Archive for February, 2012

Fueling Dreams fundraiser

February 29th, 2012
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Tesoro Hawai'i is giving the green light to its seventh annual Fueling Dreams fundraiser to support Special Olympics Hawai'i athletes. During this year's event, island drivers can take advantage of discounted prices on all grades of gasoline and VIP service, courtesy of Tesoro Hawai'i employees, local law enforcement officers and Special Olympics Hawai'i volunteers at 14 stations on O'ahu and the Big Island from March 1 - 2, 2012.

Additionally, motorists revving to go can support this good cause by making donations to Special Olympics Hawai'i at all Tesoro 2Go stores now through March 7, 2012. Supporters who give generously throughout the month-long campaign will be entered into a drawing to win $500 in Tesoro giftCards®.  Two other drawings for $500 each will be awarded to those who make a donation during the two-day Fueling Dreams event.

"Every year, our employees look forward to rolling up their sleeves to help fuel the dreams of athletes and raise awareness for Special Olympics Hawai'i," said Eric Lee, Tesoro Hawai'i's senior regional manager - retail. "Tesoro Hawai'i is proud to support Special Olympics Hawai'i's athletes and be a part of their successes - whether it's on the playing field, at work, in the classroom or at home."

Fueling Dreams volunteers will be out in force at the following participating Tesoro stations: Dillingham, Hawai'i Kai, Kapahulu, Kapolei, King & Cooke, Mililani Mauka, Mililani Town Center, Nanakuli, Palama, Salt Lake and Waipahu Town Center on O'ahu, and at Bay Front in Hilo and Queen Kaahumanu in Kailua-Kona on Hawai'i Island from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on both days.

"We are thankful for the support of our loyal and generous year-round partners like Tesoro Hawai'i who make it possible for us to provide free access to sports and wellness initiatives for our growing number of athletes throughout the state," said Nancy Bottelo, president of Special Olympics Hawai'i. "As we continue to serve more athletes and face rising costs, individual and corporate donations have become increasingly important to our work, which creates opportunities and is inclusive of those with intellectual disabilities in our communities."

As a year-round mission partner, Tesoro Hawai'i has committed to raising $75,000 this year to support Special Olympics Hawai'i. Proceeds from Fueling Dreams will benefit Special Olympics Hawai'i's Summer Games, which brings together more than 1,000 athletes and coaches from throughout the state. Athletes begin training in February and participate in area and regional competitions from March through May to qualify for this event. The Summer Games, held over the Memorial Day weekend, include competitions in powerlifting, softball, swimming and track and field.

For more information on Special Olympics Hawai'i, please contact 808-943-8808 or visit www.specialolympicshawaii.org. Special Olympics Hawai'i is also on twitter, www.twitter.com/sohawaii and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsHawaii.

Tiger Stripes Club

February 27th, 2012
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Olivia and I joined a new club this weekend. We are now proud members of Tiger Stripes Club - or The Stripes for short.

It's the brainchild of our seven year old neighbor, who formed her own club after facing rejection from her big sister's organization, the Crazy Cats Club. Exclusive membership to the CCC is limited to the three BFFs, and not even a real cat can join. I asked if my cat, Ocho, could apply for membership - she being an authentic feline and at times, crazy-acting - but they said no. You have to be ten and into Justin Bieber, and Ocho is neither.

Hence, The Stripes. Kira formed the club and enlisted her schoolmate, Kea. Kira picked a club name for herself as Black Shadow. Kea's club name is Flamey Flame, in reference to the fiery orange of a tiger's coat.

If Olivia and I wanted to join, it was put to us that we had to select a tiger-themed name. Kira suggested to me that Pink Nose would be an excellent moniker for myself, so I immediately adapted it. She absolutely did not approve of Olivia's choice of name, Pink Sparkley. "Tigers don't sparkle," she informed us.

Olivia insisted that she had to have that name, and it being so close to naptime and all, was clearly obstinate. I realized I had to demonstrate good faith as a new member and step in to arbitrate this brewing situation.

