Thursday, March 28, 2013

TBT: 1994 July 1 & 2

TBT= Throw Back Thursday

PREFACE: This is a look into my written diaries from nearly two decades ago. Most of it is straight from my diary. I may have omitted a thing or two, changed a name or two, corrected grammar, added a hyperlink here and there (for context, of course) etc. etc. The general theme of who I was all those years ago are IN TACT.

* * * * * * * * * *

July 1st, 1994

Well, Dave is back and as he promised he's giving me space .Room to breathe. Or so he says. I really need time away from him and space. Shoot, no one understands me or where I'm coming from.

July 2nd, 1994

Dave tells me I love you all the time and it pretty much irritates me. But I went to the Swap Meet with Shane*. He bought me a tshirt. He's done a lot for me. Makes me feel like a woman and all-a-dat. he is such a sweetie and my best friend in the whole wide world. Naw but fo' reals... he's a really good friend. Couple weeks ago he bought my mom roses. And he bought me a brown tiger.

Friday, March 22, 2013

TBT: 1994 June 30

TBT= Throw Back Thursday

PREFACE: This is a look into my written diaries from nearly two decades ago. Most of it is straight from my diary. I may have omitted a thing or two, changed a name or two, corrected grammar, added a hyperlink here and there (for context, of course) etc. etc. The general theme of who I was all those years ago are IN TACT.

* * * * * * * * * *

June 30, 1994

I am so miserable. It's like Dave is planning my life fore me. And I don't even have a say in it. He wants to marry me but that's not what I want. I ain't ready for all-a-dat. Marriage, children. I don't want it yet. I feel like I am gonna hurt him really bad if I tell him I wanna be free. He claims unconditional love and devotion. But for reals... if he claims all-a-dat then he can wait. I don't think he's the right man for me. And I don't think he could try to be. We have too much differences. Just too much. Things just aren't working if you ask me. I'm soooooo young, I still wanna see other people and live a little and just be free to see the world and experience life. I am just all depressed. I really don't care who reads this. These are my true feelings. I just wish there was some way to tell him.
Actual picture of this journal entry

Friday, March 15, 2013

Calling You On Your "Intolerance"!

I am completely and altogether feeling empowered by the knowledge that I have gathered throughout this last month. He... She... They... All of them... will be called to answer for their behavior by the laws that govern this land. Throughout this month of discussion and research and more discussion and more research, I have come to a deep realization of the significance of the civil rights movement. The individuals that endured the Jim Crow era did so out of necessity rather than choice and I can only be grateful for their strength.

Early in life, I was very much inspired by Black leaders. I remember the first time I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and saw the movie. I was blown away by how similar I felt in my inability to break free from the lopsided system of racial equality in America. Though I admired Martin Luther King Jr. and his leadership in the call for equality through non-violence, people like Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey resonated more with me.

Since as long as I can remember, I have had a problem with the colonization of Hawai'i. Of course I didn't call it that as a little girl but I see it for what it is today. In my young adult years, I crafted my own ideas of a more suitable system of living for me. To the surprise of many of my peers, I preferred segregation over integration. Given the same access to resources, it is safe to assume that many of us would prefer to live, love, learn, and die with our own kind or with people who share the same values. So why am I sharing all of this? Well... I sat on the fence for a long time on the Civil Rights movement. Call me a crazy person but I could not reconcile how I feel about integration and whether or not it was good for us. But I get it now. I realize that we needed equal access that our Caucasian counterparts enjoyed. However after the first or second generation of the Civil Rights movement, has anything really changed in terms of services? Things that make you go hmmmm....

Today -- the importance of the Civil Rights movement for me is that it called the United States government on its acceptance of the massive inequalities between the Caucasians in America and everyone else, especially African-Americans. The government had to restructure its culture of racism to one of tolerance. I don't necessarily agree with the idea of "tolerance" because no one wants to be tolerated. Rather, most people prefer to be accepted in its entirety and not just tolerated. In any case, the result of the Civil Rights movement was that it became the government's job to take corrective action when a person's civil rights has been violated. It is still the government's job to correct prejudices based on race, sex, age, gender, etc. These organizations and representatives of these organizations must be called on their racist, ageist patterns of doing business!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Triggered Memories: Malta, Papal Conclave, Religion

"Belief systems are the currency of control." 
~David Icke
In 2006, I traveled to Malta. Accommodations were at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa.... which was very plush. I have to say that it was the trip of a lifetime. I plan to do a trip like that to Asia, one day, maybe. **grins**

I'm sad to say that I didn't blog very much about my trip to Malta in 2006. Looking back in the blog archives, I only covered my jaunt into Valletta during Karnivale. I feel like I missed out on a bunch of things while I was out there. Really, the only way to truly absorb a location is to live there for a few months, maybe even years. So I guess it's alright.

