Tuesday, November 30, 2004


So the other night my mom was flipping through the pages of my "Stitch & Bitch" when she came across the "Cowl and Howl" pattern -- a cowl-neck sweater for her and a matching sweater for her foo-foo dog.

"Oh look, Li Po!" Mom exclaimed. "It's a sweater pattern for dogs!"

Li Po's ears perked up briefly at the mention of his name and immediately drooped at the mention of "sweater." If he could talk, he would've said, "Woman, you nuts! You just paid some lady $38 to shave my natural sweater off and now you want to be knitting me another one? Crazy!"

Ta da!

photo047.jpg, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Drum roll everybody. Here is my scarf, my first ever completed knitting project! It's far from perfect (I didn't join all of the different colored pieces on the same side so it looks a little uneven upon closer inspection) but it's good enough for me.

Now for another brief reprieve from the knitting craze and then it's on to learning how to purl. (That's another fancier knit stitch).

Monday, November 29, 2004

Please, bear with me as I post again about knitting

photo044.jpg, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

This is my scarf so far. It's another cheap synthetic yarn, but Stroller suggested something "chunky" for the pattern.

More specifically she suggested a chunky wool/alpaca blend in three contrasting colors.

Of course, being a novice I went out and bought some chunky, FURRY yarn that makes it difficult to see the stitches. And there was hardly any color selection at Wal-Mart so I only bought two contrasting colors and will have to improvise. I am also using a thicker needle so that contributes to the chunky look as well.

Before starting with this new yarn I practiced "binding off" (finishing off the last row of stitches so the whole thing doesn't unravel) on a practice patch I knitted with the red yarn. Stroller said binding off is the easiest part. Of course, I found it most difficult, but surprised myself again by figuring it out.

Of course, my mom the expert knitter is able to finish cool projects like this:

in just one sitting.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Go me!

photo037.jpg, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Actually I took this picture moments before things went to crap and I was forced to start over. It's hard to tell, but I made eight rows.

Just a few moments ago, I completed 18 rows before screwing up.

Knitting is hard, no kidding, and tedious.

But not nearly as hard and tedious as I thought it would be, so I am hopeful.

Yup. I'm sure everyone jumped for joy when they realized this would be ANOTHER post about knitting.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


photo033.jpg, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

I am teaching myself to knit via "Stitch & Bitch" by Debbie Stroller. (I know, I know, more trendy crafty things). It took me a good 5-10 minutes to figure out the slip knot, which is how you get the first loop onto the needle and that was only a 3-step process.

Then comes "casting on" which is how you fill in the rest of the first row. A 4-step process that looked confusing as hell and took me 15-20 minutes to figure out. I almost shouted for joy when I got it to work. (I guess a part of me thought I'd hitch a fit, accidentally konk my head against a wall and black out for a few hours).

In fact I was so excited, I called Chris and left some kind of dorky voice mail message about, "Yea! I'm knitting! This is so cool!" then quickly hung up when I realized how dorky that sounded.

I'm taking a break before starting the "actual" knitting because I need to come down from my high, otherwise if I screw up the despair will be unbearable.

*Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!* snarled the Tiger Girl, before she lashed out with sharp claws.

Friday, November 26, 2004

I am consumerism at its worst

I did it. I went shopping today, Black Friday. I wasn't crazy enough to hit the Wal-Mart but my mom was. Or tried. She circled the lot, found a space five hundred miles away, hiked it to the store (nearly getting run over by a elderly man backing out of a stall) and bought my brother a box of golf balls before she had enough and high-tailed it home.

That's right. While the rest of the nation left Wal-Mart with new flat screen televisions, my mom bought a box of golf balls.

Then we went downtown, where I fell in love with Basically Books. They have so many made in Hawaii stuff, cute stuff too. The sales clerk who rang me up had B.O. though, which I don't get since the shelves were stocked with five or six varietis of hand-made soap, all delicious smelling. Hear me Chris? Delicious.

I found a copy of Momotaro, the Japanese children's book about the little boy born from a peach who goes on to fight ogres. I have no idea what I'm going to do with a children's book, but I impulsively bought it.

I'm one happy turkey today

Ah, the Day After Thanksgiving (DAT). I hope you're all stuffed and satisfied.

Chris' mom invited me to Thanksgiving dinner since I was in town (working) for the day. That was sweet. Or should I say sweeeeet. Good food and lots of it, even though I arrived late.

As I was heaping a hunk of yam onto my already heavy-laden plate, this newscast came on about how unhealthy Thanksgiving can be, what with us fat, lazy Americans stuffing our faces with reckless abandon and no consideration of the consequences. The newscaster tried telling me to take smaller portions and eat green beans instead of candied yams and wake up early on DAT and exercise.

"I'll just ignore that," I told Chris' mom, and added a dinner role to the platter.

I do eat a lot, but I don't think I went crazy. Just one big serving, a moderate slice of pumpkin pie, half a glass of apple cider and a glass of water.

Besides, I still have to buy my brother a birthday present and tomorrow is DAT also known as Crazy Ass Shopping Day. So I may find myself elbowing my way through packed racks of plastic junk. That should be exercise enough.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Salvaging stupid

I did something stupid. I burned the fabric of my latest embroidery piece while attempting to iron-on the pattern. How did I manage this latest feat of ingenuity? Instead of cutting the pattern out like Jenny Hart said to in her explanatory booklet, I just laid the whole piece of paper on the fabric and ironed away on high heat. The extra paper that I should have trimmed off got extra hot and burned ugly stains onto the white fabric.

