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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Flawed Dogs

One particularly icky day last week, I came home to find two grumpy kids playing a game I like to call "Couch Bait". You know, it's when they do their best impression of the exotic and evasive sloth. Sacked out on the sofa, sighing so heavily that I think someone sprung an air leak, and yes, watching tv because the world is entirely "too boring" for them. God forbid they should get off their teenaged butts and, OH MY JESUS!, ride a bike maybe? I laughingly make a suggestion that they wash a dirty dish or two, perhaps read a book, or the ever-popular; clean your room. Nah, it's all the effort they can muster to get up and find the remote. Isn't it funny how in the EXACT amount of time you can say "Can someone take out the trash?" the room suddenly becomes vacant and your voice bounces off the walls like you're in a canyon? Amazing.

I'm in the kitchen, trying to figure out how to get the kitchen trashcan out the door without alerting a sleeping puppy who thinks that trash take-out time is "Oooooo, you want me to 'help'?" time. She's inexplicably fond of the little corners of the plastic garbage bags and has found that if she bites one of those corners and pulls while someone is carrying the bag, things come out of the hole she creates. The most wonderful of these things are wadded up paper towels which are sometimes tasty and make nice confetti all over Mommy's kitchen floor. Wheeeeee!

As I pick up empty tuna cans and chase what appears to me to be a laughing puppy around the dining room, the doorbell rings. WOW! Will you look how fast Couch Bait moves when either the phone or doorbell rings? I shouldn't be stunned, but it always fascinates me. I haven't answered a door OR phone in this house since, ohhh, I think it was 1998. It's the UPS man, and as Caris signs for the package, the smile leaves her face just long enough to say..."Oh, it's for YOU. What did you order NOW?" Geez, you'd think I get package everyday from that reaction wouldn't you? The fact is, I don't and I attribute the lack of enthusiasm on her part as jealousy. I teasingly say to her; "HAH! You WISH you were me! Nyah!", stick my tongue out, and go happily outside on the patio to watch the puppy "landmine" the yard and open my package.

To my great surprise, it ISN'T something I ordered. It's a gift. A gift that made me tear up (which as you all well know and I mentioned to Jeffrey in my thank you mail, doesn't take much cuz I'm such a marshmallow) Dakota's Dad sent the most wonderful book by "Bloom County" creator Berkeley Breathed called "Flawed Dogs" (GO THERE NOW!...please?). As I sat out there on the patio and giggled, with Ellie batting around balls of wrapping paper and packaging material from the box, the kids came outside to see what I received; curiosity winning them over from their warm spots on the couch. They pulled up chairs and sat with me as we flipped through the pages and laughed until we cried. A beautiful, BEAUTIFUL book with a heartwrenching "understory" that is close to my heart; Shelter Dogs and Pound Puppies waiting for loving rescue. How perfect, Jeffrey. How perfect. We ARE enjoying the book and the new puppy J, as you well predicted. The book is on the coffee table. The puppy loves the wrapping it came in. Thank you for such a beautiful gift.

If you're looking for a dog and you haven't yet seen this book...PLEASE, take the time to find it. It might change your life, and the life of a creature who could use your love.

P.S.~ I called the shelter to check on Ellie's mom. As some of you know, I was trying to adopt her as well because no one was speaking for her. They told me that she was unadoptable at the time because she had "temperment problems" and that she was going to Rescue to have behavior and socialization training. One of the trainers actually fell in love with her and has adopted her. So, happy ending for Ellie's mom too. I actually slept better last night than I have in a few weeks.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Missing The Boat

Okay. I'll start right out with apologies. I suck as a blog friend. Since I started working, I can't seem to get my shit together enough to delegate my time wisely. Yeah, I fully admit I'm not digging the whole work thing. As I mentioned to Charlie last night, that's not a complaint, it's just a fact. I'm dealing with it...it's just hard for me to get back into the swing. That coupled with the fact that I've been sick TWICE in the last 6 weeks, and that I'm still doing all the things I was doing before; running kids back and forth to sports and rehearsals, taking the Mum-in-law to her weekly chemo/radiation treatments after I leave work, housebreaking a puppy, and chores in between...I'm beat. Again, not a complaint, just stating the facts. So, please forgive me, dear friends, for not getting out there to visit my beloved bloggies. It's something that sets heavy on my shoulders. Last night, I actually fell asleep at the keyboard, I was trying so hard to fit it all in.

