Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

Sunday’s are usually Ari bath day but yesterday the wind and the rain came down like wind and rain were going out of style. I had breakfast with friends at Kalaheo Coffee, the place was packed, the breakfast delicious. Ate half of a half a veggie omelet. My daughter ate the rest.

Up with the roosters this morning. Started the day with a song, the birds joined in. Fed everybody.  I have a routine, miss a step and it’s back to square one. Ari is still asking for vitamin C. I make his mash first. Alfalfa chaff, bran, a heaping  teaspoon of C, water, olive oil and molasses, a mess to mix, feed him by hand and Brooks licks the  thick hand-thrown pottery bowl.

Then I go out to find in the dark his bucket and fix his breakfast. Two large containers of alfalfa cubes, soaked to soften, he’s getting long in the tooth and crunching it down so it sits well in his tummy  gets harder every year. Add more bran, salt, and a package  of baby carrots,  mix well and toss the horse over the fence some more hay. He, meanwhile, is talking a blue streak. “What’s taking so long? Feed me.”  While he’s eating, I feed the chickens, who are moulting, and haul more alfalfa into my kitchen where I prepare everything.  I hate to cook but I really had not planned for my kitchen to become an animal restaurant.

As I haul the fresh alfalfa from the feed room to the kitchen, I grab Duke’s two bowls and carry them to the kitchen. He gets fresh water, sliced bananas, popcorn, if I have some, bran and raisins, peanuts, baked Goldfish snacks, which he loves, and then a mix of parrot of food. Next I feed the three cats, cat food, and Brooks, brown rice and bran and liver and, sadly, a pill he must take twice a day to stay well.

I make my bed. Do morning ablutions-tee hee- grab a dollar bills, put on big blue glasses, walk to the gate, pick up the paper, stroll to the mail box, stopping at Paul’s veggie stand to buy oranges and pet his little dog.  I love to stand at the gate up the road and watch the white face when they’re there. And guess what? I have a new neighbor, a white mule! I think he’s an albino but I haven’t been able to coax him close enough to  see if his eyes are pink. On the way up and down the street I wave and smile at all the cars. Most often they wave and smile back.

Then, it’s time for me to eat. A cup of coffee and a croissant, a banana and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Take a break. Read the paper. Do Sudoku, I love Mondays, it’s one star day and wait for the sun to reach the barn end of the house and bathe Ari. Hot soapy water, scraper, comb and trim his mane and tail, clean his hooves, work him in the ring or take him for a munch of buffalo grass.

Welcome to my day. Welcome to the zoo. Wish you were here.


January 30, 2011

On the Religion page of the Garden island, Friday, January 28, spiritual leaders on Kauai responded to the subject of diversity. There were three responses. Two from Christian Church leaders, Pastor Wayne Patton, Kahu James Fung and one from the Bahai’is of Kauai. I know little about this religion but that it does not name a ‘leader’ is interesting. I’d like to quote one passage, which, according to the anonymous writer, was written by Baha’u’llah, the Prophet of the Bahai Faith.

“The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together. If you meet those of different race and color from yourself, do not mistrust them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather be glad to show them kindness.”

The writer of these words goes on and, I think, if I needed a God or  a religion I could fit in here. The only difference: I would have one less God. All atheists, agnostics, human secular and non-believers, simply do not know if God exists; most of us, many of us, admit we don’t know, but we also know, neither do ‘believers’. Believers believe, and, in our wonderful country, they have this right.

I will not quote the Christian Pastors, who, of course, quote Jesus and the Bible, but I will comment, and, please, correct me if I’m wrong, to ‘believe’ as they ‘believe’ one must first ‘believe’ the Bible is the word of God and Jesus, who is the Son of God, is their spokesman and everything he says is to be taken as God’s word and God’s word, of course, comes from the Bible. Sigh. Without a ‘belief’ in the Bible, Christians haven’t a leg to stand on;  atheists, agnostics, secular humans and non-believers are aware of that and our reasoning minds cannot ‘buy’ into this ‘book belief’ system, which  is anything but diverse. There is no diversity here.  One either ‘believes’  or one doesn’t, and it gets worse, because, according to all Christian believers,  if  one does not believe in the book and its God He will send you to a terrible place called hell which he created.

