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?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Book Of Love

It was now or never. The weed was three feet high and counting. Every morning I would look at it and say tomorrow, tomorrow. Well tomorrow had finely come. So I pulled out the shovels, rakes, bucket and broom. I soaked the rock filled ground put on my IPod loaded with all of my favorite songs and went to work. 

As I filled the bucket with rocks I started to think, perhaps it was how much work one weed could cause or the struggle it gave me to hang in there but I thought of how much I disliked romantic movies. Yes, I know my mind works in wondrous ways.

 I realized that every song I was listening to as I shoveled mud, raked the rocks and dug away, was a love song. Well I don’t know if you would call Billy Jean a love song but it sure fit in with what a mess you can make when your cheating on your girlfriend.  “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “I Want to Know What Love Is” etc. etc. etc., seemed to fit that category. 

Hum, I’m a paradox. No, I’m a closet romantic. No, it struck me, I’m a procrastinator. It took me a whole hour to pull out that weed and next time I see that weed begin to sprout, "I’m Going to Wash that Weed Right Out of My Hair. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why does my head hurt

I stopped using my IPod and started walking with naked ears. Different levels of chirps, peeps and whistles  sounded  through the trees as birds took flight in search of their morning breakfast.  “Wow, where did those bird calls come from?” Then I realized that I didn’t have the plugs in my ears. The birds had been there every morning. I even noticed the deep orange that rimed the back of the clouds as the sun began to rise.  I glanced side to side and up to the clouds as my interest was drawn out and not to what was being said in my ears. 

Max and I forged our way passing the mango trees, bird of paradise, bananas and plumerias in front and behind fences.  Then I noticed a flag perched in front of a house. It was red stripes with blue stars and had a big yellow ribbon over all. 

Ah someone must have a loved one in Iraq I thought.  That’s a nice way of displaying it, thinking back to the movie of the “Five Sullivan’s” and the five stars the parents hung in their window to show their losses. Though this did not mean the same, it did represent someone fighting in a war Zone. 

I’d been through the Viet Nam era, and would pass through Ft. DuRussy in Waikiki. Young wives would be in line with their husbands holding them and some would be crying. The soldiers were leaving the islands having just finished their R&R, retuning to Vietnam. It never ceased to make me cry each time I would see this. That bloody war, I hated it. Not only were they heading back to a place many of them would never return from, they had barely any support from their fellow countrymen as they carried out their duty. 

The flag flying freely in front of that house would never have happened in the 60’s.  I think that Bush has put a different spin on supporting the troops. We are encouraged to stand behind them, send them messages and thank them at all times. And I do. I do feel a debt of gratitude in that they are following orders and putting themselves in harms way. 

But I don’t support the war!

And that is what I thought about as I passed that home. How would someone know the difference if I put a flag out in front of my house? Wouldn’t they automatically think I support what is going on in Iraq?  And to that end, how many people were counted as supporters because they wrote, e-mailed or in some other way tried to display a kindness because these soldiers were doing what they had to do.

Then to hear speeches about how so many Americans were behind the troops and the war, made me wonder, how true was that? I believe that we learned from Viet Nam. Today we want our service people to know that we appreciate them but the vast majority of people I talk to do not support the war even though they support the troops. 

Ah, but I am just a gal on the street albeit if you walk long enough my street will connect to Waikiki. I think that I am taking my walks to seriously. The drawer in my head is coming open with stress.  My brain is leaking out. I think I will put my IPod back on. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Last game of the season

Leis of orchids, plumerias, and pikaki would just be a few of the flowers you would have hung around your neck at your graduation. Not to mention leis made of money, candy and all sorts of yarns.  By the end of the evening my grandson had leis so high you could not see his face. 

The family gathered in the high-school stadium for the last time.  Every season we came together to watch Lono play Football. His grandfather yelling out plays from the bleachers. LONO!  he would yell loudly all evening long. So when we sat in the stand where the band once played it was a very sad and very happy occasion. 

As Lono's name was called his grandfather stood up one last time and shouted, LONO!  and for the first time in the four years that we sat through his games Lono was actually smiling from ear to ear. Now it's off to college. Job well done Lono!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A mile in her Shoes

An article written in "The Writer" by Kay Honeyman (June 2008 pg.-26) caught my attention. In "Catching a Scent of a Story" she talks about remembering the scent of her father when he came in from the yard. She went on to give a wonderful description of the memories that were evoked when she catches certain smells now and then.

I thought, hum, what did my father smell like? Every night when he came home from his sheet-metal job I can still remember the smell of tin and sandwiches that came from his lunch pail when I washed it. The smell of the coffee mixed with cream and sugar that poured out of his thermos had not entered my mind in years until I had read what she had wrote.

But what did my dad smell like? I can't say. Unlike many of my friends who were always hugging their dads, I never wanted to get that close to mine.

When ever I twist off the top of my cold cream bottle I feel as though I'm releasing a genie. Her face is slathered with Ponds. As I kiss her goodnight I can smell the soft scent, her smooth cheek soft to the touch. My mother never went to bed without cleansing her face with her magic potion.

Damp wood, like that of a rotting log evokes cold, rainy and foggy memories of shingles on a pitched roof. Weather so dreary that gray was a constant in my life not just in the sky but in my family.

The memory of that house goes hand in hand with that of my sister. Half running to keep up with her, my five year old body had the energy but not the stride of her 14 year old legs.

With her it wasn't a scent but a sound that I forever associate with her. Her crepe souled shoes softly struck the pavement as we headed to her friends. Her comments were short and clipped as she raced to get ahead of me, always the burden she had to contend with.

Blissfully ignorant, I widened my stride to match hers. I was going to see all of her friends and I was happy. I especially enjoyed playing hide and go seek with them. I must have been very good at it because somehow they never seemed to find me.

