Wednesday, December 31, 2008

bye 2008

i am thinking of taking a vow this year. people take vows all the time, for marriage, medicine, secrecy, silence, or devotion, but i never have. i have to think it over for the next day or so, then i'll let you know. unless of course i take a vow to disappear....oh, i won't.
the rain has been constant, and there's just more on the way, a huge tropical storm in the south pacific is making for the rainiest weather i've ever experienced. and it's only been a week! folks tell me it can go on like this for 30 days or more. crazy. but it's giving me a sense of winter, i feel ok about staying in, reading, and sleeping late. the seeds of my discontent lay more in the cycle of seasons i've become accustomed to than the actual temperature. we all need time to die and mourn and get ugly, fertile soil is not made by ease. what i hoped to escape was the bone chilling cold that bit me over and over for years with no sign of relenting. i have accomplished that.
i have been invited to a party for new years. though my hermit self wants to decline, my sense of adventure won't allow it. my mission here can't be accomplished all alone in a pity party. i must go out and join in the revelry.
my low spirits have opened up doors. i am still disappointed in myself, but i am determined too. each day is a gift, each person i meet, a universe. how can i not be in love with life? i relearned this.
you know what i'm starting to miss? you know where i think my earthly home is?
i'll tell you later.

Monday, December 29, 2008

ecstatic dunce

i went to a beautiful dance party today which lifted my spirits. the best 5 dollars i've spent on this island, the room filled with whirling tattooed torsos bearing very little clothes, a vintage toy themed altar, and the persistent beat of jungle/house/latin/country/all-one type music. there's nothing much for fun for someone like me. i'm a simple creature who just wants to be in a room with people who are having an honest experience. my place as a human in this wild and intriguing lava pile is with those people. it's a place i've found many times in many locations. where the freaks call home.
it may be hormonal, but i've been feeling so self-loathing for the past few days. my blog's not interesting, my body has too much fat on it, i'm not smart enough, i don't make enough money, and it seems like i can't even concentrate long enough to finish a book. this is not like me. i am not scared of meeting life head on, but i've been hiding from people, feeling ashamed of myself for not being cooler. i look to my past and i don't recognize the person i am right now, or i don't recognize the person i was, either way it's odd. i don't consider myself a depressed person, and i don't act depressed when i'm around people, just when i'm alone. i always like being alone, despite this. or i think i do. maybe i'm all turned around in this labryinth. maybe i'm just incubating, getting close to being born and being frustrated that i can't break the shell yet. at the bottom of this heart, i think i'm just lonely. i wish i had you here, and i wish i knew you.

Friday, December 26, 2008

a wet one

i'm living inside water. my envelopes stuck themselves, my dirty clothes discovered a horrible perfume, and nothing ever dies unless you viciously bludgeon it.
last night the cockroaches must've thought i'd be nice because it's 'christmas', one, sounding very much like a mouse, crawled out of my garbage can and i could almost hear it's white flag waving, it just wanted to reason with me, but no mercy was shown. murder. a few moments later i went to the bathroom and must've caught two huge ones in the act--one was overturned and the other was running for cover. never again, adulterers. then, as if they thought i'd be over my rage, one sauntered across the hall with a skip in her step, probably on her way to play the virgin mary in the live nativity scene under the futon. hope she had an understudy.
the water continues today, torrents, buckets, drips and mists. i guess i was crossing the line to think i could dry my clothes on the line on christmas day, let's be real.
i hope freyja didn't drown. she hates that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

my landing pad

hooray, i got a job! i am now the produce girl at the local natural foods market--abundant life. there are pros--healthy work environment, no dress code/no uniforms, employee discount, potential to meet cool people, mom and pop owned business, handling beautiful fruits and vegetables all day, full-time steady work with health care benefits. there are cons--not much money=don't think i can exist on it for long unless i get some big raises, they keep you real busy and expect alot, no free coffee, no free food, no cute boys (yet).
i don't know how it will work out in the long run, but at least i am working and generating some income. if my past is any indicator, this may just be the first in a series of jobs that leads to the good one. as much as i like the pros this job has, none of them hold water against a job that pays double.
i'm totally spent from a long day learning the ropes as the veggie vixen.