And I was hoping to make something to give to Chris' mom. So now I am all about salvage-mode. In fact, I started embroidering the pattern anyway, the whole time thinking, hmmm how can I cleverly incorporate this latest screw up in such a way that no one will realize I screwed up?

On a totally unrelated note, I'm experiencing an unprecedented stint of adoring and appreciating my family. They're cool people. My dad just needed to retire.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hula Stitch--completed

Hula Girl, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Hula Stitch--not quite finished

Hula Stitch, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Joel sent me a care package in the mail. Cheap gummy candy, a keychain flashlight, some blank cards and this "Thai rock" deodorant he swears by. A very Joel-like care package. But he sent it in an Amazon box so I thought it was the two books I ordered from Amazon finally coming in. Still, any day I get a treat in the mail is a good day.

That handmade soap I bought at the craft fair smells sooooooo good. Delicious. As I recall Jo makes handmade soap as well, and even offered some brief tips about how to go about making soap on an earlier post of mine. Man, I'm going to have to revisit that because this stuff could get addictive.

Other than that, I don't have much else to blog about. Chris would be shocked.

My version--I made it myself!

My version, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Crafty Christmas start

The craft fair was OK. I remember it being bigger last year, but that's probably because I went at night. This year I went in the morning.

I felt sorry for some of the vendors 'cause I imagined all the time and care they put into their crafts and some of the customers were vultures. One overweight lady leaning on a cane asked a vendor if she would sell that handstitched baby blanket for $10 instead of $15 and when the vendor shook her head apologetically, the woman narrowed her eyes, muttered, "OK, not yet then," and shuffled off.

And then at the stall of this other woman selling handmade soap, one of the customers lingered forever, pressing all the display soaps right up to her nose and asking a bunch of nosy questions and then only buying two bars from the "dicolored and disfigured" dollar bin. Oh wait, that annoying customer was me.

If the soap works good, I can always order some more here.

The necklace was where I splurged. I passed that booth twice, both times lingering, before I finally decided to buy. Each time the booth was crowded with elbowy women with seemingly umlimited budgets. The beaded jewelry was handmade by a woman named Kori, and most of her stuff looked all juicy and colorful and yummy. That's right, Chris, yummy. So I gave her my $35 and took a necklace that reminds me of a spring garden in somewhere where there are actually seasons.

Oh, I bought some stuff for other people as well, but they can't know what it is until Christmas.

I also bought some fabric from the Fabric Mart in the mall and spent last night sewing away.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Yummy handmade soap and necklace from the craft fair

Soap and beads, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Just stating the obvious. Again.

Yesterday, when I couldn't get in touch with Chris, I was truly worried. As soon as we talked today, we began bickering. I told Chris I felt like such a pathetic girl worrying when he didn't call for one night and then accused him of condoning such behavior, even thinking it's sweet. He didn't deny it.

Somehow he got around to telling me I can be mean sometimes and I told him I just don't like being all simpery and pathetic.

And he said, "I know, I know. You don't want to be needy."

That is exactly it. I don't want to be, but despite myself, I can be in some ways.

I pondered this for awhile after we hung up and I decided that I don't have to be simpery and needy just to show I care about someone. Oh my God, did I just say that? The other voices in my head are converging now to resist this heinous, compassionate change of attitude.

Anyway it's easier to put this down in writing than to say it out loud. Because when I was whipping myself up into a frenzy of worry, I almost rediscovered the questionable habit of trying to bribe Him (i.e. I promise to always be good as long as you grant me this one thing...). I once even invented a scheme where I imagined I had a bank account in Heaven from which He could withdraw money as compensation for favors to me. But let's please not get into that for now.

So in my worry I was telling God that I would say all these nice things to Chris if he called me, etc., etc. And of course once he called and I established he was OK, I didn't.

I'm a conflicted coward like that sometimes.

All this to say. I really like you, Chris.

* * * * *

On a funnier note, I IM'd Joel earlier today and he immediately asked me about Chris. "What happened?"

"Oh. His phone ringer wasn't working and he'd fallen asleep."


Freshly groomed

Li Po Bored, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Li Po recently got groomed. The professional groomers are the only ones that can get him really groomed and sweet-smelling. This time they even finished him off with a black doggie-print hanky. Total cost: $38.

Dad is incredulous.

Still stunned

I think I just secured a job interview on the mainland. Now I need a moment or for or five to let all the mixed feelings sink in.

Panicking and being pathetic

Chris usually calls me every night, even if we don't have much to say and spend most of the conversation sighing, harumphing and yawning.

Last night he did not call and that thin thread by which I cling to my sanity came that much closer to breaking.

I called my friend Joel. Who did not share my concern and in fact laughed at me.

"Boy, he must give you a lot to cling to if you're this upset when he hasn't called for one night," Joel said. "Do you know how many guys stop calling me?"

And for a good half-hour I thought about that statement. I imagined Chris purposely not calling just to see if I'd overreact exactly like I was. And I got angry.

And I went and sat in front of the TV and embroidered my latest pattern. Chris still didn't call so I got worried that something must have happened to him because if I'm clingy, so is he, damnit!

