It’s a Dogs Life

DSC_0063People pay thousands of dollars to visit Hawaii. Imagine their shock when approaching this Park  under the famous landmark, Diamond Head and being confronted by smatterings of tents with dirty feet protruding from the entrance of a one person domicile. Piles of black bags and bottles lean against the structures. This is the heart of Waikiki and of course these people, many who were in fact paid by their states to relocate here, are quite happy to have landed in, what is for them, paradise. The parks in this area have been cleaned up but still there are many who have moved on to the more local areas of the island. Even out to the outskirts to the bedroom communities.
Here in Hawaii we are having a tremendous problem with homeless. Many homeless come from the mainland as it is much easier to sleep in the warm weather on the beach then on a street in the freezing temperatures where they lived. I found this article I had written a while back that reminded me of the sad state of affairs society is facing and still, I don’t know the answer….
I was reading an article in the “Morning Honolulu Advertiser”
http;//the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/200i/mar/23/in/hawaii803230347.html
concerning stray dogs. It seems that the authorities have taken to rounding up all the pets that the homeless have been keeping while living on the beach. The photo in the paper showed a man and wife in their 70s at least. the photo was sad indeed.

I mentioned this to my daughter as I thought how low the officials were stooping . It wasn’t enough that these people did not have a place to live but now they were taking away a loved pet and much-needed protection. It was not so long ago when were reading about how people risked their lives to stay with their pets rather than evacuate and leave them behind as the New Orleans flood waters were rising.

Could Max have been one of the dogs that had been rounded up? Of course the Humane Society would say he was a stray. They would never say the dog was taken from his homeless masters as they were out helping friends, leaving them to feel that a member of their family had been kidnapped, as the homeless couple had stated.

Max was undernourished to be sure as his little skinny body showed. His fur was in dreadlocks. There were sores under his matted fur and he looked dull with his tail between his legs. But he immediately took to the family. He loved my little grandson right off the bat and he was so friendly. Not like most dogs who have been on their own so long. So I wondered.

My practical daughter pointed out that yes it was a very sad situation and it was upsetting but if I were to look at the bigger picture I would have to admit that if Max were one of the dogs, he was off to a very bad start and surely would not live that long in such a horrible condition. Now he is groomed, has picked up weight and has taken over my bed. Yes he is in a much better place.

But what about those homeless kupuna (http://www.calvin.edu/weblogs?/idisw20/january 14th/) ? The displaced and yes, even the derelicts who have no one to take them in or make sure that they received the proper medical care and nutrition?

Where have we as a society gone wrong that we sweep the beaches to take the dogs from the homeless to make sure that the dogs are taken care of and yet leave the humans to their own salvation? Yes there were other reasons that the animals needed to be removed but the bottom line seems that the animals are far better off. I don’t have a solution. I will have to think of a small way that I can do something but I can only say that somehow at this time and place in society, the human race seems to be going to the dogs.

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Does Hawaii Have a Winter?

246772_2038314394142_3246539_nWith my raincoat and rain boots I was one happy kid on a winter day. The above house where I lived as a young girl in Daly City California was usually shrouded in fog. On a winter’s day which seemed to be all year-long I would dash out the door on my way to General Pershing Elementary and immediately jump into the gutter where the water was over flowing the curb.

I was a smart kid because I knew that the water would go into my boots and soak my socks and shoes. Why was that smart you may ask? I hated school and I knew that the teacher would see how wet I was and therefore sit me in the hallway on a bench with a heater under it.

Smiling, I would sit and miss a good hour of class. That was my winter in California.

IMAG0055This is my winter where I live in Hawaii. signs of winter? Well you can see there are not too many people on the beach in Waikiki. Who in their right mind would want to swim in 68 degree temperatures? You’ll notice that most of the people still have tee shirts over their bathing suits.Of course it is still early morning.

IMG_3104No leaves on the plumeria is a sure sign of winter. Oh, and you will notice there are gray skies above. But the plumeria seems to be the only tree that looses its leaves this time of year. Remember in Hawaii it’s a jungle out there.

