Thursday, August 11, 2016

He Is Not The Sun, You Are!


One of the yummy books I devoured this year is Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes... writer of the hit TV shows Greys Anatomy and Scandal. This is not a book review but I do have to give a shameless plug for The Year of Yes because it reminded me of one of the best episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

This post is not just for Grey's fans because I am not a die hard fan. I have not finished the series and I don't know if I ever will. Who has the time to sit through more and more of Meredith and McDreamy? I could watch Chandra Bailey do her thing as Dr. Bailey. Her character was so well written and was the one that most resonated with me. Anyway, Meredith Gray is the main character of the show. She has a hot steamy romance with Dr. Shepard, played by Patrick Dempsey. Meredith Gray's best friend is Christina Yang played by Sandra Oh.

Christina Yang is one of those girls whose mind is complete and straight logic. Anything moving away from that is utterly out of her comfort zone. She is the analytical voice always in Meredith's ear prodding her out of her emotional cravings to be needed by Dr. Shepard. In this classic Grey's episode, Christina is leaving for her dream job in Europe. They are writing her character off the show. Christina and Meredith go through this whole series of goodbyes with Christina mostly wanting to stay, to halt the inevitable GOODBYE. In typical Christina fashion, she gives the most endearing advice that gives Meredith the boost she needs to make hard decisions. Christina calmly quips, "Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need. He is very dreamy but he is not the sun. YOU ARE!"
 
Every woman needs just the right words to put everything into perspective. This episode, every time I hear those words, "HE IS NOT THE SUN... YOU ARE," reminds me that my desires and ambitions are important. I remember to put me first before everyone else so that my sanity and my peace of mind are intact. How can I be of value to anyone if I am not charged up? I am the SUN! The world does revolve around me. I am a powerful woman who is worthy of all the good things in life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lessons From A Mother's Love

My mother would have been 68 earth years on June 5, 2016. She left this existence on 30 June 2011. I can't believe it's been almost five years. When I think on the time I had with her on this planet, I would say that my biggest regret is that I did not learn all that I could from her. She was the smartest woman I will ever know, who would "tell it like it is" and still had the biggest heart.

I find that one of the traits I have learned from her is to be brutally honest. I wasn't always that way. In fact, people used to walk all over me and take advantage of my kindness. As a young girl and on up to being an adult, I thought that being accommodating of everyone was an admirable trait. Being well-liked because I was accommodating would certainly earn me loyal friends.... but it didn't and it really doesn't. It took a long time to learn the lesson. Prior to my 40th birthday last year, the epiphany of being "too accommodating" came to an end. Specific experiences led to me penning my 40 Year Old Manifesto. I choose my own happiness above any notion of loyalty to insignificant people. I wish my mother could see this blossoming of me. She would tell me, "I told you so." And I would retort with utter disgust because she 'knows it all'.

When I think of her, I tear up just thinking of the missed lessons I should have had with her. I miss her clear wisdom and absolute distinction between right and wrong. She had a well-developed and accurate moral compass and I wish I was born with that... sometimes. I say "sometimes" because I am far too curious to limit myself to stay within the bounds that are imposed upon me by my culture and my religious upbringing. Yet, I am so very grateful for my mother's staunch perseverance in raising me to strive for holiness and purity. I have had to temper that with my wild, anarchist tendencies and am quite pleased with my unique morality. My endeavor is to see God in people, not because we are of the same culture or have the same religion but because God's light is in each of us.

I credit my mother for fostering my curious nature but also applying restraint for my safety. In many of my dark days, I could feel my mother's prayers to God. I remember a particular time when I lived in New Mexico. I had experienced a traumatic event in Hawai'i and escaped to New Mexico. I also left the island following a man I wanted to love forever. I was sitting in my apartment. It was the middle of the afternoon and a feeling of my mother's love washed over me. It was so overwhelming, so strong, and so urgent, and I could feel her arms around me. I wish I could tell her now that I felt her that day in a really moving way. These were the days before calling cards and long-distance calls were $0.25 cents a minute and up, depending on the city so I was not able to make a call to her. I will never forget that incredible rush.

I was such a wild child. Sorry, Mom! I know she was extremely worried about me. I remember one evening being in my apartment in New Mexico. It was early evening but being that it was winter, it was already dark. I heard a knock at the door. Two men dressed in white shirts and ties from the local L.D.S. ward had been sent by my mother. I look back now and think of how concerned she was about me, how worried she was for my safety, and I dare anyone to doubt her unconditional love for me. There is no parallel to a Mother's Love!

She would have been 68 this year. I have to believe that she peeks in on me from time to time and that she still prays for me and petitions the Gods for my safety. I know she sends wonderful people into my life to push and prod me to be a better me. When I meet her again, I will praise her angelic presence in my life and beg her forgiveness for my limited understanding of A Mother's Love.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Jeffrey Osborne LIVE - Check!

