TSUNAMI MOURNING

The 21st century has certainly arrived with a noticeable allotment of  geological incidents enough to cause anyone’s hair to stand on end.  The recent crop of disaster movies heralding the “end of times” plus sensationalized tv programs and news reports certainly contribute  to the angst.

I recently viewed a cable news program where  three scientists disavowed any pattern signaling a quickening path to  global destruction while smirking amongst themselves on camera.  Some terms expressed were “random“, “coincidental” and “natural processes” –  uttered dismissively to a television viewing  audience, eager to find holes in their “truths”.

After the Indonesian quake and resulting tsunami (which seemed as though it occurred just  last year along with the great Kona quake),  every tremor  (or crashing noise) caused most people to stop in their tracks, while peering around furtively for a place to hide safely from what surely must be the next big one.

China, Turkey, Chile, New Zealand, and more – all stepped  into the shaking arena to grab at the brass ring of  “the mother of all disasters“.   Semi-dormant volcanoes along the “rim of fire” blew their tops violently, and Kilauea, the folkloric abode of M. Pele, stepped up her fiery protestations in answer to the challenge.   Then, “along came Mary ” – Japan outdid them by thee trifecta of storms:  monstrous earthquake, catastrophic tsunami, and nuclear reactor meltdown.  If these multiple events happened in any other country, I would fear for their recovery.   In fact, since the Japanese are historically a resilient people who have proven their substance over and over again in the rebuilding of their island nation, there is no doubt in my mind that they will persevere, and eventually recover.  In looking at the numerous photos online, I am struck by the stoic faces of both victims and rescuers.  Despite mounting shock and grief, they  are getting down to the business of digging themselves out of the seemingly eternal rubble – even with rumbling aftershocks and the possibility of more waves.

From my island perch, I wish that I could assist in some way.  Donating to the Red Cross is the most sensible option for me, and recently First Hawaiian Bank  announced that  a program where monetary donations can be dropped off at their depository for the Japan Red Cross; an offer that I will take up.  If you decide to help out with a check to your local Red Cross, don’t forget to note in the memo “Japan Tsunami Victims” so that your gesture of assistance doesn’t get swept into the “general fund”.

I’ve seen many photos and videos of this monumental disaster  on You Tube, Facebook, and news web pages.  Here is a site with some very clear photos that will stop you in your tracks:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/03/japan_earthquake_aftermath.html

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View from the Eye of God

“The kidney must come out”. 

Straightforward and without unnecessary pleasantries, the doctor stated his course of action.  My husband and I looked into each other’s eyes, searching for some kind of confirmation, then back again at the surgeon, who I thought tapped his foot slightly in agitation.

“When?”, I asked.  The answer – next week.

It seemed simple enough; the extraction of a kidney.  He had two, for heaven’s sake, so there shouldn’t be a problem – or would there be?  What if the other one didn’t work?  Were they both operating  in tandem all these years?  If so, would the sole survivor be able to take on the vital task of blood cleansing by itself?  Should I give it a name??  Good grief – I felt as if I were the one having a medical crisis!

I hadn’t noticed that my appetite decreased slightly – nothing seemed very palatable afterall.  Sleep was not to be mine as I lay in the dark listening to my partner’s every breath and a sense of foreboding settled over me as I fought to remain calm and upbeat.

We vowed not to disclose this event to family and friends until the deed was done   A fleeting thought crossed my mind that I (alone) would be handling the explanations and I quickly put that out of my head.  This was not the time for “poor me’s” or self pity.  Remaining upbeat is normally a chore for this pessimist, but I did my very best for him and I know that it was appreciated greatly.

Today, whenever I feel myself getting irritated with one of his  supposedly irritating idiosyncracies – most likely conjured up by my inner lunatic, post-life, hormonal voodoo – I recall the week I sat by his bedside, staring alternately at his sleeping face or in the direction of the lonely kidney, praying for it to do it’s job well.  Nurses would  urge me to take a break or eat lunch outside and enjoy the lovely day.  To appease them, I would take a walk down to the cafeteria for a cup of bad coffee or roam the halls peering into other rooms.  I noticed that although my husband just had his kidney removed, he was situated on the orthopedic ward, which would explain the agonized moaning from the woman across the hall who suffered through double knee replacement.  It seems that the organ-removal wing was maxed out and orthopedics happily had a vacant  private room.   