As I was leaving the office yesterday, I pulled up to a light and found myself behind a van with adverts painted all over it for "Energy Vodka". What the heck? So now they're mixing, what?...Red Bull with Vodka, and saving you the trouble? Morning Vodka? Huh? Well, there's my answer folks! I've been completely missing the boat! I should be sucking this stuff down and getting on with my day. Can you imagine? I'd be zooming through the work, the family, the blogs with wild abandon and still have time to spare. You'd probably be amazed at my prowess. I'd leave comments on EVERY blog with preposterous regularity and you'd all go.."Wow, that Pua is THE Wonder Woman of Wonder Women!" You'd go right out and buy my video on Amazon (how appropriate!) I smiled as I thought of it. And then the light turned green and the impatient SOB behind me honked. Bastard. Doesn't he know I could be hopped up on Morning Vodka? Do a Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes and use my car insurance on his front end? Yeah. I probably should stick to the tequila. Less people will be hurt. Morning Vodka...are they out of their friggin minds?

I promise...I'm getting there. Please don't give up on me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dancing Partners

Yesterday, while I was standing in line at the pharmacy...yes, that's right, waiting for drugs,...I noticed I was swaying. No, I wasn't feeling woozy or faint. I wasn't trying to impress the other sickies standing in line with me with my oh so fabulousness at hula. I was just standing there, patiently (okay, not so patiently) waiting, and swaying to and fro. It wasn't an obvious movement. Just a slight shifting of weight from one foot to another in a liquid kind of quiet sway.

It's not the first time I've noticed that I do this. I took note that I did this while I was standing in line at the post office, or while I was waiting for my turn at the ATM machine. Everywhere I have to stand in a line and wait, I sway. I know why I sway. Every mother knows why I sway. It's all those years of walking the floor with a sick baby. It's all those sleepless nights watching the clock tick away while you try and calm a crying infant with constant, soothing movement. And now, even YEARS after my last baby, without so much as an inconsolable welp in my arms, I still sway. Now I know that I simply go into "calming sway mode" when I have to stand in a line and wait. A queue is the signal for me. If I have to wait, I sway. It's not something I even think about. It just happens.

Last night, I had to go with Charlie to pick up Averie's car at the repair shop. I still wasn't feeling that great and I was in my jammies, so I thought it best to just wait in the car. I could see him through the window of the shop; standing in line, waiting. After a few minutes, I noticed the beginnings of a slow, liquid sway as he shifted his weight from foot to foot. I smiled. We learned that dance together he and I. It made me realize how lucky I was that he was the kind of husband who didn't let me take care of all those sleepless crying/sick baby nights by myself. He was my dancing partner through every long, feverish, ear-achy, teething, coughing, long swaying night. And all these years later, I can't think of a better dancing partner.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Code in Mah Node

Everyone sick here. EVERYONE. I held it at bay just to get through the work week and now it's hit me hard. It's gonna be a bad one, I can just tell from the death warmed over look in my family's faces. Hopefully rest over the weekend will help. Until then, I'm keeping the kleenex box close.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Introducing "Ellie"

She's finally here and I'm pretty tired. Charlie and I did the "you take the first half of the night, and I'll take the last part of the night" thing. But no one complained. She's smart as a whip and already filling our world. I think she needed us as much as we needed her. So here she is....

Ellie-Belly Moonpie Avalon

It's a mouthfull, but it couldn't be helped. No one was agreeing, and to keep everyone happy, that's what it's come to. Ellie because the girls thought it was cute, though Charlie liked it because it makes him think of big-hearted Ellie Mae Clampett who single-handedly saved all the orphaned and homeless "critters" in 90210. Moonpie because Bryson hates the thought of a silly girlie name like Ellie. And Avalon for me, because ever since Lee suggested it I haven't been able to get it off my mind. It seems very appropriate considering it's the mythical land where King Arthur received Caliburn, and ultimately after battle, was taken to heal, never to die. Besides, on a clear day, I can see Santa Catalina across the water and we have lots of happy memories at Avalon Harbor. So thank you Lee.