Monday, December 22, 2008

sweet hitchhikers

i was going to have some kava at the tiny kava shack at the end of the red road where the magic is known to happen when what to my wondering eyes should appear but two small hitchhikers and two backpacks of gear. i picked them up wanting company and the possibility of sharing some kava with the travelers. turns out we'd seen each other on the beach several days before, they recognized me and i remembered their ukulele playing. they were headed to kalani honua, a haven for all sorts of offbeat characters where i stayed last year when i was here on vacation. they joined me for kava since they'd never had it and we walked out to the black sand beyond the lava fields and viewed the lava exploding into the ocean (still several miles away). turns out they're minnesotans, and i love minnesotans. good folk from that land. they invited me to come to kalani with them and use the facilities--hot tub, pool, sauna. on the way there we listened to the rock n' roll station and that devil music convinced us to go get beer. we diverted our direction and rambled through a one lane twister lined with enormous leaves, trees who demanded we go around, and a feral pig who couldn't care less. we hit the beer store with only 10 minutes to spare before they closed (8pm mind you). success bred success and we arrived at kalani unscathed and ready to party. the night was on our side, cool enough to love the hot tub, but warm enough to make swimming feel like the most obvious thing ever. we met people, we drank beer and smoked pot and several hours later, i couldn't find my underwear, but went home happy nonetheless (i was sober by then).
today i meant to go to ecstatic dance and meet up with them at kalani, a paradise for dance freaks, but got up too late and only caught the very end. they were gone. i resigned myself to spending the day being productive, or maybe just going to the beach. as i headed that direction, i saw them on the side of the road, hitching again. 'what are you doing?' i laughed. 'what we do best' they said. they hopped in and we spent the whole day together, hitting lava tree state park, mackenzie state park, and ending up at volcano national park where we hiked, and drove down chain of craters road and back listening to rufus wainwright. i left them to camp there and took myself out to dinner at an overpriced but delicious pizza joint.
a contentment welled up in me, i felt good about being able to share what i have--a car and some time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

oh, whatever

my self-esteem has taken a hit, and though i intellectualize that it shouldn't be happening, i can't stop it. did i really forget that moving somewhere is painful and difficult? did i forget that my career track guarantees absolutely nothing, so i always start from ground zero? these things look like blessings when they're in the future, but now i don't want to be going through them. at least not every day, but there's no escaping the challenges i face here. the truth is, i love to travel because these experiences sharpen me, but the sharpening means i have to shed parts of myself, and i just keep getting smaller until when? until i'm a useless scrap of metal? i'm ready to recycle myself already. i want to start over, melt down my components into the sea of components, and become something new. transformation.
in many ways i feel just like a child, only it's not cute anymore, it's kind of sad. maybe that's why i like being around animals so much, they don't judge me and they don't allow me to judge myself unfairly. i know my life is no less fulfilling than alot of lives, but i catch glimpses of others who i perceive to have so much more. i wonder if the things i've given up to gain the things i have were worth it. a regret path that is fruitless, i know.
do i classify my life so far as a success or a failure? tonight, i just don't know.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a little let down

today was not my favorite. i didn't get the job at the fancy house, and i didn't get any other jobs either. the whole day was spent cleaning the house of my hosts because that's what i do instead of pay rent. i'm grateful that rent is not an immediate concern, of course, i never need to pay rent, i can live under a tarp for all i care. it is nice to have a safe haven from mosquitoes though. i'm in that nebulous phase of being in a new place where everything seems like it could be an opportunity, but there are alot of dead ends thrown in there.
i recall when i arrived in denver it took me a looooong time to find a job. i had to clean houses for a while to make ends meet, and then i ran through a few not so great jobs before i landed my cash-cow bartending gig. and that was when the economy wasn't feeling so ill. now here i am on an island with only 130,000 people and the tourist based economy is in the shitter, what do i expect, really? i'm going to a temp agency tomorrow, hopefully i can start making a few nickels to rub together.
that guy that i met who has a friend opening a bar emailed me asking for my resume, so that's encouraging. and i applied for a government job today, my first effort of the kind, it's for a plant quarantine inspector type job at the airport. might be cool, or horrible, but it would be steady and i'd have benefits for the first time ever.
i miss my brothers today. they'd make me laugh and say something awesome.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

