Sincerity

The Kahu of my church always has inspirational sermons, but todayʻs was both inspirational and thought-provoking. The sermon was about work and the expectations therein. He stressed the ethics of work that should include diligence, respect and sincerity. This is to say not prescribing in “fake it until you make it”.

The word sincere has Latin roots–sin meaning without and cere meaning wax–without wax?  He told the story of olden days when most pots, dishes, cups, etc. are made by hand by a potter. The potter works hard at his craft. He spends hours shaping a piece, smoothing and putting in the finishing touches. Then the piece is glazed and put into the kiln for firing. There were times, though, when a piece would come out with a crack. After putting in so much time and effort, sometimes the potter just fills the crack with wax, re-glazes and re-fires his pot. Although it would look perfect on the outside, the flaw was noticeable by the trained eye. This pot is not as strong as a complete, unblemished pot.

So, eventually pots that not only look perfect but are without wax  are stamped”sin cere” to distinguish them from those that are repaired with wax. It is a sincere pot. It is actually as good as it looks. There is no pretense. What you see is sincerely what you get. So, applying this to work in the modern world it means that you should be diligent and sincere in the workplace…not going in and sneaking off to spend time on our cellphone or taking a quick nap in the warehouse. It means if you are being paid for 8 hours of work, those hours will be spent DOING the work.

I know this applies to me. In the Hawaiian culture when you are, as for myself, sewing a pāʻū for a hula dancer, you want to put good mana into that skirt. You want to have good thoughts. You want to have respect for the garment. Sometimes when things aren’t going as planned, as in having to take out seams, etc. I have to think about the mana I’m putting into the pāʻū. If the thoughts are not good thoughts I generally take a break until the frustration or stress passes lest I pass this on to the dancer. I want to be diligent, respectful and sincere.

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Poetic musings

You make me see life from the other side, keeping it real, allowing the little things slide. Not letting emotions cloud life’s moments of revelation–adapting, evolving, changing to meet the challenges of friendship. It matters not if it’s “like” or “love”, it’s the way you feel when both options are equally solid.

Paint and Sip

Over the years I’ve heard of Paint and Sip parties but have never the opportunity to attend one until today. This was a fun(d)- raiser for the daughter of alaka’i of our hula class. Tehani is running for Miss Hawai’i Teen America so I wanted to help support her in that effort. I had no idea what to expect. What fun! Along with the Merlot and Chardonnay we had pizza, katzu chicken, pork and string beans, sushi, veggies and dip and a variety of cheese and crackers…and did I say wine?

We each were given a table easel along with an 8×10 canvas and an example to follow. The painting we were to try to copy became just a memory as each of us “made it our own”. Several did get a very close to the original, but many decided to add to, subject from or just totally change the topic altogether. The original was that of a huge moon which covered the top half of the bigger canvas. Under the moon was a silhouette of Mauna Kea with palm leaves and the ocean in the forefront. Melia did a very Tolkienesque landscape in soft watercolor like purples, blues and pinks, with a touch of gold and a little greenery.  Patty went with a smaller moon with the fluttery leaves of ohi’a in the top corners. I decided to depict my mountain with a snowy top. I have four leaves instead of three. I put my moon into the corner, but generally stuck with the program as painting is certainly not my forte. I took photos of my progress along the way. In the end I didn’t hate it though it isn’t quality work, but for my first painting, well, I don’t hate it.

My first attempt.

 

Adding the palm fronds and the shoreline.

 

This is coming along, but the snow looked too “pointy”. So three glasses of Merlot later, I change it once again…about the tenth time!  I softened the snow and at this point I also added a sprinkling of stars using a cool splatter technique. I then added my favorite constellation–Orion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added stars, smoothed out the snow…all pau!

This was a fun experience. It has given me some insight into where my creativity lies. This evidently is not as an acrylic paint artist. I will continue to keep on my path as a fabric artist!

 

 

 

Old Lady

This afternoon I turned on the TV waiting for the NCAA National Championship game and to kill time while I was cooking dinner I flipped on Law and Order, SVU. An “old lady” is raped and people are wondering why anyone would want to rape an old lady.  While looking for evidence, one of the detectives asked the age of the old lady. Well, she was 72. Now this is also my age and I’ve never thought of myself as an old lady. But, it did get me thinking about aging and what it means to each of us. I have certainly noticed several changes in my body. Things are starting to go south, my hair is getting very thin and getting silvery. I’m discovering age spots on my legs and arms from spending way too much fun in the sun as a girl. I spend a lot of time bending over my sewing machine and I spent many years taking notes on a laptop computer at work so my back is getting a curvature it never had before. It’s more difficult to get up off the ground when I sit on it to put grommets into my hula implement bags.

