White Road Forest Hike

On Sunday we took a little time to enjoy nature and hike the Kohala Forest Preserve (or whatever its called).  It was cool and dry - amazing conditions that made our walk so much more comfortable.  I always feel a bit of mystery and reverence walking through the Waimea watershed area.  I'm sad that the Waikoloa River no longer reaches the coast and freaked out by the degree to which invasive ginger has taken over the forest.  However, I can't help but fall in love with the fresh air, muddy path, and non-stop creativity that results from playing with broken sticks. 

This is the view that awaited us at the end of the trail, which pops out in the back of Waipio Valley:

the height actually made me a little queasy
waterfalls aren't falling - but are no less spectacular
And who are these good-looking fellas?  The hike took a good three hours round trip and the boys were troopers.  I regret that I didn't bring along a compass and realized too late that our first-aid kit needs to be restocked.  Lots of advil but absolutely nothing to clean a scrape!    

"shaka, boys!" - I get nose picking from one and whatever this is plus evil laugh from the other!
"wish I had a hang glider..."


Black Friday Boycott

Every once in awhile I like to get on my high horse and be ultra critical of something outside of my immediate family..  Today that will be the institution of Black Friday.

Boo!  I really can't stand the whole concept of Black Friday.  Even when I was scouring sales ads (erroneously believing that this was a good way to be frugal), something about this tradition didn't sit right with me.  Consider the following:
  1. The proximity to a holiday - namely, THANKSgiving.  I'm not the first and I won't be the last to notice the irony in that. 
  2. The fact that it now starts on Thursday, not Friday.  This was really the straw that broke the camel's back for me.  Once the frenzy took over an actual family-oriented holiday I knew something was seriously wrong and that I could no longer justify my participation.
  3. The deals aren't that great.  Black Friday is for the "lazy saver" If my grandparents taught me anything its to look for savings all year long. There is no reason to wait in line for 3 hours outside of Target just to get $30 off a camera.  A coupon and/or refurbished model exists somewhere (and it might even be a better deal). 
  4. Corporate big-wigs now want to guilt us into participating.  I read an article today where Black Friday Boycotters were called out for basically bringing down the economy.  Not shopping for one day is the problem? Seriously? If that is true, that is a terrible economic model!
  5. Black Friday is more of an event than a practicality.  It's recreational shopping.  It's loading up in the van with your best girlfriends and, I dunno, running around like a lunatic in WalMart.  Can't you just listen to holiday records and play backgammon together instead?  This would end up saving you more money than Black Friday ever will because it will spare you from impulse buys you don't actually need (everyone is guilty of this, including myself...sales are a blackhole for reason)
Well, that's my little mini-rant for the week.  I'm making 24 Hour Salad for Thanksgiving, which we will be spending with Mr A's cousin.  I plan to stuff myself silly and slip into a football coma by 3pm!




I just finished ordering the smallest size gi (martial arts uniform) known to man for Koa.  Mr A has been regularly training them on Thursday nights while I attend parent meetings at the school and we both feel that its time to make this activity official.
There are few things that make me so proud as to watch my husband intentionally pass on the knowledge that was given to him.  Perhaps this is the most joyful and narcissistic part of parenting, where we can ensure that we live on through our children by teaching them what we know.  What is our family, after all, if it can not be defined by certain trades and skills.
Martial arts is the greatest gift, the most important life skill, that was given to my husband by his father.  It has shaped the man he is today and he becomes a better person as he continues to grow through this discipline.  Kajukenbo is a way of life.  It is a responsibility of vital importance that Mr A is able to pass this onto his children.
Of course, this requires a certain level of self-discipline from me.  Kajukenbo - especially the hard-style that is the tradition of his family - requires growth through pain and learning to push past a certain level of discomfort in order to develop personal boundaries.  This may require stern looks, austerity and physical hardships.  It can be fun, but its not all fun.  There are no trophies, no team dinners, no competitions - but I believe it is worthwhile. 
Mr A knows how hard to push the boys and he knows how to love them even when he is not being loving.  We both want the same thing: to have the assurance that our children know how to protect themselves.  That they are able to recognize and listen to their instincts.  That they are strong in their spirit, mind and body.  Martial arts is a vehicle for all these skills and more. 
I'm just thankful that I'm not home to watch it because my "mommy rescue reflex" would go into overdrive at the first sound of tears!  They will get more out of it if I'm not there and it becomes something that they share with him, which is the way it should be.

I just hope that Mr A reciprocates my attitude when it comes time for piano lessons!


Relativity vs Sounding like an Idiot

I drank a Red Bull at 5pm, which in retrospect was a terrible decision.  I've now been sitting up for the past 40 minutes and skimming through the first 6 months of this blog.  Also a not-so-well thought out plan.

If I can't be perfect, then I wish to be a hermit, never having to interact with others.  That way I won't need to fuss over relationships and I can just think and create and be without interference or the resulting insecurities of dealing with the outside world.  My mother thinks this is why I gravitate toward writing. 

A commencement speaker at my alma mater once said
 "Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us."
And I think this speaks to me somehow, especially when I begin to feel insecure about taking a stand on things that later turn out to seem ridiculous, even to myself.  As I grow older and my desire/capability to peace-keep and pacify increases, I not only abandon my own opinions, I devalue them.  But seeing everything as relative is sort of a cop-out, right?

I've set up camp on sides of arguments that have later seemed immature, ignorant or just plain wrong.  But I cared about something.  I mean, I cared about it enough to express a concrete thought and a definitive opinion.  And that is a good thing, to care enough that it is worth formulating some sort of conclusion.  To think about what is happening around me.  Even if I am wrong, its good practice and it creates space for a productive dialogue (possibly influencing someone else to formulate a better articulated stance).  And, if I acknowledge that the process is flawed, I have the ability to be objective to whatever degree and see my own opinions as a gray area on a vast continuum of morality.
It would be too much to hope that I will always (ever) come off as intelligent, wise or even informed - but I am proud of myself that in whatever small way, I continue to be interested in what's happening around me.  I don't agree with everything I said 5 years ago, but I do think its cool that I, for whatever reason, felt compelled to express those thoughts.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have two sick children who will be needing my attention at 7am.  Time to force sleep!  


Careful Editting

The next step for my novel is editing.  I need to sit down and give it a really thorough look.  I need to be judicious, objective and downright cruel, willing to cut even my most favorite scenes for the betterment of the piece as a whole.  I must evaluate my work with a specific end goal in mind and remove whatever does not contribute to that goal, adding in new content as necessary.

See where I'm going with this?   Can you guess the metaphor coming next?

My book is my life.  It is a reflection of my life, it is the primary goal in my mind right now, and it is a little microcosm of where I am going with goal-setting in general.  I need to edit my life.  If I can do it to my writing, I can certainly sit down and evaluate how I spend my time during the day, cutting out the unnecessary.  I know that doing this will benefit my life and make it stronger, the same way this exercise will improve my book. 

Like those paragraphs that are pretty and poetic but make no sense in the scope of the story, I have a difficult time chopping fun/seemingly worthwhile activities from my workload.  Even if those activities distract me from my overall life goal. 

How do you constructively edit your work/life?