Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts!

I had dinner with a couple of old friends last night (can you believe we can actually say that now?). Cliff and Jas have been friends since EVER SINCE and back in the day we were all pretty geeky. Today, we are still wanna-be-change/fix/make-the-world-a-better-placers, but with children. Cliff had an awesome idea that I want to totally piggy-back on and enlist supporters for.

He needs legislators, citizens, people in hifaluten powerful places to support legislation to ban smoking in restaurants. Cliff has all the details, but I thought I'd help get it started by posting it on the blogosphere. We're starting up a blog too later, but for now, he'd like to get a group of supporters together.

I agree with them that it's about time we join the rest of the literate and intelligent world and protect our kids and family from second hand smoke. I was in Hawaii this summer, and they in the P.I. Both places ban smoking in restaurants, bars, and some public places.

I think the people of the CNMI are not so selfish that they'd deny what's obviously best for everyone's health. What do you think?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Boni's Wonder of the World Entry

For Bruce's Wonders of the World. This is my contribution. It is fetal surgery. I can't even bring myself to describe the beauty of this picture.

Vote for them, not ME

Never mind that I'm fully endorsed by Dog the Bounty Hunter!
I had to give a pretty convincing platform, but I got Diana's vote too!
Bruce says I shouldn't be so selfish, so I ask for you to rethink your voteforme.
Don't vote for me if you don't like little children and flowers.
Don't vote for me if you don't support education.
Don't vote for me if honesty makes you sick.
Don't vote for me if you abhor values and integrity.
If you hate Mallards, women, and basically good people,
for Pete's sake, don't vote for me!
Please, please, voteforme for Bruce because he supports my margarita habit.
Jeff has gone after Justo on my behalf.
I have astigmatism and wear contacts, so I mustn't upset Dave.
Middle Road might have some dirt on voteforme, you never know.
Everyone else is just really nicer than voteforme, so don't vote for voteforme.
Okay, that's the extent of my trash talking.

Would you voteforme for this man?
He's been seen rifling through trash, but he can't even find a belt?
Don't vote for voteforme!

Friday, July 27, 2007

I figure I got this one covered because of the disproportionate number of women to men on island and also the mommy swing votes, but I know how badly Angelo wants to win, so I am announcing my candidacy and beginning my campaign. Please vote for me! More to come.
Oops! I hereby tag the following individuals who I'm really curious to find out about.
1. TVM
2. Bruce
3. Chrissy
4. Taotaotano
5. Lex
6. Jane

An Eye On Work Ethic

Dr. Dave has tagged me. I avoid spam like the plague unless it comes in it's true canned form, and I really don't do the text chain or letter chain thing. At first, I didn't like getting tagged, but I am starting to appreciate, like a good writing assignment, how it spurs me into thought. Back to the subject, Dr. Dave has offered a new challenge:

...write about your first job experiences and what you learned from them and then tag six other people
I had already been thinking about this because Deece posed a similar prompt, so it will be used to streamline my thoughts even though I have already been droning on without starting. It's a preface everyone, I promise, I will eventually get to the point.

The way I see it, I've had two "first" jobs during two very important social development phases in my life. The first job I ever got was at the local farmer's market when I was only 13. My father thought it was time to learn some work ethic and I agreed with him. I'm grateful that he didn't try to find me a job that would take care of his little girl. I was to mop and sweep the floors in the morning. There were three other teenage boys who worked with me who were tasked to carry the heavy boxes of produce and replenish the displays. It was my job to make sure fresh vegetables were in the displays. This meant having to sift through rotting produce and sometimes, cleaning up the maggots and other organic waste in the bins. I also bagged lots of string beans and other greens, but what I remember most was being one of the guys.

It was made clear to me by my father, the owners of the establishment and my co-workers that there was to be no whining, no refusing to do even the most menial tasks and no slacking whatsoever. I got punched in the shoulder when the jokes got really good and I was never ommitted from dirty work. I don't even remember how much I was paid because I was lucky. The money was not the reason I worked. I worked because it was something I could do to contribute, mostly to my own self-reliance. I think the paychecks went to my parents, but I can't remember. I only remember being so excited to get up for work and the way my arms ached when I had to unwind and re-wind that dang heavy hose they used to clean the place with!