By the third day, color appeared in his cheeks and my husband’s eyes were clearer.  He pointed out  that he asked the nurse to remove the intravenous morphine feed and I had a fleeting thought of inserting it into my own arm, pushing him to one side of the bed, and flopping down for some much needed sleep.   He was correct, of course, in that recovery would be quicker without the drugs.  Outside his room, I happened upon the double-knee replacement on a walker.  She smiled weakly as she hobbled past me, nodding that she could make it.  I noticed something familiar dangling from the end of her bed – a multi-colored triangle made of yarn – the “eye of God”, which I hadn’t seen since the 60’s in some Waikiki head shop.  As she passed me, her gaze apparently followed mine and she said “my niece made that for me to keep me safe”.  I commented that soon she’d be roller skating and we both giggled at the thought of her careening out of control past the nurses station.  She inquired about my own patient and noted that he slept soundly with no obvious discomfort – afterall, the “eye” was a good omen for their end of the floor.  I agreed wholeheartedly and wished her a speedy recovery. 

Months later, we are back to normal with a slight easement in our schedules.  He takes time to listen to the birds sing in the early morning while savoring a cup of coffee on the lanai.  An appreciation of our well-being has infused our every thought and smiles come easier.  Life is good.

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1:11:11

I’ve had these strange occurrences for the past year or two.  Whenever I happen to glance at the digital clock on the cable box, or my oven door, or my clock radio, the following readout is on display:

1:11 or 11:11

So what the hey is going on??  Occasional forays into the google search engine have revealed quite a few sites addressing this very same phenomenon, much to my amazement.  I have spent many late evenings scrolling through these thoughtfully built websites, and have found that some of them are eery; a few are just plain out there.   http://www.1111spiritguardians.com/

http://www.greatdreams.com/11coin.htm

http://site.uri-geller.com/11_11

and even wikipedia!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11:11_(numerology)

I emailed Uri Geller – the guy who bends spoons with his mind – and related my spooky 11:11 experiences over the past year or so.  He actually emailed back and thanked me for writing about my episodes.  Uri has several articles on his website about the synchronicity of those numbers and what they could mean to all of us.  It can’t just be coincidence that thousands of people are experiencing the same anomaly worldwide, can it? 

Many sites claim that the number 11 signifies an open door to otherworldly spiritualism.  Supposedly, those experiencing the “11” syndrome are the chosen few that hold answers that will lead our world out of the coming “dust” and into a better future. 

I have also read about references to the bible – specifically the Book of Revelations, or the coming ‘end of times’.    Pondering various apocalyptic scenarios everytime I catch 11:11 on the cablebox readout causes distress and apprehension on my part, especially given my basic pessimistic persuasion.  I was raised in the Roman Catholic church’s  strict faith and beliefs of the 1950’s, and as a young girl questioned a few of those beliefs.  The nuns could never give me a satisfactory answer – at least one that my young brain could accept as reasonable.  Nevertheless, I still consider myself a Christian and a very spiritual person, however I rarely attend church on Sundays, haven’t been to confession in years, and am now basically a Catholic expat who will someday write a lengthy spill about my years in an all girl’s convent.  (I’m trying to inject a bit of humor here).

Despite all of this reveal, whenever I peruse the Book of Revelations, listen to lecture or watch related programs on the History Channel, I try to relate various theories to my growing sense of foreboding – and lately to the “11:11” experience. 

Why are we here?  What is our purpose?  Why do events such as the 11:11 coincidences happen to so many at the same time?  Is there a message in this, and how do we find it?  Are those sharing in this simultaneousness also of like mind in our purpose?

 I believe that everyone should be entitled to have his or her own belief  in whatever or whomever helps them connect with their sole purpose of being here – which I believe is to find and develop your gifts in order to use them to the best of your ability in order to be happy, help others to do the same, and live peacefully and in harmony with nature.  

