Be Careful What You Wish For

I’m getting old! I want to totally retire. Cutting down Bamboo, taking a pick to the yard  and dragging green waste from back to the front of the house made my knee swell.

As I would sit in the house no longer able to stand I would think, wouldn’t it be nice to lay in a hospital bed recovering from something or another and just read and knit?

Now don’t tell me there aren’t some of you out there who have not wished for the same thing. Yes, laying in a bed having my breakfast brought to me and watching what ever crummy program was on TV while knitting a pair of socks appealed to me.

Well finely I got it! At the beginning of 2015 my knee got so bad I could hardly do the museum tours anymore and could not stand longer than a few minutes. And guess what? Joy of joys my doctor said it was time to replace my knee.

The appointment for the surgery was made I packed my book and knitting and off I went to the hospital. I was not worried, not apprehensive just smiling. I could not wait for the 3 days in the hospital to just relax and kick back. Well maybe not kick back as my knee might not be able to do that for awhile but relax for sure.

Waking up from surgery I was up and walking within a few hours. Oh the doctor was pleased and so was I because the pain was tolerable and I thought, “Oh this is going to be a breeze.” In fact I must admit there never was really any pain other then stiffness and swelling.

But it seemed every half hour they were shoving pills in me and then I started getting so sick I could not function. Oh but I could walk with the aid of the walker and the therapists were ecstatic. The reading went out the window and it was too uncomfortable to even pick up my knitting needles. So much for a pleasant rest.

What in the world was I thinking. I was having major surgery and if I was going to have to be in the hospital there was a reason. Definitely not to vacation.

Well it seemed the doctor was so pleased with the ability I had to walk so well that he sent me home in two days. But I’m sick I told the nurse I feel horrible. She just sat stoically and made out a list of pills I was to take for pain (that I was not having)to take me with me upon discharge.

So this is in March. I was bound to my bed for six weeks. Sleep was non-existent and I could barely eat a piece of fruit. I was so sick. But no pain mind you. After a couple of trips to emergency and never figuring out why I was so sick the last thing I was going to do was write in my blog. So that was my life knitting and reading. Ha! Tis to laugh.

By August I was finely able to get into my car without pain when I bent my knee. I could finely sit at Starbucks without the cold a/c locking up my fake knee, and I was no longer sick. To tell the truth though I was glad enough to leave Starbucks as the place is so uncomfortable. But my friends wanted to meet there so I tried.

IMG_2280The swelling in my knee finely went down this month. I can now do a squat and am able to go up and down stairs with no pain. Best of all I can give 3 hour tours without having to sit down every half hour.

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This was the view from my upstairs bedroom window day and evening

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The field was just 3 houses up the street from our house. I just loved it. But because of my knee I had since moved down stairs and my view now is of the house next door. Yeah, blocking the air and nothing to look at.

To continue on with my year. It’s now June. I’m doing dishes and my grandson comes in the house and tells me to go out and look at field and mountain. “Not now Nico. I’m busy.”

Then I smell smoke. Nico neglected to tell me one thing.

IMG_3118The Hill was on Fire!!!

Three houses away the fire was heading down towards our block. My daughters brother in law is on the roof of the house with a hose trying to hose down the weeds of the the house that belonged to a widow and her girls. They were not even home.

IMG_3116The firemen turn on the hydrant in front of our house as the fire draws nearer.

My daughter and I are in the house fighting with the four dogs trying to get their leashes on them as they are going nuts. I’m not much help because my leg is still stiff and sore and I can’t bend to get them to get their collars on. Finely we get them taken care of  and in the car. We manage to get any important papers and prepare to evacuate.

IMG_3117Though the fire looks to be raging they are actually getting it contained. Through the night the firemen worked on spontaneous flair ups but these wonderful guys got it all under control. Our house smelled like a burnt out log for days. That was OK it was better then it BEING a burnt out log.

Now  it’s August and my knee and therapy are in control. I’m fine, so my Eye doctor said I was well enough to have my cataracts removed. So one eye was done in August and the next in September. I was not able to be fitted for glasses until December so Reading was not all that easy. But oh the world was so much brighter.

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So here it is January 2016 and I’m hoping for a much, much quieter year. Also to be more regular with my blogs. I’ve decided to make them much shorter as I tend to blab on to much but make them a little more frequent. I hope that your new year will be a good one and remember, be careful what you wish for or you just may end up like me.

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Food for Thought

I like listening to book reviews. One of my favorites is “Books on the Nightstand” podcast. Lately they have been having discussions about how reading is the same as listening to an audio book.

That can’t be true I thought. Then I started to remind myself of how I tend to think I know everything and shoot my mouth off when in actuality I’m the epitome of “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Well a danger to myself.

