After reading A Brief History of Avoiding Exercise by Amanda Foreman in the Wall Street Journal (February 22-23, 2014 weekend issue, page C12) this morning prompted me to try the “mapping” technique that my students in English 100-Composition are using. Foreman’s essay named literary authors like Charles Dickens, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who used walking as a way of keeping fit, even in the snow.
Thinking that this was a good example of an informative essay, I let my mind wander, and imagined what topic I could come up with after being influenced by the author’s writing.
My mind came upon shopping carts. First, an abandoned shopping cart on Welakahao Street, Kihei, Maui came into my thoughts. The poor thing traveled blocks from Longs Drugs-the identifiable label still obvious on its faded green placard. I’d say Welakahao and Longs are about a mile or more apart in distance.
Second, I indulged deeper into my imagination and felt the cart that I pushed in the days of shopping at Ooka Super Market in Wailuku. They were about the same size.
When the first Safeway opened in Kahului sometime in the late 20th century, I was distraught. I felt they were prejudiced against short people. Their carts were huge-made for giants. The handle came up to my chest, and as I pushed it, I felt like an undersized female-which I am. So I stopped shopping there. I wasn’t comfortable in their store, so why should I give them my money. I continued my shopping at Ooka’s until they went out of business.
Third, Costco has the same large shopping baskets. That’s so a shopper can fill his/her cart with hundreds of dollars worth of produce, gadgets, clothing, books, and snacks. David and I do it all the time. Therefore, it is a challenge for me, which I purposely take sometimes, to enter Costco, and walk out with one item in my hand. It takes self-control. It makes me feel that I haven’t surrendered to the wiles of consumerism, and I exercised. Try finding a parking space close to the entrance.
Lastly, Safeway now has three stores on Maui, the recent one opened last year-2013. I haven’t been in this store, and probably won’t need to. Costco’s shopping carts does all for me what Safeway’s did then. At least Costco prices are competitive.
So how did an article on exercise lead me to shopping carts? Who knows? That’s the miracle of mapping.
P.S. How to map-Write a topic in the middle of a piece of paper. Draw a circle around it. When other ideas appear, write them down and draw circles around them, too. Keep doing this until there’s enough ideas to prompt an essay. Connect the circles together to organize a thesis.
raw sea urchin roe
After a rainy week on Maui, David and I decided on a walk near the ocean to watch the waves roll in, and witness the sun sink behind them. We would also have drinks and pupu, if we could find a place that his wallet would respond to gracefully. If you know South Maui, you know that’s almost impossible. If you know David, well, he’s cheap.
On our way to Mulligan’s (which is not oceanside) David turned his truck around, shifted into second gear, and turned left into the exclusive Andaz Resort. David knows one of the developers, so he promised to make a visit. How could I complain?
Few minutes later, we drove out of Andaz’ entrance, and parked at the publick beach right next door. From there, we walked along the public walking path until we reached a sign that said, Welcome to Andaz.
The second sign of welcome was the open-air bar at Morimoto Maui located left of the first of many cascading pools. A matured couple with finesse sat at a table, but the small intimate bar was unoccupied. Shelves of colorful liquor, various shaped glasses and other paraphernalia took up the valuable sunset view between us, and the sea. We chose the two stools at the end with a partial view of the expansive lawn, the required set of palm trees, and a bit of ocean. We could maybe see a sliver of sunset, too, if we stayed long enough.
We ordered some drinks and investigated the sushi menu. Uni sushi happens to be our favorite; we can never leave a sushi bar without consuming this delicacy-sea urchin roe. With the bartender’s advice, we ordered two types of uni-one piece made with roe plucked out of Santa Barbara, CA’s coast, and the other from the waters of Japan. (Exactly what part of Japan? The Pacific is one big current, why bother asking about the radiation content?) We also ordered a roll of spicy hamachi tuna to fill our empty stomachs.
My Frog’s Leap Sauvingon Blanc was excitingly fresh and crisp, and David’s Bombay gin martini was fine, he says. I could feel my body unwind.
All of a sudden, a squall from out of nowhere dumped huge raindrops into the bar, drenching everything in its way, except us. The staff immediately shut the extensive French Doors, and rolled down the opaque screens. There went our sunset, but we were dry.
Our sushi arrived; small delicate portions that were already burning a hole on his American Express. We surrendered to the hamachi first. My taste buds remembered the silky texture and buttery flavor to hamachi, unlike other tuna. It is better without the spice.
