Archive for August, 2013

CROWING ROOSTERS
August 28, 2013

….barking dogs and other natural noise makers unite, you keep us in touch with nature. On Kauai we live so close to mother earth it should be our major tourist attraction.

Everywhere you go you see them: mother hens with a surplus of baby chicks waiting for a green light. They wait at cross walks for someone to follow across an intersection. They stand in groups on green grassy islands in the stream watching the cars go by and wonder where everyone is going. So fast. Such a large flock of real noisemakers.

I wonder about people who prefer the grinding gurgles and growls that metal, non- living critters with four wheels instead of two legs and hard shiny stiff stuff instead of fluffy, colorful feathers.  Kauai’s wild chickens are some of the most beautiful birds on the planet. Their plumage- white and black and brown and yellow and red-is an artist’s dream. What I love most about Hanapepe-other than Talk Story Book Store and the magnificent Storybook Theater of Hawaii and the Friday night people parties- are the roosters who seem to own the place. They strut around like celebrities showing off their stuff.

Hanapepe is still old Hawaii. A quiet two lane street surrounded by gift shops, restaurants, art galleries and living things of all dimension. Some times you even see healthy happy canines meandering. I think they have a radar sense alert for the rare four-wheeled, shiny stiff stuff wagon- with driver- who would round them up and send them to jail, but I’ll bet there are few who live in Hanapepe who would call the authorities.

Thankfully, also, the  ‘jail’ they’re rarely sent to is a gorgeous place full of gorgeous people. That’s Kauai, too.

In my neck of the woods we have several feral pigs families- mamas, papas and babies-who sniffle around at night. They know this territory like no one else on earth and they are fearless. Harmless. Jovial. They cross the street when they have to, but mostly they live and love the jungle about which I’m surrounded. I see their tracks. Once a baby piglet-in broad daylight- walked right in the house and ‘snuffled’ hello. I think he was looking for a handout. Great smells were coming from a friendly Kamado Kub grill. His mother called and he took leave, but we half expect him back.

Down here we have goats that bleat and sometimes run away from home. With half the neighborhood in full pursuit. Bulls bellow, cows moo, calves answer softly. Bees hum and buzz and doves coo. A raucous macaw indulges in screamers and my grown up puppy barks. We live in belle air Kauai. No toxic sprays for us.

So, someday, if you want an earful, drop in for a visit. Wear boots, bring your own pitchfork, make sure you’ve had all your puppy shots and enjoy. Enjoy.

Until then don’t stop to smell the flowers, be still and know that thou art part of nature, too.

Clutter Bug
August 22, 2013

My transgression is not the kind you can repent or atone for. Besides most devout non-believers don’t do guilt. It can’t even be corrected by my favorite solution, get to work and fix it.

It has nothing to do with age. I’ve been a clutter bug since forever. I’m a helpless, hopeless, clutter bug. I really dislike clutter but clutter likes me. It clings to me like sticky pink bubble gum on the underside of a desk. I think it’s been with me always. It drove my neat and tidy mother nuts. She’d straighten out the mess one day and it’d be back a shambles the next. Fortunately she was a sweet, good natured mother-most of the time-and we’d have long conversations about how to keep things tidy. We’d work together happily-my mother, and me- setting things straight.  Cleaning things up. Admiring the good work. Patting each other on the back. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” she’d say. But nothing worked.

I tried. Honest. I did my best. But it didn’t last. My poor mother.

We compromised when I suggested I stuff the stuff under the beds and, once a month we’d diligently restore order. Actually we loved working together. We whistled while we worked.

That worked.

She’d check my room everyday, pleased at its apparent neatness, and as long as she didn’t look under the bed-or detect an odor- she was happy. She gave that up when I started collecting lizards and frogs. First of all they refused to stay put. Once she came in to find a large frog/lizard convention assembled on any flat and handy surface.

She put her foot down- just missing a slither-and no matter how hard I tried to convince her I was studying them, or that more lengthy lectures-I was trying to learn their lingo- would convince them they should stay put, we gathered the critters and found them all good homes where they could eat lots of flies.

Do any of you have a similar personality disturbance? Or weird kids? Young parents take heart.They’ll probably turn out okay. I did. Sort of.

