Monday, February 28, 2011

being in the mix and turning 36

sorry ... i simply couldn't help myself. had to find a rhyming word that worked with 36. probably because we've been reading lots of rhyming bedtime stories. also just because its fun. after all, at 36, sitting at my grown-up work desk and making my way through emails and quietly going through the alphabet looking for THE word that rhymes with 36 just so i could type this up. yep! maturity comes with age, doesn't it?

actually, my birthday weekend has been wonderful. it started out with walking into my office on friday morning and bursting into laughter because our student workers put a lot of time and energy into making my office festive after i left on thursday afternoon. american flags, christmas stockings and st. patrick's day garland kept me laughing throughout the day on friday! have i mentioned that students workers are super-fun energy in an office? well, they are!

friday nights have been date nights for panda and i. shortstack typically spends fridays at papa and gma's house so that he can get spoiled which means that panda and i have some time to spend together focused on ourselves and each other. typically date night ends up with both of us asleep by 8:30 ... yep! we're party animals!! this past friday, we attempted to stir things up and bit and aimed to stay awake until at least 9:00. heeheehee ... we made it ... barely! went for a stroll around kapiolani park and waikiki beach. now, i have a confession to make. being a local girl, growing up in kailua, we - as rule of thumb - stayed away from waikiki for the most part. we would enjoy going down to kapiolani park to enjoy a sunset picnic every once in a while, but we stayed away from tourist central. on the other hand, panda is a kaimuki girl. she worked in and enjoys waikiki so, when we got together, i found myself being introduced to daily life and enjoyment of life near, in and around waikiki. i wish that i had the camera with me when we went for our stroll ~ the sunset was AMAZING!! every so often i get a screaming-loud reminder why this state is considered paradise.

now, i'm not a big birthday person. i like them quiet, small and fanfare-less. so my birthday weekend was "practically perfect in every way" (if you know that quote, then you are definitely a friend of mine!). saturdays are "get-things-done" days. costco run, cooking, cleaning, entertaining ... BUT they are also the FIRST day of the weekend which means the FIRST day of weekend coffee!! so, i think explanation may be needed here. as you may have inferred by now, i am a coffee addict (which a freely, shamelessly and loudly admit). weekday coffee (monday, 12 AM through friday, 6 PM) is strong, black and usually set to automatically start brewing at 5:15 AM. weekend coffee is a different story altogether! it's still strong, but weekends (typically saturdays and sundays - except for those sweet and rare 3 or 4 day weekends) mean coffee in all its fun manifestations! coffee with flavored creamers, coffee drinks - hot and cold, coffee with sugar, iced coffee (usually AM leftovers) with whipped cream! and then of course, the delivery and consumption of weekend coffee - HUGE coffee cups, multiple servings of HUGE coffee cups, coffee while lingering over conversation and yummy breakfasts, coffee while beach walking, coffee in my pjs with no rush to get changed ... OH!! the LOVE of weekend coffee! so, where was i going with this? oh yeah! saturday morning started with weekend coffee at kalapawai market in kailua town (gotta review this later! because it is a gem of kailua!!) picked up shortstack, did the requisite costco run, picked up a fish tank (again, more on this later!) and made it home and started cooking. you see, saturday night was a special night for me ... hanai cousins of mine who i haven't seen in 15 years were coming over. yep! FIFTEEN years! tough to believe. so i, of course, wanted to make a killer meal. and, because panda had mexican from our fave mexi place on friday for lunch, i had mexi on the mind. so chx enchiladas and serve-yourself-taco bar was on the menu. for those of you who know me, i LOVE my kitchen! i ADORE spending time puttering, creating, attempting recipes in my little slice of heaven of our home. for the most part, i think that panda and shortstack tend to enjoy the fruits of that labor. but on saturday afternoon, i found myself giving panda a look of horror as she naively asked: why do you make food that takes so long to cook? i swear, my mouth dropped open and i was speechless. yep! SPEECHLESS!! funny thing is, she was sincerely being concerned about me. you see, i'm supposed to be writing my thesis. and, for some reason, my thesis chair has charged panda with kicking my a$$ into sitting down and really writing and panda thought that i would quickly throw food together for saturday night dinner and then spend the rest of the afternoon really writing. oops! saturday night with the cousins was a BLAST! it's fun to catch up after years of absence in each other's lives. partly because we have the hanabata day history and we know what we WERE like ... and now, well, we're supposedly grown up ... there's a new generation in this hanai family (namely shortstack who seems to ADORE all the attention from the aunties), we have jobs, partners, experiences, bills ... all the fun stuff! and we're different ... our relationships, experiences, thoughts, schooling ... all of it ... has changed us. but deep down, we're still the little snot-nosed cousins that gave each other a hard time, banded together at family gatherings and keep each other entertained throughout our childhood. so, in many ways, it was fitting to revisit that piece of my past before watching another year of my life begin.