Thus, while many Christians don’t buy into talking snakes, or arks that saved all the animals, except dinosaurs and unicorns,  from a watery death,  the Jesus that preaches love and peace can turn into the Father, the God of the Old Testament, who can proclaim as in Joel 3:9-10…

“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let the come up:

“Beat your plowshares into spears: let the weak say I am strong.”

Or worse: Psalm 137: 9 “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stone.”

No non-believer could or would buy that and you Christians are  stuck with it. There’s no way out. It’s in the book. God said.

January 29, 2011

The date?  April 16, 1969. The place? The Honolulu Advertiser Letters to the Editor page and  the Dissent column.  The head ? Where to Go When All’s Gone written by Mrs. William Dux. That’s me. A cartoon of a woman holding back a long line of automobiles and captioned Beauty and the Beast and a very large picture of-guess who?- noting that Bettejo is the Who Has It Editor for the Aloha Magazine. Copied word for word…

We are lucky we live in Hawaii. We live in beauty. And it may not be too late to preserve it. It’s too late to do anything with Waikiki, but everyone-except the poor tourist who pays good money to visit a concrete madhouse-knows this already.

The problem with the tourist, particularly the ‘package’ tourist, is that, while you might lose one-disgusted-with the wretchedness that is that area-for every one you lose, at least three more pop up behind him.

The only people benefitting from this sort of mass movement are the airlines and the hotels, and I see no reason why the residents of Hawaii, the taxpayer, mus sit back and watch his beautiful world destroyed in order to fill the pockets of a very few alienated industries.

And don’t tell me those ‘package’ tourists spend money. they don’t Ask any merchant in the Waikiki area.

But it isn’t a question of money. neither money spend nor money earned. Money is not the problem. the problem is the total destruction of an environment. We must plow up more trees, more land, more beaches, to house the hordes of people who visit us each year. We must cement more highways to transport them back and forth. We must build bigger airports to accommodate them.

Far-thinking men tell us we even need more cheap housing to house the multitudes of people we must import to serve the visitor every year. and where will it end?

Will it end when Oahu is one great airport, hotel. highway, ticky-tacky tourist complex?

It could end there. It could end there because there will always be those greedy enough to use the poor visitor-no matter how badly-to coax him to our cemented shores, bringing money, hopefully.

But what of us who live here? Who love the Islands? who wonder at the palms and the pali, the monkeypod and the shower trees? who love the sand the surf and the soft sea breeze? Will we sit back dumbly and watch the destruction as it takes place? will we climb quickly aboard the bandwagon-in the name of holy progress-and accept the fast buck offered which will wall-t-wall cement our own loveliness? and if ‘we’ don’t, will our neighbor? In the name of progress?

This os not progress. It’s regression of the most insidious sort.

LET ME ASK THIS: What is wanted? Money? If our environment is destroyed all the money in the world won’t buy it back. Not in our lifetime, anyway. Ever heard of a place called Lake Erie? Ever seen a picture of that manmade mess? It will take conservatively, a hundred years to return that stinking sink-hole to its former beauty.

Is that the fate to be bestowed upon this state? Willed to our children? If it is OI imagine some plan on making enough money to live elsewhere. You can be certain the airlines and the hotels will be going elsewhere. but where elsewhere?

Unless thinking people star moving, and start moving fast, there will be no elsewhere to move to.

What this city needs is a good, non-corruptable, imaginative, far-thinking brave (!), environmental engineer.

Up until just very recently, it was only the Great Ape who fouled his own bed.

January 28, 2011

Fat’s s all over the news. It’s all over the place. Even Michelle speaks about it. Walk through any American city, any town, any street, and you’ll see them, the grotesques. Waddlers. Not just adults. Kids. This is not normal body fat, this is outrageous, disgusting, sick American fat and I think one can assume they all have heads to match.

On our discussion site on Kauai we have one very cranky gentleman who is overweight and suffers from hypoglycemia. Why is that?  is it a disease? We know the his grumpy attitude is a symptom of the dysfunction. What is he doing wrong? What does his doctor say?

I have a theory . Many, if not most, of these poor people are starving to death. What? Starving? Look how fat they are. Starving people are skin and bones, we’ve seen them in third world countries; and  that’s a bit like saying, “What global warming? Look how cold it is. See the snow.”

