Inspiration interrupted by the work that I must do.
My imagination dashed and now I’m in a stew.
Creativity quashed before the takeoff of its flight.
Will I ever get time to write or is a job my continued plight?
I try to steal away for a minute, an hour or a day;
but working to earn money is always in my way.
Am I too self-indulgent and devoted to my own cause?
If I don’t look out for myself, who will, Rudolph and Santa Claus?
At times no energy, no hope, nor motivation.
I just exist with a hatred of my current vocation.
I need some time to write without interruption.
A little time is all I ask for my sanity’s salvation.
These are my Menehune, they were given to me by my grandmother a dozen or so years ago when she was cleaning out her house during a move or while redecorating, I can’t quite remember. She had had them for as long as I can remember, getting them on a trip to Hawaii sometime in the 60’s. They always sat on a bookshelf in her living room at the “farm” and I was fascinated by them as a child and loved to take them down from the shelf, play with them like dolls and rub their shiny bellies and smile at their big grins.
My grandmother would sometimes tell me funny stories about them or tease me that they were watching me and I better be good. My grandmother always loved clowns too for some reason, I don’t know why, and these reminded me of some of the clowns she had around her home.
My grandmother always told me they were carved out of Lava Rocks and I never questioned that answer. But today I took a closer look and they do have a marking on the side of the little woman “Made in Hawaii with Lava by C0 C0 Joe No. 289” The little man has no markings. I am guessing by the markings on the bottom that maybe it was melted lava rocks poured into molds? I’m not sure, but I found a pair very close to mine on eBay listed for $119.
I went in search of some more information about the little figurines and found some interesting information about the legend of the Menehune. From the ToHawaii.com travel site it talks about the legend of the Menehune;
“Hawaiian legend has it that many centuries ago, the Menehune were a mischievous group of small people, or dwarfs, who lived hidden in the forests and valleys of the islands before the first settlers arrived from Polynesia. These Menehune, who roamed the deep forests at night, were said to be about two feet (60 cm) tall, though some were as tiny as six inches (15 cm), small enough to fit in the palm of a hand. They enjoyed dancing, singing and archery, and their favorite foods were bananas and fish.
The Menehune have been known to use magic arrows to pierce the heart of angry people, igniting feelings of love instead. They also enjoy cliff diving, and according to local lore, they were smart, extremely strong and excellent craftsmen. They were rarely seen by human eyes, and they are credited with mighty feats of engineering and overnight construction.”
“This fishpond is said to have been built in just one night by the menehune, the mythical little people of Kauai. The menehune were master craftsmen who could accomplish amazing deeds in very little time. They used to live in the island’s forests and hid from humans, so during one night they came out and built the fishpond. They did this by lining up from the village of Makaweli, 25 miles (40 km) away, passing stones hand-by-hand.
The fishpond is located next to the Hulei’a Stream. A lava rock wall between the pond and the stream is 900 feet (274 m) long and 5 feet (1.5 m) high, which is amazing considering the fact that archaeologists estimate that the fishpond is around 1,000 years old. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.”
And this is a fun little fact if you believe the legend or even if you don’t:
“Even though the Menehune were said to be displaced when the first settlers arrived in Hawaii, some people still believe that the Menehune are roaming the islands, carrying out tricks on people. Indeed, an 1820 Census of Kauai listed 65 people as ‘Menehune.‘”
I have my doubts about the legends, but I will always smile and think fondly of my sweet grandmother whenever I look upon my little Menehune.
Do you have any cool travel treasure or fun family heirlooms?
I want and need my quiet time to think and write and be.
A tiny place in the world where I alone am enough and have time wonder, rest and see.
With a few moments to breathe and take care of myself because I am more fragile than I seem.
I worry too much about how I’m seen and what you think and if I came across as mean.
I have never felt I was good enough, even if I appear strong and smart and tough.
I don’t have children and never shall, but I do love kids and your will do nicely if I ever need a pal.
To those I love and those I’m with, I care and give and empathize.
My expectations are so high, it’s no wonder my disappointments are piled to the sky.
A little piece of me is all that’s left, so leave me be, that’s all you get.
As a girl who has grown up and lived her entire life in the Pacific Northwest, enjoyed the easy access to our many waterways, fished for fun and is an enthusiastic seafood consumer some of the scientific information coming out about the state of our oceans is very sad and alarming.
A recent PBS news report “7 Questions to Ask Before You Eat That Shrimp” talks about the unsustainable and harmful fishing practices that are damaging our waterways and ultimately us and the planet.
“At this point, across the planet, large pelagic predators, big fish, big shark, are being removed at a very high rate. So without a better international plan for management, there could be a time when there are parts of the ocean in which the trophic cascade has tipped so far that all you have is jellyfish in the sea.” Quote from Barbara Block, professor of Marine Sciences Evolutionary, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, at Stanford University
Whole portions of our oceans with no life but jellyfish and dead-zones in the Gulf of Mexico and other parts of the world from all the fertilizers and other contaminants used along the Mississippi Watershed and around the world are sad environmental impacts where humans are the responsible party.
