Friday, December 19, 2008

Save Me!

I think my dad was exceptionally proud of knowing that at one point in my life, I was a card carrying First Aid/CPR certified individual. He made a point of showing me his own card. It was a bonding moment for the both of us. Mind you, my card stated that I was certified to bandage or save a life . . . whether I could remember how to bandage or save a life was another question. But it felt exhilarating to know that I had accomplished such a huge task, and having the card in my wallet was pretty cool. Dad had a much cooler card, but I won't quibble.

My First Aid/CPR certification has long since expired and I never got around to renewing it. I've always thought that if the occasion ever arose I could probably still swing the whole First Aid/CPR . . . no sweat. I've watched enough ER shows to be able to pull it off. How hard could it be? 

I was put to the test. It shook me to my core -- and even now, I'm sure I did it all wrong. The thought that someone's life was in my hands and in my ability to count and breath life back into their body, was frightening. Even though I appeared to be calm and collected, inside my heart was pounding out of control and my mind was racing trying to remember, "Was it 3 quick breaths and 2 compressions or is it 2 breaths and 3 compressions? Or is more than 3 or less than 2?" My cousin was able to get a hold of the paramedics and fire department and they came quick. I pushed every conceivable thought out of my mind for fear that I might start screaming words! thoughts! phrases! gibberish!

The sound of sirens in the distance never sounded so beautiful to my ears. They were coming, I told myself. Help was coming. They would help. They can help. They were calm and reassuring. I never doubted that they would know what to do. It was like watching a well oiled machinery up close and personal. My father was a fire fighter for over 30 years, and watching these men (men of his own calibre) working in such close quarters and still appearing cool, calm and collected; I was so proud of them...of their effort, their care and their compassion. It's an image that I will carry with me always. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Much I Know....

1. Most people generally put their best foot forward when they meet you for the first's usually what they do with their other foot that can be surprising.

2. How a person treats their significant other when he/she thinks no one is looking will either lift your heart or crush it.

3. People who generate unsolicited kindness toward others absolutely gain my heart. I aspire to be more like them and am always in awe of them.

4. People who are confident in expressing their thoughts and ideas always gain a smile from me. I draw inspiration from their ability to be articulate. I admire that gift.

5. In solitude, we often show our truer self. I wonder why we don't trust ourselves enough to show it to others?

6. Sometimes a person can be hurtful without intent; sometimes a person can be intentionally hurtful.

That's all I got so far...glean what you will.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Stream of M&M Consciousness

I've got the M&M's out and Frank Sinatra crooning in the background. For some reason I'm just really in a Frank Sinatra mood. Ahhh...old blue eyes, he really does the trick.

**eyeing an M&M suspiciously...could be icky***

I went to visit my aunt in the hospital this evening after I got off of work. Something has been gnawing at me for the past few days; something my cousin said to me. She stopped by the house to drop off something...or pick up something. Anyway, it was just a casual comment, but after she left I found myself sitting there on the couch in a stupor of thought.

**ohh, that was a bad one...yuck!**

It was one of those moments when you have a thought or an idea perched just on the tip of your brain, but for some reason you can't really get it to take a solid form. It took a few days for me to sort it through. When I went to work today, it was the same routine except for the fact that I purposely left the radio off in the car. I just didn't feel like having excess noise in my head. Without the radio, and my usual don't-talk-to-me-in-the-morning mood, the silence allowed me ample opportunity to slide my thoughts left, right, up, down, pick it up and move it in the corner to make room for other thoughts.

Now, that I think about it, I'm sure my cousin must have been a bit confused as to why I hadn't turned the radio on. I think he's somewhat use to the one sided conversation he has on our drive out, but without the radio to fill the silence it probably made it a bit more weird.

When my aunt first went into the hospital, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and she needed to be treated for her asthma and a nagging cough she couldn't get rid of. I took her to the emergency room and stayed with her all day when they finally admitted her. I stopped by to visit with her several times after work each day. They moved her from one floor to another and she had a host of doctors all trying to diagnose her condition. The pneumonia they covered, the asthma was treatable, but the cough just had them stumped. Then the doctors were saying that they suspected she may have a tumor in her lung. But, at that point, it was all just speculation and also the worst case scenario. No one was saying anything definitively, it was just something on a list of things to rule out.

**orange, red, yellow, brown, blue, green, hmm...I thought there were more colors**

The worst case scenario turned out to be cancer on her lung, but they caught it early and chemotherapy should put things right again. Okay. Then, I missed a visit and went home right after work...too much paper work, gotta prepare for the next day's work load. Everyone's busy, rush, rush, rush...another day ends, another missed was a long day, even more paper work and the next day's work load is going to be crazy. The weekend comes and goes. No visit, no reason.

**I'm running low on M&M's**

When my cousin stopped by the house I told her, as she was leaving, to say hello to our aunt. As she was walking out the door, she said "Why don't you call her? I'm sure she'd love to hear from you." I paused. Even as I paused, I couldn't believe that I had paused. I mean, really? What was that all about?

**eww...that one was really bad. Yucky, yuck, yuck**

My aunt's husband told me that they were still running more tests on her. They were going to send a scope down her throat to determine if the cancer started in her lung and if it had spread, or if it had started somewhere in her stomach or pancreas and spread to her lung. Everyone is being very positive and very optimistic. Did I mention that? That everyone is being very positive and optimistic? Positive and optimistic. Positive. Optimistic.