The sound of the souls of her shoes, the shoes I was to stuff socks into and secretly wear to school, frequently comes back to me. Though I may have walked many times in her shoes I would never truly know what it was like to walk a mile in them as she had.

I would have to say, if there was such a smell, my sisters scent would have been the salt of tears and the heat of anger.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Time is a gift

The sins of the father certainly seem to be condemning our children. I do agree that if you were to pole the prisons there would be many an abused child serving time.

Why are so many children today committing such atrocities? Is it always abuse? Sometimes I think that there are too many experts. Why does a child have to be told that he is unique, that he is beautiful, or that he or she (I'm not just picking on males)can be what ever he wants to be.

These are words and nothing more. You can tell children these things till there blue in the face but it won't mean one thing if you as a parent don't give them your time.

Attention shows a child that he means something to you. Working with the child on a project proves that they can accomplish anything. Give them attention and they won't have to act out in public to get it.

Unfortunately, there are very few families today that have time to give to their children. They barely have time to turn around let alone cook a home made meal for their them. So they resort to words of praise rather then giving them their time.

I grew up in the 50's. Just about everyone of my friends had a stay at home mother. Every neighbor knew every child in the neighborhood and believe me all eyes were on you. You got too much attention at times.

And there were times when a child did get a hold of a gun and accidentally shoot another child. It was not blasted across the papers, no one rose up in arms.

Was it because of communication? Was the crime rate lower? I don't know. I do know that as a 5th grader I walked to school with a German sward for show and tell and no one got upset. I just thought it was cool. Now this poor kid shows up with a bullet. Who knows, he may just have thought it was cool. And as was stated that incident could have been a good opportunity to discuss what could have happend with that bullet. Unfortunately, he lives in this day and age where children are killing children.

So what made kids change? By the 60's there was a beheading at one of the high schools in my town. I bet I would not have been able to walk that same area with the sword after that?

But it was by the late 60's when more and more women had to head into the work force. Kids were no longer listening to their parents and they were living by the philosophy that they should be able to do what ever they wanted. After that it was the me, myself and I generation. And now it is the "because I'm worth it" generation.

When it becomes every man for himself, I believe the world becomes a lonely place. And hell, if you don't care about the person next to you anyone can become expendable. Maybe it isn't the guns that are the problem it is society.

And as I have observed recently it is not just the big guys that are taking advantage of the little guys it is the little guys too who do it to each other. We certainly are a sad, sad, generation.

Take This Job...

Are you a team player? Do you know what a team player is? I was taught if you played the game well, according to the rules, encouraged your teammates and above all played your best, you were a team player.

My friend Kay called to tell me about her new job. It is one that requires her, among other things, to be a team player.

She is a very congenial person, and gives 100% in all she does. She tries to please regardless of what is required of her.

Catching on quickly, and even making suggestions that the company implemented, Kay has done well in her new position. But is she a team player?

Kay was hired for a specific position but was subsequently moved into a “temporary position.” One that she soon discovered no one else wanted.

Twice she was asked to pull a14 hour shift. She did not mind as she welcomed this overtime. But, she was told that she needn’t return to work for the rest of the week. She realized that she would not qualify for overtime, as she would not be working over 40 hours. She felt taken advantage of.

Because she was doing so well they have added more responsibilities to her job description. After completing one of her long shifts, Kay was pulled into the office for not discovering a mistake by a co-worker. She was told that a team player is responsible not only for her work but for that of the other team players as well. Ultimately the buck stopped with her.

It is only fair to say that management expresses concern for the team’s morale by periodically handing out a movie ticket to a few team players. This one movie ticket is considered a reward for having played the game so well.

Kay is now looking for a new job. My advise to her, if she sees an add for a company looking for a team player, she had best make sure it isn’t the 20 mule team looking for a new ass.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And the winner is...

On the door of my granddaughter’s second grade class there were two photos. “Students of the Week” the caption proudly announced.

When in Kindergarten my granddaughter would come home and tell us that she was the student of the week. We’d check her class for her photo only to find that she had made this up.

Her picture never went up. She was a talker and would get carried away in class. She was also a talker at home. It was a hard road trying to get her to talk at the proper time without stifling her desire to communicate.

Feeling bad that my granddaughter was so affected by this school practice I began to think about the kids I knew who would never have made that mark.

There was Elise, who’s mother had died and her father sent her to school in blouses so sheer that everyone could see through. He didn’t mean anything by dressing her this way he just had no idea of how to dress a child. Kids teased her so badly she was always angry.

Then there was Ed whose father was a drunk and beat him. Ed had a chip so big on his shoulder he walked with a limp. There was Cindy who’s father molested her. She was always tired from staying awake at night watching the door to her bedroom never knowing if the lock worked or not.

Of course as I have stated in the past I was the bully of the school and was fortunate enough to have been shown kindness by Mr. Silverman the vice principal. That kindness made me feel so special it wiped away all of the mean things that were ever said to me.

If not for Mr. Silverman’s kindness, the tickets might have gone to a “child of the Month.” Thankfully we did not have such a program; I don’t know how it would have affected me.

Maybe we can’t be giving circus tickets or even the Purple Heart for bravery under fire for those who are beaten, abused and neglected. Children who come from happy homes with parental support in what ever they endeavor, are already getting a reward. Making them child of the month becomes redundant.

Teachers may never know what adversities some of their students face. Praise them all not just a few. Don’t make them fight another battle that they can’t win. It may be that one act of kindness that brightens up the rest of someone’s life.

Count Me In

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather
It feels good to be free

Fourth of July in Waikiki

Fourth of July in Waikiki
Early morning view just kicking back

About 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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