My best friend at work, Paul Drewes, phoned me Friday night. "Boy, now I know what it's like to work at Claus' place (Moanalua Mortuary)," he joked. "The newsroom is sooo quiet nowdays. You know how usually there's so much chatter and noise? Nothing. Not a peep."
The layoffs started Thursday. Coworkers call me. "Hey, have you heard the latest? So-and-so got let go." Each name feels like a little stab. These are my friends, and I really, really feel for them. And obviously, since we're all in this little dingy without a paddle, a layoff hits too close to home.
Every time the phone rings or the e mail alert sounds, I jump. Apparently, so does everyone else. Now, it's the weekend, so for sure, I have two whole agonizing days to sit around and wait more.
You know, I've considered the broad possibilities that might happen to me: I could get laid off, or I could get kept. It's really too mind-numbing, as I've said before, to think about the intricacies of what show I might get and what role I would play.
I don't feel like charting out a spreadsheet akin to Fantasy Football, about what talent might get placed where. I'm just trying to not think about it. Why stress out unnecessarily?
The funny thing is, I've made my peace with either possibility, and the thing I HATE is this waiting game. If the interview (officially termed a "meet and greet/ get to know you") felt like a blind date, this feels like the yucky feeling in your stomach while you wait for the right moment to break up with your boyfriend.
No wonder why that kink in my neck hasn't gone away yet!
Watch the full, raw video of the Media Council Hawaii's press conference announcing it's filing a FCC complaint.
Inca has been a very bad dog lately. She has been getting into my garden bed and wreaking havoc.
It started when I went in there to trim the basil. I'm always busy and tired, and I only get in there to work once a month or so. I'm a bad plant mom. My friend Dave built me the tiny garden back in the spring (2009) to encourage a shared love for gardening. That, and because he's nice.
So, it's been there for half a year and it never piqued her interest, but on this particular day, Inca saw me unhook the small gate and realized that fun things lay behind that flimsy mesh barrier. Things like Manoa lettuce, wild tomatoes, and other fun herbs.
If she wanted to remove the herbs to cook me dinner, that'd be one thing, but I've been coming out just about every day to large, telltale paw prints in the dirt, and more and more dying plants.
My stupid, jerry-rigged solution
Labradors are SO smart. There are three stakes nailed in at intervals, with a thick mesh zip tied to all but one stake. On that last stake, the mesh is simply hooked on, acting like a gate. First, she realized she could tug at the mesh, unhook the bottom, and crawl in under.
Stop talking and pet me.
I thought I fixed that by putting a big cinder block at the bottom to prevent her from nosing under. She moved the block. Right. What's a concrete brick to a 70 pound dog? So I lined the entire bottom with blocks to create more deterrent.
You think THAT's gonna stop me?!
To heck with you, she said. She simply yanked the mesh away with her teeth and broke it.
A running list of casualties:
Lima bean plant
Half dug up thyme
Half dug up mint
Partially trampled lavender
Semi broken green onion
I plot my next attack...
I know it's my fault for not giving her more stimulation, and I know it's what dogs do anyway. They dig. But dang it, Inca. Can't you dig up the weeds instead of the vegetables?
There’s a Native American legend that says if you whisper your wishes to a butterfly, then set it free, it will fly to the heavens with your wish. If that’s true, there are thousands of wishes waiting to be fulfilled for Dancetta Feary. She’s a Kaneohe woman who has been raising butterflies for five years.
“I just wanted to have butterflies in my yard. I always thought it was really beautiful,” she told me one afternoon while sitting in her beautiful, breezy butterfly garden. And at a particularly stressful time in her life, she finally decided to go for it.
For six years, Dancetta weathered trauma after trauma, starting with the highly publicized 1999 suicide of her brother Mackey.
Baby Mac, courtesy Dancetta Feary
Maybe you recognize the name? Mackey Feary, lead singer of the popular island band Kalapana. “He really was the only baby I ever had. He was my baby brother. I never had children of my own,” reflects Dancetta.
Mackey Feary, courtesy Dancetta Feary
After that, marriage of 20 years ended, her family was torn asunder by six years worth of lawsuits, and then her father died. “It was tough, very challenging. I would have used the word depressing then, but I see things through wider eyes now and I see everything is here for a reason, and everything is good,” she philosophizes.