**the M&M's aren't working...and I have eight left**

"So, they said it's cancer." She said it so matter-of-fact as if the diagnosis was harmless as the common cold. She started her first chemotherapy this evening...I was there. I'm glad I was there. I smiled at the nurse as she happily came in to explain the process. She was positive and optimistic. I smiled at my aunt, and laughed, and talked about work and all the mundane things that will show I am also positive and optimistic. Her doctor said the cancer started from her pancreas and spread to her lung. My aunt is positive and optimistic. She told her doctor she refuses to accept anything less than a full recovery. They will keep her in the hospital for three treatments of chemo to monitor her response and then she will be able to come home as an outpatient.

**I have two M&M's left...I'll name one Positive and the other Optimistic and I'll eat them**

Just so you don't think I was totally off point, I figured out why I paused...and why I stopped going to the hospital. You don't need to know why, just that I figured it out. Funny how things work out like that, huh?

**It's a good thing I'm done cause I'm out of M&M's...thanks for the smooth vocals Frank!**

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blogging on a Blog

Last month I blogged about the need, nay the desire for quiet...shush, is basically what I wrote. It is often my mantra when the decibels start to increase beyond my liking. In my effort to drive my point home, I used my cousin as an example. That probably wasn't very nice now that I've had time to reflect. I've also toyed with the idea of removing the blog in question, you know...just in case. LOL. I shared my blog with another cousin (who happens to be the brother of the cousin I blogged) who found the humor in what I wrote, but's a bit mean of me to say those things about him, right? It's all true, mind you, but still...

I don't know why I don't like a lot of noise. I much prefer quiet and solitude to the noisy, rambunctiousness (is that a word?) of the world around me. Sheesh, it makes me sound like an old person. LOL. Hmm...well, I guess I am, sort of...getting there anyway. I'm fairly certain I was a loud, noisy, obnoxious child growing up. Weird. Oh well.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Christmas carols are playing on the t.v. in the background, and the neighbors Chihuahua's are barking up a storm next door. It's 1:12 a.m. I've been thinking how weird it will be to not have snow this Christmas. Granted, I've complained for the majority of those years regarding the snow, but when you don't have it anymore...well, you know how it is.

**ooh..I just found a stash of M&M's**

My aunt went into the hospital just before Thanksgiving. She had a bout with pneumonia and hadn't been able to shake it. Long story short...she got a second case of pneumonia and finally decided to go to the hospital. It's going on 3 weeks now...they found a shadow on her x-rays and have been trying to determine what it is. The results are finally in..she has cancer. It's in my head and I'm able to completely understand and process the meaning, but...not really.

She's an extraordinary woman, my aunt. There are a handful of people that I credit for laying the foundation of my childhood: my grandmothers (Sasa & Luisa), my father, and my aunty Nu'u. As a child I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents,

**eww...I got a yucky M&M**

we all did. At any given time, there were at least 8 grandchildren all under the age of 12; on a good day we were at full force with 11 grandchildren all under the same roof for a whole weekend. My aunt was the designated babysitter. At the tender age of 6 or 7, I had no idea my aunt was still in high school. I didn't even know what being in high school meant. I always thought of her as one of the big people, a grown up. She took us (all of us) to the store to get candy, she drove us around to do errands, she fed us, made sure we took our naps (can you believe we took naps...all of us), and took a shower before bedtime, and made sure we went to bed on time: 8pm.

As I got older, I began to realize she was totally cool. She drove a cool car that she actually knew how to fix if it broke down, she had an insane music collection that she let us play whenever we came over to the house, she never yelled or screamed at us, and she taught us a lot of cool and interesting stuff (that we would or could never do at home). But what I love the most about her is that she always seemed fearless. She spoke her mind, stood her ground, and she would not hesitate to kick your ass if you messed with her.

I'm not sure how I deviated from the Christmas theme to aunty Nu'u. Funny how things happen that way.

**yuck, yuck..another icky M&M**

I'll tell you more about her another day...I can barely stay seated. Mornin' all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I don't want to move again...ever

Next to having to get up early in the morning, I absolutely despise the act of moving! I have moved (on my own) a total of five times. Five! And this last move is only temporary, but necessary. But still, it doesn't make the moving process any less horrid. I am absolutely thankful for my family that have helped me out every time that I did move (and pawned my stuff off on them that I didn't want to lug around with me).

I tried to do a change of address online...simple, easy, and it alleviates having to mail in a card which could take however long it takes to process, or from having to go into the post office. But to complete the online process it is going to cost me $1.00. Granted it's a small price to pay to do an address change online, but really? A dollar? They say it's to prevent fraudulent, they're going to charge me a dollar?! See, that just adds to my frustration of moving! So, now I will have to go to the post office and make the change in person. Great!

On a much lighter note...with the help of my family, it took me two days to complete the moving process. Day 1 was the back-breaking move from the apartment to the storage unit, and day 2 was the cleaning of all the assorted items that I forgot to shove into the moving truck. The miscellaneous items were finagled into the storage unit where they will remain until another move is attempted to a more permanent place of residence. Again, my family was instrumental in the final clean and move, which I am most grateful. If it weren't for them, I would have sat down in the middle of all those boxes and had a massive breakdown. My aunty Nu'u always says, "that's what family is for." Man, am I glad I got family!

Hope Aboundeth

"Sad soul, take comfort, nor forget
That sunrise never failed us yet."
~ Celia Thaxter

Friday, November 28, 2008

Did you know or do you care....

