Thursday, January 27, 2005

Da kine

Here in Hawaii, we have a phrase that explains everything. It is the ultimate catch-all. If you're eating dinner and want someone to pass you the potatoes, but you can't remember the word for "potato" you can tell Auntie to pass "da da kine" and she'll look puzzled and hold up the salad, fish, and corn while you scrunch your face and shake your head. Eventually she'll reach the potatoes, and you'll smile, and everyone will know you wanted the da kine.

Da kine relies a lot on context too. If you're talking about shopping for clothes and you tell someone you bought the "da kine" they'll probably understand you meant the blouse or pants or whatever.

I went to meet co-worker (FORMER co-worker) Carolyn in town a couple days ago and my dad and his friend had to drive me since my car is currently en-route on the da kine, and my dad's friend teased me,

"You going come back with a haole accent. When you call your dad you going be talking all haole."

"Not necessarily," I said. "There's a lot of Spanish influence in New Mexico, a lot of people there have a Spanish inflection to their voice."

Thus proving that I ALREADY talk like one da kine.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I don't know why I was surprised or hurt. She rarely has anything to say beyond a litany of complaints, especially when those outside the family are within earshot. But still. I went to see my grandma* at the care home today and she barely said a word to me. Just kept watching the Filipino TV show her Catholic Charity nurses had turned on the TV.

"Grandma, I'm going to New Mexico on Friday."

She looked at me and said, "You can't go."

"I can't go? What do you mean?"

And she clammed up. Maybe she could see how obviously I was seeking kind words from her, a sign that she would miss me while I am gone, and those words were so close I had to press. So she clammed.

"Mom didn't come cause she caught a cold," I said, changing the subject.

"New Mexico is going to be cold you know."

"Not so much anymore."

"I wish I could take it away."

"Huh? Take what away?"

"The cold. I wish I could take it away! But I can't. I can't even do anything."

And she teared up.

The rest of the visit was mostly silence broken by my saying, "What are you thinking Grandma?" and her pursing her lips.

I believe deep down that my grandma loves me, that she will miss me, that she has always had a hard time expressing herself and the stroke five years ago has made it worse. I still wish I had the words, the magic words, to make her suddenly more expressive, to make myself feel better.

*My mom's mother, not my dad's who celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary last year and who I usually talk about. My mom's mother owned Li Po until she had the stroke. (Scroll down. That's her in "Quite the Pair" walking arm-in-arm with my grandpa, her husband).

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Someone needs to quack

Chris said he's feeling grouchy today. I should remind him that he's the type of guy who likes to do all kinds of wacky things. Like take pictures of himself in the middle of the grocery store:

Hee hee. I like that picture.

If you are reading, Chris, I hope you feel better.

Pretty things

In the midst of packing up, I stumbled across a pretty stationary set my Chicago cousins gave me for Christmas, probably five years ago. I barely used the notecards because they are so pretty and despite being stuffed in a shoebox stuffed in a closet in Hawaii for all these years, the paper is as good as new. Tucked in with the notecards was this poem:

If you look up at the stars
and have a wondrous feeling
If your heart delights
at the antics of a chickadee
If a little toad winks
as you pass by
or you wish he would
then Presscraft Papers
were created
for you

After a bit of googling, I found the Gwen Frostic Prints web site. Gwen is the creator of the simple, beautiful, nature-inspired notecards I've rediscovered. I am coveting a journal. Maybe this one:

Quite the pair

Quite the pair, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I have a guilty confession

My brother has been a World Wrestling Entertainment fan since its days as the World Wrestling Federation. I think he picked it up from my grandpa. The two of them would sit in Grampa's basement and watch over-muscled men slap each other around. My Uncle Alan couldn't believe it because when he was a kid he always wanted to watch wrestling but Grampa would shut the power off if he caught the kids watching TV.

But I digress. As usual.

My brother has been a WWE fan since the days when Hulk Hogan had hair and he was still a fan when Hulk Hogan became Hollywood Hogan The Bad Guy who started the New World Order (NWO).

In high school it really sucked ass that my brother liked wrestling so much because he always wanted to watch Monday Night RAW (RAW is WAR) on the USA Network and that frickin' show always came on at the same time as Ally McBeal, a cleverly written comedy about a nuerotic lawyer with a social disorders and quirky coworkers that was MY choice of television for Monday evenings.

So lots of fights over TV. And even though we were in high school, we weren't above hitting each other and being generally ornery.

