Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me sunburned

Today was positively spectacular.  It was just how paradise is suppose to be.  I got up early to shop the Volcano Village farmers' market. If you don't get there by 7:30 or 8:00, a lot of the most ono grinds are sold out.  On my way, I stopped to drop off some trash and recycling at the transfer station.  That's how we do it here.  No garbage service.  Just chuck your smelly bags into the trunk of your car and off to the dump.  It's not bad really.  Regardless of which way you're headed, there's a transfer station on your way.  When I arrived at the Volcano station, I backed up to the dumpster as usual.  When I got out to open the back of the truck, I noticed a mommy kitty and two babies curled up on a rock nearby.  "Ah," I heard myself say out loud.  No matter.  They were the only ones who could hear me.  Mommy looked asleep, but I think she was watching me through squinted eyes, the way cats do.  I lifted two bags out of the truck and flung them into the giant rubbish receptacle.  Then, I fired up the truck and maneuvered it over to the recycling bins.  I got out, reached for the plastics and, as I turned around with the bag, there was mommy kitty, about three feet from me.  I put down my bag and tried to approach her, hand outstretch, whispering, "Hello, kitty kitty."  She quickly backed away, very skittish.  She was really pretty; light grey tabby striping with big, green eyes.  I looked over toward where I had seen her with the kittens and instead of just two, there were four adorable little fluff balls watching from a safe distance. I dropped off my recyclables, then made a little side trip to the Kilauea Store, where I purchased a bag of exorbitantly priced Little Friskies.  Then it was back to the dump to feed the kitties.  They were hungry!  The kittens are small, but look healthy and were big enough to chow down on the kibbles.  Mommy looked a little skinny, as you might imagine.  Tomorrow, I'll call a local group called Advocats to see if I can find someone who can catch them and either get them good homes or at least get them spayed/neutered.  Until then, I'll head up there every other day or so to make sure they get a little something to eat.  It's on my way to work and the gym, so why not?  Poor little babies. 
I spent about and hour and a half finishing up the the lawn mowing project I started yesterday. That was about an hour too long without sunscreen.  Youch!  My previously pasty shoulders got a little fried. Crawford, Hopps and I sat in the grass in the shade of the banana plants for awhile. Doc likes to lay under the carport on the driveway.  I think he likes the cool cement.  It was actually pretty hot for the pooches.   So after a short while, it was back inside to enjoy the blowing fans and to get a drink.  Tonight, Doc is out on the back lanai.  
The farmers' market was hoppin' this morning.  I blew my wad there; Kau coffee, sticky bun, home made tortillas, salsa, goat mozzarella, peppers, tomatoes, a bunch of fresh basil, salad mix and some kind of heavy rye bread with raisins and walnuts in it.  It's all good!  Considering the bounty, I think I exercised superhuman restraint!  Now if I could only muster the same will power when it comes to actually eating the stuff.
Yesterday, I harvested three nice zucchini from the garden and some nice, baby green beans.  After rustling through the leaves to pick the beans, I notice a nice rash had broken out on the insides of my forearms.  They were covered with little red hives that itched like mad.  I guess I'm allergic to bean leaves.  
A hui hou.  Aloha!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

An old favorite song

Hilo now has what may be the weirdest radio station in the known universe. KHBC is actually a pretty old station, but was previously broadcast only on the AM dial. Now, it's comes into my car via FM signal. Better yet, Kahikina and Lyman, two of my faves from KAPA (and two of the most well known radio personalities on the island), recently defected from their old digs and are now part of the evening drive time, Pau Hana Party show on KHBC. They share the mics with a gal named Pohai. Initially, I wasn't too keen on Pohai, thinking Lyman (formerly one of the boloheads on KAPA) and Kahikina (aka Tommy Ching, the Polynesian Pirate) could handle the show quite nicely on their own. Now, however, I see that she really adds zaniness. In fact, she's hilarious. Pohai has the perfect female radio voice, deep, a little raspy yet uniquely feminine. I like her. KHBC is strange because the station's musical offerings are all over the map. They might play a classic Hawaiian tune, followed by U2, followed by Buck Owens. In the morning, they play a lot of country (the a.m. DJ calls himself Myna Bird) and at night a lot of Jazz. But really, at any given time, you might hear just about anything. So the other morning, there I was, listening to Myna Bird, parking my car at the Bank of Hawaii, when on came a song I haven't heard since I was a little kid. And wouldn't you know it, I remembered every stinkin' word. It's called Tennessee Bird Walk. Click on the link and take a listen. The tune is a classic. Listen once and it'll be rattling around in your head fo' days. This is such a catchy little ditty that I'm now inspired to learn it on my ukulele.

The assignments are already starting to come in for school. I've been asked to submit two short stories by June 26th. Gulp! Since I've only written one short story in my life (fiction, that is), I've got to get crackin' and whip up another one.

