“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

6 weeks in, 9 pounds out

I had my 6 week check in with my health coach.

The first session I didn't like my health coach. He made to much eye contact. He would just stare at me, not breaking eye contact, and the worst part, not blinking. Oh it drove me crazy. I thought "how could I continue seeing this guy". Then he would say things to me like "Food is neither good nor bad. It's the choices we make that are good or bad." It was a bad thing for me to kill a brick of Les Trois Petits Cochons Black Peppercorn Mousse Pate. The pate wasn't bad. I have to tell you, he was right. That pate wasn't bad. It was so frickin' good. It was the choice I made that was bad.

My goal that session was to write down everything I ate until my next session. I wasn't to ease up on what I ate or drank. My only mission was to write it down. Funny thing, though. In writing it down, I found myself eating less. Writing it down made me more accountable. I didn't want that brick of pate to go on record so I didn't eat it.

At my second session I was a lot happier. There was a lot less eye contact and I thought I could work with this guy. We analyzed what I ate, how much I ate, when I ate. There wasn't a weigh-in at the second session so on the way out I took a little detour to the scale and weighed myself. I was happy to see that I had lost 4.2 pounds.
My goal after this session was to pick one thing to focus on until our next session. My choices were:
1- add 45 minutes of activity that sped up my heart rate on the days I wasn't running
2- eat *this much* vegetables a day (hold out your hands like you are describing someone with big boobs "out to here". The negative space in your hands is the amount of vegetables one should have every day)
3- limit wine to 1 or 2 glasses a night.
I chose option #3. I have to say that I cheated. The company Christmas party, Christmas and a few other "just because" days did me in. Plus working for a wine company doesn't help. Wine is ubiquitous in this office. New release? Let's try it! Guided tasting of Pinot Noir from 8 different regions? Yes, please! Friday at 3pm? Why not? I compensated by working on choice #2 more.

At my third and latest session, I thought I was done for. I caught a bad cold and was stuck in bed for 3 days. For the few days before my cold got so bad it knocked me out to the few days after the worst was over I hardly ate or drank anything. I also didn't exercise. When the cold was gone, I hardly followed any of the goals I set. I thought about them, and I guess half heartedly followed them. Whatever I did do worked, however lazy it was because at the weigh in, I found myself 9 pounds lighter. I was so surprised. Yay me!

My goal for the next month is to make sure I eat *this much* vegetables every day, and not just in one meal. I have to spread it evenly across lunch and dinner. I told him that I tried eating *this much* at lunch for a week and by the time I got home I was so super starving that I ate too much dinner. He said to fix that it's OK to throw on a few croutons to my salad and to have some protein with lunch as well. Also, have a little snackie of some nuts in the afternoon.

Losing 9 pounds, although I can't see it, and my clothes don't feel any different, was a boost of confidence. I'm certain I can incorporate this new goal in to my small but growing list of changing behaviors. I have no doubts that some days may be harder than others, but in the long run, I'll succeed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Andrea's Gift Guide

I'm almost done with my holiday shopping.
For Christmas I have one more task to do for the presents we're giving my parents and my in-laws. I'm super excited about their present. I think they'll really like it. Other than that, I just have to wrap a few things and I'm done. I'm excited to see the The Girl and The Boy when they see what Santa brought them.
I have a few birthday presents to take care of. My oldest sister is celebrating a special birthday this year, plus another sister and a niece have some candles to blow out as well. I know I shouldn't, but I always seem to run a little late around Christmas-time birthdays. It's not their fault they were born around Christmas time, and in this area I miss the mark. I should pay more attention to their special day.

I admit I get caught up sometimes and don't think things through as much as I should or I get lazy but here are the guidelines I shoot for. Sometimes I miss, but I'm always mindful of  where I could improve.

I think gifts should be well thought out. Gifts should be something you want to give to someone because you want to make them happy or you want to celebrate something with them. Gifts are a reflection of how you feel about someone. How you present the gift, how you wrap it is a reflection as well. Gifts should not be an afterthought All that being said, one does not need to spend a lot of money on a gift, and it's also OK to re-gift, just make sure to take the old tag off. The gift just has to be thoughtful, and if you  are wrapping it yourself, as opposed to buying it online and having it shipped somewhere, it should be wrapped with the same care that you picked the gift out with. Gift cards are OK, especially if you don't know what to get, but don't just throw it in an old envelope. Put it in a nice box and wrap it or put it inside a card.

I think, above all, giving gifts shouldn't be a "have to," giving gifts should be a "get to." 

Just rambling.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All Because of the Elevenses - A True, Yet Pointless Story About My Encounter with Mike Rowe

This morning I wasn't hungry so I didn't eat the yogurt I brought to work with me to have for breakfast. Later that morning though, I got a little peckish. I pulled my yogurt out of my backpack and had me some Elevenses.
Indulging in this late morning snack, thus staving off my hunger coupled with the project I had to finish before a 1pm meeting, I didn't get to lunch until a little after 1:30.
For lunch, I decided I needed to go to the employee cafeteria to get me a turkey burger. Their turkey burgers are pretty OK, and after 1:30pm are only $2, a price I'm totally willing to pay for a turkey burger made at the employee cafeteria.

On my way across the courtyard I saw a man walking towards me blowing dust off of and polishing his glasses. I thought to myself "that guy blowing dust off of and polishing off his glasses looks like Mike Rowe." As we got closer to each other I realized it was, in fact, Mr. Dirty Jobs himself. We walked by each other. He went his way, I went mine.

True story ends, or does it?

I got across the courtyard and opened the door to the building that houses the employee cafeteria. I admit it. I was in my own little world, being rude and tweeting about having just seen Mike Rowe. I didn't look behind me when I opened the door, y'know to hold the door open a bit for the person who is 2 steps behind me. I wasn't thinking. The door started to slam shut and it shut right on Mike Rowe, except I didn't know it was him, I only know I slammed the door shut on someone. I turned around, while saying "oh, gosh, I'm sorry." He looked up, smiled and said "it's OK."
Then I turned left to go into the employee cafeteria and he turned right to ask someone at the security desk a question.

End of story. Not as exciting as the time I scolded Danny Glover in public, but more exciting than the time I cracked 3 crabs for Tracy Chapman.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tree Trimming

It's always exciting to set up for Christmas! We got our tree last Saturday and decorated it the other day.
Last year I writing about setting up our quirky Nativity Set and its broken bits. This year I thought I'd focus on the tree.
Our ornaments are a mish mash of pieces we've collected over the years. Just like our Nativity set, some of the ornaments were given to us by Hubby's mom. A lot of them I got from a former employer's employee sale, and a good handful are from The Girl's handiwork at school. They all have their own sweet characteristics. They all bring back fond memories of Christmasses  past. There's the pine cones given to me by an old co-worker, the wooden salmon, the seahorse with the almost broken nose, the paper mache balls that open up. My favorites are the ones that The Girl made at school. I love macaroni and picture-frame art -turned ornament.
This year one ornament stood out more than others; the blown glass cat.
The Girl picked it up out of the box and was about to hang it on the tree and paused, smiled, turned it around to us and asked "why does this cat have a butthole?"
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On Marrying Hula

I'm always surprised at the hula steps that come easy to me and the ones that give me grief.

Some moves I get right away. When I attempt them and conquer them I think 'wow, that sounded hard and I pulled it off. yay me.'

Then there are other moves that sound easy, that seemingly everyone in class, but me figures out and executes perfectly. Both dances we are learning in class this month (and next) have both kinds of moves.

My right 'ami is stronger than my left 'ami, but there is this one part in the current kahiko we are learning where my arm movements and my right 'ami don't sync, but strangely, when it's time to do the left 'ami, I do it just fine. My arm movements and my left 'ami work just fine together. Go figure.

In the 'auana we're learning, in one part we go from two right kawelu to two 'uwehe. Easy peasy, right? When I get to that part I get all  hmmm, what's the word? The only thing I can think of is 'tongue-tied' which isn't the right phrase, but I think you get my point.

