Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka 2011



Here it is December again —Tom and I are still healthy and mobile. Life is good as we continue to maintain our dream home and keep the spackle wet and pliable as we sculpt our aging bodies into rock hard shape.   
(I'm doing the face exercises and lifting and stretching my neck part--A,E,I,O,U.)

We have two new additions to the family Rocky and Apollo—that today become one year old.  We are having a party later, inviting all of their cat, and dog friends.  This week Apollo chewed up my brand new business cards, which the FEDEX driver so graciously let him bring back to the house—ALONE!  Imagine, the driver thought Apollo was so well trained he didn’t even bother to honk his horn!  Apollo eagerly ripped open the box and drooled and chewed on each and every card inspecting them for quality and leaving his stamp of approval.  I am so proud doesn’t quite describe it.   Zeus, our most royal Great Dane spends most days sequestered in the garage. He is eight years old now and can only take so much excitement. He prefers to stretch out on a premium carpet next to the Bentley until two in the afternoon, or until nature calls.

Tom and I are still working out in the gym, only not at the same time. I prefer to walk or jog on the treadmill, alternating on the recumbent bike with a dash of weight lifting and crunches thrown in for good measure, whereas Tom does about one thousand crunches a day, and will grunt and groan through a grueling workout, his sweat glistening from every pore and then want to blend up a fruit tree mixed with protein powder for breakfast.   I am still counting calories and limiting my excitement to writing and I’ve just taken up bowling again. Golf is too hard on my lower back and pinched sciatic nerve. The doctor approves so long as I continue to lift weights. (Doc-what about the bowling ball?)     I know you are wondering at this point (I wrote pint first, so what the hell, I’ve quit but do go ahead) how much longer will she go on? My eye lids are drooping and I think I have a crick in my shoulder.  Seriously, whose idea was it anyway to send Christmas letters?

At harump-donk-humpf my memory is starting to fade. It is a good thing that I keep an appointment book throughout the year to record all my activities or I would have to make this shit up. 

Tom’s daughter Natalie came for the summer with three of her children, Ashley, Andrew and Kaitlyn.  We were thrilled –and the time passed quicker than originally expected.  Thank GOD for diazepam.  

I am working on a novel.  Goodreads.com is sponsoring my two book giveaways, click on my blog links. My book, Letters to a Prisoner by Connie D. received an Honorable Mention in Poetry at the New York Book Festival, not bad for a self-published book on a small budget.  And I just released Meadow Pause Revisited by Cornelia Connie D. DeDona, another poetry and photography book that is available on Amazon and my blog.  On Saturday April 16, 2011, I lead a panel on Alternative Publishing at the Kapolei Public Library.  In September I was accepted as a member into the NLAPW (National League of American Pen Women).  I had three poems and two photographs published in the 2011 issue of Rain Bird, Windward Community College’s  award winning annual journal and will be in next year’s humor issue as well, that makes five consecutive years. Also two of my short stories were published in One Forty Fiction. I appeared on Olelo from Jan. 11-14th (local Hawaiian TV channel) in January to share my story with Habilitat- the place of change; a drug rehab in Kaneohe. I also like to write and perform slam poetry.  I went back to Habilitat in August and performed my slam poems and invited some of the Habilitat residents to join me, we had a blast.   You can Google me; I have three Facebook pages, two domains and one ex- large weakness for dark chocolate and peanut M&M’s.   

I am looking forward to foreign travel again sometime in the near future, where and when is top secret even the pentagon doesn’t know.  I am sending the documents to Mission Impossible as Vantage Deluxe World Travel has been permanently crossed off my Christmas list; clearly service at Vantage is not something they do these days what with cut backs, news link and joke forwarding not to mention arranging air travel to and from Hawaii.  I’m also boycotting them in support of the Amazon Rainforest, which has suffered huge blows  just by Vantage Travel’s  mail order business ALONE.  