After suggesting a number of possible compromises, it was agreed that we could officially enroll Olivia as Orange Sparkle, but she could choose to go by her preferred nickname of Pink Sparkley, please note there is a "y" at the end of that name. I'm glad we resolved this issue.

Now, to board elections. Kira dictated that she is the leader of the pack, though if she takes to adding Dear to that title I will have to gracefully recind my membership because I want to continue to enjoy my human rights. I was appointed Secretary on the qualification that I'm the only one who knows how to write.

As for club activities, our goal is "to meet at the playground as often as we can", and to sometimes pretend to play invisible video games, "like this, hold out your hands," demonstrated Kira.

"I can't, I am using my hands to hold my Razor," responded Olivia. Kira let it pass; we Stripes have a flexible agenda.

We also have a secret handshake, and by handshake, we actually mean dance choreography. The little chant goes like this: Turn around, touch the ground, kick your boyfriend out of town, never to be found! You have to act it out as you say it. If the neighborhood boys are paying attention it will not be very secret after a few greetings; we'll have to think this through a little more.

Right now the club is pondering a serious issue that has long-reaching implications for the entire identity of the organization: Do we admit males? "Can my daddy join?" asked Olivia.

"But he's a boy," Kira said. Like, duh?

While our leader is deliberating this pending action, Olivia and I have already struck up a backroom deal. Should he be accepted, Claus' club name will be Leaf Glitter. We're currently working on teaching him the secret handshake.

Rehab victims

February 24th, 2012
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Will & Bill are still alive and kicking as of this writing. Opae ula are very hardy, in certain ways.

IMG_2549

I have stepped up my interest in shrimps and have read most every website about shrimp- not just the information about opae ula, but also about the types of other shrimp that people raise, as well as how to keep them. If one can get the water conditions correct, opae ula are certainly the lowest maintenance.

To that end, I've also started reading websites on measuring salinity and water conditions. I wonder how to get access to a hydrometer?

Ironically, though my father was an avid aquarium hobbyist with a dozen or so tanks during my childhood, his interest is really focused on fish, so my shrimp issues are of marginal concern to him. I think I've tired him with my talking.

I've turned to online forums. I've only joined one discussion thread, but haven't ruled out joining others. I have started recognizing terms people use in the forums (ie, CRS).

I've also called my shrimps' vendor to have her troubleshoot my system crash. She thinks I introduced a Marimo ball too soon without proper acclimation from fresh to brackish, which then released toxins into the water.

There's a breeder oft quoted on the web, Fuku Bonsai. I happen to have a bonsai from them, coincidentally. They invite people to stop by and see their farm in Kurtistown. "I want to go there," I told Claus.

My mother is maybe the most surprised by it all. "I can't believe you caught the bug," she chuckled.

"I know, it's weird," I acknowledged. I never thought I'd be this interested in anything aquatic, but the little shrimp fascinate me.

My best girlfriend Jen laughed to hear of all this. "You really are your father's daughter," she said. I guess in that aspect, she's right.

Crash!

February 22nd, 2012
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Sad news to report: the gallon tank of opae ula had a system crash. I transferred them from their flower vase to the new tank, and they died a few at a time, over three days. I tried to stop it but nothing I did worked.

Dead now

Dead now

This served to feed my compulsion as a shrimp owner. I would worry about them at work, talk about them to my friends, and research shrimps for a half hour at night, in my free time, before I went to sleep.

At first, we had a burial in the yard. Olivia and I took the first few shrimp out and had a mini-ceremony. Claus and Jul happened to be home and chose to attend the last rites. It was a decent turnout.

However, over the next couple of days more and more would die. One morning I woke up and six died overnight. I was quite bummed.

Two were left alive; one, barely. One big one was swimming around looking normal, the other was lying on its side, convulsing. (That's how the others looked before they died, too.)

