Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Preface 2014, Part III

The rest of the questionnaire I ripped from oprah.com:

1. That One Quote

Pinterest has tons of quotes that I love to repin. What I do with some of my favorites is download them, print then glue them into my diary.  So here is the quote I am loving right now. I actually found this one on FaceBook, along with the picture of that beautiful owl. It reads:

"A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings."
 
I know I'm not a bird but this quote is a reminder to always believe in myself. Probably one of the hardest habits I have to overcome is doubting my inner voice. I could probably list a dozen reasons why my inner voice has been stifled but that would be a different post. What I know right now is that I must trust my intuition and follow it even if its scary as hell, even if it requires a large amount of courage, even if it pushes me to do things I have never done before.... today, I choose to BELIEVE IN ME and I hope this guides me through 2014 and the rest of my life. I can definitely do hard things. Burying my mother and the events that ensued the month preceding her burial was a lot to bear but it probably pales in comparison to what my father carries with him since her departure.


2. The Best Surprise I've Ever Had

13-year old ME
When I was 13, my mother threw me a surprise birthday party. I can't say that the party was memorable. I can't even remember what we did and whether we played games or not. I just remember waking up that day and our house was abuzz with people and the smell of my favorite foods cooking. The day was the Saturday after my birthday so I didn't suspect anything because my birthday was two days prior. My mother always made a big deal about our birthdays. I miss her so much as I recollect all the things that I took for granted about her.

Normally, my mother worked us hard. If she was providing some type of service for someone like cooking (she was famous for that), this would mean that all of us had to get up and help. I love that she taught us that. I cherish that service quality that she instilled in us. Anyway, I keep getting sidetracked by my memories of my mother. That particular morning, she didn't bug me. She didn't wake me up at the butt crack of dawn. I actually got to sleep in. That is so rare in my mother's house. It didn't matter that you stayed up late the night before, you were getting up on Saturday to do chores.

Me and my mom... probably age 10?
When I made it out of my bedroom that morning, so much of my extended family was already there busying themselves about the house in preparation for this party that I was just finding out about. I asked my mother why we were having a party. She told me it was my cousin's birthday. I thought that was odd since it was so close to mine and I was just now finding out about it. She hurried me into the shower and picked out an outfit for me. She loved picking my clothes and I hated how she would dress me or do my hair. When I was done getting ready she handed me some green crepe paper (my favorite color) to stream around the garage. I was thinking, "Wow. My cousin and I have so many things in common." As I'm hanging the streamers, some of my friends start showing up. So odd that they would come to my cousin's party. At this point, I am still clueless.

Finally, the last of my friend's arrive and they're helping me put up streamers and blow balloons. Then my mom directs the crowd and they all scream SURPRISE. I was so stunned and very embarrassed; so embarrassed that I started crying. It was the best surprise because I was clueless up until they screamed SURPRISE. That is the only thing I remember about that party. Thanks to my mom for all the wonderful birthday parties over the years!



3. My True Happiness

The approach to answering this is Daydream-Like. What makes me keep moving through the day and keep my sanity?

There are two distinct dreams that keep me inspired.

First: The fantasy of being a successful, full-time novelist and author - I have started so many novels and have not finished any of them. I want to write the story I wish I had to read when I was a teenager. In the past couple of decades, more Pacific Island authors have emerged. The commercial success of the movie Whale Rider has placed our people in high regard as gifted story tellers. The success of Lani Wendt Young and her Telesa Series has ignited young and old alike with pride in our island heritage. I want to add my name to the roll of successful Pacific writers. I have stories to tell.

Second: The fantasy of being a very successful business owner. I haven't quite figured out what, exactly, will be my business. I am thinking along the lines of a farm. I have been conflicted with the farm idea and an organic kitchen. What makes more sense is to do both on the same property. The kitchen serves whatever is harvested from the farm. I really want an aquaponic garden. Yes -- I'm reminded of my desire to FARM. The following pictures were taken at Mari's Nursery in Mililani.

How it works
Foam style
Rows and rows of pesticide-free lettuce in the growing phase
Below ground fish containers
Lettuce ready to be harvested


4. My Favorite Failure

Easy -- first marriage. The failure was necessary to push me forward. Truth be told, the ex-husband and I would still be good friends if there were a reason. We don't have any children together so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to keep in touch but we do. At least once a year we email just to say hi. (Yes... I have told my husband about it just so there are never any secrets between he and I.)


5. An Amendment to the Bucket List

Skydiving for my 40th birthday was on the Bucket List but I change my mind. It's an unnecessary risk for a thrill that I could get by parasaililng (which I've already done) or riding really fast on a boat or peacefully floating in the most beautiful body of water on the planet - the great Pacific. Let's hope Fukushima doesn't do too much damage to the water that I love.
 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Preface 2014, Part II

Ripped these questions from oprah.com -- it's totally my style of writing. It prompts a memoir-type reaction.


* * * * * * * * * *


1. What Younger You Would Like About Present you

The picture to my left is a picture of an actual entry in my journal dated February 5th, 1989. "...They called me the ugliest girl in the world..." The younger me that wrote that would love that the person I am now has shaken off the mean-ness of what those people said then. People, especially teenagers, can be mean. Who I am today is very careful about accepting any label that someone else gives me. I only take into consideration the labels that are positive and are from genuine people.

