Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh, Hawai'i

Hawai'i can be a confusing place. I think the most confusing thing is the seasons. The changes between seasons are so subtle, only true locals (no donkeys or haoles) seem to notice. This can be confusing, in terms of the inner clock.

For instance, I just realized a few days ago that Halloween is nigh (as in, tomorrow). Costume? Candy? Holiday? Whaaaat? Last year Christmas snuck up on us, and we sort of forgot about what was happening until we ended up in a crew house eating leftover Chinese food and watching re-runs of CSI We may have gone surfing earlier that day, too. Business as usual.

It almost makes one consider being a Jehovah's Witness simply to have a valid excuse to forget and forego all the Fall and Winter season holidays. But then there's the having to do the door-to-door salesperson thing that JW folks do, and sales isn't something that appeals to me in my free time.

This year I am going to try to be more ambitious with holiday preparations. I won't be taking queues from the weather...but I am gung-ho about getting this house into the holiday spirit this year. No take-out.


In other news, we are finally picking up on Pidgin, local languages, and the local dialect. Sometimes we get little reminders not to say one haole word or another. For instance, the other day my yoga instructor was at our house with her five-year-old daughter. They were feeling a little nervous around the dog (some folks just aren't natural dog people) so I said I would put her on the porch for a few minutes until they were more comfortable. The little girl said, "Mama, what is a PORCH!?" Her mom said, "She means lana'i, sweetheart." Suddenly it all made sense to the little girl, and her eyes lit up when she realized she just learned a new word. 

Here are some words that have worked into our daily vernacular (and don't even sound too ridiculous coming from us anymore):

  • [Mainland] Trash/Garbage = [Hawai'i] Rubbish 
    • "It's your turn to take out the rubbish."
  • Caucasian/tourist = Haole (Not used derogatorily as often as some think)
    • "Was the guy in the news haole or local?"
  • Unwanted transplant who thinks he is local but isn't = Donkey
    • "He thinks those waves are his territory, but he's not even from here, just a donkey."
  • Ample/lots/plenty/many = Choke
    • "Do you want something to drink? We have choke beers in the fridge."
  • Love/courtesy/hospitality = Aloha
    • "What a nice lady, she has a lot of aloha."
  • How are you?/What's up? = Howzit?
    • "Hey, Ike, been a while, howzit?"
  • Child/kid/baby = Keiki
    • "What a cute little keiki! How old is he?"
  • Porch/deck/patio = Lana'i 
    • "Let's eat on the lana'i tonight so we don't miss the sunset."
  • Flip flops/sandals = Slippers
    • "I wear my slippers to the beach, but take them off before I swim I don't ruin them."
  • Snacks/starters/appetizers = Pupus
    • "Should we order some pupus first?"
  • Pee = Shishi
    • "Whose turn is it to take the dog out to shishi?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sticking With It

There is this really intense yoga class at the gym Isaac and I are members of. Isaac never had much interest in yoga before. I liked yoga...the very easy, simple yoga I did mostly by myself.

But one day, Isaac peeked into the yoga studio at our gym while a class was taking place, and saw the yoga instructor causing people to sweat and breathe hard. She's got this intensely strong energy about her...and she loves pushing people through challenges.

He was intrigued. He finished his own workout then talked to her at the end of class. He then proceeded to beg me to attend this class. I sort of shut him out after "and she has people doing all these push-ups..."

Push ups? Me? Ok, I could hardly open a jar of pickles by myself at this point, or carry more than a few bags of groceries at a time. Push-ups? Not my thing. I've always been an endurance runner. I've always been comfortable with that accomplishment. My upper body was weak and lazy and I was OK keeping it that way.

But Isaac REALLY wanted to go to this class, and he really did not want to go alone. So I caved. And I suffered. Forget the push-ups, she wanted me to hold a downward dog pose for how long?!

Not to mention she had the class bending and twisting and binding in ways I never thought a human body capable of. She and half the class seemed like they were cast members of Cirque du Soleil. I was not fitting in well.

I didn't want to go back, but Isaac pushed me to go a few more times. And soon I was going to classes of three different instructors at least once a day, pushing myself until I gained some upper body strength and a new level of endurance. I started off not being able to touch my toes, now I can rest my forehead on my shin. Some of the poses that hurt and challenged me two months ago feel like resting poses now.

Certain poses that required major upper body strength were out of the question for me when I began. Now, I'm one of the few people in some of these classes who can do some of these things. And I love that. My slightly competitive side is benefiting me in what is supposed to be a very non-competitive environment. [I guess I was destined to be a Schaefer].