“The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been 5,176 square miles, more than twice the 1,900 square mile goal set by the Gulf of Mexico / Mississippi River Watershed Nutrient Task Force in 2001 and reaffirmed in 2008.”
It can be daunting to be an informed consumer, but the article on PBS made reference to Seafood Watch, part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I found they have some great printable pocket guides to help you buy and consume safe, sustainably caught fish in your region. Here is the one I printed this morning for the West Coast.
About Seafood Watch:
“The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans. Our recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives,” and which ones you should “Avoid.””
At the grocery store the Environmental Defense Fund recommends you look for the “country-of-origin labeling” aka C.O.O.L labels to help you make informed decisions. They also have other information and tools on their site to help you be an informed consumer and make choices that are better for you, your family and the environment.
“Of some help to consumers is country-of-origin labeling (also known as C.O.O.L.). In place since 2005, this labeling requires that large retailers (such as supermarkets) selling fresh or frozen fish indicate the country the fish came from and whether it is wild-caught or farm-raised.”
Another problem of non sustainable fishing practices and some commercial fishing operations is “bycatch”;
The definition of bycatch, as stated in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, is:
“Fish which are harvested in a fishery, but which are not sold or kept for personal use, and includes economic discards and regulatory discards. Such term does not include fish released alive under a recreational catch and release fishery management program.“
In some cases, studies have shown for every one pound of shrimp caught in these unsustainable fishing operations SIX pounds of “bycatch” is discarded. From the Seafood Watch bycatch page:
“Many fisheries around the world throw away more fish than they keep. Some of the biggest offenders are shrimp fisheries. In the worst cases, for every pound of shrimp caught, up to six pounds of other species are discarded. And this incidental catch of unwanted or unsellable species, known as “bycatch,” doesn’t just include fish—turtles, seabirds and other animals also suffer.”
It can be hard to make informed choices and many times the healthier, environmentally friendlier options are more costly, but even with obstacles to making informed choices and cost I think it is worth the effort and the price to try. If we all don’t at least try this planet hasn’t any chance of sustaining us into the future.
Do you make environmentally influenced food choices?
I have lived in the city of Olympia for nearly 11 years now and I have to admit I barely know this city. My job has required that I travel a large part of the time and when I am off work I tend to either want to stay home and not interface with a bunch of people or I want to get out-of-town on vacation. It hasn’t left much time for me to get out and explore my own city.
So my summer resolution is to really get out there and discover Olympia. I am going to get out the local activities newspaper and check online and do all those things I would do when I go to a new city. I hate to admit this but I have never been to our museum, I have never been to a play or a concert here, I have only been to about a half-dozen of the 100’s of great restaurants here, I have never in 11 years attended Lake Fair(the big town shindig), I haven’t watched the fireworks over the lake on New Years or the 4th of July. I always hear the fireworks when I am home in bed with my dogs, but I’ve never gone to watch. So many other cool things to do here too that I don’t even know about I’m sure.
So in a salute to summer I will begin my discovery of home and will share what I learn and any tips I get from the locals as the summer rolls on.
Do you have a favorite way to discover a new city? If you are a local Olympian, what should I check out first?
I have really been enjoying writing and reading poetry recently and found this very cool blog with a variety of writers submitting their poems called the Poet’s Corner curated by Harry. Harry is retired and now has four different blogs that I can find including Poet’s Corner, it must keep him off the streets and out of the pubs.
I asked if I could submit a few of my poems and Harry has allowed me to participate. I have submitted three of my poems so far No Breath, Dad and Obligation Moon and have gotten a few likes for each. I have a couple of more that I am going to submit and am working on a couple of new ones too.
Do you write poems?
Did you know a new Poet Laureate was just name by the Library of Congress?
What is a poet laureate? Wikipedia describes the United States Library of Congress Poet Laureate, formerly the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress duties and remuneration;
“Laureates receive a US$35,000 stipend and are given the responsibility of overseeing an ongoing series of poetry readings and lectures at the library, and a charge to promote poetry. No other duties are specified, and laureates are not required to compose for government events or in praise of government officials. However, after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the then Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, was asked to write a poem to be read in front of a special joint session of Congress. Collins wrote “The Names” which he read on September 6, 2002, which is available in streaming audio and video..<..> When the $35,000 stipend was instituted, the amount was quite large and was intended to allow the poet laureate to abandon worries about earning a living and devote his or her time entirely to writing poetry. That amount has remained the same, so the intent of making it a nice living for a poet is no longer being fulfilled. Now it functions as a bonus for a poet who usually is teaching at a university and earns the bulk of his or her living that way.”
