Archive for April, 2012

Trading places

April 16th, 2012

Olivia complains frequently that she would rather stay home from school because it's "boring." I do not see how preschool could be boring.

"Naps are boring," she said. I wish I could have a nap every day.

She thinks my job is exciting and would like to come with me to work every day. I like my job, but I have definitely given her the wrong impression of what I do all day.

Firstly, there are all the magnificent restaurants which I have taken her to. We have had lunch, brunch, and afternoon tea. She also knows there is a beach and a pool. Her understanding of my job is that I work "at a hotel."

Things I've said about my day:

"I had to taste cupcakes at work today." (We had a baking contest.)

"I got my nails painted at the spa."

"I tried the marshmallow ice cream for the first time."

"I went surfing for work."

"I attended the kids program and we went to the canal to catch crabs."

"I have to help Santa come in on the canoe."

"I have to escort the Easter bunny around so he doesn't fall."

Plus, there are weddings every day, and whenever she comes to visit, there is a high likelihood of passing a bride in the hall. She thinks wedding gowns and tiaras look like princess outfits, therefore she thinks beautiful princesses are drifting around my office all day.

I enjoy and appreciate my job for a completely different set of reasons, but I can totally see how she imagines I work at some kind of Disneyland!

Four going on 14

April 13th, 2012

This kid cracks me up. She is only four and recently has started talking like a teenager. We went to a birthday party for her friend's baby brother Gabriel, and the girls started calling him Gabester, "cuz it's funny!"

In bed as we reviewed our day, she mentioned that what she enjoyed about the day was playing with her new "BFF" at school.

And one morning when I went to wake her up, we had a little conversation about new changes to her room she'd like. Rainbow colored walls and "I want a tv in my room! Now!" (We are in a phase of rude demanding.)

I was taken aback by the request. Here is the silly dialogue:

Me: "What? Who do you know with a TV in their room?"

Olivia: "You."

Me: Oh. "I mean, of your friends."

Olivia: "Just you. But I still want a TV."

Me: "Too much TV rots your brain."

Olivia: "How do you know?"

Me: "I read stuff."

Olivia: "You're not a kid."

Me: "I was, on my way to becoming an adult."

Olivia: "And then you got pregnant and had me?"

Yes, that's the summary of my life. Kid, adult, pregnant. Enough, already. I told her to get up and start the day. And definitely no on the TV.

I'm a lumberjack!

April 11th, 2012

My husband is not handy. I'll just get that right out there. Those who know him and are reading this are nodding and laughing.

It's not that Claus can't. He just doesn't like it. He has other priorities, and I respect that.

Roughly once a quarter, he will get out and do some manual labor. Last weekend, the stars aligned and we both had time and energy to do some home projects.

He fixed a pendant light over our counter that had been broken for six months. Actually, we had an electrician come and look at it, and the electrician said the whole fixture was broken.

We then bought a new one, and to my complete surprise, he decided to install it himself that weekend. I didn't nag; I didn't even ask. I fully expected one of us to call the electrician again... eventually.

In he walks with a ladder and our little tool box. I'm sorry; I should probably revise that to, Claus has a huge tool box.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was not without mishap, because while removing it, he dropped the old pendant and the glass cover shattered upon hitting the very hard granite counter. We had to stop the action to clean up a zillion shards all over the place.

Then he hung up the new one. I have to admit I didn't think he could do it.

He is brilliant, so brilliant. He can do all sorts of wonderful businessman things, but handyman kind of stuff, not so much. So I was shocked when he turned the switch on and there was light!

Husband wasn't done yet. He also chopped down a non-producing papaya tree and replaced it with a new sapling that we have hopes for. The tree he removed was maybe 12 feet tall? It was rooted in there.

Ax, shovel - who is this guy? My husband usually wields a pen or a remote control. Again, neither of these were things I asked him to do. He just did it.

When it was all done and we headed inside, I praised him heartily.

"I'm a lumberjack," he said smugly, and directed me to search for the Monty Python reference. "Watch it while I shower. That's what I am - but only the first part."

And now I share with you the video that had me laughing out loud. Thank goodness it's only applicable for the first minute!

[youtube mL7n5mEmXJo]

Lacy bits

April 9th, 2012

I have a tube top that is lacy. I got it from Cinnamon Girl. It's meant to be worn under dresses that are too cut.

I washed it, and it was sitting on the bed with the pile of clean clothes when Claus passed by. "Mmm hmmm! How come you never wear underwear like that for me?" he purred.

You know how it is. Start of marriage, all Victoria's Secret, all the time. Double digit years of marriage, Hello, Hanes Her Way.

I laughed. "Cuz it's a bra, not a panty."

