Archive for December, 2013

2014
December 28, 2013

The year 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse.

“People who are born under the year of the horse are known for their ingenious communication skills. They are clever , not afraid  to venture in their careers and kind to others. Cheerful and perceptive, the Horse people are talented and witty. They are earthy but also stubborn and know how to work the crowd.”

And that ain’t all…

“Popularity is another asset, just as the horse is a universally loved animal. They have cheerful dispositions, possess a gregarious nature, have financially sound minds, and handle money matters well.

Wise, talented and quick in all their undertakings, they are independent and spirited individuals who despise advice Blood runs hot in their veins and they are quick to anger.”

Those born on the years 1906- 1918-1930- 1942-1954-1966-1978-1990-2002-2014 are horse guys.

Please excuse all us horse people for a moment as we go out for a walk, six feet in the air, bare toes  touching not the ground.

There are  12 mascots in China to represent every 12 years. They are rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Horse and sheep as a group represent courage and gentleness, the implied meaning is to march forward courageously, adapting to the surrounding environment harmoniously.

Oddly enough, every time I pass the rich green sheep pasture on the drive to Koloa I want to stop and bring home a lamb.

More: bad luck is going to be rare for us.

My gallent  heart is thumping. I need a glass of Chardonnay, iced. ‘For breakfast, Bettejo?”

There’s more. Holy moly. Leos’-I’m a Leo-careers will flourish and money-making potential is going to be successful.

As the most devoutly out spoken non believer on Kauai, I can just hear  the titters. “See I told you non believers have secret  silly beliefs just like us.”

I love the ‘just like us’ part, so I’m gonna  have a sliver  of scrumptious aromtic pumpkin pie with my wine for breakfast.  Join me?

But wait! Alas. The year of the horse won’t start until 14:04 PM, Feb. 3 Pacific Standard time. The first day of spring. Imbolc. Got it!  Okay. I’ll try to have my two new books-that means three in all-The Scam, Children of the Extinction and my collected bettejo columns, all 200 of them-on the market in February. I’ll have a grand book signing at Birdie’s darling restaurant at the Kukiolono Golf Course and Hanapepe Talk Story Book Store some time that month. You’re all invited.

Now that I’ve indulged my dreamiest, make-believe and let’s pretend mind-set to an extreme, I’ll try to get my feet back on the ground, not splashing   a drop of wine or spilling a crumb of pumpkin pie. My heart will stop thumping, I’ll sit in a chair, rest and take a breath. and let this wonderful new fantasy take root.  It will flourish in the dappled sunlight of my sweet-scented barn/jungle house. It will blossom. The impossible dream flower.

Come on, all you horse guys, join me. Happy 2014.

HAVE A COOL YULE
December 20, 2013

I’m going to take out after this ancient winter festival with a different approach. It ends, you know, the first of January. 2014. Can you believe this?

Instead,  let’s think turkey, Turkey. No matter what, we seem to have eaten so much we’ll either gobble or lay an egg , then we  get stuck with a roasted carcass and slices and globs of left over meat hanging from the bones. It ain’t exactly pretty and it ain’t exactly appetizing; so, let’s make it so. And make it so we can spread it around for weeks, instead of trying to gulp it down in a few swell swoopy days.

Broth! That’s the ticket. I’m not a very good cook, even with my sturdy Vit-a-Mix and stalwart floppy chef’s hat, but I am a Scot and- boy- oh- boy-do I  love  pinching pennies.

Here we go. Manhandle that old bird and scrape as much meat as possible off the bones. Store these bit and pieces of Yule flotsam and jetsam in containers. If you’ve a Scottish mind, left over plastic containers of  Yule goodies dragged home  from a cool gourmet counter at the super get stuffed  in the freezer.

Now, dump all those old bones in a plastic zip lock bag and beat them to death with a hammer. Yeah. Break them bones. You can really get into this smashing frenzy if you want. Make believe it’s your nasty second or third cousin who made a scene and nearly ruined the day. Bang. Bang. Bang.   Remember not to invite him next year.

Toss this flotsam  in a pot-some salt and vinegar,too- and simmer for three hours. The broken bones and vinegar draws out the calcium in the bones. At the end of three hours let it cool, leave pieces of jetsom-if you want-and store this rich broth in plastic containers. I use shaken clean plastic orange juice bottles. Store these in the freezer as well. The number will depend on how much water you use.

Smush these  leftover bones and feed them to the cats. Probably not too good for dogs, they can choke on a sliver.

Now you’re set  for maybe a month. Ain’t wasted one drop.The French make the most delicious soup in all the world. They keep a pot of this brew simmering on the stove and add to it as desired. Who can do that today with the high cost of power? Refrigerators are always going.

You can use this stock to make Frenchlicious potions. As liquid in eggs when you’re cooking fritatas or omelets. Anytime you need a liquid in a

dinner recipe.Mashed potatoes. Liquid to vegetables when you’re boiling them. Be sure and save it, it should be rich in vitamins and minerals.

