Start Today

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I do not make New Year’s resolutions, but I do have goals for myself for the year. Right about now, it starts to become difficult and so “Start Today”, will be my mantra everyday. Each morning is a new day, a new start. Even if I have to re-start on the same goal, I am one step closer to that goal. I know it takes 21 days to make a habit, and 90 days to make a lifestyle change. It is in my conscientiousness. But it’s hard to appreciate the small successes; I want instant gratification!

I quit smoking 32 years ago in April. It took me 3 attempts over a 14 year period – the first time I quit for 3 months, the second for 2 years. I have to remind myself that I didn’t succeed the first two times. If I wake up a everyday and start my journey to achieve my goals, I know I will succeed. A year from now, I will be glad I started TODAY, even if it’s a re-start!

Do You Know?

Do you know the lyrics to Christmas carols? I have my mother to thank for this. We listened to Christmas carols, learned the lyrics to more than just the first verse, and “sang along with Mitch”. She loved Mitch Miller and Lawrence Welk and their holiday specials were a staple in our home every Christmas season.
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What amazes me about this is that my mother was a second generation Japanese-American. Her parents were born in Japan and immigrated to Hawaii so Japanese was her first language, yet she knew every Christmas carol, every Mother Goose rhyme, and many Broadway Show tunes. We didn’t have a radio in our car but there was never a lack of music. We would sing songs from “Okalahoma” or “West Side Story” which always made any trip so enjoyable.

Today, Dec. 10, 2016 would have been my mother’s 99th birthday. She’s been gone almost 35 years, yet is so present in my life. She used to have a song for everything. I would groan when she would start singing after a “trigger” word. She would say, “You’ll think of me because of this, when I’m gone.” How right she was. I find myself doing the same thing. I see a sign for the “Brick House Restaurant” and I start singing, “She’s a Brick (musical interlude) House….” I even passed the love of Broadway musicals to my children who couldn’t go to sleep without the Oklahoma video playing in the background.

This year, with each posting of my Christmas sweaters on Facebook, I have included a line from a Christmas carol or poem to honor my mother. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thanks Giving

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Growing up, Thanksgiving Day was not the picture-postcard Thanksgiving I imagined as the American Holiday. At school we learned Thanksgiving songs, we made Thanksgiving crafts, all centered around learning about this holiday. At home, we didn’t sit around a formal dinner table, we didn’t say a prayer, we ate “sticky”rice with turkey gravy!
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As an adult, I tried to set about creating a Thanksgiving tradition for my family – what I thought Thanksgiving should be. With much protest, everyone was asked to say what they were thankful for. We had the roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry relish, rolls and pumpkin pie. Was this Thanksgiving?

Were there more parallels or more differences? The food was slightly different, but it was always a feast and everyone enjoyed the meal. Prayer may not have been vocalized aloud, but the unity of family and friends gathered together, expressed gratitude.

There has always been much to be thankful for in my life, even through the most difficult of times. Thanksgiving. It is just that – giving thanks.

Wishing you blessings of health and inner peace on Thanksgiving and always!

It’s A Miracle I Can Speak English

“IT’S A MIRACLE I CAN SPEAK ENGLISH” was the title for my speech in the Toast Master’s Humorous Speech contest this Fall. I made it to the Division competition where the speakers were so impressive, I was a bit intimidated to be in their company, at their level. I used a little poetic license and here is my speech:

My husband often says to me that it’s a miracle that I can speak English. After visiting my hometown and meeting my family and friends, he is amazed that I can speak anything remotely resembling the English language.
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I was born and raised on the sugar plantation of Paauhau on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was so small, you rarely found it on a map. Do you remember the C&H sugar commercial with the little girl running through the cane field? That could have been me as it was very much what life was like. My dad would cut a stalk of sugar cane, peel it and I would chew on it to get all the sugary sweetness out. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The dentist wasn’t my best friend, but he loved my dad!

We spoke “Pigeon English” there, which is really a language all to itself. It was the common language used by the various ethnic populations to communicate with each other. On our plantation we had Filipinos, Portugese, Puerto Ricans, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Haoles (the white people). “Pigeon English” incorporates words from the languages of all of these groups with an adulteration of English, and I do mean an alteration.
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My Dad spoke only Pigeon his entire life. His favorite phrase was, “Wea the nani?” or Where’s the what-you-ma-call-it? “Nani” came from “Nan desu ka?”, Japanese for “What is that?” Like most of the plantation folk, my dad couldn’t say his “TH’s”. My mom and I tried to teach him, “Dis, Dat, Dose, and Dese in our diction do not please, say This, That, Those, and These.” I would say, Daddy, put your tongue between your teeth and say “th-h-h”. (Here I said it like my Dad) I don’t even know how he did that!

On the plantation parents should have thought more about what to name their children. Arthur, for example, would be pronounced Atta. There was one kid in the neighborhood who was born during WWII whose name was Douglas Nakata. Can you guess who he was named after? Yes, you’re right, the famous General Douglas Makata. Or if you were white, your name was automatically, Haole Boy or Haole Girl, so your parents didn’t have to give you a name at all.