So I called him again. (We needn't go into how many times since it's already apparent how pathetic I'm becoming).

When that did work, I again contacted Joel who told me to take a swig of something alcoholic and go to sleep cause there's nothing I can do about it anyway. Then he chided me for not having alcohol available. And the emphasis was on me not having alcohol, not the alcohol itself.

I told Joel if he were with me, I'd give in and be a hysterical mess. I was kind of kidding.

Joel said, Aren't you already?

Damn him! Then he offered some sympathy and again told me to go to sleep.

Joel has a way of letting me know that I'm being crazy without telling me I'm crazy and overreacting. It's sort of like one crazy person talking to another crazy person and there's a tone of calm sanity to it that's very effective because it makes sense. So I agreed to go to sleep.

When I woke up Chris had e-mailed me saying his phone ringer wasn't working and he'd just crashed out as soon as he got home and hadn't bothered to call me because he'd gotten my e-mail saying I'd be working late. Just like that.

And I feel so much better now that it's morning. And I don't have a hangover either, so take that, Joel.

I'd also like to point out that I can feel myself turning into one of those typical girls whose life revolves around their boyfriend. And I don't like it. I don't like it at all. I probably deserve all the scorn and gagging this story would engender among the less fucking pathetic.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

She never said 'I told you so.'

I was the kind of kid that could sit for hours on the floor with my Barbie dolls and My Little Ponies, making up stories about what they were doing. Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I imagined my Barbies were making a caravan trek across golden fields (it helped that the carpet in my room was a goldenish brown).

The problem was that the My Little Ponies were always too small for Barbie and her friends to ride and, duh, everybody knows horses don't really come in pink and purple with pictures of rainbows and raindrops tattooed on their hips. (Actually, I dunno. Chris, do some ranches brand their horses with raindrops and rainbows?)

So when I caught a glimpse of the pink box with the Barbie Brand Horse in the closet where Mom kept all her old purses and steamy romance novels out of reach, I immediately pitched a convincing argument for why I needed to have it. In other words, I threw a tantrum.

"I'll give it to you later," Mom said. "When you're older. Otherwise you'll break it. You break everything."

This is an exaggeration, but like all exaggerations based on some truth.

Mom had given me a pair of vintage troll dolls (the small ones, not the big plush ones that became popular years later) with felt vests. I immediately lost the vests and misplaced one entire troll. (The one with the magenta hair. I always liked the one with the yellow hair better anyway.) Then there were the numerous occasions I somehow yanked Barbie's head off and had to have Dad fix it. Once he had to pop Ken's leg back in too. There's the slinky I tangled up so badly that no one, not even Dad, fixer of all things, could untangle it. But what kind of kid doesn't tangle a slinky?

So I pitched the tantrum at the end of the hallway. It was quite a tantrum, full of screaming and tears and foot stamping. The kind of tantrum I only dared to throw when Dad was not home.

And Mom gave in and gave me the horse. It was brown and white and plastic all over and came with a saddle and, yea!, something new for Barbie and me to do!

Within a week I broke half of it's front leg, the one that was raised and bent to make it appear as though the horse was in mid-trot.

I was just a kid but even I realized the consequences of breaking the horse's leg within a week of throwing a tantrum because Mom warned me I would break the horse.

So I tied the broken part of the leg back on with a piece of Kleenex and limited Barbie's horse adventures to my closet until I eventually outgrew interest in the horse and moved on to pitching tantrums about other things.

My mom must have eventually realized what happened but I don't remember her ever saying "I told you so."

Come to think of it, Mom really must've been trying to hide that horse from me. She'd put it high up in the closet, above all her old purses, above even the steamy romance novels.

Duck stitch

Duck stitch, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

My latest attempt at embroidery. From the same booklet of iron-ons as the previous pattern (below).

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What is this?

What is this?, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Not exactly what I expected.

Tonight, instead of reading a book as usual, I plopped down in front of the TV and started embroidering. I was inspired by the Sublime Stitching website.

The pattern I used came from a book of American Indian-inspired iron-ons I bought in Santa Fe. I suppose it might have turned out better if it was less colorful and I knew what the design was supposed to represent. Oh well. At least the stitching itself is decent.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I need pennies people

The soda machine and I faced off and the soda machine won. I smoothed out my wrinkled dollar, inserted into the slot and...nothing.

The fucking machine was broken.

Damn you soda machine! I'll take my money elsewhere!

* * *

Two days earlier at the post office:

"That'll be $2," the postmaster said, after stamping the manilla envelopes containing my clips and resume. "Anything else you need?"

"Nah." Pause. "Well a sheet of stamps."


"Do you have change for a $20?"


She gave me the change in $1 bills.

"Oh no. All of this is going to end up in the vending machine."

* * *

So in conclusion:

Dear World,

Please stop giving me $1 and quarters in change. It is just too tempting and making me fat.

And stop staring at me, soda machine, everytime I happen to walk by. I can hear you laughing everytime I feed $1.25 worth of quarters down your greedy, metal throat.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Shi shi

Me: Earlier today I really had to pee but when I got up to go to the bathroom, the cleaning people had put up signs saying the bathroom was closed because they were cleaning it.

Brian: Next time just use the men's bathroom. No one's here on the weekends.