Him: "I don't want to watch that stupid show. It's junk."

Me: "You're a fat loser. Wrestling is fake."

Him: "F you."

Me: "Fine watch your dumbass wrestling."

Him: "Nevermind then. Just watch your stupid show."

And then we'd watch Ally McBeal til almost the end at which point he would change channels back to USA to catch the end of RAW (which was the most exciting part anyway).

I never admitted this to my brother but I sort of came to enjoy the wrestling. There was drama and they did things to draw you in and empathize with the "characters."

I bring this all up now because he's watching wrestling again and Sean Michaels is in the ring. Geez, how old is that guy? Surely younger than Hogan and Rick "Nature Boy" Flair, but some of those guys have been doing this for years and I wonder how they manage.


Now that I am officially unemployed (ha ha) I've spent the past few days lying around Hilo, periodically packing for the big move and watching a lot of TV. Today Carolyn drove over from Kona and we walked around downtown, did a little shopping and then I took her to see Queen Liliuokalani Park on Banyon Drive. We even walked across the street to Coconut Island. And finally lunch at Cafe Pesto.

Now I'm so tired. I can't explain it. But I felt compelled to blog, no matter how lame.

Also I used a bag I knitted on the outing. It's based on the "Chinese Charm" bag pattern in Stitch'n'Bitch but I used fuzzy yarn and it's smaller. But it even has a little charm. I'll post pictures later.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

You know you're in Albuquerque when...

At risk of sounding like one of those "You know you're in" lists, last night when I called Chris up he was at a bar/nightclub with his friend Abel and he started to describe the scene:

"The police department's got some horses here. Yup. I guess 'cause it gets pretty wild downtown on Friday and Saturday nights. Uh-oh. Abel's about to get busted. This might actually be kind of funny. He's using his brother's I.D. I think he lost his or that's what he said, anyway I think they know it's not his real I.D. Hey, something must be going on. They're sending the horses in. Wow, they've got some real big horses."

From this brief and somewhat confusing conversation I gathered that Abel, who is older than 21, was using his older brother's I.D. to get into a bar, that this apparently is breaking some sort of New Mexican law, and that the authorities keep order on horseback.

Only in New Mexico?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Who's the blind stupid now?

Despite living in a family where people coo at him, "Li Po, are you a stupid dog? You're a stupid dog, yeah?" the way most people would coo, "Li P you're a cutie pie"; and despite being laughed at by the same family because he's going blind and bumps into walls when he walks up the hallway, THIS happened:

Yesterday my mom, Li Po's designated feeder and therefore recipient of his canine loyalty, came home from work late. So my brother, who wants very badly to be the recipient of canine loyalty, fed him instead. In the past, when my brother did this he wouldn't tell my mom and Li Po would luck out and get two dinners. So yesterday, after feeding Li Po, my brother left a note in the dog dish that read:

I fed the dog already.

My mom came home, and in true robot form, promptly dumped a serving of dog food into the dish.

Li Po inhaled it.

Didn't you see the note?! Brian exclaimed when he found out.

Oh, no, Mom replied. I didn't have my glasses on.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


If you had told me a year ago that I would be moving to a town with the name "farm" in it I would have laughed. Or scoffed. Or snapped.

But I'll be there in a week.

Here are some things I've learned at my current job

1) It is more important that you produce copy than it is to be creative and a good writer. At first, this sounds negative and lame. But it makes sense. A newspaper comes out every day so the reporter who can crap out a mediocre story every day, becomes over time, a much more valuable asset than the reporter who is a very good writer but takes forever, misses deadlines and spends more time stressing over "the perfect sentence" than turning something in. As Chris put it, "An editor can work with mediocre copy. But the copy has to be there." Of course, if you are a good writer that consistently churns out stellar copy that's even better. Such a person did not exist at my paper. Most reporters leaned towards one end of the spectrum or the other.

2) If you're not at the New York Times (and maybe even if you are) swallow your huge ass ego or risk butting heads with co-workers and going home in tears of frustration. And you will be miserable and always feel like you're losing. There are a lot of young reporters at my current newspaper, all eager to prove themselves. But I can think of one or two that are ambitious and power hungry or out for awards and compliments. In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit I sometimes feel that way: Consumed by jealousy and viewing my co-workers as competition instead of team members. Case in point: I had to help the "new" cops reporter by taking her to the police station and answering her questions. She did fine. Better than expected. And part of me hated her for that. Fortunately I think I did a good job of beating my ego down. I hope she does better than I did and surprises everyone.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I got my hair cut

I got my hair cut today at a Fantastic Sam's. The place looked like a full-on salon with trendy mirrors and rugs and big glossy posters of ethnic models with perfect coifs and glittery make-up.

