Archive for March, 2014

Green Spring
March 27, 2014

Spring has sprung

The grass has riz

I wonder where the birdies is?

Wonder no more, dear reader, they.re all singing their hearts out in my  jungle. Waking up-and going to bed in my barn/house-is like waking up in an aviary. A feathered chorale fills the air with perfumed sound. If I could cage several in happy cages and install one in every household on Kauai the happiness factor would rise a thousand percent.

Another clue about health and happiness on Kauai-anywhere for that matter- is the importance of green plants  in your life. I’ve read that it is most important for the human eye to see green living things, but what I know is: first came the grass, then came the trees, then came life on planet earth, our home.

We all know green living plants are the best photosynthsizers. They turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. A day spent in the woods, or in a tree strewn park adds years to your life. Lying down on  a clean green  lawn or meadow can, if you allow it, fill you heart with joy. Add bird songs, blue skies, a sweet pineapple juice rain and sunshine-maybe a good book- and you have everything you need. It’s a universal truth. Try it.

Maybe part of what made my 83-year-old journey possible were the years I spent riding in those long tall gloriously green fields of sugar cane. I was out there five days a week-my leopard, Beauregard, was a union horse-with the field hands and the mules. They loved us. We loved them back.

Here is a really good suggestion about  making your life better. Grow house plants. Honest. Find a container-pottery, ceramic, porcelain, glass or  plastic-fill it full of the good earth. Potting soil isn’t that expensive and a bag  goes a long way- I’ll be happy to share some of Ari’s composted poop-then find something green you like- it doesn’t have to be exotic-and stick it in feet first. There are plants that love to grow indoors  Experiment. Water it with coffee grounds, slip it some cut up pieces of banana skin, talk to it. Touch it. Dust it. Give it a name. It will become as dear to you and your family as a four-legged pet. Easier and less expensive to care for, too.

Fill your house, every room-living, bedroom, bath and kitchen-with life. Turn it into a green house.

Philodendron is a good plant to start with. The name means tree lover. It’s beautiful foliage and there are several hundred species. Organic wheatgrass in little pots on table tops and clustered in  corners-some plants like company-can end  cut up and sprinkled on top of soups and salads. You can drink it, too. Herbs and sprouts are neat and tidy. Great aroma  Mixed in with hard-boiled-free range eggs-breadless egg salad sandwich style- and feel the energy.

Someone wrote, “If you want to be happy overnight, get drunk. For a weekend get married. For a lifetime learn to garden. Indoors.

 

 

 

 

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Peace with the Elements
March 21, 2014

Peace is a word that always attracts my attention. It’s one syllable and has a sweet feminine sound. In fact in Spanish, paz, has a feminine gender. It’s a girl’s name. Paz.

Elements? Well we think of rain and wind and snow and sun and —eeek—hurricanes and tornados and tsunamis and earthquakes and volcanoes. How in the world are we to be at peace with that?

What choice do we have? We’re human. We live on an incredibly beautiful planet, on a superfluously  beautiful island in the middle of a vast ocean which  often kicks up its heels in a fashion long to be remembered if we’re  caught in a little boat in the middle of one of its tantrums. Did you know the Hawaiian channel, Alenuihaha–‘Ale as in jolly, nui as in phooey, ha-ha as in crutch’ as some modern-day sailor’s dubbed it– means,  in Hawaiian,  ‘very large trough like waves’.

Those of us who’ve sailed these channels know what that’s like. It’s rarely a peaceful experience. Anything but. But we hunker down. Fight our way through. What’s interesting is the Greeks had a god of the sea, Poseidon–I mean wouldn’t it be a god?–who also reigned over earthquakes and horses. How did horses got in the act?

Hawaiians have a god of the sea, too, Kanaloa, who ‘is symbolized by the squid and the octopus’. Figures.

But the Hawaiians also have a goddess of the sea–whew, at last–her name is Namaka and she’s the daughter of Pele. She has a guardian dog named Moela and is chiefess of the Menehune people. I like it that the Hawaiian guys have goddesses. They make it balance.

Pele, of course, was goddess of fire, lightening, wind and volcanoes. She’s passionate and capricious and volatile and some say she finally settled down and made her home in Kiluea. She also has a little white dog who sends messages to her people.  She fought with her sister, Namaka.

Round and round and round we go and where it stops nobody knows.