I pulled them out and put them back in the old vase, which I hadn't cleaned out yet. I mixed a fresh batch of brackish water and put them in. To my relief, the sick one rehabilitated! From lying on its side paralyzed, it managed over the hour to stand up and start trying to do normal shrimp things (swim, eat).

When I returned home, it was doing even better. It was swimming more. I've been monitoring him in the days since and I think his nervous system is still (permanently?) impaired, as he swims erratically- jolting, like a stroke victim. To my surprise, he is a fire red and doesn't seem to change color anymore. I wonder if the trauma he suffered affected his ability to camoflauge?

I feel badly about injuring sentient beings. I can't believe I killed 23 shrimp!

The gallon tank sits empty now. I'm sure I'll fill it up again soon, but not immediately. Let me see if Will & Bill make it through the week.

Sewing class

February 20th, 2012
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I've decided to enroll in a sewing class to learn how to sew better. Why? Because for years, I've been sewing my own hems and darning my own rips and tears.

Now and again, I want to sew something custom-made that I can't find in a store (usually a cover for something) and at my few stabs at it, I've found it nearly beyond my skill level. My guesswork creations are rudimentary and hard-earned, if they succeed at all.

Simplicity pattern

Simplicity pattern

Lately, the mommy in me has wanted to sew pretty clothes with fancy embellishments for my daughter - and a little matching outfit for the dog and/or cat, because it would delight Olivia to wear an outfit that matches her pets.

I can do straight lines. My mom forced me to take it up in high school, so one summer I enrolled in a short course in which I produced a few skirts and tank tops. I was never that interested at the time, but she insisted it was a life skill.

Later, my junior year Home Economics class reinforced the skill by having us all make shorts. OK, score one for Mom. She was right to make me do this.

Decades passed, and my interest sparked in 2000. After 11 years of toying with the idea (who ever said I wasn't a procrastinator?) I researched a few sewing classes and enrolled in one that fit my schedule. (I actually had to take vacation to achieve this.)

I wasn't sure what to expect, but at this particular class, I found it to be more like a paid club of crafters who get together as their schedule allows, to have access to a nice workspace and a skilled seamstress who acts as a resource/ mentor.

The teacher doesn't stand at the head of any classroom and lecture from a lesson plan. In between helping students she works on her own projects as well as the store's other service, alterations.

I prepared my supplies and had bought a pattern for a girl's skirt. Once at class, I whipped it out and explained my background, my goals and what I was trying to sew for this project.

The teacher, a very nice Japanese lady, reminded me more of a mother, as she looked at the pattern and said, "OK, cut here and here." Over the next three hour session, we would have this back and forth dialogue in which I would say, "What next?" and she would tell me what to do.

The good thing about this method is that I really learn by doing. Without a lot of chatter, I was able to 90% finish a skirt for Olivia in the first class.

The drawback is that I don't have a comprehensive overview of what I'm doing. I could not independently sew another pattern without assistance. Each method has its pros and cons.

I'm sure that over the years, students drift in and out, while a core group remains. On my first day, there were four other "regulars." In talking to one of them, she mentioned she has come every Monday for the past four years because she likes to have the teacher there to lean on for occasional advice and feedback.

I enjoyed myself and was very proud of my progress - I had not expected to get that far in one session. I had fun, too.

The next day I was ready to return, but I was having a heck of a morning: I had found a huge box of supplies at my mom's and put it in her driveway. My intention was to drive up with my car, and load it up before I went to class.

However, it started pouring heavily, so by the time I returned, the cardboard box and first layers of fabric remnants were soaked. The box was heavy and in the two minutes it took me to get out of the car and put it in the trunk, I was drenched.

I also realized I forgot to brew myself coffee before I left. I drove back to my house to change clothes, dry my hair, and make coffee. Ever had one of those mornings when nothing goes right?

Then I decided I wasn't going to kill myself to get to class. I called to let them know I wasn't coming today, and after I dried myself, I sat down with my cup of hot coffee and the newspaper. That's just as good a morning, too.