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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

One Week

One week from today, I will step off the plane in Hawaii. Hawaii is home to me, so that won't be anything I haven't done before. I know the sights. I know the scents. I know the feel. I know the sounds. It's all very familiar. But this time, different faces will be there to greet me. Faces that will be familiar, but faces that I do not know. They say that strangers are only friends that you haven't met yet. This time, the strangers are family that I haven't met yet. I'm scared.

I know that I shouldn't be worried. Since I found my birth family back in April, they have been nothing short of wonderful. Welcoming, loving, healing. But as it gets closer to the day, I feel moments of complete and utter terror. I've talked to my birth mother on the phone. She seemed as relieved and scared as I was. My brothers and sisters have embraced me and welcomed me into their world. Every week, when my brother Eddie and I talk on the phone and he tells me how excited everyone in Hawaii is, it brings me to tears. As I sit here and type this, I feel myself being overcome with emotion. This has been a long, hard road.

I remember thinking of those times when Charlie would encourage me to try to find my biological family that I would balk and say to him; "Are you out of your friggin mind?" My adoptive family was not fully functional. In fact, they were downright scary. What if my birth family is like that too? What if they're freaks? Why would I want to subject myself and my family to that? What if they're not freaks, but they think I am? What if they reject me? What if they slam the door in my face and tell me to get lost? What if? What if? What if? Charlie would always calmly say; "Yes Pua, what if? What if they're wonderful? What if they love you? What if they miss you and want you to find them? What if you get that gaping hole in your life filled? What if you find the missing pieces that have haunted you all these years? What if?"

Oh sure, Mr. Smarty-Pants who now winks at me everytime the phone rings and it's my brother Kimo. Mr. I-Told-You-So who smiled smugly at me as I told him about my day with Loke and Lono. Mr. You-Should-Have-Listened-To-Me-Sooner who leans back with his arms behind his head and gloats as my brother Eddie warns me that half the North Shore will be meeting us at the airport. God I hate it when he's right. Not really. Because I know that he's also Mr. I'm-Always-Here-For-You-Pua. So that even if MY What If's came to be the reality, I'd have Charlie arms to fall into.

In one week, I'm going to need those arms to drag me out of the plane. Because as excited as I am, I'm also scared shitless.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Pua, Loke, and Lono Posted by Hello

I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts...

I had previously written about finding and meeting my brother Kimo in April. Since then, I've spoken to other siblings on the phone, but have yet to meet any more brothers and sisters. I figured that might have to wait until NEXT WEDNESDAY, July 7th, when Charlie, the kids and I will be flying to Hawaii. But I recently found out that I have a brother and a sister living in San Diego, which is only about 80 miles away from me.

I made the initial call to my sister Vicki. She also goes by her Hawaiian middle name, which is Lokelani, or Loke for short. She, just as all the other family members have been since I first "showed up" on the scene, was wonderful. Very happy and genuinely excited to speak with me, and even more excited that I wanted to meet her and my brother Lono as soon as possible. Lono's work schedule made it difficult because he works the graveyard shift. His only day off is Monday, so last week, I called Loke and asked her if she could arrange for she and Lono to come on June 28th. She called me back and said that would work perfectly for both of them. It was a date.

On Sunday, I was telling Charlie how nervous I was. Nervous, but excited. I hoped they would like me. I already loved them. This morning, I woke up early, kissed Charlie and saw him off to work. He said he wished he could stay and meet Loke and Lono, but he couldn't miss work. I told him there would be many more times. I started to tidy up the house, and even though she was tired from a busy day before, sweet Averie got up and helped me. That gave me an opportunity to prepare a nice pasta dish and salad for our lunch. At 9:30, Loke called and said that she and Lono had just left San Diego....she was giggling, which made me giggle. Here we were, 42, and 43 years old, and giggling like little girls on the phone.

At 11:15, they pulled up in front of the house and I felt my heart race. Averie and I ran to the door and there they were with the biggest smiles on their faces. I opened the door and grabbed Loke, almost knocking a big container of Harry & David munchies out of her hands. I hugged her so hard, and the best part was, she hugged me back, just as hard. We held each other for a moment and then I opened my eyes and saw Lono standing behind her. He smiled at me and said, "Hi Sis!" Tears started to well up in my eyes. I let Loke go and introduced her to Averie, who was standing behind me, and I turned to my brother and hugged him. He held me like he was never going to let go. By the time we got our hugs done, we were all teary-eyed.