But I digress; I have a brand new Nikon D-5000 which I picked up in Vegas this October. Tom and I saw Elton John and the Million Dollar Piano in the Coliseum at Caesar’s Palace.  Elton John named his new piano Blossom, after jazz singer Blossom Dearie. The Coliseum is so big—they have people every so many feet just to direct traffic, luckily I didn’t have to use the restroom.  It was awesome and ear splitting at first—I’m not quite sure if I’m now permanently deaf or if they actually lowered the sound but I was really rocking to some old favorites by the end of the concert.  

 Tom regularly goes out fishing on his 26’Navy boat and has had some admirable catches to show for it.  We are eating plenty of Mahi-Mahi and Ahi these days.
Tom also contributes regularly to the Hawaii Fishing News. They like him so much, they gave us a whole page with photos in the June issue, Tom and his crew David Johnson--photographer, Dr. Steven Wonderlich and Mikey Ordenstein had the unfortunate experience of having  the boat’s prop get tangled  up in a huge cargo net out in the middle of the pacific ocean.  They had to take turns jumping into the ocean to cut the prop free, and it took hours.  I had recently written a poem about the one of the garbage islands in the Pacific Ocean titled The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which was also included. (BTW, also in my new book, Meadow Pause Revisited-- for more info: www.corneliadedona.com )     

So in-between crunches, feeding/ training the bull mastiff puppies, writing fishing poems and articles, buying flashlights, recycling cans and bottles, dumpster diving for perfectly good stuff, fixing lawnmowers and maintaining our one acre estate, Tom is learning the computer and has joined Facebook. You can find him there or email him at capttommydedona@gmail.com .  He was accepted into The Ono Golf Club, a men’s group at Hickam’s Mamala Bay Golf Course, where he walks the course every Thursday. Who knows he may even run into the President there?  Tom bought himself a 2011 Nissan Frontier truck.  He also accepts donations of gently used books for the Friends of the Library where we both volunteer year-round. (Please if it has mildew, a broken binding or dead insects, put it into the trash—otherwise thank you and let us know if you need a receipt.) 

Our son Jason is fit and doing well. He is still in a relationship and knows what it is like to have a teenager in the house, as his fiancé has a thirteen year old daughter. He spends Saturdays with us and occasionally comes bowling.  In September he helped Tom cut, and weld a new gate next to our automatic gate in the front. Now we can walk outside without having to open the huge sliding gate or use the electric gate mechanism.  He also convinced us that it was a good idea to install a photovoltaic system this year. My electric bill surpassed reasonable over two years ago.  We also purchased a new energy saver refrigerator, since the old one quietly died on Thanksgiving night.  It’s a good thing I have two.  We are hiking up Koko head trail together next weekend, (after I pick up my real Christmas tree from Habilitat) which is a walk in the park if you are a triathlete.  The last time I climbed up that hill, I sweat bullets and swore with the eloquence of a sailor.  This time I’m bringing my new camera—to video our adventure, just in case my amnesia returns.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!                                Tommy, Connie, Zeus, Rocky and Apollo


Jason, Connie and Tommy 11-24-11 Heeia Kea Boat Harbor


 Apollo and Rocky-one year old

 Apollo's stamp of approval
 Yikes! my business cards@#$
 New walk through Gate
 Zeus--8 yrs old
 The Cargo Net-And the garbage from Japan isn't here yet!


What?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Success


Success
requires critical thinking,
math and science.  We are the sum of our parts,
the hybrids of our anatomy, habits, and environment.
Our reality is the byproduct.
Seeing does not believe.
Hearing is based upon perspective.
Later you will have to regurgitate
 the details in blinding color
relevant to current generational standards.
Rules are meant to be realigned.
Improvise experiment and stay focused.
Pardon me, but in what dimension do you exist?
What is your purpose?
Does your kind require validation to behave within certain boundaries?
The power of physical attraction is appealing
but it conceals the core of your worthiness.
Dust off the shavings of your white vibrational alignment.
Color your hula hoop red, swivel your sensual self, closer.
Keep your priorities straight and for god sakes
pull up your pants, your crack isn’t vogue.
Intention is only a small fraction of accreditation.
You will need to suck it up, fashion a six pack mentality
and tuck in that attitude
behold even now as it drools upon the curb. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's In A Name?


