Stepping out of the box and into Monsanto

Agent Orange, (sprayed on American troops and Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War) contamination of ground and water by dumping tons of PCB’s into the ground while aware of the health risks involved. And on and on goes the story of Monsanto.

Every chance I get I try to educate my friends on what Monsanto is doing and the danger of having them here in Hawaii.

Yes I can tell my friends and post it on my Twitter, Facebook and blog. But when the email arrived in my computer that GMO~Free Oahu was going to be protesting the Kunia Monsanto operation, I froze.

That was less than five minutes from my house! In the past I’ve not been able to attend any of the rallies  that were held by GMO ~Free as I’ve always had to do something or could not get to where they were. It was always something. But now, it was near my house and at a perfect time.

Still I froze. I marked the date and went on with my life, but when the date arrived everyone said “Karen are you going to the protest?” My son-in-law mentioned right at the time of the group meeting up, that I’d better get down to Starbucks as, he had seen all the Monsanto protestors there.

He Actually thought I was going! I actually thought I was going, and yet I was still frozen. Then my daughter said, “I’ll drop you off and pick you up so you don’t have to walk down.”

What could I say? My foot was hurting? Well yes it was as a matter of fact. I had to cook dinner?  Well yes I could have but my daughter was already doing that. No, I had to go. The stars had aligned. Against me! I had to put my money where my mouth was.

I put my camera, and phone in my pocket, tried to comb my hair that looked like straw, straightened out my clothes and stepped out of the box and into the car. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done.

As I started up the street with all of the protesters I realized that I was shy. I realized that I felt small. I realized that I felt insignificant and out-of-place. Where did that come from? I’ve always been outspoken, give tours to perfect strangers  at the museum. I sit in restaurants all the time and eat by myself and have never felt out-of-place. And yet, here I was thinking every one was looking at me and saying what is that odd, old, gray-haired lady doing here?

But I took out my camera and started snapping away. I stood on the side of the road with everyone else and even met a young woman who made me feel very comfortable.

I still feel funny about doing it but I feel good because I had to do it. Monsanto is a monster and it is taking over the food industry and if I stand back and hope that other people will take my place then I would feel shame. I may have felt out-of-place, odd-looking, and shy but I never felt shame.

And so, in this new insight about myself I managed to get some photos to share with you. No, I’m not in any of them but I’m proud to say I was there to take them. Now maybe next time I’ll bring a sign and call out slogans. Little steps. Little steps.

It’s sad to say, but Rainbows even arch over evil places like Monsanto

Look at this little guy, and I was afraid to go. Out of the mouth of babes and all that it entails

If you look behind the protestors you can see one of Monsanto’s people up on the rise photographing us throughout the whole demonstration

Every morning I would drive up this hill to take my granddaughter to school. I loved the drive as we passed the waving sugar cane and gazed at the mountain range. Now GMO’s grow where the cane and pineapple once thrived and my drive has been ruined with the thought of what goes on behind the shrub

The driveway into Monsanto where they had set up a tent. They had been talking and maybe even entertaining reporters before demonstrators showed up. That might be why the TV coverage was so slanted towards them.

Last but unfortunately not least is the view of Monsanto taking over the North Shore. They are covering all the lands and islands. They have made large contributions to many of the politicians, who favor them in return despite protest, and evidence of the health risk they are bringing to the islands.

If you would like to read more about what Monsanto represents and where they have been or extracted from, you can check out this site; Monsanto

If you would like to join those who are trying to do something about this company you can Facebook them at

GMO~Free Oahu.

Old Men or why I like Egrets

I’ve not gotten to my new blogging because I’m in the process of putting together some home school material for my 15-year-old grandson. I thought I would post a couple of my blogs from an old blog site I had. Just to keep in touch. This is one of them.

Here is the guy who started my day. As Nico and I trudged our way up the long winding ramp to his school I looked up. There was a large Egret sitting in the very top of a tree on the school grounds. It was as though he was smiling down on us or more likely trying to send some good juju to Nico so that he would not cry when I left him at his class.


What is it that attracts me to these birds? As I drive down the road I have to whip out my camera to quickly try to capture them. Yes, I have got to stop taking photos while I drive. Well one saving grace. I don’t talk on my cell while operating the vehicle. Yes, I know that doesn’t cut it.

Well for these particular photos, I pulled over. Egrets were everywhere. I quickly yanked my camera from my purse and tried to focus as one Egret was standing in the sprinkler. He gave me the side eye as I rolled the window down to capture him and sauntered away turning his back to me. I swear I heard him say, “tis to laugh, it tis to laugh.”

“Man, I missed another good shot.” I slowly drove down the road some more (yes I know I said I pulled over but I was on the private road leading out of the recycling center) and there were a few of them walking on the sidewalk.