There is a children's book titled You Are Special by Max Lucado. This book is a MUST HAVE for any book collection. I heard it for the very first time about 2 or 3 years ago in a class at church. The teacher read it to the class to set the tone for the lesson she was going to share with us. I don't recall what the lesson was about. The only thing that stuck with me is that story. The city where the Wemmicks live has a system of giving out stars for their favorite people and dots to the people they dislike. Punchinello always seemed to acquire dots and never any stars. This affected how he felt about himself until a fateful day when he happened upon a special person without any stars or dots. Anyway, the me today has not allowed that really mean label of "ugliest girl in the world" to stick to me. That is the best thing that younger me would love about present me.


2. The Watched/ Read It List
The book I'm reading right now is long overdue.... Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. When I was a little girl, I remember clipping an article that ranked Atlas Shrugged in the top ten of most influential books of all time. I never forgot that. Here I am at age 38 just getting around to reading it. So far, it is well-written however I'm still in the beginning stages of the set up of the story.

The last movie I watched is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller. This move was so delicious! That is the best word I can use to describe it. I devoured it and thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was very well-done. At the heart of the story is an average guy who loves his work and is on the brink of being downsized. He works at LIFE magazine and the story is driven by their motto:
To see things thousands of miles away,
things hidden behind walls and within rooms,
things dangerous to come to,
to draw closer,
to see and be amazed.

On a side note - I have always been a fan of magazines. I was co-editor of the yearbook in High School and that is where I fell in love with the whole layout-written-word-photography thing. Even now I subscribe to magazines just to look at the design in it. And for the most part, I do read the articles and consume the pictures. O Magazine is still my favorite. The combination of meaningful articles, fantastic photography and art work, tasteful ad designs, and fabulous layouts makes it my favorite. Thank you Walter Mitty for reminding everyone to live LIFE.


3. The Mistake You Never Want to Make
I always knew that I have never wanted to be a single mother. This is not saying that single mothers are mistakes. I just knew it was/is not for me. Raising a child alone was NEVER on my to do list. I remember a couple of my friends becoming mothers when we were 14, 15 and I just knew that I had other things to do besides being a mother. Anyway, who wants to do it all alone?


4. Your Ideal Outfit

This is such a weird question but I guess it's valid because there is a place inside all of us that wants to be something different than what we are right now. Conservatives probably think about living out some secret, wild life. Piercing their nose or tongue or cheek. Dying their hair hot pink. Doing a mohawk hair style. All of us have some kind of idea of what we're not, what we think we are, and what we would do if we weren't afraid of criticism. So my ideal outfit is pictured here. Visit Monif C.'s website to check out snazzy, downright gorgeous stylings for the plus size woman.

I think this outfit is so fabulous! It comes from Monif C.'s 2012 collection. I love the color, the drama, the designers selection of chiffon, the print, the silhouette of it all.  This is so my style! It is absolutely gorgeous and looks very lux and expensive. I would totally rock this if I were going out to a fancy event tonight but since I'm not, I pinned this dress to my "Fashion Dreams" pinterest board.



5. A Deep, Dark -Shhhh- Secret
My life is such an open book. The stuff that I put on this blog is major evidence! I can't think of anything that I have hidden. Actually, I take that back. My teenage life is fairly a mystery on this blog. Who really talks about what they did as a teenager? Above, I posted a small pic of my journal with those mean words that someone called me. Teenagers can be mean and bully-ish of those guys that called me . I have to say that I was one of those mean, bully-ish people in elementary.

It was the 2nd grade and her name was Jennifer Mackey. I'm not sure if the spelling is correct. She was a fair skinned haole girl with blond hair and light eyes. She used to come to school wearing a rain cap or a wig everyday. At that point in my life, I did not quite understand what it meant when an eight-year-old had to wear a rain cap or a wig to school. Of course now I do but this is thirty years later. I was so mean to her and I can't even remember why except that maybe she was different from us (all my friends). I remember pushing her into the mud. She stood up, started crying, and yelled at me to stop being a bully. She never gave in to my tantrums. She just kept fighting back. I wish I weren't that mean little girl that I was. I wish I could find her and apologize to her for being such a bully.
  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Preface 2014, Part I

I sent out greeting cards this year. I didn't get to everyone on my list. Maybe next year I will prepare early. I can make it a tradition for me to sit down and write Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving.

This Christmas, I have acquired an affection for Snowmen, Snowflakes, and Stars as the focal points for my decorations. The three esses. The idea of Santa Claus irritates the heck out of me so I don't really incorporate that in any Christmas decor.That was my mother's favorite. We had all types of Santa's around the house during Christmas. Maybe next year, I will use that decor somewhere in the building that I work in. These are two of my favorite shots from my Christmas tree at my dad's house. Click on the image to see it larger.



As I step forward into 2014, I want to do so with a grateful heart. So often, we get caught up in what we want and never consider the bigger picture and the people who have helped us along life's journey. In fact, the greeting cards I sent out this year were to people from my mother and father's generation with a few cards to some of my friends. I found myself getting choked up as I wrote out the cards. I felt like I was saying goodbye or something but really, I just have so much love and gratitude for their contribution to my life.