Okay, I promise not to bore you all to tears with the new baby. So we're going to get it out of our systems. But since you've all been there every step of the way, it seems only right that you should be invited to the welcome home party. And my, don't you all look swell in your party duds? :o)

She's home! Posted by Hello

Look out! It's Ellie! Posted by Hello

New toys...new life. Posted by Hello

All pooped out. Posted by Hello

How much attention can one puppy get? Posted by Hello

Now THERE'S a happy face! Posted by Hello

Welcome home precious puppy. We've been waiting to love you! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Beautiful Thoughts from Beautiful People Posted by Hello

Monday Sucked...but Tuesday is Magical

Yesterday is now on my list of all-time sucky days. From sunrise to sundown. It was a long weekend since we couldn't bring the puppy home. They hadn't yet gotten around to spaying her, so another few days would go by before we could have her. That being said, it was a little "mopey" around the house this weekend. Of course, everyone made the best of it and tried to keep busy so as not to think too much. We made it through.

On Monday, Bryson wakes with a burning sore throat, drippy nose, fever, and you know the rest. No school for Bry, and I have to work. Caris has a 7 am set call for a Universal pilot, and I have to work. I made sure Bryson was comfortable with lots of juices, water, kleenex, and my phone number. I made sure Caris had everything she needed for the set; wardrobe, backpack, schoolwork, permits, a packed snack, and my phone number. Then I dropped Caris off at her friend Taryn's house. Taryn does background/atmosphere work, so Taryn's mom is taking both girls. This will be the first time that I won't be going with Caris to a job. I don't like it. I'm not happy. But I don't have a choice. I tell myself to keep my smile; at least I had options and she didn't have to turn down the job. At least I have a job to go to. At least Bryson only has a cold. I "at least" myself all the way to work.

It didn't help that the big lawyer boss was on a rampage. He was mad about everything and everyone around him could feel it. The sense of intimidation was a bit overwhelming. It didn't help that the staff accountant hates me. Why? I have no clue. But from my very first day I haven't done a thing right where she's concerned. I staple her papers on a diagonal at the top corner, she likes it strictly horizontal. I used big paperclips on her mail, she likes small paperclips. YES, she does come and tell me these things and always with the opening line; "I know this sounds petty, but....." Yeah, it's petty alright and I bet you don't get laid much do ya? I know I shouldn't let her get to me and I'm doing my best to kill her with kindness. I just say I'm sorry and I won't make the same mistakes again now that she's set me straight. I can only say that I was relieved I had tons of filing that I could keep my nose in. Everyone else had to run around and try to make the big boss happy, including anal retentive staff accountant woman. It was one of those days I was happy to just be the file girl. For five very long hours, I filed. And I couldn't have been happier to walk out the door at 2:00.

I thought things would be looking up, but I couldn't stop thinking about Bryson, Caris, and the puppy. I got home and Bryson seemed better, but not much. I got a call from Caris, she was finished with shooting, but she had to stay and finish her three hours of required schoolwork with the studio teacher. This meant that they would be stuck in traffic and might not be home for a few hours. The next call was the Monday Sucks dealmaker. The animal hospital called; Shanny's ashes were ready to be picked up. I'd had enough. I was starting to sink into the all too familiar abyss.

I walked into the living room and sat down on the couch. I just sat there for a minute, looking around and surveying the situation. And then I looked up at the mantle and saw the beautiful flowers that Wonderful Wayne sent last week while the pain was still fresh. This sweet gesture SO blew me and Charlie away that I called and blubbered on Wayne's voicemail like an idiot. But I think he got the message of how touched we were and how much we appreciate him. Right next to the flowers, my favorite picture of Shanny, in a frame that Averie had lovingly made at her work. Complete with Shanny's very own little painted pawprint in the corner. I just kept thinking that though today might have been a very bad day, tomorrow was coming. And tomorrow, a brand new world was going to open up for us. Love is love, and we got plenty of it. In spite of bad days.

Monday sucked...but Tuesday is puppy day!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Labor Pains

On Friday, I came home from work to find that Caris was busily cleaning house. I mean CLEANING. Usually around my house, it's a matter of writing "I love you" in the dust, and simply keeping things tidy. Especially now that I'm back to working; which believe me, isn't going over real well. For me anyway. I'm struggling to get back into the mindset of "This has to be done, there is no choice, so just make the best of it and try to bloom where you're planted." Needless to say, I don't always get the housework done. Not that anyone is having a problem with that. Except me of course.