i cana't wait to share my birthday day events with you all ... and my thoughts on being 36 ... but i have a small-kine travel hiccup for my business trip that needs attention, so i guess i'll get that taken care of and catch up with y'all later ...

have yourself a beautiful day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

with liberty and justice FOR ALL!

every night we have a bedtime ritual with shortstack ... a little bit of story time, bedtime prayers and then the pledge of allegiance. now, the pledge is a bit entertaining on several levels for me ... first of all, if you've ever heard a 5 year old say the pledge, you'd have a little smile on your face too. secondly, panda is not from the US ... the fact that she isn't and the fact that i am unabashedly ethnocentric makes the entertained smile on my face even bigger! but last night, when i curled around my little boy and said the pledge, i did so with a HUGE, PROUD smile on my face. why, you may ask? because yesterday, the governor of hawaii signed into law SB 232. this law legalizes civil unions no matter the sex of the partners. HOLLA!! yep! i live in one of the seven states that have recognized that liberty and justice is TRULY a right for ALL ... EVERYONE!

to make the day even more momentous, our president has declared DOMA unconstitutional. my lord! dare i hope to believe that my government is realizing that they need not be concerned that i plan to marry another woman because she is the person that i want standing with me through this life? so, yes, my friends ... yesterday was a banner day ... my state and my country loudly proclaimed that i am also deserving of liberty and justice ... as is my soon-to-be-wife.

so, i can assure you, i will continue to say the pledge of allegiance with a smile on my face ... not only one of entertainment, but also one of pride.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

if i have to wake you up one more time ...

... i CAN'T believe that those words come out of MY mouth. after all, i am the least likely person in my house to be the first one awake, first one functional, first one moving and completing morning tasks ... but this morning, I AM!!! heeheeheehee ... seriously! let me explain a bit for those who don't intimately know me. i am NOT a morning person ... in fact, i personally believe that mornings are a STUPID idea (cue shortstack saying "mama, 'stuipid' is a BAD word!"). yes, you read me correctly ... mornings are stupid. i don't wake up happy or in a good mood - no matter how much sleep i get. but this morning, something's different ... i'm the first one up. as i sit here typing this, i've inhaled my cheerios, had my first shot of caffeine, browsed through my favorite blogs (refer to left-hand tool bar), woke panda up twice, woke shortstack up four times and now i sit with two sleepy (grumpy) heads across the table from me ... AHHHH!!! morning rituals!!

first-morning(s)-of-the-week (usually mondays - but there are the rare tuesday-first-morning(s)-of-the-week such as this week) are tough around this house. besides the fact that we LOVE our weekends. and that some of us are VERY opinionated about mornings, the first-morning-of-the-week means that we jump back into an exhausting schedule that combines, long commutes (well, as long as you can have on o'ahu), work at two institutions, kindergarten (and kindergarten homework!), mama's school (ugh- stats!), thesis writing, daily chores, miscellaneous meetings and appointments (panda is hitting up an AYSO spring meeting tonight and mama has multiple doc appts tomorrow), bath time, laundry time, cooking meal (oh ... so THAT'S what the stove is for), unpacking (STILL) ... well, you get the picture ... the first-morning-of-the-week means that all of that starts and speeds up and we get run over by our days. but, it also means that we're well on our way to the last-day-of-the-week (YAY!!!) which means i get to spend my lazy weekend days hanging with my favorite peeps, cooking made-up recipes and enjoying time forgetting about all the things we need to do. yep!! so, although it's a rough and tumble frist-day-of-the-week morning ... we're one day closer to the thank-the-lord-its-about-time-last-day-of-the-week afternoon!

here's to hoping that all of you have a good one!