       …and meanwhile, here’s something fun  for ya to chew on:

take the last 2 digits of your birth year, and add them to the age you are turning this year!  (eg:  birth year = 1949, age this year = 62.  49 +62=111)

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A Gift of Love

possible future gift?

home sweet home

My kitty, Jack, presented me with a gift this morning.  I wonder if he spent hours scratching his little noggin while reviewing possible items that he knew I would appreciate? 

As I brewed a pot of coffee, I happened to hear a muffled “mee-yow” and glanced out the glass window of the back door.  He sat at attention in his usual spot, head cocked to the side, mouth slightly open in anticipation of a playful scratch-behind-the-ears and a handful of his favorite crunchy dry food.  I swear that his eyebrows (do cats have eyebrows?) were raised as if to ask me “…well… when are you coming out to pay attention to me?”. 

How can one resist such temptation?  This cat and I have a history of at least a year now.  I found him one stormy night, soaked to his bony carcass and hiding in the garden.  Much as I tried to coax him with a piece of fish, he resisted.  There was no trace of the bait  in the morning and I knew that he would return.  Six months later, he finally (and gingerly) took  food from my hand.  I always knew when he was around because he had (and still has) a raspy breath, as if a bone were caught in his throat.   About two months ago, my daughter and I finally coaxed him into the cat kennel (from our two beloved and deceased prior pets) and drove him to the veterinary clinic nearby.  They exclaimed that they had never observed so much  lice on a cat, (lice??  we thought it was lint- yikes!) and did as thorough an exam as they could with a still-wild feline.   He was determined to be fairly healthy, but underweight and feisty.  He got the first of two FIV vaccinations, plus was wormed.  We continued the worming medicine at home, and started him on Revolution, which took care of those nasty insects. 

Three weeks ago, I placed him in his kennel and drove him to the vet for a multiple assault:  second FIV shot, neutering, antibiotic shot and exploratory look at the throat.  Oh, and did I mention microchip?  The poor guy was so anesthetized when I picked him up later that afternoon, so I let him sleep in the cage all night.  The next day when I let Jack out, he was full of hiss and vinegar!  He lowered his head and peered up at me when I called him.  I could see that a swat was in order if I came close to the wall he put up.  There was no longer any trust!  I couldn’t come near him for awhile and it was just as well since we left for Oahu for a week.  Scott, who stayed at the house while we were gone, took great care of Jack and told me that his appetite and demeanor was back to normal about the day before we returned. 

So back to my gift this morning.  When I opened the door, a tiny Java sparrow fell into the house.  I think that Jack had him propped up at attention!  No teeth marks or blood – as if the bird died from fright.  Loud purring accompanied by short bursts of “…hey, where’s the gratitude?”.  Of course, I replied with lotsa loving and petting, plus the perfunctory handful of dry food.  He’s back rubbing my legs as I sit at the computer.   Awhile ago, I thought he gifted me with a baby mongoose, however I now think that I caught him in the act of hunting, and he dropped it at my feet in surprise.  When I tried to dispose of it, his protests were loud and angry.

We have a long road to tow.  Jack will not allow me to pick him up and put him in my lap yet.    I don’t believe he will ever be an indoor pet,  yet this cat and I are joined at the soul and although he sometimes exhibits a little bit of that wildness in the way of a wary look or swipe of a paw, I know that his heart is mine (or vice versa) and Jack is here to stay.

hunting

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Kona Town July 4th Parade

the Volcano
rainbow over valhalla
Senator Daniel Inouye & bride
Machesky’s and Keens being patriotic
support our vets
Kona Flyers & Jeannine

Taking a much needed break from yardwork, broken water pipes, and annoyance  in general, warranted a trip down the mountain to town to see anything but more dirt!  We made the decision to brave the mobs and attend the Kailua-Kona Independence Day parade by parking the perfunctory 2000 miles away and trekking in like normal locals do.  Of course, we had alternately been invited to a party, a bbq cookout, and pupus and cocktails safely tucked away on a nearby lanai – all great invitations  which we forfeited for the sake of doing something absolutely atypical, in our mad frustration of dealing with the day’s lack of progress. 

