Sunday, February 26, 2006

Day 1 : Karnival Ta Malta

Went to a town called Valleta. They were celebrating Karnival. What I gathered from the taxi driver that took us there is that Karnival is the last celebration before the Catholic practice of lent.

In front of the arena where all the parading was going was an enormous cement fountain. I didn't catch a picture of it because it was much too dark but it was so beautiful. Beyond the fountain was an archway leading to the arena where all the festivities were taking place.

The colors and the costumes were so vibrant. This was definitely NOT the mardi gras or karnival marketed to us in the United States. There weren't topless women hanging off the floats or from balconies. The atmosphere wasn't sexually charged. In fact, it was quite family-friendly. You'd see ENTIRE families dressed in costume. They'd also be drinking together. Even young children were seen sipping on a beer. I presume it is part of their culture because EVERY meal is served with wine here.

The floats were colorful and so intricate in detail. I was completely lost in a culture so unlike my own.

What I notice in the faces of the people that live here are their noses. It is the most prominent feature on the Mediterranean face. Their nose is not a wide nose as we see in Polynesia. It is skinny. Pointy. Large.

I love this place. I'm enjoying the very different lifestyle here. Life is so simple. Life has true meaning based on happiness and totally unattached to monetary success or value.

Pictured here is one of my favorite floats from karnival. This is actually the back of the float. The face opened during their presentation and dancers came out of it.

The people here LOVE the techno sound. Though I am not all that fond of that particular genre -- it's growing on me. Every single song was done techno-style. I thought it quite odd but the favorite song was "Country Road" in, of course, techno. The entire crowd, young and old were singing it.

Each an every float spewed confetti everywhere. It was gorgeous. A rainbow of colors filled the evening sky. It was absolutely spectacular.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

FINISHER!!!


Folks, I did it!! I am a finisher of the Great Aloha Run, here in Hawaii. 8 Miles! I will definitely blog about it later. Let's just say -- I feel like I can do ANYTHING.

Monday, February 13, 2006

In 300 Words or Less

Husband wrote a short, 300-word essay last night. He is not really a writer. Well, I wouldn’t say that because he can be eloquent when he wants to. However, he’s just NOT one of those overly verbose guys that run to their blog at every opportunity available.

The essay was supposed to be about a unique experience that sets him apart from other students. This is part of the application process for college. (College is his latest endeavor.) I didn’t help him brainstorm or even suggest any ideas on what he should write about. I knew that this essay had to be in his voice, from his angle. Sure, I helped with grammar and punctuation and critiqued him on how his essay reads but I didn’t give him any input on the actual content.

He chose to write about his five-month tour of duty in Iraq and how it made him different. I can’t describe what my reaction to the essay was because I’m not sure if I was happy or sad. However, it was clear that I was emotionally moved by what he wrote.

In less than 300 words, he was able to take me from rural Alabama, where he thought he grew up, to the deserts of Iraq, where he REALLY grew up. He spoke about when we were married and being shipped off a month later and how hard it was to leave. I admire the pride he has in having been able to bring all of the soldiers that served under him back to American soil and home to their families.

I look at him in such a different light. His essay has added more depth to his character and I pay tribute to the man he is becoming. For meeting every challenge and exceeding everyone’s expectation of him. Essentially, I used 320 words to say what could have been done in three: I Love Him!!!

In recent days, what has emotionally moved you?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

TSA'ers


The other day we picked up a friend at the Honolulu International Airport (HNL). The flight was a little late so we sat at the curbside instead of continuing to circle the terminal. We got away with it for about five minutes before one of those ultra scary TSA’ers tapped on my window. She was an older woman. She had to be at least 65.

She taps on my window and asks me if I’m waiting for someone.

I tell her, “Yes,” and leave it at that to see what she’d say back.

The woman replies in a heavy Filipino accent, “Well, is she coming in on a flight? What flight does she arrive on?”

I say, “Yes,” without volunteering more information than I have to.

My friend, she’s the driver, speaks before the TSA’er can respond and points to the automatic doors just 10 yards beyond the TSA’er, “Oh. She’s right there.”

The TSA’er turns to look at who my friend is pointing at and sees no one.

At this point I’m amused by the Transportation Security Agent’s inquiry and the comedy unraveling before me. I know her immediate objective is to get us to leave the curbside. President Bush says that the events of 9-11 make it necessary for the general public to be under constant surveillance, under constant suspicion. Of course that’s not quite the language he used. I believe he says we must be vigilant. Cautious. Aware. Insert ‘rolling eyes’ here.

I imagine that much of the TSA shift meetings must be about keeping the airport curbsides free and clear of any stragglers. They probably review the acceptable and unacceptable items allowed on an airplane. After all, the general public is assumed to be terrorists until proven otherwise. Why else would this TSA’er subject a seemingly harmless van with two children and two adult females to a mild interrogation?