The kind of fat/starvation I’m talking about is often caused by a lack of money, just as in third world countries, but here, with some paper in their pockets, people buy cheap, fast foods. Fill the belly. Stuff the junk in the  mouth. Chew. Swallow. Go to McWhoever’s and buy a cheap hamburger-with a bite of lettuce-for a couple of those long green paper things. Bread and beef fills their bellys- that’s for sure, look at them- and they’re starving. Their bodies are screaming for food. More food. Feed me. Buy a Twinkie. Grab a soft drink. Ease the pain of starvation.

Every body has nutritional needs. Not just a need to fill the belly, and, if these nutritional needs are not met, the body screams for it. But it doesn’t say to the poor suffering victim of fat/starvation, “I need some B vitamins. I need some A. I need some C.” Well it does, actually, but the poor starving fellow doesn’t get it. Doesn’t hear it. He just stuffs some more stuff in his mouth, chews and swallows, and goes back for more.

How many of you eat microwave dinners?  Some quite delicious. Some quite expensive. Some even organic, so the label says. The label on the box lists all the vitamins, all the good stuff, but did you ever stop to read the fat content? Some of those ‘healthy choice’ boxes of stuff contain 30% saturated fat! Saturated fat! About the unhealthiest stuff you can stuff in your mouth, chew, stuff in your belly and-boy oh boy-watch that part of your anatomy bulge up a storm of sickness.

The answer? Find out what your body needs. In Adelle’s book, LET’S GET WELL,  in many books about nutrition, in the index you will find many obvious physical and emotional symptoms of vitamin deficiencies. Your body’s telling you something. Listen. Learn.  Don’t fall for fads. Or pills. If you fill your nutritional needs you won’t feel hunger. You can eat less. Be well fed and grow thin. Honest.

January 27, 2011

Inspired by Debbie’s beautiful letter in the Garden island, Kimo’s blog site and Joyce’s comment, I chose today to write an awesome true story about Ari and vitamin C. It combines good health, animal lovers, nutrition, and aging graciously thereby, in its way, hatching four neat butterflies from one single cocoon.

The story begins almost exactly one year ago when Ari coliced. Staggering with exhaustion, my daughter and I had walked him for three days and nights, never leaving his side, as his finicky digestive system stubbornly refused to function. He was in no pain, but he was in trouble. Calling the vet, who drove out in the middle of the night, Scot sedated and tubed him, that’s a vet’s term for shoving a hose down a horse’s mouth and pumping in oil to grease the skids in his eighty foot digestive tract. However, the next morning, when even that hadn’t moved his bowels, Scott came out again and told us Ari’s only chance to survive was surgery-a five-figure vet bill. A moment’s hesitation, a nod, and we loaded him in a trailer and drove quickly to Scott’s clinic in the middle of the night. I went along, of course, watching the entire operation, with the aid of a bottle of Chardonnay I pinched from Scott’s Dad’s refrigerator, as Ari sailed through this major event with colors flying. There’s a really neat story here that I’ll save for another time, but I insisted on taking him home ten days later in spite of some infection along the incisions and promised Scott I’d give Ari two doses of antibiotics every day during the lengthy, scary, four-month recovery period. Home, alone, it started out badly. Ari refused it. He fought me like a mother tiger fights to save her cub. So I gave in. My thinking being, he did not need that kind of stress. All that wasted energy must go into the most important thing for him to do, make it through. Heal.

Instead I started giving him vitamin C. I made a mash, he loved the taste, he asked for it, and so, in great secrecy, we began the healing process. Ari, in the middle of this, would even eat oranges. Later Scott said, vet school talk, “Horses don’t eat oranges,” and I replied, “Don’t tell Ari.  He didn’t get that far in the book.”

Three months later, all incisions free of infection, growing hair, scars disappearing, Scott came out to see if Ari could become a horse again, on the land, instead of being confined to the recovery  paddock I’d built for him close to the kitchen end of the house where I could watch him 24/7. Scott was pleased with Ari’s progress and together we opened the gate and let Ari out to run and jump and play. Which he did. It was then I handed Scott a gift, all the bottles of antibiotics Ari hadn’t touched during the ordeal.  Ari knew what he needed to heal and I listened.

January 26, 2011

I must stress here, you must assume the responsibility for your own well-being, your own good health. This is not to say you must, as I did, tell the doctors to take a flying leap, I do not recommend you do that. Mine was  a long, interesting journey and it worked for me. You will have to find out what works for you.