We sat outside on the patio and pulled out photo albums. Within 30 minutes of their arrival, the phone rang. It was our brother Eddie in Hawaii. He knew we were getting together today and was excited for us. He wanted to call to be a part of the day. Eddie is in charge of organizing the big reunion luau next week. We all took turns talking to him on the phone and he told me he was thrilled that I was getting to meet Loke and Lono. I told him that I owed that to him since he was the one who told me about them and gave me their numbers so that I could contact them.

We talked about family and what it was like to be hanai'd (gifted out). Unlike my brother Kimo and the other siblings in Hawaii which I have yet to meet; Loke, Lono, and I were all adopted out. Loke and Lono were given to the same adoptive parents and were raised together. The difference between their adoption and mine, was that everyone in the family knew about them, but no one knew about me. They've had the opportunity to meet all of the family in Hawaii, including our birth parents. But, I've been a big surprise to all of the siblings. I'm like the girl who pops out of the cake at the end of the party. Okay, I wish...but you get my drift.

The day passed in the blink of an eye. Before we knew it, it was 7 pm and they needed to head back home. I couldn't believe how fast it went. I told them both how happy I was to be their sister. How wonderful it feels to "belong" and finally make some pieces of the puzzle fit together. Loke said she was SO happy to have a sister so close. Lono said that someone REALLY needed to contact Oprah. I told them that the saddest part was finding out that I had a brother and sister so close to me all this time, and never knowing. So much wasted time. I started to cry. They nodded. We hugged again.

Loke and Lono won't be able to attend the big "reunion" in Hawaii next week. Work issues make it an impossibility. But they made me promise that as soon as I got back from Hawaii on July 14th that I would call them and we would get together again to "talk story" and share pictures. They left with lots of my hugs, and all of my love. And I know that I have theirs in return.

I still feel hugged. It was a great day.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Home Alone

Caris and Bryson left for summer camp at Hume Lake this morning. Averie is out with her boyfriend. Oh my gosh....Charlie and I are home alone. For the first time since LAST summer. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do?

::hee hee::

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Mom Comes Through In A Pinch

Averie was having a little difficulty getting this pic to show up on her blog. So I said I would help. Which is quite ironic considering she's the one that's always fixing things on the computer for me. I thought it was time I was able to return the favor. This picture is special because Averie did Caris' hair and makeup for prom night. You can see Caris' handsome date, Mitch, in the reflection of the mirror behind the girls. Exciting night! Bring back any memories for anyone?

Caris and Averie (Caris' Prom Night) Posted by Hello

Friday, June 25, 2004

Lonely In A Crowd

I've been feeling lonely in my "busy-ness". I know that probably doesn't make much sense. I'm constantly surrounded by people. I'm always doing stuff that requires my attention. But even surrounded by people, I feel lonely. And sometimes a little lost.

I have everything to be grateful for...and I am. I guess it's just that place I call "The Tyranny of the Urgent". Yes, it's from Charles Hummel's book, and though I've only ever done the skim through, I remember when I was reading it about 15 years ago I thought to myself..."Oh my gosh, that's me." I suppose I'm not unlike every other human being. I might overprioritize. I might sweat the small stuff when it's unnecessary. I might think getting things done is more important than it really is. And then, when my expectations aren't met, I feel....lonely.

Last year this time, I'd just become unemployed. I had a dream job. A job I thought was my reward for years and years of "paying my dues". I finally got to a place that I loved. I felt appreciated and respected. I adored the owner of the company that I worked for. A wonderful man. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you work for big corporate America, or smaller family enterprise; there are still people who feel threatened by you and will go out of their way to stab you in the back. I did my job the best way I knew how and always gave 110%. But things changed in my department, and soon, one by one, good people were being "accused" of things and being let go, including my manager. I never really thought it could happen to me. I kept out of gossip, I worked 50-60 hours a week, I had a great relationship with the owner and other people OUTSIDE of my department. But one girl in particular was the company kiss-up, and the other girl..well, let's just say she was evil. Before I knew it, I was in my supervisor's office being shown papers full of lies about me. Even though I fought back and defended my honor, I was too late. They'd apparantly been working behind my back for a good long time. So I resigned.

That's the first time I've ever been able to write about that here. So anyway, over the past year, with the same work ethic I have shown at every job I have ever had, I've worked my tail off at being wife and mom. Somewhere, I feel like I've been so busy conducting the "Tyranny of the Urgent" that I've lost myself again. In the midst of doing all the everyday things that need to be done for everyone around me, I'm very alone. It'll pass. It always does. And today I've done my level best to shake it off and do everything positive to keep it away. In service to my family and whatever it is they need, which is how I got here in the first place, I forget self. Yet sometimes, self is very isolating.