Last night at hula I think Kumu got a tiny bit frustrated. Although the class was following his instructions, we weren't really doing what he wanted. He finally stopped class and said "Will you marry Hula?"

When I got home I started thinking about that phrase. "Will you marry Hula?"

I can think of a lot of idioms that mirror the same sentiment. I don't know who said it but everyone has either used or heard the phrase "jumping in with both feet." People have made quotes based on the same sentiment. Robert Mondavi said "Whatever you do, pour yourself into it." MC Hammer said "Either work hard or you might as well quit." There's even a bible verse (Colossians 3:23) that says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart."

I understood what Kumu meant when he said "Will you marry Hula?"

The hard part is putting it into practice. I think 99% of the people in my class agree that hula class is not like other dance classes.  Is not an exercise class. We are not there to tone our booties, we are there to feed our souls.  Sure, after a night of learning a new kahiko that is full of nothing but 'uwehe we go home with tingling hamstrings and wake up the next morning reaching for the ibuprofen to calm down those sore muscles, only to emerge stronger and more able to endure another night of 'uwhe, 'ami, 'oniu, kaholo and hela. But physical strength is only a byproduct of class. It is not the intent.

We are there to learn an art form, absorb the culture and perpetuate a lifestyle. We wear our hearts on our collective sleeve, showing each other (and sometimes an audience) our emotions, our confidence, and while we're learning the hula, our insecurities.
Hula deserves and needs a wife; someone to take care of it, someone to learn its stories and be willing to retell them.

November Wordle

Wordle: november blogs

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Evil is Super Cute and It Bows Down to Me!

Well, not really, but get this.

 I was coming home from my run this evening (3.3 miles, yay me!) and a Black Cat crossed my path. It crossed my path, then doubled back, came back towards me and flopped itself at my feet, belly up. I bent down and scratched his belly and his ears, talked to him a little bit then went on my way back home. 

About one house length later the kitty followed after me, then with a tiny burst of energy, got in front of me and flopped down again, belly up. Once again I talked to the kitty and scratched his ears and belly, told him goodbye and went on my way. 

Once again he followed me, but just when he caught up to me he stopped, turned into a neighboring yard and watched me as I walked by. I said "bye kitty," he meowed and we parted ways.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Health Coach - The Re-MILF-ificaiton of Andrea

About a month ago I started seeing a health coach.

It started like this . . . . . I went to the doctor for a reason that has no bearing on this blog post. At my appointment the doctor decided to give me some blood tests. The results of the blood tests indicated that I might benefit from the help of  a health coach.

Oh, who am I kidding? Any of you who know me know that in the last 7 years I packed on the pounds like nobody's business. For a while a bunch of it came off after The Boy was born and I spent a good share of my maternity leave imprisoned in the hospital with an infected gall bladder. Then, as luck would have it, I had some good old-fashioned postpartum depression to deal with so the weight came back even faster with the help of the little blue mood-altering pills called Zoloft.

Today I'm free of both my gall bladder and the little blue pills, but have found myself heavier than I was when I was when I, well, heaver than I've ever been, ever before.

I started seeing a Health Coach at Kaiser. He told me that it wouldn't be such a bad idea to lose 80-100 pounds. It took me a few weeks to wrap my head around that huge number, but now that I've accepted it I'm on track.

I think my Health Coach's approach to me getting off the weight is do-able. I think it'll work. I think it'll be hard work, but I think it'll work.

Here's how it works: I get a new goal after every session I go to. I work on that goal until my next appointment, and then slowly build upon those goals, changing the behaviors that got me to where I was and create new behaviors to get me where I want to be. His philosophy, so far, is that to make drastic changes all at once is to set myself up for failure. Changing a little bit at a time, and adding to my list of goals and changes will produce better results. It might take a tiny bit longer than I want it to, but in the long run I will be more successful, and have less chance for failure.
In addition to changing my behaviors little by little, I had to find two people that would keep me on track, call me out on my bullshit and keep me accountable. I'm confident I've found two good ones and am truly thankful that they have agreed to help me in this.

So, although I don't plan on making this a super regular feature on this blog, I hope to touch upon this topic from time to time and use this as an avenue to hold myself accountable in this journey that I'm on.

I can do this.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Trot

Yesterday I ran in the Turkey Trot at Golden Gate Park and let me tell you, I kicked that Turkey in the ass. I know I kicked it in the ass, because I came in last. So last that the Turkey was packing up its gear and walking away from me. The Turkey's ass was the only thing I could kick. OK it wasn't that bad, but almost. I'm certain I came in last place. I know I ran 5 miles, because my GPS on my phone said I did, but by the time I got to the end, the local high-schooleres turned route support had all but gone away, the markers to the finish line were trampled over, any discernible finish line had been removed and  the award ceremony was over. All I could do was grab a bottle of water before it got put away by tired race support who were ready to go home.
When I got back to the car I felt defeated and had to sit in the car and talk myself out of my funk of coming in last.
Here's what I came up with:
One year ago I was unable to run even one mile without stopping, now I can run 6. I'm far from the fastest, but I can do it.
Six months ago walkers passed me as I was running, once in a while, towards the end of my run, walkers still pass me, but a lot fewer than when I first started
Overall I'm stronger than I was a year ago.
Next year I'll be in the top half of the bottom third, I know it.

The event itself has a great atmosphere. People were dressed up like pilgrims, indians, turkeys, beer. It was also super muddy as it had rained a lot the night before. Here are some pics from the event.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hula - A Great Spot Remover

Yesterday was a weird day. I was glad when it ended.

I was wearing a skirt that's sort of a silk-type fabric. I like the skirt a lot. I like its burnt orange color, I like the waistband, I like the way it hangs. What I don't like is that today it got a little stain on it.

I noticed it right about the time I noticed my backpack was pulling my skirt up and up and up until my ass was hanging out (Thank the Maker for spanx that look like bike shorts). When I first noticed the stain I thought it was just some water that splashed on me. Long after enough time had passed for the water to dry I noticed the spot was still there, that it wasn't water, it was a stain of some kind. By this time I was at work. I went into the ladies room, put the bottom of my skirt into the sink, added soap and tried to scrub the spot out. I scrubbed until I couldn't see the spot. When I was finished I discovered that the water had carried itself across my skirt. The whole right side of my skirt was sopping wet. I went back to my desk, turned on my little floor heater and proceeded to dry my skirt. It dried pretty quickly but when I looked down to inspect the fruits of my fabulous attempt at turning my work's bathroom into a laundry facility, I noticed the spot was still there! The whole day, no matter what I did,

The Spot Wouldn't Go Away.

Unfortunately the incident with my skirt served as an allegory for my whole day. I just couldn't get the hang of yesterday. I'd expect that of a Thursday, but not a Wednesday. My day was filled with incidents that I couldn't wrap my head around right away, then once I did, something else happened that I had to figure out. I guess this kind of day happens to the best of us. I'm not unique in having a bad, or at least annoying, day at work.

Fortunately, being Wednesday, I had hula to go to. And let me tell you, hula hit the spot.

This November (I think I mentioned this before) we're combined with the other Wednesday class and learning some new stuff. It's pretty challenging. We are learning a new kahiko, a new oli and a new 'auana; a little bit of each every class.

Spot removal started with the ride to class. I carpooled with a hula sister and got to complain a little (OK, a lot, thanks hula sis for listening to me) about my day, then I got to hear about her life since the last time we drove to class together.

Warm up was pretty swift. At the tail end of warm up we usually do a few hulas we know pretty well. One of the hulas we did was Kai A'o Mamala. I always get a little dizzy during the "kou kino noho malie ah ha hana  . . ." verse.
When it became my turn to be in the front line I was willing Kumu not to say "Ia oe ka la." Man I am not pa'a with that one. I should be, because we've been doing it long enough, but I just can't get it. Thankfully Kumu didn't tell us to dance that one. He told us to get our pu'ili so we could dance Alekoki. Not my strongest dance, but markedly stronger than my Ia oe ka la. I made it through Alekoki without embarrassing myself. Yay me.