Me: No. Both the bathrooms were being cleaned.

Brian: Well just pee at your desk. That's what Joe would do.

Joe: Huh?

Me: Well it's easier for guys to find a place to pee.

Brian: Just pee in the court yard. No one would know.

Me: Nah. Someone will find out and they'll issue a memo: Peeing is restricted to company-approved peeing areas.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I hope I'm not too late to be hip (but if I have to hope, of course I am)

Hello, when did knitting become trendy? From scarves to beanies to leg warmers, everywhere I look I see someone twiddling their needles. Well, mostly I've been looking at the magazine rack at Borders. So what? The point is, I've only now noticed the outcrop of knitting magazines. And they look more Seventeen than Martha Stewart. (Bad example. I don't think Martha knits).

For that matter, there's a whole new breed of craft magazine, geared to the young and hip.

I have a feeling I'm the last to notice this. I'm usually on something just before it goes out of style.

I wonder when puffy paints will make the big come back. God I used to love decorating T-shirts with iron-ons and puffy paints. My auntie once bought me a huge set of Tulip brand puffy paints from Costco. I never had the balls to actually wear the shirts. I guess I was in it more for the craft than the fashion.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


When I was a little kid, I had this plush dog that was my favorite toy. He wore a red hat and red overalls and there was a permanent imprint on one of his ears from where I liked to press my thumb into it.

He got too dirty and one day my parents took him and threw him away and I never saw him again.

My best friend Shari's most treasured toy is a stuffed monkey she got the day she was born. She named him Sam. He's threadbare and one arm is in jeopardy of falling off but she loves him and she still has him.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Hippie-dom here I come

I've been avoiding the Natural Foods Store.

Seriously. I drove by the place twice but couldn't bring myself to park.

It's a stupid reason, but I just don't feel like I belong in there. No Berkenstocks, no dreadlocks, not even a vegetarian. The people I see coming in and out are always hippies that smell funny or weirdos drinking carrot juice smoothies.*

I imagine I'd get to the entrance and everyone would stop shopping to stare at me. Like, are those leather straps on her two inch heels? Jaws would drop, whispering would start and I'd run away in shame.

Yes. That's how important I think I am. That's how much I matter. People would stop shopping.

The reason I wanted to go to the Natural Food Store has to do with my other latest obsession: Burt's Bees. It's another organic company whose buttermilk lotion I've been using for a week and love. And like all obsessions, one product is not enough. I tried finding more at the Longs Drug Store here, but no luck. Not at K-Mart or WalMart either.

So finally, vanity drew me to the Natural Food Store where I bought a $10 facial starter kit that includes toner and cremes that smell suspiciously like actual plants.

I am suspicious of myself because I know I have a history of going through cosmetic phases. From Loreal to M.A.C. And now Burt's Bees.

But what the hell. I finally walked into the Natural Foods Store and it wasn't that bad. There were more yuppies than hippies in there anyway. Well, at least as many. And yuppie is a look I can comfortably pull off.

* I'm fully aware of the irony of me, the drive-by stalker of a natural foods store, labeling carrot juice drinkers "weird."

Current obsession: Silly Strawberry

Well, a week has past since my dentist appointment.

Fluoride and flossing have added more time to the nightly teeth-brushing ritual, but that new toothpaste I bought is working out great.

It's Tom's of Maine's Silly Strawberry and it's actually marketed to kids, but I like it just the same. It foams really well in my mouth but with none of that harsh chemically taste you'll find with other brand-name toothpastes. There's just a hint of strawberry flavor, and it's real strawberry flavor not something artificially manufactured to taste like strawberry.

The only drawback, if you consider this a drawback, is that because it's so natural it lacks that burning tingly sensation you get from other toothpastes, and I kind of consider that the sensation of a clean mouth.

I heard of Tom's of Maine before and then tried some of the regular mint-flavored toothpaste that Chris had. That was good but I like the strawberry flavor better.

Tom's of Maine is one of those "all natural, environmentally friendly" companies. Chris warned me that my parents might now worry that I'm turning into a hippie.

However, the Silly Strawberry version I got came with fluoride. I'm not that all natural.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I got stopped by a cop

Anyone who knows what I do for a living will find irony, or perhaps sweet, sweet justice in this story.

I was at a restaurant, celebrating Carolyn's 23rd birthday with the rest of my co-workers, distracted because I hadn't gotten to talk to Chris and uncomfortable because everyone was being loud and unnecessarily perky and there were camera flashes going off and gigantic hubbub over getting an extra table to fit all of us and everybody clamoring to be the first to talk and tell a witty story.

I wanted to go home.

Plus I was stressed because I wasn't sure I had enough cash to contribute my share of the bill.

Plus, plus, where was Chris? And was it normal for me to be so anxious after not talking to him for one night when how long have I really known this guy anyway? There must be something wrong with me, some kind of attachment/abandonment issue.

This is all I was thinking about as the others mugged for poloroids, flashing shakas and talking about how when they first moved here they couldn't pronounce any of the street names (this is Kona after all. No one from here lives here).

At the first opportunity, I threw a $20 into the pile, got a $1o back in change and lit out of there.

I made it all the way up the second street (nearly side sweeping another car that didn't even see me, dumbasses) before I saw the flashing blue lights behind me.