On the good side I still have a lot of energy. I take four classes of dance a week with extra practices here and there. I still have enough balance to work out on my Simply Fit Board which helps keep the heart rate up, the waist trimmed. I’ve kept my weight down at 125-128. I sleep well and eat well. I enjoy cooking healthy and seldom eat out. I can still mow my yard although the huge buffalo grass has me whipped. I keep my mind from atrophy by trying to keep up with current events which unfortunately also makes my blood pressure rise, but since it’s always been very low, I’m not worried. Although I didn’t grow up with computers and Smart Phones, I can usually manage to use them without a lot of problems except for Windows 10, which I loathe. I have a lovely relationship with my youngest son who calls me every week just to talk. We always seem to find so much to talk about. And, I’m happy that both my sons are doing well and have very special women in their lives.

So, though I might be considered an “old lady” by some standards, by my standards I may be getting older, but I’m not feeling my age. I’m anxiously awaiting what is in store for me in the future…number one wish–a partner that dances!

The Oddest Memories

This morning I was on my computer browsing and came across a small bit about someone remembering something he had learned in college by Thomas Hardy. He mentioned that though it had been many years, he could still quote the passage. This got me to thinking about how our memories are quite amazing.

When I was in high school I had an English teacher who, at the time, I disliked for making us memorize the first few lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. I can still, after 55 years,

still recite them and understand the Middle English:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
the droghe of Marche hath perced to the roote.
And bath every veyne in swich licour
of which ventu engendred is the flour.

This morning I decided to read the entire prologue’s 200 lines. What amazed me was although much of the English spelling has changed over the centuries, the sounds are still similar enough that I could read and understand much of these oddly written words  and in doing so could appreciate what an amazing poet Chaucer was. His description of some of the characters that would be featured in his Tales are so lively. He painted pictures with his words which enabled me to SEE his traveling companions in my mind.

I remember some time ago the movie “The Knight’s Tale” came out. I loved it. My favorite character was Geoffrey Chaucer, the “knight’s announcer” prior to jousting battle. I think now I will have to read “The Knight’s Tale” by the poet himself.

I guess I owe all of this to Mrs. Hall. Thank you so much for engendering the passion to continue learning.

Ariana, The Hunter

Ariana is my shelter cat. I got her when I lived on Maui. She suffered as did I during our first ten days or so back on the Big Island. Me, having to face the sad disrepair of my home and Ariana having to face solitary confinement at a good friend’s house. We did make it through all the initial discomfort and are now happily ensconced in our little cottage. When I picked her out at the shelter they told me she was a good hunter, but I had no idea how right they were. This week alone I have rescued six geckos, two coqui frogs, a bird and two mice. She never eats them. She just brings them into the house through her cat door to let go for me to chase. I think she gets pleasure in watching me scrambling around the little studio. Thank goodness it IS just a studio! Last week I came home to a room full of feathers…I mean, everywhere. Feathers on the bed, under the bed, on the kitchen island, the TV console, the computer desk. This little bird didn’t give up easily. I, as yet, have not found this one and some day I’m sure I will come across a naked little bird body in my laundry hamper or in a shoe box. I haven’t put much effort into finding it still secretly hoping it escaped or Ariana just got bored and took it back outside.

Lately though, her hunting has taken on a new dimension. She has evidently decided that small critters aren’t worth the energy expelled. A few days ago she was outside and I don’t like to see her close to the road, so I called to her. I She came out of the brush carrying a HUGE rat. It was dangling about four inches on each side of her mouth. YIKES! I immediately ran inside shut the door and blocked off her cat door, the whole time yelling, “no, no no.” About an hour later she came to the door without any critters so I let her in. But, the last few nights I’ve heard noises in my pantry and have found evidence of either a mouse of a rat. I’m thinking rat because it has eaten most of the plastic tops off of things like nuts or raisins. It had ripped open my couscous and pasta shells and about five other goodies. I have tossed more food than I have eaten. I went to town and now have just about everything in large jars or mason jars. I still hear it, however even with a flashlight have not been able to see it. I’m ordering an electronic mouse trap. It’s a speedy, efficient device that doesn’t involved squishing the poor thing, but I don’t want them in the house. Today, I locked Ariana out when she tried to get in with another rat which she eventually let go on my screened-in lanai. Hopefully, it will find the way out and not in. I also kept out another gecko. Frogs, geckos and an occasional mouse I can live with, but rats, no way! Hunter indeed. What to do, what to do?

Oh, Christmas Tree

My oldest son’s birthday is in early December, so I’ve always waited until after that to “go Christmas”. And, even though he now lives on the Mainland, I still adhere to that tradition. However, every year trees from the Northwest come in earlier and earlier. This year they arrived before Thanksgiving (a travesty). But, I knew if I bought a tree at this time, in this humidity, it would be dead by Christmas, so I waited. Luckily, Home Depot didn’t bring their trees in until after the first week in December. I’ve always disliked artificial trees, eventually they will end up in the landfill and stay for, what I’m sure, is about a thousand years. I real tree can turn into mulch in a matter of weeks! As you know, I live in a small studio cottage so space is at a premium. I don’t have the room for a large tree, about 4 feet tall will suffice. So, off I go to HD. They had a great assortment of small trees, unlike most of the sites in town. I carefully chose one that “called to me”. It has thick needles, a lovely piney smell and good spacing. Of course, NOT $8 or $10 like in the “olden days”, but worth the $30 I spent.
My Little Christmas Tree