i had a great day

things happen on island time. remember that? yeah, i do, but impatience sneaks up like a little jerk and tries to make me forget. i have learned the absolute key to surviving here--talking to people. that's it!
bold and brave as i wish i was, it's talking to people, random people, that i avoid. i'm not afraid of them, i just don't want to bother them, and this is the very issue i am overcoming (due to necessity). no one gets jobs on craigslist here, or from the newspaper, or from walking in and handing over resumes, you gotta know someone who knows someone. and the amazing part is that already i've run into VERY helpful people who want to recommend me just because i'm there and talking to them. like last night at the alibi, i met 'zhena', a heavily perfumed, sparkle nailed goddess in her 50's who knows the bar manager at coquis--a bar i want to work in. she helps people get their medical marijuana cards, a job she got because she met someone who knew the guy get the idea. she, much like me, is not doing what she is educated to do--she is a college professor but can't get that work on the island. when she first came here she worked at a gas station. she wanted to stay here so she did what she had to do, and now she is happy and never leaving. i tried to imagine what that was like, to be a college professor who, needing a job in a job-dry area, was working for minimum wage at a gas station in her late 40's, and i realized it would be humbling, like if i had to work at mcdonalds. and i then realized that working at mcdonalds wouldn't be that bad, it might be funny. the thing that keeps me from going there is how i'd explain that to the people who know me. an exercise in how my perceived "everybody" would react, but really, who would care? my ex-boss would snivel, but i hate him, so so what? sometimes it's the people i hate who seem to have the most power. i'm working on breaking that useless burden down.
now, back to the island. today i woke up and called parker ranch, a famous old ranch here that i'd really like to work for taking people on trail rides or serving them dinner. i didn't get to talk to anyone, but left a message for the lady in human resources. then i made some tea and sat down to contemplate how i could conquer my fears. just then, the phone rang. it wasn't parker ranch, but a lovely french accent asking me if i was still available to work in hapuna beach. i didn't actually recall what job she was talking about, but i said 'yes' nonetheless. she'd like to meet me at my earliest convenience, ok, how's about in 3 hours i say. that would be wonderful. we hung up and my spirits rose considerably. i got clean and put on a cute vintage dress and the best shoes ever, tied a bow in my hair and grabbed my bathing suit. i was headed for one of the best beaches on the island, two hours away.
the drive starts in the jungle, where i live, with dense walls of green lining the roadway, flowers bursting forth from the tangled organism. the air more like mist feeding the veins of this concentrated jumble of living. a few miles later and i'm headed up the hamakua coast where the land starts to pull away vertically from the ocean. lush green canopies of tall trees, deep gorges cut into the coast like wrinkles on weathered skin, i climb up and over old railroad bridges of dizzying height, through tiny villages with enormous names, and next thing i know i'm in a eucalyptus forest. the grasses are different, less green and more yellow, the jungle tapers off and the mist clears. elevation increasing with visibility and fences appear holding cattle and horses, old bathtubs serve as drinking fountains, and wooden signs mark ranch entrances, just like i'm out west. the town of waimea aka kamuela has a distinctly western appeal, complete with a dry wind, a country store, a couple steak houses, and on it's western edge, parker ranch, a huge holding where the first horses and cattle on this island called home.
past waimea, the lava rears it's head, claiming more and more ground as i go. i've crossed the midline of the island and am now headed down the other side. cactus and stubby golden grasses stake their claim on the lava, trying their damnedest to civilize it. but the further i go, the more the lava wins, finally obliterating any trace of vegetation, a dry black land of sharp rock which seems impossible to travel on, yet the road is. it goes on this way for quite some time, for miles on either side of the road people have 'graffiti-ed' the lava with white seashells, writing their names and who they love and what year it was then. eco-graffiti i guess.
then, a little further north, there are pockets of green, well manicured hedges and pedigreed palm trees frame the entrances to upscale resorts and residences. places poverty is forgotten and luxury is expected. i pass a few of these portals before i reach the entrance to 'prince hapuna beach hotel and golf course' where i turn in. the gentleman at the gate welcomed me to the resort and i gave him the name of the house where i was expected. he repeated it, gently correcting my pronunciation, smiled kindly and opened the gate. i drove in and was transported to what seemed like another time. a time when people drove motorcars and wore finery like feathered hats and monocles, when people had a lovely place in the country where they would drive and eat picnics out of wicker baskets and play croquet.
past several fountains, endless perfect grass, the golf course and hotel so luxurious it maintained it's subtlety, i reached my destination--a private residence with a small yacht parked in the driveway. i rang the buzzer and announced myself as the girl who was there about the serving job, then the gates opened for my little economy car. i got out and was greeted by 'olivier', a tall tanned french man with the ocean in his eyes and an easy smile. he led me into the house, through the massive open living area, past the bustling kitchen and bar and into the small office where i met 'tasha', my interviewer. she was also french, mind you, and leggy and thin and as impossibly nice as she was beautiful. she took me over to the employee tent which is where they eat their meals and take breaks, and proceeded to tell me about the job. it's a gig basically, when the owners of the house show up, they bring their family and friends and we all serve them. they'll be here from december 17 to january 3 and they are served three meals a day as well as cocktails and such around the pool. i'd be bartending and serving along with 2-4 other servers for 28 dollars an hour, 40 hours a week. not bad, i say. i'll have the job if the waiter they had lined up can't do it because of an emergency in his family. sorry for him, but i hope he's tied up for a while because i really want this job!
the interview went well and afterward i went to the beach since i haven't done that since i got here. i swam in the perfectly temperate water, floating like a sea creature, diving into the waves and hearing the soothing yet awe-inspiring sound of the earth's womb in my ears. after about an hour i swam back to shore and laid on my towel, feeling my heartbeat through the sand and watching the cloudscapes whirl and uncurl as the sun slowly set. the oneness of all things was obvious.
peacefully i wandered toward home, stopping in waimea for dinner where i happened to meet a guy whos friend is opening a bar in honokaa. hmmm...wouldn't it be great if they needed me? he's got my number. i'm really relaxing now. i am being absorbed into the flow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


