Archive for August, 2015

The Day of 48 Hands

August 31st, 2015

In the cat's historic timeline, this shall be recorded as The Day of 48 Hands. Those hands belonged to 24 very eager third graders excited to meet Ocho.

Ocho, so peaceful in the morning before the event. No idea what's coming.

Ocho, so peaceful in the morning before the event. No idea what's coming.

Show & Tell time came around for Olivia, and she asked to bring the cat again. Every year the cat gets trotted out for a couple dozen children and every year, surprisingly, she hates it.

I figure it's her contribution to the family since everyone performs a function, and 364 other days a year her function is to look pretty and get fur and paw prints on our cars.

In the morning, Olivia fed the cat and confined her to a small space where I could find her when I got home from work. I felt a little guilty because the cat was happy to see me; purring, rubbing on my leg, and flopping around back and forth the way content felines will.

"You're such a good kitty," I cooed. "You're about to go to school to be shown and told about!" She can't say she wasn't warned.

I picked her up, put her in the crate and hauled her off to my car. If this were a war, this would be the part considered as troops massing on the border. Severe protesting from the backseat.


In class, the children sat nicely while Olivia proudly talked about the cat and answered questions. She did a good job.

Then, the children went up to pet her one at a time with Gentle Hands. Of course, as with anything involving children, the rules were forgotten in the commotion and many hands covered all parts of the cat. Any furry part will do.


Ocho tolerated it politely and realized it was futile to protest. She ended up sitting there with an uncomfortable look on her face but with no meowing coming out.

"I hate this."

"I hate this."

Oh, the kids were cute. They wanted to come up and tell me about their pets, or how much they love cats, or how they've never pet one before. A couple hugged me for bringing Ocho in.

When we came home, Ocho ran directly under the car to make herself invisible. That was the most stimulation she'll have or want for the next year.

Until it's time for fourth grade.

Free Admission for National Park Service's 99th Birthday

August 25th, 2015

Today is the National Park Service's 99th birthday, which also marks a free day of admission, so you and your family can visit any national park for free!

Parks are so much more than the majestic landscapes you might think of; they also protect and preserve our culture and history in urban areas and offer endless ways for families to get involved.

Here are 20 great ways to enjoy the national parks- what's on your list?

1                     Go climbing

2                     Write poetry

3                     Be an urban hiker

4                     Visit a National Heritage Area

5                     Dance

6                     Learn about climate change

7                     Discover a culture new to you

8                     Experience silence

9                     Walk through a doorway of a historic house

10                 Find inspiration in the story of a civil rights leader

11                 Go on a ranger-led tour #rangerspointingatthings

12                 Hug a tree

13                 Make a memory

14                 Earn a Jr. Ranger badge

15                 Relax on the banks of a scenic river

16                 Celebrate innovation

17                 Find life in a desert

18                 Get inspired by a First Lady

19                 Stand on a mountaintop

20                 Bring a kid to a park

Pro Surfer & Inspirational Speaker Bethany Hamilton to Rep Jamba Juice

August 22nd, 2015

As of 10:45 a.m. Monday August 24:

Jamba Hawaii and newly announced spokesperson Bethany Hamilton regret to inform everyone that due to the inclement weather and resulting safety concerns for the general public, Bethany Hamilton's appearance scheduled at Kahala Mall Center Stage from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. TODAY is CANCELLED. The event will be rescheduled at a later date.

I remember covering surfer Bethany Hamilton's tragic accident, when a shark bit her arm off in 2003. It's been inspirational to watch her life and career arc into success. What a positive attitude she has!

Photo of Bethany Hamilton by Mike Coots

Photo of Bethany Hamilton by Mike Coots

Just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water and a year later, won her first national surfing title. She has since achieved her childhood dream of surfing professionally.

Her story has been well documented by a New York Times best-selling autobiography and in the 2011 film Soul Surfer. Using her platform as a professional athlete to promote living a fit and healthy lifestyle, she also authored the book Body and Soul in 2014. Now, she adds corporate representative to her list of achievements, signing on with Jamba Juice Hawaii.

“The main reason I chose to partner with Jamba is its commitment to provide healthy, nutritional, as well as delicious food and drink alternatives,” said Hamilton. “For my active lifestyle and professional career, Jamba Juice is an enjoyable on-the-go food stop.”

I'm sure many people share my sentiments, and they now have a chance to meet her on Monday, August 24, at Kahala Mall Center Stage from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday marks her first appearance as spokesperson, where Jamba will be providing free samples of its Pineapple Dreamin’ smoothies.

“Bethany not only embodies the healthy and active lifestyle that Jamba represents but she is an inspiration to thousands of people,” said Donna Yano, VP of Jamba Juice Hawaii. “This partnership is truly a win-win situation as both Jamba and Bethany continually encourage people to better themselves in all aspects of their lives.”

Another local celeb who represents the brand includes Major League Baseball superstar Kolten Wong, who promoted its line of freshly squeezed juices earlier this year.