We spent about a third of our remaining time on the kahiko, a third on the chant and the rest on the 'auana. It's challenging learning 3 different things on the same night. I'm getting through it OK, though. Still, true to form, the oli is proving to be the easiest of the three. I've always been stronger at learning the chants and the words to things than I have been at picking up new hulas.

Then hula sis and I drove home. The drive home served as a nice bookend to the evening.

When I got home I popped my head in The Boy's room and found him awake. I crawled into his bed, talked for a few minutes then sang him his favorite song. Then I went out to the living room and hung out with The Girl for a little while. I missed her. She was at a sleepover the night before so I hadn't really spent any time with her in a few days. I may have kept her up later than she should have. After she went to bed, Hubby and I hung out, watched some TV and went to bed.

My whole spotty day was washed away and made better by a good night at hula and some time with The Fam.

Friday, November 4, 2011

October Wordle

Wordle: Untitled

Book Review - Shiver, and Reminising About "Page 148"

I'm just about finished reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. It's one of The Girl's books. She was so wrapped up in it when she was reading it I decided I would give it a whirl. The book's got just about everything a tween / almost teen could love. There's forbidden teenage love, best friends, absent parents.

Perfect fantasy for a kid her age. Or so I thought . . . .

Spoilers abound - I don't censor.

Shiver is about a girl who was attacked by wolves when she was 11 years old, only to be saved by a special wolf who took a shine to her. Flash forward to present day, we learn the wolf becomes human when its warm out. The wolf boy and the girl fall in love and she has to try to figure out a way to stop him from morphing back into a wolf before it gets too cold for her to stop it. In the meantime the she sneaks the wolf boy into her house at night to sleep and stay warm, while he snuggles her close and recites Rilke poems to her, all the while her parents are oblivious to the whole thing. There's a pack of other wolves who weave in and out of the story. Some are nice, some aren't, most are just non player characters in the book. Reading level is about 6th grade, but the story is just entertaining enough to keep me engrossed throughout my entire commute on the train to and from work. All in all, I can see why a 13 to 16 year old girl would like this book.

There are a few moments in the book where was questioning whether or not some of the subject matter might be a little more than PG13, and perhaps will steer The Girl away from reading the next 2 books for a while by making her read what's on her school reading list. That should buy me a least until summer.

To me, though, it was not much different than stealing away with a copy of Forever or Tiger Eyes when I was her age. And what girl born in the 70's hasn't read and re-read page 148 of Petals on the Wind?

Seeing the world through the eyes of a 41 year old mother of a (almost) teenager is different from seeing the world through an innocent young woman, though. I think I'll stall and hold off on her reading the next two books in the series.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hello? Operator? Is Hula There?

Tonight was not my best night at hula. I suppose it happens to the best of us. It shouldn't, but it does. Tonight, as much as I didn't want to, and as much as I tried not to, I dialed it in. I was not totally present in hula tonight. Chalk it up to the crazy goings on in my head, the day I had at work, the overwhelming amount of housework I have at home . . . I don't know what it was but I didn't take advantage of hula class tonight. I wasn't dialed in. I dialed it in. There was a point in class tonight where I snapped out of it, but still, I wasn't totally present. Bad me.

This month in class we're joining forces with the class that takes place right before us and learning a few new things. I arrived late tonight so I missed warm up. I had The Girl's parent - teacher conference this evening so I was a little late. I missed warm up. I joined during the 3rd verse of the first hula we did. I contemplated waiting until the hula ended, thinking it was weird to join in the middle, but I joined in the middle anyways.

First we learned the first two verses of a new kahiko. Last March-ish we learned the 'auana version of the kahiko we started learning. We learned the first 2 verses of the kahiko version. There were a lot of na 'uwehe tonight. My thighs hurt.
During table time we learned the first couplet of a new oli. Kumu chanted the whole thing. The chant is going to be pretty darn challenging. But after Kumu chanted the oli he said yes, it's hard, but we could do it. We could do it because we had to do it. This chant was written for our halau by Puakea Nogelmeier. Not only could we do it, we had to do it. When Kumu said we had to do it I took it to mean two different things. #1 We had to do it - meaning he was going to teach it, we had to learn it. It was required. and #2, we had to learn it. It was our kuleana to learn it. This was written for us. It's  gift. We have to learn it.
It was about this time I let go of the weird funk I was in and decided to join the class, fully for the night.
After table time we started learning the first verse of a new 'auana.
Tonight my 'auana skills were far superior to my kahiko skills. It's probably due to the weird head I was in at the beginning of class. Next week, hopefully, I'll redeem myself.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Playing Lloyd Bentsen to a Stranger's Dan Quale

This morning in the elevator up to my office I overheard a conversation. It went like this:

Guy #1 - Dude, do you have your Chuck Norris Halloween costume ready?
Guy #2 - Yeah, all except the poncho.
Me (interrupting) - How's your roundhouse kick?
Guy #2 - What's that?

"What's that?" "WHAT'S THAT?" Who thinks they could be Chuck Norris for Halloween and not know what a roundhouse kick is?

Here's how I should have responded had he not gotten off the elevator so soon,"Dude in the elevator, I've seen Chuck Norris movies. Some of my best friends have seen Chuck Norris movies. You sir, are no Chuck Norris."

I'm not even going to address the bit about the poncho.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crabs, Cowboys and Kuleana

Last Sunday Hubby and I dropped The Kiddies off at their grandparents' house and went to see Na Lei Hulu perform at The Palace of Fine Arts.

Great show on the whole, but to me there were two dances that stood out. The first was He Mele
Pāpa’i, A Song for the Great Crab. This particular hula was just a part of a suite of hulas written by Puakea Nogelmeier and dedicated to Kapalakiko, or San Francisco. If one can scurry in hula, nā kane certainly succeeded. The way they moved their "claws" and moved their feet across the dance floor perfectly mimicked a group (scuttle? hermitage? clutch?) of crabs. I only wish I had the vocabulary to explain to you how intricate and well choreographed it was.
The second hula was danced to a song called Nā Vaqueros by Kuana Torres Kahele off his CD Kaunaloa. First, I loved the way the Spanish and the Hawaiian languages intertwined. It took a second to register that I was looking at two different languages ("Nā" being Hawaiian a plural indicator of a direct object and "Vaqueros" being Spanish for, in simple terms, a cowboy) when I read it in the show's program. My familiarity with hearing the Hawaiian language being spoken in actual speech as well as song is almost as well cultivated with my familiarity with Spanish. Not that I speak Spanish. I mean, I could get by, which is more than I can with Hawaiian. The point I'm trying to make, I guess is that I'm used to hearing both languages so much that I had to think when it came time to distinguish between the languages in the song. Needless to say I really liked the song, and don't tell Hubby, but I purchased it on itunes. The best part about hearing the song was watching the hula that went with it. Three beautiful wahine danced this number. The way they moved together was flawless. It was by far the best hula of the whole show.
So last night Hubby and I were talking about the show and he posed an interesting question. He asked me what would happen if someone other than a member of  Na Lei Hulu danced the hulas in the show. I wondered what he meant. I don't know if it's happened with great frequency, but Kumu could certainly teach us any dance that he's created for the performances if he chooses. They're his dances. They're his to teach. I'm guessing that he could also teach us any dance that he's learned from his Kumus. He's certainly done that. And just as people sample music and turns of phrase, I'm certain that there are many moves in many hula dances where bits and pieces of dances have been adopted or repurposed. Also, I'm sure there are signature moves that one learns. In fact, I know that to be true. We've learned dances before where when we get to the end Kumu tells us the dance ends with "auntie's ha'ina" and the whole class knows what that means.
I think what Hubby was really getting at, though, is it OK if someone had say, videotaped a dance from a show they saw, learned the dance, then taught it to other people? My guess is that it's probably happened, but that it's really really bad form. It's not something that any honorable person would do. Doing so would probably ruin your reputation as a hula teacher, or a student of hula. Not to mention the bajillion negative aloha points it would give you. On a smaller scale, though, I'm guessing it's not even OK for me to teach a hula dance. I may know my halau's version of Puamana or Kawika inside and out, but I'm a student. It's not my kuleana to teach, only to learn. 