My Little Christmas Tree

 

Somewhere in my storage shed were all my ornaments I’ve treasured for several decades, but, well, I didn’t really want to put forth the effort to try to find them. So, I opted for lights, silver garland and lots of tinsel (I so wish it was the old kind that was heavy and stayed on the tree through cat meanderings). I did find that box. And, lo and behold, it had two little ornaments in the corner. So, along with the shiny things are now a “Jack in the Box” holding a sign of “JOY” and a beaded blue tree! I’m not classic white when in comes to lights. I like mine in a riot of color. I need a top for the tree, maybe a bright red bow, yes!
I’ve had so much fun this holiday season. I’ve been line dancing my fool head off. Went to the Elks club and joined about 75 others on the dance floor. It was fun to see so many men dancing! Many wearing cowboy hats and boots which, for me, is an immediate attention getter. Dancing at the Eagles club this week. I’ve been to way too many potlucks, fun gift exchanges, concerts and cantatas. There is now snow on Mauna Kea so the feeling of Christmas is in the air.  I do love this time of year!

Renewal during the Holidays

A couple of days ago I went to Ben Franklin Craft store to get a wreath form for making  autumn and winter wreaths for the house. I found so many pretty leaves in “autumn colors” and silver, red and white for the winter wreath. Yesterday I worked on my “Thanksgiving” project–and it’s beautiful. But I find it’s more than just a wreath at my door, it’s a symbol of renewal.

Autumn is a time for losing those leaves of old, so there will be room for new leaves come spring time. The colors of fall are in my “color palate”. I love the oranges, yellows, reds, golds. They are uplifting colors preparing us for the wintry colors of, um, winter and the soft, muted pastels of spring…the jolt to get us through the colder days. Well, here in Hawai’i, the cooler days.

Autumn is also a time for reaping what has been sewn during the spring and summer months. I have worked hard to sow seeds of joy in my home, in my town. I’ve made new friends, I find great pleasure in the company of old friends. I’m now reaping the benefits of belonging to a community where everyone says aloha when passing on the street. Where my church members greet one another with hugs and kisses, where people get up and dance at restaurants when the music moves them.

So, when November is over and I replace my autumn wreath with my winter wreath I will make my Christmas wishes and be oh so thankful for having such a joyful life.

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A New Passion In My Life

Nope, it’s not what you’re thinking. No new man in my life. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that again. I’ve discovered Country Line Dancing! I’ve been dancing my entire life. I started out at age 4 dancing tap and ballet, then in Jr. High my mom taught all the neighbor kids to rock and roll or swing. I loved that! This carried my through to high school. I took ballroom dancing in Jr. High as well which I enjoyed, but most of the boys didn’t so finding a partner was a challenge. In high school I danced everything from rock to modern to jazz. In my Jr. and Sr. years I had a boyfriend that was one of the best dancers ever and we went to all the school dances. We both raced gymkhana on horseback so attended a lot of “barn dances”. In those days no one line danced. We did the two-step, country swing, cha-cha. Then I moved to Hawai’i. I started working and seldom went dancing.  I married a non-dancer at age 30 and though we did a little disco it was never his thing. It wasn’t until I was in my early forties I discovered hula which became a passion. I’ve now been dancing hula for about 30 years and still look forward to twice weekly classes. But, about two months ago I just got a hankerin’ to try line dancing. This turned out to be some of the most fun times of my life. Because I’ve danced so much of my life I catch on fast and I now have about 10-12 songs under my buckled belt. Last month the Elk’s Club sponsored a Country Night with a live band, $3.00 dinners and $2.50 beers! When it comes to dancing, I’m not shy. I got out there even if I didn’t know the dance. By the second or third round I usually had it down. What fun. They are having another Country Night tomorrow and I can’t wait to go. I have jeans and a cute shirt with a fringed scarf attached. I might even dig out my old belt with the big buckle! I have boots! I will dance the Tush Push, Waltz Across Texas, Baby Bubbles, Huggable. I will be smiling and laughing and having the time of my life. If I can get someone to take a pic or two I will post an update.

Cooking at Home

One of the things that make me feel like I’m home again is cooking. Today is a cooking day. I make fresh strawberry crepes for breakfast, luscious berries with a dusting of powdered sugar…a good way to start the day.

Yesterday I did some planning ahead for today’s dinner so I took out a beautiful thick pork chop. I am inspired by an Asian style marinade. Into a reusable bag goes the chop and the marinade, squishing to make sure the marinade infuses into the chop. Into the fridge it goes for over night. Once I am ready to eat again I take the chop out, heat the grill to high, cook some rice with red beans and a splash of Sriracha for a little kick. I cut some broccoli into flowerets and get out my bamboo steamer. While the broccoli is steaming to a slightly crunchy perfection, I throw the chop on the grill. After a few minutes I take it off to rest while I plate the rice and veggie.

When I cut into the chop I want to tear up with joy. It is sooooo tasty, tender and juicy. I pour a glass of wine and enjoy. I’m home, I’m cooking, I’m happy.

Perfect Asian pork chop

Perfect Asian pork chop