Giving the eye
The other eye giver
Now I’ve heard these birds described as Great White Egrets. The Great White is supposed to have a yellow beak and black legs. Hmm that’s what he looks like. But every time someone talks about this bird they call him a Cattle Egret which is supposed to have yellow legs. Nope doesn’t look yellow to me.
This bird does have the same M O that the cattle egret has. He will follow the machines around the field waiting for bugs to be dug up or follow any disturbance in the soil or lawn being mowed waiting for a free lunch.
Ah, but is there a free lunch if he is in the Kunia  fields a few blocks from my house? You’ve heard me mention the Frankinseeds a million times. But it is worth mentioning a trillion times. Monsanto and their GMO‘s are growing strong and I worry. As the flocks of birds fly gracefully to the fields in the early morning sunrise, they could be sickened and die like so many tested animals in research on Monsanto’s GMO’s.
I would miss this old man of a bird who slowly walks the turf thrusting his head out and then back again, lifting his legs as though he wanted to make sure his knees did not give out. But if it was proved that the birds died from eating Monsanto grown corn etc. Monsanto would only come back with a suit against the birds like they did the farmers whom they accused of having acquired Monsanto patented seeds with out their permission.
I hope not. They may remind me of old men but their young. I would only wish them a long life. May they grow to be old and cranky.

 His knees hurt because there on backwards

Please Don’t Respect Me

I’m turning gray. No, I am gray. I try to look dignified as my hip catches while getting out of a chair. While walking, I try to stand as tall as I can to take the pressure off my messed up knee so I don’t limp. Walking in heels is out of the question because I fall in the most public of places.

In other words, I’m getting old. I’ve reached the years of used to be. I used to be able to bike a hundred miles, I used to run, I used to jump and skip. I used to be young.

Now this isn’t a complaint. I’m fine where I’m at in time. I just think I don’t want respect.

Here in Hawaii, respect is a big part of the culture. You never go to someone’s home without taking some kind of offering, be it fruit, cooked food or dessert. This is showing respect for the other person’s hospitality. You always take off your shoes before entering their house and you never return from a trip without bringing gifts back for family and friends.

Children are taught from infancy to call adults, Aunty or Uncle. That is showing respect. The little children may not know who you are but they will always address you properly.

Often I’ve heard people who visit the islands comment when addressed as such by a wide-eyed, big grinning, gap toothed child. “Don’t call me that! I’m not your aunt.” It always seems to be women who complain. They’ve come here to enjoy the “Aloha spirit” and culture and right off the bat they interject their own culture. No respect!

For me, I loved it. I felt that my relatives were increasing and I was accepted in the islands. There aren’t as many “locals” as there used to be. There are more immigrants than people born here it seems. Large populations of military, tourist and investors have had a big effect on the Hawaiian culture.

Nobody leaves bags of mangos on their yard wall for any passerby to help himself or herself to. Rarely is anyone given a lei upon arrival to the islands, and it is the exception more than the rule to hear “Hi Aunty” from a little child.

Now I hear “Thank you Miss Karen” more then not. How did the South creep in?

Getting back to the old bones and falling down problems I mentioned. I say I’m fine at being on the autumn side of my life but maybe I don’t want to be reminded of it. When I was a young adult I loved being “Aunty” and I absolutely love to be aunt Karen to my nieces and nephews.

But there is another type of respect shown by the young adults I didn’t mention. Young adults always address those heading into their senior years as Aunty or Uncle also. The first time it happened to me I felt mixed emotions. Wonderful, this young man probably in his late 20’s, thinks of me as a local. Then my heart sank. I’m an old lady. He was showing me the ultimate respect that you would show someone of my age. Was I that old?

I’ve since been addressed as Aunty many times. Even the waitress who is my age! Addresses me as Aunty. But there is one more sign of respect to come Oh lord; I hope it won’t come for a long time. Though I am a grandmother I just don’t want to hear it.

Tutu. A very respectful name indeed for those heading down the geriatric road. It means Grandma, great grandma, old indeed. I’ll never need a calendar to tell me how old I am or look, as long as there are well brought up local children. I just wish I wasn’t’ so worthy of their respect.

A Whale of a Tale

This Sperm Whale has hung in the museum for over 100 years. It is Paper Mache on the outside and the actual skeleton is on the inside.

From the outside looking in

I’m sure you’ve heard it said when Actors have to co-star with children they find it hard to compete with the kids. Though I’m not an actor, I have found that the minute I walk into the museum with them and they see this whale, I immediately am upstaged by his presence.

So I have found it best that when giving them a tour I get the whale out-of-the-way by filling their little heads with some fun facts about this large leviathan.

From:  “The Book of Whales” I gleaned these morsels that they seem to enjoy:

  • Sperm Whale


  • The  Maximum length is 60 feet. “That is just 6 inches shy of the distance from the pitcher’s mound to the home plate in a baseball game.”


  •  Sperm Whales can talk to each other by clicking.  This way they can locate other whales that they can’t see.


  • Their sounds can be heard for miles by humans and further by other whales. They have a good sense of hearing.


  • It is thought that the sound might be because of unique structure of the head spermaceti organ in the nasal passage air sacs.


  • The time between clicks, is thought,  could measure the length of the whale.


  • The whales in the antarctic form herds around the full moon. (can you imagine getting a photo of that?)