Anyway, Caris is just roaring through the house like an ADD'er who's just been given Red Dye No. 2. She's vacuuming, dusting, polishing, sweeping, and mopping. At one point I went up to her in the kitchen while she was scrubbing the stovetop and pressed my lips to her forehead (it's how I check them for fevers...lips are much more sensitive than hands. Ha! Look who I'm telling. Duh.)

Me: Honey. Are you okay? You're working yourself to the bone.

Caris: I'm fine. I just thought it would be nice to bring the puppy home to a clean house.

Me: Ohhhhh. So you're nesting, huh?

Caris: What?

Me: You're nesting.

Caris: What does THAT mean?

Me: It's what expectant parents do when they're about to have a baby. Usually, women who are pregnant and very close to giving birth, get this burst of energy and start to clean everything in sight to get ready for a new baby in the house.

Caris: Well I AM expecting a new baby. So then yes, I guess I'm nesting. Did you nest when you were expecting me?

Me: I nested with all of you. But I especially remember nesting with you. Your sister was two and I remember trying desperately to figure out a way to fit the both of you into one bedroom since we only had a two bedroom apartment back then. So I moved furniture around, and pushed stuff here and there. Finally satisfied after HOURS, I stepped back into the doorway to admire my cleverness at being able to fit a little bed, a crib, a changing table, a dresser, and all those toys into one room, and suddenly, my water broke.

Caris: (laughing) Yeah, and you always say I came hard, fast, kicking, screaming, and you've paid for it ever since!

We both started laughing and then, for a second there, listening to what Caris said, I got this sense of panic. We were stepping into the realm of newness again; crying baby in the night, 3 and 4 potty outings in the wee hours, housetraining, multiple meals. Her last words just echoing in my ears with a familiar truth. And then I saw the smile leave her face and she looked at me with a twinge of fear in her eyes.

At the very same moment, we had the very same epiphany.....

Caris: Oh shit.

I walked away smiling.

Me: Welcome to motherhood Sweetie.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

And away we go....

Okay. We've just come from the shelter and darn if we didn't walk out of there with papers for a puppy. Just no puppy. All the others were spoken for and the only one left was a little black girl with a white chest and a stripe down her nose. How funny, I thought. Here we'd just lost our little black girl with a white chest. I was kinda hoping that the half black, half white one or the tan one would be free, but as destiny would have it, the one left was the one meant for us. It was just meant to be. Maybe that's a good name; Destiny.

Anyway, she's paid for, and she ours, but they won't release her to us until she's spayed. I balked at that only because she's SO young (8 weeks). I called the vet and he says he recommends spaying no younger than 4 months and between 5 and 6 months. I asked at the shelter if they would release her to us with a letter from our vet promising that we would spay her at 4 to 5 months. They said absolutely not. So, today she gets spayed and then she can come home with us on Saturday or Sunday.

So now the excitement is about names. No one is agreeing and we've gone through hundreds...literally. Every hockey name I come up with gets shot down. Caris wants "Finley", Bryson wants "Winger", Averie wants "Gilda" (for Radner). And Charlie, sweet Charlie says it should be "Debit".

What say you? After all, you are all family too.

See the little girl in the corner with the white chest and stripe on her nose? That's our girl! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Uh Oh! We're in trouble, folks!

Got a call. Litter of abandoned mutt puppies needing homes. What to do, what to do?
I'm thinking just from the picture that there's no way in heck we can say no. Somehow my heart is not going to have it any other way. Of course as soon as I mentioned it to the kids, they wanted to jump in the car right that second. I only worried how to convince Charlie. After all, Shanahan was more his "girl" than anyone else's, even though she was generous with her affection to all of us.

So, "Operation Convince Daddy" begins as soon as the poor guys walks in the door from work. With me following close behind him, and three kids behind me pushing me along. Brave souls, these offspring of mine:

Caris: (whispering) You should have made him a drink.

Me: That would have been a dead giveaway that something was up.

Caris: DUH Mommy! Something IS up.

Me: Shhhhhhhhhhh!

Charlie: What's up gang?

The Four of Us: (smiling stupidly as the kids nudge me forward)

Charlie: C'mon. What's up?

Me: Well, um, uh, well Honey. You see....

Charlie: Spit it out Pua.

Me: Well, there's these puppies. Mutt puppi....

Charlie: NO

Me: You didn't even let me finish.