While others deal with so much struggle in their world, I want to enter 2014 with a peaceful mind. Our lives are the result of our internal feelings and mindset. We create all the circumstances in our lives. So in 2014 -- I'm looking forward to creating the life that I truly want to live. Freedom is at the top of my list. TRUE FREEDOM - unburdening myself from systems that are choking the life out of me.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SAY NO TO MORE WIND TURBINES IN KAHUKU!



I just signed a petition started by Kent Fonoimoana in relation to additional wind turbines proposed for Kahuku. If you have a moment, please sign the petition. I added these comments to the pre-formatted letter. The above rendering was done by the wind farm developer. The owner of the land is not a resident of Hawai'i and, like other non-locals, are just investors and have no regard for people who actually live in the community. Please get involved and sign the petition from wherever you are.

Kahuku is home to enough wind turbines. We do not need anymore. Anybody who can remember what our beautiful Kahuku looked like before these ugly wind turbines came here can attest that these are just an eyesore. Adding more at this point in time is ridiculous. It can be seen from as far away as Ka'a'awa. When driving through the pineapple fields above Waialua, the turbines dot the landscape and in the evening, the flashing lights are a distraction. If I could undo the existing turbines, I would. These hideous creations have not reduced our energy costs yet we are burdened with hosting these monstrosities.

A simple internet search on wind turbines yields tons of personal stories and studies. There are equal amounts of pros and cons. Pros are that the energy is supposedly less expensive and has the least impact on natural resources. In this particular case, the biggest con to building more turbines in Kahuku is the location. I already DO NOT agree with the existing turbines and adding more is beyond my comprehension.

The State and the City are tasked with finding a balance between corporations and individuals. Over the years, it appears that politicians desire to please the money that comes from big corporations rather than caring for the citizens it purports to serve. Please find another location for these turbines.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Three-Prong Approach to envision/INVASION La'ie



Reference Post: Envision Laie… Running Out of Inventory

In the past, I have written about Envision Laie’s plan. Links that I posted in the original entry are no longer working. There is a link to Helber Hastert & Fee Planners, they worked with the City to come up with a plan. That link is still working. The Envision Laie link still works. I will never link to them again. If you want to see what they are marketing to the citizens, you can google them yourselves. HRI’s link is still working. My reference post is a really great post. Of course, it is just my own opinion and observations on the issue of development in Ko’olauloa. It is a very thorough observation, if I do say so myself.

My position has evolved since writing that post but essentially, the issues are the same. I purposely DO NOT include any background information. Please read the Reference Post if you need background on this topic. I tend to follow “the money trail” on business transactions. When you follow who stands to gain THE MOST on “the money trail” then you see the true motivation.

With this entry, I have developed a “Three-Prong” approach to Envision Laie. The three categories from which I speak from correspond with a role that I have taken on. First, I am an “informed citizen” so when I observe Envision Laie’s plans, I do so as an informed citizen of the community. I have developed my own opinions and observations over time and with the help of real life experience. Second, I view the impending development from the perspective of my ancestors. This view MUST BE addressed. Our native Hawaiian cultural practices must not be ignored. Finally, I view this from a westerner’s perspective, that being a taxpayer and/or registered voter. Please sit back and read. Stay awhile. Press play on the video and listen while you read....




The Informed Citizen's Opinion:
I have thought through the process of development of Ko’olauloa. I cannot support Envision Laie with its mega development. It tramples much of what is so beautiful about Ko’olauloa. HRI (Hawaii Reserves Inc., a for-profit arm of the LDS Church) markets this development to its followers as an affordable-housing project. Affordable like Kam IV housing project or affordable like $600k-median- price-of-a-home in Hawai’i project? If it is similar to Kam IV then I absolutely DO NOT support it. The other option - $600k is probably well outside of the realm of affordability for the average family in Ko’olauloa.Typical gentrification. HRI wants to do this to the current residents of Ko'olauloa. They want to move in the middle class and push out the low income residents. That is an easy thing to figure out.

Aside from BYUH Faculty, HRI Executives, and a select few around Ko’olauloa, $600k is not affordable. The logical thing for HRI supporters to do is to see if they will be able to afford a mortgage that high. I don’t have a problem with HRI’s attempt to make money on this deal, praying that the City Council does not allow it, but I do have a problem with them marketing it as an affordable housing project. This would mean that they are lying to the people. It will not be affordable. No, they cannot save a house for you just because your family has lived in the Ko’olauloa area forever. None of that is happening. HRI’s loyalty is to its stock holders, its Board of Directors, and ultimately to The Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the corporate name).

Go out and see if you can qualify for a mortgage of 600k. It is pretty difficult if you consider the median income of the average resident of Ko'olauloa. This is what gentrification does... it essentially drives out the lower income families to make room for the middle-class, without regard. BYUH faculty and VP's have housing provided to them at a very discounted price. The average blue collar worker and support staff worker at BYUH (like myself)  DOES NOT have a cost of living adjustment built in to our at-will employment. We have to face different challenges to save money for a down payment on a home. On top of that, we make less money than what is paid at sister-schools in Idaho and Provo. With the recent release of a statement by the LDS church, "disavow[ing] the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse," one has to conclude that those "theories" have trickled into all LDS organization. It seems odd that the Church releases this in 2013, 35 years after it first tried to separate itself from its racist past.... but I digress!