Friday, February 18, 2011

this moment

this moment
inspired by soulemama.
"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

love is love ...

this past summer, panda and i took a trip to CA. we did a quick wine tasting jaunt to temecula with my beautiful aunty jean. besides enjoying (and purchasing) a tad bit of yummy wines, i did a lot of window shopping as well! (yes, baby ... i said window shopping!!) panda came across this hand-painted frame (a bit out of the willing-to-pay price range) and i fell in love with it. SO, i did the next best thing to purchasing it ... i took a picture of it so that i could recreate it when i came home ... or at least pass on this pearl of wisdom ...

LOVE knows no border,
be it place,
or time.
Love is Love

this is it my friends ... LOVE IS LOVE ... and no one has the right to impose their ideal of validation or approval on it if it is a non-harmful, consenting relationship between two adults. throughout the past two years, as hawaii has been embroiled in a contentious and polarizing debate about civil unions and same-sex relationships, i have heard ridiculous rhetoric that compares same-sex relationships to unequal and harmful relationships between adults and children, people and animals, polygamists (which, although i think is an unhealthy and insane type of relationship, i don't necessarily think it should be illegal ... as long as the partners are consenting adults. yes people, i am a feminist ... and i do think that there is an inherent power play within these types of relationships). i repeatedly hear that legalizing same-sex marriage will ruin the institution and morality of marriage, our children will be harmed, families need a mother and a father ... SERIOUSLY ... well peeps, listen up ...
1) i don't subscribe to your sense of morality
2) if my marriage to my wife messes up your marriage with your husband/wife, then honey ... your relationship was screwed up in the first place
3) the institution of marriage is FAR from perfect ... what is our divorce rate now? still over 50%? if the federal government still refuses to legalize same-sex marriag, then it is time to outlaw divorce
4) my child is doing just fine! in fact, he's doing better now than he ever has. after all ... let's remember that my heterosexual partner with whom i conceived my child left our long-term relationship and i was a single mother for ... oh, the whole time until my relationship with panda. shortstack now sees before him the model of whole, true, honest and healthy relationship that is inclusive of him and encourages him to - above all - be honest about and to himself and live his truth.
5) nope - families don't need a mother and a father ... they need to be constructed with love and honesty and inclusive of all who is welcomed into the family. they need to be a healthy haven from the storms of life and they need to provide stability, structure and protection ... i guarantee that having one person with a vagina and one person with a penis heading that family does not a healthy family make!

YOU don't get to say who, when, why, how I get to love or live ... so shut up!!

OUR love, OUR family, OUR marriage ...
NONE of your business!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

will you civil union me?

CHEE HOO!!!  i am so proud of my state today!! we have just received word that Hawaii has reached two MAJOR milestones in LGBTQ rights:

1) the honorable Sabrina McKenna has been confirmed to hawaii's highest court. she is an open and out lesbian who has a long-time relationship with her partner with whom she has several children
2) civil unions for all gay and het couples have been approved by the legislature and is moving on to the governor for his signature into law

whether or not people agree about whether or not LGBTQ marriage is "moral", i believe that any rational person must recognize that - if you remove the religious lens - LGBTQ couples cannot rightfully be denied the right to marriage. i am somewhat in shock that we have finally achieved a previously-unknown level of equality. my family and i will be celebrating tonight! i hope that you will join us ...