Charlie: (turning his back to all of us) I know. I already know what's coming.

The Kids: (in well-harmonized chorus) But Daddy...Just think about it. A new puppy would bring some happiness back in the house. Shanny would want us to give our love to another rescued puppy just like we did with her. Please Daddy? Please? Oh PUHLEEEZE!

Charlie: (smiling and turning around) Well...

Me: You butthead. You WANTED to make us sweat, didn't you?

Charlie: (laughing) Yeah. I wanted to see how much begging there was gonna be. I had already been thinking about this for a couple of days. So, tell me the details....

And so they excitedly told him about the abandoned litter and how we could go and see them tomorrow. He was quiet for a moment and then:

Charlie: (exaggerating a sore throat) *cough* *cough* I don't feel very good. Feel my forehead Honey. I'm pretty sure I have a fever. I might just have to stay home from work tomorrow. What time did you say we could go see them?

Who's the Softie?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Canine Craziness Posted by Hello

Out of the gate...

and off for a walk
went Hairy Maclary
from Donaldson's Dairy. ~Lynley Dodd


Back when I was still putting my "Mommy, read us a bedtime story!" voice to good use, my kids' favorite books were by the "Dr. Seuss of New Zealand", author Lynley Dodd. As some of you know (especially Brian), my mother-in-law is from New Zealand, and her sister, a retired teacher, still lives there with much of her family. Every year for birthdays, Christmas, and "just because", Charlie's Aunty Val would always send the kids a children's book by New Zealand authors. It was her way of helping us expose the kids to part of their culture. Some of these books were by Maori authors and were filled with folkloric beauty. Some were just fanciful and fun. Lynley Dodd is the kind of writer who just makes you giggle. You just can't read one of her books out loud without making sound effects. The funny part is, you find you're doing it without even thinking. She makes it THAT easy. So many were the days and nights that surrounded by three little munchkins, I would find myself recounting the canine adventures of a scruffy little dairy dog named Hairy Maclary and his barky friends.

The thoughts of Hairy Maclary came to mind recently with the departure of our own canine angel. This past weekend was a wee bit tough. When you're in the middle of the week and all of it's activities, you have something to occupy your mind. At least for a few hours of the day. But come Saturday, the lot of us were moping around like bumps, looking at each other with sad eyes. We all knew what we were thinking, but no one wanted to say anything. But then, nothing really needed to be said. Charlie and I always go out to breakfast together on Saturday morning. It's when we "catch up" on the week and try to regroup. After breakfast, we went over to the vet's to make a payment on our astronomical bill. I could feel the tears welling up before I even stepped in the door...and the girls in reception saw me coming and offered up the tissue box without my having to ask. Having accomplished the task, we were on our way out when I said to one of the girls; "You know, if you hear of any mutt puppies that need a home, will you put a note up to call us?" They smiled and said they would. As Charlie and I were walking out the door, he asked me if I was sure. I just smiled and squeezed his hand; "If they call, they call. It means someone needs a home. If they don't, they don't. Either way, no one will replace her. But someone furry could help to ease the pain and bring new joys to a sad house. Don't you think?" He hugged me and we walked on.

Back at home, I watched the clock, making sure that I wouldn't miss my 6:00 "date" to call Auburn Pisces for her birthday. Sitting on the front porch, watching the world, I noticed a small group of neighbors walking their dogs. I've seen them all before, I know them, so it's nothing out of the ordinary. Except for one thing. They're all walking their dogs at the same time...and they're walking toward our house. As if they had just stepped out of Mrs. Dodd's clever book, here came all of Shanny's friends. When they all got up to our yard, Joe our neighbor, said that he thought they should all get together and come pay their respects to Shanahan's family. So here they all were. They may not have been Muffin McLay (like a bundle of hay), or Bitzer Maloney (all skinny and boney), or Schnitzel von Krumm (with a very low tum), or Hercules Morse (as big as a horse), or even Hairy Maclary (from Donaldson's Dairy), but they were a rag-tag team of mutts and pedigrees who played on the lawn with Shan in happy doggy days. I got lots of puppy kisses from Nancy the Westie, and Rex the yellow lab, and Soleil the golden retriever, and Doc the springer spaniel, and Lilly the...well, I don't know exactly what Lilly is, but her kisses were sweet and warm on my cheek, and very much welcomed. Dog therapy at it's finest.

