Looking Back at Hawaii

I’ve finally got my act together (as well as some of the photos from the trip). We spent the first and second day in Honolulu where we went to a luau and geocached in Waikiki (my phone didn’t like the twilight or the fire and motion so no photos), Diamond Head, and a couple city parks. That was an eye opener! The homeless population is out of control! (A tour guide mentioned that there is a State program to return some of the homeless to their families on the mainland. Seems people come to Hawaii, lose their employment and end up on the streets without the money for a plane ticket home.) While strolling through the parks we saw several tent cities. The feature of the parks that makes them a magnet is the outdoor showers. Designed to rinse off sand and sea water for the surfers, they are the hot spot for the homeless to clean up! We saw an older woman strip down and wash. Of course the homeless people were not concerned with 2 tourists poking around in the greenery… We took the inter-island cruise that left from Honolulu, Oahu. Our first stop was Kahului, Maui where we enjoyed took a bus tour on the Road to Hana. This was a white knuckle jaunt on a very narrow (as in one lane) dirt and gravel road interspersed with a few stretches of pavement! We did get to see waterfalls but unlike some of the people on the tour we did not jump in and swim. The water was very cold. One of our tour mates commented, “You don’t really feel the cold after your skin goes numb.” Thanks, no thanks! The second day in Maui we rented a car and drove to Lahaina. We got several caches and a couple Adventure lab caches. We learned about all the feral animals that are destroying the habitat. The mongoose and the rat, the goats and the cattle, and the deer and the chickens. Lordy the chickens were everywhere! Then it was on to “the Big Island” where we stopped in Hilo where we rented a car and drove to Volcanoes National Park. We were smart enough to bring rain ponchos. As we ascended to slopes to the park we had about 15 minutes of sun before we were in a deluge! (Sorry no photos – I have pictures of the volcano that are a few leaves and then just grey clouds, fog and mist.) The next stop was Kona, Hawaii. We took another tour and had some fun – Sparky enjoyed the coffee plantation with a bonus of free coffee samples. Our next port was Nāwiliwili, Kaua`i. There we rented a car and did some geocaching and sightseeing. Kauai is the “Garden Island” and it didn’t disappoint! So many flowers and birds! Then it was back to Honolulu on the island of Oahu where we took a tour of Pearl Harbor. Did I mention we were geocaching the whole time?
Without further ado – the photos – first up the food. The main courses were ho-hum but the desserts and appetizers were top notch!

Next up is the vegetation. There was such a variety of plants and flowers – so many orchids!

The first photo is a Hawaiian Screwpine the fruit is barely edible but the seeds once they degrade become “Hawaiian paintbrushes”. Sort of a cool thing!
    These are Banyan trees and they are everywhere! They were introduced from India. There are trees that are African in origin as well.

And lastly some points of interest (at least for me):

A lava tube cave and a black sand beach. Both amazing! (And yes Sparky had to wade in and get his shorts wet!)

This little unassuming house sold for $22 Million – Location location location!
Above is St. Benedict’s Church – the inside was covered with paintings done by a young priest from Belgium.

The palaces of Hawaii’s last ruler. She lived under house arrest after being deposed as the US annexed Hawaii.

The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed by the memorial – glad I had tissues.

Looking Under Rocks

Sometimes to find out what’s going on you have to look under rocks. Shortly after beginning my job (way back in 1991) I discovered that the big boss was a predator. He liked to hire young single women that he could manipulate. He called me into his office and started asking me very inappropriate questions. I let him know that his lines of inquiry were not appreciated. In the next couple of years I “rescued” a woman who needed a ride after work and had been told that the boss would gladly drive her to her class. After the first time, she was in tears dreading having to get into a car with him – I provided the ride instead. This pattern repeated itself until he made a fatal error. He targeted the wrong woman. She was smart and resourceful and very wily. I don’t know for sure what she had on him (photos? video?) but whatever it was, he was soon persona non grata and lost his job, his reputation, and nearly his marriage.

I survive by grace
You invade my space
Everyday I am beset
You explain my lack
I pick up your slack
Understand I’ve got your back

I escape your ire
I avoid the fire
Recommend another drink
I provide the room
Guarantee your doom
Engineer the drunken wink

You deny your guilt
Your defense will wilt
Understand a bully’s fate
Once again a groan
For misdeeds atone
Chauvinist’s power deflate

I produce photos
You appear sans clothes
A baboon has more finesse
Picturesque blackmail
Afternoon in jail
I remain employed, I’m blessed

This is an Alouette. A form created by Jan Turner. The name means skylark and is meant to mimic birdsong. It is a syllabic and rhyming form having a minimum of 2 stanzas. Each stanza has 6 lines with a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/c/c/b and a syllable count of 5/5/7/5/5/7. The metrical preference is to have the accent on the 3rd syllable of each line.