My 2nd "first" job was as a teacher's aide making about 11 grand a year at Garapan Elementary School in 1993. I was 21 years old. Tony and I got married a few months before and he was to be stationed in Okinawa for his last unaccompanied tour of duty with the Marine Corps. When we asked in San Diego if they would consider sending little Tony Jr. and me along, they frankly replied, "if the Corps wanted you to have a wife son, we would have issued you one." So with that, the baby and I waited in Saipan.

Before our move to Saipan, I enrolled in San Diego's Regional Occupational Program and completed a 9 month certification program in three months. I took little Tony with me to ROP as a student and learned how to be a child care provider. The program served women who were down and out and some who had been given court orders to spend more time with their children and get some parenting skills. I made a lot of friends there while beginning what would one day become a teaching career. It was at ROP that I realized I wanted to teach. It was at ROP that I committed to serving the public and those who had limited options in life. I figured that I had a pretty privelidged life up until then and that there was some kid out there who would appreciate someone giving them as much attention and guidance as I was given in private school and in my family.

In Saipan, I quickly registered for the School of Education and any job that would get me into the Public School System. I got offers for GCA and thought about going back to Mt. Carmel like Galvin had, to give back, but I was convinced that I was needed more at places like PSS where they sometimes ran short of support for parents and kids. I knew that I would be put to task, meaningful work and that I would be challenged to give more than I was used to.

I hated being a teacher's aide, it was more like being a teacher's maid back then. I never knew what I was going to be doing from day to day, used as a substitute teacher, cleaning up after a certified teacher or running out to buy donuts for the visiting accreditation team. I learned, through observation and perspiration, that the only worthwhile way I could use my energy was to focus on the students. I begged, borrowed and stole from the dynamic teachers I had the privelidge to work under. I created a mind's list of what never to do from some that in my mind, should have never been teachers in the first place. And, I watched, watched and watched all around me. I watched everything from the politics to the playground.

What I learned. I learned that you should only do what you love. I learned that when what you love starts to make you feel hopeless, it is time to sluff off the dead skin and relax while waiting for the new. I learned that a system is complicated, highly politically charged, sometimes loses it's vision, but that it serves real people.

I got a job offer yesterday that I was tempted to accept because of the recent happenings in my life. Last night, while contemplating the benefits of a "fresh start" away from my miserable situation, I thought of Deece's sign. Deece: this is really the only thing that I would ever consider volunteering to do in my life.

This afternoon, four Americorps tutors and I will be engaged in training new troops who will one day be teachers in our schools. I am volunteering today to duplicate the talents of many wonderful teachers I learned from and myself so that tomorrow's citizens will at least have had the chance to say they knew someone cared for them at their school and wanted what was best for them educationally. Look out for this up and coming teachers.

I may still keep my options open, but along with them, I will never close my mind to my first love, my first job!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hey, it's not like I'm lying on the street or anything

Rick is right. Things look pretty bleak and they probably aren't going to get any better until they get much worse, but hey, I'm not "the dead guy" (you had to be there). This little story changed the entire day for me and I owe Rick Jones more than just my undying loyalty to Java Joe's, but also a debt of gratitude for having pulled me out of a slump.

I took a walk through the school halls today and visited the teachers we could keep/hire. They were preparing for an optimistic year and the rooms looked ready for smiles, little fingers and minds and worlds of possibilities. Someone had re-arranged her class to make some more room for circle time, others were painting and yet more teachers were dusting off computers and desks.

Come Friday, GES will open to over 800 students and parents and over 60 staff. We will, with united voice and heart, welcome our students to what we determine will be an educational adventure and home away from home.

Things I am thankful for: Sommer's handpicked flowers and Peyton's crayon art. Rick's words of wisdom and Bruce's awesome margaritas. Jeff's listening ear and the turtle who sticks his neck out when the race seems too tough to win. Friends in low places, you know who you are and the love of my family.

Things I am hopeful will teach me to persevere: the budget crisis and teacher shortage. The gas prices and CUC rates. Too much to do and too little time. Time at all when others can only dream of another day.

Things I can do without: negative thoughts and anger that is fruitless. Restless sleep and worry.

Things you should ponder: when you are at the end, those you love should be able to say they had the best of you, not what was left of you.

