have to stay at home."

Sit in the park? Why how unthoughtful of me.  Why can't Max sit there too?
 
Now because Max is with me I've thought it best to sit at that table  where the tree is shading it. ( you can see a photo of the table under my Life and an Empty Tank entry.) He would enjoy it much more then sitting in the car like I had been doing before. That brings me out of the car, into the sunshine and best of all I can hear the birds singing. 

I had been worried that doing my needlepoint under the tree might be asking for a bird to put a down payment on it. It never happened.  But, I never thought about the spiders, ants, and inch worms that would appear and crawl lightly over my back. I'm now living the phrase "go away, you bug me."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wasted Time




Big smile, no smile. Two brothers. Different fathers. One picture can say an awful lot as it is said. Thats my father seated on the chair with the very unhappy face. 

His father  was a coal miner in Huerfano, Colorado in the 1900's. 

Conditions in the mines at those times were such, that Miners provided there own blasting powder, shored up their own walls, and laid their own tracks. Often they were cheated in pay when weighing the amount of coal that they had mined. Who wouldn't strike in those conditions.


 Now, who would be so desperate to become a scab in that kind of mine? What were the living conditions of those men who took the risk to earn money to take care of their families? That I've yet to find out, but I do know that my grandfather, the father of the boy seated, took this risk and was killed with a pick for doing so. 


Time passes and my grandmother remarries. What kind of man? That is what I would like to know. Still living in Walsenburg, with mines full of coal, around the age of 2 my dad gains a stepfather. 


Was my father thinking about his Christmas gift in this photo? He was given a red Wagon one Christmas morning. His only gift. Wouldn't that bring a smile to any child's face? I don't know how old he was when he received it, I was only told that he was not allowed to play with the wagon. It was only to be used to haul coal from the mines to his house. 


Was my uncle the favored child? Can't ask. He was killed in his teens when he was hit by a truck.  Was my father abused in other ways? Look at his face. Does it reflect sadness, anger? What things did he experience in his young little life to turn him into a depraved person?


The man he became that I experienced was split. I would play for hours with the slinky he had brought me when he worked out of town. When he came home from work I would rush to his lunch pail  to retrieve the cupcake he would always save for me.    He could tell jokes by the hour. His friends were always around.  His pals called all of the time or stopped  by  to play cards. People thought he was great.


 But I wouldn't let him touch me.


What would he have become had his father lived? A man that was willing to risk his life to take care of his family. What could he have learned from a father who cared so much? 


What would my life have been like? Would I remember my sister beside me on Christmas morning opening gifts? I have not one memory of her on Christmas. Instead I remember a tree  laying on the floor and a mother bent over it, crying, trying to pick up the broken bulbs and decorations. Hum, I thought they must have had a wild party.


Would my brother have gone on to college or become something in the sports world? Instead of punching my dad and my brother ending  up on the floor, would he have gone on to become a great father himself? 



The world of "what ifs" is a waste of time. Because in reality there is no going back. Abuse robs you of time. Time is what you need to sort out your head, your emotions and your life. And because you spend so much time doing that, time passes you by and before you know it, you've wasted it all on what never was. 


You can go to the following website if you would like to read more about the Walsenburg coal strike.


http://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/581/dpwfp/Historical-Foreward-and-Bibliography/




Thursday, July 3, 2008

Life and the empty tank.





What am I doing with this gas problem?  You know, I'm not doing a whole lot of traveling and for sure I've been combining errands so as not to waste time or gas. 

 I almost feel patriotic. I keep looking at the empty space in my garden and almost feel guilty as though I should be growing a victory garden vegetable patch. 

Giving my situation a lot of thought as to how I could contribute and help my daughter out, I decided to not come home after drooping my grandson off at school.  He goes to preschool three days a week for 3 hours a day. It is 22 miles round trip. 

Before this gas problem I would drop him off and then go home or do some errands. But with the car getting 19 miles to the gallon I felt as though I was throwing away one gallon of gas by going home.

So I decided I would have to stay around his school area and wait. What could I do in a little town that had not much more then  a small shopping center, Starbucks, and library?

 Hum,I'm trying to give up coffee, I'm also trying not to spend money. That left only the library. Yes I love to read but there was some ex-friend that frequents it and I did not want to run into her. 