Running was once the only thing I could stick with. Easy: one foot in front of the other for as long as I want, or as long as I can go. A cinch. Now, after getting over my yoga hump and getting to love the challenge, running has become kind of boring to me. [It's ok running, you were my first love and will always have a place in my heart].

I am lucky to have a husband who pushes me through challenges. I am eager to see what meditative and physical doors pursuing yoga opens up for me. Certain areas of my body have a long way to go, but I'm finally willing to put in the work to meet my goals.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is my blog a little dog-obsessed?

That would make sense. I love dogs, I have always loved dogs, we got a new dog...and this time I am armed with so much excellent information and so many training tools I didn't have before.

When we were living in Chinle, AZ on the reservation, several of my friends there were buzzing about this book, The Other End of the Leash. I don't know why I didn't buy it then. Most of them had wonderfully trained dogs. Some of them had even adopted dogs with mysterious backgrounds, who came to them with issues that could have spiraled into aggression, or problems like what I think must have been fear or anxiety. Those dogs were lucky; blessed with adoptive parents who cared enough to soak in excellent information and provide a well disciplined home, a loving family, and a healthy exercise regimen. As a result, my friends had well balanced, loving family dogs.

Seeing what excellent dog owners my friends were, I should have listened to that buzz and picked up that book right away. I don't know why I didn't take heed sooner. Perhaps I thought I was good enough a dog owner already? After all, Dax was the apple of my eye. And despite some of his quirks, I had a hard time seeing fault in him (or myself and my own training background for that matter).

What I have learned recently from honing certain skills I have (like yoga, for instance; or cooking) is that pride never made anyone better at anything; and prideful people certainly do not get close to being perfect in whatever they're holding their nose in the air about.

The book made me realize I needed some healthy criticism in my knowledge about dog behavior, dog body language, and my own behavior and body language. Criticism is one of those very wonderful tools that, if taken in and worked with, can mold a fairly decent person in their skill into a nearly perfect [or fully perfect!] person in their skill.

And this book has helped us take a dog with many of the same personality quirks as Dax, and turn out a well trained, extremely friendly, extremely calm, smartly submissive dog who relishes the company of other dogs, people and children. She comes to every command. And, with the exception of an interaction with an unfortunately aggressive dog who wound her up for a good day afterward; she has minded every manner she has been taught!

I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone with a dog. The stories in it are heart-warming. It has such empowering information in it---all scientifically research-based---about dog body language, dog's interpretation of our body language, and general living-in-harmony with dogs by not confusing them anymore with our very human way of thinking inside our very human-shaped box.

If you've ever owned a dog and wondered how it could have been a better dog; if you have one now and just want to understand your best friend a little better; if you think you may adopt a dog in the future: get this book!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dog Days

It's been so hot here lately! I know, I know. We live in Hawai'i, hot should be expected. (And I can't complain too much; we get perfect beach weather and water every day of the year).

Actually, the temperature is typically between 75-80 ish. The past several days it's been in the 90's. Even up on the volcano, at a higher altitude, the heat sticks in the air at night and makes it difficult to sleep without waking up in sweaty jammies. Whew! I am all for protecting the environment, but having an air conditioner would be a nice luxury on days like these.

Honey has been getting super hot too. She'll pant so hard after a game of catch that she comes in with a purple tongue. She loves these days, though, because it means that her food dish gets constantly replenished with ice cubes for her to enjoy between meals.

What I wouldn't give to enjoy a few cool, crisp Fall days on the mainland.

I also miss Fall foods. And all the Fall recipes I used to enjoy making and eating so much. Baking is not an enjoyable hobby in this heat...I will need to invent some seasonal dishes that use beloved ingredients like Pumpkin and spices without turning on the stove or oven. Hmmm...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Everyone loves a water dog

Right? I love seeing a dog who is confident in the water. Honey seems to know when she's at her limit. She doesn't go in for deep swims when she is already exhausted. But she gets hot easily, and has figured out the easiest way to cool off and enjoy the water without wearing herself out.

(Excuse the low quality of photos in these last few posts. Pictures have been taken with either my or Isaac's phone).

"Pleeeaaaase throw the ball!"

"Awww riiiight. I got ma' ball!"

Life is rough for this dog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I made the blog public again. Friends kept saying, "Have you updated your blog? I never see it in my feed anymore." They couldn't see it because it was private, and you have to go directly TO a private blog to see it, and that's just too much trouble for some folks.

I figure that since I have left facebook and cut off web communication with anyone at work, it's probably safe to be public again.


P.S. That is why you might see like, a thousand blogs in your feed all at one time. I am very sorry. I wish I knew a way around that.