What’s in a name you ask? Plenty! I have four reasons to be thankful. My parents were so proud when I came along that they gave me two middle names.  Both sides of the family were represented and equally proud, for I was the eldest grandchild on Dad’s side of the family and on Mom’s side, well, let’s just say we were the ones that moved away and settled in America.

America oozed golden opportunity.  America was where all our dreams would come true, where my parents could escape war torn Germany and start over with a clean slate.  Or so they thought.  It was the late 50’s but America still doled out its judgment to the immigrants and we did not escape unscathed.  I can still remember having to report my address every January to the immigration department. Today I no longer have to do this, I’m a citizen, but back then I was an alien with a green card and a number.

My parents and I flew in on an airplane, so we managed to avoid Ellis Island.  Our first apartment was on the east side of Manhattan on 83rd street between 1st and 2nd avenue.  I don’t remember the exact number but I do recall it being in a four story brownstone building and that it was a railroad apartment, the kitchen on one end and the living room on the other, overlooking the street.  I remember the fire escape in the back of the building outside the kitchen window. Mainly because that was where I used to throw out all the gray vegetables that Mom had boiled to a premature death. I hated vegetables with a passion.  I remember the men opening up the red fire hydrants out on the curb on hot muggy summer days and the force of that water as we ran beneath it shrieking with glee.  I also remember many late afternoons looking out the window after Mom left for work with my two year old sister Angie, waiting for Dad to come home.  The neighbors were asked to listen in, just in case I had a problem.  I was the responsible one at 8yrs. old.  My sister Angie wasn’t too happy about this and I wasn’t exactly thrilled either, but we survived.

We were the kraut kids with a Polish last name.  My last name ended with S K I.   My parents swore we were German, I swore that I would survive my names especially the first one, Cornelia pronounced KORE-NAE LEEAH when dad was disappointed with my behavior after a long day at work.  Or if god forbid, my sister had a scratch on her. What my parents called discipline back then would have had us kids screaming for the police today.  That was way before kids had rights but I was tough and stubborn, and before long my parents moved us up to the country following closely behind my uncle and his family.   

I said goodbye to my two boyfriends; Oscar the rich boy with the Spanish maid who would take me home for lunch on school days and Richard, the cute boy across the street who happened to be a really good kisser.  It was in the summer after I completed 2nd grade when I packed my bags and without a second glance flipped the city the bird.  We were getting away from the crowds and the crime. 

 My parents planned to take us kids to a safe place where the air was fresh and clean, to the land of white picket fences and as I later found out, to the land of the brothers Grimm. The city had nothing on the country, which was where all the perverts crawled out of their hiding places. Being a kraut kid wasn’t exactly something you wanted to let spread around, too many drunken war heroes, dirty old men and brawny dykes and those were just the next door neighbors and the parents of my new found friends—oh joy!

Wedelia


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Congratulations to the Winners of my Book Giveaway!

Congratulations to Griffin Larson and Cassie Coppock!
Thank you for participating in my Letters to a Prisoner by Connie D.
book giveaway on Goodreads.  599 people entered and you won!
Your books are on their way!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Am A Survivor


I am a Survivor—
I started writing because my life experiences compelled me to stand up and speak out. I am glad that it did or I might be in some State Hospital chain smoking and making lion pillows. 
I admit I have much to be grateful for. I have my family, my health and I am still young enough to enjoy both.   I learned not to be so accepting of everything that comes along. Now I complain when I am shortchanged.  I speak up when someone cuts in front of me or gives me a withering look when it was really they who weren’t looking.  
Today I am less of an airhead. Today you have to show me, have something solid to back up your story.
It sure is a different world.   Some things are definitely for the better.  Others are questionable like cell phones and I-pads. The kids of yesterday had to check in with a live person, we had chores, responsibilities, homework.  I can remember when having a piece of chalk and a sidewalk was all that you needed.  Sure we let our hair down, hell we invented it!  But at the end of the day, we washed it and started dinner because Mom was working to supplement the family income. The family needed her and YOU to be responsible or the shit would hit the fan and spray all over everything and then YOU would have to clean it up! Yeah—the good old days!
We still believed in GOD and Government and things you read in a book.  Talk about naïve!  We got screwed so often that it felt normal. We bragged about it too!  This country was the greatest country in the world. Now everybody wants to occupy everything.  I’m glad people are waking up.  I just hope that it isn’t too late to stop the flood.  In the meantime, I need you to plug this gaping hole with your finger…no just stay here and hold it I’ll be right back… 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Steps to Sanity cont.