Anyway, I decided to look at a few bits of information on reading and listening and ran across this article. It made a lot of sense to me and was very surprising.

In the blog, “Read write Now” the author wrote how reading and listening are two different things. Exactly what I was thinking. But I was thinking, because I’m reading, I would be strengthening my brain and listening to a book would make my mind lazy. Shows you what I know because In the article http://readwritenow.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/reading-listening-and-memory/  it makes a case for how listening to a story or conversation strengthens your memory. Here is an excerpt from the article.

At least this would be the case if the culture that’s developing is one that would put a high premium on listening skills. …………………….. It would be interesting to figure out if people who listen to audiobooks in a regular and devoted fashion show more highly development memory capacity–either short or long term–than those of us who spend more time reading.”

This paragraph hit me right in my docent head. While giving tours of the first floor of the museum I talk about how important it was for the Alii (High Chiefs) to be able to prove their genealogy. The Hawaiians were  an oral culture. Children that displayed good memories were set apart and were taught to develop those memory skills. As adults they could listen to a long and involved chant once and then repeat it verbatim.  With this skill they could quote long genealogies that would prove which line particular chiefs came from when a new chief was born.

I read another article that concluded from an experiment with readers and listeners that ”

“Listeners recall more main ideas or do better at main idea questions, while readers recall more details or did better at detail questions.” http://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/9780472034598-myth1.pdf

 

So what does all this mean to me? Well, I do know my listening skills are bad and I do have a very bad short-term memory. But, I don’t know if this answered my question as to is listening to a book the same as reading it. I do know this though,……

photo… Cadie not only needs a pair of glasses to read but I will now have to get her a pair of earphone too.

Where’s Karen

Not having posted in so long I’m not even sure anyone is reading this blog anymore. My knitting needles have been clicking in my hands, my garden has entangled me in weeds and life has somehow stolen away many hours from me.

raggedy AnnShe takes me over 50 hours to knit

I’ve not gone out to do much photography and if you have followed my blog for any length of time you may know how I fight with myself to leave the house.

I’ve been managing to get to the museum to do my tours. I’ve met with one of my knitting groups regularly, in part because I am allowed to take Cadie with me as it is pet friendly but other than that it is rare that I step out.

IMG_1928Because Cadie wears her glasses she is allowed into Green World Farms. She looks more like a person that way.

I’ve taken many a trip while sitting in my chair knitting or laying in my bed trying to work up the energy to go and do something that has been on my mind but as you can see by my empty pages I’ve not made it past the caverns of my mind.

I’m still trying to work out just how to get myself going and posting. I need to get back that curiosity and desire. If you have any suggestions they would be more than welcome. Of course I don’t guarantee I will act on them but I will certainly entertain them as I clack away at my needles.

So, when all is said and done? You will find me at home for now. I’ll try to un-glue myself. I think I can, I think I can.

Hey Kids Let’s Go Ride a Horse. Equine 808

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The sharp crevices cut into the mountain range where I live has been a topic of a few of my blogs. The range  shelters the sun as it sets into the west leaving me staring from my window as it turns gold, orange, mauve and colors I can’t even identify.

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The range follows me as I drive up the long road to the north shore. It is shrouded either in clouds, rain or bright blue skies.

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Why the mountain range even gives a beautiful backdrop to my nemesis Monsanto as they plant all their Frankinseed crops.

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This mountain is a ceaseless source of beauty for me and I’ve turned into it many a time to go to my post office or the nursery where I buy vegetables and plants

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There has been many a time when I’ve traveled up Kunia Road and I’ve seen this sign. But I’ve never turned in to see what it was all about until one day at my grandson’s school a couple whose child went to the same school invited anyone who would like to come and visit there and see what they were about. So I did.

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Turning into the mountain I watched the farmer working his field and wondered. His crops were planted within a stones throw of Monsanto’s fields.

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Looking down from the mountain range into the fields for the horses and onto the farms and Monsanto. Off into the distance you can see Diamond Head just past Pearl Harbor. Not only was the mountain range beautiful to look up to but just as beautiful to look down from.

DSCN0091This was the road we traveled on to get up to the horses. When I got home the car was a totally different color. Talk about mad woman washing. I sure didn’t want my daughter to see the car and ask where I had been. She does not like my trips off the beaten path. Not to mention the beaten car.

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Here is one of the friendly faces that greeted us.

 

 

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This little guy was the companion of the above horse I believe. Not only do they rescue horses but there is a large population of Donkeys and mules that are also rescued on the islands.

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These guys have a great view of the mountain range too. Lucky stiffs.