As of 10:45 a.m. Monday August 24:

Jamba Hawaii and newly announced spokesperson Bethany Hamilton regret to inform everyone that due to the inclement weather and resulting safety concerns for the general public, Bethany Hamilton's appearance scheduled at Kahala Mall Center Stage from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. TODAY is CANCELLED. The event will be rescheduled at a later date.

Bear hug

August 20th, 2015

My buddy Jai Cunningham is one of my faves to walk in and see in the morning. He's so friendly and upbeat.

I gave him a huuuuge bear hug one day. As much affection as I could muster.


"Ooooooooouch," he complained (with a smile.)

"What? What'd I do?" I exclaimed.

He showed me a massive contusion on his side. It was dark purple and as large as his palm.

He got it playing softball, hit with a ball throw in from the outfield. "It's actually kind of going away. I'm supernatural that way," he bragged. "But... it still hurts if you put all the pressure in your body on it."

Sorry... I meant well. Perhaps I need to limit my enthusiasm to a Good Morning high five!

Woman Seeks to Raise Awareness After Financial Predators Abused Her Elderly Mother

August 19th, 2015

She had no idea that her family would become involved with criminals. But when three women stole her mother, her savings and eventually her life, she had no choice but to fight back.

“My mother was a victim,” said Glynnis Walker Anderson, investigative journalist and author of the book Stealing Joy: A True Story of Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse and Fraud.

“And the elderly are not the only victims of financial abuse,” she says. “Relatives, spouses, children and grand-children, employees and the community at large are also impacted. Everybody pays when the elderly are abused and financially devastated by predators and frauds.”

Glynnis describes every detail of the unscrupulous tactics of her mother’s predators, and the shocking failure of local law enforcement, social services and government programs to intervene.

A neighbor and a lawyer offered to help Glynnis’s widowed and aging mother, Joy. Instead of assisting her, they schemed to steal her money and her house, turned her against her own family, and seized legal guardianship. The predators even arranged for questionable surgery to hasten her death.

Glynnis had power of attorney but lived near Chicago while her mother lived alone in Victoria, Canada, so the neighbor and the lawyer named themselves Joy’s primary caregivers.

After a series of strokes, Joy spiraled down into Alzheimer’s. Glynnis arranged for her to move into an assisted living facility. The neighbor and the lawyer convinced the facility administrator and staff that Glynnis and her daughters abused her and “dumped” her in the facility. When Glynnis tried calling her mother, the administrator said Joy was angry with her and didn’t want to speak to her.

The situation became more sinister and damaging. Glynnis learned that the lawyer made Joy sign documents she didn’t understand, illegally giving the lawyer power of attorney and creating a new will. The neighbor made a copy of the door key, entered the house and found checkbooks and savings accounts and emptied them all, even the ones overseas. Later she changed the locks so Glynnis couldn't get in. Glynnis sought help from the police and government agencies, but to no avail.

Glynnis says the lies, manipulations, theft and vengeance against her and her daughters cost Glynnis thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs and continued after her mother’s death. At least Glynnis was able to save her mother’s house.

“The actual number of elder abuse cases is probably higher than the data available since most cases of financial and emotional abuse are never reported,” said Glynnis. “Crimes against the elderly will increase because the number of people over age 65 will more than double by 2050.”

Glynnis has organized a Gray Rights Movement to increase awareness of this growing criminality so something will be done about it. “Aging women are the most vulnerable, but entire families are affected.”

Glynnis hopes to increase awareness of this life-destroying crime, enhance the Older Americans Act of 2006, require more accountability of the justice system, and make the costly legal system accessible to seniors who can’t afford it.

“The sad reality is that many older people are neglected when they are powerless or show signs of dementia,” says Glynnis. “They can be victimized by people they trust—lawyers, bankers, financial advisors, doctors, home health care providers, retirement and nursing home managers, friends, and even their own family members.”

The most important step people can take to protect themselves is to have an up-to-date will that includes a plan for distribution of their possessions.

“While you are of sound mind, give one or more of your adult children or another close relative power of attorney,” advises Glynnis. “Family members should agree on who should be responsible, or have two people to oversee the finances so they can watch each other and look for signs of elder abuse,” Anderson says.

Among the actions she recommends for whoever has the authority:

· Watch for signs of increasing forgetfulness or dementia, have the senior tested
· Be suspicious of anyone posing as a trusted new friend or anyone who could benefit financially from being associated
· Become co-owner of the senior’s bank accounts
· Consider putting all assets in a trust
· Monitor the accounts and credit card statements for suspicious activity
· Get a second opinion on surgery or medical needs
· Monitor Medicare summary notices for questionable charges
· Warn the senior not to tell anyone how much money or investments he or she has
· Tell the senior to ignore unsolicited investment offers, requests for donations, etc.
· Tell the senior never to give his or her social security number, bank account number, credit card numbers, birth date, or PIN numbers in response to unwanted telephone calls or letters
· If a caretaker is needed, do a background check and specify what the caretaker can and cannot do
· Keep jewelry, cash, checkbooks, credit cards, etc. in a secure place
· Keep the senior and other family members aware of what you are doing

Her story is sad - but serves as a cautionary tale for all those whose elderly loved ones may be at risk and offers guidance on how to fight against elder fraud.

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