still no news on the job front. seems the economy here has really taken a hit and nowhere that i've applied is actively hiring except for the natural food store where i have an interview tomorrow. it's for a cook position which is kinda weird for me, but i've done it, and i'm good at it, and it'll at least be an opportunity to meet some interesting people, natural food stores are good for that.
i went to the kava bar to put in a resume (the owner said he can't afford employees) and decided maybe what i really needed was some kava to mellow out the stress and get me in a better space to talk to people. it worked. kava really is a miracle herb, and prepared in the traditional way, as a drink, creates a social atmosphere to share in the effects, as nature intended. i don't know about you, but taking medicinal herbs has never been a social activity for me. i can tell you that it is most inspiring to take kava this way. i listened to the guy beside me "ragu", a slight man in his fifties with what we used to call a rattail, wearing hemp and silk, tell me about a girl he knew who recently quit the natural food store where i am hoping to work. he assured me i'd be a good fit, and once cornelius met me i'd have the job. he came here 5 years ago on a 2 week vacation and never left. common occurrence, at least in the people i've met. then the guy to my left, paul, gave me a piece of fudge and awkwardly tried to ask to buy me lunch. i politely refused, and he left the invitation open for next time. i felt happy to have changed my attitude from moments before--stressed, worried, needing things--to the state i was in now--open, calm, receiving things. kava dude, for real.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the alibi

after a long day of dog bites, cleaning house, bad pad thai, and a painful but necessary conversation with a loved one, i headed to the bar. the closest bar to my place of existence is called the alibi. perfect, i need one of those. turns out it was just moving through time waiting for me to show up and join in. paul, who i perceive to be the neighborhood drunk (affectionately) walks in right after me, haggles lightheartedly with the barmaid and buys me a drink. i meet a huge black man named jay who is very interested in what i am reading, vows to read it too and chat about it next time we see each other, like oprah's book club and shit. he buys me a drink. then i analyzed the handwriting of richard, the german/hawaiian christian who knows chinese astrology. he told me he was 44, but then told me he was lying, really he was 49, and a virgo born in the year of the boar. apparently i'm a double horse gemini, because gemini is the sign of the horse as well as the year i was born being the horse. cool because i'd rather be a horse. we talk about how jesus is cool, but alot of christian stuff is dumb. he buys me a drink.
then paul, the japanese/coloradan told me i was a pretty cool haole for being at the alibi in my first week on the island. i'm gonna make it here he says. i tell him i'm just a barfly, but he doesn't buy it. he's convinced i'm special. i'm convinced i've found my bar. cheers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