It all started back in May. I did a google search for "hawaii R&B". Blue Note Hawaii came up with its calendar of exciting artists. I missed Chaka Khan in June. Jody Watley & Shalamar is coming up in August. Incognito in September. I am so excited about this Blue Note venue and the representation of REAL live music. Real instruments. Real voices. Real talent.

This past weekend I checked an item off my bucket list.

I saw Jeffrey Osborne, live, here in Honolulu. **swooning**

I was just a toddler when Love Ballad was released but that song is the reason I fell in love with Jeffrey Osborne. I only discovered it after hearing all of Mr. Osborne's hits in the 80's. I am sure you are familiar with some of them.

"On the wings of love, up and above the clouds, the only way to fly, is on the wings of love..."

"You should be mine. Anything you want. You got to fortify my love to fortify me. Can you woo woo woo? Can you woo woo woo?...."

His voice is so silky and it has a distinct, unique quality that I just absolutely love.

Hubby and I attended the 9pm show. Jeffrey Osborne's scaled down band hopped on stage at 9pm and did a great jazz intro featuring the best trumpet soloist I have ever heard. He is fabulous. By 9:10, Jeffrey Osborne hopped on stage and went non-stop until 10:45'ish. He is such a funny guy.

The highlight of the evening was when he sang the famous LTD song, Love Ballad. In one of my unfinished novels, The Adventures of Slim Williams, I feature this song. I just absolutely love it. It makes me feel so in love and so ready to be loved. To hear it live by the man himself is just a priceless experience for me. To share it with my husband was a beautiful thing. I am so grateful that we were able to attend this show. It was worth every penny. Premiere seating was $75 a pop.

 


QUICK REVIEW of BLUE NOTE HAWAII 

LOCATION: 2nd Floor of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort (above Duke's Waikiki)

PARKING: Ugghhh - about two blocks away at the Outrigger East. Walking the two blocks in heels is not fun. I should have brought my crocks to walk back to the car in. I would have paid to valet but that was full.

RESERVATIONS: There are three tiers of pricing that determines seating. The bar area is the cheapest but does not have guaranteed seating and you could possibly end up standing all night. If you want to dance all night, I guess that would be a great option. The loge area is about the same distance from the bar as the stage is however you have guaranteed seating in a booth or table. The final tier is the premiere seating, which is right in front of the stage. It is a very intimate setting and I absolutely love it! We selected the premiere seating and we had a great view of the stage.

Seating is open but if you're a couple, you will end up sharing the table. Most of the tables and booths are for four people. We lucked out because a really nice couple sat with us. Her name is Dee. I can't remember her husband's name.

AMBIANCE: The room is bathed in blue light even with the house lights on. It is very clean and super romantic. The tables and booths have cute little votive candles. One downer is how hot it was in there. Maybe they need some overhead fans or a better a/c system.

SERVICE: The hostess actually selected our table. I asked her to take us to the best seat and that is exactly what she did. Our Server was very attentive and professional. Plates and glasses were cleared quickly.

FOOD & DRINK:
$16 for an Italian sausage cut in half, grilled and served with red and green pepper in a tomato sauce - this dish was overpriced, in my opinion.
$14 for caprese salad - this was actually very delicious and, for the size of it, well worth the $14. It was served with a scoop of a balsamic sorbet of some sort. It was the color of wasabi so when I tasted it, I was expecting for it to be spicy. It was a frozen presentation.
Drinks were quite expensive also. Based on the drink menu, it was $10 and up.

SUMMARY:
I will definitely be back. Blue Note Hawaii is a beautiful venue. They have been hosting excellent artists.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Restaurant Review: HY'S STEAK HOUSE | Waikiki, O'ahu

KNEE-JERK-REACTION: Ummm... we should have gone to our favorite Steak House -- RUTH'S CHRIS @Restaurant Row.

Husband and I have a few things to celebrate so we decided to do it at Hy's Steak House in Waikiki last night. We celebrate my successfully passing the SAP Certification Exam. Second, husband got a new job. Yayy for celebrating great achievements!

LOCATION: Hy's is housed on the first floor of a condominium on Kuhio Ave in Waikiki. It is not the most convenient place to get to. A simple google search will get you there without a problem. Let the GPS guide you.

PARKING: Free valet --  nice touch!

DRESS CODE: Men are required to wear collared shirts. Based on the other women that were in the dining room, we aren't required to wear anything special. I saw women there with khaki capri pants and tshirts. **shrugs** Why did I go through the trouble of dressing up when, apparently, women can wear whatever they want?

RESERVATIONS: Yes! We did it online, through the Hy's website, "powered by OpenTable".