Peace out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Psych! Joke's on me folks

Okay. Remember my celebratory post on becoming Highly Qualified? I wrote it all wrong. I am actually Highly Naive to think that I would be treated as anything other than employee 2208. Regardless of the fact that I hold a Master's in Counseling, a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, have passed both required Praxis exams and have "completed" the classes required for an Administrator's Certification, I will unfortunately not be applying for professional certification. Did I mention I am one class and a thesis away from a second master's in administration? I digress. I will be revoking my application for certification. Why you ask? Why? Because more than anything in this world, more than stepping in gooey, ooey, poo, I am repulsed by bureaucracy and it has become totally apparent that I am facing the big daddy of red tape monsters.

My administrator's code of ethics prevents me from ranting like a lunatic any further, so suffice it to say that I am not a happy camper and will not be getting in the sandbox to play.

The question for the ages: what did I do to get on this sh!+ list? Someone suggested I find counsel, and they weren't referring to therapy.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reese Way Do I Go?

I'm walking around in the backyard of a two story house trying to find my way to the front door. There are flowers everywhere and a vegetable garden. There are chain linked fences surrounding each house. It is grandma's house and I am not sure where to go. A woman, hunched over looks up at smiles. It is Reese Witherspoon and she is harvesting lettuce, carrots and beets. She points to the front door which miraculously appears before my eyes. I thank her profusely, a little star-struck and unable to say much more. I think to myself, "woah, Reese Witherspoon is grandma's neighbor. I have to blog this!"
I feel the overwhelming need to explain my "don't let me turn into my mother" post and the whole taotaomona thing. No I don't. Yes I do. No I don't. I'm a little moody tonight. Can ya tell?

Random Thoughts in the Food Court of My Mind

It is a vulgur thing eating in a crowded food court, watching people shovel food into their mouth.
Me and you, Saipan and Guam people, we are descendants of taotaomona and so you should be able to buy land here too? Whatever.
I think everyone should be able to buy land here, but just for the sake of ridiculous argument gat'chong, what the heck does that have to do with the price of pugua in Chalan Piao?
Guam cannot use that argument, descendants of taotao mona. Geez, has anyone ever seen the application form at UOG? They want to know if you are Chamorro from Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Pagan, Agrigan, etc. For what? What the heck difference does it make to UOG? Why not just come out and ask if you are Rotanese, Saipanese, Guamanian, etc? If anyone is keeping the barriers up it's that dumb application form. Next time you find yourself filling it out, write CHAMORRO FROM TAOTAOMONA.
Who said that? Mom? Oh God no, it was me. Please God, please don't let my children not want to be anything like me when they grow up, but, oh God please don't make me turn into my mother.
Sommer, Peyton and I rested our heads on the picnic table and watched the stars last night. We saw three shooting stars and talked about how beautiful the night sky looked. Then we said goodnight to the cockroaches, fruitbats, frogs, crickets, geckos, deer, Billy Bob, termites, mosquitos, hilitai, and Luna.

Twinkle, twinkle little stars
we don't wonder what you are
big giant balls of gas and fire
billions of years old and far, far away

Yeah so what that it doesn't rhyme. What do you want from a tired mommy, and a six and three year old?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Chamorro Funeral

The Chamorro funeral is a fascinating event, one I've come to appreciate more and more as I grow older. WAIT! Before anyone is tempted to remind me about the exorbitant cost, physical and social demands and family disputes, just let me speak my mind first. This is the funeral process through my eyes, a perspective that comes from smack dab in the middle of the picnic table conversations and chopping board chats.

As a young girl I was always bothered by the elaborate funerals and wondered why everyone went to such extremes. It was not until I was old enough to share the burden and responsibility of organizing one, and not until I was old enough to really grieve that I learned the value of our customs. When my uncle Charlie died two years ago, I felt like I was in a dream state, acutely aware of everything going on around me. The grief was almost indescribable, difficult, and complicated, like trying to get play-dough out of your hair.

I found comfort in the daily routine of chopping vegetables and preparing meals for the night's rosary. It was in those moments at the family table, when the stories would come pouring out. Every day there was something new to appreciate and love and mourn about Uncle Charlie. Every day there was a chance to express in story and laughter how much he would be missed. I realized that the rosaries and more importantly, the preparation for them, was integral in preparing us for the actual funeral. The Chamorro Funeral is grief immersion therapy at it's rawest and it is a beautiful thing.

I watched each night as people gathered to eat. I listened to the words of condolence, to the offering of memories significant to each visitor who came to express their sympathy, and I was struck at the simplicity of it all. "Come to the table and break bread and we will share our heart's fondest memories; I will be here for you until you are ready to stand on your own" This is what people were really saying to one another.