Anyway, I think people are sorely mistaken about their support for Envision Laie. A vast majority of the people supporting it will find themselves excluded from buying a home in La'ie and their ability to remain in the town they love.
         

The Native Hawaiian's Opinion:
My ancestry leads to the indigenous people of these islands. One of the dying practices of our culture is the respect and maintenance of the natural environment. The Hawaii Tourism Authority would have you believe that Hawai'i is only about hula and surfing but my ancestors survived time because of their careful observance of nature. Sustainability is a buzz word in recent years. Going Green is the new industry. This development that BYUH and HRI are attempting to push through is FAR FROM being green or sustainable. It is my contention that the ag land and pasture land must be preserved for the health of our entire moku. Why does HRI want to develop to match the developments in central O'ahu (where I currently reside), west O'ahu, and Kaka'ako? Why are we not adding to the island's ability to sustain itself by encouraging more pastured animals and agriculture? 

BYUH and HRI's development will drastically change the landscape and coastline, negatively. In the short run, one generation gets to enjoy brand new homes. In the long run, we are selling the health of our environment and our ability to teach the next generation of native Hawaiians about the food that comes from the earth and the ocean. I don't think its a coincidence that our culture thrived for hundreds of years BEFORE western contact. On-island food production should match the number of people on the island. Right now, we rely on ships to bring us food when we have the perfect weather to produce our own agriculture, year round. The only ones making full use of our growing season are the big chemical companies that happen to be poisoning our lands with GMO and pesticide tests... and we let them because we accept it without protest. Why would any person agree with the paving of paradise? If we follow the money trail, the people who stand to gain the most is the developer. In the development of Ko'olauloa, it would be The Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the owner and developer of Turtle Bay. 


The Western/Tax Payer/Registered Voter Opinion:
Earlier this year, I wrote a letter to Kirk Caldwell expressing my opinion on Envision Laie. I publish the letter here so you can verify with your own eyes that I did actually receive the letter.
What upsets me about this correspondence is that he sides with HRI's bid to develop. His exact words, "No other entity, in recent years, has come forward in proposing affordable, workforce housing for the communities of La'ie and Kahuku, on a scale large enough to really make a difference in addressing the demand." Does this mean that anybody could come in and bull doze the land to fit their needs if they pay high enough? The letter states that there is overwhelming support for affordable housing but as I stated in the first section, what kind of affordable housing is going to be provided? More than likely it will not be a public housing development. Instead we will have homes upwards of 600k.

The public housing issue should also be brought up. I don't necessarily like the idea of public housing projects in Ko'olauloa but the City shouldn't rely on a private entity to do something about affordable housing. If I pay taxes the same as everyone else on the island then I should be afforded the same services as in other communities. There are income-based homes all over the island. Does the City feel that it does not need to service our area of the island because its HRI/BYUH/PCC responsibility to do so? We are basically being ignored by Kirk Caldwell because HRI is willing to do it. That is hog wash! If Adolph Hitler were alive and he wanted to develop a camp here in Ko'olauloa we should just allow him to do so? All of this just boggles my mind that Caldwell would put in writing that HRI came up with a plan and so we support it. 

How can we support such a large expansion without addressing the infrastructure?

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I am not attached to the outcome. Whatever is allowed to fruition is a reflection of the active participants in this struggle. I cling to organizations like the Defend O'ahu Coalition as I feel their values are more aligned with my own. That is sad to say considering who my employer is. I am grateful for my job and actually do enjoy what I do. And I do enjoy a good portion of my co-workers. It is still difficult for me to go to work though as my father was one of six men that was terminated in February of this year. I will leave it at that as I cannot continue to speak on it without getting very candid about the current leadership.

There is a divide in this community and I will continue to be very vocal about how I feel about this proposed development. What one generation benefits from may be the undoing for the generations that follow. Ponder that because I honestly think that the story that Envision Laie is selling to its followers is not exactly the one they are planning behind closed doors. I have mentioned a couple times that I follow the money trail. Who stands to profit the most? Profit is the motivation. Anything else they sell to the public is fool's gold. Don't believe the hype!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pop-Up-3 - November 2013 Edition

REALITY TV: MALE CELEBRITY
Biggest Loser contestant, RUBEN STUDDARD, is my favorite male celebrity for November 2013. Called "The Velvet Teddy Bear" because of his beautiful voice coupled with his size... he is ALL THAT and then some. I remember when he was on American Idol, I was just thoroughly ENAMORED. The way he sang, the way the producers and directors portrayed him to be -- a romantic, soul-singing, lady's man! **sigh&swoon** I was sad when he got married and sadder when he got divorced just because divorce is hard. Now he's single and I'm married. The stars are not aligning for us to be together.

KIDDING... maybe in another universe we are happily married.




REALITY TV: FEMALE CELEBRITY
Project Runway contestant, KORTO MOMOLU, has got to be one of my most favorite designers ever on Project Runway. I am a fan of how she uses color and her designs. Her personality is also very zen-like and drama-free. I have to say that Season 12 winner, DOM STREATER, is another fave. Personality, style, usage of color and prints -- FABULOUS!!


WORST COME-BACK: ARSENIO HALL
He didn't change a thing for his show and it's kind of annoying. Oprah featured him on her show Next Chapter and he said that he left the first show to take care of his son. Ok... these are hard economic times in America and all us viewers have not been afforded that luxury. It's great that he took time off for all the right reasons but leaves a bad taste in my mouth that so many people are out of work and losing their homes, out of resources and getting laid off. Him coming back to the late night world is annoying especially since the jokes are the same, the format for the show is the same, even the set looks the same.




Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mushy Gushy Love

The husband and I celebrate ten years of matrimony. In a world where heterosexual couples are mostly forgoing marriage for co-habitation, I am glad that he and I are still together. He truly is my best friend now and we are partners in making our lives the most successful, the most passionate, the most meaningful that it can be. What more can one ask for than to TRULY LIVE to find joy and be happy?

In honor of the life that my husband and I have, I looked through old pictures of us. It seems like just yesterday we met and fell in love. The movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman reminds me of our love story. Me, getting out of a marriage that wasn't working only to fall immediately, head-over-heels in love with my husband. So I'm Helen, played by Kimberly Elise. The ex-husband is Charles, played by Steve Harris. My hubby now is Orlando, played by Shemar Moore. Seriously, my husband just swooped right in and delivered EVERYTHING I desired in a man and partner. It wasn't all good. We did have our fights and some serious hard times but we're still here and we're both in it for the long haul. Who knows what tomorrow will bring for us? No one knows. I will live in each and every moment and be grateful for his presence in my life.


He and I have the most extraordinary discussions about life and relationships and politics, religion, philosophy, and on and on and on. A lot of times we fall on opposite ends of the spectrum but it works for us.

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Defend O'ahu: Land Use Commission

This is a letter I sent to the Land Use Commission. They are meeting tomorrow to discuss Turtle Bay's bid to turn the North Shore into another Waikiki.

The italicized part is a form letter form the Defend O'ahu Coalition. You can visit the site and send the same form letter and add some of your own concerns.

* * * * * * * * *

Aloha Members of the Land Use Commission,

I wish I could be there in person to make this presentation but I am unable to get off work. I have lived in Hau'ula nearly all my life. I attended Hau'ula Elementary from pre-school through the 6th grade and I graduated from Kahuku High & Intermediate. I have no plans on moving out of this beautiful area of O'ahu.

I have watched this fight between outside investors and the local community for far too long. This NEW investor/land developer to our community has no interest in the people that live here. This is probably the ugliest thing about capitalism and free enterprise. I would ask that you, the Land Use Commission, stand up for the citizens who do not have the money and time to lobby the government to do its bidding. It makes me sad that people want to turn such a beautiful portion of our island to an urban jungle similar to Waikiki. I love Waikiki because I have such a beautiful country to come home to - Hau'ula.

Mayor Caldwell supports all the businesses, including Hawaii Reserves Inc and BYU-Hawaii, in their efforts to urbanize this beautiful part of the island. I ask you to put a stop to this. We have the pleasure of having a year round growing season. We should be preserving the Ag land for the purpose of raising agriculture. Why are we shipping in food when we can feed the people right here, using the lands that are marked for agriculture. There are so many towers coming up in the Kakaako area and new homes in Kapolei, why are we going to do the same to the North Shore?

I also write to request that the Land Use Commission issue an order to show cause to the developer at Turtle Bay Resort and return the 236 acres of resort property classified to Urban District in 1986 to its original classification due to decades of inaction by the developer. The developer has failed to comply with representations, conditions and commitments made to the LUC, and therefore the property should revert back to the Agricultural District until and unless the developer comes forward with a new boundary reclassification petition for its newly proposed use.

As you know, Turtle Bay Resort developers originally presented their timeline in 1986 and promised the state and our community that they would be finished with the project by 1996.  This never happened.  Numerous developers have since failed to comply with representations and instead perpetuated a tradition of land speculation on the rural property.

Since the filing of Defend Oahu Coalition's original motion in 2008, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the developer at Turtle Bay Resort be required to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) due to a change in conditions since the original development proposal.  The Court's ruling supports reversion of this parcel.

According to their new SEIS submitted in August 2013, the most recent developer has indicated that it now intends to proceed with a project that is completely different from that which was proposed to and approved by the LUC in 1986.

Please issue an order to show cause and move this process on to the next step.  Residents of the North Shore and Ko'olauloa deserve a chance to give testimony on a project that could severely impact their quality of life.

Thank you for your time and consideration-

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kauai County: Bill 2491

Mayor Bernard Carvalho vetoes Bill 2491 even after the Kauai County Council voted in favor of the bill, 6-1. Why do politicians think that going against the people is a good idea?

Frightful Halloween Scare:

 
*Picture Source: Babes Against Biotech

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mommy Memory

What I learned from my mother, though she has passed, continues in daily, silent epiphanies. I think of her often. Sometimes it's regret for not being a better daughter to her, for not being a better friend to her, for being a miss-know-it-all and not really listening to everything that she wanted to teach  me. I remember as a teenager she wanted to teach me how to crochet and knit. Being the tomboy that I was, I was just NOT interested in knitting. Here I am knocking on 40 years of age and desperately cruising youtube crochet tutorials so that I can finish a beautiful quilt she started. She was such a talented lady. Why did I brush it off when she was here on this planet? I'm sorry mom.

