Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Southern Holiday : Family History

Since I stepped off the plane in this beautiful Southern city of Huntsville, Alabama, all I've been doing is EATING! I am so full! I been eating too much, fa real! I think I'll return to Hawai'i about 'fitty' pounds heavier! Other than eating, I also been doing a whole lotta family history. I knew I would be. On Monday, my husband found an old trunk that belonged to his grandfather. For those not familiar with the hobby of genealogy, an old trunk is a gold mine of information.



Whew... the trunk was full of old pictures and all sorts of legal paperwork. I was able to plug in all kind of information into my family tree. There were death certificates and birth certificates and military records, and tons of photo's and names. It was pretty amazing! Also, with the help of Ancestry.com, I was able to correspond the names I found with the United States Federal Census. It has been an AMAZING experience!



Prior to the 1880 United States Federal Census, it gets really tough to dig up information if your ancestral lines lead back to the U.S. slave trade. There are a number of reasons why that is:

1. Slaves were counted as possessions, like cattle, and were not enumerated as people. They were property, counted as assets for slave holders! What this means for genealogy researches like myself is that the slaves will not be "named" in the U.S. Census.

2. Slaves were thoroughly and effectively weaned from their culture in the most abrupt manner. They were severed from their culture and severed from other slaves that shared the same culture. I think we know what the implications of that would be. Effectively "colonizing" the African to be English-speaking American's!

3. Effectively "colonizing" Slaves meant they had to take on "Christian" names as ordered by the slave holder. This was to turn the slave from a heathen into a Christian. What this means for genealogy researchers is that we will have a tough time making the link to Africa.

4. Strong and burly men and women were breeded to produce strong and burly children then sold at top dollar to other slave holders to be able to breed them. This meant that the strongest slaves were sent from slave owner to slave owner to make babies. Do you see the similarities today? That's a whole 'nother blog that I'd have to visit sometime in the future. What this means for the genealogy researcher is that we may never know if the names we find are the actual biological parent. **sigh**

Well, thats what I've been doing with my extra time. I love it. I love making the connection to the past. It's pretty amazing what I've been able to find and then be able to share with my inlaws. They are thoroughly excited as well.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Outta My Element

Feeling a little outta my element in the South and definitely missing that island flavor. So here are some of my faves that I've been peekin' at to shake off the blues I have for my island home. Hope you enjoy!

Jr. Maile singing soooooooo BEAUTIFULLY!



Te Vaka singing Tamahana, the theme song from popular Pacific Island film, Johnny Lingo. It's the closest one will get to a Polynesian romance. LOL....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Southern Holiday : Day 02


Day 02 started out really slow. When the whole house was finally up and moving around, it had to be after 10am. I had already showered and felt fresh and clean but sluggish... I'm assuming its the jetlag.

We started talkin' family history. Genealogy is a serious hobby of mine. I shared with my in-laws what I have been able to gather about their families so far. My in-laws seem impressed with the progress I've made. We had a long discussion about family stories. It seems that every generation loses something from the past thinking we have it figured out.

I remember my father telling me stories about his childhood and life without electricity. I find it almost unbelievable to hear them. I remember my mother telling me about outhouses (eeew!) and working to eat, as there were no grocery stores in Samoa. And I think to myself how so far removed am I from a life of physical struggle. Yet, I have a desire to know that hard life to feel and experience the contrast between my life here and now and the life of my parents 50 years ago.

In those 50 years, the clear and definite lines between good and evil have been blurred beyond recognition. The state of the family now includes "blending" and alternative lifestyles. And the world almost seems so screwed up, without a clear direction toward happiness. The gender roles have been squashed and I sometimes think that it hasn't been for the advancement of humanity. I think the Creator made us to carry out different roles and to have different characteristics based on gender.