We admired the uni, giving it several seconds to internally praise its existence, and then discussed who was going to have which one. I suggested we take a bite of each, although I knew from experience that this is not the way to eat sushi. One must eat sushi whole, acknowledge the artistry of the sushi chef, and then indulge in its sexual connotations. Anyway, we did as I suggested. The partially eaten end on its white plate looked as if we had discarded second thoughts. Not so.
The Japanese uni tasted like clean ocean water, not too briny. If you’ve ever swallowed salt water by mistake, you can appreciate this delicate and subtle taste of prime uni. The Santa Barbara uni was familiar to me. The bartender informed us that that’s the uni most sushi bars serve. In other words, it’s the common variety. The Japanese uni is only served at places like this one-Morimoto Maui. OK, he essentially hinted that I don’t have a sophisticated palette. I get it.
I was unimpressed with the Japanese uni. No excitement, no metaphorical tendencies toward liver. Whoa! I like liver. But if you don’t, then you may like the uni from the colder waters of Japan.
As for the bill, well, the education was worth it.
I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready for Bruno Mars on Super Bowl 2014, and I definitely wasn’t ready for the news of Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead…all on the same day.
Back in the 70s, on a little island in the Pacific, smaller than Maui, my first professional job in a career any young impressionable woman would have coveted, came my way. It was a dream come true, although in real life, it was hardly glamourous. The first day was already scheduled with practice and sound checks. No time for a nap or food. Our first appearance was that evening. It was quite daunting. I had no self-confidence, and no one told me it was going to be WORK!
That was three months of serious singing, homesickness, friendless days and nights, and boredom.
So when I saw Bruno Mars on Super Bowl 2014, I congratulated him for being there (in my mind, of course). It’s not easy to be in front of the world, beautiful and unprotected. His agent did well, too. That venue gave Bruno 2.2 million Tweets, and I hear his Oahu concerts sold out overnight, and three more are added. What a guy. Wish I had that chance. Nah, not really. I wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t ready to lose Philip Seymour Hoffman. I sound like I knew him. Hoffman played vulnerable people on screen, I related to every emotion he conjured up to become that character.
Whenever I saw his name, I knew that movie was worth the ticket. I regret never seeing him on stage. Now that Hoffman is no longer alive, I will never get to see another thrilling and inspiring performance. In an interview, he said he was never called “cute.” However, he was very loved. Maybe he didn’t hear that word, love, enough.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, you were one of the most talented actors in our lifetime, possibly in the history of screen and stage. I send my love to your spirit as it transforms into the elements of ourselves.
Bruno Mars, I hope that you will be mindful of your courage, and brave the insecurities that come with being so talented and so famous.
As ArtMaui 2014 approaches, I am in a frenzy about which piece I should submit. Since I wasn’t able to submit one last year, I readied myself for this year by creating early and painting more frequently.
As we artists know, masterpieces don’t come everyday. I’m trying an old technique, therefore, I’m experimenting again. Too late. Submission date is next month.
One year, my beautiful piece made Art Maui, and a friend complained, not a close friend but we’ve known each other through the decades. He said art should give a message; reflect the local culture, reflect the world. He was disappointed-no angry, because I didn’t do that with my beautiful painting…I didn’t say something worthwhile.
I haven’t forgotten what he said. I don’t know if he was a dead person appearing to me in daylight, because truthfully, I haven’t seen him around for years. Would someone in their right mind actually say that to an artist whose piece was just picked for ArtMaui? I guess so. Besides, my first art teacher said something very similar-art is not about painting beautiful pictures.
So every year since then, I ponder if I’m saying something through the piece I’ve painted. I fight with subject, style, medium, palette. I lose sleep over the cost of framing. It’s not easy being an artist.
That’s the thing about being an artist. Our work continuously evolves. If not, we become stale and we’re painting, just for the money maybe, because it works. That’s my problem. When something does work for me, I get bored and I forget that it is working. I forget that I can make a living off art.
I experiment to meet a challenge it seems. It changes me. I want to say I change when I get an urge, but the urge is really the growing that wells up in my soul.
Anyway, no one knows that the next piece is an experiment. That’s not the gist of it. The truth is, can I say something?
It’s this weather that makes me not want to leave the house.