The truth is that I try not to live in the regret of all the things I could have done to honor my mother while she was here in the flesh. I can't say that I feel guilty nor do I feel excessive regret for not cherishing  her more. And that sounds very arrogant and ungrateful but I really had to make peace with my weaknesses in my relationship with her. The day after she died, I went to Pounder's Beach. I witnessed the most glorious sunrise unlike anything I had ever experienced before or since. While there I put my feelings out into the universe. I forgave myself for not being everything I should have been. And I knew then as I know now that there was no need for apologies or forgiveness - only love and compassion.


Since that day I love differently. I look at people differently. I look at situations differently. I stand in the truth of unconditional love and the purity of my thoughts. I don't gauge situations based on rules or on doctrine published somewhere. I listen to my heart. I listen to my gut. I listen to that still, small voice that beckons me to love people on purpose…. to live ON PURPOSE.

Monday, October 28, 2013

SB1: Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013

The Same Sex Marriage debate has reached the shores of O'ahu. Governor Abercrombie has called a special session to hear public testimony on SB 1, the "Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013". The first public hearing is this evening. The news is reporting that over a thousand people have signed up to bear testimony. As I write, I hear testimony is still being given, six hours later. I have thought about the issue for quite some time. The Democratic agenda has definitely pushed the issue since the military's policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" came tumbling down. Last Labor Day, a friend of mine and her girlfriend did their paperwork to cement their relationship with a civil union. Now, marriage is on the table for homosexual relationships.

A family member brought up the issue yesterday to hear what my opinion is. Given that I was raised with a staunch Christian background, the natural assumption is that I would be anti-same-sex marriage but I don't think I fit into that category. Over the last week or two, I have witnessed my small circle of friends on FB post about the topic. The anti-same-sexers have been quoting scripture and talking about God's wrath and asking, "Whose on the Lord's side?" While the other camp(ers) have been spouting Civil Law, Federal Law, and all types of mandates and acts. Who is right? How do you pick a side? Do we even have to pick a side? I don't know the answer to any of these questions but each of us, as citizens in the U.S., are tasked with figuring out our own opinions. This post attempts to explore my own thinking about same sex marriage that started when a family member asked me, "Where do you stand on this issue?"

The other day I seen sign-wavers on the side of the road in La'ie. The sign said: SAY NO TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. The other sign (pictured above) said: KEEP THE FAMILY, FAMILY. I can't help but think of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's, headed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Would I have been on the policeman's side, spraying down innocent people who were asserting their rights as human beings?


As I spoke with my family member about this, I told her that I was neutral about the subject. I did not have a strong opinion either way. I asked her to tell me why she felt the way she did.

Her main points as to why she is AGAINST Same Sex Marriage:
  1. The LGBT agenda is pushing to have this movement included in the history books thus forcing the public to include it in curriculum as part of "social studies". 
  2. Children need both a mother and a father in the home.
  3. Same-Sex Marriage changes society.
I can understand her point of view. Her view is driven by her religious doctrine and the concept of an ideal society. Strong ideals are not flaws. People with strong convictions should voice their concerns from either side of the argument. I was surprised that she did not talk about the religious philosophy behind the anti-gay movement.

My responses to her main points are telling of my neutrality.

Item #1
The LGBT movement is very strong. They are changing how our society thinks of homosexuals. If teaching about this movement in social studies is an issue for people against SSM then they have the option of sending their children to private schools or home-schooling their children. This is a tough issue because every child has the right to a free public education. Every parent must scrutinize the curriculum of their child, if this is important to them and judge for themselves where they want their children to go. I was listening to the radio and the newscaster said that this last year's graduating seniors scored the lowest EVER in the history of public education in the U.S. Maybe it's time to home school your child.

Item #2
I don't quite agree with the argument that every child needs both a mother and father in the home or that the mother/father presence somehow prevents dysfunction(?). If both parents are constructive parents then having both parents in the home could be a good thing. However, people cannot stipulate that this is the best and only way to raise children. Does having a mother and father in the home GUARANTEE a non-dysfunctional child? Absolutely not. So I offer my opinion that prohibiting people from being able to marry or raise children based on their gender identity and marital status, homosexual or heterosexual, is kind of ridiculous.

Item #3
SSM changes society. This is a true statement. I cannot refute it. SSM will definitely change society and it could be in a good way. Acceptance and tolerance are worthy characteristics of a healthy society - it begets love and kindness. The opposite is non-acceptance and intolerance - it begets hate and violence. What are people really teaching their children? That God doesn't love ALL his creations? We fall down a very slippery slope when we think it through, logically.

In terms of legality -- I think it's a slam dunk that the bill will pass in favor of legalizing SSM. Homosexual people pay taxes as do Heterosexuals, which means they should have full protection and equal rights under the law.

Some people are arguing that the people of Hawai'i have voted and decided that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, DOMA was struck down and SB1 explains it. Thus, the natural reaction to the unconstitutional DOMA is to get rid of laws that are similar to DOMA. A portion of the citizens here in Hawai'i have been campaigning to LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE. I think this is weird because the U.S. government was not set up as a democracy but as a republic. (Say the Pledge of Allegiance in your mind or out loud. "…and to the ____________ for which it stands….") When I think of democracy and majority rules, I think of a lynch mob choosing to hang a person for not agreeing with their ideals. So - I prefer that constituents let their representatives know how they feel about certain issues and let them weigh out the decision. This is the importance of getting involved in local government so that your representatives can hear your opinion.And of course you want the best person in office so that your opinion is met with agreeable ears. You have to be your own lobbyist in the same fashion that big corporations lobby in their interests. (Think of the monster corporation Monsanto. They have their hand in EVERY aspect of government both local, national, and international. Now that's scary!!!)