The past 50 years since my mothers day and mine has seen much technological advancement but I wonder -- what have we advanced from? Has more computers meant a better standard of living or has it created an even wider gap between the rich and the poor? Has the combustible engine helped humanity in any way? We get to places a lot quicker yet have surrendered to oil dependence. We've stopped growing our own food and now have to wait to hear on the news if the produce we've consumed has been recalled. We have become so dependant on others for our basic necessities, from food to fuel, that if the grocery store closed its doors, America would starve. Can you imagine the people in the highly populated metro area's? **sigh**

My discussion with my in-laws prompted all these thoughts about their life, about my life, my parents lives and how much progress have we really made? And then, as if to spit upon all the ideals we had just spoke about, we carted ourselves off in a big, gas-guzzling SUV to a mall that's a hundred miles away, to shop for the commercial-driven Christmas presents that our family is waiting for. **sigh** Ironic, isn't it? We ate at Dave's BBQ in Franklin, Tennessee... not having to lift a finger to get fed. (Notice my plate, BEFORE and AFTER)


Don't get me wrong, I am truly grateful for what I have. The Creator has placed me here at this time, in this very special place, and I am humbled that he chose me to have so much abundance. Just imagine, you or I could have been born in much different circumstances. Yet the Creator has placed us right where we are.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Sermon


My favorite passage of scripture in the King James version of The Holy Bible is found in St Luke, chapter 7, verses 36 - 50.


36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. and he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointement.
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed the feet, and anointed them with ointment.

I am particularly drawn to this particular verse (38) because of the imagery.


39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

Verse 39 points out how judgemental the Pharisee was of the sinner woman. People all around us do this daily, several times a day. In my own life, having experienced such a colorful past, I was thoroughly aware of the people who whispered about me. I find myself doing it from time to time and have to remind myself to be compassionate.


41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou has rightly judged.

This is such a simple parable to understand.


44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavesT me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not cease to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth litte.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

This passage of scripture has pulled me through my sinful ways into the brightness and light of goodness.

The hardest, most difficult part for a sinner to do is to step back into the light. We are afraid of all the people judging. I remember folks telling me, "Did the chapel fall when you walked in?" That made it more difficult to come back the next time.

I had a Bishop stand at the pulpit and tell the entire congregation that the church is like a hospital and they don't make hospitals for people that are well. Bring them in who need Jesus! That forever changed how I view the church and humbled me. I became unafraid of those criticizing my awkward steps back into the light. And I shed tears and washed the feet of Jesus with my hair. And I kissed his feet! And in those moments, I gave up my sin for the forgiving touch of the Savior. And the most beautiful thing is.... YOU CAN TOO!

*****************


**Photo Credit

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Southern Holiday : Day 01

Husband and I made it to Alabama, all perky and bright eyed. I'm so excited to be here. I don't know if it's because I've been suffering from a slight case of island fever or if I needed to take a real vacation. The last time I went on vacation was this past July for a Family Reunion. That wasn't a real vacation at all because I worked my tail off. Needless to say, I'm glad to be here with my in-laws lounging in the lap of luxury. I don't have to be anywhere or see anyone. I can just relax, unwind, and maybe even get some writing done. I've been working on a novel. I wrote the prologue for it and am hoping to lay down chapter 1 one while I'm here.

I've always said that my dream job is to be a writer. Specifically, a published writer. I'm moving in that direction and allowing the story to come out of me. I'm not sure how other authors and creative writers write their stories, whether they sit in front of the computer and just start writing or whether they meticulously plan each character or series of events in their story. Me, I'm approaching this project as though the story itself lives inside me and I'm allowing it to come out. Does that make sense or sound spooky? **shrugs** All I know is that I have been in a writers funk for the past couple of years and have finally crawled out of it. I required a muse before and now the story is just unfolding on its own. Funny how it all works out.

So my southern holiday, day 01, here in Huntsville, Alabama is my opportunity to allow the story inside of me to be told. Perhaps I will email a copy of my prologue to you for a serious review on what works for you, as a reader, and what doesn't. I really want honest truth so if you're game, leave me an email address to forward the material to you. If I don't chicken out... I'll send it. LOL.