The turkey meat chunks can be disguised in salads, dressings-toss them in the blender or faithful Vit-a-Mix- and enjoy. Enjoy. You’ll fool your family. Yourself. Nobody’s gonna say gobble gobble gobble damn turkey again.

Enjoy a Cool Yule all the way into a Happy New Year.

LAUGHTER
December 13, 2013

One of the healthiest things we can do is laugh. A belly laugh is good for the belly.

I have a theory horses put up with us- not only because we feel good on their backs and the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man- but because when we laugh we sound like them when they  whinny. Do horses have a sense of humor? You bet’cha. My leopard appaloosa had a sense of humor bigger than all outdoors. He was full of tricks. He loved to come galloping over to greet me, skim close with a friendly demeanor,  then give his rump a twist and set me on my ass.

Once when I was bathing another horse and Beauregard’s nose was out of joint, he picked up the hose when I turned my back and dropped the end neatly down the back of my shirt. All the other horses in the barn got a kick out of that one. I must admit, doused to the skin, I,  too, got a giggle. It started a water fight and everyone got his quotas of  chortles for the day, only I had the hose. It would have made a good circus act.

A handsome Canadian Mounty said, “Always leave ’em laughing.” Works for old girl or boy friends, too.

Milton Berl said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” I think it’s an instant holiday. A holiday with cheese and crackers and a bottle of icy cold Chardonnay. With sunshine and bird song and a sweet whispery titter.

Once, when I was a little girl, a stern faced minister said, “Think! What would you do if you met God face to face?” Me, the devout non believer, ruined his day by responding, “I’d invite him in for a glass of wine.” Sadly, it didn’t even get a smile from him,  but the class snickered.

Chuckles  help when the conversation gets  too hot to handle.  Lighten up guys. Cool it.

Another favorite author, Stephen King said, “You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”

There are grins and smiles, roars, guffaws and jeers. With beers.

There are prat falls, Irish jigs, and kiddy skippity hops. Did you ever think how silly it was  to skip rope? Haven’t seen a skip rope in years. We should bring them back and pass them out to grumps. Remember kites? Talk about freedom and joy. A red paper kite, some long string wound ’round a stick, and a laughing breeze. The swoops, the spins, the swirls. The joyful rush of hauling them in when a  squall threatened. Once my father brought me a Chinese rice paper owl kite that every kid in the neighborhood took turns flying.

Another dear friend of mine, Bertrand Russell said, ‘Never trust a guy who cannot say it simply.” I think thie is better and it’s a Bettejo, “Never trust a guy who can’t laugh at himself.”

IMAGINATION
December 7, 2013

Isn’t that a beautiful word?  It rolls tartishly off the tongue. Yes it does, yes it does. Think about it.

It has a sly, sassy happy hooker glance- come on, baby, dance with me- feel about it.

Albert Einstein said, “Imagination…is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Ain’t dat’da’trut? You betcha.

It is an absolutely delightful human quality. A grand dimension. It created Alice in Wonderland, the Hobbit, the black stallion and Ricky Ticky Tavi.

It is a fiction writer’s right arm, right  brain, right thinking gift.  It is a very healthy human quality. If other animals  have the ability to imagine we would have to imagine it. I can imagine a horse imagining an endless rolling tasty luscious green pasture. American Indians imagined a happy hunting ground. A place where all the kill came back to life to do it all over again. Maybe this time getting away. Maybe next time sending the hunter off to die and return.

Do you know who are the three best liars in the world? Thespians. What could be a bigger lie than being another person for three whole acts on a

stage? Novelists. Everything in a novel is a lie. It’s made up vividly in the mind. Projected in black and white print on paper or screen. And, last but

not least, politicians. They, poor things, cannot tell the truth. Isn’t that odd?

Creative imagination and artistic expression go hand-in-hand.

Sculptures say they imagine the horse they see in the marble and just chip everything away ’til it’s revealed. Painters see  a starry starry night and

then fill a canvas with the color and shape  it needs to bring it out for other eyes to see. Composers, like Mozart and Beethoven, hear notes in their

heads they jot down and send to musicians to fill the world with glorious music.

Kids imagine all kinds of things. Scary things under the bed. Santa Claus and reindeer. Easter bunnies who lay eggs and angry dragons with

whippity tails and long snappy teeth and flaming fire breath.

While it’s true there are good imaginations and bad imaginations, I think good imaginations prevail. Otherwise we’d all end walking around in

cloud cuckoo land.

A vivid imagination is very different from a cast in concrete belief. Imagination is often playful. A belief is almost always a snarly rigid structure it’s best not to fool around with.Belief is a strait- jacket, imagination is free. Distinction between imagination and belief depends on religion, tradition and culture.

Whatever it is, never step on a kid’s wings, on a child’s imagination. Let them fly. Teach kids it is not true, but teach them to use it creatively. It’s a positive, great human quality. Nothing in life can be created if it is first not imagined in the mind. This is where creation comes from. It involves many different brain functions, emotion, memory, thought. Portions of the brain where multiple functions occur.

Lively diversity always trumps rigour.