Looking Obsessive

We are home. I am exhausted. We got in late yesterday. As soon as we opened the door and got everything into the house, we literally fell into bed. As you can tell by the time this posted, I was up early. You see, I have a deep seated need for order. I’m driven. I obsess over putting everything away. I managed to find my toothbrush last night which was a blessing. But this morning I must, absolutely must, get everything unpacked and the suitcases stowed. I’m typing this as the first load of laundry is in the washer. The following things will be done:
1. Shower and dress as soon as I finish this post.
2. Put all the toiletries and shoes away.
3. Switch the laundry (only 4 loads to wash and dry).
4. Write out the menu for the next 2 weeks.
5. Make a grocery list and go grocery shopping.
6. Come home and put the groceries away.
7. Switch the laundry.
8. Go to Sparky’s sister’s house and pickup Mochi.
9. Give Mochi a bath (she has been with 2 big slobbery dogs who like to drool over her).
10. Switch the laundry and add the dog towels.
11. Record all the geocaches on the website (geocaching.com).
12. Switch the laundry.
13. Clean the toilets because they looked bad after 2 weeks of just sitting there.
14. Go get the mail from son#1 who was collecting it.
15. Put all the clean laundry away.
16. Try to take a nap. But I’ll probably just stare at the ceiling and think of more things to do.
17. Make dinner.
18. Come back here and frantically answer comments on my posts.
19. Attempt to catch up on all your posts I missed as the guilt mounts.
20. Catch myself nodding off in front of the computer and crawl into bed.

Yes, I know in my rational brain that not all of this needs to be done today. And yes I will pause and actually tell myself that. But – my irrational obsessive brain will hit the over-ride switch and I’ll charge full speed ahead until it’s all done. At least no one can accuse me of procrastination!!

Looking at Evil

I had a very deep and meaningful conversation with my sister. We don’t often speak about religion. Mostly because we both moved away from the faith in which we were raised. During our weekly phone chat she told me that she had been listening to podcasts done by a Catholic Priest. Which considering her preferred denomination was quite startling. Even more so is that she is leaning into the Catholic Church as it appeals to her more conservative point of view. We talked for almost 3 hours. The discussion ranged from school shootings to political machinations to racial violence and poverty. She went on to say that she had had an overwhelming feeling that she needed to pray for protection against the forces of evil. I shared a prayer we use at church every Sunday (St. Michael the Archangel). When we prayed it together, she said she immediately felt a sense of safety and love surround her…

Prayers for protection breathed
Into the night air
“Protect my family from all evil prowling”
Mothers call on angels
“Guard them while they sleep”

All the angels and saints
Close ranks, take up arms
Demons are loosed, Satan seeks the unwary
They defend innocents
Keep their gaze on God

Danger stalks day and night
Mothers’ pleas rising
“Wrap my children within your protecting wings”
Sighs, “Steer them to safety”
The angels obey

This is a Double Ennead, a syllabic poetry form invented by Colleen M. Chesebro. It consists of 3 stanzas and each stanza has 5 lines with a syllable count of: 6/5/11/6/5 for a total of 33 syllables per stanza. This results in a poem of 99 syllables. Punctuation and rhyme are up to the individual poet.

Looking at Birds Flying

Spring is really here. At least that’s what the birds are saying. We used to have a bird feeder but between the squirrels and the feral cats we decided that it was more a “bait station” than a bird feeder. However the neighbors have installed a rather large bird feeder in their backyard. So far it has been a loud morning affair. The starlings and sparrows take offense at the robins muscling their way in. If ever birds cuss, the starlings and grackles have foul (fowl?) mouths! It has been so loud that it wakes me up. Before the alarm. At the crack of dawn!

Last week I was awakened by the feathered throng and wandered down to the kitchen. I observed the sky turn dark. It seemed all the birds in the world were flying over my backyard. Once the sky lightened all but one bird was gone. The only remaining bird was a very large hawk. It was perched in the walnut tree and surveying both backyards… I showered, dressed and checked on the visitor – still there and not a bird in either yard!!

Looking Into Faces

I went out with my Fashionista friend before we left on vacation. We ended up at the dreaded mall. There were so many storefronts that were empty. The mall had been a hangout for teens and the retired mall walkers but they are mostly gone. There were a large number of people occupying the benches and chairs. It appeared they were taking refuge from the stormy weather outside and perhaps trying to find a place that was safe from the dangers of living on the streets. I looked into several faces and saw only a world weariness, expressions that were hopeless and had lost any zest for life. Most had vacant expressions and were slack jawed. But one man had a wild look in his eyes as if he were wrestling with an inner demon.

My sad lot so reflects the world’s disgrace
Disease and sickness inform my whole life
My weary bones bear witness in my face
Wild eyes, dead soul reflected in the knife
I search for faces that still bear some light
Seeing empathy and God’s divine spark
The people who still shine in darkest night
They washed away all trace of sin’s black mark
My face contorts as I make the hard choice
To kill or end this life by my own hand
Compound the sin and give evil a voice
I resist and to Good my soul remand
Day breaks and hope enters this broken world
Hold high heaven’s banner of grace unfurled

This poem is a Sonnet. The sonnet is composed of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme of ababcdcdefefgg. I often struggle with the sonnet. This poem has a fairly dark topic but I hope that the possibility of redemption brightens the mood.