In old England, hanging day was Friday, and the hangman's pay per job was 13 pence. That combination, however unreasonable, added another eerie aspect to superstitions about Friday the 13th.

Another one? Okay...

It was the early day Mormons around Salt Lake City who became most widely known for their "dog coats." The less affluent of them shaved their dogs and wove the cuttings into course cloth.

Just one more...

You know what started the huge popularity for T-shirts? World War II. All armed services required GI's to wear GI underwear.

And now you know...

A new word, a new day

Machiavellian: (adj) Suggestive of or characterized by the principles of expediency, deceit, and cunning attributed to Niccolo Machiavelli.

sentence: It was all done with Machiavellian cunning by which he could gently and gradually bring about the knowledge of their brother's secret.

Charlie Chaplin said...

"You need not be famous to write something worth remembering, worth preserving, worth publishing."

Every Tid-bit Counts

It is the written word that I love. It is the written word that frees me from the jumbled, stumbling elementary vocabulary that I tend to spew in conversation. I have always had a love affair with words. They have mesmerized me, transported me, sheltered and succored me, and yes, they have even eluded me. But whether the written words are my own or someone else's, I take note of them . . . I jot them down . . . I hold onto them . . . I journal them so that one day (like this day), I can share them. I hope you like them. I hope you share your words.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Flicker Search on Thanksgiving

I'm in the process of packing and moving, so I'm thankful for the time to get it all done, the time to take a break, the time not to gorge myself on turkey and fixin's, the time to be in my own space, and...for all of you. Happy Thanksgiving!Questions:
1. What is your first name? . Margarita
2. What is your favorite food? Beef Wellington
3. What school did you go to? Waipahu
4. What is your favorite color? Sky Magic ~
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Dwayne the rock johnson
6. Favorite drink? Strawberry and Cream Frappaccino
7. Dream vacation? Fontana di Trevi - Particolare
8. Favorite dessert? Leonard's Bakery
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Literary Soon-to-Reads. Stuff on my short list, 2004 (annotated)
10. What do you love most in life? Immensité - Infinity
11. One word to describe you. A strong will
12. Your nickname. I'd Like Mornings Better if They Started Later*

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flicker Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. (choose four columns and three rows, also choose individual URL's)

**all photo credit: 1. Margarita, 2. Beef Wellington, 3. Waipahu 1995, 4. Sky Magic ~, 5. Dwayne the rock johnson, 6. Untitled, 7. Fontana di Trevi - Particolare, 8. Leonard's Bakery, 9. Literary Soon-to-Reads. Stuff on my short list, 2004 (annotated), 10. Immensité - Infinity, 11. A strong will is better than a vain wish., 12. I'd Like Mornings Better if They Started Later*

Monday, November 24, 2008

"We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"

Brilliance is not a word I would use to describe myself. But the question posed by Marianne Williamson in her book A Return to Love, struck a reflective cord. She followed up the question with another question: "Actually, who are you not to be?" It got me thinking. Brilliant. You can't see the slight smirk on my face that indicates doubt. Gorgeous. You also can't see the raised eyebrow indicative of doubt and skepticism. Talented. My thoughts are jumbled like a jigsaw puzzle. Fabulous. It can't be me.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
I'll be honest, feeling inadequate is one of my fears. But, having others recognize just how inadequate I am, that is my biggest fear. Maybe that's why I never go for the big dreams. But, what if feeling inadequate is not my deepest fear? What if, my deepest fear is being "powerful beyond measure?" Do you know what that reminds me of? "Where much is given, much is required." Man, I never really got that verse in terms of my daily life. Spiritually, I got what the reference meant, but I guess I blew it in the daily application. We are powerful beyond measure. If that statement is true, do you know what that means? I mean, do you really know what that means? If I am or you are "powerful beyond measure" than there is nothing that is out of reach. All things are possible. The magnitude of that phrase is sensical, but at the same time incomprehensible. It's like staring out into the Milky Way and not knowing where to place your focus. If I close my eyes, I can just barely make out the truth of that statement, but the full shape, body, substance is still blurry. I have a feeling, a sensation of what that statement means but it's going to take time to manifest itself to me.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
What would it take to claim that power to shatter the darkness and illuminate my world? What would it take to shake the fear, doubt and skepticism and stand bold and be courageous? What would it take to overcome what frightens me the most and accept being brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
I know that I am a child of God. Granted, I am not the best or most behaved child of God, but I am His child. I've never thought of it as Sunday school rhetoric or scriptural platitudes. So, in understanding that I am a child of God, it should follow that He would expect all of his children to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. There would be no question of the adjectives He would use to describe His sons and daughters. Wow. That's profound...and humbling.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
Gosh, that statement sounds like something Professor Chase would have said. Professor Chase would have followed that up with "now that you know it, do something about it."
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
My sister has three children: Travis, Trysten and Trayse. They are our future. As the adults in their world, we try to teach them how to best live a good life so that when they are adults they will be good people. We try to teach them to walk a better path than we have. We teach them to learn to be leaders so that they will know whom they are following. We teach them to love and respect each other, so others will show the same to them and their siblings. We teach them to love God so that they will always know they are not alone in this world. I need to remember to do the same.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
My younger brother Joseph was known for his famous one-liners. His best friend Troy, who spoke at his funeral, reminded us of a few of them: "Come, let me give you a free hug." "Be good to yourself. Be good to somebody else." "For you the world. For now, a ride to work." Joseph's life reminds me that being brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous isn't as far-fetched as I thought.
(Thanks to Ipo for posting the poem on her blog. It was the catalyst that got me thinking.)
fyi...Siana, these are my photos and not stock photos. I expect you to be impressed with them ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And the fog rolled in....