Old’a guys? Got a pile of stuff that refuses to vanish? Toss a pretty scarf on top of the mess and call it artsy. Or place some cleaning tools around it, artfully, like you’re in the process. A little whisk broom, a darling dustpan, an empty box or cutesy wastebasket. Be clever. Fool the eye.

I’ve found a scatter of plastic flowers or leaves works.

If you don’t have or can’t afford to use a dishwasher and the sink begins to over flow, rinse out the top debris and hope nobody checks the bottom.  Have little signs that say: No White Gloves. Or suggest the clean freaky visitor drop by soon and help clear the muddle.

But remember, you gotta get serious once in awhile or else you’ll have to burn the house down. Burning the house down is not healthy.

EIGHTY-THREE YEARS YOUNG
August 16, 2013

…and growing. Hope all of you who are here, are suffering from glowing good health. Hope all of you making the journey, get here in style.

How did I get here? I can’t blame it on Colette, my Vitamix, since I only just discovered her. Or Macha, my shillelagh.

Named my Vitamix after Colette, a sassy French writer and WW2 heroine. I identify with her. “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm,” says it all. Don’t you just love it?

Called my shillelagh Macha after a Goddess of ancient Ireland. Associated with war, horses and sovereignty, which about covers it, but if you have a computer look her up. There exists a gorgeous painting of her and her horse. He looks like Ari. She had long red hair -bet you didn’t know I was a red head once-and her hair, her sash and her horse’s tail, all the same color, fly in the wind. Loved my red headed year, give or take an eon or two, and would give an eyetooth for the gorgeous long skirt she wore in the painting.

She had tattoos on her right arm and wasn’t wearing a shirt. I’ll skip that part.

Guess I could ‘blame’ Ari, Boots, Duke and the cats for getting me here. They are all the dogs and horses and macaws and cats the world has ever known rolled up in one.  There is no sadness or there loss, there is life and happiness in their eyes. This works for loved ones we’ve lost, too. Every human being is them rolled up in one. If a few unfortunate memories are active, they can be deleted from the your screen.

“If you want to have the kind of relationship that your heart yearns for, you have to create it. You can’t depend on somebody else creating it for you.” –Gary Zukov

Love that.

I also think the art of creativity is a need in every human heart. The most unhappy people I’ve known have no creative skills. The happiest are the most creative.

Imagination plays an important role, too. As a devout non-believer I love to play with fantasy. I love to write fantasy. I can get lost in fantasy. It’s a gift, I think. “Imagination is the highest kit one can fly,” Lauren Bacall said. She was born September 16, 1924. Her death was an Internet hoax. As of this date, August15, 2013, she is 89. Six years older than I am.

A fun fantasy is that we could meet. If she comes to Kauai I’ll take her out to lunch and gift her with an autographed copy of The Scam.

Sitting in my outdoor computer room, Boots at my feet, books on my shelves and mottled sunlight on the Walking Iris, listening to a playful wind singing in the trees, sipping Chardonnay–ooops, only William Faulkner drank when he wrote.

A perfect day, wish you were here.

.

PROFIT VS HEALTH
August 14, 2013

The discussions and opinions on Kauai are lively and passionate. The voice of the people is alive and well on Kauai. This is the good side. There’s always a good side.

I don’t think anyone on the anti-GMO/pesticide/herbicide debate are opposed to all genetic modification, but surely there is a limit. And a dire consequence if a mistake is made here.

I lived here when sugar was king. Those glorious fields of tall green grass-when the yellow tassels waved- were so incredible a sight, tourists and local folks alike would stop by the road to admire. “…they made my heart skip a beat,” to quote Gwyneth Paltro.

And that tall green grass-the best photosynthesizer on planet earth-worked hard for two years to keep our air fresh.

Sure, vast mono-crop plantations- dollar crops- are bad. Sure the ‘poison gangs’ use of really deadly substances didn’t serve the soil or the men who administered them. But, oddly, their killer wars with rats protected us. Suburbs near the fields-Kalaheo is one- are invaded by these destructive creatures. My feed man says he can’t keep supplies of rat poison and traps in stock. The stories are shocking.

Water theft was scandalous. Large landholders fought with each other. McBryde Sugar and John Allerton duked it out. It was the Martins and the Coys all over again and their feud extends to today, except stolen water is now put to use watering the golf course and a super- expensive gated community in what used to be sugar fields in Kukuiula.