I guess the answer to Hubby's question boils down to this: if it's not yours, it's not yours to share.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Captured Knowledge

Last night in place of hula class I attended a lecture, that my halau hosted of course, by noted linguist and Hawaiian language professor Puakea Nogelmeier.

I was so tired this evening. I was coming off of a short business trip; a short, but a bit of a tiring trip. I wanted to go to see Kumu Puakea speak. I knew, as a member of my halau, it was my responsibility to go listen to the man speak. I wanted to. I'd been looking forward to it since I heard about it a few weeks earlier. It was Puakea Nogelmeier, c'mon. I'd be crazy not to go see him speak. Tonight, though, I was tired. I dragged my booty the school to see him. I'm so glad I didn't talk myself out of it. I would have been regretting it for the longest time if I hadn't gone, forever even.

At first when he was speaking I typed notes into my blackberry. Thinking that people would mistake me for tweeting the presentation, screwing around on facebook, or just not paying any attention, I stopped. I didn't want anyone to think I was being disrespectful.

During his presentation, Kumu Puakea spoke about his history, his last 40 years in Hawaii, what brought him there and why he stayed. The stories he told captured the sentiment of other experiences I heard about from other people. Hawaii captures you. There's something about it that draws one it. Its power pulls you in like a receding wave and only to be knocked over the head with another.

I think I could sum up the evening with the over-riding theme that knowledge is the most valuable thing that can be shared, and it's our responsibility to share what we have. Once shared, it isn't forgotten (you may run the chance of it being misinterpreted, however). Giving knowledge is not like giving away a material item. When I share something with someone, what I've shared is still mine. I haven't lost it. In fact, I've made it more real by experiencing it again in its retelling.

It's like a cup that never empties, yet never gets too full for more.

So, in the spirit of what I learned from Kumu Puakea last night I'm starting a new feature on my blog. I don't know what I'm going to call it yet, but I'd like to start writing a recap of what I did at hula the night before. I have a week to think about the type of things I should include. I'm sure you don't want to read "first we watched the class before us dance the last 10 minutes of their class time, then we got into our pukas, then we warmed up, then we danced some stuff, then we sat down and talked, then we danced some more, then we went home" and I'm sure my Kumu wouldn't appreciate explaining all the dances step by stem "the first verse is kaholo right, kaholo left, two 'uwehe . . . " I imagine recaps will be more personal, "I finally nailed that one move that's been giving me grief the last few weeks" or "we learned some concept or another that kept me up last night and I just have to share it."

The more I write, the better I get at expressing myself and making myself understood. Maybe writing about hula will help me be a better dancer.

We'll see how it turns out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Living off the Fatta' the Lan

When I was about 19 I had this one boyfriend. One weekend we went to Tijuana, Mexico with a buncha his friends. We drove down in a honda civic filled with way more people than seat belts and got a hotel room on just on the inside of the US border. After getting all gussied up for a night on the town, we left the hotel walked across the border and hopped in a waiting cab to take us to Revolution Avenue.

Almost immediately after getting out of the cab I saw some street vendors selling hot dogs wrapped in bacon. I was so grossed out by them. They smelled yucky, the bacon was grey and the man who was cooking them had dirty hands. I told my boyfriend that there was no way I'd have one of those. He looked at me, smiled and told me I would be singing a different song 10 beers and 3 hours later.

Turns out I did sing a new song. After drinking and dancing all night I was dehydrated, inebriated, and hungry. I got a hot dog wrapped in bacon and boy did I enjoy it. I did not enjoy it about an hour later when my stomach admonished me for putting that greasy late night snack inside me, but boy was it yummy in the moment.

Which brings me to today.

I was looking at a menu this morning. There was a quote from John Steinbeck on the menu. It said "When they become delicious you've had too many." It comes from "The Short Reign of Pippin IV." I have to say right now that I've never read it. If I have completely missed the point of this quote, please keep in mind that I saw it on a menu that has offerings on it called "Candy's Ranch Chicken," "Lennie Small's Soft Polenta" and my favorite, "Living off the Fatta the Lan Molten Chocolate Cake."

My thought is this - Shouldn't the first bite be delicious? Why should delicousness take a while to kick in? Deliciousness should be there from the first bite, shouldn't it? Or was John Steinbeck referring to hot dogs wrapped in bacon, cooked on the side of the road in Tijuana and served to drunk teenagers who are too young to drink in their own country so they drive an hour to another one and drink there? I don't know.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fierce Heart - Book Review

I just finished reading Fierce Heart by Stuart Holmes Coleman. I enjoyed it immensly. 
I got the book at a garage sale. The sale was held to raise funds for Surf for Life. You can read about Surf for Life here.
I had heard about the book when it came out in April 2009, but never got around to reading it.
When I first started reading the book I thought that I should have read it before I went on huaka'i last May, but as I got towards the end of the book I'm happy my procrastination paid off and I read it now. Having read it after my trip, I was able to think back at the places we visited, and through reading this book, gained even more understanding, and developed a deeper level of admiration and respect for the people of that area.
Fierce Heart chronicles the lives of modern day heroes and role models in Makaha, HI. A town located on the west side of O'ahu, Makaha has the reputation for being local-centric; a town known for holding as tightly as they can to a culture and a way of life that doesn't exist the way it used to on the Islands anymore. I don't think the people Mr. Coleman introduces us to started out thinking they were role models, and probably for a long time didn't want to be considered as such. They were just normal people living the way they thought life should be lead. But because of the lives they lead, people took notice. They noticed their genuine spirit, their generosity, their honesty. I'm not saying these people were perfect. There are plenty stories in the book where Mr. Coleman writes of fights breaking out, people drinking too much, taking too many drugs, etc. The people he writes about certainly weren't angels. They did, however, have a certain quality about them that made you take notice, and made you want to be around them.
The book itself isn't the best piece of literature I've ever read. Sometimes the sentence structure was hard to follow. It didn't seem to have a very good flow. It was more of a stream of consciousness. I don't think it had to be perfect, though. What I enjoyed about the book was the story. I wanted to learn more about the people in the book. By the end of the book I wanted to be next door neighbors to all of them.
One of the people written about was Rell Sunn. I first learned of Rell Sunn though this documentary I saw on PBS. I first saw it at a time when one of my sisters was going through a similar experience as Ms. Sunn. I was so touched by her story.

The Girl did a report on Rell Sunn in the 2nd grade.
After I finished Fierce Heart, I watched the documentary again. There was some overlap of the people in the book and the people in the documentary. It was nice to put a face to the name.
One of the things that made the book and the people in it more real to me was the fact that when we were on huaka'i last May I met two of the people mentioned in the book and visited Makaha Farms, Ka'ala Cultural Center, two places that, although not mentioned in the book, hold a connection to the land and the people the book is about. 
The book, the place, and my experience all have a deeper meaning to me because of each other.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Ma'am-o-Gram to Will Smith: Gettin' Squishy With It

Growing up I listened to a lot, and I mean A LOT of Dr. Demento. I know, big surprise, huh? I grew up listening to his 4 hour live show on KMET in SoCal.  I loved so many of the songs. I even sang them to my kiddies when they were babies. Can you just picture me rocking my babies an sweetly singing "I took a fish head out to see a movie. Didn't have to pay to get it in." I don't even know why I'm asking. I'm certain you can picture it.
I still get all the songs I loved from that time stuck in my head. From Ogden Edsl's Dead Puppies to Tom T-bone Stankus' Exitential Blues to The Frantics' Last Will and Temperment where Ed Gruberman gets a boot to the head. I've even tried to sneak my favorites onto The Girl's ipod. She gets angry, I get amused when she gets The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins stuck in her head. I'm waiting for her to get 99 Dead Baboons stuck in her head. I will consider myself a successful parent when that happens. I can't even go through a drive through without being tempted to scream "A Double Cheeseburger, Onion Rings and a Large Orange Drink, Please".