The customer across from me was a haole man with a thin blonde moustache, legs crossed primly and a lipse.

But for the most part, the customers were old women who'd had the same hair style since 1934 and had no intention of changing. Or middle aged men with do's straight out of "That 70's Show", also with no intention of changing. And the stylists were all bland, overweight, the antithisis of the glossy posters staring down at them from the walls.

"Lava 105.5, The Oldies Station" blared from the stereo.

The woman doing my hair was a chubby local woman. She looked like a tita but was sweet as could be. I tried imagining her husband or boyfriend. Would he be a moke? Or some Japanese accountant type? Surely, he couldn't be anything like the metro-sexual man on the poster behind her, the one in the tight-fitting striped sweater, thick brown hair specifically mussed with the words, "Women love men who don't fear using hair products" printed across his skinny waist?

After cutting and washing my hair, my stylist styled my hair for free (normally it's an extra $3 on top of the extra $3 she already had to charge since I wanted her to cut more than 2 inches) because she wanted to see how all the layering turned out. I am one of those few people, I think, who go into a salon and request the stylist cut off a lot of hair and do something kind of trendy. Thus, I think most of them have more fun cutting my hair, then say the little old woman who ONLY wants curlers or the 40-year-old woman who only wants EXACTLY THIS MUCH trimmed.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Crunch time. I am getting soooooooo worried. Here's a list of stuff I still have to do:

Call utility company to have power shut off at end of month
Ditto phone company
Ditto cable company
Turn in P.O. box, get mail forwarded
Clean out refrigerator
Clean out car
Finish moving stuff out of apartment
Book flight to Honolulu

OK. Seeing this in a list makes me feel better. It's managable. Breathing again.

* * * * *

God, my entries are getting boooring. And my God, I have been sheltered.


Chris: Today my dad cooked a pizza on one of those big cookie sheets. I came home and there was only one slice left. I looked in the refrigerator and there was the cookie sheet with just one slice of pizza.

Me: He put the entire cookie sheet in the refrigerator with just one slice of pizza?

Chris: Yeah.

Me: Wow. You know if your dad and I were roommates could you imagine --

Chris: Oh I know. It'd be bad. I don't want to go there.
What do you think about your... messiness?

Me: What about it?

Chris: I mean, is there any chance of remedying this? Or is this something I'm just going to have to learn to live with?

Me: No, I think I can change. I'm actually looking forward to that aspect of this whole move. I can start anew. I keep imagining how I can decorate a new place and do more cooking. That's the thing, I keep imagining all the stuff I'll get to do, all the time I'll spend knitting and decorating and spending money but really I probably won't have the time or the money to spend.

Chris: Uh huh.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

8th Habit

My relationship with my family can be like a torrid love affair. Or maybe I'm just a dramaqueen. This may be the result of a sheltered life. My parents have questionable communication skills and are emotionally unstable at times, but they always provided. And there is no doubt they love me.

I'm glad my dad apologized. I'm glad I've found it in me to forgive. It was the right thing on both our parts, since we have each hurt each other before.

We had a nice long talk after the explosion of his temper and he said he was proud of me and suggested I read"The 8th Habit" by Stephen R. Covey. In fact, when I came back home for the weekend, I found a hard cover copy of the book sitting on my bed. It made me feel a bit warm and fuzzy that he did that. Then I saw the "self-help/management/economics" label on the book's jacket.

Self-help is just NOT my genre. My parents once bought me "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul" and I got three paragraphs in before sticking a finger in my mouth and tossing it into the back of my closet.

See, I think you can learn just as much about life and success from good old literature. And you get a good story to boot. And, AND it's not so IN YOUR FACE OBVIOUS. That's the sweet bonus.

But I will grit my teeth and try this book.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Name this fruit

Name this fruit, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

It's slowly coming together

Despite the sage advice from the Kali-Man, I am shipping my car to New Mexico.

Why did I decide to ship instead of sell and buy a new car there?

Hmmmm....uh......because I was stressed and preoccupied and better the devil you know then the devil you don't? And uh, I think I could get a good two years more out of the car at least. And er, I know nothing about buying a car?

But duh. Couldn't Chris help me find a car? And didn't my parents say they'd help as well? Once we resolved the earlier craziness and assured each other we weren't insane, that is? Well yeah....

