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!