In order to beat the posse of revelers, four of us headed to the Fishhopper Restaurant (fka our beloved “Ocean View Inn” with the stellar ox tail soup) and grab a streetside table next to the open windows so we could sip maitais and zombies – yes we were going to splurge and make like  touristas  as we made the decision to relax with abandonment – while viewing the parade unobstructed.  When we arrived at the restaurant, all oceanside tables were occupied by tourists!! and we were relegated to a booth in the back of the room.  The host informed us that a front view table would cost $50 an hour (or was it $50 minimum order per person?? – I only heard the $50) because most people would order one drink and sit for the duration of the parade.  Now how would he know that we were going to do that??  As a matter of fact, the four of us were ravenous and thirsty and would’ve probably spent upwards of $200 after I reviewed their menu.  Since we had no other choice at the moment, we stuck to our booth, ordered a round of exotics, and waited for the procession of marchers, veterans, assorted funky automobiles, an Elvis impersonator with an embarrassed looking baton twirler, canoe club, the perfunctory Ms. Kona Coffee, big-wig politicians (whaaat???  Inouye, Ambercrombie and Mufi all in Kona for our small town parade?)…  it was fun – and there was even a helicopter on the back of a truck with a vocalist (hey, I know her – she sings at Huggo’s). 

We were getting pretty inebriated with the exotic drinks and manini pupus at the Fishhopper, so we planned to eat dinner somewhere else – after our rude introduction by the uncongenial host.  We stopped at Kona Inn bar to watch the oceanfront fireworks display – a big treat for small town Kailua-Kona – and continued trekking to Huggo’s.  Unfortunately, the kitchen had just closed (or so we were told) and we were left sitting in the bar like four starving animals.  I had stopped the liquor flow at the time of Fishhopper departure, but the guys kept at it.  Even though the kitchen was supposedly closed at Huggo’s, we all watched as a patron at the bar was served sizzling shrimp, reaking of heavenly garlic – accompanied by a platter of garlic bread.  To make matters worse, Steve tried to buy a drink for another man seated at the bar, however we watched with mixed horror and amusement as the bartender offered it to the guy with the savory feast.  Steve jumped up immediately and tried to get the error corrected, but too late – porky took a sip! 

The evening wasn’t a total bust – we really did enjoy the parade, the participants, and the fireworks.  It was wonderful to see the interest and participation by the residents, who apparently came out of the hills, nooks and crannies to have some fun in Kailua town. 

Back to the farm – waterline repaired two days later.  I now appreciate the simple act of turning on a faucet to get a nice flow of hot water for a shower; or the importance of light switches.  But living in Kona is similar to camping out sometimes – or perhaps I should say mentally camping out.  And it just takes a parade to show me how fortunate I really am!

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Da Bomb

On July 9, 1962, after many disappointing cancellations, the US Government’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)  detonated a thermonuclear warhead approximately 250 miles above Johnston Island.    

Various neighbors, friends and family all  climbed to the top of Brokaw Street late that night,  hoping to see the tell-tale  mushroom cloud on the horizon.  I don’t remember any mushroom cloud, but I do recall witnessing a brilliant flash of white and irridescent green that illuminated the entire sky – as if daylight decided to announce it’s abrupt arrival by  shoving  the night sky out of the way like a violent interloper.  Starfish_Prime_aurora_from_Honolulu_1  As the eerie green tinged  radiance  began to fade, it was replaced by a vibrant purple glow,  followed  by the most spectacular display of blood red-orange cloud formations that seemingly lasted for an eternity.  In hindsight, it wasn’t necessary  to trek up  the hill,  as the strange light show  surrounded us  with freakish glowing fingers that streaked wildly  across the dome above us.  We felt as though we were witness to a bizarre sunset.  

I recently came across an article that explained the phenomenon of the strange night sky caused by that explosion.   

“Starfish Prime”, as it was referred to by the AEC,   was detonated at about 897 miles  away from Hawaii.  The electromagnetic pulse that was created by the explosion was felt in Hawaii in the way of failing street lights and electronic devices such as radios and tv’s.   The artificial aurora that resulted, illuminated the sky over the Pacific for over 7 minutes. 

Starfish5Later, scientists found to their dismay that many low-level satellites were knocked out of service or totally crippled by the band of resulting radiation.   They also learned belatedly that some of the electrons and radioactive particles remained aloft in certain areas of atmosphere for over 5 years, returning to earth seasonally and mixing with lichen and fungi. 