AMBIANCE: Dark. I felt like I was in an old white man's cigar room. The walls are beautifully finished wood and shelves filled with old books. There are paintings of white men with long white hair. Personally, I did not care for the art work on the wall. It would have been sufficient to feature the wood finishes and the shelving and books. The noise level was nice. It could be because we were seated, as requested, in a corner booth.

SERVICE: The staff were attentive but not friendly. Contrived? Yes! They were all trying a little too hard. Some of them felt..... rehearsed like they say the same thing to the guests over and over. And every dish you select is their favorite. **rolling my eyes** We interacted with five different servers throughout the evening.

Stewart took our drink order, delivered on the waters then took our order for the rest of the evening. The timing between delivery of appetizer to delivery of the entree was about thirty minutes. I am disappointed with that. What was even crazier is that not one server had come to tell us how long it would be or if we would like to order a drink. We just sat there until the entree was served.

FOOD: For appetizer, I ordered the Duck Foie Gras with Poached Figs and Brioche. This dish was one of two reasons we went with Hy's instead of going to my favorite place - Ruth's Chris. The one thing that came out of this one and only visit to Hy's is my new obsession with Foie Gras. It is, by far, the most delicious thing I have tasted in a very, very long time. If I do ever go back to Hy's, it will be for the Foie Gras. Even though it was an extremely tiny serving, it was very delicious.
Duck Foie Gras

Husbands appetizer was the Lobster Bisque. They only prepare this for the weekend crowd so of course we had to try it. It was tasty. I wish they had served it with crackers or toast. It needed some crunch for texture. A slice of toasted baguette would have been really nice to go with it.

I ordered Beef Wellington for my entree. I ordered it medium-rare. It came well done. There was not an ounce of pink. :-( I was supremely disappointed by this but did not want to make a fuss cause I was darn hungry. Ugghhh!!! This dish lacked seasoning! I should have ordered horse radish cream to go with it because it was so bland. Even the buttery crust did not add much flavor.
Beef Wellington
Husband had the 32oz Bone-In Ribeye. His, oddly, was medium-rare and he ordered his medium-well. Husband also did not make a fuss because he was darn hungry! Sad to say, the steak was not seasoned very well. We were all kinds of disappointed. We didn't even bother to look at the dessert menu.
Bone-In Ribeye
SUMMARY REVIEW: I would skip Hy's. The service is not exceptional. The food even less than that. What I liked most about my trip there was the foie gras and the valet parking and that's it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Courage to Flow

Dear Friend,

Much time has passed since we were little girls, dressed in pink, at our 6th Grade graduation. We sang Lean on Me and Somewhere Out There as our class songs. We wore our beautiful leis and celebrated the achievement of finally leaving elementary school. After graduation, we danced  in the school cafeteria to Janet Jackson's "Control" and the Timex Social Clubs, "Rumours". "Shackles on My Feet," played too. We giggled. We jammed and we dreamed of the life we would lead. Here we are a couple of decades later and we're still alive. We're healthy. We're moving with the tide of life.

Our recent chance meeting brought together by a mutual friend was fated. I realized this as I listened to your story and your difficulty with your sudden change in relationship status. 27 years is a long time to dedicate to one person and to watch him throw it away so casually is upsetting. For you, I know it is devastating.

I want to tell you that I admire how you are persevering through the heart ache. We, as women, have that in common - the experience of love lost. If there was anything that I could tell you to see you through such a difficult transition is that how you feel today will not always be. Choose today to break through your cocoon into an even more stunning butterfly, brilliant with color and the freedom of wings. You, my friend, are on your way to a life that is more fulfilling than the last 27 years as you watch your children and grandchildren develop into their own magnificence.

I wish there were an easier way to get through the heartache but these lessons are conditioning your heart and soul for the life ahead of you. The strength you are exercising now to move on in life is a beautiful thing. When you look back on today, on this hard time, you will marvel at your courage. And one day you will bless the day that he walked out. It has granted you such a large amount of freedom to truly find your center again and realize the beauty you have inside.

Be easy like water, my friend, and flow with the tide of life
--never fighting against it
--never questioning where it is taking you
--never stopping its meandering journey


You can do this.
LIVE
LOVE
LAUGH

~NeenaLove~

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dreamscape: Cross My Mind

I was alone, walking on a grassy road. When I looked back I saw you in the distance. Your distinct silhouette stood out to me. White v-neck shirt, black shorts, white socks, black shoes. You were having a conversation with someone. And when I looked back at you, you looked up, and we made eye contact. I don't think you knew me but it seemed you had a glimmer of recognition. It was like you wanted to tell me, "Do I know you from somewhere?" But you were too far away from me and I, I couldn't wait anymore.

The wind blew in the trees. The green leaves shook gently. The road ahead was unclear, almost a blur. But I kept walking toward the great unknown wanting desperately for you to follow me. It was as if our timelines were crossing for the first time except we both knew that we had met in another lifetime and would probably meet again in future incarnations.