DSCN0725Then there is this wall of orange flowers that has bloomed in the late fall. Pretty apropos since Halloween is just around the corner when you see this in bloom.

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How did the ancient Hawaiians recognize winter? It was during this time that the Makahiki season began. The above symbol for the god Lono would be carried around the island and offerings were collected. When this was finished the official season would begin.

The Hawaiians knew this season by the rising of the constellation Makalii or Pleiades and they would put away all intentions of war and would play games. Games that would demonstrate ones skills such as throwing spears, or slings among other things. These would sharpen their ability to fight during a war.

Of course this being winter, the ocean would be to rough to paddle canoes to carry warriors to battle so this all made sense.

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Navigating the long lines headed out to the North Shore  I see many signs of winter. Someone must have piled their stones to ask for big surf or maybe their work of art. In ancient times it was not unusual to see pohaku ( stones) piled or placed around a dwelling as the Hawaiians believed that stones could have mana or power.

DSCN2269But a dead sure sign of winter is this sign. I never get tired of looking at the waves. They are magnificent. Unfortunately I did not have my good camera with me and did not get any shots. I was having trouble looking into the viewer on my pocket camera and was lucky I even got these shots. Lessen here is never leave home without my Cannon.

DSCN2280                                    50 foot waves and higher are the surest signs of winter and that brings out all the surfers…..

1044422_10203000667967669_41725385_n                                     Gotta catch that wave.

DSCN2272                                                                                           and sightseers.

So you see, we do have winter in Hawaii. Ah it’s a bitter season but someone has to endure it. Never need my rain coat and boots anymore. Even if I had them it is too hot to use those rainy day items. What can I say. Lucky I live Hawaii.

Four Equals One

My kids were up all night packing. When they left with tents, three mountain bikes and food a part of me went with them. Cadie.

Photo on 2013-01-12 at 13.20 #3

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough you might know how I feel about my four dogs. I should say the family dogs but they sleep with me, eat what I put down for them and gather around me when ever I sit out in the patio. Do you see how Cadie  in the above photo is looking at me so admiringly? That is how she looks at me all day long as she follows me from room to room. She is a White Boxer

When ever I leave the house she shakes like a leaf when I leave her behind. Consequently I have a very hard time leaving to go anywhere because it breaks my heart that I have to leave them behind.

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Now if Cadie could only behave like this when I leave I might not have told the kids to take her camping with them. I needed a “heart-break.” I am going to a knitting lesson tonight and I know I will be gone for many hours and the thought of leaving her home locked up just tears me to pieces.

So off she went without so much as a good-by as my son-in-law whisked her away with his quiet departure. I quickly pushed down the emerging sadness as I thought “I didn’t even get to hug her.” But I said to myself “be happy you won’t have to feel guilty when you leave tonight.”

 

IMG_0766Now this is Ka Mea. A Pit Bull.  And this is how he appears in the morning when he greets my daughter and I. He actually talks to us in long sing-song sounds. He is a happy little guy and when I leave he is just fine. He goes to his crate and settles in like a clam. No problem. He is Caddie’s pal and partner in crime if someone forgets to lock them up before they leave the house.

Many a time I’ve come home to my books and Nico’s books torn from the shelves and totally chewed up. I used to leave them in the yard until one day I came home to a snow storm. They had torn open all my yard furniture pillows and both sat at the sliding door looking at me with grins on their faces.

6689_1168430500950_1533576266_448836_2596211_nThis is what Max looked like when my kids first rescued him from the Humane society. He is a Polish Low Land Sheep Dog.His tail never lifted for the longest time and he walked sadly next to me when I took him out. But at least he was easy to walk.

DSC_0067_2This is “Mad” Max now. When we go for walks he pulls me down the street and his tale looks like Captain Feather Swords, sword. As Cadie and Max go whizzing by him he growls and grumbles. He pushes to be the first out to the yard. He barks at everything and everyone as they go by or don’t go by. He just loves to grumble. Cadie and he both stalk me. I have to make sure that I don’t give Max more attention then Cadie or it results in a big fight.