I saw the most magnificent scene today as I was driving around Mill Valley, CA. It was just the briefest of glimpses; a few clouds seemed to hug the mountain side. Granted, I couldn't watch too closely since I was drivng, but I pointed it out to my cousin and he got a bit excited by the whole scenery.

As we drove on through the east side of Mill Valley, the fog began to move more swiftly. It snuggled up close and personal along the little mountain ranges, and then it lazily sprawled itself out over the valley floor and the lake nearby. It reminded me of passing rain showers in Hawaii. I used to love to watch the rain as it moved like a watery sheet gliding without inhibition across the island. Even more spectacular, was watching it fall from the sky and end in the sea; there seemed to be no specific point of origin or destination. It just...was.
Weather is intriguing, don't you think? I mean, it has no agenda other than to exist as wind or water or both. Even in it's most terrifying state, it is still a wonder. It's hard to contemplate and drive at the same time, but those few thoughts did manage to seep in as I maneuvered my way through traffic.
And then, my cousin, pointed out just the tiniest hint of metal sticking out through the misty fog...the Golden Gate Bridge or maybe it was the Richmond Bridge. How cool is that? I keep reminding myself that I need to take my camera with me when we go to work, because work encompasses several miles to and from home. I've seen some beautiful art work, some strange pieces and even the bizarre. And each and every time I say, "I should have brought my camera."
(fyi..these photos are stock images. I don't own them.)


1. Link this post to the person who tagged you: Ipo
2. Post the rules on your blog (SEE!)
3. List 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
**I can do random in general, but random specific? That's going to be a toughie.

1. I have more books than I know what to do with and if I had my way, I'd buy even more.

2. I'm taking a line out of Siana's radom-ness and state that I fall under the Chinese sign of the Horse. Of all the things I've read about the Horse sign the following comes as close to who I am: "Being born a Horse, there are many contradictions in his character. Horses are proud yet sweet-natured, arrogant yet oddly modest in their approach to love, envious but tolerant, conceited yet humble. They want to belong, yet they are burdened by their need for independence. They need love and crave intimacy yet often feel cornered, pressured. But the truth is, the Horse is an individual, who depends only on his wits and his labor to get what he wants." That's me in a nutshell, people.

3. I love to learn, but am the worst student ever (I see Ipo nodding her head). I've been that way since grade school. I'm not sure why. Maybe if I send a shout-out to Dr. Phil he might do a pyscho-analysis on me. I think excelling in school, like in life, requires being out in front and I don't do well out in front. It's a character flaw.

4. Growing up, I never fantasied about getting married. I never wanted to be married or to even have kids. I wanted to live in the city, have a cool career, and be independent. I think for the most part, I've done the majority of those things. I'm still not sure about marriage (I won't say never) and kids are probably a forgone issue.

5. I think I would have joined the military out of high school, if but for one small issue . . . I don't like people telling me what to do. hee...hee...hee ;)

6. I am stubborn to a fault (and that's all I'm going to say on that).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And I Quote...

"Write about daily life as you would write history." Gustave Flaubert

"Those who have the full love of Christ, inspire others to do what is right -- not force them." Howard W. Hunter

"Genius is recognizing the uniqueness in the unimpressive." Anonymous

"He drew forth a phrase from his treasure and spoke it softly to himself -- a day of dappled seaborne clouds." A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, main character Stephen Dedalus. James Joyce

"There are only two ways to live. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is." Albert Einstein

"Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources. The human individual . . . possesses powers of various sorts he habitually fails to use." William James

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lessons in the classroom

I didn't know he noticed me sitting silently in his class and hoping beyond hope that I could muddle through without ever being called upon or that I could hide behind the head of the student in front of me. Those of you who had Brother James Walker know that that could never happen. He noticed. He noticed everyone. I don't know if it was my look of apprehension or if he thought I really had something intelligent to say or if he just wanted to get me to say something in class.

Presumptuous sophomore that I was, and in the beginning stages of my English major career, I had two classes back to back with Brother Walker: creative writing and introduction to English literature. A friend of mine gave me fair warning that two English classes back to back would be challenging at best, but to have Brother Walker as the professor for both would be collegiate suicide. My first day, was a hit and miss. Creative writing was a breeze and I knew I would absolutely love being an English major. The class was small and intimate and I didn't mind because everyone seemed just as nervous; we'd all be nervous together. There is much to be said for solidarity. Br. Walker was funny, witty, intelligent and very encouraging. I knew I would learn so much from him. I vowed to do my best in class. So, how bad would my second class with him really be? Surely, my friend had been exaggerating. Br. Walker was great!