What about your favorite sandwich, the PBJ, the Peanut Butta and Jelly kine? Or you can’t just be dead. “Make’” is Hawaiian for death, so you would say, “She make’, die, dead”, reminiscent of the Munchins in The Wizard of Oz, where “she’s not only merely dead,
she’s really most sincerely dead.” (Sung holding my nose to sound like a Munchin)

My first language was Japanese as I grew up in a multigenerational household with my grandparents who immigrated from Japan. The kids in the neighborhood would say, “We no go play wit you if you no can talk English”, so I learned to speak their English. By the time I was in the 4th grade, my mother, who loved grammar, told me I could speak Pigeon to my friends, but not to adults. I was having blood drawn one day and the lab tech at the hospital asked me where I was from. I told him and he said, “You no can be from Paauhau. No one dea can talk good English”. This was the beginning of my journey on learning to speak English.

One of the favorite past times in Hawaii is to “talk story”. It just means to sit and visit and share stories about anything under the sun, but Pigeon English has evolved and now when I go home to Hawaii, I can barely understand some of the new Pigeon words and phrases. The word “choke” means a large amount. “Get choke mangoes dis yea!” would describe the bumper crop of mangoes this year. The phrase “catch cracks” means to get beaten up.

My family will tell you that I talk like a haole and that I have a haole accent. I grew up with the stereotype that “All Japs suppose to be smat.” My mother’s family took this very seriously and intermarried among first cousins for generations, breeding for intelligence. Can’t you tell?

This intelligent gene pool, a mother who insisted on correct grammar usage, and my parent’s belief that assimilation was the key to achieving the American Dream, are the reasons, I can speak English. No miracles here, but a journey down my own Yellow (pause) Brick Road.

Special Gifts

Traditionally November is Holiday Bazaar season for me where I attend at least one Bazaar every weekend. It’s scheduled in my calendar so I can try to make it to my favorites.

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I missed Lady Bugs the first Saturday as I was in Orlando, FL.  Last weekend was Mt View Band’s Bazaar which I did get to. Tomorrow is Gramma’s House where one year I won my beautiful hand quilted bedspread in a raffle benefitting NW Medical. Tomorrow is also the Evergreen Band’s Bazaar – the band that gave me so many friends and fond memories. I’ve even heard that Santa (the real Santa) will be there! Then the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Prairie and Heritage High Schools’.

 

Why the passion? My mother made homemade jellies and fruit cakes to give as gifts. I bake and make most of my Christmas gifts, or buy handmade gifts that other people make. My crafty and creative daughter makes most of her gifts as well. There’s love that goes into  making something, “Priceless”. These are the special gifts that I cherish.

 

 

First-time Attendee at NAR Annual Conference and Expo

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I recently returned from attending my first National Association of Realtors® Annual Conference and Expo. In my 20th year in business, you might ask, “What took you so long?”
Like many Realtors®, I was involved with the day-to-day operations of my business. 8 years ago I was asked to sit on the Realtor® Foundation. The community service aspect of the Foundation highly appealed to me.
6 years ago I was asked to join the Professional Standards committee at CCAR. When I first said yes, it was with much trepidation. What was the time commitment? What would I have to do? Do I really want to get involved? I will tell you, honestly, I am so glad I said, “Yes”. I didn’t realize then the passion I would come to have for Professional Standards and how much I would advocate for Realtors® subscribing to the Realtor® Code of Ethics.
Because of my involvement at the local association, I was asked to be a Director for the WA Realtors® where I also sit on the Professional Standards committee and Chair the Diversity committee. This gave me the opportunity to witness first-hand decisions made at the state level that affect us at the local level.
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Being able to attend the Professional Standards and Diversity committee meetings at the NAR conference was the highlight of my trip. This is the top of the hierarchy where decisions are being enacted for all Realtors®. 2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. What a fabulous way to kick off my first year as Chair of the Diversity Committee in 2017 at the Clark County Association of Realtors, planning for this celebration!
It took someone reaching out to me to get involved. That request led to this fabulous opportunity to attend the National Convention. Being a Realtor® is not a J-O-B for me. It is my professional career choice, and as a professional I strive to be the best that I can be. Being involved has given me the opportunity to see first hand the importance and responsibility of what we do as Realtors®. “In 2016, we are proud to celebrate 100 years of the distinction of REALTORS®, and the power they hold in protecting the American dream, advocating for property ownership and healthy communities, and making tomorrow a better place to live.” (From NAR, National Association of REALTORS®) Who would not be proud to call themselves a Realtor®?
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Besides, the conference was in Orlando, home of the “the happiest place on earth”!
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Proud To Be A REALTOR®

“In 2016, we are proud to celebrate 100 years of the distinction of REALTORS®, and the power they hold in protecting the American dream, advocating for property ownership and healthy communities, and making tomorrow a better place to live.” (From NAR, National Association of REALTORS®)

This year, NAR is featuring stories in their REALTORS® Across America Posts. Imagine my surprise and elation when I received an email telling me that my story had been approved! NAR is celebrating REALTORS® “devoted to community, to service, and to going the extra mile.” At my brokerage, Imagine Homes Realty, that is what we are about – community. So the words came easily while writing my story. I would love to hear from you!

Lovin’ Life in the ‘Couve, by Kay Hunt