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March 2011

As Good As My Word -- Earthquake Kit Updated

After today's horrific earthquake we were moved to update our earthquake kit. (It was on the to-do list and now it's to-done.) It didn't need a full redo but some of the cans of food were expired, we needed new water and batteries and a few other bits and bobs.

We have two boxes. The main one seen here that holds mostly non-perishable items like batteries, first aid kits, gloves, tools, flashlights, cooking utensils, toiletries, towels, feminine hygiene products, rope and tarp, radio and most importantly - pencils, paper, decks of cards, a bag of green army men and a little University of Texas football game (Hook 'em Horns!). If we are sitting in rubble for days, there has to be stuff to keep us occupied between beheading zombies.


The second box has the canned food in it -- mostly beans, chili, spagetti-os, canned fruit and veggies and Spam. Oh yeah! We have three different kinds of Spam - regular, lite and turkey Spam. We have to make ourselves laugh while eating amongst rubble.


We also have a corkscrew (when we rescue wine from the house) along with instant coffee and hot chocolate. We must be civilized.

There is cat food and a small litter box with litter and water for the two of us and the two cats. We bought three cases of bottled water -- I'm not sure how else to buy water for this. The larger jugs have leaked before and it seems hygenic to have separate bottles in an emergency situation. Anyone have an alternative?

Have you made a kit? What are you waiting for? At least put a stash with a flashlight, radio, first aid kit and water somewhere and remember the pets! We will be happy to share, but three cans of spam only go so far.

Tsunami in Spreckelsville on Maui

You've all seen the horrific images from Japan. Unfathomable nightmare.

Many of you contacted me about my mom and stepdad on Maui (Spreckelsville - north shore) and I thank you so much for the love and concern. All is well and thankfully aside from some property damage and a few dead fish, life in Hawaii, post tsunami, seems to be fine.

Civil_Defense_Siren-200x300 When I heard that they had started the civil defense sirens I knew my mom would be up as there is one literally (and I'm using that word correctly) literally in their backyard. The state does monthly siren tests, always on the last day of the month at 11:45am. During the school year you would hear the distant wailing, but man! In the summertime when I was home it would scare the BEJESUS out of me because it is fricken' LOUD! Which is the point of course. They used to look like this one here, but I think the one in Sprecks is more modern.

If you've never heard one, click here and let that play at full blast on your computer. Then multiply that by whatever it takes so that you can't talk over it and put it in your back yard. Oh boy.

Gratefully, they work and they get you moving. It got my mom moving, she woke up to see what was going on, check how much time she had before they needed to go (about 5 hours), then slept for another hour or two (the sirens went off every hour) and then they loaded up the cat in the cat box, and drove up Baldwin Ave. to Doris Todd School's parking lot. They stayed a couple of hours, then worked their way back home (only about 3 miles total).

Mom took these pictures at her neighbor's house across the street (actually on the ocean).Water definitely came up, but luckily not high enough to reach the houses.


Mom's house is to the right, behind the blue house and across the street.


So even if water came farther, it would have still gone between these two houses and into the road, not into mom's house is it is about 8-10 above the road. See? (taken last summer)


Good news.

There was never a concern for loss of life for us and a slim chance of the house getting hit. Making sure everyone was prepared and moving was the important thing.

So, now that I've had 4 hours of sleep (2.5 from 10:30 to 1am when Kurt woke me up, then 1.5 from about 4am after talking to my mom to when I got up to check the tidal surges on Maui at 6:30) and after the emergency pancakes (and bacon) we went to eat at Norm's, I am ready to face the day (nap will come later, I think).

The biggest activity on the docket is to refill that emergency kit! Fresh batteries, fresh food and water (for the pets too!) and make sure it's all fine. What with Indonesia, Chile, New Zealand (x2) and now Japan, it's feeling like California's turn again.