Aaargh! Leave me alone! You're probably right but I'm still shipping my car, for my own emotional well being! Making a decision is the best anecdote for my anxiety.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"The tale of a hat" or "I know it's supposedly bad luck to knit your boyfriend something but I had no idea THIS is what it meant"

The saga of Chris' hat is turning into a tragedy.

Let's start at the beginning. Some time before Christmas, I took my mom's print-out of this "simple" hat pattern, followed the directions (so I thought) and cast on 168 stitches on Size 8 24 mm circular needles.

OK. If anyone happened to be reading this, I know I've lost you with that jargon-laden monstrosity of a sentence. And I supposedly get paid to write.

The point is, the hat turned out ridiculously large. So large that I would have run out of yarn before completing little more than the "brim". But alas, I never got that far because of so many dropped and hastily fixed stitches that in the end I had to unravel and start all over again.

On my second attempt, I actually did use up a whole skein of yarn before getting half way through the hat. In a state of numb disbelief I left the unfinished hat on the needles for a good two weeks. Christmas past. So did New Year's.

Finally, I went to the local yarn store, the only one on the island that would sell the kind of yarn I (in my short sightedness) had chose to use and announced to the surprised looking owner (it's not like the place is packed with customers) "Do you have Lamb's Pride in bulky?"

She blinked, gathered her wits about and said, "No. We don't. We just have the worsted weight."

Me, heart sinking. "Oh. Cause it's Hawaii, yeah?"

"No. Because no one requests it. I can special order it for you."

Me, heart further sinking, am silent.

"What were you making?"

"Well I was trying to make a hat but I think I made a mistake. Cause I used up one skein and ran out of yarn."

"One skein should make you at least one hat."

So left with no other alternatives, I left the unfinished hat on the needles for another week. Then finally one evening, I steeled myself, and unraveled the thing again. This time, I decided to ignore the pattern, which called for math, which I was obviously somehow screwing up really badly.

I guess-timated, cast-on 84 stitches on size 10, 16 mm circular needles and went at it. And you know what? The sun began to shine, the birds began to chirp. The thing was actually beginning to LOOK LIKE A HAT.

So much so that I e-mailed Chris this picture in my exuberance:

Alas, it was not to last. When the pattern called for decreasing and switching to double-pointed needles I had no idea how to do it. The "Stitch'n'Bitch" had unbelievably inadequate instructions on the topic. Despite this, I tried it anyway. With disasterous results.

I had to unravel again!!! Frustrated but determined, I started over with 88 stitches (84 would have been too small for Chris I think). Chris always jokes that he has a big head, but I don't think he does really.

So anyway, I'm only completing the hat up to the part where I have to decrease and switch needles. Then I'm going to swallow my pride and ask my mom for help.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

What to do, what to do

This moving thing It's just kinda losing it's charm you know? In fact, it's driving me fucking nuts. And how IRONIC that I should use the word "drive" when my latest conundrum is whether to ship my car over or buy a new one.

I have heard SO many opinions on both options I feel like my head is going to explode.

So, hey, God, why don't you give me a break? I'll close my eyes and count to 10, you drop a car in my lap as soon as I arrive in New Mexico.

"You want a sign?" Brian joked at me. "Go in the parking lot and see if someone stole your car. That's a sign."

"A sign I should get a new car."


I realize this post makes n o sense. It fits the mood I'm in.

Friday, January 07, 2005

I'm unraveling, like that sweater in the Weezer song

I am in Hilo and I really, really want to be somewhere else.

My father hasn't made me feel this bad since I was a teenager. I am sure he's insane. I am sure it's more complicated than that. I am sure there's nothing, nothing I can do about it.

I am going to start a new job in a new state next month and I just want to move forward.

I guess, somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I could put all those years behind me, those years when I hated my dad and went days without talking to him. I guess, somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought maybe he felt bad about it too, and he would let me scream at him, get it all out and then he'd hug me and it would be over.

It never occurred to me that he could resent me as much as I resented him. That is my arrogance I suppose. But I saw a side of him that is mean and childish and no better than me at my worse.

Rarely do you get perfect closure. I think, for my own emotional well being, I now just move forward, without expectation of any kind of resolution. If it happens fine, if not, let me at least be able to function in society.

I sure am glad, and think I am justified, in not telling my family about Chris. They are truly insane. When I'm around them I feel like I'm going insane too.