And then darkness settled into the land and all was lost.
Intro to English Lit was my first official class on a long list of classes for becoming an English major. It was very intimidating. I soon lost all bravado gained from my previous class. This class was larger and more boisterous. These students were real English majors. They seemed much more confident and assured. I, on the other hand, felt dead in the water. They already knew each other; I was the odd-man out. I knew life in this class was headed for disaster when Br. Walker started taking attendance. He was sharing some light banter with a few students in class that he knew by name. He knew their names?! A gnawing sensation grew in the pit of my stomach. I didn't want him to know my name! I wanted to remain nameless, faceless! I wanted to be a number on the attendance sheet and in some way still be able to absorb all that he would teach me. And then, it happened. He called my name and paused...for a long time. He looked around the room and then his piercing blue eyes found mine. There was a moment's hesitation as he struggled to recall where and why...and when it clicked, his eye brows raised just a little. "Aren't you in my creative writing class," he asked? I nodded and said, "uh, huh." (Boy that sounded like someone who should be an English major.) "And now, you're in this class?" Again, I nodded. Someone in the class said, "You have him twice? Good luck!" The class laughed, because they all knew the truth. No one in their right mind would take two classes from Br. Walker in the same semester! "You must be a glutton for punishment," said Br. Walker. And then he added, "see me after class, and if you want to drop, let me know." I knew then that I would never become an English major.

That was a tough semester, and I struggled through each and every class. We studied different genres in creative writing class and had to submit a piece for publication in the school's literary magazine. Intro to English lit opened a world that I had no idea even existed. We studied Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and learned all things literary...and then wrote about it. I wondered if anyone ever had a nervous breakdown from becoming an English major? I'm sure I came close several times that semester.

There was student in my English lit class named Bob, who was taking the class for the second time. Bob wasn't geeky or square. He was a surfer (which is why he had to repeat...too many days in the water and too few days in class) and all his sentences included the word "dude" in one way or another. Brother Walker teased him incessantly about having to retake the class, but Bob loved talking about Wordsworth and "all things literary." So much so, that he often made references to Mr. Wordsworth and Br. Walker in his column for the campus newspaper. I was in awe of Bob and Brother Walker. Bob was the student that I wanted to become (not the repeating student, but the lover of English literature). Brother Walker was the professor that I wanted to learn it all from.

Brother Walker has since retired from BYU-Hawaii. He might still be living in Hawaii or has returned to his native Canada. But he is forever ingrained within the person I have become. What struck me most about him was how his gaze never left mine as I struggled to put my unintelligible thoughts into words and have them come out sounding like a would-be English major. He would stand there and let me string my elementary vocabulary into something coherent and then he would push me to up my game in each class, each semester, each year.

I never told him how much he inspired me to strive to be a better reader, a better writer, a better lover of British literature. I never told him that through his efforts I came to love being an English major more than anything. I never told him how much I love him for all the lessons he taught me as a professor and as an individual. Thanks for noticing me, Br. Walker.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Got Me Some Education

When I was a student at BYU-Hawaii, I took a history class from Professor Lance Chase. Professor Chase had been notorious for his blunt remarks, and his keen sense of "student fear." In other words, he knew when a student was unprepared and he could zero in on the target. His words were like ice-picks chipping away at lame excuses about why the reading assignment wasn't done, or why you couldn't make an intelligent contribution in class, and most importantly he could strip away the use of the big $10 dollar words. Professor Chase could weed through the rows of students, and always, always find the unprepared victim.

I found myself in that predicament one time too many (and oddly enough I love I was given a "special invitation" to meet with him in his office. My initial reaction was "Uh, yeah right." The only way I would go was kicking and screaming. Knowing how ruthless he was in a roomful of students, it made me shiver to think what a personal confrontation would be like. I'd rather jump in front of a bus!

So feeling the way I felt, and knowing what I knew, and thinking what I thought, I could not understand why I continued to agonize over whether or not to meet with him. After all it was an invitation not a summons. He never said, I had to meet him. He merely suggested that I meet with him. The bottom line? He scared the bejeezus out of me and I would have to be a masochists, right? So you can imagine my horror and trepidation as I found myself contemplating the unthinkable, worse than that, I soon found my feet walking in the direction of his office; and horror upon horror, I was standing outside his door trying not to hyperventilate as I watched in slow motion, my eyes wide with terror, as my arm rose up and my hand clenched in a fist knocking on his door.

My legs nearly gave out when his voice from the other side of the door said, "Come in."

Just one word repeated itself over and over in my mind, "Run!"

He offered me a chair and then posed the dreaded question, "So what's the problem?"
It wasn't a "I'm concerned for you, what seems to be the problem" kind of question. It was more of a "So, what's YOUR problem that I gotta drag you into my office" kind of question. This was an "adult" conversation. I hadn't had many of those and I cringed to think that this would be my introduction to a no-holds bar tete-a-tete. I prayed for a hole to open up and swallow me.

***Interjection: Yeah, I'm not going to bore you or humiliate myself with the remainder of that conversation. Everthing he said to me hit home...hard. I'm grateful for all of it. I'm most grateful for his last comment as I was leaving his office.***

"I give you credit for coming," he said. "Not many would have--considering the circumstances. It took a lot of guts. I admire that."

And with those parting words I was out the door. It felt like I had gone a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. I was emotionally drained and yet, I felt as though I were walking on air. I had survived, and more importantly I had learned a very valuable lesson (here's the money shot so pay attention) -- excuses only matter to those who aren't willing to invest in you. So why bother with those people? To the ones that do matter, all they want to know is that you gave it your all, and you did your best, beyond that it's all just fluff.


Sometimes the act of speaking is just too perplexing for me. People speaking bubbles. BUB-BLES!! Some people talk just to fill the silence that surrounds them. I say, enjoy the silence...shhhhh. Speak not. Speak less. My current job requires a lot of travel time on the road. I work with my cousin and he has an insatiable desire to talk. He'll talk about the obscure, the wife (newly married...ick), politics **rolls eyes**, religion **rolls eyes in opposite direction**, music, family, work, traffic, cars, money problems, the list (unfortunately) goes on and on. All of it, is enough to make me scream and then drive into the guard rail. Talking. Yes, peace and quiet is all I require in the early hours of the morning (refer to previous post regarding Mornings). Seriously, don't feel compelled to fill the void of silence. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Silence it. Please, just shush.