My friend and I are still sitting there, curbside. I’m wondering what the TSA’er will say next. I’m positive that she’s slightly intimidated by my size and irritated with our blatant disregard for her authority. I mean, my friend had just pointed at the thin air and told the TSA’er that the person we’re picking up is right there.

The agent peers at me with distrust, “Does the person you’re waiting for work here?”

I had already told her that we’re waiting for a flight to arrive but I ask her anyway, “Can I stay parked here if I tell you that the person we’re waiting on works here?”

The agent reasserts herself in that heavy Filipino accent, “You cannot be parked here.” She smirks and points to the exit that will lead us back around the terminal.

Not wanting to cause a commotion, we pull away from the curbside and make our way toward the exit. I think about that little, old, TSA woman and wonder what terrorist she could possibly scare away. As we’re moving along the terminal, I notice that nearly ALL of the agents lining the curbside are older immigrants. This alone tells me that homeland security and its offspring, the transportation security agents, are a joke.

After 9-11, Homeland Security sprung into existence. I suppose that a TSA’er believes that he or she is on the frontline of keeping our country safe. After all, they keep those airport curbsides free and clear. At security checkpoints they search for those tweezers and nail clippers and moustache trimmers and scissors and whatever other implements that can be used as a weapon.

If this is the case, that TSA is indeed the frontline in the fight against terror, then please explain to me how a retiree qualifies to do this monumental task! They probably wouldn’t be able to chase down a trained terrorist. Along that line of thinking, I’ll suggest that a TSA’ers only function is to tattle tale because that really is the only thing they can do. They’re armed with a walkie-talkie and a badge. It’s funny how conventional schooling has trained the average person to obey and respect a badge as a form of authority. This goes against any logical thought process because a badge has NO inherent authority. Literally, the power in the badge is imagined. But I digress.

We exit the terminal and my friend and I find a place to park and wait. Thirty minutes later we’re entering the terminal again. We spot our intended passenger.

On our way out of the airport terminal we spot the little, old TSA woman with the heavy Filipino accent. There she is with a stoic face, walkie-talkie on her hip and her TSA badge pinned over her heart. Though I am not in hearing distance, I see her telling another suspected terrorist parked at the curbside, “You cannot be parked here,” as she points to the exit that leads back around the terminal.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Music Baby

I borrowed this format from Teej. I thought it was cute. So here it is!

1. Favorite political track
War by Bob Marley

2. Song that makes you dance no matter what
how corny is this? Dancing Queen by ABBA... lmaoooooo... i coulda been a disco diva, the way i love the music from the 70's.

3. Song you'd use to tell someone you love them
The Makings of You, Angie Stone version

4. Song that has made you sit down to analyze its lyrics
Bag Lady by Erykah Badu

5. Song you like that a two year old would like
The song from the Campbells Soup commercials... "possibilities"... it's such a cute jingle. I love whoever wrote that ditty!!! LOL...

6. A song you and your grandparents would like
my fathers parents... it would probably be... What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and for my mothers parents... Mustang Sally by Tom Jones... lmaooooo

7. A song that gives you an energy boost
Made to Love Her by Stevie Wonder

8. Song you really liked when you were 13-16 that you really like now
Crush by Rob Base

9. A sad song that would be in the soundtrack of the movie about your life
I Wish I Wasn't by Heather Headley

10. Peppy song that would start the opening credits in the movie of your life
Every Little Step I Take by Bobby Brown... whew... the memories from that song!!!!

11. A good song from a genre of music that no one would guess you liked
Nessun Dorma performed by Luciano Pavarotti

12. Song that you think should have been playing when you were born
Candy Girl by New Edition... who didn't LOVE that song??

13. Favorite duet artists
Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway... can any duet compare today?

14. A favorite song you completely disagree with
old but... used to love this song but could never get down with the lyrics... Players Anthem by Junior Mafia

15. Song that you like despite the fact your IQ level drops several points every time you listen to it
used to be that song GET LOW by the Ying Yang Twins???

16. Smoothe song for relaxing
Diary by Alicia Keys

17. A song you would send to someone you hate
Uninvited by Alanis Morissette... not really a hate song but it has this eerie feeling to it.

18. Favorite track from a band considered a "super group"
The Beautiful Ones by Prince and the Revolution

19. A song that makes you reminisce about good times with a family member
Drop It Like It's Hot by Snoop and Pharell... reminds me of my St. Louis days with my 'sister' ReeMa -- miss you girl.

20. Your favorite song right now
right now... it's Unpredictable by Jamie Foxx... though I'm not really into mainstream... i like the hook. the lyrics are too suggestive but everytime I hear it, I'm turning it up!!!