Thursday, February 28, 2013

PASS IT ON: Congressional Salaries Should Be the First Cut

Congress is seeking to furlough Federal workers. I say... in good faith, Congress should take a pay cut.

Read the forwarded email below.

Click the link below.

Sign the petition then spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Email and in person.

Sign the petition!!
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Congress is about to impose furloughs amounting to a 20% across-the-board pay cut for 800,000 federal employees, more than 44 percent of whom are veterans. (sourced from The Washington Post)

And yet, where is the same 20% cut for Congress and the president? Are they not federal employees? Aren't these the people who keep telling us that everyone must share the burden?

The across-the-board cuts set to go into effect at the end of the week will hurt the economy and they should be stopped.

But if Congress insists on cutting anyone's salary, they should cut their own paychecks first. We pay their salaries. That's why I created petition on's petition site,, which says:

Any across-the-board pay cuts for federal employees must include the same pay cuts for all members of Congress and the president of the United States.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

It's up to us to demand that if members of Congress pass these unnecessary and harmful cuts—despite overwhelming public opposition—that they start with themselves.


–Diane Russell

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Letter to Abercrombie

In response to the Water Commission nominating committee appointing a Monsanto lobbyist to sit on the Commission....

Corporate greed!! Why should a multi-national representative sit on the Water Commission for water rights of the citizens of Hawai'i??? Corporate greed!!!!

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Governor Abercrombie:

I do not like Monsanto’s presence in the islands. Their GMO/GEO work is detrimental to the island’s soil and the environment. I urge you to listen to the will of the people.

1.    DO NOT appoint a Monsanto-connected person to the Water Commission
2.    DO NOT appoint a person from an organization with Monsanto connections like Alexander & Baldwin or the Farm Bureau.
3.    Farmers are experts at USING water and not managing it.
4.    We need hydrologists watershed experts and ecologists appointed to the Water Commission – not individuals with a financial stake in the water.

concerned HAWAII citizen

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Temptation & Romance

I seen the preview for Tyler Perry's new flick, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. Ooooh it looks good! I mean every woman can identify with some of the issues they are attempting to bring forward. The story has mass appeal based on its focus on the untold desires of every loyal wife in America. I wish I were invited to the media release viewing because I am dying to see it and it doesn't hit the theaters until March 29th.  That seems so far away.

The premier of  the new season of Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal on OWN has me entirely intrigued by the topic of infidelity. Men and women have different reasons for wanting to cheat but at the core of extramarital affairs is that there is a need for a person to be wanted, to be needed, and to be loved.

I have not been a fan of the Unfaithful series because I am a firm believer that there is no real excuse for people to cheat on their spouses. A fully mature and grown up person will, of their own free will and desire, end one relationship before starting another. That just seems the most logical way, the most humane way to deal with other human beings. It's hurtful up front but not deceitful! The deceit is what really hurts, in my opinion.

**getting off my soapbox**

What I think about the whole cheating issue is idealistic, of course. In the heat of passion, physical attraction, and romance it is difficult to shun the nagging feelings. I totally get it! When I was separated from my first husband, there were definitely times that even a little bit of attention from the opposite sex thrilled me. I am still amazed at how faithful I was to that man through all the turmoil. Thinking about it breaks my heart all over again. I just remember the pain, the rejection. I felt like such a fool. I can say with a clear conscience that I was so very faithful to that man. Such a fool for love.

Everyone has a deep need to feel loved and to be swept off their feet into a frenzy of romantic seduction. This is possibly what leads people to find pleasure and romance outside of a committed relationship. I remember in high school, just hearing Keith Sweat's I'll Give All My Love To You made me swoon and imagine love scenes being played out. Mind you, I did not experience a "real kiss" until I was 17 so my fantasies were relatively light-weight... candle light, music, slow dancing, and kissing and hugging... that was the extent of my romantic interlude fantasies.

So advice to people in committed relationships right now: Do something wild and crazy and out of character for your mate. Put something on them that is so severe that they will fantasize about it for the next month.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Restaurant Review: Kiss My Grits

1035 University Ave
Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 348-0626

Cozy and quaint restaurant;

Open seating - we sat at a Luau table outside of the building; the server came and asked us to move because a family wanted to sit there. That was NOT cool. If it was open seating then we should be able to sit where we want to. If not, then the server should seat us where they want us to sit before we get cozy.

AMBIENCE: casual. rustic. cozy.

SERVICE: **shrugs** Average service. Not something to write home about but they weren't rude.

Hubby ordered the chicken and waffles with two sides: Macaroni and Cheese & Collard Greens. He said the chicken had no flavor. The waffle was the best thing he ate on our visit there. The macaroni and cheese was really delicious on top. It was topped with slivers of fried chicken skin and some bacon. The greens must have been prepared in a health conscious way because there was no flavor. It is not authentic southern where the greens are prepared with ham hock or some kind of fat flavor.

I ordered the pork barbecue (pulled pork) with three sides: black eye peas, hush puppies, and cheesy grits. I also ordered macaroni and cheese and a biscuit. I wanted a sampling of everything because I was really craving Southern food and Barbecue. The biscuit was large and on the dry side. The apple butter that it came with was really good. I probably would have liked the biscuit to be warm so that when I put the butter on it, it melts.

The cheesy grits did not have any butter in it -- that's something I really enjoy about eating grits in the south is the butter and cheese. Southern food is about rich, full-fat flavors. I don't eat that way everyday but when I do want to indulge, Southern food is normally what I like. The grits was disappointing. Very under seasoned.

The macaroni and cheese was greasy and under seasoned. The macaroni was dry and not cheesy enough.

The black eye peas were decent but lacked fat flavor from ham hock or salt pork. It was missing that smoky flavor.

The hush puppies were perfect. It wasn't greasy and the batter was very delicious.

The pork was alright. I would have loved to have the ribs but they didn't have any. I would have also loved to eat some sausage but that wasn't on the menu. The two sauces that came with the pork left much to be desired.

The excellent thing about the food is the way they present it. It is really pretty on the plate! Overall though, the food was very under seasoned! The fried chicken was not fried to order. That sucks! Almost everything on the menu can be prepped and simmering on the stove so I don't know why they wouldn't drop the chicken into the fryer as needed.

PARKING: This is on University Ave @ Pucks Alley. Limited parking but the upside is that the restaurant validates - free for an hour. If you're going to linger longer, make sure you have money to pay for parking.

I don't know if I'll go back to this restaurant.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

As I Remember It: Today

If I could write the post I really want to write today then I would start by saying that all RELIGION on the planet is first and foremost a business.

Second, I would say that RELIGION is the biggest peddler of saving souls for money. Even though tithing, in its truest form is a beautiful practice, I cannot say with all certainty that the tithing you pay to your God will be used in your soul's best interest. Know what I mean? Spending $2B dollars of tithing money to build a mall while laying off a bunch of people at your "step-child" university in the middle of the Pacific is not my idea of using tithing money wisely.

If we follow that money trail, parishioners may not like where it leads. The "church" is not interested in you as an individual. They are, however, interested in numbers; number of members, bottom dollar, tithing deposits, fast offering deposits, and on and on and on. The "church" is not interested in individuals!

Third, fostering a culture of white-supremacy and patriarchal orders has gnawed its last morsel from my authentic soul. I cannot! Anymore!

Finally -- with all the finality of any given day -- It is very difficult for me to process the emotions of today. I apologize to you, the reader, but I cannot share all that has transpired in the last day. I must express these sentiments right now and in this forum. I continue employment with this entity while someone I love very dearly has been given his walking papers. I am compelled to express the truest emotion, as I feel it; AS.I.REMEMBER.IT.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Story Teller

My life is consumed by stories. There are stories in my head and all around me.
Stories on TV.
Stories in the movies.
Stories in the CD player on my way to work.
Stories in my iPod.
There is a story always around me. Fiction. Non-fiction. Mostly non-fiction but the non-fiction-every-day-activity is what produces the fiction.
I must write them all down.

The other day I watched Oprah interview Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. I was struck by Ayana's clear confidence in stating that she was BORN to write.

Could I say the same of myself? I approach this writing with trepidation.
Fear of failure.
Fear of not succeeding.
Fear of offending someone I love by the things I may write.
Fear of success.
What am I so afraid of?

In the story of my life, I only see myself as the story teller.
The teller of stories
The orator that brings to life the imagination of those without dreams

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Writing Exercise

In approaching the writing of a novel I have been doing several writing exercises to build my story properly. I don't suppose there's an actual "proper" way but using another person's template is proving to be very effective. Thus, my use of Book In A Month. You can find it on Amazon.

The most recent exercise called on me to answer the following question:
What keeps showing up in the stories I love to read?
Answering these questions requires me to think about all my favorite books and favorite authors.

My 4th grade Language Arts teacher read to the class The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. Every Friday afternoon, she would take out the book and read one chapter to us. I remember looking forward to it every Friday. She was so good at bringing the story to life. I feel so sad when I think of how really good teachers have no significant compensation for their work and their ability to influence generations. Miss Ellie Tepper has truly been an inspiration to me because of the work she did in that 4th grade class room. What did my 4th grade brain and heart love most about the book? I loved that the main character was not Caucasian/Anglo-Saxon/White. In other words, the heroine was someone I could identify with. Because of her non-White heritage and her island upbringing, she and I would be more alike than not. I found that very endearing.

This, above all, shows up the most in the stories that I love... my need to read stories about non-White women or women that are more like me. If I must read stories about non-White women then so too must I write and tell the story about women like me. Going even further back in time I remember loving the children's story book about John Henry and the Native American story Arrow to the Sun. These stories are in addition to the many native Hawaiian folktales that I accepted as my identity. Stories about Maui, Kamapua'a, Pele, Hi'iaka, the menehune.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker blew my reading world wide open! The movie is as authentic as it can be to the essence of the story. What I loved the most about The Color Purple is the format she chose to tell the story. Her letters to God reveal the life she lives and the life that is around her.

My mother loved to read but she favored Danielle Steele and Harlequin romances and I... uh... didn't/don't care for any of it! As a result, I was limited to the reading that was suggested by my school teachers.
I remember reading The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. I am not African-American but I remember feeling so fulfilled by the end of the story; so very bittersweet!

These are great books to think on and I can see the themes that continue to come up. So, I have concluded that I must write a story that has a female, non-Caucasian heroine.