Archive for November, 2012

Limoncello room

November 19th, 2012

We have an extra room in the house. It's been used by various housemates, houseguests, and live-in babysitters over the years. It's come in handy.

The latest resident of the room, our babysitter, moved out in August. It took us nearly three months to even begin the cleaning process. We intended to deep clean it and then repaint the walls from white to light yellow.

In the interim, we used it as Olivia's time-out room. It is hard to send her for a time out in her own room because she has toys and books in there, so it's not really all that much of a punishment.

As a punishment room, the nanny's old room worked well, because there was absolutely nothing in it, and it wasn't all that welcoming. Unfortunately, we've lost the time-out room now.

After several weekends of labor, we finished. It's a cheerful, bright yellow, with a comfortable king sized bed and cable TV. It's also the coolest room due to the way the windows are situated. Because of the color, we are calling it The Limoncello Room.

We did such a nice job on the refurbishment that Olivia wants to go in there and watch TV, with or without us.

We are in the process of realizing this. Yesterday, Claus threatened Olivia that if she continued some unauthorized behavior, she would be sent to a time out.

"But I like The Limoncello Room now," she countered. (Sidebar: she has no idea what limoncello is.)

Oh. Now what!

Terror Cat

November 16th, 2012

Cats. I love cats, but they sure are tempermental. Here's the latest drama with Ocho, our little tabby.

I let Olivia use Ocho for Show & Tell. With the teacher's permission, my parents assisted by bringing the cat to school during the middle of the day when this event occurs, walked the crate into the room, and then took the cat back home, so it was only a quick disruption in programming for the cat's otherwise day full of sleeping, eating, and being true to her predatory instincts by lying down and watching the birds peck at her leftover food.


The kids loved it. Twenty three kindergartners fell upon this cat immediately. Twenty three children: That's 46 hands all over this cat's body. She protested, but my parent say she took it like a man.

When I came home, the cat complained at me all evening. No, really. She mewoed at me non-stop for the rest of the day. I told her she was starting to sound like a nag. We've known each other for nine years, Ocho and I. I think I have a sense of who she is.

Olivia, by  the way, loved it. It made her very popular with her friends.

Shortly thereafter, the cat peed on my laundry, I believe to express displeasure. I suppose you could say she pissed because she was pissed off.

Ocho lives on the porch because she has a peeing problem, and this is the best compromise I can think of without giving her away. I'm into forever homes for pets. I've blogged about it before- she knows how to open the screen door. If we forgot to lock it, she lets herself in.

She has let herself in numerous times in the past several years and has not peed in the house. However, she made it a point to urinate in a place I'd find it this time.

I got home and started pulling out pieces of clean clothing to fold and put away. It started smelling bad, like rotting death. The smell got stronger as I poked through the clothes. I was confused, and then I figured it out.

I pieced it together based on a report that she had been inside all day, and historical pattern, and understanding her vindictive proclivity. I sometimes consider her more of a housemate than a pet that I own.

We ran the clothing through the laundry three more times to get the smell out. It's really poetic irony for the cat to choose to soil freshly-cleaned clothes. It's a statement. It's like, You wanted this clean? I'll show you who's boss. (I'm glad she ruined something I can easily wash, than furniture or carpet.)

I dunno. Maybe I'm just anthrpomorphisizing, and she had nothing truly devious in her small cat brain. Maybe it was just, Bladder full, will pee where I'm standing... Oh, yeah, that's good. OK, onto my next cat task of finding a sleeping spot.

I didn't bother scolding her so many hours after the crime. I will note that Show & Tell is probably not her favorite activity, though.

If you need another reason to get your zzzz's...

November 14th, 2012

I like nine hours of sleep a night. If I get less than seven hours, particularly for multiple days in a row, I get cranky.

For people who already have high blood pressure, insomnia can have serious consequences, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers studied the sleeping patterns of 234 people with high blood pressure. Most participants slept six or fewer hours, and those who also reported poor sleep quality were twice as likely to have resistant hypertension as those who slept well.

Your blood pressure is considered resistant if you are taking three or more blood pressure medications but still have a blood pressure reading higher than 140/90 mmHg.

Women were more likely to report lower sleep quality than men. The researchers concluded that those with high blood pressure were more likely to have sleep problems, and poor sleep quality in high blood pressure patients was associated with resistant hypertension. More study is needed to clarify the cause.

The study was funded by the University of Pisa.

Oahu’s Christmas tree farm

November 12th, 2012

Is it really time to think about this again?? It is. Christmas planning is about to get into full swing.

We were not big on holiday decorations until we had a child. Now, though, for Olivia's sake, we want to erect a Christmas tree and let her decorate it.

Unfortunately, the environmentalist in me doesn't care for the idea of importing firs from the West Coast, taxing our already-understaffed agricultural department, and inevitably introducing more alien species to the Islands. (Coqui frogs: ugh.) I also don't love the idea of adding to the global carbon footprint by having a cargo ship chug across the ocean with these slated-to-die-soon trees.

My idea of reconciling my green values with my desire to observe deeply ingrained American traditions for my child's sake, is to grow my own. My dad bought us a small Norfolk pine last year and we've been growing it all year, so it's about 4 feet tall. Not a towering, full-figured fir, but it's still taller than the child at this point, so it'll do.

It lives in a pot because I do not want to have a 70' tall tree in my backyard in the future. Also, this way, I can bring it in and out of the house as needed.



I'm still tinkering with the idea of having us chop one down, anyway. It might be a fun experience. I like that we have a Christmas tree farm, Helemano Farms, right here on Oahu. The idea of homegrown trees appeals to me. It will have hundreds of Leyland Cypress trees and thousands of Norfolk Pine trees available for the 2012 holidays.

"Visitors also can see the young varieties of lovely new sophisticated Christmas trees we will sell during future holiday seasons! Located in Wahiawa in Central Oahu, the farm has been growing Christmas trees for a decade. We open for the 2012 holidays the day after Thanksgiving," invites the press release.

They cut and wrap it right there for you, and prices start at $40 a tree. I have no idea what that buys, but even if it's slightly pricier than the tree lots at the local grocery stores, I'm willing to pay more to accommodate my beliefs. I'm curious to see their Leyland Cypress trees in pots. If theirs look better than my somewhat scraggly Norfolk pine, I may have to trade up.

What does your Christmas tree look like?

Aloha, Lady Blue

November 9th, 2012

I've known Charley Memminger for years as a prolific newspaper columnist and friendly colleague, and now he's unveiling a new book entitled Aloha, Lady Blue. The book, with a foreword by game show personality Pat Sajak, is a triller set in the tropics that combines unusual characters with a riveting mystery.

The book is listed for pre-sale now on which describes the plot as: The main character, Stryker McBride, lives on a $300,000 houseboat at a small yacht club. The former crime reporter has been keeping a low profile since being shot by a cop while investigating police corruption. But when Stryker receives a phone call from a beautiful former high school classmate, he’s drawn back into society to look into the death of the woman's grandfather. Soon, Stryker's investigation leads him to a deadly secret buried deep in the heart of Hawaii. Vivid and exhilarating, you can almost hear the pounding of the surf and catch the scent of plumeria. Exotic women and glorious scenery provide the backdrop for a novel that is as vibrant as its locale.

It's a two-book deal with St. Martin's Press includes a sequel that Memminger is working on now; Working title: A Deadly Kona-Colored Wind.

Aloha, Lady Blue is due to be released on Jan. 8, 2013.

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