What triggered my memories of Malta was the Papal conclave that has just commenced in reaction to the resignation of the current Pope. Based on recent reports, this is only the second time in the history of the Catholic Church that a Pope has chosen to step down. So what does my trip to Malta and the Catholic Church have to do with the picking of a new pope? Maybe nothing; maybe everything. **shrugs**

It's not a secret that I am always in search of meaning in life. My mother raised my siblings and I in the Mormon faith. As a child I followed it and found much enlightenment up until I reached my teen years. From that point, my search for purpose and meaning took me elsewhere. I remember coming across a book in the possession of my ex-husband titled, "Al-Islam Christianity and Freemasonry". That was probably one of my first steps outside of Christianity. Prior to that book, I had never heard of Freemasonry. **shrugs** I read the ENTIRE book in one sitting. It was new information, outside of the small bubble that the Mormon faith had created for me during my childhood.

At the pinnacle of devout Mormonism are the ordinances and covenants that culminate in temple ceremony. All of the ordinances that occur in the temple are Masonic in origin. Imagine that; ME, at the age of 19, reading the Freemasonry book that I mentioned previously. Then there's ME at age 31, experiencing some of what I read in that book but in a Mormon temple ordinance. **sigh** All very confusing to say the least. Much of what occurs in Masonic ritual and Mormon ordinance can be found on the internet. It's not a secret. In my opinion, the ordinance or ritual does not create spirituality however the individual experiencing it can. He or she determines how the events are received in his or her own heart and spirit and gives value. One can either embrace it and force the experience or discard it altogether. All of these thoughts are coming to me as I remember my trip to Malta.

My second evening in Malta, we dined in a building that dated back to the 16th century; Knights Hospitallers. We were greeted by a court at the entrance of the structure. The lighting was fairly authentic to medieval times; it seemed like there were candle lit sconces and candle lit dining tables. There were knights in armor, as well as metal armor displays. This building was a hospital/infirmary a couple centuries ago. Now it serves as one of the largest meeting facilities in Malta. Now, either the soldiers back in the day were very small or the metal armor displays are "mini" replicas of, what I hope were, bigger men.

I have to tell you that I was utterly amazed by the evening that was prepared for us. The food was absolutely delicious. We missed the first three courses of a seven course meal so we were still very hungry at the end of the dinner. We got there and they were already serving the entree. I can remember clearly that it was two pieces of duck with a pear sauce. It was absolutely HEAVENLY. I just wish there were more of it. By the end of the evening we were still very hungry and absolutely clueless of any after-hours joints to fulfill the late night munchies. **shrugs** It was all good though because we more than made up for it at the breakfast buffet the next day. Another peculiar oddity for me was the absence of ice water. At that point in my life, I preferred ice cold water. Now I like room temperature water or hot tea or coffee. In Europe, you must inform the wait staff that you prefer "still" water rather than sparkling and you want it in ice. It came to me that Americans must stick out like a sore thumb. If I could do it over again, I would be as the locals were... I would drink up that warm, sparkling water instead of insisting on cold, still water.

One of the highlights of the trip was a lecture featuring Jordan Maxwell. Hearing of the papal conclave reminded me of that kick-ass lecture. I absorbed a lot of what he said and filed the information away in the recesses of my mind. It has been a seven year process to bring that information forward again. Mr. Maxwell held my attention for his entire lecture. Though I don't have my lecture notes in front of me, I was struck by the organization of his lecture. If you remember the movie The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks; there's a scene that I'm thinking is the opening where Tom Hanks is lecturing in front of an enormous screen. He flashes through images while he talks about the symbolism behind every day images. I can confidently say that the character Robert Langdon, played by Tom Hanks, was possibly based on Jordan Maxwell. The lecture was intense, the information as titillating as when I read about Freemasonry. Truly, I enjoyed every minute of it because the information was pushing the boundaries of what I thought I knew and opening up a Pandora's Box to new knowledge. At some point, we all must come to the realization that the world we see around us has deeper meaning. When a person is ready to look beyond the surface, he or she will find that there is no end to the rabbit hole.

If you're game, I included an interview of Jordan Maxwell at the bottom of this post. The internet sensation, Zeitgeist is based on the work of Jordan Maxwell. If you have very fixed beliefs in terms of religion and spirituality, Zeitgeist and Jordan Maxwell will be a lot to take in. I urge you to attempt to look at the information objectively. Peeling away the layers of your life is a topic for another post and not this one.

Visiting Malta was indeed an adventure that I was able to experience with some of my closest cousins. If I could do it all over again, I would indulge in the wine and party with the locals at Karnivale. I would throw caution to the wind, let down my hair, and delight in new experiences! I have to say that a good portion of who I am becoming started when I listened to Jordan Maxwell lecture. The information he shared was outside of my known world and I am grateful to have allowed that door of knowledge to be opened!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Restaurant Review: Dukes Waikiki

Dukes Waikiki
2335 Kalakaua Ave #116
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Phone (808) 922-2268

Who says Waikiki is only for tourists? **giggles** For the most part, I agree that Waikiki is not the funnest place for locals but it definitely has some great places to hang out at. The decision to head out to Waikiki belongs to my husband. Our decision to go to Dukes Waikiki belongs to my ride-or-die cousin-slash-sister, Mahealani (a former employee of Dukes). We were supposed to get on a catamaran today but the wind was whipping and was too much for the catamarans. We had planned on getting on the sunset sail, which departs Waikiki Beach at 5pm'ish and docks about 2-3 miles out for 90 minutes or so. The weather was not in our favor to get on the catamaran but was still very beautiful!

So we didn't make it on the catamaran but we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on Waikiki Beach. See pictures and captions at the bottom.

Background Info:
I am not sure if there are any recent developments regarding the serious legal battle over who owns the legally trademarked name and image of Duke Kahanamoku. For those unfamiliar with Duke and the legal battles, click here for a 2006 article that appeared in The Honolulu Magazine regarding Duke and the fight over the trademark.

This United States of America Legal System approach to the rights of its citizens makes no concessions for a person's ignorance of the law and how to navigate it. With the complexities of the legal system's administrative rules, an individual has a difficult time navigating the courts and this flows over into trademark issues like the Duke fiasco. Ultimately, the legal system is biased to be in favor of the claimant with the most money and the most outrageous legal team. There are very few underdogs that are in it for the long haul. Either one runs out of money to see it through and thus loses the lawyers or just don't have the endurance to see it allllll the way through. It is probably a combination of both.

Dukes Waikiki is located directly on Waikiki Beach. Depending on the time and weather, you can catch a gorgeous Hawaiian sunset. The colors and hues in the sky is truly one to behold. The restaurant features dark wood walls. There are dark tables and chairs that are all very neat and orderly. The bar area boasts a beautiful bartop and gorgeous views. The decor is exactly what a tourist would desire to see in a Hawaiian setting.  In the busy rush during dinner and night cap drinking, the restaurant is bustling and loud. On the weekends, the evenings feature live music. Sundays are reserved for 70's Hawai'i icon, Henry Kapono, who has enjoyed a comeback in recent years.

Our visit to Dukes Waikiki featured Sean Na'auao and friends from 4-6pm. Sean Na'auao did very little singing but traded off playing the electric bass and acoustic guitar. The true star was a band member that showed up maybe 30-45 minutes late. When he got to the gig, boy did the music change. The group, surprisingly, covered Musiq Soulchild's Just Friends, which is one of my faves.

They had a nice mix of contemporary R&B and Adult Pop, some stuff from the 80's. They covered some Maroon 5 hits, lots of Bob Marley and Alpha Blondy, Journey, The Eagles. I was very impressed with the cover list. They even covered Waterfalls by TLC. It would have been really nice to see Sean perform some Hawaiian numbers. It is always so beautiful to hear the language of Hawai'i.

I have to say that EVERY single time I have visited Dukes Waikiki, I have been met with excellent service! You will be treated as if you were the one and only customer in the restaurant. I love going there for the service and we always tip generously.

Breakfast - Dukes Waikiki offers a breakfast buffet that features regular breakfast items. This is NOT upscale eating. This is just a normal breakfast buffet that you could probably find in Waffle Houses across America but better quality.

Lunch - The food on the bar side is also their lunch menu. It is average bar fare: burgers, nachos, waffle fries, caesar salad, etc.

Dinner - Dinner features a full service salad bar that is complimentary to every meal. The appetizers are always a hit. Their dinner menu changes based on the fresh-caught fish. If I remember correctly, they have a few staples on their dinner menu. The value for this area is definitely the ambiance (more than the food).

Good luck with parking. They offer 2-hour validated parking at Outrigger East.

I took these pictures on such a beautiful afternoon. I edited some to mimic old pictures with a vintage feel. These are indeed my own personal photos so I would appreciate it if  you get written permission from me before using the photos. Email me for written permission and instructions on using the photos or any content from this blog.

This was my view in front of me.
This view was behind me.
Total throwback to postcards from yesteryear.

The band is setting up.
They played beautiful music at a wonderful setting.

Santa Claus showed up. I could not stop laughing!
The roof hut is a touch of the tropics.
Once again...
a photo I vintaged with the iconic Diamond Head.
Sean Na'auao and his band.
The black and white makes it look like
it could be any era in Waikiki's history.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Reading Update

I have completed several books in the past month.There are so many stories swimming around in my head and my opinion along with them. So here goes my attempt to evaluate them all.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis - An Oprah selection for her digital book club.

The book tells the story of Hattie by first telling the story of her children. I can't say that I adore the novel the way so many other people do. I appreciate the different characters (Hattie's children) but each character's story begs to be completed. All the issues that each of Hattie's children bring forward are never resolved. By the end of the book, I am left feeling UNRESOLVED. Like, whatever happens to Hattie's daughter that she gave to her sister? What about Hattie's bisexual son, Floyd the musician? And Six? What of him? There are a million other tales that could be told. So in my opinion the book comes off as being very...... DISJOINTED. There are no epiphanies just a ton of short stories weaved together. The book left me wanting more but not in a good way.

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice - I have a thing for werewolves and vampire movies. Total infatuation with the Underworld movies!

Anne Rice is quite gifted at creating conflict in the reader. This book is no exception. Is the werewolf something we should be deathly afraid of or is it something to be revered and honored? The book certainly forces the reader to evaluate the traditional perception of a ravenous werewolf. The story takes place in the modern day with northern California as its backdrop. The story is fast paced with lots of interesting twists.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King - I have always been a Stephen King fan.... since Jack Nicholson chanted "redruM" on the big screen.

This story is centered around one girl's descent into the forest or maybe its a story about her ascent out of the forest. Her beacon of hope is the pitcher for the Red Sox, Tom Gordon. Her visions of him keeps her grounded in this world and trudging way off the beaten path. The reader can decide what the true value of the story is. It could be the little girl's triumph or the beautiful landscape in the northeastern U.S. **shrugs** I love Stephen King's writing. He's the guy that brought us Shawshank Redemption and IT and a host of other freakish tales. This book left me feeling very hopeful about life by the end of its pages.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Ko'olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan

From the Defend Oahu Coalition website:
The draft Ko'olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan (KSCP) does not reflect the needs of the majority of residents and communities of Ko'olauloa. Laie Developer HRI (the for-profit arm of the Mormon Church) circumvented public process and forced massive expansion plans for BYUH, PCC, and Malaekahana into the draft. The developer at Turtle Bay Resort also met behind closed dorrs with DPP and successfully pushed through an untimely and unsustainable expansion plan calling for 5 additional hotels and 1,000 additional condominiums. According to the KSCP's vision statement for the region (Chapter 2-1) the plan "seeks to preserve the region's rural character and its natural, cultural and scenic resources." In its current draft form, the plan will not maintain that vision.
The website has a form letter that you can send to several key people in government that are involved in the governmental processes regarding the North Shore of O'ahu's proposed expansions. The following has combined my personal opinions along with the form letter (highlighted). If you so feel inclined to question this behind-closed-doors-expansion, please go to the DOC site and submit your opinion.