Barry Hansen (aka Dr. Demento) is responsible for developing some of the many varied layers that contribute to my sense of humor and my outlook on the world. I would say that Mr. Hansen influenced my formative years greatly, and that's something for which I am thankful. Thanks Dr. D.

OK, here's were things get weird. I didn't start this post intending to wax poetic about one of my heroes. I intended to talk about getting a mammogram today. I'm old so I have to get the girls checked once a year. I had my 2nd annual mammogram today. You might remember when I had my 1st annual mammogram in my post Freshly Squeezed and Ready for 40 where I told the story about the time my mom uttered the phrase "Andi, I think Jesus wants us to call them boobies." I had intended for this particular blog post to start with Dr. Demento, talk about the music he played on his show, then talk about the parody songs like 99 Dead Baboons, or Al Yankovic's "I Love Rocky Road" and then offer a suggestion to Will Smith. (Will, you should do a public service parody for those of us in our 40's and beyond who have to get mammograms called "Gettin' Squishy With It.") Instead, this post took on a life of its own.

So, to make a long story even longer, I had a mammogram today. Then I went to Sugarbowl Bakery and had a pork bun, then I went to work. My time spent at the doctor's office took less time than the time it took to ride Muni there. Although I won't get my official results for a few weeks, I fully expect for my results to come in the form of a postcard telling me that my scan was unremarkable and to come back in a year.

Here's the PSA part -
If you're over 40, get your regular mammograms. It's a good idea.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Dream - Showers and Lice

Some mornings I hit snooze more than other mornings. On those mornings when I hit snooze a little too much I sometimes have strange dreams surrounding what I'd be doing if I were awake in real life. For example, if I have to pee, I'll have dreams that I have to pee but I can't find a bathroom, the bathroom is super grody, there are no doors on the stalls, there is a toilet but it's up on a pedestal in the middle of a busy casino. I had such a dream this morning, but not about peeing. It was about showering.

The Boy was in the shower. It was a totally kick-ass shower with knobs that controlled the temperature and the water pressure. There were two shower heads; one each on opposite walls facing each other. The Boy was super digging his shower, which I thought was odd because in real life he's always screaming "don't wash my eye-face. don't wash my hair. I get to wash my cheek-face, not you." While waiting for him to finish showering I decided to play with my hair. I parted it in the middle instead of the side. I liked the result. When parted in the middle it was longer than it was when parted on the side, plus I had super cute choppy bangs. Then I noticed these weird black spots. I got my clippers out to investigate and shaved off the top of my head, sort of like a reverse mohawk / scalping myself. I noticed all these little black bugs crawling around my hair. I don't know what they were, but I decided to call them lice. I went around the bathroom collecting all the brushes so The Girl wouldn't use them and get lice as well. The Boy got out of the shower. Just as I was about to go in, the shower turned into a shower / jacuzzi. Right when I was about to get in I discoverd 5 Mexican men in their 50's had beaten me to it and were in my jacuzzi shower. While I didn't mind them taking a jacuzzi and shower in my bathroom, I didn't want them to do it right now. I had to get up and get ready for work. I found a set of temperature controls in the other room and made the jacuzzi 32 degrees. They all complained that it was too cold but nobody got out. I couldn't wash the lice-bug-things out of my hair, I couldn't make it look nice parted down the middle anymore because I had scalped myself, and I had to pee really bad.
Then my alarm went off again, I got my ass out of bed, peed, took a shower and got ready for work. BTW, my hair looks great today and there are no bugs in it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It was good, but I hated that little girl.

I like action packed blockbusters. I quite enjoy watching Will Smith fight aliens, whether it be along side Tommy Lee Jones or Jeff Goldblum. Watching Gary Oldman fight President Harrison Ford, or Kurt Russel and Halle Berry fight a group of terrorists from some unnamed middle eastern country, is just as enjoyable. I want to be Franke Portente running from the law with Jason Bourne. I like watching Casper Van Dien fight aliens while Neil Pactrick Harris reads their minds and Dina Myers takes off her shirt. I will be a happy Andrea when Cowboys and Aliens comes out on DVD.

So here's my question - why did it take so long for me to accept that I like reading books just as blockbustery?

I just finished reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. It was super fun. I loved the extra story lines and details the book had. It made the story more exciting. I like the ending better, with one exception that will reveal itself in just a few paragraphs.
Usually when I read a book that a movie is based on I don't like the changes the movie makes. I get all hung up with the integrity of the story, character development. In this one, the differences between the book and the movie I didn't mind so much. The book was just as enjoyable as the movie. For instance, in the movie, Dr. Grant and Laura Dern were a couple. In the book they weren't. I don't think it really added or took away from the story line. In the book, Dr. Grant liked kids. I like that aspect better. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) was a more fun character in the movie and he could have died better in the book. It was sort of a "meh, he's dead" moment. He should have been fed to the raptors. That would have been good.
What I truly hated in the book was the little girl. In the movie the grandkids of John Hammond are a smart 10-ish year old boy and his 12-ish year old sister Lex. In the book, the boy was the same age but the girl was 5-ish. I like movie Lex better than book Lex. Book Lex was whiny, annoying little pest. Movie Lex complained a little but she pulled herself together and saved the day with her mad computer hacking skills. Book Lex foiled every plan to get away from the dinosaurs by whining about ice cream. There were plenty of opportunities where she could have been fed to a dinosaur and the rest of them could have gotten away. Someone should have fed her to the compys or given her to the baby t-rex as a chew toy. She should have met a some kind of dinosaur-inspired end at the end of the book. Yeah, that's harsh, but I really hated her.

Overall, I liked the book. I liked it enough to grab another MC book. I picked up Disclosure the other day at the library. We'll see how that goes. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Know, I Know, 20 Years, Blah Blah Blah oooh look, Peachy Puff Girls

I've mentioned it before, so many times you're sick of it, probably, but I am at the 20 year point. 20 years ago this month I moved to San Francisco. I don't remember the exact date, only that it I drove up to San Francisco with my friend P. We first drove up here in his VW Bus, spent a week or so in a crappy 1 bedroom apartment on Haight and Pierce with two other roomies, our friends E and I who moved up here a few months before we did. I had no idea what I was getting into. I had $900 in my pocket, from selling my 1981 VW Rabbit. I thought it was a fortune. It wasn't, but I got by. Then we got a pretty decent flat in The Outer Richmond. It was a pretty nice place. We each had our own bedroom, there was a common room and a pretty good sized kitchen, plus there was a yummy bakery across the street from us. That bakery was a pretty good bakery. It's closed now and a pizza place is in its place. I've eaten there a few times. It's good. A week or so after P and I got our new flat we flew back down to Long Beach to get the rest of our stuff. We drove back up in P's dad's convertible mustang. It took forever because that freakshow artist Christo had a buncha yellow umbrellas all along the 5 freeway and tons of people were stopped along the road to look at his buncha yellow umbrellas. Luckily the radio gods had our back. We knew the words to every song that played on the radio that night, and all the songs were a mix of common guilty pleasures and just plain old good songs. Boston, Chicago, Styx, Eddie Money....whatever radio station it was was playing them all. Traffic was bad, but we had a good time.
In the first few months of living at this new flat, I was hanging out with this girl one night. Her name was Tess, she went to school with Oliver North's kids, she had a pit bull whose name I forgot, she rode a motorcycle and she had a Keith Harring-esque tattoo on the side of her head. We went out to some bar in SOMA. While we were in there some gals came in, looking like cigarette girls, carrying trays with a nice mix of sugar and salt items, plus cigarettes. I learned they were called Peachys Puff Girls. I wanted to be a Peachys Puff Girl. I always thought I'd make a good one. I never found out how to be one. I should have just asked one, but they kind of intimidated me.
Tonight Hubby, The Girl and I were watching the Giant's game. I asked Hubby if the rows right behind home plate had waiter service. Hubby said all seats had waiter service. I told him I wasn't talking about the guys who sell peanuts and popcorn, I meant real water service, someone who would retrieve beer, garlic fries and churros, or whatever else you wanted. He said he didn't know. I don't know the answer. I think they must, but I just don't know. Then Hubby said "you know what they need at ATT park?" My first response was "Burritos?" Although I think Hubby thought it was a good idea, it wasn't what he was thinking at the moment. He said that ATT park needed Peachys Puff Girls. I agree.