This upper class subdivision concrete coats the land, contributes nothing to clean air and uses water like it was going out of style.

Mark Twain said, “Whiskey’s for drinking. Water’s for fighting about.” This has been true forever and if I could convince you of how much trouble our home planet is in because of a lack of water you’d hide under your waterbed. Perhaps I can talk you into viewing HOME, a remarkable documentary narrated by Glen Close and filmed by Award-winning aerial photographer Yann Arthus- Bertrand.

What has all this to do with the GMO/herbicide/pesticide go around?

Everything.

The three most important things we do on this planet is breath, drink water, and eat food.

And GMO cornfields messing up the land on this small island in the middle of a vast ocean is a threat to all these very necessary human needs.

The question so often asked must be addressed: does profit and political power trump health and well being?

Let’s hope not.

A PERFECT DAY
August 14, 2013

Create one. A special one. Just for you. Forget the guilt trip-ignore the guys who push it-enjoy enjoy, you deserve it.

And it’s healthy, too.

My sister- in- law was a hard working school- teacher. Her perfect day was Sunday. She stayed in bed all day.

I have a beautiful friend who loves to spend an entire day in her fantastic 20X20 foot closet.  More plush and perfect than any of the most elegant dress shops, it’s a dream works. Music. Air conditioned. A rose red carpet so shockingly soft she can tumble, twist and luxuriate on it surrounded by a flock of glamorous pink velvet pillows. A giant gold-framed mirror reflects and perfects everything over and over and over again. Gowns and shoes and accessories on display -over and over and over again. An enormous glass enclosed shower/steam room swallows her whole and spirits her out perfected.

She emerges the following day ready to save the earth and all the living things in it. It works for her.

Few of us can take that route, or would want to, but we can cheer her on and maybe enjoy a moment enjoying, in our dreams, her day.

That works.

Me? Well, I’m a nature freak.

“When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat.” Gwyneth Paltro said. I love her.

I love to get lost in the woods, feed my zoo and take what’s left of the day off. Do nothing. Find a tree to sit under, or in, or a mound of green to lie on, and watch shape shifting clown clouds scribble on a sea- blue canvas.

Vagrant silent breezes dance with overhead and earth bound leaves. They lift and fly and float and shimmy like a divine chorus on an infinite stage.

A bird winks a whistle. Others answer in their own way. Sometimes I think they’re talking to each other. Other times I think they’re competing. Who can make the silliest sound? The prettiest? The most cacophonous?

A lone brown hen, who looks like a piece of Kauai red dirt skips by, scuttling quiet as a mouse down an unmarked path.

Sometimes my grown up puppy, Bootsy, joins me. Even Ari, on occasion, bumbles by. They both love animal crackers. Me, too. We share a bag.

I munch on salmon, crackers and cheese, a potently deviled egg and wicked potato salad. Sip chilled Chardonnay. And let quiet, food and nature nurse me back to health.

I have to feed the zoo dinner but sometimes I return from my house/barn and watch the sky begin to glitter. If I’ve planned it right I can watch the moon rise.

My life is so complicated it takes me a day to prepare for my perfect day but sometimes leftovers fall free into the day after.

Works for me.

Perfect a day that works for you. Make it up. We’ll enjoy it, in our minds, with you.

BEAUTY SECRETS
August 10, 2013

Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t be beautiful at any age. There’s nothing more beautiful than glowing good health and, if you’re young, you can grow ‘towards it’, and, if you’re older, you can maintain and be proud of having got there. This is definitely a do-it-yourself project. Start right now, you can’t start any younger.

Also, don’t let anyone tell you that choosing to be as attractive as you can be is vain or narcissistic-which seems to be the buzzword among many women haters. I’m always amazed and bemused at these strange creatures. Their voices seem to surface as they grow older.

Not all men, mind you-I love men-just a few cranks. If we’re all a product of our past experience what do you suppose happened to them? I kind’a think if they’ve not had a loving experience with their mothers, their female teachers, or little girls their same age or in their classrooms, this unfortunate happenstance boils stinky toxic.

It has been my experience that they are usually- mostly, often- either over-size bullies or under size geeks. Unattractive. Over weight. Stiff, stodgy, sick and sad looking. They glare. They seem to think a smile would broke da’face. All of them-all of them-with an overwhelming thumping killing machine  dimension. Odd fellows. Fortunately they are few in number. When you encounter one-wherever- always smile that glowing smile, always be sassy and shyly strut your stuff.