One of the first things you must do is take stock. How do you feel? Are you healthy? Got aches and pains and too many ailments to mention? Actually most people don’t even know what’s it’s like to experience good health. They become accustomed to their aches and pains and  too many ailments to mention. That becomes what one is. In this instance I strongly suggest you do as I do, respond, quickly, to every ache or pain or ailment. If you feel the need to see a doctor, do so; but, today, most of us can’t afford to run to the doctor every time we sneeze or skin our knee, but if you have a headache you can certainly take a moment to wonder why.  Maybe too many glasses of wine? Too many beers? That’s a simple one to solve. If that’s it, suffer. Don’t even think about the hair of the dog, that’s the road to alcoholism and it’s a bumpy, nasty, dangerous road on which you don’t want to travel. Suffer your way through it, live with the dam thing, and, if  you suffer too long and too often, hopefully your good sense will kick in and you’ll decide not to drink so much.  Makes sense, no?

As a voracious reader, I have many shelves of books dedicated to good health-how to get there, what to do if you’re not there-and  many of them have indexes which describe symptoms and what they mean and what one can do to relieve them. Me, I run to LET’S GET WELL by Adelle Davis. Old fashioned?  You betcha. But it got me here. I’ve lived by her number one rule-try nutrition first-for over 40 years.

I think, then, proper nutrition is first and foremost on the list of  things to do when things go wrong. I also have a string of red flags. Dehydration is one. Who want’s to die of that? if it lasts, see a doctor. A broken bone is another. But, for years now-after I learned not to die of every misprint I read-if I have a symptom I go on a health food kick to end all health food kicks. If the symptom last longer than two weeks, I’m off  to a doctor’s office. It’s happened once.

But remember: what keeps me healthy isn’t going be what keeps you healthy and what keeps me healthy can change in the wink of an eye.  You must discover what it is that keeps you healthy and no one can do that for you. Good health is a complicated discipline. Read voraciously. Study, learn and practice what you read. Get well. Stay well.

Jane Fonda and Me
January 25, 2011

…and YOU.

On the cover of last week’s Parade was a picture of the very glamorous Jane Fonda at 73.  Very few of us looked that good at 27, let alone 73, but-trust me here-we can all do as Jane did, age gracefully and graciously. Her secret? She started young, she was born beautiful, but that’s not the point. The point is, she took care of herself, and taking care of yourself can’t begin too young.

The main and most important quality of aging gracefully is good health. That’s where it starts and that’s where it ends. There is nothing more  appealing than good health, at whatever age. And YOU and YOU alone are responsible for that. You must decide today, you can’t start any younger, that’s what you want from life. Work towards that end and-trust me-baring some serious misadventure over which you have no control, it will pay off.  Money, jewels, clothes, big cars, rich mates, fame, mean nothing if you’re not healthy.

So how does one attain that goal?  First of all, don’t get fat. This is not to say that if you’re born big-boned, with a tendency to plumpness, that’s not attractive.  Big girls grow up to be big women and, if that’s you, that’s you, but don’t contribute to it. Not all of us can be as slim, long and lanky as Jane, but we needn’t end up looking like a circus tent, either. Whatever healthy pounds you carry will depend on your natural build. Consider it, keep it, and love it. If you’re into the ‘man thing’-or the ‘woman thing’-lots of  others love it, too. Don’t you dare let anyone tell you that because you’re big you’re unattractive. Carry yourself proudly, carry yourself well, we can’t all look like Twiggys. Anyhow, that’s just the style today. It can change tomorrow.

Find out who you are, how you like yourself, love yourself, and stay put. Be happy there, because happiness with yourself counts, too.

Before I dig deep into how we do this, I’d like to share an experience with Jane.

I met her first in Honolulu at the home of a Quaker family in Manoa into whose home Jane and the others in the musical production FREE THE ARMY SHOW were invited after the performance; which was packed, by the way. I felt so much older than she. So much more burdoned. I had a kid in that war. She seemed free, young, and doing something important. What she considered-me, too-the most important thing in her life at that time: protesting the war in Vietnam.  She made mistakes, plenty of them, but she did what she had to do. And, you know what? That’s part of the aging process, too.

I won’t go into the political end of it. In tomorrow’s column, I’ll discuss some important tips and clues as to where to begin. Right now.