  • Sperm Whales are the only ones with a gullet large enough to swallow a person. (I have to judge on this one whether or not to ask if they have heard of Jonah and the whale. It’s not always easy in these days to know if you are going to offend anyone by mentioning the bible.)


  • Moby Dick was an albino sperm whale.


  • The Sperm Whale can eat 5 to 20% of its body weight in one day.


  • Body weight can be around 70-90 thousand pounds. Can you imagine that there is that much marine life in the ocean to be eaten and still not deplete our seas?

Imagine yourself in the ocean with this eye watching your every move.

When finishing up on the tale of the whale I will add this story about the rescue of a whale and what was perceived to be a very heartwarming thank you. I want to put a little spark into the hearts of these children so that maybe they will have a caring attitude to such creatures as they grow older. I believe that it will warm your hearts too if you can take the time to read about it.


This link will take you to a video of an actual rescue of a whale in distress. This too will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Humpback-whale-says-thanks-after-being-freed-from-nets.



I was just looking through some old post when I came across this. I did not realize how easy I had it when I only had one dog.

Max ran away.

It was a lazy day for me and it seemed the less I did the less I wanted to do. I looked at Max as I sat back on the overstuffed lazy boy with my feet up in the air. He was sitting right beside it and I was patting his head.

I pulled back his bangs from the top of his rag mop head and looked into his huge teddy bear eyes. Before I knew it he leaped off the floor and was on my lap.

“Take it easy Max, there’s not room for both of us in this chair” I said to him as his toenails dug into my thighs. But for him, there was more than enough room as he sat with his head totally blocking my line of vision.

I brushed him off of me and got up out of the chair and headed out the door. “Come on Max I’ll comb your hair.” I didn’t want a repeat of the snarls and tangles that had overtaken his fur the week I had not been home.

I sat on the chair outside and began to slowly comb his head, ears, back and down his legs as he twisted, flipped on his back and turned away from which ever side I was trying to comb. I looked at him and ordered him to sit.

“Max, your just too much dog for me” I told him as I thought about having to walk him that evening. I sure wish someone else would help me out with you. I knew he was getting antsy  and needed to be walked that night but I just did not want to do it.

That afternoon I had left the gate to the yard open to bring in a shelf. Max stood back and was very good about not going out as the large garden shelves were brought in.

When 4:00 PM arrived Max was doing his Velcro thing. He followed me everywhere around the house. “Oh, it’s your dinner time.” I put his food out in the patio and he began to crunch.

Ten minutes later I listened for his whine to come in to the house. He was not at the door. I looked out into the yard and thought, “Good. He is doing his business.”

Then all of a sudden I remembered. “I left the gate open!” I ran to the front door to look calling out to my son-in-law, Alika, “Max is loose, I forgot to close the gate!”

Alika ran out the front door and I passed him Max’s leash as he headed down the street.

Alika ran to the park down the block, I started calling up towards the end of the cul-de-sac thinking maybe he had chased the neighbors cat. Then I jumped in the car. The whole time Max’s big brown eyes stared  at me through my mind’s eye. ‘Please, please, please, Max. Don’t run out in the road.’

He was such a willy, nilly never paying any attention to what was going on around him. I looked to my left and to my right as I started to drive down the street. My son-in-law was just coming home with an empty leash. He said he could not see him anywhere.

It had only been ten minutes. Could he have run straight down to the main road? As I headed out to the main drag I called out the car window to a boy, standing in his bare feet, staring down the road.

“Have you seen a black shaggy dog?” He answered in the negative and asked me if I had seen a gray spotted dog running loose. I remembered the dog as he always got loose in the early dawn when I would walk Max. He would always run after us trying to get Max to play. I would always have to cut our walk short to take him back home.

“No I haven’t seen him but I know where to bring him if I do.” In my mind I could see Max and his wayward pal running down the busy street jumping and playing. I was afraid to drive to the big park. I was so afraid I would see Max, dead, his black fury body, motionless in the street.

Of course all the things I should a, could a, would have done for Max went through my mind. Was this going to be the last time I ever see him again?

I drove everywhere, asked everyone. I even thought maybe he’s still in the house. I thought about the time I tore out of the house looking for Zoe, crying because I could not find her only to realize that I had accidentally locked her in my closet and there she was crying to get out when I got home.

No, I knew Max was outside and I knew he was gone. So I slowly drove home. I could hear the boys dog barking to get back into his yard as I drove by, but no Max. I gave it one last call as I passed our house. I yelled as loud as I could and looked in the front screen of the house from the car. I thought I heard click, click, click on our wooden floors. I started to turn the car around to head out again when Alika called out to me that Max was back.

He had been where I thought he was in the first place. At the neighbors, chasing their cats and eating all the cats food. I was so relieved and happy to see my little guy. The water bowl that I had filled up with clean water just before Max had run away was now full of red dirt. Max was panting and I think he was smiling too.

I took him out in back once again, this time the gate was closed. I started to re-brush all of the weeds that were stuck to this Brillo pad dog. Lifting his bangs, I looked into his eyes and said to him.

“Well, I guess I won’t have to take you for a walk tonight.”

It turned out to be a great day for both of us.