Oh, I am so wicked.  You can be wicked, too.

But I digress.

There is something extremely healthy about knowing you look pretty good. Classy. Smart. Attractive. You glow, from the inside out. You smile, because you can. Little kids love you. Strangers you meet, on the street, in the shops, at the Post Office, smile ‘cause they just can’t help it.

So here’s my secret for the day. You know how I push Colette- my Vitamix-and the magic stuff, Brewer’s Yeast and Wheat Germ, Vitamin C and soups and smoothies… and, of course, my teachers, Adelle Davis and Linus Pauling.

But there’s another ingredient I always push, Olive Oil. Have you noticed? I even put a shot in my smoothies. The list of benefits is almost endless. It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, ease the pain of arthritis, and lower your blood pressure. Use of it also seems to defy the aging process.

Use it instead of butter. On and in everything. Try to find and buy the best extra virgin, cold pressed, Italian grown  oil you can. It’s expensive but so is heart disease and arthritis.

Use it on your skin. One great secret: how often have you heard, “Women when who wear make up, at a certain age, always get that ‘caked’ look.” I’ve heard young girls say that. Well, splash some olive oil on your face and neck and shoulders and whatever else will show-remember your shoulders are the last to go and don’t forget behind your ears-then apply makeup. It works.

Here’s to a long, happy, healthy life. Glow, baby, glow.

ME AND MY CHEF’S HAT
August 7, 2013

I think there must be magic in the white chef’s hat I wear. Eleven inches high and kind of floppy it’s sit atop my platinum mop-darned if I’m going to call it grey and I think my hair’s  cuter when it’s moppish-and sends signals to that part of my aging brain that is vigorously learning to cook.

I’ve also learned it perks my mind when I’m doing my daily Sudoku. Okay, this is a digression, and I know it looks kind of silly, and I’m sure any doctor would consider senility but I’d flog him with my shillelagh and remind him my chef’s hat and I just did a ****.

So there.

But back to the Vitamix. Three switches-whirr, whizz, zing-and a whole bunch of ice cubes. Well I just learned how good water is for you and ice is frozen water is it not? That works. And if I did a little Irish jig as my darling machine does it job, I get exercise, too. Still do yoga but it’s not healthy to stand on your head on a cold tile kitchen floor and impossible to do with a chef’s hat perilously perching.

Bet you’ve guessed already this is not to be a soup day.

But it’s like soup. It’s just cold and filled to over brimming with fruit and yogurt and orange juice and, of course the magic ingredients, Brewer’s Yeast and Wheat Germ.

Another more lengthy digression you can’t beat with a shillelagh or smarten up with a chef’s hat. Why my obsession with? Well Brewer’s Yeast is a natural food supplement. Rich with minerals-specially chromium-essential trace minerals, selenium, protein and the B-complex vitamins. Don’t confuse it with baker’s yeast. Sometimes it takes awhile to get used to, it’s kind of an acquired taste, but you can speed up the process by adding more honey. You can never over dose. Everything is water-soluble and really works like magic during stressful times and sometimes it seems everything today is stressful, everybody keeps changing the rules.

Wheat Germ? It’s a natural weight-loss food. ‘Nuff said.

So we’re talking smoothies here. On a hot day? Whew and wow and whoopee.

One, two three. Go. Gather some stuff. Bananas, mangoes, papayas, orange juice, honey, a little olive oil, don’t forget the Wheat Germ and Brewer’s yeast and the ice cubes. Get creative. Remember color. You can make green ones and pink ones and orange ones. Toss in the Vita dear-I’ve got give her a name-and whir, whiz, zing-pour . Drink. Or slurp straight from the container. Bad. Bad. Bad. What did Colette say? “Do foolish things with great enthusiasm.”

Know what? Even my grown up puppy loves it. And if you want to get really fancy you can make Margaritas, daiquiris, and whiskey sours. Rum and mango daiquiris have a precious aroma.

Yeah, well sometimes my Irish jig gets too exuberant , my shillelagh holds me up, and my chef’s hat falls off.

I’ve named her Colette. I’ll bet she’d like that.