January 24, 2011

Yes, i am a voracious reader. My library needs a library. The chairs, the tables, the couches and every flat surface in the barn/jungle house I roost in is stacked with books and I know where every one of them is. I think there is not very much in this world that I can’t find in a book around here somewhere. it’s kind’a like a library in a good law office that I can research, open, flip pages, check indexes, take a tour. I can do this on line, too, of course, but my books are my friends and all that scribbling in the margins and  down turned pages marked with black or red ink stars and asterisks remind me, sometimes, of what I used to was. Have I grown? Have I changed? Have I aged? Do I now need to argue with myself? Nope. I’d rather argue with you. Laugh here.  Yes, I am one of those awful writer/book readers who scribbles in the margins, turns down corners, argues up a storm in a situation where the authors cannot argue back, except in my head. But writing a column-a blog it’s called today-and sending it out to winds of cyber become words that can talk back at ya.

Isn’t that fun?

To those readers off island, most of my posts will be focused and concerned with Kauai. Hopefully you’ll visit or have visited, but it’s obvious you read the  Garden island our very own island newspaper. Pretty good one, too. Small and dinky and how it stays alive is a miracle but it’s our small and dinky and that matters.

Each of our lives here on Kauai is different. Is special. All of us live in different worlds. Different dimensions of  this multi dimensional island. I still live in cow country. Surrounded by open space, goats that bleat, roosters that crow, cows that that moo and donkeys that bray and horses that whinny and things that go bump in the night and I haven’t even mentioned the song birds that greet every day with a song.  I also live fifteen minutes away from one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, I think, the Hyatt Regency in Poipu. Poipu. The home of the rich and the brazen, or something. It’s little Santa Barbara. Bumper to bumper million dollar house lots and multi million dollar cottages and club houses. A shopping mart so desperately old plantation it reeks of all that long green stuff you can’t eat. Sigh. Used to be miles and miles of waving cane and a little red barn my husband I built for $900.00 that survived, with nary a scratch,  hurricane Ewa while the homes along the shore, millionaire’s row, fell and slithered  like punch drunk ice skaters in the fields. Hundred, maybe thousand of dollars of silver-teaspoons and forks and enormous  silver bowls and trays and ice buckets-lay strewn about the landscape like shells tossed by little kids on a sandy beach. That’s old Kauai and new Kauai rolled up in one.

Hi, guys it’s me…
January 24, 2011

…Bettejo. I finally  did it!  Am I the oldest columnist/blogger on the block or what ?  I hope I can entice some of you to come and pay me a visit me. Some of you know me, or think you do. Some of you love me and what I write and dare to put in writing. Some of you don’t.

And that’s okay. Win a few, lose a few that’s what I always say.

What will I write here? Any damn thing I please.  i can write about my mornings and how my jungle house wakes up or goes to sleep. I can write about the animals who live here with me. Who wake up with me, sleep in their beds as I sleep in mine. Aristotle my beloved old red horse who dreams-horses do dream-in the  bedroom next to mine. Brooks, my big black beautiful canine friend. The three cats, Mama and her two daughters, who knock books off my library shelves and know this house is theirs which the rest of us are allowed to enter . Cats are some of my favorite people. My cats-don’t let them hear me say that-are independent souls who live like cats. Real cats. They climb trees, sleep on the roof when the weather is warm, cast shadows on the skylights, look down on the rest of us curious but interesting creatures, one of whom, me, who is honored to feed them, and curl up on the couches and in the chairs when the winds outside are wet and cold.

I can write about the ultimate joy of waking up  in my water bed theater on this precious  slice of paradise I call home. Kauai. The wonder of this gorgeous island is almost beyond description but I will do my best. I can also write how, often, I think insanity lies just outside my gates.

I can be controversial as all get out. I can and will, sometimes, use my poisoned pen and sharpen my tongue on these pages. That’s what one can do when one is pushing 81 years young. i can write about aging. About younging. I can take off on any subject that piques my interest. Tickles my fancy. I can pick up on news articles, letters to the Editor, Forum discussion buddies. Health, books, films, articles that catch my eye. I love all of you. Some of you better than others. I will sometimes mention names, if I chose to, but promise never to call you names; except dearly beloved or dearly beloved monsters and leave it up to you to pick and chose.  I’ll always give you warning. Sweet or sour. Beware ye then, all ye who enter, what i write is not for timid eyes or closed minds. Come back tomorrow.

But today it’s me and I’m off to the races.  Five hundred words or less.  A quick read. A fun read. A read that rankles. Be my guests and jot a comment.

Peace and love Bettejo