* * * * * * * * * *

I am writing to respectfully ask that DPP change the draft Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan to reflect the needs of the residents of all communities in Ko’olauloa.
Through an entirely transparent process, the public recommended sustainable and forward-looking changes to the existing plan, all the while remaining true to the vision for Ko’olauloa. Over 5,000 residents signed a petition to remove the massive expansion plan at Turtle Bay Resort from the Sustainable Communities Plan. The vast majority of residents recommended deleting provisions that exempted the resort from complying with current laws and conditions because the expansion is no longer consistent with the community's sustainability goals. This request to remove the Turtle Bay Resort expansion (after overwhelming community opposition and the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling on a supplemental EIS) was completely ignored by DPP. Changes also made to the draft at the departmental level (i.e. the proposed “Envision Laie” plan) were based on a development proposal not vetted through a process that was proper and transparent.  DPP should (at the very least) bring their version of the plan back out to the Public Advisory Committee for review. I also request that the City and County of Honolulu put off adoption of the Sustainable Communities Plans until the General Plan is adopted. 

I would like to address specific topics and ask that you consider them carefully:

Family Sustainability :: With the proposed expansions by Turtle Bay and HRI's Envision Laie, the Ko'olauloa Community and adjoining communities will be implants from Provo or tourists. None of the families that have existed in this community have been taken into consideration!

Housing :: Expansion of Malaekahana is ridiculous. It will use all the ag and pasture land for development of homes. The land adjacent to HRI's property belongs to a chum of Steven Wheelwright. Once HRI/BYUH gets the okay to develop Malaekahana for housing, the adjacent 450 acres will get developed. Once the initial inventory is gone, we will face this same crisis in the future. With rising cost of fuel to ship goods to Hawai'i -- we should be encouraging the development of agricultural parcels and return to small-truck farming. This will ease the cost of food to the people that exist in these islands!

JOBS:: If the ag land remains, we can develop the ag land as farms. Jobs can be created by developing farms. This is much more sustainable in the long run considering that much of the money will remain here in the islands.

TRAFFIC:: With this looming development of our beautiful ahu, there is no way this can happen without a traffic study. It is already ridiculously crowded during the day and evening. Residents of the area are held captive until after the Polynesian Cultural Center's evening show has completed; 930pm at the earliest.

Polls and surveys by HRI/BYUH are not indicative of the community at large. In fact, their results are highly skewed in their favor. Suspect!
Neither the expansion plan at Turtle Bay Resort, nor “Envision Laie” fit within the confines of the Oahu General Plan, which specifies that “Ko’olauloa’s natural resources and predominately ‘country’ character should be maintained by allowing only limited development in established communities, and that agricultural lands along the Windward, North Shore, and Wai’anae coasts are to be maintained for diversified agriculture”.

No expansion of our precious community, please!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Around Town: Lyon Arboretum

Lyon Arboretum
3860 Manoa Road
Honolulu, Hawaii

I had an awesome day today. I went with my father and my cousin to Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley. Aside from my desire to write, farming & gardening is an equal passion of mine. I love plants, trees and all the beauty in nature. Meet me -- writer-slash-farmer. 

My father has had some extra time on his hands lately. For my own selfish reasons but mostly for the perpetuation of knowledge, I have begged him to help me start planting again. I have this goal to be a vendor in the Farm Fair at Kualoa Ranch this coming July. We are at the perfect time to start getting some plants ready to sell. This desire led our little contingency to the Lyon Arboretum for some inspiration. There was so much inspiration there. I felt so little against the 60 foot banyan trees and palm trees. I am always amazed by the natural wonders on the planet.

Beautiful Ti Plants in the parking area of the Lyon Arboretum! This will be my new passion.

I have no clue what this is but it reminds me of Hydrangeas... very, very beautiful.

More Ti plants. The mid 90's, the ti plant was the rage. I'm about to bring it back because it is so beautiful and such a part of my Hawaiian heritage.

This is a beautiful field with a gorgeous tree. One day, I will have a beautiful field like this in my yard.

Cute bridge. I bet this would be a great venue for a special event like a wedding.

This mini-plaque was on a bench. It gave me chills when I read it.

Ombre in nature!

The canopy reminded me of the movie Avatar. The forests in the movie were computer generated but here in Hawai'i we can visit the Rain Forest right in our back yard.

What a beautiful color. It looks like a Lehua flower. I don't know what this is.

I met Buddha along my journey today.

Beautiful location to contemplate life and the meaning of life.