Ah ha! I needed time to work on my needle work. Enter "Good Night Moon." Above is the project I chose to work on while I waited. 





Here is where I chose to wait. It is the local park in Mililani Town. I love it. Well, I must admit I don't get out of the car, I put on my earphone and listen to my pod-cast and work away all scrunched up in the seat.  I have really accomplished a lot in that time. I am listening to all of the latest news, book reviews and all about travel. 



I thought about sitting here under this tree as it is just so inviting and there is never anyone in the park but I didn't want to take the chance that some birds would make a down payment on my work. Like me sitting in my car looking out the window, other people pull up to the park and stay in there cars also. Or people walk, run, take there dogs into the parking lot too. Aren't we crazy. All this beauty but we just stay on the asphalt. 

Our we subconsciously mourning the inability to just jump in the auto and go where we want? Is our sitting in the car while at the park some form of rebellion? I don't know but I will say this, I would never have taken time for me, if I had not taken the initiative to save gas. This is one time I don't feel guilty for doing nothing. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Gas, No fun?






So how far can I go and stay within a gallon of gas? Well I decided to go to the taro patch that is about 4 miles down the road from my house.   Taro is a very important food here in Hawaii. if you have been to the islands or know anyone who has the first thing they usualy say, "it taste like paste."  I'm talking about Poi, the by-product of taro. 


Waipahu Taro Patch




I would say it taste more like non sweetened sweet potatoes. And for sure it is an acquired taste. Anyway, I'm four miles down the road talking to Mr. Wong the man who takes care of the patch.I asked him is he knew about the last owner.

Several years back I had met the past owner  in this very same spot. 
 He was lamenting that one of his workers thought he would import snails to grow and sell here in the islands. Only he did not tell this man that he was going to grow  them in his lo'i (Taro Patch.) As you can see in the photo on the right the Taro grows in water and this is where the worker dumped the snails.   They ate all of the owners taro. This is tragic .  In order to make a lo'i you must burn off vegetation, remove roots and clear boulders. The water has to be run into the soil several times and treading or stamping needed to pack the soil. 

The snails were dug into the ground beneath the water so I am not sure how he got rid of them but he was telling me that he thought he would have to drain all of the patches and let them dry out. And that is what must have been done. Now the taro is thriving. but under a different owner.



It may look like the taro is growing in the ground but those are ponds between the dry land. The root or Corm is what is pounded to make the poi. It grows beneath the water line. The leaves above are highly prized also. These leaves are used to wrap pork, fish or beef to make a meal called Laulau. This is baked in the ground along with the pig when preparing for a luau or it can be steamed on the stove. The leaves taste exactly like chicken. No just kidding, they taste exactly like spinach. They are my favorite part of the meal. 

I had a great morning talking to Mr. Wong and his wife, Mrs. Wong pictured here working the lo'i. I was happy to see the taro growing once again, enjoyed taking the photos and entertained myself under one gallon.  How can I complain after all, I live in Hawaii. The whole island is a vacation.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sticks and Stones

The following remarks were said by Rod Tam a City Council member.

 "They got to be skilled license workers. We don't want any um wetbacks basically. Okay we've been receiving developers or contractors been getting in wetbacks from New Mexico, Mexico I'm sorry Mexico," he said during the meeting. 


My son is incredulous that I took offense at Councilman Tam’s remarks. Like some others, he thought of it as another definition for illegal alien. 


Being called a “wetback” meant that I could not play with the little red headed girl whose parents didn’t want me around, nor could I join the “Blue Birds,” an offshoot of the Campfire Girls. It never stopped hurting and those words followed me all through my school years


I may not have known where the term, “wetback” came from or what it meant but I knew it was a hurtful comment just as I knew that Chink was not Chinese and that the N word was the most hurtful of all. It was all in the way it was said. 


That brings me to my question. How did councilman Tam here it being used? There is no way he could have heard it said and not get the meaning. He like, my son, should consider himself blessed to have been raised in such ignorance. 


Friday, June 13, 2008

I Hope I Don't Get Fleas



As I sit here and pet Max, this little abandoned guy, rescued from the pounds, I wonder. If I were to go and sit at the humane society in one of the cages would someone come and rescue me? 