I pulled over thinking it would just pass me. It didn't. It pulled up behind me. The officer got out. I rolled down my window. The officer, a woman shined her flashlight in my car and asked me if I was OK. I said yes. She asked where I'd been. I told her. She asked if I'd been drinking. I told her (honestly) I hadn't.

Then she said, "Because you were driving without your headlights on. That's one of the signs you know, for drunk driving."

Then she let me go, because she said she couldn't smell alcohol on my breath and I seemed trustworthy.

So THAT'S how distracted I was. I didn't even turn my headlights on.

And no, I'm not blaming Chris for the nuerosis that sometimes grips my mind like a fist. Chris actually called me ahead of time to say he wouldn't be available to talk. I sure wish I could apologize to the driver I thought was a dumbass for not seeing me driving along without my headlights on.

Li Po

Li Po is getting older. His eyelashes, which we used to let grow out, were long and thick and black and pointy at the ends. That's the Shih-Tsu in him I guess. Well, now they're white. They look as if they've been dusted with powder, especially when he's asleep next to you and you can peer at his furry little face and notice how his once dark lashes now blend in with his white fur.

Li Po's latest hair cut is growing out in all kinds of odd ways. If you get a profile view of him barking, it looks like he has a little white moustache. Since he's going blind, his big brown eyes often have a distant, unfocused look to them. But I like this phase of the fur grow-out. He's fluffy again, but not so fluffy that he starts to stink and get matted and tangly.

Li Po may be going deaf as well, because more and more often, you can walk right into the house, right up to where he's napping, before one eye pops open, then the other then he's all over you barking and scampering. Before he did the barking and scampering bit immediately. Before you were even inside he'd be throwing his full weight against the screen door, like a SWAT team trying to bust in, or in his case, out. He still does his doggy-dance when he recognizes me, though. He rushes up barking, tail swooshing, and buries his nose in my pants. Sniff, sniff, sniff. Where have you been? Ah, I smell a car, an office, a cat --- what?! a cat?! And when I try to pet him, he nudges my hand over so he can smell that too. Then there's the long walk up the hallway to drop my stuff in my bedroom, both of us trying not to trip over each other.

Li Po's nose is as strong as ever. It never stops moving and can detect a treat two rooms away.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The blue suede book

I rediscovered my journal. Blue suede cover with a yellow ribbon marker and a magnetic button closure.

This journal, a present from my relatives in Chicago, is probably the longest single journal I've ever kept. It encompasses at least six years of my life. From when I was a senior in high school until now.

Some of the entries catch my eye, stir a memory, conjure up an image. Of visiting my grandma at the care home after her stroke, for instance. Walking down the hallway that smells of bleach and dirty daipers and seeing her in the wheelchair, next to all the other old Japanese women in wheelchairs. Of hearing my grandpa again say with that laughing sparkle in his eye, "Some people have their Happy Hour. Grandpa has Unhappy Hour" and thinking he was drunk when he wasn't.

Other entries leave me puzzled. I don't remember feeling the things I wrote about. Like when my first boyfriend, who I met in college stopped calling me while I was at my internship in Florida. I asked myself if he forgot what it was like to hug me or to drive around Honolulu with me. The version I'd invented for myself was that it was good we'd broken up, I never liked him as much as he deserved. I didn't even cry afterwards, after all.

I wrote about Florida, walking through the neighborhood that was my designated beat and meeting a guy named Vernon who smoked a pipe while he rode his bicycle past old victorian houses.

I wrote about childhood memories--climbing the guava tree in the backyard with my best friends Shari and Ashley, sitting in the tree and singing stupid patriotic songs like "My Country Tis of Thee" and Christmas carols. I wrote about how I resented Shari for being so bossy.

I wrote a lot about my insecurities as a writer. About how junk I was and how I always brought myself down and always managed to make some stupid mistake. These were sometimes followed by peppier entries, urging me to give myself a break, if only for my own sake.

And the journal's still not finished. At least 30 more pages to go. Interestingly enough, I made a decision from the start not to date the entries. Except for the one I wrote on Sept. 11, 2001. I remember telling myself I wanted the spirit of the writing to be more important than exact dates.


This entertaining bit at The Morning News:

Dating is impossible: Your friends have only so many friends to set you up with, co-workers are off-limits, and online services are icky and cold. Luckily singles can now turn to Singles Canoes, a new service we hadn’t heard of until Bob Powers clued us in.

I'm pretty sure it's fictional but it I found it so funny I snorted at the end and almost choked. Fortunately, none of my co-workers bothered to look up from their cubicles to see if I was OK.

Read the rest of it here.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


My dad is trying to quit smoking. This is going to be tough, as he's been smoking for more than 20 years now. No patch, no gum. Cold turkey. I'm proud of my dad. He's so much easier to get along with now that he's retired. Even the nicotine cut-backs aren't making him grumpy. And he's lost weight. What the hell?

I always told him that if he quit smoking I would quit biting my nails. It's easier said than done. I was doing good for awhile, but had a relapse. And you know how it is. One inch gives and the next thing you know you're shrugging and thinking, might as well keep going.

I want to quit. I'm going to quit. Then I'm going to celebrate by getting a manicure.