Nine days of rosary to help the community prepare. One day to say good-bye. Nine more days with just the family to help adjust to life without their beloved. There is so much more to say, but my heart is full and heavy and I can't seem to make sense of it all right now, but I didn't want to lose this moment.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Scattered pictures, misty watercolored memories...

Self-portrait of my hand titled "perfecting peace" by Boni
Dat's da kine bounty hunter brah! I snuck a picture while he ate lunch.
I killed the exact same hibiscus in my own garden in Saipan.
I'm glad to see there are plenty more in Oahu.
See how they tremble in my grasp?
Margo Vitarelli the artist in our Art Lab!

I have four different variations of hibiscus in my garden, but this one at the McKinnley High School campus is absolutely gorgeous.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm back! I'm back! The hotel I was in didn't have wireless, neither did the school I was at for the conference. Needless to say, I have been going through blog withdrawals and forced to create posts in my head while meandering through the mean streets of Waikiki. I couple of times I actually stood at street lights laughing out loud at what a great post "whatever" would make. I dreamed about my blog almost every night, but now that I am home I will spend the morning with my kiddies and worry about all the stuff I forgot to write about later. I will give you one picture though, and ask you to provide a caption. I follow in the footsteps of Angelo and Deece.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

You're It!

Angelo's right, what's the point of a tag if there isn't an invitation, so I'm gleefully tagging folks I didn't tag before and who I recently met. That's you: Bruce, Brad, Miwa (c/o Steve), the Reveler, Geek Goddess, and Bigsoxfan(s). Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to complete the starters on my Last 7 Lasts post and tag at least four others. Have fun!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Censorship in the halls of education?

Watcha gonna do when they come for you, hmm, hmm, hmmm...
Brad and Harry are BANNED!
Access is denied!
Reason: Banned combination phrase found
Angelo playing in the kiddy park : OK
Brad's dates and Harry's nudi pics: BAD, BAD!
(sorry I couldn't link to those posts guys, remember you're banned?)

My Last Seven Lasts

I've been tagged yet again, and this time by Harry. I wanted to change it around a bit though because I've shared just about all I can about myself without really sharing much. Here are my last seven "lasts". I'm tagging ALL OF YOU out there in the blogosphere who are so inclined to take the time to complete these "starters". Don't be shy, post them in your own blog or in my comments, but share and share alike. Okay here goes Harry, hope you don't mind my audacity to change your task.

1. Last dollar I spent: lunch with my kids Tony and Hope
2. Last time I cried: today before lunch, listening to the radio. There is a new song out with wives talking about their husbands who are off at war. I turned the radio off before the tears came down, but they were welling up pretty good.
3. Last phone call I made: First Hawaiian Bank automated teller.
4. Last phone call I received: My sister Yvette, asking me about little red dots on her baby Savannah. I felt so honored to be given the first shot at a diagnosis, me, sister-mother-of-four, walking pediatric guru. Yvette: Write that down Bon so I can take it to the doctor and tell them what you said. I can imagine it now, "BUT my sister who has four children said it must be Roseola! Who cares if you actually went to medical school?!".
5. Last movie I watched: Oceans 13. Tony took me, but fell asleep right when it started getting good. That's ok. I dozed off a couple of times during Casino Royale. We're even steven babe.
6. Last person I hugged: Sommer, on the way out the door to work this morning. She never lets anyone go without "a kiss and a hug! a kiss and a hug!".
7. Last book I read: Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. I lied. I read a chapter every once in a while. If you've ever read it, you know what I mean and why.
8. Last blog visited (bonus) : I tried to get into Harry's to read the rules, but access was denied. What is so controversial that PSS won't let me in? I'll have to wait until I get home.

