Friday, May 12, 2017

We Gotta Fix This

I read this attached to an email I received today from the Grassroots Institute.

It was tough reading this but so worthwhile. I hope it brings the issue to the forefront for you as well.

Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, if you live in Hawaii this must be personal to you because all of us know or know of someone like Malia Blom Hill. She is an ex-pat who does work for the Grassroots Institute in Washington, D.C. and penned this:

It's not hard to meet someone who has been to Hawaii. I've had enough conversations about people's honeymoons in Maui to last a lifetime. But you endure it for those rare moments when someone throws you a lifeline: "No, I'm from Pearl City/Lihue/Hilo." And then the inevitable: "We moved out here for my job."

We're the Hawaii expats. The ones who bring pancit and haupia to potlucks. Who roll our eyes when we hear about how some trendy chef downtown is making "upscale" spam musubi and poke. And who -- more than anything else -- want to come home again.

According to the Census Bureau, more families than ever before are leaving Hawaii for the mainland. And according to the IRS, most of them are leaving for states with lower tax burdens. (Although, technically, most states have lower tax burdens. And that's before we get into the issue of average salaries.)

There's no mystery about why we leave home. We have to. We can't afford to do otherwise. The cost of living in Hawaii is prohibitive. Not only do you have to contend with high taxes, but there's also the hidden costs, the way that everything -- from milk to filling up your car -- is just a little more expensive.

But there's something else going on, and it's something that should worry Hawaii policymakers a whole lot more that it does. It's the absence of opportunity. No one wants to leave home -- at least, not when your home is a paradise. But young people and families are looking at the employment opportunities and the economic future and saying, "I don't think I can make it here."

And watching Hawaii policy in action doesn't give anyone the feeling that things are getting better. Instead, we see huge spending projects (like Rail), taxes upon taxes, bigger government, more union power, and a complete surrender to the politics of obstruction (e.g. the telescope, GMOs, etc.). It doesn't make you hopeful that things are going to change anytime soon.

So we go where the jobs are, where we can afford a house and a nice life. But we're always on the lookout for those reminders of home. We send each other YouTube videos from Merrie Monarch festivals and try (and fail) to make malasadas and manapua. (Well, maybe that's just me.) And when we run into each other, we always have the following conversation:

"So, do you think you're going back?"

"I want to. Some day. Maybe when we're older and the kids are done with school."

"Yeah. Us too."

The other day, I spent a full hour on YouTube, watching May Day hulas from different high schools and thinking about all the things my kids are missing out on by growing up so far from Hawaii. I thought about the sense of 'ohana, the warmth of the aloha spirit, and the way that the sun looks when it sets over the ocean. I remembered the way that the Honolulu airport always smells of plumerias and airplane fuel, and how you distinguish between dressy and casual slippas. 

And then I did what I always do ... and what the thousands of other locals away-from-home do too. I remembered the reasons why I can't move back. Not yet, anyway.

Maybe someday.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

American Airlines Steward Challenges Passenger. "Hit me!"

In no way am I condoning this behavior however, it seems that these events point to a spreading issue of a breaking point that is occurring at the point of contact between the corporations running the airlines and the people that they serve.
Mergers and the resulting reductions in the flight schedules have forced flight crews to constantly deal with overbooked flights, gate-scrambles to off-load and reload passengers, flight delays that daisy-chain down the line and through it all, it creates surly, unhappy passengers who are stuffed into closed metal tubes for hours with the only available face to vent...a flight attendant who has been called in on a day off to fly to another city for another week away from home.
We all booked our flights on websites with images of happy, friendly faces who we just saw laughing and playing on a web ad or the TV and expect that kind of reality when we get to the airport where we face long check-in lines, government agents who probe us and our belongings, stuffy waiting rooms, and over-priced food/drinks...then we board!
Be grateful if you are greeted with a smile when you do get on board and if not, keep in mind that it's not personal...they are just as frustrated as you.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Company party

We had our annual company party on Friday night. It was my department's turn to host the event.

The party ran smoothly for the most part with just a few hiccups during the evening.

Thankfully, people on my staff are usually the ones involved in major parts of the logistics year after year which made many of the party functions able to run in cruise control as much of the nitty-gritty "how-to" stuff was handled nearly by rote.

I heard many favorable comments about the evening from all levels of employees and management about how well the party ran and how enjoyable it was. Most of that was due to, as in many successes, hard work and dedication of a few people who labor out of the limelight.

In the planning meetings I found frustration in the push back I got from senior management to any ideas of doing things "out of the norm." In fact, I had complained privately to some that the planning could be done from a manual with the same procedures done time and again. One after another, my ideas were shot down and seemingly, the event was destined to be much of the same old, same old as many previous parties.

As the evening was concluding I noticed that our company founder, his son, the current company President and the others at the VIP table remained throughout the party. I had thought that at some point because of his advanced age, at least he, and some others, would have called it a night earlier. After greeting him when everything was done he seem very pleased that things had turned out so well and it occurred to me the true purpose of the party and the amount of dedication he has fostered in the organization.

The resistance I was getting was because of an unspoken thing that the party needed to be like others in the past...ones that he had attended and probably enjoyed. The party is always said to be for the employees and to recognize their efforts from the prior year. That is the way he would want to do it himself. Those closest to him "get" that and work to be sure those parts of it is always there...a little entertainment, recognizing employment milestones, the look on their faces when they win big prizes, some money getting spread around and general merriment and satisfaction at being there.

The way he would do it himself. These are things that stick in even the cloudiest of memories and as long as he chooses to attend the parties he deserves to have that sameness in these parties.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

2017 is here...for those who have been under a rock for the past 3 days.

Watched this video this morning.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Home Sweet Home

September 11, 2016

Ginger spent the weekend at Tails of Hawaii.

When she is there she spends nearly every moment in the play area pacing around looking for an attendant to play with or other dogs. We check on her via their webcam and whenever we do she seems pretty happy to be there.

She gets pretty tired from all the walking around so when I picked her up and brought her home, she had a bath, ate and then...


September 9, 2016

This weekend was our annual weekend with Juliet's cousins and their families.

When the boys were younger (Brent was 2 or 3 when we started) we would spend 4th of July weekend at Camp Erdman for their Family Camp. We eventually had a group of about 20 to 25 people with parents and kids. Those were really fun times.

Recently we have joined the Olipares' at their vacation club weekend at Aulani. (can you say Glamping?) They are fortunate to have access to a 3-bedroom unit at the end of the buildings and it easily fits about a dozen of us overnite and more during the days.

It is a beautiful property.

This year was special because Kimi went to the Disney Character breakfast on Sunday.

We really appreciate them letting us join them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Post game Wrap

September 4, 2016

So after the Hawaii-Michigan game it was back to

Where I found some

And some

And watched