It took 9-hours or so of straight flying time from Honolulu International Airport to Atlanta-Hartsfield (?). We chose this route, even though it cost $1200 per ticket because we didn't want too many lay overs with the possibility of flight cancellation due to inclement weather. Routing through Denver would have been half price but we opted to fly directly to Atlanta. Just thinking of all the flight cancellations across the midwest makes me happy I chose this route! Lay over was nearly 3 hours in Atlanta then a short 40 minute flight to Huntsville. The in-laws were waiting at the gate with a video camera. They all look so good! I'm so glad to be here with them. My little niece, Olivia is just absolutely adorable. We headed to Cracker Barrel in Madison for breakfast, on the way back to the house. I had a country fried steak, biscuits and gravy, grits, hash brown casserole, and some sweet tea. It was all so delicious!

When we finally made it to the house, I showered up then took a three hour nap. It was much needed. Husband and I conked out. What woke me is the aroma of food, wafting in from the kitchen. My father-in-law made a dish called Low Country Boil. He had all the regular fixings in it: Shrimp, Sausage, Corn, Potatoes, Carrots, and he added some hard boiled eggs and some chicken wings. My, my, my... it was exactly what I wanted! This is why I love it here! The food is always so good and I rarely have to lift a finger to get it. **smiling**

I wonder what's in store for tomorrow!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Clueless Customer Award

**LEGAL Disclaimer: This is my opinion! This is, as the title of this blog implies, how I remember it. If you continue to read on, you are agreeing that this post is LEGALLY inactionable... pun ENTIRELY INTENDED!**

I mentioned in a previous post that I run a surplus sale for the University that I work at twice a week. It has been a thorn in my side on more than a few occasions. I have been pushing to change our department policy in regards to our surplus sale for quite some time. My boss was able to experience some of my frustration, this past Tuesday.

A beautiful desk was sold on Tuesday to this years Clueless Customer. This person is a frequent customer to our Surplus Sale though she has never been as clueless as she was this past Tuesday. Clueless Customer was incorrectly charged $10 for the beautiful desk rather than $50. It was entirely our error! I will give Clueless Customer that but what gets me irritated is her response to our error. In typical American/ Capitalistic/ spoiled fashion, Clueless Customer took advantage of our error rather than exercising some integrity to fix the situation. It is a case of Moral vs. Legal dilemma. (Read on to see how it turned into a legal dilemma.) In both scenario's, I think our case holds up quite nicely and that is the approach I will take in explaining why I am handing out a Clueless Customer Award this year.

Addressing the MORAL dilemma:
To sell or not to sell... at $10... is the question. We made an error in pricing. It comes with the territory, especially when your entire staff are student workers. To remedy the situation, we asked Clueless Customer to pay the difference or get a refund of her $10. This is where it gets interesting and I'm skipping over a confrontation between my staff and boss with Clueless Customers cousin who came to pick up the items instead of Clueless Customer. This is a violation of our posted policy which states that the purchasing customer must be present when picking up items. But I'm skipping over all of that.

When Clueless Customer shows up to try and remedy the situation, I give her the options that we are offering her. Refund her $10 or Clueless Customer must pay the difference. The right and, dare I say, moral thing to do is to pick either of the two options. That would be the most honest thing to do. (Of course, honesty is a decaying value as is integrity.) Clueless Customer, gaining steam and coaching from her Clueless Cousin, believes that "LEGALLY" the items belong to her because she has purchased it.

This is where the fun discussion on legal rights begin. In any surplus transaction, in order to pay, every customer signs a waiver form:
In signing this receipt, I, the buyer, relinquish and indemnify all legal responsibility from **insert my employer name** ...

I ask Clueless Customer, "Did you sign the receipt (waiver) form?"

Clueless Customer says, "Yes!"

"Well, did you read it?"