DSCN0112And another view

DSCN0097I poked my head in everywhere. This tack room looked like a work of art to me

DSCN0106My main reason for going up into this mountain to check out these rescued horses was to try to interest my grandson in horseback riding. One of the ways that this foundation earns money is by giving riding lessons. Now what kid doesn’t like horses? Actually I think the question should be, what grandmother does not realize that not everyone is like her? Oh well. This is where the kids wanted to stay. Looking at the goats. None of them wanted to go near the horses. But at least I got to take a closer look into my beloved mountain range and pet a few horses into the bargain too.

 

Ah Nuts!

I’ve given the garden tour at the museum how many times when someone has opened a kukui nut for the guest to try. Not a big piece but just a tiny sample with the warning that it causes diarrhea. (that kept them in check) So I never thought that I could react to the nut itself. IMG_1415

This is a fake Kukui nut lei. But I think they are still pretty. The museum would like us to make real Kukui nut leis as part of our uniforms. But I’ve not been able to make it in on Saturdays to do this so I brought some raw nuts home to work on.

I was watching “Big Bang Theory” Laughing in bed surrounded by my four dogs happily cleaning out the Kukui. I was on the third one when I finely thought that the numbness around my mouth was getting too uncomfortable. Though it was not as uncomfortable as the fact that my throat was closing up. I stopped cleaning and went to the computer to find anything on reactions to it. All’s it said was that the meat could be poisonous if eaten raw. Well I knew enough not to be eating the meat. I’m thinking it was the fact that as I chipped away at the meat, inside, I would blow through one hole to make it come out the other end.

It must have been the nut itself that was making me react. So as I’m sitting at the computer trying to find a natural treatment my daughter comes home and finds out what I’m doing. It was around 7:30 PM and she had been in town with my grandson all afternoon and she was tired and cranky.

“Mom, do you think you need to go to the emergency?” With my abhorrence for doctors I said through the very tiny hole in the back of my throat, I don’t think so let me just see what I can find here.

Meantime my son-in-law is asking me to stick my tongue out, then to smile. I said, are you checking to see if I’m having a stroke? With that he said I guess you’re not. Then Nico got worried and chimed in with a scared look can something happen to grandma? So all this is going on when my daughter comes down and tells me to get off the computer and get dressed. She was taking me to the emergency. So I did and off we went with the tiny, little hole in my throat getting smaller. ( I thought, thank goodness I had showered and brushed my teeth.)

We drove to Pali Momi. My daughter was tired and cranky because she knew this was going to be an all night thing. I kept worrying about the dogs and telling her to call Alika to make sure they didn’t find the Kukui nut meat. Chris kept saying don’t worry about the dogs worry about yourself! I tried to keep up a cheerful conversation because I knew she was tired but It didn’t help.

Of course when we got there the place was busy. Chris dropped me at the front door and I went in while she went in search of parking. I gave the two women attendance my reason for being there. (All the time trying not to sound too pitiful yet so embarrassed each time I said I was blowing on the Kukui Nut. I had to tell the story about 7 times.) By now even my teeth were hurting. As I looked around I thought this is going to take for ever. But before I knew it I went from person A to person B and then to triage, which must have really made the guy sitting across from me angry as he was complaining about how long he had been there.

IMG_1414I felt I was one with my dogs at last wearing these tags

So now I’ve messed up my daughters night, and was helped immediately while the poor guy across from me hunkered down. I manage to upset people wherever I go. Anyway they put me in a room, hooked me up to an IV and before I knew it I was 3 sheets to the wind.

But I must say, before I sailed off I managed to notice that the emergency room ceiling was made of this beautiful Koa. Not only that, there were carved squares in the ceiling, each, depicting a different Pacific culture canoeing through the ocean. It was beautiful! I wanted to talk about it to Chris but she gets so upset with me and I think sometimes bored listening to me talk about Hawaii. But I thought I would give it a try. So I carefully maneuvered my arms and IV and turned to her. It was then I realized that my eyes were shut and I couldn’t see her. When I opened them I got a shock. She was sitting there looking at me and I was looking up at the stark white ceiling. Wow, what ever they gave me was great. I just turned on my back and said “I only have three more nuts to clean.” Actually it was only two but at that point I couldn’t count anymore.

After my daughter read me the riot act about touching the nuts again I went off to never, never land. We got home around 10:30 I immediately went to bed and the last thing Chris said to me was, “You make sure to pick up your medicine and take it!”

Waking up and feeling great I told my daughter I had no more symptoms. She  reiterated once again, before she sailed off to work, about the medicine. Well I picked it up after I went out to breakfast, looked at magazines, and yarn. I knew I was going to be tired after I took it so I managed to do what needed to be done. Don’t tell Chris, I cleaned the last two Nuts!

IMG_1413Raw Kukui nut and the tool I was using to hollow it out.

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!

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.

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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.

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