I'm not making much sense. So I think I'll go have a Cosmopolitan. They're pretty.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Charlie and Bry at Bry's 8th Grade Graduation Posted by Hello

My Beautiful Girls Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

My Dad and My Father

I've been thinking a lot about Father's Day. Yeah, I know it's over, but I'm still thinking about it.

A month ago, Averie came to me with a huge smile on her face and told me she'd found something on Ebay that she thought Charlie would love. He collects antique and vintage cameras. It's not a collection that he started himself. It was started with a gift from a friend. Then people started giving him more cameras. Now he has an impressive showcase shelf full. Some of these gifted cameras are old movie cameras. Averie found an early 70's 8mm camera and started bidding for it. She ended up winning the bid and could not wait for Father's Day to come so that she could give her daddy his present.

I remember the excitement of finding, or making, the perfect gift for Father's Day. I made and bought some pretty weird things. An ashtray out of bottle caps. A paperweight with my picture in it. A ceramic Yoda. Dad loved Star Wars. Dad loved my funky gifts. At least he said so and I never thought otherwise. I adored my father. He was a big kid and since I grew up basically as an only child, and my dad was only 20 when I was born, he and I "grew up" together. He was a hands-on kinda dad. He'd play tag, hide and seek, and would even sit on the floor and play jacks with me if I asked. We didn't have a whole lot of time together, because he was in the Navy and always away on cruises. But the time we did have, I cherish.

When my mother passed away in 1992, I lost my father too. He fell apart. I don't know how else to describe it. He was no longer himself. He forgot how to live. He made foolish decisions. He forgot about me. Within a year of my mother's passing, he remarried. Though my step-mom is a nice lady, I knew from the beginning that it was a relationship of convenience. She was trying to get her green card, and my dad didn't want to be alone. As soon as she got that ring on her finger, she instantly started bringing her entire family over from the Philippines. My dad had a new family and forgot about us. He moved out of the state. He never called. He never wrote. I did all the calling and writing. I still do. I still try to reach out. Hoping that he'll remember that he's my dad. Even when his wife left him once she got her whole family over here, he didn't call. Even when he almost died from kidney failure. If I don't call, I won't know what's going on. So I keep calling. I keep trying.

I guess, now that I look back on it, this was probably the catalyst for putting my search for my birth parents in motion. I didn't want to hurt my parents by going and looking for my biological family. But now that my mom is gone, and now that my dad is basically non-existent in my life, I figured no one was going to care if I started my search. No one, that is, except me.

On Sunday morning, after the kids came into our room to give Charlie his Father's Day gifts and hugs, I called my dad. He didn't answer and so I left him a message. I told him how much I love him and how much I missed him and that I hoped he would call back. And then I called my birth father in Hawaii. Also, no answer.

I thought to myself how funny it was that I have two fathers, but I really don't know either one.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

A Little Privacy, Please?

It's the last day of school for The Grommet and Caris, and so their schedules are different. I took Bryson to school at 8:00 while Caris slept in. Then at 10:00, I took Caris.

When we got into the van and I pulled out of the driveway, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a little dove laying in the grass near the curb across the street. I quickly looked over to make sure of what I saw, and sure enough, the dove was leaned over on its side with one wing in the air. My heart started to race and I could feel a sense of panic, but I didn't want to alarm Caris. If I told her there was a hurt bird lying on the ground, it would upset her and then she wouldn't be able to enjoy her last day of school. She'd be like me and cry. I decided to be upset on my own and keep it to myself, but I drove quickly, so that I could get back. As I drove, I was making a checklist in my head:

1. Get a box out of the garage and put a small towel in the bottom.
2. Find a pair of gloves to pick the dove up.
3. Call Shanny's vet and see what I should do.
4. Drive safely and try not to panic.

I dropped Caris off at school, wished her a happy last day, and headed back home. We only live about 3 miles from the high school, so it wasn't more than 10 minutes had passed since I saw the little hurt dove. I prayed that the neighbor's cat hadn't seen him before I could get there.

Charlie would think I was crazy. I can't help it. Last year, when the sparrows came, yet again, to build nests in the raingutter under our patio cover, we tried in vain to save eggs when the rains threatened to drown them. Averie and I have stood on chairs to try to help chicks out of the water, using mirrors to see over the tall ledge. Caris and I have made nest boxes hoping that the Mama and Papa birds will chose that instead. We've saved a couple of them in the past two springs, but so many more have been lost. We know those surviving babies are the ones who return to now make nests of their own. But we keep trying to block them from building nests in the raingutter because the loss of just one is so sad. Yeah, the kids tease me because my favorite channel is Animal Planet. Except for Croc Hunter. Something's wrong with that guy. But, if that's the worst of what I get teased about, I can handle it.