As a young girl, I was only fascinated with the idea of the H-Bomb and the unusual atmospheric phenomena that resulted.  I had no idea of the destructive forces that were being unleashed on our planet.   There was no sound – so how could it be a bad thing?  Sadly, we were all so ignorant. 

I cannot imagine what kind of unseen damage   could be leftover from our government’s explosive underground tests in Nevada.   What about other countries that either have   or who are currently trying to furiously develop weapons  with unimaginable destructive powers, performing  both atmospheric and underground “testing”. 

If such an event, so many years ago, could instantly turn a ‘night sky’ into a ‘day sky’ while disrupting electronic behavior from about  a 1,000 miles away, I shudder to think about  what could happen with   the availability of modern technology  and strength in weapons and delivery systems today.  With that thought, I think I’ll go appreciate a genuine sunset from my lanai and ponder our options.storm-sunset2

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“Music for Awhile” – or forever

While cruising You Tube, I found many versions of Purcell’s most (in)famous composition, “Music for Awhile“, penned for John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee’s adaptation of Oedipus.  In the play, this piece is performed by a counter-tenor during a scene that involves three priests (one of them blind), who try to conjure the spirit of King Laius from the otherworld to reveal his murderer, who just happens to be his son, Oedipus, who has consequently (and unwittingly) married his mother, Jocasta.
furies
The lyrics allude to Alecto – referring to one of the three furies, who is able to free souls from Hades, using her mythical weapons (a head full of snakes and a whip).  

This hauntingly beautiful Baroque piece is by far (in my view – and that’s not saying much!)  transcendent of Purcell’s other works, and will become part of my current musical repertoire (vocal and piano). 

Ala Moana Hawn VillageMy interest in music runs deep and was instilled early on during   front porch sessions  with various melodically adept family members and friends.    Harmonizing was the norm, and ukulele and guitar skills  were  learned by listening and watching others.   I remember walking with my cousins from Kapahulu to Waikiki on Sunday afternoon to the Kalima’s house (behind Thomas Jefferson School)  to sit on their porch and listen to the wonderful  jam sessions  in their carport.   Jesse Kalima,  his sons  and a few other  friends and relatives played  instruments  and sang all the great old Hawaiian songs  – it was a very special time.    Aunty Juanita  and Uncle Sam Kapu Sr.  were great friends of my grandmother, (who  played piano for Sam Alama’s band).   Whenever we danced hula in Waikiki (with Aunty Rose Joshua and Henry Pa – Magic Hula Studio – what a terrific name!), we were accompanied by many of the greats of   Hawaiian music.  Most people who were born and raised in Hawaii during my time, are fortunate in that we have such a wonderful  and important part of our culture ingrained in us in much the same way.  And now the younger generations are moving it forward, improvising and growing our inherited creativity for their children’s children  to appreciate.   Music is essential to our ethnology – it defines who we are.    Like a language, each culture has it’s own   dialects and styles of music, which relay information  inherent to its indigenous fundamentals.   It’s these stories that bind  ancestral alliances over centuries.   Although it probably started with a caveman pounding a stick on a rock to produce a rhythmic pulse,   in my world, it began with the powdered wig composers. 

My classical training started with piano and violin lessons from the nuns at Sacred Hearts Academy in Kaimuki  and continued until I entered high school, where my interests were unfortunately diverted.     Five years ago, I subsequently began piano lessons again and enjoy it greatly today, along with choir and voice class.  I thank everyone, from my grandmother, to Sister Mary Dominic; my hula teacher; the various school and church  choirs I participated  in; Roberta King, my current piano mentress – all of it – for allowing  me to have joy in my life through music. 

And what does Henry Purcell, the English-Baroque master have to do with all of this??   Well, my daughter, who has the blessings of a big, classical soprano voice, has inspired me to fully research any piece that I am taken with, so that I can present it with believability.   At this time, it is baroque styled music (which I believe is the forerunner for many current styles, including reggae)  that has grabbed my attention.  And like my grandmother once  said to me, “…if you fall in love with a song, find out what it’s saying, and figure out how to convey that  message so that it’s believable, and touches someone else.  Otherwise, it’s just notes on a page.”    And I believe that I could apply that concept to just about everything  I do.

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