With an appalled expression, eyes wide open like a deer in headlights, she quips, "I don't have to read it. LEGALLY, I should get my desk. What does me signing the receipt have to do with my LEGAL rights? What are my legal rights?"

I replied, "I'm not a lawyer, I cannot give you legal advice and you should read everything you sign."

Again, the deer in headlights look, she states, "I feel I have been wronged. In the Civil Rights movement, people stood up for their rights. I feel I have been wronged."

I smirk in utter amazement and respond, "Civil Rights? What are you talking about?"

Maybe she takes me as another dumb Polynesian to swallow her story about civil rights. She is totally CLUELESS to how special the Civil Rights movement is to my little family. She is totally CLUELESS to how my husbands family (consequently my family now), deeply rooted in Alabama, took part in the Selma days of Martin Luther King Jr's crusade. Did she just spit on that history by comparing it to her $10 transaction?

Deer in headlights look, Clueless Customer says, "This is such a small issue. Do you really think it should go as far as small claims court?

I counter, already heated because of the Civil Rights statement, "Is that a threat? Do you want to take us to Small Claims over $40?"

Clueless Customer, behaving like a spoiled, American, capitalist responds, "I don't want to but LEGALLY, I could." She shrugs her shoulders.

Not at all frightened by the prospect of Small Claims, I listen to her gripe about her LEGAL rights to a beautiful desk that she paid $10 for. If it weren't so rude, I would have rolled my eyes at her shallow threats of legal action.

Having observed legal proceedings in District Court, most judges will require mediation prior to hearing the case. If a mutually satisfying arbitration doesn't occur then the judge, without sympathy, will hear the case and make a judgement.

Here is where I think Clueless Customer errs in her threats of legal action:
1. The law IS RESTRAINED from placing the complainant in a better position than before the incident.
2. We offered to "make her whole" by refunding her the original payment of $10, in which case she would have not suffered at all.
3. This is more a customer service issue, if anything, not a legal issue.

The 'legality' of issues blur the moral lines. There shouldn't be any gray areas between honesty / dishonesty. It was our error in charging her incorrectly which is a customer service issue, not a legal issue. Her refusing to pay the difference is a moral issue, not a legal issue. Her rights as a consumer is to be recovered to the position she was in before the incident. In the end, my boss allowed her to take her $10 desk and asked her not to return here.

Drum roll, please!

The 2008 Clueless Customer award goes to the Deer in Headlights. Not only, as a side effect of her behavior, has she managed to ban herself and her cousin from any future business with us... she has forced us to change our policy. The surplus sale will be closed to the public! Her wheeling-and-dealing is done at this facility and sad to say, it will be for the rest of the public. She fought to have that desk and forfeited all future "deals" because of it. I hope it was worth it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

In the Open Air

The photo's are my own original works but the writing is from The Daily OM. Subscribe to it even if the topic of metaphysics is not particularly your "thing". It will help to stretch the perimeters of your mind. Read on to get connected!



In the Open Air
Spending Time in Nature

In this modern age, we spend so much time indoors, focused on the busy-ness of our lives and disconnected from the earth. But much of what we truly need can only be found under the naked sky, alongside tall trees, on open plains, or in the sound of running water. Spending time in nature allows us to commune with other living beings and to find comfort in the nurturing embrace of Mother Earth. You can’t help but experience a different sense of self while walking in a wood or traversing a mountainside. Being in nature connects us to the earth, grounding us as we walk, unhindered by concrete, upon her. Surrounded by other living beings, both bigger and smaller than we are, we remember that human beings are simply one form of life in this vast universe.

Because we instinctively know that nature is good for us on many levels, it’s not unusual to feel powerfully drawn to it. Even if you live in a city or find it difficult to travel to a forest or the countryside, there are a myriad ways to reconnect with nature. When you step out of your door each morning, pause for a minute and close your eyes long enough to let your senses absorb your surroundings. Listen and breathe deeply, until you hear the wind rustling through branches, smell rain on damp grass, and see the reflection of leaves brushing up against windowpanes. If you have time, crouch down and closely examine any nearby grass and soil. The sights, sounds, smells, and sensations we experience that are part of nature can remind us of all the gifts Mother Earth grants us each day.