Goodbye to Brother Joseph

They called at dawn to say, "He's gone and you must hurry home.
Call mother, father, sister, brother. None must tarry -- none."
They called at dawn, what an early hour to be wakened by such news.
It was a dreadful task for them, which they did not refuse.

I called at dawn to say, "Mother dear, your darling boy is gone.
And we must gather to our home. None must tarry -- none."
I called at dawn, the messenger, the bearer of bad news.
There was a dreadful mournful sound, that grew -- and grew -- and grew.

We flew at dawn to our island home, with heavy grieving hearts.
For we had lost the very best, the sum of all our parts.
We flew at dawn to our island home, travelers from afar;
For Him, we'd spiral round the globe no matter where we are.

We stood outside the doors at dawn, together huddled near,
He sent his love in silence, ours laid in his sepulcher.
We stood beside his earthen mound as parting words were read:
"For since by man came death...also the resurrection of the dead."

I stood beside his grave alone, and read a card he never sent:
"Dear R-, my only comfort is my faith in you, and your faith in God."
I stood beside his grave alone, and clutched his final words:
"Thinking of you always. Love, your baby brother, Joe-boy."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just A Thought...

When I was a young girl living on Kipou Place, I would stand in the driveway at night and stare up into the sky. I was amazed by the beauty of the stars. I wanted to be able to lie beneath them all night long -- unfortunately, the mosquitoes made that impossible. But on the nights that I was able to do my star gazing, I found myself contemplating the most amazing thoughts:
-- I thought how talented God must be to come up with the concept of stars, moons, galaxies and the way they twinkle in the night sky. I can hardly comprehend the creative process of something as vast as galaxies, planets, suns, and the universe.
-- I thought how cool it was to see a shadow ring around the moon. It made the moon seem mysterious.
-- I thought God seemed nearer to me when I looked up into the heavens at night. Sometimes I would cry and tell God my problems. It was easier to talk with him then.
-- I thought he heard me better when I stood under the stars; if felt like he did.
-- I thought dreams seemed more attainable if I stood outside and stared into the twinkling lights above.
There are many things that block my nightly views of the sky now; walls, street lights, buildings, being too busy, forgetting to look up; sometimes I catch a glimpse of the moon and stars through the branches of a tree, or around the edge of a building and I feel the urge to knock down a wall or uproot a tree. I want to be able to lie under the night's sky and feel the glory of the moon and stars, being totally enraptured by their beauty.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

History In The Making

A new president for the United States! And it's a "wow" moment for all of us. All the newspapers and t.v. reports are calling this election "historical." It is. I never thought I'd ever see an African-American president, but seeing as how this is America, I don't know why the possibility should have eluded me. Think of all the possibilities that Americans thought would never come to fruition: wars and politics, advancements in science and technology, social and economical changes, etc.

In my 42 years on this earth, I've witnessed many historical events, some I may not have considered influential, and then there were those that I couldn't even wrap my brain around, and those that changed my life forever. One of those historical moments that comes to mind, is when I saw Haley's comet in 1986 ( I thought it was cool), and then the Hale-Bopp comet in 1996 (thanks to my nephew who pointed it out because he was studying it in school). We watched it in the sky for at least 3 days. It was magnificent.

In 1990 (there's no timeline, just working off of my memory), I worked an after-school program for the YMCA. It was one of the best jobs I ever had especially since I usually have an aversion to children, mainly because I don't know what to do with them. Fortunately, my sister had a child and I got to practice on him; it prepared me for that job. I think that was historical in and of itself, but the moment of history I progress to is the Persian Gulf War that broke out in the summer of that year. I had never known so many people who were called to war. Friends, family, acquaintances all were being sent to or being prepared for war. I watched it on the news every morning. Missiles were being fired, explosions, gunfire, demolished cities, and then the body count on both sides began to grow like a ticker-tape on the stock market. How was any of this possible? In my lifetime, how could I be a witness to such a war? A co-worker, who had just turned 19 and was currently in the reserves, came to work one day and announced that he would not be coming back because his unit had just been called to active duty. He was only 19 and they wanted him to go to war; where there are missiles being fired, and things exploding and burning, and people being sent home because they're....dead? A knot began to grow in my stomach. I think it was there all along, but it became more noticeable after that day. I really don't like war. I really don't like it at all.

The first Polish pope made a lot of headlines in 1978. I'll never claim to have been edified in the history of Catholicism, but I knew enough to know that a Polish pope was a big deal. Besides, I thought he was pretty cool and he made a lot of headway within the church. He taught me an important word...solidarity. Solidarity. I don't claim to know much, but I know he wanted desperately to influence change. I could feel it when I heard him speak. Solidarity. So many people hated him and tried to cause him harm. He never gave up and continued to work to help his people, his faith, his religion. Solidarity. He once said, "Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."