Why, Greg Wasson, Why?

Dear Greg Wasson,

I hate the new floor plan of my local Walgreens. It's stupid and annoying and doesn't encourage me to give in to my impulses and buy things I don't need. What it does is it piss me off. Rather than walking the block to my local Walgreens, I'd rather get in my car and go to Lucky. Because of your new floor plan I leave Walgreens grumpy and with only 1/2 the things on my list because I can't freaking find anything and I still have to go to Lucky anyway.
What's the matter with you?

That is all,

P.S. I am not a crackpot.

I got a text on my way home last night from Hubby. It simply said "Lemons, Tomatoes, Pull-ups, Beer." With those 4 little words, Hubby was very sweetly asking me to stop at the produce market, liquor store and Walgreens on my way home from work.
Authentically Local
OK, sure, I could get all those items at Walgreens, but I would rather support authentically local businesses when I can, and not a national chain when possible. Besides, just as I can't bring myself to buy perishable items at Target, I extra can't bring myself to do it at Walgreens.
Anyhow, I went into my local produce market and bought some lemons and tomatoes, but skipped the liquor store because I had a bottle of wine in my purse. (See, I can buy wine cheap from my company's employee website and have it delivered to my office, but because I take Muni to and from work I can't carry it all home at one time. I usually end up bringing a few bottles home a night in my purse.) So then I went to Walgreens. I've written before about how much I hate the way they've remodeled the store. Everything is organized so strangely it's hard to find anything. There's no logical flow. One would think that the hair accessories (bobby pins, hair bands, etc.) wouldn't be too far away from the shampoos and conditioners. One could reasonably assume that the diapers would be pretty close to the baby food. How come in my local Walgreens the greeting cards are three aisles away from the wrapping paper and the nail polish is next to the children's crappy toys, and the dish soap is kept near the potato chips?
I walked around the store 3 times looking for the pull-ups. There was an employee setting up the seasonal aisle with halloween stuff. I asked her why the store was arranged so stupidly. She asked me what I was looking for. I said pull-ups. She pointed to the adult diapers and said "for you?" No they're not for me. OK, I've given birth to 2 kids. I'm not alone in saying I've peed a little bit after sneezing, but really? I told her no, that I needed it for a toddler, and she said "oh, aisle 3, by the hair dye." By the hair dye? Why not keep pull-ups with the rest of the baby gear? I hate going to Walgreens now. Thank the Maker I can send my oldest kid to go there for me. She has more patience that I do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Because Embarrassment is Fun.

A bunch of years ago I worked for The Food Whole. One week during my time spent with them was spent in Portland, OR setting up their new store.
When I got off work for the day I went for a walk and discovered Powell's Bookstore. What a great bookstore. At the time I had just finished reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman.
I'm sure all y'all have seen the movie The Princess Bride and can recite tons and tons of lines. Go ahead, recite some. I'll wait.


So the book is interesting. Much of it is written in first person.
There's this guy who, as a child, had this amazing amazing book read him called, you guessed it, The Princess Bride. It was his most favorite story ever. When he was an adult he decided he wanted to give a copy of the book to his son. He searched high and low for the book. At the time the book was written, there was no amazon.com, ebay.com or other easy outlets to find books. He finally found one and gave it to his son. His son humored his dad and attempted to read the book. He tried to like it, but he really really hated it. The dad was so surprised. This was his favorite story growing up. Why did his son hate it so much? The man decided to figure out why. He borrowed his son's copy of the book and started to read. He hated the book. He was so bummed, and perplexed. The book was nothing like he remembered. As he read through the book he slowly realized that his dad, who had read him the book so long ago skipped a lot of it. His dad only read him the good parts. Wanting his son to love the story as much as he did, he set out to edit the book. The result was The Princess Bride; S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - The 'Good Parts' Version. What we see in Rob Reiner's version of The Princess Bride is pretty true to The 'Good Parts' version.

Reading The 'Good Parts' version made me want to read the long boring version. It sounded so interesting. I just had to read it. I went into Powell's Books and searched and searched for the book written by S. Morgenstern, upon which William Goldman's version was based. I looked in Fiction. I looked in Young Adult. I looked in Scifi. I looked in Fantasy. I looked in every section of the bargain books and used sections. I could not, for the life of me, find the book. I went to the information desk and asked for the book. The lady behind the counter had both the physique and the sensitivity of Comic Book Store Guy told me the book didn't exist. I was so embarrassed I ran out of the store. The next day, Hubby flew up to Portland to spend a few days with me. He wanted to go to Powell's. I wouldn't go in there with him and I wouldn't tell him why. He got all cross that I wouldn't go in the store, and didn't say it but probably thought I was being a jerk.

Two years later I was hanging out with Hubby and our friend Cliff. I told that story. Hubby said that he had never heard that story before. I said 'I know, it's the first time I ever told anyone. I've been too embarrassed about it.' Hubby kissed me. Told me he was sorry I was so embarrassed, then laughed at me, lovingly, of course.

Last night I told The Girl my story. Hubby was surprised I told the story. The Girl laughed had the same reaction as Hubby. I got a sympathetic "aw," followed by uncontrollable laughter.

I love my family.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#65 - Read 50 books

I have to admit I've been neglecting my list. What seemed like a good idea at first, kinda isn't anymore. Some items on my list I just never started. Some, after reading them, I've decided they are bad or uninteresting ideas. Some of them I modified.

A few weeks ago my parents were visiting. I told my mom about my list. She said "oh, it's something like a bucket list." I told her that I suppose it kind of was, except it was filled with seemingly short term goals and attainable things. It wasn't filled with lofty things like "shake the President's hand" or "go to outer-space." At that moment my dad's ears perked up and we argued for a good 10 minutes about how I couldn't possibly have a bucket list because #1 - I wasn't as old as Morgan Freeman or Jack Nicholson and #2 because I didn't have any terminal ailments or any tangible indication that I had an accelerated expiration date. My mom told him to leave me alone, because I could have a list if I wanted. The matter is still in debate.

I think from now on I'm just going to keep a running list of things I want to accomplish and modify as necessary, and to please my dad, I'll never call it a bucket list. Should be easy. I never called it a bucket list before. Why should I start now?

One item on my list I will keep, however, is #65 - Read 50 books, except since now that my list has no deadlines, unless I specifically add one, I think I will remove the "50." From now on my list will say "#65 - Read books."

Here are the books I've read since starting my list.

Book # (-)1 - The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks Started August 2010

I go through bouts of reading and then periods of not reading. I was at the library with my kids, couldn't find anything that really struck me so I just picked up a random book by the self-check and told myself I was going to read it. Read it I did, and loved it, I did. I can tell when I really love a book because I read at night instead of watching TV. It's about a woman who restores books. She had to restore an ancient Jewish text and learn about its history. In one chapter she'd do some researching and find a moth's wing, then the next chapter would take place a few hundred years before and it would tell the story of how the moth got stuck in the book. Then in another chapter she would discover that some weird bindings in the book were inconsistent with the rest of the binding of the book. The next chapter would be about the binding of the book. My favorite chapter was the one that followed the chapter where she found a cat hair. It was about, you guessed it, how the cat hair got into the book. I enjoyed the book more than I though I would and think that most people I know, young and old, would enjoy the book, too. I think my sister Dawn would like it.