Four stages of of cute

I love both Dax and Honey. Since Dax has been adopted out to my dad (for both their sakes), I focus most of my attention and adoration on Honey these days.

She is a whipper snapper. I love when she sleeps. Not just because I can relax and shower and not have to worry about getting her little puppy bladder out to the yard every hour (just in case), but because she tends to have a few different positions she goes into as a routine when she sleeps, and it's pretty darn cute.

Stage One
After finally giving up on trying to engage everything around her in a game of some sort, she tends to flop down on her tummy, wherever she is, and *harumph* straight into a nap.

Stage Two
By stage two she is starting to wiggle her toes and twitch her nose around; she's getting into a more natural position and dreaming of wonderful things like mongoose poop and tennis balls.

Stage Three
I think she likes us. Soon after she starts to dream she will subconsciously wiggle up to the nearest warm body and stay there. If we're not nearby, she will wake up, get up, and come lie next to us.

Stage Four
The "bask in the comfort of my environment" pose.

Finally, this one isn't a pose, I just think it's really cute when dogs stick out the tip of their tongue while they sleep.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Destruction (Photos!)

Honey was released from the doctor today. She's cheerful, playful and tail wagging. If it wasn't for the shaved spot where her IV was, and the fact that she spent her first 2 hours home peeing every 2 minutes (from all the IV fluid, I would guess), you'd have no idea she tried to do herself in with bird seed.

When she was sick, she got sick all over her bed. I removed the cover so I could replace it. Which, I suppose, made shredding the pillow inside that much easier while I was at work tonight:

From my camera phone. The remains of what used to be Honey's dog bed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Doggy Bird Seed Bender

*Yucky details in this entry*

I haven't slept in 40 hours. Despite feeling completely drained, I know I won't fall asleep until I have emptied my head and let myself unwind.

Yesterday, after an already very long day behind me, I came home late from work (about 10). Honey (the dog) had only been home alone for about 5 hours. On previous occasions when she was home alone, she did very well. No major messes, nothing chewed up, no in-house accidents.

This time I noticed she had emptied her basket of toys which were everywhere. Which is OK, they are her toys, after all; and we haven't given her many so it took all of 15 seconds to put them back.

Then, I noticed, on our screened in lana'i, she had somehow jumped up to a 5.5 foot shelf and pulled off the sack of bird seed we keep to re-fill the bird feeder in our yard. Bird seed was scattered everywhere, though not as much as should have been given the size of the bag. In other words, she ate approximately 1.5 lbs of seed. She went on a bird seed bender!

This was all very educational for me. First, I had no idea that my dog was so agile and gravity-defying. The shelf is a wall shelf, bolted to the wall, nothing under or next to it to climb. Second, I had no idea a dog could eat so much bird seed; or that any dog would want to.

Dax knows when something is bad for him; and he rarely eats people food. He just does not like it. He is a naturally healthy decision maker.

Apparently not all dogs are like that.

Anyway, her activity level was still WAY up and she was happy to see me, so I thought nothing of it.

Until she got really fidgety around 11 am, and kept having to go out to go potty. Which kept me up because I have to escort her out at night so she doesn't lick a Cane toad (whole other story). This happened about every 15 minutes. I thought I could ignore her once and try to sleep, since I know she has the bladder control, but she could not hold it.

Then, around 2 am, she started getting fiercely sick. She was hot and vomity and well...I will spare details. I called the emergency vet at about 4am. He said if she got lethargic to bring her in ASAP, otherwise, bring her in around 6 or 7 am and they would start testing.

So I brought her in this morning.

Turns out, bird seed can go bad. Really bad. And with her size (30 lbs) and the amount she ate (2lbs) it impacts the small intestine in a really nasty way. It also ferments with germs and fungus and does all sorts of damage in there. The vet was glad I brought her in this morning, since she needed to be put on an IV and be admitted for monitoring. She's had several enemas today, and hasn't been off the IV yet. She has to stay overnight for more monitoring. (I, in the meantime, spent the day scrubbing and sterilizing my home, making it aromatic again, and buying and installing baby-proofing tools everywhere I felt necessary).

Who knew bird seed could be so potentially dangerous.

She might get to come home tomorrow if she "passes" a series of more tests. Otherwise, she'll stay another day, and possibly undergo slightly more invasive methods to clear out her tummy.

I am sad for my puppy, I really hope she is fully recovered so I can bring her home tomorrow. The only obstacle is that the IronMan triathlon is going on, and the highway I have to drive across to get to the vet's will be barricaded off for the safety of the athletes, and will not be open again until the evening of the 10th.