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Cat woman

April 2nd, 2012

When Honolulu resident Donna finishes her 9 to 5 office job, she goes to what she calls her second job - feeding and caring for Oahu's stray cats. She is one of what the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS) estimates are hundreds of cat caregivers who have made it their life's work to take care of the feral cat population on this island.

"It's like a full-time job," described Donna, a soft-hearted animal lover who got started on this path in 2002 by feeding the stray cat at work in downtown Honolulu. It evolved slowly into what is today an extremely time-consuming, expensive practice.

One street cat became two, which became 30. She feeds and maintains a colony of cats every evening after work, and on weekends, she treats them with breakfast as well. Her reputation as a cat lover spread, and soon, friends of friends were taking their homeless cats to her, or telling her about a stray kitten they had seen that needed help. Donna has a hard time saying no.

"I love all animals, and I do this because the cats need our help. People can help themselves, but cats need us," she explains, defending herself against what she calls the "haters" - people who don't want her to support a feral cat colony because they believe it encourages unsanitary public conditions, threatens native bird populations, or simply because they don't like cats.

It's not clear how many feral cats live on Oahu, but HHS's website says in the last five years, it has helped more than 12,000 feral cats at a cost of over $250,000 for needed sterilizations. One un-spayed female and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in just seven years, so HHS officials encourages people to spay and neuter.

"Every other month we hold a Feline Fix event strictly for feral cats. The Hawaiian Humane Society will offer $10 cat sterilization for feral cats for ONE DAY only. Our next Feline Fix is scheduled for May 6. We’ll begin taking appointments closer to the event date," says HHS spokesperson Tasha Tanimoto. "Twenty percent of the population is feeding cats they don’t consider their own. We hope that every cat will have a lap, and if you feed it you own it."

Chloe & Brandi, the original pets

Chloe & Brandi, the original pets

As one might expect, Donna has pet cats of her own. She and her husband adopted two cats about five years ago, but have also opened their home to foster unwanted kittens. Donna works with the Humane Society's Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage (TNRM) program, which Tanimoto describes as "a humane and effective strategy to reduce the number of feral cats in our community and improve their quality of life." Donna also works with a second organization, HICatfriends,  to spay and neuter cats that are old enough to handle the surgery.

"We have about 10-12 cats indoors, and another eight-10 strays outside who have figured out we're the cat house," estimates Donna. She socializes and rehabilitates them, takes them to the vet, and sterilizes mature cats before posting an adoption-ready feline on Craigslist. She estimates her monthly cat expenses at $1,000 or more.

Every waking moment is filled with cat care. Her days start at 5 a.m. because the cats wake her up to be fed. After spending about an hour in the morning taking care of them, she returns home to a very similar routine of cleaning litter boxes, sweeping up cat hair, picking up whatever mess they've made, medicating some, and grooming others. Sometimes she goes on a distress call to rescue another homeless cat.

Her self-described "quietly suffering" husband has taken on the role of Director of Recreation. "I play with them. They love me. It's ironic because she's the driver of this, but they all like me more since I'm the fun one. They associate me with playtime and they associate her with deworming and flea dips," he laughs - though quick to add that he would love for her to scale back her domestic collection.

I paid a visit to their home to see what life with a dozen indoor cats might be like. Aside from two large carpeted cat condos in the living room, it was surprisingly empty - and clean. "They're hiding," Donna said, "because you're new."

What it felt like with cats peering out from dark corners and under beds.What it felt like with cats peering out from dark corners and under beds.

We went looking for them. Every time I peered under a bed and opened a closet door, I was greeted back with many pairs of wide eyes. Sometimes one would dart away.

"They bring us so much joy," smiles Donna. "They're so much fun to play with and they give such unconditional love. That's why I keep trying to place animals with loving families - to share that joy with others."

If you would like to adopt a cat from Donna, contact her at (808) 371-4915.


West Oahu residents who want to get their feral cats fixed are invited to make an appointment for a May 6 spay/neuter "Feline Fix" event taking place at Nanakuli High School. "We emphasize that this is for feral cats only," says HHS representative Tanimoto. The first 100 feral cats signed up will receive a $10 spay or neuter surgery. Cats must be more than eight weeks old, weigh more than two pounds and be delivered in a cat carrier or humane trap. Humane traps are available for sale and on loan at the Humane Society (call 356-2285 for more information). SAME DAY drop-off and pick-up will be at Nanakuli High School.

This July, HHS will be offering Microchip Madness. Annually, veterinarians from Waianae to Hawaii Kai offer low cost microchipping of pets for an affordable, flat rate thanks to a partnership with Hawaiian Humane Society. A microchip typically costs $25. Participating veterinarians waive the cost of the doctor’s visit so that dogs and cats can receive the microchip implant at a substantial discount. The promotion aims to reduce the number of lost pets in the community. Please go to the HHS website for dates, final pricing, a list of participating vets, and how to make an appointment.

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