After "group", I went back inside the house a whole new person. Smiling, and happy, I called Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven and talked to Sweet Auburn Pisces and offered natal anniversary salutations. I wished I could have been in The Vortex with them, but I wasn't as sad as I might have been. The day was turning out quite happy. Friends for Shan, friends for me, how lucky does one person get?

When Averie got home from work, I was reading "Hairy Maclary". She smiled and said, "What are you doing Mommy? I haven't seen that book in AGES!" I returned her smile and told her that I just had an urge to pull it out. She sat next to me on the couch and we made sound effects together. Just like old times.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Good Grief!

When my mother died, 12 years ago February 18th (yeah, February isn't a kind month for me), I fell apart. I completely isolated. It didn't help that she and I had only started to "know" each other, though she raised me. We weren't close when I was growing up. Here I was, a young mother with three kids, 2, 4, and 6. She reveled in her grandparenthood and she wore those babies like jewelry around her. It was our connection. To lose her at such a critical time was devastating to me. I almost vegetated with grief. My poor Charlie; he didn't know what to do and yet he was there for me. During the days, while he was at work, I would sit, rock, and cry. Some days I struggled to get out of bed, letting my sweet Averie be "the mama" and take care of her little sister and brother. I didn't leave the house for weeks. I'm not proud of that time. It was a heavy burden that I placed on tiny shoulders. I still honor her for that difficult time. She still smiles and says she'll make a great mother someday. Understatement.

Somewhere along the line, someone gave me a little book called "Good Grief". It was a book about coping with great loss and healthy grieving. This person was well-meaning, of course, but it just kinda pissed me off. Who said I even WANTED to cope? Jerk. I lost my mother. Couldn't they see that? Yeah, well they can kiss my sweet Hawaiian ass! So I threw the book aside and let it gather dust. Until the day my teething son toddled up to me with that dusty book in his mouth, slobbering baby drool all over a mushy corner. I reacted as if he were sucking on a bug, took it from him with a look of disgust on my face, and traded him a bisquit for the book. Then I fanned out the goobery pages and started to read. I learned I was very much allowed to grieve and that I didn't have to make excuses for it. I only had to let it be, get it out, and hold on to the promise that one day I would see beyond my pain and get to the joyful memories.

We've experienced loss since then, for me, nothing quite as devastating as losing my mom, but loss none the less. This one however, has again brought me to my knees with grief. Only this time has been so different. Yes, it's still new. Yes, there are still tears and very fresh pain. But this time, the love I've experienced has made this heavy, heavy pain so much easier to bear. I have been held up to the sun in loving, caring hands. I have had hearts so full of care and compassion surround my own broken heart, and those of my children and husband, with a protective fence of joy.

I once shared with Aaron the very reason that I call him "Ku'uipo". It's always been fitting of the way I feel about him. It applies and those of you that know him will agree. He won't mind if I share those thoughts with you, because right now, it's the one way I can get across how I feel in the midst of all of this love, not only from Aaron, but from Rick who stood in my place and orchestrated a "benefit concert" on my behalf and never so much as batted an eye at the task at hand (you are awesome Rocket Man), Toddy, my "sisters" Karen and Auburn Pisces, my sweet Waynie, Patrick, Susan, Jeffrey, Mark, Dan, Jennir, Stuart, Jase, Robert, JR, Dr. P, Greg, Riye, Brechi, Mark, Jeff, Homer, Archerr, Brian, Christian, Lee, Nicky, Matt, Ms. Ouizer, Catt, Joel, Blueher, Randy, Hanuman, Brenda, Peter, Paul, Groove, Scott, Angry Robbie, David Quinn, Celinda, Phil, Nancy, Jo-Jo, Jennifer, Lisa, Kathy...and so many more that I can't even begin to tell you. The heart that holds my world overflows with "life mele".....please read on.

I love the word "ku'uipo". I know that local islanders think that it's overused, but if you pull the word apart and translate it literally..."ku'u" = sweet or sweetness, as coming from nectar, and "ipo" = a gourd or implement, a container to fill, a dried gourd used for music or percussion in sacred chant. In Hawaii, the word "ku'uipo" is commonly used for "sweetheart", and thought of by a younger generation of Hawaiians as "archaic". No one really used it and you don't hear it much. You'll see it engraved on jewelry, but not for many other uses.