For religious zealots -- I find some of their behavior absolutely unnerving. I lived in Kansas ten years ago and whenever I went to the mall in Topeka I had to pass the Westboro Baptist Church to get there. I was always so bewildered that a church that espoused characteristics of Christ would treat another human being in that manner. Westboro's website: http://www.godhatesfags.com/ . Can you believe that? Their web address is telling. Their approach is bordering on a federal hate crime. Bringing that closer to home, people campaigning and picketing against allowing another human being the right to marry who they love is a crime against humanity. People love who they love. 

Finally, If you're afraid that a homosexual person will influence your children in an ungodly way then you DO NOT have enough faith in how you are raising them. You are operating out of fear rather than love. People could/should teach their children that love and compassion for all living things is more important than your fear that your child will be corrupted. **heavy sigh**

Why can't we all love each other unconditionally? Isn't that what Jesus taught? Why do we have to qualify each other and judge each other when none of us have ever walked in someone else's shoes?

Today, right now, my neutrality ends and I choose inclusion over exclusion.
I choose to build bridges over drawing lines.
I choose tolerance over intolerance.
I choose love over hate.
I choose people over policy.
I choose love over fear!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Disputing Collections and other Stories

**DISCLAIMER: This is NOT advice. This is a narrative of experiences that I have had. I repeat, this is NOT advice.

* * * * * * * * * *

I am pretty vigilant when it comes to my credit report. Both the husband and I watch it like a hawk. I think if more people were aware of how easy it is to watch your credit, we would have less businesses wanting to do this service for us. Normally, when I receive a "collection notice" I research the claim.

RESEARCHING THE CLAIM
Q. Does this organization have a valid claim against me? In other words, have I contracted to do business with this entity?

A. If it is a collection agency, almost 100% of the time, you have not contracted with the agency. What I suspect happened is that the collection agency purchased the debt from another company you or I have contracted with. For instance, I just received a letter from XYZ Collections. Normally, collection agencies send a half page letter with required legal verbiage along with a claim. Their claim looks something like this:

I may have done business with 123 Company and I may, in fact, owe $15 dollars to 123 Company. So the next step would be to attempt to settle the debt and/or dispute it. If it has gone to collections then you will be doing both.

SETTLE THE DEBT
Q. How do I settle the debt?

A. If you find that you do, in fact, owe 123 Company $15 dollars then contact 123 Company to arrange payment. Speaking only for myself and not attempting to influence you, the reader, I am not going to pay XYZ Collections for this debt. I will contact 123 Company to settle it. I do it this way so as not to acquiesce to XYZ Collections that we have a contract because we do not.

DISPUTE THE DEBT
Q. How do I dispute the debt?

A. Contact the Collection Agency in writing. I normally write a letter in direct response to the notice they sent me. I indicate key factors:
  1. Ask them for proof that there is a binding contract between you and XYZ Collection
  2. Set a time limit for them to respond and the result of not responding within the time period.
This is an example of a letter I wrote recently:
This is as simple as I can explain the process I use. Sharing my process for dealing with collection agencies was actually not what I intended to write about. This was just the back story.

The letter above was also sent to the Federal Trade Commission since they are tasked with protecting consumers. In my attempt to search for a mailing address for the FTC, I came across their Organization Chart, which is a downloadable pdf. What blew me away is on page 6. The Human Capital Management Office! What is the capacity of the Human Capital Management Office?
Position Titles:
Chief Human Capital Officer
Deputy Director
Assistant Director for Employee and Labor Relations
Chief Learning Office for Employee Development and Training

It just sounds all wrong! I am assuming that this is now the new title for Human Resources. All of it just makes my skin crawl. I am a human so this department probably applies to me. However, I do not agree with the government thinking that I am "capital" to use as they please.

I attended a conference several years ago that featured a workshop on the social security number that most American's are required to sign up for and willingly comply. In that workshop, the keynote speaker discussed the fact that the enumeration of each person is essentially a way that the government monetizes the labor of a human. Our Birth Certificate becomes a paper that is publicly traded on the NYSE and in the world markets. There are several videos on youtube that talk about this. I would advise looking them up. Because this information is not new to me, I am not blown away by their information but you might be and this might help you begin the research to counter what you learned in government-sponsored school.

The way the money system works in this world is based on paper trade/fiat currency/debt. I am pretty sure that all currencies that are traded are fiat and have been taken off the gold standard meaning that it can be manipulated by the IMF, as they please.

The reason I bring this forward is so that the average reader can be empowered and understand the true goings-on of this world and at least start opening your mind to what is. Some of us prefer to walk around with blinders so as not to have to deal with reality. That's not me! Hopefully, you can start searching on your own and start acting locally to make REAL CHANGE because the powers that be truly do want to reduce the population on the earth DRASTICALLY.

**DISCLAIMER: This is NOT advice. This is a narrative of experiences that I have had. I repeat, this is NOT advice.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vacation Ending, Numbness, and Inner Circles

I'm sad to say that my vacation has come to an end.