Spending time connecting with nature nourishes the soul, reminds you that you are never truly alone, and renews you by attuning you to the earth’s natural rhythms. Taking a walk under the stars or feeling the wind on your face may be all it takes for you to reconnect with nature. Remember, you are as much a part of nature as are the leaves on a tree or water bubbling in a brook.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Weekend in Review

Happy Birthday Babe! Today is the big 20+10 for husband. Yes! He is 30 today.

Normally on a Sunday, at this hour, we'd be at church doing our normal duties. Me on the organ, husband helping the deacons. But today is not a normal day and this weekend has not been a normal weekend.

It all began on Friday night. Husband and I got off work at our regular time. We were looking forward to going home and relaxing and preparing for our upcoming vacation. (We're headed to Alabama for the holidays to visit with husbands' family.) As we made our way home, normally a 7 mintue drive, we were stopped by a pile of traffic just two miles from the crib. The road was closed. Someone hit a utility pole and caused the transformer to be hanging in the middle of the main road. To make a long story short, I had to take the two hour trek to circle the island to get to my house.

As fate would have it, midway through our trek around the island it started pouring rain, thunder, and lightning. It was just too dangerous for us to continue. So we stop at my cousins house in Mililani..... and stayed the whole weekend. That same night, Friday, we headed to Pictures Plus to purchase photo frames to finish off my Christmas gift for my parents. The rain was coming down hard. We went out to Wal-Mart and bought clothes, ordered pizza for pick-up then headed to my cousins house. We watched some comedy shows that evening... Katt Williams, to be exact... even through all the curse words, he was still so funny! His mannerisms and jokes had me rollin'!

Saturday, it was still raining but we headed out on my cousins truck to do more Christmas shopping. Husband and I finally bought us watches. We were supposed to do that on our Wedding Anniversary last month, but the opportunity didn't present itself then. Husband loves his watch and so do I. The silver looks so good against his skin. We were going to buy a Wii for us and a Wii for my brother and his family but stupid Gamestop doesn't allow purchase of two Wii game systems. How dumb is that? I thought the idea was to get rid of the items. It's not like they were giving the systems at a cheaper price than their competitors. So, I opted to skip buying it from them altogether. I'll hit Best Buy sometime this week. I "heart" Best Buy! But that's another blog.

We were also able to catch a movie. The Day the Earth Stood Still, starring Keanu Reeves. It was not something I would pick to watch. Husband picked this one. The ending SUCKED THE BIG ONE! But thats alright -- it was nice to bond with my husband and cousin. We headed back to the house after that and played on my cousins Wii all night. The tennis was so much fun on that doggone machine and can be a workout at the same time.

So what did you do this past weekend?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pro Pono

I was quite interested in a story that appeared in the Honolulu Weekly, a free publication that is distributed at the local grocery store. The cover reads, Ho'oponopono A Hawaiian sense of peace, and features a photograph of the last ruling monarch in the Hawaiian islands, Queen Lili'uokalani. Also pictured is Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The Queen fits perfectly among the two very public figures of peace resistance. The picture and the title of the cover story piqued my interest.

The cover picture alluded to the fact that the Queen should rank as one of the great leaders of peaceful resistance. However, the story details the life and thoughts of Reverend Kaleo Patterson, a current Hawaiian activist. The beginning of the editorial runs through a list of credentials for Reverend Patterson, from his education to his protest activity.

The article skims the surface of "ho'oponopono" and barely touches the non-violence resistance of the past. I would have enjoyed reading more on the similarities between Gandhi, Lili'uokalani and MLK, Jr. That topic is the name of a class that Reverend Kaleo Patterson offers at the Center for Indigenous Leadership and Peace Making, housed at the US School of Social Work. I suppose if I'd like to know more on the topic, I have to take the class. **giggles**

Many cultures in the world practice "ho'oponopono" in their own way. I interpret it to be a form of repentance and restitution for the sinner/criminal and the victim. If practiced correctly, it allows the sinner to make restitution for his indiscretions until the victims family can fully forgive and accept the wrong and put it to rest.