See that long mustache. That was Ka Mea’s playground when He was a pup. He pulled every bit of it off hanging off Max’s mouth. And Max never bit him.

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And last but not least is Kylie.

Kylie is part Beagle and part Basset Hound. She she is a rescue also and really could be part anything. We were told of her wonderful virtues  when we decided to get her. She was housebroken (but not when it rains we found out. She pees on any and every area rug she can find) She doesn’t shed (when she is standing still) and she is a picky eater (If they meant picky as to what spot she is going to pick like the counter in the kitchen where she throws anything she can find down to the other dogs and then helps herself to the better foods. And we still can’t figure it out as to how she gets her short little legs up there as she is no higher than two feet.)

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And Kylie and Ka Mea were best buds. UNTIL… Cadie. This brings me back to the beginning. Cadie became the toy hog, the pillow hog, and the dog hog. Ka Mea being the youngest loves to play and so does Cadie and Kylie. But Cadie won’t let Kylie play. I guess you can say she is the school yard bully. So Kylie has devised a way to get even with Ka Mea for dropping their friend ship.

When Ka Mea is all snugly in his crate rolled up into his pillow and Cadie is no where around. Kylie will stand in front of the cage and lean down on her two front paws in play position and bark a come out and play bark. Inevitably, Ka Mea will get out of the cage and prance and do his happy dance and Kylie will quickly go around him and run into Ka Mea’s cage and lay down on his pillow and go to sleep.

So those are the four. One is now camping and as I go into the house the three are not the same. Mea has been pacing and Max doesn’t seem to care that I’m not with him and Kylie? well she’s just Kylie. But as for me, how in the world did I ever think it would be a break for me if she went overnight with the kids? Three is not better than four. Would 3 limbs be better than four? Would  Three of my grand kids be better than the four? For that fact would 3 Hagen Daz Bars be better than a whole quart? Wait that’s not supposed to be on my mind.

No, I want my arms and legs in total. I want all my family together and without Cadie my pack is not complete. Oh well she will be home tomorrow.

And if you would like to see where the kids are dirt biking tonight here is a link to Kualoa Ranch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1dPL5vbDMg

 

 

 

 

Sun Down at Kahala Hotel Or is it Kahala Mandarin Oriental

Sun Down at Kahala Hotel Or is it Kahala Mandarin Oriental

I love the fact that I can take a photo and be in it too even if all you can see is a big head and teeth. 🙂

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The ocean is gray, the sand does not look soft. My friends and I reflect after having driven out here for what we thought would be drinks and entertainment in one of the hotel lounges.

The Kahala Hotel, once known as the Kahala Hilton, where royalty and rock royalty once flocked to had lost its uniqueness. The lounges were closed, the restaurants deserted. So we sat out on the windy lanai to have a few drinks.

The hotel still has its lagoon with dolphins swimming and leaping and its attractive lobby . Maybe Sundays have become sacred and 6 PM was the new bed time. But I was in good company and enjoyed our repartee.

Don’t think I will return but if you would like to check it out because it looks so much nicer on their website here is the link. http://gohawaii.about.com. This hotel has changed names so many times I am not sure what it is but this site will update you. Go ahead and book a room if you have an extra three or four hundred burning a hole in your pocket. I guarantee this, you will have privacy and seclusion.

Children, We Must All Learn to Get Along

Something bothered me a while back about a B movie I saw. It lingers now, affecting how I think about people. The movie itself is not memorable. A 17-year-old kid enters a 500 mile sled dog race to save his parents farm and get money for college. You know the kind of movie and most likely can predict the ending.