As I drive toward my house, I slow down and look over in the grass by the curb to see if the dove is still there. Sure enough, he was still there, and he raised his wing high again. I pulled into the driveway and quickly ran into the house calling for Averie.

Me: Ave! I need your help. There's a hurt bird across the street!

Averie: Are you sure?

Me: Yes. He was there when I left to take Caris to school, and he's still there with his wing up in the air. I think his wing is broken. (running to garage to get a box)
See if you can find me a pair of gloves.

Averie: There's some rubber gloves in the first aid kit. (she meets me at the front door)

As we walk across the street, both of us talking about what the next step should be, Averie spots the bird, who is looking very nervous at our approach, and she begins to ask again...

Averie: Are you SURE he's hurt?

Me: Well why would he lie there like that with his wing up in the air?

Averie: Maybe that's his funky mating dance.

Me: Oh please Ave....

Just then, the dove spread both of his lovely wings and flew off in a whole and healthy way. A wave of relief rushed over me. I was happy he was fine. I looked over at Averie, who was smiling in an "I told you so" kinda way.

Me: Hmmm. I guess you were right. Now I feel like I put a big damper on his love life.

He'll probably poop on my car.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


I was watching the CBS News this morning. Something I don't normally do. I don't like to think that I'm hiding my head in the sand, but the news does nothing but depress me. I'm not sure that being "informed" isn't too high a price for my world-weary psyche. There was a segment entitled, "Cars or Breasts?" The question refers to the new trend in presents that parents are bestowing upon their daughters upon graduation from high school. I'm sickened and saddened. I don't even know where to start with this. It upsets so many of my sensibilities.

While I've thusfar spent my career in parenthood teaching my kids that the packaging of the soul doesn't matter, society on the whole, has done everything in it's power to prove me wrong. It seems they're winning the battle if a teenaged girl can coerce her parents into purchasing her self esteem in the form of artificial breasts. Why? Why is it easier to put a dollar sign on "happiness" than to teach true human value? The doctors of the world are making out by cashing in on our insecurities. "Reality" shows are spotlighting ugly ducklings by surgically turning them into swans. Am I the only one that sees the damage in this? We're not talking about repairing damages. We're talking about BUYING self-esteem.

When I was 11, I ran through a sliding glass door. Back then, sliding glass doors weren't made of safety glass. So my meeting with plate glass was not a pleasant one. I was cut from over my left eye diagonally across my face to the bottom of my jaw on the right side. I endured 7 hours of emergency surgery and 7 years of being called "Scarface". My parents offered reparative plastic surgery when I was 15. I declined. I learned strength of spirit. I learned to rely on my personality, my good nature, the person that lived in my soul, NOT the package that she came in. Would I, knowing what I know now, have taken the offer again? No. That experience is part of the person I've become. I like her.

Sure, you can say I'm just jealous. That's the usual response I get. I'm fat, so I'm invisible in Southern California. I live in Babylon; home of plastic people with shallow lives. I've struggled my whole life with weight, but never with who I am. I'm funny, intelligent, loving, and kind. But people here form a first impression based on visuals. I know it's not isolated to California, but I feel this is where it started. With the power of the media; the disease of "perfectionism" spreads like a cancer. I can't help but believe that what we're doing is nothing short of mass genocide of the pure human soul. What we're saying is that you are of no value to yourself or anyone else if you don't have fake breasts, fake noses, fake pecs, fake calves, fake, fake, fake. How appropriate that the remake of Stepford Wives is out.

It pains me to hear a young girl say in response to the question "Why do you want to do this?" .."Well, I dunno. I guess that it would make me feel better and more confident about myself?" You dunno? You guess? Good Lord. Why not work on what's inside of you? Oh that's right, you're up against the "what's hot and what's not" societal wall.

What parent doesn't want their child to be confident and self-assured? And lo and behold, it's so easy to buy now. Just pull out your checkbook. It makes it really hard for the parents that have been telling their daughters that they ARE beautiful and talented just as they are. Similarly, the parents who tell their sons not to judge a girl by the numbers on her bra or the size of her clothes can just save it. Breast augmentations are less about making them feel better about themselves than it is about having guys drool over you. Who cares if you have personal value? Who cares if you're a good person? At 17 or 18, it's not enough unless you have big tits or a perfect six-pack, you turn heads, and someone drools over you. How sad.

When we're buying plastic surgery for graduation presents, we've reached the lowest of lows.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Lifetime Party

When Charlie and I met in 1980, one of the first things we ever talked about was music. That's not untypical for people who are trying to get to know each other. This topic is one of many you come up with in the "small talk" stage of new relationships.