Awhile ago, I posted about the Halloweenie Loco Moco. Well, it's been replaced by the turkey loco moco in preparation of Thanksgiving. Good ole Cafe 100.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Silence: The absence of clutter

Looking around the house in Hilo, I realize I've been raised in chaos. Sure, we had chores. Each month one of us would have to do the dishes while the other had to clear and wipe the table. But that's about it. There were some threats about cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floor but it was never enforced on a consistent basis.

Both my parents worked. They came home tired. My brother and I were lazy, typical teenagers with that infuriating don't-tell-me-what-to-do-I-already-know-everything attitude. At some point, I think, my parents got tired of pushing us.

Our house at best was disorganized and at worst a sty.

I remember frantic last-minute cleaning efforts before family get-togethers.

No one has ever done anything about our yard, which remains a tangled jungle of weeds as tall as small trees.

No, I take that back. Someone did do something about it. Our neighbor, Mr. D cut down a huge chunk of weeds when they began creeping into his yard. He even planted grass. And has taken to mowing it. It's an unspoken truth that he planted and continues to maintain the strip of grass that is technically on our property.

I say all this because my dad was raised by my grandma, a compulsive cleaner and possibly the tidiest person on the planet. I was just at her house, washing my hands at her bathroom sink, taking it all in, thinking, My God, this house is so clean. This house is a testament to Grandma.

I have a sneaking suspiscion that the mess really, really bothers my dad but he doesn't feel that it's his responsibility to do anything about it. That the rest of us should take up the project. I also suspect he's wary of criticizing us for fear of retorts that will lead to arguments and lost tempers.

Instead, he's eeked out his own corner of calm organization. A desk, clear of clutter, with papers filed neatly in drawers and cubby holes. A cordless phone and a lap top computer. Every day, my mom's sewing supplies or piles of junk mail come precariously close to swallowing up this one small corner, the only corner he's taken to cultivating.

Maybe he's hoping, through his silence, and the silent presence of his tidy corner amongst all the visual noise, we will find the way and follow his lead. And he will be able to finally put his feet up on a table free of clutter and gloat. Silently of course.


At a seminar this weekend, I sat next to an elderly woman and we got into a conversation about Shih-Tsus. I mentioned Li Po was half Shih-Tsu and proceeded to tell the woman how he'd gotten his name: My grandma insisted that since the breed originated in China/Tibet, he needed to have a Chinese name and Li Po, the famous poet, was the name she came up with, isn't that a silly way to name your dog?

Then the woman's eyes lit up and she told me she'd named her Shih-Tsu Yo-yo Ma after the famous Chinese cello player.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Hot air: From the forgotten Albuquerque pictures file

Hot air, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


I've always wondered, and if you live in Hawaii too maybe you've wondered as well, why Bath & Bodyworks doesn't open a boutique in Ala Moana or Pearlridge or anywhere else in the state.

I mean, amongst my group of friends, it's almost a given that if you go to California-Nevada-New York-Chicago-anywhere-else-on-the-mainland, you bring back the latest yummy smelling soap product from Bath & Bodyworks. Everyone has a favorite scent. I like the Cotton Blossom. Ashley used to like the Country Apple. Dara liked the Pea Blossom. June likes the foaming hand wash. Shari likes the bath gels and body sprays. And etc., etc.

Now they have the new line of aromatherapy handwashes. Oh, don't get me started.

Don't the Bath & Bodyworks people know they'd make a killing here?

I remember when my dad first started making his frequent business trips to the mainland I asked him to stop at a Bath & Bodyworks and handed him a list that looked something like this:

2 bottles of antibacterial handwash -- Country Apple, Pearberry
2 bottles of Cotton Blossom body wash
1 bottle Cotton Blossom body spray
1 bottle of White Tea & ginger body wash

My dad handed the list to the sales clerk and she did all the shopping for him while he sat on a bench outside the store and smoked a cigarette. He didn't want to go inside, he said, because it "stank."

My cousins in Chicago are pretty bleh about Bath & Bodyworks and couldn't quite understand my feverish enthusiasm to visit the place. Although, to their credit, they pretened to be for my sake. Bath & Bodyworks are as common as hot dog stands in Chicago. Which, now that I think about it, probably accounts for their cult status here.

Song list

Seth's song list, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

One of the neat things about Chris is he sings. I don't know how to describe his style. He and his friend David play together in New Mexico. Chris writes his own songs too. Mostly it's for fun, although they do get invitations to play at parties.

I got to watch Chris and David (and David's girlfriend Juliana) rehearse two days before playing at their friend Seth's wedding. It was the first and only pre-wedding rehersal they held. I pretended to be asleep so none of them would have the bright idea of trying to get me involved. But I had a hard time not snickering when I realized they hadn't even chosen which songs they were going to sing.

It turned out OK, of course.

I hadn't known Chris that long when he first pulled out the guitar and made up a song on the spot about me. It was slightly embarassing but also flattering.

I remember thinking it was really neat, and very sweet and anyone with a combination of those qualities was bound to inevitably dump me. That made me sad.

Obviously I underestimated his resistance to punishment.

The picture above is of Chris' and David's set list for Seth's wedding.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Have you flossed lately?

I went to the dentist.

Correction: I went to the dentist for the first time in four years.