The act of restitution and forgiveness is all but absent from our contemporary jail systems. The criminal is never allowed to attempt to clear his name and make restitution to the people he has wronged. He is never called to admit his guilt or to ask for forgiveness. Rather, he "does his time" and is released, only to repeat the behavior that placed him in jail in the first place.

Ho'oponopono would work for both the offender and the offended. The offender seeking for forgiveness is an act of humility that places the offender in a state of submission to the offended. The psychological act of forgiveness by the offended to the offender brings a peace of mind that is so absent in contemporary society. Both pieces are necessary for a successful reconciliation.

The story sparked several thoughts for me and I'm grateful I stumbled upon it. As I attempt to adopt ideals into my life, forgiveness ranks at the top of my most admirable qualities.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Tribute

I met him in a chatroom on Blackplanet then we met up again in a Yahoo Group. At the time, I had just separated from my ex-husband and I felt so vulnerable and so utterly heartbroken.

We were such great friends, "D" and I, such great penpals. He knew so much about me. "D" understood my thought process, knew my deepest heart aches, yet never used it to manipulate me. He remembered all my special days. From my birthday to my wedding anniversary. He sent me beautiful cards in the mail and thoughtful gifts. He was growing on me in a scary way, in a way that would have probably meant infidelity to my "then husband". He was so utterly sweet, so thoughtful, so romantic and I was so in need of that kind of attention.

He and I talked so often. During my separation from my ex-husband, he was more accessible to me than my ex-husband. I mean, he was always there for me no matter the hour. Often, we'd have lengthy conversations in the wee hours of the morning. It would be midnight where I was at and he'd be six hours ahead of me, getting off the graveyard shift at work. He was such a rock to lean on at such a precarious time in my life.

He saw me through my entire separation from my ex-husband. At the point when my then-husband decided he wanted to reconcile, I told "D" and he was so upset but supportive of what I needed to do for me. He was such a gentle soul and at times I miss his presence dearly mostly because he said all the things I needed to hear.

The reconciliation with my ex-husband lasted all of two months, at which point my ex decided to divorce me. All things happen for a reason. I'm fortunate that there were no children between he and I to complicate the relationship further. As soon as the dust cleared, "D" booked a flight to come out to Hawai'i and finally meet in person.

There were no fireworks between us and I was so caught up in my own junk, I couldn't really thank him for always being there for me. I didn't fully appreciate his beautiful heart. I did nothing with our time together. I think we seen each other three times while he was on my island. **sigh** We split not having really bonded. He left the island and we lost touch.

I pay tribute to him today. He was truly one of the great friends I've had in my life. He disappeared a couple years ago, got married, and I heard moved to the western U.S. I'm glad he found someone to share his life with. I hope she makes him happy. He deserves all the happiness one heart can hold.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Post Nasal Drip Post

Lastnight, before dinner, I noticed my throat feeling raw and scratchy. This morning, my nose was draining and I had a little cough. Now, I find myself at work feeling absolutely horrible and desiring very much to lay down in my comfortable tempurpedic bed.

How did I find myself at work? Well, my boss called me bright and early to tell me he was sick. He beat me to the punch. Since there's just he and I as full-time employees in our office, it's either him or I. We both can't be sick at the same time. We both can't go on vacation in the same month. There are 11 student employees that work under me but they can't answer all the questions that need to be answered in any given business day. They are not relegated to make decisions for the operations of the warehouse.