On our first date, he told me that he loved the Doobie Brothers, Herb Alpert, and Chicago. All musicians that I loved as well. As he continued, he said to me quite matter-of-factly; "Oh and of course I really like Kalapana, Seawind, and C & K." He said it as if I knew who he was talking about. I guess he assumed that since I was from Hawaii, I would know. Unfortunately, I became the quintessential "haole" girl when I moved to California and I cut off my polynesian ties. I didn't want to surf anymore, I didn't want to dance hula anymore. And I certainly didn't want to listen to Hawaiian music. I was a Led, Dead, and Parrot Head. I'm sure it was a defense mechanism to protect my damaged heart. If I just cut my Hawaiian memories out, it wouldn't hurt so much that I was forced to come to the mainland against my will. So when Charlie said to me that he loved these local Hawaiian musicians, I just stared at him blankly.

Charlie: You know C & K don't you...Cecilio and Kapono?

Me: Um...nope.

Charlie: (shocked expression) God. We have to fix that.

He pulled out a cassette tape and popped it into his car stereo. Soon the beautiful sound of "About You" filled his car.

About You
Cecilio & Kapono

I know everything I have to know about you
And I'm not sure I really want to go without you
Our small moment that we shared
Is only yours and mine
No one else is really going to know
That I care about you

And all the questions that I asked myself about you
Give me answers that don't make me want to doubt you
Won't you come and be with me
And then I think you'll know
That if you come and stay you're going to see
That I care about you

Won't you be a high for me
Take my hand and fly with me
Don't want you to cry for me at all
Would you sing your song to me
Tell me you belong with me
Tell me it's okay for me to fall

All the things you tell me with your eyes about you
And all it helped to make me realize I want you
Won't you come and help make up my mind
You know it's up to you
Follow me, I know that you will find
That I care about you
About you

From that moment on, that became "our song". It was played at our wedding, we danced to it as our first dance, and in the subsequent 24 years, we still put the song on and cuddle to it. I came to know C & K, Kalapana, and other Hawaiian artists as if they were my friends. I learned the hula to all of their most popular tunes, and I shared our love for C & K with the kids. All this, thanks to my haole boyfriend who had never even been to Hawaii at the time. We went to C & K concerts together with friends whenever they came into town. Then babies happened and we didn't go out as much as we used to...money was always so tight.

Last month, Ron told us that C & K was coming to town and he wanted to know if we wanted to go to a concert. We jumped at it. The last time we saw them together was in 1983 at the historic Golden Bear in Huntington Beach. It brings great memories because the Golden Bear, which once featured headliners like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, was torn down in 1984....a victim of "progress" and restructuring. But back in the day, EVERYONE played the Bear.

So on Saturday, we went to the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. The Coach House is an intimate venue, much like the Golden Bear was. I was excited. So excited. When they took the stage I could hardly stand it. I was again transported back to those "dating Charlie" days. When things were new, lighthearted, and exciting. When they started to sing all the old songs, I sang along. Just like everyone else in the concert hall. And then, when they started to sing "About You", Charlie reached over and squeezed my hand. I cried. It was just such a happy feeling.

Yeah Henry Kapono and Cecilio Rodriguez look older. But none of us cared because so do we. It was like seeing long lost friends again and jamming to songs that brought the good feelings. And Charlie always likes to remind me that HE was the one that introduced me to them.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

rollin' round heaven Posted by Hello

Bye Bye Love

When I was a little girl, I remember my parents putting an album on the HI-FI Stereo. Yeah, that's what it was called back then. Even if I said "turntable", I'm not sure a whole lot of you would know what I was talking about either, so there's a little retro education for ya. But I digress.

Lucky for me, my parents were music mongers. We didn't have much, and we were by no means well off. But I do remember that if there was a dime to spare, my dad would go to Woolworth's, buy a 45, a 78 or a big, ole' 33 1/3 (that's RPMs not calibers), come home and put it on the turnstyle. I'd lay down on my tummy, on the couch next to the old stereo, with my chin resting on my hands, and watch as the bar dropped the black vinyl record onto the playing surface and the needle arm moved over to the first groove, and wait. Within seconds, the static popping sounds started and I could feel my heart begin to race with excited anticipation. Soon I'd hear that velvety voice:

"Bye bye Love, Bye bye happiness, hello lonliness, I think I'm gonna cry ..."

One after another, the country songs with a soulful spin, would waft out of that old woven fiber covered speaker...

"Take these chains from my heart and set me free
You've grown cold and no longer care for me
All my faith in you is gone but the heartaches linger on
Take these chains from my heart and set me free."

