Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good boy, good time

My BFF Lisa ( Best Fairbanks Friend) challenged me in a recent email to use the word horticulture in a sentence. How's this:

You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her appreciate it.

Lisa also mentioned someone famous named Dorothy Parker. Famous to most people that is, but not to me, literary dilettante that I am. So I looked her up and now vow (brown cow) to read her stuff. She sounds funny, like someone I'd have liked to jaw with over a latte. Too bad she's already punted the pail as they say. Well, that's how I say it.

The groggy doggy Doctor dog and I made our way to the vet for a clean bill of health yesterday without too much trauma. I may now be deaf in my right ear from his high decibel whining, but otherwise we're fine. He's eleven years old now and needs an extra oomph to jump onto the bed these days, not to mention a ramp to get into the truck. He's also still a Satan-possessed psycho mutt, but otherwise sweet and sprightly as ever. Shoots. I need an extra oompth to jump onto the bed now, too. I do hate that they make us wait for so long every time we got to the clinic, even though we have an appointment and when there's no obvious emergency to preclude seeing us. It was a good half hour before we were escorted into an exam room and another 20 before the doctor strolled in. Good thing my boy was so heavily sedated. I might have done well to take one of his pills. Then I'd have been as patient a patient as he. Driving home might have been a bit sketchy....

This afternoon I celebrated my BHF (Best Hawaii Friend) Janet's 50th birthday at my other BHF Kathie's house, eating lasagna and giant wedges of red velvet cake, watching Elvis' GI Blues and drinking margaritas. I wish Janet could turn 50 every day. Janet's son, my BHTF (Best Hawaii Teenage Friend) Carson was there too, reminding us how much fun helium can be. Carson is a good sport, hanging out with three old... er, middle aged women like us. It was good fun!

We've had a few earthquakes of late. One last week registered 4.1 and woke me up. Another tiny temblor quivered day before yesterday. This morning the earth stood still, but we were treated to a fine combination of vog and rain. Ah paradise.

A hui hou. Aloha!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Furlough Fridays spark protests

It's a sad state of affairs in Hawaii. Here, in the birthplace of our president - a walking example of what a good education can do for you if you apply yourself - kids are being shortchanged big time. The teachers union has agreed and the legislature sanctioned something called furlough Fridays. Public schools in hawaii are now closed on Fridays and remain so for the next 12 weeks of school. It's unclear now whether the kids will attend the requisite number of days required for federal funding under No Child Left Behind. Many have asked why the teachers can't just take the pay cut they agreed to and still work those Fridays. That's what people who work for private industry are doing these days. (Those lucky enough to still be working anyway.) The teachers make an eloquent argument. You wouldn't ask a lawyer or doctor or accountant or other professional to work days for free, they say. We too are professionals, they argue, and should not be expected to do something for nothing. I agree that teachers are professionals. I also believe them to be a most underpaid and overworked lot, especially considered the importance of their charge. That said, there is one huge difference between teachers and other professionals. Doctors, lawyers and accountants are not paid by taxpayers, nor are their salaries negotiated by union representatives. Many do regular pro-bono work. There were so many options suggested to counter the furlough Friday idea that were not considered by either the teachers, their union reps, the school board or the legislators. Some charter schools, also public but allowed greater operational independence, have come up with cost cutting measures that precluded them from having to close one day a week. Needless to say, people are peeved and protests will continue outside the state capital every Friday. There are also two class-action lawsuits pending. How much will it cost the state to defend those? Sheesh. What a mess. Of course, you could pick an issue, any issue and make the same claim. What a mess.

Tomorrow I will sit in on an English composition class at the college. That should be a hoot. I never took that class. I'll probably go Thursday, too. The instructor is a favorite among students, so I know I'll learn something.