In a nutshell: I need to floss more and remove my wisdom teeth. All four of them. And floss my teeth. I cannot emphasize how important it is to floss your teeth, people. Even if you floss vigorously before going to the dentists and your gums bleed and you realize immediately that your mouth is gross and you haven't flossed nearly enough in these four years of avoiding the dentist, you will not fool the dentist. They will know that you don't really floss enough. And they will look at you in a way that will make you want to turn into a puddle and slink out the door.

In fact, because I did not floss enough, I left the office with a prescription for Flouride. So off to the local Longs Drug Store. Where in addition to the prescription Flouride I also bought Tom of Maine's strawberry flavored toothpaste because what better way to get myself more enthused about dental hygene than buying a new product? -- and a bottle of Burt's Bee's buttermilk lotion because I tried the sample and it smelled so good.

Now I have to schedule an appointment with the oral surgeon to remove the four wisdom teeth. The dentist assured me they couldn't stay in my mouth even though they've been lying there, parallel to my jawline, for the past four years.

"It's best to remove the wisdom teeth at a ... relatively young age," the dentist's assistant said in a way that made me feel distinctly that by "relatively young" she meant 17 or 18 not 23 and 11 months.

Then she added, "Too bad you got your own insurance now. If you did it when you were younger your dad could have paid for it." Pause. "Maybe you should try to get your dad to pay for it anyway."

I don't have a life; I have a blog

Chris: What are you doing?

Me: I'm blogging

Chris: Oh, you're blogging. I see how it is. Your blog is more important than me.

Me: Well, you're still in the ... Top Ten.

Chris: Oooh, the Top Ten. Well go back to your blog then. I'll talk to you later.

Me: No, no, no. I'm not blogging. I'll talk to you.

Chris: No, I don't want to play second fiddle to your blog

Me: You don't want to be my second fiddle anymore?


Chris: Oh, alright. I'll be the second fiddle.

Me: I can't believe you let me get away with this.

Chris: Me either. You're not even here to give me a hug.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

What a piece of quack

Ron the sports guy's desk is lined with his extensive toy collection, most of it from McDonald's Happy Meals, some passed out for free at sporting events and others inherited from co-workers who thought, I don't need this piece of crap but I'll bet Ron will appreciate it.

---Insert graceful transition paragraph here--

The folks from Affleck showed up at the office and did their best to convince us that our current health coverage is woefully inadequate. Then they held a drawing for a little plush white ducky that goes, "Affleck! Affleck! Aaaafllleck!" just like the ducky in the TV commercials.

I'm the lucky one who got to pull the winner's name from the pile of applications they'd made us fill out.

I ended up drawing Ron's name, of course.

Chris' dad: I'm so sorry. You know I'd add to the duck shrine if I could. Well, technically I could have cheated and drawn my own name since I could see the ink through the paper and I think I was the only one using a red pen, but hey, that would have been too obvious. And uhm, I scored a ducky pen though. That's still cool, right?

I just realized the previous post could be read as a satire about my boss.

Oh, how I want to go home bury my face in Li Po's stinky fur and promise him that he's not like my boss, he's not, he's not, he's not!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Li Po has had what some may deem a severe disadvantage to his growth as a sensitive member of the canine community: He's never been properly socialized with other dogs.

Thus, he's never formulated a realistic image of himself as a small, yappy fur ball.

To make matters worse, his first owners, a shrill-voiced 80-year-old woman given to thumping him on the head instead of scratching him behind the ears, always complained that he was too big when he exceeded 15 lbs. She freaked out like he was a St. Bernard if he tipped the scale at 16 lbs. The other owner, a soft-spoken 80-year-old man, took to sneaking tidbits of table food into Li Po's doggie dish to fulfill Li Po's big appetite.

His second set of owners, an absentminded but affectionate middle aged woman and her somewhat frightening mate, let him have an entire couch to himself as a bed.

All of this has led Li Po to the not too far-fetched conclusion that he is a BIG DOG.

That oversized rubber beach ball that's twice the size of his head? He can grapple it, no problem. That 40lb bag of doggie chow? He can finish it in one meal if you'd only let him.

So it would seem that Li Po would be utterly unprepared, then, when one day his new owners dropped him off at his old owners' house for a day. The old owners' neighbor had gotten a new lab-mix pup who was already twice the size of Li Po.

Never you mind. Li Po strode right over to the boundary line and peed in the pup's territory.

Vicious territorial barking commenced on both sides.

Li Po was only saved from certain disaster when the lab's owner came out and temporarily moved the pup to the other end of the yard.

A short term solution. Now Li Po is more convinced than ever that he's the big dog. Why else would they have to remove the other dog from his immediate post?

I am fairly certain that this is the true mentality of a small dog who is sheltered and protected all of his life. Particularly a stinky one, who sits on a couch once and turns it into the house pariah.

Or the cops will make fun of you*

Lt. B.M. (not to be confused with the Sgt.) at least tells me what's going on.

Like the time the guy came into the police station to hand over 3 grenades he happened to have found on his property. Just walked right into the station with the canister and said he'd like to have the police take his grenades into safe-keeping.

They had to evacuate all the civilian workers at the station.

"People can be so stupid," Lt. B.M. said.

According to him, the guy should have called the explosive ordinance unit at the military base instead of taking it to the police.

"But people do stupid things," he repeated.

