My neighbor Puma

January 28th, 2015
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My neighbor has chlamydia. He's been fighting this infection for a month and it seems the antibiotics are slow to kick in.

My neighbor is a tomcat. His name is Puma and I noticed his eye was runny and red. One day when his keeper and I were both in our yards, I asked what's up with Puma's eye.

"He has chlamydia," Vicki answered. Without any hint of humor. She's probably heard all the responses by now.

"Chlamydia?!" I replied, stunned at the human implication to this zoological disease. "He has an STD?"

"I have no idea," said Vicki. "I was so tired of wrestling him into the crate, into the car, and into the vet, that I only wanted to be told the essentials so I could go home." Puma's four weeks into his antibiotics course and the eye looks better, but still an angry red.

I looked over at Puma, who, with the good eye, gazed at me in that defaul-disdainful way that cats do, and talked to him. "You need to use a condom next time," I advised him.

Then I found my own cat, Ocho, and told her she should avoid hanging around that one - he's bad news.

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Sailor's Hat on Kaho`olawe

January 26th, 2015
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Sailor's Hat is a permanent scar on Kaho`olawe, created by a bomb blast during the years when the US military was bombing the island for target practice.

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Kamehameha Schools graduates Kalani Fronda, Mike Naho`opi`i, Mahealani Richardson, and me.

Kamehameha Schools graduates Kalani Fronda, Mike Naho`opi`i, Mahealani Richardson, and me.

Rock is melted from the blast.

Rock is melted from the blast.

 

Today it's actually the largest anchaline pond in the world, home to small red shrimp called opae ula.

Shrimp baby

Mike Naho`opi`i, executive director of the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, tells more about the history of the crater in this video.

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What's next for Kaho`olawe?

January 23rd, 2015
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For the past 21 years, the state has been drawing from a $44 million trust fund from the federal government to clean up, manage, and restore Kaho`olawe to some semblance of the island it was before half a century of military bombing devastated the topography. While the staff admits the island will never be risk-free or completely clean, it's trying to heal the island - and the people of Hawaii in the process.

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Mike Naho`opi`i, executive director of the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, explains that the island will be one day transferred to a sovereign native Hawaiian government, so what KIRC and its volunteers are doing currently is establishing the foundation for what they believe Hawaiians want, when that entity takes over one day.

It's set aside for native Hawaiian cultural practices, education, and public use. Naho`opi`i says it's a cause the entire state should care about because "when you come to Kaho`olawe, the culture is very clear: There are no distractions, it's you and the island and the people. This is one of the few places not surrounded by Western civilization."

Here's more in this video:

 

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The ol' ball and chain

January 21st, 2015
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Olivia and I were at Ben Franklin Craft Store and she saw a cake topper in the wedding aisle. "Look, this guy looks trapped!" she exclaimed.

I went over to see it. There was a groom sitting, looking forlorn with a ball and chain around his ankle. There was a bride standing, looking victorious holding a key.

I explained to my seven-year-old, "This is a ball, and it's connected to his leg by a chain. It's called a ball and chain, and people joke that when you get married, you're locked in."

"But she's standing and she looks happy," questioned Olivia.

"Right. That's because the woman is usually the boss and she gets to decide when to unlock the ball and chain every now and then," I explained.

"Why is it the woman?" Olivia continued.

"Who's the boss in our house?" I asked.

"You," said my daughter without hesitation.

Now, honestly, I'd like to think we have an equal partnership. We are highly compatible. But I do think Olivia's answer is pretty funny.

"See? And when you get married, you have to find a man who lets you be the boss, too," I advised.

A lady nearby was listening and laughing. "I tell my daughters the same thing, too," she agreed.

Later, when we were checking out, the cashier recognized me from this blog. "I like your blog!" she complimented.

"Oh, thank you!" I smiled. "So you know this is the man I always make fun of?" as I gestured to my husband.

"Yes," she chuckled. "Now I get to meet him in person."

That's right. She's met the ol' ball and chain. Wait... that's me. So she's met the poor sap locked in with the ol' ball and chain. Ha!

Leopard tortoise

January 19th, 2015
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I enjoy calling my friend Kalei. I never know what's going to come out of her mouth, and it's usually funny.

I found her in a glum state on Friday because she was pining the death of a dream.

"I woke up this week on Monday with this aggressive idea that I wanted a baby leopard tortoise as a pet. I was psyched to get one but my friend advised I should research it before I just get a pet," she started.

"I'm glad she knows me well, because when I actually looked at them up close, they freak me out. Their eyes and their mouth and their claws. They horrify me! I shouldn't get a pet I'm scared of! And then, they grow!" she complained.

The nerve of a baby-anything to grow.

Apparently, she saw the aerial view of a tortoise and made her decision based on liking the way the shell looks. Just the shell. Not the face or the legs. Who even knows what she thinks about the tail.

"I had dreams of taking it work, buying a harness for it, taking it for a walk. I was going to sign up for the Pet Walk. It was going to be our debut. I was going to take a photo with it for my Christmas cards," she said.

Her friend had counseled her to get two tortoises, IF she was going to get a pet at all, so they could have company. Kalei already picked out the names: Mr. Miyage and Yoko Ono.

"Mr. Miyage and Yoko Ono were going to be my best friends," she continued. No matter that she calls me one of her best friends - whatever, Lady. Just because all my vital organs aren't encased by a protective shield?

I brainstormed with her for a bit what could take the place of a beloved terrapin. She is afraid of: dogs, cats, rabbits, lizards, rodents, fish, shrimp, birds, snails.

I suggested she try: llama, goat, seal, shark, pony. "Don't be ridiculous. It has to travel with me," she shot down. Right, I'm ridiculous.

Which pretty much means she can have a pet rock.

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