If something were to happen to me would my sister be waiting to take me in her arms or would she say, I thought I was finished taking care of you. Of course my brother would step between us and tell us “come on babies, I’ll take care of both of you.” Sounds good to me. 


I’m trying to find the right combination on my walks that will make life a little lighter, not that it isn’t at times, but I want to see the sunny side.  IPod, no IPod, walk fast, walk slow, disregard the TV that has been thrown into the open field, the computer sitting in the park?


But it’s only 7:15 AM.  I’ve finished my walk, watered the yard and deadheaded the roses and scrubbed the birdbath. It’s time for breakfast. Another day is starting; I hope that I can start with it. 


But if I’m going to get picked out at the Humane Society Kennels I’d better comb my hair and put one of Max’s good collars! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On the wild side


I decided to wear my earphones on my walk this morning. I thought I would just let my mind travel, keep away from politicks, developments on the home front, problems of the world. 


I should have turned on my Pod Cast but when I turned on my IPod there was my favorite music. So, I don’t learn anything on this walk, I would try to see if I could walk the distance without getting bored. But then bored is good, it isn’t controversial. 


As I sang to myself, and looked for the mango tree to see how it was coming along, life was good. Half way through my walk the words to “You Picked Me” by A Fine Frenzy became clearer. I was admiring the phrase  “like an apple in a tree hiding out beneath the leaves, I was difficult to see, but you picked me.” 


I just loved how she conveyed that thought so thoroughly. But my mind wouldn’t let it go, long past the finish of the song.  “Hidden beneath the leaves” it started to make it’s rounds through my crazy imagination as I started walking slower finding it hard to even lift my head in greetings to others walking by. My mind slid back to my childhood.


I was around 6 years old and my parents were in a quandary. Mom had come back from talking to the neighbor, telling dad that the neighbor had no idea where Gloria could be. In fact the neighbors daughter had run away too! “ I bet Gloria is with those Indians again!


My little mind conjured up my sister up in the hills somewhere with a tribe of wild Indians being held hostage. Where were those Indians?  I had never seen her with anyone but her friends and they didn’t seem wild to me.


Gone again, hiding, boy my sister was a handful. I couldn’t imagine in my naive mind why she would not want to stay home. “Oh well” I would say and run out the door to play as my mother and father took off in the car. 


I was left alone at night to sleep in the big bed where she and I slumbered  in the room that smelled of rotting wood. I missed the security of her being next to me for some reason.  I would stare at our little wooden dresser painted with layers of gray paint, the closet that we shared and the empty rocking chair. 


My sister would turn up sooner or later, weather she was dragged home by my parents or she came home voluntarily, kicked off the reservation as it were.  


It was in the Mission District of San Francisco.  High above the dark patch of grass and trees that were so infamous at night, I stared out of a window straining my eyes to see if anyone was being attacked in the park below. I was with my sister and she was visiting the “Indians.” I don’t know why I knew they were whom my mother was referring to, but I did. 


As I stood there with the curtains pulled aside looking into the dark, my heart pounded, it felt like I was falling into a dark well and that I would never see home again. For what ever reason I was frightened but I just waited in hopes that my sister would take me home. 


The “Indians’ lived in a housing not in a tent. They were nice enough to me but they were not the type of associations that my mother would have approved of. The apartment was small and poorly furnished. Dolores Park spread out below, with the reputation of rapes and attacks. The housing was run down and crowded. This was where my sister hid from my parents this is what she preferred to our home.


Throughout my childhood my sister would always be telling me don’t tell Mom, this or that and I think this is one of the places I was not supposed to tell mom about. I was a brat but somehow these secrets that she entrusted to me, I knew needed to be kept. 


There are so many things in my childhood that I can’t remember or for some reason won’t. I wonder how much Gloria protected me?  Was I like that apple hidden in the tree? Was it she who kept him from picking me?




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Do you want to know about Hawaii from a locals point of view? Where do we like to go? What things do we like to see. This blog is about seeing Hawaii without being trapped. This is a journal about Good eats, Hawaiian events, and looking at the islands through the eyes of someone who has lived here for more then forty years.

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