So here I am, miserable at work but LOVING that the boss is absent. I get to listen to my music and blog incessantly. **sigh**

Kleenex - check
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice for Vitamin C - check
My favorite herbal tea - check

I think I have everything I need to be here 'til 5... let's hope I can keep it together.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What I'm Reading

I just started reading, The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. I didn't vote for Obama this past November, opting for the more obscure Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr. I once identified myself with the Democratic party but have become disillusioned with the current political leadership in any party. Thus, my decision to vote outside of the popular candidates.

Deciding to read the words of the President-Elect, Barack Obama, is about choosing to follow him and give him the respect he has earned as the elected leader. I want to know more about him, in his own words. I was thoroughly impressed to find this gem in the first couple of pages of the book:
"You seem like a nice enough guy. Why do you want to go into something dirty and nasty like politics?"

I was familiar with the question, a variant on the questions asked of me years earlier, when I'd first arrived in Chicago to work in low-income neighborhoods. It signaled a cynicism not simply with politics but with the very notion of a public life, a cynicism that - at least in the South Side neighborhoods I sought to represent - had been nourished by a generation of broken promises. In response, I would usually smile and nod and say that I understood the skepticism, but that there was -- and always had been -- another tradition to politics, a tradition that stretched from the days of the country's founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done. (Italics and boldface added for drama.)


I want to believe that he is everything he purports to be. I love that he is an intelligent man, an intelligent Black man, and intelligent Black man from Hawai'i! I love that he is confident, self-assured, and very prepared when speaking. He is eloquent and is careful with his speech. He appears genuine. I believe he will bring a sense of "solemnity" to the White House.

I am believing in Barack to make the changes he promised he'd make. I wish him well as he embarks on the journey of being the most powerful figure in the Free World!

***Now... back to my reading!***

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Seasons Greeting : Island Fever

I'm really excited about spending the holidays in Alabama with my in-laws. I have been suffering from serious island fever! It has just recently dawned on me just how small this place really is. I won't even get into the square mileage of this little island that I live on. Just know that I can do one half of the island in about three or four hours of continuos driving. Toss in the west side of the island and you might get another two from that. In any case, the island is not that big. And the little section that I live on is even smaller! Everybody knows everybody so your business is never just your business.

I know there are thousands of people that would just love to live on this island where the weather is PERFECT all year long. It gets a little humid in the summer and really wet in the winter but overall, it can't be beat! I love it as well for those reasons but today, I'm definitely suffering from island fever.

There is a world of difference when I go on vacation with my folks and going on vacation with my in-laws. With my family, in typical Polynesian tradition, there is NO leisure time. My mother, who hails from Vaitoloa, (Western) Samoa, believes whole-heartedly that her children should be in service at all times. Sleeping in is NEVER an option at my mothers home. There is never an excuse to skip daily chores, not even if you're sick. Of course I'm grateful that she has instilled such a strong work ethic however, she never taught me how to balance that with leisure. I'm finding out that having as much play time as work time is so vital to having a joyful life. We were created to find happiness and joy, not slave over the cleanliness of our homes - even though that's important as well.

In contrast, going to my in-laws is like truly taking a vacation. I never have to lift a finger, even though I do help out around the house. I don't feel guilty for sleeping in or running to the room to lay down and watch some TV. That would be considered totally rude at my mothers home. If I want to stay in my pajama's all day, skip putting on a bra, and brushing my hair, it's quite alright to do so. Once again, totally unacceptable at my mothers home. So I'm looking forward to unwinding in Alabama.

It'll also be nice to be in the cold for Christmas. It's been quite some time since I've been cold on Christmas day. It'll be nice to dress up. I purchased some boots this morning just for this trip cause I don't know when I'll see the occasion to wearing boots here in Hawai'i. I look forward to not sweating while blow-drying my hair. I look forward to not sweating while walking in the mall. I look forward to a nice, cozy fireplace -- which my mother-in-law fires up in the winter. Yay! I look forward to some really good Southern food. I'm so excited!

Island fever has definitely got me this season and I'm so happy to be taking a break from island living. Seasons Greetings!

**Photo Credit