9-11 was one of the greatest tragedies that I have ever witnessed. It was like watching an action adventure film without the popcorn. In all my life I have never been privy to such knowledge that evil existed in the world. I mean, we hear that there is evil in the world; we read that there is hate and animosity; words are spoken of such an evil that brings despair and darkness to one's heart. But to know it, to know of yourself that there is such evil in the world made me fearful. But even in my greatest fear I found my heart clinging to the hope that God has a purpose and a plan. I believe. I may, at times, doubt and fear and even despair; it's a weakness. I acknowledge that. But yet, I believe. I do believe that in all things God has a purpose and a plan. I believe.

3 John 4: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in faith."

And now, we have a new president of the United States. Wow. Let's all say it together: wow!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oxford University researchers....

compiled a top ten list of irritating phrases. It's a list of phrases that have rubbed your last nerve and you just can't stand to hear it any more.
1) At the end of the day...
2) Fairly unique (they didn't like it because it's an oxy moron)
3) I personally...
4) At this moment in time
5) With all due respect
6) Absolutely
7) It's a nightmare
8) Shouldn't of (grammatically incorrect)
9) 24/7
10) It's not rocket science

It's an interesting list, don't you think? Let's try them out.
1) Well, "at the end of the day" it's all about the numbers.
It is a rather trite phrase, but it fills out the sentece very well, don't you think so?
2) It's not a "fairly unique" assumption about what is considered an irritating phrase.
Oxy moron, I get it.
3) "I personally" believe that redundancy is alive and living in my basement.
I had a history professor that would cringe at phrases like "I personally" or "it's my opinion."
4) I cannot comment on that issue "at this moment in time."
Comments for #3 apply here. By the way, redundancy does not really live in my basement.
5) "With all due respect" to the Oxford University researchers, but why is this phrase annoying?
What does that phrase really mean?
6) I "absolutely" enjoy the use of this word as it is only used to give emphasis to a statement!
Need I say more?
7) I can "absolutely" state that I have never used "it's a nightmare" as a phrase unless I were describing a scary movie or a bad dream.
Hmm...yeah, that's about it.
8) I "shouldn't of" spoken so grammatically incorrect.
Yeah, that was lazy on my part...I couldn't think of anything else to say.
9) All 7-eleven stores are open 24/7.
They don't have 7-eleven in the U.K. maybe that's why.
10) It's all about gaining perspective, it's not like it's "rocket science."
There really isn't much that's like "rocket science" is there?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'll Say A Prayer For You

Going to church was a given; it was expected. Since we were children, we went to church every Sunday. There was Ash Wednesday, mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, Lent, services for Stations of the Cross, the eating of fish on Friday, midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and any other religious holiday throughout the year. Going to church on Sunday was an indisputable fact.

By eighteen, my religious associations were not as solid as they used to be. By the time I had turned nineteen, I went only because I was too afraid to say, I didn't want to go anymore. But stubborn resolve won out and I finally mustered up the courage. One Sunday morning, I calmly stated to my father, that I would not be going to church. I had reached a religious peak and had no other mountains to climb. I wanted to get down. I knew that there would be resistance from my father, and I had to be ready for anything. I weighed my options should the ultimate threat of "this is my house and these are my rules" was used against me. Mom had always used that threat on a regular basis, but not dad. However, it was possible that it could very well become dad's trump card. I'd be surprised if he used it, but the possibility existed. It would become the proverbial "gauntlet" being thrown down. So, I was ready for anything--or so I thought. Dad's response deflated every possible scenario I had prepared.

"Are you sure?" he asked standing in the hallway in front of his bedroom door. He smelled of Vitalis and aftershave. His voice was calm, and there was not a hint of anger. But, I could see the look of confusion and disappointment on his face. I felt a chink in my resolve, but stubbornness was my alli and I held firm.

I was standing in the doorway of my bedroom still in my bedclothes. I had been up for hours, but felt the clothing would be for added effect (I'd been planning this for a while). Mass started at nine and dad was ready to leave the house at eight. You could always count on dad to get to any event at least an hour before it started. He stood a few feet away in his pressed slacks, white belt, newly polished shoes, and starched collard shirt. I waited, not really sure what would happen next. This could be the quiet before the storm. It was an unexpected event. No one had ever made such a bold move in regards to church. This was big! Whatever reaction I was expecting from him never came. Mom on the other hand was shouting from the end of the hallway near the kitchen. I was used to droning out her voice. Dad looked to her and then back at me. In a light tone he said, "I'll say a prayer for you."

I smiled and said, "thanks, I appreciate it."

I could hear the car backing out of the driveway. Mom was probably giving dad an earful about why he didn't make me go to church. I knew he would try to convince me in other ways to go back to church, but today marked a turning point in our relationship. I had made my first adult decision and dad had recognized it as one.

Hoot! Hoot!

I absolutely hate mornings! For me, mornings shouldn't begin until 10am and even than it should be considered dawn. It takes me forever to get up in the morning. I mean, I have to trick myself into waking up by setting the clock at least 15 minutes faster; I also hit the snooze button on the radio (because I know I've got a 15 minute window of sleep), but to make sure that I don't really go back to sleep I place the clock in an area away from the bed so that I have to get up to hit the snooze button and shut off the alarm. Isn't that the most insane thing you've ever heard? All that just to get a few more minutes of sleep. And then, I read somewhere or heard it on some t.v. show that all my efforts are in vain because the body can't really catch a few zzz's in 15 minutes, it takes longer than that for the body to calm down and get back into a sleeping pattern. So, I guess the bottom line is that even though I hate mornings, I really don't accomplish much by hitting the snooze button; I should set my clock for the correct time, and then get out of bed when the alarm goes off. I really hate mornings! It should be banned! Let's start a petition. Who should we send it to?