Book #0 - The Stone of Kannon by OA Bushnell. Started 11/1/10

I tried getting in to this book. I had to put it down. I was getting annoyed by it. The sentences were too long for my short attention span. I'll pick it up again soon. I enjoyed Ka'a'awa and Moloka'i by the same author. I don't know why I couldn't get in to this one.

Book #1 - Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. Started 11/13/10

I have a guilty pleasure in Dan Brown books. I tear through them quite quickly. I will definately finish this one by the end of the week. This book is about some chica who breaks code for the government. Some code is written that can't be broken and she has to figure it out. The story is pretty easy to predict, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. It's sort of like watching your favorite action movie, knowing exactly what's going to happen, yet still being excited.

Book #2 - Deception Point by Dan Brown. Started 11/29/10

It took me a little bit longer to finish this book than Digital Fortress. I had fun with it though. It was filled with phrases like "We have to call the president!!!" and "It's a matter of national security." I decided it was like a long and complicated cartoon with a Scooby-Doo ending "And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling scientists and your off-shore diagnostic machines." That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I totally did. I love over-the-top cheese. I mean, I have seen Independence Day at least 50 times.

Book #3 - The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Started 12/10/10

When this book was still in hardcover I checked it out from my local library. I read about half of it and then had to return it. I don't know why I didn't check it out again. As I read the first few chapters the second time around, I was reminded of what the book was about. It was a fun finish, and true to Dan Brown, another Scooby-doo ending "And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling symbologists." I think I have a crush on Robert Langdon, not Tom Hanks, though.

Book #4 - Puttering About in a Small Land by Philip K. Dick

This book was set in the late 1940's, early 1950's. Lots of people were working, supporting the war effort, making bank because they worked overtime and they had to make lots and lots of bombs. Then when the war ended, a lot of the people found themselves out of work and had to reinvent themselves. The main guy in this book has his own TV shop. His kid goes to boarding school, and his wife is mean all the time, but I don't think it's because she's a mean person. I think she's sad and stressed out. I think everyone in the book is sad, mean and stressed out and although I enjoyed the book, I hated every single character, and wouldn't have minded if any of them met their fate in the book. In the book nobody dies, but I'm sure they all continuted to live miserable lives until the end of their days.

I started a new book the other day. Stay tuned for my review.

Friday, September 2, 2011

(Unsolicited) Advice

Yesterday I attended a baby shower for a few of the ladies in my office. The shower was pretty nice; balloons, music, yummy cheeses, wine, and pretty yummy looking cupcakes. I didn't have a cupcake. I filled up on humboldt fog cheese and pinot noir.
Anyhow, the lady who set up the event thanked everyone for coming, then asked all the experienced mommies in the room to give a little advice to the new mommies.
My advice was this -
As a new mom you're going to look at other moms to see what their doing. You're going to doubt yourself and think "should I be doing that, too?"
When that happens just remember, there are many different ways to acheive the same goal. What might work for their family, may or may not work for yours. If your baby's belly is full, if he's warm at night, and most of all, if he knows he's loved, you can relax because you're doing it right.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Monkeybutts

I took the Kiddies out of the house yesterday so Hubby could get some work done. We went to our local Borders, which is closing soon. The Girl wanted to get a few books to keep in her desk at school for "silent reading time." She chose some teenage drama, probably involving horses, and Life of Pi. The Boy, seeing that The Girl was getting something at Borders, insisted he get something too. He wanted $3 post-its or $7 lunchbox. I told him he had to choose. He chose the post-its. I was kind of pissed that the post-its cost $3, becasue it was such a tiny stack, but in the end decided it was better than paying $7.
After Borders we walked over to a nearby public library and I found some books to read on the bus. I picked up Jurassic Park and a Philip K. Dick book. I figured that since I'd seen Jurassic Park at least 20 tiems, I should read the book. I was hoping to bring home a paperback, but instead the JP book is huge and hard cover. Dang, now everyone on the bus is going to know what I'm reading and try to talk to me. I hate when Muni turns into a book club. I'll have to make a bookcover for it. That's a good part about a kindle, I guess. Nobody knows what you're reading. That's one of the only good things about a kindle. The Girl wants one. I'm not sure if I'm going to get her one, but that's another blog post for another time.
The main reason we went to the library wasn't for me to find JP, however. We were there to see The Monkeybutts, family friendly rock'n'roll at its funnest.

There were about 20 kids running around, blowing bubbles and dancing. My kids weren't a part of it.
The Girl read her book. While The Boy jumped in his chair. He wouldn't get off his chair and run with the other kids. I don't know why. It looked like fun. I think he had fun. I know he had fun running around the library saying "monkeybutts, monkeybutts" in his 'non-library' voice.

The band played some original stuff, plus a few songs that Mom and Dad would enjoy. My favorite was Boris the Spider by The Who.

They were a pretty fun band to watch. Here are some more pictures I took. (And I have no idea why Blogger is being stupid and making the pics show up sideways.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Junior High

The Girl started the 7th grade yesterday. Funny I don't feel much older than the day I had her. She's certainly grown up, though. It's been fun watching her transform from a little girl to a young woman. In the last year she's done more new things on her own than she's done in her entire life. What started with me pushing her in her stroller to the zoo has evolved into her walking to her job at the zoo. What started with letting her stay home alone while I ran to Walgreens to get something has evolved into me bribing her to go to Walgreens for me. What started me giving her a plastic knife and teaching her to slice her own bananas for her cereal has turned into her cooking dinner for the family. What started with me planning playdates for her has evolved into her texting her friends and them making their own plans (making me drive them, of course.)

I'm so excited to see what's going to happen in coming year. Will she get more responsibilities at her job? Will she discover some hidden talent? Will she find new passions, new favorite things to do? Will she get a boyfriend? Oh my gosh. So much new stuff to think about this year.

Tonight at The Girl's school is back to school night. I like this night. Tonight's the night where I get to meet her teacher. In past years the event took place in individual classrooms. I used to sneak a little note or treat into her desk. Tonight the event is in the school's common room, combined with the other 7th grade class and the 8th grade. I wonder how different tonight will be, how it will evolve. I think back to the first back to school night I attended when The Girl was in kindergarten. I was a rookie mom who forgot to bring a little treat to put inside her desk. The desks were tiny. The room was bright and colorful and none of the parents knew each other. Nowadays all the parents know each other, the desks are big and the kids are old.

I remember the 7th grade. My teacher's name, Miss Maxwell. For Christmas she gave everyone in the class bibles. I still have mine. The front cover melted in the sun and the biding is shot, but I still have it. She told a story once about how she worked in an office over the summer and saw some manilla folders that she liked. She was going to take some home, but then remembered it was stealing. She asked her boss if she could have some and he bought her a case. I think of that story every time I find a pen from work in my purse. I remember one girl had surgery on her legs and was in a wheelchair for a few months, then later she had surgery on her jaw and had to drink shakes. I remember I met my junior high bff and her twin sister and their mom who introduced me to Eggs and Rice and Soy Sauce. I remember once the principal, Mr. Hensley interrupted class to ask Miss Maxwell about a particular bible verse. She said she knew the verse but couldn't remember where it was found. She told the class to pull out our bibles and look for the verse. I was the one who found it. It was Proverbs 15:1 (A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.) I remember getting in trouble for writing something derogatory about a teacher on the bathroom wall, even though it wasn't me who wrote it. When those who did write it were discovered, I asked for an apology and the teacher said she wouldn't give me one because she didn't think she was too far off from thinking it was me int the first place. I remember having to read The Tell Tale Heart in front of the class. I remember having to memorize a poem and recite it to the class. I recited some poem about Dungeons and Dragons that I read in Read Magazine, which was sort of like the weekly reader for junior high kids.

I don't remember being as well liked as my Girl is. I don't remember getting the good grades that my Girl gets.