I'm excited that my new laptop is on it's way from Apple to Hawaii. I suspects it's parts originate from places all over the world; maybe the hard drive is made in Taiwan, the micro-chip in China, the RAM from Dublin and assembled in South Korea. That's just a guess, but I could be close. Whatever. As long as it gets here by next week and works and I can quickly refresh my Apple memory and figure the contraption out, all will be well. Of course, I'll have to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay for the crazy thing.

Today, I spent the morning perusing produce at the Hilo Farmers' Market. Mangos and lychee are back in season. Yay! I also splurged on a new aloha shirt. Those of you who know me know that I really need another one of those... (like a puka in da po'o). It's really cute, though; maroon with tiny pineapples all over.

A hui hou. Aloha!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Aloha Tim Russert

I was saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of Tim Russert. With the sorry state of mainstream journalism today, we can ill afford to lose one as brilliant and dedicated as Tim. I can only hope that those he mentored will carry the torch for us all. What a brilliant, yet extremely cool guy. It's funny. Russert was always amazed that he, a simple (albeit genius) boy from Buffalo, was able to hold court with presidents and popes. There are plenty of people out there lucky to have held court with him, too. I would love to have spent just half an hour with him over a beer and some wings at the Anchor Bar.

Kudos to NBC for their fantastic tribute to their friend, mentor and colleague last night.

After hearing that news, plus the stories of the boy scouts killed by a tornado, yesterday morning was a real tear jerker.

I think about my dad, who loved politics, and I think about Tim Russert, who was the voice of American politics, and I feel badly that they are going to miss the tail end of the most exciting election year since 1968.

On a cheerier note, Crawford peed and pooped outside this morning. Small miracles can make me smile.

Business has been pretty slow at the winery. We still have visitors. We are noticing, however, more people coming in, tasting wine, buying a magnet and a bookmark, then leaving. So yesterday, I actually left work an hour early, saving the winery a whopping $9.30. That hasn't happened in awhile.

Today I will work on a story and clean the house. We may make a trip to town today, too. If so, I'm determined to get a smoked salmon musubi fix. I've been jonesin' for one of those for days.

A hui hou. Aloha!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Down for the count

I went to the doctor on Monday. Not because I'm really sick or anything. I just finally found one to take me, so went in for an initial checkup and to schedule a physical down the road. Ironically, I did come down with my second cold in as many months last Friday and am still fighting the clog. But I had made the appointment several weeks ago, so I went anyway, even though I was taking a risk that my new doctor would think I had actually come in for a cold. Who goes to the doctor with a cold? What do I look like, a total weenie? Anyway, so what did I learn? (Channel you inner Michael Jackson now....) I learned I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm really really fat, you know I'm fat, I'm fat, you know it.....

Ah but my blood pressure is a screemin' amazin' 110 over 70. Alrighty then. I'll take that any day. I'm going for a blood test, maybe tomorrow morning, to check my thyroid and a few other things. Seems that's something women of a certain age should have done every once in awhile.

Today was a bit scary at the winery. A mother, father and two daughters were tasting. The youngest daughter, a teenager of about 18 or so, was not old enough. So she stood behind her parents just to listen while they imbibed. At one point, she told her mother she wanted to go lie down in the car. Mom gave her the keys. The girl turned and the next thing we heard was a loud crash and thud. The girl was down! She had fainted or had a seizure and had taken out the card rack near the doorway on her way to the floor. She was quite dazed for awhile after she came to. Her parents insisted there was no need to call 911. Her older sister was a first year medical student who admitted she knew just enough to be dangerous. It scared the bejeebers outa me! We brought her water, cool towels for her forehead. We offered food. We were worried about her. Poor kid. It was some drama for our little winery!

The vog rolled in with a vengeance this afternoon. We haven't had much of it for several weeks. Today, the trade winds died and our luck ran out. Nasty!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Barack rocks!

Ron has a cold. The poor guy is miserable. This his morning, he called in sick - to himself, of course - and chose to stay in bed. Abby and I have taken over his office. We're blogging, getting chin scratches and watching our local morning show rather than streaming stock prices and CNBC. Abby sits on the desk blocking about half my view of the screen. I don't mind. He's a sweet boy.

So it seems the local boy will be democratic nominee for president. He's over-the-top popular here, and there are plenty of testimonials from people who say they always knew he was destined for greatness. I wonder if he speaks any pidgin. Anybody born and raised here should. It would be totally cool if, instead of addressing a crowd as "fellow Americans," he would come out with an enthusiastic, "Howzit! How you stay? Da polls goin' be choke fo vote da local boy, yeah?"

I've been called in to work a bunch more hours at the winery this week and next and I'm not all that happy about it. As fun as it is most of the time, after two days in a row I'm pretty sick of giving the shpeel. Or is that schpeal? Schpeil? Ah, found it. It's from Yiddish. Spelled schpeel or schpiel. Oy vey!

Speaking of spelling, did you catch the Scripps' National Spelling Bee this week? Talk about high drama. I think it's more exciting than the Superbowl. Seriously.

It's day two in a row of rain. Of course, that's nothing here. No worries yet. Still, the long grass must wait now to get mowed. With no sun, however, it should grow more slowly.

A hui hou. Aloha