The Iditarod happens to be an interest of mine and, though this was nowhere near that, I wanted to watch just for the race. As in all movies you either have the bad guys or a seemingly insurmountable object.  In this one you had both.
The frost biting weather, the frozen or not so frozen lakes and the unforgiving tundra divides the men from the boys or the soul from the body as the case may be. A 17-year-old boy entering and thinking that he has a chance especially when he’s never raced gives the movie it’s suspense.
Then there are the bad guys. The stereo types that Hollywood can’t seem to make a movie without. And this is what bothered me. There were the noble Indians, the kind American and, here we go, the evil German who kicks dogs and threatens the young boy. The German’s sponsor  is a Scottish  tight wad who will stop at nothing to win his money.
The German was the one who bothered me the most. Now I have friends in Germany. Rainer, whom I’ve corresponded with for 18 years is the kindest, happiest man I know.
It was on a train ride through Germany where a bunch of young athletic girls came to my rescue, tossing my luggage hand over head to move it for me when I had unknowingly put it all in the wrong place. And just recently I’ve come to know a couple of more young Germans through my Twitter site who are just adorable.
Movies like these in the past had influenced my way of thinking about Germans. The movie always portrayed them as harsh, cruel and evil thinking. It wasn’t until I made contact with Rainer that I actually got to know about Germans and Germany. This is a shame. Our society today is so easily swayed. Even with the news we seem to only get the negative side. The more negative it seems the more sensational it is and the more they shove it down our throats until we can only see the bad side of people.
That German in the race could have been an American that had tried to harm the boy in the movie. Kicking dogs is not unknown here. Can you say  Michael Vick? Look at the puppy mills. Just look down the street at dogs who are chained and never leave the yard.
Talk about cruelty to children we now have on trial a woman who killed her own little girl and dumped her in a plastic bag. This is not an isolated incident there are many. You can go on and on about the atrocities that have been performed  by Americans.
 What I’m trying to say is, we are no different than any other race. We’ve tried to exterminate the Native Indians, we’ve experimented on a race of black men, (Tuskegee) we’ve even experimented on children (http://tech.mit.edu/V115/N49/radiation.49n.html) So why do we persist on stereotyping other nations?
And my god, obsession with money. Why do we still paint the Scots as the proverbial cheap skate who will stop at nothing to get his hand on a dollar? Why we have Bernard Madoff. He has bilked and ruined thousands of innocent people.
All’s I know is that I’ve got to start taking the news, movies, and “informed” opinions with a grain of salt. If the Pakistani man who I met at the museum is representative of his race, a person who listened attentively, had wonderful insights to offer and some very interesting statistics to share,  I’d truly like to meet more of them. His concern about his children’s colds and the illnesses in his family only spoke to me of a person I seem to have talked to over the fence, at the store, or the office water cooler.
I only hope to meet more people from other parts of the world. I hope that we all get to meet one another. I hope that we can come to an understanding, an appreciation and a love.
Let’s take our own advise that we give to kids when they are playing in the park. “Now, children can we all just play nicely.

NO SPRING CHICKEN

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The leafless winter Plumeria

As I sent Nico off to school with a friend this morning I dragged myself into the house. I kept hearing my son say,”You’ve got to rest mom. Stop trying to do everything. Your almost 70 and I don’t want you getting pneumonia.”

Winter seems to be upon me in more ways than one.

 It was just last month when my daughter and grandson went off to Disneyland for a vacation with siblings and her dad. With my son-in-law constantly at work it was like I had the whole house to myself, well with the exception of four dogs who “dogged”me, for 10 days.

Not having to get up at 5:30 AM to take Nico to school or worry about getting his breakfast ready in time to get him out the door by 7:30 was a vacation enough for me. Who needs Disneyland? I had plans. Ideas to put into action, and best of all time on my hands.

I tore the front yard apart, dragged all of the potted plants to the back, rearranged the back and re-potted plants until I couldn’t stand up anymore. Everyday I worked on a long neglected project that I could not do before because of having to stop and help with Nico. I’m one of those who won’t do anything if I can’t devote the whole day to it.

So everyday I worked until I dropped. Then I started in on my sewing. Projects in the drawer that needed to be finished to take to the hospital for the children were completed and lots of bunnies sewn. I was feeling so invigorated. I thought if I can keep this up then I can start back to wandering around the island to take photos and add to my blog.