how to move a cat (or dog) to hawai'i

getting freyja to the island was what i perceived to be the biggest challenge in moving here. i didn't chose the most economical, thinking persons route, i did it the hard way. and for those who are curious, here are the steps i took, what they cost, and where they landed kitty and me.
1. read the quarantine manual from the official hawaii website--like most government issued documents, a mess of confusing incomplete information that must be pieced together. i realized her rabies vaccine was overdue and this might destroy all my plans. crossed fingers, hoped for best.
2. made a vet appointment to have her microchipped, blood drawn for the OIE-FAVN rabies titer which must be sent to a lab in kansas, and rabies vaccination update. cost $200. if they give the rabies vaccine before the blood is drawn for the test, a false positive may occur. make sure they do it in the right order, or vaccinate 21 days before drawing the blood. pre-planning makes it all easier, but i would have none of that.
3. showed up at airport with cat. when going through security, you are required to take your animal out of it's carrier and carry it through the metal detector with you. luckily, freyja tends to go into a frozen shell when terrified, so she meekly allowed me to carry her and drag her in and out of the carrier. flew on american airlines to seattle. they don't require any health certificate for flights in the 48 states. i took her in a soft sided carrier in-cabin with me. cost $100 for flight, carrier cost $20.
4. made a reservation with the satellite quarantine station on the big island. otherwise she would have had to stay on oahu in the state facility. i figured she might never forgive me for that. the 'bar king dog kennel' was very helpful in putting together all the loose ends. they make all the arrangements once the animal has arrived at the honolulu airport. had to put a 50% deposit down on the affair. cost $700
5. a health certificate must be obtained within 10 days of travel to hawaii. at this visit, we got a frontline flea treatment, leukemia and parvo vaccine, a general checkup, and an acclimation certificate which states that the animal can withstand periods of cold down to 20 degrees and heat up to 85 degrees, otherwise the airline won't let your animal fly if the temp is out of the federally approved range or whatever. cost $87
6. mailed a packet of paperwork to the honolulu quarantine headquarters. this contained the "dog/cat import form", original health certificate, proof of last 2 rabies vaccinations, and a money order for them. cost $224 plus postage.
7. showed up at airport with cat. this time she had to go in a hard crate because she was going under as luggage. there is currently no airline that flys to hawaii that allows pets in-cabin. in fact, hawaiian airlines was the only carrier i could find that would fly animals at all. again, she had to be taken out of her carrier for them to inspect and metal detect it. she nearly poked her claw through my jugular when the dufus doing the inspection decided to pet and baby-talk her. thanks buddy. cost $225 for flight, carrier cost $34.
8. upon arrival in honolulu, i walked to the airport quarantine holding facility to make sure she survived. they were very kind and helpful. had to say good bye for a few days.
9. waited for the bar-king kennel to call and say she'd arrived. it was two days later. i went right over to see her. she was badly shaken, had her horrified eyes on, and would barely come out of the cave they made for her. i was really sad and all kinds of yappy dogs were shrieking in our ears. i wondered why i did this to her.
10. a week later, she's doing much better. not that she likes the place, but she's tolerating it, eating plenty, and today she PURRED! i really missed that sound. she'll be in the kennel until february 24th. that's less than 3 months which is the best i could do with my limited forsight. the earlier you get the OIE-FAVN test done, the shorter the quarantine. if it's done 4 months in advance, then there is no quarantine, but as you all know, planning is not my forte. cost $642 left to pay before she gets out.

i don't want to add it all up. i know it's insane.