Courtesy Dancetta Feary
And so those butterflies entered the picture. First a few, then a few more, and before she knew it, she had hundreds. They dominate her carport in large and small cages. On a quiet night, you can even hear the caterpillars munching away steadily, and the butterflies’ wings flapping at the cage ceiling, reaching towards freedom.
Dancetta spends four hours a day caring for her pets. Her day starts at 6 a.m. with feeding the butterflies, the dogs, and maybe, if she’s diligent, herself. She works as a Realtor, so the next daypart is dedicated to selling real estate. When she gets home, it’s more pet care, and then more real estate until midnight.
What compels her to raise these gentle winged creatures? “They teach me that there’s so much beauty in life,” she explains. “From the day they're born, the mother lays them on a leaf and that's it. They've really taught me you can be independent and strong and be by yourself.”
Some of the butterflies she raises are a rare, white variety. She credits UH Manoa professor John Stimson, PhD, with helping her figure out how to breed them. “He said if the orange males were of the same brood as the females, then their offspring would produce some whites (one out of every four), being a recessive gene. Over 700 butterflies later, this next generation was all oranges. So, fingers crossed, I tried again.”
Courtesy Dancetta Feary
Finally, in 2007, her first batch of whites hatched on August 13– Mackey’s birthday. “This is the tenth anniversary of Mackey's passing, so a special year for me,” adds Dancetta.
She nicknames all whites Mackey’s Monarchs. “It’s a gift from him,” she smiles. Is he telling you something, I ask? “I’m sure he’s here,” replies Dancetta. “The veil between life and death is so thin.”
On the first Saturday of each month, by appointment, Dancetta holds public tours of her butterfly farm. She hopes it’ll encourage more people to appreciate these beautiful insects, and to grow more butterfly plant-food in their yards. It’s her way of honoring Mackey’s memory.
Courtesy Dancetta Feary
Christmas 1982, courtesy Dancetta Feary
Is she finally happy? She smiles. “I’m still metamorphisizing,” she laughs. “All of life is change.”
My college alma mater is celebrating a nice piece of news: The Princeton Review just selected Menlo College as a “Best in the West” institution. For the first time, the small school was named among the best colleges and universities in the Western region by the education-services company.
"We are furthering our mission and strengthening our position as Silicon Valley’s Business School. With the recruitment of talented new faculty; the addition of majors that reflect the needs of a globalized economy; small class size and the highest retention rate in recent history, Menlo College is producing the next generation of business leaders," say school officials.
"We chose Menlo College and the other terrific schools we recommend as our 'regional best' colleges primarily for their excellent academic programs," Robert Franek, the Review's vice president of publishing, said in a news release. "We also take into account what each school's customers — their students — report to us about their campus experiences."
The Review noted that students are "roundly positive in their summation of academics at Menlo," with valued faculty, "small class sizes", and "close-knit community" that can "provide a unique experience that wouldn't be possible at a larger university."
Menlo currently serves about 600 undergraduate students with 15 percent of them international students from 23 countries. Tuition for the 2009-10 school year is $31,720. Hawaii is the largest feeder state for American students.
Founded in 1927, Menlo is a four-year private college that has long been known for its business-management courses. About two years ago, it launched a long-term campaign to transform itself into a premier business college. Menlo also has filed for accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and plans to start a master's program in 2010-11.
I got this in a mass e mail. I don't like mass mail, but this is going to be the RARE time I share it with others. It's just so funny. Hope this can bring you a chuckle today.
I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mom! That lady isn't wearing a seat belt!"
On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents."
A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle."
4) MORE NUDITY
A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy before?"
5) POLICE # 1
While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?" "Yes," I answered and continued writing the report. "My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the
police. Is that right?" "Yes, that's right," I told her. "Well, then," she said as she extended her foot toward me, "would you please tie my shoe?"
6) POLICE # 2
It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me "Is that a dog you got back there?" he asked. "It sure is," I replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, "What'd he do?"
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"
A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit." "And why not, darling?" "You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning. "
While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: "Glory be unto the Faaather, and unto the Sonnn, and
into the hole he goes."
A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write and they won't let me talk!"
A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mama, look what I found," the boy called out. "What have you got there, dear?" With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear."