Monthly Archives: March 2013

Jumping through hoops for Hawaii Ag.

First hoop: a new rabies vaccination and certificate. $$

Second hoop: blood sample off to a special lab in Kansas to do a titre test for rabies. $$$

Third hoop: wait 120 days from the titre test for permission to bring Jack to Hawaii. This date comes up on April 10th.

Fourth hoop: the vet manages to dig up a copy of the original 2006 rabies vaccination certificate for Jack. Hawaii requires proof of at least two.   Adobe Animal Hospital — they are the best!

Fifth hoop: fill out the Dog & Cat Import Form.

Sixth hoop: learn Alaska Airline’s requirements for traveling with a pet and comply with them.

Seventh hoop: make airline reservations. $$$

Hoops 1-7 cleared!

More hoops reported as they are overcome, but it looks like come May 1st, I will be flying home with the cat o’ my heart. In the meantime, more practicing patience. I hate practicing patience. You’d think that after all this practice I’d be better at it, but no…


Waiting for Jacko.

Up to Kailua (againmarta & jack) today to straighten out the confusion with HELCO, and do some shopping. It’s a 100-mile round trip, so best to stack up the errands. This time my needs were minimal, but I was lured into the pet aisle and ended up buying a litter box and litter and dry food and a case of wet food and a dry food bowl and a wet food bowl and a water bowl, and I miss my cat so damned much I could howl.

Pretty Poppy is staying with The Respondent. I miss her, but she’s happy with him and there are lots of dogs on the island in need of a good home. I’m in no hurry, though. I just want my cat.

Living room’s unpacked. I think.


Dish Network (or whatever they call themselves) was installed today, by a nice young man from Kailua who sports the usual surfer’s tan and pale hair. He was prompt and efficient, set everything up (including the new TV set), explained everything, and took off.

Most of the art is up in the living room and the furniture’s in place, so that’s one room I can cross off the list. The dining room’s pretty minimal but also essentially done. More work to do in the rest of the house, but the feeling of progress is wonderful. Look, Ma, I’m nesting!

One unsettling development today was the discovery that my current power bill is over $200. This was followed by the discovery that the most recent payment was not received, and I think I know what the problem is. The power is in The Respondent’s name, but I’m trying to pay it through a bank account that is mine alone. I don’t understand why the power company (which glories in the name of HELCO) should give a damn who pays an account as long as it gets paid, but they’re not the only ones. So I’ll spend time on the phone on Monday getting this all straightened out, and keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t demand a new deposit. I mean, hell, I’ve been paying this bill since ’09. But sufficient unto the day are the annoyances thereof. I’m off to play with my new TV.

Aeolus in Hawaii

I just came in from the lanai: today was spectacular, starting with a fierce, warm wind that blew the clouds away and left the day drenched in sunshine and warmth. Toward evening the wind died down and the sun fell into a series of clouds, turning them peach and pink and golden, and the temperature finally dropped out of the high 70s. When I wasn’t listening to Bach (today’s his birthday, JC Bach I mean, not his huge number of talented sons), I was listening to the voice of the wind in the ‘ohia trees.

Apparently where I live lies at the mercy of both the Trades, which blow from the north, and the Kona winds, which blow from the south. The Trade Winds are big-bellied and blustery, but today’s Kona winds swept away clouds and haze and the vog that seems to gather on the lower slopes, and swept the vog north to Oahu. The result was a day of such clarity that I could see whitecaps on the Pacific all the way out until the horizon line slid into the sky.

Vog: Wikipedia says that “Vog is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words “volcanic” and “smog“. The term is in common use in the Hawaiian islands, where the Kīlauea volcano, on Hawaiʻi Island (aka “The Big Island”), has been erupting continuously since 1983. Based on June 2008 measurements, Kīlauea emits 2,000 – 4,000 tons of sulfur dioxide every day.”

Sounds pretty awful, but I haven’t noticed any adverse affects from it so far. My sister tells me that every so often Madame Pele cuts a big one, and everyone can smell the sulfer — but I haven’ experienced that yet, either.



Rainbows on everything.

License plate

The rainbow is the official symbol of Hawai’i, and here it is on my brand new license plates. I like the ZAZ part — the last California plate I had included the letters VAK, which always made me think of a vacuum cleaner. Yesterday I spent three hours at the motor vehicle department, registering the car and getting new plates, but also getting a Hawai’ian driver’s license and registering to vote. I am now, officially, a citizen of the Great State of Hawai’i, and pleased to be so.

About the “Aloha State” motto: just as the word “shalom” means a number of things, the word “aloha” can mean a tremendous number of things, depending on usage: love, affection, and the object of those emotions; compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity, kind, compassionate charitable, to show kindness, pity. Hawai’ians refer to the Spirit of Aloha, meaning a spirit of courtesy, sharing, and mutual respect. (A footnote: my sister’s partner, Burny, slowed his truck down to let someone merge ahead of him, but the other driver (probably a tourist) just froze. “Not ready to accept,” Burny said, shaking his head, “the Spirit of Aloha.”)

Even used as a greeting, Aloha has shades of meaning:

~ Aloha ʻoe, may you be loved or greeted, greetings (to one person).
~ Aloha kāua, may there be friendship or love between us, greetings (to one person); ~ ~ ~ Aloha kākou, same as above, but to more than one person.
~ Ke aloha nō! Aloha! Greetings! (The nō may be prolonged for emphasis.)

Here’s an interesting essay on The Deeper Meaning of Aloha if you want to read more about it.

Be careful what you wish for…

And the moral of this story is: don’t threaten either the genie or Madame Pele, because Unpacking 1either or both is likely to give you precisely what you asked for. This is only a small sample of what the place looked like a week ago. I’ve been battling packing boxes and bubble wrap all week.

Speaking of which, a friend recommends spreading sheets of bubble wrap across the stone floor and running my office chair over it. I am seriously contemplating doing this, except that this nagging little voice tells me that somebody at the other end of FreeUnpacking 3cycle probably could use the unpopped product.

I’m down to three unopened boxes, the big packages of artwork, and the Marta Randall Collection of Out-of-Print Books by Marta Randall. Anybody want to buy some books? Unpacking 2


Frustrating day. They’re working on the Belt Road (and may be working on it forever) so driving to Kailua took forever, then the internet directions I got to the DMV were wrong, wrong, wrong (and I don’t want to hear another complaint about people who “don’t just Google it” because sometimes that doesn’t work worth shit), and then the DMV wanted paperwork that they hadn’t told me that they wanted, and I had big frustration looking for a needed bit of computer equipment that, it turned out, I didn’t need after all, and my blood sugar ran so low that I went into Denny’s and, for the first time in my life, ordered off the “55 and older” menu and the waitress didn’t even question it, and it’s Cruise Ship Wednesday in Kailua so the traffic sucked and the pedestrians were suicidal, and then I drove all the way home knowing I need to do it all again on Friday but at least now I know where the damned DMV is, and the only piece of mail in my PO box was for somebody else. Came home to my life still, mostly, in boxes, and here I was counting on the Box Fairy to make it all better.

But Peg made tortellini and sauteed oyster mushrooms and roasted chicken breasts for dinner tonight, and ain’t it amazing how food can change the tenor of a day.

My container arrived today!

Container!Isn’t it just about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? It will be even lovelier when it’s empty, and I’ll wave goodbye to it on Monday.

My books! My bookcases! My artwork! My music! My comfortable furniture! My dining table! My clothes! My cat tree! My beautiful Pfaff and my quilting fabrics and thread and rotary cutter and cutting mat and ribbons and quilt pattern books! My towels! My sheets! My STUFF!

I feel as though I’ve been camping out for the past two and a half weeks, even though I have a comfortable bed and a good computer desk and some wooden chairs on loan from my sister, but I am so excited about My Stuff that I think I’ll need some help sleeping tonight — especially since the unloading crew is showing up at seven tomorrow morning!

Heavens. I think I’ve use up my month’s allotment of exclamation marks in a single post.

Local produce.


From friends who own a coffee farm and orchards. above Honaunau. The lumpy yellow things are how lemons grow here; tangelos, bananas, oranges, onions, avocadoes …

According to recent stories in the news, Hawai’i imports over 90% of its food, which is a pretty awful situation. There’s legislation being introduced to encourage more local food production, including canning and preservation. I’ve been buying Hawai’ian beef and local eggs, and this weekend I start seriously hitting the farmers’ markets — or maybe I’ll wait until after I’ve eaten my way through that pile of fruit.

Wisdom from my Lebanese ancestors.

Beware of old bottles

My grandmother, my mother’s mother, after whom I was named, was a short, strong woman of girth and gravitas, who I remember as a black-clad refuge from all the ills in the world. She was born in mid-crossing between Marseilles (which had no interest in refugee Lebanese) and the Lebanese colony in the Yucatan, Mexico, and like most people of Middle Eastern descent her preferred method of answering a question was with a story.The stories were as old as the Phoenician culture itself — they are the font of the Thousand and One Nights — and communicated everything stories are meant to communicate: culture, morality, expectations, ethics, right behavior, the whole thing. When Abuelita answered a simple question with a long tale, it was best to listen. The moral came at the end, but the moral also came along the way, and the moral was also that it was always best to sit quietly and listen when wisdom was being handed down.

Here is one of Abuelita’s stories, gently brought forward into the 21st century, with particular application to me, today.

The Genie in the Bottle

A genie found himself confined in a bottle. Whether he deserved to be there or not is irrelevant; he was in that bottle and there he would stay until someone let him out.

For the first hundred years the genie was full of fury, and promised that whoever let him out would be rewarded with endless wealth, while the genie himself would visit retribution against whoever had locked in him the bottle. Nobody came.

For the second hundred years, the genie became contrite and examined his life, determined to root out the flaws in his character and be a better being henceforward. He promised that whoever let him out would have three wishes and that the genie would make sure that those wishes brought only good and happiness. Nobody came.

For the third hundred years, the genie tried to accept his fate. He no longer blustered or threatened; he no longer examined his life or made promises about the future. He sat quietly in his porcelain cage, in something approaching a lotus position, and came very close (for a genie) to achieving enlightenment. He realized that he could not affect the past, the future, or the present, and he accepted that when he was released, he would grant his liberator three wishes, setting no conditions on those wishes as he wished no conditions to be set upon himself. Nobody came.

The fourth hundred years, the genie lost all patience. Threats and endless wealth had not worked to release him; contrition, self-knowledge and altruism had not released him; satori and open-handedness had not brought salvation. In his wrath, he vowed that when he was released from the bottle, he would visit such fury upon the world, including his deliverer, as would shatter every bottle between and beyond the heavens and hell itself.

And, finally, someone came.

The moral of this story is: If my f***ing container with all my f***king stuff doesn’t f***ing show up next Friday, as promised, I am going to have a personal discussion with Madame Pele, just two angry old broads face to face, and then we’ll see!