The fifth step is Forgiveness
Forgiveness is another form of detachment.
Addiction is a family disease. There is no getting around it. It’s in our DNA. Although some people think that we are at the mercy of our genes, our environment and our upbringing, I strongly disagree. It is a CHOICE. Sooner or later, no matter how you interpret it; it is time to GROW UP.
Addiction is a CHOICE that we make on a daily basis, nothing more and nothing less.
But let me ask you, for the sake of argument, if your family had Cancer or Alzheimer’s would you be mad at them? Of course not, you would do everything in your power to be supportive, to make them as comfortable as possible and to show them how much you love them.
Addiction is a little trickier though, because of the stigma attached to it.  We love them but our thinking has become distorted and so we end up showing our love in inappropriate and unhealthy ways.
Todays’ reminder from Al-Anon’s Courage to Change ©1992
Every time I try to tighten the noose of resentment around someone’s neck, I am really choking myself. Today I will practice forgiveness instead.
“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”~ Booker T. Washington

Friday, November 4, 2011

Steps to Sanity (from a Survivor)


The fourth step is to BE KIND or as I like to call it, Detaching with LOVE Mr. Spock.

Isn’t that brilliant? So how do I do that?  Read my lips, I am not a Vulcan. This isn’t Star Trek, I actually have feelings, feelings that I can’t just shut off like a water faucet. So HOW am I going to perform this act? The circus left town.


In order to be kind you need to step outside of your feelings for a moment, you need to do just what is askedwithout over analyzing and putting your own smarter point of view over on people. If they need a ride to work and you are already going that way, stop and give them a ride. It’s just keeping it simple. addressing the need and keeping it real. You may not approve of their lifestyle or behavior at the moment but you can still be kind.  You can listen, offer advice when they ask for it, and then you can mind your business and get a life.  


By get a life, I mean invest some time in things that inspire you, things that may have been set aside because you were too busy with a career or raising a family. After my husband and I retired I took up Golf and learned much more than a game, I learned how to live and become a classy mature woman.  I learned to take my experiences and make them count for something. I learned that I had something worth sharing outside of those dark meeting rooms. Al-Anon is great when life is too overwhelming, I recommend it in the beginning but if you are still there after thirty years and you’re not a sponsor, you are still stuck. You, my friend, need to get a life.




From Al-Anon’s Courage to Change © 1992
Today’s reminder Nov. 4
I no longer have to depend on any one person or situation (meeting) to get on with my day.   Today I have choices.


"Consider the little mouse, how sagacious an animal it is which never entrusts his life to one hole only." ~ Plautus

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Step number three is let go of your FEAR:
Again, I know, this is like asking for a miracle.  I can hear what you are thinking because I’m psychic.

But, what if something happens to him/her And I’m Not There? What if he/she needs a ride somewhere? You know important shit like--What will he/she eat? Where—OMG—will he/she sleep-- If I’m NOT THERE?  My son spent plenty of nights sleeping on the beach, under a tree, on a chair, or on the floor of some garage.  And I in all my magical godlike powers was right there with him—WORRYING! Funny in retrospect, that doesn’t sound too godlike does it?
You can’t live their lives for them and you shouldn’t even try!  I remember how I was at that age—you couldn’t tell me anything. I had to learn it for myself. What made me think that my child was any different?
LETTING GO OF YOUR FEAR will set you free. It will un-stick you, remove the paralysis that threatens to take you down and swallow you like quicksand.
I know that when I do something positive instead of worrying, like going to a meeting,  for a walk, taking a yoga class, or volunteering,  will help. Taking that first step, finding people in the same situation as yourself, and getting out there will take you out of your self-imposed isolation. It will restore you to sanity.
My take—on Al-Anon’s Courage to Change © 1992
I am proud of the fact that I am a survivor. I've experienced  many struggles in order to arrive exactly where I am today. Today I know that I am  much MORE than my troubles.  I am a human being with dignity.  I have a wealth of knowledge that I can share with others who are going through similar difficulties.  I needn’t FEAR the challenges of the future. I know that I am a stronger person as a result of what I have been through. I am ready to pass it forward.

