Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Attempt at Poetry

A graceful extension of the arms
A slow bending of the knees
As if bowing to the highest chiefs
The slow, smooth run
Always a modest smile

The flight of the gogo bird
as it searches the ocean for fish
Mixing the sacred 'ava
Serving to those who are worthy
The flirty tilt of the head

Feet gliding, floating in a circle
As the music rises to its climax
Movements become slower, deliberate
Surrounding dancers are frenzied
A low, elegant bow at song's end
Steeped in tradition --- Siva Samoa

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life, it's meaning???

My Monday morning started off with a bang! Sad and scary news from a student sent me diving into action before I even entered my office. But it got me thinking...

I also watched the Samoan movie, Broken Promises Part I & II, and it also dealt with the idea of suicide. By the way, this is directly tied into my Monday morning start, just so you all know I'm not rambling or going crazy. Well, the crazy part is questionnable, but rambling, certainly not.

That brings me to my question: What is the meaning of life?
*From a mother's perspective, I can tell you that it is an amazing, ongoing experience! A neverending love of a life (or lives) that are directly tied with your own. A feeling of connection with another living being that goes beyond anything normal or even explained. Something that stands the test of time.
*From a Humanities instructor's perspective, life has many meanings depending on what you read. Some people see life as a means to accomplish a goal. Some see it as time given to them to help those in need. Others just want to 'live it to the fullest'.
*From a Polynesian standpoint, life is a gift that is given to not only you, but to your family because you are a representation of your ancestors. Life is time given to you to become a master of a trade, a leader of your family, a supporter, a mentor, a giver of more life.

Life is not easy. But if it were easy, what would we learn? HOW would we learn? My heart will always go out to those who choose to not continue their life, but it cries even more for those who have to witness the act or feel the loss of that other person.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; But often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
---Helen Keller

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

My eighth grader decided she wanted to write about body image and the media in her honors English class. Obviously that's a meaty, yet popular topic among teens so her friend also chose the same topic. That's when the bright idea of crossing culture with the media's idea of body image came into fruition.

Here's where it starts to get complicated. How many different ways can we think of, off the top of our heads, to write about Polynesian culture vs. American culture in terms of body image. I already came up with five. Then my smarty pants daughter comes up with a great idea using the "normal" scale from her pediatrician and how her measurements from birth until now has always been off the charts. Now why didn't I think of that?

Explaining the idea of body image and Polynesians is going to be difficult. Do we look far back into our past? Do we evaluate ourselves now? I know we can focus on the hair (that is SO not the 'sich) or the facial structures, but where do we go from there? I always like to use the excuse that I'm big-boned and therefore I am heavier, larger, etc. etc. etc. But even among the Polynesian community I am tall for a female and so is my daughter. Can we still use that on the "normal" scale?

Our perceptions of what is good looking is definitely different from the average American (whatever that is). I have a picture of a well-known Polynesian sportscaster on my bulletin board at work and this older palagi coworker came in and said, "Well, he's no Brad Pitt." My response? "Well, he's MY Bradd Pitt." You see? Perception is in the eye of the beholder. Or was it beauty? Either way, body image, to be explained to the young folks of today, is you being comfortable in your body, regardless of what's on tv, what you're nationality is, or what other people say you should look like. When you look in that mirror, YOU determine your beauty. If you see yourself as the hottest person in the world (even if no one else does), that's okay! Your mirror, your wall!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Eat this, and this, and this...

The authors of the book "Eat this, not that" were obviously NOT thinking about Polynesians when they wrote it. If you're not familiar with the book (they also wrote "Cook this, not that"), it provides alternative eating habits so that a person can just eat healthy and lose weight. Painless, simple weight loss. There is NO SUCH THING!!! I think I should write a similar book but for Polynesian audiences only. Those who are familiar with Polynesians and our love for food may also enjoy the information. For instance...
*Lu pulu: Instead of eating the luau leaves with canned corned beef, use regular beef instead. More natural, more healthy. Or take out the meat all together and make it palusami. (Aren't onions good for you?)
*Sua laisa: Rice cooked in coconut milk with a little sugar and orange leaf, makes an excellent dessert. Not healthy enough? Add koko samoa. Experts say the more natural the chocolate, the more antioxidants and healing agents are involved.
*Taro: When baked it contains less fat than boiling in coconut milk. Or the healthier alternative: Kumala. Don't sweet potatoes beat out regular potatoes when talking about healthy eating?
*Pork: The other white meat. Enough said.
When I attend the many family reunions and Polynesian festivals this summer, I will make sure I keep these eating alternatives in mind. Do you think the booth with the kalua pig will substitute a Rib Eye steak instead?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Trash vs. Treasure

I married a packrat. This does not match well with my self-diagnosed ADHD/OCD tendancies. And he wonders why I've been the biggest witch since we moved into our new place.

I will be the first to admit that I have my weakness when it comes to saving things. My treasure is books. Dr. Seuss, JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Michael Crichton (I think we own all of his), Dan Brown, books about Polynesia, whatever has captured my interest or the interest of my children... My ultimate dream room is a library just like the one in the Disney cartoon Beauty and the Beast. Bookshelves filled with books from the floor to the vaulted ceilings with ladders on runners that enable me to glide from one shelf to the next. If I could sing like Belle that would make the vision complete. I come from a family of avid readers. My stepmom used the word 'voracious' to describe our reading habits. With books comes knowledge, information, pure pleasure! So how can a collection of books be trash?

Back to the packrat... Why do we need crates full of CDs? How many of us actually listen to an artist's entire album? Very rarely, I can assure you. Unless it's Luther Vandross or some old Whitney Houston, then okay. And now with iTunes and iPods, no one needs to lug around CDs or battery operated, bulky CD players. So I ask, how is this treasure? What knowledge can you gain from these flimsy pieces of plastic that scratch so easily? My oldest daughter had the greatest idea. She said we should set the crates outside and put a FOR SALE sign on them. Then, technically, they would become treasure because they would actually offer some sort of income. But who would want the damn things?

Maybe my nerves will calm down when we purchase a bookcase AND a CD case so the crates aren't sitting in the middle of the family room floor. Maybe I won't be ready to pull my hair out when the stereo parts are put together and taken OFF of my dining room table. Stereo system+CDs=Loud Music=Raging Beast of a Mother because she can't read her books in peace. My books are safely packed away in plastic totes to protect them from the elements where they patiently wait in the storage room. That's where the CDs and stereo crap should be. And remain. And maybe the packrat should join them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why blog?

As I browse through other blogs and procrastinate on writing in my OWN blog, I wonder if it's even worth the effort. It's also intimidating when other blogs are well written and I tend to wonder if I sound like an absolute idiot. I've kept journals since high school. After I got married, my husband bought me a journal and I have written very little in it. So now I've turned to blogging. And even then, I have not been consistent. So, my question again: Why blog?

1. My ultimate goal of becoming a best selling author begins with practice, practice, and LOTS of writing.
2. I like to think people are listening to what I am saying, even if it's only a dream.
3. I like putting opinion and thoughts out there, another reason why I use facebook AND advertise my blog at the same time.
4. I love writing!

Why blog? I blog because I can! And I enjoy it. And I might actually keep up with my writing. And I'm bored at lunch and have nothing else to do so I may as well blog. For all of you bloggers out there, keep on keepin' on! And keep blogging!