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Earth has not anything to show more fair..."

that is the opening line of a poem by William Wordsworth. He is a poet of nature, however in this particular poem, he lauds an urban landscape. In the early morning hours he is surprised to find peace, tranquility and breathtaking beauty in the surroundings of the city. It is an unexpected surprise.

He writes the "City now doth, like a garment, wear the beauty of the morning;" I can dig that. Sometimes I find myself walking through life with my head down, pushing onward through the crowds never really taking the time to witness "the beauty of the morning; silent, bare,/Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples [laying]/Open unto the fields, and to the sky."

I need to remember to look up once in a while. ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Here's Your Lunch Money

This is my favorite picture of dad. When I write or speak of dad, I just say "dad" and not "my dad," because I like the idea that I can include others in his life and share him with them. There are a list of things that I admire about dad, but the one I'm most grateful for was the way he loved. He had a way of putting you at ease, making you laugh, he could draw you into his conversation, he had the greatest insights, and he always had your best interest at heart, and he was never ashamed to show his love.

I stood up to express my thoughts about dad during the family services on the day of his funeral. I said that of all the things I had ever wanted to do for dad, standing there on that day speaking about him was not one of them. It was naive to think that such a day would never happen, but it was something I never wanted to see happen.

Each morning, since the day of the funeral, I woke to a new day and went through the motions of living-- because, after all, life goes on. But it didn't stop me from being astounded at how the world continued on without dad. In my heart, I felt a sense of bitterness and outrage! How dare the world act as though dad's death was just another event in a series of events that happen day-by-day...and life rolls on by! I wanted acknowledgement of his loss by some thing, some one. I wanted the world to feel my loss! I wanted the world to acknowledge that my father was a good man, a great man!

It is difficult to walk the line between child and adult when I think of these things. The child in me would greatly prefer to sit down on the curb and cry my eyes out; the adult in me realizes that it is only temporary. But I still long to be the child, and openly mourn my father's loss. I stare deeply at his picture and the words "come home, daddy" are stuck in my throat wanting so much to be spoken out loud. But saying those words would only make it more painful--and saying it wouldn't make it so. But dad, I want so badly to say, "come home." I want to scream those words from the roof tops if I knew it would make a difference. I miss the happy sound of your voice, and I miss holding your hand. Holding hands with you was one of my favorite things to do. I miss the letters you would send me and your "here's your lunch money" post scripts. I miss you dad. I miss you every day and I'll miss you even longer than that.

Seven Random Things

I am currently new to the blog sensation and have decided that as a means of taking up "the gauntlet" from MYSTERIESinPARADISE, I will tackle this assignment. It's a bit lofty, but I'm always up for a challenge.

1. Last year I flew to Europe (Paris, specifically) for the first time and they didn't even stamp my passport. What the heck is up with that?!

2. Why did Ford put the control for it's high beams on the same lever as the turn signal. While driving at night, if I use the turn signal and press the lever inward unintentionally, than the high beams go on. That's irritating. And to all of you that have been subjected to my high beams unintentionally, I apologize. I should write to Ford about's annoying me!

3. Last week I was feeling very depressed by the financial pressures in my life and had mentioned it to my cousin. As we talked about this, that, and the other it began to dawn on me that I have been using the word "depressed" incorrectly and too readily. My use of the word "depress" took the accountability off of me and onto some unknown factor. The culpability was some intangible force that had waylaid me and therefore, I was unable to strike back. Stating I was feeling "depressed" implied an inability to cope with things in my life. It dawned on me, while speaking with my cousin, that the correct word choice should have been "discouraged." Being "discouraged" implies that while I may currently feel the pressures of life, I am not incapable of correcting or dealing with my situation. Sometimes, it is so easy to grab onto words and expressions as the catch-all diagnosis of what ails us. I think I'm going to try to be more aware of my word choices.

4. Have you seen the Axe body spray commercial with the chocolate scent? There's a scene where the guy is made entirely out of chocolate and he's standing on the bus hanging onto the strap; a woman is seated near him and as the bus continues down the street, she quickly leans over and takes a huge bite out of his chocolate butt. I didn't know whether to be appalled by the brassness of the commercial, but seeing as how I found myself laughing uncontrollably and had quickly called my cousin to tell her about the commerical, I guess it was more shock than appall. It still makes me laugh, and I tell as many people as I can about it.

5. I always tell people (when they ask) that I don't cook. I collect receipes of all types and have probably only made a handful, which weren't that bad. But still, if someone asks, "I don't cook."

6. Ralph Waldo Emmerson wrote that "it is a luxury to be understood." I don't know why I remember that. Interesting.

7. I read the most profound thought by St. Therese of Lisieux. She wrote: "I understand now that perfect charity consists in bearing with others' faults, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice." That is so cool. I love it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This is Gemini. She's my aunt's dog. She's a pretty little thing (when she's not trying to steal food off your plate, or stick her nose in your crotch) and she loves to chase a tennis ball early in the morning.
The last dog I had was named, Hooch. He was smart, and playful, and loved to hang out with me when I worked out in the backyard. When Hooch was just a pup, I used to take him for walks after dinner. But that crazy pup, would walk just as far as he wanted (which was always in one direction) and then he'd sit down and refuse to take another step. So, I'd have to carry him back home. I started taking him on shorter walks when he got older and heavier. He just didn't like long walks. That crazy dog!