Looking for Hawaii

As you read this Sparky and I are boarding the cruise ship to take an inter-island tour of Hawaii. The flight was long, way too long, and had far too many stops and layovers. At least this time I wasn’t crammed into a seat next to a very large sweaty man. There were no crying babies near me. The bonus was that I was able to nap while my iPad was charging in the seat port!

I decided that I was going to take some reading material, not just for the flight but for the cruise too. I chose Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin. I managed to read the first chapter on the long leg of the flight. It is starting a little slowly but I’m hopeful that it will pick up…

I tried to pack light. It is nice that summer weight clothes don’t take up as much room as winter stuff. We will be gone 10 days so I tried to do GarAnimals for adults. Luckily most of my clothes fall into the blue/navy/green colors with a few purple and gold items making the mix-and-match easy. The prep for the cruise was more involved than just packing clothes. Hawaii will be the last state that we need to geocache to complete the US map of caching in all 50 states! To that end, Sparky identified, mapped, loaded onto the GPS and printed all of it. It is probably the most important thing we took on the trip!

Again I don’t think we’ll have internet access onboard the ship – it costs so much money! I may not be able to comment on your posts while I’m away but when I’m on land I hope to be able to read them. In the interim I’ve got a couple posts queued up to go live while I’m away. I promise I’ll try to take some photos (because I know I’ll want to remember this vacation) to include in a couple blogs when I return. Until then, stay safe and be happy!

Looking to Tend the Garden

We live in Love Town
A quiet place for two
Peace is our heritage
Just for me and you

It is a happy home
We have a sunny view
Filled with joy and laughter
And troubles far and few

I live alone in Love Town
My heart was shown untrue
I wander in this empty place
I wonder what to do

I’m tending a wilted garden
Where hope and fun once grew
Watered with my falling tears
Hoping love will grow anew

The above is a simple little quatrain, that is a poem with 4 line stanzas where even lines rhyme. There is no requirement for meter or syllable count only that the lines should be of similar length.

We were sitting around on Sunday night discussing longevity in marriages. Sparky’s parents will have been married 68 years soon. His oldest brother and sister (who got married a week apart) will be celebrating 45 years of marriage and of course Sparky and I will be headed to 40 years of wedded bliss in September. My sisters have both been married 35 and 34 years. Seems when we get married it “sticks”. So it was an interesting discussion about what makes marriages last. After a lot of reminiscing and talking about funny episodes it came down to just a couple things:
1. Humor – It is important to recognize the funny parts of life and marriage and laugh together.
2. Forgiveness – We all make mistakes. Cut the other person some slack and accept apologies and forgive the little things. Sometimes there might be big things but even those can be forgiven.
3. Put the other person first – If that is done then there won’t be any big things that require forgiveness!

Looking Tight

I was reading an article about getting older (because I am getting older). In this article it said that one indicator of mental health (read dementia) status was the level of difficulty in opening jars. If you are unable to unscrew the lid then you might be on that slippery slope toward Alzheimer’s or senility. I had to read it over twice. You see I’ve had trouble opening jars forever. I have small hands. Those wide mouth jars like mayonnaise and pickles and some spaghetti sauce jars are just too big for me to grip effectively. Likewise there are some plastic beverage bottles that are really tough to open. I swear that the companies forget to make the perforations! I’ve developed alternative strategies for opening a variety of jars since Sparky isn’t always available. I own 2 “Screwy-Lewy” jar openers. These are usually good for the easy ones.

Then I also have the silicone “hat” for bottles like ketchup and water bottles.

For the recalcitrant jars I often resort to the old fashioned bottle opener – using the pointy part to go under the rim of the lid and lifting to break the seal.

I bought a “jar wrench” at Goodwill. It did work and it would open big and little jars. I’m so glad I only paid 19 cents because it was so very awkward and difficult to use.  I ended up donating it back to Goodwill and then having pangs of guilt thinking some other unsuspecting person would be duped!

Still after all these years my favorite jar opener is Sparky!

Looking Consonance in the Eye and Assonance in the….

This week’s W3 prompt was set by no other than the host himself David at the Skeptics Kaddish. His prompt was to write a poem of at least 6 lines using consonance and/or assonance. That is the device of using repeated consonant sounds or repeated vowel sounds. I used both. Well, we stared each other down for a couple days then did a little dance (like cats before the brawl). And then – BAM! Consonance and assonance jumped me and we went a couple rounds. I got in some jabs and a few solid slaps while consonance had both hands in my hair but assonance kicked my… butt.

My brain is not on the thought train
I take the inane lane to attain naught
Slate blank, taut, I strain
Mate bade me to bed trot
Its late but I may yet sate this muse
Rake great lines in heaps straight
Taint the page with words abused
Nay ain’t a gnat’s trace of my poetic trait