I hope The Girl has the best 7th grade year ever, has a lot of good memories, a lot of good stories.
I'm super proud of her.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kama'aina O Long Francisco

I moved to San Francisco 20 years ago.

Twenty years ago I was almost 21 years old, super skinny with bleached blond hair, more vices than what were probably good for me, no money in my pocket and not a lot of confidence. I moved to San Francisco with my friend P, who I have been friends with since I was 8 and he was 10. We moved into a flat with his girlfriend who was also my high school bestie, and another friend of ours. Our little Bubble Family lived together in (mostly) harmony for about 5 years when we spread our wings and became grown-ups, and ventured out on our own.

Today I'm almost 41, still have no money in my pocket, have only a few vices, a lot more confidence, am no longer skinny, and the bleached blond hair? Let's just say the drapes match the carpet these days.


Hubby and I were having a conversation about the term "kama'aina."

Kama'aina literally means "child of the land." In every day practice it defines someone who lives in Hawai'i or is from Hawai'i.

Last year I learned of a new, more complex definition of kama'aina. Last year I had the privilege of attending a hula workshop with Kumu Robert Cazimero. Before he started teaching us the hula we came to learn, he talked for a moment about what it meant to be kama'aina from somewhere. I think he only touched on the subject for a moment or two, but it was enough that it gives me pause every so often and I think about it.

Kama'aina means where your roots are. The definition of kama'aina doesn't have to relate specifically to Hawai'i.  One can be just as much kama'aina Brooklyn as another is kama'aina Waienae. Kama'aina not only means where you're from, but also what about that specific location that defines you.  What element of yourself can be defined by where you're from, and vice versa.

I grew up in Long Beach, CA. I lived in the same house from when I was two months old until I moved out just a month before my 21st birthday.
As a kid, I knew Long Beach inside and out. The thing is, however, I knew Long Beach inside and out, but through they eyes (and heart and soul) as a kid, then later as a teenager. I never knew Long Beach as an adult.
I can tell you story after story about
  • How when I was 8, the neighbor boy Charlie and I made sling shots with rubber bands and broken branches, then got in trouble when we aimed them at the little girl down the street and hit her in the arm.
  • how when I was 10 I used to ride my bike around the lake at El Dorado Park,
  • how when I was 13 I used to spend all my money at the hallmark store in Los Altos shopping center on Hello Kitty (because as a kid, there were no Sanrio stores around).
  • or how when I was 15 I used to spend my weekends at my friend E's house because her mom let us do more than my mom did
  • when I was 16 how I used to hang out at Bull 'n' Bun on summer afternoons hoping some  heavy metal guy would crush on me (yes, Bobby Sims, I'm talking about you)
  • Then later when I was 18 and I would take my fake ID and go to the Reno Room or Dick and Faye's Bistro on Saturday night.
  • Or when I was 19 I met my friend Rhonda and we used to go to clubs in Hollywood and see how many free drinks we could get cute guys to buy us just because we were cute girls in short skirts. 
  • Or plenty other stories about growing up in the LBC
But then I emmigrated from Long Beach and settled myself in San Francisco.

Because of San Francisco I can tell you stories about
  • Setting up a new apartment with three of my friends
  • The first friend I made outside of my regular group of friends (love ya, Prakash!)
  • My first cat who was all my own (miss you, Jack)
  • leaving the house at 10pm on our bikes to go see a band play, getting home at 2:30am, and still being able to wake up at 7am to work a full day.
  • discovering who I was and what I was capable of as an individual
  • the places I worked
  • the adventures I had exploring San Francisco and making it my home
and most importantly
  • meeting the love of my life, marrying him and starting a family
So here is my question. Of where am I kama'aina? Is it Long Beach? Is it San Francisco? Hubby says it's San Francisco. Although I'm most assuredly more SF than LBC these days, I had to work at it. I had to learn to be San Franciscan. I never had to work at being from Long Beach. I just am/was.

I'll probably never have a clear answer. I guess I'll just sum up my unanswered question with one simple phrase:
Me ke aloha ku'u home o Long Francisco.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Married again? - A Dream

Dreams are funky. Here's a dream I had the other night.

A long lost boy I had a crush on in junior high contacted me. He said we had to get a divorce because he had met the woman of his dreams and he wanted to marry her. Apparently we were married in what we thought was a fake wedding ceremony when we were 14, but it was actually real. I thougth "I'm married. How come I didn't need to get a divorce first." Then he reminded me I was from California. For the divorce to become official we had to fill out our paperwork at the place where we were married. We met at the place. It was some kind of sports bar. When we walked in the hostess said the restaurant was closed. My "husband" ordered from the to-go menu. The hostess then told us that the bar was open and we could order from the menu there. We sat down in a booth with some people I think I knew but I can't remember now. We told them we were there to get a divorce. They brought us our to-go order and told us we couldn't eat it there because it was 'to-go' and we were clearly "here." We ordered from the menu. While waiting, I got super hungry and broke open the to-go package. It had wings in it. I picked up the wings. They smelled delicious but everytime I picked one up it would break apart and dissolve in my hands and I only got to lick my fingers.

Why My Kids Are Better Than Your Kids* Part 1

This morning on Facebook, one of my FB friends (and more importantly, he's my friend in real life), posted a story from CNN about society as a whole having really bad handwriting.

I think it's true. Not only has our hand writing gotten shoddy, our use of abbreviations has become more prevalent, and with that, our sense of grammar has gone right down the pipes of the porcelin bus, for example, the use of "I" vs. "me." Like fingernails on a chalkboard when I hear it spoken and see it written incorrectly.)

I'm here to tell you, there is hope, and her name is . . . well I don't want to tell you what her name is . . . she's my daughter!!! Yay.

She insists on WRITING IN CURSIVE!  She even does those 3 hump lower case m's. I super love her.

PS - she also knows that Comic Sans is a bad idea.

*Before you get all in a snit about me thinking my kids are better than your kids, to me they are, just as you think your kids are better than any other kid. Lighten up.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Have a Great Idea: An Open Letter to "Orthodox Chews"

Dear Orthodox Chews,
I've always wanted to try your product and today I got the chance to. Yay!
See, the market by my office that sells your delicious taffy sells it for $7.99 for a one pound bag. Ouchie-wouchie, that's a lot of money. I don't have that kind of money to spend on candy.
Today I had to go out to the market and buy some snackies for some folks that are flying in today for a meeting. Most of them will have been in the air since "dark o'clock" and could probably use some sugar or salt upon their arrival. I went to the market not really knowing what to buy. I figured some cookies and some pop chips, along with some red bull and fizzy water would probably do the trick. As I was standing in line with my goodies I noticed your product displayed at an endcap.

I grabbed a bag and smiled. Here's my chance, I thought, to try Orthodox Chews.

I'll get a bag for my group coming in today. Bingo! I tried a red and white swirly one. I liked it a lot. I grabbed a purple one. Not my favorite, but then again, purple isn't my favorite flavor. I tried a few others. They were yummy. I liked how they were a litte hard at first and had to be sucked on a bit to get soft.

So here's my idea. Bear with me as I will get to it.
About 4 years ago my boss and a few other senior people from the office went to New Zealand and Australia for a few weeks to tour some of my company's properties. It was a big trip with a lot of people helping to make the trip a success. I was in charge of creating some kind of thank-you gift that of course thanked them for their hospitality, but also relfected the industry in which we work (wine) and our local culture (we're in San Francisco). I found Jelly Bean Wine Bar on the web. I found "recipes" for specific varietals and styles of wine using jelly bellies. I ordered gumball machines and jelly bellies from Jelly Belly Factory and filled each gumball machine with the correct recipe for a few different styles of wine (Australian Shiraz, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc), then created a cute litle card and sent the thank you gifts off to our hosts. It was really well received.

OK, so now here's my idea.
You should use Orthodox Chews to do the same thing with Manischewitz. That might be a fun project.

Yummy taffy,

Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

Rest assured I make no money from any of it.