January 30th, 2015 · 1 Comment
Somehow I forgot to note yesterday’s significance. It was the second anniversary of my mother’s death.
Over time, we’ve realized many things that we should have asked about. Other things that we should have paid more attention to when she told us about them. Long life, lots of experience and knowledge to share. Take advantage of it while you can.
Meanwhile, I’m still discovering surprises and mysteries, like these hand-penned poems from a very long ago time. These were among some of the last of my mom’s papers that I was able to find. But they are a mystery.
I don’t think that’s her handwriting, although I’ll have to get my sister’s opinion. My dad’s hand? Possibly, although I would be shocked if he had talent as a poet, even as a young man. Did she have a once-upon-a-time poet boyfriend? Girlfriend? Whatever their origin, these were important enough to her that she hung onto them through her nearly 99 years of life. Another little mystery to treasure as I reassemble my understanding of both my parents.
The two poems at the bottom are on paper that is worn soft and thin, almost worn out on the folds. It feels like it was handled a lot at one time, although the ink remains clear.
Click for a larger view so that you can read the poems. They are actually pretty good. I tried an online search to see if they were copied from a published work, but came up blank. Your results may differ.
January 30th, 2015 · 5 Comments
It’s a sad end of a sad week. Ms. Harry, also known as Harriet, has been going downhill fast. We’re pretty close to the end. She is barely eating anything at all. I’m lucky to get her to lick baby food off my finger. One finger, maybe two. Then she turns her head away. I’ve kept her going on NutriCal, a high calorie supplement, which she has been willing to lick.
She’s uncomfortable, but doesn’t seem to be in pain. She communicates her discomfort by trying to knock things over, pawing whatever is nearby. A newspaper. A wine bottle. A book. A head of garlic on the counter. A coffee cup. A plate. A small bowl of food placed where she’s sitting to tempt her into a taste. It’s very frustrating for us, since we constantly have to react by racing across the room to rescue whatever has gotten her attention. I want to shout at her, “No! Stop that!” But I don’t, because shortly I’ll be wishing that she were still here to act up and bother us.
Ms. Harry seems to spend too much time sitting up and staring into the distance, but she can still curl up and fall into a peaceful sleep. We’re thankful for that.
She knows. We know. It’s very sad, but we are trying to chant through the many great moments of her long 15 years of life. She’s survived the other three kittens in her litter by several years. Now it’s time. We have an appointment mid-day on Saturday with Ann Sakamoto, our main vet at VCA in Kaneohe, a final consultation, perhaps. Miracles happen, but not often. And I don’t think this is one of those times.
Meanwhile, I pressed my iPhone into duty for this week’s Feline Friday. All of today’s photos were taken with the phone. It’s a different point of view.
–> See all of today’s Friday Feline fotos.
Tags: Cats · Photographs
January 30th, 2015 · 4 Comments
Reading Andrew Sullivan’s “A note to my readers” this week was like an out-of-body experience, as if I could have been reading my own words.
“I want to let you know I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future,” he wrote.
Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.
The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.
Like Sullivan, I’ve been blogging here daily for 15 years, and I have sometimes ached with a desire to pour myself into some longer investigations and a different form of writing, if only for a while. His words could have flowed from my keyboard, for sure. But unlike Sullivan, I haven’t attracted 30,000 subscribers or built a surprisingly robust business with a million dollars in annual revenue.
No, I’m not quitting, although I won’t deny having played out that scenario in my mind from time to time.
It’s instructive to see how others have responded to his announcement (see “A Blogger Breaks Free: Your Thoughts“; “A Blogger Breaks Free: Your Thoughts II“; and “A Blogger Breaks Free: Blog Reax“).
Tags: Blogs · Media
January 29th, 2015 · 1 Comment
I wish all leftover meals were this good!
Relatively early Tuesday morning, I pulled a ham bone out of the freezer and put it in our big, cast iron dutch oven. I think we made the ham for a family party just after Thanksgiving, and it’s been taking up room in the freezer since then. Covered with water, or as close to covering as I could get given the dimensions of the pot. Brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for the rest of the morning. By now, any leftover meat was starting to fall off the bone.
Soon after lunch, I started adding kale into the pot, along with some garlic and pepper. As the kale cooked down, I kept adding more. Eventually I added all of a good-size bunch, and later added some mixed greens that was heavy on spinach.
Sometime around the 6 p.m. news, I put in some carrots and celery, followed by a can of garbanzo beans, after draining and rinsing.
Once the carrots were cooked, this fine soup was ready for the table.
Served with whole wheat french bread and a plate of tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and avocado. The glass of red wine didn’t make it into the picture. It was fabulous, and oh so simple. All it needs is time. We enjoyed it two nights in a row, and there’s enough left for a lunch.
And, as usual, click on the photo to see a larger version.
Tags: Food · Photographs
January 29th, 2015 · 7 Comments
I’m pretty sure this photo dates from 1978. We were renting an apartment on the 4th floor of what was then called the Circle Jade, the round apartment building on 9th Avenue in Kaimuki, just makai of Waialae. On the ground floor, the old Kolohe Lounge.
We lived in that apartment through our graduate school days, and then as we transitioned into our first “real” jobs.
It was before computers, hence the stacks of papers, folders, books, clippings, journals, all of which kept mysteriously multiplying. You can tell that I was already pretty much a document hoarder. I didn’t know yet that it was great preparation for an investigative reporter.
I can’t read all the things that were taped onto the door. It was, as I recall, a good collection.
Here are some that I can make out.
TH-3: Road to Ruin
Uppity Women Unite
Eat the rich!
Say Goodbye, Dick
Peace & Jobs, Stop the B-1 Bomber
Stop the Whale Killers, Boycott Japanese Goods
Don’t buy war toys
And other items. The cover of the Whitman College alumni magazine featuring a photo of Richard Nixon being given a Whitman shirt. A schofield Barracks visitors pass. A hand-printed poster, “Be a witness at the Hickam 3 Trial August 8.”
Luckily, the building went condo shortly after this and we had to move. We did thin the paper herd at that point, although stacks quickly grew to replace what we had jettisoned.
What you don’t see in this photo are the cats. We only had two. It seems like a very long time ago, in so many ways.
Tags: History · Photographs