The newly minted American Poet Laureate is Charles Wright from the state of Tennessee. He and previous laureates are described in a New York Times article;
“Mr. Wright, who was born in Pickwick Dam, Tenn., not far from the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh, succeeds another Southerner, Natasha Trethewey. But Mr. Wright’s work — oblique meditations on “language, landscape and the idea of God,” as he once summed up his themes — could not be more different from Ms. Trethewey’s evocations of the forgotten African-American lives, or from the Whitmanesque poems about working-class Detroit by the previous laureate, Philip Levine.”
“Mr. Wright, 78, a retired professor at the University of Virginia, has already won just about every other honor in the poetry world, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.”
Until now I’ve never read Mr. Wright’s poetry nor to be honest heard of his work, which given his prolific writing and obvious success is sad. But now that I am writing a few poems and rhymes I feel compelled to seek some of his writing out along with that of the previous poet laureate’s. I like that our government is supporting this type of artist, even if it is very modestly in this age of big paychecks. I wish him luck and hope that he inspires a few more poets to start on their writing path.
Do you have a favorite poet?
For father’s day I will tell a tale,
of the man who tries hard without fail.
He has an artist flare and a linguist tongue,
he cures the back and is a proprietor for fun.
His father left when he was ten,
a father’s love that never began.
That father dropped by once, out of the blue,
no one knows why and why we never knew.
He worries a lot and pisses off a few,
some friends for life but only those who’ve paid their dues.
So much to do when he was young,
but there was always time to camp, and fish and run.
He has a hearty laugh and can tell a tale,
he knows everyone in town and can make a sale.
He can build a house and a make a home,
just never ask about the unfinished zone.
He has traveled far and near
enjoys his food and likes a Stella beer.
Always a friend to sweets,
tiramisu is a favorite treat.
A day with dad I’ll always remember,
we fished all day at the rivers edge one cold September.
No work for him, no school for me,
a lovely memory it will forever be.
I recently spent the day visiting my 86 year old grandfather. He told me about his winter in Arizona, his plans for fishing trips and a cruise to Alaska over the summer and the goings on of my little brother. It was a fun, relaxed conversation until we touched on the subject of my grandmother. I mentioned that I had had a dream about her the night before, likely because I knew I was driving up to see him the next day. In my dream my grandma was younger, probably the age she was when I was a little girl, younger than I am now. She was giving me advise and telling me what not to do and that she was glad I had visited. His eyes darted away, but he told me that sometimes he dreams she is still there in the house with him on nights when he is in a deep sleep. He seemed a bit sad and changed the subject, but it was a lovely little glimpse behind the man that is always so stoic.
We also talked about some of the trips he had taken with grandma. One trip was on a rickety train from Arizona to some resort in Mexico where the train was so rocky and the tracks so poorly maintained that the train rocked and rolled, you had to wear seat belts in the beds and you couldn’t even walk from one train car to another because it was just too dangerous. He also told me about trips to Hawaii in the good old days where you could golf all week for a $100 and all their friends came over with tee-times every day, evening cocktail hours and days spent at the beach.
He told me about some of the work he had done as a young man, advise he was given by his bosses. He told me about his first car, a model T that he suped-up with a new engine that made it go so fast that if you turned the corner too quickly the wheels would come off.
He fixed lunch for me; homemade clam chowder and a tuna sandwich with red velvet cake for dessert. Grandpa is a wonderful cook, his clam chowder and oyster stew are so good and no one in the world smokes a salmon like him.
I am so thankful for his good health and his positive attitude. I feel lucky for everyday I get to spend with him. It’s sad that I waited this long, but I am trying to ask those questions that are sometimes hard to ask and to talk about those things we share even when it can be a difficult conversation.
Have you been waiting to have those conversations? Are you figuring there will always be tomorrow?
I was recently waiting for my plane to board at the Omaha airport and overheard a little boy who was maybe 7 or 8 speaking to his mother on the phone while he and his dad were waiting for their flight to depart.
He spoke to his mom about the usual things; “We saw a boat,” “We drove really far,” “Dad bought me a toy” and “We just ate a cheese burger and fries.” But then he asked his mom about his dog, Cooper, was his name. “Where is Cooper?” he asked. Then he asked the cutest thing; “Mom can you put the phone near him so that he could hear him snore“. He was quite for a few moments, apparently listening to his dog snore, and then he spoke again; “It’s nice to know I’ve got a dog waiting for me at home” “He’s going to jump all over me“. He giggled a little and then said “Okay, bye” and hung up the phone.
It was so touching to hear his voice change when he spoke about his beloved Cooper; getting a little bit quiet with a giant smile on his face. I don’t know what kind of dog Cooper is, but in my mind he is a frenchie like my Maddie(pictured above) because there is no sweeter sound than her happy resting snore and no one I am happier to come home too(well besides my husband, of course).