Trying to figure out that one hiccup has been preventing me from dropping straight into bed...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New things can be scary

I have taken for granted how scary or unexpected something can be when it's brand new to you. Honey, the new dog, has made me appreciate this again. Having been a stray whom we think never knew a home before, she spent the first 9-ish months of her life basically as a wild dog. There are several things in our home which have scared her; and every time I think she's fully acquainted, something else sets her off.

1. Stairs. The only way to get in our home is via stairs. When we got to our house from the shelter, we assumed she would follow us normally into the house. There was a pull. She stopped. She had no idea how to get her front feet up and make her back feet follow. We got her started and she just about stumbled back down, completely frightened. A few days later, after some coaching and placing treats on each step, she got the hang of it.

2. Soft surfaces (couches, beds, pillows, etc). The first time Isaac invited her onto the sofa to sit by him, she was extremely uncomfortable and skeptical. We let her stay in bed with us the first night because she wanted to be near us, but she had a hard time sleeping that first time. She tossed and turned. Now, she begs for a nap in bed every day around 10 or 11 am.

3. Mirrors and window reflections. This was especially funny to watch. We know not to baby or pander a dog when it's frightened because it fosters those feelings of fear and anxiety. So we watched amusedly. We have a big mirror door in our office to the office closet. The first time she followed us in there, her hackles went up and she began to growl and bark, and pace back and forth in front of the mirror, occasionally going in for a warning nip to "that other dog." She then started to try to outsmart the dog by slowly turning her head and walking away, then quickly snapping back at it...then would whimper because (we assume) she saw that the other dog was just as fast and sly as her! She still barks any time she sees her own reflection in a glass door or window at night, but she's becoming more and more friendly with her mirror reflection.

4. Remote controls and other similarly shaped electronics. This one seems a little more random than the rest. She seems to be OK with other small objects for the most part. But when we use the remote or point it at the TV, she runs to the other side of the room and barks excitedly. We've managed to get her to calm down quite a bit, but she still refuses to be near one.

5. Anything that squeaks. Dax also hated squeaky toys. But Honey will bolt in the other direction with her tail between her legs if we offer her squeaky toy to her and it squeaks. She's so afraid of it now that she won't even go near it if it's not squeaking.

6. Window blinds.  I think she may have survived off bugs before she was rescued. She chases them around our house and catches them every time she sets out to get one. But one went behind the blinds and she couldn't figure out how to get to it. In the spirit of being helpful, I pulled the blinds up. She did a backflip off the sofa, onto the floor, then scrambled into the corner, tail down, hackles up, and started barking and whimpering.

Those events aside, she is becoming more and more adjusted every time she sees something new. Our vet suggested introducing her to something new and unusual every few days with treats so she can acclimate and get adjusted; it's a suggestion that has been working really well. Honey is starting to feel more and more at home. We start obedience training class next week, and once that is done, she gets to start agility training! We're hoping we can do more things right and less things wrong than we did with Dax, for an especially balanced, happy, and friendly dog.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I don't know what it is about being married that suddenly makes me feel that I am changing so much as a person, and that my surroundings are changing too...or maybe that is just my perspective.

As much as Isaac and I got to improving the art of communication before our wedding, we're getting even better at it now. I think that part of that is the mentality that we are officially bound to each other for life, so we better get started on making that life easy on ourselves and each other!

I think we have both also gotten into the mentality that in order to take truly good care of each other, we need to take good care of ourselves first. We've really been fostering wellness in ourselves, each other, and our marriage. Never in a million years did I think my husband would take up yoga, but we're both really into it now...going to classes six days a week and even having a private instructor come over and work with us another two days a week. I think the yoga lifestyle is starting to reach out into every part of our routine.

Along those lines, I've become one of those people who treats sugar like the devil. I don't want it in my house, in my food, or on my mind. It has never really been a secret that sugar and sugary foods do damage to the human body; but I've been seeing that damage in action with people I know, and have been reading more and more about it. I crave it less and less.

Isaac has been fostering my need to be creative and meditative, and has also been feeling more drawn to home and time together. I think the first year-ish of his big plate full of chief pilot duties kept him away long enough that the importance of a home life sunk in. Having Honey in our home makes everything feel more whole as well; and we're really beginning to feel more like a family unit than simply a couple.

All of this growing wellness in our heads, souls, and bodies has been so nurturing for us. I am finding myself more attracted to my husband, and more relaxed with myself. I hope we are both able to continue to foster all this good energy and watch it grow. He is away for two weeks on the mainland right now; so it will take some work and testing to see how well we can both continue to foster these positive improvements while we are apart. I miss him already and am really looking forward to him being home.