maeve, artemis, diana, ishtar

maeve: "honor the cycles of your body, energy levels and emotions"
artemis: "you and your loved ones are safe and spiritually protected"
diana: "keep your unwavering thoughts, feelings, and actions focused on your target, and you will make your mark"
ishtar: "love yourself enough to say no to others' demands on your time and energy"

i believe unquestionably in the higher powers of this world and beyond. i believe that there are unknown and unnamed powers that have a hand in life and living. i also believe that within us are echoes of those powers that be and we have the ability to connect our internal wisdom to those unknown powers. and so i search for a multitude of ways to touch the fount of powers and wisdom by looking for the messages and guidance that is passed to and through us on a daily basis. this morning, after sending my family on their way, i took a few minutes to see what my lovely goddesses were telling me ... and so the ladies who ended up at my table all had important messages and thoughts for me to reflect on as i move through my day ...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

sometimes coffee just ain't enough ...

i hate to say it, but sometimes, my morning cup of coffee just isn't enough to make me fit for human consumption. this morning that definitely is the case!! it was one of those "another day is here but i want to refuse to get out of bed - but hafta because keeping the shortstack home from school is not an option (neither is not going to work) - thank god that panda can deal with shortstack's grumpiness - throw frozen waffles into the toaster oven and hope they warm through before they end up on the plate - why doesn't the coffee maker make coffee fast enough - fine! i'll eat and talk even though i just want to go back to bed - get dressed TWO times for work because what i chose the first time is only fit for staying in bed - FINE! i will get in the car and drive but i won't like it - i absolutely love my family because they know when they are better off blowing me kisses rather than approaching the beast - and finally ... yes! i have made it to work and am at my desk !! now what am i supposed to be accomplishing today??"

and so my coffee cup is getting lighter, my computer's buzzing, morning paperwork is stacked neatly in front of me (camouflaged by my cat-in-the-hat lunch bag so that i can pretend - at least for a few more minutes - that i don't have to behave in a socially acceptable way today). guess it's time to face the world ... and hope that coffee will somehow work its magic and make me a bearable human being today. otherwise, a warning to the wise - beware! i'm grumpy because coffee just ain't enough so far today!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

a lovely day of love ...

i'm not a lover of valentine's day ... in fact, i have always found it quite ironic that lovers need to single out one day to remind their other halves that they are loved. nope! not for me!! besides, paying 600% more for flowers that will die within days anyhow seems absolutely stupid to me!!

don't get me wrong ... i'm not a pessimist when it comes to love itself ... in fact, just the opposite is true! it is simply impossible for me to not believe in love when i am surrounded by it EVERY DAY. my beautiful woman and precious son definitely make the first sleepy-eyed morning moments much more bearable with hugs and kisses - all before the first hits of coffee make their way into my system ... yep!! THAT is true love!!

but i've definitely come to realize that mama-hood requires some unforeseen and completely unexpected sacrifices ... such as celebrating ridiculous holidays and there for perpetuating the insanity of valentine's day in all future generations! thankfully, i have a woman who also finds the valentines day hoopla more than a little insane. so, when shortstack came home with a list of names of his fellow classmates the week before valentines day, we realized that there is an unspoken, implicit expectation that we will celebrate inane holidays simply because the majority of people do. and, to make matters crazier, shortstack was TOTALLY jazzed about valentines day ... so there we were, having to figure out what type of goodies can we put together to celebrate a commercial day of love without feeding into the ridiculousness of it ... *enter my brilliant woman* yep! she is truly brilliant ... "what about post-it notes and pencils?" reading it, it seems unexciting ... but you need to take a moment and see the brilliance of this idea ... we are celebrating valentines because shortstack super wants to, but we don't feed into the commercial insanity by purchasing packaged valentines cards, candies, anything with hearts on it (which, by the way, i am horribly opposed to heart-shaped objects ... it think that they look stupid ... but that's just my little opinion)! so off we went and created 20 little goodie bags with colored post-it notes and mechanical pencils ... no sugar highs can be contributed to our goodie bags of love!!! woohoo!! celebrating this crazy day of love ain't that bad.

so, what did i do to show our shortstack how much he is loved?? we woke him up with a special breakfast of somewhat-heart-shaped pancakes. i guess, until he's old enough to realize that real hearts really aren't shaped like this "<3" then i'll humor him and cupid. all of that aside, it doesn't hurt to remind my family that they are loved and cherished ... i just hope that i will never have to depend on this one day of the year to do so ...

this is how we roll in the apls home ...

this is how everyday love looks to me ...