OK, no rules guys, just an open invitation. Your last 7 lasts..........GOOOOOOOO

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Do, think, eat, enjoy

So, we didn't find our picnic tables only because there was no way to tell for sure they were ours and it made more sense to enjoy the day than to run around like a lunatic inspecting everyone's tent. I put on my game face and practiced my wagging finger, but decided to have a beverage instead and just relax. There are worse things in the world to obsess about, what's a few pieces of wood nailed together? I just hope that one day the family who took them will realize what a downright loathsome act they've committed and try to make up for it by doing something good for someone else. Either that, or they all get a really bad rash in their unmentionable parts for months and months.
I met Jollibee Brad for the first time. I introduced him to my hubby, offered him a drink and a sandwich and then watched as he pushed the PTI car that had seemingly run out of gas down the parade route. Weird how meeting bloggers is so totally un-awkward. Look how he still smiles in the blistering sun. It must be all the Champ burgers:) I wonder if Brad gets better service at the drive-through than me and Deece.
I'm glad to see that Roselle Calvo has chosen to resign from Taotao Tano. Disassociating herself with them is a smart move considering the blatant racism that is beginning to define their movement. It is a shame that they can't pull together to do some good for our indigenous families. We talked about this under our tent the afternoon of the parade and the sentiment is ever growing: Taotao Tano does not represent all Chamorros and Carolinians.
I will be leaving for the Pacific Educational Conference in Honolulu this Sunday. My wonderful husband treated me to a drink and a bite (oh, stop) at Porky's before we both rushed home to our chigrins. I saw Bruce, but was too shy to introduce myself (Oh, stop Steve). It was a perfect start to a nice evening and I'm such a lucky girl. I know my hubby dubby has more surprises in store for me before Sunday. So romantic!

We had the Pika Pika platter. I'm no food critic, but here's the down low on our Porky's meal. At first glance I must admit thinking the portions were a bit small. It was a nice surprise that when we finished the plate, both of us were satisfied. The lumpia was delicious, nice and crispy on the outside with just-cooked veggies. I hate limp veggies in my lumpia. The chips were freshly made and just the right size for dipping. I don't eat beef kelaguin anywhere, so this was a stretch for me. It's hard to make Chamorro food that makes me feel like I'm in my grandma's house, so I just usually skip ordering any at restaurants. The beef kelaguin was my favorite, good job on that one. Mussels I am not a fan of and won't pretend to know how to critique. I ate them, they were tasty, that's all you get. The titiyas were moist, had just the right sweetness and were just enough for the portion of chicken kelaguin.

I only have a couple of suggestions for you Bruce. I am one Chamorro who likes my chicken kelaguin at room temperature, so it may be worth it to stick 'em in the oven/microwave for just a few seconds before serving. There was nothing wrong with the taste though, and I don't eat just anyone's chicken kelaguin either. About the salsa, it really doesn't take a lot of effort to make fresh salsa, just a few tomatoes, some bell peppers, lemons, onions, garlic, spices and you can make it tubs. Believe me, it makes a world of difference to fill a little bowl with homemade salsa. All in all, it was a great meal with friendly service. I was even encouraged to borrow a book from the bookshelf! Oh darn, I wish I had taken a picture of the little two foot bouncer, too cute!! Thanks for the ambiance, food and hospitality Porky's. I can't wait to spend more time there, it's the perfect spot to eat and watch the sunset.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Have a great 4th of July folks and sometime today, while you are enjoying the festivities, pause and pray for our men and women who continue to fight for our freedom. God bless us all:)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

From Sinapalo to the Northern Islands...from Mañagaha to da, da, da, da, da...

Now isn't that better? Sorry for stealing the pic from you Jeff. I thought it needed a little work.
Didn't your mama teach you to share? The sad thing about this picture is that there is a little baby in it who will most likely be indoctrinated into a culture of intolerance and ethno-centricity. Sadder than that thought is the fact that it doesn't need to happen to our children who already are born into a diverse community with great opportunities to learn from those around them. I dare them, triple dog dare them to try and tell any of my kids, husband or the Filipino family I grew up with that this is not their land. Bring it on baby!
Some stealers took our picnic tables from the beach at Aquarius while my family rushed to the hospital to attend to a cousin who was going into surgery. How sick is that? They were heavy tables, they were wooden, they were OURS. I think I saw them today on the side of Beach Road. Tomorrow I'm gonna look for those stealers and take my tables back!

Way to go acclaimed poet Sharon Olds, for refusing to attend the National Book Festival in D.C. Here is an excerpt of her letter to Mrs. Laura Bush:

I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in
order to bear witness--as an American who loves her
country and its principles and its writing--against
this undeclared and devastating war.

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with
you, Mrs. Bush. I knew that if I sat down to eat with
you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I
see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I
would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady
who represents the Administration that unleashed this
war and that wills its continuation, even to the
extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying
people to other countries where they will be tortured
for us. So many Americans who had felt pride in our
country now feel anguish and shame, for the current
regime of blood, wounds and fire.

I thought of the clean linens at your table, the
shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I
simply could not stomach it.