I love the stories–they should be told over and over– but they’re a long long way from the way us mere mortals have to deal with the elements. Like rain. It comes.  It goes. It comes.  It stays. It keeps our garden green. But the best us modern guys  have is  Mother Nature. And  whose side is she on, boys? The earth’s side, of course. The planet’s side. Our home.

Well, Mother Nature is life-giving and nourishing. She has a close relationship with fertility, abundance and Gaia who also lives in Kilauea. Wonder if she’s listed in the phone book? Found it. I’ll give her a buzz. “Gaia,” I speak with great respect, “will you make it stop? I’m drenched. My grown up puppy’s drenched.  My horse is drenched. My Macaw is ruffle drenched. My roof is leaking.”

“Sweetie,” she replied  sweetly, “have a bowl of soup. Better yet, write a book. Be at peace with the elements.”

Guess that’ll have to do.

Movie stars and Dinosaurs
March 18, 2014

“I was a movie star once.”

“Ignore her. She’s trying out for a part in Jurassic World.”

“The oldest lady dinosaur in the flock?”

“Did dinosaurs come in flocks?”

“They came in herds-herbivores- or packs-carnivores. I’m surrounded by idiots. Shut up and eat your cracker. This is my story.”

“Pass the dip.”

“It was a hundred years ago. We were beautiful then.”

“This cracker is stale and the dip’s icky.”

“Columbia Pictures had blocked pesos in the Philippines, so they sent a flock of Hollywood types, a director, a darling starlit, a handsome guy who wore makeup in the day time and a couple of really weird scripts. I was a darling on the stage of the Manila Theater Guild and all guild members tried out for parts. I was cast as a singer.

Our set was a dive on the waterfront. I wore a black lace terno. Fitted to the knees and then flared, I loved it. Gorgeous sleeves. It was beautiful. It was me. It was mine.”

“Major production. Bring your own costume.”

“Yeah? Well, the night of first filming was big time.The entire  block around the joint was cordoned off. Yellow ribbons, cops galore. We arrived on the set in long black limousines. Glorious stars on a red carpet.  It was a dance hall and a bar, while bright white whirligig lights-the rage of olden days-spun and spattered as extras danced the night away on a cold hard solid concrete floor.

I think it must have taken twenty shots to get me through my big scene. I’m a terrible singer. But between takes I sat at a round table with the handsome Hollywood actor drinking coca cola laced with rum. My performance kept getting better and better. So I was told.

Between sacred move star land there was a  bar where commoners were corralled   behind a four-foot high concrete wall. But it wasn’t long before a tipsy scruffy groundling clambered over the wall and walked a crooked mile to our star-studded table.”

“I know who you are,” he blubbered  and began at the top of a list of famous names in the movie business. I shook my head. At the end of the list he slobbered in nasty anger, “Then who are you?”

“I’m Bettejo Dux,”I responded hiccuping with great dignity.

“Never heard of’ya,” he stumbled his way back to the wall and disappeared head first, ass over tea kettle, on there other side. I hoped he landed on his head.

“Isn’t that  pain in the neck?” My handsome companion said, continuing to rub my foot. Standing for hours holding up a mike does make your feet hurt. “Being accosted by creeps like that is part of the price we pay for fame.

“The price is too high.” I wobbled from the table took center stage and did a perfect take. All the extras  applauded. They could rest their feet.

I don’t like making movies. Being yelled at by a director with a bull horn is not healthy.

FUN
March 12, 2014

Fun is a three-letter word. Easy to read. Easy to pronounce.Hurrah. Hurrah. Find it on page 734 in the trusty Third Edition of  the American Heritage dic-tion-ar-y—honest, that’s what it says on the cover—and the definition of FUN is brief. I’ll accept the first.

1. A source of enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure, often noisy activity. It does go on. Eight lines that it takes my 83-year-old eyes specs and a magnifying glass to read.

And then there’s a USAGE NOTE that chatters and clatters  on for 20 more lines!? The end of which states: “At present however, the ‘attributive’ use (whatever that is) of fun may still raises eyebrows, and writers who want to stay on the safe side are advised to avoid….”

Yeah? Well tell it to da judge. Don’t tell me you fat three- letter- word over weight dic-tion-ar-y thingie what to avoid. Anyhow, I was never comfortable on the safe side. The safe side ain’t no fun. No how. I’d rather play the playfully incorrect game. Wouldn’t you?