I was clueless about the wind, rain and chill until 5:30 this morning when I went downstairs to brew coffee. The chill blew right threw our screened window and hit my face. It’s 66 degrees on Maui, windy, wet and cold. Ha, ha, you laugh. 66 degrees.
Should I get dressed for Pilates or stay here and write? I had coffee, read more of Beth Kephart’s handling the truth, and thought about my writing students at UHMaui College. That prompted me to sit at my desk and computer. To warm up, I answered emails, charged my cellphone, and checked the weather in Utah.
Then I went to Pilates. I figured if I was gonna spend the rest of the day at my computer, I better get some exercise. However, It’s now 5:00 p.m. and this is the first time I’ve had a chance to write since I got back from Pilates. I had to unpack our edible items.
We had our house fumigated last weekend, and majority of the taped-up bags needed unpacking. It’s what, Tuesday? I had misplaced a container of spices, so that’s what prompted the unpacking. I would have waited until I missed something else before I unpacked the rest of the bags, but since I was at it, I may as well get it all done. Unpacking is time-consuming.
First, the items are bagged twice. Each bag is sealed with duct tape. Being resourceful, I didn’t just want to cut open the reusable bags. I carefully undid the duct tape. Have you ever unstuck duct tape that is taped together? Not fun. Second, I had to clean the shelves before I returned the household items to their places. I dislike housecleaning. (But I do it because I can’t afford a housekeeper, and I like a clean house.)
I’ve finally come to a conclusion that I don’t like unpacking.
I takes me days to unpack after any trip. As soon as I get home, I’m on my schedule, pronto. So mostly everything stays in the suitcase until I need it. The less motions I make, the more time I have on the important things. So here’s my One Step Unpacking Hint: Take out what you need when you need it. Then put it away.
I went through the archives just to see how far back I started blogging, and I surprised myself. This blog started in 2009. Mostly with irregular postings, but this blog seems to pull me back in each year. I guess it’s because I like to write.
Before I started writing today, I visited other blogs to see what the authors were doing–mainly promoting their books. I am writing another book, and I will probably do the same when it’s ready for public viewing, but for now I’ll just jabber.
Last night, or should I say early this morning, at 2:45 a.m., the neighbor’s dog started barking. It was raining, and he/she was probably tethered to a post outside. Anyway, the dog woke me up, and there were a few rugged moments where I wanted to get out of bed and scream out the window, “Take care of your dog, or give it away!” But I didn’t. I figured, hey, there are other neighbors too. I’m not the only one that’s pissed.
Sure enough, in the middle of the barking, a big “thump” exploded-like something was being thrown against a wall. It stopped the dog’s barking momentarily, but not enough to stop him/her completely. The dog started up again, and then human voices rose. That’s when I thought, OK, the problem is solved.
But I couldn’t get back to sleep.
At 6:00 a.m., David and his buddies set their 3-man paddling canoe on his truck’s racks and off they went…to the ocean…in the rain…to paddle along the coast of Kihei. They do this every other day, and it sorta gives me a sense of security. I know the sun is about to rise. The men are active. I am cozy in my bed. And the neighbor’s dog is quiet.
That’s when I fell back to sleep.
How do you know when that person really likes you? Even after 14 years of living together, and making it over those bumps that every relationship encounters in the beginning.
At the condo where we stayed last night, a wide, full length mirror is located in the hallway, and faces right into the bathroom when the door opens. I didn’t realize the mirror was there until I opened the door and saw me looking at myself. My image wasn’t too bad the first time I saw myself. We had just arrived, and my hair was combed and I was dressed.
This morning, though, I saw my unkempt self. Hair like Einstein, black mascara smeared under my eyes and buck-naked. At 64, the image can be frightening. Don’t forget the unbrushed teeth from the night before, too. So I stood there for a moment, analyzing my image. I chuckled and thought to myself, G–, he must really like me to accept me like this.
I’ve been in yoga and Pilates classes for over three years now. For a long while, my body didn’t seem to acknowledge the muscle stretches and tummy exercises that three days a week supposed to do to strengthen and tighten my muscles. Then around my birthday in November, I thought, you know, I’m going to stop eating baked goods like croissants, cakes, pies and cookies. Guess what happened? My body started changing-quickly. My muscle tone had improved since I started classes, but I felt and saw that the access bloating disappeared when I stopped eating flour and sugar together. During the holidays, I refrained from desserts so I was able to fit into my stretch jeans after I returned from my Christmas vacation. Wow, what a revelation. Stop eating sweets.