A hui hou. Aloha!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shoots and ladders

Yesterday, we borrowed a neighbor's expandable ladder and schlepped it across the road. I toted the front end - or at least walked in front, for who knew which end was really which - and Ron carried the back. We stretched and leaned it against the gutter. I ascended, the aluminum steps and rails stiff and unyielding under my feet and hands. I liked that. My pockets were stuffed with tools and my head with plans to take down the tilting antenna. It sagged at a precarious angle, ready to tumble. We decided it would be best to remove it before it fell and impaled someone. Like me, for example. Rusty, yes, but the bracket was still stronger than I or the screwdriver or wrench or hammer or whatever else I held in my wimpy little hands. I grunted. It was no use. "Shoots," as they say here in paradise. The bolts were fused with chunks rusted away, so I couldn't get a grip. We hoisted up the reciprocal saw fitted with a hack blade and I cut the thing into manageable pieces, eventually dislodging it from the tweaked and oxidized brackets. Ta da! What an amazing gadget! It sliced through the metal like buttah. I didn't fall and break my neck. (Been there, done that, don't recommend it.) The trickiest part was going back down the ladder. It's always easier to climb up. Ron was grateful. High places are not his favorite.

I had my eyes examined the other day. The good news is that I still don't need bifocals or reading glasses. The bad news is that, as my ophthalmologist says, "We lose the elasticity in our skin and our eyelids begin to droop as we age." Super. Just what I wanted to hear. Here's a news flash for ya, doc. It happens to other body parts, too.

Go Dodgers! Go Yankees so the Dodgers can kick your okole in the World Series! Go Broncos!

Did I mention that it's raining?

A hui hou. Aloha!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Just unwrap and enjoy

One of the best things about shopping at Costco is the samples. At the end of almost every aisle, you'll find a cheerful, apron-clad, white-hatted person - usually a woman - doling out some goodie or other; a new juice in tiny paper cups, a slice of some new smoked ham on a cracker, a bite-sized hunk of granola bar. Sadly, it was one of those very offerings yesterday, there within those hallowed warehouse halls, that sparked a pang of internal angst regarding the level of laziness to which we as a species have fallen. One of the women had placed pieces of something from a box into small, wavy-edged cupcake papers. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the something was wedges of hard boiled egg! These were prepackaged hard boiled eggs. Eggs already hard boiled FOR YOU. Each one is individually wrapped inside the box. I'm still reeling.

It was good to get out of the rain for the day, eat a fresh malasada and some cheap-but-OK-for-the-price sushi. Other than the eggs and their impact on my sensibilities, it was a splendid island road trip.

Did I mention they are already boiled for you? What's next, instant Starbucks?

A hui hou. Aloha!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Rain on the brain

October 1 marks the start of the wet season here in Hawaii. Oh goodie. Here in beautiful Glenwood, mud capital of the Pacific, we received 107.46 inches by month's end August. Stats for September aren't in yet, but today's deluges (there were several), should put us well on our way to a fat, 200-inch year. Did you know that algae can grow on car paint? Mold too. Our cars don't get dirty in the traditional sense here. They just grow creeping, slimy plant and animal life. Ferns sprout from the house gutters.

As I drove home from tutoring this afternoon, squinting through the water-logged windshield, I cranked the volume to hear the radio over the din of the fast, fwap fwap of the wiper blades. Some cheesy song played, lamenting the crooner's location somewhere on the cold, snowy mainland. She longed melodically for sunny Hawaii. I wanted to poke out the dial, to jab it with the point of my enormous, still dripping unbrella, but I was driving. To grasp the improvised javelin with both hands would have been tricky while hydroplaning, even for an excellent driver like me. So I turned the nasty thing off and mumbled some self-pacifying explitive under my breath. It's all enough to dampen the spirits of the cheeriest person, which I am. Ask anybody. I consoled myself with not one but two fat spam musubis with furikake from J. Hara store. Fresh, warm, tasty. It's Hawaiian comfort food with no ingredients that come from Hawaii. Rice, spam, nori. Sort of like lomi salmon. Technically the tomatoes and onions can be grown here, but the ancient Hawaiians didn't grow those, nor did they eat said fish. Yet it's a tradition offering, served at every luau. I defy even the most proficient angler to catch a salmon off the cliffs at South Point. In this warm water, that would be one sluggish buggah.

Why is Pago Pago pronounced Pango Pango? Why don't we change the English spelling of the place to reflect the native pronunciation? These things eat at me. Why is Worchester pronounced Werster? Bejing was once Peking, right? Should we not spell Phuket (Thailand) differently when using standard Arabic lettering? Fookette, maybe? Nah. I like misprouncing that one.

A hui hou. Aloha.