When I was growing up, Hawaiiana was a required course in school. One of my assignments in the 7th grade was to define vocabulary words and translate them. Ku'uipo was one of those words. I remember rolling my eyes and saying to my uncle how silly it was, and that everyone knows it means "sweetheart", and he smiled and replied, "oh my little ku'uipo, look deeper." So I did. I was surprised to find that the word "heart" wasn't even in the literal translation. My uncle explained to me that our hearts are more than just this muscle that pumps blood. The kama'aina (old timers) knew this. Our hearts were a vessel, a container to carry all of our being; our wellness, our wholeness, the essence of our personhood. Like a gourd, we can fill it with whatever we so choose, and then carry what we fill it with throughout our lives. One can choose to fill it with the music "mele" of life, and a nectar, like sweet water from the mountain falls.

From that point on in my life, I remember the literal translation, and I see this beautiful gourd filled with sweet nectar. It means so much more to me that way than just an endearment. You ARE a sweetheart Aaron. In many senses of the word. A wonderful benefit to me of your friendship, is that you fill my gourd with sweet nectar. I know that sounds so goofus (and maybe even a little obscene), but you know now what I mean, and how I mean it. Thank you for your place in my life. Ku'uipo.

I sent this to Aaron so long ago, but the sentiment never loses meaning. He understood completely what I meant and embraced me with his unending love. This is what you have all done for me. You have embraced me with your boundless affection, admiration, and compassion. You are moving the family and I to a place where we can experience that "Good Grief". For that, I will never be able to thank you. I can only offer my gratitude and love returned tenfold. I am humbled and honored and know I am loved. I thank you, my Charlie thanks you, my children thank you, and somewhere in the clovery clouds chasing butterflies, Shanny thanks you.

You are my ohana (family).

Thursday, March 03, 2005

For the love of Pua

Tuna Girl's little Tuna Boy, wrapped up in Pua's love

So, Rick was thinking, "Hmmm. Who can I get to guest post after the two award-winning bloggers and the master of the illustrated post? Oh! I know! I'll ask Tuna Girl. She has no shame."

And here I am. I don't have the talent of combining heart-felt prose with amazing photography like Aaron. And I don't have an incomparable way with words like Toddy. And I certainly don't have the talent and humor to draw like Wayne.

So, what sets me apart? What do I have?

Well, I have a lot of sex. And I talk about it too. I have no filters.

Pua once told me that she envied the freedom I have to be able to talk about sex on my blog. And I've been thinking about that.

How can I honor Pua with my talent for writing about sex?

And then it hit me. It's not really sex that is important here. Well, sex is always important. But I don't want to scare Charlie and the kids.

But what Pua has that so many of us admire is passion.

Pua's heart is bigger than her body can hold so it spews forth with passion. She puts every ounce of her soul into being a wife, mother, sister, and friend.

I've said it before at my own blog, and I'll say it again here. Pua is the kind of mother I want to be in a few years. She is my idol and my mentor.

And maybe some day I can entice her to come on over and guest blog for me. She'll be able to talk about sex and we'll all get to see a side of Pua that we haven't seen before.

I may have had a hard act to follow, and I may have had a hard time blogging without using words that start with "F", "S", or, ummm, "P". But these words I can say over and over again with ease.

I love you, Pua. We all do.

Tuna Girl

A Final Note from RcktMan

Thank you to everyone who helped make this week so very, very special.

I think it's pretty obvious, after reading this week's guest posts, that Pua is one very special lady. If you haven't figured it out yet, take it from those of us who know her and love her.

She is.

Proof of that lies in the way each of us expresses our love for her, and her for us. Proof of that lies in the scarves she crafted with her very hands and sent, at her own expense, to friends she has never met, all over the country. Proof of that lies in the way she loves her family-- cares for them, adores them, cheers them on, holds them when they hurt, and gives them an extra push whenever needed.

Proof of that lies in the poetry in Aaron's post, the heartfelt love in Toddy's post, the humor in Wayne's post, the admiration and respect in Auburn Pisces' post, and the sisterhood and respect in Tuna Girl's post.

When I asked people to write for Pua, I mentioned that I wanted to keep the "Spirit of 'Warm Cookies'" going while she was away. I truly think that was acheived. Thanks to all of you for your contributions.