I love to cook and eat. My partner does too. He doesn’t complain when the constant cookie supply suddenly diminishes, but he is very glad when the cookie jar is full. So I will continue to keep the cookies in the jar, refrain from eating them myself so hopefully the supply lasts longer. But I’ve been analyzing his body, too.
This morning I suggested we go on a diet. (My image in the mirror compelled me to do it.) He scoffed at the idea, but he didn’t say no. There are areas on my body that I’ve been trying to trim down for for years, years! And now that I see improvement, I want to continue improving. He is almost 70. So by the time his birthday comes around, he ought to be looking great.
That’s why he likes me.
I always wondered what a blog was for. Why does one keep a blog? The other questions pertaining to how, when, where, and who seem to come into place when the what and why are answered.
A blog is a place to write, especially for writers. (Actually, that made more sense to me after reading a page from handling the truth by Beth Kephart). Mind you, I started this blog a few years ago and never paid too much attention to it. But because I am a memoirist, Kephart’s words truly pulled me out of the fog. Sometimes the truth isn’t so clear when it is in front of one’s nose. My nose is not that large.
Why should I write? Why am I here again after a quiet year? I noticed I posted something in 2013. Because I want to continue being a good writer, and this blog seems like a good place to be.
How should I write? Well, with my own voice. No matter if there is someone to read and respond. However, I am keeping you in mind as my audience. You should reply if you’re reading this. It does help.
I’ll work to make blogging a daily habit. You notice I am not being hard on myself. I could have said, “I will make this a daily habit.” That’s too much of a commitment.
When and how much should I write? I don’t know. Whatever feels good on that day. I promise to add this to my Bookmarks, though. Where? Well, for instance, I am not at home right now. Our house is being fumigated and we are staying in a resort condo a few blocks from where we live. I am calling it a “staycation”, cute word. My vision of this studio condo was a small, dark, unfriendly place. But when we slipped our card key into the slot and opened the door, the condo was fairly roomy, well lit, and very people friendly. Clean, nice furnishings and quiet. Last night, I sat at the round glass dining room table and corrected essay papers. And now I am blogging on my computer through my new Hot Spot.
The Hot Spot is very new. Just a week old. I am amazed that we are getting on our hotspots without too much trouble. It is a new learning experience for two people over 60. David will be 70 in April. It takes patience. One day I can be on one device, and the next day the hotspot requires another. I was with Customer Support for over an hour this morning, trying to figure out why his wasn’t working properly. Then when his worked, mine didn’t. So it was another 30 minutes of figuring that out without Customer Support. Trial and error.
What do I write about? Hotspots, for one. I recall working with hotspots when I managed a vacation condo website years ago. I never understood them then, but they’re also not the same as the hotspot I’m referring to now. But I’ll leave it at that. The important thing is-I am on a hotspot right now delivering this post on my continuing blog.
My goodness. I have another blog. This one.
I don’t use this one often, but if you are here please go to http://www.rightfulidentity/wordpress.com/
and use this tag #tomooc to find the right blogs for How To Teach Online.
When I was a teenager–when Maui had only three hotels, when hula moves were created for tourists, when I didn’t realize the words had deeper meaning–I danced without soul.
After four years of hula classes-at my age-over 60, I realize the beauty and meaning of hula. Hula is moving poetry.
When I dance, I visualize what the words are saying, and I become the hula.
It was a whirlwind vacation, planned months ahead and set on seeing the Southwest again. I had been away too long. A friend, Carol, and I spent six nights in Santa Fe, New Mexico, just enough time to soak in some opera, walk through the annual Indian Market and cruise nearby towns. And oh yes, we bought stuff and ate at some really good restaurants.
The Santa Fe Opera presents a new season every year for two months in the summer. This year, we saw Charles Gounod’s Faust, Antonio Vivaldi’s Griselda and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Last Savage. The other two operas were Giocomo Puccini’s La Boheme and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.
I am a novice at opera, but I love the entire theater experience-its music, voices, costumes and the set. Sometimes the plot is overly ridiculous or tedious, but I remind myself that these operas were written in another century. It really helps when an interpreter screen is built in behind every seat such as it is at the Santa Fe Opera House.
The opera house is semi-opened to the weather’s elements. There are slivers of horizon on either side of the stage that allow glorious golds, brilliant scarlets and deep purples to illuminate behind silver clouds at sunset, fading just as the stage lights appear.