Then he recounted a story about how one guy found an unexploded ordinance buried under some sand at a beach in North Kohala. The guy dug it up, stuck it in the back seat of his jeep and drove all the way to Kona to turn it in to police.

Lt. B.M. said he was apalled by the unnecessary danger the guy had put himself, and everyone else for that matter, in by picking up an unexploded ordinance, dumping it in the back seat and then bouncing along for 50 miles to Kona. He could have been blown to smithers.

But now that the guy was at the station with the possible bomb, the issue of liability reared its ugly head and Lt. knew he couldn't let the guy leave or it would be his ass on the line. (Incidentally, if you can make it so that it's the cop's ass on the line, not yours, chances are things will work in your favor).

So he told the guy to leave the ordinance in the far, far corner of the parking lot and surround it with orange cones.

Then he called the military's explosive ordinance unit himself.

So the moral is, if you don't want to end up as the center of ridicule in a cop story, don't go to the police station.

* I don't hate the police. I make fun of them, but I don't hate them. Oh, and the ordnance turned out to be a dud.

I used to have police stories all the time

I called the police for an update and got to speak with Sgt. B.M.

Sgt. B.M. was one of the first police officers I got to know. I thought he may have been bipolar because sometimes he would be so happy and animated and other times I worried that the county had erred greivously in issuing him a service revolver.

Today his mood had plateaued out at a depressing but bearable bleak.

"How are you?" I asked.

"Well, I'm still here," he snapped. "How do you think I am? But I'm only here for 422 more days. I'm starting the countdown."

"OK. 422 more days. Let me start marking it on my calender."


He said there were no updates for me. Well nothing he would tell me. Except that someone important might be coming to town but he couldn't tell me who.

Cops love to play these mind games I noticed. Particularly this cop.

So instead of playing into his hands I said, "Well I'll check in with you again before day 422 is up."

He laughed and said OK.

Cops. Sometimes I think they hate their jobs more than anyone else.

Burning the midnight oil

It's 2:35 a.m. Wednesday and I'm finally home. Elections kept me at the office until this ungodly hour.

The excitement wore off fast. Bush had a strong lead from the start and never let up. I was expecting more of a challenge from Kerry. I think everybody was. I don't know what happened.

As far as the local races, there was the funny incident of Mufi Hanneman making his "I won but am being humble" speech only to be told he hadn't won the Honolulu mayor seat yet because the elections office hadn't counted more than 4,000 late votes. We'll have to see how that one turns out.

Other than that, nothing much. In fact I'm glad I brought a book along. I'm not 50 pages into "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck and I'd highly recommend it. It's a light-hearted read, not in a shallow way, just in a sparkly way that makes you happy and perhaps will spark your desire for an adventure.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Tobiko jalapeno

Tobiko jalapeno, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

I decided to indulge my sushi desire for lunch. One of my favorite sushi shops offered this new twist on the California roll: He soaked the tobiko (fish eggs) in jalapeno juice. It was tasty but not as hot as I expected.

Getting somewhere

I'm finally getting somewhere in the "look for a new job" department. I mailed out one packet of clips and just completed a cover letter for another packet.

Cover letters are dasterdly things. They're supposed to be a short, concise, quick read for a harried boss who may spot a typo or grammar error and toss it in the trash. Yet, I remember when my company was hiring for a new writer and the cover letters that seemed to stand out to my bosses all had funny little anecdotes or some descriptive paragraphs. In other words, the ones that at least attempted creative thinking stood out the most.

So that's what I tried to employ with mine. It's too late for the one I already sent out. That one was all business. But this one, I re-wrote three times. The first time I re-read it I noticed a lot of repetitive words bogging down the second paragraph. Re-wrote that. Then read it again and realized that the whole thing made me sound like a bore. No personality. So I added in a couple more paragraphs about myself. Make it at least seem like I have some color to my personality.

We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 01, 2004


I said something thoughtless and hurtful to my Auntie Ginny tonight, and even though I apologized, and she forgave me and we cried and she told me to forget about it and then we talked and laughed -- even after all of that -- I feel it's not enough. I wish I could take it back, swallow the words whole and erase the moment so she wouldn't know I'd even been thinking it.

That's why I apologize so much. I want to go back and erase the moment.

"That was a really rude thing you said," she told me. "And you know I would do anything for you and any time you need to talk you know I'm always there for you. You know you can tell me anything."

Which is true.

My Auntie Ginny was my mother before she had a daughter of her own. She'd always pick me up, take me to the Fun Factory, take me to the park, take me to hang out at Grandma's house. She was always laughing and cheerful.

She isn't that way so much anymore. The years have changed her I guess, like they change everything.

But I still go to her before I go to my parents. I still confide in her and trust her before I do almost anyone else.

So when I said what I said tonight, I really did feel as though I'd stabbed her in the back.

And I'm sorry for it, even though I say it too much, I don't say it enough.


Tonight I let myself be egged into going "out." Whenever someone says they are going "out" they usually mean a nightclub or bar. And that is where I ended up tonight, Halloween night, for all of two minutes. That's how long before I bolted. That's right. I counted to 60 twice in my head then leaned over to Carly, and yelled over the noise, "I don't want to stay here. I'm going home."

And, this is beginning to get repetitive, but I missed Chris again. It's tough being all alone, afloat in a big crowd of noise that doesn't deign to notice your existence. Sometimes I yearn for actual company.