I could feel the angst as I listened. Even with my little girl mind, I knew there was some heartfelt pain...

"Born to lose, I've lived my life in vain
Every dream I dreamed has only brought me pain
All my life, I've always been so blue
Born to lose, and now I'm losing you."

My dad would always rest the jacket, or album cover, up against the side of the stereo. So I always knew what artist we were listening to. This particular artist was one my father idolized. When his records weren't playing in the house, my dad would practice playing his songs on the harmonica or on, believe it or not, his ukulele. No, my dad isn't polynesian, but he's the type of guy that could pick up pretty much any instrument and make beautiful sounds come out of it without any formal training. "That Lucky Ole' Sun" would be one of his favorites to plunk out on the uke:

"Up in the mornin'
Out on the job
Work like the devil for my pay
But that lucky old sun got nothin' to do
But roll around heaven all day."

This musician always moved my dad to say things like..."Man, oh Man. He really knows how to deliver!" or "I'm gonna see him in person some day, I betcha." My dad loved him and his music. I remember times where one of his records would be on and my dad would grab my mom by the waist and pull her close to dance to "I Can't Stop Loving You" and he'd sing it to her while they danced. Of all the gifts my dad gave me, my love for music, and especially my love and admiration for this man, is one that I cherish. That along with the memories that came with it.

My dad never got to see Ray Charles in person. But I did. I saw him at The Greek Theater in 1975 with my cousin Rick. My aunt was pretty wealthy and she was constantly taking my cousin to concerts and cultural events. My cousin would BEG me to tag along. Little did he know I was thrilled. If there had been cell phones back then, you could be sure I would have been calling my dad to let him share it with me. I felt like Mr. Charles was an old friend of the family. When he sang, that's the way he made you feel. Like you were in your living room, lying on your tummy with your chin propped on your hands and your "Uncle Ray" dropped by to visit and play a few tunes.

I'm pretty sure that he's keeping company with that lucky old sun now. Rollin' round heaven all day. Meanwhile, I think it's time to dig out some old albums....

Thanks "Uncle Ray". Rest Well.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Shaq Who?

I don't have a bulletproof vest. So before you load your ammo and aim at me, please remember, it's MY blog.

I HATE basketball.

There; I said it. Those of you that know me know that this is no revelation. I was reading TunaGirl's blog about why she loves hockey and I agree with EVERYTHING she said. We are kindred spirits, though she doesn't know I exist. I'm a hockey girl, in a hockey world (sung to the tune of "I'm a Barbie Girl.") I have a small hockey shrine at my desk. My son's room is a virtual hockey hall of fame. I wear a hockey jersey when I go to games. My dog is named after a hockey player, for gosh sakes. It's not something that you'd expect from a girl who grew up on a tropical island. The word "hockey" is as foreign there as "desert". My family still teases me about it.

The problem is; this is LakerLand. Everywhere I go, I'm surrounded by yellow car banners, stickers, shirts, caps, and whatever else you can put a Laker emblem on. That's fine. I've gotten used to that. What I really have trouble with is that when I go to my favorite hang out, even though it's also NHL Stanley Cup playoff time, all the TVs are on basketball. Although Jerry (the manager) and Roz (the owner) always make sure there's one tv on hockey for me and they won't let anyone change it. I feel the love in some small way. Along with the love comes the constant ribbing about how much better basketball is than hockey and how the Lakers are the best basketball team in the universe. As long as it comes with free drinks, I'll listen.

Did I mention that Laker fans remind me of soccer hooligans? I pray to God that the Lakers don't win simply because fans in LA act like asswipes and think a playoff win means they have free reign to committ illegal acts. That, and this team is all ego and needs to be taken down a few notches. When we're in public, I keep my opinion to myself for fear of getting the crap beat out of me. Believe me, it's not easy. But I know I'm the minority.

I don't idolize Shaq, Kobe, or Rick Fox (yeah, ok, so I do think Rick Fox is hot, but that's another story). I don't think what they do requires talent as much as it requires height. Big deal. So they're tall and can take 4 long strides across a small court and drop a ball into a net. Does that mean they should be worshipped and canonized? I laughed my ass off when I heard on the radio that like "A-Rod" (Alex Rodriguez) of the MLB, radio announcers are now referring to Derek Fisher as "D-Fish". Good God. Are you kidding me? Should I start calling Shanny "B-Shan" or Darren McCarty "D-Mac"? Come on people. Give me a break.

The day I see Kobe and Shaq strap on a pair of ice skates and balance their great height on a steel blade 1/4" thick, using only a curved stick to get a puck across some frozen water and into a net. Well that's the day I become a fan. And you and I both know that THAT will be when hell freezes over.