Twice while a diva and divo(?) sang their arias about heart break and grief, thunder and lightning exploded from the sky as if cued. One wonders what music does to the weather.
The weather cleared up during the day for Indian Market. Native American tribes from New Mexico and surrounding states come together to show and sell their crafts for two days in August. The Old Town in Santa Fe allows walking traffic only, and the vendors set up tables on the sidewalks and in the Eldorado Hotel. Spectators stroll grandly, wearing their enormous turquoise and silver jewelry from past markets. The buying is usually vigorous, but this year seemed quiet-possibly due to the recession.
I was disappointed at the contrasting prices and quality of the wares this year. A pink shell one strand necklace, each shell beautifully matched, made by a seasoned jeweler went for $100. A pink shell three strand necklace on the street cost $35 by a younger vendor. I couldn’t tell the difference up close, but the extreme prices prevented me from purchasing one. Do not misunderstand, there were a handful of artisans that made beautiful work. I couldn’t resist a pair of silver, onyx, turquoise and colored stone earrings handmade by Navajo Gerald Begay. His work was among the best I saw this year. Carol could not help herself either. She owns a delightful silver dragon fly with turquoise crafted by the same artist.
Among the pieces that I wished I had bought but did not, was a fetish carved from pink coral. It was of a woman and a little child standing back to back to each other. It touched my heart, but it couldn’t reach my wallet.
Aside from spending money, we visited Abiquiu where Georgia O’Keefe found inspiration for her paintings. We had lunch at the Abiquiu Inn where the trout was excellent. That may be the only restaurant in Abiquiu. Robert Redford dropped in for a toilet stop the last time I ate there…2002.
I needed one more glimpse of Cerro Pedernal, a flat top butte in Northern New Mexico. This formation gives me spiritual energy every time I am near it-but never close enough.
Our last full day was spent in Taos, New Mexico. Very quaint and laid-back, the town was very quiet. Some shops and restaurants had changed hands or left completely. A historical site, Taos Inn, no longer sold caps. Its Adobe Bar that served famous margaritas was empty. I was sad. Taos had lost its spriteful energy, but hopefully not for long. We had lunch at Doc Martin’s, and my local beet salad was refreshing.
We drove to the Taos Pueblo. Our guide was a young man by the name of Cameron. Carol remembers his last name, I don’t. He attended the University of Hawai`i for a couple of years and absorbed himself in ethnic studies. He then realized that he needed to return to his Taos roots. I could relate to that, having attended the Culture, Autobiography and Ethnicity class in Santa Fe in 2002, I was determined to return to Maui and promote autobiographical writing. (Since then, I give workshops at the Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui.)
We sat by the stream that flows from Blue Lake, and contemplated our week in New Mexico, the Land Of Enchantment. After experiencing a release of physical stress from my nerve endings, I realized why I love New Mexico. The land, air and sky always seem to balance me out. There are good and nurturing spirits there in New Mexico. I feel like the world is right, and my life is going the way it is meant to be.
On the way out of Taos toward Santa Fe, we stopped at the Steak House for dinner. The restaurant sits all alone in the surrounding hills overlooking Taos and everything to the horizon. We shared squash flowers, elk filet with blueberry sauce and kobi beef filet with truffle oil sauce, and very dry martinis.
Not to forget the other places we sampled, The Ore House is one of my favorites. Yes, I should have taken photos of the food we ordered, but I didn’t. I remembered La Casa Sena from my other visits, but this time, the service was lousy. Next time, I do want to visit Pasquals, Gabriel’s and Tomasinas.
I am looking forward to returning to New Mexico. Maybe next time I’ll drive to Roswell.
Thank you for visiting my blog site. I also visited yours, and I am overwhelmed with the choices and individuality of each site. The information is endless.
The discussion that I posted on linkedin.com generated so many responses. You’ve taught me new strategies and reminded me of the old ones. In turn, I hope that you all benefit from the new connections you’ve made through Linkedin.com and the group, Aspiring Writers Blog.
Since the turn of the century, I’ve been playing with websites and blogs. My present website is fairly new. Not flashy at all. It’s pretty much to the point or two. http://jackiepiascarlin.com. Make a choice when you get there.
The blog for my latest book (coming out this month) is http://rightfulidentity.wordpress.com
The comment button is now on in this blog site, so feel free to leave one. Thank you again.