Husband and I have made it back to the island. I'm so glad to be back in my own space. We arrived from Atlanta on Friday afternoon and decided to cab it home. I was so happy when a limousine picked us up. It was a great, luxurious ride home. I love how husband and I work together. Even though the cab ride was expensive, I couldn't see calling someone from the North Shore to take husband and I to Mililani then they have to drive all the way home to the North Shore. On top of that, husband and I like the independence of not needing to call anyone. Sometimes it's just easier that way. Sterile. No strings attached.

I don't know when I got so sterile and so detached from the world. Well, not really detached from the world; more like cautious about who I let in my circle. I don't like to owe anyone any favors. It's so not who I used to be as a teenager. In fact, I used to bend over backwards for friends. I had a serious need to please. Now, I'm not so emotional. I have way outgrown the desire to be needed or wanted by everybody. The emotion of my youth have given way to logic and reasoning. Sometimes I think I am numb and yet I tear up when I watch Undercover Boss.

I love my inner circle. It is very small but it works for me. I seem to work best with my inner circle.... in my personal life and in my work. I trust very few people at work. The functions of my job are easy enough, challenging enough. No amount of work scares me at all, physical or mental. The biggest challenge are the personalities on the job. For the most part, I love the people I work with but some are really difficult to work with. Their emotion over really silly things are beyond me.

**sigh**

Well --  here's to a new work week for me.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Alabama: Visiting Camden

**Map Photo Credit**
Husband and I rode along with the in-laws to Camden, Alabama. It was a three and a half to four hour drive. I slept the entire way. If I had thought about it, I would have taken a pillow because when I arrived in Camden I had all kinds of kinks in my neck. Anyway, Camden is a little town southwest of Selma. History enthusiasts might recognize the town of Selma because it is the location where Martin Luther King, Jr. organized thousands of non-violent demonstrators to march on Montgomery back in the 60's. That is some serious history in this part of Alabama.

This is my second time visiting Camden. We are talking backwoods - deep - South - hear - the - whispers - of - slaves - from - centuries - past - Alabama. I am amazed at how isolated it  is. I know that seems strange coming from me being that I live in Hawai'i, which IS thee most isolated place on the planet. Thousands of mile of Pacific Ocean separates Hawai'i from all other land masses. Camden is another story. There is land everywhere. Poverty too. The last time I was there was back in 2009. Honestly, not a thing has changed. The Piggly Wiggly reminds me of the small IGA(Independent Grocery Association) grocery store that was in the town I grew up in.

My father-in-law's connection to his family reminds me of how my mother was. While we were in town, we visited with his mother whom we call Madea. She is very sickly and she suffers from dementia. She goes in and out of coherence. When we first arrived, she didn't recognize any of us. We hung out at the house for a little while. Madea's faithful pup, Lil Bit, was there to entertain us.

After a while we went out to get something to eat at a place called Dallas Soul Food. According to google, it's located on Claiborne Street. The left plate pictured is mine. Starting with the bottom left - smothered pork chops, potato salad, black eye peas on rice. The potato salad was a bit much. I tend to like a plain potato salad. This one had too much additions from sugar to sweet relish and pimentos (I'm guessing). I feel like I can make most of what I ate on that plate better but I was hungry and I devoured it all. I had a side of greens to go with it also. The plate on the left is husbands. He had ribs, yams, black eye peas and greens. Heaps of southern hospitality by the girl who served us.


After a late lunch, we headed to my father-in-law's uncle's house. He had broken his hip and was not recovering well. How my F-I-L attends to his family reminds me of how my mother used to do the same. No matter where we were, she always made it a point to see family. I think I should be more like that and return to the ways in which my mother taught me. Anyway, Uncle Charlie's wife is just the cutest lady. Her home is heated by a wood-burning furnace located in the living room. As soon as you open the door, the smell of the smoke hits you. It was a very humble home. I can't recall her name right now but I know it will come to me. Her dedication and love for her husband was very endearing.

When we returned to Madea's house she was wide awake and ready to talk. As soon as we walked in the door, she started hollering at us. We went to her room and chit chatted with her. She knew all of us including me. I love-love-love how she tells everyone, "You look fine. Big, fat and fine." It just rolls off her tongue. Madea has a booming voice that fills the room. She has beautiful skin and she has to be in her 80's, maybe even 90's. No wrinkles. Dark, flawless skin. They say she may not live long but she's been hanging on for a long time now. I'm just glad we were able to visit with my extended family. Who knows when I will find myself in Alabama again?

This visit was just for the day but this small post skims the surface of my experience there. I really could go on and on about the different people and events that happened this day. Please enjoy my pictures from Camden, Alabama (with my watermark on it). Click on the picture to see a larger pic.





This is the Courthouse/Library/Tax Collector all housed in one building. I love that. Their building serves all of Camden, maybe even all of Wilcox County.
 


I love this tree. The shade extends over a very large area. The tree seems very mature. I'm sure it has stories to tell. 


 This is my favorite shot of the day. The house is old but it has so much character. It's a glimpse into Camden of yesteryear.



Husband says this sign has been up since he lived there. I had to capture it. I wish I could see pictures of my grandmother's home. When she passed, her will directed the attorneys to sell the home and the profits be split equally between her children. This was one of the driving stories behind my desire to snap some pics


 A rear view of Madea's home.