Great Women - Old Friends And New

I recently made a new friend. I feel like I'm in grade school again and all excited to find someone like me. (This is especially significant as there actually weren't many kids who looked like me in grade school.) In fact, in our first get-together via a common friend, we found out we had so much to talk about that our common friend should have just read a book while we talked feverishly for an hour. When we met again on our own, we talked for two and a half hours and I feel like we could haved talked for two more. It's been about three weeks since that last lunch and we won't see each other again until late next week. I'm greedy and impatient about wanting to see her again. What a nice feeling to be in a new friendship. It's like being in love but more an intense like.

Today I'm having lunch with a friend of the family I've known since about 1982. She knew my stepdad when mom and he were getting married all those years ago. She and her husband were friends with Jen and while they all had wildly different political interests, they remained friends. In fact she came to most of Jen's chemo appointments. That is a good friend. And when Jen died and we were planning the funeral, I suggested she be one of the readers at the funeral mass. My brother in law (who didn't get along with her well) hesitated. I said, "She was there for Jen." And he then agreed. I don't know the full details of their small town political history, I just know she's always been kind and supportive and she was there for Jen. Now she's going through a big change in her life, moved to Orange County and I am happy to have a fun lunch and be there for her.

Lynda_carter_gallery_12 Quite randomly, not long ago in a writer's meeting a discussion of superheroes came up -- DC vs. Marvel. Not so much "versus" as "compare and contrast." We talked about Wonder Woman and the old show and how tough it's been to make a new show in these modern times. I hadn't really thought about that show in ages and even back then as a young impressionable girl, I knew it was a bit hoky. However, seeing a strong, independant, intelligent woman who also happened to be gorgeous, kick ass every week was fantastic. The best part about Wonder Woman? She was NICE. If you were a bad guy, you were going down, but she was always fair and never mean. And when some of us started to develop BOOBS at an early age, here was another role model to look up to.

While googling to find a photo of Wonder Woman, I noticed there was artwork on Google's home page instead of the logo. Turns out today is International Women's Day (the 100th anniversary no less!) and March is Women's History month. Wow. Back in 1978 we were honored only with Women's History week, but then it got bumped up to Women's History month in 1987. Makes me feel so special and honored. Like a second class citizen. Where the hell is my golden lasso? We need some TRUTH up in here.

I'm grateful for all the amazing friends I have, new ones and old ones (or "long time" if you like), men and women. We all need support and people to lean on. I am lucky to have so many and to be the one for them to lean on when necessary.


On The Bookshelf

TheDescendantsReading Reading Reading! I'm working my way through the bookstack pretty well. The Descendants (by Kaui Hart Hemmings) was a pretty quick read. I was drawn to it as it takes place in Hawaii and is first about a local family going through a medical emergency (the mom was in a boating accident) and is second about family history and hertige and honoring that. It was entertaining and I certainly look forward to seeing the movie with George Clooney (coming soon to a theater near you).


The diviners tale

I next read The Diviner's Tale (by Bradford Morrow). I believe I read about the book in Entertainment Weekly. The author describes his book in one sentence:

"Cassandra Brooks, the first woman diviner in a long lineage of patriarchs who practiced the craft, comes upon a hanged girl in a lonely forest in upstate New York while dowsing water for a developer, and in doing so inadvertently opens up a Pandora’s box of past secrets that threaten her very existence."

It's a small, gentle mystery story about family, family history and heritage. (Hmmm, funny how there's a theme there without even trying.)

I highly recommend both as easy reads. And by "easy" I'm not belittling or lessening the work. Sometimes you just want a nice story to curl up with and both of these fit the bill.

Franklin-and-eleanor After finishing the Diviner's Tale, I moved on to Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage (by Hazel Rowley). I'm about 1/4 of the way through and reading about these incredibly famous people on such a personal level is refreshing. I look forward to finding out how Eleanor comes into her own as currently she's 10 years married having had six children already (!!) and has to put up with a mother in law who not only controls the family money but lives with them and has input on everything. Youch.

That's my "just for fun" reading. I'm also starting two additional books. One is purely for research on the Hawaii project I'm going to write a pitch for and the other is an insprirational book. There is a one-time-only book club at the end of March to discuss the inspirational one. Looking forward to that.

What have you been reading lately?