Please don't hurt me.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

What's In A Name?

It's funny, I've been to two blogs today where I've found entries about names. I've always been pretty serious about the name business. My given name is Renee and Pua is part of my long, Hawaiian middle name. But I've always clung to the name Puamakana since I was a little girl. To this day, when someone says my name, it gives me a very warm feeling. It makes me feel loved and special. It may mean nothing to those around me, or to those who use it to address me, but for me, it's a hug from afar.

Special care was taken in giving that name to me, and I, along with Charlie, have given that same care to the naming of our children. We may kid around and say..."Yeah, we gave them names that began with A, B, and C on purpose. But the alphabet stops there!" Truth be told, their middle names are longer than my own with meanings that run deeper than I can even begin to explain here. Like me, those names didn't mean much to them when they were little, but I think now, as they are older, those names are beginning to hold so much more meaning to them. Though I may call them by silly endearments at times, I often remember that their given names reflect a culture that is so rich in tradition and pride. I feel, in that sense, that we've given them something much more than just a moniker for people to use when addressing them.

From Zenchick's blog, a got this:


Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator
From Go-Quiz.com

Interestingly enough, the very first letter brings up a word I did not expect, but one that made me stop and go.."Wow". I didn't take it to mean that I, myself, am a painful person, though some may disagree. I instantly took that to mean that I've had painful times, not unlike anyone else. It's just intriguing to me that it's the very first letter. Beyond that, I get "awesome" twice. I know it's a silly little quiz-game meant for entertainment, but there's some kind of karmic truth in it. Though some of the descriptive choices in the acronym make me blush a little, I can't argue with them too much. I can't speak about the "K" word because my girls tell me it grosses them out that their mom thinks or does certain things. Yep, I can be awkward and naive at times. I try to hide it, but sometimes, that's just not possible. All in all, after doing this exercize, which was meant for entertainment purposes only (an unnecessary disclaimer), I couldn't help but think deeper considering all the name type topics that have come up in my life of late.

Is there something in a name? Without question. Yes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The New York Experience

If you'd just like to cut to the chase...

The Whole Album

Is this the best soundtrack or what? Posted by Hello

Fountain Dancers Posted by Hello

Will this rain ever stop? Posted by Hello

Shelter under the arch at Washington Park Posted by Hello

Radio City Music Hall preparing for The Tony Awards Posted by Hello

Standing in Actor's Square...how appropriate! Posted by Hello

Painted Sky Posted by Hello

Going to see "Little Shop of Horrors" Posted by Hello

"Spirit of Manhattan" Cruise Posted by Hello

After the Meltdown

YES! Finally! After having probably one of the greatest adventures of my life and not having the ability to blog about it for a good week after returning, we're back online! My sweet Charlie tinkered with the stubborn computer everyday, to no avail, and finally, I batted my big brown eyes at him and he caved.

Charlie: Ok, ok, I give up! Call SBC and get a technician out here.

Pua: (excitedly and full of hope) Really?

Charlie: Yes, yes...I just can't look at all of your sad faces for one more day.

Pua: Awww Honey, you're the best!

Charlie: Yeah, yeah, I'm the best...just call me at work and tell me how much it's gonna cost. Ok?

Pua: Absolutely!

So, after talking with SBC and a solemn promise that someone would be out to check it out before 2 pm (which actually happened!) and agreeing to the understanding that it might cost a small fortune if the problem was on OUR end and not THEIRS, all systems are go. And yes, it was THEIR problem; bad modem. In the midst of organizing repair chaos on one phone line, I talked with Wayne on another. He wanted to ask my permission to post a pic from our meeting in New York. With a phone up to each ear, I must have been a sight, which I proceeded to describe to Wayne. I told him I was honored and despite my lowered state of self-esteem (I don't take very good pictures and usually I run from cameras), I consented. So now, since he's already done that for me, I don't have to!

Now, post-Apocalyptic computer meltdown and no longer suffering from blog withdrawal, let me just say before I go into a sililoquy about fabulous New York, that meeting Wayne was the one thing I looked forward to more than anything. Our group had an incredibly tight, grueling, but exciting agenda, as I had previoiusly listed All of those things you imagine you would want to do and see while visiting New York were on that list. But my list had a little something extra. For example:

1. See some Broadway shows
2. See Statue of Liberty
3. See Empire State Building
4. Etc. Etc. Etc.
5. See Wayne!!!!

On the day that we landed in New York, I got a text message that simply said.."Happy Landings!" Wayne. What could be better? We didn't have a set meeting time or date, and I knew that he was in moving and stress hell, not to mention he would be flying back to Cali in a couple of days himself. For him to fit us into his schedule was beyond generous. It was a Sunday, and luckily, he happened to be in the city. We were between shows, having just gotten out of "Movin Out" (really terrific). Our tour guides allowed us a 90 minute break for rest and change to get ready for the next show; "Bombay Dreams" (Bollywood fun).