I mean fun should be funny. Foolish. Silly. Amusing. Entertaining. Enjoyable.Have fun watching the herd-that’s the human herd-splashing at the beach. Surfing. Climbing and falling graceful- no broken limbs-out of trees. Feeding and window shopping at the malls.  Skating, biking, strolling on the scenic paths  or hiking in the hills. Young humanoids playing in a play ground.

Having fun is a very healthy  occupation. We should all indulge more.

Noisy activity? You betcha. Sing. Dance. Twang a guitar or a uke.  Enjoy a lively raucous-but peaceful-debate or conversation. Kick up your heels, it’s later than you think.

Hop, skip and jump. Clap you hands and chortle.

Watch other living things have fun. A dog chasing  a ball or its tail or just goofing around. A cat or a kitten batting a ball of string. I think birds have fun flying and dolphins and whales have fun cavorting in the sea and sleek  monk seals have fun soaking up sun on  the sand.  I think everything’s more fun when  it’s free.

‘Course it’s also fun to share a glass of wine, a bite of cheese,  a crunchy cracker. A slurpy chocolate ice cream on a stick. A cookie. A cuppa aromatic nose twitching coffee or  tea or a beer on a lanai or a porch or a garage turned into a party place when friends come calling.

At this very moment I’m having fun watching a speckled hen appear and disappear in a shady and  sun speckled  bank. The sun is out. They bask. A red necked crowing rooster follows at a distance.  They have a happy, healthy, freedom loving family. They swallow earth worms whole.

Robert Louis Stevenson, a Scott-he’s got a bar at the Hyatt, a fun place- said, “The world is so full of a number of things, I think we should all be as happy as kings.”

Maybe that should read, “The days are filled  with the funniest things, I think we should all be as funny as kings.”

Fast curtain

GOLDEN FROTH
March 4, 2014

When the rain comes down and the sky goes gray, it’s time a Golden froth to brew.

So healthy, so warm and filling  in the tummy, so easy to digest,  at times like this a  thinning bargain  broth is due. Did you ever stop to think, you can sip soup for breakfast, lunch or diner?

I’m standing at my end of the barn.The zoo is fed. I’ve made a warm alfalfa mash for Aristotle, rich with bran, carrots and molasses. He loves it. Duke is munching raisins, peanuts and other parrot goodies, watching water fall from the sky awhile  a finicky red cardinal splashes in a bird bath  instead of a puddle.

Boots, my grown up puppy is eating, as are the ancient cats.

Only I, poor ‘ting, am  running on empty. Another lesson my father taught me: always feed the animals first.

My beloved Vitamix, standing tall and silent, beckons.

Be creative my stomach grumbles, you can’t write without sustenance. Despite my visitation, I’m not a Breatharian..

I drag out a basket of vegetables. Lots of stuff. Potatoes, onions, garlic, celery, carrots and golden peppers. All allegedly organic. Cold pressed extra virgin  olive oil. Range free chicken bits I’ve saved in the freezer for such a moment. A  bottle full of homemade chicken broth. Artichoke hearts in olive oil. Salt, pepper, spices.  Brewer’s Yeast. Wheat Germ.

And then, a stroke of genius. I find a package of The Laughing Cow light and creamy Swiss cheese. Maybe a little too much fat? Well, it’s a cold and a rainy day- hey, hey- I’ll chew the fat. Eskimos do. I’ve lived so long in the tropics, days like this are arctic winter weather to me and 35 calories per wedge sounds good. Besides I love the red laughing cow, with earrings in her ears, on the box. She makes me happy. I love happy cows. Dancing cows in meadows’ green. Laughing cows in bovine heaven.

A suggestion: never measure. Just toss. Into the microwave goes the potato loving slathered in olive oil. Dump chicken bits, artichoke hearts, onions, garlic, carrots and slices of yellow pepper in a soup bowl to sauté in olive oil in the micro when the potato is done.

As they meld and mellow, cut the plato in half and toss in the Vitamix with some chicken broth and a wedge of the laughing cow. Be generous with the Brewer’s Yeast and Wheat Germ. When the vegetables have lovingly combined, dump them in the Vitamix and flick three switches.

Noisy critter. Almost as noisy as Duke. Boots, by this time, is at my feet with a  hungry look in her eye. She loves soup.

This brew turned out  so golden-the cheese and carrot mix, I guess-so frothy, it brightened up the day and contained everything a human needs for nourishment.  Protein. Vitamins. Essential fatty acids. Minerals.  Thin it down with more water for a larger family, or thick it up if it’s just for you. 

Enjoy. Enjoy.