“When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars.”~ Charles A. Beard

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Step to Sanity--cont.


2. The second step is that YOU need to CHANGE
YES --YOU and your significant other and the way you relate to YOUR ADDICT. You need to stop and think before you buy them a new car, pay for college, pay for their apartment, groceries. What do you think you are you telling them if you still want to take care of them?  You’re telling them that they can’t take care of themselves. You’re telling them that you don’t have any faith in them, that without YOU they are NOTHING. And I KNOW that that is NOT what you meant!
You meant to reward them for accomplishing their goal. You meant it to be a help up—not a hand out. But that isn’t what you are saying, bless your hearts. That is why YOU need to CHANGE. Because even though you mean well, you are the biggest part of the problem.  I went so far as to make friends with the so-called well-adjusted families.  What did they do that we didn’t?  I was on a mission.  Guess what I learned?  They have problems too, only they handle them DIFFERENTLY. My husband used to say, be like Mr. Spock from Star Trek, BE LOGICAL.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In order to change you need to read or better still listen to WHO MOVED MY CHEESE by Spenser Johnson MD.
Well……
My paraphrase from an old copy of Courage to Change-Al-Anon Family Groups © 1992
November 1
Todays’ reminder
Sometimes I have to let go of a problem before I can find a solution.  My thoughts racing inside my head may be too noisy to hear my inner voice or the guidance it is offering.  Quieting the noise is a skill I can learn with practice.  In Al-Anon practice makes progress, one minute, one thought at a time.

“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quiet in a room alone”~ Blaise Pascal

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Steps To Sanity



NOVEMBER is CRYSTAL METH AWARENESS MONTH--
My son is still in a program the twelfth or thirteenth— I've lost track. He’s been everywhere from Hina Mauka, a 28 Day short term treatment center on Oahu to the Salvation Army, to Habilitat, a long term residential facility and now Drug Court an outpatient two year state sponsored supervised release program. He’s about two months from graduating—and I’m holding my breath-- because what usually happens is he graduates and then he relapses about a week later. Then it takes the courts about a year to catch him because well-meaning ENABLERS will HELP him by giving him money, a place to sleep, and a  motorcycle to ride around in.  The legal system is burdened—there is an epidemic of drug addicts out there. We are the family of a Meth addict.

Don't get me wrong--my son has a job. He is in a responsible position and in a “relationship” according to his Facebook  status. We are NOT friends on Facebook. I am too embarrassing, too loud for his taste.  I want to share my book Letters to a Prisoner by Connie D. and that makes him uncomfortable—he wants to put all that behind him. He wants to MOVE ON with his life. 
My husband and I have been permanently changed.   GOD or WHOEVER  has left HIS  imprint on us-he’s tapped me on the shoulder, shaken  me, kicked me in the ASS a couple of times and rudely awoken me from my stupor which pretty much sums up the way I used to feel.  My face has premature lines, although I still look pretty according to my husband. Of course his near vision isn’t what it used to be.
Stressed out doesn’t even begin to cover it. It’s been over ten years. And yes, I still have hope. Go figure!
SO, HOW DO YOU SURVIVE—when your whole world is crashing down?
EASY, you start by taking care of YOURSELF.  You understand that there is absolutely NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE what THE ADDICT does. TRUST ME on this! It takes TIME to calm down, to snap out of your reverie but there is LOADS of THAT. YES GOD, I’M LISTENING!

** Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. ~ Winston S. Churchill


Stay tuned for number two……

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