Finally, I did some searching for an inspiration or a poem of some sort that would convey how I feel about this strange universe of "blogdom," and how it's brought us all together. And I found this little one... small, but it says a great deal:

For My Friend
by Carol Miller

across the miles
you touched my life,
opened my eyes, and
filled my empty heart-

strangers, yet friends,
our spirits reach out,
always touching, never apart.

you in the east,
me in the west,
never together,
never apart.

Love to all,


For My Friend Pua...

Our connection was instant as though we had known each other a lifetime. This lifetime. I am certain we've know each other in another existence. We are too close to not have.

The way my heart responds to Pua is the same way my heart responds to Toddy. Many have tried and only a few succeeded in finding this place in my heart. It isn't a place in which one may seek solace intentionally. Only certain souls are allowed in. As a matter of fact, I don't think it's up to me to determine who gets in. People are brought into your life for a reason.

Excitement finds me like cool summer breeze when I see her name on my caller ID. There is nothing pretentious about the kinship we share.
Her words, even those spoken in sorrow, are connected to my heart as though they are on a string – the words just slide back and forth between us.

My friend, Pua, whose words emanate love, touches the lives of those around her. There is an innocence in her soul that you immediately trust. Or perhaps it's the thousand years of wisdom that has been entrusted to her. Either way, hers is a friendship that I will always honor. I admire all that she is, as a Mom; a Wife; a Friend; a Confidant. I am blessed that she and I share a spiritual cord.

As the wheel turns, we are faced with the many echelons of happiness and love, trials and tribulations. They are the things that make up our lives and make us who we are. Pua, in the silence of tranquility as you regain your strength from losing Shanny, may you always feel the presence of the love that we, your friends, have warmly shared with you. When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit cherishes that which it has kept. It is the memories of love that will stay with you forever.

Patience and Faith, Sweetie~

Blessed Be,
Auburn Pisces

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The World is Filled With Love

This is...

And this is...




He also...

But this must be done...

Because Wayne has...

For Pua & the family.

WaterSea's Ocean Bloggie

At A Loss For...okay, not really

I'm honored to join the throng of people who want to honor Pua and express love for her during a difficult time.

I have to be honest. When someone is grieving, I always say there are no words that can truly comfort. But that's not really true. There may be no words that can completely obliterate the pain we're feeling, but surely we are capable of comforting one another with words.

Personally, I just think the name Pua is comforting in and of itself. Did you ever notice you can't say her name without forming your lips in a kiss? Then you exhale a gentle breath as you kiss the air. That's how you say Pua's name. How fitting.

The first time I ever called Pua, I was sitting at a bar in NYC with my wonderful blogger friends. She laughed as we sang out a greeting. I held the phone tightly and pressed it hard against my ear so that I could devour her laugh. I passed the phone to others so they could hear her infectious laughter. We warmed ourselves in that laugh like shivering orphans standing in front of a bonfire. None of us were capable of producing that much warmth by ourselves. We basked in her love together, even though she was thousands of miles away.

As I rode in the car with Auburn Pisces on the way back from her brother's funeral, we received a call from Pua. I couldn't hear what Pua said, but I could see the expression on AP's face. At that moment, she felt deeply loved. She felt comforted by Pua's words. It was wonderful.

Sometimes, after Pua sends me an e-mail, gives me a call, or leaves an encouraging or funny comment at Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven, I wonder what I did to deserve this love?

I guess Pua just gives this love away for free. Just like the warm scarves she sends all over the country. You don't have to earn these gifts. Pua just likes to share.

I want to love people the way Pua does, but I don't think I can. The best I can do is imitate her generous heart and hope that I can come close. Pua, my wish for you and your family during this tough time is that you will feel even a tiny portion of the love that you regularly share with others.

I would like to close this tender post with a little Hawaiian saying, but the only one I know is "Iwanna Mai Tai"

Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

E lei kau, e lei ho`oilo i ke aloha.

Love is worn like a wreath through the summers and the winters.

…or a scarf.

This morning I talked to the snow and asked it how it felt to hold the earth. It said to me that holding the earth was a great responsibility and that it felt good. Then the snow told me it was white and pure to blanket all the colors of love and grief, happiness and sadness, life and death.

As I wore the scarf that Pua made for me and walked through the gentleness of the snow, I wished that she was walking with me hand in hand – that she could wear us, the snow and I, like love.

Aaron Edwards
1000 Words And More