But all good things must come to an end. My family came home and my vacation was over. In to the house came my grandson hacking and limp. He was sick! My daughter was sick! Everyone came home sick!!!

I did what I could for my little guy as he stayed home on the couch taking tons of medicine and watching cartoons. My sewing came to a full stop. The yard thankfully was in order but watering slowed down and I just knitted.

Now I am not even knitting. I’m dragging myself from room to room sounding like a cacophony of seals. And so as I sat this morning in my chair looking out the window wishing I could do something I see a bird puffing himself up in the strangest way in a tree. Dizzily I get up and head for my camera. I’ll be darned, I think, if I can’t at least take a photo from home. By the time I get back to the window he is gone.

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My inspiration

This sucks! It’s going on 8 days now and I’m tired of dragging around. I was always the one that was over the worst of anything within two days. I’m still dragging but I remember. Though winter has come and it has stripped my plumeria tree of all its leaves there is still one small hopeful bouquet trying to bloom on it. It gives me hope. Yes I might be heading into my winter years but I’m still trying to bloom. Like my plumeria I will sprout leaves again. And when I do I will work hard to keep healthy as now I realize I’m no spring chicken anymore.

Just a thought. Rick Braveheart Do you think I could have picked up what you had while reading your blog 🙂

 

I Own a Marc Chagall

OK. so it’s not an original painting but a stamp. Collecting art on stamps is a very nice way of owning the art you admire until such day when you are able to go into one of those auction houses and blow the equivalent of the national debt on the price of an original. Until then I’m very happy to admire my miniature art collection.

 Please watch your feet as I step out of my box and leave Hawaii and take you vicariously  to France.

Paris the city of lovers.  French a romance language. France the one time Mecca of the artist. What do flying chickens and musical goats have to do with France and art?

In the past all artist’s felt it was important to study in Paris before ones work could be taken seriously. It seems natural that France would be among those to reproduce art onto stamps.  According to M.W. Martin in his book, Topical Stamp Collecting, the idea of reproducing paintings onto stamps came from France.

In 1961 France issued over-sized stamps featuring the works of the French masters.  One particular set released in 1963 included some of the work of Marc Chagall.

Though France thought of Chagall as one of their own, he thought of himself as a Russian artist.

He was born in the small Russian village of Vitebsk and was of Jewish decent.  He would eventually leave Russia, much to his sadness and settle in France.

Throughout his life he would never forget his home and would continue to incorporate the village and its inhabitants in many colorful ways onto his canvases.  His first wife, Bella, was a major inspiration in his work and the subject of many of his pieces.

You see here one of his paintings that France chose to put on a stamp, “Married Couple With Eiffel Tower.”

When you first look at the work of Chagall you might be taken aback.  Many times you will see lovers, bent like willows, entwined, floating.  Soft eyed donkeys, goats and chickens carry passengers or play musical instruments and they too float through the air.  The work may impress one as a fantasy.

Despite everything in this painting that seems so out of contrast, as you study it, you might see it as a very poetic and romantic story of a couple who have just gotten married.  If you look on the left side of the stamp, you will see a Jewish wedding taking place.  France is represented by the Eiffel Tower where the couple might live as expressed by the size of the tower.  The memory of where they were married and where they were from is still close to their heart as depicted by the village in the lower right corner.

Not all of Chagall’s work is easy to understand and, yes it’s open to interpretation.  Even Chagall said his work did not necessarily have a meaning and if you look at some of his other work you would be hard pressed to find one.

I though, have found the colors spectacular and the whimsy of his subjects brings a smile to my lips.

So, can people really fly? I don’t know.  There has been many a time that I have heard someone say they were so in love they felt like they were walking on clouds or soaring through the air.  What better place to honeymoon than Paris. As for music, one hears violins where there are none when your heart has been captured.

OK, so the goat is the musician, but he’s a happy goat.  As I look at this stamp, Chagall has managed to convey to me that, here are two people truly in love.  So to this painting, I can only say, Mazel Tov!