Incidentally, Ruby and I seem to be sychronized

So, as I said, I had dinner with Chris' mom and sister.

"Do you need help with anything?" I asked hopefully as Chris' mom checked on the steak, got juice out of the refrigerator and generally kept herself busy. (I have trouble staying still, so I really hoped she'd hand me something to do).

"No, no don't be silly. Just sit down and enjoy yourself. Ruby! Ruby!! Dear, can you come set the table?!"

From the bathroom: "I SAID I would!! But I'm in the SHOWER now!!" This followed by the distinct thump of a door not-quite-slamming.

Chris' mom turned to me and said in a stage whisper: "Ruby's like that now, but don't mind her. She just started getting her period."

From the bathroom: "I heard that Mom! I'm not deaf!"

Rose Tea Soap

Rose Tea Soap, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.

Had dinner with Chris' mom and sister last night and got a belated Christmas gift from them. Rose tea scented soap. It smells very elegant and Victorian and classy. I probably won't be able to bring myself to use them.

I feel all warm inside. Ahhh. Some people like me.

Seeing that girl Tiffany did call up harsh feelings. It's weird how you grow up and think you get over stuff like that but it continues to haunt you.

Some of my co-workers still like me too, or are willing to put up a decent front. They're treating me to lunch on the 20th, my last day of work. I know not ALL of my co-workers are fond of me though. I have stepped on some toes and don't leave without some regrets.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Oh, KTA. I should have gone to KTA

KTA Supermarket on New Year's Eve is not where you wanted to be. Hot and desperate for last minute fixings, clutching your steering wheel while two security guards directed traffic in and out of the parking lot. On the street, a police officer waved people past the store because the lot was that full.

More better you just head straight for the Safeway where your chances of fresh local fish is substantially lower and where your chances of finding poi to go with the fish is nonexistant, but where the crowd is still managable. You grab what you need and head for a line. At the next check-out counter, the bag girl catches your eye. Her name is Tiffany. Tiffany something. You remember her from school. In preschool she pulled your hair and slapped you for no reason and you remembered crying and crying about it.

In intermediate school, she told you she didn't like you because you were a wimp and easy to push around, that's why she liked to snob you and boss you around. She was a bully. She was a bitch.

So you take a moment now, in the check out line, to gloat because she is just a bag girl, and really you are a lot more successful than she is. Loser. Bitch.

It's still 2004. You can start becoming a better person tomorrow.

I said it.

I move start my new newspaper job in New Mexico starting (tentatively) Feb. 7.

Yikes. There I said it.

It is done.


Monday, January 03, 2005

A post in which I lose the point and ramble half way through

Today I came home and found the 'fridgerator door ajar. I experienced brief, mild irritation and swung it shut.

Today I quit my job.

Well not quit. I gave due notice that I would be quitting in about two weeks.

So that is that. I am moving closer to Chris. I am going to see if I can live, for a little while at least, away from familiar surroundings. Or, to borrow the cliche: See if I can make it on my own.

These past few days hemming and hawing over the decision, whether it's right, whether it's wrong, whether to wait, whether I was letting opportunity slip by, were the worst. I couldn't sleep. I came running outside in the morning to harass my neighbor (and co-worker) Brian with my hysterics. He calmed me.

I've been snappish with Chris. He still called me and sympathized.

It's so random how I met Chris. Did I ever tell you how I met him? At a rodeo. I was covering a story about bull poker and he was being a rodeo clown for the last time. I met him just months after he'd gotten seriously injured by a bull in another rodeo. I mean seriously injured. Like induced coma, months in a hospital, shattered bones serious.

And on that first day I met Chris: I learned he was older than me. I learned he was smarter than me and used words I couldn't pronounce so I'd just nod and say "Uh huh" in my smartest sounding voice while in my head I thought, You said you had a head injury. The first day I met Chris, he let me wear his cowboy hat at the rodeo and followed me around and bought me a bottle of water. He gave me a magazine from New Mexico with an article about his injury.

I returned for the second day of the rodeo and saw Chris again. Were we happy to see each other? I don't remember. I guess so. Later on, I called him to see if I could take him up on an offer to watch him being trampled by the bull. After we watched the video, he asked me out.

That was our first date I guess. Chris kisses girls on the first date!

OK. Enough of this sickingly gooey rhapsody.

Ahem. The point is. The worst is over now. I turned in my notice. It's all forward from here.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The rusted throne

Terabithia, originally uploaded by kaiwa_4.