Monday, December 8, 2008

playin games

i just played parchesi and two rounds of scrabble back to back while drinking beer with my housemate. the second round of scrabble, i had a strange idea to ask if we could play in 4D--or where you can make words go in any direction, not just two. i never played that way before, and i don't think it's normal at all. it was super fun though to be able to modify the rules. scrabble 4D, the next level...
i had a thought about my ex-eric yesterday and lo and behold he sends me an email today. i don't know what to say to him really. i've been hurt and slightly humiliated by him, which is not altogether a lesson i didn't need to learn, but i just don't know what he wants from me. i tried so hard to stay in contact, and he shunned me. that's hard to swallow, even if i did deserve it. and now he says he hopes i'm happy. well, yes eric, i'm happy living on this island. the whole depraved cycle where you entered my life started here. i went back to the beginning to start again. but no eric, it's not a guy thing--girls like to ride fast on motorcycles too. and i don't know where i am now. i can't tell which cycles started over and which were discarded, my whole life is wrapped together in a spiral of unrelenting complexity.
i heard a song a few days ago that seemed so perfect--oingo boingo's "mary". i was riding in my friends car with the warm wind flowing through my hair, and it carried me through a parallel trip on marys and my own life. it was one of those moments more common in youth when you think everything is about you, and i enjoyed the feeling i got for a while. it's fun to play the lead in my own life.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

nuts and bolts

poking my beak out of the shell and into a new life is always a little frightening. emotions i felt last time i started over come rushing back and i'm left feeling like i've gone backward in my development. here i am again, looking for any scrap of a job, eeking out my last dollars and not knowing when i'll have income. haven't i worked hard enough to not have to do this anymore? well, no, i haven't. i've started a movement to celebrate the meaningless job, and while it's benefits are many, getting a new job easily isn't one of them. it's a crap shoot--maybe i'll find the perfect no-brainer, tip jar busting bartending job, and maybe i'll slave away as an underpaid, over-responsibilitied barista in a mangy coffee shop, with the meaningless job, one takes what one can get, especially in this economic meltdown. so far, i've got a "come back next week" from the tuscan (italians can't resist me) restaurant in pahoa, an interview tomorrow at the food co-op, and a whole lot of "times are tough, sorry". not bad for my first week.
i bought a car today. a 1988 toyota tercel hatchback that is awesome. $800 dollars, 109,000 miles, new tires, bitchin' stereo system, a little oil leak, and 35 miles per gallon, not a bad deal. i was in love with another car earlier this week, but i took the path of practicality instead. the 1981 datsun 280zx was hot, and it might have run ok, but it was my hearts desire, not my heads...sigh. oh well, i won't feel like night rider, but i will be able to have more than one passenger.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


things to remember when moving to a tropical island:
1. you won't wear your sweatshirts
2. you won't wear socks
3. you will sweat in december outside
4. you will get eaten by mosquitoes
5. you will surprise cockroaches when you turn on the light
6. everything takes longer, just wait
7. you won't find what you want at the store
8. you'll pay 50% more for it when you do
9. you still won't miss the mainland
10. you will feel like a kid on christmas every day

Thursday, December 4, 2008

land of lava

i made the right decision. every morning i wake up and wander out in the humane chill for a stroll in paradise. the jungle reminds me of western washington where food grows on trees and bushes, but instead of blackberries and apples, it's mangoes and thimbleberries. i like being supported by the plant life, my life is being encouraged. this trip has handed me an important piece of understanding--no matter where i am, life amazes me. i'm a perpetual child, and now that i've learned how to get around this world, i just love exploring more and more. i'm not settling down. i am active. and getting eaten by mosquitoes.
my generous hosts (eric and michelle) took me on a walk today through hawaii paradise park to the shore which is mostly smooth (pohoehoe) lava. the smell of the ocean, the mist on my face, the awesome power and constant motion of the waves thoroughly filled me. i can't really fathom that this is my new home, here, where people swim with dolphins and crap like that. i've never lived near the ocean before and i feel like i'm on vacation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

goodbye mainland

i'm sitting here doing nothing, but i'm leaving at 4:30am in the morning to catch the shuttle to go to the airport to move to an island with two suitcases and a cat. i feel like i should be freaking out, or packing, or doing something at least. but this is my last day to do nothing, so i'm doing it. tomorrow will begin the new phase, job search, transportation plan, setting up home. i might buy a van to live in. i might buy a sports car and live in a tent. i might rent an apartment or cabin and ride a bike. all options are appetizing. i'm hoping my contacts there will help me decide. i'm really hoping to find a cool job that isn't too annoying and makes me some decent money. today--it's all hopes and wonder, tomorrow reality hits. on the edge of the diving board, ready to bounce and dive in.