Instead of spending the time changing, I arranged to meet with Wayne in the lobby of our hotel since he said he was already in the city. I kinda forgot to mention that the lobby of the Marriott Marquis is on the 8th floor, AND that since parts of the hotel were under construction, the elevator system was sluggish, at best. So while dear sweet Wayne was down on the first floor, which anyone would assume was the lobby, I was on the 8th floor waiting. After a few phone calls back and forth, we finally connected...and knew each other instantly. I warned him that I was going to hug him when I saw him. I keep my promises!

I called Caris in her room and told her that Wayne was here. She excitedly said she'd be right down and brought Taryn and Dana with her. We sat at a table in the hotel lounge and talked as if we'd known each other forever. He fascinated us with his stories about New York transportation AND gave us a quick lesson on "Uptown, Downtown, and Mid-town." He gave the girls tips on skin care and bronzing aids (do's and don'ts) because he is, after all, the resident expert! He and Caris swapped stories about working on sets and pursuing dreams in "the industry". It was, as Averie would say, magical. Before I knew it, it was time to go. Yet, as our group gathered for dinner, he and I continued to talk, and he walked with all of us out of the hotel, down the block to our bus, and as we parted he said..."Enjoy New York and savor every second, Pua." I hugged him and promised I'd call or write when I got home. I had a sense of sadness because it was too short, but was joyful because we had gotten the chance at all. He's a wonderul, sweet, talented man who I'm grateful to call my friend. And just so you know, we did as he said and savored every second.

Now, I just want to say this about that. I was tired. Damn tired. We took the red-eye. You know, that flight where everyone around you sleeps. But even though you took two Tylenol PM AND a great big swig of Nyquil, you yourself couldn't. I even had one of those little blow-up neck pillow thingys. Tip One; save your money. All it does is make your neck sweat. Although the band teacher had one and she managed to snore her way to New York. I'll be nice and not call her that name. I was jealous. Taryn managed a few z's, Caris tossed and turned. The thing was, we KNEW we had to get even a little bit of sleep, because as soon as we got off the plane, we were on a tour bus and the day was FULL of events. They didn't lie. At 6:30 am we landed, and from that minute on, until 10:00 pm that night, we were on the go. All told, we were awake for over 39 hours.

You name it, we did it. I actually checked off an amazing amount of things on my Life List. A carriage ride in Central Park. A hot dog off a street cart. A subway ride. The Statue of Liberty. The Empire State Building. Radio City Music Hall. Macy's. Times Square. A cab ride. The list goes on. And then there were little, lucky perks; 7th Avenue was closed off for a street fair. An ice cream cone from a Mister Softee truck. A tour guide who was a former showgirl back in the day. A purple sunset behind the copper lady. Caris and Taryn's face as the curtain went up for "Little Shop of Horrors." These little things are some of the best memories that will stand out to me. Forever.

I know they may not know it now because they're young, but through mature eyes, I believe that we really got a true taste of the New York experience. Those little delis and cafes where we had our breakfasts may have just been tiny, dingy holes to them, but I saw beyond that. That old worn out upholstery in the booth of the cafe in the Hotel Edison was worn out by years and years of playrights, directors, and producers sliding in and out. Famous names, and wannabes. Late nights where actors would come and have a bite before going home at 2 and 3 am. Yeah, these kids might complain about the food or the service and maybe they might have wanted the familiarity of McDonald's, but if they saw it with the eye of the artist within them, they could imagine they were sitting with the likes of Neil Simon, Noel Coward, and all those actors that paved the way for them. We sat and walked where the people that built Broadway with their talents sat and walked, and still do. Those are the things I'll remember.

As many times as I said to Caris..."Oh my gosh, we're actually here!" I meant that with the full reverence and humility intended. I was overwhelmed. I understood when Caris was awestruck. I understood when she said she was going to come back there. I understood when she said that someday I'd see her name in a Playbill or on a poster. I understood how much it meant to dream. I understood it to the depth of her understanding. As I savored every second and drank in every opportunity, as I watched servers do their jobs; whether tired or indifferent, as I stood on certain walkways and stared up at the myriad of lights, I knew my understanding was deeper. From another time, decades ago, when dues were paid in a different way. Elaine Stritch type dues. I'm humbled. And grateful.

It was truly...the time of my life.